Home of the Bluestocking Belles

Because history is fun and love is worth working for

Author: Guest author (Page 2 of 17)

A plea from a desperate sister

Dear Aunt Augusta,

My name is Poppy Wilson and I’m writing to you as a last ditch effort. I’m about at my wits end. I’m afraid my sister, Violet, is about to ignore a golden opportunity. You see, Thomas Jefferson’s landscaper arrived at our landscaping company the other day all the way from America and the man is supposed to spend all his time with Violet, learning about how she hybridizes roses.

Parker Sinclair is one of the most handsome men I’ve ever encountered, but both he and Violet pay me no mind, since I’m so young, at only fourteen. But who did my father turn to when Mr. Sinclair needed a wardrobe? (His trunk was ransacked in Portsmouth, by the way). Of course, it became my responsibility to properly outfit the man.

And Violet. What can I say? She’s got this unruly mass of curls that are out of control even before she begins her day in the humid greenhouse. She wears tired-out clothing that do nothing to enhance her appearance and she’s afraid to leave her greenhouse and even talk with men.

Well, now the gentleman is in her greenhouse, learning her techniques, which she’s shared with the Royal Horticultural Society hoping they’ll recognize that a woman is every bit as intelligent as a man. While I’m impressed with her findings and her experiments, I think she should pay attention to the gentleman she’s spending her days with. I’ve already cautioned her to tame her hair and wear proper dresses, but she ignores me.

It’s my hope that when Mr. Sinclair leaves for America again, he has a boatload of roses, a head full of knowledge and my sister, Violet. What can I do to make certain this happens?

Thanking you in anticipation

Poppy


Dear Poppy

How lovely of you to be concerned for your sister and her happiness. I think you need not despair, for the situation seems to me to be ripe with possibilities. Your sister is spending her days with a handsome man who is knowledgeable about and admires what she is doing; a heady combination, I assure you.

I understand your desire to help, my dear, but it has been my experience that a nudge in the wrong way at the wrong time can have precisely the opposite effect that the nudger might wish. Let the two of them spend their days working together, and see what happens. Love will find a way, Poppy. And it is love that you really wish for your sister, I am certain: that precious emotion that gilds the most unruly curls, covers a multitude of sartorial sins, and emboldens even the shyest of men and women.

I will watch with great interest for reports on who is in Mr Sinclair’s party when he returns to his own land. Believe me. All will be well.

With every good wish

Aunt Augusta.
(If your characters are in turmoil and confusion, Ask Aunt Augusta)

The Lady Banks rose, which Violet was cross-pollinating with the Scotch rose

Winning Violet

Everything’s coming up roses for an English miss and an American gentleman in this delightful new series from the author of the Cotillion Ball saga!

After British soldiers killed his wife and child during the War of 1812, Parker Sinclair vowed to never set foot on English soil. But as Thomas Jefferson’s landscaper, one must sometimes make the ultimate sacrifice. The last thing Parker expects to find is an educated English beauty who can teach him so much more than how to plant a magnificent garden.

An expert at cross-pollinating roses, Violet Wilson’s dreams of becoming the first woman recognized by the Royal Horticultural Society are fading because she’s afraid to leave the quiet solitude of her family’s nursery. Distrustful of men after a traumatic encounter, she’s not keen on disrupting her routine to help the American landscaper, but she soon blossoms under his kindness and respect.

As they fall in love, can this shrinking Violet take the risk of leaving behind all she knows for a new life with Parker? Or is he considering a different ending altogether?

The Scotch rose

Excerpt:

“Now comes the fun part.” Violet picked a small brush from her apron, carefully wiping it free of any lingering pollen. A blush crept into her cheeks as she explained the next step. “I load my brush with pollen from the Scotch rose and brush it over the sticky surface of the pistil. The sticky part is called the stigma.” With a few deft strokes, she brushed a small amount of pollen onto the plant.

