Hot off the press my latest Australian rural romance BACK TO BLUE GUM FLAT!
When the corporate rug is pulled from under her Maddison Markham heads back home – back to Blue Gum Flat. It won’t be for long, just time to regroup and get her life back on track.
But Blue Gum Flat is not the sleepy little town she remembers from her childhood. New people, new attitudes and even a coffee machine.
Cameron Dean has every intention of making his dream of a rural life a reality and when Maddison arrives in town it seems his stars have finally aligned. But he hasn’t considered the impact their relationship will have on his son and after the mistakes he has made family comes first...
I was really disappointed I couldn't attend Romance in the Bush at Maitland Library last Monday. A panel including Nicole Alexander, Alissa Callen and Ann B Harrison discussed rural romance. I bailed up Ann and asked for a private "audience".
Thanks so much for your time. I am curious to hear about some of the questions the audience asked and how you responded.
It was a great turn out. About 40 people crowded into the room to grill us on rural romance and how we worked out our stories. This is the first time I’d done a panel talk and I loved it. The crowd was great.
If you could pick four questions from the evening that you thought were the most important what would they be?
I’m sure I can’t remember them all but the following are the ones that stick foremost in my mind.
Rural romance novels can be set on vast outback stations, farms, horse studs, or small towns. When you first sit down to plot a story what comes first the characters, the settings, the character or the plot.
I get my ideas from all over - its never the hero first or the setting. It can be a picture or a sentence that gets the ball rolling.
What made you decide to writer rural romance?
It wasn't a conscious decision to write novels set in a rural background. It all came about during a trip through central Queensland. I was taking photos of run down farms along the way and suddenly thought 'what if.' The rest is history.
Why is rural romance flourishing?
I think rural literature is on the rise because people can related to the struggling farmer or the vastness of the huge cattle stations. It could also be because if you were looking for a tree change and couldn't do more than find it in the pages of a book, rural is more than likely very different to your life now.
Can you write a novel and not have your two characters coming together at the end?
I have to have a happy ending. I'm an incurable romantic and have been married for almost 40 years so that makes me want everyone of my characters to find their HEA.
Ah yes! Nothing like a HEA. It sounds as though it was a great evening. I believe you have a new rural romance out this week.
Rhylee and Sassie is Book 2 in Outback Heritage Series. In Book 1, Grady, we got to meet the Ryan’s of Deepwater Valley and found out a bit about the oldest son Grady who is the local policeman. In book two we get meet Rhylee, his younger brother. He is the free spirited son who loves to play the field with no intention of settling down. Not until he meets a wild red haired Irish lass who drives him wild.
A series - great. I love a series. I'm always so disappointed when I have to say goodbye to characters I love. Is there a Book 3 ... and 4?
So far I have plots for at least six books. Let’s hope I get time to write them all. The next book out is Audrey and Finn.
Fabulous! Thanks for the run down. Next time you're on a panel I shall make certain I'm there!
Ann's books are available on Amazon. Here's the link to her author page and her website.
As writers we all know it's not what you say but how you say it - and in this case how you paint it! I love this post from Heather King, one of the authors of Beaux, Ballrooms & Battles. Maybe some of our politicians should take a leaf out of Napoleon's PR file and get their portraits painted. Did you know that Napoleon actually crossed the Alps on a donkey?
This portrait of Napoleon Bonaparte was painted by Jacques-Louis David (1748 – 1825) circa 1800-1. It is an oil on canvas and measures 102 x 87 inches (8’6” x 7’3”, 260 x 221cm). David was an ardent Bonapartist and this shows in the majesty of the pose and the bold composition of the work. This painting was intended to infer greatness.
NAPOLEON CROSSING THE ALPS
The full title is Napoleon (1769 – 1821) Crossing the Alps at the St. Bernard Pass, 20th May 1800 c1800-1
It is a piece of propaganda, for it shows Napoleon in an attitude of triumph, his fist raised, his horse in the half-rear stance known to nineteenth century equestrians as the pesade. The storm clouds behind are in stark contrast to the vibrant red of Napoleon’s cloak, the rocks and the glimpse of artillery in the background hinting at the struggle he had overcome. On the other hand, it has been suggested that those tiny figures represent the army following in Napoleon’s wake, small through distance but also to show their insignificance in the presence of their great leader. Whatever the truth of David’s intent, the viewer’s eye is taken straight to the horse and rider and held there in awe by the commanding combination of muscle and determination.
