Category Archives: veterans

How does a man, missing a limb, feel whole again?

Welcome to a sneak-peek of my newest release,

To Love and to Honor— Enjoy!

Logo_Brides_Of_Evergreen_Book5From Chapter 5:

A day later, Joel was strong enough to travel.

And to send word to Ruth of his whereabouts.

He tapped the pencil on the Western Union form, trying to determine how much to write. He believed it a safe assumption his wife did not care where he was so long as he was not in her presence.

His time away with the cavalry had changed Ruth. Her letters had grown colder, her thoughts more succinct. Coming home minus a limb had only served to deepen the divide between them.

What exactly was the state of their relationship now? Dead? Dying? How did one resuscitate a marriage in this condition? Prayer. Ask God for a miracle to revive their love?

He had prayed for revival, but without any passion behind the request. He knew he should care, be desperate to save their marriage. Yet, desperation had died with every brief, emotionless letter from her, every repulsed look she had revealed, and every touch from which she had recoiled. The guilt of his growing apathy weighed on him. He suspected Ruth had reasons for some guilt as well, but Joel had no proof. Without proof, suspicions were merely that—suspicions.

Finally, tired of debating, he wrote, Delayed in Evergreen, Wy. Will notify you when I proceed to South Dak. He pondered adding love, Joel. In the end, he didn’t and slid the paper over to the clerk.

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The Bar FB sat in a long, flat valley, ringed with hills that alternated between open pastures thigh-high with brittle, fall grass, and deep, dark-green forests of Scotch and Blue spruces. White-faced Hereford cattle milled about everywhere.

Various log buildings such as the barn and bunkhouse surrounded the imposing main house at strategic distances. Surprising Joel, the home was a white-washed antebellum structure with a cupola on the top. From it, he imagined a man could sit up there and see the whole valley in any direction.

King of all he surveys, eh?

“You could still back out,” Angela said from beside him, hunching her shoulders and rubbing her arms. Joel assumed she was cold, but the action could have also just as easily expressed her fears at this homecoming.

He tapped the reins across the horses’ rear ends to maintain their speed. “Not much of an option right now.”

“You could drop me off and keep riding.”

A cowardly act he couldn’t fathom. He was here now and he was committed to the cause.

“You’re an honorable man, aren’t you, Captain Chapman?”

“I used to think so.”

“What do you mean?”

“I don’t like lying. Normally I wouldn’t have fallen into something like this. I believe almost any man can be reasoned with.” He cut his eyes at her. “You’ve made me believe your father may be the exception and this subterfuge is necessary. I hope I have not misjudged.”

She heaved a great sigh. “I understand your concern. Two seconds with my father, though, and you’ll understand mine.”

They rolled beneath the gate that proudly displayed the Bar FB encircled in barbed wire, and then into the main yard. A few ranch hands nodded and tipped their hats. One, a large fellow with a silvery-yellow beard, paused, allowed his smile to widen, and approached the buggy. Joel pulled it to a stop.

“Miss Angela.” The cowboy swiped his hat off. “What a surprise. Your father said you was back East in school. He didn’t say anything about you coming for a visit.”

“Howdy, Glenn, it’s nice to see you. I’ve missed your saucy jokes.”

The man blushed from his neck up, the color disappearing into his beard, then stole a quick glance at Joel. A glint of disapproval flashed across Glenn’s face but disappeared quickly.

“Oh.” Angela squared her shoulders. “Glenn, this is my husband, Joel Chapman. Joel, my father’s foreman, Glenn Leary.”

Joel reached across Angela and the two shook hands. Glenn was clearly shocked by the news, judging from his slack jaw. “Husband, huh? Yeah, your father didn’t mention that either.”

“I imagine there’s a lot he hasn’t mentioned about me since I left.”

The man pursed his lips as if acknowledging a secret. “Yeah, he hasn’t said too much since you’ve been gone.” He replaced the Stetson. “And he has been in one continual sour mood. Now that you’re back, maybe he’ll quit yellin’ so much.”

“Maybe.” She didn’t sound like she believed it. “We’ll see you soon.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

Angela touched Joel’s arm and he drove the rig up to the front of the house. “Well, here goes nothing.” Her voice wiggled and Joel wished he could give her a reassuring hug.

In lieu of that, he said, “I’ve faced a hundred screaming Indians, dodged a hailstorm of fiery arrows, and a blizzard of bullets. I’m not afraid of your father.” He smiled, hoping he had reassured her some.

