Excerpt: Voice of the Wind, Book 8

Albert Anker Girl Peeling Potatoes

Flora Moss sneaked into the house through the kitchen’s back door and scurried into the pantry, hoping she had not been missed. She slipped off her wool cloak and returned to the kitchen to finish peeling potatoes.

Madra peered suspiciously at her. “About time you got on with those vegetables, Flora. Where have you been all this time?”

“Out, I had to see my sister,” Flora said. She sat down on a kitchen stool and faced a bowl full of potatoes and carrots. Frowning, she began stripping the vegetables of their skins with a vicious zeal. Each lump of potato, each stick of carrot, had a name — Rena Oldroyd, Darcy Oldroyd — every Oldroyd she could name — even her sister Tilly — and then she picked a few more choice names.

When she spied Orrick driving the sleigh past a kitchen window, she asked, “Where is Orrick going in Miss Oanada’s sleigh at this time of day? Is something going on? Is Miss Oanada leaving?”

“None of your business, Flora. Finish peeling the vegetables. Lotta Jo needs them for the stew.”

Madra!” Flora hissed beneath her breath and sent a peel of potato skin flying across the kitchen table.

***

Painting: Albert Samuel Anker (Swiss, 1831-1910) ~ The Little Potato Peeler (Girl Peeling Potatoes), 1886, public domain.

Excerpt, copyright, 2020.

#Voice of the Wind: Shadows of Time series

 

Excerpt, VOW, Book 8

….

Althar frowned. His dream kept returning. He was part of it. Oanada was also part of his dream. Stirring, Althar grimaced. The ivory piece would please Inali. He set it on the shelf above Inali’s work space for his brother to find and put away his tools. He would clean up the crescent moons of ivory shavings and curls tomorrow.

Day grew lighter beyond the carriage house windows. He stretched, yawned, and as the kitchen stirred with the rumblings of another early morning, Althar slipped quietly and unseen through the house and to his room. The plans and preparations for Fayerton’s Winter Ball and the young woman he had been invited to escort were far from his thoughts as he drifted into a dreamless sleep.

***

Hours later, Madra, Mavis, and Oanada fussing about him, Althar was properly attired in his freshly pressed black velvet evening suit. Spills of white, homespun lace edged the cuffs of his sleeves and collared his throat. The chain of a gold pocket watch hung from the fob of his jacket lapel.

“Take care of that watch. It belonged to your grandfather James Breen,” Mavis said. “My, but how I do remember the way Master Kieron was always asking for the time.”

“Whatever do I need a watch for?” Althar protested. He had protested everything done to him since he had walked unaware down the stairs shortly after lunch. It was not long before he realized the reason behind Inali’s smile when his brother helped Natty Banary dunk him into a bath of hot water and, laughing, pushed him under. Then to add further insult to his Mikuyi pride, he was forced to sit still while Oanada clipped the shaggy length of his hair — not that he minded the radiant fragrance of Oanada’s closeness or the tickle of her slender fingers in his hair, tugging if he dared move. While Oanada threatened him with the shears, Madra trimmed, filed, and buffed his fingernails.

“Master Althar,” Orrick squeaked. He eyeballed the bandage wrapped around Althar’s right hand. “You hurt yourself.”

“I cut my hand,” Althar muttered, reminded of the dull pain. He picked up the cup of willow bark tea Oanada had prepared. The tea had grown tepid, but he took a swallow of the bitter liquid.

“How did you do hurt yourself?” Pearl asked.

“I broke the window in my room—”

Flora looked up, interested. She moved closer and sat down at the kitchen table. Althar smiled absently at the girl who rested her chin in her cupped palm. Flora sighed. As Oanada trimmed the uneven lengths of Althar’s hair, Flora watched every movement, her attention absorbed.

Finished with trimming Althar’s hair, Oanada let Pearl comb the glossy black locks. “At least you left some hair on my head unlike the last haircut Father and Mistress Rosenthorn gave me.” Althar laughed. He shook his head and stood, pulling the towel from his shoulders.

Flora blinked, sat up straight, her cheeks pinking at the sight of Althar without his shirt.

“I am not finished with you yet, Althar,” Oanada said, pouring steaming water into a basin. “Sit down and let me clean your hand. I have a healing salve that will help and you need a clean bandage.”

Althar reluctantly obeyed. Pearl and Flora looked on, grimacing in sympathy when Oanada removed the blood stained bandage and examined and cleaned several small but superficial lacerations without disturbing the tender, swollen flesh.

