Revenge is his mission
No one had ever caused such fire in Travis Rafferty's blood as Civil War nurse Meredith Carter. Yet when the prisoner of war attempted an escape, she'd betrayed him and his bedraggled men. Now, years later, he's led west by vengeance, with nightmares of battle on his heels. This time, Meredith won't get away
Love is his due
Meredith has to persuade Travis of her innocence. But how can she convince him of anything when she reacts so wildly just standing next to him? Nursing his wounds is the only way to show him how she feels, that she could no more betray him than her own soul .
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About the Author
Mary Burton is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of several historical romance and romantic suspense novels, including Senseless, Dying Scream, and Dead Ringer. Her novella Christmas Past appears in the 2008 New York Times bestselling anthology Silver Bells. Her commitment to realism has led to eye-opening interviews with law enforcement, to forensic seminars and to the firing range. She is a graduate of the Henrico County Citizens Police Academy and the Richmond FBI Citizen's Academy, and has participated in Sisters in Crime's Forensic University program.
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By Mary Burton
Harlequin Enterprises LimitedCopyright © 2002 Harlequin Enterprises Limited
All right reserved.
Chapter OneLibby Prison Richmond, Virginia February 1864
As a boy, Travis Rafferty had never been the best thief in Richmond's back alleys, but for a time, he'd managed.
Until the day he'd failed to outrun the sheriff. As the lawman had hauled fourteen-year-old Travis to the army post, he'd told him the service was just what he needed. The military would give Travis direction, a sense of honor, and would teach him patience, whether he liked it or not.
To Travis's surprise, he'd taken to the structure and discipline, not to mention the warm bed and regular meals. His keen mind, just as starved as his body, had lapped up every lesson thrown at him. He'd discovered hidden talents for scouting, marksmanship, and he'd learned to read and write.
The army became his family and molded the boy into a man.
At thirty-two, he'd risen to the rank of captain and earned the respect of his men and the brass in Washington.
The army had done a lot for Travis Rafferty. But it had never taught him how to be a good prisoner of war.
Travis tapped his long fingers against the grimy wood floor, wishing away the next nine hours. The afternoon sun's orange-red light streamed through the half-dozen barred windows into the long, squalid cell packed with a hundred half-starved Union soldiers.
Some of his fellow prisoners of war huddled close to the water barrel, others sat in darkened corners, some lingered near the door, but each man was focused on one thought - in nine hours, they'd be free.
Since the Rebs had captured him three weeks ago, he'd been planning his escape. He and the other men had been digging a cramped tunnel that now stretched from the prison kitchen to a nearby warehouse. Tonight, once the sun set, they'd leave.
Everything had gone as he'd planned.
The sweet taste of freedom soured when he looked down at the soldier who lay dying next to him. Travis lifted the soiled bandage covering Lieutenant Michael Ward's inflamed wound. The young soldier flinched and groaned. The lieutenant had gotten into a scuffle with another prisoner two days ago in the prison yard. The guards had fired at the two soldiers. Ward had been wounded in the shoulder, the other man killed outright.
Dr. Ezra Carter, a Union sympathizer, had dug out the bullet from Ward's shoulder and promised to return with medicine to halt the infection. But the old man, who should have come yesterday, hadn't arrived.
He had little in common with Ward, but the young man was Union army. Family. And Rafferty stuck by his own kind.
Ward's eyes fluttered open, his blue eyes clouded with pain. "How's it look?"
"Better," Travis lied.
"I don't feel so good," the young man whispered.
Travis managed a crooked smile. "The doctor will be here soon with your medicine."
He winced. "I want to leave with you tonight."
Ward was too ill to crawl through the tunnel. The trip north would kill him. The medicine was his only hope now. With it, he had a fighting chance. "Let's focus on getting you better."
"I'm not getting better, Captain." Desperation crept into his voice. "The pain's worse every day, and you and the others will be gone soon. I don't want to die in this place alone."
"Hold tight. Dr. Carter will come back." This helplessness made Travis angry enough to drive his fist into a wall. "You'll be fit by week's end."
Travis leaned back against the brick wall and absently rubbed the scars on his wrist, a reminder of the shackles he'd worn during his first days as a prisoner.
Ward coughed, winced at the jarring motion. "Talk to me. Keep my mind off the pain."
"What would you like to talk about?"
Ward moistened his dry lips. "Any family?"
"The army's my family."
The raw hurt returned. "There was a fiancée once, but the long absences were too much for her. She married another man."
"Don't be." He'd been a fool to think a society type like Isabelle could handle the sacrifices and loneliness required of a soldier's wife.
"I've a new wife, Roberta," Ward said, his words slurring now. "I've got to get back to her. She's everything to me."
Ward shifted his position, flinched and fell back against the pallet. He closed his eyes. "I don't want to die in this place."
The brick wall dug into Travis's spine. He'd seen so many men die in the past three years. "Remember, you promised me a steak dinner when we get to Washington."
Ward managed a weak smile. "Right." A disturbance outside the cell shifted Travis's attention to the crowd around the door.
"Get back," the guard shouted. "Or I ain't opening this door."
The prisoners grumbled, shoving and rubbing shoulders as they retreated a couple of steps away from the cell door.
Excerpted from Rafferty's Bride by Mary Burton Copyright © 2002 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited
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.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
He joined the army in the forties as a teen, but the military never trained Captain Travis Rafferty on life as a prisoner of war languishing in a Confederate Prison. He is shocked that Meredith Carter, though niece to Dr. Castleman, brings a poultice to help an ailing POW. When the fevered soldier reveals to Meredith that the prisoners are escaping through a tunnel, Rafferty reluctantly allows her to leave. When the escape fails, Rafferty blames Meredith for revealing their plan to his enemy and vows vengeance. Two years later, Travis catches up with Meredith and accuses her of treason. She swears her innocence, but the evidence is quite convincing. Riders arrive to murder Meredith. Travis kills the attackers, but is wounded in the battle. When he collapses, she stops his bleeding and remains behind to heal him. A believer, Travis works even harder than previously to uncover the real culprit who sent the men to death yet implicated his beloved. Fans of Reconstruction Era romances will take immense pleasure in RAFFERTY¿S BRIDE, a strong historical that provides insight into the early post Civil War years. The lead couple is a charming duo though fans will feel the obsessive intensity of Travis that not even an editor would dare cross him. The dedicated Meredith risks everything during and after the hostilities to do what she believes is the right thing for her patients. Mary Burton provides her audience with a powerful look at the aftermath of the Civil War on those who still endure the torment though the guns are relatively silent. Harriet Klausner
Thanks for an enjoyable read ms Burton. Keep them coming.....