Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Day 30: Featuring P.A. Minyard, Chapter 1 & 2 of her new book Rogue, and a free copy of The Beloved

Bookshelf Confessions welcomes P. A. Minyard to the blog:

P.A. Minyard 
Patti lived in multiple cities along the East coast throughout her childhood never staying in any one place for more than seven years. She attained her degrees from the University of South Florida as well as Long Beach State and now resides in Florida. She is a Certified Medical Dosimetrist. (Yeah, no one else knows what that is either)

you can reach her via Goodreads

Here are the Chapters 1 & 2 of her new book Rogue, sequel to the Beloved, which I have reviewed before here , and scroll down more to find out where to get the free book :)

The Beloved
Rogue does not have an official photo and blurb yet

UPDATED: Rogue has an official photo and blurb! check this out :)

There is no greater strength or courage than to throw yourself into danger on another’s behalf.

Bound by the attributes of valor, patience, and compassion, the Beloved must face the temptation of a demon’s power in order to help those in greatest need. But Major Daniel Parker finds that power does not give; it simply takes your very being until you are left with nothing but a shell.

Daniel’s thirst for power clouds his judgment leaving him damned to an eternal hell of suffering and remorse at the hands of an ancient demon. His only chance at salvation now lies with his younger brother, Jonathan.

No matter the price, Jonathan will not abandon Daniel, as Daniel would never have abandoned Jonathan. He must believe that he has the courage and the strength to complete the task now set at his feet.  Even more than the love for his brother, the scar upon his chest is the key to who he must become.

Contrasting the valiant qualities of the Beloved with the vicious intent of the demons, Rogue inextricably weaves real-life battles of the Union and Confederate armies with the mystical wars between demons and the Beloved.

Chapter One

Brothers Divided

April 18, 1861
Dear Jonathan,
By now you’ve heard of the siege at Fort Sumter and our boys’ valiant struggle at the misguided hands of our Southern brothers. I had hoped to return soon from the Academy, but my services will be needed here. I can no longer stand idly by while the severing of ties throughout this nation continues. West Point has prepared me well. Please tell Father, Mother and Beth that though I’m young they needn’t worry on my behalf—I’ll be home soon enough. Take heart in my belief that all will be set right, maybe even before you receive this letter. A show of force should end this conflict before it becomes a war.
Your loving brother,