The portrait was painted after Napoleon’s victory at Marengo in June 1800 – the battle which gave the horse his name. The horse in the painting is believed to be Marengo, although the conception of the work is slightly from the realms of fantasy. Napoleon did cross the Alps at the St. Bernard Pass, but it was going towards Italy for his second campaign there, and he rode upon a mule! David also ignored the true nature of the landscape and used artistic licence to place his idol in a setting he considered of sufficient grandeur.
David would have been the perfect ‘spin doctor’, for he also used that same rose-tinted perspective on Napoleon himself. The General is depicted in heroic form; a lithe, athletic figure in the uniform he wore at Marengo and (at Napoleon’s insistence) on a perfect likeness of his favourite horse. It is almost like an author having a ghost writer, or hiring an actor to be their stand-in at public functions, for Napoleon was not a tall man, but here he dwarfs his charger.
The horse, too, is shown as a powerful, imposing creature, a king of his species despite his lack of stature. Indeed, the portrayal of Marengo is probably far more accurate than that of his master. Although standing a mere 14.1 hands (a hand is four inches, measured from the ground to the withers, at the base of the horse’s neck where it joins the back), Marengo was an Arab stallion, a breed renowned for their courage, endurance and fire, the latter yet tempered with a calm, steady nature in most individuals. Marengo was imported from Egypt in 1799, when he was aged about six. He may well have been bred at the celebrated El Naseri stud. He carried Napoleon safely through the Battle of Marengo and the Emperor was so impressed with his new charger’s prowess, he named him after the successful conflict.
Napoleon’s chargers were always superb Arab or Barb horses, mostly cream or grey and schooled at the Imperial Stud. They had to remain calm but ready for action on the battlefield and move with a smooth, even pace for the Emperor’s comfort on long-distance marches. Marengo was no exception. He carried his master at the conflicts at Austerlitz, Jena and Wagram, survived the disastrous Russian expedition of 1812 and is thought to have stayed at the Imperial Stud during Napoleon’s exile on Elba, before arriving at Waterloo at the grand old age of twenty-two.
In the painting, Marengo is performing the half-rear or pesade at Napoleon’s instruction. A movement which is now obsolete, having been replaced by the levade, the pesade was the early introduction for the horse to the ‘airs above the ground’. In the pesade, the horse must engage his hocks (bend them underneath him to support his body) and hold his forequarters off the ground, his body at an angle of forty-five degrees. In the levade, the angle is thirty-six degrees. It takes a great deal of skill and strength from both horse and rider to perform this exercise – particularly if the horse is to be trained not to rear at will. That this is a pesade and not the rear of a frightened or resisting horse, can be determined by observing the rider. He is sitting upright, to keep his weight back and thus enabling the horse to raise his front legs rather than leaning forwards to push his mount back on to all fours; his lower leg is drawn back, the spur lightly asking the horse to lift, not correcting bad behaviour and finally, the horse’s hocks are flexed to a ninety-degree angle, thus demonstrating their engagement.
Marengo, therefore, is showing by his posture that he is a noble steed worthy of a master who is a supreme horseman and king of all he surveys. Captured by the British at Waterloo, Marengo was well cared for and lived until the grand old age of thirty-eight, dying in 1831. His skeleton is now on display at the National Army Museum in London.
When Susana Ellis put out the call for authors interested in collaborating in an Anthology set around the Battle of Waterloo, I jumped at the chance. It seemed a wonderful way to celebrate one of Britain’s most famous victories and a great excuse to write a story involving the fabulous Copenhagen. It has been both a learning experience and fun working with other, more established writers. After months of furious scribbling and editing, Beaux, Ballrooms and Battles was released to the world on 1st April, 2015.
