Saturday, November 30, 2013

Book Blast: The Watcher by Lisa Voisin

The Watcher

Millennia ago, he fell from heaven for her.
Can he face her without falling again?

Fascinated with ancient civilizations, seventeen-year-old Mia Crawford dreams of becoming an archaeologist. She also dreams of wings—soft and silent like snow—and somebody trying to steal them.

When a horrible creature appears out of thin air and attacks her, she knows Michael Fontaine is involved, though he claims to know nothing about it. Secretive and aloof, Michael evokes feelings in Mia that she doesn’t understand. Images of another time and place haunt her. She recognizes them—but not from any textbook.
In search of the truth, Mia discovers a past life of forbidden love, jealousy and revenge that tore an angel from Heaven and sent her to an early grave. Now that her soul has returned, does she have a chance at loving that angel again? Or will an age-old nemesis destroy them both?

Ancient history is only the beginning.

From November 28th to December 1st The Watcher is on sale for just $1.99!

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Download your copy today!! 

Praise for The Watcher

“Voisin’s THE WATCHER blends paranormal mystery and romance into a book that is sure to keep readers turning the pages late into the night.”
– Eileen Cook, author of THE ALMOST TRUTH

“Perfect for fans of angels and demons, Lisa Voisin has created an uplifting tale of redemption, love, and spirituality that gives hope. Never preachy, THE WATCHER is the perfect answer to critics who claim Young Adult literature is too dark.”
– Stephanie Lawton, author of WANT and SHRAPNEL

“The Watcher is stunning! A paranormal romance that you won’t want to put down. Voisin will enthrall you until the very last page.”
– Stephanie Keyes, author, THE STAR CHILD series

“Grips the reader, pulls them in and leaves them cheering for good!”
– InD’tale Magazine

“The Watcher is my favorite angel fiction tale yet.”
– Katrina @Kindred Dreamheart

“This book is phenomenal! I was hooked in right away and didn’t want to stop.”
– Michelle @Michelle’s Paranormal Vault

Book Trailer


Instead of saying more, he brushed his fingertips along my cheek, and his halo glimmered. I could hear the waves slapping the rocks behind us, the wind driving them in. That same wind whipped against my skin, but the touch of his hand on my face was all I could think about. It sent a current through both of us and filled me with longing for something I wasn’t sure I understood.

“I’m sorry.” He stepped back and shoved his hands into his pockets as the light around him faded. “You don’t know what it’s like. Being near you now, remembering those moments we had…” His hair blew into his eyes, but this time he didn’t move. I wanted to brush it back, but I didn’t know how he’d react. Would touching him be bad?

“You want to know who you were?” he asked. “You may look different, but you’re the same. I look into your eyes and see you.” He took in a deep breath, fixing his attention on the horizon. I’d seen and heard so much now that the logical part of my brain had long since given up arguing with me. I could feel what he was saying was true. All of it.

Author Lisa Voisin

A Canadian-born author, Lisa Voisin spent her childhood daydreaming and making up stories, but it was her love of reading and writing in her teens that drew her to Young Adult fiction.

A self-proclaimed coffee lover, Lisa can usually be found writing in a local café. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her meditating or hiking in the mountains to counteract the side effects of drinking too much caffeine!

Though she’s lived in several cities across Canada, she currently lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her fiancé and their two cats.

BookBlast Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 12/18/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Book Spotlight: Nowhere for Christmas by Heather Gray

Title: Nowhere for Christmas
Author: Heather Gray
Published: October 29, 2013 by Astraea Press
Page Count: 212 pages
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Anything can happen on the road to Nowhere…
A journalist and single mother, Avery is used to being in control though she tries to remind her-self to let God take lead in her life. Eli, her son, is happy as long as he has his music, plenty of food, and the occasional adult on which to practice his rapier wit. Gavin, a virtual stranger, is a photojournalist who mysteriously dropped off the scene a few years ago.

