Rhys Redding is a carry-over from the first book LIGHTNING. The story opens as the ship is being blown apart in the waters off the North Carolina coast. The Union is firing upon this blockade runner, trying to shorten the war by depriving the South of needed supplies. It is February 1865.
The next chapter opens in Libby Prison located in Richmond, Virginia -- a Confederate Prison. It may be the end of the Civil War but these injured men are too ill to know or care. Rhys notices a woman (Mrs. Susannah Fallon) who visits her brother, Wesley most days and tends to his needs. She also gives water to Rhys. Susannah keeps reminding her brother about the ranch they left and his intended bride, Erin.
Wes wants no part of any of it; hes lost a leg and has decided that he just wants to die. Because Susannah is the widow of a famous, heroic Confederate officer, she gets written permission to take her brother away from the prison. Since the war will end soon, Richmond will be in chaos Susannah needs to remove him immediately.
She offers get a release for Rhys if he will accompany them to their ranch in Texas. She knows that there is no way she can manage a depressed, severely injured soldier on the long journey. Rhys has a very important reason for wanting to escape the prison before the Union army arrives and discovers him. He is known as a renegade runner although he is Welsh, punishment will be severe.
Rhys agrees, though he is in poor condition himself. But, Susannah senses his strength, although she has no idea who Rhys really is. Half of the book is about the arduous trip to Texas; the last half is about the trouble they encounter when they arrive.
This is my 24th book by Patricia Porter and she does not have a clue about how to write a bad book! The plotting, character development and pacing are wonderful. This is the second book from the 2 book series: Civil War.
1) Lightning (1992)
2) Renegade (1993)
Prisoner Rhys Redding never wondering why an angel with gleaming eyes would appear in the hellish confederate jail. All he cared about was that she was his only hope of escaping Richmond before the conquering Yanks set the prisoners free and found out who he really was - and that she stoked a fire within him that burned hotter than any fever. Susannah Fallon knew nothing about the wounded man who lay on the cot next to her brother's beyond the incongruity of his Yankee uniform and his Welsh accent. Though she saw in his onyx eyes the wild, predatory spirit of a hawk, something within her urged Susannah to trust him, to take the chance that he could make the perilous journey across the lawless South and get her home to Texas. As they traveled the scarred, burned-out land, they would feel the heat of passion's flame - but once they reached their destination, would Rhys take flight again... or would the man who instited he had no soul realize that he'd found the keeper of his heart?