Carefully folding the letter, Jonathan slid it to the bottom of the small stack on his dresser. It was the first his elder brother had sent over the last sixteen months. He looked out his bedroom window at the peaceful scene that lay before him, the stillness only slightly broken by the faint chirping of crickets.
It was late August and the mountains of northern Pennsylvania were still lush and green. The air was crisp and clear as evening approached. It was a far cry from what Daniel was surely faced with this night, yet Jonathan longed to be just like his brother. His thoughts turned toward glorious victory, a fearless charge into the face of danger as he waved his sword over his head urging his men forward. The deafening roar of battle or smoke thick enough to choke his breath was not a part of his fantasy.
“Jonathan!” Mother called out to him. “Your father is going to want his supper. You know how grumpy he gets when you’re late.”
Jonathan dipped his head and sighed, brought back to earth by his mother’s voice. He was already fifteen but his parents often acted like he was too young to handle himself. He left his bedroom and went downstairs to the kitchen where his mother packed up the food. “Are there extra rolls in there for Robert?” he asked.
“Of course. How could I forget Robert?” she said. “That young man needs to find himself a wife.”
Jonathan watched his mother knot the cloth. The look of her hands caught his eye, the thinning skin revealing the bones of her knuckles in detail. He had never thought of her as getting older until just then.
 Jonathan took the package his mother had thoughtfully wrapped for his father, noting the extra rolls for the plant foreman. The foundry was a mile and a half down the road, and it would likely be dark by the time he got there. As he walked along the dirt road, he kicked at stones and waved to neighbors as he passed by. He imagined himself a secret courier, delivering an important package to the Union headquarters. He tried to appear casual, unassuming, so that no one would suspect who he was or what he carried.
Robert was standing outside the front of the foundry when he arrived. They walked inside together so Jonathan could set down the food and find the rolls his mother had wrapped in a napkin for him.
“You’re in luck tonight,” Jonathan said.
“Your mother is a saint,” said Robert, gleefully jamming a roll in his mouth.
“She thinks it’s time you found a wife.”
“The women around here are too smart for that,” Robert said through a mouthful. He turned on his crutch to head back to the foundry, carrying the napkin full of rolls under his free arm. “Your father is in his office, and I’d say you’re just in time.”
Jonathan knew what that meant. He grabbed up the rest of the food and went to find his father.
Mr. Parker was pouring over paperwork at his desk. He had removed his jacket and the sleeves of his shirt were rolled up. His coarse, black beard was peppered more with grey. In contrast, Jonathan’s blonde hair and the features he’d inherited from his mother accentuated his youth. As he stepped closer to the desk, he could see the lines on his father’s forehead, exaggerated by the lamp’s dim light. The foundry had been contracted to aid in the construction of rifles for the army. Father kept operations going day and night to meet the demands.
“I got here as soon as I could. I hope I’m not too late,” Jonathan said, setting the package down in front of his father.
His father looked up and his face brightened. “Right on time. What wondrous feast has your mother made this evening?”
“Roasted turkey, potatoes and fresh rolls.”
“She’ll have to start sewing me new clothes,” his father chuckled. “I really shouldn’t be eating this late at night.”
“How much longer will you be?”
“Tell your mother another two hours. I’m sending Robert out with a shipment tomorrow morning and have to finalize all the paperwork. I’ve sent everyone else home.”
On the walk back to the house, Jonathan thought again about Daniel. They hadn’t received word from him for weeks, and gaps between letters always raised concern. They followed the war through articles in the paper, but mainly they re-hashed what people had already heard. Jonathan hated the engravings that accompanied the articles, images of young men marching, likely to their death. He shuddered to think of his brother lying in a field, his body disfigured by unforgiving bullets or worse. He knew better than to harbor such thoughts, but the darkness of the night seemed to welcome them, and he dared not share them with his family, not even Beth.
Jonathan could tell his sister Beth just about anything. She always listened intently, smiling, nodding and rarely interjecting. She was eighteen and though considered plain by some her vivacity had attracted many suitors. Beth was no stranger to speaking her mind, but she had fallen ill of late. She was tired all the time and bruised easily. Over the last few months, her condition had worsened and now her eager young escorts were nowhere to be found. She was melancholy at times, and Jonathan tried to speak with her only of light-hearted matters.
He arrived at home to find his mother and Beth sitting near the fire. Beth was engrossed in her book while Mother repaired a tear in one of Father’s shirts. He was constantly snagging his clothes down at the foundry.
“How late tonight?” his mother asked.
“Another two hours,” Jonathan responded. “Robert leaves in the morning with the next shipment.” He watched as his mother forced a smile, but he knew that she was scared, scared for Daniel, scared for Beth, and scared that her husband would work himself to illness. Hopefully his efforts would help bring a welcome end to this war and hasten Daniel’s return.
They all tried to keep busy, Mother in particular. Jonathan noticed that she’d taken to sewing every night instead of leaving it for the weekends, as had been her custom. He watched as she pushed strands of her blonde hair away from her face. She continued sewing without looking up, but was unable to forestall the inevitable prick of her finger. Jonathan saw her wince each time she missed a stitch.
She never had such trouble in the past, he thought. He remembered how she looked when he was younger and they would play together in the yard. Her hazel eyes sparkled in the sun. She was slender and always had a wink and nod for him. But time and age had slowed her down, and while she was still thin, Jonathan thought she looked frail in the firelight. Her soft green dress hung from her frame.
Jonathan turned his attention to Beth. She was seated awfully close to the fire. Maybe she was cold or the lamp was not enough to brighten the page she was reading. He noticed that she looked worn out as if she’d worked all day in the garden. But her skin wasn’t reddened. It was pale, an odd grayish white he’d never seen before. And the shadows cast by the dancing flames made the circles under her eyes look that much darker.
“Still reading the same book?” Jonathan teased. “You don’t have to read all the lines to understand the story.”
“Then how can you claim to have read the book?” Beth countered.
“I’ve more important thoughts than to fill my head with everything I read.”
“Truly it’s a mystery why you read at all.” Beth smiled, and rolled her eyes, turning her attention back to her book.
“It’s been a long day,” Mother interjected before the frivolity could continue. “Jonathan, would you please help your sister to her room?”
“Please, just a little while longer?” Beth pleaded. “I’m almost done with this chapter.”
“The book will still be there for you tomorrow,” Mother said.
Beth looked to Jonathan to come to her rescue, but he knew better than to get in the middle of this argument. She sighed and closed the book. Jonathan walked to her side, giving her his hand, steadying her to her feet. She struggled to maintain her balance but covered her embarrassment, dropping his hand and winking at him.
