Friday, April 4, 2014

Sophia Carpenter - the Barefoot Cinderella

The War Between the States is raging in Georgia in 1864, and Sophia Carpenter is waging a Civil War of her own with her alcoholic papa … unfortunately he has the upper hand. Her mother buried years ago, it is up to Sophia to keep their dirt farm producing so her and her father don’t starve.

Even now that she’s of marrying age her papa does everything in his power to keep suitors away. If she gets married who will take care of him? Sophia’s had enough of cooking and cleaning and taking his abuse. She’s ready to find a man of her own, but with the war taking nearly every young man to the front it leaves few in Clark Springs for her to choose from.

Then Confederate soldier Lucas Grady shows up at her door wounded and bleeding. Ever since her mother told her about Cinderella, Sophia dreamed of finding her own Prince Charming. She had a lot in common with Cinderella thanks to her no account father. Could the handsome soldier who landed in her lap be her knight in shining armor?

Sophia’s rose-colored glasses have gotten her through her tough life so far. Perhaps Lucas could find a glass slipper or some other way to whisk her away from her papa’s grasp. Or would their forbidden love bring nothing but trouble?

Excitement threaded through her. Was she finally getting a man? A handsome, caring and courageous man at that. God had outdone himself when he’d answered her prayer.
“We have to keep this from Papa.” Mr. Grady hadn’t taken the musket with him to the barn. Her old man could come out here and shoot him at any time.
“We can, for now. If that is what you wish, Miss Carpenter.”
Sophia exhaled. “That is what I want,” she said, shifting her weight. If they were going to court, they needed to know more about each other. One question had been plaguing her since the evening she’d sewn up his leg. “I’d like to know about the battle.”
His eyebrows knitted together and he leaned back. “What would you like to know? War isn’t a ladylike subject.”
She didn’t care whether it was proper or not. Papa had never treated her like a lady. “How did you get shot?”
“Charging the Yankees,” he replied, a playful undertone to his voice.
She’d learned he wasn’t much of a talker, but she wanted a better answer than that. Maybe she should start with a more direct question. “What regiment are you from?”
“The 4th Georgia Infantry.”
      Good. I can work off that. “So you’re from Georgia, then?”
“No, miss. Tennessee. But I transferred here.”
“Oh. All right, but why did you end up on my doorstep instead of with your regiment?”
“Not much left of the Fighting Fourth, miss,” he replied curtly. Color drained from his face, and a haunted look filled his eyes.
She swallowed hard. It had been wrong to bring up the difficult subject now. They’d talk more about this later, when he was ready.
“I understand,” she whispered. “I’m sorry.”
“One good thing came out of that battle,” he said, his gaze lifting to hers. “I met you.”
Her heart flipped. Yes, she was Cinderella, and he was the nobleman coming to her rescue. Talk like that would charm her silly. Already she had a hard time keeping him off her mind, continually pausing in the middle of working in the garden to glance over at the barn.
One thing continued to bother her though. He seemed to be holding something back. Why hide something unless you were ashamed or worried or afraid? Maybe all three. Except Mr. Grady didn’t seem the type of man to do something wrong—always acting the perfect gentleman. “Mr. Grady, seeing as how we’re courting, I think it would be all right if you called me Sophia.”
Mr. Grady grinned; his eyes no longer looked haunted. “In private, of course, Sophia,” he said. “And you may call me Lucas.”
“I look forward to getting to know you better, Lucas.” She had so many questions. Hopefully their next conversation would be smoother. This one had been as bumpy as a toad’s back.
When the clock struck twelve, would her dream come true or fade away?

Buy Soldier in Her Lap now:  Decadent Publishing | Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Amazon UK | ARe

Haley Clearhall lives in Washington State where she enjoys all four seasons and the surrounding wildlife. She writes historical romance set in the 19th century U.S. When she is not researching or writing, she plays with her cats, watches the Western and History Channels, and goes antiquing. She is hoping to build a time machine so she can go in search of her prince charming. A good book, a cup of coffee, and a view of the mountains make her happy.

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Haley Whitehall said...

I'm really excited for the release of Solider in Her Lap! :)

Anonymous said...

Cool post, Haley!