Night Fire, the first of the Night Trilogy, was first published in early 1989. I haven't rewritten it, just cleaned it up a bit and Avon books has given it a wonderful new cover.
Arielle Leslie is a sixteen-year-old girl forced to wed Paisley Cochrane, a sadistic old man who abuses her. When he dies, she believes herself free. But she's not.
Burke Drummond, Earl of Ravensworth -- a young man she'd worshipped three years before -- is home from the wars, and he wants her. When he catches her, he's in for an appalling surprise.
I hope Burke and Arielle are two people who will touch you as deeply as they touched me. They face problems and obstacles never spoken of in Regency times.
If you haven't yet read Night Fire, do give it a try.
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February 01, 1989
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Excerpt from Night Fire by Catherine Coulter
Battle of Toulouse, Toulouse, France
It was the stench that brought him back.
He opened his eyes and gazed up at the starlit sky, unaware that the stench filling his nostrils and seeping into his lungs was of human suffering, human blood, and human death. He heard a low moan, but it didn't quite touch him. It was odd, that was all.
It took him longer to realize that he couldn't move. He didn't know why he couldn't move, but there it was. What was wrong with him What had happened
It occurred to him that he was dead. No, not dead, he thought, but perhaps near death. He began to remember the battle in all its detail, as was his habit. Just as he had never forgotten the screaming death of Sergeant Hallsifer at Massena in 1810, nor the memory of how Private Oliver from Sutton-on-Tyne, a young man of vast good humor and excellent marksmanship, had bled to death. He closed his mind to it. Later, he thought, if he were blessed with a later, he would remember.
He wondered vaguely if Wellington had won the battle. It was doubtful, for if Wellington hadn't managed to bring up the heavy guns, well, there would have been no surrender and the French would have escaped from the city and been halfway to Paris by now. What the devil had happened He tried again to move his legs, then realized with a start that a dead horse was pinning him down.
He wondered if he had been wounded, but he could feel nothing. His body seemed separate from his conscious mind. Had he been left for dead No, that wasn't likely. Where were his men Please, God, not dead, please.
He knew a moment of panic, then forced himself to breathe deeply, to control his fear. It was then that he felt the whisper of pain in his side, He concentrated on that pain. Then he turned his mind inward. He would simply have to wait until Joshua came for him, and Joshua would come.
He focused his mind back in time, back to a beautiful spring day in Sussex. He dwelt on her. His memories were still vivid, not vague and blurred with time, which usually happened. No, he could see her smiling face clearly, see the rich gleam of her hair in the brilliant sunlight.