Parker observed her carefully. “I should be writing this all down. Although it’s very similar to humans and how they reproduce, so I get the gist of it.” Her cheeks bloomed even pinker, as he suspected they would. Time to change the subject. “Is that all? One time and done?

The tinge in her cheeks grew deeper, almost a reddish hue. “Oh no. Once is never enough. I have to stroke on the pollen at least three or four times to assure it’s taken hold.”

“I see.” Parker stroked the leaves of the Lady Banks as his mind conjured up images best left alone.

Buy Link: Amazon

Meet Becky Lower

Amazon best-selling author Becky Lower has traveled the United States in search of great settings for her novels. She loves to write about two people finding each other and falling in love amid the backdrop of a great setting, be it in America on a covered wagon headed west or in Regency England. Her Cotillion Ball Series features the nine children from an upscale New York family prior to and during the Civil War. Her first Regency, A Regency Yuletide, received the Crowned Heart and has been nominated for the prestigious RONE award from InD’Tale Magazine. A regular contributor to USA Today’s Happy Ever After section, her books have been featured in the column on eight separate occasions. Becky loves to hear from her readers at beckylowerauthor@gmail.com. Visit her website at www.beckylowerauthor.com

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Samuel Clemens visits Roman Britain

“I did have such an odd Summer visitor,” remarked Branwen, as she rolled out pastry. She picked up a small container of dried lovage and sprinkled a small pinch on the plums in the pie dish, then drizzled honey over them.

“What happened, mother?” Quintus sneaked a plum meant for the pie, and sat back with a mug of watered wine. Gossip from the bath house at Pons Aelius was always worth a listen. He wasn’t due for guard duty on Hadrian’s Wall for a little while yet, so he relaxed, savouring the plum and his wine.

“Well, I was at the market, and took a shortcut up the alley, chatting to all the working girls. Then a dark tunnel opened in the sky, and right at my feet this man fell out. Dressed very strangely, and with an abundance of white hair. He seemed a bit lost, so I took him back to the bath house, and dressed him in some spare trousers and shirt, he didn’t want a toga.”

“Who was he?” Quintus raised an eyebrow. “A druid maybe? That sounds like druid magic to me.”

“Nay son. a scholar, he said, so a bit like Janet with her teaching ways. But curious! I’ve never seen a man poke his nose into so many things — and the questions!” Branwen put the pie in the oven part of the stone cooking area and poked the coals. “And eat, by Jupiter that man could eat — bigger appetite for the unusual than Trajan, and he can eat snails faster than any man I’ve met.”

Quintus nodded, looking a bit green. “Snails, the Romans are fond of some vile things. That fishy garum sauce they put on everything.”

“The Romans brought many good things too — dates, wine, oil, herbs and spices. Not to mention an army with money.” She glanced at her son, admiring how he looked in his Roman uniform. It had been a good choice, he and his brother joining the Roman legions.

“Yes, I had better be getting back to the fort. Where is your man now?” he frowned. “You’re not getting ideas?”

Branwen blushed. “Now son, I am an old woman of forty, and he tells me Mrs Clemens is a fine woman. I’ve seen him pat a few of the bath girls on the behind, but nothing more.” She shook the flour off her hands and wiped the wooden table. “No, after a month he returned, to wherever that was. He did leave some drawings behind, I’ll get them.”

She returned with a scroll, and they cleared the table and unrolled it. The scroll was covered with drawings of ships with wheels on the side, quite a few sketches of cats, and a detailed drawing of a raft, with two boys and a dark skinned man on it, poling down a wide river.

Quintus shook his head. “I guess we will never know the meaning of these, or who he really was.”

“A dreamer, son.” Branwen smiled and rolled up the scroll, placing it carefully away in a cupboard. “And a fine man.”

About Druid’s Portal 

A portal closed for 2,000 years.

An ancient religion twisted by modern greed.

A love that crosses the centuries.

An ancient druid pendant shows archaeologist Janet visions of Roman soldier Trajan. The visions are of danger, death, and love — but are they a promise or a curse?

