Never Far Away by Marysue G. Hobika

 

NeverFarAwayBlitzBanner1

Never Far Away by Marysue G. Hobika
Publication date: May 20th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, RomanceSynopsis:

All Theo Baker wants is to get on with his new life as a student at Columbia, but his dreams keep getting infiltrated by the one girl who stole his heart—Stella, his sexy neighbor back home. They shared a kiss that turned his world upside down; only she said it didn’t mean anything to her. But he knows she lied and all he wants is a chance to prove that they could have something real, but it’s hard pining away for a girl who’s been avoiding him for the past year and a half.Incoming freshman Stella Freeman is excited about going to college for photography—her true passion. She’s never more herself than when she is behind the camera. Regardless of her father’s constant backlash, she follows her heart to the city where Theo is currently living. He’s the only boy she’s ever loved, but she’s pushed him away. Still, he’s never been far from her thoughts, even if he doesn’t know.

What will happen when their paths cross? Will they have a second chance to be with their one first true love?

This book is intended for audiences 17+

 

NeverFarAway

Excerpt:

“Wait,” I shouted. I searched for the right words. All I came up with was, “Why did you take so many pictures of me? Do you like me?” My face heated. I sounded like a dorky ten-year old boy on the playground at recess. I plowed ahead anyway. “Did the kiss mean as much to you as it did to me?”

There was only one way to find out. I took a step forward and touched my lips to hers. Her lips were warm and soft. I thought she’d slap me and tell me to get the fuck away from her, but she didn’t. She closed her eyes and sank into the kiss, kissing me back. I teased her lips open with my tongue. She responded and our tongues swirled around each other. The last kiss I shared with Stella was just a small preview. This was downright epic. I felt things I’d never felt before.

I moved my lips down her pale throat and kissed her softly. She reached up and wrapped her arms around my neck. I pulled her closer until our chests were smashed against each other’s, and I wondered if she could feel my heart beating. It pounded hard and loud. A soft sigh escaped her lips and I knew this wasn’t one-sided. She felt things too. I returned my attention to her mouth, biting her bottom lip, losing myself in the taste of her sweet lips. It was like being pulled under by a giant wave in a hurricane and then not knowing which way was up or down. I realized I didn’t know and I didn’t care. I never wanted to resurface. I was right where I wanted to be. Lost in a sea of emotions and passion with Stella at the center of the storm. I cupped the back of her head, deepening the kiss even further.

Suddenly she pulled away and I couldn’t breathe. I felt like a fish out of water. I wanted to reach for her and pull her back to me because nothing in my entire life had felt so right, but the look on her face told me not to. “What was that?” She narrowed her eyes at me.

“We were kissing.” She had moaned my name at one point and pressed her hot body against mine. There was no way in hell she hadn’t been enjoying it. “And you liked it.”

“No, Theo.” She called me Theo again. I was beginning to hate my own name. “I can’t do this with you.”

“I know you felt that too,” I argued. I didn’t understand why she was pretending she hadn’t been affected. She’d kissed me back. It had been honest and true.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about. I didn’t feel anything.” It was the same words she’d said last time after we kissed, only this time I knew she was lying. Her voice was shaky. Her body still trembled with aftershocks. I just didn’t understand why she’d lie. I stood on her porch for several minutes after she went inside, trying to figure out how I was going to get Stella to forgive me and recognize what we could have if she’d give me a chance.

 

BIO:

Photo on 2012-04-12 at 13.15 #2Marysue G Hobika grew up in Caledonia, NY and attended SUNY at Buffalo where she studied to be a Spanish teacher.  Currently she lives in Pittsford, NY with her husband, three children, and her two pugs.

She has learned that stories don’t write themselves and tries to make time every day to sit down and write. She does her best thinking while in the shower, driving her kids around, or right before she falls asleep. She keeps a moleskin notebook handy that a dear friend gave her as a gift, so that if an idea occurs she can write it down.