The green tinted salve felt pleasantly cooling. Althar recognized the fragrance of the Dreamweaver and remembered Oanada’s healing from before — a lifetime ago it seemed to him now. He had forgotten the puckered, crescent scar on his shoulder until Flora reminded him.

“How did you get the scar on your shoulder, Althar?” Flora asked before fully realizing the inappropriateness of her question or that she was staring at him, all eyes and sighs.

“Flora!” Madra scolded. “Perhaps it is none of our business and you have other things to do this morning than sitting there staring at Master Althar. You too, Pearl. Go check on Orrick and see if your father has finished repairing the broken square of glass in Master Althar’s window.”

“Yes, Momma,” Pearl sulked reluctant to leave the room.

***

Hours later, he stood transformed from Mikuyi to fashionable gentleman preparing to leave for the evening.

Pearl giggled. “The watch is to remind you to come home by midnight, Master Althar,” Pearl said. “Or you might turn into a pumpkin!”

Althar grinned, said, “A pumpkin, eh?”

Oanada straightened the lace cravat spilling down the front of his black velvet evening jacket. “Yes, a pumpkin!” She laughed, silver eyes dancing. She stepped back when Inali returned.

“Is that you, Althar?” Inali grinned, raised an eyebrow.

Althar frowned at the reflection of the stranger facing him in the foyer mirror. “I think so, although I doubt Rhan or Brego would recognize me. Well, I am ready. I hope Fayerton and Megan Wellborn’s family are ready for me. I am beginning to think this may not be a good idea, Oanada. Is it too late—”

“Yes,” Oanada said. “Megan is expecting you, Althar.

Althar glanced helplessly at Inali for support.

“Natty has already hired the cab and driver,” Inali replied.

“It is here! The cab and driver are here!” Pearl announced from her post at the drawing room window.

Althar shrugged on his greatcoat. Inali opened the front door. Oanada laughed and brushed a kiss upon Althar’s smoothly shaven cheek.

“Megan will be proud to be seen with you tonight — and my father will be there,” Oanada said.

Pearl yanked on his coat sleeve. “You have not forgotten how to dance have you, Althar? You remember the steps Flora and I taught you?”

“I hope I remember, Pearlie.” Althar chucked the girl beneath her chin.

“You look so handsome, Althar,” Flora said. “I wish I could go to the Winter Ball. You will remember everything to tell Pearl and me?”

“Yes, I will, Flora.”

Inali nudged him. “You are keeping the driver waiting, brother.”

“And do not forget to be home by midnight!” Pearl called as Inali walked out with Althar.

“I would not dare forget, Pearlie.”

“Enjoy the Winter Ball, Althar — for all of us,” Madra called as she, Pearl, Oanada, Mavis, and Flora all squeezed into the doorway to wave. Orrick wearing a wide, toothy grin stood at the cab door to open it for Althar.

***

The cabbie sat on top, snug in his fur rugs. He had a dozen other fares that night but none as interesting as the household of Fayerfield House crowding through the front door to see the Mikuyi off for the evening. His next stop at the Wellborn’s townhouse would be even more interesting — one of the reasons he had accepted Natty Banary’s hire for the evening.

Visit my Voice of the Wind: Shadows of Time series page on Amazon.

 

Shadows and Substance: A Description

VOW_6_Cover:WrittenInOmen_Covers

Drama and intrigue abound.

Passions ignite.

Threats whisper in the shadows.

Someone from Jonquil’s past arrives in Fayerton.

Skeins of dreams and unraveling schemes…

 

In a new country, surrounded by strangers and odd customs, Jonquil Deering desperately wants to belong as her mother, Bethana Tourney, once belonged. But, when Jonquil knows nothing about her mother’s home, the Cloisters, or her mother’s past and the people her mother knew and perhaps loved, the challenge becomes a difficult, if not impossible task.

Jonquil’s determination to reclaim her mother’s legacy meets immovable object in Chaeran Fayerfield-Drake, the current Master of the Cloisters and heir to the Cloisters. Chaeran remembers the night that changed the destiny of Jonquil’s mother and drove Bethana to flee, leaving behind loved ones who believed Bethana had perished in the fire that destroyed Rosenhall and ended Martin Fayerfield’s life. When Jonquil asks Chaeran about that night and her mother, he doesn’t answer and avoids her.

Jonquil reopens the Cloisters’ manor house to its former grandeur. She plans to avenge her mother and confront the man she believes is her father, Jantz Fayerfield. But, Jantz denies she is his daughter. If not Jantz, then who is her father?

