Love Brings Freedom in 9 Historical Romances
Journey along as nine historical women are about to make their escape from some of life’s greatest challenges. Can their captive hearts be freed to dream, to dare, to love?
Love’s Labours Found by Jennifer AlLee - Montserrat, West Indies, 1655
Temperance Simms only wanted a better life. Instead, she finds herself labeled a criminal and sold as an indentured servant. After a kind man saves her life, can Temperance trust that God will turn her sorrow into something beautiful?
His Indentured Bride by Angela Breidenbach - Pennsylvania, 1773-1776
Leaving Scotland for a short indenture with her betrothed, Maire Greer’s contract is sold when disaster strikes her kindly owner, and then extended through cruel circumstances. Can Kirk Lachlan’s service in the American Revolution save her or will she lose love and freedom forever?
The Suspect Bride by Susan Page Davis - Oregon, 1890s
Verity Ames cooks at the restaurant where shy lawyer Jack Whitwell eats lunch daily. As Jack works up courage to ask her for a date, the sheriff walks into the restaurant and arrests Verity for murder.
His Golden Treasure by Darlene Franklin - San Francisco, 1873
Goldie Hatfield grows up on the Barbary Coast until her guardian demands she pay the cost of her upbringing—or work at her brothel. How far will Pastor Joshua Kerr go to set Goldie free?
Through Stormy Waters by Patty Smith Hall - Atlantic Ocean, 1745
Deported to the British colonies for her father’s crimes, Charlotte Singleton helps Captain John Randall when an epidemic breaks out on his ship. Can two battered hearts find love in the midst of a storm?
Moira’s Quest by Cynthia Hickey - New York, 1869
A quest for revenge ends in a marriage of convenience and a feisty Irish lass discovers that not everything is as it seems as family secrets are revealed. An Irish cop, bent on saving the fallen women of Five Points, New York, finds himself thrust into the role of husband with a woman determined to break down a notorious crime boss. Can these two pull together and find a love bigger than they are?
Love’s Escape by Carrie Fancett Pagels - Virginia, 1850
With her life in peril, Lettie seeks escape from slavery. When Nathan offers to “conduct” her North via an unusual segment on the Underground Railroad, will his efforts help or do them both harm?
Waltzing Matilda by Lucy Thompson - Sydney, Australia, 1821
Henry didn’t plan on a runaway convict masquerading as a shepherd. Or on the woman’s baby. Keeping them safe will cost him his freedom—or will it?
A Score to Settle by Gina Welborn - On the Missouri River, 1870
For JoJo the kiss was a means to an end—she wanted his wallet. For Cyrus her kiss changed everything. He vows to help her escape the snake oil salesman she works for, but exposing the man’s lies may mean settling a score at a cost neither JoJo nor Cyrus can pay.
|Publisher:||Barbour Publishing, Incorporated|
|Product dimensions:||6.20(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.50(d)|
About the Author
Jennifer AlLee believes the most important thing a woman can do is discover her identity in God—a theme that carries throughout her stories. She’s a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and RWA’s Faith, Hope and Love Chapter. When she’s not spinning tales, she enjoys board games with friends, movies, and breaking into song for no particular reason. Jennifer lives with her family in the grace-filled city of Las Vegas, Nevada. Please visit her at www.jenniferallee.com.
Angela Breidenbach is a bestselling author, host of Grace Under Pressure Radio, and the Christian Author Network's president. And yes, she's half of the fun fe-lion comedy duo, Muse and Writer, on social media.
Note from Angela: "I love hearing from readers and enjoy book club chats. To drop me a note or set up a book club chat, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let me know if you'd like me to post a quote from your review of this story. If you send me the link and your social media handle, I'll post it to my social media with a word of gratitude including your name and/or social media handle, too!"
For more about Angela's books (especially more Montana-inspired romances) and podcast, or to set up a book club chat, please visit her website: http://www.AngelaBreidenbach.com
Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/AngelaBreidenbachInspirationalSpeakerAuthor
Susan Page Davis is the author of more than seventy Christian novels and novellas, which have sold more than 1.5 million copies. Her historical novels have won numerous awards, including the Carol Award, the Will Rogers Medallion for Western Fiction, and the Inspirational Readers’ Choice Contest. She has also been a finalist in the More than Magic Contest and Willa Literary Awards. She lives in western Kentucky with her husband. She’s the mother of six and grandmother of ten. Visit her website at: www.susanpagedavis.com.
