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redeemed_by_a_rebel_2April 1876
St. Louis, Missouri

The iron pressed against Jake Anderson’s back was almost as cold as the rain pouring out of the night sky.
“Knock on the door,” demanded his brother Zach, his voice angry and on edge.
Jake did as he was told and pounded on the front door, hard enough to be heard over the din of the rain.
“What the hell?” said his eldest brother, Liam, when he opened the door. “Jake? Zach? What are you two doing here? It’s the middle of the night.”
Zach growled from behind Jake. “Are you going to let us in or make us stand in this rain all night?”
“Come in. Zach, put that gun away.”
“Can’t until the kid here,” he poked Jake in the back with the gun, “is inside and we’ve talked to you.”
Jake walked into the foyer of the house his oldest brother owned in St. Louis. Steamer trunks and carpet bags lined the hallway down to the parlor.
“Sorry to do this to you, Liam. I know you’re leaving tomorrow,” said Zach, laying his hat on one of the trunks.
Jake threw his hat on the trunk next to Zach’s.
“Yes. At first light. Now, tell me what’s going on and why you brought Jake here at gun point,” said Liam.
“Only way I could get him to come.”
“And?” Liam said, exasperated. “Don’t make me beat the story out of you word by word, little brother. Just tell me the problem.”
Liam pointed at the two chairs in front of the fire, then went to the fireplace and stoked the banked coals to life. He added a piece of wood to the tiny flames before he turned once again to face them. “Jake. You first,” he said in a tone that brooked no argument.
“I killed an army captain,” Jake said, refusing to sit. He couldn’t sit. Couldn’t be still. He wanted to scream at the injustice, shout at God for his betrayal.
“Why’d you do a damn fool thing like that?”
Jake shrugged. “I didn’t have a choice.”
“There’s always a choice,” countered Liam.
Zach put away his gun. “No, there’s not,” said Zach. “There was reason for it, but he did kill the man. I use the word ‘man’ loosely.”
“Damn it, Jake. They’ll hunt you down and hang you for this.” Liam had been a colonel with seventeen years service, Jake knew he was familiar with military justice.
“The son of a bitch deserved to die. And as soon as I can, I’m going to kill the other bastard, too.”
“He’s mine,” snarled Zach.
“Who?” asked Liam.
“The colonel.”
“Jesus! You two had better tell me what’s going on. Start at the beginning.”
Jake began to pace. The hardwood creaked under his weight and small droplets of water from his wet boots followed in his wake. He swallowed hard and took a deep breath. He didn’t want to relive that moment when he’d lost Elizabeth, but he knew he had to. For Liam. So he’d understand.
“I went to see Elizabeth just like I did every day, just to snatch a few minutes together.” His voice broke and he paused, gathering himself to face the memory. “Her mother and aunt kept her pretty busy with wedding plans so we didn’t get to see much of each other.
“When I got there, I heard a gunshot come from the house. I ran to the door but the damn thing was locked and I had to break it down. I lost precious moments doing that. When I got to the parlor, there were two men standing over Elizabeth. Her face was bloodied.” Jake’s voice cracked.
As if the memory were there, right there, and he was watching it all over again, he felt the color flee his face as he remembered Elizabeth’s. He wet his lips and continued on choked words. “Her dress was ripped, skirt bunched around her waist. The one holding the gun was a colonel and the other was a captain. Both in full uniform. The bastard captain was buttoning his pants when I walked in. I shot him on the spot.
“As soon as the colonel saw me, he ran out the other door toward the kitchen. I followed but he was on his horse and riding away by the time I reached the back door.”
Jake stopped. His body shook. His hands fisted and white knuckled. He took several deep breaths to quell the tears before he could continue.
He watched his brothers eyes fill with pity and he knew he had to finish.
Jake continued as though he were reciting a story. It was the only way he could get through the whole thing, the only way he could relive those moments. “When I got back to the parlor, I went immediately to Elizabeth and got down on my knees beside her. The bastard colonel had shot her in the chest, but she was still breathing. She opened her eyes. They were filled with terror until she realized who I was.” His voice cracked. He paused. It was too fresh. The memory too new and painful. Rage filled him.
“Jake,” she said to me. “I tried to stop them, I tried.”
“Shhh,” I told her. “You’re going to be fine. It’s all right.”
“I tried…tried to stop them…stop John but,” she whispered. “I love you, Jake.”
“She closed her eyes and took her last breath in my arms. I held her for I don’t know how long. Finally, I picked her up and laid her on the sofa. I went back to the captain, made sure he was dead and then looked through his pockets to find out anything I could about the colonel.”
“After he’d kicked the shit out of him,” interjected Zach.

14 thoughts on “Excerpt from REDEEMED BY A REBEL

  1. I loved the excerpt .I have never been disappointed with ANY of your books so I know this one will be a great success.

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