Thursday, February 28, 2013

Get Your Irish On! A Celebration of Being Irish on St. Paddy's Day!

Cliffs of Moher Image credit: burben / 123RF Stock Photo

Take a little jaunt to Old Ireland with me, a land of myth, mystery, legend and magic!
As a writer, I enjoy researching the past. Often it's so intriguing that I find it hard to write a straight up historical romance without adding a little magic and mystery to the mix. With three historical romances out, two that take place in Ireland, and all three featuring Irish characters, I wanted to celebrate the season, the season of the Irish, by featuring some excerpts this month from my Irish romances. 

Red head with beer: Image credit: dolgachov / 123RF Stock PhotoImage credit:

Bright Scoundrel and Some Enchanted Waltz take place in Ireland, while Dark Hero takes place in the West Indies, but features a hero and heroine who are of Irish descent.  Also, as many of you already know, most of my heroines have red hair. Perhaps you weren't aware that one of my heroes does, too!  To find out which one, keep visiting. We'll be having some fun this month celebrating being Irish.
I'll be spending the month of March sharing excerpts from these stories with you on this blog and offering some good prizes for those brave enough to leave a comment. 

So Grab a Mug and Get Your Irish On! 

Excerpt from Bright Scoundrel by Lily Silver, copyright 2013  
Bright Scoundrel is on sale for .99 cents March 1 & 2 on


Roisin Dubh Castle, County Galway, Ireland, January 1801

       Fierce wailing permeated the cold winter night.
       Marcus Redding sat up and tossed the covers from his legs. He listened, hoping the blood-freezing noise would not return for a second hellish chorus.
       Luck was not with them on this night, nor had it been on any night since they’d arrived in Ireland. The banshee’s cry echoed in the tower above their heads. It was a female spirit who cried mournfully, warning of impending death or so the locals claimed.
       The night was pitch black, moonless and the bedchamber blacker still in the deep gloom.
       “I can’t take anymore.” Mary rose up beside him and clutched at him from behind. Seconds passed as she clung to him, hanging over Marcus, clutching him about the neck as if the spirit would seize her unawares and drag her to hell.
      “It will pass, it always does.” He tried to comfort his sobbing bride.
      “Ahhh!” The piercing wail above their heads continued. “Ahhhhh, Ooooooh!”
The door to their chamber was flung open as if by a great force of wind. Marcus waited breathlessly for her to appear as he stared at the dark hole in the middle of the wall.
Mary crouched behind him, whimpering softly, reciting a childish prayer.
       A ghostly figure moved through the dark door, floating across the flagstones without sound as it drifted toward the bed. As it drew near he could see that it was indeed the shape of a woman, an old woman with white hair floating about her thin shoulders. She raised a finger and pointed directly at him.   “Leave now, whilst ye still can.”
      The sound of heavy marching came, as if a regiment of soldiers were walking up the drive, the stones crunching beneath their feet. The sound continued as Marcus and Mary clutched each other in the darkness and the apparition stood before their canopy bed.
The lower hall echoed with the sounds of boots, as if a regiment had invaded the fortress and were coming to seize them in their beds. Mary whimpered. Her fingernails dug into Marcus’ skin, causing pain, assuring him he was indeed awake. Thus far, the spirit had only appeared and wailed incessantly.         
      ‘T’was the first night they had more ghostly intruders than the old woman.
       Marching, marching. The staccato sounds of marching soldiers grew louder as they came down the long corridor to the tower room. Mary stood and screamed, making his heart seize. She ran into the small dressing room to the left and he heard the bolt click behind her.
       Marcus couldn’t move. He watched the doorway, transfixed by the sound of an invading army that couldn’t be real and yet, it could not be denied. A cloud of white mist filled the chamber as figures swirled about in the gloom, never pausing long enough for him to make out any more than the fact that they were human figures or had once been the souls of humans, before pain and wretchedness scored their being.
       The sound of scuffling feet, angry shouts and the sensation of chaos going on about him came from the spirit realm. He saw figures wrestling, ghostly men struggling to contain their victim and then the window beside his bed was thrust open suddenly by spectral hands. He watched as the shifting mists became a throng of men before his eyes, transparent, ghostly men wrestling with a captive as the women’s guttural keening reached a horrifying crescendo.
        The ghostly soldiers pushed their reluctant captive to the window, a mere two feet from where Marcus remained frozen in horror on the bed, an unwilling witness to their lynching. They slipped a noose over the tall man’s head, cinching it about his neck with cruel pleasure.
The crowd of men converged upon the doomed man, lifting him as he kicked and writhed, lifting him and shoving him feet first through the window casement.
        Marcus shrank back, into the bed, away from the ghostly soldiers, lest they seize him in their zeal and toss him out the window with their other victim.
       “Shawn O’Flaherty for housing rebels and engaging in seditious activities, you are hereby stripped of your title, your lands and your wealth.” An officious voice proclaimed from amid the crowd of spectral soldiers. “You are hereby condemned to hang by the neck until you are dead. Let your flesh be left hanging from your own casement windows, you and your brothers, as a warning to all that England will show no mercy to those of traitorous designs.”
        The lone man struggled against their intent, to no avail. He was tossed from the casement window as several hands held the rope from within.
        Marcus uttered an oath and placed his hands over his ears as the gasping, choking sounds of the dying man invaded his mind. The banshee tossed her gray head back and released a shriek of agony that was certain to break the very glass in the window panes. Marcus couldn’t stand it. He rolled away from the window, leapt from the bed on the opposite side and ran to the closet door, pounding and shouting for his wife to unlock it. His frantic pounding went unanswered. He shouted, pleaded and pounded on the door until his hands were throbbing, surely broken.
        The soldiers remained on the other side of the bed at the window. They were hanging another man, lifting his kicking, writhing body and shoving him through the casement. More sounds of choking, gagging, gurgling and the sound of heels kicking against the walls, seeking purchase.
        The Banshee’s cries intensified, making his heart feel as if it were about to explode. Marcus began to pray, desperate for the horror of this night to end as he huddled at the arched closet door in his night robe. He closed his eyes, trying to remember the words of a long forgotten prayer.
        The second victim’s struggles ceased. Silence pervaded, and only the creaking of the rope could be heard from the window as two bodies swung from the casement. And then, the third man’s struggles could be heard as he, too, was hefted out the window and the rope quickly snapped, breaking his neck.
        Creak, creak, scrape.
       Three bodies hanging from the window of the high tower room. Three bodies could be heard swinging from the window, along with the soft, mewlish weeping of a young woman.  
       “Leave this place!”
       Marcus opened his eyes. The Banshee was standing before him. She crouched down, close, her ancient, lined face mere inches from his. Her hair was still floating queerly about her in ghostly tendrils. Her eyes had become an eerie, glowing red.

