Friday, April 8, 2016

Romance of the Flowers: A Greek Love Story

Primavera by Sandro Botticelli, ca 1482

As spring emerges we think of flowers. New growth in plants, whether its weeds we must pull, new grass that needs to be mowed or visiting the garden store to buy our flower plants for the season. 

In the Renaissance painting above, aptly called Primavera--a Celebration of Spring--we have Aphrodite in the center, or Venus to the Romans; the goddess of love. Above her is Cupid, his arrows at the ready. Surrounding her are other goddesses. The three muses are to her left, dancing in celebration of the coming of spring.  Mercury is the man to the far left. He's a messenger of the gods, and is looking off into the distance, not joining the festivities. 

To the right of Aphrodite/Venus (our central figure) are two female figures. The first one is clothed in a flowing floral gown and is known as Primavera. You'll notice the woman on the far right, next to Primavera, is about to be seized by a man with a bluish face who appears to be dropping down from the sky. The scantly clad woman is Khloris, a forest nymph. The man seizing her is Zephyrus, Greek god of the west wind. He is considered one of the gentlest of the wind gods, and is a messenger of spring.  (think warm wind from the west, a spring zephyr, a gently flowing warm wind). He is a god, and yet, he is a sensual man. He's said to have had more than one wife. 

In this 15th century depiction by Botticelli, the god appears to be about to kidnap Khloris. I admit, he looks a little scary here, like a stalker, but his intent in the myth is more romantic than threatening.
As a nymph, Khloris is associated with springtime, and flowers. The Romans referred to her as Flora. But, this affiliation came about after she was taken away by Zephyrus. After their union, she becomes a goddess of the flowers. When Zephyrus abducted Khloris and married her, he gave her dominion over the flowers of the earth. They had a child together, named Karpos, which literally means fruit.
Okay, so the west wind pollinates the flowers and we have the result of that act in growing fruit. You can see the sexual parallels in this story. 

In the painting above, it looks ominous for Khloris as the God of the West Wind drops down from the sky to seize her and carry her away to his lair.  But, this is not the rape/abduction scenario as we might interpret it in modern times. Botticelli lived in the 15th century. This depiction idealizes the coming of spring, flowers, new growth, fertility, and the conception of fruit into a romantic allegory. In the world of the Renaissance, the male lover swoops in to gather the female in his arms, carries her away, makes love to her and gives her the power over all flora on the earth. The result of their union is 'fruit'. Not only is this a very sensual and primitive depiction of procreation, but it's a romanticized notion that Spring arrives because a man and a woman made love.  

Another illustration of the myth comes from a painting created in 1875 by William Adolph Bouguereau. In this depiction, we a see Khloris napping in the grass and Zephyrus comes upon her and kisses her cheek, here we have a romantic interlude instead of the more stark idea of seizure. 

By Stephencdickson - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Either way, our idea of Springtime is a time for falling in love. Anyone recall the old adage about springtime being a time when young men abandon their school books because their mind is on romance?  Ah, the Greeks and their mythologies!

Depending on the interpretations of this painting and the meaning of the characters in it, you'll find philosophical arguments that both women on the right of Venus, Primavera and Khloris, represent the same person. This interpretation embraces the idea that Khloris became Primavera, (or Flora), because of her love affair with Zephyrus. I was taught this interpretation in my Art History classes ca. 2004. However, each generation of art scholars discover new meanings in the symbolism of a painting so interpretations can change over time.

Bottom Line: we have Spring being brought to us by an act of romance, the handsome god swooping down to gather the lovely maiden in his arms. He carries her away in a moment of passion. His act changes her, it gives her a new purpose in life. She becomes the goddess in charge of all the flowers of the earth, not just a meandering forest nymph.