Bestselling author Darlene Franklin’s greatest claim to fame is that she writes full-time from a nursing home. She lives in Oklahoma, near her son and his family, and continues her interests in playing the piano and singing, books, good fellowship, and reality TV in addition to writing. She is an active member of Oklahoma City Christian Fiction Writers, American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Christian Authors Network. She has written over fifty books and more than 250 devotionals. Her historical fiction ranges from the Revolutionary War to World War II, from Texas to Vermont. You can find Darlene online at www.darlenefranklinwrites.com
PATTY SMITH HALL is an award-winning, multi-published author with Love Inspired Historical and Heartsong/Harlequin. She currently serves as president of the ACFW-Atlanta chapter and is active on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. She calls North Georgia her home which she shares with her husband of 30+ years, Danny; two gorgeous daughters and a future son-in-love. Visit her website at www.pattysmithhall.com.
Cynthia Hickey grew up in a family of storytellers and moved around the country a lot as an army brat. Her desire is to write about real, but flawed characters in a wholesome way that her seven children and five grandchildren can all be proud of. She and her husband live in Arizona where Cynthia is a full-time writer.
ECPA-bestselling author Carrie Fancett Pagels, Ph.D., is the award-winning author of over a dozen Christian historical romances. Twenty-five years as a psychologist didn't "cure" her overactive imagination! A self-professed “history geek,” she resides with her family in the Historic Triangle of Virginia but grew up as a “Yooper” in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Carrie loves to read, bake, bead, and travel – but not all at the same time! You can connect with her at www.CarrieFancettPagels.com.
ECPA- bestselling author Gina Welborn worked for a news radio station until she fell in love with writing romances. She serves on the American Christian Fiction Writers Foundation Board. Sharing her husband's love for the premier American sportscar, she is a founding member of the Southwest Oklahoma Corvette Club and a lifetime member of the National Corvette Museum. Gina lives with her husband, three of their five Okie-Hokie children, two rabbits, two guinea pigs, and a dog that doesn't realize rabbits and pigs are edible. Find her online at www.ginawelborn.com!
Read an Excerpt
Montserrat, West Indies 1655
The immovable wooden planks of the dock felt strange beneath Temperance's feet. She had endured the voyage, with one day blurring into the next until time itself seemed to stop. Two weeks, two months, two years? How long the nightmare had lasted she could not say, but one thing that had never stopped was the constant swell, rise, and fall of the ship. It had become her constant, the only thing she could depend on from moment to long moment. Now, the disorienting lack of movement sent her stomach lurching in protest. If not for the fact that her stomach was empty, she surely would have been sick right there.
The chain attached to the shackles that circled her wrists rattled then jerked. She stumbled forward, barely avoiding a collision with the woman in front of her. Maud? In a futile attempt to pass time and remind herself that she was indeed a human being and not an animal, Temperance had done her best to learn the names of the others in the dank hold of the ship. At first, there had been so many of them, it was hard to remember who was who. But by the end, the weak and sick had succumbed. Now, Temperance was fairly certain she could call the ones left by name.
They shuffled along the edge of the dock, a single-file row of chained women, too humiliated or too weak to raise their heads. Temperance noted the shoes of the people that hurried past, men and women no doubt going to meet one of the merchant ships. And she listened to their derisive comments.
"I find them comical," said a male voice. Then a walking stick shot out and cracked Temperance on the ankle. She yelped, and the man laughed. "You see? These creatures make the most entertaining sounds."
Temperance blinked against the tears that clouded her vision. Creatures. That was all they were now. Merely creatures.
From the sounds behind her, she knew the man was continuing to poke and antagonize the other women. He would have his fun and then, as long as none of the women spoke back, he'd go on his way as if nothing had happened. Temperance just hoped that —
"Get on then with ya!"
Her heart sank. Irene.
"I'm a human, same as you!"
If anyone was going to speak up, it would be Irene. The chain jerked Temperance back and the entire line stopped moving. Daring to look behind her, she saw the man, cheeks red as bog berries, pointing the tip of his walking stick at Irene's chest.