The trio ends up together for a Christmas road trip to the small town of Nowhere. An eight hour drive in a rental car turns into two days of misadventure and calamity as bad luck seems to stalk them. They get a flat tire, the bumper falls off, the car overheats – and that's only the beginning! Along the way they meet some interesting people – from a bait shop owner who moonlights as a mechanic to a chatty preacher's wife and a highway patrolman whose wife and mother can't agree on the best way to remove a skunk's stink.

Hungry, cold, and tired, the three finally reach Nowhere only to discover the town is nothing like they expected. They learn that reaching their destination doesn't necessarily mean the journey has ended.


Gavin's at the coffee shop on Central between Edith and Arno.

Clicking her fingers on the phone, she sent another message. How will I know him?

He's sitting outside. Grey stocking cap. With luggage.

A short while later, Avery was pulling their car up in front of the coffee shop. Only in Albuquerque would a coffee shop be painted the color of terra cotta and have dried chile peppers hanging from the ceiling.

She got out of the car and gazed at the front of the coffee shop. A nip in the air had encouraged all other patrons to enjoy the indoor atmosphere of the establishment.

Avery took note of the man as she approached. He was younger than she'd expected. With the stocking cap pulled down low, she couldn't get a look at his hair, but the scruff on his cheeks and chin was black as night. She couldn't see his eyes behind his sunglasses, but he had an angular face, a strong chin, and… he was drinking a fruit smoothie.

A bright yellow frozen beverage. At a coffee shop. In December. I'm going to have to make allowances for his artistic temperament. I get it. But is this necessary, God? Sticking me with a man who goes to a coffee shop and doesn't order coffee? You're laughing at me, aren't You?

Pulling her it's-okay-if-you-don't-love-coffee smile out of storage, she approached the man. She held out her hand and said, "Mitchell sent me. Ready to go?"

He put down his blindingly bright beverage and ran his eyes up and down her figure. His sunglasses kept his eyes concealed, but his perusal still made her uncomfortable. When he made no move to shake her hand, she began to wonder if she had the right person. 
"What's your name?"

"I'm Gavin," he said. "Who are you?"

Eyeing his luggage, she took note of the oversized backpack and two large hard-sided cases she assumed held camera equipment. This has to be Gavin, but what if it's not? What if this guy murdered Gavin and stuffed him in an alleyway, then sat down in his spot to lure me into a false sense of security so he can do away with us, too, at his leisure? Homicidal tendencies might explain the yellow drink.

Before the man had time to sneeze, Avery whipped out her cellphone, took a snapshot of him, and texted it to Mitchell. Is this him?

She imagined the man blinking his eyes in surprise behind his dark glasses. Artsy isn't exactly the first word that comes to mind here. He was wearing black jeans, a grey jacket hanging open to reveal a like-colored sweater underneath, and a grey scarf wrapped around his neck a couple times. I thought artists wore lots of color. Guess that's what I get for assuming. He makes me think of a beatnik.

Avery's phone chirped at her, and she glanced down at it. Yep. That's Gavin.

Again frowning at the man's fruity beverage, she tried to shake off the feeling of dread swirling through her stomach. Straightening her shoulders, she held out her hand for a second time and said, "Hi Gavin. I'm here to pick you up and head to Nowhere."

He cracked a smile this time and said, "Heading to Nowhere – isn't that a country song?" 

Then, looking behind her, he asked, "Where's Avery?"

She stole a look behind her at the white car. What was he expecting? A limo? She gave him a puzzled look, brows drawn together, and said, "I'm Avery. Avery Weston."

Gavin jumped up out of his wrought-iron chair, knocking it back. "You can't be. Avery's a man."

Avery scratched her head and said, "I've been accused of a lot of things, but that's not one of them."

He turned the tables on her then, taking her picture with his phone, presumably to verify her identity with Mitchell.

Eli, evidently tired of waiting in the cramped confines of the car, climbed out and said, "What's the holdup? At this rate we won't make it to Nowhere till two in the morning. Come on, people, daylight's burning!"

