The Fallen Soldier Returns (Preview)


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Chapter One

The sound of gunfire was deafening and the smell of burnt wood and death hung in the air. Caleb took a step forward and glanced through the shattered window.

“How far away are they?” Boyd was crouched down beside him, hiding behind the remnants of what had been the wall of a store.

Caleb didn’t have a chance to reply. There was a thunderous noise and a few seconds later, a cannonball crashed through the building next to them. Pieces of wood and glass flew in all directions and Caleb watched in horror as more of his fellow soldiers perished.

Some were older than him, some younger, but it didn’t matter. In the end, they all wanted to live.

Their cries echoed through the deafening silence that followed the explosion. The building was engulfed in flames, and so were a few of the men who had managed to escape. Two ran out from behind the crumbling walls of the building and headed straight toward the enemy. A couple of gunshots put them out of their misery.

The third soldier who had escaped ran toward Caleb and the soldiers taking cover alongside him. There were still a lot of them left, but not enough. They were falling, and fast.

“Get down!” yelled a soldier whose name Caleb didn’t know. “Roll on the ground.”

The burning man fell to the ground and started rolling around. Everybody’s eyes were on him as his muffled cries were swallowed by another cannon going off. Caleb heard the impact, somewhere to their left. They had to get out of there.

He had to focus on keeping himself and Boyd alive.

Caleb turned away and glanced out the window again. While they were distracted, Sherman’s troops had moved closer.

“They’re advancing on us,” Caleb said just loud enough for Boyd to hear. His fellow soldier stood up, his skinny body swallowed by his dirty uniform, and peered out the broken window.

Troops of Union soldiers were slowly marching toward the Confederates, who were vastly outnumbered. There were hundreds of men, carrying rifles, and dozens of horses pulling cannons.

Boyd shook his head, panic in his light blue eyes. “We’re not gonna win this one.”

“No, we’re not,” Caleb agreed. They would lose the battle, and in the process, their whole regiment would be wiped out.

All around them were dead soldiers, burning buildings, and thick smoke. Atlanta was a hellscape—and they were right in the middle of it.

From their right came the sound of more yelling as gunshots started to ring through the air again. Men were dropping as bullets hit them and cannonballs barreled through their beleaguered lines.

“Fix your bayonets,” their commander ordered as he took out his saber and lifted it into the air. It was going to be a charge.

Caleb drew his blade and rushed to join the other men. He felt a hand grip his arm and pull him to a stop before he could take his position on the front line.

“I… I can’t do it,” Boyd whispered, his voice cracking and barely audible above the chaos that surrounded them. “I don’t want to die. I can’t do it.” The hand that was holding his blade was trembling and it slipped from his fingers and clattered to the ground as he took a step back and let go of Caleb.

“Now!” their commander instructed, but Caleb didn’t move as what was left of their Texas regiment charged forward. His eyes glanced toward the men and then focused on Boyd again.

“I’m so sorry.” Boyd took another step back and turned on his heels, running in the opposite direction.

Caleb was stunned as he stood there, torn between his pride and his friend. He had spent the last four years of his life on the front line. He had seen many things he wished he hadn’t and done what was needed to survive. He wasn’t a coward and didn’t want to be seen as a deserter, but Boyd was more than a friend. He was like a little brother to Caleb.

He would have taken his position and fought alongside his fellow soldiers, but keeping Boyd safe was more important than dying in a losing battle.

Without another thought, Caleb sprinted after Boyd. The young man was running fast, jumping over debris and dodging flames. He was agile and a good shot, but he wasn’t a fighter. He didn’t have the heart for it. The war had sucked the life out of Boyd, just like it had done with Caleb. Unlike Caleb, however, Boyd still held on to hope and deserved a chance at a good life.

Caleb eventually caught up with him as they reached the center of town. Atlanta had a population of around ten thousand people, or so their commander had said. During their time there, Caleb had witnessed the locals’ houses and farms being destroyed and taken over. When he signed up, he’d wanted to fight for Texas, but the things he had seen were enough to give anybody nightmares.

