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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

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Witch’s Claims

Mr. Clemens, our editor doesn’t know what to make of this woman who claims to be a witch, but she insists every word  of this tale is true.

Some people think the “Ring of Belief” is a myth, but as one of the witches attached to the ring I can tell you they’re wrong. The magic is unpredictable, but real, and I shudder every time I think about what I’ve seen over the centuries. It’s my task to help the men of the Clan MacKay find love. Now you might ask, “How hard could that be?”

Would you believe that men in some eras are far from lovable? At least during the Regency Era the gentlemen have a veneer of civility. Some of the Scots in the Georgian Era were impossible. Why, I had to bring a woman from the future to find a match for Caden MacKay. And, she brought her dog. (Alright, to be fair, I gave Scruffy a choice and he wanted to come with her.)

WitchWell, Caden wanted nothing to do with my choice. Part of that may have been my fault. I miscalculated in bringing back a Sutherland, but to Ariel’s credit she didn’t back down. The two of them didn’t always understand one another. You don’t believe me? We can go back in time and I’ll let you listen in. Oh, that’s right, you wouldn’t know what just happened. Ariel saved Caden’s life and they shared their first kiss. Now, be very quiet:

Caden turned to his cousin. “We’ll search the windows above. By now the coward has fled, but we may yet find something to unmask our would-be assassin. Then we’ll attend to your urgent matter.”

He drew Ariel aside far enough that Ian couldn’t hear them. His expression screamed, I’d rather fight a dozen well-armed warriors than be in debt to a Sutherland. “Thank you for . . .” He simply stared at her.

“Saving your life?” She waited. Nothing. “Kissing you?” She raised her eyebrows. “Just trying to fill in the blank here.”

He blanched, but then heat filled his eyes. “Aye.”

“Well, one of us had to take the bull by the horns.” Okay, best not to dwell on that image. “I mean, I was curious. I wanted to kiss you. No big deal. It was just a kiss.”

“Aye.”

“Will you stop agreeing with me.”

His smile was genuine and she felt it to the tips of her toes. Good heavens, the man had charisma.

“I’ve nae had a woman who wanted me to disagree with her.”

“Well, I’m not like most women.” That was true enough. She’d never done the ‘let’s talk about boys, clothes and makeup thing’ with a group of girls. Somehow, she’d never fit in.

He smiled down at her. “Aye.”

“There you go, agreeing again.”

“Perhaps it’s because you make yourself so agreeable.”

She couldn’t contain the laughter that burst from her lips. “Really?” The word came out between gasps. “Oh, I wish you could have been there to tell my teachers. Not that they’d believe you. They thought I questioned everything.”

“Then they didnae ken you.” His brows drew together. “I believe the stone was meant for me, but just in case, I want you to take care.

Her laughter died. “Why would anyone want to kill me?”

Have you offended anyone aside from Ranald, the Countess or Robertson since I met you?”

“I don’t-So, I speak my mind. Is there a law against that in this century?”

“No. And I prefer plain speaking, but I’m nae most men.”

“No, you’re not.”

Do you see what I mean? Caden MacKay was one of my more challenging cases, although his twin, Gavin, may just be my worst assignment yet.

witchAbout the Book

Caden Mackay would never bed a Sutherland, let alonemarry one. Bloody hell, what had possessed his twin brother to propose to one of the she-devils? And what is Caden to do with the Sutherland beauty who appears, as if by magic, in his library? The defiant intruder is the enemy, but she is unlike any woman Caden’s ever known, and her tantalizing curves and wide green eyes could tempt a monk. He must devise a way to stop the wedding. But can he stop the desire that makes him long to make Ariel Sutherland his own?

Ariel’s life had never gone the way she’d hoped, but ending up in eighteenth century Scotland was a stretch, even for her. If not for her dog, Scruffy, she might have thought she’d walked into a romantic daydream. Especially since the object of her desire appears to be entirely too virile. But can she find her way back to her time, before her too-handsome Highlander makes her believe that love can conquer in any century?

Buy it here

About the Author

Dawn Ireland has  written several award-winning novels set in England, Scotland and Ireland. She prefers the Georgian era, because that time period fascinates her with its rules and intrigue. Her characters often defy society by refusing to follow expectations. After all, what woman in her right mind would want to wear panniers?

Then again, she might write romance in order to do the research. Can you think of another profession that encourages you to sit in the audience at Harlequin’s Male Model search, and take notes, or just sigh?

