Category Archives: Excerpts

It’s Release Day for The Search for Sam!

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Today’s not just Tuesday, it’s the book birthday for my latest historical romance, The Search for Sam, part of the Enduring Legacy series! For the next month it will be available to buy on all platforms, possibly going into Kindle Unlimited after that. If you’ve forgotten what it’s all about (I know it’s been a while), here’s a reminder and another little excerpt.

Tilly Dallas and her grandmother Delphine live a quiet life creating herbal medicines and helping neighbors with their gift of Empathy, until Sam Beauvoir goes missing, the latest victim in a string of children’s disappearances.

Jacob Pierce, a talented detective tasked with finding the person behind these kidnappings, refuses to give up hope that he will be able to bring the children home alive. To do that, he’ll need Tilly’s help to convince the families of the missing children to trust him. 

Searching for Sam draws Jacob and Tilly closer, but she finds it hard to hide her power from him and harder still to admit her feelings. She’ll have to embrace a new power in the wake of tragedy if they want to find Sam and the other missing children before witch hunters succeed in putting an end to the legacy of another member of the Dalais family.

The Legacy’s Origin is still available for free on Amazon, so you can read a little more about the original Dalais siblings before you read my book. It’s really good, if a heartbreaker.


It seemed like no time had passed at all when Tilly was suddenly woken up by a knock at her door. She opened her eyes slowly and sat up with a yawn, then rubbed her face. It was no surprise that her hands came back with black streaks on them from her makeup, and she sighed when she turned to see similar marks on her pillow. As tired as she had been the night before, she should have at least used some cold cream before she got in bed.

“Come in,” she said. Her grandmother walked in with a breakfast tray, a smile on her face. Immediately Tilly could feel that it wasn’t entirely genuine and she tried to shrink away from the sudden surge of emotion. It was completely unsettling, this new power she had to feel other peoples’ emotions, but she couldn’t stop her grandmother’s worry and fear from crashing into her.

“Good morning, my darling,” Delphine Dallas said. “I thought perhaps you would like some breakfast in bed. I made your favorite, crepes with strawberries and cream.” She set the tray on Tilly’s lap and went to the window, where the curtains were drawn. She swept them open and Tilly put a hand over her eyes.

“What time is it?”

“It’s almost afternoon,” Delphine said. “I let you sleep in, you seemed to have needed it.”

“Thank you,” Tilly said, her eyes adjusting to the brightness. It wasn’t the first time she’d come in late, but her grandmother usually woke her up at the crack of dawn anyway to help tend the plants and pick herbs. She picked up her fork and knife and went to work on the crepes, even though her stomach was turning from the night before. Not just from her indulgences, she felt hungover from the sudden blast of a hundred personalities at once. She felt drained, as if she could go back to sleep and spend the rest of the day in bed. Delphine came to her bedside and sat down so she was facing Tilly.

“Tell me what happened last night. You looked as if you’d had an awful scare.”

Tilly took her time cutting off a piece of crepe and putting it in her mouth. She chewed it far more than necessary, avoiding her grandmother’s gaze as she did. When she couldn’t avoid it any longer, she looked up at her. She could feel that Delphine wouldn’t leave her alone until she told her what had happened so she took a deep breath.

“I was at a club, and a man asked me to go outside with him. When I did, he tried to hurt me.” She pushed a strawberry around her plate. “There was something strange, too. He said his family name used to be Friseal, as if it was supposed to frighten me. I don’t know anyone with that name, though. And he had engraving on his lighter that he said was his coat of arms. Do you know anything about that?” Now it was Delphine’s turn to look evasive and Tilly could feel indecision radiating from her. “Grandame,” she said as calmly as possible, “I can feel that you’re not telling me something.”

“You can?” Delphine turned to Tilly and met her gaze with her clear blue eyes. “I was waiting for something like this to happen. It doesn’t usually take this long, though.”

“What doesn’t?” Tilly looked confused and her grandmother reached out to touch her face, then unbuttoned her high-necked collar and pulled it aside. She turned her back to Tilly, and the girl frowned. At first she wasn’t sure what Delphine wanted her to see, but there was only one thing it could be. On the back of her left shoulder was a strawberry birthmark, round with a point on the lower left corner. Automatically Tilly’s hand went to the back of her own left shoulder. She’d seen the same mark on her own body all her life, but she’d never known her grandmother had the same one.