Boyd was running like he was being chased, but he wasn’t being as careful as he should have been. While they had left the fight behind, there were many Union soldiers making rounds in town.

“Watch out!” Caleb hissed as he grabbed Boyd’s arm and pulled him into an alley.

A gasp escaped the young man’s mouth as he whipped his head around, his eyes big as they landed on Caleb. “You followed me.”

He sounded surprised. He shouldn’t have been. Boyd had enlisted a year ago and looked completely out of place. Caleb had felt bad for him and had taken him under his wing. He’d never expected to form such a strong bond with him.

“Couldn’t exactly let you run wild out here on your own,” Caleb replied with a frown. “Look over there.” He pointed to movement in the distance. “Union soldiers.”

Boyd’s eyes followed the direction he was pointing in, his breathing fast and labored. “I didn’t see them.”

“I know. That’s why you need me.”

Boyd looked hesitant. “You’re really coming with?”

Caleb nodded. “Now come on, we can’t stay here, and we need supplies.”

He carefully made his way through the alley, going in the opposite direction from where they had seen the Union soldiers. Sweat dripped from his brow, and he wiped at his head with the sleeve of his jacket. The material smelled like smoke and dirt. He hadn’t had a bath in who knows how long, but that was the least of his worries.

“This way,” he whispered, pulling Boyd out of the alley. They made their way past the buildings that lined the dirt road. The structures in the center of town were still standing, but there was nobody about. Most of the men were fighting and the women and children were hiding in their homes.

There was a general store at the end of the road. Caleb had noticed it the previous day. Stopping there to gather supplies was risky, but heading out into the wild with nothing was even more dangerous. Caleb had no idea how far they would have to travel before they reached the next town, and even if it was close, they didn’t have any money.

Staying out of sight just in case more Union soldiers were patrolling the area, Caleb and Boyd sneaked to the general store. Like all the other buildings surrounding it, the doors were locked and didn’t budge when Caleb pulled on them.

Feeling desperate, he scanned the area before removing his felt slouch hat and wrapping it around his hand. There was a big glass window next to the door, so he quickly slammed his fist into it, making sure to stand out of the way of falling glass. It was the first time he had broken into a place, but considering the circumstances, he didn’t have much choice. They had no money and no supplies. Without the basics, they would die.

Caleb carefully removed some of the bigger pieces of glass that were still stuck in the frame and stepped through it and into the shop. Boyd followed closely after him.

“Stand watch at the window,” Caleb instructed, his heart pounding in his chest as he took in the shelves that lined the walls.

To his far left, he saw a bunch of gunny sacks, so he grabbed two and ran toward a shelf stacked with canned food. He filled the bag, not caring what he took. He was in a hurry and any food would do.

Next, he rushed to the hardware section. He stuffed a small axe and some rope into the empty bag and proceeded to the front counter. Along the way, he grabbed some sewing needles, thread, fishing line, fishing hooks, a small pot, and two canteens. He wasn’t giving any of it too much thought and gathering all the items had taken less than five minutes.

He still needed to get the two most important items, matches and ammunition. He slipped in behind the front counter and grabbed several boxes of matches from the shelf on the wall before spinning around and opening the drawers below the counter. Inside, he found not only the bullets he was looking for but also a bottle of whiskey. Caleb stuffed the whiskey into the bag and then filled it up with ammunition.

“Are you almost done?” Boyd asked, from where he stood at the window, shifting from one foot to the other.

“Yes,” Caleb replied as he rushed over to his friend and handed him the bag that contained the food. “Let’s go.”

He drew the strings of his bag tight, hauled it over his shoulder, and secured it under his left arm. It wasn’t heavy. He could easily run while carrying it.

The battle was still going, and plumes of smoke rose out from behind the town center as the two men made their way farther and farther away from the chaos. They were almost out of town and were passing the post office when two men, dressed in blue uniforms, opened the door and stepped out right in front of them.

