Release date: 17 March 2014
In 1863, Natchez, Mississippi, peacefully surrendered to the Union Army—but not everyone surrendered peacefully, especially not Shaelyn Cavanaugh. With both her brother and her intended off to war, her home, Magnolia House, and her beloved steamboats are taken over by Major Harte and his small contingent of men. Shae will use every mischievous weapon at her disposal to show Major Harte he has chosen unwisely. She begins by putting vinegar in his coffee.
But instead of being upset with his doctored drink and later molasses in his boots, Major Remy Harte is intrigued. Actually, he finds Shae’s attempts to make him leave her home amusing and he doesn’t feel slighted in the least. What the major does feel is a growing attraction, one that Shae shares as well, despite the fact she is a spoken for woman of the South and he is most definitely an available man from the North. Making circumstances worse, Shae is accused of espionage and they are ultimately betrayed—by one of Remy’s own men.
by Marie Patrick
Marie Patrick lives in beautiful, sunny Arizona with her husband and amazing fur-babies. When she isn’t hard at work writing, she can usually be found curled up with a good book or researching her next novel. Marie loves to hear from her readers. Drop her a note at Akamariep@aol.com or visit her website at www.mariepatrick.com.
An excerpt from Mischief and Magnolias:
“The Union Army has need of your boats to transport men and supplies and your home, being in such close proximity to Rosalie, is perfect to quarter my men.”
“What are we supposed to do? How will I support us if you take my steamboats? Where are we to live?” Incredulity made Shaelyn’s voice sharper than normal. Although she was usually unflappable, even in the most dire of circumstances, this whole tableau had her feeling like she was someone else, someone she didn’t even recognize. “What if I refuse, Major? What will you do then?”
A muscle jumped in the major’s cheek as he stood to tower over her. “You have no choice in this matter, Miss Cavanaugh.” His voice remained strong, but the warmth of his eyes conveyed another message. “It’s nothing personal. Consider this your contribution to the war effort.”
“Your war, not mine!” The words exploded from her, despite the constriction in her throat. How much more would this blasted war take? How much more could she give? Had she brought this on herself by applying for a government contract? She’d been denied, of course, and immediately tried again and again. Had she drawn attention to Cavanaugh Shipping by her sheer persistence? Instead of getting the contract she so hoped for, she had her possessions taken.
A small sound drew her attention. Shaelyn tore her gaze away from the major and glanced at her mother. Brenna had not moved, had not uttered a sound except for a small whimper, but her face had lost all color. Her chin trembled and tears shimmered on her lashes. Pain and confusion flashed in her eyes. Shaelyn’s heart came close to shattering.
She had promised her father she would always take care of her mother, a privilege she gladly accepted. She wouldn’t break her promise now. She took a deep breath and managed to smile at her mother to let her know it would be all right.
“I’m certain you are a reasonable man, Major.” She forced her gaze away from Brenna and faced the man who stood to take everything from her. “We have nowhere to go, sir. No family left, no friends able to take us in. The war has seen to that.” She took a deep breath and tried to keep her anger under control. “Perhaps we can strike a bargain?”