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What was he doing lying on this huge, pillow-strewn bed with
scented, lace-trimmed sheets-a bed that was far too large for
a single occupant?
A soft sound turned Drew toward a young woman working
industriously beside a gaudily upholstered chair on the other
side of the bed. She was blond and lovely. She appeared
angelic with her exquisite features drawn into deep
concentration as she appeared to be fashioning bandages from
rough pieces of cloth. Her surprisingly dark eyelashes were
thick crescents against the rise of finely sculpted cheeks,
the line of her profile was flawless, and her lips were full
The pain in his leg suddenly stabbed more sharply. With it
came a flash of reality.
He remembered where he was ... and he wasn't in heaven.
Andthe beautiful young woman in the celestial blue dressing
gown wasn't an angel, either.
The heat that consumed him grew hotter and Drew was conversely
amused. It had all been a trick to confuse him.
He should have known better.
He needed to get out of there.
* * *
Tricia turned at the sound of movement from the bed nearby.
The progress of events earlier had been so rapid-her
bittersweet reunion with Chantalle, the disturbance in the
hallway as she attempted to refresh herself, the big man being
transported fevered and unconscious into a room at the end of
the corridor, and his sudden relapse into unconsciousness.
She had been somehow unable to desert the helpless fellow, and
after Dr. Wesley examined him, treated his wound and left, she
had felt more responsible for him than ever. Uncertain why,
she only knew that she had reassured Chantalle that she would
look after him while Chantalle took care of house business.
Tricia started when the big man began struggling to stand.
She protested instinctively as she approached him, "What are
you doing? Your leg is badly infected. You need to rest ... to
give the medicine Dr. Wesley gave you a chance to work."
"I've heard that before."
Startled by the fellow's gruff response, Tricia said with a
touch of annoyance, "You still have a fever and aren't
responsible for your actions, so I must insist that you lie
still. The doctor said you shouldn't move. If the infection
reaches your bloodstream, the consequences could be dire."
"I don't believe in doctors."
"You don't believe ..." Tricia's voice trailed away. She began
again, "As I said, you're not responsible for your actions
right now, and I don't want to be accountable for your hurting
yourself while you're in this condition."
The big man's light eyes locked with hers with unexpected
threat as he said, "I'm the only person responsible for me,
and I can take care of myself."
Momentarily taken aback, Tricia managed, "Can you? Look at
yourself. You can't even stand up on your own!"
"That's what you think."
Heaving himself to his feet with a tremendous effort, the big
man stood uncertainly, appearing even bigger and more
intimidating. Suddenly looking down at his short clothes with
almost comical surprise, as if realizing for the first time
that he was partially undressed, he demanded, "Where are my
Tricia raised her chin. "They were stained with blood from
your wound. I asked Polly to wash them."
The big man's reply sent Tricia a step back as he ordered,
"Get them back!"
"Why?" Uncertain why she bothered to argue with a fellow who
wasn't in full control of his senses, Tricia continued, "You
didn't seem in too much of a rush to leave when you got here."
His expression darkened, "Get ... my ... clothes!"
Appearing to swell with anger, the big man took a threatening
step toward her, only to grunt with pain as he leaned against
the bed. At his side, she touched his forehead. He pushed
her away, but not before she felt the unnatural heat under her
Regretting her annoyance, she said apologetically, "Listen to
me, please. I don't want to argue with you. Dr. Wesley said
your wound looked to him to have happened in the war. Since
the war has been over for months, I can only assume that the
infection has managed to get a secure hold. I don't
understand how you could have been released from an army
hospital in your condition, but since you were-"
"What do you know about army hospitals?" The big man's eyes
narrowed into deprecating slits. "A woman like you has
probably never even seen one."
Tricia gasped. A woman like you ...
Her angry protest died on her lips when the big fellow
attempted another step, only to have his leg collapse
unexpectedly underneath him. Falling, he struck his head on
the dresser with a sharp crack.
Trembling when he went suddenly still, Tricia crouched beside
him. He was unconscious, and he was barely breathing.
Suddenly panicked, Tricia ran into the hallway, calling as she
did, "Chantalle ... someone ... help! He's dying!"