“Centuries ago our ancestors had three children. Each one had a birthmark similar to this one, only with the points in different places. Sorcha had one that looked like ours.” She got up from the bed and picked up Tilly’s journal from the dressing table, along with a fountain pen. She opened it to the back cover and drew a circle and triangle intertwined. “When her brother and sister’s marks were combined, they made the sign of Triùir Mhòra – the Magical Three.” She handed Tilly back the journal and the girl looked at the symbol.

“Triùir Mhòra,” Tilly repeated, trying to wrap her mouth around the words. “What does this have to do with me?”

“Our ancestor, Sorcha, had the ability to feel emotions. She could tell what a person, animal, even a plant was feeling at that moment. She was an empath,” Delphine said, taking her granddaughter’s hand. “Just like you.”

“Is that what happened to me?” Tilly’s eyes widened. “It was so sudden! One minute I was perfectly normal, the next I could feel what everyone in the club was feeling at the same time. I felt like I was going to be sick.”

“You’re still normal,” Delphine said gently. “This is normal for us. Our family was blessed with these powers and they’re a part of us. It’s who we are. Give it a little time and you wouldn’t want it any other way.”

“Our family? You have this power too, Grandame?” Tilly’s eyes widened and her grandmother nodded. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“I planned to one day, when you were a bit more mature. As long as you were sneaking out to clubs and associating with strange men, I didn’t want to put our secret in your hands.” There was more than a touch of disapproval in her voice and Tilly’s face reddened. “Besides, I thought perhaps it had skipped your generation. It happens sometimes in such a long lineage. You bear the mark, so it was unlikely but not unheard of. Our ancestors passed their powers to their children but we’ve intermarried with others for hundreds of years so there are bound to be some who are, as you would say, normal.”

Tilly was quiet for a long moment. Her head was spinning from everything her grandmother had told her. If she hadn’t felt the rush of emotions the night before, she would have thought Delphine was having some fun at her expense. Now she had no alternative but to believe that she and her grandmother were witches. She gathered her thoughts and looked at Delphine.

“Were our ancestors really from France?”

“Not originally,” Delphine said. “Our three ancestors were from Scotland, but their families fled to France after they were killed by witch hunters.” She brushed a lock of hair behind Tilly’s ear. “Much like the one who tried to kill you last night. One of them was called Ellair Friseal.”

“That explains why he said I wouldn’t enslave anyone with my magic,” Tilly said. “I don’t understand, though. All I can do is feel emotions, I can’t influence people.” She frowned. “Can I?”

“Witch hunters have no idea how our magic works. They’re afraid of us, so they assume wild things about us and use them to make people as afraid as they are. The Dalais family has only ever used our powers for good.” Delphine smiled. “Don’t worry, my dearest. I’ll do my best to teach you how to use your power, and how to block it so you won’t be overwhelmed like last night. You must promise to be careful from now on, though. Understand?”

“Yes, Grandame.” Tilly looked down at her breakfast. She was still hungry but had never felt less like eating in her life.

“You don’t have to finish it if you don’t want to,” Delphine said, getting up from the bed. “You really should, though. After last night your body needs to recover. Just know that you are more special than you could have ever imagined, and that I love you with all my heart.”

“I love you too,” Tilly said, her eyes filling with tears. She blinked them back, then picked up her fork. She didn’t want to waste her grandmother’s beautiful breakfast, after all. Delphine paused at the bedroom door and turned back to her.

“We’ll be looking for a new place to live, of course. Now that we know witch hunters have found where we live, we can’t risk staying here.” She sighed. “Just when I finally got that moonflower to thrive, too. Those men are much more trouble than they’re worth.” She closed the door behind her and Tilly looked at herself in the mirror across the room.

A witch, she thought incredulously. I’m a real witch. Her grandmother had said that the Dalais family used their powers for good and she set aside her tray and got out of bed. She went to the dressing table and picked up the short black wig she donned when she went out at night. I won’t be needing this anymore, she said, dropping it into the trash on top of her torn dress. From now on, she was going to make her ancestors proud.

Buy on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DT3SCVH/

Different format? Use this universal link: http://www.books2read.com/SearchForSam

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An Excerpt from The Search For Sam

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Tuesday is the big day! The Search for Sam will finally be available to buy on all platforms! You can still preorder it and be one of the first to get your hands on it, but if you want a little taste before then, here’s a little excerpt from Chapter One.


