A man and a woman on opposite sides of the Civil War get a second chance at love after one final battle returns soldiers to their war-torn homes to rebuild their lives.
He listened to the soft sound of slippered feet at the door. Then a hesitant knock before he heard her enter the tiny room. He let his head rest on the back of the tub, planning the next steps to winning over Elice Weld.
"I have bath sheets for you." Her voice was unsure and Micha didn't like the vulnerability he heard.
"Come in," he said. If you have the courage to confront the man you love.
The silence that followed unnerved him. He'd wanted so badly to pick up the pieces from where they'd left off five long years ago. He'd been a fool to think picking up the pieces would be remotely possible. A long campaign would only wear her down. The skirmishes would not make her love him, nor would it regain her trust in him.
The door creaked open. The creak was one of a long list of things to do to help Elice with the upkeep of her home. He'd already set his men repairing fences as well as the land for spring planting. He'd talked to them for a long time about the work, and the men he'd brought with him were all willing to help out before they traveled home. Some said it was a hell of a lot better than fighting.
"I'll put them on the shelves here. Don't let me bother you." She stared openly at him for a half-second before flushing crimson and turning her back on him. But she didn't leave the room.
Do you like what you see? he wanted to ask. "You would never bother me. You can stay," he told her. "Wash my back."
"When pigs fly."
He grinned. That held shades of the woman he loved. "You don't have any," he said. "So that's hardly fair."
Her shoulders stiffened and the steel rod in her spine couldn't get any straighter. He needed to find a way to bring back the woman he once knew without changing the indomitable courage that seemed to have become her calling card.
Buck naked he rose from the bath, water sluicing from his skin. He heard her slight gasp, and he wondered if he had just made a huge mistake. She'd seen him naked before. Inwardly, he sighed. One step backward and two steps forwards sometimes worked. He stepped from the tub. He wondered if the wounds on his body upset her. She didn't look upset just curious.
"Could you hand me a bath sheet," he asked nonchalantly.
Her beautiful azure eyes were huge. He watched her swallow then lift her chin a notch. She unfolded a sheet and walked to him, holding it out. He didn't mean to make this too easy for her. But he also didn't want to scare her away. He let her get within a few inches before taking the sheet from her. He wrapped it around his waist and grabbed another sheet from the counter where she'd set the rest of them. He towel dried his hair and chest then sat down on a chair near the tub.
"I'm ready anytime you are. Do you want to change your mind?"
"I'm not afraid of a Yankee soldier, if that's what you're asking," she said as she put the scissors and the razor on a table near the chair where he sat.
"Maybe you should be."
She ignored him. "Scoot the chair out so I can get around the back," she said, the tone in her voice told him her courage returned full force.
He obliged with a smile and a nod. At the moment, teasing her didn't seem like a great idea so he rested his hands in his lap and let her work her magic. When she ran her fingers through his hair, he closed his eyes and clenched his fists, wishing for things that couldn't be right now. Beneath his ribs his heart thundered as loud as stampeding horses. When she smoothed the soap across his jaw and upper lip, he hardened. When she moved in front of him, his legs spread wide to let her stand between them. He understood a need so great he'd do everything in his power to convince Elice Weld he deserved another chance.
She paused, the razor hovering near his upper lip. "Are you all right?" she asked.
"Just dandy," he said, wondering why he'd wanted to torture himself. One of his men could have done this.
Ah, but not as well as Elice and not with her breasts an inch away from his mouth, not with the scent of vanilla lingering and swirling around him, enticing every sense he possessed.
"Do you want me to take off the mustache?"
"Yes," he choked out. When he made love to her, he wanted to feel every soft and gentle touch of her finger tips.
Thinking about making love brought an unconscious reaction from him. Without giving it a second thought, he brought his hands to her hips. His fingers tightened, his thumbs and hands exploring while he still had the chance.
Startled, the razor nicked his cheek. "That's probably not such a good idea," she whispered.
"What?" he asked, knowing full well of what she spoke.
"Touch me," she whispered raggedly.
"I thought you would never ask," he said smoothly but let his hands drop to lap once again.
ALSO BY CHRISTINE YOUNG
Reviewer: Chrissy Dionne Reviewer Email: RJChrissyDionne@yahoo.com
Christine Young’s ALLURA is a delightful historical novel full of suspense, lovable characters, humor and a budding romance between two characters determined not to fall in love. Allura and Hunter’s stubborn, determined natures allowed for some interesting scenes as they attempted to get one up on each other. As a modern day woman I felt bad for Allura because technically her husband would dictate every aspect of her life and the freedom she loves would be a thing of the past. Hunter is unbending as far as to how he believes a wife should behave but falling in love changes him and his perception of Allura. Hunter and Allura are the main focus of this story but there are secondary characters whom I absolutely adored and would love to revisit in future novels (hint, hint). Especially the youngest sister Aiden and Hunter’s trusted friend Blade. He doesn’t believe in love and she’s determined to do whatever’s necessary to get him to notice her. SNIPPET— Allura has come to treasure her freedom and the adventures she shares with her sisters and her cousins but her father’s decision to find her a husband threatens that freedom. He’s placed an ad in the times in search of a man strong and smart enough to discover where exactly it is that the girls venture when they leave the safety of the castle.
Allura McClellan is horrified by her father’s decision to take out an ad in the Times awarding her to the man strong enough and smart enough to win her hand and uncover her secrets. She’s an intelligent young woman who takes great delight in the freedom allotted to her by her father. She’s well aware that marriage would effectively curtail the adventures she’s shared with her sisters and cousins.
Hunter Gray is nothing like the other men who’ve arrived to vie for Allura’s hand in marriage and everything that goes along with it. However, he is the first to refuse to concede defeat and pursue her despite her attempts to disguise her true appearance. It’s her temperament that is of more concern to him than her looks. Hunter has worked all his life with the hope of someday owning his own land. Now that it looks like there’s a very real possibility that everything he’s ever wanted is within reach nothing is going to deter him – including Miss Allura’s disagreeable disposition.
Amorica Hepburn was sent to London to find a husband. However, finding a man was the last item on her agenda. With her two cousins, Amorica wagers she can dissuade her suitor before the others. Despite her efforts she discovers a chemistry that cannot be denied. Suddenly she is the arrogant man's wife, pledged to a marriage neither desire. But swept off to his ancestral home above the Dover cliffs and into his strong embrace, Amorica is soon possessed by a raging passion for the husband she had vowed to despise…
Damian Andrews couldn't afford to trust the emerald-eyed spitfire who happened upon his secret. Amorica's hatred of all men of his kind only inflames the war that rages between them. Still, he can not control the intense desire his stubborn bride inspires, or make her surrender to his will until he has conquered the headstrong beauty on the battlefield of love…