Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Werewolf who loved me? The werewolf in romance novels



Yay, it's Halloween time again. Ghosts, Witches, Zombies, Vampires and Werewolves are in vogue again.

Last year in October, I spent a whole month chatting up the virtues of Vampire romance.  This time, I'm looking at the werewolf cult in romance.  And, as one of my works in progress ( The Gypy's Curse) is a werewolf romance, I thought I might like to give that side of horror romance a chance.

Normally, I'm not into the whole werewolf as a lover idea.  A line from a movie sticks out in my head,  "Why does it smell like wet dog in here?" It's from the movie Van Helsing, starring Hugh Jackman. It was a fun story and had monsters in it, Vampires and Werewolves. The line was said when one of the characters walked into a room that a werewolf had just vacated, and smelled the air. The werewolf had just come in from the rain.  It's funny, and if you have dogs, big dogs, you totally get that line!

The movie is campy, not really a serious horror movies. But, Hugh Jackman is lovely in this role as the monster fighting machine, Van Helsing. The monsters are funny, not scary. The vampires especially are silly and melodramatic, but that's the appeal of this mock horror adventure.  Check it out.

All kidding aside, however, America seems to be in love with werewolf heroes.  Look at the popularity of Twilight, and Trueblood. We have teen werewolves and adult werewolves, and the female population drooling over them.

Jacob from Twilight was enough to make the girls swoon, and add to that the Native American legends about being in the wolf clan, and the werewolf as a romance hero was reborn. Remember the whole Team Edward vs. Team Jacob thing a few years back? I do, as I worked at a local library and it was something my young teen patrons would bring up when checking out the series. I'd ask them which team they were on, and they'd happily tell me.

 
Teen wolf updated for a new generation!
Jacob Black was noble to a fault. He loved Bella, but her heart belonged to Edward. I felt sad for him, and the storyline intensified as he began to brood and become a deeper character.  In the book, he does go off on his own for a time, goes totally wolf and disappears off grid.  Then he comes back, after sort of making peace with himself and his wolf side. My only complaint is the ending, where he is in love with Bella's kid. That was a weird twist that I don't care for. But . . . moving along. 


The allure isn't just in the young adult movies, it's also in the hot very Adult series Trublood, as they added some werewolves to the mix fairly quickly in the typically all vampire series.   If you haven't met Alcide, here you go . . . . he's a hottie, and has the southern Louisana charm you can't resist. Like Jacob in Twilight, Alcide is completely noble and honorable. He is Sooki's friend at first, and then they become lovers. He protects her.  She could hardly resist him. Could you?


Now then,  fantasy aside, I'm a little confused by the werewolf love cult.   When I think of a big hairy man beast coming at me, I'm not exactly turned on. More like, I'm going . . .  eeew! This image below is the werewolf from Van Helsing, a sort of mix between the man and beast, and it's not really appealing as a romantic figure.  What do you think?



This isn't sexy, not really. It's sort of scary. Get an eyeful of those teeth, ladies. French kiss anyone. And if you thought your present boyfriend was hairy, this dude is hardly an improvement. This is a Man-Beast.  Half man, half wolf.  I don't find it at all romantic.  

So, what's the allure here?  I think, with the Werewolf romance genre, we are more in love with the idea of a man transforming into a wolf . . . . yes, as in walks on four legs, is majestic looking and beautiful, dangerous . . . 



This image is definately more of a romanticized ideal for a werewolf hero, don't you think?
A wolf is mysterious, strong, dangerous, and feral. He'll kill the enemy, attack, not slink away like a wuss. We liken them to our pet dogs, who are faithful and loyal, even though they are wild. The idea of taming such a magnificent creature is part of the appeal. The werewolf as hero trope in literature has morphed into a romanticized version that lovers of the paranormal romance genre adore.  And with this handsome animal at your side, you feel safe, protected, and loved. When you want to kiss him and be intimate, he can always morph back into his human form  .  . . . and it's all good......


 Werewolf love.  It's a mysterious affliction, being loved by a man who can transform into an animal, a very hairy animal.  It's Halloween, so let's let our fantasies loose, and enjoy a good Werewolf love story.  

I was introduced to the werewolf as romance hero several years ago, and here are a few of my favorite werewolf romance reads. Ronda Thompson had a series called The Wild Wulfs of London, a trilogy about three brothers who were cursed to become wolves.  It was set in the regency period, and it was my first introduction to the werewolf love stories.  They are delightful stories, and they are on my desert island keeper shelf. I bought the print copies in 2006-2007. They are rare finds, unusual stories, and worth keeping!

I'll talk more about the werewolf romance genre, and these delish lads the Wild Wulfs of London, in the next week's  Tuesday post. Its Halloween, let's celebrate Surpernatural love!



