In April 1860, Dr. Ryder Cole returns home from his studies, sure of his abilities and on fire to serve his country and preserve the Union. A panther attack threatens to cut his life short until a young woman with a rifle and a sure-shot eye appears out of the mist.
Then she disappears, returning as Tom Boyde, his comrade throughout America’s Civil War, and as Diana, met in a Washington D.C. whore house. The seven Aprils from 1860 to 1866 tell their tale of love and war, sex and friendship. And the price of crossing gender lines.
Long fingers unclenched, reached out. “My hand,” the downed rider said.
The eye that was not closed over with a bloody gash was as green as the budding oak leaves above them. Tess took his offered hand. It was strong, but without calluses.
“Now. Your foot, please,” the calm voice continued. “Place it in the pit of my arm.”
She put her foot there.
“Now pull. Hard.”
She pulled. His yell was almost as short as the pop of his arm.
“Perfect,” he said evenly, though he was blinking his brow’s sweat and blood from his one seeing eye. “Thank you.”
He rose to his knees, hovering over his animal. “Easy, Moutamin,” he crooned, as if the horse was a sick child.
The horse’s nose sniffed at his waistcoat. The man gave out a hollow, sad laugh. “Here then, you great baby,” he said, his hand groping until he found cubes of maple sugar candy. He felt along the blasts made by his horse’s pained snorts. The horse’s tongue received the sugar candy like a tame dog.
The man kept stroking his horse’s beautiful curved neck, as he found his saddlebag, finally pulling out a pistol.
Of course, Tess realized. It was the only way. There was no hope for the animal, who began to thrash. The man’s hand shook now, the movement going up the weapon’s barrel, making it flash silver in the dappled sunlight.
“Best keep talking. I’ll do it,” Tess offered.
His good eye blinked twice. She thought he was going to refuse. But he released the firearm.
“Most kind of you,” he whispered.
“Well. He’s a right fine horse.”
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About the Author
Eileen is a three-time Rita finalist and has won a Rita Award from Romance Writers of America. Her work has also won the Chatelaine Award in Women's Fiction, and the Phyllis A. Whitney Award. Finalist accolades include the Daphne du Maurier Award, Hearts of the West Award and the Golden Leaf Award.
Eileen lives in the brave little state of Vermont, where she and her husband run a small Bed and Breakfast in their 1886 Victorian home. She loves kayaking below the eagles on the Connecticut River and Maple Creemies.
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