Sunday, November 15, 2015

Support Paris with Books that Celebrate Paris!

A moment when the whole world cries for a city.

The City of Love was attacked by terrorists November 13, 2015.  

A few have dubbed this as France's 9/11.  Yes, the images of this attack are graphic and disturbing. It was an attack coordinated to kill and maim people who were at leisure events--innocent citizens at a sports stadium, dining at Paris restaurants and those attending a concert where an American rock band was playing. It was an attack directed at people engaged in Friday night entertainment! It was an attack on youth, as many of the targets in the concert hall were young people out for an evening of fun.  Citizens, not military targets, became the casualities, and we grieve with France this week.


Please remember the victims and their families in your prayers and your intentions.  I was in tears after seeing the video footage of this horrific event. Seeing young people at a concert being forced to run for their lives. Some dragging behind them a friend or loved one who was shot and could not walk or run. The image of young women hanging from outside the window ledges two stories up to avoid being shot like animals will forever haunt me.  

Help where you can: even small contributions add up! 

How can we help, and where can we do it? 

I've joined forces with several other romance authors this weekend to make a difference, to help in time of crisis by donating a portion of our book sales to help the victims and their families in this crisis.

 Update: we now have a landing page which you can view here: 

Romance Books that Celebrate Paris 

 Update:  Our Books that Celebrate Paris authors are donating a portion of our royalties to the French Red Cross for our books sold from November 13th thru December 31st. Shine the light, celebrate Paris and help support the victims and their families in this dark moment.    

Books in this program: 

Her Rules by C.C. MacKenzie

Some Enchanted Dream by Lily Silver 

 Dare Valley Meets Paris Billionaire Series, The Billionaire's Gamble Volume 1 by Ava Miles

Billionaire in disguise by Blair Babylon

The promise of Provence by Patricia Sands

Learning Curves by Olivia Rigal 

What the Heart Remembers by Bette Lee Crosby

  To view these titles with links to buy, please visit our main page; Books that Celebrate Paris

This is not about increasing book sales.  It's not about promoting my books or anyone else's. It's about raising funds for a good cause, and using books we have written that celebrate the joy and beauty of Paris to raise money to help the French. 

Starting on November 13th until December 31st 2013 if you buy Some Enchanted Dream in digital form on any ebook platform, my royalties from sales will all go to the French Red Cross in this time of crisis.

Some Enchanted Dream takes place in Paris, and celebrates the city as a magical place. The story is a time travel that takes place in Paris of 1889 and is a celebration of the wonderful time period and the Paris Exhibition.  For me, Paris is a place of romance, magic and wonder. The city of love.

Let's keep it that way, the City of Love and Romance, not the city of terror. 

As my author peeps and I become more organized I will post the details on our event. Until then, here are links to Some Enchanted Dream for purchase. From this point on, until December 13th, 2015, if not longer, all my earnings from the sale of this book will go to relief and aid to those affected by the Paris crisis. 

Amazon Links:

Some Enchanted Dream USA 

UK link Some Enchanted Dream

Canada Link Some Enchanted Dream

DE link Some Enchanted Dream 

France link Some Enchanted Dream

Spain link Some Enchanted Dream 

Italy link Some Enchanted Dream

ITUNES Link  Itunes Some Enchanted Dream

Kobo Link Some Enchanted Dream 

Nook link Some Enchanted Dream 

I understand if you do not wish to buy a novel as a means of support of the French during this time, but please do donate to a charity directed to aid for the French and the victims of this tragedy somewhere in the coming weeks. Thank you.    

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Jane Austen and Zombies

Sorry, a day late in posting for Halloween.

I couldn't not share this.  If you love Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice, you'll be thrilled to see this next Jane Austen Movie. The movie trailer just became available.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies



For more info check Link to novel on Wikipedia 

FYI, I have not read the book. My husband, a monumental Austen reader (for a man), has and loved it. He keeps telling me I should read it. My kindle is ready to break as it is with books downloaded, so I've not stepped into this one yet.


Yay, another Austenesque Movie. Not by Austen, but based on Pride and Prejudice with a paranormal twist. Got Zombies in Regency England?  Now we do!  Lily James from Downton Abbey (Rose), plays Elizabeth Bennett.