“It seems we’ll make a proper gentleman out of you yet.” Beth said.
“Jonathan? Jonathan!”
His father’s voice rose sharply behind the door. “Your mother has asked you to get up twice now. Do you hear me in there? Jonathan!”
“Yes, sir! I’m almost dressed,” he lied, rubbing the sleep from his eyes. He sighed and forced himself out of bed. The blankets seemed to hold him against his will. He bumbled around the room looking for clothes and stubbed his big toe twice before finally making his way down to the breakfast table, bleary and disheveled.
“You can’t make a living out of sleeping just because you’re good at it,” Father said angrily.
Jonathan tried to smooth out his shirt and straighten up his appearance, much to Beth’s amusement.
“Your mother is counting on you to accompany her into town,” Father reminded him. “Will you conduct yourself in a timelier manner on her behalf?”
“Yes Father,” Jonathan replied, glancing over at Beth, who was having trouble containing her laughter. He shook his head and made a face at her. He didn’t know why she was so tickled; it was like every other morning at the house.
Breakfast ended far more peacefully than it began, and as Beth cleared the table and Father set off for the foundry, Jonathan headed to the stable to prepare the horse and cart for a trip into town. He knew they would be gone all morning, maybe even part of the afternoon. His mother didn’t like leaving the house these days, which meant leaving Beth alone too long or being out when news from Daniel could be on its way. Shopping was only a priority when all their resources had been exhausted.
As they rode along, Mother chatted about which stores she wanted to visit and what she would buy. Jonathan almost drove past the first one, and Mother had to clear her throat, causing him to abruptly call for the horse to stop.
He helped her down and waited by the cart while she went inside the store. Across the street, Jonathan noticed his friend Joshua and smiled and waved as Joshua lumbered over to greet him. He was a year older than Jonathan and taller than the other boys their age. He was husky and imposing with thick brown hair to the bottom of his neck. He intimidated most of the boys, but Jonathan only ever saw his big heart. They shook hands robustly, excited to see each other.
“Helping your mother?” Joshua asked.
“Yes, we’re picking up some supplies,” Jonathan replied, eager for conversation. “And you, helping out your father?” Jonathan looked around, expecting to see him.
“We’re ordering paint. The barn needs repair.”
“So, will you be coming to school next week?”
“Not this year,” Joshua replied. “Father wants me to help run the farm. He won’t let me out of his sight. I think he’s afraid that I’ll run off and join Daniel.”
“I know just what you mean,” Jonathan sighed. “We’d put an end to it though, wouldn’t we?”
“They wouldn’t know what hit them.”
Jonathan looked back across the street and noticed Joshua's little brother, Benjamin, had emerged from the store and was waiting patiently on the sidewalk. He was dressed in one of Joshua’s old shirts. The oversized garment swallowed him. His suspenders were barely able to contain the billowing material, which spilled out over the top of his pants.
Joshua followed Jonathan’s gaze, and the smile fell from his face. “Will you do me a favor, Jonathan? Will you look after Benjamin at school? The boys will likely pick on him in my absence.”
“He’s going to have to stand up for himself one day. You know that.”
“I know. He’s just . . . ” Joshua looked back at his brother, and Benjamin smiled and waved.
Jonathan wondered if that’s how his own face looked when Daniel was around. “Don’t worry. I’ll keep an eye on him.”
“Have you heard from Daniel?” Joshua asked, as if breaking into his thoughts.
“No, but you know how slow letters can be.”
“And the army is constantly moving. Who knows how much time he gets for himself these days?” Joshua said.
Jonathan nodded.
“Well, I best be going,” Joshua said sheepishly.
“See you soon, I hope,” Jonathan answered.
His friend’s father was a harsh taskmaster, intolerant of frivolity. He would likely lay into Joshua for his brief absence. He watched as Joshua retrieved Benjamin and went into the store.
“Jonathan?! Will you help me with this?” Mother called out behind him.
He turned, red-faced with embarrassment, and ran to the store.
The errands progressed as expected, and by mid-afternoon Jonathan was unloading the supplies back at home. Beth had started to prepare dinner, and Mother joined in as he went to return the horse to its stable. He unhooked the cart and freed the mare from her collar and leads, then diligently wiped down her glistening brown coat before leaving her in the stall with food and water.
After dinner, Jonathan completed his chores just in time to rest briefly before walking to the foundry with Father’s meal. Jonathan’s days had become monotonous—the next repeating the last with no end in sight. Keeping busy was no longer enough to temper his frustrations, and as he walked Beth back to her room for the evening, she could sense his distance.
“You don’t have to go just yet,” Beth said as she sat down on her bed. “Tell me about your day.”
“I shouldn’t keep you up,” Jonathan said, still moving toward the door.
“Please stay,” Beth pleaded. He stopped and looked back at her. “Did you see anyone in town?” she pushed.
“Josh was there with Benjamin,” he said as he stepped back into the room.
“Well, you’ll be seeing lots of them with school starting.”
“No,” Jonathan said, dropping his head. “Joshua won’t be coming back this year; his father wants him to help run the farm.”
“I see,” Beth said. She tried to further the conversation. “Well, did you see anything new at the store?”
“No, same as before—nothing new really.” Jonathan placed his hand on the back of his neck and began to fidget.
“Why won’t you talk to me anymore?” Beth blurted out. “You used to tell me everything.”
Jonathan looked back with surprise.
“I know you’re worried about Daniel,” she pressed. “It’s all right to tell me, you know, I’m worried too.”
“But you’re . . . ” Jonathan stopped himself.
“I’m what?! I’m sick? No one ever wants to say that word around me.” Her voice faltered. “As if I don’t know, as if not talking about it will make it go away.” She immediately regretted putting Jonathan on the spot as she watched his lower lip quiver and his eyes well up.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean . . . ”
“I don’t want you to die!” Jonathan couldn’t hold back. “I don’t want Daniel to die either.”
Beth stood from the bed and stopped just short of him. “Daniel would never leave us.”
“How do you know that?” Jonathan’s hand began to shake.
“Though he’s courageous, he’s also very cautious. I believe he’s too smart to take unnecessary risks.” She reached out and grabbed his hand. “I don’t want you to give it another thought,” she said. “Mother and Father are counting on you now more than ever.”
“It feels at times as though they don’t trust me.” His voice cracked. Beth reached out for her little brother. She held him as his body heaved, holding back the rush of tears.
“It’s not that. It’s not that at all. They simply aren’t ready to let go just yet,” she said in a comforting tone. Jonathan wrapped his arms around his sister as if holding on for dear life.
“Promise that you won’t leave me,” he said. Beth closed her eyes tightly, summoning the courage to answer him.
“What will become of my dear, sweet Jonathan?” she said with a steady voice. “You are far too kind for your own good. Someone’s got to keep an eye on you. How could I possibly leave?” She pushed him slightly back so he could see the smile on her face.
“You won’t tell Father or Mother about this, will you?” he sighed.
“Not a word,” she assured him with a wink. “But you must promise not to hold out on me anymore. Agreed?”
“Agreed,” he answered as he led her back to her bed.

