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Authors: Lori Copeland

The One Who Waits for Me

BOOK: The One Who Waits for Me
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The
One Who
Waits
for
Me

Lori Copeland

HARVEST HOUSE PUBLISHERS

EUGENE, OREGON

Scripture quotations are taken from the King James Version of the Bible.

Cover by Left Coast Design, Portland, Oregon

Cover photos © Masterfile / Alamy / iStockphoto / Shutterstock

Published in association with the Books & Such Literary Agency, 52 Mission Circle, Suite 122, PMB 170, Santa Rosa, CA 95409-5370,
www.booksandsuch.biz
.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or to events or locales, is entirely coincidental.

THE ONE WHO WAITS FOR ME
Copyright © 2011 by Copeland, Inc.
Published by Harvest House Publishers
Eugene, Oregon 97402
www.harvesthousepublishers.com

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Copeland, Lori.

The one who waits for me / Lori Copeland.

p. cm.

ISBN 978-0-7369-3018-5 (pbk.)

ISBN 978-0-7369-4167-9 (eBook)

1. North Carolina—History—1865—Fiction. I. Title.

PS3553.O6336O55 2011

813'.54—dc22

2010050021

All rights reserved
. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means—electronic, mechanical, digital, photocopy, recording, or any other—except for brief quotations in printed reviews, without the prior permission of the publisher.

Printed in the United States of America

11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 / LB-SK / 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

In Memoriam

My brother, Joseph Patrick Smart
1936–2011

My aunt, Madge Pottenger Martin
1914–2011

Willow and Ditto,
two very special cats who gave
amazing love to their owner
1988–2010
1994–2010

I am God, and there is none like me
.

I
SAIAH
46:9

Contents

In Memoriam

Prologue

One

Two

Three

Four

Five

Six

Seven

Eight

Nine

Ten

Eleven

Twelve

Thirteen

Fourteen

Fifteen

Sixteen

Seventeen

Eighteen

Nineteen

Twenty

Twenty-One

Twenty-Two

Twenty-Three

Twenty-Four

Twenty-Five

Twenty-Six

Twenty-Seven

Twenty-Eight

Twenty-Nine

Thirty

Thirty-One

Thirty-Two

Thirty-Three

Thirty-Four

Thirty-Five

Thirty-Six

Thirty-Seven

Thirty-Eight

Thirty-Nine

Forty

Forty-One

Forty-Two

Discussion Questions

About the Author

Love Blooms in Winter

Other Books by Lori Copeland

Harvest House Website

Prologue

Roanoke, Virginia, summer, 1865

Y
ou can't be serious,” Pierce said. “If we take the west road, it'll take days longer to get there.”

“Serious as a rusty nail,” replied Preach. He stood back and traced the narrow line on the map running from Richmond to North Carolina with a lean, tanned finger. The men stood in the dirt road with a hot sun baking their backs. “I agree it's the longer route, but the roads are better kept and we'll make faster time.”

More discussion broke out among the men: Second Lieutenant Samuel “Preach” Madison, twenty-six, and First Lieutenant Gray Eagle, reportedly the finest scout in the 212th Company. Gray Eagle was twenty-five and Cherokee. Both men had fought for the Confederacy. Captain Pierce Montgomery, twenty-four, had fought for the Union, though neither Preach nor Gray Eagle held it against him.

The war was declared over last spring when General Robert E. Lee surrendered on April 9, but it wasn't until General Stand Watie rode into Doaksville on June 23 that the last Confederate officer surrendered his command. The shaky cease-fire held, but the stench of war still permeated the soft Southern air.

The soldiers had met some two hundred miles back at a crossroads. Pierce and Gray Eagle had ridden the first hundred miles together, and when the pair bumped into Preach at a trading post, he accepted the invitation to join them on the long trek home.

Everywhere the men looked they saw a country struggling with upheaval and plagued with instability as newly freed slaves sought to find work and shelter for their families. The old adage “safety in numbers” rang true, and the men heeded common sense.

Straightening, Pierce flashed a white grin sheathed in sun-bronzed features. “So what say ye, gentleman? Do we choose the shorter route with admittedly bad roads and more rivers and streams to cross, or do we take the west trail that's longer but with supposedly fewer headaches?”

Preach removed his hat and studied the map again. “Trust me. We'll make faster time if we ride west.”

Pierce shook his head. “And I say we take the shortest route available. Let's just get home.”

Gray Eagle stepped up, his black eyes solemn. Tall and heavily muscled from long hours in the saddle, he was a striking man. “Shall we flip a coin?” The Native American's precise English was in stark contrast to his looks. Taught by his white mother, the Confederate scout had the highest education among the group.

“Well, I suppose that's fair,” Pierce conceded. “But I still say the shorter way is better.”

Removing a coin from his leather pouch, Gray Eagle rested it in his hand. “Who calls?”

“The captain,” Preach said.

Pierce shook his head. “I thought we'd agreed that the war is over. I was ‘captain' on the field. Here I'm just Pierce.”

“Sorry.” Preach's white teeth gleamed in his glistening mahogany features. “A man gets used to takin' orders, and it sorta feels like mutiny not to let a superior officer lead.”

Shaking his head again, Pierce said, “Flip the coin. I call heads.”

Gray Eagle looked at the other two. “Heads, we take the shorter route with bad roads and more rivers to cross. Tails, we take the longer route but make better time.”

The black man grinned. “Either way, I shore do want to get home as fast as possible. I can taste those hot biscuits baking in the oven now. Flaky and dripping with butter and blackstrap molasses. Umm, umm.”

None of them had seen butter in years. Or hot anything.

Their eyes were focused on Gray Eagle's nut brown hand as the Cherokee tossed the coin. It twirled in the air, over and over, and then landed in his palm. Closing his fingers over it, his normally serious features broke and he smiled. “What will it be? Heads or tails?”

“Just look at it,” Pierce said, snappishly. He removed a bandana from around his neck and mopped at the sweat now rolling down his temples.

Gray Eagle's eyes twinkled. “Oh? Is the captain anxious to get home? Got a lady waiting for him?”

“No lady. Just a fine piece of land.” Despite the heat, he couldn't help grinning. “Bought me a small tract not far from my pa's plantation.” Pierce patted the vest pocket where he kept the deed close. He had spent every last cent he had in the world on that land. He was going to eventually build a home, raise a few cattle, a little cotton, and maybe consider taking a wife—some fine filly with a longing to serve her man. Grow fat and lazy. He'd had a bellyful of fighting. He was never going to lift a hand in violence for the rest of his life. A man could shoot him in the back, and he wouldn't return fire. He'd lie down and die with a sigh of peace, that was how sick he was of turmoil. Once he got to his land, he was going to sit back and drink pitcher after pitcher of sweet tea, something he hadn't enjoyed in years.

Preach couldn't help smiling as well. “I'm with you, sir. I can't wait to smell the magnolia blossoms in the front yard and eat Ma's sweet potato pies. How come you bought that passel of land, Captain? Didn't you say your pa has thousands of acres?”

“That's Pa's land. I want my own.” Pierce patted his pocket one more time for reassurance. In a few days he'd see his land. Pa would most likely be upset that his son had bought property nearby without consulting him first, but when Pierce had seen the advertisement for the acreage in the
Savannah Daily News and Herald
, he'd wired the money and became a landowner faster than a loose woman could wink her eye.

BOOK: The One Who Waits for Me
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