Sometimes it's fun to "cross-pollinate" with other writers and give folks a chance to read ramblings from a slightly different, albeit still twisted, mind. (All writers have twisted minds--we have to in order to write.)
Today I'm sharing my blog space with a fellow writer from Cerridwen Press, Nancy Hunter! She has a new book out, and the following is a tantalizing glimpse of Taste of Liberty.
by Nancy Hunter
ISBN: 978 14199 17394
In a time of war and loss, tragedy unites two enemies who seek vengeance but find love, only to learn that it was never their destiny to be together…
Liberty MacRae, daughter of an American Revolutionary, and Sebastian Cole, a British soldier, share a vendetta against the brutal British commander who killed their loved ones. Each brings a special gift to their quest – Liberty has a second sight that allows her to predict death, and Sebastian is a Fated One, a man who died before he could kill his enemy and has been sent back by the spirits to complete the task. When they fall in love, they have to find a way to defeat not only the murderer, but destiny as well - a destiny that demands that Sebastian either forfeit his life to defeat his enemy or forfeit his soul. Can they find a way to change their destiny before Liberty's most harrowing premonition - that of her lover's death - comes true?
Libbie would have screamed but her throat was frozen in fear. Death had hurled itself at her, had stumbled, had— Landed in an azalea bush? She was still shaking, still felt the cold fear curled in the pit of her belly but the bright strands of red hanging in the air had dissipated. The death that had lurked just beyond Lady Jane's garden was no longer there. And the creature who had frightened her beyond reason and was now struggling to right himself looked uncannily like one of her dinner companions.
Libbie shook again but this time with laughter. She wiped away the tears that had begun to dry on her cheeks. With the threat gone, she felt light again and joyful and invincible. She reached down into the azalea bush and grasped Mr. Cole's hand to help him stand.
"Miss MacRae, are you hurt? I'm so sorry, I didn't see you there." He stopped to catch his breath.
Libbie covered her smile with one hand and nodded. "I'm fine," she finally managed to say. "I daresay you bore the brunt of our unfortunate encounter."
He was breathing normally now. "I do apologize for that. It's just that I heard a noise and I…" He shook his head.
Libbie took a step back from him, hoping to shrink into the shadows. He had heard her crying like a baby, like a lunatic driven insane by the full moon. Like the aberration of nature that she was. But somehow she didn't want Mr. Cole to know the truth about her, to believe anything bad about her at all. It wasn't just that he was handsome, although he truly was. His black hair shimmered in the moonlight, his dark blue eyes were so wide and intense that she felt she could fall into them. He was much taller than she, broad-shouldered and lean. A sleek black panther, tense and still but ready to spring into action at any second.
Libbie realized he was proffering his arm to her.
"I asked if I may escort you back to the party."
She nodded and took his arm. As they walked slowly up the garden path, Libbie struggled to find a reason to explain her previous state.
"Were you lost?" Mr. Cole asked quietly.
"On the garden path. I thought you might have been lost, trying to find your way back to the house."
"Yes, I was… I mean, I got turned around on the path." She smiled up at him. She wanted to throw her arms around his neck, to kiss him and thank him for not making her explain herself as she so often had to do. To kiss him…
"Here we are," he said as they stepped onto the veranda. "I wonder if I might ask one favor of you, Miss MacRae."
"Anything," she said quickly, then blushed.
Mr. Cole smiled. "It seems you stepped outside just before we were to share a dance."
Yes. It all came back to her. She hadn't wanted to dance with him. The things he'd made her feel, even from across the room when she'd first seen him, the touch of his hand as he escorted her to dinner, the sound of his laughter as he sat next to her. Something about Mr. Cole made her want to say and do strange things, like kiss him in the garden and dance with him on the veranda. But then he had mentioned her father…
He stepped back from her and stood in position for their dance. Libbie decided she had been overreacting to an innocent comment and obligingly curtsied to him as he bowed to her. They started a minuet, one Libbie had danced dozens of times but she couldn't quite keep the rhythm. The song was slow but she was breathless. As they stepped back and then forward another time, her knees bent under her against her will as another vision pressed in on her. Before she sank to the ground, she felt Sebastian's arms around her waist, pulling her against him, and the vision faded.
"Miss MacRae, are you all right?"
"I'm fine. It's just the heat. It's unseasonably warm this evening, don't you agree?"
"And you had a fright earlier."
"No, I'm fine," she insisted, steadying herself and pushing away from him. "You merely stumbled over me and I've recovered."
"I meant before that. You were afraid of something. You went out into the garden alone and got frightened."
"I go many places alone and I assure you I don't frighten easily."
"Perhaps then you should frighten more easily, because the world can be a very dangerous place."
Libbie widened her eyes in shock. "I'm more aware of that than you'll ever know, Mr. Cole. I've seen things that…"
She looked away from him. It was more than seeing things. It was feeling unbearable pain, reliving deaths died a hundred years ago and yesterday, feeling evil coming but not knowing when or where it would arrive. She looked him in the eye. "I don't need a lecture from you about it."
He grabbed her shoulders and stared at her with the same determination she saw in her father's and brother's faces when they wanted to convince her that she needed their protection. But as she stared up into Sebastian's dark, hooded eyes, his look changed. Determination seemed to give way to confusion, then to resignation as he leaned closer to her. His soft breath brushed her cheek, his fingertips caressed her shoulders. Libbie closed her eyes, willing him to come closer, to actually kiss her.
Taste of Liberty available NOW at Cerridwen Press