Chapter Two

Daniel stood outside his tent, overseeing his men set up camp. His full beard hid well his youthful features. His eyes, closed by the burn of gunpowder from battle, were like slits, but his lean frame was steady and unyielding. The soldiers’ movements were slow, weary from two days of fighting and burdened by the blood and dirt now caked to their shoes. There was no shock or horror on their faces, only solemn resignation. Some had been fighting now for more than a year; some were new to the effort; and some would not see the sunrise tomorrow. They were silent as they went about their duties, yet several raised their eyes to him and nodded, grateful for another day, grateful they were still alive.
Daniel heaved a sigh as he retreated to his tent. He sat down on the narrow cot, reached for a lamp on the ground, placed it on a small wooden table, and lit the wick. Dusk had already begun to darken the tent. He turned away from the entrance and stretched out his legs, but he had only a moment’s peace before a sergeant entered his tent.
“Sergeant?” Daniel’s voice was like gravel.
“You sent for me, Major Parker,” the sergeant replied.
“How many, Sergeant,” Daniel asked, still turned away.
“Almost half, sir, dead or wounded,” the sergeant replied. Daniel’s shoulders heaved in disgust.
“Make sure Captain Barnes has those numbers. That will be all. You are dismissed.”
“Thank you, sir.” The sergeant turned to leave the tent, making way for Captain Gerald Duffy who waited at the entrance. The tall, handsome young officer was barely recognizable, his strawberry blonde hair matted with sweat, his face and mustache painted with soot. His clothes were spattered with blood.
“We have new orders, Major Parker,” Duffy said as he stepped inside the tent. Daniel remained motionless as if he did not hear him.
“Orders, sir,” Duffy pressed. Daniel continued to stare down at his blood soaked boots, his eyes barely blinking even though they still stung of gunpowder.
“Daniel . . . ” Duffy’s voice had softened.
Still dumfounded by battle, he turned to look at his friend. “I’m sorry, did you say something?” Daniel asked.
“You can’t think on it so much,” Duffy said.
“This isn’t at all what I expected when we left the Academy.”
“What do you mean?” Duffy asked. “You made Captain and then Major in record time.”
“Because I have a talent for getting boys slaughtered?”
“You were following orders, and you led them out when the call came. What more were you supposed to do?”
“We owe them more than that,” Daniel replied. “Duff, those boys trust us. Did you see how they fought? Not one under my command ran, even as they watched the men beside them get cut down.” Daniel’s cheeks began to flush. “And now I’m supposed to go before them with new orders?!”
Duff pulled his gaze away from Daniel. “You are far too taken with these events so early in this conflict.”
“Conflict?! We are at war and have been so for nearly fourteen months now. I’m afraid I do not share your enthusiasm for the fighting.”
“It is not enthusiasm,” Duff replied. “It is simply what we do—what we were trained to do.” He paused to wipe the blackened sweat from his brow. “I worry that your compassion will one day get the better of you.”
“I always thought my brother Jonathan was the sensitive one,” Daniel sighed. “Where will they have us now?”
“We are to move into Maryland and join forces with the Army of the Potomac.”
“Make the arrangements to move the wounded to safe haven,” Daniel said. “The rest of the boys will continue north.”
“Yes, sir, Major Parker.” Duff saluted.
Daniel simply waved him out of the tent. He stood up, listening to the boys as they finished setting up camp and could smell the fires that had just been lit. He was an eternity away from the whir of bullets and screams of stricken soldiers that buzzed around him only hours ago. He stepped forward out of the tent and stopped. He looked back and forth across the encampment, marveling at the bustle of men, the clanking of tin cups, the utter normalcy of it all.
The afternoon sun brightened the tent as Daniel removed his jacket and laid it across the cot before sitting down. His lips tightened then loosened around the pipe in his mouth. The whiskers on his chin danced in symphony with each movement, and the pungent odor of tobacco filled the air as he composed another letter to Jonathan.