“June 18, 1815 was the day Napoleon Bonaparte's Grande Armée was definitively routed by the ragtag band of soldiers from the Duke of Wellington's Allied Army in a little Belgian town called Waterloo. The cost in men's lives was high—22,000 dead or wounded for the Allied Army and 24,000 for the French. But the war with Napoleon that had dragged on for a dozen years was over for good, and the British people once more felt secure on their island shores.” Susana Ellis
Website and Facebook Page Rafflecopter (ends April 18th)
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Copenhagen’s Last Charge by Heather King
When Meg Lacy encounters a broodingly handsome Light Dragoon at the Duchess of Richmond’s grand ball, she little expects that in the hours following the Battle of Waterloo she will be accompanying him around the streets of Brussels. Romance is the last thing on her mind as they seek a lost and valuable item belonging to the Duke of Wellington himself.
Lieutenant James Cooper is surly and unhelpful, but Meg senses the Dragoon will need her help if they are to succeed. As they bicker their way around the narrow streets, a strange empathy begins to develop as gradually glimpses of the man beneath start to be revealed. Meg finds herself drawn to that person, but when they finally recover and then return the item to the Duke, Cooper makes a grave error of judgement which jeopardizes their budding friendship…
Standing beside her father as he discussed cavalry tactics with General Lord Edward Somerset, Meg had the opportunity to observe the milling crowd ‒ the flushed cheeks of the young ladies as they danced by with equally youthful, dashing officers; the happy smiles and carefree pursuit of pleasure, all as though the French were not gathering to Bonaparte’s banner with the intention of destroying them all. Although the beau monde of Brussels was partying as if the escaped Emperor were but a fly to be swatted, Meg took a more realistic view. During the crossing to the Continent, she had become acquainted with a young man, Godfrey Winterton, who was seeking his elder brother. Their father was ill, not expected to live beyond a few weeks and the boy – for he could barely own more than seventeen years – was desperate to find his sibling, the heir to the family estates, before the unthinkable occurred. Unthinkable it might be, but to Meg it was not something to be ignored, swept beneath a rug until someone fell over the ensuing lump.
She was glad when the music stopped and Georgy came to claim her attention from her maudlin thoughts. In her tempestuous wake, Georgy dragged her brother, the Earl of March. He was a handsome young man of four-and-twenty, a few years senior to both Meg and his sister. He was already Aide-de-Camp to the Prince of Orange and bidding fair to enjoy an illustrious military career.
He bowed deeply as Georgy presented them and begged the honour of the next dance. A quadrille was forming and feeling her cheeks heat at the honour he did her, when there were several beauties of higher rank present whom could be said to have greater claim, Meg curtsied.
“I should be pleased, my lord.” The words had barely formed on her lips when Georgy nudged her arm.
“Who do you suppose that could be?”
Meg followed the line of her friend’s gaze to observe a tall, leanly built officer in the blue coat and white facings of a cavalry regiment, who was leaning casually against a pillar near the French windows, which had been opened to admit the warm night air. In his hand he held his red silk embellished dress helmet, as though he had little intention of remaining.
“I cannot conjecture,” she replied with a smile. “Recollect I have but recently arrived and know hardly anyone.”
“Oh, tush!” Georgy tapped the precious fan on Meg’s arm. “He is very fine, do you not agree?” She chuckled. “And with a mien almost as brooding as Lord Byron!” Turning abruptly to her brother, she said, “March, do be a dear and go discover who he is!”
About the Author
Heather King has made up stories since she was a small child. History lessons at school were rarely dull and the discovery of Georgette Heyer’s Regency novels in her early teens set her on a lifelong love of that era. A confessed romantic and bookworm, writing gives her a chance to indulge all these passions – and call it work!
She has her own voice, but likes to follow traditional Regency precepts and pen uplifting stories with witty dialogue, engaging characters and bags of emotion. Her debut novel was 'A Sense of the Ridiculous'.
Visiting her Dark Side as Vandalia Black, she writes Vampire and Paranormal romance. She is the author of 'Vampires Don’t Drink Coffee and Other Stories' which includes a novella set in the English Civil War.
When not looking after her two hairy ponies, three cats and boisterous Staffie X, or frowning over keypad or notebook, she likes nothing better than to curl up with a good book.
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00I04PYPE
Heather's Other Books
A Sense of the Ridiculous – not currently available, but will be again before long.
