Unconditional Surrender & Crescent Moon
Nothing could drag Kristen McConnell back to re-enacting. Nothing, except the wedding of her best friend. Maybe Creed Graham wouldn’t attend the 150th Battle of the Wilderness. Maybe she wouldn’t see him even if he was.
When Creed discovered Civil War reenacting, he knew it held everything he loved: history, horses, sleeping under the stars, guys drinking beer by the campfire. There was nothing better. Then he met Kirsten McConnell. And she ruined everything for him.
The Wilderness held his salvation. He knew she would return after three long years. This time he would erase her from his heart for good.
While the Battle of the Wilderness rages in explosions of cannon fire, Kirsten can no longer avoid Creed. Will they continue their war or will there be an Unconditional Surrender?
Where else in the entire world but at a reenactment could one cross the lines of history, camp near a forest and go shopping at the same time? She marveled at the people in period clothing as they browsed through the shops—a 19th century shopping mall made of canvas tents. Thousands of men, women and children wandered through the tents for items made especially for reenactors.
The sounds of approaching horses jarred her attention from the earrings. Her hands trembled so much she dropped the jewelry back into the case.
Just because there were cavalry, didn’t mean Creed would be riding with them. Maybe he hadn’t even come, Kirsten rationalized. Perhaps he gave up reenacting long ago.
But as the pounding hooves on the dirt road grew closer, her heart mimicked their thunder. She wiped the perspiration from her quivering hands onto her skirt.
Get it over with. You’ll be anticipating him to be on every horse you hear or see. On the other hand, if she could avoid him for the weekend, she wouldn’t have to address the problems that plagued her so long.
Yet, if she came face-to-face with him again, she might be disappointed. Could it be that only his memory caused her heart to flutter? Impulse drove her to the edge of the sutler’s tent. Hiding behind the rows of Confederate butternut jackets hanging at the edge of the tent so he wouldn’t see her, she peeked over the clothes as the tide of Yankee blue surged upon her. She glanced from face to face, searching for the one who made her anticipating heart threaten to burst from her body.
The snake-like column drew to an end. No Creed. Relief overcame curiosity, and she glided from her hiding place.
Then, as if the devil played with her heart, he appeared at the tail of the procession. Their eyes met. He squinted through the dust at her. Beneath his slouch hat, a frown creased his forehead, and his teeth clenched.
Recognition. Yes, he recognized her, and she recognized something also. If she ever doubted, she appreciated that he was still the most handsome man in the world, at least to her. Steeling herself, Kirsten faced the man she would love forever.
As he neared, she recalled his tousled hair when he woke at her side and how his original declaration of love caused her to sob so hard she couldn’t answer. Most of all, she remembered the look in his eyes as they glowed with desire.
Yet today was different, not just because they already had loved each other or because he proposed and she accepted. Her heart still trembled as it had every time she looked at him, but today was different mainly because a young boy, perhaps two years old, sat before him on the saddle. The child was a close duplicate of Creed from his black hair covered with a Yankee kepi to the boots on his tiny feet. He looked up at Creed with a smile and adoration.
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Genre: Romantic Suspense
Sinner or saint?
When Celine St. Pierre is murdered under the canopy of oaks on St. Charles Avenue, questions arise about this New Orleans sainted woman, and Assistant District Attorney Claressa Dupré vows to find the answers. Top of her list of suspects is the sexy Texan, West Morgan, IV.
Wealthy oil baron Weston Morgan, IV, arrived in New Orleans on a mission to return to Texas what Celine St. Pierre stole from him and his family. But the woman’s death throws a monkey wrench in the works and pins him as the top suspect in the murder investigation. Further complicating his life is the beautiful but determined Clarissa Dupré, whom he can’t seem to get close enough to or far enough from.
As the investigation spirals out of control, Clarissa and Morgan find that nothing is simple in The Big Easy.
The evidence against West Morgan in Celine St. Pierre’s death practically stuffed the valise she carried. Yet she lacked the most important: motive. Why had Morgan come to New Orleans? Why had he killed Celine? What circumstances had driven him to murder? Not that she needed a motive, but she’d learned juries preferred it.
Astonishingly, his attorneys had asked to meet with her.
“Mr. Morgan.” She glanced up from her notes. Eyes cold, calculating, and conceited gazed back at her through hooded lids. Celine St. Pierre hadn’t stood a chance.
“I only have a few questions.”
“Take all the time you need,” he answered. “I’ve nothing else on my agenda today.”
“Why did you kill Celine St. Pierre?”
“Didn’t you?” She glanced at the three attorneys, and suddenly she envisioned the three monkeys: see, hear, and speak no evil. “Then prove it to me.”
Removing the Stetson, he threaded his fingers through his hair. “Hell, Honey, I don’t have to. Remember? I’m innocent until you prove otherwise.”
Honey? She’d worked long and hard to get where she was. No one called her, “Honey.”
His hand was on the doorknob.
“Mr. Morgan, you agreed to answer some questions.”
After several anxious moments, Morgan shrugged off his attorney’s instructions not to answer. “Ask away.”
Glancing back at the note pad where she had listed the questions, she proceeded. “Why did you sell more than half of your assets before you came to New Orleans?”
He sat in the hard wooden chair at the end of the table, like a corporate giant ruling his boardroom. Crossing one leg over the other, he rested his ankle on his knee and his Stetson on the table. His long legs appeared to go on forever.
She asked again, “Why did you sell off your assets?”
“Ask my accountant.”
“I have.” She waited, hoping he would reply. Nothing.
“Why did you put all of it into checking accounts?”
“I’ve been to New Orleans before,” he said, and Claressa inched forward, anticipating his answer, the last puzzle piece. “Knowing your city’s reputation, I didn’t want to carry that much cash on me.”
Smart aleck. “And why would you need that much money during your visit?” At least this cowboy didn’t spurt four-letter words at her. Or lunge for her throat. Not yet, anyway.
Thankful for the civil atmosphere, she took a deep breath and a different route. “How long have you known Celine St. Pierre?”
“Mr. Morgan . . . “
“Mr. Morgan, why did you kill Mrs. St. Pierre?”
He shot forward so quickly that Claressa jerked back. West leaned as far as possible over the wide table and demanded, “Look at me.”
She tilted her chin defiantly, met his gaze, and tried to seem undisturbed.
“I’m successful. I’m rich. Why would I have to kill someone?”
“Rich people kill all the time. Don’t you read the news? Why would you kill Mrs. St. Pierre? What’s the connection?”
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Patricia Charles remembers going to the public library when she was a small child. The library was only a block away. Because she was too young to cross the street alone, her older brother reluctantly volunteered to take her. Of course, she wouldn’t let him carry her books. She was a big girl. She had so many books she had to balance them with her chin, and she cried when she had to return them. Books have been in her life as long as she can remember.
Her love of books eventually lead her to the theatre. She has a Master’s of Arts in Drama and Communication and a Master’s of Library and Information Sciences. Naturally, she is a librarian, a medical librarian.
She is a member of the Romance Writers of American, Southern Louisiana Chapter of RWA and Celtic Hearts Romance Writers. In 2013, she won Best Historical and Highest Overall Score in the Dixie Kane Contest.
Patricia lives on the Gulf Coast, having moved there from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Frodo, her large 16-pound Pomeranian, likes to lick her feet while she writes.