Charlsie Russell's Requited Harvest is now for sale at all online and brick and mortar book retailers! For more information, click on this banner. Gothic Suspense against the backdrop of Mississippi's 19th century timber industry!

Once more, Charlsie Russell has written an exceptionally entertaining Southern Gothic Suspense novel. Readers will cheer for the hero, marvel at the strength of the heroine, gasp at the evil that thrives in those who surround them, and shiver at the scenes that bring an intriguing and haunting dimension to this exciting story.

Elizabeth A. Smith

 

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A young man burdened with guilt tangles with a ruthless dowager in an age-old quest for justice. But Jack Gibson’s sojourn for truth is suddenly and inexplicably derailed by two twisted families whose members vie for mastery in a deadly plot for wealth and power. The key to it all…truth, justice, and yes, vengeance…Jack realizes, is his nemesis granddaughter, Penelope King, a vulnerable young woman who is oblivious to her true value and its inherent danger. Murder, greed, romance, and Gothic suspense set against Mississippi’s burgeoning longleaf pine industry in the final decades of the nineteenth century.  Pure escape fiction!

 

Chapter One

Mississippi City, Mississippi, mid-March 1889

“Seduce him.”
“Seduce him?” Adelaide repeated.
Eva Markiston looked at her granddaughter, a striking flaxen- haired beauty wearing a knowing smile, despite her feigned confusion. “Yes, sweetheart, seduce the fool. No hard order for you, and I have every confidence in your success.”
Adel pushed away from the back of the settee and rounded the piece. There she sat and studied Eva, who stood in front of the plantation desk. “Grandmother,” she said, “have you given any thought to Penny in this?”
“Lots of thought, little concern. I have bigger and better plans for Penelope than to wed her off to a man more easily manipulated by you.”
“And what I want?”
“You want what I tell you you want, darling girl, and you’re smart enough to know it.”
“And Penny’s not?”
“Penelope has been smitten with Mark since she was eight. She has no idea of the purpose of marriage.”
Adelaide’s eyes widened. “But you always considered theirs a wonderful match, as did Mark’s parents. And the purpose of marriage in Penny and Mark’s case, I believe, had to do with the canning industry.”
“Canning is the Reeds’ business, not mine, and that ‘wonderful match’ benefits them, not us. Besides, that entire prospectus has been off track since Hugh’s death. It’s not like the loss will be a major setback for them.” Eva turned to the commode against the wall and pulled out a cut-glass bottle filled with sherry. “No,” she said, pouring them each a cordial, “my biggest concern at the moment is ensuring the ‘match’ does not include Penny. For all intents and purposes Mark has been away from our little girl for the past three years. No doubt he’s grown up and perhaps having second thoughts.”
“His letters do not indicate that.”
“That serves to show the poor boy is backwards. Come to think of it, I’ve always thought so. Show him what heaven is like.” She handed Adelaide the drink. “It’s early yet, but who’s to know?” She winked. “I want Penelope free of that obligation, Adel.”
“Why?”
Eva held up her glass in a mock salute. “Because our Penny is fetching a much higher price elsewhere.”

 

And that, dear reader, sets the stage for all that comes after….