If you are curious about this wonderful, well written series by Ronda Thompson, here is the buy link for Amazon. I dare you, fall in love with a noble werewolf!  The Dark One on Amazon.com

Next time, I'll talk more about these three brothers, Armond, Jackson and Gabe, and the werewolf romance genre. I'll also talk about the original wolf man a little bit. So, until then, happy reading!



Sunday, October 19, 2014

Serial Sundays: The Gypsy's Curse, Chapter 18 continued,

For those just joining the story, you can start at the beginning if you wish by clicking this link: Presenting Rough Draft Sundays; The Gypsy's Curse serial romance

Each week I have posted a new chapter or scene of the story in progress. It's your chance to see a rough draft of a story straight from the writer's pen.





The Gypsy's Curse, Chapter 18 continued,
Copyright Lily Silver, 2013
Zara’s heart stopped. She was being probed, tested. Did St. John know her secret? Did he suspect she was the very same gypsy woman wanted for questioning over in Lexford? If he did, he was not making too much of it, just hinting that she might have Romany blood. Still, she couldn’t seem to breathe for a moment, as she waited for his response to Maggie’s outburst.
“So they do.” He said, flippantly, and without rancor. “But so do the Mullatos and Quadroons of the Indies, Maggie my girl. They learn fortunetelling from their African ancestors. Along with Voodoo spells and nonesuch. Now, I bid you ladies goodnight.”
He made a courtly bow to Zara, once more making her wonder at his behavior. Kind and respectful one moment, and cunning as a fox with his clever speech the next.
“Thank you, sir.” She said, relieved to have moved on from the subject of gypsy fortune telling to the traditions of the West Indian peoples. “I assure you, I’ve not learned any such magic as Voodoo, my maman strictly forbade such practices in our home. Even the servants were not permitted to practice their pagan ways under our roof.”
“Papist, then?” St. John replied, his brow arching at the question.
“I beg your pardon?” Zara murmured, taken aback by his odd turn of phrase. It sounded like an accusation. “I do not know what you are implying, sir?”
“Papist, your French relations in Martinique were of Catholic persuasion, I presume.”
“Ah . . . . yes. Yes.” Zara responded, fearing she’d just given up the game with her blunder. “Of course. I thought you said Pacifists, sir.”
He made an odd wave of his hand. “Papist, Pacifist. Yes, I do see the confusion.”
His words, while strong and clear, lacked a certain confidence, giving her to believe that he was not fooled by her mistake.
“The islands are astir with rebellion, sir.” Zara added, quoting Jason Leeds, the widow’s nephew, who gave it as his reason for fleeing the Indies recently in the hope of residing with his Aunt Kendall. She hoped that her knowledge of the situation, knowledge gleaned by listening to another’s conversation, would strengthen her claim in his mind of being recently arrived from the Indies. “There are those among the colonists who seek to defend of the slave trade while slaves, freed Negroes and abolitionists are planning rebellions in every colony. People such as my aunt and uncle are caught in the middle. They detest slavery but seek a peaceful end instead of violent means. My aunt and uncle wanted me safely away in England in the event another brutal uprising took place in our area as it did in Demerara this past summer.”  
“I read of it in the newspapers. A brutal event. Most unfortunate that it occurred mere months after a resolution was introduced in the House of Commons condemning slavery as repugnant to the principles of the British constitution and calling for its abolition throughout the British colonies.” St. John conceded. “Your relations were wise to send you away as a precaution. I wager that many islands will seek to emulate the Haitian and the Demerain uprisings. I understand that Demerara is still under marshal law. However, you are from a French colony, are you not? Martinique?”
His pointed question, along with his raised brows, unsettled her. “Yes.” She replied, determined not to let his exacting questions confound her, at least not on the surface. “If you have been to the Indies, sir, you would know the islands are clustered together, mere miles apart, despite the mix of nations. One island teeming with unrest affects the neighboring ones.”
“Ah, you speak the truth.” St. John conceded in an odd tone. His words confirmed his belief in her reply, and yet  . . .  and yet . . . the tone of them was not comforting. There was a peculiar lilt in his voice that made her uneasy.  “Good night, my fair one. Sleep well in my fortress, far from the stirrings of mob revolt.” He bowed again to Zara, and then withdrew.  
*    *    *