Her fiancé Daman hurts and abandons her before the wedding, her beloved museum is ransacked, and a robed man vanishes before her eyes. Haunted by visions of a time she knows long gone, Janet teeters on the edge of a breakdown.

In the shadow of Hadrian’s Wall and 2,000 years back in time, Janet’s past and present collide. Daman has vowed to drive the invaders from the shores of Britain, and march his barbarian hordes to Rome. Trajan swears vengeance against the man who threatens both his loves — Janet and the Empire.

Time is running out — for everyone.

Excerpt from “Druid’s Portal: The First Journey

In her dreams, she could sometimes drift across his face like mist, and she knew it well. A man she had conjured, one as familiar as if she had known him always. Strong featured and dark-haired, his bound body radiated muscular strength. She had seen his fight—he had not been easy to capture, and it made her heart ache to see him helpless, his grey eyes watching his captors prepare him for sacrifice. Even with no hope of rescue, he had emanated defiance, an indomitable will to survive.

He was a dream, a vision. But even if he was real, what could she do to save him?

Read a preview of Druid’s Portal here: https://goo.gl/ydf8qK

Meet Cindy Tomamichel

Cindy Tomamichel is a writer of action adventure novels, some with a touch of romance. The heroines don’t wait to be rescued, and the heroes earn that title the hard way.

Her first book Druid’s Portal: The First Journey — time travel romance in Roman Britain near Hadrian’s Wall — has been published with Soul Mate publishing.

Cindy’s other published work includes winning a fractured fairy tale competition with a twist on the Rapunzel story. The fundraising event Madwomen Monologues has presented two of her monologues on stage. This year she has had poetry and short stories in three anthologies by Rhetoric Askew, a scifi story in Quantum Soul, and an alternate history story in a forthcoming anthology. An Australian rural romance story was recently featured (June) in Uncaged Books magazine.

Her next book, Druid’s Portal: The Second Journey is in progress. An action adventure time travel with a touch of romance set in Roman Britain. Follow the series- as time travel, adventure and romance become impossibly tangled.

 

Readers can find a variety of short stories on her website, and a blog on practical world building, and lots of romance, scifi and fantasy author interviews.

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In Regards to Rats and Bon-Bons

10 September 1824

To my most esteemed employer Lady Nicholas Asquith:

Although you assured me that you would return from your most surprising Parisian shopping excursion before any letter would reach you, as its headmistress, I consider it my most solemn duty to keep you apprised of the goings-on at The Progressive School for Young Ladies and the Education of Their Minds.

As you employ me for my directness, I’ll come straight to the multiple points of this letter.

First, we have rats. I’ve contacted the rat catcher, and he, along with his one terrier and three ferrets, will have the run of the school premises for the next week. Parents have been told that the building is to receive a fresh coat of paint and are advised to take a holiday for the duration.

To make this a partial telling of the truth, I’ve taken the liberty of hiring painters for when the rat catcher and his animals vacate the building. After careful deliberation of a variety of samples, I’ve chosen Invisible Green to be the color of our school forthwith. I have it on good authority that it is a most felicitous shade for the erudition of the mind as it invites Nature inside our walls. Only time will tell.

Second, I must relate to you the gossip flying about the school. Namely, rumor has it that you have journeyed to Paris to secure a French cook and a French French teacher. As I know you rely on my good judgement for a variety of matters, I shan’t do you the disservice of withholding it here.

In regards to the first rumor, you must consider the probable moral consequences of the introduction of French fare inside our virtuous English walls, our Invisible Green English walls, a color devised by none other than an Englishman. To my point, English foods sustain not only our corporeal forms, but our very Englishness. It is plain and solid and right. Who knows how all those French creams and butters might lead an influenceable girl down the path of licentiousness and ultimately ruin? What price the bon-bon? We mustn’t venture down that path, not even a step.

Now, about the French French teacher . . . Given my preceding point, need I say more? Need I elucidate the particulars of the path such a personage might set a naïve girl upon? We shall never speak of it.

