So, a couple of weeks ago, my publisher decided to try a little experiment with my debut novel, The Marker, and put it up for free on Amazon. And this week, Jessie’s War, my western steampunk has gone free!
This is a story near and dear to my heart, and is set close to my hometown. I’ve included the blurb and an excerpt below! Click here for the link to Amazon!
She’s about to become a pawn in a brutal game between nations…
The American Civil War has raged for more than ten years. The outcast daughter of a famous inventor, Jessica White has struggled to salvage what little remains of her life. Then, one cold winter night, the lover she’d given up for dead returns, claiming the Union Army bought the plans for her father’s last invention. But he’s not the only one who lays claim to the device, for the Confederacy wants the invention as well. Both sides will kill to have it.
…And only he can save her.
As an agent for the Union Army, Luke Bradshaw is a man who will use whomever and whatever is at his disposal in order to complete his mission. An attack by Confederate soldiers ensures that Jessie will turn to him for help, but Luke can’t help but wonder about the secrets she keeps–and if those secrets will ultimately prove fatal.
Someone knocked, and Muha’s tentative barking turned hysterical.
Taking her revolving shotgun back down, she crept to the lever that would pull down the shutters and arm the Gatling gun mounted to the rooftop.
“Go home, sheriff. Not talking to you today.”
“It’s not the sheriff.”
Her hand froze and the shotgun clattered to the floor. Gooseflesh dotted her arms and her pulse quickened, a frantic rat-a-tat-tat like a hail of bullets, as her body recognized what her logical mind denied.
The room went quiet. Muha sat with her ears pricked up, her tail thumping cautiously against the worn pine floor. The wolf recognized the gravelly voice, too.
The knock became more insistent, sharper. “Please open the door, Jessie.”
It was a dead man’s voice.
She struggled to fill her lungs with air as the pine door shook beneath her visitor’s heavy fists. Those hands would be big and strong and ridged with calluses. Her heart twisted painfully in her chest, and she tried not to think about them. Or their owner.
She’d gotten over his loss just like she’d gotten over all the others.
With trembling hands, Jessie picked up her shotgun and rested it against the wall. Her legs leaden, she walked to the door and put her hand on the knob, but hesitated.
She’d dreamed of this moment for years, of this man walking back into her life.
Now she couldn’t bring herself to let him in.
“Please. It’s freezing out here.”
She turned the knob, and Luke Bradshaw stood in her doorway, the brim of his hat heavy with snow, and small flakes clung to the dark lashes fringing his silver eyes.
He was as tall as she remembered, towering over her as he stood on her sagging front porch, bringing with him the scent of smoke and sulfur and snow. A black slouch hat covered his head and rested low over his eyes, and a black duster swirled around his bright-spurred boots. The silver six-shooter on his left hip glittered in the low light, and a large, black satchel was strapped to his broad back.
Muha pushed her head past the door.
Luke gave her a lopsided smile and took off his hat. “Hi, Jess.” A scar she didn’t remember ran through his right eyebrow, and another creased his chin. He held his hand out to Muha and scratched behind her grizzled ears, the way he always used to greet her. He handed her a piece of jerky, and despite the long years, a friendship was immediately rekindled. “There’s a girl.”
“Luke.” Jessie reached out to touch his cheek. The stubble of his unshaven jaw was rough beneath her palm, and his skin was cold. Her fingers trembled as she traced his lips, his breath warm against them.
He kissed her fingertips.
Dead men didn’t breathe or kiss a girl’s fingers. Dead men didn’t leave as boys and come back as men. Dead men didn’t come home with new scars or shiver with cold.
“You’re alive,” she whispered.
His sweet, boyish smile melted her heart, and something inside her, denied for far too long, splintered and howled in despair.
She slapped him.
The crack echoed in the empty, snow-lit darkness behind him. Jessie stepped back to slam the door on this would-be ghost who had the gall to walk back into her life and act as if he’d never left.