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David Summers never expected any of this… not in a million years. He thought for sure he was a goner.
After leaving Alabama and enlisting with the cavalry, his delusion of chivalry was suddenly quashed when he saw for himself the horrors of battle. Now, after being shot and ending up at a strange farmhouse, he’s found himself being nursed back to health by four beautiful girls, and has learned that his Confederate brethren have deserted him in Pennsylvania after fighting at Gettysburg. It’s more than he can fathom. On top of that, he’s been presented with an even bigger dilemma. He knows he’s falling in love with the older sister, Anna, and she has enticed him with an interesting proposition. However, her scheme goes against his principles, and the reasons why he enlisted in the first place – to avenge his father’s death and defend his sacred homeland.
To David’s dismay, he must make a decision. Should he stay and help Anna with her underhanded plan, deceiving everyone around him by pretending to be a Yankee? If discovered, he would be considered a traitor to the cause, and she could be in jeopardy of treason. Or should he leave the farm, say goodbye to her, and risk certain capture? Either way, his perilous situation doesn’t seem to offer an encouraging outcome. If that isn’t bad enough, Anna’s neighbor, a Union officer, is in love with her, too, and he would stop at nothing to have David arrested … or worse.
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Within an hour’s time, Maggie returned, and Anna knew he was with her. Patrick’s jovial laughter infiltrated the air. She went downstairs to greet him. He had already dismounted his horse and was assisting Maggie down from Alphie when she reached them.
He turned to see her. “Well, there’s me bonnie lass!” he exclaimed in his melodic Irish brogue and gave her a hug. Releasing her, he said, “Your lovely sister, Maggie, has informed me there’s a party here this very morn, so I brung along some refreshment!” His green eyes twinkled with amusement. “But I’ve never known ye lasses to indulge in spirits so early in the day, and on the Sabbath, no less!”
“Don’t be silly, Patrick!” Anna laughed.
With a wink, he handed her a bottle of whiskey.
The two little girls came out of the barn. “Patrick!” they screeched, running toward him.
He picked Abigail up and twirled her around, causing her to squeal with delight before he set her back down.
“We haven’t seen you in so long, Patrick,” she said. “Where have you been?”
“Why, workin’, of course.” He gave Claudia a hug. “‘Tis a busy time with the crops right now, lass. I’m sure you’re well aware.” Turning back to Anna, he pulled the cap from his head, revealing thick, brown hair. “So, how might I be of service to ye fair maidens?” he asked.
“We have something to show you,” Anna said, “but you have to swear not to tell a soul.”
Patrick raised an eyebrow and smirked. “Well now, if I agree to it, will ye be fixin’ me a fine meal in return?”
“Of course,” she replied, taking his hand. “Come with me.”
She led him into the farmhouse’s back door, through the kitchen, and up the staircase to the second floor. Stopping at the doorway at the top of the steps, she turned to look at him.
“There’s somethin’ ye want to be showin’ me in your father’s bed chamber?” he asked, comically raising his eyebrow.
Anna bit her lower lip. She turned the knob and pushed the squeaky door open. “We found him in the barn the night before last with a bullet in his shoulder,” she explained.
The three other girls followed behind.
“He’s a Confederate soldier.”
Patrick’s jaw dropped slightly. “Saints preserve us,” he partially whispered.