"You are nothing like me," he spat out. "You are a worthless gutter rat. Go back to the drink where you belong."
Irene grunted as he jabbed her hard. She lost her balance and stumbled sideways. Had her arms been free, she might have righted herself, but in her current state it was no use.
Even before Irene hit the water, Temperance anticipated the danger. She tried to move away from the side of the dock, but as one captive after another was pulled into the harbor, the chain jerked her closer to her demise.
This was it, then? This was how her life would end? "No!" she screamed in defiance. "Father in heaven, no! Help me!" She was still screaming as she flew backward and splashed into the water. She tried to kick her feet and go upward, but her skirts tangled around her legs and the heavy chains pulled her down along with the others. Looking up toward the surface, she saw light, then a shadow blotted it out. Her lungs burned as she fought to hold her breath. She could do it no longer. This was the end.
Something grabbed the shoulder of her dress and pulled. As her head broke through the water, she spat and sputtered then focused on the face of her rescuer. The sharp angle of his jaw, his hair falling forward in brown waves as he pulled her shackled wrists up onto the dock.
Still holding her so she wouldn't slip back down, he yelled over his shoulder at the onlookers. "Help me!" When no one moved, he yelled again. "Would you let your property sink to the bottom of the harbor?"
Property. Temperance's stomach clenched at the word, but at least it had the desired effect. Reminded that the women had monetary value, the men rushed forward, grabbed at the chains, and pulled the others up from the water.
A strong arm went around her waist as her rescuer pulled her the rest of the way onto the dock. He let go and turned to help those still in the water, but because of the chain, she was almost pulled back in.
"I have you," he said, holding her firmly. "You are safe."
His words were kind, but he was so very wrong. She would never be safe again. He was a stranger, but he had saved her life and, perhaps an even greater gift, had treated her like a human being. She needed him to know the truth.
"This is a mistake." Her fingers dug into the fabric of his sleeve, and she dared look him in the eye. "I committed no crime."
He held her gaze, brow furrowed. "What is your name?" "Temperance."
A blink, then a nod. "I am sorry, Temperance." And he looked away.
Of course, he had no reason to believe her. She hung her head, focusing on the rough wood below her, how the water had stained patches of it a dark brown. All around her, voices shouted, chains rattled, women cried and coughed. Temperance strained to identify each sound, determined not to think about the feeling of the arm that still held her, or the look of doubt in the eyes of the man who had saved her.
The woman began to shake, shivering from cold, or from fear, or both. Edward removed his jacket, carefully, one arm at a time, to retain his hold on her and ensure she did not fall from the dock, then put it over her back. A sob escaped her lips, but instead of looking at him, she hung her head lower, shoulders hunched.
Edward's brows drew together in concern. Could she be telling the truth? Was she innocent of whatever crime had brought her here? If so, surely those in charge would want to know. Perhaps he could help —
At the sound of his name being called, he looked up but saw only a crush of men securing their prisoners. Then a young man broke through, and Edward expelled a relieved breath.
"Jonathan. As you can see, my attention was needed elsewhere." He glanced down at the shivering woman huddled on the dock.
"When I failed to find you, I asked myself, 'Where might Edward have gone?' When I heard the commotion, the question was answered."
Edward frowned. "There was no choice to make. She would have died."
"She is a prisoner," Jonathan said bluntly. "Drowning today may have been more merciful than whatever fate awaits her."
No matter how he wished to argue the point, Edward remained silent, knowing his brother was right. He'd saved her, but to what end? A brusque voice caught his attention and he saw that the overseer was making his way down the row of chained women, moving in their direction.
"Here now." Edward touched the woman's chin with the tip of his finger, and she lifted her head. Even in her bedraggled state, there was something graceful in the curve of her neck, the pale white skin reminding him of a swan. Banishing the thought, he fastened the top button of his jacket to stop it from sliding off her shoulders. "Keep this as long as you can."
She looked at him, gray eyes wide and stormy, and nodded. Edward helped her to her feet just as the overseer stepped up.
"What's this then?" The rough man flicked the empty sleeve of Edward's jacket with one finger.
"I put it on her," Edward said. "You'd do well to let her keep it."
The man frowned and pushed a lump of tobacco from under his lip to his cheek with his tongue. "Why is that?"
