Honor and conviction clash with loyalty and love in this epic Civil War novel that pits brother against brother. Author Jessica James uniquely blends elements of romantic and historical fiction in this deeply personal and poignant tale that, according to one reviewer, “transcends the pages to settle in the very marrow of the reader’s bones.”
Title: DUTY BOUND
Author: Jessica James
Genre: Historical Fiction
Honor and conviction clash with loyalty and love in this sweeping Civil War tale that pits brother against brother. Captain Alexander Hunter would rather die than see the Union set foot on his beloved Virginia soil. And while he holds the line against Northern aggression with legendary skill, a treacherous boy on horseback always thwarts his offensives. His allegiance is tested when the traitor he unmasks is the woman he once swore to his brother he would protect. Should he keep his promise? Or continue to fight for his convictions? Readers will discover the fine line between friends and enemies when the lives of two tenacious foes cross by the fates of war and their destinies become entwined forever.
DUTY BOUND EXCERPT:
A piercing bugle blast preceded the sound of galloping horses by mere seconds. Confederate cavalry Captain Alexander Hunter tore his eyes away from the horse and rider he pursued and focused on the Federal cavalry unit that had appeared out of nowhere to pursue him.
Blast it. Tricked again.
This was not the first time the large black steed with its agile rider had been spotted in advance of a Union assault—but Hunter swore today would be the last. Signaling his men to scatter, he spurred his mount toward the forest where his foe had disappeared. His band of warriors took off in every direction, their escape aided by a roiling mass of dark-bellied clouds that launched their own assault.
With the storm as an ally, Hunter knew the Federal cavalry would not sustain the chase. He didn’t worry about his men who were familiar enough with the land to evade the enemy no matter the weather. He only cared to find the Yank who’d led him into the trap so the rascal could be punished.
Hunter lowered his hand to one of the revolvers on his hip as he entered the dimly lit forest. Damn that scoundrel. The timely arrival of Union reinforcements over the past few months could no longer be considered a mere coincidence. It was time for this cunning adversary to pay for the disruptions he’d caused.
Guiding his mare through the underbrush and around fallen trees, Hunter soon lost hope of finding his antagonist in the dense foliage. The rider had a habit of appearing, only to disappear into thin air. Even today when he’d thought the elusive character was within his grasp, Hunter had instead found himself in another trap.
The distinctive sound of a rambling creek replaced the hushed patter of rain, pulling Hunter from his thoughts. “How about a drink, ol’ girl?” He urged his mare forward, leaning low over the saddle to avoid tree limbs, and then jerked on the reins at the sight of a youth crouched on the opposite bank gulping water by the handful. Hunter’s gaze shifted to the horse hungrily grazing on green shoots at the brook’s grassy edge. Enormous and coal black, its chest glistened and frothed from being ridden hard.
Hunter reached for his revolver and blinked to make sure the fading daylight was not playing tricks on his vision. At this distance, the enemy scout was smaller and younger than he expected. He cocked his weapon and shouted across the fast-moving stream, “Don’t move!”
His confusion intensified as he stared at his opponent. Dressed in an oversized coat, slouch hat pulled low, and baggy trousers, the boy looked harmless enough. But one more glance at the horse answered his question. This was no guiltless civilian. This was a Yankee. And a cunning one at that.
Hunter urged his mare down the steep bank to a sandbar, but hesitated. The creek was not wide, but the swift-running current and slippery rocks made fording here treacherous. About halfway across, he saw the boy bolt to his grazing horse and gather the reins. Reacting instinctively Hunter fired a shot, causing his mare to lose her footing and plunge to her knees.
The panicked animal struggled a moment before bounding up with a great surge of strength, knocking him off balance. As Hunter tried to regain control, the mare lunged again, this time unseating him and sending him sailing backward.
Hunter felt himself falling, seemingly in slow motion, until there came a skull-cracking thud and a blinding flash of light.
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Jessica James’ novels are inspired by her love of the land, her belief in everlasting love, and her curiosity about the past.
She is a four-time winner of the John Esten Cooke Award for Southern Fiction, and has won more than a dozen other literary awards, including a Readers’ Favorite International Book Award and a Gold Medal from the Military Writers Society of America. Her novels have been used in schools and are available in hundreds of libraries including Harvard and the U.S. Naval Academy.
Jessica loves to write about the historical places she visits on her blog Past Lane Travels. When not on the road, she can be found in her own 200-year-old house in Gettysburg.
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Title: HONOR BOUND
Author: Jessica James
Genre: Historical Fiction
After sparring with Union spy Andrea Evans in DUTY BOUND, Captain Alexander Hunter takes pity on her after discovering she has been sent to a notorious Confederate prison. HONOR BOUND recounts Andrea’s journey as she wakes up in the home of her enemy. Will sparks fly as they find themselves living under the same roof? Or bullets? Find out what happens in this deeply personal and poignant tale that, according to one reviewer, “transcends the pages to settle in the very marrow of the reader’s bones.”.
HONOR BOUND EXCERPT:
Andrea lost count of the days she spent staring out the window, listening to rain pelting the house and watching the picturesque meadows of Hawthorne reduced to fields of muck and mud.
She wondered how Hunter and his men continued their raids, but apparently the weather did not slow them. The Captain returned only to bring in captured horses, catch up on the affairs of Hawthorne, and, every so often, sleep a few hours. After only a brief rest he would be back in the saddle and, presumably, causing chaos again.
For the most part when Hunter was home, he did not seem conscious of Andrea’s presence. Or perhaps more truthfully, he made it a point not to be in her presence. She rarely saw him and never spoke to him, so despite living under the same roof they remained as divided as two enemies could be.
Andrea appreciated the separation. The inevitable response of rage that crept into her body when she saw him, or even thought about him, fueled the throbbing pain she faced daily. Dark thoughts of vengeance controlled her, and became what motivated her to make it through another day.
But her thoughts of retribution were interrupted one morning by the sound of a rider galloping hard through hock-deep slop. Before she could ask Izzie who it was, the hoof beats charged back out the lane.
Minutes later, Mattie entered with a package in her hand. “Ole Him sended something for you.”
“Really” Andrea stared at Mattie, stunned that Hunter would think of her, let alone send a courier with a package. He had not been back to Hawthorne for more than a week by her estimates, and she had begun to think he was no longer in the land of the living.