Reviews Published

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The Bargain

The Bargain
By WhiskeyCreek Press

In the midst of war two enemies will make a bargain that will change their lives forever.

Major Joel Bradshaw is the Chief Medical Officer in charge of setting up a new front line hospital for the Union Army. Unfortunately, his first task is to evict the women who live in the big plantation house he must commandeer.

Strong-willed Cassandra Beaumont is determined not to allow the Yankees take her home. But when her sister-in-law develops complications during labor, Cassie is forced to swallow her pride and ask the Yankee doctor she just threatened for his help. All she has to barter with are her nursing skills and so she proposes a trade that will bring her loyalties into question.

Joel, however, soon finds himself wanting much more than a business arrangement. Torn between his orders as an officer and his desire to protect Cassie, Joel finds a way to ensure the safety of all the Beaumont women – if only Cassie will say yes!


Petersburg, Virginia
March, 1865

Her worst nightmare had come true. Cassandra Beaumont paced around the porch, squeezing the polished gun butt tight as she watched a group of Union soldiers ride brazenly through her yard. The roar of distant cannon fire set her already raw nerves on edge.

Please let me remember Tyler’s lessons on using the gun.

With her head held high, Cassandra willed herself not to let her fear show. If she got lucky, maybe they’d believe she was a crack shot. When pigs fly. She fumbled with the revolver. Was one bullet going to be enough? That was all she could find. Dear heavens, how had she ever convinced herself this was a good plan?

A tall man in an officer’s uniform started toward the porch. He had a powerful build, with a ruggedly handsome face. Thick, tawny-gold hair curled slightly around the collar of his blue coat. Sweet mercy, did he have to be so handsome? What the devil was wrong with her that she could even think about that?

Her mouth dried as he strode purposefully up the four brick steps to the top of the porch. With shaky hands, she raised the revolver, aiming it at his heart. Yet he didn’t seem worried as he slowly lifted his arms in the air, moving toward her with his unreadable amber eyes locked with hers. Their calmness terrified her. Why wasn’t he threatened by the gun in her hand? The pulse pounded in her ears as each step brought their inevitable confrontation closer.

When he stood just a few steps away, his stony expression gradually changed. His amber eyes lowered, perusing the weapon she held in her trembling hands. She had to act nonchalant. Heaven help her.

“You get back or I’ll blow you off this porch.” She waved the gun at him in a “move away” gesture.

He didn’t retreat as she’d hoped. Instead, he kept inching toward her, watching her with cool, assessing eyes. “I mean you no harm.” His voice had a deep, resonate, velvet quality that sent a shiver through her. “I just want to talk, angel. That’s all.”

That wasn’t all, and she damn well knew it. Cassandra’s hands shook more from fear than the cold. Chin up. Remember others are counting on you.

“I’m not fooling. If you come any closer, your men will be burying you this afternoon.” Her voice began quivering, despite her attempts to sound threatening. Legs braced apart, she lifted her chin, proudly staring the stranger down.

She almost lost her breakfast when he moved right up in front of her, so close the cold steel barrel pressed against his massive chest.

She squeezed the trigger, and to her horror, nothing happened. What the blazes… She flinched when he leaned over closer, whispering, “I’ll keep your secret this time, angel, but next time you aim a gun at someone’s heart, I recommend you cock it first. It won’t fire unless you do.”

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