Waking up at a strange inn with no memory, headstrong Jocasta Stanyon finds the landlady’s son, Richard Cowley, is more than a match for her lively personality, but their stations in life are far apart and despite prolonging her stay by devious means, the idyll cannot last. She hopes to persuade her father of Richard’s qualities, but then she is summoned to receive the addresses of a fashionable stranger...
An Improper Marriage
Marriage to dull ironmaster Jeremiah Knight would be awful enough, but when Eleanor Honeybourne discovers an injured man at a ball, she uncovers a web of intrigue that puts her own and her stepfather’s lives at risk. Meeting again her childhood hero, Charles Ribblesford, she is forced into a situation which could well spell her ruin, unless they can solve the mystery and unmask the villain.
The Middle Of The Day
Lottie Morgan loves all things Regency, but would she like to live in the early nineteenth century, married to a baron? A strange thing happens while she is visiting Berrington Hall; she finds herself confronting George, Lord Rodney and she is a newly-wed!
Writing as Vandalia Black:
Vampires Don’t Drink Coffee And Other Stories
This collection of fourteen tales brings together irresistible heroes and memorable heroines who battle against demons, muggers, lost loves, loneliness and unholy thirst to find their true loves. Tortured and honourable vampire heroes and one lady for whom the search for her mortal love has lasted centuries, will sweep you away into a paranormal world where eternal love means exactly that.
Henry Paget, 2nd Earl of Uxbridge, later Marquess of Anglesey, lost his leg at Waterloo. That really isn’t so unusual, as army surgeons hacked off many limbs to save soldiers’ lives. But what’s interesting is the journey that Lord Uxbridge’s leg took before it finally met its end.
Lord Uxbridge must have been something of a romantic fellow, because in 1809 he left his wife of fourteen years and ran off with Lady Charlotte Cadogan, who was married to the Duke of Wellington’s younger brother at the time. Perhaps not the greatest choice for a military man, but the course of true love generally does not run smoothly, or so they say. In any case, you can’t hold a good man down, and by the time a culminating battle with Napoleon came around, Uxbridge was made second-in-command and given charge of the cavalry, which gave a good account of itself at the Battle of Quatre-Bras two days before Waterloo.
Unfortunately, Lord Uxbridge’s right leg was hit by cannonfire. He famously said to Wellington, who was nearby, “By God, sir, I’ve lost my leg!” Wellington’s response: “By God, sir, so you have!”
During the amputation, Uxbridge was quoted as saying, “I have had a pretty long run. I have been a beau these 47 years and it would not be fair to cut the young men out any longer.”
He must not have done too badly, though. He had six more children with his second wife—they had both divorced their former spouses and married each other in 1810—for a total of eighteen children (ten with his first wife and eight with the second).
The saw used in the amputation is on display at the National Army Museum http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Army_Museum in Chelsea.
When I was asked by Susana Ellis if I would like to join her and seven other authors in writing a series of short stories as a celebration of the 200th anniversary of Waterloo I had no idea where it would lead ... the research has been, to say the least, mind blowing! This is the story of Lord Uxbridge's leg courtesy of Susana Ellis!
So… what happened to his right leg?
The leg was removed at Lord Uxbridge’s headquarters, which was still occupied by a Belgian by the name of M. Hyacinthe Joseph-Marie Paris, who requested and was given permission to bury it in his backyard.
Amazingly, the site became somewhat of a macabre tourist attraction. Visitors were shown the bloody chair on which Uxbridge sat during the amputation, and then were escorted to the garden, where they saw the grave maker that said:
Here lies the Leg of the illustrious and valiant Earl Uxbridge, Lieutenant-General of His Britannic Majesty, Commander in Chief of the English, Belgian and Dutch cavalry, wounded on the 18 June 1815 at the memorable battle of Waterloo, who by his heroism, assisted in the triumph of the cause of mankind, gloriously decided by the resounding victory of the said day.
Paris and his descendents made a nice profit from Uxbridge’s leg until 1878, when Uxbridge’s son came to visit and found the bones on open display. Apparently they had been exposed in a storm that uprooted the willow tree next to them. The Belgian ambassador demanded the return of the bones to the family, but the Paris family offered to sell them instead. Ordered to return them, the family kept them hidden, and in 1934, after the last M. Paris died in Brussels, his widow found them in his study. Fearful of a scandal, she incinerated them in her central heating furnace.
