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A Dream Defiant

A Dream Defiant

5.0 1
by Susanna Fraser

Spain, 1813

Elijah Cameron, the son of runaway slaves, has spent his whole life in the British army proving that a black man can be as good a soldier as a white man. After a victory over the French, Elijah promises one of his dying men that he will deliver a scavenged ruby necklace to his wife, Rose, a woman Elijah has admired for years.



Spain, 1813

Elijah Cameron, the son of runaway slaves, has spent his whole life in the British army proving that a black man can be as good a soldier as a white man. After a victory over the French, Elijah promises one of his dying men that he will deliver a scavenged ruby necklace to his wife, Rose, a woman Elijah has admired for years.

Elijah feels bound to protect her and knows a widow with a fortune in jewels will be a target. Rose dreams of using the necklace to return to England, but after a violent attack, she realizes that she needs Elijah's help to make the journey safely.

Her appreciation for Elijah's strength and integrity soon turns into love, but he doubts she could want a life with him, knowing the challenges they'd face. As their relationship grows, she must convince Elijah that she wants him as more than a bodyguard. And she must prove that their love can overcome all obstacles, no matter the color of their skin.

28,000 words

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Carina Press
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Vittoria, Spain, 21 June 1813

With victory won, the army plundered the baggage train abandoned by the French in their hasty flight. Elijah had never dreamed of such wealth all in one place. It wasn't only the supplies and the paymasters' wagons, but Joseph Bonaparte's royal treasury, too, now that the British were hounding the emperor's brother back to France.

Elijah supposed that in a perfect world, all this treasure would be carefully guarded until the British army and government in their wisdom decided to dole it out as prize money. Lord Wellington would get the biggest share, with smaller fortunes to the divisional generals and colonels, on down to the lowliest privates, who'd get just enough to drink and eat better than usual for a few weeks.

But he didn't yet live in a perfect world. That was heaven, and there'd be no war there. Here on earth he was too practical to be a saint and take no share at all. A comfortable sense of his own virtue wouldn't keep him fed or shod. So he coolly filled his haversack with silver francs from an overturned paymaster's wagon, all the while keeping one eye on his men to make sure their plundering didn't put them in danger.

A few French soldiers still wandered about, doing their share of looting before hurrying off to rejoin their own regiments. Elijah didn't begrudge them a few coins or even a golden goblet or two. Who knew when they'd get paid again, poor devils, now that they were on the run. But when one of them started to dispute with George Yonge over possession of a silken dress, Elijah stepped closer and put on his most menacing battle face. Private Yonge was a thorn in his side, but if Elijah limited himself to looking out for the men in his company he liked, he wouldn't be much of an NCO. And if corporal was the highest rank a man like him would ever be allowed to hold, then, by God, he meant to be the best damn corporal in all the army.

Upon beholding him, the Frenchman fled. Elijah had that effect on people, though away from the battlefield he tried to tamp it down. There weren't many men in the army as big as he was, and even fewer as black.

Yonge nodded a grudging acknowledgement as he bundled up the bright blue silk. "Thanks."

Elijah shrugged. He didn't need thanks for merely doing his duty. "What on earth do you mean to do with a dress?" he asked.

Yonge rolled his eyes. "Find a woman to give it to, what else? Not all of us can get them onto their backs just because they want to see if the color is the same all the way down."

"That happened once." Elijah sighed out his annoyance and returned to the pay wagon. He should've known better than to stop to chat with Yonge. Some of the men were never going to have much respect for a man of his race. As long as they weren't openly insubordinate against the small authority his corporal's stripes gave him, it wasn't worth trying to change their minds.

But the dress was such an odd choice he hadn't been able to help remarking on it. If a man meant to loot, money was better than jewels or silks. Coins were anonymous, they could be spent little by little as he had need of them, and there was nothing surprising in a corporal having a few—though not quite the full haversack he was amassing.

Meet the Author

Susanna Fraser has been writing since the age of 9. Her youthful efforts featured talking horses, but she now writes Regency-set historicals with a focus on the soldiers who fought the Napoleonic Wars.

A native of Alabama, she never lost her love for barbecue or stopped saying “y’all” as life took her to Philadelphia, England and Seattle, where she lives with her husband and daughter.

For more information on Susanna and her books, visit susannafraser.com.

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A Dream Defiant 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
MaryGramlich More than 1 year ago
Is fulfilling my dream something we both must want?  Elijah was a proud man of color that fought side-by-side with soldiers to defeat the French.  His troops were respectful and accepting of his rank and stature based on his ability to lead.   When one of the men under his direction is killed during battle, Elijah is the one to step up and offer the man's widow the possibility of marriage.  This arrangement is acceptable to everyone, as it will keep Rose safe from the men that look to take advantage of her situation.   This marriage would also give Elijah his heart's desire fulfilled with the woman he has always desired from a distance.  Knowing the danger that was ahead of her Rose marries Elijah and with her son, they become an unconventional but loving family.  With the course of both of their lives altered Rose and Elijah set forth to pursue her dream of owning an inn.  This new life would allow her to explore her talent for cooking.  This dream meant  returning to her late husband's home where the past will collide with the present she has with Elijah.   The accepting is slow and at times hurtful toward the couple but day by day, each person touched with the taste  of the life Elijah and Rose have built warms every closed heart.  Suzanna Fraser provides every reader with a compelling and intriguing story of how the lines of love are not easily defined.