July, 1861 is dawning, and America tears its loyalties.
She didn't belong.
War wages within Mae Harper as well. Which duty to obey? Follow her unruly spirit, or remain home in petticoat and parlor? Both Mae's brothers enlist in the Union army, but she burns to do more than sit and sew. With one rash decision, her brother's breeches, and her long locks shorn, an impetuous girl makes a perilous journey south. She doesn't belong, but she conceals her identity and fights to prove her worth.
He became a man in the wilds of the West.
His country calls on him now, and Sergeant Wesley Metzger marches East once again. His old regiment disbanded, the veteran soldier is put in command of training inexperienced city boys. So many are ill-prepared, but Wesley vows to protect his men and the country they serve. He studies the men entrusted to him to discover weaknesses which will betray them in battle.
Her secret will ruin her. His desire will overwhelm him.
Mae can deceive many, but not the man who has become her protector. He looks at her too keenly, and her body's response to his nearness threatens to betray her. She strives to confirm herself in a world of men, and yet Sergeant Metzger arouses every feminine desire within her. Can she trust him with her secret?
Wesley knows there is something the lad is hiding. The boy doesn't belong. He's too young, and he's not fit for hardship. The look in young Harper's eyes is too tender, and the pull Wesley feels is not natural. Sergeant Metzger is a man of action, and he must know - what is Private Harper keeping from him? And why is there a forbidden temptation?