Audiobook (coming soon): Ella McNish, Jamie Collette, Max Mustache, Christian Stark, Ju Thomas, Philip Zielinzki, Michael Garamoni
A beautiful love story between the Princess Royal Victoria and Fritz Wilhelm, Frederick III of Prussia
A lonely young man attends the first World’s Fair – the Great Exhibition of 1851 – and meets a family who changes his life forever.
Follow the young Prince Fritz – later Friedrich III – of Prussia and his wife, Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter, Vicky, (parents of Kaiser Wilhelm II) through their courtship and the joys and struggles of their first four years of marriage.
Fritz and Vicky dream of a peaceful united Germany, but Fritz’s uncle Karl has his own dreams of power…
Discover often hinted at but unrevealed secrets of the Prussian Royal court…
“It is Papa’s home… and yours.” She looked down, blushing slightly and speaking the last words more softly. “Shouldn’t we be going? Mama is probably waiting for us.” She looked around. “Here is Lady Flora Macdonald. She will be joining Mama. We should go on soon.”
“Vicky!” She had again been gazing at the heather-covered mountains, but turned to face him at the sound of his voice. It must have been strange, he thought; it hadn’t sounded like his own voice. He knelt, picking a bunch of white heather. “Would you like to go to Germany, always… always…?” He couldn’t speak any more, his throat had gone dry; his hands shook so much that he nearly dropped the flowers before he pressed them into her hand.
She looked at him, her eyes growing wider, her face turning bright red. “I didn’t say anything to offend you, did I, Vicky?”
She shook her head. “Would you like to come to Germany, with me?” She nodded, still blushing deeply, and buried her face in the bunch of heather. She pressed it to her heart, then, separating a few stems, kissed them, and held them out to him. Her hand trembled visibly, and her fingers felt hot as they touched his. She squeezed his fingers as he took the flowers back.
“Meine Vicky.” His voice wouldn’t come out above a whisper, as he held up his arms to help her dismount. She swung down gracefully and stood before him, her face still crimson, her eyes on the flowers on the ground.
He stepped closer. He gently put his right arm around her to draw her to him, but hesitated, letting her stand where she was. He put his hand on her shoulder; with the fingers of his left hand he touched her cheek for the first time, running his thumb over her lips. He stroked her chin, hoping she would look up at him.
She glanced up, and then down again, blushing more deeply than ever, then looked up to meet his eye, her lips parting slightly. The wind blew coldly, but he felt warmth flood through him as he closed his eyes and gently touched her lips with his.
He felt her hand on his chest. He opened his eyes. Several of the little heather-bells clung in her hair, and her face smelled sweet from the flowers. She was smiling, but looking down again. She stepped closer and hid her face against his chest. He felt her hand on his back; her arms were around him. He felt her shiver as the wind blew harder. Finally, the space between them had closed, and he embraced her tightly, kissing the top of her head.
“Vicky,” he whispered, as he stroked her cheek again. She raised her head, and he bent down to kiss her again. Their lips had barely touched, when she turned her head.
“Oh!” It was not really speech, but something between a sigh and a sob.
About the Author
Luv Lubker has lived in the Victorian era half her life, making friends with the Brontë sisters and the extended family of Queen Victoria. Now she knows them quite as well as her own family.
Born in a cattle trough in the Appalachian mountains, Luv lives in Texas – when she comes to the modern world.
When she isn’t living in the Victorian era, she enjoys being with her family; making and eating delicious raw food, riding her bike (which she only learned to ride at 25, though she’d ridden a unicycle since she was 7), and watching animals – the passion of her childhood.
Samantha Wilcoxson is an author of emotive biographical fiction and strives to help readers connect with history’s unsung heroes. She also writes nonfiction for Pen & Sword History.
Samantha loves sharing trips to historic places with her family and spending time by the lake with a glass of wine. Her most recent work is Women of the American Revolution, which explores the lives of 18th century women, and she is currently working on a biography of James Alexander Hamilton.
Historian Sharon Bennett Connolly is the best-selling author of five non-fiction history books, with a new release coming soon.
A Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, Sharon has studied history academically and just for fun – and has even worked as a tour guide at a castle. She writes the popular history blog, http://www.historytheinterestingbits.com.
Sharon regularly gives talks on women’s history; she is a feature writer for All About History magazine and her TV work includes Australian Television’s ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’
As an only child, Karen Heenan learned early that boredom was the enemy. Shortly after she discovered perpetual motion, and has rarely been seen holding still since.
She lives in Lansdowne, PA, just outside Philadelphia, where she grows much of her own food and makes her own clothes. She is accompanied on her quest for self-sufficiency by a very patient husband and an ever-changing number of cats.
One constant: she is always writing her next book.
Virginia Crow is an award-winning Scottish author who grew up in Orkney and now lives in Caithness.
Her favourite genres to write are fantasy and historical fiction, sometimes mixing the two together. Her academic passions are theology and history, her undergraduate degree in the former and her postgraduate degree in the latter, and aspects of these frequently appear within her writings.
When not writing, Virginia is usually to be found teaching music. She believes wholeheartedly in the power of music, especially as a tool of inspiration, and music is often playing when she writes. Her life is governed by two spaniels, Orlando and Jess, and she enjoys exploring the Caithness countryside with these canine sidekicks.
She loves cheese, music, and films, but hates mushrooms.
Elizabeth K. Corbett is an author, book reviewer, and historian who has recently published a short story, “Marie Thérèse Remembers.” She is currently working on her debut novel, a gothic romance set in Jacksonian America.
When she is not writing, she teaches academic writing, something she is very passionate about. She believes in empowering students to express themselves and speak their truth through writing. Additionally, she is a women’s historian who studies the lives of women in eighteenth and nineteenth century North America. Mostly, she is fascinated by the lives of the lesser known women in history.
A resident of gorgeous coastal New Jersey, she takes inspiration from the local history to write her historical fiction. She is an avid reader who adores tea and coffee.
After serving time as a corporate paralegal in Washington, D.C., then staying home to raise her children, Stephanie Churchill stumbled upon writing, a career path she never saw coming.
As a result of writing a long-winded review of the book Lionheart, Stephanie became fast friends with its New York Times best-selling author, Sharon Kay Penman, who uttered the fateful words, “Have you ever thought about writing?”
Stephanie’s books are filled with action and romance, loyalty and betrayal. Her writing takes on a cadence that is sometimes literary, sometimes genre fiction, relying on deeply-drawn and complex characters while exploring the subtleties of imperfect people living in a gritty, sometimes dark world.
She lives in the Minneapolis area with her husband, two children, and two dogs while trying to survive the murderous intentions of a Minnesota winter.
Best selling author Michael Ross is a lover of history and great stories.
He’s a retired software engineer turned author, with three children and five grandchildren, living in Newton, Kansas with his wife of forty years. He was born in Lubbock, Texas, and still loves Texas.
