Here’s an interracial book that might interest some.
Here’s a excerpt:
August 1864: Texas-Arkansas border
“Take a good look out there, son. That’s what killed nearly five thousand of our men yesterday morning,” the sergeant said, spitting his tobacco out and squinting from the rising sun.
Lieutenant Jessie Coleman adjusted the spyglass and propped himself on his elbows. The air rushed from his lungs as he licked his lips, wiped his spyglass, and shifted on the grass. He watched the vision of a woman near the creek bed. He couldn’t take his eyes from her. Although he should, it just wasn’t going to happen. He’d never seen a naked woman before. Not like this one. This woman was a mullato, the best parts of each, he decided. Her skin was almost a golden brown. As though God himself had baked her bronze. Her hips were round and full and firm looking, her legs long and thin, her waist tiny, her bosom titillating as though seeking a kiss from the sun. The only things marring that perfect body were the huge whip marks on her back, about ten of them. Cut to the quick at one time. The very thought of the beautiful creature enduring such pain made Jessie want to protect her from all harm. She intrigued him in the most basic way, but there was something more than the physical that made him watch her. Gazing upon her excited him more than he could say.
She drew a breath and his mouth fell open as his tongue seemed to lick the air.
Throwing back her head, the woman let her long hair fall against her back and hips. Her breasts hardened and grew as she inhaled the glorious day. He’d never seen hair that long on a Negress. She basked in the pre-dawn of morning. The warmth of sunrise kissed her skin. He wasn’t sure he could stand much more of her torture. His muscles tensed, relaxed and tensed again. A man could endure many things, but seeing a beautiful woman and not being able to touch her was excruciating.
The long fringe of her lashes cast shadows on her glowing cheeks. As a gentleman he shouldn’t stare at her so, obviously she didn’t realize anyone was about so early in the morning. Pre-dawn and the dew still dampened the grass. However, he couldn’t put the spyglass down. No man could! Her beauty was God given, and not to appreciate it would be a sin.
Her long, dark hair dangled about her shoulders and back, and she tossed it to the side to brush it. Her hair wasn’t too curly, but hung more in a long wavy mass. Black and sleek and shiny. Her face was sweet, innocent almost, her wide eyes like almonds, her mouth full like a ripe peach, her nose straight, flaring just a bit. He licked his lips. With each stroke of the brush her full breasts jiggled, creating an ache in Jessie that was sure to cause marching problems later. He dropped his chin to the ground and groaned.
“Dear God, I should know better,” he scolded himself. “She’s a sight, ain’t she?” The sergeant laughed.
“If she’s so dangerous, why hasn’t she been captured?”
“You want to arrest her?” the sergeant asked with a chuckle. “That’d be like killin’ the prettiest doe in the forest, wouldn’t it?”
“You got a point, but she’s out there, this close. I don’t understand.”
“We can see her right, but you put a troop out to catch her, she’d be gone before you could gather them together. She’s sure footed and knows these hills like no other. They’ve tried to get her a couple of times.”
“Just seems wrong not to try,” Jessie muttered, still unable to put the spyglass down.
“Don’t you fret about that. I’m sure the general’s got some ideas. That’s why he’s here.”
“Sergeant, how come you know so much about everybody’s business?” “It’s a gift son, it’s a gift.” The sergeant chuckled.
Jessie’s loins jerked every time she moved, despite his efforts to control himself. He thought he’d schooled himself long ago when it came to beautiful women. He was no untried youth. He’d had a few before. Yet, the beauty before him defied his imagination. “Perfectly created for man,” he mumbled to himself. “Maybe I’m dreaming.”
His attention centered fully on her once more. Focusing the lens so he could get an even closer look, he rubbed the grass between his fingers, closing his eyes, imagining it was her skin he touched. But the grass had no soft curves or silky textures. His hands itched to hold her firm, rounded hips, to pull them gently against him so she would know what she did to him. Her breasts were crowned with dark purple areolas that tipped high, begging a man’s attention. His attention. His tongue could almost taste the sweetness there.