Caleb had two options: stop or barrel right into the men. He chose the latter. Picking up speed with his few last strides, he pushed his arms out to the sides and crashed right into them. Caught off guard, they toppled to the ground. Caleb landed between them and immediately pushed himself back to his feet as he reached for his pistol.

The soldier to his left grabbed a hold of Caleb’s leg and yanked it violently, causing him to fall forward. His knee hit the ground and he was just about to throw a punch at the man’s face when a gunshot rang out from behind him. The man slumped back, the bullet having hit him right between the eyes. Boyd had shot him.

“You bastard!” the other soldier roared, reaching for his gun. Caleb wasn’t going to allow that. He grabbed the man by the neck and squeezed hard as he pushed him down onto his back. The man wheezed and clawed at Caleb’s hand, trying to loosen his grip.

“Nobody’s stopping us from leaving,” Caleb breathed as he removed his gun from his holster, pushed it against the suffocating man’s forehead, and pulled the trigger. Blood splattered over his pistol and hand. It wasn’t the first time.

Caleb took a deep breath to calm his racing heart. He was tired, but there was no time to rest. They needed to keep moving.

“Are you all right?” he asked as he got to his feet and holstered his pistol.

“Yeah, I’m good.” Boyd grabbed Caleb’s bag from the ground and handed it to him with shaky hands.

Caleb hoisted the bag over his shoulder and readjusted his rifle on his back before taking off down the road. They ran as fast as they could, leaving the town behind them. They didn’t dare slow down until they reached the woods. With the surrounding foliage providing cover, Caleb finally stopped running and took out his compass. They had made it out of town, but their journey had only just begun.

Chapter Two

Boyd followed Caleb, broken branches and fallen leaves crunching under their boots. The big man would have looked intimidating to anybody who didn’t know him, but to Boyd, he was a saving grace. They had been traveling through the woods and trying to keep out of sight for almost a week, and if Caleb hadn’t decided to join him, Boyd wasn’t sure he would have survived.

The food and supplies that they had taken back in Atlanta had saved them, and Boyd never would have thought of stopping for supplies. All he had been thinking about was getting as far away from the fight as possible.

Joining the army had been a huge mistake. If he never had to take another life, he’d be a happy man. All the death and violence were too much for him, and as the months passed, he had become terrified of dying. He knew it was inevitable, but he was only nineteen and had so much he still wanted to do.

“This way,” Caleb instructed, veering to the right. His long blond hair hung past his shoulders and was matted with blood and dirt. His long beard didn’t look much better. “We need to get out of these uniforms. Find some clothes so that we can travel a little easier without being noticed.”

If they got caught, they could be arrested for being deserters—and even if that didn’t happen, civilians tended to be afraid of soldiers.

“We should probably find a river to wash in too,” he stated, looking down at his hands. New clothes would be great, but they would still attract attention being so filthy.

“Clothes first, then river.” Caleb lifted his compass and nodded to himself. “We’re bound to find a town if we keep heading west.”

Their trek through the woods hadn’t been easy and they had only stopped to eat and sleep. Boyd knew it was important to keep going but his feet were aching, and he needed a break. He didn’t complain, though. Caleb was right to push him so hard. They were deserters, and they were far from home.


Boyd was putting up a brave face, but it was clear he was struggling to cope with the situation they found themselves in. The young man wasn’t made for such harsh conditions, and without their belongings, they were up against nature. They had left everything behind when they ran and didn’t even have a bedroll to sleep on.

Thankfully, the weather had been good the past week. It was sweltering, but there had been no rain or thunderstorms. Caleb knew they were coming, but he had long since decided to take things one day at a time. Allowing his mind to wander too far into the future or to get stuck on the things that he had seen and done in the past only led to anxiety, and he didn’t have the time or patience for that. War was tough, but Caleb had learned to be tougher.

He did allow his mind to travel back to before the war, though, to recall memories of his family and friends. Those were the memories that had kept him going all the years while he was at war, and he held on to them tightly.

