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Though Triumph centers on rebel Tia MacKenzie and Yankee Captain Taylor Doughlas’ tumultuous romance, characters from the previous books play a major role in both the love story and the war. Readers are reunited with the entire clan as Tia, known as Godiva because she leads Union troops away from Confederate solders riding clothed only in her long hair, locks horns with her brother’s friend and her enemy.

If not for the war they may have never been foes, but as the country ...

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Though Triumph centers on rebel Tia MacKenzie and Yankee Captain Taylor Doughlas’ tumultuous romance, characters from the previous books play a major role in both the love story and the war. Readers are reunited with the entire clan as Tia, known as Godiva because she leads Union troops away from Confederate solders riding clothed only in her long hair, locks horns with her brother’s friend and her enemy.

If not for the war they may have never been foes, but as the country divided on lines of loyalty, so do the MacKenzies and their neighbors. Like the rest of her family, Tia is involved and also like them, is forced into a marriage by a twist of fate and falls in love with the right man at the wrong time.

Through skirmishes, battles, field hospitals, a desperate mission to save President Jefferson Davis’ son, misunderstandings, divided loyalties, heated and passionate nights, bloody days and tragedy Tia and Taylor’s love is continually tested until they have gone through the fire, more than once, and come out stronger and with their love intact.

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Editorial Reviews

Kathe Robin
Those readers who have been following the MacKenzies since Runaway will be enthralled with Triumph, a novel that proves mankind’s ability to triumph over the worst and yet show themselves at their best when everything around them is going to hell. Ms. Graham triumphs as a writer of immense caliber creating a masterwork on the history of Florida and a dynamic, sexy romance. Triumph is Heather Graham at the top of her form; an integral part of a series where it’s best if you’ve read the other books and will use the genealogy chart. A fabulous read.
Romantic Times
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451408495
  • Publisher: Signet
  • Publication date: 1/1/2000
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 496
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.72 (h) x 1.35 (d)

Meet the Author

Heather Graham
Heather Graham
New York Times bestselling author Heather Graham has written more than a hundred novels, many of which have been featured by the Doubleday Book Club and the Literary Guild. An avid scuba diver, ballroom dancer and mother of five, she still enjoys her south Florida home, but loves to travel as well.
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Read an Excerpt


The Old Florida Series

By Heather Graham


Copyright © 2000 Heather Graham Pozzessere
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4532-8985-3


A House Divided

Winter, 1863 Eleven Months Earlier

"Tia! Tia! Miss Tia! There's someone coming!"

Tia McKenzie froze at the sound of alarm in Private Jemmy Johnson's voice as it filtered to her through the trees.

"Ma'am!" he whispered desperately. She heard him clear his throat. "I don't mean to interrupt your privacy, but ..."

Here she was, totally vulnerable in a manner in which she had seldom been since the war had begun, and someone was coming.

"Miss Tia, I know you're ... in an awkward state, but ..."

Awkward? To say the least.

Ah, yes, "buck" naked, as the boys called such a state of complete undress. She had thought that they were deep enough inland to avoid the contact of any troops, indeed, any human inhabitants of the state, much less the movement of enemy troops.

These days, it was apparently no longer possible. New strategies were afoot. Right when they were most beleaguered by illness, malnutrition, and a lack of medical supplies, the enemy had chosen to make a new assault, hoping to cripple the most important war effort of the state—feeding an army.

She traveled with a pathetic, ragtag group herself. Three privates so green they were barely old enough to shave, and two sadly injured men, the latter being the cause of her sudden determination that she had to strip down to the buff to bathe away the encrusted dirt and blood that had seemed to cling to her body with greater vigor since they'd begun this hasty journey. The last action by the old camp along the river had left two youngsters—and they were no more than that, truly—with minie ball injuries that were far too often fatal. Her brother, Colonel Julian McKenzie, had performed the surgery which had thus far saved their lives, but soon after, they had broken camp. The fellows who could do so pulled somewhat to the north while she and Julian had determined to take these fellows on a southwestwardly trail which would bring them to an old Creek camp, where they could seek shelter until the fellows healed enough to return to the front. She'd been down to one change of clothing—a sad state of affairs if she were to look back—but now seemed the time for that change. Indeed, she would be close to home once they reached the Creek camp, and there might even be time for the indulgence of returning to Cimarron, and throwing herself into the gentle care of her mother, father, and other loved ones there—until she returned to the field to resume assisting her brother.

"Miss Tia!"

Jemmy's voice came to her again. Ever more desperate.

She had to think, to unfreeze.

Her horse stood by her side, but her clothing lay on the opposite bank. She was soaking from head to toe, though she hadn't yet had a chance to wash her hair, which waved down her back and shoulders like a sweeping black cape.

The soldier would be in front of her any second.