"Because I have a very long memory, and should I find myself in need of more servants at the Aldridge Plantation, I will naturally deal with the man to whom I owe a favor."
Jonathan snickered, but Edward ignored him, focusing instead on the overseer, who now appeared more than happy to comply.
"Yes, sir, that does make right good sense." He spat a stream of tobacco juice on the dock then wiped his sleeve across his mouth and moved on to the next woman in line.
Temperance's shoulders fell as a relieved sigh escaped her lips. "Thank you."
Edward nodded. There was no more reason for him to stay there, but he did not want to leave. Her plea of innocence rang in his ears, but with nothing more than her word, he was helpless to do anything of consequence.
He put his hand on her shoulder and squeezed it through his jacket. "God be with you, Temperance."
As he turned and walked away, he was sure he heard a sob. It took all his self-control not to look back.
"Few things in life are constant," Jonathan said, keeping pace beside him. "But one thing I can always depend on is Edward Aldridge coming to the aid of a distressed damsel."
"Act coarse if you like, brother. But I do not believe even you would have left her in the water to die."
Jonathan shrugged as if it made no difference. Five years younger than his brother, Jonathan could be unreliable and self-indulgent, but he had a quick mind and a good heart.
"Be that as it may, I would like to get to the tea shop before the breakfast blend is gone."
Edward eyed his brother with a smirk. "You mean you want to get there before Miss Pratchett leaves for the day."
"Perhaps." Jonathan looked away, but not before Edward saw the blush staining his cheeks.
"Go on ahead," Edward said with a wave of his hand. "I will meet you at the wagon when I finish here."
Jonathan looked back at him, an eyebrow cocked. "What other business do you have on the dock? Hoping to find more women in need of rescuing?"
"My business is my own." Edward crossed his arms, drawing himself up to his full height, and looked down at his brother. "You had best see about yours."
Joking and teasing was all well and good, but Jonathan knew when Edward had had enough. After a quick nod, he turned on his heel and hurried in the direction of the tea shop. Once he disappeared around a corner, Edward relaxed and huffed out a sharp laugh. They lived on an island that grew and processed the finest coffee anyone could want, yet Jonathan sought out that weak English tea. Only a woman could explain that.
Edward turned his attention back to the line of prisoners on the dock. The woman — Temperance — was looking at him. As soon as he caught her eye, she jerked her head, breaking their gaze. Several wagons had stopped close by, no doubt driven by representatives from the plantations that had reserved new workers. Most were strangers to him, but there were three he knew. Two were the overseers from the Dalton and Rawlings plantations, places where a servant, if they followed orders and caused no trouble, could live to see the end of their indenture. But Edward's brows lowered in a deep V when he saw the overseer from the Exley Plantation had not come alone. Sitting beside him was Simon Exley himself. It was his custom to come to the dock and handpick the servants to be indentured to him, often replacing some of the more sickly ones with those already designated for other plantations. Edward liked to think he could find something good and admirable in any person. To date, he'd found no such qualities in Exley.
The dour man moved along the line of women, flicking his finger to indicate which ones he wanted. Edward held his breath when Exley stopped in front of Temperance and growled some direction. She lifted her head, keeping her eyes averted until Exley grabbed her chin and forced her mouth open. He looked at her teeth as though inspecting a horse. Bristling at such brutish behavior, Edward moved closer. Not only did he want to hear what was being said, he wanted to be close in case Exley's treatment of her became any worse.
Exley glanced at the foreman standing beside him. "Quite a bunch of half-drowned rats today. I've a mind to refuse them all."
The foreman nodded and wrung his hands, showing none of the bravado he'd expressed earlier to Edward. "There was an accident, sir. One of the clumsy curs fell into the drink. But we got them out. Did not lose one of 'em."
Edward looked down at his shoes, still soaked and oozing water, and shook his head. If it had been up to that man, a good many of the ship's ill-fated passengers would have drowned.
Exley did not commend the foreman for his quick action. Instead, he turned his attention back to Temperance. "Not much to this one." His voice rumbled like carriage wheels across cobblestones. Scratching a red, scaly patch of skin on his cheek, he looked her up and down. "I suppose she'll do."