She doesn’t know where this journey will take her, but she has a lot of characters and stories floating around inside her head waiting to be brought to life.

  What genre is your book?

 “Never Far Away” is my first crack at writing a New Adult/Contemporary Romance novel. My resume includes 3 YA novels, and I was ready to branch out and expand my style and audience.

What inspired you to write this novel?

A real life event inspired this novel. I took a real situation—two neighbors fighting over seats on the back of the bus in elementary school, never really agreeing on anything, and placed these two antagonist characters years down the road. What happens? How are they different? The same? They share history, but can they share a future?

What book are you reading now?

Currently I am reading short stories in Spanish and meeting with a great group of ladies once a month to discuss them. Hablamos en español todo el tiempo y me encanta.

If you could have breakfast with anyone past or present who would you choose, and why?

 I would choose my mother. She died when I was in my early twenties and so much has happened in my life since then that I’d love to share with her—I finished college, got my first job, got married, and had kids. I’d love to see the look on her face when I told her I’m a writer too. I’ll never forget the day back in high school when she drove me to school and I suddenly remembered I had written an essay on a whim for a contest and it was due that day—typed. (This was before computers were in every household). My mom sighed and took the essay to work and typed it for me and dropped it off at school, and I won. She was proud of me then and I’m sure she’d be proud of me know. After breakfast I’d like to have her show me how to make an apple pie with her homemade crust because that’s something I miss.

What’s your favorite dessert?

My mom’s homemade apple pie, of course.

How would you describe yourself in three words?

Creative, Happy, and Kind.

Goodreads

Purchase:

B&N

 

 

Interview with Demelza Carlton

What was your inspiration for See You In Hell?
Are you sure you want me to answer that? It started on a train ride that was far worse than anything you might encounter on the London Tube ? said a commuter who didn’t even make it into the sardine tin of a train carriage. Now, I did manage to squeeze in?and so did a man carrying a briefcase with hard, sharp corners.

Why the precise description of a briefcase?
Well, for the identikit photo after the assault?
The train came to a sudden stop and then started again, so that we all came close to falling over like dominoes but managed to straighten up in time. My problems started when that briefcase went straight up my skirt and wedged between my cheeks. Oh yes, those cheeks.
My first response was to kill the case’s owner, but a quick glance at the man told me he was as weary as I was and that he was completely unaware of where his bag was?and if I told him, the hundred other commuters would know that I had a badly-behaved briefcase up my bum. So it was either endure the discomfort only I knew about or feel equally uncomfortable, knowing a hundred other people (who I catch the train with every day) also knew I’d had a stranger’s luggage up my backside.
Ten painful minutes later, I left the train. Walking very stiffly, admittedly telling myself only an angel would be able to put up with this sort of Hell every day without screaming or killing someone. So when I made it home I wrote a short story about an angel, working in a corporate Hell. Further short stories followed?until, a year later, I decided to write it into a book. Or three.

As a published author, what would you say was the most pivotal point of your writing life?
The day I realised I had to publish Ocean’s Gift. I’d mentioned in passing to a friend that I’d written the book and he expressed a wish to read it. I honestly just thought he was being polite, but I (very nervously) gave him a copy. I never expected him to read it or speak of it again.
I wrote Ocean’s Gift, my first novel, in the space of three weeks, before deciding what I wanted to do with it. I figured it’d be worth a shot to try and publish it, but there was the question of how. Whether to try and find an agent, submit to traditional and small press publishers, go vanity publishing or take the enormous step and self-publish it.
So, evening came and my friend rang me, saying he’d started reading it soon after I gave it to him and he couldn’t stop. I think he read the whole book that day and he was full of compliments that I could write something he enjoyed so much. This is a guy who’ll send back a whole case of wine because he doesn’t like the taste of the first sip ? and I was stunned to discover that I’d given him his preferred literary vintage on my first attempt.
That day made the decision for me ? I HAD to publish Ocean’s Gift.
It took a further three months with beta readers and editors before I self-published the book, but it did happen.