His sister Liz had always been his sunshine, even on the darkest days. She was two years younger than him and had been his friend and confidant since he could remember. Caleb loved his family and they all got along great but whenever there was tension, Liz was the one who could easily resolve it. She was such an optimistic person and always saw the best in everyone.

Caleb smiled to himself. He couldn’t wait to see his sister. It had been more than five years and he had so much he wanted to tell her. She was the one person he could count on to understand everything he had been through, and he hoped that having her by his side would help him readjust to being back home.

As they walked, the trees and shrubs that surrounded them became fewer, and soon they reached a wire fence. It was flimsy, but instead of pushing it over, Caleb decided to follow it. Walking around the perimeter, it became clear that it was a cotton field. The property was big, and at one end, busy working the land, was a group of slaves.

Ducking down low, they made their way along the fence and out of view. Once Caleb was sure they were in the clear, he stood up straight and glanced around. The wood stretched out to their right. The cotton fields were on their left, and farther on, in the distance, was a two-story farmhouse.

“Over there, next to the barn.” Boyd pointed to the side of the house. “It looks like there’s some clothes on the line.”

“Let’s stick to the tree line and get a closer look,” Caleb replied, hoping for something that would fit them.

Staying in the shadows of the trees, the two snuck as close as they could get. The house looked worn, and it was clear that whoever lived there had seen better days. The war had been tough on everybody, but Caleb couldn’t afford to dwell on it. They needed clothes and the washing line was full. There were men’s clothes, women’s clothes, and smaller items that would fit a child.

“I don’t see anybody,” Boyd stated as he snuck out from behind the trees and tugged on the wire fence. “We can just push it over.”

Caleb followed him and together they pushed the chicken wire fence down, hopped over, and ran toward the line. Caleb grabbed the first items he saw that looked like they would fit him—a pair of denim jeans, a work shirt, some socks, and a coat. The socks he had on had holes at the toes and his feet were chafed from all the walking.

“Come on, let’s go,” Caleb whispered as he glanced over to Boyd, who was still gathering clothes.

“Coming,” Boyd said before grabbing another item from the line.

Caleb shook his head but couldn’t help but smile. Boyd’s arms were stuffed with clothes, and it looked like he had taken a blanket, too. Caleb didn’t feel great about stealing from people, but they weren’t hurting anybody. At least not physically.

“Who’s there?” a female voice asked as the back door of the house opened.

“Run!” Caleb yelled, taking off toward the fence and their bags, which they had left hidden in the trees.

Boyd was fast, and within seconds, Caleb saw his mop of light brown curls beside him.

“Stop!” the woman yelled as she chased after them.

Caleb glanced over his shoulder, taking in her appearance. She was middle-aged and heavyset, and she was waving a rolling pin in the air as she stumbled after them. It was quite a sight.

They didn’t stop. They kept on running long after they were in the clear. Once they had jumped the fence, they grabbed their bags and hurried deep into the woods. The woman would surely tell her husband, and who knew if somebody would come looking for them.

“Do you have any idea where we are?” Boyd asked when they finally stopped in a little clearing.

Caleb shook his head. “Not really, but we’re still in Georgia. Maybe Skint Chestnut or another town close by.”

Boyd put his bag and heap of clothes down on the grass and picked up a pair of pants. “Do you think they’ll come after us?”

Caleb shrugged. “Maybe, but I doubt they’ll search too far into the forest.”

He followed Boyd’s example and placed his bag and clothes on the grass in front of him. There wasn’t much space in the bag, but he could try to fit the pants and shirt in it until they got to a river or spring where they could wash. He picked up the pants and held them to his body before folding them up and stuffing them into the bag. The shirt fit in the bag too, and he tied the coat around his waist.

Boyd had taken a lot more items and Caleb watched as he tried to fit as many as possible into his bag. When he was done, he was left with a coat, a shirt, and a blanket.

“We need to get going,” Caleb pointed out. The sun was high in the sky and if he had to guess, he’d say it was around noon.