But as she fully turned about, his gaze lowered to the exquisite dark curly hair at the juncture of her thighs. Beautiful to the point of perfection. His hands itched to delve into the dark delights.
He wished she’d put her clothes on, since the sergeant was watching her, too, and yet he didn’t. He didn’t want to mar the view with clothing. A nubile sprite in the perfect environment, she made an outstanding picture. So at home and in tune with nature, she moved about gracefully. Her body almost floated over the grass as she walked. So feminine. Moisture still beaded on her skin and rolled to the tips of her breast where it dripped silently to the ground. Jessie’s tongue reached out as if to catch it. He’d never seen such beautiful breasts before—not sagging, full and round, designed to fit a man’s hands.
He waited for her to dress. Instead, she sat on a rock near the creek and hung her unclad feet in the creek, unaware at how her breasts dangled with every splash, her nipples quite pronounced and puckering from the cool spray. His mouth watered. What would it be like to touch his lips to them? To lick the drips from her breast would be heaven itself. Jessie’s breathing grew labored. It was a miserable happiness. Self-indulgent, greedy, hungry, he thirsted for her.
She was a nymph, a goddess; she couldn’t possibly be real.
He put the spyglass down, denying himself the pleasure it gave. He’d been too long without a woman. It was torture to walk away from her. The thought of never seeing her again disturbed him. She mesmerized him. Captivated him.
But the reality of the sergeant’s words hit him. She was the enemy. “She’s something, ain’t she?”
“Yes, sir, but how could she be the cause?”
“She’s a spy for the Federals, that’s how. She told them where we’d be. She’s the Black Widow.”
“Black Widow?” Jessie repeated slowly.
“That’s what we call her. Best spy this side of the Mississippi.”
“How do you know?” Jessie wished he could defend her, yet wondered if she enthralled every other man the same way she affected him.
“She’s known all over the South.” The sergeant stared at Jessie with a big grin. “Don’t go fallin’ for her. She’s poison, son. And it’s her looks that identifies her. Prettiest Negro woman I’ve ever seen. You could almost ferget she’s a Negress. If the captain knew she was out there, he’d have us tryin’ to arrest her. But to tell the truth, I cain’t imagine doin’ somethin’ like that to someone that beautiful.”
“Unbelievable!” Jessie sighed heavily. “I wouldn’t want to be the one to arrest her, that’s for sure.”
He put away the spyglass and slid out of sight. Getting to his feet, he marched toward his battalion with some difficulty. No matter where he went from there, no matter how long he lived, he’d always hold that vision in his heart. The image of an ideal woman. And yet, flawed when she held the fate of so many in her beautiful little hands.
She wasn’t real. He’d convinced himself of that. She was simply too perfect to be real.
Still, he thought about the woman, too much. He thought how she might feel against him. How her beautiful, full body might comfort him. Then he shrugged it away and moved on. At least it was all right to dream.
“Lieutenant Coleman?” Major Hawkins called.
“Yes, sir,” Jessie responded, trying to put away the memory and ease his body into a more relaxed state.
“General Beauregard wants to speak with you, sir.” The major was a thin, little man with a mustache bigger than himself. He never spoke with the enlisted men unless it was important. He eyed Jessie up and down for a minute then motioned him along.
“With me?” Jessie asked, surprised that a general would call him out. Had he done something wrong? He mentally went over the past few days and couldn’t think of a thing that might have gotten him into trouble. Their task hadn’t been an easy one, but it had been simple. Bury the dead. How could anyone get into trouble on burial detail?
“Yes, sir. Where is he?”
“Follow me, son.” The major shook his head and smiled.
“Something funny, sir?” Jessie felt at a disadvantage; Major Hawkins rarely laughed or smiled.
“You’ll see.” The major chuckled as he opened the general’s tent and waited for Jessie to enter.
“Sir, Lieutenant Coleman reporting, sir.” Jessie stared at the general as he saluted.
The general turned around to look him up and down. A smile lurked in the depths of his beady eyes. “Yes, Major, I see what you mean.”
Jessie glanced from one to the other, puzzled. The tent was scattered with maps and paperwork. The general wasn’t neat, but he was a superior officer. He didn’t have to be.