Mysterious events being occurring, and when Jonquil begins losing pieces of time and she cannot remember, Noah Winterringer takes advantage to further his own ambitions for Jonquil, for the Cloisters’ future, and for the downfall of his life-long nemesis Jantz Fayerfield, Jantz’s son Rojah, and for Chaeran.

Among all the new people Jonquil meets, who can she trust? Who can she depend on?

The cast of characters is long: Chaeran Fayerfield-Drake, Jantz Fayerfield and his wife Zaire and their son, Rojah who is conducting his own investigation; Mead Worthington and Mead’s adopted daughter Belladonna; Noah Winterringer, his daughter Noelani and her husband, Darcy Oldroyd; and Maybelle Flower. An entourage of assorted servants, townspeople, winery workers, miscreants and villains, and a troupe of thespians make a riveting free-for-all in Shadows and Substance, Book 6 in the Voice of the Wind: Shadows of Time series.

The reader never knows what will happen next!

***

“When a shadow flits across the landscape of the soul where is the substance?” ~ Henry David Thoreau (1873). “A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers”, p.373

Excerpt from Under A Pale Moon

That evening at dinner, Leander slipped past Rojah on his way to the buffet to pour another glass of wine.

“Thank you for not betraying me — about what happened the other day, old man,” Leander confided while offering a disarming grin.

Rojah smiled, nodded to one of Lady Margret’s dinner guests. “I leave that to you, old man,” he replied, leaving Fleming wondering at the exact meaning of his words.

“You El Nath chaps excel at concealing your emotions.” Leander selected a decanter, yanked out the crystal stopper, and refilled his wineglass. “Are you interested in the beautiful Jonquil Deering for yourself?”

“I do not like to see a lady’s honor compromised or taken advantage of,” Rojah replied, continuing to flash a dimpled smile to the dinner guests. He glanced toward the two other men standing beside the buffet. They appeared involved in an amiable conversation concerning trade and the financial markets.

“I hear that you are a frequent guest of Adria Gittel,” Leander said.

Rojah nodded, the dining room was beginning to fill with the invited guests as they each found their assigned seats at the dining table.

“Are you aware of the situation between Lady Margret and Adria Gittel?” Leander continued, nodding and smiling at the guests who glanced toward them. He winked at a lady twittering behind her jade fan painted with gold floral motifs.

Rojah nodded, said, “I have been advised. Good evening, Madame Sterling, you are exceptionally lovely tonight.”

The San Bargellian grand matron beamed. “Master Fayerfield, you have an exceptionally flattering manner.” Madame Sterling laughed in her deep, loud voice. “You young men must be the two most handsome gentlemen in San Bargel. You must come to tea next week, Rojah, and you, Leander. Please bring your dear, sweet wife.” The grand matron swept along to her seat.

“Tea with Madame Sterling is a lesson in torturous boredom,” Leander muttered. “The lady is about as lovely as a stuffed sea otter — unlike Adria Gittel. You do not see either Adria or her daughter here tonight, do you, Fayerfield? I would be careful to whom you mention either of those two ladies, especially in this house.”

“If I visit Lady Gittel that is my personal business, Fleming, and no one else’s concern.”

“Lady?” Leander scoffed. “Adria Gittel is no lady. Be careful, old man. The crux of the matter is not to become caught between mother and daughter. Other men have done so and lived to regret it.”

Piqued by Leander’s remark, Rojah asked, “Other men? Was one of those men named Flaric Deering?”

Leander choked on the wine he sipped. Purple stains splattered his white shirt front. “Now, look what you have gone and made me do,” Leander grumbled. “My shirt is ruined thanks to your incessant curiosity. Heed my warning, old man. Be careful to whom you mention Flaric Deering’s name.”

Rojah caught Leander’s arm before Fleming could walk away. “Who is he?”

“Was — who was he. I suggest you go to 2205 Seacoast Drive. You will be able to satisfy your curiosity. Now, if you will excuse me? I must change my shirt.”

Leander strode away indignant over the wine that stained his shirt. He was almost offended, Rojah thought. It was the first true reaction Rojah had managed to evoke.

“2205 Seacoast Drive,” Rojah said, committing the address to memory.

“Oh, Rojah, here you are!” Margret laughed as she took his arm. “Master Pascale has arrived. I have seated you next to him during dinner.”

“Lady Perrywhite—”

“Captain Girard! I am delighted you accepted my dinner invitation.”

The uniformed officer bowed gallantly over Lady Perrywhite’s elegant hand glittering with diamonds. “The honor is mine, as a representative of King Edrick.”

