A Soldier to Love

A Short Story

Why did Daddy have to die in this hole of a town in Georgia and leave me alone
and penniless? Christine Lawson was desperate. With no money and no place to live,
that forty dollar enlistment fee to join the Confederate Army was sounding better and
better…too bad she is a girl.  A surprise attack, one cold night in the Alleghany Mountains,
lands Private Ryan Bishop flat on the ground and thankful to be alive. But his savior turns
out to be someone he never expected and finds he cannot forget.   

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Excerpt from "A Soldier to Love" 
(This story was formerly part of The Love Anthology.) 

July 1861 

​Christine picked up her bag and hurried down the alleyway, looking for anything that might
be edible or wearable. Her stomach growled painfully and she rubbed it to try and soothe the
emptiness. It was so hard to be alone, an orphan with no family, no friends, and no money.
The landlord had thrown her out of the boarding house when she ran out of money three days
ago. He was a big, fat, mean-spirited man and she was glad she wasn’t living in his house
​anymore…glad…and scared. She had no place to go and it was all Daddy’s fault, God rest his softhearted soul. Oh, he took care of her, after a fashion, while he was still alive. But the gambling and moving from one town to the next was hard on a young girl who no longer had a mother to teach her the finer points in a woman’s life.  

​She lifted the lid of a barrel that stood outside the battered back door of the tavern. It stunk like nasty, rotten food, making her empty stomach turn over dangerously. Gagging, she slammed the lid back on, turned, and hurried back to the main street of town.  

​Why Daddy had picked this little nothing of a town in Georgia to gamble away most of their money, then die in the middle of the night was anyone’s guess. The doctor, who had cost Christine a whole dollar, had not been good for much. She had been frantic when Daddy woke her, moaning and clutching his chest, calling, “Chrissy, Chrissy!” 

​By screaming and begging, she had finally convinced the landlord to send someone for the sloppy old gentleman doctor. He had come in the wee hours of the night just in time to see Howard Lawson draw his last rattling breath. 

​Sighing she brushed a lock of dirty brown hair out of her face; picked up the carpetbag containing all of her worldly goods, and walked slowly down the boards, her feet making sad clumping noises as she wandered aimlessly. If she didn’t find a job and earn some money soon, she would just have to find a corner somewhere to curl up and die of loneliness and starvation  

Author of Adventure and Romance

Diane Wylie