Instead, her smile was pitying. “That doesn’t mean he can’t hurt you.”

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Please pick up your copy TODAY of To Love and to Honor!

American Girls Have Always had a Rep

“We may destroy all the men in America, and we shall still have all we can do to defeat the women.”

Lord Cornwallis, British general, and Washington’s nemesis.

In the fall of 1878, Deborah Samson, at the fiery age of 18, enlisted in the Continental Army…as a man. Spending the next three years as Robert Shirtliffe, Deborah did her part to secure liberty and freedom for America. She served in various capacities under Capt. Nathan Thayer and proved herself a capable, willing, and courageous Massachusetts soldier.

Talk about fight like a girl…

Never one to run from a battle, Deborah dove right in with the best and the bravest. She was shot once in the leg, nicked in the head by a British sword, then shot again in the other leg. All three times she refused medical attention so as not to have her ruse discovered. Unfortunately, she came down with a “brain fever” in 1781 and was treated by a Dr. Binney of Philadelphia. Imagine his surprise!

He forthwith moved Deborah to his own home for recovery and sent a note to Capt. Thayer. Upon her recovery, Deborah was called to General Washington’s office. The legends differ here on what exactly happened next. Some say she was asked to deliver papers to the General, at which point he gave her the papers of discharge. Other stories say she delivered the papers, was called back to pick up new dispatches, and then Gen. Washington handed her the discharge papers. What all the stories agree on is that Washington chose not to publicly reprimand or embarrass Deborah. He handed her the discharge papers, without comment, and also handed her the soldier’s pay due her, and a note of advice.

The note was lost to history, but knowing General Washington’s respect for women and his wry sense of humor, it probably said something to the effect of, “Now that you’ve shown my men how to fight, I think it is time you return to the duties of your fair sex. Thank you for your service to your country.”

Eventually, Deborah married a farmer named Gannet and had (naturally) three daughters. Ironically, she named the youngest one Patience.

Oh, yes, indeed, a true Lady in Defiance.

Hey, if you enjoy these stories, please join my newsletter posse. I’ll send you a FREE gift for signing up. I won’t hound you but once a month you’ll receive info about my works-in-progress, research, and my characters, as well as a chance to participate in contests and giveaways. You can sign up here.

I Don’t Pull Punches. Why You SHOULD (and SHOULDN’T) Sign Up for My Newsletter

Heathers_merc_black

Hey, have you signed up for my newsletter? Let me give it to you straight. Here’s why you SHOULD:

Newsletter subscribers get <FREE FREE FREE> 
  • Heather’s Haberdashery–ebook of loooong excerpts from SEVEN of my books
  • Monthly newsletters with:
    • Exclusive contests
    • Fun giveaways
    • Hints on my current work-in-progress
    • Scene and story X-Rays
    • A monthly profile of a REAL lady in defiance (like Annie Oakley or Agent 355)
    • And much more!

BUT, here’s why you SHOULDN’T sign up for my newsletter. You might not like:

  • Strong, sassy heroines
  • Men who are manly
  • Historical Christian Western Romance that entails the use of firearms, often in a threatening manner
  • Gunfights and fistfights
  • Politically incorrect but historically accurate language (but no cursing)
  • An inspirational story
  • A clear (but never heavy-handed) Gospel message
  • American values
28946358_10215120158704899_1748554081_o But if you are still in, hoss, all you have to do is sign up here and you’ll receive the FREE SAMPLE CHAPTERS (One file entitled Heather’s Haberdashery) and future newsletters.
Well, I’m off to see a man about a horse. Thanks for readin’. Hope you’ll sign up. God bless and happy trails!

 

 

 

She Chose the War Path

from my post over at https://cowboykisses.blogspot.comdahteste

Sometimes when I do research, I discover fascinating individuals who led gloriously exciting lives and then retired in peace, children and grandchildren sitting at their feet. The happily ever after. The ending we’d all like. Truth is, though, sometimes a hero has her moment early on and from there it’s not a very pretty spiral downward.

This is my impression of the life of Apache warrior woman Dahteste (pronounced ta-DOT-say).