Gavin glanced from her to Eli. Then his phone vibrated, and he peered down at it. The part of his face she could see through the pseudo-beard flushed. His hand clenched around the phone in a death grip before relaxing.

"I don't travel with women. I thought I was riding with a man named Avery and his teenage son."

Eli's eyebrows shot up. "You thought Mom was a man? That's awesome. Wait till I tell Grandma and Grandpa! They're going to love it!"

Avery watched as Eli immediately began texting. Great. Now I'm a topic of gossip between my son and parents.

About the Author

Aside from her long-standing love affair with coffee, Heather’s greatest joys in life are her relationship with her Savior, her family, and writing. Years ago, she decided it would be better to laugh than yell. Heather carries that theme over into her writing where she strives to create characters that experience both the highs and lows of life and, through it all, find a way to love God, embrace each day, and laugh out loud right along with her.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Blog Tour: The Chronicles of Guiamo Durmius Stolo by Marshall Best

On Tour with Prism Book Tours...

The Legendary Tour

As the lighting blazed in a dancing, arcing column to the sky, a voice deep and powerful as thunder said, “My son, today my powers are bestowed upon you.”

This tour goes back to the age of legends. The author has taken a deep dive into rich history, bringing his love of fantasy with him. 

Guiamo Review

We first meet Guiamo as a 10-year-old boy who gets abandoned at the side of the road by his Aunt and Uncle. We later learn that his father died when he was 5 and his mother and older brother died when he was 8. His aunt and uncle reluctantly took him in which is why they have no problem abandoning him. Fortunately, he's near some fishermen and one of them, Calidius, takes him in. After Calidius hears his story, he says, "Work diligently on the nets, and your life will improve. The lot of a fisherman is a life of hard work, but it is honest work, and there is honor in that. We also eat well, and that is one of life's greatest joys." Guiamo learns to fish and begins looking for ways to do it more efficiently.

When he's learned all he can from Calidius and the other fishermen, Calidius sends him to Gabinius, telling him to stay with him for three years and the lessons he learns there will prove valuable to Guiamo. Guiamo is sad to leave what has become his home but quickly adjusts to life with Gabinius and starts making improvements in his new location. He becomes friends with Ursius who trains dogs for the Roman army and their friendship continues throughout the book. He learns more about who he is and develops his gifts and continues to invent new things to make life easier and more efficient for those around him.

This book is the beginning of quite a journey! Guiamo is a character that is easy to love and invest in. I'm fascinated with him and the wisdom he possesses at such a young age. He's quite an inventor, as he's always looking for ways to improve life. He takes life in stride and looks for the good in it, never screaming and shouting that life is unfair or questioning why certain things happen to him. He does seem to have a moment of sadness at what he's left behind but always seems ready for the next adventure.

We also start to get glimpses of even greater things that Guiamo is destined to do in his life. He received a sword which has some amazing history and he learns more about his personal connection to it and how it can help him. There's also a curse that is revealed which gives some foreshadowing into his future. At then end, I was definitely ready to keep reading more!

My Rating=4.5 stars

Cumoro Review

The adventures of Guiamo continue! This book starts with Guiamo landing in Albion with Caesar's ships. He wanted to conduct business there so he went as part of Caesar's army with his good friend Ursius and the dogs. One day, while out with the Roman army, Guiamo became very sick and fainted. In the meantime, the rest of the Romans he was with were ambushed and their bodies were burned. Finding no survivors, Guiamo was presumed dead. We find out he's still alive and is taken before King Eterlam, who gives him a new name (Cumoro). The King is suspicious of Guiamo and ready to put him to death but with the help of his sword, Guiamo's life is spared and he tells the King his story. When the King realizes how powerful Guiamo is, he allows his training to continue but he is not able to return to the Romans.

