Page Count: 13
Word Count: 0
Rating: 0

(MSRP: 1.5000)

A new year brings no relief to the makeshift hospital in Virginia where men wounded in the War Between the States are brought to heal. Filled to overflowing, the hospital begins to place men in homes in the community with the hopes that the love, warmth and individual attention they?ll receive will urge them toward health.
Jolene and her mother take three men into their home. Nate and Brian seem to be growing stronger but the third man, horribly wounded, seems to be declining. They believe that if he only had a reason to live, some word from his beloved in Tennessee, he'd rally. Despite several attempts at communication no contact comes and Gill worsens steadily.
Promises made before the war?are they still binding?

(13 pages) Sweet


Virginia, January 1864

A frigid breeze touched Jolene Crane’s cheek as she hurried from the necessary house. Shivering, she pulled the knitted cotton shawl closer around her slim shoulders, climbed the wooden steps and walked across the back porch. Placing her hand on the door latch, she paused.

One quick glance at the morning sky told her all she needed to know. They were in for another cold day.

She’d stoked up the fire in the kitchen before going outdoors and the chill was beginning to leave the large room. Closing the door behind her, Jolene headed for the sink, washing her hands and the chicory at the same time.

“Honey, how long have you been awake?” Mary entered the kitchen, fully dressed, hair braided and coiled on top of her head like a dark brown cap. It matched her brown muslin dress almost exactly. “I didn’t hear you come down.”

Putting the pot of chicory coffee over the heat, Jolene shrugged. “Long enough to get the breakfast things together. Sit, Mama. I’ve got yesterday’s biscuits warming and a little bit of lavender honey heating, too. The coffee’ll take a few minutes.” She set the table with the everyday dishes. One look the other woman’s face, with its deep under-eye circles, let her guess how well she’d slept during the night. Jolene couldn’t scold though—she knew her face must look as haggard. “What have you got on your agenda today? Are you going back to Clara’s house this morning?”

Stirring a scant drop of molasses into her coffee, Mary nodded. She lifted the hot brew to her lips and took a sip, grimacing slightly at the bitter taste, before she answered. “I am. Two of the children are down sick with the stomach grippe and it’s too much for poor Clara to handle on her own. I imagine she’s been up most of the night so I’ll go on over. Spell her awhile.”

Jolene sat, placing the warm food on the table. She put the largest biscuit on her mother’s plate and took the other one for herself, cracking it open before Mary could protest. A drizzle of honey released the scent of lavender into the air between them and for a moment they could almost recall how sweet and sultry the summer months had been. Almost.

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