Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the blog tour for Along Came a Soldier! I have an extract to share from the book.
My book, Along Came A Soldier, is set in 1820 Cornwall. In this extract, my character Charity goes to Bodmin Gaol to visit Jethro, the man she loves. He is being held at the gaol before his trial for murder.
‘I’m sorry.’ Her voice hitched. ‘It’s all my fault.’
‘Hey, no.’ Jethro scooted across to the next chair and patted the seat he’d left with his hand. ‘Come here, sit beside me. I’ve been thinking. Last night, despite this mess, I thought how lucky I am to have found you. I wouldn’t change that. Not ever.’ This was the time to tell her he loved her, but the words stuck in his throat. He’d never said them before. He didn’t know if he could.
She sat down, wrapped her arms around his neck, and cried into his shoulder. ‘We still have the trial, and William Vine says he has a plan, but I’m not sure I believe him.’
‘My grandmother, Myrtle, says she’s going to save me too, but I think I have to save myself.’ He scanned the room and brought his mouth close to her ear. ‘I have a cellmate who’s been in and out of this prison that many times he knows every nook, every cranny. Every weak spot. Men have escaped from here. I know how, and I know I can do it too.’
She stared at him open-mouthed and wiped away her tears. ‘Won’t that be dangerous?’
‘Compared to hanging? No. But I can’t go back home. I’ll have to leave.’
‘Where would you go?’
‘France, has to be. I’ll go there, and once I’ve got work and a place to live, I’ll send for you. I don’t know how long it will take me, and I get it if you don’t want to join me.’ He gripped her hand hard. He should tell her now. I love you. Instead, he stared into her eyes and willed her to understand his unspoken words. ‘I need to let my brother know. He knows where I stash my money, and I’m taking him with me.’
‘I’ll tell him myself, and of course I want to join you. I’ll follow you anywhere. Can I bring Joe?’
‘Hell, bring the whole family. I only care that we’re together.’
‘But you won’t do this until after the trial?’
‘Escape is only possible when I’m on remand. Once I’m convicted, I’ll be moved to the felons’ ward and put under lock and key until they hang me. I won’t even get time to work. I won’t be able to see anyone except the chaplain.’
‘But you might be found not guilty and set free.’
‘How likely is that?’
‘Your father was.’
‘He was lucky. I can’t rely on luck.’
Charity grabbed his arm, held on and squeezed. ‘No, don’t do it. If you’re caught, they’ll hang you for sure.’
‘I’m going to hang anyway. At least this way, I can give myself a chance.’
‘There are only three days left until the trial.’
‘I know.’ He checked the room once more. ‘I’m getting out tonight, so you must tell my brother today. He’ll know what to do.’
‘Oh God, I feel sick. I think you should wait. Please, Jethro.’
‘I have to, Charity. I don’t want to die, not without a fight. Look, if it all goes wrong and the worst does happen, I want you to promise me—’
‘No!’ Charity interrupted him, then lowered her voice and whispered, ‘Don’t say it. I won’t find someone else. Without you, I can’t think of a reason to live.’
He stroked her face with his fingertips. ‘There is always a reason to live.’
‘Then I’ll live as a spinster.’
Jethro licked his lips. He couldn’t say the words she needed to hear and didn’t know why. Perhaps he could tell her with his actions. ‘Will you mark me? Use your fingernail, on my wrist. Here.’ He held his wrist out to her, propped against the table. ‘The letter C, so I’ll always have you with me.’
Charity bit her bottom lip, then dug her thumbnail into his skin. It made only a dent. He placed his free hand over hers and pushed, not stopping until his skin broke and blood flowed. He preferred this physical pain to his mental torment, this he knew how to handle.
Jethro’s head jerked up as the squat turnkey walked toward them, and he pulled his shirt sleeve down to cover the blood. He grabbed Charity’s face for a kiss that was all too brief and didn’t say what he wanted, not even close.
‘Time to go, laddie.’
They walked together out of the dayroom. At the door, Charity was sent left, and Jethro was taken right. When he reached the corner of the corridor, he spun around and opened his mouth, ready to call out to her, to say, ‘I love you,’ but she’d already gone. He was a fool and a coward. He prayed he’d get another chance.
Genre: Historical suspense, thriller, romance
Publication date: May 14, 2020
When murder stalks St. Merryn, no secrets are safe…
A forbidden romance…
Set in 1820 Cornwall, Charity Perrow lives a sheltered life in the village of St. Merryn. When she meets and falls for Jethro Ennor, they soon learn their families are bitter enemies, and Charity finds herself torn between remaining loyal to her family and giving into her growing desire for a man they hate.
A village with hidden secrets…
A battle-scarred redcoat is lurking In Greenoak Woods. Struggling to keep his grip on sanity, he’s come home to settle the score with those responsible for the heavy burden he’s been carrying all these years.
An innocent man accused…
When a villager is murdered, the suspicion falls on Jethro. Now Charity must risk everything, including being disowned by her family, to prove his innocence and save him from the gallows.
But as Charity hunts for the truth, she begins to uncover secrets over a decade old—secrets that will change everything.
Amazon India – https://amzn.to/3cvjhDL
About the Author
Brenda Davies can trace her Cornish heritage back to the 17th century. She loves to indulge her passion of history and all things Cornish by delving into the past and bringing it alive for the reader to experience, which inspired her to write her debut novel Along Came a Soldier. She enjoys whiskey, chocolate, going to the theatre, and losing herself in a good book. She resides in Bristol, England, where she is currently working on her next novel.
Follow Brenda Davies: https://brendadavies.blogspot.com/