“Haven’t I seen you somewhere before?” From the way the man was slurring his words, it was obvious that he had been drinking for a while. The woman at the table he was leaning on was young, much younger than the other women in the club, but it didn’t sway the drunk man at all.

“Maybe,” she said nonchalantly. “I’ve been to nearly every joint in the city at least once.” She gave him an appraising look. He was good-looking and she wanted to dance, but drunk men often didn’t make the best dance partners. It didn’t hurt to talk to him, though.

“What’s your name, sweetheart?”

“Dinah,” the woman said, deciding to take a chance on him. She wouldn’t have to talk to him long to know if he was too drunk to be interesting. The man smiled and pulled a chair away from a nearby table so he could sit across from her. She raised an eyebrow. “Yes, please, have a seat.”

“I’m Leonard,” he said, ignoring her sarcasm. “Nice to meet you, Dinah. You want something to drink?” Privately, Dinah thought that the last thing Leonard needed was another drink so she shook her head. “You sure? I’m buying.”

“No thanks,” Dinah said. She looked around the club, where men and women alike had drinks in their hands and cigarettes between their lips. Normally she would have joined them, but if Leonard was going to be any fun at all, she was going to have to put a lid on his drinking.

“Well, then, how about a cigarette and some fresh air?”

“Sure, that’s fine.” Dinah picked up her pocketbook and walked out the back door with the drunk man. There was a small fence around the edges of an alley and several trash cans in the corner. Dinah half-sat on one of them as the man took a pack of cigarettes from his pocket. “It’s quite nice out here tonight.”

“They’re packed in there like sardines tonight,” Leonard said. “It gets a little stuffy in there once everyone gets going.” He shook two cigarettes out and offered one to Dinah, who put it to her lips and waited for him to light it. Somehow she knew he would want to, and she didn’t mind. Sure enough, he took a lighter out of his jacket pocket and opened it up. She leaned forward and let him light her cigarette, then took it out of her mouth and exhaled.

“That’s nice,” she said, pointing to the lighter. “Is that silver?”

“It is,” Leonard said around his own cigarette as he lit it, cupping his hands around the flame. “It was my father’s.”

“He had good taste,” Dinah said, and Leonard held it up for her to get a better look. There was an ornate design engraved on it and her eyes widened. “That’s fabulous. Is it a shield?”

“It’s my family’s coat of arms,” Leonard said. “It’s been passed down from father to son for five hundred years. My last name’s Fraser,” he continued, dropping his lighter back into his pocket, “but it was originally Friseal.” He spoke these last words as if they should mean something to Dinah, but she didn’t understand. Leonard could tell she was confused and laughed in disbelief. “You don’t know?”

“Know what, exactly?”

“That’s just going to make it easier,” Leonard said. He threw his still-lit cigarette on the ground and walked toward her, an expression of triumph on his face. Dinah was still trying to figure out what was going on when a wave of heat washed over her. Suddenly she could feel the man’s intentions toward her, though she didn’t know how. It was as if he was made of pure malice, but also a sort of righteousness, and Dinah backed away from him.

“Get away from me,” she said, looking back quickly to see how close she was to the door. “Get away or I’ll scream!” Leonard ignored her words, advancing on her with a knife he’d taken out of his inside pocket. Dinah continued backing up, looking for a way to get out.

The only way away from this man was through the club, and the feelings of greed and evil intensified the closer he got. He’d stopped playing drunk and gotten down to his real business with her, and Dinah knew that if she stayed outside he would surely kill her. She realized that her own lit cigarette was still in her hand and an idea came to her. It was a long shot but it was all she had. Holding her breath, Dinah threw her cigarette at him, hoping it would burn him or at least distract him long enough for her to get away. Not waiting to see if it worked, she turned on her heel and ran up the stairs to the club. She’d no sooner put her foot on the middle step than she was jerked backward.

“You’re mine,” he growled from behind her, close enough that she could smell his sweat. “I’m not letting anyone else get you, and I’m not letting you enslave any more men with your magic.”

Dinah hadn’t the slightest idea what Leonard was talking about. She didn’t know anything about the magic he was speaking of, she just wanted to get away from him. Dinah pulled forward as hard as she possibly could and heard a rip as the strap of her dress tore. All that mattered to her was that she was free, and she ran up the steps and flung open the door to the club.