Dawn lives in a Victorian home in Upstate New York with her husband.

http://www.dawn-ireland.com/startpagina.html

Bootleggers, Rum Running, and Bathtub Gin

Article Clipped from The Cedartown Review, Summer of 1929 —

G.L. Adams reporting here in mid-Michigan, The Cedartown Review, on news from the lovely little village seven miles west of Howell—Livingston County’s own sleepy, little Cedartown. Possibly not as quiet as we’ve all known, though. Such juicy goings-on to relate during these warm summer days.

First off, let me explain. Before yesterday, using names of those involved was verboten, but now, with those in question no longer around, time to talk. Unexplained disappearances of four persons has left many puzzled. Anyone speaking of this claim no foul play, which is intriguing to a point. Don’t you agree? But now, I’m here to offer up full-disclosure tidbits for speculation over your next cup of tea.

BootleggersLong has everyone suspected a local woman being a bootlegger north of town. This secret—maybe no different

than how President Herbert Hoover keeps the best whiskey on hand in the White House for his esteemed guests—remained unspoken in polite society. Word is out now, though. Even if you’ve not been aware of how Hulda Pearl Rose commissioned locals to supply her with rye mash, juniper berries, and anise, maybe you’ve wondered about her odd little family, housemate, Izzy, and baby, Frannie. All three recently vacated the house north of town, vanishing in the dark cover of night, never to be heard from since. Odd, to say the least.

Izzy might just be the sweetest thing since the discovery of honey so I’d never want for hurting her. But, my goodness, a week or two ago, was there ever a row to be had next to the flour and sugar shelves in Mr. Navarro’s grocery store.

Sweet Izzy got in a tussle going up against a matron of advancing years, both reaching for a lone bag of sugar. Hackles went up, words were exchanged, and the entire five pounds of pure white cane sugar scattered like falling snow over the rough wooden floor. That wasn’t the end of it, though. According to one spectator, right at that moment, who but Rita Mae, best friend to Tilly Miner (another celebrity of sorts since her husband, Johnny, has gone missing) walked right up to Izzy to stand side by side while widow Barnerd raked the poor girl over hot coals claiming she was consorting with the Devil. The Devil being Hulda Pearl Rose for making rot-gut, giggle juice, moonshine; whatever label you want to put on this sinful substance, according to the old woman.

The accusations slinging throughout the store would have made an albino blush. Rita Mae and Izzy locked arms against the wordy assault until Mrs. Barnerd ran out of breath. With what looked like a stand-off, the two young gals turned to leave but the old woman grabbed at one of their dress sleeves, missed, slipped on the sugary powder, and landed smack-dab on her rump. A plume of white dust billowed up around her. Oh, what a sight she must have been.

The young ladies left the store with their dignity intact. Yet, now, Hulda Pearl Rose, Izzy, baby Frannie, and Tilly’s husband, Johnny, are no longer around and one wonders if foul play is involved or are they hiding from the sheriff. More to come as the snooping continues. ~~Your Editor in the News, G.L. Adams

 About the Book: Juniper and Anise

Hulda Pearl Rosenowski chose to survive, no matter the consequences. Poland may have been her homeland but, when murderous scavengers kill her mama and dear father, and brother Josef, during a raid on their house, she finds a way to escape. Unharmed physically but damaged forever, Hulda arrives in America with only the clothes on her back and a tattered potato bag containing a few scarce coins and precious family jewels.

Dreams of becoming a “flapper” girl and brushes with members of the Detroit Purple Gang dominate Hulda’s life as she counts down dwindling reserves, takes care of a broken-down farmhouse, a baby, and hides a secret that could land her in prison. Years later, as told through the eyes of small-town sheriff Claude Calkins, a story of rum-running and bootleggers stealing away in the dead-of-night with stashes of bathtub gin emerges and changes a young girl’s life forever.

Bootleggers

 About the Book: Tilly Loves Johnny

Newlywed Tilly Miner turns a deaf ear to rumors and gossip her husband, Johnny, is running parties where “complimentary” hooch loosens lips as well as pocketbooks for those looking to gamble. Some nights he crawls into their bed, smelling of sour rye mash; others, not even making it home until early morning. But her loyalty remains unwavering. And then, the unspeakable happens.

A few days before Christmas, Tilly discovers a bloody atrocity dumped on their kitchen table. A warning from the Ku Klux Klan? Johnny laughs it off as a joke. But, when he goes missing one cold night in February, 1929, Tilly is convinced someone or something prevents his return.

