An excerpt from "On Both Sides" of The Prometheus Saga

Readers can still download a free Kindle copy of "On Both Sides" now through Friday. On the Amazon Best Seller list, "On Both Sides" hit #2 in the Top Free Historical Fiction Short Stories.

The story, a blend of historical and science fiction, is told from the perspective of two young people with opposing views of the American Revolution. Young Robby Freeman believes that independence is the answer for the colonists, and the only way they will ever truly be free. Miss Olivia Wilton hopes that the war will not spoil her social calendar, and can't wait for the British army to overpower the colonial militants so that she can continue enjoying her balls and parties. Tying them both together is a mysterious woman named Lady Maryanne Carrington. Her disappearance leads them both down a path they could never have imagined.

Here's an excerpt from the short story:

When her father and Colonel Denton returned, a strange relief flooded through Olivia. “Well, have you determined how to squash the few rabble rousers trying to stir everybody up?”

“If only it were a few,” said her father. “I’m afraid many of the colonists are discontent, but I cannot begin to understand why. All this nonsense about taxation without representation. We are all British subjects, and therefore, we are all represented by the members of Parliament.” He took a seat in his usual chair below the portrait of King George III. The paunch of his belly pressed against the buttons of his red coat, and Olivia squinted at him, wishing he would take better care of himself.

“But the Americans don’t see it that way,” said Maryanne.

Olivia thought it was a statement, but her father replied, “No, I’m afraid some of them don’t,” as if she had asked a question.

“They believe their rights have been infringed upon.”

“Yes, some do.”

“Many of the American-born have never set foot in England,” continued Maryanne. “They feel they lack the representation in Parliament that you enjoy.”

Olivia sat up straighter. Maryanne was speaking more words than she had the entire length of the visit. Olivia hardly knew what to make of her assertions.

“That is correct,” said Colonel Wilton.

“Darling, you enjoy that benefit as well.” Colonel Denton chuckled, taking a step forward and touching his fiancĂ©e’s shoulder with a gloved hand.

Olivia admired the young, dark-haired man in uniform. She was quite jealous of Maryanne.

“I seek to understand both sides of the argument.” Lifting her chin, Maryanne gazed up at Colonel Denton. “It is a lifelong pursuit of mine.”

“A most worthy pursuit, young lady. I commend you.” Colonel Wilton lifted a glass of wine and took a swig.

Olivia said, “Father, it’s tea time. Not—”

“When one looks upon the colonists,” interrupted Colonel Wilton, “those born in America, as you say, there is a distinction from the English-born, no doubt. How diverse is the British Empire. What a privilege to be a part of it.”

“Here, here. God save the king,” said Colonel Denton.

“God save the king,” Olivia and her father echoed, but Maryanne said nothing.

Even when the servant girl bent to pour more tea into Maryanne’s cup, and the hot liquid spilled into her lap, she said nothing.

Olivia shrieked. “You clumsy fool! Go and fetch a cold cloth. My dear Lady Carrington, are you terribly scalded?”

“Oh.” Maryanne glanced at the round, brown stain that soiled her lavender gown. “It’s nothing. I can get another dress.”

“We are concerned with your well-being,” said Colonel Denton, kneeling beside her. “Does it hurt very badly?”

“No. I’m fine,” she insisted.

Olivia appraised Maryanne and the layered skirt of her dress. Maybe the hot tea hadn’t reached her skin. Even so, Olivia decided that Maryanne was hiding something, but had no idea what. The worst friend was a woman with secrets who didn’t share them. That was as useful to Olivia as a ball gown stained with tea.

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There's no need to stop there, dear reader. Your free copy awaits. Download now from the Kindle Store.

by Bria Burton