The Raging Hearts: The Coltrane Saga, Book 2

The Raging Hearts: The Coltrane Saga, Book 2 by Patricia Hagan Read Free Book Online

Book: The Raging Hearts: The Coltrane Saga, Book 2 by Patricia Hagan Read Free Book Online
Authors: Patricia Hagan
sight. Nancy was the young woman who had vied with Kitty for Nathan’s affections, making no secret of her desire to marry him. Only bitterness existed between the two women.
    “Who in the hell is that woman?” Travis hissed, spurring his horse on as the crowd began to surge forward.
    “Nathan’s old sweetheart, or so she thought,” Kitty answered quickly. “Do move on, Travis. Those people are getting angry.”
    Nancy was hitching up her long skirt to run alongside them, screaming, “Is that your Yankee lover, Kitty? We’ve heard how poor Nathan died. You slut! How dare you come riding in here this way?” She reached out to grab at Kitty’s leg, but Travis twisted in his saddle to shove her away. The gesture caught her off balance, sending her sprawling into the dirt road.
    “That goddamned Yankee shoved her down,” a man yelled. “They ain’t riding in here treating our women like that. Are we going to let him get by with it?”
    “Hell, no,” another screamed.
    Kitty felt something hit her cheek—a dirt clod—and before she could cry out, another flew through the air, hitting Travis just above his ear, knocking off his hat. Swearing, he spurred his horse, trying to move through the tightening crowd quickly surrounding them. Hands reached out to pull them from the saddle. Kitty was terrified, knowing they would be torn to bits by the mob. Then she saw that Travis had yanked his rifle from his holding strap. He fired straight up into the air. The crowd backed off momentarily, then surged forward again. She saw him lowering the rifle in the direction of a man who was beating upon his leg with a stick.
    Loud cracks of gunfire split the air, and the mob began backing away, terrified as soldiers rode straight into them, knocking both men and women to the ground, charging to where Travis and Kitty had been trapped. “What the hell is going on here?” the officer in charge yelled, then looked straight at Travis and said, “Point out the ones who attacked you. General Schofield will not stand for an attack upon our men.”
    Kitty’s arms were wrapped tightly around Travis’s waist, her face pressed against his back. Her eyes were locked with those of Nancy Warren, and she shuddered beneath a gaze that was plainly murderous. Then someone was leading Nancy away, but not before she cried, “You’ll pay, Kitty Wright. You’ll pay for what you caused to happen to a courageous soldier like Nathan Collins.”
    Kitty could be quiet no longer. Straightening, she yelled, “Nathan killed my father. He shot him in the back.”
    “Your father was a goddamned traitor to the South,” a man standing next to her shrieked. “I could have killed him with my bare hands and never felt a moment’s guilt. The vigilantes should of gone on and hung his worthless neck when they had the chance.”
    “No…” Kitty’s eyes filled with tears. Didn’t they understand? Didn’t any of these people understand? Her father had loved them, but he had to follow the convictions of his heart. Was there no way she could make them see that? She had to try. “Poppa loved the South, he…”
    “Kitty, it’s no use,” Travis yelled. She lapsed into immediate silence as he twisted to look into her eyes, lowering his voice. “Kitty, I told you it was going to be like this. These people hate your father, they hate the Union, and it doesn’t matter that they are defeated. They are going to go on hating until time heals, which may take forever.”
    “Captain, what’s all this about?” the officer standing beside them asked. “What caused this riot?”
    “Miss Wright is from Goldsboro,” Travis said in a weary tone. “Her father was John Wright…”
    “John Wright?” The officer’s eyes widened, his voice echoing his respect. “I’ve heard of the man. He was quite a soldier. I knew he was from the South.”
    “From here,” Travis said. “He was murdered, on the last day of battle at Bentonville, shot in the back by a local

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