Return of A Rebel (PAGE COUNT: 339)
REBEL SERIES BOOK 6
A soldier, reported killed in battle, returns years after the Civil War, demands his rightful place and creates chaos for the Harris and James families. His wife has remarried. Now she finds herself legally tied to a man who had been unfaithful. She’s deeply in love with her present husband, but feels she can’t live with either man.
She goes to Castle Crest to find solace with Tiffany, but compassion can’t soothe away her emotional anguish.
Determined, Nathan James mounts and rides out to confront the returning soldier.
Savanna Martin leaves her home in Georgia and heads for Virginia to visit her sister. She arrives at her destination just in time to become embroiled in her sister’s emotional turmoil.
Savanna thought she loved Troy, but while he’s abroad on business, her heart strays. She becomes hopelessly entangled in a forbidden romance that further distresses the family. How can she solve the dilemma and still fulfill her hearts desire?
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Return of a Rebel (339 Pages)
Savanna Martin, one of six stagecoach passengers, pulled her coat tighter against the February chill and glanced out a window at snow dappled rocks. She soon would arrive at her sister’s home in Richmond
Frowning, she glared at a dirt smear on the bottom of her green skirt. The sun had melted some of the snow, which had softened the mud roads. They would freeze again at night, turning the ruts into icy channels.
She’d longed to see Emily and was excited to finally be able to make the journey from Georgia.
Her mind flitted to Troy Larkin, as it so frequently did. She hadn’t seen him in over two months. He’d said he had a business trip and had hinted of traveling to England. She wished she would’ve asked for details, but she hadn’t wanted to seem presumptuous. Had he sailed for England? Would he be back? Her heart ached to see him. She loved to run her fingers through his black curls, and his soft beard drove her to distraction. Reliving their last kiss, her heart raced, and her lips yearned for the touch of his.
The sound of galloping horses drew her from her romantic interlude.
A shot rang out. The conveyance jerked as the horses suddenly picked up speed.
Two more gunshots resounded.
“Robbers!” one of the passengers yelled.
The stage rocked as it cut a curve, slammed into a rut, then righted itself. Savanna strangled a squeal. Another bend cut off the view of the horsemen. The stage scraped against a row of pine. The passengers jostled as a wheel struck a rock. Savanna toppled to the floor. The stage lurched to one side. Her door flew open. She grappled for a handhold, but lost her grip and screamed as she tumbled through the opening. To avoid the wheels, she rolled away and ended up sprawled under the branches of a pine.
The robbers’ horses galloped past, their hooves pounding so close that they splashed mud on her face. But for the protection of the low sweeping boughs, she could have been trampled. Several more shots echoed through the forest.
One man yelled, “I got the driver!”
“Kill all the passengers!” the last gunman hollered. “We don’t want any witnesses!”
“Dear God, no.”
More gunfire. The stage stopped about two hundred feet ahead. Savanna heard Jason yell. Mary screamed. Savanna remained hidden, her breath puffing in short gasps.
After five minutes of gunfire and hooting, the riders galloped away.
Clambering to her knees, Savanna struggled to her feet and ran toward the gory scene. Four passengers were dead.
A moan drew Savanna to the stagecoach. Mary sprawled on the floor, blood trickling from her open mouth. “Mary!”
“Those men knew . . . there were six passengers. They’ll be back . . . to get you. Run!”
Horror seized Savanna’s middle. “I need to stop your bleeding.”
Mary coughed. Blood oozed through her blouse. “Run.” Her eyes rolled back in her head. She was gone.
Tears rolled down Savanna’s cheeks. Had the woman been right? Will the men return for me?
At the sound of galloping horses, she fled back among the pine and thanked God the snow had been trampled so much that the killers wouldn’t be able to discern her footprints.
The riders halted and dismounted at the wreckage.
“Pat was right! There are only five bodies. Where’s that other wench?”
“I don’t know, but we’re gonna find her.
Savanna swallowed hard. Nausea nearly made her swoon. She bit her lip. Would her green dress and brown coat camouflage her among the pine? She had to get away. If she fled, they would hear twigs snapping. Her throat went dry. Her pulse throbbed in her temples. She envisioned the ruby ring that Troy had given her. Should she fasten it to her undergarments?. She peered through the boughs. A man’s face, thirty feet away, seemed framed by the pine branches. His round face, ruddy complexion, and dark eyes became indelibly imprinted on her mind.
“Hey, Snid, we gotta get that one that got away.”
“Right. We’ll go back to where we first saw the stage, then search the bushes on the way back.”
Hooves thundered away. Savanna gulped. Which way should she go? Along the road, she would be seen.
She seemed miles from anywhere.
“I had to hide!”
Turning, she fled into the thick growth and pressed on. A sharp stick gouged her leg above her left knee. Patches of ice and snow made her feet feel frozen. Naked maple branches jutted crooked fingers toward her as though endeavoring to ensnare a prey. Her skirt caught on a thorn and ripped. She glanced to make sure she hadn’t left a swatch of material behind, then hurried on.
Pine pitch stained her coat. The branches of a bush caught in her long hair. She shoved the blond strands under her collar and pressed on. Her foot slipped on an ice coated rock. She stumbled and her cheekbone grazed the rough bark of a tree. She clamped her lips shut on a cry. Cold, wet and frightened, she painfully stumbled onward.
An hour later, she heard men tramping through the brush behind her. One whistled. “Hey, here’s another broken branch. She went this way.”
Terror clawed at her. Her knees grew weak. Her mouth went dry. They’re coming!
Hopelessly lost, she raced left, then right. Darting into a thick growth of spruce, she slipped between the branches. Adrenalin pumping, she forced her way deeper into the pine forest. The thick carpet of dry needles cushioned her footsteps. Could the men hear her?
They seemed confused as they milled at the edge of the dense pine.?
“Where should I go from here?”
Befuddled and exhausted, tears burned her eyes. It will be dark soon. The thought horrified her. She forced herself forward. Terror clawed at her when she heard the men coming. What can I do? Troy where are you?