Boyd groaned and held up the blanket. “I don’t know what to do with this.”

“Leave it,” Caleb replied with a frown. There was no way they’d be able to carry it with them all the way back home.

“It could come in useful,” Boyd stated as he let the blanket fall to the ground.

“We can’t carry it with us.”

Caleb didn’t wait for a reply. Boyd was young but clever enough to know he was right. Taking out his compass, Caleb made sure they were still heading in the right direction and then glanced over his shoulder. Boyd was a few feet behind him. He had tied the coat he had taken around his waist and the blanket was nowhere to be seen.


Caleb pointed his rifle, took a deep breath to steady himself, and pulled the trigger. The shot echoed through the overgrowth of the wetlands that surrounded them. The sound of birds taking off filled the air and startled critters scurried off in different directions.

“I hate this place,” Boyd mumbled as the two of them shuffled through the muddy water that reached just above their knees. He held a long branch in his hand and felt the way ahead of them, making sure there were no sudden drops.

Caleb hated it, too. Alabama was pretty, but the swamps were a nightmare. They had been traveling for over a month and it hadn’t gotten any easier. “At least we have food.”

The food they had stolen back in Atlanta was long gone and they had been relying on hunting and foraging, which meant an abundance on some days and empty stomachs on others.

It was still hot, too, but unlike in Atlanta, it rained often. They were almost constantly wet, and it was taking a toll on both of them.

“Help me carry it.” Caleb took hold of the front legs while Boyd grabbed the deer’s hind legs, and together, they carried it through the marshy water to a patch of dryer land. The rain had stopped the previous night, and they were hoping it would stay away so they could make a fire and have a decent meal.

It was late afternoon and the sun was hidden by a thick veil of clouds, which didn’t look promising. They had no shelter and it got cold at night, especially when soaked.

“I’ll skin it, you start the fire,” Caleb instructed as he sat down and got to work.

He didn’t particularly enjoy hunting or skinning animals, but the meat kept them alive, and although it wouldn’t last long before it went off, they would have food for a couple of days.

Boyd got the fire going quickly and soon they were cooking the meat. Caleb sat close to the fire. The heat felt good after spending much of the day trotting through water and mud, and the smoke kept the bugs away.

Traveling without any cover meant having to deal with the elements. Nature was cruel. Caleb’s body was covered with mosquito bites, and yesterday they’d had to cross a deep body of water. When they emerged on the other side, they each had attracted multiple leeches.

“I think the meat’s ready,” Boyd said from across the fire as he poked it with his knife.

“About time. I’m starving.” Caleb pulled his bag closer while Boyd removed the pot from the heat. They didn’t have plates, but that was the least of their worries. “You want coffee?”

Boyd nodded as a smile formed on his face. “Yes, please.”

Along with the food they had stolen in Atlanta, Caleb had taken two bags of coffee beans. They had been using them sparingly and although the second bag was almost done, Caleb was craving a cup.

He took the pack out and shook it close to his ear. They’d probably be able to get a few more cups out of it. Four, maybe five each.

“So, what’s the first thing you’re gonna do when you get back home?” Boyd asked, watching Caleb as he put water over the fire to boil.

There were so many things that Caleb wanted to do. It had been more than five years since he left home and the idea of being back and seeing his family almost seemed unreal. Caleb had missed them so much during his time at war, but sometime during his service, around the three-year mark, he had accepted the fact that he might never see them again. His fellow soldiers had been falling fast and he had come to the conclusion that, sooner or later, he would succumb to the war, too.

Now that he was on his way home, all the things he wanted to share with his family were possible again.

Caleb shook his head as a smile formed on his lips. “I can’t choose only one,” he replied. “I mean, there’s the obvious things like eating a home-cooked meal and sleeping in my own bed, but I’m more excited to see my family and to be able to talk to them.”

“It’s going to be so strange, though,” Boyd pointed out. “We haven’t seen them in so long. They could have changed a lot.”

