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Why Harry Went to War

Ottawa, September 1914

William Wheatly glared at his only son through a haze of smoke. He struggled to keep from covering his nose and mouth, assaulted by the stench of stale beer and unwashed bodies. During the interminable train ride from Calgary to the capital Will envisioned their confrontation, but he never imagined he would find him puking in a third rate tavern. He came to confront failing grades, not drunkenness.

He took two steps forward, rage washing through him. The whelp had no idea the sacrifices it took to send him to university. The whole family did without, made do, and reused just to pin their hopes on Harry, a slacker who obviously had more hair than sense.

“What the Hell do you think you are doing?” He roared at his son. The boy lifted his head, gave a wobbly smile and planted his face on the filthy table.

“Mr. Wheatly! Harry wasn’t expecting you.”

Will shot a furious glance at the speaker, a boy he vaguely remembered from Harry’s visit home the previous summer. “Obviously not,” he ground out through clenched teeth. “I can see why he’s failing at least.”

WWIThe boy—he thought his name was Brodie, but couldn’t remember clearly—sat up straight. “No sir! Harry is no drunkerd. At least it isn’t—I mean…”

“What exactly do you mean, Mr.—Brodie, is it?”

“Yes sir, Angus Brodie. Harry’s ever a good fellow. Don’t drink—well beyond the occasional pint, it’s just Miss Albright, you see.”

“Albright? Who the Hell is she?”

Brodie registered shock. “Everyone knows Elsbeth Albright!”

wwi“The chit in the papers? The one that is marrying the Governor General’s nephew? What does she have to do with my son?” Will demanded.

“Led him on. Harry thought—he may be a damned fool, but she flirted with him all winter and he believed—that is…”

A kind of peace came over Will. Better a fool over a woman than over a bottle of rum, he thought. Harry isn’t the first boy whose first love broke his heart. “Well, that’s over then,” he murmured.

‘Yes, Sir, though between us, I don’t think it ever really started except in Harry’s mind.

Will nodded. “Help me get him out of here Brodie, there’s a good man.”

“To his rooms, then?”

Will thought about that. If they took him to his rooms he’d have to leave him there. “No,” he said at last. “To the Chateau Laurier.”

Brodie’s eyes widened at that but he didn’t argue. He pulled Harry up with remarkable gentleness and put an arm around his shoulders.

###

wwiHarry awoke with a sick stomach and a head full of carpenters pounding hammers in his brain. Why did I wake at all? He wondered. A voice, calling his name, sounded far away. It was a man’s voice, not Elsbeth’s. At the thought of her he squeezed his eyes shut. He didn’t want to wake up ever again.

“Harry, damn it, wake up! It’s almost noon.”

There it was again. He opened one eye and then the other on the last sight he hoped to see. His father scowled down at him.

An hour, a bath, and two cups of coffee later he stared back at his father in sullen silence, He had stopped listening to the lecture an hour before.

“Don’t be a damned fool. A woman like that never planned to take you seriously. She used you to practice her games and snares.”

Harry surged to his feet. “You don’t know her,” he shouted. “It wasn’t her. It was that damned father of hers. Wants to cozy up to the Governor General. Thinks the rest of us are dirt under his feet. Elsbeth isn’t like him.” Harry wished he believed it a bit more strongly. He very much feared his father may be right.

“We didn’t send you here to chase women. How are you going to get into law school?”

“I don’t want to be lawyer!” Harry snapped.

“What do you plan to do with yourself? Be the best educated farmer in Saskatchewan?”
“I want to be a writer. You don’t need university for that. Elsbeth said—”
“Don’t mention that woman’s name to me again. Bad enough she’s queening it all over Ottawa.”

Harry turned on his heel.

“Where are you going?” his father demanded when he strode toward the door.

“I don’t know. Anywhere but here.”

###

wwiIt was long past dark when Harry returned, sober, safe, and unsmiling. Relief so strong he couldn’t even be angry flooded Will. Visions of Harry flinging himself into the Rideau locks had haunted him all afternoon.

“Harry, thank God. Where have you been?”

“I enlisted.” Harry raised his chin and glared at his father, daring him to criticize.

Ice froze Will’s heart. Canada had technically been at war since August when Britain entered the war, but little war frenzy had reached Saskatchewan. Here in the capital, however he had seen posters, and newspapers. He’d heard the beligerant language in the hotel lobby. “Enlisted,” he gasped, hoping he had misheard.

“Borden is calling for an expeditionary force to fight the Kaiser. I’m going to do my bit.” The boy’s chin rose a bit higher. “Don’t try to argue me out of it. I signed. There is no going back. We report to Valcartier for training in three weeks.”

Three weeks? Will’s heart sank. “You damned fool. If you’re determined to throw your life away over some chit who never was worth a Yankee dollar, go ahead. But before you go you better go home and say good-bye to your mother and grandmother.”

