Saturday, May 28, 2016

Revolutionary War Love, Adventure & Romance


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Jack and Angelica, on the run again from a fortune-hunting British officer.


Jack slowed the horse to a walk. He took one of the pieces of cornpone out of his pocket and passed it back to her.

Angelica studied the slab—a heavy, yellow slab dotted with black-eye beans—disapprovingly. It was overcooked and dry, certainly not the way she made it!

She soon decided, however, that in this situation, dry and hard was better. Although Jack doubtless had a pocket full of crumbs, there wouldn’t be mushy bean ooze as well.

“I believe,” Jack said, chewing, “we’re extremely fortunate Miss Grace possesses a romantic nature.”

“Unlucky, though, that we had to run like that,” Angelica observed with a sigh. “A cup of tea would’ve been lovely. Not to mention breakfast.”

“A few more moments in bed with you would’ve been lovely, too.” He flashed a grin.

“A gentleman would not mention that.” She enhanced the reproof with a smart, sisterly cuff to his shoulder.

Jack responded by chuckling. “Dear Miss Ten Broeck, you are quite right. Another few minutes of kissing that sweet mouth of yours, and I fear that I wouldn’t have been in a responsible frame of mind at all.”

“Shouldn’t we be going faster?” Angelica was cross, with herself, and with him, too.

“Well, I’m taking a chance, but the best thing is not to go off at a gallop. We should look as if we have no particular reason to hurry.”

Now, dressed and riding together again, the episode in the bedroom was swiftly taking on the fading tingle of a naughty dream. And what was that she had seen shining from Jack’s translucent eyes?

Danger? Or was it a—promise?

How sweet his kisses, how disarming his wiles! But, oh! What might have happened if they had been left undisturbed? How easy it would’ve been, she thought, allowing a delicious wicked thrill run through her, to just let him go on, to lie back in those strong arms and let his knowing caresses …


~Juliet Waldron


~Revolutionary War~
~Love, Adventure, History~

See all my novels at:

Angel's Flight
Genesee
A Master Passion,
the story of Alexander Hamilton &
Elizabeth Schuyler




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Sunday, May 22, 2016

~LITTLE WITCH~

Rose's story begins in Aysgarth, by the river.
 
 
 

 
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"Little Witch!" A slap always followed the malediction. "Dost thou stare?"
This was my father. He did not like children whose opinions showed in their eyes. Large dark eyes I had—my mother's eyes—and when I displeased him, he was not slow to punish the unbroken will he saw.
I was born at the village of Aysgarth in the house of a stark yeoman farmer, Master Whitby. He was not pleased when my mother gave him a daughter, and then another and another, as if by the force of her own contrary will.
Master Whitby acknowledged me, however, as he acknowledged my sisters. I was written down in the book at the Church of Our Lady as "Rosalba Whitby, legitimate, born to Master Raymond Whitby and his espoused wife, Roseanne."
When I was old enough to hear the tale, my mother very kindly let me know matters stood otherwise. To learn I had been conceived in liberty and was not the get of that humorless, ham-fisted tyrant fills me, to this day, with satisfaction.
Aysgarth lies on Wenslydale, north and west of the great Keep of Middleham. Here our peasant houses grew from the ground like mushrooms. The poorest were of turf, but the best homes, like the one in which I was born, rose upon a costly timber frame.
 
 
Those hard packed earthen floors! In the East Wind time, rain slanted through the central smoke hole and pelted the fire of our hearth. I remember huddling close, thinking how the flames were like serpents, lowering their fiery heads and hissing whenever the drops landed. During the worst weather, the entire family, including Master Whitby's curly-pelted white cattle, sheltered with us.
Our village was linked by a single, rutted path. Beyond the stone fences lay fields, wild water and wind. The river went down rapids and over the falls, on and on until it reached the stormy eastern sea through the Great Wash.


 
My mother kept a garden behind the house. Well-manured with the leavings of our animals, tended by my hands and those of my older half-brothers, it flourished. Here mother grew turnips, mangels, carrots, parsnips and greens, food for us and for our animals. In a raised patch, she also grew herbs, for she was Aysgarth's midwife...
~~
 
Juliet Waldron
 
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Sunday, May 15, 2016

BLACK MAGIC ~ Amazon Countdown Feature


War-weary soldier Goran von Hagen returns for the first time in years to the alpine estate where he was born. Here, although he does not suspect it, a strange destiny awaits.



"So much more than the garden-variety shapeshifter v. vampire story, as the hero engages with the day-to-day realities of his post-transformation self..." 
 
 
 
After an exchange of letters, Goran and Mina decided to make a summer journey to the neglected estate. This would be the best time to ride the place over and find out how things were in the fields and forests of their domain. Their younger siblings—all but Rupert—were still school boys, incapable of such duties.

            It was not, as his father had always said, a good thing to leave houses and property in the hands of servants for any extended period. Even the best bailiff and staff could lose their way. Herr Stocke, who had managed the place for so long, had grown frail, and the Graf had concerns about relying so heavily upon a man who long ago should have been comfortably retired. At the time, Goran believed he could face anything with Veronique on his arm. Now, his twin, Mina, would have to help him stay strong, but she, her little daughter, Charlize, and his youngest sister, Birgit, had not yet finished their journey from Passau.

