Monday, April 15, 2013

Undaunted Love by Jennings Wright

Back Cover Blurb

Hugh Byrd, the cold, ambitious patriarch of Byrd's Creek, is used to getting what he wants. And what he wants is the Colton's prime land, and the destruction of the Colton family. What he doesn't count on is his own daughter falling in love with Rafe Colton.

Ripped apart by the Civil War, the young couple must find a way to keep their secret love alive. The end of the War should mean a joyous reconciliation, but when Rafe is accused of a terrible crime, he runs away, leaving Livvie behind once again. Will this finally break their bond, or will their love survive?

A sweeping romance set in the South, Undaunted Love is a tale of faith, hope, patience and the redemption of God's love.
To Read the Excerpt, go here:
Byrd’s Creek, SC
August 4, 1860
"Three hundred? Do I hear three hundred?" The auctioneer looked searchingly over the small crowd huddled under umbrellas. The stone steps of the small courthouse were slick, puddles settling where the masons had failed to even the surface. A dozen had braved the weather for the spectacle, but of those, only three were bidding. The rest watched, sympathetic eyes on the young man whose heritage was being sold out from under him.
A rotund man in a black suit flicked up his hand quickly, face stoic.
“Three hundred to Mr. Tunney. Do I hear three fifty? Three hundred and fifty dollars for choice farmland?” Once again he scanned the crowd, stopping briefly on each of the three who had entered the fray.
A tall, middle-aged man with a burgundy coat and top hat raised his eyebrows and nodded.
The auctioneer nodded back. “Three hundred fifty to Mr. Byrd. Four hundred?” Squinting as a brief shaft of sunlight broke through the clouds, he saw the disapproval in many of the faces staring back at him. Stealing at glance at young Rafe Colton, former owner of the land being auctioned, he recognized the shock, liberally laced with hatred, in the tall boy’s face. “Four hundred? Anyone?” He gave a final scan of three men, seeing resignation in two and triumph in the last. “Sold! For three hundred and fifty dollars to Mr. Hugh Byrd.”
Pausing for the customary applause, he quickly moved on when he was greeted by nothing but silence. “Mr. Byrd, if you will please go inside, there is the matter of paperwork.”
The auctioneer turned on his heels and entered the building as the rain began to fall in earnest. He didn’t want to look out over those disapproving faces any longer than necessary, and he knew the buyer would follow. And why not? He’d arranged the auction himself, and rigged his winning bid.
Sixteen-year-old Livvie Byrd clasped her father’s arm, holding him back. She was a foot shorter than he, petite and usually modest in her actions in public, but she was livid. “Please Daddy, don’t do this. It isn’t right!” Her brown eyes looked black in her anger, the pupils invisible. Her damp chestnut hair was escaping its bun, curling around her face.
Hugh snatched his arm away, straightening his long velvet coat and silk cravat meticulously. “Mariah Colton borrowed money she couldn’t repay, and her only asset has now been sold to satisfy those debts. It is business, child, nothing more.” He began to walk up the stairs, lowering the umbrella against the wind driven rain.
Livvie followed after him. “You’ve left them with nothing!”
Her father scoffed and kept walking. “We left them with more than we should. They have the house, and five acres. The son can farm that land.”
“Five acres of trees, and a house practically falling down around their ears!”
“Trees can be felled, and houses repaired.” He flung open the doors to the courthouse and put out a hand to stop her following.
“By one boy with no money?” she asked, incensed.
“Enough! How they live is no matter to me. Money was borrowed and not repaid, taxes were not paid for three years. The judge declared an auction. I have purchased the land. That is the end.” Hugh Colton slammed the door shut in his daughter’s face.
Holding her small umbrella, she stood facing the door for a long moment. Her cotton lawn skirts were wet to the knee, and Livvie finally realized that she needed to get out of the rain before she caught her death. She turned slowly, finding that the crowd had dispersed, leaving only Rafe Colton.
He held no umbrella, so his blond hair was plastered to his head, his clothing soaked to the skin, boots waterlogged. He stared at her, loathing in his eyes. She stayed still, afraid to move, afraid to speak. She’d known Rafe her entire life, but this boy in front of her was a new creature, one born of hatred and despair. Finally Rafe stuffed his hat on his head, shoved his hands into his pockets, turned on his heel, and stalked away.
The rain had stopped, leaving air that felt saturated and heavy, almost steaming in the heat of the August afternoon. Byrd’s Creek, located twenty miles south of Charleston on Edisto Island, held onto humidity like a dog held onto a bone. Surrounded on all sides by rivers and the Atlantic Ocean, the island had more than its share of mosquitoes, snakes and leeches, but no one could deny its beauty, or its rich, fertile soil.
Brushing back a lock of wet hair, Livvie leaned into the heavy front door, pushing it open. The darkness inside the house calmed her, and she placed her wet umbrella in the brass stand by the door with a sigh of relief.
The walk back from the courthouse, only three blocks from her family’s two story Charleston style house, had been made through mud-slogged streets. The sight of the gracious double front porches and wide front steps, and the thought of a cool glass of tea, had caused her to pick up her pace, and also to miss the large mud puddle in her path. Her shoes were likely ruined, a fact her father would no doubt point out as yet another reason she shouldn’t have gone to the auction.
“Mama?” she called out, picking up her soaked skirts and shaking them, spraying the polished wood floor with muddy water. She unlaced and kicked off her sodden boots and left them by the door, leaning down to remove her stockings as well. Straightening, she looked down the wide dim hallway, past the curving staircase. The small parlor and the kitchen were beyond, places her mother was likely to be.
“Mama? You there? I’ll need a towel, I’m afraid.” She stood in place, dripping.
If her father came home now, he would be furious at the condition of the floor. She listened, but didn’t hear any movement in the house. With a sigh, she reached back and unlaced her skirts, allowing the hoops to stack neatly on the floor as she stepped over them.
She quickly went to the stairs and raced to her bedroom. She had almost reached her door at the end of the hall when her parents’ bedroom door opened and her mother stepped out. Hand flying to her mouth, her mother stared at her, eyebrows raised in alarm. Realizing it was Livvie, she ran her eyes up and down her daughter’s form, seeing her lack of clothing. “What are you doing, Olivia?” her mother demanded. “Put some clothes on this instant!”
Livvie laughed, giving her mother a damp hug. “I called to you, but you didn’t come, and meanwhile I was dripping all over Daddy’s fancy floors. I’ll change and go gather the wet things.” She turned to go to her room.
“What happened?”
Livvie turned back to face her mother, knowing she wasn’t asking about the condition of her clothes.
“Did he buy the land?”
Livvie nodded sadly. “He did. He bid against Mr. Tunney and Mr. Montgomery, but he got it for just three hundred and fifty dollars…” Livvie let that hang there for a moment, waiting to see how her mother would react.
“Three hundred and fifty… For seventy-five acres. Seems like those good gentlemen might have thought it worth a bit more.”
“Those good gentlemen had no intentions of buying that land, Mama. Daddy wanted it, so Daddy got it, plain and simple. Nobody in Byrd’s Creek is going to go against Hugh Byrd when he wants something.”
“What about Mariah? And Rafe?” Clara asked.
“Mrs. Colton didn’t come. One of the ladies told me she hadn’t gotten out of bed this last month. Rafe was there, mad as a hornet, but what could he do? The judge had decided it had to be sold, and Daddy insisted he wasn’t doing anything wrong by buying it. He said he hadn’t even wanted to leave them the house and the land around it.”
One hand on her doorknob, Livvie shook her head in disgust. “That land is all cypress and pine, and Rafe can’t afford any help to clear it. Old Nackie’s the only one left, and he can’t do much physical labor anymore. And that house… Well, I haven’t been there since his daddy died three years ago, but even then it was starting to look poorly. Mr. Colton had been so sick, nothing got done, I guess. I don’t know what they’re going to do.” Sadly, Clara shook her head.
“I can’t rightly say. Did you speak to Rafe, ask him?”
Livvie gave a bark of laughter. “Rafe hates me. He hates all of us. Daddy kept giving his mama loans, knowing she couldn’t pay them back, when all she really needed was some advice and a good manager. Any condolences from me weren’t going to be welcome.”
“You don’t know that, honey. He ought to know you’re not your daddy.”
“I’m a Byrd. A Byrd just took the land that’s been in his family a hundred years and left him with nothing but heartache.” She opened her door and glanced back at her mother. “I’m ashamed of that name today, Mama. As ashamed as I’ve ever been.” She stepped into her room and closed the door.