This Sweep-Me-Away story-line predates Harlequin Romance books by at least a few millennium. Despite the cultural stigma of reading romance, Romance novels still sell more than any other genre of books, meaning women still like the fantasy of being taken away from a dull life by the billionaire, or the bad boy, the rock star or the rogue. We still like a little escapism with our love stories. Doesn't matter if it's Edward in Twilight taking Bella away from her mundane life as a high school student and opening her up to a whole new world she didn't know existed consisting of vampires and werewolves, or a Greek god swooping down to embrace beauty and take her away to a new world with new opportunities, giving her power as a goddess in her own right.

Don't you just love the Greek myths!  Romance abounds in those old stories. Betrayal and lust, too, but we're not going there today.  

Happy Spring!

As I write this, it's snowing outside my window. Yes, that's right, snowing on April 8th in Wisconsin. The lovely green grass is covered with a fresh layer of snow.  

Next time, more Greek Lovers. Here's a shot from my photography collection.
Irises by Lily Silver, 2007

P.S.  As it happens, Iris is said to be another wife of Zephyrus!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

St. Patrick's Day Fun: Darby O'Gill and the Little People

Darby O'Gill and The Little People was released in 1959. I remember be taken to it as a four or five year old in the 1960's for a movie matinee and being so scared when the pooka scene came on, and crying so loudly that my older sister had to take me out of the movie theater. She was a teen, and was not very happy with me for ruining her Saturday at the matinee.

Well, since then, I've gotten over that childish fear, and this movie is one of my all time favorites for St. Patrick's Day. To see my other favorite movie, go here Luck of the Irish

In Darby O'Gill, Sean Connery plays an Irish caretaker to an estate in Rathcullen in what appears to be an early 20th century time. Mostly horses and wagons for transportation. Connery's character is not the main character, however.

Darby O'Gill is an aging caretaker to an estate in Rathcullen. The owner of the estate decides to hire a younger caretaker and pension Darby off at half pay. Darby is upset. He's not the best caretaker, to be honest. He spends most of his time in the pub drinking and telling stories about his encounters with the little people. He has tried to capture one for some time, and succeeds. But, when he opens the bag in the pub to show his companions, he finds that King Brian has turned himself into a rabbit, and so everyone thinks he's just a deluded old fool. Darby has a daughter, Katie, and he doesn't want Katie to know he's losing his job because he's ashamed. This means they have to move out of the cottage they live in as well.

Darby's replacement arrives, a handsome Dubliner named Michael (Sean Connery).  Darby begs Micheal to not tell his daughter Katie that he's being replaced.  Michael agrees for the time being.

Meanwhile, the King of the Lephrechauns, Brian, kidnaps Darby. He's taken to the inside of a mountain and held as a guest of the little people. There is gold beyond imagination there, feasting and song. It seems a paradise, except for one thing, Darby can never return home. He soon tires of this and misses his daughter Katie. So, he begs the King so set him free. King Brian warns him that if he did so, others of the little people might be tempted to take their ire out on his daughter, Katie. Legend says that once someone is kidnapped by the little people, they can never go home.

Darby is a clever old fellow. He plays a song on the violin during a feast for the lephrechauns, stirring them up with a song of the hunt that makes them wish to leave the inside of the mountain and go out riding on the hunt. The mountain opens, and Darby escapes.

Darby in King Brian's lair inside the mountain

Michael and Katie have been having a little romance. They go about exploring the countryside together, having fun. Michael (Sean Connery) sings to her, and they sing a cute song together  "She's my dear, my darling one, my smiling and beguiling one, no other, no other, can match the likes of her!"  My husband and I still sing it together today, it's catchy!
Sean Connery as Micheal, Janet Munro as Katie

So, handsome Michael is the romantic lead, and also a problem character for the main protagonist, Darby. He's younger, and has taken over Darby's job.  Katie has a temper, and she and Michael end up sparring words. The lephrechaun's do their mischief against Darby by making Katie severely ill with a fever. The coiste-bodhar (the death coach) and the banshee make their appearance. Darby tries to bargain with the little people for Katie's life.  Of course, once Katie recovers, Michael and Katie have a happily ever after.