I wish you a safe and swift journey back to London, at which time we shall discuss your niece Lucy and her penchant for most scandalous reading materials. (I shudder to think what she learned from Francis Grose’s Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue before its confiscation.)

Your trusted headmistress in the righteous bringing up of young ladies,

Mrs. Calpurnia Bloomquist

Excerpt from Three Lessons in Seduction

“Are you going to skulk behind me all night?”

They were the first words she ever spoke to him. His heart kicked up a notch, and his tongue became a sodden blanket in his mouth as a series of facts occurred to him:

He’d followed her. He was alone with her. And he wanted nothing more than to touch her and know the scent of her. His stride increased in length to catch her.

“Do we need a formal introduction before you will speak to me?” she teased, presenting him her flawless profile. The moon above limned her features in a contradictory soft, yet crisp, glow. “Or are you simply shy?”

“You must know who I am,” he called out to her back.

“He speaks.” An enchanting giggle floated over her shoulder. “I know you are one of many young men who venture out to my uncle’s estate to discuss England’s politics. But who you are specifically, I can’t say.”

They reached the ha-ha, and he watched her clear its low wall with ease before turning toward the edge of the woods, him following at her heels like a lap dog hungry for the tiniest crumb of her attention.

He found himself close behind her, close enough to catch her scent of jasmine and neroli. It struck him that this wasn’t the one-note scent of a debutante. On the surface, the floral jasmine indicated the shallow innocence of her peers, but the deep bitter-orange neroli complicated that assessment and made for a more interesting conclusion. She was different.

“Why did you leave the house?” he asked.

“I was hot.”

Three simpler words didn’t exist in the English language. Yet that one simple word—hot—sent a spike of longing straight through him. “I suppose the air was a bit stale,” he rasped.

“I wasn’t hot from stale air.” She faced him, her amber eyes, clear and unflinching, gauging his reaction. “It was you. I was hot because of you.”

No longer could he keep his emotions under a tight rein. She’d negated that control with a few careless words that struck his core with the precision of a well-aimed arrow.

“Did no one ever teach you not to say such things to strange men?”

“They tried,” she said with the assuredness of a woman with far too much experience, or maybe it was far too little. “There is nothing strange about you.”

“You should try those words on a different man,” he said, straining for a tone of paternal guidance. If she believed it, he might, too. “One who would marry you.”

“Oh, I care naught for that,” she said on a laugh.

Instinctively, protectively, he reached out and pulled her close, her upturned lips a hairsbreadth away from his, her playful eyes inviting him to bridge the distance. “Society doesn’t tolerate ladies who entertain loose morals.”

With feelings of longing, desire, and bewilderment warring inside him, he lowered his head and touched his mouth to hers, unprepared for the responding punch of electricity.

Kisses had the power to reveal truths about two people that extended far beyond trivialities like compatibility and incompatibility. This kiss revealed a single unshakeable truth: she was the only woman for him.

It was a truth that shook him clear through to his bones.

His eyes flew open, and he broke the kiss, eliciting a tiny gasp of protest from her. He watched with a mixture of self-loathing and thwarted passion as she opened desire-glazed eyes and closed kiss-crushed lips.

“A girl like you is a girl one could marry,” he murmured. They were heedless and dangerous words that fell from his lips, and he couldn’t understand why he spoke them.

“A girl like me?”

“You.”

One could marry?”

“I.”

“Careful,” she whispered into the space between their lips. It was the only space that mattered in the universe. “I might hold you to such words.”

“I might hope you do.”

Again, words fell from his mouth of their own accord, and he’d proposed to her. There had been no biting it back.

And he hadn’t wanted to.

At least, not for another five seconds.

He’d proposed to Lady Mariana Montfort, a girl he didn’t know.

That wasn’t precisely true.

In the ways that mattered, he knew her.

About Three Lessons in Seduction

Paris, September 1824

Lord Nicholas Asquith needs his wife. Too bad he broke her heart ten years ago.

Can he resist a second chance at the love he lost?