So no, you can no longer visit Lord Uxbridge’s leg or its burial place. However, one of his artificial legs is on display at Plas Newydd http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plas_Newydd_(Anglesey) , the country seat of the Marquess of Angelsey (a title Uxbridge assumed later).
Loss of his leg did not prevent him from continuing his military career. He rose to Field Marshal and Knight of the Garter, served twice as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland and twice as Master-General of the Ordnance.
Beaux, Ballrooms, and Battles:
A Celebration of Waterloo
June 18, 1815 was the day Napoleon Bonaparte's Grande Armée was definitively routed by the ragtag band of soldiers from the Duke of Wellington's Allied Army in a little Belgian town called Waterloo. The cost in men's lives was high—22,000 dead or wounded for the Allied Army and 24,000 for the French. But the war with Napoleon that had dragged on for a dozen years was over for good, and the British people once more felt secure on their island shores.
The bicentenary of the famous battle seemed like an excellent opportunity to use that setting for a story, and before I knew it, I had eight other authors eager to join me, and to make a long story short, on April 1, 2015 our Waterloo-themed anthology was released to the world.
You are all invited to
· our Website and Facebook Page
· our Rafflecopter (ends April 18th)
Jillian Chantal: Jeremiah’s Charge
Emmaline Rothesay has her eye on Jeremiah Denby as a potential suitor. When Captain Denby experiences a life-altering incident during the course of events surrounding the Battle of Waterloo, it throws a damper on Emmaline’s plans.
Téa Cooper: The Caper Merchant
The moon in Gemini is a fertile field of dreams, ideas and adventure and Pandora Wellingham is more than ready to spread her wings. When Monsieur Cagneaux, caper merchant to the rich and famous, introduces her to the handsome dragoon she believes her stars have aligned.
Susana Ellis: Lost and Found Lady
Catalina and Rupert fell in love in Spain in the aftermath of a battle, only to be separated by circumstances. Years later, they find each other again, just as another battle is brewing, but is it too late?
Aileen Fish: Captain Lumley’s Angel
Charged with the duty of keeping his friend’s widow safe, Captain Sam Lumley watches over Ellen Staverton as she recovers from her loss, growing fonder of her as each month passes. When Ellen takes a position as a companion, Sam must confront his feelings before she’s completely gone from his life.
Victoria Hinshaw: Folie Bleue
On the night of the 30th Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, Aimée, Lady Prescott, reminisces about meeting her husband in Bruxelles on the eve of the fighting. She had avoided the dashing scarlet-clad British officers, but she could not resist the tempting smile and spellbinding charm of Captain Robert Prescott of the 16th Light Dragoons who— dangerously to Aimée— wore blue.
Heather King: Copenhagen’s Last Charge
When Meg Lacy finds herself riding through the streets of Brussels only hours after the Battle of Waterloo, romance is the last thing on her mind, especially with surly Lieutenant James Cooper. However, their bickering uncovers a strange empathy – until, that is, the lieutenant makes a grave error of judgment that jeopardizes their budding friendship...
Christa Paige: One Last Kiss
The moment Colin held Beatrice in his arms he wanted one last kiss to take with him into battle and an uncertain future. Despite the threat of a soldier’s death, he must survive, for he promises to return to her because one kiss from Beatrice would never be enough.
Sophia Strathmore: A Soldier Lay Dying
Amelia and Anne Evans find themselves orphaned when their father, General Evans, dies. With no other options available, Amelia accepts the deathbed proposal of Oliver Brighton, Earl of Montford, a long time family friend. When Lord Montford recovers from his battle wounds, can the two find lasting love?
David W. Wilkin: Not a Close Run Thing at All
Years, a decade. And now, Robert had come back into her life. Shortly before battle was to bring together more than three hundred thousand soldiers. They had but moments after all those years, and now, would they have any more after?
About Lost and Found Lady
On April 24, 1794, a girl child was born to an unknown Frenchwoman in a convent in Salamanca, Spain. Alas, her mother died in childbirth, and the little girl—Catalina—was given to a childless couple to raise.