The moment she stepped through the door, Dinah was hit from all sides by flashes of emotion that could only be coming from the patrons of the club. They varied in intensity from vague interest to jealousy to passion so fiery that her cheeks reddened, and she pushed her way through the club as she was battered by the feelings of the people who had no idea she was trying to escape. Suddenly their voices were too loud, and their laughter seemed out of place. It was as if they were all screaming at her at once and Dinah pressed her hands to her ears to try and shut them out, but they just kept coming.

“Stop! Just stop,” she shouted, getting the attention of several people in the club. They looked at her with interest, and she could imagine how she looked, a crying young woman in a ripped dress screaming hysterically. The other patrons moved away from her as if she was carrying a contagious disease and Dinah took advantage of the path they made to run out the front door of the club. There was a man at the entrance and he grabbed Dinah’s arm. She got a feeling of intense concern from him, but the only thing she was interested in was getting as far from the club as possible.

“Hey, miss,” he said with a frown, “you okay?”

“I’m sorry, I’ve got to leave,” she said, looking back to see if Leonard was following her. She didn’t see him, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t close enough to grab her again and the unarmed man holding her arm wouldn’t be expecting the knife he was holding. She shook his arm off and ran down the deserted side street with his voice echoing after her.

“Miss! Don’t you want your coat?”

Dinah wasn’t sure how long she ran, only that her feet were screaming in protest when she recognized she was halfway home. She’d long since made it to a main street and she raised a hand to hail a cab. One stopped immediately and she got in with a smile.

“Thank you,” she said gratefully. “I need to get home as quickly as possible.” She moved to open her pocketbook and realized that she’d left it behind the club when she’d run away. “Oh, I’m sorry,” she said. “I seem to have misplaced my pocketbook.” She reached for the door handle and felt a gentle pity coming from the driver.

“Don’t worry, miss. I’ll get you home safe, no charge.”

“Thank you,” Dinah repeated, a fresh wave of tears welling up in her eyes. A man who might or might not have been Leonard was coming out of the club but it didn’t matter. The taxi driver was pulling away from the curb, taking her to the place she knew would be safe. “My grandmother will pay your fare,” she said, brushing tears out of her eyes with the back of her hand.

“There’s no need, miss. You remind me of my little sister,” he said, looking back at her with a smile. “You’re awfully young to be out so late, though. If you don’t mind my saying so, you might stay safer if you keep closer to home.”

“Not at all,” Dinah said, trying her best to give him a smile. “I just may take your advice.” It wasn’t a lie. Leonard’s abrupt change from good-natured drunk to the man whose aim had been to kill her had frightened her. More than that, she didn’t know what had happened to her when she was running through the club. It was as if everyone’s emotions were vying for a place in her mind at once and it had left her feeling drained.

What was that? She leaned back on the seat. Were those really peoples’ emotions? The taxi driver had fallen silent and was paying attention to the road, and Dinah tentatively reached out to him in an attempt to see if she really was able to tell what he was feeling. A warm, protective sensation came over her and she felt a little more relaxed. Dinah supposed that part of it was knowing that the driver meant her no harm but she was glad of it anyway.

“We’re coming up on the junction,” he said, and she looked up at him with a genuine smile. This man truly wanted to help her. “Can you point me in the direction of your house?”

“Oh! Yes of course. Turn to the left here. Do you know where the herbalist is? The place with the greenhouse?” He nodded in reply and she sat back. “That’s where I live, over the shop.”

“Then let’s head over there.” The driver turned left and they were both silent again. Dinah was glad of this as well. She didn’t feel much like talking. In fact, she was having trouble keeping her eyes open. She managed to stay awake until the driver pulled up in front of the shop whose sign read simply ‘Botanic Experts.’ There was a light in the downstairs window, and as soon as Dinah stepped out of the taxi the door flew open.

“Good heavens, where have you been? I was so worried about you!” A woman roughly the same height as Dinah hurried down the path to the street. Her features marked her as a relative of the girl, but her long, braided hair was silver where Dinah’s was short and dark. Her sapphire blue eyes searched the girl’s face avidly. “Are you all right? What’s happened?” She reached over and picked up the torn shoulder strap that was lying on Dinah’s arm. “Something’s happened, I can feel that you’re upset.”

“Can we go inside, Grandame? I’m really not feeling well.”

“Yes, I know.” It wasn’t the first time her grandmother had said something to this effect. Dinah had always dismissed it as the old woman speaking as someone who knew her, but now she wondered if it had been something more. The woman she had called Grandame looked at the taxi driver. “Thank you for bringing my granddaughter home safely. May I offer you some tea?”