Michael attended Rice University as an undergraduate, and Portland State University for his graduate degree. He has degrees in computer science, software engineering, and German. In his spare time, Michael loves to go fishing, riding horses, and play with his grandchildren, who are currently all under six years old.
Northern New England, summer, 1688. Salem started here.
A suspicious death. A rumor of war. Whispers of witchcraft.
Perched on the brink of disaster, Resolve Hammond and her mother, Deliverance, struggle to survive in their isolated coastal village. They’re known as healers taught by the local tribes – and suspected of witchcraft by the local villagers.
Their precarious existence becomes even more chaotic when summoned to tend to a poisoned woman. As they uncover a web of dark secrets, rumors of war engulf the village, forcing the Hammonds to choose between loyalty to their native friends or the increasingly terrified settler community.
As Resolve is plagued by strange dreams, she questions everything she thought she knew – about her family, her closest friend, and even herself. If the truth comes to light, the repercussions will be felt far beyond the confines of this small settlement.
Based on meticulous research and inspired by the true story of the fear and suspicion that led to the Salem Witchcraft Trials, THE DEVIL’S GLOVE is a tale of betrayal, loyalty, and the power of secrets. Will Resolve be able to uncover the truth before the town tears itself apart, or will she become the next victim of the village’s dark and mysterious past?
Praise for The Devil’s Glove:
“From its opening lines this historical novel from Grindle (Villa Triste) grips with its rare blend of a powerfully evoked past, resonant characters, smart suspense, and prose touched with shivery poetry.”
~ BookLife Reviews Editor’s Pick
This title is available to read on #KindleUnlimited.
I lived with Resolve Hammond for ten years before she finally escaped on to the first page of The Devil’s Glove. So, you would think we knew each other pretty well. But in the year that followed, she never ceased to surprise me. And that is one of the delights of writing fiction – the way characters become themselves, often in ways you would never predict.
They can be eccentric. They trip, break ankles and develop a limps. Or cut off all their hair. Sometimes they’re more mundane, deciding to hate cats or be left-handed. Things that don’t much difference. Often though, they get up to stuff that is really inconvenient, often destroying a beautifully planned plot in the process.
The greatest writing teacher I ever had warned me about this wrecking ball tendency. Specifically, he warned never to try to ride herd on a rogue character. If they are on their way to the supermarket and end up in a jazz club, well you better start tapping your foot and listen up. Because they are telling you, in no uncertain terms – that plot you thought was so good? Hmmn, maybe not. Or at least nowhere near as good as what happens when characters flex their muscles and take on lives of their own. Because that’s when the page comes alive. That’s the sweet unpredictable magic – the alchemy of writing fiction.
But what about historical fiction? Salem happened in 1692, in Massachusetts, even if all your characters suddenly decide to go to Rhode Island. True enough. Historical fiction, the placing of characters in the frame-work of actual events does have boundaries, at least in terms of date, place, and who killed whom. But how your characters react, what they feel, what drives them and inhibits them and leads them to make the choices they make; all of those crucial components that make someone who they are instead of merely what they are – that’s all up for grabs. That’s all up to them. Which is why books often don’t come out they way we think they will when we write that first sentence. Sometimes, you don’t know what your story is until you let your characters tell you.
When I started The Devil’s Glove, I was interested in who the women who got sucked into that firestorm – as accusers or accused or simply collateral damage – were. I thought I might be writing about group hysteria or, well, who knew? It turned out, they did. As the Hammonds, and Judah White, and Mercy Lewis and Abigail Hobbs took on lives of their own, I realized I was writing about survival. About the ways in which each of a group of women bound together by circumstance navigated her own history in order to survive. In the end, they told a much better story than I could have, and took me on a much wilder ride. I hope you enjoy getting to know them as much as I did.
Lucretia Grindle grew up and went to school and university in England and the United States. After a brief career in journalism, she worked for The United States Equestrian Team organizing ‘kids and ponies,’ and for the Canadian Equestrian Team. For ten years, she produced and owned Three Day Event horses that competed at The World Games, The European Games and the Atlanta Olympics. In 1997, she packed a five mule train across 250 miles of what is now Grasslands National Park on the Saskatchewan/Montana border tracing the history of her mother’s family who descend from both the Sitting Bull Sioux and the first officers of the Canadian Mounties.
Returning to graduate school as a ‘mature student’, Lucretia completed an MA in Biography and Non-Fiction at The University of East Anglia where her work, FIREFLIES, won the Lorna Sage Prize. Specializing in the 19th century Canadian West, the Plains Tribes, and American Indigenous and Women’s History, she is currently finishing her PhD dissertation at The University of Maine.
Lucretia is the author of the psychological thrillers, THE NIGHTSPINNERS, shortlisted for the Steel Dagger Award, and THE FACES of ANGELS, one of BBC FrontRow’s six best books of the year, shortlisted for the Edgar Award. Her historical fiction includes, THE VILLA TRISTE, a novel of the Italian Partisans in World War II, a finalist for the Gold Dagger Award, and THE LOST DAUGHTER, a fictionalized account of the Aldo Moro kidnapping. She has been fortunate enough to be awarded fellowships at The Hedgebrook Foundation, The Hawthornden Foundation, The Hambidge Foundation, The American Academy in Paris, and to be the Writer in Residence at The Wallace Stegner Foundation. A television drama based on her research and journey across Grasslands is currently in development. THE DEVIL’S GLOVE and the concluding books of THE SALEM TRILOGY are drawn from her research at The University of Maine where Lucretia is grateful to have been a fellow at the Canadian American Foundation.
She and her husband, David Lutyens, live in Shropshire.
The Whispering Women, Book #1, A Delafield & Malloy Investigation
The Burning Bride, Book #2, A Delafield & Malloy Investigation
Secrets and Spies, Book #3, A Delafield & Malloy Investigation
by Trish MacEnulty
About the Book
“Richly drawn characters, the vibrant historical setting, and a suspenseful mystery create a strong current that pulls readers into this delightful novel. But it’s the women’s issues—as relevant today as they were in the early 1900s—that will linger long after the last page.”
— Donna S. Meredith, The Southern Literary Review
Can two women get the lowdown on high society?
“Two powerless young women must navigate a soul-crushing class system and find the levers of power they wield when they combine their strengths. These women may have been taught to whisper, but when their time comes, they will roar.”
– 5 Star Amazon Review
Louisa Delafield and Ellen Malloy didn’t ask to be thrown together to bring the truth to light. But after Ellen witnesses the death of a fellow servant during an illegal abortion, Louisa, a society columnist, vows to help her find the truth and turn her journalistic talent to a greater purpose.
Together, these unlikely allies battle to get the truth out, and to avenge the wrongful death of a friend.
What will our heroes do when their closest allies and those they trust turn out to be the very forces working to keep their story in the dark? They’ll face an abortionist, a sex trafficking ring, and a corrupt system determined to keep the truth at bay.
