Saturday, August 22, 2015

Sample Saturday - Book 0

Before I get too far removed from the beginning of the story of the Owen Family, here's a sample from Book 0, Gone for a Soldier.

How did this novel become Book 0 in The Owen Family Saga? That happened mainly because I'd already marked The Man from Shenandoah as Book 1, and it's a bit difficult to change the numbering scheme at all the online vendors, not to mention on the covers. So Book 0 it is. Perhaps that's fitting for an origin story like Gone for a Soldier.

In this sample, second brother Ben is waiting for his sweetheart, Ella Ruth, to meet him.

Ben waited in the darkness of the lane that led up from the north fork of the river. Before him on a rise stood the grand house, the centerpiece of the prosperous farm owned by Miss Ella Ruth Allen’s father. Behind him, tied to a low-hanging tree limb, his horse nickered softly and stamped a hoof.

Ella Ruth was late in arriving to their tryst, but that was to be expected. Ella Ruth was late for every occasion.

He smiled momentarily at her habitual tardiness, and then adjusted his leaning position against the smooth tree trunk. If he had his wish, he would scoop her up and run away to the nearest place he could marry her, but she hadn’t yet agreed to elope with him. He hoped his powers of persuasion would be sufficient to the task tonight. If not, he only had a few more days to win her over to the idea.

Hearing footfalls on the lane, he pushed away from the tree and straightened.

“Ben?” Breathless. Timid. Hopeful.

“I’m here,” he called, keeping his voice low.

The footsteps slowed. Hesitant. “Where? I cannot see you.”

She was close, so close to him that he could smell the scent of the rose water she wore. He moved forward. “Here,” he said, bringing the girl into his arms.

“Oh Ben,” she sighed, snuggling against him, her head fitting into the hollow beneath his chin. “I worried you wouldn’t come.” Her anxiety showed itself in a constrained giggle.

“You can depend on me,” he told her, repeating a phrase he’d said many times before in his attempts to woo and win her.

“You always say that,” she said, a bright little chuckle in her voice.

“I want you to remember it. I want you to know I am true to you. There is no one in my heart but your dear person.”

“Oh Ben,” she repeated. “It’s Poppa you need to convince, not me.”

He sighed. “Don’t I know it.” He held her, rocking her slightly. “What’s the secret? How do I make him see my worth?”

“I cannot advise you on that point.”

He heard the despair in her voice. “Ella Ruth, what does your ma think? Does she influence him?”

“Oh no! Momma doesn’t meddle in Poppa’s affairs. She wouldn’t dream of telling him to let you—” Her voice choked.

No help in that direction. Ben sighed again. “There has to be a remedy. Does your brother have influence?”

“Merlin keeps out of Poppa’s business.”

Gall rose in his throat, and he couldn’t speak until he had cleared it away. “My pa always told me life wasn’t fair, that I should buck up and realize it for truth. I reckon I didn’t know what he meant until now.”

“Don’t you get disheartened, Ben. I adore you. Poppa will have to see, sooner or later, that you are not merely a farmer’s son, but a person of real substance, real importance. Like I do.” Her voice rose to a squeak.

Marveling at her remarkable speech, he patted her hair, then stroked her cheek. “I won’t lose heart, but time is growing short. War is coming, the papers say. I expect I’ll go fight for the Confederacy.”

“Oh no. You can’t. You would have to leave me.” She snuggled tighter against him.

“That’s the way it is with war. All the more reason to redouble my efforts. When can I talk to your pa again?”

“Not for days. He’s on a trip for business.”

“Humph.” Ben pondered on the problem, still stroking Ella Ruth’s cheek until she stayed his hand.



“How much do you care for me?”

He shook his head, drew all his focus together to answer the question. “There ain’t a measure large enough, girl.” Moonlight fell upon her brow. It gave him an idea. He took her chin between fingers and thumb and gently turned up her face so he could gaze directly into her eyes. “You are the sun, the moon, the stars to me. No man ever loved a woman more.”

Ella Ruth giggled. “I wish Poppa had a romantic soul. He couldn’t help being moved by such tender words.” She shivered. “He’s a businessman.”

“A very wealthy businessman.”

“Yes.” She sighed. “Can’t you make a pretty speech about business, Ben?”

Thanks for visiting. You can purchase Gone for a Soldier in your chosen version from the vendors below.

Gone for a Soldier: Prequel (Book 0) - in print and ebook formats
Print: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | ebooks: Smashwords all formats | Kindle | nook | Kobo | iTunes Bookstore

If you want an autographed print copy, click here to purchase one.

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