The morning light filtering through her window looked frosty. The trees were draped in white.  The snow came in the night, a heavy snow she gathered as she studied the black tree limbs contrasted by a layer of glaring white. Downy, feather-like flakes continued to fall from the cold grey skies. The window panes were trimmed in white drifts.
Zara shivered as she thought of the cold north wind and the wetness of the snow as it would cling to her skirts and dampen them if she were still trying to run from the villagers. She was grateful to be inside a stone fortress, tucked in a warm bed, with a fire crackling in the hearth. Maggie bustled about the room with a youthful energy that Zara envied. The medicine the doctor left for her had made her feel dull and tired. She disliked the feeling, as it hindered her ability to remain alert to her surroundings. Still, the ache in her ankle was enough that to go without the medicine brought a different distraction of the mind.
“The snowfall is exciting, isn’t it!” Maggie exclaimed, bouncing happily about the room with her flaming red braid flapping behind her back. She dashed from one window to the next, gazing out with a joy that was mystifying to Zara. “I just love the first snowfall, don’t you?” The freckled face turned to her from the frosty window, and Maggie’s eyes grew large. “Oh, sorry, Miss.”
Zara couldn’t help but smile in return. Maggie was a cheerful girl, even as a servant, she brought with her a fresh sense of wonder to everything she did. “I have seen snow before.”
Maggie’s lips formed a perfect O shape. She continued to gape at Zara with amazement.
“Why does the first snowfall excite you?”
“It’s near Christmastide, that’s why!” Maggie jumped down from her perch at the stone window casement. “And that means all kinds of good things coming our way. Special baked treats, decorating the house, and family . . .”  The red head bowed and the girl became silent as she looked down at her shoes, her lips trembling.
“What is it?” Zara asked gently, seeing the mistiness in the girl’s eyes. “Christmastide brings sadness to families?” It hardly seemed a reason to cheer.
“No, Miss.” Maggie mumbled, crossing the room to stab at the fire in the hearth with a poker. “This is the first Christmas I should be without family. Mama’s been gone for a few years, but my father, he was always there.”
“Your father has passed away?” Zara asked, careful in her wording as she knew it was a painful question to ask the girl.
“I don’t know. He’s missing, they aren’t sure if he’s dead or just . . . . lost.”
“Tell me more of this Christmastide you speak of. A winter festival of some sort?”

The shoulders raised little, and the head bent so low rose just inches. Wide blue eyes of astonishment.  “You’ve never had a Christmas?”  Copyright Lily Silver, 2013

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A New Book Released and A New Look for A Christmas Story

 

 

Hello Everyone,
I'm excited, as I now have my 8th fiction book released in the stores!  It is release day and I'm ready to do the happy dance.  A new release means many things to an author. It's sort of like giving birth after having a stomach the size of Texas. There is exhaustion, relief, joy, and a feeling of emptiness in the region where your baby took up residence for many months. 

It's like sending your youngest kid off to college, and then you look around the house and think, 'now what do I do?'.  I have plenty to do, as I'm about to start the sequel to my time travel romance, Some Enchanted Waltz, I have to finish The Gypsy's Curse, and I have several other writing projects that need my attention. But for now, I'm in the mood to celebrate and sit back like a new mother and just admire my newest baby. 



I've felt exhilarated, nervous, lost, uncertain, and happy, all in the space of a few days.  So, without further ado, here is an excerpt from my newest work,  Gallant Rogue. Released 10/15/2014---that's Today!!!
Background:  Chloe is in Jack's cabin, it's late at night. He's teaching her the art of swordplay. And yes, they are in their pajamas or what you'd call them back in 1808. Actually, Chloe is wearing Jack's shirt as her nightgown is too long and billowy for sword play. They've shared a brandy, and now Chloe's mind is not on the weapon in her hand . . .  it's on her handsome instructor.

     Excerpt from Gallant Rogue:  Copyright Lily Silver, 2014
“Don’t hold it like that.” Jack moved in, sidling up against her from behind as she hoped. He placed his hand on her wrist. “Your sword must be an extension of your arm. You don’t drop your arm, do you?”
       It was too much to bear. Chloe wanted the game to be over. Enough of swords and proper stance; she wanted him to kiss her again. She had her opponent close. She must not lose him again. She leaned forward slightly so her backside was more pronounced. She lifted her sword arm, making him have to lean in to reach up and follow her arm’s unsteady movement. When he was in place, she did that terrible, wicked thing. She wiggled her backside against him.

       It was a small movement. 

       A subtle movement. One that would change the game between them significantly.

      “Chloe,” he murmured, his voice gritty and coarse. His hands moved to her waist. He was holding her about the belly, his hands palmed against her flesh.
      She straightened and leaned back against his frame. “Jack.”
      “What are you doing?”
      “Surely, a man of your years knows the answer to that?”
His breath caressed her neck when he answered her, raising gooseflesh and anticipation as she waited for him to kiss the back of her neck. “You know what I mean, woman. This isn’t a game.”
      “I am a woman. You are a man, an attractive man.”

      “You’ll regret it in the morning. This is not like you.’

      “How do you know if this is or isn’t like me?” she asked, lowering the sword and putting her free arm across his as it bracketed her waistline. “I am not a maid unacquainted with the lover’s dance.” 

Jack’s lips were close to her ear as he pressed against her in the way she intended. “It’s the brandy, darling. Lowers the drawbridge over the moat, drops the guard."  Copyright Lily Silver, 2014



Chloe and Jack deserve each other, but each one is tip-toeing around the other one, trying to decide if they should follow their feelings instead of their head.  That's romance for you, attraction to the person who is the opposite of what you think you need, or where you are headed in life.  