“If you like historical fiction and if you like mysteries, this one is for you!”
– 5 Star Amazon Review
Was change possible in 1913?
To find out, read THE WHISPERING WOMEN today!
GET THE BOOKS
The books in this series are available to read on Kindle Unlimited.
Often writers started out as readers. Was there a particular book that inspired you to be an author?
I loved books as a child. One of my favorites was Eloise, and I sometimes think I got my spare style from those books. I also remember being immersed in The Jungle Book, The Black Stallion and the Albert Payson Terhune books about collies. I’d love to think my books might create that feeling of being immersed in another world.
Do you tend to read the same genre you write?
Yes. Sometimes for research or review purposes, and sometimes for sheer enjoyment. Outside of historical fiction, I also love thrillers. I’m a fan of Michael Connelly and Thomas Perry. Occasionally a fantasy novel (for example, Six of Crows) will enthrall me.
Do you have a favorite time period to write about? If so, why?
So far I’ve been writing about the earlier 20th century, which I like because it has the perfect balance of unfamiliar and familiar. It’s fairly easy to research the era since it’s not so long ago. I was even able to find film footage of a few important events (i.e. the boarding of The Lusitania!). But it’s far enough in the past that many of the stories are not well known. I had no idea, for example, how prevalent gang activity continued to be into the early 20th Century in New York. And this was before prohibition.
Writers sometimes have furry, feathered, or scaled helpers. Do you have a writing companion?
I have three — one cat and two dogs! The little dog and the cat vie to be on my lap which can make writing difficult. The best thing the dogs do for me is get me out of the house every day and into nature for a half hour or so. So necessary for my mental health!
How long have you been writing, and how long did it take before your first book was published?
I have always wanted to be a writer. In college I wrote for the student newspaper. After college, I worked for a film production company writing scripts. Then I wrote for a newsletter company. Eventually I wound up back in journalism. I also won some screenwriting awards during that time. Finally, I went back to graduate school and published short stories. My first novel came out in 2000 when I was 45.
Do you have a routine you follow when you’re working on a book? A certain time of day when you write, or a snack you keep nearby?
I usually write every morning until noon or 1, when I take a yoga or pilates class. Afternoons are for editing, marketing, dog walking, reading, and napping. As for a snack, I recently started roasting walnuts. So yummy.
Did anyone give you writing advice when you were first getting started? Do you think it helped?
It’s not so much advice that helped me. It was the encouragement. Several teachers validated my writing, and that made me want to keep going. My first writing teacher was Harry Crews, and when he invited me to join his graduate workshops while I was still an undergraduate, that gave me a big boost of confidence. My second writing teacher, Lynda Schor, was hugely significant to me. We are friends to this day.
What is the scariest thing you face as a writer? How do you handle it?
Well, we all have to make a living, so for years I was a college professor. During that time, my creative energy went into my teaching, and I worried I would never be able to devote my time and energy to writing, but I worked hard and saved, and now I’m living my dream.
If you could pick your top 3 favorite books of all time, what would they be?
Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky
To the Lighthouse by Virginia Wolfe
The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
Of course, as soon as I wrote those titles, I thought, Wait! What about Toni Morrison, Jane Austen, Jack London, Robert Louis Stephenson, Ralph Ellison as well as historical fiction authors Kristin Hannah, Kate Quinn, Madeline Martin, Libby Grant, Amor Towles, Robert Olen Butler, and so many others who have impacted my life with their stories! Truly, I can’t pick just three.
Does your family support your writing?
My husband is absolutely the most supportive person I could possibly have in my life — financially, emotionally, and technically. And my daughter has always believed in me. (She didn’t even complain about being in my memoir, Wait Until Tomorrow!)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Trish MacEnulty is a bestselling novelist. In addition to her historical fiction, she has published novels, a short story collection, and a memoir. A former Professor of English, she currently lives in Florida with her husband, two dogs, and one cat. She writes book reviews and feature articles for the Historical Novel Review. She loves reading, writing, walking with her dogs, streaming historical series, cooking, and dancing.
SHE IS GOING TO BE THE GREATEST ORATOR OF THE CIVIL WAR
Eighteen-year-old Anna Dickinson is nothing like the women around her, and she knows it. Gifted with a powerful voice, a razor-sharp wit, and unbounded energy, the diminutive curlyhead sets out to surpass the men of her day as she rails against slavery and pushes for women’s rights. Only two things can bring her downfall—the entangling love she has for her devoted companion, Julia, and an assassin’s bullet.
Forced to accompany the fiery young orator on her speaking tour of New England, Julia Pennington fights her growing attraction to the ever more popular celebrity. When a traitor sets out to assassinate Anna, Julia must risk her life to save her.
Loosely based on the life of forgotten orator, feminist, and lesbian, Anna Dickinson, That Dickinson Girl is the story of one woman’s rise to fame and fortune at the expense of love during the political and social turmoil of the American Civil War.
An earlier version of That Dickinson Girl was a finalist in the Mslexia Novel Competition.
That Dickinson Girl by Joan Koster Chapter 27 Excerpt 3
Half an hour later, Anna gave her signature bow and released the shivers she’d stoppered inside. They’d survived another day.
“You shortened the speech,” Julia said, hastening to her with her shawl and coat.
“Bah. Their minuscule brains couldn’t handle more.” Julia helped her into her coat. Anna buttoned it up. “I am getting tired of facing down these Copperhead snakes at every speech.” She glanced at Julia. The girl’s lips were blue with cold. “Let’s find you a nice warm fire.”
“There should be one at the hotel.” Julia tugged on her cape and draped Anna’s shawl over her shoulders.
Anna looped arms with her, and together they walked out of the church. On the threshold, they halted under the sheltering overhang. Rain still poured down. From the mountain of coal waste shadowing the town, a froth of gray black culm ran down the road and gathered around the step. Anna clamped her teeth together and slowly lifted her skirts.
“Wait.” A hand brushed her sleeve.
“Yes?” She turned and discovered a man shorter than herself peering up at her. Wrapped in a plaid cloth, he stood round-shouldered, his face a patchwork of leathery skin, gray eyes, and grizzled beard.
“Dear lady, I’d come to curse you, I did. I firmly believe a woman’s place is in the home. Well, but now I’ve aheard you, and I think surely God has sent you, an angel out of heaven, to fight for justice.”
He paused, his tongue sweeping over his lips, as if testing to see if the words were really his. “Ain’t an educated man. Ain’t seen the world. Spent my days in the dark well of the mine where thinking too hard puts you on the blacklist. But believe me; I never heard anyone speak like you did today. You’re not like those politicians. Heard you punch out at evil and wrong. Heard you agree that allowing the rich to pay their way out of the draft is unfair.”