Where do you get your best ideas?
In bed. Oh, hang on, that sounds really bad. At about 5 in the morning, when I’ve just woken up and can’t get back to sleep because an idea’s taken hold I just have to play with it?no, I think that sounds even worse. It’s true, though. My best ideas come in bed, in the shower, or during some form of heart-pumping exercise. I don’t think there’s any clean way I can say this.
Incidentally, I don’t write erotica.

What is a typical writing day like for you? How many hours do you write per week?
There’s no such thing as a typical writing day! For example, this week I allocated three full days to writing a new book and I’ve written less than five thousand words of the book (when I can usually write that in a day), but the amount of research I’ve done for it is huge. Classic motorcycles, 1920s shipwrecks and tales of real-life rescue and survival, coroner’s reports from the time?down to the newspaper articles and photos of a very real shipwreck in the Indian Ocean. Oddly enough, this particular disaster occurred over ninety years ago, in the same area where they’re currently searching for MH370.

Can you describe the feeling you get when you see your published book for the first time?
Thrilled, elated, proud?actually, I think it was the first time I saw the paperback proof for Ocean’s Gift. The ebook was cool, but it was absolutely something else to be able to hold a book with my name on the front?and my photographs on the cover, too, which made it even more remarkable.
What surprised me is that it doesn’t go away for future books, either. Every time I hold the first paperback copy of one of my books for the first time?it’s just as thrilling. I think my local parcel delivery guy thinks I have a crush on him, I’m always so happy to see him arrive with one of those Createspace boxes.

If you could give one book promotion tip to new authors, what would that be?
It’s a product and not a baby. It’s perfectly legal and acceptable to pimp it out, offer it for an insanely bargain price online and give it away to people. You won’t be up on child abuse charges for making your book available and accessible to people.

What is your greatest challenge when writing a book? Do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?
When I get so involved in the story that it breaks my heart to write a particular scene. There’s one scene in See You in Hell that made me tear up every time and there’s a couple in the sequel, Mel Goes to Hell, that leave me absolutely bawling. Oh, and not just when I write them, either ? even when I go back to proofread those scenes. I don’t give spoilers, so I’ll have to leave it a mystery as to which scenes those were.
As for tips on how to make the journey easier, keep a box of tissues handy on the desk, write those scenes when there’s plenty of time for your red, swollen eyes to shrink back to normal and listen to your characters.
Except if the character is Lucifer and he’s telling you it’s a good idea for him not to wear any pants for this scene. My advice is to tell him to go to Hell.

 


About The Book
A devilishly hot CEO. The angelic new office temp. A match made in Heaven or Hell?

Melody Angel takes a job as a temp at the HELL Corporation. Surrounded by eternal bureaucracy gone mad, demons who love making life miserable, and dying for a decent coffee, it may take a miracle for Mel’s mission to succeed. She must find out what evil plans Lucifer and his minions have in store and stop them, using any means necessary.
Adding trouble and temptation to Mel’s job is Luce Iblis, the damnably hot CEO, who has set his smouldering eyes on the new office angel and he’s determined to claim her, body and soul.

Can ultimate evil and angelic perfection escape a limbo of desire and find a paradise of their own?

A tiny taste of what’s in store
“Do you know how long you’ve made me wait?” Luce lifted his chin. “Close the door.”
Mel turned and kicked the door shut with the sole of one shoe. The click of it closing coincided with her eyes meeting Luce’s once more.
“Now strip and get your arse on the desk,” Luce instructed.
Mel stared at him. He couldn’t be serious, could he?
“Every other girl in this building knows how to do as she’s told. Do you know how many girls I’ve had on this desk? You should consider yourself lucky. The last one I had in here was so quick getting undressed that I managed to give her a full fifteen minutes of my time. At this rate, you’ll be lucky to have five.”
Mel became transfixed by the timber desktop. “Did you wipe it clean afterwards?”
“What?” Luce’s face reddened.

