I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
Embers of Anger
Ella Grace Whitford was Southern charm at its finest until the war hit. Her hometown felt sure their Southern boys would protect them, but they were wrong. Suddenly, she is on her own, with limited resources and the care of her little brother and his new puppy. Nothing was as she had known it, and everything she believed in was about to be challenged.
Colonel Jackson Ross was given the responsibility for law, order, and stability after the town of New Bern, NC fell to the Union forces. His rugged good looks, charm, and military bearing are difficult enough to ignore.
But when this charismatic commander of Burnside's third brigade finds out that Ms. Whitford is living with little protection on a large plantation adjacent to the town, he knows he must come up with a solution to protect her. As dangerous secrets emerge, he must choose between protecting her or remaining loyal to the Union. Will his decision bring them both ruin-- and possible death?
Anna St. Claire brings romance to an otherwise heartbreaking time period during the Civil War. The story follows the heroine, Ella a stout supporter of the South and dead against anything Union, including handsome soldiers.
Ella’s lack of protection since her town was taken over by the enemy puts her at risk for danger. I loved the setting and time period. Ella did take some time getting used to, let’s say her stubbornness is the main deterrent. However, it’s when she meets Colonel Jackson Ross, that her true personality has the chance to bloom. The dangers of the Civil War are always on the backdrop, but the heartwarming and budding romance between two strangers on the opposite side of the war is truly what one should take away from this story.
Ella’s little brother Aiden was also a highlight. Having read another story by this author, I can say that she has a flair for secondary (and cute) characters. It’s those characters that make this a special read.
There is a lot of character growth and Ella becomes a heroine in every way.
She knew she should stop this, pull back, but she wanted his kiss, his touch. Ella felt the warmth of his hands caressing her breasts, rubbing, sending shivers down her neck and awakening her to a warm moistness between her legs. Her body was responding in ways unfamiliar to her.
Jackson stopped kissing and touched his forehead to hers, then gently unbuttoned the top buttons of her gown. She could not react. With a few more scalding kisses to the base of her neck, he moved to her breasts, his breath heating her skin. Her hands reached for his hair, twining her fingers within it, toppling his hat off. Still kissing her breasts, he leaned her down on the seat, his upper body covering hers. They stopped for a breath, and this time, she moved in and kissed him.
Realization of what was happening slapped her senses aware. Not this, and not here. What if someone saw them? Her palms against his chest, she pushed back forcing Jackson to lift his head and meet her gaze, chests heaving. Scrambling, they righted themselves.
“I apologize. I should have never taken such liberties. But I find myself attracted to you, fiercely attracted to you, Ella.”
Ella gave him everything she could muster in that slap across his face.
“What the hell?” He pulled back, his hand covering the side of his face.
“What? You want to know what? You…took advantage of me, suh. I am shamed!” Her breath came in bursts as she scrambled to explain the slap for a kiss that she wanted.