“Captain Girard, have you met Rojah Fayerfield?”

The King’s officer extended his gloved hand to the younger man. Rojah immediately disliked the glint in the man’s jet eyes.

“No, I have not. Fayerfield is it? You have recently come from Fayerton, I believe. May I inquire as to what business brings you to San Bargel?”

“Officially or unofficially?” Rojah replied, smiling.

Captain Girard offered a tight lipped smile. “Unofficially, of course.”

Lady Perrywhite laughed. “Not tonight, gentlemen. Tonight my guests must enjoy the evening and nothing more. Please, no business or political conversations. Master Pascale, have you met Captain Girard?”

Rojah saw the same dislike flare in Pascale’s dark eyes before it was carefully shuttered.

“Yes, we have met,” Pascale said, and rather stiffly Rojah thought.

“I was a dinner guest at Master Pascale’s the other night,” Captain Girard replied.

“Indeed?” Lady Perrywhite said.

“As King Edrick’s representative I am often invited to many of San Bargel’s finest houses,” Captain Girard said.

“You must find endless dinner parties a boring duty, Captain Girard.” Golden said as she joined her mother, Rojah, and the two other men who had deserted the buffet and their conversation for Lady Perrywhite’s attention.

“Boring? Quite the contrary, Miss Perrywhite,” the King’s officer said. “Compared to my usual duties, I find the evenings spent dining with King Edrick’s loyal supporters among my more pleasant duties.”

Golden laughed and, taking the Captain’s arm, she led him to his seat at the table.

“This shall be one formal dinner I enjoy, Captain Girard. You must tell me about King Edrick’s court,” Golden said.

Golden Perrywhite’s vivacious charm seemed to enthrall the distinguished officer of the King’s Guard. Lady Perrywhite smiled, as if she had political ambitions of her own and that satisfaction gleamed in the depths of her brown eyes.

“Your daughter and the Captain are well suited to each other, Lady Perrywhite,” Pascale muttered.

“Why, Denarri, from the tone of your voice, you have some personal reservations toward the man,” Lady Perrywhite cooed.

“I dislike the arrogant officer. That is true. You should be on your guard with the man, Lady Perrywhite. The King’s representative is a well paid spy with political aspirations of his own.”

“So you would regard anyone who is a possible threat to your business interests, Denarri,” Lady Perrywhite said.

“And, to your interests as well, Lady Perrywhite. You will hear about it in the next few days, so I see no harm in telling you. Captain Girard recently informed me that King Edrick has ordered a complete audit of my entire financial establishment.”

Listening intently to the conversation, Rojah asked, “You, Master Pascale?”

Pascale blinked, as if by speaking Rojah reminded him of his presence. “Yes, along with several other financial institutions. In fact, any business having connections with foreigners is at risk. I say it is only a matter of time before Edrick helps himself to the Perrywhite fortunes to finance his eastern campaigns. You will be wise to consider sending your investments out of Cardolan and San Bargel and to a safer country beyond the reach of Edrick’s control, Lady Perrywhite. Your brother Mead in Fayerton would be a safe choice,” Pascale said, his voice low, confidential. “Do not ask me anymore about this matter. Saying as much as I have subjects me to an accusation of treason.”

“Yes, but only due to your choice of associations, Denarri. I speak, of course, of your longtime alliance and partnership.”

Pascale stiffened. “If you speak of Lady Gittel, I beg to differ on that opinion, Lady Perrywhite.”

Lady Perrywhite laughed and took Pascale’s arm much to Rojah’s astonishment after their disagreement. He understood the grand charade Lady Perrywhite played with her life and the lives of others — and the lure of power.

“An opinion over which we have always agreed to disagree without taking offense, Master Pascale,” Lady Perrywhite replied.

***

Intrigue. That was how the evening went, full of intrigue and innuendo. Perhaps it was due to the presence of the King’s representative, Rojah thought. He glanced down the long dining table to where Golden sat beside Captain Girard. Well mannered, gracious, the King’s officer lavished his complete attention upon Golden and several other ladies seated around him, including the overstuffed sea otter, Madame Sterling.

Rojah smiled and dipped his spoon into his curry soup that tasted of coconut and chicken. Beside him, Pascale laid aside his napkin and engaged him in conversation. “Adria tells me you are a frequent visitor, Rojah.”

Rojah glanced halfway down the table at Leander who was refilling his wineglass. No one enjoyed themselves more that evening than Leander. Hesper looked uncommonly pale and was quieter than her usual cheerful self.

“Yes,” Rojah answered. He gazed directly into Pascale’s black eyes. “Will you warn me about the harm I may be causing, sir?”