“I guess, but they’re still the same people we left behind.” Caleb shrugged. He didn’t want to think about it. He preferred to imagine his family exactly as he’d left them, although they would all have aged and lived through things he knew nothing about.

Boyd added the coffee beans to the boiling water and took their cups from one of their bags. “I can’t wait to see my brothers and to tell them about our journey back home.”

“You think your family would be angry that you deserted the war?

Boyd shrugged. “I don’t think so. I hope not.”

Caleb took a bite of his meat. It wasn’t tasty, but he chewed and swallowed anyway. “My grandpa is a veteran,” he said with a smile. Thinking of his grandfather always made Caleb feel proud. He was just hoping that the older man wouldn’t be disappointed in him for deserting the fight.

Boyd sat up straight, his eyes fixed on Caleb. “You’ve never told me that before.”

“There’s many things I haven’t told you.” Caleb chuckled. “Mostly because you never shut up to give me a chance.”

Boyd’s face went red. “That’s just mean,” he complained. “I can’t help that I talk when I’m nervous.”

Caleb couldn’t help but laugh at his friend’s embarrassment. “I’m just pulling your leg,” he assured him. “I don’t mind listening to all your stories.”

Boyd removed the coffee from the fire and poured some in their cups. The steam raised from the hot liquid and Caleb took the cup in his hands, hoping it would warm him up a little.

“My grandfather fought in the war of 1812.” Caleb closed his eyes, thinking of all the stories his grandfather had told him. “He was eighteen when he joined the army. It’s something he’s very proud of.”

“Are you close to him?” Boyd asked, looking intrigued.

Caleb nodded. “Yes. He’s the one who taught me how to fight and shoot. My father isn’t a bad shot, but he was always more interested in running the ranch.”

“I bet your grandpa was real proud when you enlisted.”

“He sure was. I can’t wait to tell him all about the war,” Caleb replied. “He actually said he wished he could come with me.”

Boyd’s eyes grew wide as he choked on the piece of meat he was chewing. “Isn’t he old and sickly?” he asked when he finally recovered.

“Old, but not sickly. He’s always been a big man, and even as he aged, he stayed fit. He was still helping my father on the ranch when I left.”

“That’s incredible. I hope I can meet him sometime.”

“I hope so too,” Caleb replied honestly. He would love for Boyd to meet his family.


Boyd looked over at Caleb, who was walking confidently next to him. They had washed their clothes and laid them out to dry before washing themselves in a river they had found. They needed food and supplies and couldn’t go into town looking the way they did.

After having spent two weeks making their way through grimy swamps, it felt great to be clean again. Boyd’s hair was longer than he liked it and the scruff on his face was irritating, but other than that, he felt better than he had in a long time.

The town was close to the border of Mississippi, and it was the first time they were heading into town since they escaped in Atlanta.

It was a small town, and the only plan they had was to see if they could find some kind of job that would pay them enough to buy some supplies before they continued their journey home.

“What if we don’t find a job?” Boyd asked, knowing that jobs had been scarce since the war started.

“We’ll find something,” Caleb assured him.

“How can you be so confident?” Boyd raised a brow as he took in his friend.

“Being unsure isn’t going to get us anywhere.”

That was true, but easier said than done. Boyd was good at a lot of things, but being on the run and journeying across states without any food, shelter, or money wasn’t one of them.

The streets weren’t busy but there were people about and all eyes were on them. Boyd had expected as much, but his stomach still contracted with nerves, and he slipped his shaky hands into his pockets. So many things could go wrong. He didn’t even want to think what might happen if somebody figured out that they were deserters.

Boyd longed to be back home with his family outside Plano. He wished he had never enlisted. It was the dumbest thing he had ever done.

“Relax and follow my lead.” Caleb placed his hand on Boyd’s shoulder and gave him a reassuring smile.


After having spent two weeks working on a farm in town, Caleb and Boyd moved on. It was too risky to stay longer and they had made some much-needed money. It wasn’t a lot, but they had bought some food and items that would help them on their journey.