“That will be all, Major.” The general glanced at Jessie again. Major Hawkins shot Jessie another smile, saluted and left.
“Sit down, Lieutenant. You’ve had burial detail for the last couple of days, haven’t you, young man?”
“Yes, sir.” Jessie hoped he wouldn’t see any more of that for a while.
The general nodded. “An unpleasant duty, very unpleasant. But you’ll be glad to know that your next duty will make up for that and much more. We’ve had some big casualties here in Arkansas, as you’ve seen.”
“Yes, sir,” Jessie responded.
“There are many reasons for our losses. Some of it has to do with John Brown of Kansas. He’s stirring up trouble everywhere he goes, and the headstrong off Missouri. The Federals have done a job on our troops. They have all but taken the northern part of the state. They’ve had plenty of help, too. As a result, we must hold the southern half. So far Texas has held them off from the borders. Their cotton going to Mexico and other countries riles the Federals something awful.
The North needs that cotton. They want Texas so bad they’ve gathered a campaign together to try and take her. They want the cotton, the shipping yards, and control. All but Galveston Bay has been secured, and that is only a time element there. But in the meantime, Arkansas has taken a beating. We’ve lost men we can’t afford to lose. Men from many states have died on this soil.”
The general wasn’t telling him anything new. It had spread through camp how Arkansas had practically been taken over by the Federals. He’d helped bury them; he’d seen it firsthand. All the men were restless at this point. A victory sure would help.
But Jessie knew there was something the general was trying to hint at, so he remained silent and attentive.
“In short we must not let the southern half of the state be dominated by Federals, no matter the cost. The Red River Campaign must be stopped and pushed back. There is a big movement planned. They call it the Red River Valley war. At all costs we must save Texas from being overrun. Texas offers not only the cotton, but the shipping means for the north if they get a hold of it.” The general cleared his throat and began looking at his maps. “Arkansas must hold what we have left. We cannot under any circumstances lose the rest of this state. If we do we might as well consider the war lost on this side of the Mississippi.”
“But there are some elements to our fight that some are not aware of. One of the elements is a woman. A beautiful woman called The Black Widow.”
“Yes, sir. I’ve heard of her.” Jessie cleared his throat remembering the vision at the creek and the sergeant’s words.
“Do you know anything about her?” The general looked curious.
“No, sir, I mean, I was told about her not in detail, but that she was a spy.” “That’s the truth. She is a spy for the Union forces and somehow she always seems to know where we are going and what we are doing and informs on us. At
least in this neck of the woods. If we can stop her, we can stop some of the casualties. Naturally, that’s not to say there haven’t been mistakes made by some of our leading generals, but we’ve got to push them back.”
“Yes, sir,” Jessie stirred restlessly in the wooden chair, wondering where the conversation was going. “But exactly how are you plannin’ to stop her, sir?”
“This is where you come in, Lieutenant.” The general smiled coyly. “Beggin’ your pardon, sir. I don’t understand.” Jessie stirred restlessly.
“Of course you don’t. But you will. You see, you are gonna be our spy, and you are going to intercept her and hopefully bring her to trial.”
“I’m what, sir?” Jessie gulped and jumped to attention, sure he hadn’t heard the general correctly. “You want me to spy, sir?”
“That’s right.” He glanced up with a chuckle. “Not an entirely unpleasant experience, I assure you, if you’ve seen The Black Widow.”
“I’ve gotten a glimpse,” Jessie answered, but mulling over what the general expected of him, he was still puzzled.
The general moved about the tent restlessly, his hands behind his back.
Jessie would have paced and argued, too, had he had any preparation. But of course this was a general and arguing the point could prove to his disadvantage. If the order came down from such a rank, the plan was already in force and he could do nothing but go along. The last thing he wanted on earth was to harm the beautiful creature at the creek.
“But why me, sir?”
“You were chosen for two reasons, son. You are known for keeping your mouth shut, a trait not many carry these days, and you’re quite possibly the best-looking man in our troops. You see, we officers took a vote, and you won, hands down.” The general laughed as though it were some kind of private joke.