Here is the exciting trailer for the upcoming movie, scheduled to be released in February 2016.

I can't wait. Elizabeth, Darcy, and a war against Zombies!  Mark your calender if you dare.

Other News: 

My Halloween Costume this year.  Steampunk Dark Lily.

Note my wonderful skull cane with horns!  As I said, a day late, but I had a  wonderful Halloween. Hope you did too.

Lily Silver, aka DarkLily

Thursday, October 22, 2015

No tricks, Just Treats: Jane Austen Gothics

Jane Austen evokes images of ballrooms and cozy drawing rooms.  Usually we don't think of Austen's works as having a Gothic flavor.

In the previous post I mentioned Jane Austen's nod to Gothic literature with her book, Northanger Abbey. It had the tropes of a good Gothic romance; woman in creepy castle with possible ghosts, a suspected murder, a very intimidating murderer in the form of the owner of the castle and a dashing hero.

While Jane Austen hereslf did not write more Gothics, we can enjoy the Gothic regencies that feature Austen characters thanks to modern authors who have written stories for our enjoyment.

Most of us love Elizabeth Bennett the most. So, it is a pleasure to introduce you to two Gothic novels featuring Mr. & Mrs. Darcy at Pemberley.

The first one I recommend is Pemberely Shades; Pride and Prejudice Continues a lightly Gothic romance featuring Elizabeth and Darcy after the marriage. I've read it and loved it. There is a mysterious death and the investigation that ensues is full of dark suspense and delight. This book was originally published in 1948 by author Dorthea Boniva Hunt.  I enjoyed the Gothic flavor and the mystery that Elizabeth Darcy feels compelled to solve as it affects the townspeople in Darcy's county seat. It's worth a taste if you love Austen characters and Gothic flavors. You won't be disappointed if you are a true Austen fan.
Pemberely Shades on Amazon

The second book featuring Elizabeth and Darcy after the marriage is Death Comes to Pemberely, by P.D. James.  I read this book when it first was published and enjoyed exploring the characters further, as well as being delighted by the mystery of the ghost in the woods at Pemberely and the murder of Captain Denny. Lots of Gothic Atmosphere in this one with the haunted woods, and to my delight, the book was made into a PBS movie.  You can watch it on Netflix. I've watched it a few times now. Well done, Ms. James. Unfortunately, P.D. James died a few years ago. If you want a murder mystery involving the Darcys that complicates their relationship by straining it, and featuring Lydia and her notorious husband, then you'll enjoy this in book or movie form.  I prefer the movie, to be honest, but I love the Austen movies so much as I get to feast my eyes on the British regency landscapes and mansions.

Here is the trailer for the movie: Lydia's dramatic entrance to Pemberely

Check it out on Netflix, or purchase movie version on Amazon
Dvd on Amazon

Nachtsturm Castle

A third great story features another beloved character of Austen's books, Catherine Mooreland from Northanger Abbey!  In this modern sequel to Northanger Abbey, you'll find Catherine has married her sweetheart, Mr. Henry Tilney. As they travel through Europe on a tour of Mrs. Radcliffe's Gothic story locations, they encounter their own Gothic adventure.  Fun, and worth the time. This book is very rare. I was fortunate enough to purchase it in digital when it was new. It is now only available in paperback and those are rare collector's editions. Kudos to author Emily C. A. Snyder for this rare gem!  Purchase on Amazon

Happy reading this Halloween season. If you love Jane Austen and Gothic stories, here are three special treats for you to try out! 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Jane Austen's nod to Gothic Romance

1897 version book cover
“It is only a novel... or, in short, only some work in which the greatest powers of the mind are displayed, in which the most thorough knowledge of human nature, the happiest delineation of its varieties, the liveliest effusions of wit and humour, are conveyed to the world in the best-chosen language”    Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey. 

Jane Austen's works usually conjure up images sunny drawing rooms and brightly lit ballrooms. Or a well maintained estate like Pemberly.  Few people think of a remote castle, a dark mystery, and a young heroine alone in a remote place where danger lurks.