And on to other news ...... A new cover for an older book, one published last year around Christmas time. I've updated the cover for Christmas at Ravencrest, the short story that takes place just after the end of Dark Hero, (1st in the Reluctant Heroes Series), and features the newlyweds first Christmas together at Ravencrest Estates. 



This book is part of a trilogy, featuring three women at one house party: the bride, the widow and the companion (FYI Chloe's Christmas story is pre Gallant Rogue, before she was wed "A Christmas Kiss", back when Chloe was a paid companion to the Countess du Rochembeau).  I will be updating the cover of A Christmas Kiss soon.

Thanks for visiting, and come back again soon.  

Lily Silver, Author and free spirit







Sunday, October 12, 2014

Serial Sundays: The Gypsy's Curse Chapter 18





For those just joining the story, you can start at the beginning if you wish by clicking this link: Presenting Rough Draft Sundays; The Gypsy's Curse serial romance

Each week I have posted a new chapter or scene of the story in progress. It's your chance to see a rought draft of a story straight from the writer's pen.




The Gypsy's Curse, Chapter Eighteen


Copyright Lily Silver, 2013
Several days passed without Zara having a visit from her mysterious host.
She was relieved and a tad disappointed by his absence.
More than a little disappointed, if truth be told. Her uneasiness over his determined hospitality remained. Yet, the longer he remained aloof the more she wished he would pop in to visit her.
Maggie was friendly, but a bit annoying when it came to talking. In the three days following her injury, Zara had been left almost exclusively to the girl’s care, save a few brief visits from the housekeeper to check her progress.
“Is his lordship still in residence?” Zara asked the older woman when she came bearing the evening meal on a tray.
“Yes, Miss. He’s about his business, catching up on the estate worries after his two year absence. And he’s not a lord, mind you. He’d be quick enough to correct you on that score. He’s Mr. St. John.”  Annie’s tone was brusque, but not combative. She sounded tired. She arranged the tray on Zara’s lap and then sat in the chair next to the bed for a few moments, the very place Maggie had vacated in her hurry to go down to the kitchen for her dinner. The housekeeper picked up the mending project her charge was engaged in, frowned at it, and set it aside with a pensive sigh. “How are you faring with our young lass? She’s not a bother to ye, I should hope?”
“Maggie has been a blessing.” Zara returned, unwilling to utter the slightest criticism of the energetic girl. Maggie had been kind to her, kinder than most of the Gadje she encountered.
“Has Mr. St. John planned to stay here long?” Zara inquired. “I should hope if he does he would hire more maids to ease your labors.”  She smiled at the older woman, hoping to gain her trust.  “Maggie might help you more. I told St. John I did not need a constant companion.”
Annie’s quick chuckle said it all. “Oh, wearin’ on you a bit, our Maggie? She’s a good un, but a bit too full of herself after the master picked her up out of the gutters and promised her a position as a maid here.”  A sour look replaced the woman’s passing mirth. “Ach, and raisin’ her to be a lady’s maid! Why I never—“ Annie’s hiss of distaste echoed in the silent room.
Zara’s hand stilled in mid-air as she was about to tip the glass of fresh milk. She glanced at her visitor. “She’s a good girl. She does as she’s told.”
“Ach, that’s my point, Miss. She’s a girl, too green and raw to be pretendin’ to be something as high and fine as a lady’s maid. Those in service train for years, mind you, before they’ve been given such a high honor. And she . . . why she’s barely here a week and she’s given the job. I told him it weren’t right, but St. John will do as he pleases, that much I know.”
“I am not a true lady.” Zara confessed. “If that makes any difference.”
“Aye, and thank heaven for that!” Annie replied as she stood with a grim face and fisted her hands in her apron. “We endured more airs and uppity nonsense than we cared to when Mrs. St. John was with us. Didn’t like our common country ways.”
Zara was surprised by the woman’s angry manner.  “I’m only here for a short time, until my ankle heals and I can travel again. I won’t trouble you for long, Annie.”
“You are no trouble, Miss Jennings. You’re a blessing in disguise.”
“I beg your pardon?” Zara gasped, nearly choking on the bite of boiled carrots she’d been trying to swallow.
“A pretty girl under his roof, why, tis just the thing to snap him out of his despair.” The woman winked at Zara, giving her a mischievous smile as she bolted for the door.
After Annie left, the clock ticking on the mantle marked the slow progress of minutes. Much as she savored the silence in Maggie’s absence, Zara found being bed ridden a trial. She had been reading much of the time and even read aloud to Maggie in the evenings. She was tired of reading. Tired of long days marked only by the meals brought to her on a tray and the endless chatter with a fourteen year old girl. She wished she could don her boots and go for a walk in the cool evening air, breathe in the fresh, crisp late autumn air and smell the decaying leaves and moist earth. The wind rattled the window panes. A storm was coming. The blustery days of November were nearly behind them. December would bring snow and cold. She wished she might enjoy the autumn breeze once more before the snows covered the woods and blanketed the scents of moss and pine beneath the icy dew.