“No thanks, I’ve got to be headed back to find another fare before I go home,” he said, then yawned widely. “Excuse me. I’ve been up all night.”

“Then tea is what you need.” She took a small cloth bag out of the apron she was wearing and went to the car to hand it to the driver. “I was just about to box this up for the shop but I want you to have it instead. Drink it  and you’ll have plenty of energy. Do I owe you any money for the fare?”

“No ma’am. Just glad to see this young lady home safe.” He tipped the hat he was wearing to them both, then smiled and drove away. Grandame turned to Dinah, who felt like she was about to collapse from fatigue now that she had that luxury.

“Now, what happened?” Her Grandame’s voice was kind but she was too tired to explain, and her relief at being home with her grandmother was such that hot tears pricked the backs of her eyelids. The old woman looked at her kindly and smiled. “Come along, Mathilde, we should get you in the house and cleaned up. You can tell me what happened in the morning.” Dinah rubbed the tears out of her eyes with the heel of her hand again, realizing too late what she was probably doing to her eye makeup. I must look a fright.

“Don’t call me that. You know I hate that name.” She started toward the shop and her grandmother caught up to walk beside her.

“You should be proud of your name,” Grandame said with a shake of her head. “It’s one of the names passed down among the women in our family when we came here from France.” Her grandmother’s words were too close to the way Leonard had talked about his father’s lighter and a chill ran down her spine. Dinah was suddenly fully awake again and she looked at her grandmother, who was still talking about their distant relatives in France. “If I remember correctly, Mathilde was your mother’s favorite great-aunt. It would make her sad to know you were ashamed to share her name.”

“I’m not ashamed,” Dinah said irritably. “It’s just so old-fashioned.” It struck her then that she didn’t want people to refer to her as ‘Dinah’ anymore either, not when there was a man who was searching for her and trying to kill her. Her grandmother seemed to read her mind as she pushed the door to the shop open for her, and she smiled.

“What about Tilly?”

“Hmm,” Dinah said. It was much cuter than Mathilde, and it somehow gave her a feeling of calm, as if her mother was giving her approval. “All right,” she said with a smile as she went into the shop. “That sounds quite nice.”

“That’s more like it,” Grandame said, putting an arm around the girl as she led her up the stairs to the apartment they shared above their tiny shop. They were still establishing themselves in New York but it seemed now that they weren’t as welcome as Grandame had hoped. “Don’t you worry about a thing, dear,” she said. “Go on up to bed and we can talk more about it in the morning.” It sounded like an excellent idea to her granddaughter, and she went directly to her room and closed the door. Instead of going to bed immediately, she looked at herself in the mirror. Her dark eye makeup was indeed smeared across her face and the bobbed wig she was wearing was askew. More worrisome though was her torn dress and she tried to see if it could be repaired, then decided against it. The last thing she wanted was to remember that night, Leonard, or anything else.

She took off the wig, revealing reddish-brown hair hair in a tight bun, and settled it carefully on the stand on her vanity, then stripped off the dress and dropped it into the trash can. Too tired to fight with the sticky drawer of her dresser, she finished undressing and crawled into bed in her slip. Outside the door she could hear Grandame moving around and closed her eyes. All she wanted at that moment was to forget.

Preorder on Amazon here:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DT3SCVH/

Want a different format? Use this universal link:

http://www.books2read.com/SearchForSam

The Legacy’s Origin is still available for free on Amazon, so you can read a little more about the original Dalais siblings before you read my book. It’s really good, if a heartbreaker.

Drowned History – Excerpt

img_7014Their footsteps were loud against the stone and the sound of water had become further away again, but the air had turned cool and damp. Water dripped from the unseen ceiling and pattered onto the ground. The echoing sound of the droplets and their steps made her think of the time she had gone into a cave behind a waterfall with her friends as a girl. Alice’s mind was taken over by the sounds of water and the sight of George holding a gun, so when her foot slipped on one of the steps she didn’t notice until she pitched forward with a cry of surprise.

“Alice!” Phillip reached forward and caught the back of her shirt as she fell, and Alice heard the fabric tear.

I just bought this shirt, she thought, realizing as she did how ridiculous it was. It didn’t stop her falling, though, and George turned toward the sound of Phillip’s voice to see Alice coming directly at him. He dropped the lantern and caught her in his arms, an action that pushed him off the edge of his own step. The lantern crashed on the stone floor beneath them and burst in a splintering of glass and metal, giving off one bright burst of light before being swallowed by the darkness. Alice hoped that when they hit the ground he wouldn’t land on the mess. The last thing she wanted was for him to get hurt again because she wasn’t paying attention.