Northanger Abbey is Jane Austen's nod to the Gothic Romances that were so popular in her time. Gothic romances were contemporary romances in Jane's time.  Jane met the famous Mrs. Ann Radcliffe, who you have likely never heard of.  Jane admired Radcliffe's work, and her one Gothic story is a compliment to a writer she admired. Some say it is a spoof of Radcliffe's works, I disagree.

If you're hungry for Austen, and have read Pride & Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Emma until the pages are worn and the ink is fading, try this work as a taste of something different, yet so classically Jane Austen.

The basic story: Plain looking Catherine Moorland is 17 years old. She lives with her parents and numerous siblings in the country.  They are not well off.  Wealthy, childless friends of her parents, Mr. & Mrs. Allen, decide to take Catherine to Bath with them for a holiday. This is a boon for her as her family is not out about in society and Catherine will not have a season in London. At Bath, Mrs. Allen will introduce her to the society there. Off she goes to Bath with her patrons.

At Bath, Isabella Thorpe befriends her. Isabella also loves Gothic romances, so the girls bond over their shared joy in dark romance. Isabella's brother, John Thorpe, flirts with Catherine. She's never had a beau before, so she is a little flattered by his attention. But Thorpe is not well educated and is often quite rude and condescending. Catherine also meets a very handsome, quiet, intelligent man, Mr. Henry Tilney.  Henry dances with Catherine at a ball and then invites her to go out walking with him and his sister.  Catherine likes him a lot, as any 17 year old girl would when being courted by a handsome man in society. So, she has two suitors, one conniving, the other sunny and cheerful.

Her new friends, the Thorpe siblings, manipulate Catherine while she's in Bath. John is under the mistaken impression that Catherine is the Allen's heir, so he wants her for her money. Isabella is mischievous and vain. She uses Catherine to get closer to Catherine's older brother, James, by pretending friendship with her for her own reasons.

Sounds like high school, doesn't it? Well, for these young ladies, it sort of is. They adolescent girls out in society, young and hopeful, some of them very hopeful of making a good match so they can leave home and become mistress of their own home through marriage. Catherine is the dreamy, bookish type. She's always reading Gothic novels, which are all the rage at the time. She has an active imagination and her reading choices only fan the flames for trouble.

1968 cover
After several mishaps in Bath, and learning that Isabella and John are not her real friends, she accepts an invitation to visit Northanger Abbey from Eleanor, Henry Tilney's shy, quiet sister. Henry Tilney and his father have decided to leave Bath, and as the daughter is lonely, she asks to have Catherine accompany them to their isolated estate for an extended visit.
Once Catherine arrives at the castle, her imagination goes into overdrive. She suspects Mr. Tilney murdered his wife years ago, and thus indulges herself in some amateur sleuthing activities and some heavy snooping about the castle. She is frightened by her surroundings as the castle appears to be haunted.  So there you have it, romance with Henry, intrigue and dark suspicions, a girl alone, away from family in an isolated castle, and a dark, sinister host as once Mr. Tilney Sr. returns to his home he becomes a different man than the one she knew in Bath.

It's suspenseful, and it's Jane Austen. You can't miss. I've read the story several times, and watched a movie version several times. It is highly entertaining, and very Austen!

There are a couple of movie versions out if you are looking for a quick fix.  I've only watched one of them, an older version from 1995. Unlike her more popular works, there aren't a bazillion film versions of this one.  As far as I could find, there is only this one (photo below), and one made for TV by Masterpiece in 2008 which I have not watched. The best way is to read the book! Or listen to it in audio. I downloaded a free audio version from iTunes a few years ago and listened to it at bedtime on my Ipod....ah, how times change, now you can download it to your smart phone and listen or read!

1995 BBC version

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Autumn Romance

Warm the apple cider or open that special bottle of wine. Autumn Romance is in the air.

With September comes that lovely time of year when leaves turn bright red, orange and yellow and pumpkins are everywhere in the northern U.S. Pumpkin recipes abound. (check out my mom's pumpkin bar recipe on the right sidebar under pages). It's time to bring out that favorite sweater again and get your football stadium blanket out of storage in prep for the football games.

I have a few favorite reads of my own to share with you. These are curl up with a blanket in the evening and enjoy hot cider while you relax kind of books. You will feel you are in Wisconsin with the characters, and their love stories will sweep you away.