Eighteen years later…the Peninsular War between the British and the French wages on, now perilously near Catalina’s home. After an afternoon yearning for adventure in her life, Catalina comes across a wounded British soldier in need of rescue. Voilà! An adventure! The sparks between them ignite, and before he returns to his post, Rupert promises to return for her.
But will he? Catalina’s grandmother warns her that some men make promises easily, but fail to carry them out. Catalina doesn’t believe Rupert is that sort, but what does she know? All she can do is wait…and pray.
But Fate has a few surprises in store for both Catalina and Rupert. When they meet again, it will be in another place where another battle is brewing, and their circumstances have been considerably altered. Will their love stand the test of time? And how will their lives be affected by the outcome of the conflict between the Iron Duke and the Emperor of the French?
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Excerpt from Lost and Found Lady by Susana Ellis
September 14, 1793
A beach near Dieppe, France
“I don’t like the look of those clouds, monsieur,” Tobias McIntosh said in fluent French to the gray-bearded old man in a sailor hat waiting impatiently near the rowboat that was beginning to bob more sharply with each swell of the waves. “Are you sure your vessel can make it safely all the way to Newhaven in these choppy seas?”
The old man waved a hand over the horizon. “La tempête, it is not a threat, if we leave immédiatement. Plus tard…” He shrugged. “Je ne sais pas.”
“Please, mon amour,” pleaded the small woman wrapped in a hooded gray cloak standing at his side. “Allow me to stay with you. I don’t want to go to England. I promise I will be prudent.”
A strong gust of wind caught her hood and forced it down, revealing her mop of shiny dark locks. Tobias felt like seizing her hand and pulling her away from the ominous waves to a place of safety where she and their unborn child could stay until the senseless Terreur was over.
“Justine, ma chère, we have discussed this endlessly. There is no place in France safe enough for you if your identity as the daughter of the Comte d’Audet is discovered.” He shivered. “I could not bear it if you were to suffer the same fate at the hands of the revolutionaries as your parents did when I failed to save them.”
She threw her arms around him, the top of her head barely reaching his chin. “Non, mon amour, it was not your fault. You could not have saved them. It was miraculeux that you saved me. I should have died with them.”
She looked up to catch his gaze, her face ashen. “Instead, we met and have had three merveilleux months together. If it is my time to die, I wish to die at your side.”
Tobias felt like his heart was going to break. His very soul demanded that the two of them remain together and yet… there was a price on both their heads, and the family of the Vicomte Lefebre was waiting for him in Amiens, the revolutionaries expected to reach them before midday. It was a dangerous work he was involved in—rescuing imperiled French nobility from bloodthirsty, vengeful mobs—but he had pledged himself to the cause and honor demanded that he carry on. And besides, there was now someone else to consider.
“The child,” he said with more firmness than he felt. “We have our child to consider, now, Justine ma chère. The next Earl of Dumfries. He must live to grow up and make his way in the world.”
Not to mention the fact that Tobias was human enough to wish to leave a child to mark his legacy in the world—his and Justine’s. He felt a heaviness in his heart that he might not live long enough to know this child he and Justine had created together. He could not allow his personal wishes to undermine his conviction. Justine and the child must survive.
Justine’s blue eyes filled with tears. “But I cannot! I will die without you, mon cher mari. You cannot ask it of me!”
“Justine,” he said, pushing away from her to clasp her shoulders and look her directly in the eye. “You are a brave woman, the strongest I have ever known. You have survived many hardships and you can survive this. Take this letter to my brother in London, and he will see to your safety until the time comes that I can join you. My comrades in Newhaven will see that you are properly escorted.”
He handed over a letter and a bag of coins. “This should be enough to get you to London.”
After she had reluctantly accepted and pocketed the items beneath her cloak, he squeezed her hands.
“Be sure to eat well, ma chère. You are so thin and my son must be born healthy.”
She gave him a feigned smile. “Our daughter is the one responsible for my sickness in the mornings… I do not believe she wishes me to even look at food.”
She looked apprehensively at the increasingly angry waves as they tossed the small boat moored rather loosely to a rock on the shore and her hands impulsively went to her stomach.
“Make haste, monsieur,” the old sailor called as he peered anxiously at the darkening clouds. “We must depart now if we are to escape the storm. Bid your chère-amie adieu maintenant or wait for another day. I must return to the bateau.”