George was under her, so when they hit the floor together he broke her fall. Alice lay in his arms for a moment, trying to decide if they were really all right before she got up. The worst thing that had happened to her was her ruined shirt but George was coughing and trying to catch his breath.

“Are you all right?” She sat up and got off him but didn’t stand, waiting instead to make sure he was going to be okay. George pressed a hand to his chest and nodded.

“Just got the wind knocked out of me,” he said.

“Thank you,” Alice said quietly, not wanting the others to hear what she was saying. She wanted to keep as much between her and George as possible. “You could have just let me fall.”

“I could’ve,” George said looking up at Phillip and Nadir, who were coming down as fast as caution would allow. “But I won’t.” The light of Nadir’s lantern reached them, throwing shadows onto George’s face and he smiled. “As you can see, I didn’t even lose my glasses.”

“Are you okay?” Phillip knelt down beside Alice and she nodded. “Thank God. I’m sorry about tearing your shirt, I thought I would be able to catch you.”

“It’s all right,” Alice said. “Thank you for trying, though. I can forgive the loss of one shirt.”

“I’ll buy you a new one when we get back to the States,” Phillip said. “Whatever kind you like.” His words touched Alice but she knew she couldn’t let him do it. She had felt his feelings for her growing the longer they spent together, and he was a sweet boy, but that was all he was to her. Before she could reply, George started to get up.

“Let me help you,” Alice said, shooting up from her place on the floor and offering George both of her hands the way she used to. He gave her a dubious look and for a moment she thought he was going to tell her not to be ridiculous and stand up himself. Instead he took her hands and let her put on the old charade. Alice didn’t know if he could see it but she was smiling hard enough that it hurt. “You’ve definitely put on weight.”

“Age will do that to a man,” George said, standing up as she took a step backward to pull him. “Happens to the best of us.”

“I should say so,” Alice said. “I know I—” Her words were cut off before she’d really gotten a chance to say them as the stones beneath the heel of her shoe crumbled away under her slight pressure. When she realized she was falling again, Alice immediately let go of George’s hands so she wouldn’t pull him down with her.

“Alice!” This time it was all three of the men shouting at her as she fell backward and the fact that their voices were echoing made her realize that they must have come into an open chamber. She couldn’t sense the floor or more steps coming up at her and it dawned on Alice that she was most likely falling to her death.

She could hear her companions shouting again and this time they seemed much further away. It was getting darker and cooler by the second as she fell away from their warmth and what little light was left to them with the one lantern. It looked like one of the fireflies she’d seen while she was playing outside in summer.

This is it, Alice thought. I’m really going to die. Rather than try to look into the darkness, Alice closed her eyes and stretched her arms out to her sides like wings. I wonder if it will hurt?

Thoughts warred and spun through her head; images of her parents and her friends, the work she did for the translation company, her mother’s noisy little dog. Mostly she thought about George and how happy she was that she’d gotten the chance to tell him that she loved him. She hoped he would be able to forget everything that had happened since they met again in Nadir’s office and remember the time they’d spent together in Surat, only this time he’d know how she felt.

I’m sorry, George, she thought as she finally felt something rushing up at her. For everything.

Alice clenched her teeth and braced herself as best she could for the impact, hoping that she would die right away and not suffer. She didn’t know how far she had fallen so it was impossible to tell, but she knew that it wasn’t a question of whether or not she would die, more of how painfully she would do so.

Then, to her surprise, Alice plunged into water so icy cold that it sent a shock through her body. It wasn’t at all what she expected and she opened her mouth to cry out but nothing came out. A moment later her heart stopped and everything was black.



Drowned History

Now on sale for $0.99 on Kindle, or free with Kindle Unlimited!

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07B9SDHKP

Paperbacks coming soon!

 

Only a Rogue Knows -Excerpt 

The thick curtains that covered the window in Cordelia Whittemore’s bedroom made it almost
impossible for any light to get through, and that suited her just fine. She didn’t want anyone to see her crying, especially a passing servant. She looked up, clutching her handkerchief, and the image of what she’d just seen came back into her head and started a fresh wave of tears.  