This movie is fun, romantic, and PG. It's something kids can enough along with their parents. Granted, CGI had not been created at the time so the graphics might seem cheesy, but it is a treasure from the Disney vault and worth the effort to find. The little people are played by real people, not just special effects creations.

The movie is based on two books by Hermione Templeton Kavanagh;  Darby O'Gill and the Good People,  and Of Ashes and Old Wishes and Other Darby O'Gill Tales.  The movie, of course, takes a few liberties with the books, but that is to be expected when books become films.

Two things I have to say about the folklore:

  • The term 'little people' actually is used for the fey folk, fairies, not lephrechauns true Irish folklore, so in this film I see a blending of Lephrechaun lore and Fairy lore.  Lephrechauns were little shoemakers who hoard gold.  Fairies lived inside of mountains, and were known to kidnap humans in lore. They (fairies) were often called the 'Other Folk' or Other Crowd by the Irish.  
  • For a discussion on The Other Crowd and reference to a good book on the subject, see this post Fairy Magic, have you met any of the good folk?
  • The idea of lephrechauns living in the mountains and taking on the characteristics of the fey is troublesome if you actually know Irish folklore. The fairies and the lephrechauns of legend are two very different types of magical beings. 
That said, there is still a lot to enjoy in this very old movie that celebrates Ireland. Enjoy the trailer below: 

If you are looking for an Irish Romance in books, I am offering my two historical romance novels for free on St. Patrick's Day.  This offer is one day only, March 17th, 2016

Some Enchanted Waltz, a full length historical romance featuring an Irish rebel as a hero in 1798. 

Bright Scoundrel, a full length historical romance featuring an Irish rake returning to his ancestral home to find it full of ghosts and dark creatures. 

Thanks for visiting my blog, and have a Happy St. Patrick's Day!  

Monday, March 7, 2016

St. Paddy Day Romance Movies: Luck of the Irish!

Shamrocks are everywhere, and the wearing of the green is upon us!  I love this time of year. For many years I have indulged myself and my kids in Irish culture during this season. We've cooked the traditional Corned Beef and Cabbage popular with Irish Americans, and we've made homemade Irish Soda Bread. My Love of all things Irish extends to romance, naturally. I love to read romances set in Ireland, and I also devour movies with lovers set in Ireland. 

Let's take a look at one wonderful , fun, lighthearted Irish romance movie to get you in the mood while your Irish Soda Bread is baking in the oven.   Irish Soda Bread Recipe at bottom of page. 

The Quiet Man,  1952

This movie is my all time favorite.  It's an oldie, being over sixty years old, but it's well worth the watch.  It was filmed in Ireland, and stars John Wayne as an Irish American returning to his Irish roots after a traumatic event in his life.  

Shawn Thornton Arrives in Rural Ireland

Shawn Thornton (John Wayne) arrives in the small village and sets out to buy the cottage he was born in.  He meets an old companion, who aids him in settling in to his new life as an Irish farmer.  This story is full of lovely Irish landscapes from the 1950's, and plenty of Irish bluster. Shawn makes an enemy in the village, another gruff, burly fellow who seems to run the town. And he meets a goddess in the hills, a lovely red haired woman herding sheep.
When he first sees her, he asks his companion, "Is she for real?" He's used to big city gals in America, not a simple, barefoot shepherdess strolling the countryside with her hair down in casual clothing. His friend assures him he's not imagining things.  The woman is Mary Kate. A 'spinster', according to the village people and the times.  She's unmarried, and past her first blush of youth. 

Lovely Maureen O'Hara as Mary Kate
Shawn is so captivated with her that on his second encounter, as she is coming out of the church, he does something shocking. He cups water from the fount outside the church in his hand and holds it out to her to do her cross.  This is shocking in the era because only a husband would be allowed to do such a thing, so it's a bold, flirty move. Mary Kate (Maureen O'Hara) responds to his brash behavior by dipping her fingers in and making the sign of the cross. Note, this is outside the church, not in public. So, she's a little embarrased and taken aback by her own response and shyly tugs her shawl close and runs off. It's cute, it's the fifties. She's shy because she's not had a suitor before.