***

            Being alone in the house was painful. As soon as he had finished a good splash in the basin, Goran abandoned the master bedroom. He’d often pictured Veronique there. She’d have teased him, no doubt, laughing mercilessly about the antique bed-curtains. They were embroidered with an erotic subject of nymphs and fauns--not at all to his, or to any modern--taste--but a work of art, nonetheless. They’d been purchased at great expense in pre-revolutionary France. Why his mother had never replaced these wicked bachelor relics he had never understood. Goran had heard stories that his father had been “a famous rake” before he’d settled down to become a dedicated family man.

             Damn Veronique!
 
             How often he’d imagined her here, standing before a mirror, letting down her heavy blonde hair. He’d have taken her in his arms, watched her lovely face flush with desire. They’d begin the prelude, as they had many times before, and this time—this time—it would happen, the fiery moment when she would allow him to enter her lush body!

             Instead, he was here, on the mountain--alone.
 
             Goran donned his knee-length riding coat. Habit caused him to check to be certain that his boot knives were snug in place. During the war, he’d learned never to trust to the safety of even the most familiar places.

            He departed in a hurry, for the bedroom seemed full of ghosts, banging his boots on the stairs. From the sideboard in foyer he seized a dusty, half-full bottle of brandy. He thought he’d walk—and drink. The house was worse than he’d thought. A sensation of loss and grief pervaded the familiar rooms where he’d spent a happy childhood.

             Not to mention the disorder in his bailiff's once tidy study!

             Goran could only imagine the hours of mind-numbing book work which waited—and right now, he didn’t want to dwell on it. He stalked through the small, overgrown ornamental garden some grandparent or other had created. It was set in view of the long study windows, and had several slate paths, now narrowed by encroaching flowerbeds. The whole place was overlooked by a lichen-spotted marble faun atop a pedestal. Balanced upon one cloven foot, his head thrown back in abandon, the creature cheerfully played a flute. Goran paused to study it, remembering how it had frightened Mina when they’d been children. She’d complained she had nightmares in which it chased her...  


 
 
~~Juliet Waldron
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Sunday, May 8, 2016

Butterfly Bride~~

Butterfly Bride
(Coming soon!)
 


“Oh, Sophie-Sophie-Sophie!”

“Elfrieda! My darling!”

Hearts pounding, the sisters embraced. They’d been separated for well over a year now, living on letters and hopes, but Sophie’s new husband had acted more quickly than anyone had ever hoped. Karl Wildbach had sent the money for passage from Bremen in Germany, and here Elfie was, on the porch of a lovely stone farmhouse overlooking a millrace and surrounded by tidy gardens and trees. It was exactly as beautiful as Sophie had written. Elfie had wanted to pinch herself ever since she’d left Hanover, with it’s sad memories, traveled through smoky, dark Bremen, and begun, with her big sister, ‘Lotte, the great adventure of their immigration to America.
 
Hand-me-Down Bride
Sophie's Story
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And now she was here—journey completed at last!

“Where have you been? And where’s Ilga?”

“Oh, ma’am,” Arthur said, “Miz Ilga decided she wanted to go straight up to the ‘Springs Hotel and I had to take her. That added on some miles.”

Sophie shook her head and looked knowing. “Oh, your Aunt!” she said to Elfie. “but poor Mr. Bullmaster! Hardly cold in his grave."

"She says life is for the living and that it is for the best that he passed so quickly. She said that the week he lived--although he might just as well have been dead for all he knew--was the worst of her life.”

 As the wagonette had approached, Elfie had first caught sight of her sister latching the gate to a garden  patch, a wicker basket overflowing with greens on her arm. Although the house was substantial, with four fine windows at the bottom and five across the top, and although the countryside on every side was endlessly green and growing, the way her sister looked was rather shocking. Elfie remembered her elder sister as statuesque and pale, but now, the face beneath a broad-brimmed straw hat was plump, rosy, and brown. The hands clasping hers were tanned, muscular and plant stained.
 
Instead of a genteel lady, a soft city dweller, her sister was now an American farmer’s wife. Sophie Wildbach was also very pregnant, belly high beneath a broad, dusty apron.  Inside Elfie’s embrace, she felt sweaty. Up close, after all this time, Elfie saw there were weary shadows under her eyes.

“And is dear Lotte feeling any better?” Sophie asked when Elfie released her.

“Yes, much. We’re all so glad. The doctor said another week and she should be ready to travel.” Her older sister had been intermittently ill on the sea voyage and had arrived in Philadelphia rather the worse for wear. It had not been the plan at all, as Lotte, the older, was supposed to be the one who would look after her little sister.  Fortunately, Aunt Ilga, though barely two  weeks into life as a widow, had met them at the boat, or Elfie was not sure how well she would have managed.

“Good to hear! I’ve been quite worried, ever since you wrote. Now, perhaps, we’ll be able to have Lotte here for a visit and to rest a little before she goes to work at Attorney Wert’s.  Oh, and here is Mrs. D.—Divine Daniels,” Sophie added, turning to introduce her to the black woman who’d just appeared in the doorway. Divine was busily wiping her hands on a dishcloth and her head tied up in a bright kerchief. She was dressed in a worn calico dress and white apron, like most other American kitchen help Elfie had seen.