A brisk knock on her door made her start. Maggie didn’t knock, not anymore as they shared the room. She came and went as she wished, with adolescent ease. “Come in.”
The very man she longed for sight of poked his head in the door. “Care for a company, Miss Jennings? A little bird told me you were restless in our care. I thought a little diversion might be in order.”
Zara blinked at his words. Diversion. She was not certain she understood the word. 
“Fun.” St. John insisted as he entered the room with a wooden board under his arm. “A game of cards or would you prefer chess? I can retrieve a chess board if you prefer it.”  He set the green flannel board on the side table and extracted a deck of playing cards from his pocket. “I’ll leave the door open, so all is proper. Maggie will be back shortly to watch over us. What shall it be, cards or chess?” His eyebrows arched expectantly.
“I’ve never learned chess.” She murmured. Zara knew a few simple card games the Widow Kendall taught her to pass the time. “Cards, but I’m limited as far as that goes, too.”
He smiled at her. Zara’s heart blossomed with warmth in response.
“That’s an easy remedy.” St. John said in a casual tone. “What do you know?”
“Sheep’s head.”
“Ah, a very good way to pass the time.” He smirked. “Especially on board a sailing ship. Is that where you learned the game?”
His offhanded tone did not fool Zara. She knew what he was about. Fishing, he was, trolling for information about her whilst trying to appear casual. 
“My dear old aunt taught me when I was a girl.” She replied. “I doubt sailors would play such an innocent game, sir. At any rate, I was not privy to their leisure activities below decks.”
St. John nodded. After pulling a small table close to her reach, he sat in the chair opposite her and concentrated on shuffling the cards for a few moments. Zara watched his long, lean fingers as they deftly mixed the stack and started dealing the first hand. “Of course not.”
The first hand was dealt and played. Zara took the trumps. He shuffled again, and then handed her the deck, expecting her to deal the next hand. She did so and then studied her cards to determine which ones to discard. Her eyes kept darting up and over the cards to the man across from her. She couldn’t help it. He frightened her and intrigued her at the same time. A handsome man, but a man who had the ability to change his shape to that of a wolf.
Could one trust such a man?
“Oh, Sir?” Maggie came upon them and stopped short. She looked confused, as if she thought it peculiar that her employer would sit at a woman’s bedside playing cards in the evening when he had better things to be about. “Does Annie know you are here?”
St. John’s brow furrowed. “Should she?” He shot back with irritation. “I am the owner of the abbey, last time I checked.”
“Yes, sir.” Maggie curtsied and rolled her lips. “I meant, being Miss Jennings is . . . um. . . . well . . . um . . .”
“Lonely?” He finished with a hopeful tone when the girl stammered. “Bored, neglected? Yes, precisely. I should like her to have some pleasant way to pass the time, and so as her host, I’m endeavoring to rescue her from the doldrums, as any good fellow would do. Now, then, do you know how to play sheepshead, Maggie?”
“Of course I do. Da taught me years ago.”
Amused, St. John gestured to the chair across the room, at the vanity. “Well, then, pull up a chair beside us. Next hand, we’ll deal you in.”
That was all the encouragement the girl needed. Zara was pleased that he indulged the child, as it revealed a kindly nature, despite his often gruff demeanor with the staff. Maggie played well, and even won several hands. The evening moved swiftly. As the clock struck ten, St. John looked about with surprise, as if he did not note the passage of time.
“I say, tis late, Miss Jennings. I shall take my leave of you and bid you rest well.” He stood, and fingered the neat stack of cards on the table. “I’ll leave these here, for your amusement. If you grow bored, you might pass the time with reading the future in the cards.”
There it was again, the subtle hint that he was looking for information from her.
“I do not know what you mean, sir.” Zara replied, with all honestly. She did not learn the gypsy way of reading the fortune of another with a deck of playing cards. She could plead innocence without lying on that account.
“Well, I hear some young ladies from your island home know that trick. My mistake.”

“The gypsies do that.” Maggie piped up, almost with an indignant tone. “Everyone knows the gypsies read the cards and tell a person’s fortune.”
Copyright Lily Silver, 2013 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

New Release! Gallant Rogue now available

 

 

Hello everyone, 

I've been very distracted lately. I've been so distracted that I've had little time to check in here or do much online.  The reason is a good one, a great one in fact. I've finally finished my 6th full length novel, the 5th full length historical novel, and the third in my series, Reluctant Heroes!  Wow that was a mouth full  

That's my 6th full length novel , as I have two Christmas short stories available. 