Shawn starts to court Mary Kate, and of course there are difficulties in their relationship. She's from the old world of Irish heritage and he's from America, the new world as it were. They are besotted with each other, and of course their personalities clash. Mary Kate has a temper and she has some high expectations about what is proper in a marriage contract. They have romantic moments, however, and share a few kisses in the rain at an old abbey. (Love that scene). 

The lovers encounter a big hurdle in the brother of Mary Kate, none other than the town bully. Shawn has a backstory that conflicts with taking the man on. Shawn was a prizefighter in America. He killed a man accidentally with his mighty paw during a fight, and since then has vowed to never fight again. So, he's required to fight a physical battle with Mary Kate's brother to win an argument and the man's respect, but won't do it. There are whispers from his adversary that he's a coward, which goads him on. 

Mary Kate is a complicated woman. She loves Shawn, but has such strict codes of honor regarding her marriage inheritance (some furniture of her mother's and a small monetary inheritance), that she makes it hard for Shawn. She marries him, but when her brother refuses to give her her due portion as her marital inheritance, Mary Kate refuses to sleep with Shawn. She says she will cook and clean for him but not share his bed until he gets up enough 'nerve' to fight (yes physically fight) her brother for what is rightfully hers. So, complicated romance, even after the marriage. Plenty of fun, and a good clean romance. 

The Quiet Man has plenty of scenes of Irish culture, including a very well cut scene displaying an annual horse race that is similar to Galway Races. It's fun, as are the pub scenes and the courting scenes. This is an idyllic Ireland, to be sure, as many critics say it's not authentic. However, it is a wonderful movie featuring Irish Lovers, and the breathtaking Irish countryside, including quaint whitewashed cottages and ruined abbeys. There's a happily ever after, of course, but I won't tell you what it is. 

Here's a Romantic view of the movie: 

Next Time, I'll talk about another wonderful Irish Romance from long ago you may have missed.

Irish Soda Bread Recipe:
I found this recipe over twenty years ago in an Irish cookbook. It's lovely.
2 pounds flour
2 teaspoons salt
3 teaspoons baking soda (bicarbonate of soda in Irish recipe)
17 fluid ounces of buttermilk
1 ounce of butter
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
sift flour, salt and soda in large bowl with a wooden spoon. Gradually work in buttermilk.
Combine mixture thoroughly. The dough should be smooth but firmer than normal bread.
Turn onto lightly floured surface and kneed lightly for 3 to 4 minutes. Divide into two portions. Form each portion into a a firm ball then gently press with the palm of your hand to flatten round cake. Should be about 8 inches across and 1 and 1/2 inch thick.
Generously butter the two baking sheets and position a cake in the center of each. Cut a deep cross, extending to the edges, on the top of each cake. Place in the center of oven and bake for 35 minutes or until pale and golden. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for thirty minutes. Eat while still slightly warm.
** I came across this twenty two years ago in an authentic Irish cookbook that I found at my library. I cannot remember the name of the book, but I do hold that this is a authentic recipe from the old country.

Friday, February 12, 2016

A Dangerous Hero; Release Day for Noble Assassin!

Just in time for Valentine's Day!  A New Historical Romance Release from Lily Silver:

Hello everyone. I'm excited this weekend. It's Release Day for Noble Assassin, Book Four of my Reluctant Heroes Series!  As a Valentine's Treat, take a peek at an Excerpt below from the First Scene;

The Governess meets the Assassin!  Excerpt from Noble Assassin, Copyright Lily Silver 2016

