Monday, October 31, 2011

Blog Tour: Cherished by Belinda Boring

This blog tour is presented by The Bookish Snob Tours.
You can see the entire tour schedule by clicking HERE.
You can read my review by clicking HERE.
Welcome to The Wormhole and my day on the tour!
It is with great pleasure that I present:
Belinda Boring and Cherished!
A homesick Aussie living amongst the cactus and mountains of Arizona, Belinda Boring is a self proclaimed addict of romance and all things swoon worthy. When she's not devouring her latest read, you can find her celebrating her passion for book on her blog The Bookish Snob.
With all that excitement, it wasn't long before she began writing, pouring her imagination and creativity into the stories she dreams. Whether urban fantasy, paranormal romance or romance in general, Belinda strives to share great plots with heart and characters that you can't help but connect with. Of course, she wouldn't be Belinda without adding heroes she hopes will curl your toes.
Surrounded by a supportive cast of family, friends and the man she gives her heart and soul to, Belinda is living the good life. Happy reading!

(From Amazon.com)

Editorial Reviews

Review

#1 on Smashwords Urban Fantasy Best Sellers list
#2 on Smashwords Paranormal Romance Best Sellers list


"When I wasn't fighting back tears from the sheer raw intensity of emotions that Belinda Boring poured into this story, I was laughing and smiling. The love felt between the characters is pure and strong just as their desire for one another is so hot it could melt steel."  - Nonis_Mommy

"The connection between the Alpha and his Mate is the stuff of dreams. Can't wait to see how Mason and Darcy's relationship continues and what will happen after their mating ritual I'm sure it will be.....swoonworthy." - Sarah Kappelmann

Product Description

For a moment, Darcy almost convinced herself the last twelve hours didn't happen. As image after image hits her, the sinking realization of all she's lost overwhelms her and all she can think of is to run. Run far away where her shame can't find her, and most of all, where she'll never have to see the look of blame in Mason's eyes. Feeling like a complete failure, she scrambles to make plans. But the voice of her mate-to-be penetrates her frantic thoughts, asking for the chance to show her just how much she is loved.

It hurts Mason deeply to hear Darcy's thoughts, knowing the events of the previous night have completely rattled her. Grieving over the death of his beloved sister Jasmine, Mason knows he has to act fast. Darcy is all he's ever wanted and the idea of life without her is unacceptable. Armed with his unswerving love and wolfish charm, he sets out to remind her just how valuable she is and why there is no one else for him but her.

Can Darcy let go of the shame of failure consuming her or will Mason convince her that after all is said and done, she truly is... cherished?


Click HERE to go to Belinda's Blog.
Click here to see an interview with Belinda Boring! 
Click here to see a review of Without Mercy (Mystic Wolves Book 1).
Click HERE to buy a copy of Cherished.
Click HERE to buy a copy of Without Mercy.
The next stop on the tour is: Nov 1 – The Caffeinated Diva
Thanks for stopping by The Wormhole!
Happy Reading!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Blog Tour: Halloween Fantasies by Katie Salidas

This virtual book tour is presented by Bewitching Book Tours.
You can see the entire tour schedule by clicking HERE.
You can read my review by clicking HERE.
Welcome to The Wormhole and my day on the tour!
I am pleased to feature Katie Salidas!
Author Bio:
Katie Salidas is a Super Woman! Endowed with special powers and abilities, beyond those of mortal women, She can get the munchkin off to gymnastics, cheerleading, Girl Scouts, and swim lessons.  She can put hot food on the table for dinner while assisting with homework, baths, and bedtime… And, She still finds the time to keep the hubby happy (nudge nudge wink wink). She can do all of this and still have time to write.

And if you can believe all of those lies, there is some beautiful swamp land in Florida for sale…

Katie Salidas resides in Las Vegas, Nevada. Mother, wife, and author, she does try to do it all, often causing sleep deprivation and many nights passed out at the computer. Writing books is her passion, and she hopes that her passion will bring you hours of entertainment.

Katie has graciously agreed to be my guest 
at The Wormhole with this post!