Autumn Wish: 
Can a marriage of convenience lead to Happily Ever After? 

Nikki Rowen desires a family of her own—but first comes love, then comes marriage. She thought she had the former, until the moment she mentioned the latter and her boyfriend left her with nothing but a broken heart. Just as she’s beginning to doubt she’ll ever have a ‘til death do us part Happily Ever After, she meets her new neighbor in the most unexpected way. 

In Sam Mallin's experience, the word family is synonymous with abandonment; he’s more than content on his own. Yet, in less than a week, he finds himself caring for an infant dropped on his doorstep, and playing house with his beautiful next-door-neighbor. When his feelings for Nikki deepen, he fears he’s nothing more than the ready-made family she so desperately wishes for. How can a self-proclaimed loner hold onto the two females most important to him without history repeating itself in a world of heartbreak? 
Autumn Wish on Amazon

Autumn Bliss: 
She's getting out of town and never looking back—until she meets the one man who tempts her to stay. 

Mallory Parker is convinced her future lies way beyond the streets of the small home town that stole her mother’s hopes and dreams. Even after she meets a man who makes her second guess her choices, she can't risk getting stuck in backwoods Wisconsin for the rest of her life. 

Army veteran Levi Jenkins is still dealing with the aftermath of his last tour of duty. Working in the background as a maintenance man at Whispering Pines Lodge gives him the peace his soul craves, and a sense of home he thought lost forever. Then Mallory teaches him to smile again and he begins to believe in the future. Too bad she's hell-bent on leaving. 

Opposites attract--can they compromise to find common ground, or is Happily Every After doomed from the start? Autumn Bliss on Amazon

Autumn Kiss; 
For eight years, Josie Sullivan has managed to keep memories of Nash Riley buried in the past. Now he’s back, and he claims he’s here to stay—in the apartment above her bakery. How in the hell can she keep her distance when she runs into him every time she turns around? Even worse, her traitorous heart whispers she never let him go... 

Years ago, Nash made the mistake of leaving Josie behind, and now she won’t give him the time of day. Buying the building that houses her business seemed like a good plan to win her back, but she refuses to believe he’ll stick around this time. Seeing her every day becomes pure torture when she stubbornly maintains the defensive walls she erected when he left. Autumn Kiss on Amazon

I've read many of Stacey Joy Netzel's books, and she is one of my favorite authors. With 25+ books to her credit, once you discover her works you'll be well fed for a while. Granted, this is a contemporary romance series and my theme has always been more about historical romance, but Ms. Netzel is one author who delivers consistently with each book I read of her works so I'm passing on this sweet set to my blog readers so you can enjoy the warmth and spice of these delightful Autumn Romances.  They are part of a series, Romancing Wisconsin, but they are also stand alone so you can read them before trying out the other seasonal titles in the series.

For more info on Stacey Joy Netzel and her amazing books, check out her website: 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Lord Byron's Scandal

Meet a real Regency Rake in the Romantic Era of England: 

Lord Byron as a young man

"So beautiful a countenance ... his eyes the open portals of the sun--things of light and for light."  Coleridge describing Lord Byron's physical appeal.

As a young man, he was considered extraordinarily handsome (see image above) by women of the Romantic era. Think Johnny Depp, but in Regency times. He had sex appeal, and he had a serious brood factor.  (And Johnny Depp played a main character in a movie based one of his literary creations, more on that later!)

A Real Regency Rake? 

Lady Caroline
It is said that this Regency Rake was not a pursuer of women, but rather, they pursued him. He entered into a series of secret liaisons with ladies of the Ton, to the point where he married to get away from one desperate lover. Lady Carolyn Lamb was an eccentric, lovely yet flamboyant woman who caused him incredible stress and scandal with her public tantrums when they met at social gatherings. So, he married a woman who would be his former lover's opposite in temperament, Annabella Milbanke. His wife was a quiet, shy intellectual with a passion for mathematics, not the movements of Regency society. Of course, this would be a doomed marriage because George was a very social creature--also eccentric and a little flamboyant, much like his former lover, Lady Caroline. Lady Caroline Lamb was known to behave in odd ways, such as dressing up as a footman to go out and meet her lover. She was one of those drama queens who feed on creating a scene in public, and actually began stalking our Regency hero after he tired of her.