He looked away, not at the town, but at the sky. “You should understand why we’re angry. The miners here, when they’re drafted, their little boys and their old, bent fathers must go into the mine to keep food on the table. But today, you’ve made me see a broader view—why we must win this war.”
He scowled. “But miss, I envy the slave and the soldier lucky to have your voice speaking out for them. So, I made a prayer back there to God.” He pointed back inside the church. “Someday … someday soon, when the war be done and over, you come back here and use that voice from the angels to fight for a better life for us miners. Will you please?”
“Justice is my mission. Worker’s rights, people’s rights, my cause.” Anna put a hand on either side of his head, bent over, and bestowed a kiss on his pate. She straightened up. “When I return, I will visit your—”
Wood splintered behind her.
Anna spun around and slapped at her hair.
A look of horror flashed across the miner’s face. “Down.” He dropped to the ground and crawled back into the church.
“Get down,” Julia echoed and thrust Anna onto the muddy steps, covering her body with hers. “Someone shot at you.”
“No. Let me up.” Anna rolled out from under Julia’s weight and staggered to her feet. “I will not cower.”
Another shot passed over her head and struck the frame of the church door. Chips of molding flew up like startled birds. The noise reverberated off the clapboard houses that tipped up and down the street and echoed through the hills.
Her body went numb with the sound then rebounded like a soldier under fire, full of heat, primed to kill or to run. Anna squinted into the rain, searching for her attacker, aware that she and Julia stood exposed. She called out, her voice sharper than any saber, “Cowards! Hiding behind a gun. Come out and face me.” She spread her arms out wide and descended the steps. If they thought she would turn and flee, she’d never be allowed on the platform again. No one worshipped a victim. “Are you afraid of me? A girl?”
About the Author:
When she is not writing in her studio by the sea, Joan Koster lives with her historian husband and a coon cat named Cleo in an 1860s farmhouse stacked to the ceiling with books. In a life full of adventures, she has scaled mountains, chased sheep, and been abandoned on an island for longer than she wants to remember.
An award-winning author who loves mentoring writers, Joan blends her love of history, and romance, into historical novels about women who shouldn’t be forgotten and into romantic thrillers under the pen name, Zara West. She is the author of the award-winning romantic suspense series The Skin Quartet and the top-selling Write for Success series.
Betrayal and trust go hand in hand in the first book of Heidi Eljarbo’s new turn-of-the-century series.
It’s 1898, and Lilly has spent most of her life motherless and living with a father who never looks for a silver lining. When her great-aunt Agatha passes, Lilly’s existence takes a drastic turn. She packs her few belongings and moves into the old lady’s magnificent estate, Rosenli Manor.
In the days that follow, Lilly tries to understand who Agatha really was, and hidden secrets slowly rise to the surface. Her great-aunt’s glamorous legacy is not quite what Lilly had imagined. She must trust in newly forged friendships, and to her surprise, she discovers what it means to truly fall in love. But not everyone is happy about the new mistress of Rosenli.
Intrigue, mystery, and a touch of romance in the Norwegian countryside fill the pages of Secrets of Rosenli Manor.
The gardens were quiet. The whispers of winter were fading away. No icicles pointing toward the frozen ground. No sparkling crystals in kaleidoscope patterns on blankets of white. The snowfall earlier had turned into sleet, and it appeared as if the promise of spring was slowly approaching. There was still no rustling of leaves in the breeze, but the barren branches would soon wake up. In a few days, the parkland would be filled with the cheerful sound of busy birds building nests. But at this moment, even the fountain was peacefully sleeping.
A plump bullfinch sat on the pale branch of a birch. His black cap made him look rather strict, but the cheerful red chest and cheeks brightened up the otherwise colorless landscape. The bird bobbed his head as she walked by, as if acknowledging her presence.
Lilly brushed the wet snow off a white-painted wooden bench by the fountain and sat down. What a lovely view. As a young girl, she’d probably never noticed. The road below wound across a sloping field toward the village. Smoke rose from the chimneys of neighboring houses, swirling upward to the already gray sky.
Did she belong here? The manor had been in the Strand family for several generations. Aunt Agatha was her kin, but Lilly knew nothing about the old lady’s past. Who was her husband? Were they happy here in the enormous house with a vast garden overlooking the village? Why did they not have any children?
Thoughts of how it must have been filled Lilly’s head. Not that she wanted to pry into someone else’s life, but she was curious. And now Aunt Agatha had bequeathed everything to her—a young woman at the beginning of her career as an accountant. Why? It was as if she stood on hallowed ground, not knowing the whole story, but with a strong desire to understand.
The last time Lilly was here, Mother and Aunt Agatha had sat on the bench while Lilly had played with a kitten. While the women discussed the fragrances of flowers and herbs, Lilly had rubbed her fingertips against the lavender plants with their sweet, delicious scent.
Lilly must have enjoyed listening to the ladies’ chatter about the garden. As an adult, she spent her weekends outside in the small backyard of her father’s house, arranging amicable groups of her favorite peonies in similar color schemes, rows of lilies in front of bushes of hydrangea, and fragrant sweet pea in pink and purple hues.
Every summer, Father complained about the abundance of blossoms. “What a waste. I have little room left to sit and read my newspaper.”
He wasn’t all gruff, and she hadn’t given up hope that his heart contained a hidden corner that took delight in the lovely things in life. Although, she had yet to see that sentiment surface.
Lilly closed her eyes and lingered a while longer in the memories of childhood. One day, a parcel had arrived at the end of summer. She must have been five years old and had stood by the kitchen table, watching her mother untie the cotton string and fold the brown paper aside.
Inside had been a small wooden box.
“Open it, Mother. Hurry.”
Mother had lifted the lid and had pulled out two linen sachets bound with ivory lace and ribbons. She’d held one of the pouches close to Lilly’s face. “A gift from your Aunt Agatha. Smell it. Isn’t it wonderful?”
“Can I hold one?” Lilly had placed the pouch under her nose and had let the scent take her away to fields of lavender, where she imagined herself running between rows of blossoming purple, through meadows of color and fragrance.
Mother had put the sachets in her armoire where the perfume lingered and seeped into her clothes.
Father had rolled his eyes. “Ridiculous. What do we need smelly pouches for? Why couldn’t that old woman give us a bag of gold instead?”
Bittersweet memories from that day, long in hibernation, now surfaced. Lilly wiped her wet cheeks and bent down, pretending to pick one of each of the beautiful flowers, carefully bunching them together, arranging the colors as she thought Aunt Agatha would have. Warm, rosy shades, and flourishing textures of tender softness.
Heidi Eljarbo is the bestselling author of historical fiction and mysteries filled with courageous and good characters that are easy to love and others you don’t want to go near.
Heidi grew up in a home filled with books and artwork and she never truly imagined she would do anything other than write and paint. She studied art, languages, and history, all of which have come in handy when working as an author, magazine journalist, and painter.
