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Cover Reveal | Desperate Hope by @FurlongLeigh #historicalromance #romanticadventure #coverlove
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Title: Desperate Hope
Author: Susan Leigh Furlong
Genre: Historical Adventure Romance
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
He risked his life for his new country. He couldn’t risk hers.
Revolutionary War soldier, Gavin Cullane, has desperate choices to make. He vows never to give up the fight for American freedom, but his role as colonial liaison between the Americans and the British brands him a seeming traitor to his own country. When he discovers the woman he loves is part of George Washington’s secret spy chain, his only choice is to expose his own lies so she can escape.
Tansy Carter risks her life to send messages to George Washington from the captured city of New York. When she is discovered, she must flee the city. Trusting her life to the traitor, Cullane, is the desperate chance she must take.
The Second Battle of Saratoga on October 7, 1777, in Saratoga County, New York, during America’s Revolutionary War.
The British cannon shell screamed over their heads.
“No need to worry about that one!” shouted Alden through the noise and smoke of the battlefield. “It’ll land well away.” Some of the men still ducked their heads, but they all kept moving forward across the blood-soaked fields of the Freeman farm. The shattered pieces of bodies from both British and Continental soldiers littered the trenches and barricades along with spent cartridges and abandoned muskets from two months of fighting. The stench of death and gunpowder sickened even the hardiest, and it made the crossing a slow, treacherous struggle. Short, earsplitting bursts followed, which meant another shell was coming in fast and would land almost on top of them.
“Cover!” shouted Alden. The men dropped into the mud and covered their heads.
Alden Carter pushed Gavin Cullane to the ground and fell on top of him. A sharp whoosh of air and vibrating sound waves gave way to the now-familiar pings and cracks as the shrapnel from the explosion showered over them. More shells soared over their heads.
Gavin’s face slid into the mud. His nose filled with muck, and his ears rang from the deafening explosion, but he lay without moving a muscle or even breathing deeply for what seemed like an eternity as the dust and noise settled. When he lifted his head at last, he snorted heavily. Lingering wisps of smoke burned his nose and mouth as he searched the field for the ten men from his unit who had marched into this battle with him. Only five remained standing.
“Gavin, can you move?” shouted one of them over his shoulder as he ran to join the fighting. “What about Carter?”
“I’ll take care of him. You take care of the redcoats!” Gavin struggled to heave an unconscious Alden off his back before running his hands over his own body, thanking the Lord he had only minor shrapnel wounds on his shoulders and the backs of his legs.
But Alden lay unmoving on the ground.
“Please, Lord, no!” Fighting for American freedom had bound them closer than brothers, and he couldn’t face this war taking away the best friend he’d ever had. His voice cracked. “Alden, Alden, talk to me!”
As he lifted Alden onto his lap, streams of blood spurted from Alden’s left arm, forming thick puddles of red on the ground. His bloody hand lay in the mud some ten feet away. Gavin ripped off his own jacket and shirt and used his shirt to tie a tight tourniquet around Alden’s upper arm. The blood slowed, but not enough, so he grabbed that arm and held it up in the air, stopping all but a seep of lifeblood. Slipping his jacket back over his shoulders, he sat with Alden’s arm in the air as the musket fire and commotion moved around them.
“We’re driving them back!” shouted a passing colonial soldier. “They can’t get reinforcements! We’re driving them back!” More men bolted near Gavin and Alden, but none stopped to help them. No time when victory was so close.
Gavin shivered as the sun fell below the horizon and a cool autumn breeze blew across the battlefield, leaving only the moans of dying soldiers from both sides of the conflict, and these faded with each passing hour. Gavin looked toward the Freeman farmhouse for signs of help, but it stood empty and alone.
Only a sliver of moon lit the darkness when Gavin decided that Alden would die very soon if they didn’t find some medical help. As he bent down to lift Alden into his arms, his friend’s canteen fell out of his waistband. Scooping it up, he heaved Alden over his shoulder and started walking. Not knowing where the American and British battlelines started and ended, he wandered aimlessly for several hours until he heard the crackle of a fire and low murmurs of men’s voices. He followed the sounds, only to discover he had stumbled into the camp of a small group of retreating British redcoats who immediately saw a chance to salvage a small victory out of defeat by capturing two prisoners.
The next morning, one of the weary Brits in a tattered red uniform pointed to Alden, saying in his stiff British accent, “We’re moving. Leave that one.”
“I’ll carry him,” said Gavin.
“Won’t do any good. His hand is blown off. He’ll be dead soon enough.”
“What is it to you if I carry him?”
The soldiers prodded Gavin and Alden ahead of them as they joined up with other defeated British troops and their prisoners heading toward the Hudson River.
“Want a drink?” Gavin asked Alden when the redcoats called a halt. The still unconscious Alden didn’t answer, but Gavin put the metal canteen to his friend’s lips anyway and heard the familiar rattle. “Your wedding ring you pushed in here makes the water taste funny. I know, the rattle reminds you of your wife. Just swallow some of this, so you can take it home to Tansy yourself.” Alden had feared a scavenger might steal his ring right off his finger, but they’d ignore a dented canteen. He had scratched his name on it with the hope someone would care enough to return it to the woman he loved.
Alden swallowed the water, and Gavin smiled for what would be the last time in a very long time.
DESPERATE HOPE does not have a publication date yet, late summer or early fall.
My previous books – STEADFAST WILL I BE, BY PROMISE MADE, and KEEPER OF MY DREAMS are available in ebook and paperback at all online sellers. Please follow me on Goodreads.
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19288352.Susan_Leigh_Furlong
A former teacher of creative writing, Susan Leigh Furlong, knew she had a special connection with words since she was a child. Her passion for storytelling morphed into a desire to give life to her ideas, resulting in magazine articles, children’s stories, stage plays and novels.
Susan’s love for history fuels her resilience against the sneezes and coughs that old books give her; she delves deep into the annals of historical events to create captivating and thoroughly researched historical romance novels. Susan wins her readers’ imagination with a highly enthralling style inspired by true historical events, giving smoothly flowing narratives that keep one’s eyes glued on her novels from the first page to the last.
Susan has two published non-fiction books in addition to her three historical adventure romance novels published by The Wild Rose Press. Her most recent release is DESPERATE HOPE, a historical fiction novel about George Washington’s spy network during the American Revolution.
When Susan is not combing through history piecing together her next novel, she enjoys her family, friends, and a busy life in a small town.
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