September 15, 1862
Dear Jonathan,
My days of endless drills and training seem so far removed from me now. We’ve moved north and once again prepare for battle. The boys are ripe for a fight, and I marvel at their strength. I’ve earned their trust and respect and know that they would follow me to hell itself, but I would much rather lead them safely back to their homes. They give so much without complaint or want for any reward.
I think of you, Beth, Mother and Father often. I will be home for Christmas, as it is only a few months away. Foul weather will likely slow the fighting if it even still rages then. I’ve been told our numbers far outweigh the Confederate forces. Their resources are few, and they’ll likely give up soon. I look forward to sharing stories with you by the fireside.
Please give my love to everyone, and tell Mother not to worry.
Your brother,

Duff entered Daniel’s tent with a wide smile on his lips. He reached into his jacket and pulled out a small bottle of whiskey.
“You are a true gentleman,” Daniel said as he motioned Duff to take a seat. The bottle was passed back and forth between the two in silence at first.
“How long are we to sit here?” Duff finally asked. “We know where Lee is. Why are we waiting?”
“You would question the leader of our nation’s greatest force?”
“I would call him a fool, if he were not in earshot,” Duff laughed.
“Are you that eager for battle, my friend?” Daniel took another swig from the bottle and stared silently at the pipe in his hand.
“What’s wrong?” Duff asked.
“This is different,” Daniel replied. “Something powerful is about to happen here. You can see it in the boys’ faces, hear it in their voices. I approve of the caution McClellan is taking.”
“I’d say you’ve had enough,” Duff declared as he snatched the bottle out of his hand.
Daniel placed the pipe back in his mouth and began puffing away again. He could see Duff’s eyes dart down toward the letter.
“Writing your brother again?” Duff asked, quickly turning the conversation around.
“I’m glad he’s still home. I fear one day I will turn and see him lined up amongst the troops.”
“You said he never liked guns, never liked to go hunting.”
“He’s far too eager to impress me,” Daniel said. “I’m worried he’ll run off any day now.”
“I doubt your father would let that happen.”
“I can only hope you’re right.”
Duff took another swig and swirled what was left of the whiskey around in the bottle, thoughtfully. “What would you do if Jonathan did come in with a band of new recruits?”
“What are you getting at?” Daniel asked, taken aback.
“What would you do?”
“There’s no need to think on it because it’s not going to happen.”
“You really don’t have the stomach for any of this, do you?”
“And how is it that you do?” Daniel shot back. “What’s so appealing about the things we’ve witnessed, about the things we’ve done? We were trained to protect people and save lives, not needlessly take them.”
“Actually we were trained for all of those things.”
“I swear, it’s as if the devil himself has sent you here to torment me,” Daniel said. He shook his head, then reached for the bottle once more.
“Does your mother know you swear?” Duff handed over the bottle, flashing a wicked grin.
Daniel tucked his letter to Jonathan inside his jacket pocket. He walked a short distance past the other officers’ quarters, picking up Duff along the way. They were convening for final orders. The air inside the major general’s tent was thick and stifling. Several of the officers smoked furiously in an attempt to calm their nerves. The stench of sweat and tobacco permeated the small area, adding to the tension. Once the assignments were handed down, Duff and Daniel moved out of earshot of those who remained behind. They had been glancing back and forth at one another as the battle plan was laid out.
“Looks like we’ll be attacking from the East Woods.” Duff stroked his mustache.
“That cornfield concerns me,” Daniel replied, tapping his finger on the map in front of them. “No cover there.” He stared back at Duff. “Do you believe the scouting report is accurate?”
“They definitely have artillery along the West Woods as well as the fence line to the South, but the wooded area is thick and the count is uncertain.”
“A swift approach might afford us the upper hand,” Daniel said.
“That’s up to Hooker now. We’re under his command.”
Daniel excused himself and slowly walked to the back of camp. He wished to deliver his letter to the private who handled the post. The men would march at first light the next morning, and he noticed he wasn’t the only one in camp looking for a diversion. Some played cards or similar games of chance while others wrote letters with the hope of sending them off that afternoon. Still others had taken to reading their bibles, flipping to the dog-eared pages that held comforting passages.
Daniel stopped to watch a battalion drilling in the mid-day sun. They marched in unison, row after row of thick blue uniforms set to purpose and moving in harmony. The air was still and for a brief moment there was silence as if the world had stopped to take notice of the scene that lay before him. The pale blue sky stretched out like a banner in their honor as the sun gleamed off their well polished rifles; both beautiful and daunting, never had he seen such a sight. He wondered if he ever would again.
He retreated to his tent and tried to get some rest, but his cot always felt harder and unwelcoming before a battle, causing him to toss and turn. Sleep was not on the agenda. Soon the bustle of men preparing to fight would be impossible to ignore. He sat up from the cot and pulled his boots on before stepping over to the stand and lighting the lamp. It was still very early, barely hours past midnight. His coat draped across one of the stools and Daniel reached into the left breast pocket and pulled out a small picture of his family.
Whatever happens this day, I pray you look back on me with pride, he thought. He gazed at the photo and found a smile before placing it back in his coat pocket. It was his ritual before battle and the last thing he’d do before leaving his tent to attend to orders.
Darkness blanketed the camp, protecting the soldiers as long it could. Death would have its say in the morning. Daniel walked among his men as they prepared for the fight. His nod and occasional pat on the shoulder told the boys of his concern for their well being. He made sure to check on each man in his company before taking his position.
First light brought canon fire along with an endless spray of bullets; the battle had begun. Daniel and Duff moved up and down the lines, keeping the boys calm and urging them forward. Men fell in rows where they stood only seconds earlier, but the tremendous loss of life was not enough to deter either side. Their courage never wavering, the men pushed forward over the backs of their fallen brothers. Wave after wave, first Union then Confederate soldiers pushed forward then fell back within the cornfield, the moans of dying men and cries for help drowned out by the cacophony. When a bullet passed through his thigh, Daniel felt as though his leg had been set on fire. It knocked him down, but it was merely a flesh wound, a minor annoyance. He pushed himself off the ground and continued limping up and down the lines of men, keeping order where he could. His voice was hoarse from shouting.
Amidst the confusion and thunderous roar of battle, he noticed a soldier walking aimlessly along the back line. The soldier’s gait stuttered as he walked sideways, and his left shoulder slouched forward, frozen in place by a bullet. He had a blank stare on his blood-smeared face and Daniel feared he would wander back into the thick of things. He hurried toward the soldier only to be beaten to him by a union officer he’d never seen before. He held the rank of colonel and grabbed the soldier’s jacket shaking him fiercely.
“Pick up your rifle, boy—back to the front with you!”
The soldier stared back at the colonel with no comprehension of the order.
“Did you hear me boy?!” the colonel shouted. “I said fight!”
Daniel intervened, forcing the colonel to let loose the young man. “He’s done with battle. Can’t you see it in his eyes?”
“No!” the colonel said, turning sharply, “but I can see it in yours.” He grabbed Daniel’s throat then reached for the ten-inch knife secured upon his belt and viciously thrust it into Daniel’s chest.
Panic raced through Daniel as he heard his ribs snap and felt the breath leave his body. He struggled to free himself as the colonel twisted the knife. His bloodthirsty grin sent a cold shock of horror through Daniel, who watched helplessly as his assailant savored the anguish he inflicted. There was so much confusion around them that no one took notice of the deed. When Daniel was just upon death’s door, the colonel dropped him to the ground and his body joined the sea of corpses lying in that cornfield. Daniel gasped one last time before succumbing to the darkness.
Duff fought closer to the tree line and was unaware of his friend’s demise. He was rallying the troops for another surge when two bullets shredded through his right shoulder. He was thrown to the ground, as if tackled, and the blow to his head by the hard earth knocked him unconscious. The fighting continued, and even as more officers fell, the boys continued to charge to their deaths without having to be told. By the battle’s end, the bodies of the wounded and the dead left no span of ground uncovered.

