Today I’m welcoming Patricia Bond to Wednesday Writers. Patricia will be talking about her historical Christmas romance novella set in the Civil War era, which deals with two tortured souls seeking inner peace after the Civil War work to build a life for themselves and the orphans they care for. They start by Building a Christmas. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book is donated to a disabled American veterans’ organization, to help combat the effects of PTSD. Welcome, Patricia.
Building a Christmas is one of those stories that brought itself to life. Aspects of it had been percolating for quite some time. A while back, we visited Gettysburg and happened upon re-enactment weekend. In talking to the actors, I found out there really was a sharpshooter unit from Pennsylvania, and they really did wear green coats – wool, no less! in July! – with dull brass buttons, and hid in the trees picking off the enemy during battle. With the direction the world was taking, it seemed we have never stopped warring somewhere. I found myself more and more concerned with refugees fleeing the wars in the Middle East, and realized this, along with PTSD, was nothing new. Civilians and military are both afflicted and have been since our earliest history as a species. I watched news stories of returning soldiers, of children displaced and orphaned, injured and scared, and knew I couldn’t let it go unaddressed, nor could I let it end without hope. And then… Jeb was born. And so was my story.
Building A Christmas
By Patricia Bond
Colonel Nathaniel Walker has been ravaged by the Civil War nearly as much as his country has. Now seeking the sanctuary of home, he hopes to find solace from the dreams haunting him most nights. Instead, he finds an orphanage for war orphans has sprung up next door. Now, his guilt has faces – fourteen of them. And the woman who cares for them. Melanie Treymont exhibits more courage under fire than any soldier he’s ever seen. Is she the one who can help him rebuild his life and finally put his demons to rest?
Melanie Treymont hopes to make amends for her dead husband’s actions by taking in war orphans. But facing eviction, she may have to give up her plans of building a life for them. Unexpected help comes from her neighbor, Colonel Walker, who steps up to the challenge, despite fighting his own inner battles.
These two tortured souls unite for the children, working to build a life for them as well as themselves. They start by “Building a Christmas.”
He narrowed his eyes trying to see clearly through the night. One of the fenceposts was sorely misshapen. As he edged closer, Nathaniel could see it was not a fence post at all, but a human.
A woman. She seemed to be shaking.
The cold, no doubt, although why in the hell didn’t she just go inside if she was that cold? The thought occurred that perhaps she had no home, in which case, he decided, he would offer her the barn and a blanket.
He approached her and realized it was Miss Treymont. What the devil was she doing here?
He was about to speak, ask her that very question when he heard the sob. He stopped in his tracks. Crying women were not his strong suit. He’d had more than his share of them in the war.
And yet. . .
There was something so forlorn, so lost and full of despair about her. She needed someone to comfort her, someone to understand her.
Someone that wasn’t him.
He wanted to turn back. She hadn’t heard him yet, would never know he’d been there. So why wouldn’t his feet obey him?
He kept coming closer, finally stood directly behind her. His hands crept up of their own volition, soothing over her arms. He’d expected her to startle. Instead, her hand inched over to cover his in silent supplication.
Nathaniel turned her around, drew her into his embrace. She moved closer, put her hands and her head on his chest. His arms wound around her, hands stroking her back as she cried into his jacket. He closed his eyes briefly, feeling her warmth and softness and laid his cheek on her head. Instinct overcame caution and he softly kissed her hair.
They stood a long time until her sobs finally subsided. Feeling her control returning, Nathaniel reluctantly let her go. He gazed down into her eyes, tears still sparkling like the new-fallen snow, and wiped away the last trace of wetness from her cheek. In utter silence, they looked at each other then slowly turned away, each to return to their own home.
As Nathaniel crossed the field, he paused and looked back at her. She walked as though caught in thick swamp water, her movements slow, dragging. It seemed it took all her energy to simply put one foot in front of the other.
He knew the feeling well and he felt an unfamiliar emotion unfurl in his chest. After weeks and months of ruthlessly eradicating all traces of it, he thought, he realized he was feeling sympathy.
Sympathy for this twin soul of despair he’d just held in his arms.
About the author:
Books, history, hooped skirts and happily ever after. These are author Patricia Bond’s favorite things she weaves into stories. Add in a dashing hero, an intrepid heroine, and you’ve got her recipe for a historical romance.
Taking advantage of America’s rich history and incredible landscape, her settings have run from the Great Lakes, to rural Pennsylvania, to Baltimore/Washington and the Chesapeake Bay, and lately, the south of France.
Wife, mother, and grandmother, she loves retirement and living near the Great Lakes where she indulges her other passions besides writing. An award-winning amateur photographer, Reiki practitioner, and guild knitter, you may find her at the lakeshore, notebook in hand and camera beside her, drawing inspiration from her amazing surroundings. She may even invite you to pull up a rock and join her.
Patricia’s latest work (unpublished at this time) is a contemporary romance that has just placed 2nd in the Pages From the Heart contest.
You may contact Patricia at: http://www.patricia-bond.com/ Find buy links for this and all her other books on her website.