The Brightest Day: An Inside Look into "Amazing Grace"

It's 1866.
The war is over.
Slavery has ended.

But the story is just getting started...

In 1 week, THE BRIGHTEST DAY will be released! In this historical romance anthology, which features my historical novella, Amazing Grace, Gracie Shaw can't deny her desire for former Confederate soldier Logan Finley. She is torn between fulling her promise or following her heart and he is eager to start a new life--with her.

Their relationship was inspired by real life interracial couple Albert and Lucy Parsons. Lucy, a former slave married Albert, a former Confederate soldier, during the time of Reconstruction and together they spoke out against the continued injustices of newly freed slaves, women suffrage, and poor laborers.

In Amazing Grace, both Gracie and Logan are boarded on a train headed west and below is an excerpt where Gracie finally meets the mysterious man watching her sing the day before:
“Excuse us, sir.” When the man didn’t acknowledge them, Mrs. Dobson cleared her throat and not so subtly nudged his leg with her knee.
The man finally pulled back his hat, and Gracie drew in a sharp breath. At the small sound, the man swung his gaze to her, and the breath she forgot to release remained lodged in her throat. She recognized the cool, penetrating gaze from yesterday. It was the same man who had been watching her from the courtyard, whose gaze she had felt before she had even seen him. His beard-covered jaw was much sharper and prominent than she anticipated.
But it was his eyes that drew her. Standing only inches away from him, she could finally make out their color.
That’s what they reminded her of. They were the color of fresh firewood—a dark, tawny brown that held the same kind of heat. Even now, as he moved his gaze over her like a warm caress.
“Do you mind, sir?” At Mrs. Dobson’s pointed question, the man slowly removed his legs from the seat across from him. “Thank you,” she murmured stiffly.
The man inclined his head, but never took his eyes off Gracie. Her cheeks warmed at his assessment, and she averted her eyes as she followed Mrs. Dobson into the narrow space. To her dismay, the older woman took the seat at the window, across the man, forcing Gracie to sit beside him as Madeline came up behind her and took the seat across from him.
Gracie tried not to make a big deal over the seating arrangement, though she tried to create as much distance as she could in the close space. The wide skirt of her new dress, however, still brushed against his long legs. Her betrothed had been generous with his money, providing an advance to her family, a donation to the church, and additional funds for her to purchase whatever supplies she would need. Mrs. Dobson had made sure the majority of that money went to new dresses and boots. Whatever had been left over, Gracie used to fill one of her trunks with books.
“Are you comfortable, Ms. Gracie?”
Gracie whipped her head around and stared at the stranger. She could only imagine the stunned expression on her face. How…? Then she realized he must have been standing among the crowd the entire time she’d been on that stage with Reverend Mavis.
“Yes,” she finally managed. “Thank you.” There was a hint of awareness in the man’s gaze that again held her captivated.
Mrs. Dobson deliberately cleared her throat and the corner of the man’s lips quirked into a slight smile. Something in Gracie’s belly fluttered.
“Have you two met?”
At Mrs. Dobson’s abrupt question, Gracie tore her gaze from the man’s and brought it to the older woman’s suspicious glare. Her face was paler than usual, most likely from their dash to board the train, but her eyes were clear and sharp.
“Yes, ma’am,” the man said. “I had the pleasure of hearing Ms. Gracie sing yesterday.”
“During the celebration,” Gracie added, feeling the need to explain her unusual acquaintance with this stranger. She didn’t even know his name and yet felt as if they had just been caught in a secret.
Mrs. Dobson sized him up, her lips pursed and her moss-green eyes watchful. “Well, since you were gracious enough to allow us to sit with you, it’s only proper that we formally introduce ourselves, Mister…”
“Logan Finley, ma’am.” He held out his hand. “It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance.”  
I hope you enjoyed this sneak peek into Amazing Grace! Be sure to visit my fellow co-authors: Kianna Alexander (Tuesday), Piper Huguley (Wednesday), and Alyssa Cole (Thursday) for more of their stories. And don't forget to pre-order your copy of THE BRIGHTEST DAY (June 1).
**Available for pre-order--only $1.99 for a limited time!**
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Reese Ryan said…
Fantastic excerpt, Lena! I pre-ordered my copy already. Excited to read "Amazing Grace."
Unknown said…
Thanks Reese!! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. =) Can't wait til release day!