It’s here! It’s here! An April to Remember will be released tomorrow in e-book from The Wild Rose Press and print from Amazon!
I started the research for this story in 2006 so it feels like it’s been a long time coming. After hearing of the demise of the Sultana, a riverboat which exploded outside Memphis in April of 1965, I knew I had to create a love story to take place on the ship.
April Simonson had traveled to New Orleans to fetch her brother back to Minnesota. After finding him, April, her brother Willie, and Willie’s three-year-old daughter Suzie board the Sultana for the trip home. Jerek Brinkley is so intrigued by the feisty blonde who pulls her brother out of a gambling hall he buys passage on the boat hauling them north. The Sultana, a ship built to carry about 400 passengers, soon becomes overloaded with more than 2,000 newly released POW’s from two of the worst Confederate prison camps.
Here is an excerpt:
With unexplainable speed, she shot through the water. Gulps of air scorched aching lungs as her face broke the surface. Amongst the debris of wood, cargo and bodies, the colossal side of the Sultana careened. White-capped waves boiled, threatening to drive her into the massive hull or back into the frightening abyss below. Mucky water hit the back of her throat before a scream could join hundreds of others echoing through the night.
April threw her head back, choking and gasping for air as her arms flayed against the assaulting water and both feet kicked at the force lugging her downward. Something wrapped around one hand and another strong heave wrenched her shoulder. She twisted away from the splashes trying to fill her mouth and nose. The steely grip tightened as it towed her away from the ship.
“Jerek!” Her free hand latched onto his arm.
“I’ve got you!” he yelled above the roar of chaos. His other arm swiftly glided in and out of the water before it wrapped around a bobbing object. With a hard tug, he pulled her next to it. “Grab on with both hands!”
The current was too swift. Her skirt, yards of wet material, acted like a sail and tugged her away from him. The sleeve of his shirt threatened to slip from her fingers.
Jerek seized an elbow and thrust her forward. She wheezed for air as her chest slammed against the floating log. His hands forced her arms around the cold, wet wood. “April! Don’t let go! Don’t you dare let go!”