When Mariana catches the eye of the man at the center of an assassination plot, Nick puts aside their painful past and enlists her to obtain information by any means necessary, even if it means seducing the enemy agent.

Even if the thought makes his blood boil.

Only by keeping his distance from Mariana these last ten years was he able to pretend indifference to her. With every moment spent with her, he feels his tightly held control slipping . . .

Can she trust the spy who broke her heart?

Mariana spent the last decade forgetting Nick. Now she has the chance to best him at his own game, an opportunity she can’t resist, even as her view of him begins to shift. Increasingly, she wants nothing more than to seduce her own husband . . .

Soon, mad passion ignites, a passion never convincingly extinguished. A passion that insists on surrendering to the yearning of the flesh and, quite possibly, of the heart.

Buy: https://www.amazon.com/Three-Lessons-Seduction-Sofie-Darling-ebook/dp/B074WGWGMK/

Meet Sofie Darling

Sofie spent much of her twenties raising two boys and reading every book she could get her hands on. Once she realized that she was no longer satisfied with simply reading the books she loved, that she must write them, too, she decided to finish her degree and embark on a writing career. Mr. Darling and the boys gave her their wholehearted blessing.

When she’s not writing heroes who make her swoon, she runs a marathon in a different state every year, visits crumbling medieval castles whenever she gets a chance, and enjoys a slightly codependent relationship with her beagle, Bosco.

Website: www.sofiedarling.com

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Twitter: https://twitter.com/sofie_darling

A base born son; a hasty marriage

Dear Readers,

A most unusual story came to our attention a mere day ago.

As we reported last week, we were shocked and saddened to hear of the death of a renowned personage, the Earl of S, at his country estate a fortnight ago. We have it on good authority that Lord S had served Crown and country with great distinction, playing a quiet, yet significant role in defeating the murderous French and the Corsican.

But lo! Another report has just been received by this writer that Lord S was seen but days ago in London in the company of a flaming-haired man of younger years, rumored to be his son, and not the child of his wife, the late Lady S.

No, dear readers, this younger man is said to be the issue of Lord S’s time serving the Crown in Ireland, and is himself employed as the Steward of a certain Lord and Lady H, of whom we have written in earlier editions. It is said that Lord S intended to fully acknowledge this offspring and welcome him and his Spanish wife (who he married most hastily at Gretna Green) into the bosom of the family. In fact, our correspondent reports that Lord S has bequeathed the young couple an estate worth five thousand a year.

But there is more! Lord S and his son have reunited just as another Lord—no less than a marquess!—has seemingly vanished, and rumor has it that the two events are related.

Have no fear, but we shall keep you informed of the latest developments in this most interesting matter!

The Bastard’s Iberian Bride

Daughter of spies

For a chance at true freedom, Paulette Heardwyn needs the fortune left her by her inscrutable father. But she doesn’t know what it is, where it is, or how to find it, and the only man with answers, the Earl of Shaldon, takes his secrets to the grave. Worse, the dead earl tries to force her marriage to his bastard son—and leaves her prey to a traitor seeking the same treasure she’s after.

Soldier, Steward, Bastard

Bink Gibson is ready to throw off his quiet life as steward to his old commander and head for India and the chance of prosperity. But before he can leave he’s summoned to the deathbed of the Earl of Shaldon, a meddling spymaster, a complete stranger…and his father.

And the Earl has set a trap Bink will never be able to resist.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071D52388

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Bakeley reached for the bottle again, and her lips turned down in a frown. “I should like to hear what you have to say, Bakeley, before you have many more glasses of that.”

Bakeley set down his glass, walked to the cold fireplace, and rested a hand on the mantel.

It was such a fine piece of drama, even Miss Heardwyn noticed. She sent Bink an eye-roll.

“Well it must be bad,” Bink muttered.

Bakeley turned. His mouth worked as if his lips were struggling with some great piece of gristle. His hands slipped behind his back, a soldier at parade rest.