"Stop where you are. Get the men, and—go!" she ordered, her voice full of sudden authority.


"Yes, go! Get away quick. I'll follow."

"We can't leave you!" Jemmy said frantically.

She heard him moving along the pine-carpeted path toward her. "Don't you dare come closer, young man! Take our injured and move along. I know these trails better than any one of you, so get moving. I'll see who comes, and circle around to join you on the trail."

"But Miss Tia—"

"Damn you, listen to me. I gave you an order. Go!"

She had no rank, of course. She wasn't even in the militia. But if truth be told, she possessed the simple authority of all she had learned in years of helping to patch wounded men back together again, of learning when to strike and when to run. She'd been a very properly brought-up young woman when it all began, but though privileged, she'd been the child of what she considered to be enlightened parents. Her education had been thorough. She'd longed for more, for travel to far distant lands, a chance to view the great pyramids of Egypt, the castles in England, the palaces in France. Instead of those dreams, she'd spent years with men. Young men, old men, handsome, gallant, rude, charming, educated. And when the war came, she'd met them from every backwoods hole in the state. Rebs and Yankees. She'd seen them survive, and she'd seen them die. She'd sewn them up, and she'd bathed them down. She was far more familiar with male body parts than she'd ever imagined ...

So in truth, she reasoned suddenly, slightly amused with the realization, she had some authority, much experience, but little modesty left.

"Miss Tia, someone is coming quickly now." Jemmy was standing there. So much for the question of modesty.

"Yes, I know, Jemmy. If you please ... oh, never mind."

She rose, still indecisive. It wasn't Jemmy's fault. He was a boy, one who had lied regarding a few months to a year to get himself into the service—he wasn't yet eighteen, she was certain. Not that she was so ancient herself, but as far as the war went, she was old, very old.

Now, of course, he was staring at her, stunned. Of course. She was "buck" naked. But not really. She had very long hair, ebony in color, thick and lustrous. It fell over her shoulders, down her back—and her front—and blanketed the most strategic points of her form, she assured herself.

And so she stood on the trail, thus enwrapped, and stared at the now frozen, gaping Jemmy. "First, snap your jaw shut, soldier, this is war. As you said, someone is coming fast. It is likely to be the enemy. And we have injured. So go now—and I mean it! You get our men to safety, and Blaze and I will be right behind you, once we see the enemy, and what he is after—and draw him away from you, if need be."

Jemmy suddenly seemed to find his mind and senses. "No! You're a woman. We can't leave you. We can take on the enemy—"

"The hell you can!" she swore flatly. "My sex doesn't matter—can't matter!—now. I've been in this too long for such consideration. Longer than you, far longer than you. Listen to me! Would you kill our injured? Go."


"Go! And don't you mention a word of this to anyone, Jemmy Johnson, or I'll shoot you down myself, do you hear? Take our injured down the Seminole trail. Move fast. I'll take Blaze along the eastern route, hopefully drawing any rider who would follow, and after I assess the enemy strength, I'll change course and meet up with you by nightfall."

"Yes, ma'am!"

To her relief and amusement, he saluted. She saluted back, then regretted the action—wondering just how much of her long, concealing hair she had readjusted so that it didn't quite conceal anymore. He tried to look into her eyes, but his gaze kept slipping. Then, as she had ordered, he turned and fled. She saw him and their little party of injured hurry along the trail, disappearing around the bend and slinking into the old Indian trail, just as she had ordered.

As soon as they were swallowed by the foliage, she started across the little tributary, thinking that she would regain her clothing, but she had barely taken a step when she realized that she could just hear the sound of hoofbeats against the soft earth and that someone was coming closer and closer. Blaze was on this side of the trickling little tributary of the river.

She would never manage to have both her horse and her clothing. The situation was desperate. Seconds were ticking away. She had to do something, make a decision.

Clothing ... horse?


No! She had to make the right decision to protect the injured men who were in her care. What was a little bareness when death might be the alternative?

What in God's name had made her decide that today, of all days, she just really had to give herself a complete and thorough scrubbing?

Maybe the enemy would pause for water, and just go away.

Maybe he wouldn't be the enemy.

Just as that thought filled her mind, a rider came into view, a tall man on a tall horse. His face was hidden beneath the slant of his plumed, wide-brimmed hat, and his shoulders were encased in a Union -issue, cavalry frockcoat.

He was definitely the enemy, she thought, her heart sinking.

And he certainly wasn't hiding his identity as a Yank.

He was but one man. A lone rider. Tia felt a sense of relief, and even superiority—she knew this terrain as few men did. Her home was across the state, but she had learned her geography from her father and her uncle, whose Indian blood had led him in dozens of merry chases across the terrain throughout the long, treacherous, and deadly Seminole wars.

And yet ...