There's a lot of fighting in this book and Guiamo is able to employ new strategies and gain the respect of the men around him. In one of the battles, something strange happens with his sword and he is able to learn more about the history behind his sword. The book felt like it wrapped up pretty well but the ending definitely left me ready for the next adventure!

These are not quick, light easy reads so they've taken me a while to read and because of that, I've only been able to read the first two. They are so interesting, though, and worth reading for the rich storytelling and history they contain. The author has definitely done his research. I like the way certain details are brought back into the story later on so I feel that every part of the story is significant. I also love what I'm learning from Guiamo's character and how he deals with the situations he finds himself in. This is a time period I'm not familiar with and I'm enjoying learning more about it through such an interesting character.

My only complaint is that I wish there was a Cast of Characters that I could refer to when I forget who someone is. There are lots of unfamiliar names and terms (which there is a Glossary for in the back) and it can take a while for me to figure out what's going on or remember who a certain person is. I plan to read the other two as soon as I can. If you enjoy historical fiction, this is a series that is definitely worth reading!

My Rating=5 Stars

Special Tour Price!!!
$3 off each book through Createspace.

(Click on the cover to take you there.)
Guiamo (The Chronicles of G... Cumoro (The Chronicles of G... Morlanos (The Chronicles of... Inis Emain Ablach (The Chro...
Use coupon code: GS9D2K7C 

Combining legitimate legends with actual historical events, Marshall Best weaves an epic story that portrays the ancient world as it might have been, a world which the ancient historians recorded as fact; a time when gods ruled the earth and strange creatures dominated the land. It is the era of civilized conquerors exploring distant and primitive new lands. Scant recordings left to us today only touch on the fringe of the fantastic and brutal reality that existed in those distant lands of the west. 

Into this age, young Guiamo enters the world stage as the great game-changer, and by his hand the gods and beasts become destined to disappear into myth and legend.

The Chronicles:

Guiamo (The Chronicles of Guiamo Durmius Stolo, #1)

In 60 B.C., ten-year-old Guiamo Durmius Stolo, an exceptionally gifted Roman orphan, is abandoned in Gaul . Left to fend for himself, Guiamo is set onto a path of legend. Recognized by the gods as having world-changing talents, he is given a weapon that changes his destiny and the world’s forever. 

Cumoro (The Chronicles of Guiamo Durmius Stolo, #2)

Guiamo Durmius Stolo sails in 55 B.C. with Rome’s 7th Legion as Julius Caesar invades Britain. But Caesar has not before encountered the Fomori, a dominion of wicked creatures which wage war against the human inhabitants and dominate much of Britain. Armed with his god-made spear, Guiamo joins with the tribal kings against their Fomori foe when Caesar departs. 

Having destroyed the Fomori in Britain , Guiamo Durmius Stolo decides in 51 B.C. to bring the Cruthin people, once slaves to the Fomori, to Ireland , but encounters the Fomori who reside there as well. Guiamo discovers that the gods venerated by the Druids are unworthy. The gods are displeased with him and begin to work against him.

In 50 B.C. Guiamo Durmius Stolo finds himself victor over the detested Fomori whose leader, Cichol, is slain and those few who survived are scattered. Guiamo explores the secret places where Cichol kept his most important secrets and discovers there the treasures of Cichol's master, the goddess Domnu.

Goodreads * Creatspace * Smashwords

The Author:

Marshall BestMarshall Best is an avid reader, father of six and business owner. In the past several years he has found his love of writing as well. What began as a desire to write a story for his children has evolved into a nine book series.

Marshall has done extensive research into the history behind the legends, people and places of England, Scotland and Ireland involved in his books. He loves being able to weave real people and legends into his stories making them come alive. He is definitely a writer that tends to the details often mapping out timetables, calendars, geneologies, etc. that pertain to his book to ensure that it is as realistic as possible. 

Marshall also enjoys putting real life issues into his books, delving into a bit of philosophy while entertaining with orcs, dragons, magic and battles. He is someone who loves a grand adventure but makes sure it's not a shallow one.