 

Mel Goes to Hell series

Welcome to Hell – A Short Story (#1 in the series) – Free Purchase Links Below

Amazon |Amazon UK |Amazon Canada |
Amazon Germany |Amazon Australia |
Apple |B&N |
Kobo |
Smashwords |
Goodreads

See You in Hell (#2)
Mel Goes to Hell (#3) – to be released in July 2014

 

About The Author
Demelza Carlton has always loved the ocean, but on her first snorkelling trip she found she was afraid of fish. She has since swum with sea lions, sharks and sea cucumbers and stood on spray-drenched cliffs over a seething sea as a seven-metre cyclonic swell surged in, shattering a shipwreck below.
Sensationalist spin? No – Demelza tends to take a camera with her so she can capture and share the moment later; shipwrecks, sharks and all.
Demelza now lives in Perth, Western Australia, the shark attack capital of the world.
The Ocean’s Gift series was her first foray into fiction, followed by her suspense thriller Nightmares trilogy. She swears the Mel Goes to Hell series ambushed her on a crowded train and wouldn’t leave her alone.

 

Author Links

Website |
Facebook |Facebook Page |
Twitter |Goodreads |
Amazon Author Page

 

Purchase Links

Amazon |Amazon UK |
Amazon Canada |Amazon Germany |
Amazon Australia |
Apple
|B&N |Kobo
| Smashwords | Goodreads

 

Other books by  Demelza Carlton

Ocean’s Infiltrator

Water and Fire

Ocean’s Gift

How to Have an Amicable Divorce by Lindsay Harper

 

index

How to Have an Amicable Divorce

Have you ever got yourself in so deep you feel like running away and starting a new life?

That’s exactly what wife and artist, Denizon Cartwright felt like doing. After deciding that she couldn’t put up with her unfaithful husband any longer, she leaves him for smooth-talking artist and professor, Damien   Johnson – but she soon learns she’s swapped one liar for another and beats a hasty retreat … only to become entangled with Jay, the ex-lover of her best friend, Robyn.

Could her life get any more complicated?

Yes! A surprise encounter leaves Denizon with an ever-growing list of men falling in love with her.

Her escape route is at hand in the shape of Escuela de Montana d’Armentera, an artistic retreat high up in the Spanish mountains. But her problems only follow, as she discovers.

Will she find true happiness in the Spanish sun or lose everyone she ever held dear?

And is the cost of finding herself too high a price to pay?

 

index1About Lindsay Harper

Lindsay lives in Yorkshire, England with wonderful husband, Paul. She has two grown up children, three young grandchildren, and four springer spaniels! She gave up working full time in 2010 to write and has self-published three metaphysical romances to sell at Mind, Body and Spirit fairs. After having fantastic reviews she decided to embark on her passion – contemporary women’s fiction and now wants to reach a wider audience – hence 5 Prince. When she’s not writing, she’s a homeopath, a dog walker and a DIY enthusiast. For fun she loves Ashtanga yoga, Ascension meditation and the sea – and one day would love to live by it.

How to contact Lindsay Harper

lindsayharper.co.uk

lindsayharperauthor (facebook), @lindsayharper (Twitter)

 

 Excerpt of How to Have an Amicable Divorce

May

Denizon smiled as she saw whose name was flashing up on caller display.

‘Hello love, how’s it going? Are you still having a wonderful time?’

‘Yes brilliant, thanks,’ answered Robyn, her best friend and sister-in-law, speaking from the other side of the world in New Zealand.

‘You’ll be home soon, won’t you? I can’t believe you’ve been there eight weeks already.’

‘Neither can I,’ Robyn paused. ‘In fact, that’s the main reason I’m ringing. I’ve decided to stay.’

‘What? Forever?’ Denizon panicked.

‘No, not forever, silly. Just for four more weeks. Gerald has been invited to spend time at his niece’s new villa on the Cap D’Azur, so I thought I’d take advantage of the extra time off and spend it with my wonderful husband.’

‘I take it it’s still going well?’