Her undying faith in Johnny is tested by righteous attitudes from her best friend’s mother and a too-cruel mother-in-law, while a recalcitrant sheriff is convinced the man merely ran off.

About the Author

Marion Cornett, like many novelists, began her career in a steep learning curve that ultimately lasted over some forty years before having her first story published. That meant having national magazines publish original patterns for knitting, crocheting, and needlework, while perfecting her journalistic abilities through motorcycle road racing reporting.

Her claim to fame, at this point, is all about Michigan’s past. Two volumes on the history of her adopted town, Fowlerville, proved to be a great research tool to then write two historical novels set in a small town that looks a lot like their village in the early 1900s. “Juniper and Anise,” a story of a woman bootlegger selling bathtub gin during the Prohibition Era, was published by Whiskey Creek Press in 2014 and “Tilly Loves Johnny,” a murder/mystery tale centered around the illicit activities of a blind pig, was published by the Wild Rose Press in 2016.

“The Fowlerville Chronicles” (2010), a compilation of the village’s history from 1836 to 2010, and “Through the Eyes of a Country Editor” (2012), the writings and life of G.L. Adams, publisher and editor of the newspaper, “The Fowlerville Review,” are available in used and new prints.

As research continues, more stories are in the works. All happening while continuing to travel around the country on named “awesome road trips,” hiking portions of the Appalachian and Arizona trails, and thoroughly enjoying time with her husband, Doug, since falling deep into retirement.

mcdesign159@gmail.com

www.marioncornett.com

 

Seducing the Cursed Bride

What bridegroom would choose to spend his wedding night in a prison? I, Mr. Palmer—lifelong seeker of occult knowledge—shall tell you. For I possess the inestimable ability to eavesdrop on history. To see and hear the echoes of a location, I need only stand in the space, close my eyes, and enter a trance which allows my soul to flee its mortal home and explore the boundless realm of the spiritual plane. I embarked on one such exploration a fortnight ago in Northumberland, in the ruined prison tower of Ravenwood Keep.

Two medieval warriors—brothers, I divined it—stood alone within the prison’s cold embrace.

The younger of the two spoke first. “William, are you going to tell me why you’re here? Or must I wait until we’re old and gray?”

The elder brother stalked to the dormant fireplace, then back again. “You were right, Robert. My bride does believe in the curse. She just told me.”

“Ah. And how did that drive you to spend your wedding night in a prison?”

“The stench of merry-making plagues the rest of the keep, and I need peace.”

“And ’twouldn’t look right if Ravenwood’s new lord were seen roaming about the castle when he should be enjoying the pleasures of his bed.”

William’s frown deepened. “We never made it to the bed.”

“I see. So at present, Lady Ravenwood is scared of pregnancy.”

“Not just scared. She refuses to consummate the marriage.”

Robert’s eyes widened. “Ever?”

“So she says.”

“God’s blood! ’Tis unthinkable!”

“My thoughts exactly.”

“What will you do?”

“I don’t know yet. I’m too furious to decide.”

Robert shook his head. “You owe your success in battle to calm logic. Clear tactics. You don’t let emotion dim your judgment. ’Tis why so many fear you.”

William stared at the wall, upon which a flaming torch created a miniature battle of shadows on stone. “I know.”

Robert rubbed his chin. Then he began to pace. His footfalls created a smooth, continuous rhythm on the planked floor.

Abruptly, he stopped. “We know the curse is codswallop.”

“Utterly.”

“Can you convince your wife of this?”

“Not before she survives the birthing bed.”

Robert looked pensive and nodded slowly. “Then you must make her forget until that day arrives.”

William grunted. “One might as soon make a knight forget his sword on the battlefield.”

“Then coax her into choosing you in spite of her fears.”

“You suggest a miracle.”

“No.” Robert arched an eyebrow. “A seduction.”

Readers of The Teatime Tattler, it was then I left the brothers and returned to the present. Yet I cannot help but wonder, what happened next?

Excerpt from Flight of the Raven, by Judith Sterling:

William stood before the cold hearth with his back to the door. His commanding presence diminished the sweeping arch of the vacant fireplace.

“Leave us,” he ordered without turning. “Shut the door behind you.”
The heavy, oak door slammed shut. The stone walls reverberated from the force of it.

Emma studied the sheen of his straight, black hair, the proud set of his shoulders, and the wide, leather belt which cinched his ebony tunic at the waist. An eternity might’ve passed while she waited for him to acknowledge her presence. When at last he turned, his dark eyes blazed.