Tour-Wide Giveaway:

-One print set signed by author – world wide giveaway
-One complete e-book set – codes provided to smashwords
-Two winners: e-book of Cumoro and a $5 Amazon gift card each
-Two winners: e-book of Morlanos and a $5 Amazon gift card each
-Two winners: e-book of Inis Emain Ablach and a $5 Amazon gift card each

Ends 12/20. Please see restrictions on Rafflecopter.

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Follow the Chronicles of Guiamo as they unfold on...

The Legendary Tour:

11/25: Launch
11/29: Mel's Shelves 
12/1: Life as Leels 
12/4: Bookworm Lisa 
12/5: Mythical Books 
12/11: Mortal Moments 
12/13: Grande Finale

Sign up to receive invites for upcoming Prism Tours here!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Book Blast: Crossroads Saga by Mary Ting

Enjoy your Day!

Crossroads (Book 1)

Can two worlds collide in dreams?

Crossroads, Between, Beyond, Eternity, Halo City-novella

Protecting her from the fallen was his duty.

Falling in love was never part of his plan.

Loving her was forbidden.

Being with her was all that mattered, even if it meant he would be exiled for all eternity.

Claudia Emerson’s life is about to change when her good friend, who coincidentally shares the same first and last name, dies in a tragic accident after the homecoming dance. Distraught at the loss of her friend, Claudia’s dreams become tumultuous, and through them she mysteriously travels to another world called Crossroads. Unknown to her, Crossroads is like a second heaven, a place between heaven and earth, where the souls of humans in comas or near death experiences may wander. There, she unexpectedly meets Michael, a nephilim–half angel, half human. It turns out that this isn’t her first visit, which is an enigma, for she has no recollection of being there, and is told that no human has crossed over…until Claudia. Now that she’s been there, fallen and demons are after her, suspecting she must be special, and it is up to Michael and the other nephilim to protect her. Her dream becomes a nightmare as more secrets are revealed about who she really is, and the true identities of the people she loves most. The situation becomes even more complicated when she is unable to hinder her feelings for her swoon-worthy guardian angel. Can Michael fight his growing feelings for Claudia and protect her as a guardian angel should, or will he be too blinded by human emotions and the struggles of being who he is?

Crossroads is FREE

Download a copy today!!

Praise for Crossroads

“Crossroads contains action, twists and romance that has you flipping through the pages so fast that you’re at the end and ready for more before you know it.” ~Gabby, Nashville Young Adult Fiction Examiner/What’s Beyond Forks

“Watch out Edward Cullen! The angel Michael has officially given you a run for your money! Teens everywhere will add a new fictional boyfriend to their ever growing lists! OMWings! An amazing paranormal angel romance that stays with you long after the last page has turned. I need more!”  ~Jennifer Howell with

“Crossroads by Mary Ting has it all: danger, romance, suspense, incredible characters and an original plot that is sure to thrill. The action never stops as good and evil battle to the death. This well written and fascinating love story will keep readers entranced.”


Though Phillip had already told me that I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between an alkin and a fallen, it was confirmed as I watched the battle. They looked just like the alkins as the two sides battled with swords. Watching, I noticed that Michael had one too, but where had it come from?

“No!” Michael shouted, suddenly standing directly in front of me. “You don’t need her. She’s just a human.”

“Get them!” Aden shouted again.

During the entire fight Michael stayed by my side, protecting me. They fought so swiftly that even with my flashlight it was hard to distinguish alkins from the fallen. I focused intently, trying to figure out who was who, but it was no use. They were too fast for human eyes. I pointed the flashlight, hoping to blind or distract them, but that also proved to be pointless. It was only useful for my vision.

In the blink of an eye they were here, there and everywhere. The clanging of swords colliding was painful to hear. As the screeching sounds continued, all I could see were sparks as the swords made contact, as if we were in the middle of a lightning storm. Fearful of any alkin getting hurt, I covered my ears, hoping that it would end soon.