The Island of Ravencrest, West Indies, 1808
“Will you help me?” The lovely blonde woman sat before him at his desk, her blue eyes pleading and fearful.
Ambrose was not a heartless man, but he was as yet unimpressed by her tale of woe.
The glow of a candle flickered and danced before him, although it was only mid- afternoon. The storm outside made it necessary to light the candles to see. The tropical rainstorm brought an additional sense of gloom to the atmosphere as Miss Wallingford sketched out her story in the most obscure terms possible.
The light of the flame was entrancing, a warm yellow golden glow that bathed his mind in calm. It was a trick he learned in the East Indies, to focus on the simplest thing to clear his mind of all the clutter that shadowed an issue and brought a thousand questions and concerns.
The warmth of the flame could comfort. The heat could maim or kill.
So it was with any object. It could be used for good or evil. The intent was purely in the one wielding the object in his hand. His childhood tutors trained him to see even everyday objects that appeared harmless as potential weapons at his disposal.
“Mr. Duchamp, will you help me?” The whisper soft voice of his unexpected guest brought Ambrose back from his quiet contemplation of the flame. Miss Wallingford was quite fetching by candlelight. Her buttery blonde curls framed a face that could launch a thousand ships, if the legend of Helen of Troy were to be given life. She was an English woman with an English nose, a resolute English chin and prim, tight English lips.
Pink lips, to be precise. Lips that needed kissing, but had likely never had the pleasure.
Miss Wallingford was the governess at Ravencrest Plantation. He steepled his hands before him and studied the lovely woman who had come to the island plantation just eighteen months ago.  He studied her with ruthless silence, ignoring her plea. Why would such a lovely, intelligent woman require the lethal assistance of a man such as himself?  “I will think on it.”
Her smooth English brow was pinched. She appeared offended by his reluctance to entangle himself in her private affairs. “I have no one else who can help me, sir. No one else to turn to.”
“You might speak with his lordship,” Ambrose suggested.  Sharing her dilemma with their employer was an unpleasant option, but an option, nevertheless. “Count Rochembeau is a fair man. He has a soft spot for those trapped in unfortunate circumstances. He might offer a better solution than I could. A more civilized and honorable solution.”
“His lordship would dismiss me and send me back to England.” Miss Wallingford sat up straight in the chair. “And they would find me easily if I were returned to English shores.”
Ambrose sighed. He studied the candle again, seeking the serenity of the silent flame. He knew what happened when a target was located by a professional assassin. There could be a time of waiting to make the kill. If the assassin were smart, he would strike quickly and leave the area before someone noticed him and his cover were blown.
Pretty Miss Wallingford was putting him in a very difficult situation by asking for his help with her would-be pursuers. Suppose she was involved in political intrigue?  His employer would not be pleased if Ambrose brought trouble to the serene island refuge where both he and the count had come to escape the horrors of France years ago. Count Rochembeau had finally found peace after his ordeal in the Bastille. The count found refuge in the arms of his beautiful wife and the bland domestic life they shared with their five children.
He picked up an apple from the bowl on his desk and began peeling it with his favorite dagger. After twirling away the skin with ease, he sliced it into quarters and picked up a piece with the tip of his blade. He bit into the tasty fruit. He’d skipped lunch and he was famished. He picked up another piece with the tip of his blade, about to shove it into his mouth.
She was watching him with fascinated horror. So, she’d heard the stories about him and his fondness for sharp instruments from the sailor’s wives. Tres bien. A fierce reputation was not a flaw but a weapon of the mind. A weapon he’d honed to full advantage. 
“Pardon, mademoiselle,” he said in a flat tone devoid of true regret. “I have forgotten my manners. Would you care for a piece?” He extended his arm across the desk, holding the dagger out to her with a chunk of fruit impaled on the end.
Her eyes told the tale. She was appalled by his casual savagery. 
End of Excerpt, Copyright Lily Silver, 2016

If you want a simmering, suspenseful historical romance with an unlikely hero set in the warm Caribbean, here is the link for the book on Noble Assassin on

Thursday, February 11, 2016

The beautiful side of Paradise; Setting of Noble Assassin

Paradise, yes, that's the word we conjure when we think of the Caribbean.