Pascale blinked. “Harm? I have seen far more good from your visits than harm, young man. These days Adria leads a reclusive life — for many reasons.” The dark gleam of Pascale’s eyes flickered toward their hostess reigning at the far end of the table. “For which I am grateful. You are aware of the lady’s fragile heart condition, Rojah?”

“Yes, sir,” Rojah replied, remembering an indignant face and raging sea green eyes.

“Good.”

“I find the lady fascinating as well as oddly familiar. Did you know she was born in El Nath, Master Pascale?” Rojah asked.

Pascale nodded and lifted his glass of wine to his lips. “Few are privileged with that knowledge, Rojah. I trust you are discreet. Adria guards her privacy and her past with fierce determination.”

“But she has spoken to you about her connection to El Nath.”

“No, she never has,” Pascale said. “Not even Jonquil knows as much as you do about the lady’s past, Rojah. Consider it an honor Lady Gittel trusts you enough to place her confidence in you.”

Rojah wanted to ask the San Bargellian financier more questions, but the lady to his left distracted him, engaging him in a trivial discussion of Sir Galan’s latest theatrical success of the star crossed lovers performed on a San Bargellian stage.

Denarri Pascale excused himself and left the dinner party soon afterward. The evening continued without his presence. Rojah was not as fortunate. Drawn from group to group among the lingering guests, it was almost midnight before he managed to slip away.

He had an early appointment the next morning at 2205 Seacoast Drive.

***

Excerpt from Under a Pale Moon, Book 5 in the Voice of the Wind: Shadows of Time series. Copyright 2019. Available on Amazon.com, September 2019!

Excerpt, Shadows and Substance, Book 6

Rojah’s gaze slid around the busy tavern. The hour was neither early nor late, but some time after supper and that part of the evening between being merely sober or completely smashed.

The Blue Swan’s usual patrons occupied the tables, chairs and benches and jostled for elbow space. Warbling male voices chortled in conversation; laughter boomed over the clank of wood and pewter ale mugs. In a corner space near the hearth, several men enjoyed a rousing game of dice. In the course of the last half-hour that Rojah had sat watching the game, several winners and losers had come and gone with no one in particular dominating the roll of the spinning dice.

Rojah’s restless gaze shifted from the knot of dice rollers to the smaller groups hurling darts at the Swan’s scarred game boards on the opposite side of the common room. Neither dice nor darts interested him ― no more than the card game going on in another corner of the tavern. A wandering minstrel strumming a gourd shaped lute, wandered through the patrons and accepted a mug of ale here and there for a song.

As he sipped from his second mug of Barleyman’s stout ale, Rojah did not feel all that sober, but not so drunk he could not tell what was more out of tune: the tone deaf musician or his battered instrument. If the musician kept up his singing and lute strumming for much longer, only a man drunk out of his senses could enjoy the music.

Arms braced on the table in from of him, Rojah’s restless gaze continued wandering from man to man, group to group. He did not look too long at any one person — no longer than the flicker of his eye sliding past. He did not make eye contact. He did not invite anyone to sit down in what had to be the tavern’s only remaining, unoccupied chair.

He waved the tone-deaf minstrel away when the long legged, shabby fellow ambled toward his table. Rojah shook his head, hiding a half curled smile when the scrawny, hungry looking musician abruptly whirled away, strumming out of tune chords and followed a harried tavern maid hefting a mug laden tray through the crowd.

The musician could not have been much older than himself ― undoubtedly a youth seeking adventure far away from home judging from the troubadour’s travel stained cloak, patched long vest, slouch hat sporting a ragged peacock’s feather, and scuffed boots looking as thin in the sole as the musician’s lean face.

Rojah knew most of the patrons who frequented the Blue Swan — all local villagers and tradesmen mingling with the occasional outsider from a nearby farming village. Those he did not recognize appeared to know each other. Few were strangers, other than the scrawny musician who had decided to settle for the moment in a nearby chimney corner, out of the way, his ear pressed against the body of his lute as he attempted to tune the instrument’s gut strings. Rojah caught the flash of shadowed eyes gleaming beneath a tumble of dark curls and the curled lip when the tuning key slipped.

The shift of Rojah’s gaze paused on two other strangers, who from their dangerous, scruffy appearance alone, had commandeered a nearby corner table and sent the previous occupants scattering into the crowd. The two strangers warded away any friendly attempts to join them. Both were outlanders. One wore his head shaved and a mercenary looking scar sliced his face from jowl to ear. The other was a shaggy haired, slightly smaller version of his companion. Gold coins slipped through their thick fingers, easier spent than earned no doubt, and neither caring too much with each mug of ale they drained while demanding more from whatever harried tavern maid had the misfortune to pass too close to their table.