Read for free The Beloved here

The Beloved

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Day 22: Month-long-anniversary-celebration:featuring Linda Poitevin, author of the Grigori Legacy series from Ace/Roc Books (Excerpt + Giveaway)

  Bookshelf Confessions welcomes Linda Poitevin for an excerpt and a giveaway :)

Linda Poitevin lives just outside Canada’s capital, Ottawa, with her husband, the youngest of three daughters, one very large husky/shepherd/Great Dane-cross dog, two cats, a rabbit, and a bearded dragon lizard. Turned down in her pursuit of a police career after a faulty height measurement, Linda vicariously lives out her dream of being a cop through her characters. When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found in her garden in the summer, hugging the fireplace in the winter, or walking her dog along the river in any season.

Linda Poitevin
Author of the Grigori Legacy series from Ace/Roc Books

click the covers for description

Sins of the Angels Sins of the Son Sins of the Lost

Sins of the Lost launches in just over two weeks now (October 15), and Lisa's hosting a launch party!
If you’re in Ottawa (or within reasonable driving distance), here are the details:
Date: Saturday, October 19, 2013
Time: 7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Place: The Lieutenant’s Pump , 310 Elgin Street, Ottawa, ON
We’ll have snacks, a draw for some great swag, and a reading (noise levels permitting)—so bring a friend, come say hello, meet some great people, and join her in celebrating the release of book 3 in the Grigori Legacy series!

Sins of the Lost

(copyright 2013 Linda Poitevin, all rights reserved)