Who was he? What was he doing? Not exactly a spy, for he was in full uniform. A scout? Yes, searching for troop movements, perhaps even looking for her own little pathetic band of injured and raw men who were, in truth, little more than children playing at being soldiers.

Just what would she do if he were to note that they had followed the old Indian trail.

He was a lone man ...

But well armed. He had come with a sharpshooter's rifle tied across his saddle, a Spencer repeating rifle in a case below it, and a pair of six-shooting Colts holstered in the gun belt that rode his hips. Mean weapons. And something about the easy, agile, and assured way that he moved seemed to testify to his ability to use them.

The boys had already ridden on. If he followed them, there was no question in her mind—at least half of them would be dead.

Coming into the copse, the Federal cavalry scout paused. Felt the air, listened, surveyed the landscape. Hoof prints, near the water. Broken and bent branches.

Yes ... someone was near.

By dusk, the slender offshoot of the St. Johns was an exquisite place to be. Pines rose in green splendor, shading the little tributary, while shimmering rays of the dying sun broke through here and there to cast diamond sparkles upon the darkening water. A lone wading bird stalked the far side of the water, long-legged and graceful.

A crane. Tall, snow white except for its legs, it was the focal point of the glorious picture there. The bird was so still that if it weren't for the creature's coloring, it would have blended with the scene. Like any predator, however, this creature of ethereal beauty was sleek, cunning, and careful. It waited; it watched. Its stillness was so complete that it might indeed have been a painted picture that Taylor Douglas stared upon, a picture of serenity and peace.

The woman was much the same.

Yes! The woman.

Was she alone? Perhaps now ...

But she hadn't been before! And so ...

Though she was dead still, low and flattened against a pine, he saw her. Or part of her. She was well concealed by the foliage. Still, strangely, he sized her up within his mind.

Slim, graceful, striking, like the bird. Like the crane, she watched, and she waited.

And, he thought as well, like the crane, she was a predator. No one watched and waited and calculated in such a manner without intending to strike.

He dismounted from Friar, his bay horse, named for his deep brown color and long shaggy mane. He stretched in a leisurely manner, then hunkered down by the water, dousing his face, yet surreptitiously studying her there, across the water.

Yes, she watched.

She thought herself hidden, and indeed, he could see little of her, a long slender arm, a wealth of dark hair, a face as stunningly sculpted and delicate as that of the most elegant of belles. Her eyes were dark, large, hypnotic.

Pinned on him.

Ready for battle. To spring to pounce. She waited merely for the right moment ...

Was she unaware that he had seen her? Most probably. His eyesight was exceptional. It was one of the gifts that made him an incredible marksman, as well as a good scout. And he knew this area as few other men did, just as he knew, indeed, that the Southern forces of Captain Dickinson—little Dixie—were in the near vicinity. He knew he was close to an encampment, and that he would find his prey.

And yet ...

He had expected nothing like this. He couldn't help feeling a certain sorrow. Had the Southern forces become so low, so pathetic, and so depleted that women were doing the work of the army? And so thinking, he couldn't help remembering back to the beginning of the war, when the reckless bravado and confidence of the men who would be soldiers had brought about the pointless tragedy that would scar his own life.

No. This was different. This girl was here by no accident.

He threw more water on his face, adjusted his hat, and whistled for Friar to come to the water. Keeping low, his hat brim over his eyes, he surveyed the area around the little tributary. A number of roads here, different ways to go—different ways out. He rose slowly, seeing that beyond the obvious, there was a trail heading into what appeared to be thick foliage. It was as he stared at the trail that she suddenly made her presence known.

He'd thought himself a hardened soldier. But she stunned him, froze him in place.

She swept his breath away.

She was sheer audacity.

For suddenly, she stepped from her hideout among the pines in all her glory. Sheer, naked glory. A magnitude of splendor that wiped the mind clean, stealing into the senses, the fantasy of dreams. She was slim, compact, her form clad in nothing other than the superb blanket of her hair, falling down in rippling waves of pure ebony to cover her breasts, belly, and thighs in a manner that teased in the wickedest way ...

"Good day, Yankee."

For a moment, he couldn't answer. He saw her smile.

"Madam," he said, his jaw tense but working.

"You're in a Rebel state."

"I am."

"So ... I assume you're looking for rebellion, soldier?" she called in a taunting voice. "If so, then come this way."

To his amazement, she dashed off in a web of ebony grace, the stole of her hair flying about her in a cloud like a raven's wing, only to resettle as she sped along the pines to a trail just southward of their position. Still paralyzed with simple shock, he watched her.

Then he swore, bursting back to life.

Hurtling himself into his saddle, he urged Friar to take a wild plunge into the river. At its greatest depth, the water was only four feet, but there it rose in mighty showers and rushed back upon him in shimmering cascades.