‘I can’t believe how well. It’s like being in a new relationship, but better. We’ve fallen in love all over again.’

‘I’m really pleased for you, Rob.’

‘The training is also going better than anticipated and, hopefully, Dave will be finished in about six weeks, so he’ll be coming back to England then. He’ll have to be located in London for another few months, but at least we can spend weekends together … How’s my darling brother?’

Denizon sighed. ‘Chris is fine. He’s been promoted to Crew Manager.’

‘That’s great, isn’t it?’ Robyn asked on listening to her friends sigh.

‘Yes,’ Denizon said tentatively. ‘But he’s been away on two residential courses so far, and he’s got another one coming up.’

‘Let me guess, you’re bored.’

‘I suppose a bit, my best friend is at the other side of the world and my husband is never here.’

‘You’ve got Barney.’

‘I know, but he’s not great with the conversation.’

‘Cheer up, love. You sound like I did a few weeks ago … are you doing much with your art at the moment?’

‘Funny you should mention that. I received a phone call yesterday from the University. The Art Department is looking for tutors to teach a summer school and wondered if I’d be interested.’

‘Well then, that’s something to do,’ Robyn said enthusiastically. ‘Are you going to apply?’

‘I think so, but I’ve never taught before. There’s a training course in a couple of weeks that I could go on to teach me to teach. It would mean I couldn’t have Barney for a couple of weeks.’

‘Well, I’m sure Sarah could cope for two weeks. She leaves him with you enough. It’s only fair you have some time to do what you want, and I think it’d be good for you.’

‘You’re probably right. I’ll ring them back and tell them I’ll do the training course. If I enjoy it, who knows it might lead to something else.’

‘I think that’s great news. You’d be a good teacher.’

‘Thanks, love… hadn’t you better be going? This’ll be costing you a fortune.’

‘I suppose so. I’ll message you next week to arrange a time when we can all get together to Skype.’

‘Oh! Before I forget, Jay and Max were on Breakfast Time this morning talking about Jay’s book,’ Denizon added.

‘I thought he was in America.’

‘He was, but he’s back to do a short book tour round London.’

‘Was he good? I assume Max was.’

‘He was actually, a natural in front of the camera.’

‘It figures! What were they talking about?’

‘About affairs in general and why people have them. Max was defending monogamy and Jay was giving his contrary opinion, sharing his views on being with a partner as long as they make you happy. It was interesting, especially seeing as I know him personally.’

‘Did he mention his partner?’ Robyn asked with an edge to her voice.

‘Only that’s he’s with someone who he’s compatible with.’

‘For now,’ Robyn said scathingly.

‘You sound bitter! You’re not are you?’

‘No, not really. I made my choice as well, and I’m so happy I chose Dave. It’s just that I know his book was written when we were together, and I helped him with a lot of it. I just don’t get any credit.’

‘Don’t start all that again,’ Denizon reprimanded. ‘You’ve got a perfect life now, don’t even think about Jay.’

‘Ay, Ay captain. On that note I’m going now, and we’ll speak next week. Love you, Den.’

‘Love you too, Rob. Take care.’ She placed the phone back in its cradle and smiled. Her friend would never change.

If she was honest, the thought of teaching scared her. Being an artist was a very solitary profession and her own paintings were personal to her. She wouldn’t know how to bring out the best in her students or even if they’d appreciate what she had to say. But Robyn was right – it would be good for her – because not only was she bored, she was lonely.

Without Robyn on the other end of the phone or just round the corner she had nobody. Both her parents had been dead for years, and she was their only offspring. Robyn was the closest thing to a sister she’d ever known, and she totally relied on her for everything. She’d never been one for making friends easily and had gotten so used to her own company all day that sometimes she found it difficult to start conversations. She knew this frustrated her husband, Chris, who was the most gregarious person she had ever met.