That's my 5th historical romance novel, as I have four others available, plus a contemporary romance (The Rock Star Next Door).  They are in order: 

                Dark Hero

                Some Enchanted Waltz

                Bright Scoundrel

                The Widow' Christmas Wish

And it's the third story in the Reluctant Heroes Series!  

                Dark Hero is number 1

                Bright Scoundrel is number 2

                Gallant Rogue is number 3 

 

This has been a long time coming:  the book took me a year and a half to finish.  Then it was sent to the editor, and then I had to wait for it to be returned, fix edits, than have it formatted for ebooks and print!  So, join me in this awesome celebration, a big moment in my otherwise quiet life; the final release of Gallant Rogue. 

Pre-order Gallant Rogue now on Amazon.com

What's it about, well, it's about a woman trying to run away from her past. She's the illegitame daughter of a Spanish man and a slave. Her father was the plantation steward and had a love affair with her mother.  She's scorned as a bastard, as the grand-daughter of a Voodoo priestess, and because she married another bastard of mixed blood, the former plantation owner's son, Gareth O'Donovan.

 

Chloe was Elizabeth Beaumont's friend and her paid companion in Dark Hero. She married Gareth O'Donovan and had nine years of wedded bliss. Her romance with Gareth was in the short story, A Christmas Kiss.

Well, it's ten years later, and Chloe is now a widow. She's tired of living at Ravencrest estates, where her friend and patroness is happily married and surrounded by children. She's lonely, and yet, she's scorned by those outside the plantation house as a bastard child of mixed blood. She decides to strike out on her own and search for her father's relative in Spain. She's hoping to pass herself off as a lady there, or at least as legitmate. Her uncle Miguel is a Spanish Marquis, and so her hopes are high that she can re-invent herself in a land where no one knows her secrets. There's just one problem with this plan, Spain is on the brink of war with France. Of course, as the inhabitants of Ravencrest Plantation live in the West Indies, they can hardly be aware of the turmoil simmering in Spain at the moment. Chloe sets sail for Spain, with Captain Rawling as her escort and protector. 

 

Jack Rawlings has always admired Chloe. He had intended to court her years ago, but someone else beat him to the punch and married her before he could make his interests known to the lovely Miss Ramirez. Now, he's charged with protecting her as they sail to Spain. Jack is pulled apart by his feelings for her, as he realizes that the lovely widow, Chloe O'Donovan, is not the simple maid he had admired and wished to wed a decade earlier. She's become a diamond of the first water, cultured and educated, and he feels he is beneath her.   Jack has a tragic history: he loved a lady and lost her in a horrible situation. His fiancee was captured by Barbary Pirates years ago, and murdered. He was supposed to deliver the ransome, but he arrived too late only to learn she had been murdered. He couldn't forgive himself, and turned to piracy. That's where he met his ally Donovan Beaumont. Together, they terrorized ships in the East Indies as Black Jack and the Raven.  Since then, he lost his wealth through gambling, his ship, and much of his self respect. He needs to rescue a lady, desperately, to make up for having failed his lady years ago. Chloe's in luck, as he's just the man to keep her from harm.

 

  When they arrive in Spain, all is not well. Chloe's uncle is missing. They set out in search of him, and encounter bandits and French troops.  Jack must protect her at all costs. He's determined in his quest, and will not rest until she is safely delivered to her uncle.  But when they arrive at the villa near the sea, they find that Uncle Miguel's life of priviledge is about to end. He's the prisoner of French soldiers, suspected of being in league with the Spanish militia hiding in the hills. Worse for it, the French Captain has evil designs on Chloe. Can Jack save her and her uncle? Will they escape the powder keg of revolutionary Spain, or will they all become victims of French retaliations?    

Goya's Third of May, 1808, French Soldiers shot Spanish citizens in retaliation for their rebellion. 

 I am excited about this new book. I was inspired by the storyline through art history, Goya's painting about real life events of the Spanish revolution against the French occupation, in The Third of May, 1808, and also by the PBS series, Sharpe's War.  So, for the last year and half, I've had my mind in 19th century Spain.  

  
Sean Bean as Officer Richard Sharpe

 The Sharpe Series, written by Bernerd Cornwell, is about a British Officer, Richard Sharpe, who had many adventures in Europe during the Napoleonic Wars.  Many of the novels have been made into a television series, with much of the action taking place in Spain when England stepped in to fight with the Spanish to push off the French. This took place a little later than my story, Gallant Rogue, as the British only stepped in the summer of 1808, and fought for years to free Spain from the French occupation.  I watched the Sharpe's series a bizillion times to get a feel for Spain in this time period, and because Sean Bean is such a hottie I could see my dear Captain Jack Rawlings being like him!  

Sharpe with sword drawn and his men at his back

 Sharpe was a rifleman during that war. He led his troops into the Spanish interior and had many adventures. If you love historical dramas, this is an excellent series to watch. I'm addicted, and yes, Sharpe has some romance enter his life, too! 