By the time he had crossed the river, she'd mounted a large handsome horse—a far finer animal than he had seen in most of the South. And there, on the trail, she sat, a naked beauty cloaked in nothing but the black sable of her hair, staring his way. Her limbs were long, ivory, striking against the darkness of the horse's coat. Her face, though shadowed by that magnificent head of hair, again appeared young, striking ...

And cunning.

She might have been startled, just at first, that he had so quickly crossed the water and found her upon the trail. But she gave that little thought, kneed her horse, and tore down the pine-carpeted trail.

Deeper and deeper she rode into the green darkness of the trails. Pines, oaks, webbed with ferns and mosses, created a rich canopy above them. She knew the trail, he thought. No one who didn't know the trail would ever dare ride its length so recklessly. Nor could they follow such a twisted course with such great speed for so long a time.

Only a fool would follow so recklessly! he thought.

And yet ...

He followed. She was leading him astray, he knew. Tempting him from all his intent. Only a fool would follow, yet he was certain that, just as she would lead him away—she would lead him back again.

After twenty minutes of a heavy gallop in her pursuit, he came to a small bubbling brook. He was amazed that she had a horse with the speed and stamina to elude him so long. The Southern states had begun the war with the best horses—life in the South had been far more based upon the farm and the hunt than that in the North, and the majority of the best breeding stables had been in the South. But war had taken its toll on horses just as it had on humans—far too many of the Southern horses were little but flesh and bones.

Not to mention the horses that had been casualties of war, rotten carcasses next to their masters upon the killing fields of the fight.

He was lucky to have an exceptional mount himself. Friar was from Kentucky, a horse bred from specially chosen stock for both strength and speed. He still thought that he might have overtaken the woman if the trail hadn't been so narrow and treacherous. Perhaps it was best to wait. Give her time to knot her own noose ...


Excerpted from Triumph by Heather Graham. Copyright © 2000 Heather Graham Pozzessere. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2000

    At last the end of the Civil War

    Just finished reading the 'final' volume of the Florida series by Heather Graham. The last book 'Triumph' is dated January 2000. This book covers the end of the civil war, finally (I don't consider this to be a spoiler because we all know that the civil war ended and who won, and the back cover calls it the final novel). The series was published over a period of 6 years. These books are more historical than most romance novels, but the author does include a McKenzie family tree and chronology which helps a little. The family tree is in the back of Triumph. The first three books in the series were the best. The first two books predate the civil war and are concerned with the Seminole Indian wars. The last four concern the civil war. Lots of characters and lots of romance. In almost every case, the male and female leads are on opposite sides of the conflict, usually get married anyway and then go from lust to love. I do not recommend reading the last three as stand alones because they would be boring with so much history and so many characters being thrown at you. The first three books could be read as stand alones, but would probably grab you into the series. All of the books are available in paperback and are still in print. Heather Graham really worked on these books and it shows. Triumph is 488 pages long. Of course, there is a letter from the author in which she says that the McKenzies may be back.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2002

    love it

    hi I love all the books about the McKenzie's I just hope maybe that a whole love story of Brent, Sydney, and Jennifer might make it to read-separate of course. I just love it

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2002

    Did the same author write all six of these books??????????

    I fell very much in love with all of the books from this Florida/McKenzie series. I loved all of the caracters so much, and I am glad she let everyone make it through the wars. My only complaint is that she made more mistakes in these books than any author I have ever read before. In Triumph, she called Jeeves, Reeves. She called baby Katie; Kelly. In Captive, she said that Sean McKenzie was Scottish, but in Runaway, he was Irish. In Surrender, they called Jerome, James once. At the end of Triumph. Jarret talked about Tia and Taylor having 4 sons, then finally having a daughter named Jessica Lyn, but before the epilogue, Tia had a girl first and named her Hope. In Triumph, she said that James and Teela's house burnt to the ground, but in Surrender, basicaly, it was just the dining room destroyed. The writing was terribly inconsistant, and I have never seen so many mistakes before. It was like she was having some sort of a contest to see who could find the most mistakes for a free book or she had someone else write the book for her.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2001

    A Satisfying Conclusion

    I thoroughly enjoyed this final book to her McKenzie series. She wrapped up the lives of these people that I have come to love in a most delightful and wonderful way. I absolutely loved the characters she created and will enjoy reading their story time and time again.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2000

    Quite Disappointing!

    I have loved this series since its inception; however, this last book was disappointing!! The characters weren't well-developed and the story or plot was told to us. I want to experience-feel what they feel but this book didn't do it. I fell in love with James, Jarrett, Jerome,and Ian but these characters didn't have their depth or anything else. It was all wishy-washy. I miss these chracters and I wish better writing had taken place. Hopefully, the author will write another novel with the McKenize's included but who knows. I have a question, 'why didn't Brent deserve his own book?' Here's another question, 'why wasn't Sydney and Tia better included or equally included in this book?'

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2009

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