From their fiendish appearance, Rojah did not care to speculate on the manner in which the two ruffians had earned their gold, not that either pair advertised whatever services they offered. Judging from the round bulge of their leather purses and the flash of gold slipping between their fingers, the two had rendered a valuable service, however dubious, to someone who had neither the scruples nor the morals to hire the two.

Someone like Noah Winterringer, Rojah guessed was their most likely patron. Few paid with leather pouches bulging with gold coins.

“San Bargellian gold! Ye know I can’t take San Bargellian gold. Who do ye think I am, a money lender?” squawked Tisane, the boldest of Barleyman’s tavern maids and a woman with a face bearable to look upon only in the kindest of a tavern’s smoke-dimmed lights or a drunken stupor. She displayed a true harlot’s ignorance of danger toward the two ruffians. The loud stroke of Tisane’s voice pierced the noisy din, but she did not protest too hard ― not when the more grizzly of the two fellows slipped a gold coin down the gaping front of her blouse and squeezed her breast, as if to add further incentive to take their gold.

“Why, I do believe ye are tryin’ to buy me.” Tisane grinned and winked, the matter as settled as the round bottom she plopped down upon the man’s thick knee and the shrill cascade of giggles that followed when thick fingers groped beneath the hem of Tisane’s ale stained skirt. Snarling lips snagged Tisane’s laughter in a half growled kiss.

Rojah’s gaze slid past the scene and caught the flicker of the musician’s wandering gaze curiously observing him while he observed the two strangers spending San Bargellian gold and groping Tisane.

Whenever the wind gusted through the tavern door opening to admit another customer seeking a warm spot out of the night, a mug of ale, or whatever entertainment the Blue Swan afforded that evening, Rojah shifted his gaze to the door. Among the four men who entered removing cloaks, jackets, and hats, and greeting friends and acquaintances, Rojah spotted Edan Drum. The San Bargellian’s copper hair gleamed in the lantern light, striking a bright spot among dun browns, gray, and black.

Rojah stood, cupped hands to mouth. “Drum, over here!” he shouted over the boisterous crowd. A wave of his hand snagged the physician’s roving gaze and brought Edan, weaving a path among the tables and throng, toward Rojah’s table. Along the way, he snagged a mug of ale from a tavern maid’s tray, while avoiding jostling elbows and nodding to those he knew. Joining Rojah at the corner table, Edan spared the musician lounging in the chimney corner a glance. He sat down in the unclaimed chair.

“Busy night.” Edan looked around the crowded tavern and grinned upon seeing Tisane squealing on an outlander’s knee. Edan turned away from the scene and focused his gaze upon Rojah. “What are you doing here? I thought you would be at the Hotel Swan enjoying the company of our latest San Bargellian visitors.”

“I am trying to avoid the attentions of a certain San Bargellian who seems to find me too fascinating for some odd reason that I find highly appalling,” Rojah grumbled. Much to his chagrin, heat flushed his cheeks.

Edan studied him from behind thoughtful eyes. Although the physician did not dare follow that particular subject any further, Rojah knew Edan had a good idea the San Bargellian he spoke of was Reece Rau.

“Where is Chaeran? Is he here or are you enjoying Barleyman’s ale alone tonight?” Edan asked instead.

Rojah shook his head, snorted before tipping his ale mug to his lips. “Chaeran rode north two days ago.”

Edan arched a copper eyebrow. “Rather late in the season to travel north.”

“That is not the half of it, Drum. Can you believe this? Chaeran told me some crazy story about Maybelle Flower being his mother and that taking the old woman north to meet Doriano was his reason for making the journey.”

A gut string clanged, broke and, with a ringing snap, jarred a breathy curse from the musician. Rojah glanced toward the chimney corner and the musician nursing a gut-string-whipped finger between his lips. The musician grimaced, shook his long, thin hand, and resumed tuning his lute.

“Maybelle Flower? Are you sure?”

“Chaeran is not exactly known for his sense of humor ― not when it comes to his mother. Apparently, Chaeran believes Maybelle Flower is his mother, although I personally do not believe the old woman is Jarutia Fayerfield any more than I believe the stranger in the chimney corner is an accomplished musician.” Rojah scowled toward the chimney corner.

Edan grinned. “I am inclined to agree with you ― about the young musician. So, have you told Jantz about Chaeran’s extraordinary claim? Your father would know his own sister, surely.”