My newest novel is set in the Caribbean, near St. Kitts. It takes place in 1808, and so, it is set in the backdrop of The West Indies.

You've met the characters, Ambrose Duchammp and Juliet Wallingford in previous posts, and toured the landscape to view the creatures on the islands, specifically the more imposing creatures.  

Today I present another side, the more alluring side of the Caribbean, the romantic side, if you will.

Juliet is from England so to her, the island is a wonderful place unlike anything she's ever known.

Butterflies of every color and tropical blooms.

Hibiscus flower after a tropical shower

The landscape is dotted with exotic tropical flowers, such as hibiscus and bouginvilla creeping up the garden wall or along hedges. Bouginvilla can be white, pink, coral, red, or purple. Juliet sees it infringing everywhere.  When she goes to the port city to shop, Ambrose gifts her with pink orchids. Does he know it's her favorite color?   Who can resist the magic and beauty of the Caribbean landscape.
It's the perfect place to fall in love.  

Imagine the bright colored parrots flying about, landing on trees, greeting you with their sharp caws.

And imagine living in a land that is forever warm after spending your life in a damp, cooler climate such as England. The heat and humidity take some getting used to, but it's worth the discomfort. Every day, you can walk the beach if you wish, enjoy the sunshine and collect sea shells.  Imagine taking a carriage ride at night with your sweetheart, and making love on the beach, beneath a canopy of stars.

So, if you are looking to get away from winter this February, slip into the romance of the Caribbean with a historical romance set near St. Kitts.  Noble Assassin will be released this weekend.

Tomorrow, on release day, I'm posting an excerpt from the first scene of the book.  
Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Jane Eyre in the West Indies: Meet Juliet, Heroine in Noble Assassin

Juliet, Governess and Dreamer

It takes guts to pack up your few belongings and flee to a strange land. It takes a lot of courage to sail across the ocean in 1807 and take a job as a governess in order to hide from a man stalking you. 

Juliet Wallingford does not consider herself a heroine. In her own mind, she's not a brave soul. She's a bastard child of a nobleman and has not even met her father. When her mother died, she was taken to a school for girls, and spent her childhood there as a ward to a mysterious benefactor. Once she reached an age of adulthood, her father stopped paying for her lodgings. She had the choice of going out on her own to support herself, or staying at the school as a teacher to earn her keep. She chose the latter, with very bland results. A boring day job in an institution where she lived and ate as well as taught, a place where she has about as much chance of meeting a potential husband as meeting the Emperor of France. 

She answers an ad for a governess and goes to a remote estate on the Yorkshire moors. A little like Jane Eyre, but with disastrous results. There is no Mr. Rochester waiting for her there, only a wicked man who preys upon her innocence, and has done so with former governesses coming to his home to fill the position. 

hibiscus flowers from West Indies

After fending off his attack, Juliet plucks up her courage and flees to the Indies. She finds her new position most favorable as the family is loving and kind, to their children and to their staff. She's content. Sort of.  She's also dreamed of having her own home, her own children to fuss over and a husband to share her life with.  She had a slight crush on the sea captain who brought her to the Indies, as he was attentive and kind to her, asking her to join him for dinner in his cabin each night with his senior officers, and generally giving her an idea of what a true gentleman behaves like. She daydreams about marrying the captain, of joining him on his adventures at sea. It's a sweet dream for a lonely governess with no family or home of her own. 

Not your typical Mr. Rochester

Our Jane Eyre doesn't know that Mr. Rochester is waiting for her in the Indies: Mr. Duchamp is blissfully unaware that his life is empty and lonely without her.  He's an intimidating, dangerous man, rumored to be a killer. He'll teach her the art of self protection, instruct her in how to use a dagger, tease her, make sport of her, and offer a pretend courtship to protect her reputation while engaged in said lessons--something she finds insulting and humiliating but must play along out of fear her employers will let her go if they know the truth, that she's a fugitive from English shores. 