I love Halloween

Halloween is probably one of the most fun holidays of the year. It’s my favorite holiday of the year. I get a kick out of playing around in the costume shops picking out things, not just for my daughter, but for me as well!
As a kid, it was the one night a year that your parents let you eat candy until you felt you would be sick. To get the candy, you got to dress up as whatever crazy character you wanted.  Double the fun right?
Beyond the candy and the crazy costumes, the weeks surrounding Halloween were always full of fun things to do. There were pumpkin patches, Haunted houses (I used to perform in them), and various parties. There was always a great vibe surrounding this holiday.
As I got older, the holiday didn’t lose its charm. Growing up, we lose that playful spirit and it is no longer the norm to play dress-up and use our imaginations. That’s part of what makes Halloween night all that much more special.
No other holiday lets you step out of your own life like Halloween does. It’s the one night of the year where it is ok… and even expected of you, to be something you aren’t. There is a certain magic in Halloween. It allows you to be silly, serious, or even scary. The point is, it makes you shed your boring skin and be something fun.
Our costumes may have changed. We might don a full-sized chicken suit or something skimpy like that sexy princess Leia outfit, but the bottom line is still the same.  Halloween lets us reconnect with our youth.
You are never too old to enjoy Halloween!
I feel like I have found a kindred spirit as Halloween is my favorite holiday!
Thanks so stopping by The Wormhole!
Happy reading.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Review: Cherished by Belinda Boring

Cherished: Mystic Wolves: Book 2 by Belinda Boring

***I received this ebook from the author in exchange for an honest review and participation in the blog tour being presented by The Bookish Snob Tours.

Amazon Product Description:
For a moment, Darcy almost convinced herself the last twelve hours didn't happen. As image after image hits her, the sinking realization of all she's lost overwhelms her and all she can think of is to run. Run far away where her shame can't find her, and most of all, where she'll never have to see the look of blame in Mason's eyes. Feeling like a complete failure, she scrambles to make plans. But the voice of her mate-to-be penetrates her frantic thoughts, asking for the chance to show her just how much she is loved.

It hurts Mason deeply to hear Darcy's thoughts, knowing the events of the previous night have completely rattled her. Grieving over the death of his beloved sister Jasmine, Mason knows he has to act fast. Darcy is all he's ever wanted and the idea of life without her is unacceptable. Armed with his unswerving love and wolfish charm, he sets out to remind her just how valuable she is and why there is no one else for him but her. 

Can Darcy let go of the shame of failure consuming her or will Mason convince her that after all is said and done, she truly is... cherished?

My thoughts:
This is the ultimate love story!  
     Belinda has again brought us Darcy, the incredible heroine from book one.  In Cherished, she is struggling to come to terms with the loss of her friend and soon-to-be mate's sister and her feelings of responsibility for that loss.  Mason is magnificent!  He is the man that all men (should) strive to be.  Compassionate, responsible, fair, honest, passionate, loyal, and honorable, of course it doesn't hurt that he is gorgeous!  
     Belinda has created characters that you can relate to, and I found myself searching the people in my own life looking for that kind of love and support.  
     Her writing is so detailed that the imagery brings the story to your brain like a movie.
The emotions are so real and raw that I found myself in tears, holding my breath, on the edge of my seat, and still wanting more.
     I am thrilled to have the opportunity to review this book!  I LOVED the first Mystic Wolves book - Without Mercy - and was waiting for another.  I am fortunate to be able to call Belinda Boring a friend and I am so excited about her publishing another fabulous story!
    I can't wait for book 3, 4, and more!!!!
You can buy an ecopy of this book HERE.

Review: Halloween Fantasies by Katie Salidas

Halloween Fantasies by Katie Salidas

***I received this ebook in exchange for an honest review and participation in the virtual book tour being presented by Bewitching Book Tours.

Amazon Product Description:
    Touted as the sexiest party of the year, the annual Halloween Fantasy Ball is the one place a girl can let loose and succumb to her wildest fantasies. 
    Disguised as a sexy vampire huntress, Sasha captures the attention of Dante, a real life creature of the night. For Sasha, meeting bona fide vampire is enough to fulfill one of her life long fantasies. She's ready to go home a happy woman. 
     But Dante has other plans. It is after all, a night of fantasies, and he has a few of his own to share.
     This Erotic Paranormal novella is approximately 20k words (80 printed pages). It contains consensual M/F/M sexual situations. Adult readers only.
My thoughts:
Wow - this is a hot one!  Not your typical Halloween read - vampires...yes, drinking blood...yes, but horror and fear...no.  
This is a novella, so it's short.  You don't get a lot of background on the characters, or a load of character development, but the characters are charming, passionate, and entertaining!  
The Fantasy Ball is the Halloween party every girl has always wanted to get to go to, and of course Dante is the man that EVERY girl has fantasied about meeting at that party.  You get a little glimpse of Dante and his world - just enough to leave you hoping that there is another story on its way!
If you are looking for a hot, hot, hot Halloween vampire read - this is it!