She often thought it was why Chris had been tempted to seek out the company of other women throughout their married life and probably why she’d made allowances for that particular trait. Chris loved going out and socialising, whereas she preferred a good book or a black and white film. Robyn had loaned her Dr Max Hammond’s book, “Effective Communication”, and it made her realise that the two of them didn’t have a lot to talk about. She had become infatuated with him at age sixteen and hadn’t really looked at another man until she finally snared him six years ago.

Chris loved her, of that there was no doubt, but she just wasn’t stimulating enough for him, and he wasn’t intellectual enough for her. He was ruled by his body, and she was ruled by her brain. Since her dice with death last year their relationship had been the best it’d ever been. It was the first time since they’d got together she could honestly say she trusted him. But it had been to the detriment of his personality. He no longer went out as much, offering to spend every evening with her. She could see the life slowly seeping out of him as he tried his best to be something he wasn’t.

The recent promotion at work seemed to perk him up slightly and, even though she missed his company, she knew it was best for his sanity. Maybe tutoring would be the incentive I need to make new friends – and going out to work at a real job could, potentially, make me more interesting. It was with that thought she picked up the phone to ring the University and booked herself on the short teacher training course.

Available from 5 Prince Publishing www.5princebooks.com books@5princebooks.com

Genre: Fiction/Romance/Contemporary

Release Date: May 15, 2014

Digital ISBN-10: 1631120441 ISBN-13: 978-1-63112-044-2

Print ISBN-10: 163112045X ISBN-13: 978-1-63112-045-9

Purchase link: http://www.5princebooks.com/buy-links.html

Cover Reveal For Serpent Priestess of the Annunaki

Series: dragon Court series

Genre: Fiction, Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, Legends & Mythology, Fantasy, Historical

Release Date: June 19, 2014

Digital ISBN-10: 1631120522 ISBN-13: 978-1-63112-052-7

Print ISBN-10: 1631120530 ISBN-13: 978-1-63112-053-4

 

Serpent Priestess of the Annunaki

The Annunaki on Nibiru lack precious metals, stones and minerals, which they desire, food on Nibiru is also running low. Their solution: establish a colony on a distant planet teeming with wildlife and vegetation. When the Annunaki discover they are ill equipped to labor under the harsh conditions found on Earth, they create a workforce called humans, a hybrid manufactured from their DNA and a species known as hominid.

The Serpent Priestess Ninkha and her husband Lord Enki are charged with this task, battling not only the challenges faced adjusting to life on Earth, but Enki’s brother, Enlil, as well. Will the humans live as Enki and Ninkha envisioned–able to learn, create and above all, reason? Or will they subjugate themselves to Enlil and his rule willingly?

At stake is the future of the Priestesses of Damuth, who, along with their serpents, service the Annunaki with their own blood, providing those who partake of the cocktail of blood and venom the ultimate in achieving a higher state of consciousness, along with youth, vigour and longevity. If Enlil, whose disdain of them is well-known, wins, what will happen to them?

To protect themselves and their descendants they form the ‘Dragon Court’, but is it enough?

Serpent Priestesses or Witches, Gods or Demons, Aliens or Ancestors, Oppressors or Creators?

Perhaps all of the above…………..

The Ice Goddess b Hannelore Moore

The Ice Goddess

In the bitter winter of 1752, Evangeline Grey is determined to return to London, claim her inheritance, and lead a solitary, uneventful existence. York holds too many sad memories for her now, and she’s ready to leave it behind.

When she finds out that her guardian has designs on her — and her pending fortune — Evangeline manages to escape, but her journey south is fraught with uncertainty and danger. Mourning the murder of her brother, still reeling from her aunt’s recent death, and close to penniless until she finds her way back to London, she’s never been more alone.

And then, on a desolate Northern English moor, she meets a benevolent stranger who changes everything.