After living in Canada, six US states, Japan, Switzerland, and Austria, Heidi now calls Norway home. She and her husband have a total of nine children, thirteen grandchildren—so far—in addition to a bouncy Wheaten Terrier.
Their favorite retreat is a mountain cabin, where they hike in the summertime and ski the vast, white terrain during winter.
Heidi’s favorites are family, God’s beautiful nature, and the word whimsical.
Ride with the Moonlight (Thunder on the Moor, Book 2)
Author: Andrea Matthews
Publication Date: 25th November 2020
Publisher: Inez M. Foster
Page Length: 387 Pages
Genre: Historical, Time-Travel, Romance
After rescuing sixteenth-century Border reiver Will Foster from certain death at her family’s hands, time traveler Maggie Armstrong finally admits her love for the handsome Englishman, though she can’t rid herself of the sinking suspicion that her Scottish kin are not about to let them live in peace. What she doesn’t expect is the danger that lurks on Will’s own side of the Border. When news of their plans to marry reaches the warden, he charges Will with March treason for trysting with a Scot. Will and Maggie attempt to escape by fleeing to the hills, but when Will is declared an outlaw and allowed to be killed on sight, they can no longer evade the authorities. Will is sentenced to hang, while Maggie is to be sent back to her family. Heartbroken, she has no choice but to return to Scotland, where her uncle continues to make plans for her to wed Ian Rutherford, the wicked Scotsman who she now realizes murdered her father in cold blood. With Will facing the gallows in England, and herself practically under house arrest in Scotland, she continues to resist her uncle’s plans, but her efforts are thwarted at every turn. Will’s family, however, is not about to stand by and watch their youngest lad executed simply because he’s lost his heart to a Scottish lass. A daring plan is set into motion, but will it be in time to save Will’s life and reunite the lovers? Or will Ian’s lies prompt Maggie’s family to ensure the bond between them is forever destroyed?
Often writers started out as readers. Was there a particular book that inspired you to be an author?
ANDREA: I’ve always loved to read. Books had the power to carry me away to distant lands and times, and made it possible for me to do and be whatever I wanted. The first book I really remember falling in love with was Pride and Prejudice, and I have to say, Mr. Darcy still holds a place in my heart. However, that’s not what inspired me to be an author. I think, perhaps, it was the other way around. Since I’ve always had a vivid imagination, it was easy for me to become engrossed in a book, where I could clearly envision the scenes and the characters, but when I wasn’t reading, I was daydreaming and coming up with stories of my own. My daydreaming use to baffle my teachers, because they’d think I wasn’t paying attention. But when they called on me, I had the answer. That was the beginning of my skill at multitasking. And it has served me well. An added advantage is that I really never get bored since I’m always thinking about the next story or rehashing a scene in my head.
Do you tend to read the same genre you write?
ANDREA: Yes, and no. I do prefer to read historical and time travel romance and mysteries, which is what I write, but I also enjoy some fantasies and an occasional thriller. One thing I’m not a big fan of is bildungsroman or domestic fiction. They tend to be too deep for me. I do a lot of “deep” reading when I’m involved in the research for my books, so when I’m reading something for enjoyment, I usually prefer light-hearted romances or cozy historical mysteries. But whatever I read, there always needs to be a little romance, even in my mysteries.
Do you have a favorite time period to write about? If so, why?
ANDREA: I majored in history and tend to enjoy anything pre-nineteen twenties, though I do occasionally stroll forward past the early 1900s. I’m not sure the period matters so much as the story. When writing the Thunder on the Moor series, I wanted the Border Reivers at their height, which was the mid-sixteenth century. My Cross of Ciaran series needed a time on the cusp of Christianity in Ireland. Generally, the story, the characters, and the events within the story will determine the time period. It just seems to be that most of those plots end up finding their home more than a hundred years ago.
How long have you been writing, and how long did it take before your first book was published?
ANDREA: I’ve always loved creating stories and have been writing for as long as I can remember. It started with poems and song lyrics, then around 1992, while recovering from the loss of my gall bladder, I decided to try something a little more in depth, just to keep me busy while I recuperated. I gave a few chapters to some friends, and at their insistence, ended up finishing the book. It’s tucked away, and some day may see the light of day again, but I had already thought of a few other tales I wanted to tell. That first novel did wet my taste for something more however and gave me the incentive to put some of those other stories to paper — on a typewriter, no less. PCs and word processing programs were still a few years away. And so, I began to write novels, even shopped some around a bit. However, I still had a family to raise, and then I returned to school to get my MLS and became a full-time librarian, so I concentrated on improving the works when I could, not thinking much more about publishing them. Finally, a few years ago with my children grown, and about seven or eight drafts of my first novel under my belt, I decided to take the publishing plunge.
What is the scariest thing you face as a writer? How do you handle it?
ANDREA: Probably reading reviews. It’s almost like I want to close my eyes and peek through my fingers, praying they’re good. And the good ones are wonderful. They give me encouragement and let me know what I got right. The bad ones, however, can be a bit daunting, at least until you accept the fact that not everyone out there is going to like what you write. But that’s okay. You can’t please everyone, and once you get past their sting, there are some that might even help you improve your writing. Of course, there are always going to be those that serve no constructive purpose whatsoever, but I’ve learned that as long as they’re not in the majority, you just have to push them aside and move on. There are a million reasons why someone may not like your work, many of which have nothing to do with how good your writing is. It may be someone who doesn’t usually read the genre you write, or someone who has a favorite book that no one else can ever compete with, or even someone who just doesn’t believe in giving a good review. Whatever the reason, I’ve finally learned to that they are going to appear from time to time, but I am thankful for the vast majority that are good.
If you could pick your top 3 favorite books of all time, what would they be?
ANDREA: Wow, that would really be tough. Pride and Prejudice, of course, then probably the Harry Potter series, and . . . I guess there is no single book I could list as number three. Having been a librarian, I’ve been exposed to so many wonderful books, it would be hard to choose. So, I’m just going to have to say number three is whatever I’m currently reading. I employ the fifty page rule. If a book hasn’t captured my interest in the first fifty pages, it’s not going to and I’m not going to continue reading it. I used to feel as if I’d have to finish a book if I started it, but I finally realized that there are just too many good books out there to waste time reading those I don’t enjoy.
What do you think is the most important thing to remember when following your dreams?
ANDREA: First of all, be realistic with yourself. If you want to be a doctor, but have no aptitude for science, it’s going to be a hard row to plow. Once you’ve decided your dreams are something within the realm of possibility, however, don’t let anyone talk you out of them or make you feel like they’re impossible or not a real job. One thing more you need to remember. Whatever your dreams are, be prepared to work hard at them and do the best you possibly can. There are going to be ups and downs, but if you work hard and hone your skills, you will succeed.
Does your family support your writing?