Review: Born of Blood by Sherry Ficklin

Born of Blood by Sherry Ficklin

***I received this ebook in exchange for an honest review.

Amazon Product Description:
Sophie D'Angelo reluctantly takes over the Palmetto Moon Detective Agency in Charleston. Though she's the third generation proprietor she had different plans until her father passed away and left her the family business. And it seems like all Sophie's plans fail lately. Her fiance, Eric, is turned into a vampire on the eve of their wedding. She now has a business partner rather than a life partner--or so she thinks.

Their current case seems like the act of some random arson, but as usual Sophie lands in a tough spot--bound with duct tape in the closet of a burning building. Will she escape and manage to save Eric who is slumped beside her, drugged and vulnerable to little else but fire? Will she maintain a strictly business relationship with her former love, and what part in this ongoing horror story will Rayne, leader of the vampires, play in her case? What part might he play in her personal life? Read Born of Blood, the premier book in the edgy Palmetto Moon horror series to find out. Coming in October, 2011 from Tell-Tale Publishing Group.


My thoughts:
     I am a Sherry Ficklin fan.  I have read and reviewed two other books by her, Foresight and Secondsight.  Because I already love the Gods of Fate series, I opened this book with an expectation that I don't experience when reading a new author.  The expectation was great characters set in a well developed world bringing me a story that I wouldn't want to put down!
     I was thrilled to once again find THAT story!  
The characters are great!  Sophie is fabulous.  She is all about duty, family, sacrifice and doing the right thing for the right reasons.  Eric is wonderful.  He is just the right mix of good and bad boy to make you fall for him.  Tyger is that element that we all have lurking.  Rayne is a whole lot of WOW that makes you wonder which one you would choose if they were real.  Sophie's family is an interesting mix and then there is Mercy - what can I say - you're supposed to not like her.... 
     I like how the "real" world is mixed with the paranormal world, with the mixed emotions and reactions from the people in the story, I found the setting to be believable and well developed.  
   The story itself moves quickly and the plot is thought out and planned to keep the reader reading and enjoying every word.  A great first look at the Palmeto Moon Detective Agency!  I can't wait for more from this series!

Review: Ink by S.J. Davis

Ink by S.J. Davis

***I received this ebook in exchange for an honest review and participation in the virtual book tour presented by Bewitching Book Tours.

Amazon Product Description:
“It’s a good day to die.” My mother holds my arm fiercely. “But as you grieve for me, listen for the voices. Then, you must get the ink.”

Sparrow stumbles between two worlds, light and dark, love and ate, what is real and what is in her mind. When her mother dies on the Reservation, Sparrow’s world is shadowed with anger and narrowed by pain. The voices arrive, but are they real? And how can a tattoo make her stronger?


My thoughts:
This is a whole lot of book in not a lot of pages.  The story is short, 80 pages, but is PACKED with powerful ideas, emotions, and images.  It questions the meaning of life.  I finished the story wishing it had been longer and hoping for the sequel.


The story tells of Sparrow's struggle, a struggle many people live every day.  The struggle with your inner demon.  That voice that tells you that you aren't quite as much as you could or should be.  The expectations of life and the people in it can be overpowering and all consuming, and this small, short story addresses that in a way that leaves the reader feeling empowered and ready to take control of life.


The author addresses and validates survivor guilt.  She talks about cutting as a form of pain release without judgement or scorn.  She tells a story of choices and how hard it can be to make them.  I enjoyed the story and can't wait to get my hands on the next one.


You can buy the kindle version HERE.
You can check out my tour post and author guest post HERE.

We have winners!


Born of Blood by Sherry Ficklin - ebook - Tamela F.
Grammar Girls books - Gwendolyn B.

Lost t-shirt - Linda L.
Rookie of the Year by  Caridid Pineiro
Sweety won and ecopy of Diamonds and Toads by KE Saxon

Friday, October 28, 2011

Blog Tour: Ink by Sarah Jane Davis!

