Secrets and Sacrifices
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by Diane M. Wylie
Category: Historical Fiction/Romance
Description: The slowly starving South, lack of medical supplies, and desperate runaway slaves motivate Charlie and Daniel to take risks beyond their wildest imaginations. How could they possibly know that their paths would cross during the worst time in their lives and where that path would lead?
eBook Publisher: Vinspire Publishing,
eBookwise Release Date: July 2011
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [385 KB]
Reading time: 248-348 min.
Secrets and Sacrifices is sure to be remembered fondly; this romance will find a solid position on your keeper shelf. 5 Angels from Naomi --Fallen Angels Reviews Diane has a way of instantly connecting the reader to her characters. Her Civil War historical romances are filled with adventure, hardship, and love. --Deborah A. Hymon - Historical Passions Ms. Wylie has crafted an amazing novel set during the worst time in United States history. She sweeps you into the battlefields right along with the characters. 5 Cups from Bonnie-Lass --Coffee Time Romance She has taken the Civil War, thoroughly researched her facts of battles, conditions and written powerfully complex characters interacting in a powerful tableau... ~Marilyn Rondeau --Reviewers Internation Organization- Ck2skwips and Critiques Her attention to detail as well as the accurate depiction of the Civil War enables Wylie to draw the reader in and keeps the reader coming back for more. An absolute must-read! SECRETS AND SACRIFICES is a sure winner. ~Jennifer Vido --Fresh Fiction
Daniel thought his heart would break right then and there at the sight of the pale young woman with short dark hair tumbling into her eyes, half-naked and obviously hurt as she raised her bound hands to him for help.
He sank to his knees in front of her and started to untie the knots from the cloth. Her arms began to tremble as he worked. Hold on, Miss, just hold on now, Ill take care of you. Youll be fine.
There, the knot was out, and he unwound the cloth. It was a shirt. Moving closer to her, he held the shirt out, gently took her cold hand, and put it into the sleeve. He could feel the vibrations running up her whole body as he draped the shirt around her bare back and carefully helped her put her other hand into the sleeve. She tensed, and a gasp of pain escaped when she moved.
The woman was hurt! He felt his throat constrict with emotion, followed by an immediate flash of rage that made him want to go back and inflict more damage on the man. How could anyone hurt this small, fragile person?
Come on, let me help you up. He saw her looking around with jerky movements of her head. Its okay. The man who attacked you wont hurt you any more. Ive tied him up with his own belt.
Standing up, he carefully put a hand under her elbow to help her. Can you tell me where are you injured? Moving slowly, the woman got to her feet, swaying just a little. He steadied her.
H-he stepped on my chest, she whispered. I-I heard something c-crack.
Good God! The bastard stomped on her chest! It was an internal struggle, but the physician in him won out over the enraged man who once again entertained thoughts of kicking the tar out of her attacker. You may have some broken ribs. Dont take a deep breath or make any sudden moves.
He shrugged out of his jacket and eased it over her shoulders. Suddenly, he realized she was wearing trousers. How odd. Im a doctor, he repeated again, I can help you. Let me take you back to my camp and fix you up before I take you home. He moved around in front of her. Hold still, and I can button up your shirt for you.
No, she shook her head slightly, Ill do that. Will you please help me get my things, sir?
Of course, he looked at her for further direction, watching as she slowly worked the buttons.
Over there, behind those bushes... she said then added quietly, ...where he attacked me.
Daniel turned to leave then stopped. Will you be all right for a few minutes alone?
She glanced around again then slowly bent her knees, keeping her back straight and picked up the Springfield at her feet. With a noticeable familiarity, she positioned the weapon for use and splayed her feet wide for balance.
Okay, she said.
The rifle looked like a Confederate-issued weapon. As he walked to the group of dark bushes, Daniel wondered how this woman came to have the gun. Perhaps she took it from her assailant? This woman is obviously comfortable with handling a rifle...that is highly unusual.
These thoughts ran through his head as he searched for her personal items. Spying a dark bundle on the ground, he walked over, bent and picked it up. Even in the weak moonlight he could see this was not womens clothing. It was a pair of dark colored pants and a grimy linen shirt, along with a dirty slouch hat and a pair of spectacles. He walked back to where he had left her and couldnt stop thinking of the items he held. Something was niggling at the back of his mind, but he couldnt quite grab hold of the thought.
She was exactly as he left her, standing frozen in position. He could see her physically relax when he came into sight. Daniel held the items out so she could see them.
Are these your things?
Yes, thank you, she said and carefully reached for the bundle without explanation.
Hold on here, Miss, Daniel pulled the bundle back just a bit. Surprise had her raising her dark eyebrows. The scattered clouds shifted a bit, allowing light to reach the earths surface. He could see his companion better now. She was indeed a slender, pale young woman with straggled dark hair and a nasty bruise appearing on her swollen cheek.
Who are you, and why are you out here all alone at night? Suspicions were beginning to mount in his mind. Did you come here to meet a soldier? Are you wearing his things? Or maybe that man was the one you came to meet and you had a lovers quarrel?
He watched her carefully straighten up. Sir, I never saw him before in my life, I swear it on the Bible.
That remained to be seen, Daniel decided. Well, lets go back to camp. Ill send someone back to pick up your attacker. You need to get some medical treatment.
He handed her the glasses and watched her put them in her pocket.
Dont you need those to see? he asked and offered his arm.
No, she said...again without explanation.
This was getting more mysterious by the moment. Stuffing the bundle of clothes under his arm, Daniel took her elbow. Who was this woman? He was determined to get some answers from her as soon as he tended her injuries.