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Authors: April London

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The Rebel Spy

BOOK: The Rebel Spy
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Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright

Dedication

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Thank you for purchasing this publication of The Wild Rose Press, Inc.

The Rebel Spy

by

April London

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales, is entirely coincidental.

The Rebel Spy

COPYRIGHT © 2013 by April London

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the author or The Wild Rose Press, Inc. except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.

Contact Information: [email protected]

Cover Art by
Debbie Taylor

The Wild Rose Press, Inc.

PO Box 708

Adams Basin, NY 14410-0708

Visit us at www.thewildrosepress.com

Publishing History

First American Rose Edition, 2013

Digital ISBN 978-1-61217-894-3

Published in the United States of America

Dedication

For my husband, the hero in my life.

For Krystal, who patiently responded

to every crazy message.

For Cecily and Angela, who read it all.

And for the fabulous ladies

who encourage me every day.

Chapter One

Saturday, April 8, 1865

Moody Family Farm

Somewhere between Lynchburg

and Appomattox, Virginia

Tamsyn Moody leaned back in the rocker and closed her eyes. A soft breeze rustled across the wooden porch and she drew in a deep breath. The sweet scent of new growth brought a smile to her lips. After months of bitter cold she welcomed the warmer weather.

“Mama, what happened next?” Five-year-old Elizabeth shivered and snuggled against her mother. A deep cough shook her tiny body.

Tamsyn frowned and opened her eyes. Hugging Elizabeth closer, worry began to replace her peace. The cough had begun during the last heavy snowfall and was followed by a high fever. Weeks of heavy spring rains kept the two of them trapped inside the stale cabin and the cough persisted. The first sunny afternoon brought them out onto the porch to read, and Elizabeth had chosen her favorite book,
Little Tiny
by H.C. Anderson.

“Are you cold?” Despite the warm rays of the sun, the breeze still blew cool and might cause Elizabeth to take a chill.

O
r worse
.

“I’m fine, Mama. What happened next?” Delicate fingers pushed a strand of strawberry blonde hair behind her ear while she waited. They neared the end of the story.

“Well, let’s find out.” Tamsyn recalled asking her own mother the same question. Tucked under her mother’s arm, with Davis, her twin brother.

She opened the brown leather-bound book with care. A gift from her husband just after Elizabeth’s birth, it continued to be a favorite for them both and Tamsyn could recite large portions of it from memory.

Her gut twisted with nausea while she read. Her brother and husband were missing. Her mother’s last letter told her no one had heard from Davis in months. His name hadn’t appeared in any of the papers, so Tamsyn clung to the hope he might still live.

“And they all lived, happily ever after. The end.” She closed the book and Elizabeth let out a contented sigh. Tamsyn braced for her daughter to beg for another story. Or to re-read the same one.

They sat in the wooden rocker staring across the yard in silence. White buds had appeared on the trees around the cabin overnight. Winter had ended and their confinement to the cabin was over.

The rocker creaked a steady rhythm.

“Mama, can we plant carrots?”

“Of course.” Tamsyn gazed at the little overgrown vegetable garden next to the porch. They’d lost half of last year’s crop in a hail storm and the remainder barely kept the two of them fed through the winter. She needed to double the size of the garden and the crops this year. “We can plant carrots, potatoes, and green beans.”

“Eeuw.” Elizabeth scrunched up her face and Tamsyn giggled. “Cucumbers and tomatoes?”

“Yes, those too.” She tickled Elizabeth under the arms and the two erupted into more giggles. She was thankful Elizabeth enjoyed the vegetables. Meat had been scarce after they’d slaughtered their last hog and the salted pork was gone.

“Can we make a carrot cake for Pa?”

“Sure.” She forced a smile for her daughter. They’d not heard from Ben in a year. He’d marched with General Early when the Confederate troops moved through on their way to Lynchburg last June. She’d begged him to send them back to Tennessee, back to her mother.

He’d refused.

“You’re my wife. You will stay here.”

“But, Ben, what if something happens to Elizabeth? Or me?” she pled from the porch. She was so lonely. And so scared. His regiment had moved on and he was eager to catch up with them. She blinked back the tears. “Please, Ben.”

“You stay here.”

Being a dutiful wife, she’d remained in the cabin.

Now, a year later, Bennett Moody might not even be alive. There was no money or she’d have left for her mother’s house in Tennessee after the first snowfall over the winter.

Damn war. So many dead.
Her eldest sister wrote to her from Columbia, South Carolina. Sherman had marched through and destroyed everything. Their home burned to the ground. In the tear-stained letter she’d told Tamsyn she and the children were packing up their meager belongings and moving back to Eastern Tennessee.

In the silence, Tamsyn longed for the chaos of her mother’s home. There was always someone to talk to. She hugged Elizabeth again. They had each other, but they were both still very lonely.

In the silence, a soft noise filtered between the trees. The little girl stiffened in Elizabeth’s arms. She’d been terrified of the soldiers who marched through with her father the year before.

Tamsyn stilled the rocker and tilted her ear. Dead leaves crunched. Twigs snapped.
Footsteps.

Someone walked through the trees toward the cabin. The smoke from the chimney would lead anyone there. Elizabeth’s grip tightened.

She stood and swung Elizabeth into her arms. She scurried to the open door and set Elizabeth just inside. “Go in. Hide,” she whispered against Elizabeth’s ear and pushed her inside. They’d talked about this many times.

