The 'Beyond' Trilogy

The 'Beyond' Trilogy

by J. Winfield Currie

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781458205087
Publisher: Abbott Press
Publication date: 08/02/2012
Pages: 740
Product dimensions: 7.50(w) x 9.25(h) x 1.48(d)

About the Author

Joan Winfield Currie grew up on a dairy farm in southern Massachusetts. Graduate of Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, she operates a small graphics studio, creates fantasy watercolors, and works in retail hardware. Daughter of a taxidermist, her unique upbringing—camping, fishing and hunting, lends authenticity to her writing.

For information contact the Author

J. Winfield Currie—P. O. Box 223, Rockland, MA 02370 USA

E-mail: joan@jwinfieldcurrie.com; www.jwinfieldcurrie.com

Read an Excerpt

The 'Beyond' Trilogy


By J. Winfield Currie

Abbott Press

Copyright © 2012 J. Winfield Currie
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4582-0508-7


Chapter One

Striking a Bargain

"Colonel, pardon the interruption ..." Lieutenant Jackson ducked his head cautiously under the open flap of the field tent.

"What is it, Lieutenant?" growled the British officer sitting behind a desk strewn with paperwork. Arching a reproachful eyebrow, he eyed his officer.

"We seized a rebel on the ridge above the campsite, sir."

"Well, bring him in, Lieutenant, so we may determine what he knows of their troop movements."

The lieutenant hesitated, shifting uncomfortably, but at his commanding officer's continued steely gaze blurted, "It is a woman, sir, and she is rather difficult to handle."

"Well then, Lieutenant, bring her in," he snapped. "Rebels are rebels regardless of their sex. Let us see what she knows of their plans."

Nodding obediently, the lieutenant backed out of the tent. Returning shortly, he prodded a somewhat disheveled woman ahead of him. With hands trussed behind her and clad in the typical dress of colonial men—laced shirt, greatcoat, leather boots and breeches—a forceful shove sent her stumbling to one knee in front of the colonel's desk. Pulling herself up awkwardly, she spun about, skewering the lieutenant with a poisonous look. "Damn it. Keep your hands off me." Breathing heavily from the exertion of resisting her captors, her greatcoat hung askew and loose blonde strands trailed from her once tidy bun.

"Well, now—and just what do we have here?" the colonel remarked acidly.

She turned abruptly riveting full attention on the officer behind the desk.

"Lieutenant Jackson is correct. You certainly have a nasty temper, a rather unladylike characteristic, I might add."

Drawing herself up to her full height, she glared unwaveringly as he looked her over slowly taking note of her long, lean figure. After several moments of contemplation he rose from his chair, and casually taking his pistol off the papers on the corner, walked leisurely around the desk. He wore the brilliant red jacket, black pants and tall, leather riding boots of the fearsome British Green Dragoons. Even the bright color of his tailored jacket did nothing to dispel the overwhelming sense of menace he presented.

Standing a full head taller, his jet-black hair tied in a neat queue, he boldly appraised her with piercing blue eyes, noting the smallest detail. She watched as he approached, her attention never leaving his face even when he stopped directly in front of her. Despite handsome chiseled features, his steely eyes were devoid of warmth or caring. "Untie her, Lieutenant," he commanded.

Locking eyes with him, she squared her shoulders defiantly. A flick of his thumb cocked the hammer back as he thrust the muzzle against her forehead. She barely flinched, impressing him.

"Have you checked her for weapons?" His gaze shifted to his men, who stood in uneasy silence.

"She had these, sir." A young corporal stepped forward holding a pistol, well-maintained flintlock and finely honed tomahawk. With intricate engraving on the blade, the latter caught his attention—an unusual weapon for her to be carrying; he made mental note to pursue that item later.

"Have you checked her person?" he asked tartly, uttering each word slowly and succinctly.

The corporal cleared his throat uneasily, intimidated and at a loss for words.