Harry turned green. “But I—”

“You owe them that much. It isn’t as if you have any university career to resurrect.”

Harry opened his mouth to object and closed it. His eyes held a world of sadness that cut his father to the quick. He nodded then. “I’ll go. But you can’t stop me. I’m going to fight.”

wwi

About the Book

Never Too Late: Eight authors and eight different takes on four dramatic elements selected by our readers—an older heroine, a wise man, a Bible, and a compromising situation that isn’t.

Set in a variety of locations around the world over eight centuries, welcome to the romance of the Bluestocking Belles’ 2017 Holiday Anthology. It’s never too late for love!

Links to Various Retailers

About Roses in Picardy by Caroline Warfield

After two years at the mercy of the Canadian Expeditionary force and the German war machine, Harry is out of metaphors for death, synonyms for brown, and images of darkness. When he encounters color among the floating islands of Amiens and life in the form a widow and her little son, hope ensnares him.

Rosemarie Legrand’s husband left her a tiny son, no money, and a savaged reputation when he died. She struggles to simply feed the boy and has little to offer a lonely soldier.

wwi

 

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

 

The Peculiar Lighthouse Keeper

Lighthouse

Edward Moran 1876

Mr. Clemens,

I beg your help. Perhaps your readers have information.
I just can’t believe all that has happened in the last few days. My brother drowned in that treacherous storm, and three days of worrying about him and my niece, Abigail. Then such relief when that lighthouse keeper returned her in good health. But now she wants to marry him. A blind girl with no one in the world now but myself and her uncle. What were they doing alone on that island for three days. That strange recluse with the scared face and Irish to boot! Said he fought in the Civil War, our Civil War for the Union and he’s saving money to bring his mother and brother to America. I know the whole town will be talking, rumors from busybodies, and I’ve a funeral to plan for my poor brother. A funeral without a body. I told him he was getting too old to deliver supplies to the lighthouse. If he’d listened to me, he might be alive now.
And that Jeremy, he’s handsome enough from one side, but what do we know about him? Nothing.
Nothing at all.
Abigail’s Frantic Aunt
____________________________

LighthouseAbout the Book

An immigrant from Ireland, Jeremy McKetcheon took the place of a wealthy New Englander drafted into the Union Army during the Civil War. Terribly scarred by a shell that set fire to his tent, Jeremy is now a reclusive lighthouse keeper on an island off the coast of Maine. He is haunted by flashbacks of the war, and never expects to find love, understanding, or acceptance.

Beautiful but blind from birth, Abigail Morrison sees the world through the intricate carvings her father brings back from Lighthouse Island when he takes supplies there. She wonders about the artistic carver and why he hides from the world. But when the opportunity arises for her to visit the island, she and her father are tossed overboard in a raging storm. Having seen their distress from the parapet of the lighthouse, Jeremy attempts a rescue in the frigid waters, and all their lives are changed forever.

Excerpt

    Abbey could tell the day was dying, the sunlight ebbing. The air had grown chillier. Her fingers, nose, and toes were numb. She rubbed and moved and massaged them. How she dreaded another night among the boulders. Her stomach was so empty that it churned endless and cramped painfully.

    She shook snow off her cape and curled up under it again. After a while, she slept.

She awoke to the howling of wolves. This time they were much closer. Her fingers wrapped around the club.

    She heard growling and imagined their fierce teeth. She’d heard stories of wolves surrounding a big bull moose and bringing it down, tearing open its neck. The silver timber wolves were large brutes with little fear of humans. Abigail tensed remaining perfectly still as she heard and smelled their approach. A branch snapped. She jumped involuntarily.

    I can’t spend another night here.

    A low growl erupted outside her cape. The muffled sound of front paws digging in the snow terrified her. She felt a canine body bump against hers with nothing separating her but a thick wool material.

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About the Author

Kim McDermott was born and raised in Charleston, SC where she graduated valedictorian of Middleton High School and cum laudi from the College of Charleston with a B.A. in English.  She received a Masters Degree in Counseling from the Citadel and is a Licensed Professional Counselor in S.C. She has nine years of experience in guidance. She is also a Nationally Certified High School English and Language Arts teacher who worked for Charleston Country School District for 28 years as both an English teacher and a guidance counselor.  She is retired and currently teaches English and Creative Writing part-time as an Adjunct English Professor at Trident Technical College.

She has free lanced for numerous regional and national publications including: The State, Charleston Magazine, Standard, Blue Ridge Country, Reader’s Digest, Christian Single, Home Life, Straight, Evangel, Smokey Mountain Magazine, and others.  She won the Blue Ridge Christian Writer’s award in l987.  Her first book, All Work, All Play published by Marco. She has two children’s books, a chapter book aimed at elementary age children entitled The Underwear Tree and a picture book, Les Petits Gardes. With Margie Clary, she co-authored South Carolina Lighthouses published by Arcadia Publishing. Her latest book is a suspense romance entitled Hiding published by The Wild Rose Press.