* * *
Gunfire and cannon blasts erupted simultaneously, renting the
brief, unnatural silence. The smell of gunpowder was heavy on
the smoke-filled air as Drew looked at the writhing body of
his friend. Corporal Paul Williams was only twenty years old.
He would never see his twenty-first year.
He was still staring down at the bloodied face of his friend
when the young fellow took his last breath.
Dead ... gone ... like all the rest. He supposed he should be used to
it. She had left when things got tough ... his mother, who had
said she'd always take care of his two sisters, his brother,
and him. Then his father and his brother had left, too.
But it was he who had left his sisters ...
Gunfire again! The Yankees were advancing.
He grabbed his gun and fired. He kept firing ... holding them
off ... allowing time for his fellow soldiers to get away.
He waited until the last minute, then still firing, stood up
to make his escape. He gasped when a hot, searing pain struck
his shoulder, sending him sprawling into the mud. He could
feel the blood streaming from the wound as he dragged himself
to his feet and continued on. He could barely walk but the
wound did not cause him as much pain as the thought pounding
through his brain.
His family was gone.
He had watched his friends die.
His leg throbbed ceaselessly, his head hurt badly, his mind
was confused, but one thought remained clear.
He had failed them.
* * *
Tricia stared down at the big man thrashing on the bed in
front of her as she waited for the doctor to return. She
heard his mumbled torment as he relived moments of the
heartbreaking war that had recently ended. Pain twisted tight
inside her. She had seen men similarly haunted before, but
despite his seeming opposition to every word she said, this
man had somehow touched her.
Unwilling to allow Chantalle to see she was so affected,
Tricia glanced up at the older woman where she stood opposite
her. Chantalle had responded to her call for help by
summoning several fellows into the room to lift the big man
back onto the bed. She had sent for the doctor and had then
dismissed the men while she had helped Tricia as she tried to
make the fellow comfortable. But Tricia knew the damage was
done. The fellow's leg was bleeding again and his head was
grotesquely swollen where he had struck it when he fell. She
had insisted that she was capable of taking care of him, but
she had obviously overestimated her ability, and her care had
resulted in the wound that presently complicated the poor
And she still didn't know his name.
Chantalle broke the silence between them to question softly,
"You say you went through the contents of this fellow's
pockets, Tricia, and you didn't find anything that could help
us identify him?"
Tricia responded helplessly, "He was only carrying a money
pouch with a few coins in it and a few incidentals that don't
"What appeared to be a Confederate military button or an
insignia of some sort, a damaged piece of old jewelry, and a
few other things."
"That's strange. He should have some sort of identification."
Chantalle was still dressed in the crimson gown she had worn
earlier, signifying that her evening had just begun; yet her
expression was weary as she frowned and said, "We need to
contact his family ... just in case."
Just in case.
Tricia took a breath. "I don't think he has any family. He
said he's responsible for himself."
"There has to be somebody."
"I don't think so."
"No one is that alone. He came here with a friend, so there
has to be somebody who cares about him." Chantalle's
expression suddenly brightened. "Of course, I should have
thought of it sooner. His mount is in our barn out back.
I'll get somebody to search his saddlebags. He's bound to
have some paperwork in there somewhere-especially if he was
recently released from a military hospital."
Not waiting for her reply, Chantalle turned toward the door.
She said over her shoulder, "Doc Blake should be here any
minute. I'll be back as soon as I can."
The silence of the room appeared thunderous as the door
clicked closed behind Chantalle. Tricia took a few steps
closer to the bed and stared helplessly down at the big man.
The swelling on his forehead seemed to have intensified. He
was still mumbling incoherently and her sense of inadequacy
increased. What was going to happen to him?
Aching deep inside, Tricia scrutinized the fellow's flushed
visage. He was young, she guessed probably in his mid
twenties. She supposed the average woman would think him
handsome, considering his heavy dark hair and those
startlingly light eyes that had looked at her so accusingly.
His features were strong and chiseled through the beard
beginning to shadow his face, and his lips were pleasantly
She wondered offhandedly what it would be like to see those
lips move into a smile meant expressly for her.
Realistically, she supposed she'd never find out.
Tricia glanced up at the door tensely. Where was the doctor?
Why was he taking so long to get there?
