GENRE: Historical novel
Sometimes a woman comes to the realization that she has built the perfect life but with the wrong man.
It is 1916 Ireland, and Independence Mather has settled into a tedious routine in an arranged marriage when she meets an architect hired to add a wing onto her husband’s vast estate. She soon falls in love with the charming, attentive Nicky Bowers, but he has secrets to hide. When she discovers he is an Irish rebel, events propel her into the middle of the Easter Rising. Now she must decide whether to remain the wife of a British loyalist or risk everything to join the rebellion and be with the man she loves.
The flames danced and pirouetted like so many ballet members assembled on a stage, their movements mesmerizing, even hypnotic. The warmth, however, was wanting, with a single peat brick trying its hardest to do its job but failing like a tiny child not meant to go it alone. I felt sorry for it falling short of the success it strove so hard to achieve, and then I grew discouraged as the cold pervaded.
I lay on a bed of straw faintly scented with what must have been last year’s lavender blooms, as it was too early in the current season for them to make their appearance. The straw packed under my weight until I felt the pricks from shoulder to knee, and as I turned from one position to another, I eventually felt the hard dirt floor upon which the bed was laid. The blankets meant to cushion and warm me were worn so thin, I could see the outline of my clothes underneath them, and despite wearing several layers, I could not get warm.
Nicky’s breathing had been measured, but now I could no longer hear him, and I struggled to see him through the gloom. He lay facing me—that I was sure of—but the shadows prevented me from seeing the details my heart desired. We’d talked until he’d fallen asleep, seemingly unaffected by the cold, and now I longed to hear his voice again. Despite his height and his brawn, his voice was gentle and reassuring, so very different from Stratford’s brusque and impatient tenor.
Shivering, I stood and gathered the blankets about me as best I could and made my way to Nicky’s side. I dropped to my knees upon his straw, which was a great deal thinner than the bed I’d been given. I was surprised to find his eyes open and watching me.
“It will be warmer for both of us if…” my voice trailed off as I felt the heat rising in my cheeks.
He opened his blanket as if inviting me in. I crawled in beside him, my back to his front. Unlike myself, who was wearing every stitch of clothing I’d brought in an attempt to stave off the chill, he was wearing only a gray shirt and trousers. My cold stockinged feet found him, and he covered us with both our blankets and then wrapped his arm around me. I placed my hand upon his and snuggled more deeply against him.
“Are you warmer?” His breath tickled my hair as he whispered, his lips close to my ear.
“Yes,” I said. “Much warmer.” I knew he could feel the beating of my heart; it was thumping wildly in both my chest and my neck, and I felt as though I could not catch my breath.
He settled in behind me, and I tried to listen to the rhythmic breathing I’d heard when he first slipped into slumber, but it did not come. His arm grew heavy across me like a weighty coat determined to protect me from the chill. Then he shifted, his head moving down to my neck where his lips brushed against my skin.
I turned in his arms, and he came upon one elbow to peer into my face. The darkness enveloped us, and I found myself searching out his eyes with a longing to see into his soul. I placed a hand upon his face, running my fingers along his jawline, feeling the stubble that had formed there since his last shave. And then my fingers found his hair and intertwined around the thick locks.
“You don’t have to do this,” he said hoarsely. “I gave you my word.”
“I know. But I did not give you mine.” I pressed upward to find his lips, my own whispering across his, savoring the fullness and the sweetness before his lips parted, and he returned my kiss with a passionate one of his own. I became lost in his kisses, my body burning for his, the longing mounting within me. “You don’t have to do this,” I whispered when we pulled back for a brief moment. “Or do you want to?”
“Desperately,” he answered as his hands followed the lines of my body as if memorizing the bend in my back, the flare of my hips.
“I love your curves,” he whispered.
“I am a bit hefty,” I answered, suddenly self-conscious.
“Oh, I beg to differ,” he said, his voice becoming serious. “I love every curve. Your body might not be perfect, but it is certainly perfect for me.”