ANDREA: Absolutely, my family has always encouraged me and listened with untiring patience to my various story ideas. By the time they were in their teens, my kids were already giving me suggestions about things they did and didn’t like. They still are, and I continue keep their suggestions in mind as I write. They’ve all always had faith in me and never made me feel like I was wasting my time.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Andrea Matthews is the pseudonym for Inez Foster, a historian and librarian who loves to read and write and search around for her roots, genealogical speaking. She has a BA in History and an MLS in Library Science, and enjoys the research almost as much as she does writing the story. In fact, many of her ideas come to her while doing casual research or digging into her family history. She is the author of the Thunder on the Moor series set on the 16th century Anglo-Scottish Border, and the Cross of Ciaran series, where a fifteen hundred year old Celt finds himself in the twentieth century. Andrea is a member of the Romance Writers of America.
During one of the darkest times in history, at the height of the German occupation of the Netherlands in 1943, members of the Dutch resistance began a mission to rescue Jewish children from the deportation center in Amsterdam. Heading the mission were Walter Süskind, a German Jew living in the Netherlands, Henriëtte Pimentel, a Sephardic Jew, and Johan van Hulst, principal of a Christian college. As Nazis rounded up Jewish families at gunpoint, the three discreetly moved children from the deportation center to the daycare across the street and over the backyard hedge to the college next door. From the college, the children were transported to live with Dutch families. Working against irate orders from Hitler to rid the Netherlands of all Jews and increasing Nazi hostilities on the Resistance, the trio worked tirelessly to overcome barriers. Ingenious plans were implemented to remove children’s names from the registry of captured Jews. To sneak them out of the college undetected past guards patrolling the deportation center. To meld them in with their new families to avoid detection. Based on actual events, Over the Hedge is the story of how against escalating Nazi brutality when millions of Jews were disposed of in camps, Walter Süskind, Henriëtte Pimentel, and Johan van Hulst worked heroically with the Dutch resistance to save Jewish children. But it is not just a story of their courageous endeavors. It is a story of the resilience of the human spirit. Of friendship and selfless love. The love that continues on in the hearts of over six hundred Dutch Jewish children.
This novel is available to read on #KindleUnlimited
Paulette Mahurin is an international bestselling literary fiction and historical fiction novelist. She lives with her husband Terry and two dogs, Max and Bella, in Ventura County, California. She grew up in West Los Angeles and attended UCLA, where she received a Master’s Degree in Science.
Her first novel, The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap, made it to Amazon bestseller lists and won awards, including best historical fiction 2012 in Turning the Pages Magazine. Her second novel, His Name Was Ben, originally written as an award winning short story while she was in college and later expanded into a novel, rose to bestseller lists its second week out. Her third novel, To Live Out Loud, won international critical acclaim and made it to multiple sites as favorite read book of 2015. Her fourth book, The Seven Year Dress, made it to the bestseller lists for literary fiction and historical fiction on Amazon U.S., Amazon U.K. and Amazon Australia. Her fifth book, The Day I Saw The Hummingbird, was released in 2017 to rave reviews. Her sixth book, A Different Kind of Angel, was released in the summer of 2018 also to rave reviews. Her last four books: Irma’s Endgame, The Old Gilt Clock, Where Irises Never Grow, and Over the Hedge all made it to bestselling lists on Amazon. Her new release, Over the Hedge, was #1 in Hot New Release Amazon U.K. it’s second day out.
Genre: Historical Fiction, Christian Historical Fiction
“… a heartfelt tale of the struggles of married life on a nineteenth-century farm. Edward and Beryl are both relatable and sympathetic. Knipfer expertly captures the emotion and stress of their lives and relationship. It’s a touching and realistic portrayal of love, loss, and friendship.” Heather Stockard for Readers’ Favorite five-star review
A HISTORICAL NOVEL OF THE PERILS OF NEWLYWED LIFE ANDF ALL THAT COMES TO DIVIDE LOVERS
In 1897 newly married Beryl and Edward Massart travel more than one thousand miles from Quebec to farm a plot of land in Wisconsin that they bought sight-unseen. An almost magical grove of maples on their property inspires them to dream of a real home built within the grove, not the tiny log cabin they’ve come to live in.
Misunderstandings and tempers get the better of them when difficulties and troubles arise. Just months after they wed, Edward leaves pregnant Beryl in the midst of the coming winter to tend the farm and animals while he goes to be a teamster at a northern Wisconsin logging camp.
Will Beryl and Edward walk into the future together to build their house of dreams in the grove of maples, or will their plans topple like a house of sticks when the winds of misunderstanding and disaster strike?
Readers of Christian historical fiction, Historical fiction, Women’s fiction, and Christian historical romance will be endeared to this slice of late 19th century farm life.
BOOKS+COFFEE: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
After I read the Anne of Green Gables series, I remember sensing a desire in me to become a writer. And that was that.
BOOKS+COFFEE: How long have you been writing, and how long did it take before your first book was published?
I’ve been writing since I was a teenager, mostly journaling back then, but I did pen a few stories.
I started a novel in my twenties, but life interrupted with a job and kids, and I set it aside. For the next twenty years, I wrote poetry, songs, blog posts, and journal entries.
In 2018 when I retired from my work as a floral designer due to disability, I resurrected the novel I’d started years ago and finished it in a couple of months.
For some months I queried for an agent but ended up pursuing the indie author route and publishing my first book, Ruby Moon, in 2019.
BOOKS+COFFEE: Do you have a routine you follow when you’re working on a book? A certain time of day when you write, or a snack you keep nearby?
My writing schedule fluxuates with my health. I have MS and struggle daily with many physical issues, fatigue and weakness being some of the heavy hitters. I plan to write anytime from late morning on, but some days writing doesn’t happen. There are a lot of other author duties that need my energy too.
My process follows more set boundaries. I sketch a rough outline of the plot and characters, as they appear, and establish a premise and what the main characters seek or need for resolution. Then I write and let the act of writing take me where it will.
Due to the nerve damage in my hands, I write chapter by chapter on my iPad and sandwich chapters together in Word on my computer, when I polish them enough. Typing traditionally is difficult for me. Then, one or two final edits at the end, and the book is ready for beta readers.
BOOKS+COFFEE: Did anyone give you writing advice when you were first getting started? Do you think it helped?
I am grateful for the early beta readers that pointed out some things in my work, as far as writing a novel goes, that helped me greatly. I started out a solid writer but needed to learn a few things about writing a novel, like POV’s and establishing a well-crafted plot. I’m definitely a better novelist today than I was in 2018.
BOOKS+COFFEE: What is the scariest thing you face as a writer? How do you handle it?
Rejection is always difficult to take, but I’ve come to realize not every reader will like my books. And that’s okay. For me the scariest beast in the forest reveals itself as marketing. It’s one thing to write a great novel; it’s quite another to sell it.
BOOKS+COFFEE: Is there a book, movie, or song that inspires you when you’re working?
