Title: Journey to Victory
Author: Lyn Cote
Genre: Historical Fiction
After losing her mother, Christiane leaves her pampered life in France for the Canadian frontier.
Daughter of a French courtesan to companion of Lady Washington, Christiane moves into the American rebel elite. Captain John Eastham can never be forgotten. Once he was her friend. Now he’s her enemy. They must face the history they left behind. And weather the vagaries of war and peace. How do enemies lay down arms and forge a future. a dynasty? PG13
A family’s saga, a young nation’s story~ Why not download this historical journey written by an award-winning and USA Today bestselling author?
What Readers Say: “…For all who like the American Revolution era, especially with strong, wonderful characters, or who enjoys historical fiction, a superbly crafted novel.”
“…absolutely mesmerized by both the detailed writing and the wonderful plot. The characters are all so well-developed and believable…”
“…enjoyable story with lots of historical detail, non stop drama. A good historical fiction novel in a time period not often visited.”
British Canada, July 1774
Tonight, I'll lie beside some stranger as his wife. Christiane blinked away the bright morning sunlight but could not blink away the dread. Once again she had embarked on another journey that would change her life. She sat between her Algonquin father Shaw-nee-awk-kee and his son in a birch bark canoe. To the rhythm of the dipping paddles, they were gliding farther down the Ottawa River. In the cramped space, she hugged her knees to herself and pressed her forehead against her tattered skirt.
She glanced sideways into the remorseless current, wishing for time, for control. But instead, the river, shimmering with molten sunlight, gave her glimmers of the past--candlelight on silver, soft lace against skin, frosting on the tip of the tongue. But she'd fled France with her father, here to Canada and then. . . She thrust all thoughts of the past year aside. She had to face today. Tonight, I'll be some stranger's wife.
The thought brought fear, a rush of sensation—as if the bottom of the canoe, her protection, parted, and she was plunged into the cool water. She fought her way to the surface of this feeling, gasping for air, pushing down panic. She pressed her face harder against her knees. I will not shame myself. Ever.
When they reached the trading post on the western shore, the bronze summer sun gleamed low through black tree trunks. The two Algonquin beached the canoe and without a glance backward, headed toward the crude fort.
Christiane took a deep breath, reciting a half-remembered prayer to herself. She climbed out of the canoe and heard the squish of the wet sand under her worn-thin soles. Staring at the flimsy stockade of slender tree trunks bound together, she walked inside.
After living a few months among the Algonquin, she was startled that white men now looked strange to her with their beards, knit caps, buckskin breeches, and colorful plaid cotton shirts. As she passed by, the men stopped. Their heads turned and they nudged each other in the ribs.
She heard soft appreciative exclamations in French, "La belle, la jeune fille." Many of them followed her, murmuring to each other. She ignored them with the cool reserve her mother had taught her. Still she hurried to close the gap between her and Shaw-nee-awk-kee.
The rough tavern door stood open to the muggy night air. "Stay here," Shaw-nee-awk-kee muttered to her at the doorway. Her body stiff from hours in the canoe, she leaned back against the open door, only then noticing how large the cluster of men who'd followed her was. Some of them passed on inside, their eyes averted. The bolder ones formed a semi-circle in front of her. A warm blush crept up to the roots of her hair.
She would never have willingly shown herself like this—unkempt and with stained and worn attire—to her own countrymen. She tried to conceal herself in the dusky shadows, pressing herself back against the rough-hewn logs. To avoid their stares, she gazed inside the tavern.
Holding up two fingers, Shaw-nee-awk-kee ordered ale. The barman thumped two mugs of beer onto a raw oak slab. Both Indians took the draughts in one long swallow. After belching politely, Shaw-nee-awk-kee passed the bartender a coin and then announced in a patois of French and English, "I look for white homme. Man who want wife."
The barkeep looked puzzled. Catching the direction of the other men's glances, he stepped around the bar and gawked at her. "Blanc," he said.
"Oui, white daughter." Shaw-nee-awk-kee motioned for another round.
"Your daughter?" The barman asked, tapping the keg again.
"Oui, I find. I keep." Shaw-nee-awk-kee lifted his mug and paused. "You know man who want wife?"
"I don't know," the barman stammered. There was a heavy silence. Outside, one of the men standing around Christiane took a step forward and lifted his hand toward her cheek. She jerked her head aside, warning him away with a look. He stepped back.
Then a spirited voice issued from the crowd inside. "What do you want for her?"
"You already have a wife, Jacques," the barkeep answered.
"Only a squaw. I could use another." There was laughter over this.
Christiane radiated white-hot shame. Going to the highest bidder—wasn't that what she'd tried to escape in France?
Then another man spoke up, "But this girl's white, Jacques, a Christian. It's all right to have two Indian wives, but…" He was stopped by a chorus of agreement.
There was another lull. Finally, a man of medium height came forward. "Let's see the girl. I have no wife," the Frenchman said.
Christiane tried to see what he looked like, but the fading daylight deepened the gloom moment by moment.
Shaw-nee-awk-kee called her. She looked up, wishing desperately that she could turn and run. Instead, she lifted her chin and forced herself to walk into the tavern. Inside, the odor of stale beer and warm bodies struck her, almost making her sick. But she bit her lower lip and walked to Shaw-nee-awk-kee.
Reaching out an arm's length, the Frenchman turned her chin toward the daylight to see her face better. He then placed his hands on her shoulders and rotated her in a slow circle. The concentration of the crowd was intense—as intense as her embarrassment. Christiane wanted to scratch a maddening itch in the middle of her back. But gritting her teeth, she kept her hands at her sides.
"Is she a virgin, Indian?" the Frenchman asked.
Still flaming, Christiane took refuge in lowering her eyes.
The old Indian nodded, then asked, "What you offer?"
Before the first Frenchman could respond, another spoke up, "One moment, Paul. You're not the only one without a woman to winter with." This second man rose from an up-ended log he had been sitting on and strode forward to face the first.
Soon three more suitors swarmed around Christiane.
She shivered at the change around her. The sleepy atmosphere of the tavern had come alive with loud antagonism, rivalry. She cast around for a way to escape.
"What is going on here?" a cool English voice sliced through the room. The clamor evaporated.
All eyes, including Christiane's, turned to the red-and-white uniformed captain. He was tall, slender, yet solidly built. His straight brown hair was pulled into a neat club at the back of his neck. Clear blue eyes shone against his tanned face. Christiane guessed that he was in his thirties, about double her age. His regular features were set sternly toward the company. He didn't appear to be a man she'd like to cross.
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What’s your favorite thing about the fall season:
Apples straight from the orchard, cranberries straight from the bog, pumpkins straight from the farm! I’m a foodie!
What inspired you to write this story:
This was my first novel which was rejected by many publishers because it didn’t fit the market. I like sweeping sagas with strong female leads. I published it myself and it’s selling well! Readers know more than the Marketing gurus!
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Runs September 1 – 30
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USA Today bestselling author, Lyn Cote has written over 50 books. A Romance Writers of America RITA finalist and an American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award winner, Lyn writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense and historical novels. No matter which kind of story, her brand “Strong Women, Brave Stories” comes through. Her most recent achievement is being added to Romance Writers of America’s Honor Roll for bestselling authors. She lives in a lakeside cottage the northwoods of Wisconsin with her comfy husband and two adorable cats. Visit her website/blog at http://www.LynCote.com and find her on Facebook, GoodReads and Twitter.
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