       She stuck a bony finger beneath his nose. “Leave I say. T’will be no quarter given if you stay. As long as I remain I vow no Englishman will prosper in this place. Leave, or you’ll rue the day you crossed the threshold of Roisin Dubh Castle. Leave or I vow, the sons your bride conceives beneath this roof will never live to see the light of day.”
       He nodded, agreeing with the woman. Yes, he’d be gone come daylight. He’d take Mary and flee this cursed pile of rocks. Hell’s gates opened here. He’d sell the place, cheaply, if need be and put Black Rose Castle and Ireland firmly behind him.
       Marcus Redding was not a coward. He fought Napoleon and received a medal of valor from his king. He was a British peer of the realm, a soldier and a gentleman. He was not a fool. He would not risk losing his heir. The curse of the O’Flahertys he’d been warned about when he brought his bride here for a honeymoon was not an old folk tale as he’d believed, nor a hoax to scare away the new owners.
       The curse was real. The O’Flaherty brothers were hung from this very casement, on this night over twenty years past. And the old witch who had been their mother placed a curse on the place, damning it against future habitation by anyone not of O’Flaherty blood. It was true, every word the shrinking housekeeper had uttered to his wife in warning. Every whisper between the maids who refused to stay here at night was true. His laughter and his scorn could not dispel the truth, as each night for past two months the banshee’s cries had disturbed their sleep.
       This place was cursed, and no Englishman could live here and prosper.
       Nay, no Englishman could live here and remain sane!
       The old woman continued to glower at him with those frightening, glowing red eyes. “I’ll warn ye no more, Englishman. None but those of O’Flaherty blood will be welcome within these walls. Leave us, or suffer my vengeance over those bloody redcoats who stole my sons from me and destroyed an entire generation of O’Flaherty Kings.” 
       Abruptly, the old hag disappeared, and the throng of soldiers with her. The keening and weeping stopped. Marcus could hear his own staggered breathing and the pounding of his heart in his ears made it difficult to discern any other noise nearby. A faint weeping caught his attention and the shaking voice of his wife on the other side of the door. She was calling to him now, calling his name. God, did they hurt her? He rose and jangled the latch, hoping against hope that Mary was unharmed, only frightened behind that door.
      “Unlock it, love. Undo the latch. They’ve gone. It’s safe, I vow.” He pleaded.
      The clicking sound told him she’d done as instructed. He opened the door and crouched beside his wife. She gasped, holding her hand up in front of her face as the pale, gray light of dawn filtered in from the small window of the storage room. There was blood on her hand.
      “Mary, dearest. What have you done? What have you done to yourself?” He asked, panicked beyond reason as he searched her torso for a sign of a wound. “Where are you bleeding?”
His eyes fell to the jointure of her legs where a deep red stain was blooming in the fabric of her white gown.
      “The baby.” Mary whimpered, looking at her soiled bed gown. “I’m losing the baby.”
       No Englishman will be allowed to prosper in this place.  
                 excerpt, Bright Scoundrel by Lily Silver, copyright 2013 

Thanks for visiting, and check back next time for another excerpt from Bright Scoundrel: 

        Bright Scoundrel is .99cents March 1st & 2nd Only on

This book was so much fun to write, as I got to explore Irish myths and legends, adding some mythic beings to the storyline, along with ghosts for a very different type of historical romance, one with a very strong paranormal tone and featuring a hero who is an accomplished sorcerer aka druid priest! 