Having a roof over their heads and food to eat was a nice treat. The farmer who had hired them allowed them to sleep in the barn, and his wife was kind enough to provide them with supper every night.

Boyd wanted to stay longer, but they still had a long road ahead of them, and people were starting to ask questions. It was better to leave before they got found out.

“Do you know it?” Boyd asked as they stood atop a hill, looking out over a big town.

Caleb nodded. “Yes, it’s Jackson. They have a couple of war hospitals.”

“Confederates?” Boyd walked to the edge of the hill and lifted his hand to try to block out the sun.

“Yeah.” Caleb’s stomach twisted as he thought about all the men filling up those hospitals. Some wouldn’t survive, and the ones who did make it out alive would never be the same.

Looking down at his arms, he took in his scars. His body was covered with them. The physical scars never bothered him. They reminded him that he was still alive. It was the stories behind the scars that tortured his mind.

“I wish we could go visit them,” Boyd stated as he absentmindedly started walking toward the town.

Caleb wouldn’t have minded it, but it wasn’t safe. “It’s best to stay on the outskirts.”

“I know,” Boyd replied with a sigh. “I guess we’d better get going.”

Caleb didn’t reply. Instead, he put the small fire out and grabbed his stuff.

The two of them walked in silence for a little while, but it didn’t take long before Boyd found something to talk about. Caleb listened and offered short replies when necessary, but he wasn’t much of a talker. He didn’t mind Boyd’s senseless chatter though. It helped to keep him sane.

Boyd switched from one topic to the other. First, he was focused on the war hospitals, but soon enough he was talking about his dog Shooter and how they had gotten him at a fair in town.

At the mention of a fair, Caleb’s mind drifted back to a time before the war. His family always went to the town fair in Vista. Since he could remember, they never missed it, except for the one year when he, Liz, and their neighbors’ children Jacob and Molly had contracted influenza.

Caleb’s family had always been close with the neighbors, and as children, it was impossible to keep Caleb and Jacob away from each other. They were the best of friends and always did everything together.

That was until Caleb decided to enlist. He had thought Jacob would, too, but his friend had refused. It hadn’t made sense to Caleb and had caused many arguments between the two of them. Jacob made it clear that he had thought Caleb’s decision was stupid and Caleb had called Jacob some horrible things in return.

They weren’t on speaking terms when Caleb had left, and although it had been years, Caleb still got upset whenever he thought about it.

“Did they have town fairs in Vista?” Boyd asked, pulling Caleb out of his thoughts.

“Yes, every year,” Caleb replied, happy to think of the good times instead of his anger toward Jacob. “I used to always go with my family and our neighbors.”

They made their way down the hill and kept to trees as they based by the town and continued their trek home.

My new novel “The Fallen Soldier Returns” is coming soon! Stay tuned for the announcement!

Do you want more Western Adventure? Check out my latest Amazon Best-Selling novel, “Homecoming for Vengeance”!

After surviving the horrors of Andersonville prison, Union soldier Jeb Holter embarks on a grueling journey back to Missouri. Penniless and alone, his path is altered by an unexpected act of kindness when the grieving Cooper family gifts him a horse and a new resolve to make it home. Missouri, scarred by war and plagued by violence, offers no sanctuary. As he navigates this dangerous landscape, one question haunts him.

Can he find peace in a world that seems intent on tearing itself apart?

Meanwhile, Moses Freeman, a former slave turned Union soldier, is driven by vengeance after rogue Confederate soldiers brutally murder his family. His quest for justice propels him westward, toward the same turbulent region…

Will avenging his family bring the closure he so desperately seeks?

Jeb and Moses’s paths cross in a community on the edge of chaos. Bound by shared grief and a common enemy, they must confront their pasts to protect those they love and reclaim the valley. Will their combined strength be enough to overcome the forces threatening their new beginnings?

“Homecoming for Vengeance” is a historical adventure novel of approximately 60,000 words. No cliffhangers, only pure unadulterated action.

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