“Yes, well. You are each to receive a small sum as an inheritance. Not much. Not enough for any real independence. However, if you meet certain conditions, you are to receive a great deal of cash, and the title to the house and acreage acquired for you, worth four thousand a year, with the potential for more if you manage well.”

Bakeley’s gaze skittered from Bink to Miss Heardwyn, as he tugged at his neck cloth.

The lady gave Bink a pointed look. She tilted her head and he saw the pulse at her neck, a curl bouncing against it. Her lips parted and then pressed closed. She lifted her eyebrows.

She was begging him to ask.

Talking about money was vulgar. Let the bastard do it.

Well, why not? “I’ve no need for his lordship’s money,” Bink said. “Give my small sum to Miss Heardwyn, and you’d best end the suspense and tell her the conditions she must meet to receive that property and income.”

Her eyes flared. “Shaldon wouldn’t give me a property. I’m sure it’s meant for you, Mr. Gibson.”

“No,” Bakeley said.

She went very still, yet Bink could feel the tension rolling from her. Could it be she was poorer than she looked? Her dress was finer than Lady Hackwell’s had been when she was merely a wealthy spinster, yet he knew Lady Hackwell had been an odd one. More ladies overspent on dresses to keep up appearances than dressed down.

“Bakeley, tell her what she needs to do to receive her property.”

Bakeley’s jaw moved and he took a deep breath. “It’s not meant to be her property. It’s meant to be yours, as in both of yours, upon meeting his condition.”

Bink’s blood pounded through his ears on the way to his feet. The Earl’s gleaming gaze when Miss Heardwyn appeared, Bakeley’s nerves, the Earl’s swoon—undoubtedly faked, like a cutpurse’s accomplice distracting a mark. Something here was amiss.

Bakeley’s aristocratic brow glistened with beads of sweat, and in spite of his tension, humor glimmered in his eyes. He cleared his throat and said, “His lordship wishes for the two of you to marry.”

Author Bio and links:

Award winning author Alina K. Field earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and German literature, but her true passion is the much happier world of romance fiction. Though her roots are in the Midwestern U.S., after six very, very, very cold years in Chicago, she moved to Southern California and hasn’t looked back. She shares a midcentury home with her husband, her spunky, blonde, rescued terrier, and the blue-eyed cat who conned his way in for dinner one day and decided the food was too good to leave.

She is the author of several Regency romances, including the 2014 Book Buyer’s Best winner, Rosalyn’s Ring. She is hard at work on her next series of Regency romances, but loves to hear from readers!

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Magic and a Kidnapped Bride-to-be Marked for Murder

Dear Mr. Clemens,

Ah. Dear me. Where to begin?

The impetuous (dare I say reckless?) young Viviane, Lady of the Lake, committed the heist of the century when she, on a dare no less, stole Merlin’s spell book. The headstrong High Priestess of Avalon then fled to her island sanctuary with the purloined grimoire. When warned by the magical waters she commands that the wizard would, indeed, not be amused, and would, in fact, imprison her in an ice castle, the Lady of the Lake fought magic with magic.

One does not reveal in polite society the specifics of such invocations. Suffice to say, two spells were cast forward in time to sixteenth century Scotland. The enchantments had a calamitous affect on Lady Fenella, Thaness of Thorburn. Was her subsequent kidnapping by the ruthless Lord A— a coincidence, or a spell repercussion? I leave it to you, Dear Reader, to decide.

What is known is that Lord A— desired Lady Fenella’s Highland holdings and kidnapped her with the intent to marry her to his son, Edward. Allowing the guiltless Edward and Lady Fenella to fall in love was never part of Lord A—’s murderous plot. Quite the contrary! But then, Lord A— could not have imagined his coveted prize would be magically lured back in time to Avalon and Fairy afore her wedding.

Mayhap Lady Fenella’s deepening attraction for Edward will prove to Lord A—’s advantage. After all, what more powerful reason can Lady Fenella have to bend time and return to her unfortunate situation than love?