“I have not seen my father. He has been busy and so have I.” Rojah pushed aside his ale mug and leaned forward. “Can you keep a secret?”

The corner of Edan’s mouth twitched in an effort to refrain from smiling. “What are you up to?”

“Nothing.”

“I hope you are not entertaining some absurd notion about any more midnight excursions. I thought your father warned you to stay away from Noah Winterringer.”

“This is not about Winterringer. At least, I do not think it is. No, someone came to me several days ago ― someone who may have information concerning Oanada’s abduction.”

Edan blinked. All traces of his previous amusement vanished. “What? Are you certain?”

“Keep your voice down. Why else do you think I have spent my nights here waiting to meet Flora Moss?”

“Flora Moss?” Edan narrowed his eyes. He tipped Rojah’s mug and peered into its liquid depths. “How much of Barleyman’s ale have you had to drink tonight?”

Rojah retrieved his mug from Edan’s inspection. “This is my second and I have never been more sober in my life, Edan. It is true, I swear! I do not think my sister’s abduction anything Flora would lie about. Why would she? Especially after the role she played helping Rena destroy my sister’s marriage. Those two used you and your own life was devastated.”

“You were not here at the time, Rojah.”

“Something has Flora frightened. She was nervous, jumpy about meeting me, and all but forced me to swear I would meet her.”

Edan scowled. “I imagine the girl has reason to be frightened, especially after what happened at Winterringer Hall the other night.”

Rojah sat back in his chair, frowned. “What happened?”

“You have not heard?”

“What?”

“I delivered Noelani’s baby.”

Rojah lurched to his feet. His chair scraped the wooden planks of the ale stained floor.

Edan grabbed Rojah’s wrist, hissed, “Sit down!”

Rojah sank back down into the chair. Through a daze, he heard the tuneless drift of the musician’s voice from the nearby chimney corner and the cutting edge of Edan’s crisp, but low voice.

“I dare say Flora Moss has every reason to be frightened and if you have any true affection for Noelani you will stay away from Winterringer Hall and Flora Moss, Rojah.”

“Is ― is Noelani all right?”

“Mother and daughter are doing fine.”

“Noelani has a daughter? What ― what happened?”

“I do not see how what goes on at Winterringer Hall is any of your concern, Rojah. Let us say, I do not believe Flora and Darcy will be continuing their affair under Noah’s roof. If Flora has any news for you about Oanada ― well, can you not see? It is probably another one of the girl’s schemes to pull you into her deception and draw attention away from Darcy and her, especially after everyone starts noticing the girl’s expanding waistline in the coming weeks.”

Rojah glared at the physician. “I am not that big a fool, Drum. Everyone knows about Flora and Darcy. How else do you think Rena was able to use Flora? Flora would do anything to keep Darcy.”

“Not everyone knows about Flora and Darcy. Noelani certainly did not know about her husband’s infidelity. How do you think she feels now that she does know? Better still, what do you think Noah will do? How convenient for Flora to play you as the father of her child — how much more convenient for Darcy. That is what the girl has planned for you, my friend. Having news about your sister is just a ruse.”

Rojah grabbed his ale mug and drained what remained of the tepid ale. He set the tankard down and wiped the back of his hand across his mouth. With equal calmness, he stood and tossed two silver coins upon the table.

“Where are you going?”

“To see if Flora still plans to meet me.”

“Rojah, do not get caught up in the problems of others.”

“I do not intend to.”

***

https://www.amazon.com/Elizabeth-Monroe/e/B008KACMBC?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1566064997&sr=1-1

 

 

Voice of the Wind: Shadows of Time book series

 

Enjoy these books in the continuing Dynastic Saga, Voice of the Wind: Shadows of Time

Written In Omen

Written in Omen, Book One
Voice of the Wind: Shadows of Time series

By E.A. Monroe

Set within a world that abounds in superstition, folklore, and the Star Folk of the Objishanda, Written in Omen weaves a story of love, intrigue, and a family curse.

Jarutia Fayerfield has three brothers and each brother has his own agenda. Martin, her oldest brother and their father’s heir, plots revenge for his father’s transgressions and schemes for control of the family. Her brother Keiron chases love wherever he finds it. Jarutia’s twin brother Jantz pursues answers to a mysterious gap in the history of a family that takes pride in loyalty and blood ties — no matter where the truth leads him, including possible betrayal of his family and beloved sister.