"Aye, sir, she'll do whatever you like her to do." The foreman grinned and was rewarded with a lecherous laugh of agreement from Exley before they moved down the line.
It took all of Edward's self-control to stay where he was and not confront the man. Instead, he focused on Temperance. There was no doubt she was scared. The encounter with Exley should have broken her further, but it hadn't. She kept her head up, shoulders pulled back, and took in a long, slow breath. It was as if she prepared for battle.
An odd, completely illogical sense of pride expanded Edward's chest. She was a fighter, which was good. It would take every ounce of strength and courage she possessed to survive the life awaiting her. If Edward believed in divine intervention, he would pray for her. But, as he had begun to doubt whether God cared, he'd simply have to hope for the best.
The wagon bounced over the crude road, jarring every bone in Temperance's body and clacking her teeth together with such force she feared they might break. The dozen or so other men and women around her were silent, save for the occasional grunt when a wheel met a deep rut.
There had been a moment back at the dock, when the shackles were removed from her wrists, that Temperance believed she was free. Somehow, they'd realized she wasn't a criminal and were letting her go. Then she had been grabbed by the arm and forced to get into a wagon where she was once again shackled, this time around her ankles. At that moment, the last faint glimmer of hope died and she faced the truth. She was to be an indentured servant, even though she had willingly boarded the ship that brought her to the West Indies.
How had her good intentions gone so horribly wrong? She pulled the jacket more tightly around her, even though she was now thoroughly dry and the weather too warm for the additional layer. She buried her face in the wool, relishing the musky, male smell. It was a relief after the stench of the ship's hold and a brief respite from the odor of herself and those now around her.
"Ye cannot keep et."
Without loosening her hold on the jacket, Temperance looked in the direction of the rough voice. A man sat almost directly across from her. His hair and beard were long and matted, his clothes little more than rags held together by tenacious threads, and pale pink scars marred his dark skin.
"Why?" Her voice was weak, barely a thin whisper.
"Ye're property now. Only things ye get are what they give ye." He snorted in disgust. "An' most of that is nothing ye want."
"Quiet!" the man driving the wagon yelled then flicked a whip behind him, not appearing to be aiming for anyone in particular.
Nearly everyone in the back of the wagon flinched and ducked their heads. Still, the tip of the whip caught one woman on the neck. She screamed then clasped her hand over her mouth as a thin trickle of blood flowed from under her ear.
"Enough." The man sitting beside the driver scowled over his shoulder. "Another sound and you'll wish you'd drowned in the harbor like the vermin you are."
It was the same man who had examined her teeth back on the dock. If she understood what was happening, he was also the man who had purchased her and the others in the wagon. He held their lives in his rough, dirty hands.
Temperance's fingers dug deeper into the wool of the jacket as she fought back her sobs. She inhaled deeply, focusing on the smell, remembering the man who had been so kind. What had his friend called him? Edward. He'd saved her life. Had she even thought to thank him? If she saw him again ... Temperance squeezed her eyes shut and shook her head. What a fool she was. She was now a servant and no better than a common criminal. She would never see him, or anyone she cared about, ever again.
"Home at last," one of the men up front grumbled, although Temperance had no idea which.
Barely raising her head, she opened her eyes and looked at their destination. The wagon drove through two huge open gates. Made of thick black metal and designed with swirls and elaborate patterns, they were more intricate than any Temperance had seen back home. The wagon continued down the dirt road, hurrying past a house so grand, it had to be where the owner of the plantation lived. The road twisted, going around a long row of palm trees, and the rest of the grounds came into sight.
Fields of strange tall plants stretched to the horizon. Although she had never seen sugar in its raw form, Temperance thought that must be the crop. The plants quivered as though alive, but it was only from the workers who moved among the rows, some coming out loaded down with overflowing baskets and burlap slings, which they dumped into a waiting wagon. They were mostly dark-skinned men and women, but here and there she saw others who reminded her of home. Either Irish criminals or innocent souls who'd fallen into the same trap she had.
Excerpted from "The Captive Brides Collection"
Copyright © 2017 Jennifer AlLee.
Excerpted by permission of Barbour Publishing, Inc.
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.
Table of Contents
Love's Labours Found,
His Indentured Bride,
The Suspect Bride,
His Golden Treasure,
Through Stormy Waters,
A Score to Settle,