Born around 1860 she chose her path as a warrior. The Apache let you do that. A fairly open-minded society, you could be a warrior, a homemaker, a medicine man, whatever, as long as you worked at it and could deliver. Dahteste was known for her beauty, but she was also clearly respected for her fighting, riding, hunting, and shooting skills. She was fast and she was mean. No man challenged her light-heartedly. And she proved her worth repeatedly on raids with the Apache. In fact, she rode with Cochise (you might remember him. He led an uprising against the U.S. government that started in 1861 and didn’t end until ’72). Remarkably, Dahteste was barely a teenager! Her fighting didn’t end, however, with Cochise’s acceptance of a peace treaty. She continued it by riding with Geronimo. Who knows how many “white-eyes” lost their lives to her rifle?

Geronimo surrendered in 1886. Dahteste over the years had picked up quite a bit of English, had even served as a cavalry scout for a time, so she negotiated the great chief’s surrender. Her reward? She was arrested and shipped to a prison in Florida where she stayed for eight years. Then she was moved to the military prison at Fort Sill, OK where she was a guest for nineteen years. During her time as a resident of the US Army’s military prison system, she survived pneumonia and tuberculosis. I suspect she survived much more than that.

During this time she divorced her husband Ahnandia (one of Geronimo’s original warriors) and within a few years married fellow inmate and former Army scout Coonie. The couple was released in 1919 and moved to the Mescalero Apache Reservation in New Mexico.

Dahteste, reports say, never spoke English again and wore only beautiful beaded native clothing. She left her long black hair down and unbraided, but always brushed. She was a proud Apache woman who walked with her chin up.

Though she did, indeed, retire with children and grandchildren around her feet, none of them were hers by blood, and she was not generally known to smile much. I hope she spent her final years enjoying peace and happiness, but I don’t get that sense. I think Dahteste was a survivor and she did so with more grim determination than optimism.

The Measure of a Man–His Heart & Soul Plus an Exclusive Excerpt!

by Heather Frey

To Love and to Honor—Why a story about an amputee?

Last year I stumbled across a newspaper article about photographer Michael Stokes. He was snapping sexy pics of veterans who had lost limbs in combat. I was stunned both by the soldiers’ mind-blowing good looks, and the extent of their injuries.

The thought haunted me how these devastatingly handsome, rugged men were dealing with the scars, the prosthetics, the missing limbs. I thought also of evangelist Dave Roever. Horribly disfigured in Vietnam, he’d watched as a fellow soldier’s wife had taken one look at her gravely burned husband and walked out of the room. Fortunately, Dave’s wife had the opposite reaction and the two are still married to this day.

But based on the junk you see coming out of Hollywood, one would believe our culture values physical perfection far above inner beauty. It seems the shallow masses give a pass to monstrous inner ugliness if the package comes wrapped in a big bust or washboard abs.

I feel for the wounded vets in a society like this and wanted to write something for them—a story that clearly focuses on the real measure of a man—his heart and soul, not his number of fingers or toes.

I hope you enjoy it and all the other stories in the special collection It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas! ON SALE NOW or read for FREE in Kindle Unlimited! I’ve included an excerpt at the bottom!

If you are so inclined, you can read an article on Michael Stokes photography here— http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3165402/Photographer-captures-amputee-war-veterans-posing-naked-proudly-revealing-injuries-powerful-picture-series.html, but WARNING: adult content. Privates are covered… BARELY! Screen Shot 2017-09-12 at 1.55.55 PM.png

An excerpt from To Love and to Honor–

Someone knocked at the door. “Señor, Señora” a voice called. “We have the water for a bath.”

Joel’s bath. “Yes, come in.”

Four ranch hands, one right after the other, trailed into the room, each with a steaming bucket of water. In short order, the portable copper tub was full and they excused themselves.

Joel stared at the bath with a tight expression, as if he was afraid of it.

Slowly, Angela rose and crossed the room to stand in front of him. He looked up with an expression of surprise that quickly transformed to desire. Hope flickered in his deep, blue eyes. She knelt in front of him and gently laid a hand on his knee. “You need a bath.” She swallowed, and fought to control her breathing. “I’ll help you.”

His eyes widened. “You—you can’t.”

She reached for his boot heel and started tugging. “I’m the only one who can.” The boot came free and she reached for the other.

Joel clutched her hand. “No.”

She didn’t meet his gaze, but she could feel it, like a gentle touch on her cheek.

“I mean, I don’t want you to see…”

Was he afraid his wound, his missing limb, would be too grotesque for her? She couldn’t imagine anything about this man being repulsive. She gave him a slow, reassuring smile. “I don’t mind.”

She pushed his pant leg up above his knee and realized his boot had been sewn on to the prosthetic. She didn’t know what to do.

“It’s cinched around my thigh.” Joel’s voice sounded strained.

 

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