I prefer it quiet and don’t usually write with music or movies playing. When I’m not writing I read or watch some romantic entertainment, to help inspire some romance in my own writing.
BOOKS+COFFEE: As a writer, I’m sure you also love reading. Do you have a favorite book and what do you love about it?
Jane Eyre is my all-time favorite book. It contains everything: romance, mystery, moral dilemmas, tragedy, comedy, poetic prose… I recall the first time I read it, and how those first few paragraphs made me feel. It was an experience, and that’s what every good book should bring to its reader.
BOOKS+COFFEE: What do you think is the most important thing to remember when following your dreams?
Don’t give up. Often dreams don’t work out quite like you imagine, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t. More than anything—dreams are a lot of hard work.
Now, let’s talk a little about your current book…
What’s the title of your current release and is it part of a series?
Your cover looks amazing. Do you know who the artist is?
The background is a stock photo, and the female image I purchased off a book cover site. Nothing too spectacular there, I’m afraid. However, for my next book, Under the Weeping Willow, I hired a photographer and a model for a photo shoot.
Was there something in particular that inspired you to write this story?
In a Grove of Maples was inspired by my grandparents and their lives as Wisconsin farmers in the late 1890’s. I did not know them or know much about them and always wondered about their lives. I suppose it’s my attempt at reaching into the past to piece them together the best I can.
If there’s one thing a reader will take away from this story, what do you hope it is?
In a Grove of Maples tells the story of Beryl and Edward Massart as newlyweds, embarking on a new life. Through their story they learn to set aside assumptions and their own agendas to create a more solid foundation for their marriage. I hope this inspires readers to do the same. They also learn that pulling together as a team accomplishes more than pulling separately.
Any funny stories you can share about writing this book, or something that sparked the idea for it?
I can’t think of anything funny. The idea came from two directions: wanting to explore what my grandparents’ lives were like and highlighting newlywed life and the crossed wires that can often come with it.
March 15th, 1898
I saw a robin today. Robins remind me of hope. They are the first birds to arrive after the snows of winter come to an end. I hung some clothes on the line, and he flitted down onto the chopping block. He twitched his tail and gazed at me with a slanted head and beady eye. I wonder if he had an inkling his perch helped dispatch one of his bird relatives lately.
The oldest hen, whom I had named Goldie (for her tuft of golden feathers on her head and feet), had given up laying eggs. Much as I hated to do it, she ended up in the stockpot today. Paul and Nola came to check on me, and I asked them to stay for supper.
The chicken bouja didn’t turn out half bad. Nola said she had not tasted anything like it. It’s a basic, Belgian, country chicken stew recipe, which Mama taught me to make, but I add dried green peppers, chili powder, and dollops of bread stuffing on the top.
Paul asked about Edward. I read Edward’s last letter to them both, but I didn’t tell them what I guessed was in between the penned lines: sorrow, regret, and longing.
What is Edward mourning besides our son? What does he want?
I should be bold and ask him, but I’m not. I fear what might be sent to me, scrolled out in elegant script by his hand. His penmanship is worthy of the founding fathers who signed The Declaration of Independence. His alphabet letters form swoops and tails, and the overall effect is elegance.
He tells me of his daily life, but he doesn’t tell me how he feels. Does he miss me? Will this absence make our hearts grow fonder, or will our physical distance be a picture of the way we have grown apart?
If only we could go back, apologize to each other, be kinder, love deeper, and set our foolish fears and pride aside. I do love him, despite it all.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jenny lives in Wisconsin with her husband, Ken, and their pet Yorkie, Ruby. She is also a mom and loves being a grandma. She enjoys many creative pursuits but finds writing the most fulfilling.
Spending many years as a librarian in a local public library, Jenny recently switched to using her skills as a floral designer in a retail flower shop. She is now retired from work due to disability. Her education background stems from psychology, music, and cultural missions.
She holds membership in the: Midwest Independent Booksellers Association, Wisconsin Writers Association, Christian Indie Publishing Association, and Independent Book Publishers Association.
Jenny’s favorite place to relax is by the western shore of Lake Superior, where her novel series, By The Light of the Moon, is set. A new historical fiction, four-part series entitled, Sheltering Trees, will be released in 2021 and 2022. Jenny is currently writing a novella series entitled, Botanical Seasons.
Genre: Time travel romance, Scottish Historical Romance
He hoped for a wife. He found a companion through time and beyond.
It is 1715 and for Duncan Melville something fundamental is missing from his life. Despite a flourishing legal practice and several close friends, he is lonely, even more so after the recent death of his father. He needs a wife—a companion through life, someone to hold and be held by. What he wasn’t expecting was to be torn away from everything he knew and find said woman in 2016…
Erin Barnes has a lot of stuff going on in her life. She doesn’t need the additional twist of a stranger in weird outdated clothes, but when he risks his life to save hers, she feels obligated to return the favour. Besides, whoever Duncan may be, she can’t exactly deny the immediate attraction.
The complications in Erin’s life explode. Events are set in motion and to Erin’s horror she and Duncan are thrown back to 1715. Not only does Erin have to cope with a different and intimidating world, soon enough she and Duncan are embroiled in a dangerous quest for Duncan’s uncle, a quest that may very well cost them their lives as they travel through a Scotland poised on the brink of rebellion.
Will they find Duncan’s uncle in time? And is the door to the future permanently closed, or will Erin find a way back?
“Storm coming,” Lewis said laconically. “I can smell it.”
Duncan studied the sky. If anything, the clouds had sunk even lower, dark and menacing they seemed within touching distance. What little wind there had been fell away, and sweat dewed Duncan’s face, his neck.
“Best increase our pace,” he said.
“Won’t help,” Lewis said. “We’ll be caught in it anyway.”
Duncan gave him an irritated look.
Lewis merely shrugged. “One does not die of rain or thunder,” he said. “I recall—”
Whatever Lewis remembered was drowned in a clap of thunder. And just like that, the storm was upon them. Daylight disappeared, replaced by a murky half-light that made it difficult to see much more than the road before them. Rain fell in torrents from above, and all around lightning flared.
Duncan’s horse baulked, shying from something Duncan could not see. He heard Lewis call out, tried to locate his man but could not make out anything but the whipping branches of the trees. Now and then the darkness was seared with light when a bolt of lightning flashed too close, and every time that happened, Duncan’s mount skittered sideways, throwing frantically with her head.
The road was still visible, widening into a crossroads. Duncan wiped at his face and tried to take his bearings. They were at most a couple of miles from Bourne’s Island. Something crackled overhead. This time, lightning struck very close. Thunder roared, the ground shook.
Duncan’s mare reared and neighed.
“Easy lass,” Duncan said, clutching at her mane to keep his seat. She reared again, bucked, and Duncan was sent flying. He landed painfully in the gravel. His head connected with a rock and for a moment he lost consciousness. Long enough that when he looked up the horse was gone, racing back the way they’d come.
