A Heart on Hold
Available from 5 Prince Publishing www.5princebooks.com
Release Date: August 2012
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A Heart on Hold
Charlotte’s lips only took a moment to find those belonging to her beloved. He tasted faintly of molasses and she was immediately drawn into the warmth of his embrace. Their bodies were perfectly pressed together, fitting as though one had been divinely made for the other, as Sanderson’s kisses trailed from Charlotte’s lips down her neck.
Her hands found his softly stubbled face and guided him back to her lips. With his strong arms around
her, she’d never felt more safe. Or more vulnerable.
War. Devotion. Deceit. Death. How long can a heart hold on before it breaks? Most women would carry on with their lives after being thrust into widowhood, but not Charlotte Adamsland. Upon learning that her husband, Captain Sanderson Redding, was killed in a botched escape from a Confederate prison in Illinois, she clings to his promise to return to her no matter what, and quickly heads north through a war-ravaged country with only her faith in God and her beloved horse to bring her beloved Sanderson home – one way or another.
About Sara Barnard:
Sara is a military wife whose own heart has been on hold more often than not. She holds her B.A. in History. Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies, including REFRACTION (Marble Press, 2010), THE HARSH AND THE HEART: CELEBRATING THE MILITARY (Silver Boomer Books, 2011), CAMPFIRE TALES (coming from Coolwell Press, October, 2012), and will appear in an upcoming Canadian anthology titled LIFESTYLES. She is a member of Romance Writers of America and Abilene Writers Guild.
In addition to reading and writing, Sara loves helping her children with their homework, spending time outdoors with her family, and traveling.
Sara, her husband, and their four beautiful children live in the historic Oklahoma hills along with their three rescue dogs, two rescue cats, and eleven chickens.
Author Contact Info:
Blog: www.sarathreesuns.blogspot.com where she occasionally blogs about life as a Mommy of four and wife to a Drill Sergeant.
Excerpt from A Heart on Hold:
The thought of war was removed from Charlotte’s mind as she uncurled her legs from beneath her patched cotton dress and stretched them into the brook. She tilted her head back and closed her eyes as the icy water swirled over her bare feet. It felt good to have finally loosened the tight braid from her hair. She swayed back and forth, letting the wavy locks tickle her shoulders. Achilles, who had been grazing contentedly, whinnied at the light bugs that flickered about his muzzle.
Charlotte’s fingers found the soft jade and eggshell tassels that ringed her picnic blanket and her mind began to wander.
“It is coming you know,” a voice from behind her stated matter-of-factly. “None of us will be able to hide much longer.”
Charlotte smiled, not bothering to turn around or even open her eyes. The melodic voice was of course that of Sanderson Redding, the man who had stolen her heart so many years before.
“You think I’m hiding, Sanderson?” Charlotte asked, the hint of a smile teasing the corners of her lips. “Well, you’re right. I am hiding,” her voice lingered in the twilight as she pushed herself upright and turned to face him. “Because I think that war of any kind is a complete and total waste of time. And of life.”
“You’ve been reading the books I lent you.” His voice took an accusing tone. As he joined her on the blanket, she noticed that mischievous twinkle in his hazel eyes that she’d grown to love. His eyes looked more green than brown this evening, shining beautifully against the backdrop of his ruggedly handsome face.
A sudden warmth flooded her veins, giving her a slight shiver. Resisting the urge to scoot closer to him, Charlotte drew in a shaky breath. “Reading helped pass the time while you were, well, gone.” Well, that sounded dumb.
“You’ve always been good at it. Truth to right, I was always a bit jealous, what with you being the top reader in the class.” Charlotte felt heat creep into her cheeks. She had never taken compliments very well, and those coming from the perfect, full lips of Sanderson Redding made her especially self-conscious.
He continued, obviously delighting in her uncharacteristic shyness. “Maybe that’s why I always was after you to tutor me.” He drew the words out.
A giggle, too high-pitched to be natural, escaped her lips. Charlotte, get a grip. It’s just Sanderson. Tossing her hair nonchalantly over her shoulder, she allowed herself a peek at her beau. His russet hair appeared to have grown out quite a bit since his last haircut, which had probably been back before his graduation from The United States Military Academy. It was tousled lightly by the breeze coming off the Ouachita Mountains. Her insides turned to mush and she felt as though she could live the rest of her life in this moment right here.
A light bug buzzed her before landing on the picnic blanket. Charlotte gently shooed it off before trusting her voice. “Five years sure crept by,” she told the blanket. “I’m glad you’re back.” I was so worried that you would meet someone else. Someone prettier, someone good enough for you.
Sanderson no longer appeared to be engaged in the conversation. “The shopkeeper managed to match the green in your eyes to the shade of green in this blanket perfectly,” he murmured, removing a lock of her almond-colored hair from her eyelashes and tucking it behind her ear.
The slight brush of his skin against hers caused her heart to quicken. She pulled her legs up onto the bank and crossed her damp ankles. Something had bloomed somewhere in the surrounding hills because when the breeze shifted, the air became thick with a clean, lemony scent.
Sanderson’s voice dropped to a whisper. “And to think, that shopkeeper tried for a week to convince me you would like the red better, but I wouldn’t hear of it. Has to be green, I said.” She felt him lean in closer. “Green, to match her magnificent eyes.”
Ann's Afterthought: I'm proud of this girl. Why? She's my daughter! =)