“Tobias,” she said, her voice shaking.
He wondered if he would ever again hear her say his name with that adorable French inflection that had drawn him from their first meeting.
“Go, Justine. Go to my family and keep our child safe. I promise I will join you soon.”
He scooped her up in his arms and carried her toward the dinghy, trying to ignore her tears. The old sailor held the boat as still as he could while Tobias placed her on the seat and kissed her hard before striding back to the shore, each footstep heavier than the last.
He studied the darkening sky as the sailor climbed in the boat. “You are sure it is safe?”
“La Chasseresse, she is très robuste. A few waves will not topple her, monsieur.”
“Je t’aime, mon amour,” she said to him plaintively, her chin trembling.
“Au revoir, ma chère,” he said, trying to smile, although his vision was blurring from tears.
Will I ever see her again?
He stood watching as the dinghy made its way slowly through the choppy sea to the larger ship anchored in the distance, grief-stricken and unable to concentrate on anything but his pain. When the ship finally sailed off into the horizon, he fell to his knees and prayed as he had never done before for the safety of his beloved. He remained in that position until drops of rain on his face reminded him of the Lefebre family waiting for him in Amiens.
With a deep breath, he rose and made his way to the nearby forest, where his horse waited, tied to a tree
“Come, my friend. We have a long, wet journey ahead of us.”
Setting foot in the stirrup, he swung his leg over the saddle and urged the horse to a gallop, feeling his heart rip into pieces with every step away from his beloved.
About the Author
Susana has always had stories in her head waiting to come out, especially when she learned to read and her imagination began to soar. Voracious reading led to a passion for writing, and her fascination with romance and people of the past landed her firmly in the field of historical romance.
A teacher in her former life, Susana lives in Toledo, Ohio in the summer and central Florida in the winter. She is a member of the Central Florida Romance Writers and the Beau Monde chapters of RWA and Maumee Valley Romance Inc.
Website • Facebook • Twitter • Susana’s Parlour • Susana’s Morning Room
Red Dust Dreaming is racing up the Amazon charts and on release day hit #1 on the Western Romance Top 100 list. Am I surprised? No! But I had inside information. I read Eva Scott's first rural romance months ago and knew it would be a winner. Don't miss it!
Here's a little bit of background on that red dust... over to you, Eva, and huge congratulations.
Sitting at home in a comfortable living room, it’s hard to imagine the wild red nature of the Tanami Track. Red Dust Dreaming takes place around the Tanami Track which provides a lifeline to civilisation for the remote communities living in the desert. The road has been considered a nightmare journey in the past, back in the days before bitumen. It stretched for roughly one thousand kilometres between Alice Springs, in the heart of Australia, and the Kimberley mountains in Western Australia.
The land is flat with scrubby bush, punctuated by termite mounds like vast cities of miniature high rises baking in the sun. A cattle driver named Nat Buchanan first navigated this land in 1896 looking for an overland stock route. While the desert crossing was achievable there was no water to sustain the cattle and the route was abandoned.
In 1900 a gentleman by the name of Allan Davidson became the first European to explore the Tanami Desert with purpose. He was looking for gold – which was found and mined up until 1994. There followed several other explorers looking for minerals and adventure.
Today you can jump in your 4x4 and travel the length of the track. The arc of the impossibly blue sky, the deep russet of the earth and nothing but the sound of the wind for company… the desert isn’t for everyone but those who venture there are rewarded with an experience they will never forget.
The picture of the Tanami Track is courtesy of https://fivewallises.wordpress.com/ a fabulous blog about travelling in the Australian Outback. Do check it out if you’re interested in finding out more about this remarkable country.
Elizabeth Langtree has her life in order – safe, organised, planned. Sure, she has her troubles, but they are nothing she can’t handle. Then everything is turned upside down when her family send her to Australia to collect her orphaned nephew.
It all seemed so simple in New York, but Australia is nothing like she expected, and she soon falls under the spell of the Outback – the station, the lifestyle, and the seriously sexy owner who has been caring for Luke since the death of his mother.