Hide under the bed and stay quiet.

The noise in the trees grew louder and closer. Tamsyn stretched on her toes and pulled down the Springfield rifle from above the door. Ben might have refused to let her leave the cabin, but he left her a rifle. He’d bragged about taking it off the body of a dead Union officer.
For hunting rabbits and such
, he’d told her.

Hunting rabbits proved difficult.

With one last glance over her shoulder to make certain Elizabeth was tucked out of sight, she pulled the door closed and stepped onto the porch. There, she waited.

Her mother had taught her everything she needed to know about being a lady. How to set a proper table, how to sew, her numbers, how to read and write, but Papa taught her how to aim, same as he taught the boys. She rested the rifle in her arms. No sense in aiming at something that hadn’t appeared yet.

Wait and watch,
her papa told her.

The minutes ticked by. It seemed hours before she saw movement in the trees. She shuddered. Deserters could be a vicious lot. They were scared, hungry, on the run, and often very angry. She didn’t want to kill a man, but if he threatened them, she’d drop him in the front yard without a second thought.

Red hair flashed between the branches.

It can’t be.
She held her breath.
It’s not possible.

The red-haired man stumbled into the clearing, dressed in the light gray of the Confederate army. He clutched a black stain on his side.

He sagged to his knees.

“Ben!” She dropped the rifle against the rocker and hurried off the porch, her skirts clutched in one hand.

Ben struggled to stand. “Tamsyn.” His breaths were ragged and shallow. Thin red hair stuck to his head with mud and sweat. And blood.

“Ben. Oh, my God, Ben.” She reached out to touch him. He was pale and he stared back at her with glassy brown eyes.

“Help me to the porch.”

Tamsyn pulled her husband until he stood and draped his arm around her shoulders. Bennett had never been a large man, and years of war left him thin and malnourished.

They stumbled across the yard to the steps.

“Up the steps, I’ll put you in the bed.”

“No.” Ben dropped onto the bottom step and took her hand. “Don’t put a dying man in your bed, Tamsyn.”

“Don’t be daft, Ben. You aren’t dying.”

He squeezed her hand and tugged her onto the step next to him. “Where’s Elizabeth?”

“Hiding inside.”

“Good girls, the two of you.” He smiled. The crooked top tooth was gone.

“What happened?”

“Some Yanks made me on the other side of the river.” He flinched. “I caught a bullet getting away.”

Her head jerked up. The river was too close.

“Tamsyn, I need you to do something.” He pulled a folded square of yellow paper from his pocket.

“Anything.” Her gaze scanned the trees and listened for any sound that he’d been followed.

He pressed the letter into her hands.

“Get this to General Lee.” His grip tightened on her hand.

“What? I can’t take this.” She shook her head and Ben reached up to smooth back a curl.

“You have to. Lee is going to surrender the Army of Northern Virginia. Everyone knows it’s coming. He’s backed into a corner. This will stop the surrender.”

“How do you know?” Her hand tingled from his grip.

Ben grinned. “I told you, the Yanks across the river made me.”

The fool is a spy.

“Mama,” Elizabeth cried from the front door. Tears streaked her freckled face and Tamsyn regretted sending her under the bed. Terrified of the dark, she’d cried the entire time.

“I’m so sorry, Elizabeth.” She motioned the little girl forward. “Look who’s here.”

“Come here, sweet girl,” Ben called.

“Pa?” Elizabeth stepped down the steps and into her mother’s lap. He ruffled the strawberry blonde hair. Any other color and no one would have believed she was his.

Tamsyn wrapped her arms around her daughter. Elizabeth’s red hair covered up the truth. She’d been several months into her pregnancy when Ben proposed marriage, but he’d known Elizabeth wasn’t his daughter.

Ben cared for them despite it all. She ground her teeth together and swallowed her sob. A dull ache spread up through her chest.

“Tamsyn, promise me. Get this message to Lee. If he surrenders the army…the South will fall.”

Ben Moody had been kind to her when no one else would look her in the eye. Pregnant by a man already married to another woman, Tamsyn’s behavior shamed her family. His proposal took her away from it all.

“What must I do?” She couldn’t deny his request.

“Lee is headed for Appomattox. Take the main road. You will meet his army. Tell any of the soldiers you’re Ben Moody’s wife and you need to meet with General Lee.”

“Ben…”

Tamsyn pressed her hand against her forehead and closed her eyes.

“Take…Elizabeth. No one will stop you on the road. A woman…out with her child on her way to town.” He nodded. “It will work.”

He’d lost too much blood and didn’t know the setting sun cast shadows across them.

“Go, now. Hurry, wife.” His eyes closed for a moment and his voice turned softer. “I’m sorry…I didn’t send you back…to Tennessee when you asked.”

Hot tears slipped down her cheeks and into Elizabeth’s hair. He’d always been a part of her life. Fifteen years her senior, their families had been neighbors back in Tennessee.

“Sell the farm…if you want. Do you know….where the deed is?” Ben pulled a tiny pouch out of his coat.

She nodded.

She’d buried the deed with her wedding ring in the garden. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

“This…isn’t much.” He pressed the pouch into her hands and the coins slid against each other. “Should be…enough to get you back…to Tennessee.”

The deep rattling breath sent shivers through Tamsyn’s body. He squeezed her hand one last time.

BOOK: The Rebel Spy
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