“You’re kidding, right, sir?”
“Not at all.” The general stared at him with puzzlement.
“But a spy, sir? I’ve never done that kind of work. I’m in the infantry,” Jessie added as though the general didn’t know where he belonged.
“I’m well aware of that. It doesn’t take an expert to romance a woman, Lieutenant. And I would presume in your position that that would be the best and easiest way to handle the situation.” The general replied. “Of course if you can figure out another way, fine. She is holed up here.” He pointed to a place on the map of northern Arkansas with a long stick. Jessie stood and studied the map.
He’d been about the area many times as a picket and skirmisher. It was full of thickets and hard to move through. “Your job will be to gain her confidence and try to bring her in.”
“You see, this is about the last thing she’ll be expecting. With her out of commission, it will be one less hassle to deal with.”
“What will happen to her if I do manage to somehow bring her in?”
“She’ll be imprisoned until trial. What happens next depends on how it goes.
The courts are easier on a woman in the south who is working for the North. Usually, that is.” The general smiled at him.
Jessie had never refused an order, and he reckoned he wouldn’t be refusing this one, but he certainly didn’t want to obey it. He came to fight, not romance a woman. Besides, she was more experienced than he at espionage. How could he outsmart her?
“Wouldn’t Captain Barnett be a better choice than I, sir?” Jessie offered. “If I’m not mistaken, he’s from this area, and he outranks me, too.”
“Barnett is a married man. We couldn’t ask him to do such a thing.” The general shook his head. “I’m afraid you are the most appropriate pick among the troops. Handsome, tight-lipped, and honest. How could she not fall for you?”
“You think she’s gonna fall in love with me?” Jessie almost laughed at such a presumption.
“Of course, if you play your cards right. We figure you might need to be wounded. You know, to play on her sympathy. If you succeed, you will get a promotion for your fine work. Being a woman, naturally she’ll nurse you back to health, and that’s where you pour on the charm and entice her. Once you have her trust and vulnerability, she should be easy to take.”
“Wounded? But, sir….” The idea sounded crazy to Jessie. He’d become an expert rifleman. He had handled guns since he was a kid. He had even moved up in rank to lieutenant, but spying didn’t appeal to him, and he wanted more than anything to refuse the position.
“Lieutenant, there is an officer’s commission waiting for you if you succeed.
“Yes, sir. I guess I do. But wounded? Romancing a woman?” Jessie wished he could get out of the assignment but the adamant way his commander talked, he couldn’t object much more without a problem.
“It’s a perfect cover. She’s a woman. She’ll have to take you in. You’ll be given further orders as we near her campgrounds. She’s a squatter on an old farm property and works from there. At least this is the information we have at the moment. But she moves from time to time so you will have to get word to us. All this will be explained later. Just relax. In four days, you will meet the Black Widow. We can’t anticipate how long it will take you to gain her trust, but we aren’t that worried about the time as you will keep her busy until you arrest her anyway.”
“Does she have a name?” Jessie asked. “I mean a real name?”
“You’ll have to ask her.” The general smiled. “Don’t worry, son. I have all the confidence in the world that you can handle this.”
Jessie wasn’t convinced. “Excuse me, sir, but I don’t even have a girlfriend.” “That’s even better. No jealousy to worry over. You are perfect for the job. Now
that I’ve met you, I am certain of it. Just perfect. Don’t look so discouraged. Most men would jump at the chance to romance her and bring her in. She’s very beautiful.”
“Well, of course sir, but….”
The general smiled confidently. “It’s much easier to get involved when you’re not already involved, Lieutenant. I almost envy you. She’s so lovely.”
Jessie tried to relax, but he already didn’t like his assignment.
“Despite your reluctance, I like your style, Lieutenant. You are perfect for the job. Yes, sir, you’ll do just fine.”
Jessie walked out of the tent in a daze. How had it happened? How had he managed to get an assignment with the most beautiful woman in the world, and how was he supposed to bring her in? It didn’t make sense. How could he do something like that? How could he hurt her so?