Suddenly, Aden raised his hand toward the stars, and the fallen stopped. The sounds of the swords crashing against each other came to a dead halt. Aden started circling around Michael and me. As he drew closer, I could see that he looked exactly as I remembered him from my dream. The wrinkles on his forehead defined his age, and though I conceived him as evil, his voice scared me more than his appearance. Aden never lifted a finger to fight; instead, he relied on the fallen to carry out his battle strategies.

“Michael, come with me. I’ll give you anything you want.”

“There is nothing I want from you.”

“They’ve turned you against me. I should have killed you when I had the chance.” Aden’s eyes raged with anger.

“They didn’t turn me against you. I did it of my own free will.”

“Move out of my way!” Aden shouted.

“You’ll have to go through me first!”

As Aden continued to circle around us, I could sense movement from the fallen, edging closer to Michael and me. The alkin must have sensed it too as they positioned themselves right behind us and immediately began to attack the fallen.

Michael moved me to the left and then to the right, fighting while shielding me. Though the fallen were fewer in number than before, they were retaliating in full force. In the midst of all the chaos, I lost my grip on the flashlight, and it tumbled off the cliff. Instinctively I reached for it, and in that split second someone or something collided against me, and I plummeted off the cliff.

Gravity was pulling me faster than my body could resist. I’d always heard that at the moment of death, one’s life flashed before their eyes; all the moments that had brought them to that point, big or small.

All I could think of was death itself and the one person who had changed my life forever—Michael.

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Author Mary Ting

Bestselling/award-winning author Mary Ting resides in Southern California with her husband and two children. She enjoys oil painting and making jewelry. Writing her first novel, Crossroads Saga, happened by chance. It was a way to grieve the death of her beloved grandmother, and inspired by a dream she once had as a young girl. When she started reading new adult novels, she fell in love with the genre. It was the reason she had to write one-Something Great. Why the pen name, M Clarke? She tours with Magic Johnson Foundation to promote literacy and her children’s chapter book-No Bullies Allowed.

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BookBlast Giveaway

$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 12/15/13

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Cover Reveal: Until That Distant Day by Jill Stengl

Paris, France

Colette DeMer and her brother Pascoe are two sides of the same coin, dependent upon one another in the tumultuous world of the new Republic. Together they labor with other leaders of the sans-culottes to ensure freedom for all the downtrodden men and women of France.

But then the popular uprisings turn bloody and the rhetoric proves false. Suddenly, Colette finds herself at odds with Pascoe and struggling to unite her fractured family against the lure of violence. Charged with protecting an innocent young woman and desperately afraid of losing one of her beloved brothers, Colette doesn’t know where to turn or whom to trust as the bloodshed creeps ever closer to home.

Until that distant day when peace returns to France, can she find the strength to defend her loved ones . . . even from one another?

Coming April 25, 2014


Until That Distant Day
Opening of Chapter 1

I was born believing that the world was unfair and that I was the person to make it right.

One of my earliest memories is of Papa setting me atop a nail keg in the forge; I could not have been older than two at the time.

“Colette, give Papa a kiss,” he said, tapping his cheek.


“Come and sit on my knee.”


My response to every order was the same, asked with genuine curiosity. I did not understand why his watching friends chuckled. Why should I press my lips to Papa’s sweaty, prickly cheek? Why should I hop down from the keg, where he had just placed me, and run to sit on his knee, a most uncomfortable perch? I felt justified in requesting a reason for each abrupt order, yet he never bothered to give me one.

Mama, when thus questioned, provided an answer in the form of a sharp swat. This I could respect as definitive authority, although the reasoning behind it remained dubious.

My little brother Pascoe was born believing that the world was his to command. As soon as he acquired his first vocabulary word, “No,” he and I joined ranks in defiance of established authority.