“You want me to what?”
The Archangel Mika’el stared at his Creator. For more than a week he had awaited her summons. He’d been prepared to endure her wrath, her bitterness, her disappointment . . . but this?
Nothing could have prepared him for this.
The One gazed back at him with equanimity. “I want you to convince Seth to take back his powers.”
Her words made no more sense the second time around.
“You can’t be serious,” he said, because it wouldn’t do to tell his Creator, “You’re insane.”
Steel formed in the silver depths of her eyes. He held himself rigid against the desire to look away. He’d earned his place as Heaven’s greatest warrior through strength and counsel, not by folding at the first sign of the One’s displeasure. Straightening his shoulders, he met her glare with his own.
“Two weeks ago, your son’s instability damn near cost us the mortal realm,” he said. “We have no reason to think he has changed. So why would you give him his powers back?”
The One sighed. “I’m not giving them back.”
“You just said—”
“I said I want you to convince him to take them back.”
Mika’el’s irritation stilled. As her words sank in, he let his mind sift through to their underlying meaning. To what she wasn’t saying. Understanding glimmered.
“The earthquake,” he said. “In Vancouver.”
The One stared out the window, her gaze unfocused. “When Seth chose the mortal woman over his destiny, the energy he discarded put the entire physical world in flux. I’ve been dealing with the consequences ever since. Earthquakes, storms, tsunamis. They’ve been manageable so far, but if we don’t contain what he released soon, it will destroy the planet. Perhaps the entire universe.”
Mika’el’s blood turned cold. He’d seen the consequences of Seth giving up his power in the first place: buildings reduced to rubble, an already earthquake-prone city made more unstable. If the One was right, they’d removed one threat posed by her son only to have it replaced by this, an entirely new problem. And if her proposed solution was to have Seth take back his powers, it could only be because—
He whirled to face her. “The energy. You can’t control it.”
“I can’t so much as touch it.” Bitterness laced the Creator’s voice. “Every time I reach for it, I make it more unstable. Its very nature makes it reject my presence.”
As much as he’d expected the confirmation, it still stunned him. Still made his universe drop from under his feet. “You’re certain?”
You’re certain that you—the All-powerful, the Creator, Mother of everything—cannot control this? Cannot contain an energy that is—should be—so much less than your own?
Raw honesty gazed back at him, piercing deeper than any steel might have done. “The energy is not mine to hold, Mika’el. It was created by my union with Lucifer. It belongs only to the product of that union. I wish it could be otherwise, but—yes, I’m certain.”
“If he does this, if he takes back his powers, how strong will he be?”
If something goes wrong, if he chooses not to return to Heaven, can you stop him?
“I don’t know.”
Her answer, he knew, encompassed both questions, spoken and unspoken.
He pivoted on his heel and stalked the width of the room in one direction, then the other. “There must be another way.”
“We tried your way.”
The words were not a recrimination, only a statement of fact, but they stopped him in his tracks. She was right. He’d created this mess. He’d let himself be ruled again by the arrogance that had separated him from her side all those years before, and in that arrogance, had loosed an unknown, unquantifiable force upon the world when they could least afford it.
When war between Heaven and Hell already threatened humanity with Armageddon.
He cleared his throat. “One—”
The tiny, silver-robed figure by the window held up a hand. “What’s done is done. There is no point in belaboring the issue. I just need you to convince Seth. I’ll hold things together as best I can, but I don’t know how much time I can give you.”
“He will never listen to me.”
“No. But he might listen to the woman.”
The Naphil. Of course. After choosing her over his own destiny, Seth would almost certainly listen to her. Still Mika’el hesitated. He wanted to ask what would happen afterward, if Seth did take back his power. Wanted to know . . . and already did. The measures he’d taken—the risks—none of it had changed her mind.
“You know we’re not ready to lose you,” he said gruffly.
Infinite sadness gazed back at him from silver eyes. “Loss isn’t something you’re ever ready for, my Archangel. It’s something you survive.”

winner's choice of 
signed book 1 (Sins of the Angels) 
Sins of the Angels (Grigori Legacy, #1)
When homicide detective Alexandra Jarvis is assigned a new partner in Aramael, a Guardian Angel who doubles as a hit man, they have only one thing in common: a fallen angel hell-bent on triggering the apocalypse. Now they have no choice but to work together-relentlessly, fearlessly, intimately. Because only they can stop the rogue angel from ushering in the end of days.
signed book 2 (Sins of the Son) in the series
Sins of the Son (Grigori Legacy, #2)
When homicide detective Alexandra Jarvis sees a photo of Seth Benjamin on a police bulletin, she knows that Heaven's plan to halt Armageddon has gone terribly wrong. As the only mortal who knows of Seth's true nature, only she can save him. Aramael was a hunter of Fallen Angels until a traitor forced him into earthly exile. Now, with no powers and only a faint memory of Alex, his mortal soulmate, he will stop at nothing to redeem himself-even if it means destroying Seth in the name of the Creator...
available to an International winner.

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Saturday, October 19, 2013

Day 19: Month-Long-Anniversary Celebration: Featuring Jamie Carie plus Rush to The Altar Chapter 2 and giveaway

Bookshelf Confessions welcomes Jamie Carie:


Born and raised in Vincennes, Indiana, Jamie is a preacher’s daughter. Road trips with her dad—to and from Bible studies across Indiana—were filled with talks of things beyond earth’s bounds – creation and the fall, God and Jesus and the rapture, the earthly walk compared to the spiritual walk, and how we are born for more than what we can see or touch. The highlight of those nights was stopping at a truck stop in the middle of the night where her dad spent a little of the offering basket on two slices of pie and a couple of Cokes.

And nothing could stop the writing pouring out of her.

Piles of poems, short stories, skits and song lyrics later, Jamie grew up and married. When her eldest son turned five she decided to try her hand at novels. Eight years and lots of rejection letters later, Snow Angel was published and won ForeWord Magazine’s Romance Book of the Year, a USA Book News “Best Books 2007” Awards winner, and 2008 RITA® Awards Best First Book finalist. In 2010 Wind Dancer was a finalist in the Indiana State Library Best Books of Indiana. It was the beginning of her dream career.

With seven books currently in circulation and her first three book series coming in 2012, Jamie has made an impressive contribution to the inspirational, historical romance genre featuring heroines who are fierce in their beliefs and love. Romantic Times exclaimed, "Carie is a welcome new voice in the inspirational fiction market." And, "Carie writes with her heart on every page of her books." Jamie has a passion for history and believes in the power of love stories. She lives with her husband and three boys in Indianapolis, Indiana.

If she could only say one thing to her readers it would be, “Live the dreams God has destined you for!”


Snow Angel
The Duchess and the Dragon
Wind Dancer
Love's First Light
Angel's Den
Pirate of my Heart
The Snowflake (a Christmas novella)

Coming in 2012:
The Forgotten Castles Series (A continuous series to be read in order)
The Guardian Duke
The Forgiven Duke
A Duke's Promise

Contacting Jamie:

Jamie's website -
Jamie's blog -
Jamie's Facebook -
Jamie's Twitter -!/jamiecarie

Jamie's email: jamie@jamiecarie(dot)com


Bookshelf Confessions had made a tour for Jamie's series Forgotten Castles, check out the tour here.

The Guardian Duke The Forgiven Duke A Duke's Promise


We have also reviewed: 

The Guardian Duke

Forgiven Duke 

A duke's Promise (to come)



Rush to the Altar


Madeline Goode is devastated when her husband dies in a car accident. After moving back in with her parents with her two year old son, Max, she attempts to put the pieces of her life back together. But she didn’t plan on meeting Jake Hart, the star NBA player that she keeps bumping into at her new job as a charity coordinator for the Racers. And she certainly didn’t plan on learning that her husband’s accident may have been no accident at all. Will Jake stick around while her life gets complicated? And if she gives in to her heart, will she just be making another mistake? Rushing to the Altar may be the most daring and risky move of her life. 



