YESTERDAY’S PROMISES, Book 3 in Rebel Series

YESTERDAY’S PROMISES, Book 3 in Rebel Series

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YESTERDAY’S PROMISES (PAGE COUNT: 337)
by
Barbara Michel

Tiffany Harris James is devastated when she discovers what has happened to Elizabeth Ann, her beloved sister.

Andrew Murphy and Rebecca Henderson, neighbors to Castle Crest, are in love. Tragedy strikes. Will the traumatic result last forever? What about the promises they’ve made? Tiffany is determined to solve the crisis.

Alaina is ecstatic as she plans her wedding, but an unexpected turn of events threatens to pull Michael into the vortex of a dark void. Can he be accountable for promises he doesn’t remember making?

Jenna Leigh Cristen, a friend of Tiffany, feels called to teach at the Blind and Deaf School in Staunton. Then Robert, her brother, suffers from injuries sustained in an accident and holds her to a long-ago promise. Falling in love with Rev. Mark Goodwin further complicates the situation. Mark feels called to start a church. Jenna is torn. Mark has his calling. She has hers. How can she keep her promise to Robert, be obedient to God, and fulfill her heart’s desire with Mark?

 

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Excerpt

YESTERDAY’S PROMISES

Rebel Series Book 3

by

Barbara Michel

EXCERPT

October 1866

Saxon Oaks Plantation

Elizabeth Ann Sherwood paused at a window to admire the brilliant hues of fall foliage. Her focus jerked to a man dressed in black who appeared among the bushes. He had a cocky stride, but from this distance, she couldn’t define his facial features. Was that a shadow across his face?

She shivered. Or a scar!

Several times, she’d noticed him loitering at the edge of the forest, then he vanished like a phantom.

A shudder raked her slender frame as she fastened her curls on top of her head to form a golden crown. Hurrying outside, she climbed into the buggy beside her black driver, and they headed toward Castle Crest.

Elizabeth Ann noticed the stranger riding across a nearby field. “Abe, do you know that man?”

“Looks like Jack Reaper.” He frowned. “Ah’s seen him snoopin’ around here. He could be up to no good. He be ridin’ this way, and Ah don’t like it.”

“Tiffany described a man called Jack who used to work for Colonel Alexander Wellington. I wonder if Reaper could be that man.”

“He be an ornery critter.”

Tiffany’s description of the man the colonel had hired to guard her at Fisher’s Hill made Elizabeth Ann’s flesh crawl. Now that the man was closer, she noted that his appearance and actions were too similar not to be taken into account.

Abe glanced back. “Jack be good at throwin’ knives. Ah seen him stick a rabbit on the run!”

An icy finger played along her spine. That, too, sounded familiar. “Tiffany said the Jack she knew was wanted for slicing the throat of two men on a Mississippi River boat.”

“Ah don’t doubt this Jack be capable of doin’ that.” A glance over his shoulder made him whistle through his teeth. “Reaper be gittin’ too close for comfort. Yo be hangin’ on.” Grasping his whip, he snapped the end and stung Flame’s rump with the tip. The horse began to trot.

Within seconds, Jack galloped alongside. Grasping Flame’s bridle, he brought them to a stop. A sneer further distorted the long purple scar that zigzagged across his left cheek from the inside corner of his eye to his earlobe. He’d grown a mustache to camouflage his harelip, but there was no hiding the gap that exposed two of his teeth.

Dismounting, he blocked Flame with his horse and glared at Abe. “Get out of the buggy.”

“Ah hain’t got no business with yo.”

A thick wedge of black hair slashed across Jack’s forehead and uneven strands hung over his ears. His dark eyes glittered as he stalked to the side of the buggy. Abe snapped the whip and stung the man’s neck. Cursing, Jack seized Abe’s arm and yanked him from the conveyance, hatred spewing from his dark eyes.

Abe took two quick sidesteps, regained his footing, and clenched his fists. Jack struck the side of the black man’s head, making him stagger. Abe plowed his left fist into Jack’s middle; with the right, he upper-cut the man’s chin.

Jack stumbled and cursed. Glaring, he reached for one of the knives he kept in his boots.

Paralyzed by shock and terror, Elizabeth Ann stared. Abe was taller than Jack and more muscular. Surely he could overpower the man.

Elizabeth Ann gasped as the sun glittered on the blade of Jack’s knife. He raised his arm. The knife whizzed through the air and sunk into Abe’s chest. The black man’s eyes widened. He took two steps backward, gripped a tree and coughed. A red stain appeared on his blue shirt. A wheezing sound issued from his throat, and blood trickled from the corner of his mouth.

Sneering, Jack slipped his second knife from his other boot, tipped his head and peered down his nose at Abe.

Elizabeth Ann screamed as Jack thrust the second knife.

The blade sunk into Abe’s neck at his collarbone. Abe jerked and his back slammed against the tree. His eyes widened. His lips moved, but only a gurgling sound issued forth. He slid down the trunk, pitched sideways, and lay still. His open eyes glazed and stared into nothingness.

Heart pounding, Elizabeth Ann jumped from the buggy and ran, brightly colored leaves scattering with each step.

She was a five minute run from Castle Crest. Terror jangled her every nerve as a horse came alongside. Jack dismounted and grasped the back of her dress. She screamed. He clamped a hand over her mouth. “I won’t kill you if you cooperate.”

Twisting, she slammed a fist into his temple. Cursing, he seized her wrist. She clawed his unscarred cheek. He shook her. She kicked him.

He yelped in pain, then yanked her tightly against his body and dragged her toward the trees. The rough hemp of the rope he’d looped around his waist scratched her arm. She yelled and fought harder.

“You Harris women are all alike. You think you’re royalty.” A snarl-like sound issued between his teeth. “I’ll show you how I handle a snobbish bitch.” Snorting, he kicked her feet out from under her and pulled her deeper into the forest. Shoving her to the ground, he flopped down beside her. The stench of his breath was stronger than his cursing.

Dried leaves crackled under them as she continued to fight and scream. He tried to kiss her. She bit him. He squeezed the sides of her face. Jerking free, she yelled for help.

He yanked a handkerchief from his pocket and gagged her. “This far from the house, no one’s gonna hear your protest, but I’m not going to listen to your squalls.”

She pummeled him with her fists. He laughed. She kicked him. He slapped her. She dug her nails into the side of his neck. He tied her wrists and secured the rope to a tree. Tears blurred her vision. Someone please come! She tried to yell, but only a moan issued from behind her gag.

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