Peter Kalin was born and raised at Beaux Arbres, his father’s plantation in the Northern Neck of the Commonwealth of Virginia. When it was discovered that Peter liked to sleep with men, a predilection frowned upon by elite society, Beauregard Michael Kalin had only one recourse. Disowned and banished, Peter Kalin purchased a small farm of his own and unwittingly became a stationmaster on the underground railroad system.
As any man, Peter could not predict where his road in life would lead, his path often determined by the decisions of others… the family patriarch, a man selling his farm, a rebellious slave, a parish minister… Robert E. Lee or President Lincoln. This is the story of Peter Kalin as he navigates his own road in 1850’s-60’s America.
How his farm had become a station, he didn’t know. Shortly after he bought the farm, just before dawn a woman knocked on his door. She asked for Mrs. Davenport and was shocked that she was no longer living there. She apologized for the intrusion and started to leave. But Peter did not return to his bed. Instead, he watched the woman sneak four people into his barn. He followed them, and when he entered, they were not to be seen. When he discovered a few bales of hay pushed aside in the rear of one of the stalls, he spied a trap door.
“Y’all better come on up out of there,” he shouted when he flipped it up. Slowly the woman and four strong ebony men emerged. They stood fearfully in a clump, not because Peter had caught them, but because his dog Rufus was at his heels and his teeth and fangs were bared. “Y’all are runaways, aren’t you,” he asked rhetorically. “You come a long way?” he inquired with a change in his tone.
“Yes, suh,” said the lady.
“Have you eaten?”
“Not since yesterday morning. Just some berries we found right before sunset.”
“I’ll be right back in a bit with some food for you.” He returned to the house and gathered some bowls, spoons, a large pot of freshly-made oatmeal, and some dried beef. “Here. You need some nourishment. Can’t have you on the run and starving.”
That was five years ago. Since then, many groups followed the drinking gourd to his farm. All Peter asked in return was that they dig out a little more of the underground hideaway. He added some rough beds so his guests didn’t have to sleep on the ground, and always kept enough food handy to make sandwiches for his over-day guests. At night he gave them the directions to Caleb Ross’s, the next station on their route north.
“Massuh Peter, Massuh Peter,” shouted a raspy voice as fists pounded on his door one September morning barely past sunup.
He opened the door to find Rastus, the Negro butler from his father’s plantation.
“My, you looking like a fine young man. Maryland doing you good, Sir.”
“Rastus, what are you doing here?”
“Delivering a present to you from yo’ daddy.” He stepped aside, and there was Bahu. “Seems your daddy just found out who it was that made you want to like men. He was going to cut his thing off, but I suggested he send Bahu to you instead. I mean, I may not have approved of what you guys did together, but I think yo’ daddy’s ideas of punishment are a little harsh for just wanting to find a little love.”
“How did Daddy find out?”
“Fortune in Men’s Eyes,” is an inspirational novel by Duncan More. This historical, interracial love story can be purchased from Amazon (ebook and print), B&N, Google Books, All Romance ebooks, Apple and Kobo.
Easton Thomas, a handsome and wealthy man with a generous heart, owns an historic mansion on Florida’s Gold Coast, a house filled with spirits and secrets from the past. When a hurricane grounds all flights and cruise ship connections, Easton invites a group of stranded passengers to ride out the storm at his mansion. He is drawn to Randy, a shy and insecure man from Atlanta, but Mitchell, Easton’s longtime companion and estate manager, has different plans for Easton.
Mitchell buttoned his shirt and made his way to the center railing overlooking the downstairs entry. “Easton, is that you?” He could see what looked like a crowd gathered near the front entry casually dropping suitcases and bags. “Did you pick up a tour bus before your cruise?” he asked sarcastically, trying to contain his anger. “Easton, a word please. This is a bad time to have a house full of guests. These people are not stray cats that you found on the highway. They are adults caught up in the same shitty mess as the rest of South Florida, so why do you feel responsible for them?” Mitchell hissed.
“I guess for the same reason I have always felt responsible for you,” Easton smiled, and his eyes glowed in the soft light. He took Mitchell in his arms and kissed him. “We have an ample supply of backup candles and flashlights in the cellar closet. Do you mind bringing them upstairs in case we lose power? I will move the cars to the garage. I don’t want them damaged,” Easton said.
“Let me do that,” Mitchell volunteered as he thought about the apartment over the garage. There was no need to take any unnecessary chances.
Mitchell opened the door and headed out into the fierce wind and rain. He secured the vehicles, closed the garage door, and started up the side stairs to the second floor. He reached the door to the apartment that had initially served as the living quarters for the chauffeurs, stepped inside, and closed the door. “Where are you?” Mitchell whispered.
He saw the shadow emerge cautiously from the adjacent room. “I’m here. I was beginning to worry. I considered leaving, but I wouldn’t make it very far in this weather. Why did Easton come back? I thought he would be away for a couple of weeks.”
“It’s this storm. The flights are grounded and he brought a group of stranded passengers with him to ride out the storm. You will have to stay here until it’s clear to leave.”
“How can I do that? There is no food here, and I cannot get cell service. Maybe we should let Easton know I’m here.”
“Absolutely not! Easton made it clear that you were not to come back here. I have no intention of being out on the street on my ass at this time in my life. I have too much to lose. I’ll bring you coffee and food before everyone wakes in the morning, so just take it easy.” Mitchell leaned in and kissed him. “Goodnight, and try to be patient.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” he grumbled.
“Stranded Spirits,” gay romance and murder mystery by David Edmondson, is available from Amazon (KDP Select). Click to Purchase. Also available in print from Amazon. Our website is http://www.beautobeau.com.