Baptism by Fire

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Summary

Elizabeth fell in love with the Yankee who'd calmly killed seven renegade confederates in front of the house before he collapsed from his wounds............. Seven Confederates ride onto the plantation with drawn guns, clearly not intending anything good. Elizabeth snatches up a gun to meet them, and to protect those she loves, finding out the hard way what they intended for her when the leader disarmed her and pulled her over his horse, intending to ride away, taking her with them.. Within minutes seven men lie dead: all of those who had ridden in. There is another man lying there too, wounded, dying. He was not one of those seven, but had come out of nowhere. He is a hated Yankee, and yet he had single-handedly killed all of those men as they'd shot at him from their moving horses. He'd ensured that he lived for long enough to bring them all down, and to be sure about them being dead, before he too collapses. They had never seen such violence in all of the previous years of war, yet now it had descended upon them and caught them up with a vengeance, just as he does, but in a different way when he recovers from his wounds. He changes their lives forever. Love will do that.

Genre:
Romance / Adventure
Author:
johnksutherland
Status:
Complete
Chapters:
87
Rating:
4.8 9 reviews
Age Rating:
18+

Mississippi, 1857. A shocking distraction.

This story is the much warmer and more expressive version of 'In Love and War', a story of one woman's journey through the Civil War, and of the man who comes to her aid.


Jeffrey Belding arrived home from his usual Saturday night poker game at Hendersons. It was well after midnight, and he was slightly inebriated, and happy. He had won for once.

He anticipated that Megan would be waiting to help him undress; to bathe him, and to see to his other personal needs for the rest of the night—eagerly anticipated on the long ride home. He looked forward to that pleasurable distraction all evening as he had played and won.

Instead, he found his eldest daughter, Angelique, sitting by the boiler, reading, with her bare feet on the rung of the chair tilted back against the warm stonework. Angelique seemed to be the only help he might expect, but she was of no use to him in his present mood. He was not pleased, but hid his frustration from her.

He saw the heavy bath sitting ready for him and with water in it already. He threw his crop and his hat to one side. “Where is Megan?”

Angelique sensed the anger in his voice.

“I sent her to bed, Father, and I waited for you instead. She was not feeling well. I told her that I would see to you. She protested, and knew you would be angry, but I insisted, so you can blame me for that. I am sure that I can see to you better than she might.”

He doubted it. She smiled at him in a strange way as she said that. There was a look on her face he had never seen before.

“And what can you do for me?” He was impatient and snappy. His warmly-anticipated, intimate interlude with Megan that had occupied his thoughts on the ride home, had just evaporated. He was angry with his daughter and everything around him, but decided to just accept what he could not change.

Angelique smiled at him as she languidly unwound herself from the chair and answered him. “Everything she might do for you, and even more than that, I am sure.” There was something in the way she said that, and was looking at him that made him hesitate. But his alcohol-clouded mind was playing tricks.

He noticed how lightly she was dressed and how poorly hidden from him her body was. He swore again inwardly at the frustration he felt.

He doubted that Angelique could see to him as Megan would have done; even as reluctantly or unwillingly as she always was, but she knew better than to go against him. However, Megan was not here. He was too tired to argue, or to read anything in Angelique’s gentle voice. He was too tired to notice anything. It would be another difficult night for him. He’d need a couple of good drinks to deaden his deep disappointment and those other feelings of anticipation that he now needed to quash. Or he could seek Megan out later, wherever she might be hiding and drag her back to his bed.

Angelique began to fill the tub with water from the boiler, adding hot, to the cool water that had already been in there as he began to undress.

He sat down and began to tug at his boots until she intervened and helped with that, straddling him, facing away, as she brought his foot up high between her legs as she raised her nightdress out of the way. He faltered, not sure why she was doing this, this way, carefully placed the sole of his other boot on her bare buttocks and pushed.

She'd lifted her nightdress out of the way behind her, so as not to muddy it, and had her legs apart to do that. He had to look twice at what he could clearly see of her, exposed behind and between her legs, feeling his temperature rise. Belding cursed inwardly at the frustrated feelings that overcame him. He would need to find Megan with the torment he was feeling after seeing that, enervating sight.

With that boot removed, and then his sock, she transferred to the other one, moving her nightdress out of the way again. His foot was swollen more than the other, and she had difficulty holding the slippery boot steady between her legs as he pushed on her with his bare foot. The boot and its sock came off suddenly, almost sending her to the floor amidst her laughter. He could see even more of her now between her legs and behind her as she bent over to pick them up. He felt disturbed more than he liked to admit.