Blurb from The Beltane Escape

Lady Fenella, Thaness of Thorburn, has no idea her fate is shackled to a powerful sorceress. She believes Merlin and the Lady of the Lake are myths, Gran’s warnings about Fairy are superstition, and Fairy was invented to make children behave. But a spell cast forward to sixteenth century Scotland finds Fenella and leads to her being branded, stolen, and betrothed. Traumatized and separated from her clan, the Highland heiress finds an unexpected ally in her kidnapper’s son. But their fragile romance is tested when the young Lady of the Lake lures Fenella’s cousin into Fairy. Fenella has seconds to decide. Should she remain with Edward, or should she dive into Fairy to rescue her beloved cousin, endangering her clan, and abandoning Edward to his ruthless father?

Excerpt

Trapped within the doeskin pouch, Merlin’s spell book pulsed like an angry heart. Viviane, the young Lady of the Lake, pushed her qualms aside and knotted the stolen treasure to her waist. An eerie quiet settled over the woods. Either the tree spirits sleep, or they watch me in silence, Viviane surmised as she carefully surveyed the canopy. Knees quaking, she deftly concealed the pouch beneath her cloak, then ran. Shallow breaths caught in her throat, and a sharp pain needled her side as she quickened her pace. She pressed her hand against the twinge and kept running. With each pounding stride, the prize slapped vehemently against her hip.

Viviane chanced a glance over her shoulder. Hah! No sign of Merlin. In her arrogance, she stumbled, her heel catching on her long indigo cape. Her heart cartwheeled. With an oath, she righted herself. Ahead, the Enchanted Forest’s dark mantle ended, and gloaming’s early light shone. She bolted towards the dawn.

Dry pine needles crunched beneath her deerskin sandals. The spell book’s muffled rage beat louder, waking a nearby tree spirit whose angry screech roused others. As one, they grabbed at Viviane with their prickly branches. A wizen-faced pine scratched Viviane’s cheek, stirring the creature marked into the skin above her cheekbone. Agitated, the blue sea serpent threaded itself around the crescent moon inked near her eye. Its nostrils flared, assessing the danger. Viviane shoved the impudent branch away. Catching scent of the lake, she broke through the trees. Her lungs heaved as an ache bloomed between her shoulders where the tree spirits’ angry glares thrust against her.

Viviane ran to the coracle moored at the water’s edge. The woven willow boat creaked when she scrambled into its hull and drew in the rope. Her long gown and flowing cape pooled around her as she crouched. Clutching the boat’s wooden sides, she commanded, “Hasten to the isle!”

The water surrounding the boat surged, forming a current that propelled the craft forward. A flock of startled grebes took flight, their wings thrumming.

“Mist, cloak me from Merlin’s sight.” Viviane arced her arm above her head. Her prisoner pummeled against her hip. But the spell book’s blows were futile and inconsequential.

The air thickened and grew damp. A dove-gray cloud engulfed the lake, swallowing the creaking vessel and its sole occupant.

Viviane knelt, closed her eyes, and raised her chin. Cool mist beaded her face. Merlin will rue the day he dared me to prove my cleverness, to prove I can outwit him. No doubt, he had expected me to stay within my watery realm, not venture into his forest. Does Merlin think because I am ten and eight, and he two years older, I lack cunning and daring? Hah! How dare he insult me?

The book writhed.

Buy Links

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1OQMyp3

Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/2zNAZP4

iTunes: http://apple.co/2hiI8Qn

About Ariella Moon

Ariella Moon draws upon her experiences as a shaman to create magical Young Adult fiction. Her Two Realms series includes THE BELTANE ESCAPE, a medieval Scotland and Fairy fantasy adventure, and THE AMBER ELIXIR, a Lady of the Lake novella. Ariella’s Teen Wytche Saga is a series of sweet contemporary paranormal romances. Her “Covert Hearts” appears in Second Chances: A Romance Writers of America Collection.

You can learn more about Ariella Moon and her novels on her website ariellamoon.com. For upcoming books and giveaway news, sign up for her newsletter and follow her on Facebook.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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