She’d trusted him, and he’d gone and done something like this. They’d hardly been married a month and now she had no idea what was she supposed to do with the rest of her life. Cordelia put her face in her hands. It felt as if she’d never stop crying. 

“Cordelia!” Her door burst open and Arthur came hurrying through, tucking his neatly pressed white shirt into his pants. “I’m so sorry, my dear, I didn’t intend for you to see that.” She looked away from him, hiding most of her face in shadow. She didn’t want him to see how upset she was, but the tears in her voice couldn’t be hidden. 

“How long has this been going on?

“Since long before we were married. I didn’t want you to find out this way.” Arthur took a step toward her and she stood up and moved further away. “I’m truly sorry.” Of this Cordelia had no doubt but she didn’t know how to forgive him for infidelity, much less infidelity of this sort.  

“I’m sure you are,” she said, recovering enough to put a note of ice in her voice. “What am I supposed to do now?”

“Don’t tell anyone,” he said, his voice almost pleading. “Please. It would kill my father.”

“You know I could divorce you for this,” Cordelia said, turning her back on him. “And the Court would allow it, as would the Church. It’s a mortal sin, Arthur.”

“I know, and I’m begging you not to. I never wanted to get married in the first place,” he said. “Father said that if I didn’t marry and give him an heir he would disown me. Once he dies, I’ll be Lord Whittemore and we won’t have to worry about him. You can divorce me then if you want.”

“And if he doesn’t die soon? What then?” Cordelia shook her head. “I can’t believe you would ask something like this of me.”

“I know,” Arthur said. “It’s not fair to you. There’s nothing else for it, though. If you want to ruin me, then by all means petition for a divorce. You’re right, no one would deny it to you and if that’s what you wish to do I won’t deny you.” He came around to where she was facing the wall, forcing Cordelia to look at him. She turned her face toward him, her jaw set in a way that she knew her own father would be proud of. 

“All right,” she said finally. “I’ll keep your secret, but at least keep your affairs out of the house. Find somewhere else to do it or I really will tell your father about it.”

“Yes, of course. Whatever you want.” Arthur leaned forward to kiss her on the cheek and she shrank away from him. She couldn’t bring herself to let him kiss her after seeing him with another man. Cheating aside, she’d brought up to believe that it was unnatural and she didn’t know how she’d be able to look at him after this. He didn’t try to kiss her again and she looked away, unable to believe she was agreeing to this. “Thank you, my darling. You won’t regret this. I’ll make sure you have everything you could ever desire.”

“Mm.” Cordelia kept her face turned away from his and he finally stepped away from her. 

“Well, I suppose I should go visit my father. He’ll be expecting me later but there’s nothing wrong with showing up earlier.”

Of course not, thought Cordelia. Unless you come home early and find your husband with another man.

“Be careful,” Cordelia said, trying not to sound irritable. Arthur paused for a moment, then
walked out of the room quickly, as if he was running away from her.  

Once he was gone and the door was closed, Cordelia went behind him and locked it. Then she went back to her place by the window where there was a handsome wooden rocker. She sat down and began to rock back and forth slowly. Her anger was dissipating, being replaced by a deep sadness. 

She’d brought the chair with her at her mother’s urging, and had been dreaming since she was a girl of sitting in the rocker and rocking her baby to sleep. Now that dream looked to have been shattered. If he wasn’t interested in her, then she didn’t know how they were going to have a baby. The only time they’d come close to making love was on their wedding night and it had taken quite a lot of effort. She’d attributed it to his being nervous and having had a lot to drink but now she knew better.  

Cordelia started to rock faster, focusing on the sliver of light that was coming through the crack in the curtains and not the image of her husband with another man on his knees in front of him. She didn’t know if she’d ever be able to get it out of her head. More tears threatened to fall and she tried to will them away. She’d have to deal with the staff before too long and she didn’t want it to look like she’d been crying. They were all so kind, they’d want to know what was going on and she didn’t want to have to lie to them.  

 It suddenly occurred to her that they may have known about this all along. Feeling betrayed by both her staff and her husband, Cordelia sighed heavily and leaned her head back against the chair. She was really stuck now. The longer she stayed in her marriage, the less likely it would be for her to be able to get a divorce. All she could do was hope for her father-in-law to die soon so she could get out of her marriage, and that made her feel even worse.  

I’m well and truly trapped now, she thought. I wish Father had never made this arrangement.

 Every Rogue’s Heart is available at Amazon for $2.99 from now until December! Buy it here or get it free with Kindle Unlimited.