Her penchant for dreaming of that knight in shining armor sweeping her away arises again, and she can't help but wonder what it would be like to be Mr. Duchamp's Bride. The only problem is, he's not in love with her, he's just pretending, she believes. 

Juliet is tortured by the future, when the pretense is finished and she's left alone again, embarrassed to have not truly captured Mr. Duchamp's attentions. He's a hard man, with his heart locked away in a steel box.  How could she ever hope to inspire a true affection in him? 

She might be surprised to learn she's not the drab little mouse she believes herself to be. Not in Mr. Duchamp's mind. But . . . that's not the whole story. It's her story, her perceptions in the matter.  

Juliet is forced to trust him as her enemy closes in. Will her heart survive intact?  

Available for Sale Feb. 12th, 2015

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Monkeys, Sharks and Snakes, Oh My! Creatures of Noble Assassin

Copyright: violin / 123RF Stock Photo

Noble Assassin is set in the Caribbean, so naturally, we think of sunsets, bright flowers, sandy beaches and benign surroundings.

The story is set on an imaginary island near St. Kitts. So, yes, there are sandy beaches, and tropical flowers, brilliant sunsets, and . . . snakes.

Copyright: byrdyak / 123RF Stock Photo

The hero of our story, Ambrose, has a cottage on the edge of the sea. Behind the cottage is jungle brush and a large, long lagoon.  He has pets in his backyard paradise.  There is a group of Vertvet Monkeys, or Green Monkeys as they are often called. Ambrose, our bad guy hero, has trained one among them to come when he calls. Titus Andronicus  (Shakespeare, a dark story full of nasty murders) is the name our noble assassin has given his pet. Titus will sit on his shoulder and let him feed him by hand. Meet Titus

Copyright: mattiaath / 123RF Stock Photo

The tropical landscape is beautiful of course, with vibrant blooms and green jungle foliage. There are parrots, and butterflies, lizards, and snakes. Tarantula's also live here, but don't make too much of a showing in our story.  The nine year old twin boys in the story like to play with small lizards. Well, boys will be boys, after all.

Copyright: magphoto / 123RF Stock Photo
Ambrose also has pets in his backyard lagoon. Two tiger sharks swam in one day, infant sharks that slipped through the coral barrier. Ambrose kept feeding them, and made a barrier so they could not escape. The lagoon is fed fresh ocean water with the tides. He's named his two pet sharks, now nearly fully grown, Louis and Maria, after the French King and his queen who were executed by guillotine during the French Revolution. He's showing his sentimental side in the choice of names.

Copyright: kiankhoon / 123RF Stock Photo

These darlings are more than pets, they also provide backyard surveillance so that he's not attacked in the night by enemies trying to land in the lagoon. And land they do! Crunch, Crunch.

His monkey tribe also serves as an alarm system, as they screech warning whenever intruders enter their backyard habitat.  Ambrose is adept at using the tools at hand as weapons or defense mechanisms, you see.

Copyright: nirut123rf / 123RF Stock Photo
Other creatures on the island that make an appearance in the book are jungle snakes.  Yes, snakes play an integral part of the rescue event at the end of the story. Couldn't resist as my Gothic side kicks in. Dark Hero, the first book in the series is a Gothic Romance set in the Caribbean. Noble Assassin also has Gothic elements, such as a brooding hero, a woman in danger, an isolated estate and a sometimes forbidding atmosphere.

Most of the snakes on the island of St. Kitts and the mirror island of Ravencrest are not poisonous. However, with any rule there is always an exception. But, consider this; if you were confronted with a room with writhing snakes on the floor, would you want to take your chances by walking thru them?

Make no mistake, Noble Assassin is a historical ROMANCE. But it has some suspenseful elements, and a paranormal twist, as most of my romances do. You can pick up a copy this week, just in time for Valentine's Day.  Escape to the Caribbean this winter and enjoy a romantic adventure with Ambrose and Juliet.