“How do you do,” said Elfie. She wasn’t sure whether to curtsy or nod, but the woman said, “Guten tag, Fraulein” and stuck out her hand, so Elfie shook it. Aunt Ilga had black servants, but she treated them like inferiors, not like members of the household.  Sophie, in her letters, had always spoken of her relations with the helpful “Mrs. D” as if she was a sort of wise older friend.

“Well, well. Aren’t you jes the picture o’pretty, Mizz Elfrieda!” Divine looked her up and down, her dark eyes brightening. “Just like our dear Mizz Sophie has bin sayin’.” Before Elfie could think of anything to say beyond “thank-you” she added, “Dinner’s jus’ about ready, Mizz Sophie. And I see you got more a them good greens.”

“A whole new row leafed out real nice after that rain, and it’s a good thing too, the way everyone was eatin' them up.” As Sophie leaned to retrieve the basket again, Divine anticipated her.

“Here, Mizz.  Let me.” Divine, full basket in hand, gestured at the door.  “Go in, ladies. The ‘hands will be comin’ in a few minutes and then we’ll all sit down. Where’s Miz Ilga, then?”

Arthur spoke up. “Already hopped it to the ‘Springs Hotel, Mrs. D. She had me drive her up there before bringin’ Miss Elfrida to German’s Mill.”

Divine gave a little whoop. “But, do tell, Mr. Art!” She retreated a few steps down to touch the young man on the shoulder as he stood, ragged straw hat politely in hand. “And how’d you ever git all that luggage up on that wagon when you and Mr. Nathan both suffer from them skinny arms?”   

“Oh, Mr. Moonshine came by and gave us a hand. He was there seein’ his Aunt Essy home to Harrisburg.”

“Well, that was right kind of him.”

“And oh Sophie, Aunt Ilga was ever so rude to—uh--Mr. Moonshine. I was so embarrassed.” Elfie spoke up. She’d been curious about this man, so handsome, so strong and so silent. It pleased her that he’d again come into the conversation. She hoped to learn a little more about him. 
 
Something about those dark brown eyes regarding her!  Simply remembering brought on a small shiver of delight.

“Mr. Bullmaster’s manner has rubbed off, I guess, or maybe it’s Philadelphia ways, but you know, Schwester, I believe she was always a little brusk. Mama, remember, often said she was the brave one, you know, abenteurlich, when she reminisced about their younger days. I’m sure Mr. Sam wasn’t offended. He’s been out in the hard old world, hasn’t he, Divine?”

“Yes. He’s another one went away into that war far too young.”

“Mr. Moonshine's ‘bout the same age as my Karl, isn’t he?”

“Mr. Karl's always sayin' Sam Moonshine was a bigger a fool than he was, ‘cause he left a happy home behind to go to that terrible war.”

 This piqued Elfie’s interest, but no more on the subject was forthcoming. Sophie turned back to Arthur.

“Well, Art, that trunk’s too heavy for you to shift up those stairs by yourself, so don’t do anything ‘till Raymond can help.  Just leave the wagonette where it is and unhitch Duke and take him down to the barn. See if Freeman can rug him straight away. He's hot and in a lather.”
 
 Elfie watched while Arthur stepped down to collect the leads he’d slipped over the post. The horse had pulled hard during that journey down to the big hotel and back. The big red creature with the creamy mane had done the job willingly, but now he was clearly tired and wanted water.
Art was a lanky young American, whose conversation on the hour long drive back from Letort Springs had been minimal, although she’d thanked him several times. Elfie had a feeling talking would have been difficult in any case, because he appeared painfully shy.  He’d blushed like mad when he’d spoken with Aunt Ilga and then had blushed even more painfully every time he looked at Elfie  beside him.
There was a clink and chink while the horses were unhitched. Divine again held the door for Sophie and Elfie to go in, and took charge of the heavy carpet bag. Inside, curtains were open, and dapples fell into the room through the linden trees that long ago Wildbach had brought with him from the old country.

It was a warm day, so screens were set to catch the breeze. They entered a cool hallway and then Elfie followed her sister into a study with a square table, set with ledgers and paper, a long high-backed bench and several chairs. On one side a tall bookshelf stood, filled with leather tomes.

“Sit down, dear one. Would you like a glass of water or some tea?”  
 
When Elfie asked for water, Sophie said she’d just go out and bring it.
“I should be bringing that to you.” Elfie sent a meaningful look at her sister’s belly. 

“Tomorrow.” Sophie smiled. “After you figure out where things are.”
 
***
 

As she went into the kitchen, Sophie thought: Good Lord! Elfie has grown into a perfect stunner! She felt keenly how many things had changed in the last year. There was a flash of sadness for the elegant, soft-handed girl she had once been.
Then the baby moved heavily inside. Although she was bone-weary and her back ached, she’d never change a single thing about this new world that she’d, all alone, so bravely entered.

 
~~Juliet Waldron
 




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