This virtual book tour is presented by Bewitching Book Tours.
You can get to the entire tour schedule by clicking HERE!
Welcome to The Wormhole and my day on the tour!
I am pleased to present: S.J. Davis and Ink.

INK
By Sarah Jane Davis
Genre: paranormal YA


“It’s a good day to die.” My mother holds my arm fiercely. “But as you grieve for me, listen for the voices. Then, you must get the ink.”
***
Sparrow stumbles between two worlds – light and dark, love and hate, what is real and what is in her mind. When her mother dies on the Reservation, Sparrow’s world is shadowed with anger and narrowed by pain. The voices arrive, but are they real? And how can a tattoo make her stronger?
Mateo arrives to guard Sparrow, but from whom? Layne holds on to Sparrow, but why? As the voices grow stronger and her pain expands, Sparrow finds that the shadows in the corner and the voices we fear most are the ones inside ourselves.


SJ Davis is the daughter of an ex-patriate British mother and a Southern Baptist ex-CIA father. As a child, she spoke in silly accents and recounted outlandish tales of fantasy over afternoon tea and to this day it remains her favorite activity. Born in Long Island, NY, she was raised in the suburbs of Washington DC and went to school for a very long time (University of Virginia and George Mason University), married an all-around wonderful man, had two kids (smart, funny, full of opinions), moved from Virginia to New Jersey to Philadelphia to Chicago, and began her writing career. She is a believer in fate, an avid tea drinker, a stiletto aficionado, Doc Marten worshipper, punk rock listener, and lover of flip flops and cardigans. She has a terrible sense of direction, loves gummy bears, and is a Johnny Depp fangirl.

www.steampunksarah.blogspot.com
https://www.facebook.com/sarah.jane.davis (fan page)
http://www.facebook.com/sarah.davis.brandon
http://twitter.com/#!/SteampunkSarah
http://www.vamptasypublishing.co.uk/#/sarah-davis-brandon/4552691454 (author page at Vamptasy)
http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5542711-sarah-davis-brandon

JS Davis: INK Guest Blog 

1. Where did the inspiration for INK come from?
I have Native American ancestry on my father's side and growing up I was fascinated with the culture. But, as an avid reader, I could never find anything to read that didn't come across as almost too "tribal" or educational. So, in creating Sparrow, I wanted to write about a girl who happens to be Native American, but is also a regular young adult in every way. And the Native American mythology is so rich and lends itself to a paranormal narrative and romance.

2. Are there any plans to add to the INK story?
Funny you should ask that...I am outlining more to the Sparrow story. I can't decide whether to write a follow-up novella or whether to make INK a full length novel. There is definitely more to Sparrow and Layne, and also more to learn about Mateo and how he arrives in Sparrow's life.

3. Do you have any writing quirks or things that you do to get into the 'Mood'?
I am ridiculously quirky and very OCD. I must have tea and I always wear my fuzzy leopard slippers. I usually have music playing also - sometimes the Foo Fighters or My Morning Jacket to get me in the mood.

4. What is the best thing about being a writer?
I love manipulating scenes and situations until they work...I wish you could rewrite and edit real life! I feel like the characters I write about are my friends and I enjoy hanging out with them. I miss them when the story is over.

5. Are you working on anything at the moment?
I am promoting INK and I also have a Steampunk (Victorian Dystopian) Vampire story that just came out from Vamptasy Publishing UK.

6. Is there any advice that you would give a budding writer?
Try to make small writing goals every day. Also, definitely join facebook and twitter. Social networking is fun, and you will meet so many people who want to help you and who will be there to encourage you.

7. What are you reading at the moment?
Carrie Ryan's The Forest of Hands and Teeth. I enjoy it, I don't usually like zombie stories, but this one is really good.

8. Are there any authors that have inspired you?
I love Virginia Woolf and Anais Nin. Both are truly groundbreaking female writers. They lived freely and without apology for who they were and for what they wanted to accomplish.

9. When you write do you start out with an outline of the story or do you just start and see where it goes?
I have a basic story. Usually just characters and how they connect to one another, along with an obstacle or two. Then I dive in and see where it leads. About halfway through, I see where I am and then I plot where I need to go. It’s stressful but fun!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Blog Tour: Awakened by Blood Series by Marie Treanor

This virtual book tour is presented by Bewitching Book Tours.
You can see the entire tour schedule by clicking HERE.


