Mr. Clemens has rented a theater near Covent Garden for this event. To his delight, the placards posted around London seem to have brought out a huge crowd. We had to turn people away.
Good evening. This is an occasion for celebration. Standing here in the theater and looking out among you, I am reminded of which happened to me several years ago, when I had succeeded in writing one of my stories and my characters were as alive to me as…
(Mr. Clemens laughs and takes a seat in a large chair that’s set on stage with two chairs facing him. Behind the chairs are potted palms. Beneath them is a rich oriental carpet. The lights illuminate the setting. The rest of the stage is dark.)
Hang’d if I didn’t see those characters and speak to them. Well, tonight I have a treat for you. I’ve pulled a real coup. I’m about to interview the hero and heroine, Lord Alex, and Lady Lisbeth, of my dear friend Ruth A. Casie’s book, The Guardian’s Witch. I see you’re all ready and our guests have arrived. I’ll fill you in on their story when the interview is over.
[footsteps walking across the floor]
Samuel Clemens: (Facing the audience) Just as I promised, today’s guests are Lord Alex Stelton, the exceptional knight who put his life on the line for the woman he loves. Also here is his extraordinary wife, Lady Lisbeth. She too was willing to risk it all–to save the man she loves.
Alex Stelton is the seventh son of Lord and Lady Stelton. Alex’s father is also a seventh son, an oddity that arises in the Stelton family from time to time. Lady Lisbeth and her younger sister, Laura survives their parents Lord and Lady Reynolds who were lost to us in a terrible carriage accident and their brother, Richard. Richard died valiantly on the Welsh battlefield.
(Turning to his guests) Thank you both for taking time to talk to us today. The first question I have is for Lord Alex.
Alex: Please, call me Alex.
Samuel Clemens: Certainly. Alex, what was your first impression of Lisbeth?
Alex: I’m embarrassed to tell you.
Lisbeth: He avoided me for weeks.
Alex: (Taking Lisbeth’s hand.) That’s not quite correct. You made it perfectly clear that you wanted no part of me. As a matter of fact I got a very clear impression that you would’ve been quite happy if I had disappeared like the others the king sent to protect you.
Lisbeth: Well, what did you expect? You came marching into Glen Kirk all proud and self-important just like all the others.
Alex: (Raising an eyebrow to his wife.) Did I now?
Lisbeth: (A bit contrite.) Well, maybe not exactly like them. (She pulls her hand away from his and faces him.) How was I to know?
Samuel Clemens: (Cough.) How did this disagreement start?
Lisbeth: He didn’t tell me for weeks.
Samuel Clemens: I beg your pardon. What didn’t Alex tell you for weeks? (Looking at Alex Mr. Clemens noticed him squirm, just a bit.)
Lisbeth: He didn’t tell me we were married.
Samuel Clemens: Married? I don’t understand?
Alex: Wait a minute, Love. You didn’t exactly make it easy.
Lisbeth: Love— (She shot Alex a glance that could turn him into a pillar of salt.)
Alex: (Alex faced the Mr. Clemens) I won a bet with King James. If I held Lisbeth’s Glen Kirk Castle safe for one year it would be mine. Having an estate of my own has been a goal of mine for some time.
Lisbeth: (Foot tapping.)
Alex: (Rakes his hand through his hair.) After meeting my part of the bargain, I went to London to collect my winnings and ended proxy wed to Lady Lisbeth by order of the king.
Samuel Clemens: He what? And you didn’t tell her for weeks?
Lisbeth: (Folding her arms in front of her glaring at Alex.) Exactly.
Samuel Clemens: Perhaps we should move on. Lisbeth, I understand you come from a long line of healers and that you are quite gifted. My sources tell me you’ve used that gift to save Alex more than once.
Lisbeth: (A humbled look crosses her face.) Yes, I work hard to keep the people I love safe.
Samuel Clemens: (Shows Lisbeth a charm.) I understand you place these charms in the trees around Glen Kirk.
Alex: (Takes the charms out of Mr. Clemens’ hand.) My wife has a notion that the pretty bits shine and distract. (He gave Mr. Clemens a cold stare.)
Samuel Clemens: I understand there are rumors that your wife… [shuffle papers] uses incantations—
Alex: (Stands dragging Lisbeth with him.) This interview is over.
