The hostesses of the Author Roast and Toast are holding a book release party at a Revolutionary War Re-enactment Festival and Party for the co-authors of, ‘Craig’s Legacy’, writing under the pen name of Terry Campbell. Bobbye and Linda are due to arrive any time. Mary seals the letter she is sending. The courier at the back door to this beautiful hunting lodge, here in Virginia, waits patiently to take it to its destination. An extra coin to keep him quiet will do the job. Mary then enters a lovely room overlooking the merrymaking. Sharon and Lyn put the last touches on their hair. Walking to the window she glances down. In the courtyard festival booths are being erected.
“Uh, Sharon dear, you do not need a bustle trust me.” Mary chuckles.
Sharon raises her shoulder and wrinkles her face. “For your information, it hides my butt, who knows what’s bustle and what’s me.” Lyn snickers and snorts. Sharon’s dusty blue dress is a great match for her fair skin. “Don’t you laugh at me missy!” Sharon huffs. “Those feet happen to step on a man who has requested a dance, and the AR &T could have a law suit on our hands!”
Lyn smirks and smacks Mary. Lyn’s purple gown doesn’t cover her huge bare feet. The cobbler is having a hard time making shoes large enough to fit them. With any hope they’ll be done before the party starts!
“Why’d you do that?” Mary whines and shoves Lyn, who happens to fall into Sharon who, happens to fall into the arms of a very handsome man dressed as a Confederate soldier standing in the open doorway. His hat one hand and a large pair of shoes in the other, yet he manages to keep it together as he catches Sharon.
“I do declare.” Sharon remarks. Her eyes glued to his amber orbs.
“Sorry Mam, you’re gonna have to let go of me. Uh, your guests of honor have arrived.”
Mary and Lyn laugh as they watch Sharon try not to drool and still look respectable. Sharon straightens her Scarlett O’Hara dress and tries to act nonchalant at the same time. She grabs the leather tie up shoes and tosses them to Lyn and they clunk her in the head.
“OW Sharon!” Sharon apologizes and then mumbles under her breath, “took a whole cow for these.” She snaps to attention! “Ladies, whenever you’re ready, I don’t want to keep Bobby and Linda waiting.”
"We’ll be right down thanks.” Sharon manages to speak intelligently, despite the fact her eyes are still glued to his back as he leaves.
“I have to get me one of those soldiers.” Mary holds the bodice up on her lovely green gown as they rush down the wonderful, wide, wooden, staircase. Running, she holds them from bouncing. Oliver dressed as a Yankee soldier opens the door and they rush outside. It’s a crisp sunny day. Flutes play as men march in form. If luck holds out they won’t have to deal with snow and the celebration will be fabulous.
The girls spy Bobby dressed in a dark golden gown, Linda radiant in her own pale pink gown. They all hug and rush back into the lodge. They have never seen such a huge lodge. Musta been owned by one awfully rich Southern gentleman. A huge roaring fire fills a hearth the size of the one on the TV show, Bonanza! It keeps the chill, from blowing winds, at bay.
Tables are lined with the best of fresh sliced meats and soft rolls. Ham, turkey and rare roast beef, cut perfect for sandwiches, sit amongst slices of fresh home grown tomatoes. Vegetable, fruit, and cheese platters, line one side and trays of baby Quiche sit on a warming plate. Pasta salad, antipasto, and various chutneys, are at the end of the huge table.
A sideboard holds deserts, Angel Food cake with whipped cream frosting, Black Forest Cakes, dark and rich, don’t overshadow the beautiful Red Velvet cake, with it’s cream cheese frosting and book cover decoration.
Sharon hasn’t missed the fact that Mary sent a note out with special courier. Lyn whispers to Sharon. “What was she up to?” She gestures toward Mary. “She’s always up to something.” Let it slide for now. The guests are here, soldiers line the fields, Southern belles and 'pretend' Southern Bells, eye the troops as they strut their stuff. With the roar of a cannon the day begins!