He began on the rest of his clothes as she took the bucket and began to add more hot water to his bath. It took only two buckets of hot water from the boiler to get it warm enough, so it had not been that cold. Usually it would have taken four, added to the six of cold water that were already in there. She may have bathed before him. He did not care, but watched Angelique as she did that. There was something strange about the way she was behaving. She was happy, even singing. She looked at him occasionally, to see how he was progressing with getting undressed, aware that he was observing her closely, as he never had before. She was also flushed. He would have had to have been a statue not to have noticed her and everything about her that she intended he would notice. He was not made of stone.

He saw her lower body yet again as she bent over to swirl the water, holding her nightdress up on herself to stop it getting wet. His breath caught in his throat at what he could see. She was mature, but she had grown up without him noticing; a grown woman in every way. But of course she was. He looked twice to be sure of what he was seeing in the dim light of the candles placed by the bath, but did not feel easy doing so.

He paused for a moment, entranced as he should not have been, and began to notice other feelings about himself; a slight breathlessness. She had the wide hips of a mature woman, and there was a growth of hair, disturbingly framing her maturely swollen vulva, exposed behind her as she leaned over the tub away from him with her legs apart for balance.

She seemed to be doing everything, deliberately. Why? His breath caught in his throat and he felt alarmed and guilty for feeling as he did. This was not the girl he knew. She had grown up without him noticing anything about her, other than for her breasts, which had grown noticeably in the last few years. He could not help but notice those as she leaned toward him at the dinner table, offering him more potatoes, or as she glided about the house mostly undressed, looking for a dress or a wrap. She had not been afraid to change, or to admire herself in a mirror, within clear sight of him through her open bedroom door, almost as though she had not known that he were there and watching her, except she had known, of course. And he had watched.

She had large breasts with pronounced areolas—a little different on each breast—he had noticed that on one occasion, and proud dark nipples. He could see that about her now as she leaned over, facing him this time, seeing to his bath, and she was aware that he watched her attentively in the front of her loose nightdress, as aware of his interest, as any woman would be who intended to captivate the object of her targeted behavior. But why was she doing this?

Angelique had become a woman almost without him noticing. He had noticed too little about her, even as she had grown under his eyes, but then he had tended to ignore her, as he did all of the three children.

Her face was rosy, as though she had been in a hot bath herself, just before he had arrived, and her hair showed signs of being damp where it had been in the water. Her nightdress was also damp and clung to her back. She had been in his bath herself, as she waited for him, and had quickly climbed out and dressed only when she heard his horse approach the stable. The thought of her having been in the same bath that he would soon be in, excited him where it should not have. He quieted his inner voice that cautioned him about what he was thinking and feeling, and began to pay her closer attention without being too obvious about it.

She organized soap and towels as he shed the last of his clothing, unembarrassed by his daughter waiting on him, but more annoyed that she would torment him as any lightly clad woman inevitably did by being close to him. Unlike Megan, she would then be able to leave him. He climbed into the warm water and lay back to clear his head of the strangely rebellious thoughts that went through it.

The next thing he knew, Angelique had brought him a large whiskey and set it by him on the stool. He looked up in surprise.

Megan would not have done that without being prompted. Megan knew how liquor affected him when he was in the mood he was invariably in. Angelique was smiling down at him in a way he had not seen before, as she hovered over him, entirely unembarrassed herself, at the way she was often revealed to him by her movements. Her breasts were almost fully exposed to him as she leaned over him, and she continued to smile at his fixed attention upon her, as he looked into the front of her loose nightdress. He wanted to reach out and touch, hold, caress.

He had not expected this. Why was she behaving this way? This was Angelique, his daughter, and not Megan, whom he had expected and even anticipated for the last few hours. Megan would never have brought him whiskey for fear of how it might inflame him and loosen his intent more forcefully, as it would, though it would have seen her able to return to her own bed sooner too.

Belding began to feel one of his headaches coming up on him. Without a grown and accommodating woman to be intimate with him at least once or twice each day, his headaches would take over again.

Megan must have told Angelique what to do to try and relax him, damn her. At least she had told Angelique what to do before she had scurried off to her bed, thankful to be dismissed from something she had always been obliged to submit to, and never with the excitement that he always felt. It always left a bad taste in his mouth and left him hanging. It would have been so easy for her to have encouraged him and brought him along, and she would have been rewarded for it in some obvious way, but she did not feel as he did, and did not put her heart into it. Angelique sensed his mood, and knew better than to say anything. The Whiskey would help for a while.

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