Scandalous Desires

Byron had money problems, even being a wealthy lord. He spent as much as he was worth and so in his domestic life he behaved so frantically his wife is said to have feared for his sanity. The union lasted only a year before it was ended by a legal separation. (Yes, dear readers, people with money and power could dissolve a marriage in this time period. Wasn't easy, and happened rarely due to the social burden of keeping up appearances, but it could be done.)

Johnny Lee Miller as Byron from BBC Film
The kicker for this legal separation has a real Eeewww factor!  Turns out, Annabella found out her husband was having a secret love affair with his half-sister. Even to the jaded palates of the Regency era, this was just too much to bear. It was a succulent scandal, but it was crossing a firm line in society. People could and did have secret affairs, both men and married women. As long as the lovers in question were discreet, an affair would be ignored by indulgent spouses. In the case of the woman, she had to be married, and once she produced an heir for her husband (so he knew the child was actually his) she might be given her freedom by an indulgent spouse. I know it sounds harsh and cold in our modern eyes but as many marriages were based on business transactions and convenience, not love, there were bargains made with spouses behind closed doors. 

Sorry, getting back to George, his wife and his half-sister lover...... in Byron's defense, it is possible he did not know his half-sister as they were raised separately and never truly met face to face until they were adults--and it is likely to assume he didn't realize they were related when they had their affair. It really didn't matter, as George Gordon, Lord Byron, was ostracized by the society who once adored him. He fled England forever, somewhat by force, it's rumored, on April 25th, 1816. 

"She walks in beauty, like the night . . . "  

                                             I bet you thought Shakespeare wrote that, it was Lord Byron. 

And so, Lord Byron traveled, a lot. And he wrote..... a lot. 
He may not seem like a romance hero to you but rather a womanizing rake, however, Lord Byron, our man George, has given us some incredible literature that stands the test of time. He was a romantic. And he rubbed elbows with the best literary figures of the times: Percy Shelley, Mary Shelley (Frankenstein), John Keats to name a few. His influence is everywhere. Many European poets struck what is called a 'Byronic Attitude', the solemn, serious brood factor. He created that in the sense of poets striking an attitude. He is also the inspiration for the term Byronic Hero

His longtime friend, Mary Shelley said of him: "Our Lord Byron is fascinating, faulty, childish, philosophical, daring to the world but docile to a private circle--impetuous and indolent--gloomy and yet more gay (happy & pleasant) than any other.

Lord Byron's Most Popular Works: 

Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, published in 4 installments called cantos, from 1812-1818, is a travelogue sort of poem. It is narrated by a passionate, well-read, slightly melancholy tourist. The term Childe is an ancient term used to describe a young noble awaiting knighthood. This journal is an accurate record of places in Europe seen during his travels, and it is written as a dramatic experience full of a passionate and sometimes volatile sensibility that depicts a new phenomenon in literature--The Romantic Man of Feeling. 

Don Juan, again, published in serial form as cantos 1 and 2 from 1818 to 1819. This is a famous story of an amiable young man who has charm, wit and a compliant spirit. (is it George in disguise?) He is pursued and loved by many women, one who keeps him in her harem and dresses him as a woman to hide him from her husband. And here is where Johnny Depp comes in  [smile]. 

Few of you will remember an obscure film in the 1990's staring Marlon Brando, Faye Dunaway and a new star on the scene in 1994, Johnny Depp. Depp plays Don Juan de Marco, a modern man who believes he is the real life character of Lord Byron's famous story. I watched it back then, and had never heard of Johnny Depp before seeing this film. If you are looking for a romantic film in his early years, you'll love this. And, if you want to see the story of Don Juan in film, this is a good modernized version.  Don Juan de Marco Trailer

And if you would like a few more movies about Byron or featuring Byron's character, here is short list for you to search out: 

Richard Chamberlain as Lord Byron
This film (above) is called Lady Caroline Lamb, and was produced in 1973. I haven't seen it but if you like older movies, it might be worth looking up. No, it isn't black and white, it's in color.

And lastly, with a little embarrassment and chagrin, I'll share a movie from my shelf:
GOTHIC, made in 1986.