Her stomach lurched. “Y-you wished to see me?”

He glowered at her in silence. A chill of foreboding ran through her, but she stood her ground.

A full minute later, he still hadn’t spoken. Her patience waned. If he expected her to read his mind, he could think again.

She cleared her throat. “You obviously need time to collect your thoughts, so I’ll leave you to them.”

“You will stay right here,” he ruled in slow, measured words. His scorching gaze belied his smooth tone of voice. “I sent for you to discuss your betrayal.”

She swore under her breath. Someone must’ve divulged her plan to stay celibate. If only she’d told him sooner.

“I can explain,” she said.

“Save your breath. There’s only one explanation.”

“You said ‘discuss.’ A discussion requires two opinions.”

“An opinion laced with lies doesn’t count.”

“But if you—”

“Silence!”

His shout echoed off the prison walls. Her stomach churned, but she clamped her lips shut.

“Now,” he said, lower in pitch, “listen and learn. A traitor can challenge the king’s reach, but only a fool underestimates mine. My men know this. Legions of Saracens—alive and dead—know it. Wulfstan will know it too.”

“What has Wulfstan to do with this?”

William grunted. “You play innocence well.”

“Truly, I know not whereof you speak!”

“I speak of your escape…tonight…with Wulfstan.”

“What?”

“My squire was in the mews while you were plotting your little scheme.”

“Holy Mother!” Frantically, her mind snatched up the pieces of what was said and where. “’Twas Gertrude’s idea.”

“A welcome one, reportedly.”

“I considered it, but—”

“So you confess.”

“No! Your spy heard but part of the conversation. In the end, I chose you.”

He snorted. “Right. And I sell genuine relics of the saints.”

She glared at him. With quick, deliberate steps, she closed the space between them. “Then I’ll fetch my purse, for I speak the truth.”

“I am no fool.”

No, she thought, but you’re a veritable god of arrogance.

A lord of intimidation, too. Why else would he summon her to the prison tower? With dispatch, her desire to explain the curse, and its implications to their wedding night, died.

For an instant so brief she might’ve imagined it, his expression changed. He looked almost…wounded.

“Does the thought of marrying me so disgust you?” he asked.

His dark, infinite eyes became her world. “Not at all.”

Large, warm hands clasped her upper arms. “Is Wulfstan your lover?”

“No.”

“Liar.”

“Tyrant.”

His mouth claimed hers. She wrenched her head to the side, tried to break away. His grip tightened. His lips demanded more.

Emma thought fast. She couldn’t match his physical strength. But maybe, if she didn’t resist, didn’t react in any way, he’d release her.

She willed herself to relax. Almost at once, his lips slackened. They became softer, gentler. Intrigued, she relaxed further.

His lips brushed hers and left a tingling warmth in their wake. She liked the sensation, but the longer he fed it, the more she wanted the full pressure of his mouth. A low sound of protest vibrated deep in her throat.

William moaned, and his hot tongue nudged her closed lips. A curious action. Not unpleasant, though, so she opened her mouth. His tongue slipped inside and began a slow, thorough exploration. In response, she flicked her tongue against his.

He groaned. The sound was raw, exciting. His hands burned a path from her arms down to her hips. His tongue darted deeper, faster. Her mouth tingled. Heat tantalized her belly. Never had she felt so alive.

About Flight of the Raven

How eager would the bridegroom be if he knew he could never bed the bride?

Lady Emma of Ravenwood Keep is prepared to give Sir William l’Orage land, wealth, and her hand in marriage. But her virginity? Not unless he loves her. The curse that claimed her mother is clear: unless a Ravenwood heir is conceived in love, the mother will die in childbirth. Emma is determined to dodge the curse. Then William arrives, brandishing raw sensuality which dares her to explore her own.

William the Storm isn’t a man to be gainsaid. He’ll give her protection, loyalty, and as much tenderness as he can muster. But malignant memories quell the mere thought of love. To him, the curse is codswallop. He plans a seduction to breach Emma’s fears and raze her objections. What follows is a test of wills and an affirmation of the power of love.