Bright Scoundrel is available on all digital sales platforms and in print form. If you would like to receive a coupon to purchase the ebook at half price, leave a comment here for me and include your email address. 

Next time, Chapter One will be featured, introducing you to a unique hero, Kieran O'Flaherty.  Don't you just love the Irish and St. Paddy's Day? 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Dinner, Candlelight, Black Pearls, Eternal Love: Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day.  Have you ever been on a date with your favorite Rock Star?  Well, maybe in your dreams. Since we all dream of that special Candlelight Dinner with the man of our dreams giving us expensive jewelry and asking the big question, here's a little treat for my readers. A romantic interlude from my contemporary Romance to savor.

Excerpt from The Rock Star Next Door, By Lily Silver, Copyright 2012:

       The waiter led them to a secluded spot near the windows. Chianti’s was on a bluff overlooking the ocean. The sun was setting, and soft Italian music played over the speakers above their heads. The wine was expensive, Jessie noted, as she sized up the drink menu. Lex ordered a bottle of light Pinot Grigio.
“I have something for you.” He said in that sexy, low rumble as he reached into his jacket.

Oh, crap. Jessie thought. Here it comes. She cringed inside, expecting the typical little black box and then the descent into awkwardness again when they started arguing about the same old thing--getting married. What’s wrong with me? I should be euphoric, silly with bliss. Priscilla Presley had to have been squealing her lungs out when Elvis proposed to her. Time warp; that was over forty years ago.

She gazed out the window at the sea, hands clasped together, a little tightly, as she tried to appear non-chalant about the whole deal even as her heart was racing and her insides twisted about.

“There we are.” Lex drew her reluctant attentions back to the glass table top between them as he plunked down his offering. It wasn’t a little black box, as she expected. It was a long, rectangular velvet box. He pushed it across the expanse between them.

Yep, definitely jewelry.  Jessie gulped, almost afraid to open it.

With shaking fingers, she slowly opened the long, hinged box. “Oh, my God.”

It was a string of pearls. Not just pearls, but rare and expensive black pearls.

“Well, yes, they were given to a man by a god, so the legend goes.” Lex replied.

Jessie was speechless. This was no ordinary gift, this was worth a fortune. “Lex, I--I can’t accept this. I’d be afraid to wear them.”

“Do you know what it means when a man gives a woman black pearls?”

“No.” She mumbled, feeling hot, exhilarated and tense all at once.

“According to legend, Oro, the Polynesian god of peace and fertility, came to earth on a rainbow to give the black pearl oyster to man. Once here, he offered the black pearl from this oyster to the beautiful princess of Bora Bora, as a sign of his love. Even now, it’s said that if you give someone a gift of black pearls, it is considered to be a symbol of eternal love.”

Jessie stared at Lex in the low candlelight, unable to speak. He held her shocked gaze, offering her a steady, patient look in return as he waited for his gesture to sink in.

“Oh, my God.” Jessie’s hands flew to her lips. She cringed even as she said it, feeling stupid for repeating the same expletive over and over like a broken record. Yet, truthfully, what else could she say? Hot Damn? Son-of-a-bitch?

What does one say when the man who asked you to marry him gives you a very expensive gift that signifies eternal love? And if he asked her again to marry him, what could she say in light of this?

Yes, I love you, but I can’t marry you, sorry . . . it’s not you, it’s me?

She waited, without breath, without hope, without a prayer, knowing that if Lex asked her the same question again she couldn’t say no.

“Let me help you.” He stood, and lifted the necklace from the box. Coming to stand behind her, he waited as Jessie lifted her hair from her neck. It was a moment out of time, a storybook moment, one Jessie knew she would never forget for as long as she lived. Lex gently slid the rope of pearls about her neck and fastened the clasp. His hands circled her shoulders as he stood behind her, waiting for her to comment.

“Thank you.” She gasped, and reached up to touch the smooth, lovely pearls about her neck. The rope was long enough to dangle just above her neckline. She glanced quickly at her reflection in the glass window and then turned about to gaze up at Lex. “I don’t know what to say.” She confessed, blushing slightly. “They are perfect.”

“A fitting gift.” He murmured, so low she could barely hear the rough timbre to his voice. “Eternity. You and I. Soul mates, from one lifetime to the next.” 
Excerpt, The Rock Star Next Door, copyright 2012 by Lily Silver

 If you're looking for love this Valentine's Day, why not treat yourself to a romantic fantasy featuring you and your favorite Rock Star.  The Rock Star Next Door is on Sale through Sunday on Amazon for just .99 cents, a great deal for a full length romance novel.  It's my gift to those who wish they could take a Rock Star home with them.  

Enjoy the fantasy. Amazon Link