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Chase for an Angel [The Hastings Saga Book 1] [MultiFormat]
eBook by Christy Poff

eBook Category: Romance/Historical Fiction Dirk A. Wolf Award Honorable Mention, Preditors and Editors Reader's Poll Top 10 Finalist: Best Cover Art
eBook Description: A Union officer faces the Civil War on many fronts. A Southern gem awaits his return but fights her own battle. Will his chase for an angel bring them loving happiness? First book in the epic Hastings Saga Series.

eBook Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press, Published: 2006
Fictionwise Release Date: May 2006


5 Reader Ratings:
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Prologue

The storm raged on, drenching him as he rode toward the city. Rain was soaking through his drover's coat to his skin, but it made no difference. He ignored it. It didn't matter anymore; he was concentrating on only one thought. As lightning showed him the way, he rode while his stomach tightened. Too damn much had changed due to the War Between the States, and it tore everything apart in its wake.

He looked around him sadly as his horse cautiously picked his way on the muddy road. Gone was the beauty he remembered, even though he had only been away a short while. But that, too, felt like an eternity. A great deal had happened in the last several years.

Memories flooded back to him, the same ones that, just a few months before, he believed had saved his life. Having the memories with his hopes and dreams for their future kept him going, especially during times of frustration and despair. Feelings of failure plagued him endlessly.

Colder rain now fell harder. He pulled the collar of his uniform overcoat higher and lowered the brim of his hat over his face. His horse went on, oblivious to the weather, which seemed to worsen as time went on. He had heard about the storms that hit this part of the country and was convinced it was nature's punishment, though not sure if it was meant for the local area, or for him.

The sky darkened with faint streaks of lightning appearing in the distance. He enjoyed the brief respite before the next storm would hit. Hopefully, the storm would pass by but, if it did hit, would it make itself known and at least be brief? He had plans. The storm would not stop him if he had anything to do with it. He knew nature to be unpredictable and held to no schedule except her own.

He ventured further, all the while his heart aching until it was almost unbearable. The knot in his stomach tightened even more. Fear and dread began edging out his dreams. He knew of the destruction from reports he had received along the way, but nothing could prepare him, or anyone, for that matter, for the devastation that now lay before his eyes as he approached New Orleans. What was left of the city? Was any of it worth it?

Lightning flashed, lighting the sky. His horse shuddered a little, but continued. When he reached the street he was searching for, he knew then his life would never be the same again. All the plans he'd put on hold were now shot to hell. He would begin a new chapter in his life, but it would be as if someone else had written the script for him. His dreams, at least for now, were gone. He was terrified to even consider the changes that lay in his future.

He could see that he wouldn't be settling down, at least not for a long while. The feeling of doom he had grew by the second. The one thing he depended on--in fact, the only thing--that had kept him alive for the last two years, would be what would help him find the woman he loved. No matter what else was set in front of him, he would find her and then, hopefully, they would be able to go on and share the life they had planned before it was so rudely interrupted by the war.

He finally located the address he sought, the mansion as dark as the stormy night. A flash of lightning lit the area as the storm once again moved in closer. He caught a quick glimpse of the front of the house where the gates stood open, unlocked. He dismounted and led his horse through the gates into the front courtyard of the once stately home, now dark and brooding. What had happened here? There was only one way to find out. He started up the stairs to the front porch.

He stopped as he reached the front door. Foreboding overpowered him forcing him to sit down in a rocker located off to the side of the porch. The feelings of dread and failure he had battled became more painful as even more memories overwhelmed him. He sat reminiscing. Why has this happened to me? to her? to us?

* * * *

Chapter 1

Lieutenant Colonel James Andrew Hastings never fit the description of an ordinary soldier, if there ever had been such a thing. Much like his fellow Mainer, Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, his background did not include the hallowed halls of West Point. After signing up, he fought in the Mexican War, but only because he had been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

His accomplishments with horses sent Hastings straight to cavalry duty. Due to his actions on the battlefield, he quickly worked his way up the ranks. This, even for a man who didn't want to be in command on the battlefront in the first place, his speed in promotions was almost unheard of. Then again, plans were always changing, weren't they? Chamberlain knew all this from their conversations over the years. Hastings trusted him as he did no other.

"Do you remember my original plans? They were very different, weren't they?" he asked his old friend one day.

"If I remember right, it was either the Finger Lakes of New York, or the hills of North Carolina. Both places are beautiful."

"You know my love for the countryside and wide-open spaces?"

His friend nodded as he drew on his pipe. Hastings had planned on finding a woman with his same likes, marrying, and settling down to raise a family. Instead, he made a distinguished cavalry officer standing at six foot four. The handsome, sandy blond-haired man knew he had a good life, although his dreams were gone. He didn't mind his life now. He had friends, but he had also lost many. In essence, Andrew Hastings enjoyed his solitary life, even though the fear of getting close to anyone and then losing them always stayed with him.

Assigned to Washington, he continued his service to the U. S. Army, ordered to the center of all the action at the Capitol. He answered directly to Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, who, in turn, reported directly to President Abraham Lincoln.


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