"Always check a colonial thoroughly," he snarled. Circling slowly, pistol still aimed at her head, he patted her down with his free hand. Feeling small lumps in the pocket of her greatcoat he withdrew several pieces of hard sugar. "You have a sweet tooth, madam?" He flashed a surly grin.

"Not I. However my mare does," she said acidly, refusing to be intimidated.

Ignoring her smart retort, he continued his search. "Drop your coat, madam," he demanded, yanking it back from her shoulders.

Shrugging out of the heavy garment, she allowed it to fall at her feet.

"Arms out to your sides," he demanded.

Wordlessly complying, she watched as he moved slowly behind her. Through the thin material of her shirt she felt his hand drift lightly across the underside of one arm before dipping to the edge of her breast. Continuing in a leisurely fashion, he trailed his fingers sensuously across her shoulder blades to the underside of the opposite arm where his touch lingered, creating tingling warmth. Almost tenderly, he began tracing an intimate path along her spine, slowly down to her buttocks.

Sucking a quick intake of breath, she tensed as his hand cupped, pausing before continuing his exploration along the inner edge of her thighs, then lower, tapping her knees to nudge legs further apart. Disturbing warmth lingered where his hand had traced so knowingly, shocking her. Tingling sensations spread, his touch creating conflicting emotions.

Noting her reaction he smiled and continued sliding his hand along her calf. Tucked into the side of her right boot, he retrieved a small dirk. "This is a common practice of these colonials, Corporal." Abruptly standing, he drove the dirk into the desktop. Swinging his pistol up, he aimed at the young dragoon's head. "I trust you will not forget again," he spat, eyeing the visibly shaken young man.

Suddenly lowering his weapon, he leisurely sat back on the edge of the desk, arms folded, pistol resting casually against his thigh. "I will handle it from here." With a curt nod he dismissed his men.

She stood assessing him. He was cold, calculating, and dangerous. She would have to play for time in order to create a plan of escape.

"What is your name?" His clipped words abruptly interrupted her thoughts.

"Kathryn," she answered coolly, attempting to appear unconcerned.

"Your full name," he retorted, fixing her with a steely, blue gaze.

"Kathryn Cameron," she shot back, returning his icy stare.

"What were you doing on the ridge?" he asked in lilting singsong, questioning as though she were a naughty child.

She met his stare with narrowed eyes and icy silence.

Standing away from the desk, he tapped the pistol muzzle menacingly against his hand and moved closer, lowering his face to within inches of hers. "Do you live in this area?" Circling slowly, he studied her intently, continuing his game of 'cat and mouse'.

"Not now." She stared straight ahead, ignoring him.

"Do you have family nearby?"

She shrugged. "Perhaps, but with you English everywhere—probably not." Unmistakable defiance flared.

Patience worn thin, he pressed the pistol to her forehead, again impressed by her cool demeanor as she unflinchingly watched him pull the hammer back. "Are you riding with the rebel militia?"

"Do I look like I am?" she sneered.

This interrogation was going nowhere; he had more important things on his agenda than expending time with this stubborn female. Easing the hammer down, he lowered his pistol. "You are wasting my time, madam." He moved to his desk. "Do you have any idea of who I am?" He turned to face her, a haughty sneer curling his lip.

She hesitated, recalling hearsay about the battle at Fort Moultrie; how soundly the dragoons had been beaten, and their colonel—a man of unbelievable violence. "Yes, Colonel Tarrington, I am aware of your reputation." Her gaze held unwavering contempt.

"Then I am sure you realize that I never take prisoners." He paused for effect. "However, I do think that shooting you is not the answer: too quick—too easy." He shrugged indifferently.

Oh, God, how can I ever ...? He is cold as ice. Despite outward composure her insides constricted violently at his veiled threat, his methods of interrogation unnerving. How much more ...?