To buy the book, go here:
Barnes and Noble

About Jennings:
Born and raised in Florida, Jennings spent her early years reading anything she could get her hands on, when she wasn't spending time in and on the water. She won a prize in the 6th grade for her science fiction stories. Jennings attended the University of Tampa, graduating with a B.A. in Political Science, and almost enough credits for B.A.s in both English and History. She attended graduate school at the University of West Florida, studying Psychology. She spent time over the years doing various kinds of business writing, editing, and teaching writing, but mostly having and raising her family, homeschooling her children, owning and running a business with her husband, and starting a non-profit. Thanks to a crazy idea called NaNoWriMo, Jennings got back into creative writing in 2011 and hasn't stopped since. She currently lives in North Carolina with her husband, also a writer, and two children, and travels extensively with her family, and her non-profit in Uganda.

To connect with Jennings, go here:

Jennings is giving away a copy of Undaunted Love. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses.  To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You can enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post.

Happy Reading!
Caroline Brown


Anonymous said...

This is so sad what some people will do to others, when they already have more than anyone. I feel sorry for this girl that her daddy makes her have to be ashamed of him and to have his name, Poor Rafe and Miriam. Sore hoping to win this book. Thanks for the give-away. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

Mary / Touch of Heaven said...

Thanks for offering this book giveaway !

atouchofheaven2010 [at] gmail [dot] com

Patty said...

Thanks for the intro to a new author! I love historical fiction, so I think this would be right up my alley.


Cindi A said...

The story looks captivating. Thanks for the opportunity to enter the contest.


Nancee said...

I enjoyed your feature of Jennings and her book, Undaunted Love. I love Civil War history, and would love an opportunity to win a copy of this book. Thank you so much for offering this contest!

KayM said...

I enjoyed the excerpt. Thank you for offering a copy of Undaunted Love.
may_dayzee (at) yahoo (dot) com

Library Lady said...

I would love to win this book for the church library.
Thanks for the chance to do so.
Janet E.

karenk said...

thanks for the chance to read this novel

kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Caroline said...

From Teela Young:

would really like to win and read this book by Jennings Wright. Thank you,

Caroline said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
squiresj said...

I would love to be entered to read this book. I do not know this author. I would like to get to know her. I would even review it.
jrs362 at hotmail dot com

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