Tricia looked back at the dresser where the fellow's money
pouch lay. She had been so hopeful when she had gone through
his meager possessions in an attempt to identify him, but the
effort had been a waste. Could she have missed something?
Frowning, she walked to the dresser and scrutinized the few
articles again. A money pouch ... a comb ... a military insignia of
some type ...
Tricia opened the money pouch and looked inside. As before,
she saw a few dollars and a damaged ring that had originally
borne a crest of some sort that was presently hard to
distinguish. She could barely make out the sailing ship on
it, but she-
"What are you doing?" Tricia jumped with a start as the deep
voice behind her directed harshly, "Get out of my things!"
Tricia dropped the ring back into the pouch as if it had
scalded her fingers. She said defensively, "I was trying to
find something to identify you. We don't know your name ... where
you come from."
"Identification ... in my money pouch?"
"You don't have anything else."
"Stay out of my things!"
Tricia took a breath. The fellow was obviously still
hallucinating in some way. Holding her temper, she responded,
"What is your name? If you'd tell me now, I could-"
"Just stay out of my things."
The fellow's light eyes flickered closed as he winced with
pain. Regretting her brief annoyance, Tricia moved back to
the bed and whispered, "I'm so sorry that you hurt yourself
again. I should've prevented it but I-"
Startled when the big man grasped her arm and pulled her down
so close to him that she could feel his sweet breath against
her lips, Tricia was unable to protest. Her voice caught in
her throat when he stared into her eyes and said with a heat
totally unrelated to his fever, "You're available to anybody
here who has the right price. That confused me at first, but
it doesn't anymore. I may not be in a position to take
advantage of what you have to offer right now-but I will be."
Drawing her infinitesimally closer, he said in a voice that
was more warning than promise, "You can depend on it-angel."
Releasing her abruptly, he ordered, "Until then, stay out of
Falling a step back from the bed, Tricia struggled to ignore
the rapid beating of her heart as she responded, "You have the
wrong idea about me. I can't blame you for that, I suppose,
Tricia stopped speaking when the big man's eyes flickered
closed and he began mumbling incoherently again. She touched
his forehead and panicked at the heat she felt there.
Where was that damned doctor!
Excerpted from Hawk's Prize
by Elaine Barbieri
Copyright © 2006 by Elaine Barbieri .
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted December 9, 2008
Drew Hawk assumes his two sisters died in an inferno at the orphanage. Heartbroken, the former Confederate solider comes to Galveston hoping to find his brother Whit though he must do so serendipitously because he is also a wanted man. Still suffering from a leg wound that he has not given it enough time to heal, Drew, suffering from a related fever, collapses at Madame Chantalle¿s bordello.-------------- As he recovers he sees an ¿angel¿ of mercy caring for him. When he fully regains his senses Drew finds he is attracted to his angel, Tricia Lee Shepherd, who reciprocates his deepest feelings. As they fall in love, Simon Gault, who wants the Hawk siblings dead, observes the goings-on between the two lovebirds with euphoria he believes he has an expendable pawn to draw Drew out into the open all he has to do is abduct Tricia.----------- Fans of the Hawk¿s P tales (see PASSION by Elaine Barbieri, and PLEDGE and PURSUIT by Constance O'Banyon) will appreciate the final western romantic suspense as Drew is somewhat distracted from his quest by falling in love. The action-packed story line never slows down from the start until the final confrontation. However, what makes the quartet fun to read is how effortlessly the two authors insure their key cast remains consistent. HAWK PRIZE is a fine Reconstruction Era Texas thriller.------------ Harriet KlausnerWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 1, 2006
Drew Hawk went through the Civil War believing he was an orphan and that his siblings were all dead, something each of his them also thought true. Now, he has returned home to Galveston where he lands in the town bordello, not for fun, but because a wounded leg is keeping him laid low. The madam's adopted daughter, Tricia Shepherd, takes care of the handsome soldier, and when he begins searching for who killed his best friend, she is at his side. However, that's the most dangerous place to be the man who destroyed Drew's family is in Galveston and determined to finish what he began long ago. ....................... *** The series ends on one of the most heartwarming notes in literary history. If you have followed the rest of the Hawk series, the conclusion will leave a smile on your face.***Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 13, 2011
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