Yes, a yummy hero, and the inspiration for Jack Rawlings!

Sharpe and his men spent years in Spain. Sharpe even married a Spanish woman, a very fiesty woman who was a member of the secret Spanish Militia. She was a spy for the militia and helped the British get past the French troops. Like I said, this TV show is addicting, and you'll have countless hours of enjoyment in it if you like historical sagas with action, adventure, and romance. You can get it online, or at your library in the U.S.

Here we have Mr. & Mrs. Sharpe, his Spanish wife.

What's Next?  I'm finishing The Gypy's Curse, (serialized here), writing the sequel to Some Enchanted Waltz, and planning a fourth Reluctant Heroes novel in 2015,  Noble Assassin.  I've lots to keep busy with, and writing is my joy, my bliss, my reason for being. Please join me in visiting Spain in 1808, and the star-crossed lovers, Chloe (Ramirez) O'Donovan, and Captain Jack Rawlings. These two were support characters in Dark Hero, and now they have their own romance story, fraught with danger and adventure.  

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Serial Sunday: The Gypsy's Curse Chapter 17

 

 

For those just joining the story, you can start at the beginning if you wish by clicking this link: Presenting Rough Draft Sundays; The Gypsy's Curse serial romance

Each week I have posted a new chapter or scene of the story in progress. It's your chance to see a rought draft of a story straight from the writer's pen.

 

The Gypsy's Curse, Chapter 17: 