It's quirky, corny, and tries to be both a historical and a horror story. So, if you can tolerate some melodrama in a Regency era movie based on actual events that took place in Byron's life, go for it. Just know it's a little over the top and is good for laughs and entertainment rather than a bio film. It stars Gabriel Byrne as Lord Byron. The story is based on events that supposedly took place at Lord Byron's retreat in Lake Geneva, where he invited friends Percy and Mary Shelley and his lover, Claire Clairmont. They came up with an idea to try to create a ghost, and their results create psychological horror in the group as a result. It is said to be one of the reasons Mary Shelley came up with her story, Frankenstein, at least rumored. Watch it if you dare. The characterization of Byron is done well and Byrne is handsome and dashing in this. Beware, however, that there are some sexual scenes, and some disturbing scenes in it as it has chosen to be a horror flick first and a Regency second. 

Gabriel Byrne as Lord Byron in GOTHIC

Fun facts about Lord Byron's Life: 

  • His mother was Scottish; Catherine Gordon of Gight was the last descendant of a line of Lawless Scottish Lords. 
  • His father, Captain John Byron, was a rake and fortune hunter. 
  • His grandfather was an admiral nicknamed "Foulweather Jack"
  • His great uncle, the fifth Baron Byron, was known as the 'Wicked Lord" who killed his kinsman in a drunken duel. He was tried by his peers for the crime. 
  • Despite his stunning looks, George, Lord Byron, was born with a deformed foot that was made worse by a surgery gone wrong that caused him to be lame. This also brought him much embarrassment socially. 
  • He endeavored to be athletic instead of pathetic, became an expert boxer, fencer (something hard to become good at with a lame foot!), horseman and a strong swimmer. Kudos to George for not becoming an invalid or a victim. 
  • George was sexually precocious at a young age
  • He had two daughters, one by his wife, Lady Byron, named Augusta Ada (1815?)  and one through a lover, Claire Clairmont, named Allegra (1817)
  • In his brief time in the House of Lords, he showed himself to be an extreme  liberal in the Whig party by supporting liberal measures. He supported Catholic Emancipation and rights for the Nottingham Weavers, who had taken to smashing the recently invented textile machines that threw them out of work. In politics, he was a progressive liberal. 
  • George loved to travel, his adventurous spirit took him on a two year tour of Portugal, Spain, Malta, little known Albania, Greece and Asia Minor. 

Cheers to George Gordon, Lord Byron, a true Regency Rake, and an excellent wit from the Romantic Era of English Literature!

"But whom can view the ripened rose, nor seek to wear it? 
Who can curiously behold the smoothness and the sheen on beauty's cheek, 
Nor feel the heart can never all grow old?" 
From Childe Harold's Pilgrimage, Lord Byron. 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Love and Sorcery; An Irish Historical Romance

©  |
I just love Ireland, and Irish heroes. I love the mystical landscape, the lore and legends. One of my favorite heroes from my own stories is Kieran O'Flaherty. He's an Irishman, and has the powers of sorcery.  In this excerpt, he rescues the woman he loves using magic, not brawn.

Excerpt from Bright Scoundrel, copyright Lily Silver 2013
       As he walked the perimeter of the castle inspecting the walls, Kieran noticed a lone figure across the fields on the rise above the creek separating his property from Ashton Abbey’s lands.
       Kieran could see his lovely Rose, with her artist’s smock and her wide brimmed hat to keep out the bright July sunshine. She wasn’t seated on her stool, as usual, painting away. She was standing, her hands on her hips, looking down into the ravine at something. Even from this distance, he could feel something wasn’t right as he watched her.
       A strong presentiment of danger filled him. 
       Kieran was ten minutes away, he figured, by the time it would take to move down the hill on his side of the property line, cross the stone bridge and climb the low grassy hillside to where her painting station was situated. He took a short cut down the steep incline instead of the gradual path created by the road. He moved down the boggy ravine at a slow pace. The hillside was treacherous if one didn’t move carefully around the stones and the deep ruts and roots breaking the landscape. Flowers dotted the soil on either side of the ravine, purple heather. It would make a lovely landscape painting. Perhaps he should commission her to paint it with Roisin Dubh Castle in the distant hills. It would make a nice composition.