I felt as though a thousand pounds had been lifted from my shoulders, and suddenly I felt like the most beautiful woman in the entire world. As if to drive home his point, he set about exploring each curve, and in the process, he set my body on fire. Mountains of clothing and blankets peeled away, and somehow, the peat grew warmer until the room was awash in our moans and our heat, our limbs intertwined, our skin glistening, and I knew with all the assuredness in my soul that I was precisely where I was meant to be.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
p.m.terrell is the pen name for Patricia McClelland Terrell, the award-winning, internationally acclaimed author of more than 24 books in multiple genres, including contemporary suspense, historical suspense, computer instructional, non-fiction and children’s books.
Prior to writing full-time, she founded two computer companies in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area: McClelland Enterprises, Inc. and Continental Software Development Corporation. Among her clients were the Central Intelligence Agency, United States Secret Service, U.S. Information Agency, and Department of Defense. Her specialties were in the detection of white collar computer crimes and computer intelligence.
A full-time author since 2002, Black Swamp Mysteries was her first series, inspired by the success of Exit 22, released in 2008. Vicki’s Key was a top five finalist in the 2012 International Book Awards and 2012 USA Book Awards nominee, and The Pendulum Files was a national finalist for the Best Cover of the Year in 2014. Her second series, Ryan O’Clery Suspense, is also award-winning. The Tempest Murders (Book 1) was one of four finalists in the 2013 International Book Awards, cross-genre category. Her historical suspense, River Passage, was a 2010 Best Fiction and Drama Winner. It was determined to be so historically accurate that a copy of the book resides at the Nashville Government Metropolitan Archives in Nashville, Tennessee. Songbirds are Free is her bestselling book to date; it is inspired by the true story of Mary Neely, who was captured in 1780 by Shawnee warriors near Fort Nashborough (now Nashville, TN).
She was the co-founder of The Book ‘Em Foundation, an organization committed to raising public awareness of the correlation between high crime rates and high illiteracy rates. She was the founder of Book ‘Em North Carolina, an annual event held in the town of Lumberton, North Carolina, to raise funds to increase literacy and reduce crime and served as its chairperson and organizer for its first four years. She also served on the boards of the Friends of the Robeson County (NC) Public Library, the Robeson County (NC) Arts Council, Virginia Crime Stoppers and became the first female president of the Chesterfield County-Colonial Heights Crime Solvers in Virginia.
For more information, book trailers, excerpts and more, visit the author’s website at www.pmterrell.com.
Who influenced your writing?
I find inspiration from every author I read. The first one I could not put down was Richard Matheson’s What Dreams May Come. Once I finished it, I immediately reread it to determine what he did that kept me turning the pages. The secret lay in the way he ended each chapter, wording the last sentence, so I had to keep turning the pages. Daphne du Maurier’s Jamaica crept up on me; I began reading it one evening, decided nothing much was happening yet, and I set it down. Later that night, I awakened in a cold sweat, absolutely terrified. Of course, I had to go back to the beginning to analyze how she accomplished that. Her technique lay in the way she gently placed each clue along the path, the nuance in her phrasing, and how she built upon those until she reached a fever pitch. Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood influenced my writing, as well. Though the story was factual, he unveiled it as though I was reading a novel. I have used that same technique in my historical works.
What does your writing space look like?
I have a dedicated office for my writing. My desk is in front of a large window, and beside my writing space is one of my aquariums. My office has windows on all sides, providing a 360-degree view. I write all my books on the computer.
What is a must-have while writing?
I don’t know what I would do without the Internet. I am constantly looking up synonyms or antonyms and performing research. Due to the plethora of misinformation on the web, I stick to university websites and databases, historical societies, and nonprofits formed to preserve history. The Internet has saved me countless hours I once spent in libraries, and I often bookmark the sites, so I return time and again while I write.
Where did you find your inspiration for your next work in progress?
I love Irish history. My ancestral home is there, and I have found the island to be a magical, mystical place. When I began researching my first book set there, I discovered a treasure trove of historical data that has continued to inspire my writing. I am working on two books at the moment, both in the research stage. One is a ghost story and sequel to April in the Back of Beyond, and the other is a historical novel set against the backdrop of the Irish War for Independence, a sequel to A Struggle for Independence.
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