Samuel Clemens: (Obviously upset.) I’m sorry m’lord. I meant no disrespect to your wife or you. But sir, your wife’s special talents are common knowledge far and wide. It is to be honored sir, not reviled as some may think.
Alex: I clearly told your man that those questions were not to be asked.
Samuel Clemens: M’lord, Alex, this woman was ready to risk everything for you. She was in the midst of conjuring up the true criminal responsible for the treason for which you were accused. She was using her magic in front of the king and his court, all to protect you. Surely you know what a grave risk she was taking.
Alex: Don’t you think I know that. (Alex took his wife in his arms.) I cringe each time I think of how close she came to being judged a witch and the consequences that would have been metered out.
Lisbeth: Alex, (she pulls gently away from his embrace) come sit down. No harm was meant, surely you know that. (She pats his arm.)
Alex: (Regaining his composure.) I will not dwell on it, Lisbeth. I will protect you always.
Lisbeth: Yes, Alex. I wouldn’t have it any other way. But all here know who and what I am. There is no longer a need to hide that I am a witch.
Samuel Clemens: We have a little more time. Alex, I understand that your wife is very talented. Her dreams of the future appear to come true.
Alex: (He looks at his wife and does all he can to contain his smile.) My wife has many talents. Her dreams are–exceptional.
Lisbeth: Shhh Alex.(She leans close to him.) No one else will understand.
Alex: (Totally forgetting Mr. Clemens for the moment.) You call me into your dreams and we… Faith, (A smoldering look passes between them and he rakes his hand through his hair.) I want to spend the rest of my life in your dreams…
Samuel Clemens: Well, thank you both very much. (Pulling on his shirt collar.) A bit more information than I wanted. Is it warm in here? (Mr. Clemens turns to the audience) You can find out more about Lord Alex and Lady Lisbeth and what Lord Alex references in The Guardian’s Witch by Ruth A. Casie.
Before we go any further, I’d like to acknowledge our stage crew for their commitment and fortitude to see this project to fruition. Many technologies had to be developed to make this happen and credit must be given where credit is deserved.
General Manager — Norma Leigh Lucid
Theater Manager — Helen Back
Maintenance Supervisors — Earl E. Bird and Ella Vada
Musical Supervisor — Kerry Oki
Lighting Engineers — Flint Sparks and Les Volt
Sound Crew — Mike Rafone and Constance Hum
Traffic Manager — Joy Rider
Legal Advisor — Sara Bellum
Researchers — Paige Turner and Rita Booke
Commissary Director — Jasmine Rice
Security Directors — Barry Cade and Anna Conda
Funded by donors Hy Price and his wonderful wife Lois Price
About The Guardian’s Witch
Lord Alex Stelton can’t resist a challenge, especially one with a prize like this: protect a castle on the Scottish border for a year, and it’s his. Desperate for land of his own, he’ll do anything to win the estate—even enter a proxy marriage to Lady Lisbeth Reynolds, the rumored witch who lives there.
Feared and scorned for her second sight, Lisbeth swore she’d never marry, but she is drawn to the handsome, confident Alex. She sees great love with him but fears what he would think of her gift and her visions of a traitor in their midst.
Despite his own vow never to fall in love, Alex can’t get the alluring Lisbeth out of his mind and is driven to protect her when attacks begin on the border. But as her visions of danger intensify, Lisbeth knows it is she who must protect him. Realizing they’ll secure their future only by facing the threat together, she must choose between keeping her magic a secret and losing the man she loves.
Available for Nook, iBook, KOBO or Kindle
Look for other stories in the Stelton Legacy Series
About the Author
RUTH A. CASIE is a USA Today bestselling author of swashbuckling action-adventure time-travel romance about strong empowered women and the men who deserve them, endearing flaws and all. Her Druid Knight novels have both finaled in the NJRW Golden Leaf contest. The Guardian’s Witch, part of the Stelton Legacy series was a Reader’s Crown Finalist. Ruth also writes contemporary romance in the Havenport series with enough action to keep you turning pages. Ruth lives in New Jersey with her husband, three empty bedrooms and a growing number of incomplete counted cross-stitch projects. Before she started writing time travel romance, she was a speech therapist, international bank product and marketing manager, but her favorite job is the one she’s doing now—writing time travel romance. For more information, please visit www.RuthACasie.com or visit her on Facebook, @RuthACasie, Twitter, @RuthACasie, or Pinterest RuthACasie.