© Walshphotos | - Summertime Photo
         He paused, as the continual buzzing reverberated through the blooming heather bushes. The place was alive with bees collecting nectar from the fragrant blooms. The sound of angry voices carried down the ravine. Kieran was near the bottom. He was just about to try to navigate the small creek bed without getting his boots wet when the disturbance of human voices, angry voices, caught his attention. He gazed up the bank to where Rose had stood moments before.
She wasn’t alone any longer, nor were her hands on her hips. They were pummeling a man, a sizable man with dark hair who seized her about the waist and was trying to kiss her.
      “Stop it, you oaf. I’ll have none of your drunken pawing.” She sounded more than angry. Rose sounded panicked.
      Kieran splashed across the creek, his boots be damned. He could afford another pair.
     “See here, is that any way to treat me? I help to keep the roof over your head. I should be given a reward in return.”
      Slap! The raw sound of a palm hitting flesh echoed above. And then the man accosting Miss de Lacy muttered a foul oath, followed by several others.
     “You fucking bitch,” the man shrieked, incensed by her response.  
     “Rose,” Kieran shouted. “You there, leave her be.”
They didn’t hear him.  He tried to hurry up the ravine. It was too steep to run, and filled with potholes, roots and rocks.
      “You little tart, you’re coming with me.” the man bellowed. He seized Rose by the upper arm and made as if to drag her with him. She fought him but he was stronger. He was dragging her away, over the hill and down to the next ravine.
      “Rose!” Kieran shouted, trying to rush up the steep embankment to help her. Where was her damned dog? Who was the bastard manhandling her so?
It was no good. He jaunted up the muddy side and slipped back down. It rained last night. The embankment was wet and slick.
      Damn it. He couldn’t see Rose anymore. He could hear them shouting at each other.
      Kieran had only one weapon at his disposal, magic. He couldn’t reach her to stop the bully.  For all he knew, she was being raped by her assailant while he wallowed at the bottom of the ravine in his attempt to reach her. He started chanting, calling upon nature to aid him.
      The bees. It was the perfect weapon. He chanted in Gaelic, asking the bees to aid him and directing them to attack only the male and not harm the female with him. He climbed up, up, over a rock, stepping carefully so as not to slip again and slide down to the bottom of the ravine. His breeches were soaked from his jaunt through the creek and his slide down the mud slick ravine path.
     The steady, thrumming sound of the busy bees lifted. There was a shift in the air, a queer sort of breeze created by the mass of tiny insects rising from their labors in a swarm and climbing the hill above Kieran. Good. They were going to help Rose, hurrying on ahead to stop the man from hurting the woman he cared for.
*    *    *
Rose de Lacey
“Get off me, you stinking turd.” Rose slapped at him and tried to punch and scratch him to drive him away. Her dress was wet on the back because she was lying on the damp wet ground with Quinn atop her. "How dare you!”  Her voice was shrill, high pitched, and none would hear it out here in the wilds. She never should have left Simon home with Tommy. She should have taken a weapon, something to ward off this wretched cur who believed she was easy prey because there wasn’t a man at the abbey.
      He'd tried coming into her room again last night when the household was asleep. She had locked the door, locked him out. He wasn’t pleased, and so he’d come after her here. His big hands caught her wrists. Her arms were pinned above her head with one of his. She tried to rock and kick at him, but he was holding her down with his knees and tugging her skirts up with his free hand.
      “I’ll tell Bridget,” She screamed, desperate to reach him, to make him see reason.
      “Aye, and I’ll tell her you seduced me. My sister's a dim one, she’ll believe me.”
       A dull roar filled her ears, a peculiar thrumming noise. At first she thought she was imagining it or about to pass out from sheer terror.
      Quinn flinched and released his hold on her wrists. He swore, and flinched again.
      A dark cloud blocked the sun. A living cloud. Rose screamed, and then covered her face with her arms as the cloud descended. Bees. A huge swarm had come to settle over them.
      Quinn was shrieking. He stood and started swiping frantically at his face and neck.