Elizabeth soon discovers that what seemed simple a world away is anything but, and her duty is at odds with the dictates of her heart. She must choose, knowing that a mistake will not only cost her everything, but destroy the future of a devastated little boy.
“You know it’s wrong to put those ideas into Luke’s head, don’t you?” Elizabeth hissed at him from across the table.
“Don’t look at me.” He raised his hands in mock surrender. “All of that came from your sister.”
“New York smells and there are no horses?” She folded her arms across her chest and glared at him with those blue eyes.
“Okay, so that bit was me,” he admitted.
“And I bet you think it’s all very funny, don’t you?” She glowed with a strange kind of beauty when she was fuming.
“You’ve got that wrong, sister. This isn’t a joke to me. This is war. You’re trying to take Luke away from the only home he’s ever known to give him to people who his mother spent her life trying to get away from.” He leaned towards her, palms pressed flat against the table.
Elizabeth pushed her chair back and stood up. “You’re the one who’s got it wrong, buddy. And if you cared so much for my sister and her son why didn’t you marry her and adopt him?”
Caden’s chair scraped loudly on the floor as he rose to his feet. “My relationship with Angela is none of your business. She lived her life the way she wanted to.”
Elizabeth gasped in outrage. “What are you implying?”
“Implying? Nothing at all. I’m not implying anything I’m saying it plainly. She ran away from your dysfunctional family and made a new family here with us. We’re Luke’s family, maybe not by blood but sometimes blood just doesn’t matter.” He noticed he’d walked around the table to face her. When had he done that?
“I live my life the way I want to.” She narrowed her eyes, her fists were balled up at her sides. Unless he was mistaken she was sizing him up.
“Right, sure you do. You did whatever Mummy and Daddy wanted. I bet life is just peachy. Well it wasn’t, to hear Angela tell it.” Caden really hadn’t meant to start this fight. If he could take it all back he would but the words just kept pouring out of his mouth uncensored. He had to stop before they both all went too far.
“My childhood wasn’t so great either but I made the best of it. Angela rebelled every inch of the way and look where that got her!”
“What exactly are you implying?”
“I’m not implying anything. I’m calling it as I see it. She ran away to hide in this godforsaken place and left me to face our parents on my own.” Her hands were on her hips and her cheeks were flushed. Damn she looked pretty! And that particular fact only fuelled his anger.
“I can’t stop you from taking Luke to New York. Believe me if I could I would. Just ask yourself this question, if New York is so damned good why did Angela run so far? Why did she deny your parents their grandchild? Why didn’t she tell you she was dying? She had a choice and she exercised it. She chose freedom. Do you really want Luke to wind up as uptight and miserable as you are?” He’d gone too far now. His words whirled about their heads like a flock of startled sparrows. Caden’s heart pounded in his chest. In some strange way he was having Angela’s argument for her, the one she never got to have. He’d heard her side of the story a thousand times and part of him justified his cruel words in defence of Angela.
Elizabeth looked as shocked as if he’d slapped her, and in some way he had – verbally. His bravado evaporated as he looked into her eyes. Fury and pain lurked in their blue depths. He’d ignited both tonight.
“I am not uptight,” she bit out between clenched teeth. She looked so angry, so small and alone in his kitchen there was only one logical thing to do.
He took a step closer, inhaling her scent of sultry summer flowers. “Oh really,” he said before crushing her to him and kissing her with everything he had
Escape Publishing: http://bit.ly/escapepublishing
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1AsLmBd
Amazon Aus: http://bit.ly/1BIa3wj
Eva Scott writes contemporary romance set in her homeland of Australia and historical fiction set in the Ancient World. Her books offer passion and adventure in some of the most beautiful and intriguing places in the world. Her heroes and heroines are strong, sassy and ready to rise to their challenges, and learn a little bit about themselves along the way.
Having lived overseas for several years, Eva returned to study Anthropology before heading off to live in Papua New Guinea for a year. There she met the love of her life, author G.W. Gibson, who was stationed there with the Australian Defence Force. The rest is history, romantic history.
She now lives on the Redcliffe peninsula with her husband, small son and an assortment of animals. When Eva is not writing she enjoys mentoring first-time authors, cooking up a story, practising yoga and getting out on the bay on her stand-up paddle board.
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