A sweet-faced woman was leading a line of children into the practice court where the dancers had gathered, ready to begin, when a tall, lanky man with a gray beard and mustache, eyes bugged and panicked, arms waving, stopped them.
“The show has been moved. Please, take the children back to the stadium. The children need to find their seats immediately.”
Barb stepped up to the man, questions rushing from her hot-pink lips.
Maddie just stood frozen, deer in the headlights, knowing that something really bad was about to happen. Some sixth sense told her, or maybe it was the ecstatic smile on Barb’s face, either way, Maddie could feel the weight coming toward her, about to run her down, squashed into the pavement by life again, and there wasn’t going to be a thing she could do to get out of it. No brilliant rolling to the side of the road for her. No dodging the truck coming right for her torso. No. She was about to get good and flattened.
The other dancers, faces registering different degrees of shock and awe, surged toward the man.
Barb turned to explain, breathless, eyes alight, like a cheerleader on speed, with something Maddie had long ago hoped she would never see in Barb’s eyes again—heaven help them, “Barbarian Barb” was back. “Mr. McKlesky just explained that one of the halftime acts had a bus accident on the way here and won’t be able to perform. No one was injured,” she assured them in a rush, “but they won’t make it here in time for the show.” She paused for effect, eyes wide, lifted her arms and turned her hips to one side, then announced with a dazzling smile, “Ladies, we’ve been bumped to the halftime show at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.” Seeing some of her students’ faces, she quickly added, “Now, don’t be nervous. Our routine is all of four minutes and we know it beautifully.” Her voice lowered to a growl. “We can do this.”
They had little time to debate it as Mr. McKlesky motioned them to follow the children out the door. “Ladies, ladies, please, we must get into position. Everything is very precise timing around here. Now, let’s move.”
As if an army drill sergeant had spoken, the women lined up and followed Barb out, suppressing nervous laughter as it echoed across the high-ceilinged hallways.
Maddie was careful to wait for the back of the line before moving, hoping for some miracle to save her. Maybe she would trip on the stairs and break something, she thought hysterically. Or maybe she could just slink away. Yes, that was it. She would disappear from this nightmare, run to the car and call Sasha’s cell phone, then avoid Barb for the rest of her life.
The idea had no sooner lodged into her thought processes when she was slowing down, letting the line of dancers get further and further ahead of her. Just a few more feet and she could dash down an upcoming hallway.
One of the girls coughed, causing Barb to look back and frown at them, seeing Maddie so far behind she motioned with her arm and hissed, “Come on, girls. Get a move on. This is our big break!”
Her eyes were truly feverish now.
The corner of the hall loomed and Maddie made to sidestep into it when she felt a hand clamp down on her shoulder.
“Where do you think you’re going, missy?” It was Mr. McKlesky. “No nerves now. No time for that.”
He turned her back toward the line and gave her backside a smack. She squeaked with outrage. Had he really just done that? She couldn’t believe it! She stopped and spun around to give him a piece of her mind, only to find him gone. Somehow disappeared. Turning back, fuming, she took another few steps and found herself on the floor of Bankers Life Fieldhouse, the bright lights now taking on a whole new meaning.
Her skin prickled and flushed to her hairline as thousands of eyes stared at her and then she groaned as their gazes seemed to slide down from her face to the black bra. She walked in front of the rows of players’ chairs and poised at the end of the line, waiting, feeling like her backside was coming out of the leotard and wanting desperately to tug it down, but knowing she couldn’t possibly. Her mind went completely blank as she followed the dancers to the middle of the glossy yellow floor. She could almost see her reflection in it; the thought buzzed like a numb distraction, then she laughed, a brief expelled breath of hysteria.
This was a nightmare. She would wake up at any moment in a cold sweat.
She pinched her leg, felt the slight pain and nearly passed out.
Maybe God would have pity on her now and send an earthquake to open up this overly waxed wood floor and swallow her whole. Massive deaths and the carnage of falling spectators raced across her imagination. Okay, too violent just to save her pride. A small tornado, taking only her? A lightning bolt. Just a little zap to get her out of here. That would really be perfect.
No such luck. Before she knew it, Maddie was standing in the middle of the court, at the far right side and in the front—no one in front of her and no one behind her—black lace bra exposed to a bazillion fans. How could she have forgotten the dancer at the end of the line stood in front for the beginning of the dance?
Well, it had happened. The worst thing that could possibly happen to her at a public sporting event had actually come to pass, so she might as well have fun, right? After all, there were the precious children, sitting right there on the second row. They looked so eager, so sweet and excited…Maddie paused, squinting her eyes. Were those two boys talking behind their hands and pointing at her?
A giant television camera seemed to come out of nowhere and zoomed in on her as the crackling of the music started on the million-dollar sound system.
They were not broadcasting this on television, were they? Thousands of eyes just turned into millions.
She heard Barb give the count as she pasted a bright smile on her face and started moving. Slap to the right hip, slap to the left, turn, pivot, freeze, turn, pivot, freeze. Rock step to the right. Flash hands overhead. Rock back to the left. Turn and look over one shoulder.
Barb hadn’t exaggerated that the steps were ancient. It had all come back to her and really, it was kind of fun. After all, what a great story to tell Max when he got a little older.
Lemonade. Lemonade. Lemonade.
Sasha sat in the stands, eyes wide, mouth hanging open with an “oh no” coming audibly from her lips.
“Hey.” A big man leaned over into her space, causing Sasha to lean sideways and stare warningly at him. “Isn’t that your friend? That pretty gal who was sitting beside you?” His stale breath wafted over her face.
“No. It isn’t.” Sasha turned back toward Maddie, ignoring the snorting sound coming from the man, and shook her head. “She’s gonna wish I didn’t know her when this is over,” Sasha whispered.
It was over almost as soon as it had begun. Maddie had no idea how they’d done, could hardly remember even dancing as they marched off the floor and back up the stairs to the rehearsal room. It was over. She would change now and go listen to Sasha retell the whole thing until Maddie threatened to kill her. Life would go on. She would never, ever wear a black bra again, but life would go on.
Minutes later, amid the dance troupe’s excited chatter and different states of undress, Mr. McKlesky stormed into the room, face red, eyes bulging.
The girls shrieked and tried to cover themselves.
“Who’s in charge here? Who owns this monstrosity?”
When no one answered and it appeared that Barb was going to remain hidden behind the changing screen, he leapt at the one closest—Maddie.
“You…the cowering one…I should have known you would be disastrous.” Grasping her by the arm, he shook her hard, causing her neck to snap back and her shoulder to wrench. “Do you have any idea what you’ve done? Do you? My career is at stake here! I’ll be fired over this! Do you know how ridiculous and horrible your team was? You’ve made me a laughing stock.”
Maddie cried out in pain and tried to pull free.
“I’ll have your heads for this. You’ll never perform again!” His murderous gaze swept the room and then lit back on Maddie. Unable to contain his rage, he shook her again.
The door opened behind them and Maddie saw a man in an expensive suit enter the room. He strode over to Mr. McKlesky, gripped the arm that was still holding onto Maddie and must have squeezed hard enough so that Mr. McKlesky abruptly let go.
“What are you doing, Frank? What are you thinking?”
Mr. McKlesky, or Frank it seemed, slowly came back to reality, looked back and forth from the nice-looking man to Maddie and then back again. “I quit,” he shouted, turning to run. “I quit!”
“This isn’t going to go away that easily, Frank. Wait for me outside the door.”
Maddie and the rest of the room watched as Frank McKlesky realized what he had done, his face dawning in degrees of horror and fear. He stumbled from the room.
The man turned to Maddie. “Are you all right? Do you need a doctor?”
Maddie’s open mouth snapped closed. She rolled her shoulder around and found it surprisingly fine. She grimaced but shook her head. “I don’t think so. I think I’m all right.”
The man led her toward a quiet corner. “I’m Jordan Tyler. I work for the Racers, and rest assured that we will take care of this. Would like me to call the police? Would you like to press charges?”
The combined events of the last hour finally took its toll on Maddie, and to her complete mortification she began to shake.
Mr. Tyler looked alarmed. “Are you sure you’re okay?”
Words she hadn’t spoken to anyone since the funeral poured out to this kind and well-meaning stranger. “Okay? Do I look okay? I just danced in front of thousands of people under excruciating bright lights in this,” she looked down at her leotard, motioning with her hands toward her hips, “horrendous get-up with my underwear showing through. I thought the worst was over. Then I come back here and get accosted by a deranged man who claims that I ruined his career. I was out of practice, sure, but I’m not that bad a dancer.” To her great dismay, she started to tear up and shake in anger and frustration. “I didn’t deserve to be shaken like that.”
“Of course not.” The man took off his suit jacket and placed it around her shoulders. “He will be fired immediately. Stay here.” He reached into his pants pocket and pulled out a phone. “We need to call the police.”
He dialed the number and the next half-hour was spent reliving the event over and over. Barb stayed, genuinely concerned, but she couldn’t really be of much help as she’d been hiding behind the changing screen most of the time. Several of the other women, though, had seen the whole thing and were quick to give their accounts to the police. Mr. McKlesky was found trying to leave the parking garage and taken to the police station.
When they were all gone, Mr. Tyler came back over to her and touched her gently on the shoulder. “I’m sorry you had to go through this, Mrs. Goode.”
“I’m, um, a widow. You can call me Maddie.”
He reached out to grasp her hand. “I’m so sorry. Was it recent?”
“A little over six months ago.”
“You’re so young.”
“Yes, that’s what everyone says. He was very young too.”
The man looked into her eyes for a moment, silent and searching. “I am truly sorry.”
He sounded so sincere, like he would say something better if he knew what to say. Maddie gave him a wobbly smile. “Thank you, Mr. Tyler.”
“Please, call me Jordan. I’m not quite old enough to be your father.” He smiled kindly at her. “You’ve been through a lot lately, haven’t you?” He paused, looking into Maddie’s eyes again, and then asked with sudden intent, “Do you live here in town?”
Maddie nodded. “My son, Max, and I just moved back in with my parents. I’ll get a place of my own after I find a job.”
He stared at her thoughtfully. “You need a job?”
Maddie sniffed, still cold and shaky. “Yes. I’ve been looking but there isn’t much out there that pays well.” She didn’t mention the hours spent poring over the job ads and the “How to get a Better Career” articles online.
The man nodded at her in understanding. “It can be tough to get back into the workforce. What kind of experience do you have?”
Maddie shook her head, wishing for a tissue, telling herself not to swipe her running nose against the back of her hand. “Office work. I was a regional assistant to a sales manager at one of those weight-loss places and then an office manager at a mobile-phone company. I worked so that my husband could get his MBA. And then, when I was going to go back to school, I got pregnant.”
“Any college? What’s your educational background?”
“I have a degree in communications from Ball State, before Brandon and I got married. Why are you asking me all of this?”
“Well…” He paused and stared thoughtfully at Maddie. “I can’t make any promises, but I just happen to know of a recent job opening here, with the Racers. How would you like to interview for Frank McKlesky’s job?”
Maddie sniffed again. “But I’ve only ever been in administrative assistant roles and a mom.”
“We can train you on everything you need to know. Trust me, if Frank could do the job, I think you can. I think you will be better at it, because you’ve been there. You’ve experienced tragedy, just like many of the people we help.”
“What was Frank’s job?”
“One of three foundation coordinators for the Racers. A liaison between the team and the many charities we fund.”
“That sounds…good.” It sounded amazing.
“Here’s my card.” He reached toward his jacket pocket, which was currently covering her chest.
Maddie swatted his hand away.
Jordan swallowed. “Sorry, I, uh, my business cards are in that pocket.” He pointed to Maddie’s chest.
“Oh, sorry. I forgot I was wearing your jacket. I guess I’m a little jumpy after everything.” Maddie took off the jacket and handed it back, cool air rushing over her.
Jordan reached into the pocket, scribbled his private cell phone number on it and held out the card. “Call me in the morning and we will get you scheduled for an interview. And call me sooner if you have any pain and need to get that shoulder checked out.” He gave her hand a warm squeeze. “Again, my sincerest apologies on behalf of the Racers.”
Maddie nodded, barely comprehending it all. Had she really just gotten a job interview with the Indiana Racers?
She changed back into her clothes, throwing the leotard back into the box, imagining burning it, the curling pink fabric going up in pretty flames.
Now, to find Sasha. And hope she wasn’t laughing too hard.

Rush to the Altar
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