Rose peeked out from beneath her arm. The bees were swarming over him, they were covering him like a living cloak. His hair was alive with bees. His face was covered by his hands, but his coat, his neck even his legs were covered with the wriggling, crawling creatures.
      And he was shrieking with pain.
     “Rose.” She started, as another male voice from above called out to her.  
      Kieran stumbled down the ravine and nearly fell on her in his desperation to get to her.
     “Rose, my dear Rose, are you all right?” The sound of his worry was beautiful.
She struggled to get up, to right her skirts. Kieran was beside her in an instant. He knelt down and hugged her against him. “I couldn’t get up the hill fast enough. Did he hurt you? He’ll pay if he did, I swear.”
      Rose was stunned by his sudden presence and his strong arms about her as he knelt and hugged her fiercely. Both of them were wet, soggy from the damp earth. It didn’t matter. Lord Grey was here and he was holding her close. He was concerned for her.
      The shrieks from the man beside them brought them back to the present. Quinn was dancing a jig and turning about as he moved up the hill. The bees were still following him and many were clinging to the back of his coat as he clawed at the wet earth, stumbled and then cursed. He shrieked every so often, as one of the stingers penetrated his flesh.
      Kieran released his hold on Rose but kept her huddled firmly against him with his left arm. He extended his right hand toward the fleeing Quinn and started chanting in Gaelic.
      Rose didn’t speak Gaelic. Watching Kieran chant and seeing his blue-green eyes glaze over with fierce determination, Rose could only shiver as she watched the swarm of bees lift up and away from Quinn’s fleeing form.
      It was inconceivable. The bees were obeying this man. They lifted up in one great cloud, up and away from their prey. They moved in perfect formation toward Kieran and Rose.
Rose whimpered and hid her face in the crook of her elbow.  
      “Shhh, stay still,” he commanded in English. “They won’t harm you.”
       The massive cloud moved over them, circling them in a whirlwind and then lifted again, moving up and away, over the ravine, toward O’Flaherty lands.
       She could only gaze up at him with horror.
Kieran O'Flaherty
“There now. It’s all right.” His voice was low, gentle and ripe with concern. “Oh.” He reached up and removed something from her hair. He cradled it in his palm. “Thank you, for saving the lady.”  A single bee sat in the palm of his hand, flapping its wings, almost as if it understood his conversation.         “Off with you now. Back to your mates. The bear has fled and left the honeycomb unhindered.”
The bee in his palm lifted and flew away. And that warm, strong palm cupped her cheek and began to wipe away her tears.
      “Shhh. Don’t cry. I won’t hurt you. No one will.”
       She felt like a ninny, and yet she was so distraught she couldn’t stop the frantic tears. She’d never been accosted by a man before, not like this. Or rescued by one, either. Not a mere man--a sorcerer, a magician who commanded the birds and the bees. “H-h-how . . . ?” she stuttered.  
      “Who was that cur?” Kieran asked. His hand was stroking up and down her spine as he held her firmly against him. Her backside was cold. She was cold and wet. She was sitting in the damp grass and the back of her dress was soaked.
       Without a word, he released her and shrugged out of his coat. He slipped it over her shoulders and then took to rubbing her arms brusquely.
      “I know its July, but the rains have left you soaked and you’re probably suffering shock. Let’s get you home and out of these wet clothes.”
      “No.” She couldn’t go home. Not with Quinn there. Suppose he did tell Bridget she tried to seduce him. If so, she’d be hard pressed to argue with him in her present condition. She wanted to kill the man. Nay, she’d be sure to kill him next time. She’d not leave the house again unarmed. She’d not leave the door to her room unlocked in the night . . .  Oh God!
      “Oh, my sweet, wilted Rose.” Kieran whispered. He hugged her close. “I’m here. He won’t hurt you again, I promise.”
      She was sobbing, beside herself with fear. She felt so betrayed. How could she return home with Quinn there, glaring at her, accusing her, behaving as if she were to blame for his lack of self control. “I-I can’t go h-home. That was Bridget’s brother. I can’t go home. Not with him there.”

     “Well, then, my mud spattered Rose, you’ll just have to come home with me.”  He wasn’t smiling when he said it. But his voice, oh, that soft, charming voice was full of sunshine.
End of Excerpt,  Bright Scoundrel, copyright Lily Silver 2013

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