Welcome to The Wormhole and my day on the tour!
I am pleased to present Marie Treanor!
? When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

When I was a small child.

? How many jobs did you have before you became a writer?
Hmm, let’s see, I was an Editorial Assistant, a librarian (twice) and a researcher. I suppose that’s four, not counting voluntary jobs, summer jobs and Saturday jobs.

? How long does it take you to write a book?
Probably about three months, if all goes well and real life co-operates. I may go back to it after that for one more self-editing pass, but it should be in at least reasonable nick by this time!

Although obviously it depends on the length. Novellas and short stories can take as little as four or even one week.


? Do you have a routine that you use to get into the right frame of mind to write?
No, I’ve never quite got out of the way of grabbing any and every opportunity! Stems from the days of trying to write while at work or looking after children!

? Where do you get your ideas or inspiration for your characters?
From all sorts of places – a face on a train, a snippet from a book, a few words overheard, a bit of history or an atmospheric building or ruin. I once wrote a story (THE DEVIL AND VIA), inspired by an item of news in Italy when I was on holiday there, about how priests were being trained to deal with disaffected young people who’d turned to Satanism. And KILLING JOE popped into my head with a television advert!

Others have a longer simmering time: BLOOD ON SILK and the other AWAKENED BY BLOOD books grew at least partly out of my longstanding love of gothic romance novels and Dracula films. Then one day Saloman appeared in my head, arising from his tomb and advancing on my terrified heroine through the dust.
 
? How do you decide what you want to write about?
I think the story decides for me! I write the one that wants to be written most.


? What books have most influenced your life?
I suppose the ones I read as a kid that made me want to be a writer: adventure stories mainly, by Enid Blyton, then Malcolm Saville. Jane Eyre made a big, early impression too.

Then Georgette Heyer’s The Masqueraders introduced me to a whole new world of fun and I was addicted to all kinds of historical. Loved The Stranger Prince by Margaret Irwin. And The Game of Kings by Dorothy Dunnett blew me away. All her books do! The epic scale of War and Peace inspired me too. They also inspired in me a love of history which I went on to study at university, where I met most of my best friends of today.

Reading Dracula was another turning point. The idea and the weird sensuality of vampires began to fascinate me, and I sought out all the vampire books I could find. Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire made a HUGE impression that’s still with me.

Later, I discovered ebooks and paranormal romance. I think it was Ciar Cullen’s Ghosts of Key West (now re-published as Key West Magic) that opened my mind to the possibilities of the romance genre.

? What is the first book you remember reading by yourself?
Enid Blyton’s Book of Fairies.

? What are you reading right now?
Alinor by Roberta Gellis – lovely romantic historical, part of a medieval series.

? What do you like to do when you are not writing?
I like to read, watch films, spend time with my family and friends. I love travelling too, seeing new places and spending time in the sun.

? What is your favorite comfort food?
Cake. Chocolate. Ice cream…Mmm.

? What do you think makes a good story?
Appealing characters, good pace and fine, evocative writing.

? Who would you consider your favorite author and why?
The late Dorothy Dunnett, a Scottish historical novelist, although she also wrote some very fun and quirky thrillers. She just tells a wonderful story, with characters who get under your skin, and settings that spring to life. Her writing is clear and witty, often understated and yet tugs at your emotions.

? What book, if any, do you read over and over again?
I tend not to re-read books very much now, unless I discover a sequel and find I’ve forgotten important parts of the book that came before! I did go through a phase of re-reading Georgette Heyer for the sheer escapism, but I haven’t done that for years – there are too many new books out there that I’m desperate to read!

Fun random questions: 
·        dogs or cats?  Dogs
·        Coffee or tea? Coffee
·        Dark or milk chocolate? Both, please! And if you could manage some white in there too, I’d be forever grateful…
·        Rocks or flowers? Flowers
·        Night or day? Got to have both!
·        Favorite color? Red
·        Crayons or markers? Neither
·        Pens or pencils? Both