In defiance of Martin’s ambitious plans for her future, Jarutia desires the forbidden love of Doriano Drake, a man of the Objishanda, whose family secrets and ancestral memories threaten Jarutia’s happiness and Jantz’s life.

Will Jarutia win the love she craves, or will threats and fear for Jantz’s life force her into a loveless marriage to safeguard the family’s fortunes? Will Jantz discover the truth behind the family curse and seek his own destiny, or will life teach him lessons that will either break or harden his heart? Will Doriano Drake find true friendship and the love his mother promised? Not if Martin has his way!

Available as an eBook from Amazon.

 

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Fortune’s Hostage, Book Two
Voice of the Wind: Shadows of Time series

By E. A. Monroe

Book Two in the Voice of the Wind: Shadows of Time series, continues weaving a fascinating story of love, intrigue, ambition, and a family curse.

“Seize every opportunity and turn it to your advantage.” That is Martin Fayerfield’s motto. But, how far will Martin go to manipulate people, events, and circumstances to suit his ambitions?

Jarutia Fayerfield may have found love in Doriano Drake’s arms, but can she keep him or must she sacrifice all she holds dear — her hopes and dreams — to protect Doriano, their newborn son, and her twin brother, Jantz?

Who is the mysterious girl Jantz Fayerfield discovers wandering through the Abeytu? And, why has she placed daffodils upon the graves of Eolande and Cymbeline? When Jantz pursues her, will he find the answers he seeks and unravel long held secrets?

The struggle to break free of greed, prejudice, and the emotional tentacles woven in past lives, or in this one lifetime, threatens to overturn lives. Decisions are rendered and lies told, but for what price? For what price are Fayerfields, Tourneys, and Drakes willing to forfeit — or pay — for betrayal or happiness?

Or, are they all Fortune’s Hostage?

Available as an eBook from Amazon.

Cursed -- embedded cover

Cursed in Love, Book Three

Voice of the Wind: Shadows of Time series

By E.A. Monroe

Book three in the Voice of the Wind: Shadows of Time series, continues weaving a captivating story of love, intrigue, ambition, and a family curse.

Seven years ago, Jantz Fayerfield left his homeland on a quest to find Doriano Drake who is living among the Onega, the sea tribe of the Objishanda.

Adopted by the Onega and given the name Silveron Oktalonli, Jantz has known a peaceful life of simple contentment — until the arrival of Doriano’s kinsmen and their unexpected news from Doriano’s father.

Doriano’s revelation of a long kept family secret turns Jantz’s life upside down and brings him home as the Western stranger named Silveron Oktalonli.

Upon his arrival in his homeland, what will he find?

As Silveron, is Jantz prepared to confront his past and resume a turbulent life fraught with his older brother Martin’s ambitious maneuverings and hazardous kinsmen? Does anything of his past remain for him? Do the loved ones he left behind even wonder if he is still alive? Or do they mourn him among the dead, his grave as empty as his sister Jarutia’s grave — nothing more than a headstone scoured by time and nature’s elements?

And what of his family’s curse? Will he become another unfortunate victim, one more Fayerfield cursed in love?

Discover the secret that brings Jantz Fayerfield home as Silveron Oktalonli in Cursed in Love, Book Three of the Voice of the Wind: Shadows of Time series.

Available as an eBook from Amazon.

 

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Pale Imitations, Book Four

Voice of the Wind: Shadows of Time series

By E.A. Monroe

Who is the mysterious lady behind the veil?

From ash and char, she arises — the woman once known as Bethana Tourney.

In the tropical city of San Bargel, Bethana Tourney creates a new life and new identity for herself far removed from her past and the people who once knew and loved her, and mourn her death. She forsakes everyone, except her faithful servants Fiona Galvin and Fiona’s son Bryce. She swears them to secrecy for the sake of her newborn daughter, Jonquil.

As Adria Gittel, she moves freely through San Bargellian society and becomes a successful business woman in partnership with Denarri Pascale, her deceased brother Anton’s former business partner.

Follow the woman once known as Bethana Tourney as Adria forges a new life for herself, finds a new love, and raises a daughter who grows into a beautiful young lady. When her daughter Jonquil begins to ask, “Who is my father?” Adria cannot answer, for fear of exposing her secrets and past.

Adria lives life on the edge, always fearful that someone from Bethana Tourney’s past will recognize and betray her. How long can she safeguard her secret? What will be the ultimate cost she is willing to risk? Will she risk the love and trust of her beloved daughter, Jonquil?

Find out in Pale Imitations, Book Four in the Voice of the Wind: Shadows of Time series!

Available as an eBook from Amazon.