Buy Links:

Amazon http://buff.ly/2eRAwRW
Barnes and Noble http://buff.ly/2eWWIx3
The Wild Rose Press http://buff.ly/2eRuYXX

Author Bio:

Judith Sterling’s love of history and passion for the paranormal infuse everything she writes. Flight of the Raven and Soul of the Wolf are part of her medieval romance series, The Novels of Ravenwood. The Cauldron Stirred is the first book in her young adult paranormal series, Guardians of Erin. Written under Judith Marshall, her nonfiction books—My Conversations with Angels and Past Lives, Present Stories—have been translated into multiple languages. She has an MA in linguistics and a BA in history, with a minor in British Studies. Born in that sauna called Florida, she craved cooler climes, and once the travel bug bit, she lived in England, Scotland, Sweden, Wisconsin, Virginia, and on the island of Nantucket. She currently lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and their identical twin sons.

Social Media:

Website – https://judithmarshallauthor.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/judithsterlingfiction/
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16291161.Judith_Sterling
Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01MT3KB7L
The Wild Rose Press – https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/2212_judith-sterling

 

One of them has to go home

Dear Mr. Clemens,

Master Clint is away fighting Yankees and I’m beginning to suspect that my mistress, Miss Julianne, is possessed by haints. Worse yet, Miss Julianne is figuring that out, too. We been together since we was born, so there ain’t much trouble we hadn’t been into. But when she asked me to take her to see Miss Jetta, the old root doctor whose cabin is hidden in the cypress swamp, I told her I thought that was a line we ought not to cross. So off we went anyway. Then Miss Jetta started coming around in the night putting root bags in the nooks and crannies of the house.

Now I found out that Miss Audrey is in Miss Julianne’s body. She says she’s from a place called the future, but she ain’t a haint. She just wants to go home. At first I was mad at her for taking Miss Julianne’s body, but while Miss Audrey and I been trying to figure out how to get her home, we’ve grown to be good friends. A lot of stuff has happened since Miss Audrey’s been here – some good and some so bad it makes my heart hurt to think about it. I don’t want Miss Audrey to leave, but old Miss Jetta say Miss Julianne and Miss Audrey cain’t both stay. And the time is fast approaching when one of them has to go.

Tess Joseph, 1864
Wren Song Plantation slave
Ladies maid to Mistress Julianne Wren

A Splinter in Time

Charleston antiques dealer Audrey Parrish attends an auction preview at Wren Song plantation, hoping to find relics from her past. Instead, she snags her hand on a bedpost splintered by a musket ball and finds herself at the plantation at the exact moment the shot is fired.

Confederate officer Matthew Orrick is staying in the vacant overseer’s cabin while recovering from a battle wound. Audrey is captivated by him, but falling in love is not an option. Altering Matt’s destiny would impact the fate of generations yet to be born.

After Matt discovers Audrey’s true identity, he demands she abandon her attempts to return to her own time. But Audrey’s feelings for him conflict with her concern for the lives that will be erased if she stays.

When an eleventh hour opportunity arises, Audrey has only seconds to weigh her decision – stay with the man she loves, or return to set her own world right?

Excerpt: Matt discovers the deception.

He went to the end of the veranda and looked out into the night. “You are not the Julianne I have known all my life.”

Audrey had been so infatuated with him she hadn’t thought to look at herself through his eyes. Still, she did not believe that he could be speaking literally.

“Tell me,” he demanded, turning back to her.

“There is nothing to tell.”

“You are changed. It began the evening of your fainting spell. The evening  before, you were as I’ve always known you. Now, the  way you speak, your manner, you are an entirely different person. At first it was entertaining, but now it has grown troubling. Has this to do with your trip to the old root woman? Is that the reason she creeps around here in the deep of night tucking her spell bags into the  nooks and crannies of the house?”

“Miss Jetta comes here at night?” Audrey said, stunned.

“Do you expect me to believe you don’t know she  comes when all the Negroes know? They think she is the reason you have suddenly regained your health. I  should believe so, too, but there’s something deeper going on. Tess knows what it is and she’s protective of it. Tell me,” he demanded, “are you a piece of Miss Jetta’s work?”

She was suddenly afraid—afraid to tell him and afraid not to. “No! I only went to Miss Jetta for help.”

“So, you admit it.”

“No. Well, yes. But…”

They turned at the clatter of a tray being set heavily on the table. Tess stood stone-faced looking at her.

“Tell him.”

Audrey shook her head. “No.”

“Tell him,” Tess said, her voice emotionless.

She looked at Tess with rising panic. “He won’t believe me.”

“He’ll believe me,” Tess said. “Tell him all of it.”

 About Linda Shelby.

Linda Shelby lives on a small ranch in central Oklahoma. She loves reading, traveling to historical places and blending historical facts into her stories. Her novel, A Splinter In Time, won the 2017 OWFI award for best book of fiction.

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