Sunday, August 2, 2015


RWA/NYC Celebrates Historical Romance.
Medieval Times. Regency. American West. Jazz Age, 50s, etc.
Visit us daily for excerpts from our members’ historical novels. 
Happy Reading!

By Thea Devine
(work in progress, 2015)

Summary:  The disappearance of two wagons full of gold,  the death of her father five years before, and now the reappearance of the overseer's son, and the loss of her beloved plantation after the War are all a combination of events that send Christie on a quest to discover the truth behind her father's death and the missing gold.

How futile was this, Alex wondered, crouching by the rusted stove and poking the ashes. Long dead ashes. Long dead life.

He had lived fifteen years in this hellhole: he'd worked the fields, and he'd willingly played big brother to the imperious daughter of the Big House. 

But when Christie Rayburn, the plantation princess, put up her hair and let down her dresses, Alex Cordell, the overseer's son, walked away from Redlands and never looked back.

He moved the guttering candle to the rickety table. There wasn't much else here:   stripped beds in the corners. A cupboard. An iron kettle. Moldering straw on the floor.

Not much of a life. And nothing of his father.

His father had taken everything with him on that ill-conceived save-the-gold wagon train that had ended in a long fall into a gorge.

Alex shoved at the cupboard in anguish; it tipped over, splintering to smithereens. In the debris was an envelope affixed to one of the slats.

He carefully removed it and unfolded it, stunned to see it was a map. The map, he realized suddenly. To the secret location Asa Rayburn had never revealed to him, the guide he'd hired to lead a gold-laden wagon train there.

His father had known. Cagey old bastard.

But why leave the map?

“Don't move."

He froze. His back was to the door but he knew that voice.

"Get away from the table, Alex."

He edged away slowly, cautiously, and turned to face her. God, she was so thin, so determined. She looked as work-worn as any farmer's wife.

“I should have killed you five years ago."

She meant it. Because he had killed her heart when he’d left all those years ago, and killed her spirit when he'd brought the news of her father’s death.

"I want my gold."

They had been over and over this five years earlier. "There was no gold."

“If I had the gold, I could save Redlands ." Her voice was like ice, but he heard the thin thread of desperation underneath.

"No one found any gold. No one found anything.   No one could get down into the gorge, Christie. This is not a new story."

"So you say," she said scornfully. "I never believed it. I think you were there. you took what you wanted and you left my father to die. And now you're just going to let Redlands be sold into the hands of strangers."

As if he felt the same way about Redlands as she did.  

“My father died too,” he reminded her through clenched teeth, and girded himself to deal the next blow. "I can't help you."

Her body sagged almost visibly. "You could if you wanted to."  She raised the rifle. He knew she could use it; he had taught her.

"I never believed you." She took aim. "Get off my property."

"Christie --"

Blam! The shot hit just at his feet.

"Get out!"

Blam! She blasted the table and shattered the top.

"Get out of my house!"

Damn, it was hers -- until the auctioneer arrived at dawn -- and that was the gulf between them: even if she were impoverished and in rags, she would always be the lady of the manor, and he would always be the overseer's son.

And, in her eyes, a thief.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Thea Devine's books defined erotic historical romance.  She's the author of nearly thirty books of historical and contemporary erotic romance, and a dozen novellas.  She is a Romantic Times Romance Pioneer honoree, and was voted the 2015 RWA/NYC Lifetime Achievement Award.  Visit her at


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