Many impediments cluttered the path of destiny in those early years: parents, thirteen other siblings, physical ailments, and educational difficulties. And as we grew into adulthood, more serious matters intervened, even parting us for a time. But I will speak more of that later. For now, let me assure you that, no matter the obstacles thrown in our way, our sibling bond seemed indissoluble; the love between us remained unaffected by any outside relationship.

Pascoe and I were young adults when revolutionaries in Paris threw aside the tyranny of centuries and established a new government based on the Rights of Man. From the seclusion of our little village in Normandy we rejoiced over each battle fought and won; and when our local physician, Doctor Hilliard, who had first mentored then employed Pascoe for several years, was elected as deputy to the National Assembly from our district, a whole new world opened at our feet.

My story truly begins on a certain day in the spring of 1792, in the little domain I had made for myself in the kitchen at the back of Doctor Hilliard’s Paris house. Perhaps it wasn’t truly my domain, for it did not belong to me. I was merely the doctor’s housekeeper and could lay no real claim. Nevertheless, the kitchen was more mine than anything had ever been, and I loved that small, dark room; especially during the hours when sunlight slanted through the bubbled-glass kitchen windows, making bright, swirling shapes on the whitewashed walls, or each evening when I arranged my latest culinary creation on a platter and left it in the warming oven for the doctor to discover whenever he arrived home. That kitchen was my home. Not the home I had grown up in, but the home I had always craved.

On that particular day, however, it did not feel the safe haven I had always believed it to be. Loud voices drifted down from the upper floor where the doctor and Pascoe were in conference, disturbing my calm. When I closed the connecting door to the dining room, the angry voices drifted in through the open kitchen windows. I couldn’t close the windows; I might smother of heat. Yet I needed to block out the sound, to make it stop.

So I slipped a filet of sole into a greased skillet and let it brown until golden on both sides. The hiss and sizzle did not quite cover the shouting, but it helped. Then I slid the fish onto a waiting plate lined with sautéed vegetables fresh from my kitchen garden; and I topped all with an herbed wine-and-butter sauce. A grind of fresh pepper finished off my creation.

But my hands were still trembling, and I felt as if something inside me might fall to pieces.

Pascoe often shouted. Shouting was part of his fiery nature, a normal event. He shouted when he gave speeches at section meetings. He shouted about overcooked meals or inferior wines. He shouted when his lace jabot refused to fall into perfect folds.

But never before had I heard Doctor Hilliard raise his voice in anger.

Doctor Hilliard was never angry. Doctor Hilliard never displayed emotion. At most, he might indicate approval by the glance of a benevolent eye or disapprobation by the merest lift of a brow. Yet there could be no mistaking the two furious voices overhead. I well knew Pascoe’s sharp tenor with its sarcastic edge; but now I also heard the doctor’s resonant voice crackling with fury.

I managed to slide the hot plate into the warmer alongside a crusty loaf of bread and closed the door, using a doubled towel to protect my shaking hands.

Behind me the connecting door was flung open, and Pascoe burst in as I spun to face him. “Gather your things; we are leaving,” he growled. His eyes blazed in his pale face, and the jut of his jaw allowed for no questions. He clapped his tall hat on his head as he passed through the room.

I donned my bonnet and sabots and picked up my parasol. “What has happened?” I asked just above a whisper.

“I’ll tell you once we are away from this house.” His lips snapped tight. His chest heaved with emotion, and he grasped a portfolio so tightly that his fingers looked white.

I could not recall the last time I had seen my brother in such a rage.

Jill Stengl is the author of numerous romance novels including Inspirational Reader's Choice Award- and Carol Award-winning Faithful Traitor, and the bestselling novella, Fresh Highland Heir. She lives with her husband in the beautiful Northwoods of Wisconsin, where she enjoys her three cats, teaching a high school English Lit. class, playing keyboard for her church family, and sipping coffee on the deck as she brainstorms for her next novel.

Jill is offering an enormous bundle prize of ten print novels and novellas, including her award-winning Faithful Traitor, several novella collections, and her three-book Longtree series. These will all be autographed! (US and Canada only, please.)

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