Stephan was no stranger to the werewolf myths. His old nanny, a superstitious Welsh woman, had told lilting tales to her charges regarding the Loup Garou who inhabited these forest lands for centuries. He’d not believed them, not until he’d reached adolescence, the mysterious changes began in his body as he reached sexual maturity. The mental absences, the frustration and angst were breeding grounds for the dark forces at work in him. A wolf had been the emblem of the owners of the estate, the ones who had lived here for centuries and been forced to sell to his father twenty years ago.
Stephan had begun sleepwalking when he was ten years old, shortly after their move here from London. He’d been found wandering the woods at dawn more than once by his father and the male servants. And he’d told them of a wolf, a large, black and silver wolf with one brown eye and one blue, chasing him as he ran through the woods in the gray light of dawn. He claimed to have been bitten by the beast, even recalled the incident so clearly he thought it wasn’t a dream. But then his father had informed him that wolves were rare in England due to centuries of hunting them. His father also pointed out that it was unlikely one would bite him in the hand and yet not kill him. Why would a wolf let him live, his parent asked in a patient tone. A real wolf would tear him to shreds, not gently nip his hand, and thus his father scolded him for spinning a fantastic story when in reality one of the stable hounds had nipped him for teasing it.
He wanted to believe his father’s explanation. He convinced himself that his father was right. He managed to convince himself that his father’s story was real and his own childish impressions were just silly dreams and fanciful fantasies conjured up by scary stories told by an old superstitious country woman. It worked, until he reached puberty, until the changes came over him during the full moon. By that time he was smart enough to not speak to his father about wolves with odd, unmatched eyes stalking a lost boy in the woods. He was wise enough to keep his own twisted existence a secret.
It was his mother who believed him, who knew of the curse. She came to him privately and explained the curse to him, the curse of her ancestors. His father never knew. The Moorlands didn’t tell anyone, only their own who were affected by the curse. His mother, and his maternal grandfather, had taken him under their wing and given him private instruction regarding his affliction.
Stephan learned to control the beast. Even at university he was able to sneak away during the full moon to roam the woods of the region and then climb back into his window by first light and into his bed. The boy he shared a room with slept like the dead, a fat, dull boy who was the son of a wealthy accountant. Even if Willy did suspect him of sneaking out at night, he’d never had the guts to tell the headmaster, as Stephan had helped his slower roommate with his exams. If Willy told on Stephan, he’d have to leave school or be expelled when Stephan revealed his own duplicity. Willy graduated, and so had Stephan, moving on to the responsibilities of manhood. They kept each other’s secrets.
Stephan sat down on the empty stone windowsill. He breathed in the crisp, damp autumn air and exhaled with vehemence, as if to clear his mind and his heart of all the tangled clutter of the past four years. He learned to roam the forest in his beast form and come home by way of the secret passage that led into the Abbey from the woods. It was an escape route built by the monks during the time of the Vikings, a secret tunnel with entrances from various rooms that ensured the safety of the community when under attack. The monks could either hide within the walls or escape into the woods through the passage that lead to the ravine.
From his perch, he studied the landscape of the ruined chapel. The silence around him soothed his tortured soul. The birds trilled, and the wind rustled the branches in the bare trees.  Snow was coming soon. He could sense it in the wind. The ground was cold, the snow would stay. So far, there had been a light dusting that melted in the sunlight. Today, the rain was clinging to the bark of the trees and adding stiffness to the discarded leaves on the forest floor. Tonight, it would freeze. He heard the passage of a stag nearby. He did not have to look to know that it passed the chapel just footsteps from his perch. He could smell the beast, as the primitive part of him came to the fore. He could almost taste it’s blood.
Steady, now. Calm. No anger, no lust. No lust for blood. Hot, sweet, spicy blood fresh from the kill . . . .
“Argggh!”  He groaned, his teeth clenched as his temples throbbed and his vision blurred.
The change was coming upon him, in the light of day, in the middle of the chapel. He couldn’t stop it.
Stephan dropped to his knees. He heard the stag’s quick retreat through the crunching wet leaves. He heard the sound of his own agony as his skin rippled and burned.
The smell that came to him was unlike any other he had ever encountered. Strong, pungent, taunting him to his core. It was the smell of death, the smell of life, rolled into one.
His fingers were disappearing. His teeth ached and burned. He writhed and rolled on the wet forest floor. Leaves stuck to him, their cold, damp rough texture as they crinkled beneath his weight brought reality back to him as he struggled to control his form. It was possible to stop the change, but it took every drop of strength and focus to do so.
The rage. That was his downfall. Rage brought the beast.
Sarah. He thought of Sarah, her big green eyes, her soft, angular face. Those large eyes observing him with worry. Stephan closed his eyes. His breathing was harsh, the feel of his own breath on his cheek icy cold as the steam emerged from his curled lips. He could fight this, he could. Must remain calm, focus on good things, pleasant things. Sarah Jennings.
The rippling, burning sensation gradually faded away. His fingers felt like fingers once again, curled as they were into the shape of claws. They no longer burned with agony.
“Sarah.” He whispered the name. Was it her true name?
Rolling onto his back, he gazed up into the iron grey sky beyond stark black tree branches. If she were the gypsy girl who was running from the law, she might have assumed another name. Running away. He gasped and sputtered, still attempting to steady his ragged breath. Yes, both of them were running away from something, running from truth, from lies?
He closed his eyes, remembering her scent, her sweet, spicy scent. Rosemary.
Rosemary!
His eyes opened with a new and sudden awareness of their situation.
Yes, she smelled of rosemary. Just like the woman fleeing him in his dreams.
A woman in a white gown, barefoot, running for her life through dark stone corridors. He was chasing her, but not as himself, as the wolf. Her dark hair was long and unbound, her ankles trim as she navigated through the corridor with a speed and sureness of one who knew them well.
The woman in his dreams. The ghost who tantalized him body and soul was none other than Miss Jennings. She’d been hiding in the Abbey all along. That night, he transformed into the wolf, and he chased her through the secret passageway. He chased her all the way to the door leading up into the attic. She closed the door, locked it, and stood on the other side as he scratched and sniffed her essence, his wolf form going made for the scent of the hunt.
Stephan sat up slowly. He brushed the slick, wet leaves from his trousers and his arms.
Yes, and the next day, she fled. She left her hideaway because the wolf frightened her.
Did she witness his transformation?
He thought it a dream. The lovely woman visiting his room at night. The lovely spirit who appeared only after midnight, after he drank himself into a stupor. The kiss . . .  was it real?
The call of hawk above him brought him back to the present. The light was fading fast.
He stood up, and looked around the small open air chapel one last time. This place of betrayal and death. He visited it, and he managed his rage. He managed to stop his transformation. That was something. Either the curse was waning, or he was becoming more adept at controlling himself, as Brisbane said would be the case if he simply applied himself to the task instead of allowing the beast to control him. Brisbane’s brother never mastered his beast, and it was his undoing.
“Sir?” The canny servant appeared just as Stephan thought of him. “Are you well?”
Stephan glanced at the man who stood just outside the stone perimeter of the chapel ruins. “How long have you been there, watching me?”
“A while. I followed you, sir, to assure your well being.”  No apology, no defensiveness, just matter of fact. “You succeeded this time in controlling the beast.”
Stephan didn’t comment. He wasn’t certain about this development. How often did Brisbane follow him during his absences, and for what reason. A man surely did not wish to tangle with a shape shifter, a Loup Garou, a werewolf! Only a very foolish man, or one very wise and powerful, would so. Brisbane was no fool. He came to Stephan with knowledge of the curse, even with the knowledge of his Mooreland ancestry. Brisbane was a kinsmen, a distant one.
“Shall we go back to the abbey, sir? It will be dark soon.” The servant said in a quiet tone. “The damp air is not good for either of us.”
“Not in human form, at any rate.” Stephan murmured to himself as he started to walk back down the path to the manse with Brisbane following him.  
Copyright, Lily Silver, 2014



A Christmas Trilogy

A Christmas Trilogy
3 women; 1 houseparty; 3 different love stories!