Sharon clears her throat and the crowd by the main entrance doors quiets. “Welcome, welcome, today we are roasting the dual authors of Craig’s Legacy.” She smiles at their guests. “Be careful with the weapons and don’t forget to get your copy of this wonderful story signed.” “Let the party begin!!!” The crowd applauds and the day of intrigue begins.
Bobbye and Linda will pick the prize. But the question… The question is, “What was in the note that Mary sent by courier and where was it sent?”
Frankie Matthews, a 21st century financial wunderkind, is haunted by the ghost of Confederate Colonel Benjamin Craig. When she refuses his demand to go through the time portal and save him from being murdered, he uses his ghostly energy and forces her back to 1864 Virginia. Frankie is now faced with saving Ben and returning to her century, with him in tow, before she changes history beyond recognition and gets killed in the process.
Thrust back in time, Frankie is the quintessential fish out of water. She’s gone from running a major money market to a world where woman milk cows. Too bad for Frankie that the nearest she’s ever been to a cow is a “Got Milk” commercial. But to survive the Union deserters and his grasping widowed sister-in-law, Ben needs Frankie’s quick thinking and never give up attitude that has come from her independence as a 21st Century woman.
But can the two lovers span the centuries between them and find a common future?
“Come here.” He reached out to grasp her waist.
“Not until you say it. Go ahead, say it. It’s easy. It’s U-N-C-L-E.”
“Uncle,” he whispered.
“I didn’t hear you.”
“Say it loud. Very loud. Shout it for the world to hear,” she said between laughter.
“UNCLE,” he yelled. “Now, come here, you saucy bit of baggage, or I’ll throw you overboard.” As he reached out to draw her to him, he glanced at the sky and stiffened. “Damn!”
Thoughts of her, of them making love, of him inside her, of feeling her soft wetness surrounding him had so filled his mind he’d forgotten the most basic rule of boating: keep an eye on the sky and an ear open to nature.
If he had, he’d have noticed the sudden quiet. Animals had taken to the ground. Birds no longer chirped. The air smelled heavy. The heat he’d felt had come from desire, not the sun.
After hoisting the anchor, he turned back to her. “I need your help.” He handed her an oar. “Let’s make for the southern bank. It’s smoother.”
“What’s the matter?”
“It’s too quiet. There’s a storm coming. Put your back into it. We don’t have much time.” Wind hit them. Water splashed into the boat. “Shit!”
“What did you say?” she screamed.
“The wind’s coming at us from the northwest. That means trouble. Big trouble.”
“During the summer, the strongest storms come from that direction. The river’s tricky under the best of circumstances. The worse the wind, the more dangerous the river.” He dug his oar into the churning water.
“And anything can happen.”
“I can’t tell you how relieved that makes me feel.”
The wind-forced rain lashed at her sideways. She glanced down at her feet. The boat was taking on water. Shit was right. They were sinking.
Looking to her left, she spotted uprooted trees drifting down river. Virginia wasn’t in tornado alley, although that didn’t mean a thing. A strong gale could do as much damage.
Furiously, she drove her oar repeatedly into the water, matching Ben’s strokes. The river wrenched it from her hands.
“I’ve lost my oar.”
“I’ve lost mine, too.” The words had no sooner left his mouth then the boat groaned beneath them. The sound of splintering wood followed. Water surged through a gaping hole in the hull and along the side. “Get that skirt off!”
Frankie tore at the waterlogged garment and jerked off her cross-trainers. She knew their weight could drag her under as surely as the long, sodden skirt.
Ben lunged forward, grabbed her arm, and jumped feet first into the churning current. Frankie came up gasping, struggling for air. Using one arm to hold her, Ben began swimming toward the bank. Twigs slapped her as they roared by. Her eyes widened in horror. A tree trunk was rocketing toward his skull.
Frankie knew he’d never make it if he kept her in tow. She slowed him. He’d be lucky to survive even if he released her that instant. Which given his code of honor, he’d never do. She tore free of his grasp. With a few quick strokes, she pulled away from him.
Terry Campbell Author Bio: