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BLURB: The Gift
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.
REVIEW: The Gift
This story is straight from the heart. Told in a passive voice and as a first person account through Elice and Micha's eyes. Their thoughts tug your heartstings. Their memory of their past life, the war and of course the present. They never fell out of love but exhuming those feelings hurt. They also had to face the consequences of their actions when an unexpected visitor arrived in their plantation home. Elice and Micha found out that in war, there is something worst than death and it is cowardice.
EXCERPT: The Gift
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.