Setting the pistol on his desk, he paused as if immersed in thought, allowing tension to build. Grasping her dirk he tweaked it from the desktop, and stepping forward, pressed the finely honed weapon against her collarbone. She barely tensed. "You have nerves of steel, madam, a rather unusual quality in a woman."

He smiled coldly. "Hmm, I wonder what it would take to break that insolent streak." With a quick flick of the dirk he cut the laces of her blouse. Pausing, he waited for her reaction. As she continued her bold stance, he slid the blade under the edge of the garment and with deft strokes—ever so slowly—opened the front to her waist. Her chest rose and fell in quick, shallow breaths. The oversized shirt had hidden an exquisite body; much to his chagrin he experienced instant response. "Perhaps pain, madam, hmm?" Placing the dirk against the base of her throat, he leaned in close arching a questioning eyebrow—but expected no answer.

She held her silence as he slowly trailed the flat of the blade between her breasts, then casually around one, adding pressure at the nipple yet never breaking the skin. He is the devil incarnate. Sheer willpower retained her outward confidence, yet deep within she experienced a sudden prick of fear.

With slow deliberation calculated to shatter her resolve, he continued his tracings, suddenly pressing the point against her breastbone, drawing blood. "There is no rebel movement of which I have knowledge—nothing I can tell you," she hissed.

He searched her face, momentarily deep in thought. Noticing a trickle of blood at her hairline, he brushed the hair back. "Hmm," he flashed a callous smile, "my men are not always gentle." Abruptly stabbing the dirk back into the desktop, the colonel reached behind her head. Loosening the pins holding her unruly golden curls, he allowed them to tumble in billows around her shoulders. Running his lean fingers through the honey-golden mass, he observed her silently.

She eyed him warily as he took his time, prolonging the game. Despite unbearable tension, she was acutely aware of the electricity tracking between them, his proximity: exciting—and disturbing.

Angling his head, he contemplated his next move with unveiled pleasure. Slowly and distinctly he informed her: "I do believe I may have just the answer to break your insolence." Abruptly twisting his fingers in her thick hair, he jerked her head back. Grasping her chin, he studied her face thoughtfully. Despite his unsettling touch, her eyes met his and held.

"You really are quite beautiful," he purred. "What a shame." He shook his head, the feral quality of his tone immediately increasing her uneasiness. "My men have been on the road for some time now. I am afraid that by the time they are finished with you ..." He trailed off leaving the statement hanging between them and stepped back, slowly folding his arms across his chest. She visibly paled, awarding him a sense of satisfaction in finally detecting her weakness. She quickly collected herself, but not before a moment of stark terror flickered in her eyes. Leaning back against his desk, he quietly studied her, curious as to her next reaction.

Lowering her eyes for the first time, her haughty stance visibly sagged. After a long pause, she looked directly at him, her emotions again in control, he noted approvingly.

"Colonel," she began tentatively, "why share me with your men?"

Eyes narrowed, he scrutinized her silently—annoyed. His own lack of immunity to the exhilarating energy between them was disconcerting.

"How long has it been since you were with a woman?" With a slight shrug her blouse shifted, exposing more of her breast.

He glanced momentarily at her perfect body; then lifted icy blue eyes to hers—assessing.

"There is passion to your anger, Colonel," she said softly. "Are you as passionate ... when you make love?" All bravado gone, her voice dropped to a whisper. As she searched his face, warmth purled low in her belly and her body began its final betrayal. Color washed across her cheeks with the quickening of her pulse, forcing her to take slow, even breaths—none of which went unnoticed.

Maintaining steely control had become difficult. His desire, which until now had been precariously held in cheque, continued to build—much to his physical discomfort.

"Colonel," her voice had a breathless edge. "Is your schedule so busy that you cannot allow yourself a few minutes of pleasure?"

A sardonic grin twisted his mouth as the last traces of her defiant facade crumbled. Within moments she would be pleading. The fleeting thought of somehow reaching the dirk and taking her life seemed a reasonable solution. "Colonel..." Her eyes changed, softened, earlier challenge replaced by conflicting emotions: anguish, desire ... confusion.

