Friday, 1 June 2012
Author Spotlight - Excerpt from "When Shadows Falls"
Thank you so much for supporting Tina during her spotlight week. Leave a comment on today's post today, Saturday and Sunday along with your email so we can get ahold of you, and we'll pick a winner on Monday to receive a free copy of Tina's novel, "When Shadows Fall." Enjoy the excerpt!
Matthew drew up his legs, rested his arms on his knees, and tucked his head on his arms. The sapling straightened in relief. The sweat beaded and ran a line down his back; he was too busy visiting with Rebekah to care.
Where was she now? How was she? Nathan promised to keep him informed, but so far, no word had arrived. It worried him. If he had the time -- if he hadn't joined up -- he'd look into things himself, but he wouldn't have leave 'til November. He was beginning to doubt he'd make it till then.
"Mr. Cavanaugh." Hearing his name, Matthew stood up, brushing his backside. "Mr. Cavanaugh." A young private scanned the area, searching for him.
"Here." Matthew waved and headed toward the messenger.
"Mr. Cavanaugh." The private studied Matthew's attire, then saluted and tried to catch his breath. "Captain St. James would like to see you in his quarters, sir."
"Will that be all, Private?" Sweat beaded on the young man's forehead. It dislodged and rolled with his nod. Matthew swiped his own brow. "If you've nothing further to do, maybe you should head down to the stream. I think I see an empty spot."
"Yes, sir." The private started to run then stopped and saluted.
The private headed for the stream and crammed himself in the small space. Matthew went in search of Nathan.
"Nathan." He stopped outside the tent.
"Come in." From behind his desk, over a stack of papers, Nathan looked up at his friend. "Glad you could come by. We don't see enough of each other."
"Probably has something to do with this war," Matthew said lightheartedly. Nathan's face devoid of emotion, he nodded. "You just get back?" Matthew nodded and plucked at his shirt. "Haven't cleaned up.
I'm surprised you can get this close without gagging." Matthew smiled... Nathan didn't. Something was wrong. Matthew took a seat on Nathan's cot, and studied his friend.
Nathan looked healthy enough. A little tired. Weren't they all? Nathan's double-breasted coat with blue velvet cuffs and collar, was slightly worn, but he dressed impeccably in spite of it. From his regulation haircut, right down to the shine on his black Wellingtons, he looked like a true career soldier. What was amiss?
"I know you haven't given your report, but I wanted your assessment of the situation." Nathan looked up long enough for Matthew to glimpse the pain in Nathan's brown eyes.
"It doesn't look good. But you know that. We aren't going to hold Harper's Ferry, and Lee knows it. He's determined to make a stand here." Matthew sighed. "It was nothing short of a miracle to find Lee's orders in Frederick and it's to our benefit Lee has his army divided with us sitting right between 'em.
Let's hope, McClellan will use that advantageously. But this won't be a minor skirmish and it can't be stopped. Over a hundred thousand men are in those fields -- itching to fight."
"So, when it does come -- and it will. Soon. -- It will be nothing short of hell on earth. I just pray we hold the line. Pray we hold Maryland." Matthew barely nodded. "That's about all I can say."
The table wobbled as Nathan moved from behind it. His stack of papers shifted as if caught by a breeze -- a ghost breeze the whole camp was looking for. Nodding solemnly, he took a seat on the cot. It creaked and bowed under the weight of both men.
"I wouldn't tell this to another soul, but I'm afraid. I'm afraid I'm not going to make it through this next battle. I feel it, Matt. I can't even tell Sara."
Matthew understood the feeling. It tormented him too, tormented them all. "It's nothing to be ashamed of. Only a fool would say he wasn't afraid. You'll make it home."
Tears formed in Nathan's eyes. "This feeling is awful strong. And how long will home be there?
"Don't talk like that, Nate. We'll hold the line." Matthew fought to hold his tears. "You won't die. You can't." I won't let you.
Nathan met Matthew's eyes directly. "But if I did. I couldn't without you knowing how much you mean to me. You're like a brother. I count it a privilege to call you friend."
"And I you," Matthew choked the words, tried to swallow the pit in the back of his throat. It felt as if his heart lodged there. The two men hugged and cried like mere babes. Somewhere amid the pain, they both found a smile. They pulled apart slapping each other's arms softly.
"About that bath," Nathan teased and covered a snigger with his hand. He dusted Matthew's shirt before he grew serious again. "Matt, I know I've hounded you about the Lord and your eternal soul, but I couldn't bear to have you go into this next battle without telling you again of God's love. I've been praying for you. Praying you'd accept the gift of God's grace. Praying you'll be okay. I want to know if I do die, I'll be able to see you again."
Nathan's sincerity touched Matthew. True, he'd told him all this before, but knowing at this moment in time Nathan prayed for him, humbled him. "I know," Matthew's voice broke. "I know I've always told you, I'll think about. And I do. It's on my mind more than ever. I'm glad you pray for me. Don't stop."
"Ah, Matt. I call you brother now because you're dear to me. One day I hope to call you so 'cause you know the Lord. I won't stop praying." Nathan squeezed Matthew's shoulder.
"I'm glad." Matthew smiled. "I should let you clean up before you give your report, but I'll see you there." "Until this afternoon then." Matthew turned to leave and Nathan stopped him. "Wait, this might interest you." Nathan pulled an envelope from his pocket. He handed it to Matthew with a wink. "It came while you were gone. Don't worry about getting it back to me. You keep it."
Matthew stepped out of the tent and turned the envelope in his hands. After a month, word had finally come from Rebekah. Matthew stuck the letter in his pocket; he'd read it once he'd cleaned.
Changed and shaved, he settled back on his cot half an hour later and opened Rebekah's letter. It didn't matter it wasn't addressed to him, all that mattered was knowing she was okay.
When Shadows Fall http://tinyurl.com/d93p77a
In the Manor of the Ghost http://ning.it/dB0zAj,
Touched By Mercy http://ning.it/9OJZ5r
Website http://www.tinapinson.com Twitter @Tina_Pinson
"For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD... " Jer. 29:11