Duncan tried to stand. His head hurt, his face stung and there was blood on the knees of his breeches. Yet another clap of thunder had him jumping backwards, pain shooting through his left leg. The crossroads was a slurry of mud, and the ground tilted this way and that. Once again lightning flashed overhead and the road beneath his feet shook. He had to find cover but standing under trees in a thunderstorm was never a good idea. Duncan shivered and took a shuffling step towards the closest oak. At least it would offer some cover from the rain and lashing wind.
Step by careful step, he made his way over the crossroads. God’s fish, but his leg hurt, and to judge from how his vision blurred, the blow to his head had been hard enough to do some serious damage. One more step and he was at the centre of the crossroads, gaping at how the muddy water swirled around his feet. And then something changed. Instead of dirty brown water, wisps of bright colours coiled themselves around his feet. Green and blue bands tightened round his legs. He couldn’t move, transfixed by the colours. With a roar, the ground at his feet parted. Duncan fell, his last conscious thought being that Grandma Alex had been right: crossroads were dangerous places indeed.
Erin Barnes leaned forward to crank up the volume, squinting at the road before her. Her wipers swished back and forth like a couple of high-speed metronomes, but with the rain coming down in torrents they did little to improve visibility.
She took a right and lowered her speed as she approached the old crossroads. In weather such as this, the old gravel roads became water-logged, and she definitely didn’t need the complication of an accident. Not after this shitty day. Her hands tightened on the steering wheel. She threw a look at the rear-view mirror: no headlights following her. Idiot, she told herself, they wouldn’t dare.
“No, of course they wouldn’t,” she said out loud but the knot of tension that lived in her stomach remained where it was, an uncomfortable weight that had her glancing back the way she’d come over and over again. Steve might. He’d looked ready to throttle her earlier and he had a damned short temper.
Had her grandmother Emily been alive, she’d have told Erin that some crusades were best left alone—unless one was willing to pay the price. Crusade? Erin snorted. This was no crusade, this was her sinking her teeth into a story that would make her career as a journalist and avenge Emily’s death. Well, unless the story got her killed first.
She’d spent months getting an in on it, swallowing down the desire to throw up that afflicted her whenever Steve kissed her or pawed at her body. And now…She tightened her hold on the wheel, recalling just how quickly Josephine Wilkes’ expression had changed, from mildly interested to icy rage when she studied the pics in Erin’s phone. Okay, so she’d done a lot of illegal snooping to take those pics, using the hot romance between Steve and herself as a cover to access his family home on several occasions. Too bad Mama Josephine wasn’t as dense as her youngest son—but then, if she’d been that dumb she would not be heading the racketeering business she’d inherited from her husband years ago.
So here she was, driving madly for the safety of her home, south of the air field. Safety? Please! But now that they had her phone, now that they’d slapped her around a bit, maybe they thought she’d do the smart thing and just keep her head down. Huh. When she’d squeezed out of the narrow bathroom window and sprinted for her car, Erin had been as determined as ever to bring the Wilkes family down. Even more, actually, given that now it was personal, her face swollen and puffy after the repeated “love pats” from dear ex-boyfriend Steve.
Thunder crackled through the night and Erin jumped, the car swerving slightly. Shit! More thunder, and if anything the rain intensified, a veritable deluge that had her slowing her speed to a crawl. A flash of lightning illuminated the landscape and a huge bundle lying right in the middle of the crossroads. Was that a man? An outflung arm? Erin stepped on the brake. Too late. There was a dull thump when her fender connected with the object. For some moments, she just sat there, her hands clenched so tight round the steering wheel they hurt. On the radio, someone was singing about perfection.
From outside came a loud howl. It made her jump. Definitely a human voice and with a deep sigh Erin concluded her day had just gone from bad to worse. She’d just hit some poor idiot, although to be fair, it was just as much his fault as hers. What sort of moron would just lie on the middle of the road. An injured one, her brain told her, one that is even more injured now that you’ve run him over.
There was a gun in the glove compartment, and she tucked it into the waist of her jeans before getting out. One never knew, this could be one of Steve’s more subtle attempts at getting his hands on her, but the moment she thought it she dismissed it as ridiculous. Steve had little finesse, was way more into brutal intimidation. She shivered, uncertain if it was the rain or the thought of Steve that chilled her to the bone. The pile on the road groaned.
A man, she concluded some moments later. Dark hair plastered to his forehead, something that resembled a linen shirt stuck to his torso and long legs encased in weird pants and knee-high boots. Erin rolled her eyes. One of those Renaissance Fair types, she thought, placing a careful hand on his back to make sure he was still breathing.
“Hey,” she said, wiping at her face. “Are you okay?” Stupid, stupid question. The man’s eyes fluttered open.
“Hi,” she said, trying out a little smile.
“Hi?” He scooted out of reach and sat up, groaning loudly. He looked at her. His eyes widened. He blinked and looked again.
“Can you stand?” she asked him, wondering if it would be totally uncharitable to help him to the side and then drive off.
Aye? And what an odd accent. He sounded British, somehow.
The man lurched to his feet, took a step and promptly fell to his knees.
“Are you drunk?” she demanded. He clutched at his left leg and she was suffused with guilt. She’d broken his leg or something, and here she was accusing him of being drunk.
He looked at her. “I wish I was,” he said. “It would explain my hallucinations.”
“Aye.” His eyes narrowed. “Or are you real?” Once again, he stood, favouring his left leg. He was tall, well over six feet, and that shirt of his displayed an impressively broad chest. He was also bleeding from a gash on his forehead, his right sleeve was badly burned as was the forearm and hand, and he grimaced when he put weight on his left foot.
“Of course I’m real.” She grabbed hold of him when he swayed. He yelped and shied away, landing yet again on the ground.
“God’s fish!” he exclaimed. “You are real!”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a time-traveller. As this was impossible, she became a financial professional with two absorbing interests: history and writing. Anna has authored the acclaimed time travelling series The Graham Saga, set in 17th century Scotland and Maryland, as well as the equally acclaimed medieval series The King’s Greatest Enemy which is set in 14th century England.
Anna has also published The Wanderer, a fast-paced contemporary romantic suspense trilogy with paranormal and time-slip ingredients. Her September 2020 release, His Castilian Hawk, has her returning to medieval times. Set against the complications of Edward I’s invasion of Wales, His Castilian Hawk is a story of loyalty, integrity—and love. Her most recent release, The Whirlpools of Time, is a time travel romance set against the backdrop of brewing rebellion in the Scottish highlands.
All of Anna’s books have been awarded the IndieBRAG Medallion, she has several Historical Novel Society Editor’s Choices, and one of her books won the HNS Indie Award in 2015. She is also the proud recipient of various Reader’s Favorite medals as well as having won various Gold, Silver and Bronze Coffee Pot Book Club awards.