Contact Information

kmcdermottauthor.wordpress.com
www.katherinemcdermott.blogspot.com
www.Facebook.com/Kaatherinemcdermott.Author
www.thewildrosepress.com

 

Loved and Lost

Fira poured the last of the ale into a goblet held out in front of her, yet her attention remained on the man across the Great Hall who paced in front of the turret stairs. A pinch to her already bruised back side tore a snarl from her lips as she swatted away the outstretched hand of a knight.

“Not tonight, Sir Turquine,” she bellowed, causing the knights at the table to chuckle.

“I told you ’twas a lost cause, brother,” Taegan laughed. “She has her mind set on another this eve!”

“You cannot blame me for trying,” Turquine retorted. “Be a good lass, Fira, and bring us more ale. We have a long night of drinking afore us.”

Grumbling to herself, Fira returned to the kitchen to refill her pitcher. The knights had a mighty thirst this night and she would be lucky if she saw her bed afore the dawn. Her gaze traveled through the doorway and her heart flipped with his nearness. No other man in the hall held her interest, although she had taken several of them to her bed at one time or another. Nay, the only one she cared about was the clan’s piper.

He was a handsome man with his tawny colored hair and bright green eyes. She had thought she had a chance with Garrick of Clan MacLaren. After all… he had never once made any advances towards her, not like the rest of the men she had bedded. Mayhap ’twas why she was attracted to him… he had never been anything but respectful towards her and because of this, he had unknowingly slipped into her heart.  They had been on friendly enough terms for a while now and she had thought she was making progress in possibly wringing a proposal from him, or so she had assumed. Then she arrived at Berwyck and everything had changed.

’Twas as though the other women in the kitchen knew where her thoughts had led as she began overhearing their conversation about her nemesis.

“She be a true lady, that one is. No uppity airs, no demanding ways. She does her deceased brother proud, she does,” boasted one of the serfs.

“Do not forget she is Laird Dristan’s cousin and as such ’twould be wise tae treat her with respect lest ye wish tae feel the heat o’ the Devil’s Dragon’s wrath,” another replied with a shudder.

“Bah!” Fira fumed. Slamming the pitcher down upon the table, she wagged her finger at the women who had no issue gossiping amongst themselves. “She doesna belong here and should go back tae France or wherever Sir Morgan found her.”

“Yer just jealous because ye have lost the favor o’ our handsome piper.”

“I havena lost him,” Fira boasted, “and I can have him in me bed with a crook of me finger, I can.”

“Ye may get him in yer bed, but yer reward will likely be a babe in yer belly and nothing else,” another called out.

“He willna marry ye, ye silly girl.” A chorus of laughter erupted from those near enough to hear the conversation.

“Besides, I have heard Laird Dristan say he will look no lower than a knight fer her husband.”

“Then ’tis settled. Since Garrick holds no title, he is considered beneath her station in life so our laird willna let them marry,” Fira retorted with a smirk.

“Ye think that matters when yer in love? Ye best set yer sights on someone else fer ’tis plain fer all tae see Lady Coira has won Garrick’s heart.”

“Ye know nothing of Garrick’s heart,” Fira yelled.

“Then take a look,” the woman mocked, taking Fira by the arm and pushing her towards the doorway to observe what was taking place inside the hall.

Fira’s heart lurched when she espied the Lady Coria and Sir Morgan descend the stairs and Garrick bowed low afore the lady. Their conversation was brief but ’twas enough to see for herself the man she wanted for her husband had eyes only for another. Even whilst he took his place at the table to break his fast did he continue to stare upon Lady Coira. Only when the lady raised her chalice in a silent salute and Garrick returned the gesture with a smile did Fira finally begin to realize she had lost him.

“Heed my words, Fira, and leave him be. Another has already claimed him,” the woman taunted afore returning to the kitchen.

A sob tore from Fira’s lips. Life was so unfair and more so for someone in her position. She ran from the Great Hall to find her home, not caring if she would be punished come the morn for leaving the hall without finishing her duties for the night.


This original piece is a companion to The Piper’s Lady by Bluestocking Belle Sherry Ewing. The Piper’s Lady is one of eight novella’s within the Belles’ 2017 anthology, Never Too Late.

Never Too Late
A Bluestocking Belles Collection

Release Date November 4, 2017
Special Pre-order price ~ $0.99
25% benefits the Belles’ mutual charity The Malala Fund

Buy Links:

Amazon US  | Smashwords

Amazon AU  |  Amazon BR  |  Amazon CA  |  Amazon DE  |  Amazon ES  |  Amazon FR  |  Amazon IN  |  Amazon IT  |  Amazon JP  | Amazon MX  |  Amazon NL  |  Amazon UK

You can learn more about Sherry on her page here with the Belles or find her on her website here. Sherry loves to interact with her readers so be sure to sign up for her newsletter or join her Facebook Street Team to keep up-to-date.

 

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