Kendall Beaumont is a man running from a few demons of his own. On his way to his home in remote Almsborough, he stops to help the pretty, young runaway. The future seems fairly bleak for the both of them — until he decides to make her an offer she can’t refuse…

Hannelore Moore About Hannelore Moore:

In 2012, Hannelore published a short story in Timeless, a young adult anthology from Cool Well Press. Since then, her work has appeared in The Rusty Nail literary magazine and on the Flash Fiction World website, among other places. In June 2013, she won The Iron Writer Challenge #17. Hannelore is a rabid Anglophile, as you’ll discover when you read her work, and recently published her first novel, Tower Bridge. You can find more information about her on Hannelore’s Happenings (http://hanneloreshappenings.blogspot.com/)

How to reach Hannelore Moore:

Twitter: @HanneloreMoore1

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hannelore.moore.10

Blog: http://hanneloreshappenings.blogspot.com/

 

Excerpt of The Ice Goddess

1752

Evangeline

I’m worried about my Aunt Caroline. Her laughter is infrequent these days, and she seems to be walking through the house in a sort of haze. Once, in the dining room, I even saw her clutch onto the back of a chair, as though she were steadying herself. When I rushed over to ask what was wrong, she gently held up her hand to prevent any help I might offer and said she was fine; she just hadn’t slept well the night before.

As I stand by the window and stare out into the dull, February afternoon, I have a marvelous hope: perhaps she is with child. That would make her unbelievably happy. She’s always wanted a baby but was never so fortunate with her first husband, Andrew.

I turn to see Gregory walk into the small study, and I smile at him slightly, wondering if he suspects the same thing about his wife. I think he’s surprised by my expression, for it’s rare that I interact with him at all.

After two years, I still can’t get over Gregory’s youth and good looks. He’s so handsome with his chiseled features and pale blue eyes that it’s almost distracting. He wears wool breeches and one of his heaviest dress coats, for the day is exceedingly cold, despite the bright, dancing fire in the grate. He was muttering about the price of perukes the other day – maybe that’s why he’s powdered his own dark-blond hair and pulled it back into a queue. From what I understand, he’s nothing like Andrew Bingham, who was portly and jolly and near sixty when he died. Indeed, in Andrew’s simple, scholarly house, filled with books and maps that I treasure, Gregory sometimes appears at a loss.

I’ve always suspected that he wasn’t too pleased when Em and I came from London to live here. Nevertheless, he’s treated us with kindness — or maybe a better word is indifference. For some reason, though, my brother has openly showed disdain towards him ever since we arrived in York. Em never told me exactly why Gregory bothered him so, but perhaps he saw or heard things that were kept from me. Then again, Em treats most people scornfully.

Gregory toys with the chess set on the elm tripod table. Lately, I’ve been running into him more often, it seems. That musky cologne he wears always precedes him. He wanders into various rooms when I’m already there or ends up at the stables planning to ride when I’m preparing my own horse for an outing. Right now, he picks up a knight made of veined white marble and studies it absently.

“Would you like to play?” I ask, wishing I were more comfortable with him so I could broach the subject of my aunt. But I can wait. Such news is out in good time.

“Play?” he echoes, looking up at me, and the light in those eyes makes me think he’s talking about something else. There’s a lilt in his voice as he says, “Not just now, Evangeline.”

I nod. It’s probably better, anyway. We had a game once, and I won, easily. Gregory was angry about that, although he tried to pretend otherwise. Em stood in the background, smiling broadly, not attempting in the least to hide his glee over Gregory’s loss.

We can hear the pounding at the front door from here. As surprising and desperate as the summons is, I’m glad of it, for Gregory’s eyes haven’t left me. They’re steady and contemplative. I get nervous when people pay too much attention to me, always thankful for anything that might distract them.

We both step out of the study as Caroline starts down the stairs. Our butler is leading David, the innkeeper’s son, through the entryway. I push Gregory to the back of my mind because too many things about this new scene disturb me. Why is David here, wearing that torn black greatcoat? He set off to Oxford with Em just a fortnight ago to serve as a valet. Em, you see, wouldn’t hear of living on his own without a manservant. The boy is dirty and ragged, quite a different creature from the proud, well-scrubbed assistant we sent south. At that time, he preened in his new clothes, looking as much the proper young man as Em. Even my brother, usually self-absorbed with his own concerns, complimented him on his aplomb.

