Across an ocean, to another land and time, the brooch goes from hand to hand, heart to heart.
As the Civil War rages, Kay Lane does what most women do'she works to keep her country home intact, struggles to manage her family's small shop and waits for word that the chaos that's invaded their lives will soon come to an end. She hopes, too, for word of the man who has claimed her heart. Marsh was one of the first to volunteer for duty, and now that he's gone Kay wishes they had married before he left. But regrets won't win a war, and as Marsh fights his battles, Kay wages her own crusade for freedom. She becomes a conductor for the Underground Railroad, using her ancestral brooch to signal the arrival of new fugitives.
But will Kay and Marsh's shared love and unerring belief that freedom belongs to all be enough to shelter them through the next big battle? Gettysburg looms and the hands and hearts that hold the brooch will be forced to endure new trials. Only time will tell if freedom's touch will unite ?or separate'them.
(53 pages) Sweet
"Thank you, ma'am," the woman whispered, her voice cracking as she spoke. Kay understood that on the trail to freedom, words were a luxury those on the run could ill afford to waste and she was touched by the woman's show of gratitude.
"You're very welcome," Kay said. She would have loved to linger but with every passing minute the chance she could be discovered missing from the house grew. "When you move on tonight, keep traveling north. You'll walk a good twelve miles this night, so rest well. Go back the way you came, through the woods until you find the stream again. Walk beside it as it winds toward the mountains. Follow the north star--you know that one, don't you?" she waited until all three heads nodded before she continued. "Follow the star, keeping the stream on your right side," she held up her right hand and waited until three darker ones joined hers. "Until you see a cabin beneath a stand of pines. There will be an 'X' on the side of the cabin--you know what an 'X' is, don't you? Good, then just go into the cabin and wait. The next conductor will be to you before sunrise. Do you understand what I've told you?"
"Yes'm, we do." The man sounded tired and looked as if he needed a bath, a hot meal and a warm bed.
Kay resisted the impulse to reach out and hug him, knowing her desire to comfort would be shocking for the travel-weary passengers to deal with. She wished she could offer these people more, wished with all her heart and soul they didn't have to pay so dearly for their freedom. But wishing, especially in a world gone mad the way theirs had, only made her sad. She took a deep breath and placed a hand on the latch that opened the hidden panel.
Before leaving, she turned and met the gaze of each person and held it for several long moments, trying to memorize their faces. It was the only way she had of keeping them close. After she scooted through the panel and out of the barn, she would never see any of them again. Instead she'd be left to wonder whether they completed their journey, whether they lived or died and whether they'd found freedom in this world--or the next.