   Author Bio: Marie Treanor lives in Scotland with her eccentric husband and three much-too-smart children. Having grown bored with city life, she resides these days in a picturesque village by the sea where she is lucky enough to enjoy herself avoiding housework and writing sensual stories of paranormal romance and fantasy. Marie Treanor has published more than twenty ebooks with small presses, (Samhain Publishing, Ellora’s Cave, Changeling Press and The Wild Rose Press), including a former Kindle bestseller, Killing Joe. Blood on Silk: an Awakened by Blood novel, was her New York debut with NAL. In the Awakened by Blood series, Marie is delighted to be able to bring together her long-standing loves of vampire stories and Gothic romance. Website: www.MarieTreanor.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Marie-Treanor-Paranormal-Romance/105866982782360.
Newsletter: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/marietreanornewsletter.
Blog: Marie Treanor's Romantic Theme Party:
http://romanticthemeparty.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Monster Mash and Bash Giveaway Hop!

monster bash and bash
The Monster Mash and Bash is being hosted by A Book Lover's Dream.
I am #25 on the linky!
What am I giving away? A paperback copy of my favorite children's Halloween story, 
Erica Silverman's Big Pumpkin.

The giveaway is international, as long as The Book Depository ships free to your address.
Please fill out the form below:

Here is the linky - click one to go to that post!  Good Luck and Thanks for stopping by The Wormhole!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Blog Tour: Give Me by L.K. Rigel

This virtual book tour is presented by Bewitching Book Tours.
Click HERE to see the entire tour schedule.

Welcome to The Wormhole and my day on the tour!
It is my pleasure to present L.K. Rigel and Give Me.
Author Bio:
LK Rigel lives in California with her television-watching cat, Coleridge. (His favorite show is Castle, but he was enthralled by Game of Thrones.) Rigel wrote songs for the 90's band The Elements, scored the independent science fantasy karate movie Lucid Dreams, and was a reporter for the Sacramento Rock 'N Roll News. Her work has appeared in Literary Mama and Tattoo Highway.

Rigel writes the postapocapunk "Apocalypto" series about the end of the world and the new reality in which the gods return to save humanity from itself - and end up fighting with each other.Her short story "Slurp" about an author with muse problems on Halloween is included in DEADLY TREATS, Anne Frasier's Halloween anthology published by Nodin Press.Her latest book, GIVE ME, is an adult fairy tale about possession.website: http://www.lkrigel.com/ 

Give Me: a fairy tale
Copyright 2011 L.K. Rigel
Published by LK Rigel
Edited by Debra L. Martin
Cover by Robin Ludwig Design
A young witch with a good heart. Two lovers in mortal danger. A spell that ends in disaster. 



Lilith Evergreen lives in the California desert, an ordinary woman until her fiancĂ© returns from London with a ring he bought from a street vendor. When Lilith puts it on she dreams of a green land that's anything but desert, a tree at cliff's edge, a ruined castle, and a handsome prince. 



Then she discovers that it's all real. 

When Lilith visits the ruins of Tintagos Castle, she discovers a world of magic and love - and its dark side when she's entangled in the remnants of an ancient spell gone bad. From the moment Lilith sees Cade Bausiney, she's overwhelmed with desire for him. Cade is drawn to Lilith too - but their feelings might only be sparked by dark and dangerous magic.

Lilith and Cade must break the old spell or be forever possessed by spirits who've waited a millennium to consummate their love.
 You can buy a copy at any of the links below:

Give Me excerpt, about 1000 words
Copyright 2011 L.K. Rigel
This is the scene where the heroine Lilith first meets the hero Cade.
“Give me your hand.”
The deep, self-confident voice sent a flutter of excitement through Lilith’s solar plexus. A man emerged from the mist and steam, his gloved hand outstretched. He was tall and red and big-boned. His ruddy complexion looked like it had rebelled once but had given up the fight. He had shaggy chestnut hair and green eyes that hinted of dangerous sex.
“Lilith Evergreen, I presume?” The West Country accent was tinged with humor.
His face was rough and unhandsome. His voice was jagged like a demon lover’s – low and crushed velvety, promising things no good woman should wish for.
He tipped his moss green hat, a Mad Hatter’s bell crown topper, and bowed with a flourish. “Cade Bausiney, tour guide extraordinaire. Ian has commandeered my rig to haul the lot of you to the Tragic Fall.”
“Very generous of you to comply.”
“I thought so.”
His duster reached mid calf, and his long scarf was also the color of dark moss, identical to the one Marion had been knitting. Again he offered his gloved hand. Lilith’s hand disappeared in his, so tiny and pink in its little glove. Beside him, she felt downright delicate.
A hot current of desire zapped through her as he handed her down. Their eyes met. She was sure he’d felt it too. She pulled her hand away – or maybe he’d dropped it. The urge to grab this man, this stranger, was almost overwhelming. It was as if she’d become a different person. She wanted to kiss him, tear his clothes off and pull him inside her.
She looked around the platform, needing desperately to think of anything else.
Tintagos Halt consisted of an old stone building anchored to a wide wood platform. A rusting iron bench at one end looked unused for a generation. Garish posters covered the ancient building’s walls. You Might Be Next! Visit Famous Tintagos Castle! Who Will Be Chosen? A Once in a Lifetime Event!
Bausiney brushed his hand over Lilith’s upper arm. He wrinkled his nose at her bare skin and said, “Dumnos is a land of mist and rain. We put so much effort into our literature, and no one reads it.”
One side of his mouth curved down. She must have imagined that he had felt the same bizarre heat. He draped his scarf around her, and she caught her breath as he gave her a slight squeeze and said, “That’s better now.”
The steam whistle blasted the air, as startling as a physical assault. She and Bausiney jammed their hands over their ears until it stopped. Fortunately, the shock of the blast drove away Lilith’s sex-fiendishness.
“It’s this way,” Bausiney said.
At the end of the platform the footman loaded luggage into a waiting horse-drawn carriage. His ornate uniform made more sense now, all part of the show. The vehicle was as white as Cinderella’s coach with polished brass fixtures and a gold coronet with pearls and strawberry leaves painted on the door. The top was down, and Marion and Ian were seated inside with the laptop ladies. All of them had wool throws over their legs.
“This is Bella and Cammy.” Marion handed throws to Lilith and Bausiney. “Sisters from Maidstone. They’re stopping at the Tragic Fall for the Handover.”
Lilith sat down on the same side as Bella, the older of the two. If they’d been named in honor of Mr. Trollope’s French sisters – a mean trick by a parent – they’d rebelled against the author’s description. The younger Cammy appeared shy and sweet. Bella regarded Lilith with a distinctly sour expression and a furrow between her eyebrows.
Bausiney eased in between Lilith and Bella. He pushed his hat back and stretched his arms over the back of the seat with a happy grin. He looked less the Mad Hatter and more a glam rocker from the ‘80s, sans mascara.
The footman climbed up to the driver’s perch. “Walk on,” the driver said to the horses.
It felt like being in a story out of Jane Austen – for the first minute. In the next five they hit three ruts in the dirt road, throwing the passengers against each other. This trip was going to be more picturesque than comfortable.
The one-lane road from Tintagos Halt down to Tintagos Village wound down a small hill to a village at the edge of the sea. Dusk had only begun. A few lamps came on in the cottages and shops spread over the few streets, but there was plenty of natural light left in the day.
“It gets dark later here,” Lilith said absently. Bella and Cammy stared as if she’d said a green cow is dancing on the fencepost. Lilith decided they were the very image of Trollope’s French girls.
Bausiney said, “That’s because we’re at higher latitude than you’re used to.” Just then the carriage hit another rut, and the jolt threw Lilith against him.
The desire returned, hot and bittersweet. She had the feeling she knew him, knew his body, remembered it, wanted to press closer, to feel his arms around her. His chest was so broad, his eyes so … actually, he looked happy. Happy to find her practically in his lap.
“Hello there.” The corners of his mouth twitched with ironic amusement.
She pulled away and closed her eyes to concentrate on her breath. Her heart raced. Her body was on fire. This made no sense. She wasn’t even attracted to the great ruddy hulk. Despite the electric sizzle in his touch. She wasn’t attracted to anybody. Not now. She doubted her feelings for Greg – now. But she had believed she loved him. Now she didn’t trust herself.
Gradually the world came into better focus. Seagulls screamed over the bay. Horses’ hooves clump-clumped on soft dirt. Marion chattered with Ian about Sharon. Lilith opened her eyes. No one had noticed.
She could feel Bausiney watching, but if she looked at him she’d lose it. Instead, she looked at the village and the cliffs beyond.
Great gods! Again her heart was in her throat. Just past the village, the oak tree from her dreams clung to the cliffs’ edge. A woman stood beside it.
Despite the distance, Lilith knew it was Elyse. Watching her. Waiting for her.
You’ve come at last.