And then there’s Aunt Caroline, approaching David now, her eyes worried and afraid. She looks terrible. I realize she wasn’t feeling well today, which explains why she decided to rest after dinner, but the malady afflicting her is more than a simple headache. There’s something dreadfully wrong with her. She should have stayed in bed. I know she is too curious, though, and evidently struggled downstairs again to see who was calling. Despite the fact that she wears a loose sack dress, it’s obvious she’s lost weight. Against the dull, snuff-brown linen of her garment, her skin is pale. Not fashionably so, but sallow and waxy and damp with perspiration. I try to convince myself that women appear this way in the first months of their pregnancy, but I give that up quickly enough. My aunt isn’t with child and probably never will be.

She leads David into the withdrawing room. Gregory and I follow, even though I want to run in the opposite direction. Out the front door, to the stables so I can saddle my horse and ride far away from here. I watch, becoming detached, as she tells David to sit before the fire. The boy doubles over in a worn upholstered chair and begins to cry. I don’t want to feel what he’s feeling; I don’t want to know what he’s going to say. After a while, he calms down, for, despite her illness, Caroline’s easy presence soothes him. She has a way of doing that, of making people comfortable.

“Can you tell me now?” she asks in her sweet voice.

David stares at the unadorned, wooden hearth, and then, with dull, heavy words, he relates a story about highwaymen and the Oxford coach. Somewhere south of Nottingham, they blocked its progress. The occupants were mercilessly shot, including Em. Only David managed to escape. It has taken him this long to return to York, and he misses his mother very much — more than he ever thought he would. But before he saw her, before he went home, he wanted to come here to let us know what happened.

I continue to look at David as he speaks, refusing to believe him. Em can’t be dead. Not Em, who has so much planned for himself. He intends to write a great novel, just like Mr. Fielding, his idol. And as long as I can remember, he’s looked forward to teaching at Oxford. He loves poetry and prose and hopes to help others appreciate the beauty of the written word. A mere pistol shot wouldn’t hurt someone like him. His sarcasm and that condescending manner of his make him invulnerable.

“No,” I say to David, almost apologetically. “Not true.”

Gregory steps over and takes my hand in his, but I continue to study David. The boy is wrong. He has to be.

“Do you think I’m making this up?” David says. “Why would I tell such a lie?”

“You’re mistaken.” I shake my head and feel very dizzy all of a sudden. Gregory has to steady me, apparently, by wrapping his arm around my shoulders.

“Have Abby take Evangeline up to her room.” I hear Aunt Caroline say, and the next thing I know, I’m climbing the faded wooden stairs, my lady’s maid at my side. We are at my threshold and then in my room, and it’s so incredibly cold. Abby leads me to my plain bed and I have the presence of mind to sit down on the edge. I stare past her, seeing nothing.

“You must rest.” I hear the catch in her voice and wonder why she would be upset, because it’s obvious that David is wrong.

I nod anyway, to appease her, and allow her to prepare me for bed. The day is gray and never seems to end.

 

Available from 5 Prince Publishing www.5princebooks.com books@5princebooks.com

Genre: Fiction/Romance/Historical

Purchase link : www.5princebooks.com/buy.html

 

Cover Reveal For The Letter Drawer

Cover Reveal
For
The Letter Drawer
Sarah Galloway

6962006_orig

 The Letter Drawer
True love never dies, but is it enough to heal a broken faith?

Claire and Evan met when they were children. They grew up together and fell in love. When Evan became a soldier, he and Claire held onto their love, remaining faithful to one another through every deployment. As the years passed, it seemed that life had given them everything they ever wanted … until tragedy struck.
Evan, left in the wake of tragedies, is now forced to decide what is most precious to him. Will love heal him or will devastation destroy his faith? Can Evan’s family show him the way? Can love truly set him free?

Genre: Fiction, Christian, Romance
Release Date: June 12, 2014