Abruptly he pulled her to him. Clutching the mass of curling hair at the nape of her neck, he forced her head back to stare into wide, green eyes that did not falter. His breath came in ragged bursts, his desire—obvious.

"You may regret your offer, madam, before we are through," he growled. His mouth closed over hers, hard and demanding as he encircled her in a crushing embrace. Begun as an act of control demanding submission, the kiss, in its infancy, lacked warmth or caring, but quickly changed as caressing lips met his willingly. She did not recoil as expected, startling him as she met his desire with an equal passion of her own.

The kiss intensified yet softened, evolving into an act of seeking, neither comprehending what ... or why. Both vulnerable from pasts which continued to haunt them, they sensed longing need in each other. Perhaps, somewhere amidst these exquisite sensations lay an answer.

Taken aback by the unexpected depth of their mutual attraction they paused, breathing erratic, eyeing each other warily, both clinging to a façade of indifference, yet craving more: neither one able to deny the unfathomable bond.

He eased his crushing embrace, searching her face as he gently stroked back tangled blonde curls. Reaching to encircle his neck her hand paused touching a tanned cheek, lingering in a soft caress. Eyes closed, she inhaled the scent of him: an intoxicating mixture of warm wool, leather, tang of male sweat and the hint of English lavender. The thudding of his heart against her breast echoed her own as heat and pleasure spiraled through her. His touch, his nearness filled an aching void—yet overwhelmed her.

Her breath wafted warm and sweet across his cheek in a sigh of inexorable hunger as she molded herself against him. He claimed her lips almost gently. But captured by the delicious taste, deepened the kiss as his strong, yet gentle hands caressed the length of her spine.

Expecting her to react as all others, intimidated and pleading for gentleness, her response left him awestruck. He had broken women in his past; she would not be the last—just one more. But that was before he had kissed her, before emotions long forgotten began to rekindle. She did not shrink from him. Meeting his passion with an unquenchable one of her own, she returned his possessive kiss fervently in a flash-fire of emotion which threatened to engulf her. Proprieties be damned. Right or wrong, she ached for him ... wanted him. With uncontained desire, she arched hungrily to meet him. Tracing the palm of her hand slowly along his lean abdomen, she slipped questing fingers under tight breeches to caress his burgeoning arousal, drawing a gasp of pleasure—or surprise—she was unsure which.

Quickly shedding constrictive clothing, he forced her back onto blankets snatched from his cot and flung in a random heap, pinning her firmly beneath him. Bending close, he began tracing the fullness of her breasts creating molten paths, flicking his tongue to capture first one nipple and then the other. Slowly at first, then building feverishly, she became a willing captive to his exquisite tenderness. Gasps of pleasure burst unbidden, their shared passion: all consuming, wild, and uninhibited. But without warning he changed, efforts at gentleness abandoned as he took his pleasure callously. This was no longer an attempt at making love, merely a savage act of possession demanding submission. Startling him somewhat, she matched his rhythm in mutual need demanding satisfaction. She embraced her pain—an exquisite affirmation of being alive; she needed that. All in good time their mutual gratification brought both to shattering fulfillment: powerful, satisfying ... complete.

Rolling aside, breathing heavily, body slick with sweat, he eyed her as she sat up and met his steely gaze. Locking eyes they appraised each other like wary animals, neither able, nor willing, to speak for the moment. Quirking an eyebrow he sneered, "Was that passion up to your standards, madam?" He inhaled deeply, eyeing her with icy reserve.

"Not bad for a first attempt." She shrugged noncommittally, refusing to be intimidated or forced to confess the truth.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from The 'Beyond' Trilogy by J. Winfield Currie Copyright © 2012 by J. Winfield Currie. Excerpted by permission of Abbott Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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