Cas Peace – Master of Malice Book One: The Scarecrow

 

Cas lives in the lovely county of Hampshire, southern UK, where she was born. On leaving school she trained for two years before qualifying as horse-riding instructor. During this time she also learned to carriage-drive. She spent thirteen years in the British Civil Service before moving to Rome, Italy, where she and her husband, Dave, lived for three years. They enjoy returning whenever they can. Cas supports many animal charities and owns two rescue dogs. She has a large collection of cacti and loves gardening. She is also a folk singer/songwriter and is currently writing and recording nine folk-style songs to accompany each of her fantasy books. You can listen to and download all the songs from her website: www.caspeace.com

See the video of her performing live at the King’s Enjoy book launch here:

Find out more at her website: www.caspeace.com
Q&A With the Author:

1.  Describe yourself in 50 words or less.
I’m female, British, and I adore writing fantasy. I have a wonderful husband and two gorgeous rescue dogs. I’m quite small, at 62 inches, and I also love country walks, folk singing and singing in our church choir, growing cacti, riding horses, and working with stained glass.
2. What do you love most in the world?

 

My husband and my family, and I include our two rescue dogs, Milly and Milo, in the word “family”. I have a brother and my parents, and my husband has three adult children and six granddaughters, so family get-togethers are great fun!

 

Connect with the Author here: 

Pure evil resists all attempts to destroy it, seeking only its ultimate vengeance.
Three years have passed since Reen’s trial and exile and changes have occured at the Manor. Taran now resides in Loxton Castle as Elias’s Court Artesan, with Sullyan, General Blaine, and Colonel Vassa all making regular tours of guard duty there. Accused of corrupting her daughter Princess Seline, the disgraced former queen, Sofira, has been exiled to Bordenn, where she nurses a bitter heart. And a terrible scarecrow creature has taken roost in a dank cell below the palace of Lerric, Sofira’s father.
Word reaches Sullyan of Reen’s suicide. The lack of a body and a series of dreadful events in Port Loxton—a vicious murder, a brutal ambush, and a devastating fire—raise doubts in her mind. She launches an investigation, unsuspecting of the evil that’s about to be unleashed… 

 

Grab your copy of the book today!

 

 

Snippet:
Lerric, aging client-king of Bordenn, stood in the dark doorway. A damp, noisome smell assailed his nose, the drip of water reached his ears. Lerric shivered, his reaction not wholly due to the chill in the air.
Deep within the lightless room he detected a hint of movement. Creaking leather, a hiss of pain. Lerric stepped one pace farther from the door’s protection and raised his lamp. As soon as the faint yellow light touched—and flinched from—the dark form huddled on the truckle bed along the far wall, a vicious curse sounded. A crooked hand flew up to shield eyes that could no longer bear good, honest light.
“Put that out, you bloody fool! Would you blind me entirely?”
“Ah . . . your pardon.”
Lerric shuttered the lamp and gloom reclaimed the cell. When his eyes grew accustomed to the darkness, the king assessed the cell’s lone occupant.
Habitually dapper and well-fed, his body had assumed scarecrow proportions. A parody of his former self. The fastidiously clean and expensive raiment was replaced by a thin, shabby robe of dusty black. A darker blot amid the shadows, it barely disguised the gaunt frame it covered.
Gone were the arrogant swagger and confident poise, replaced by a savage desire for revenge, a thirst for retribution. Three years of incarceration and hopelessness, of nursing raging grievances, hadn’t lessened the pious fervor and deeply-held beliefs. Thirty-six interminable months of imprisonment and deprivation had served only to deepen his determination to rid the land of those to whom he owed his life. Those without whose mercy he would have suffered a horrific and agonizing death.
To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page 

 

Nichole Giles – Legacy

 

Nichole Giles, the author of DESCENDANT, BIRTHRIGHT, and WATER SO DEEP, has lived in Nevada, Arizona, Utah, and Texas. She is a huge fan of all things paranormal and magical. Her dreams include owning a garden full of fairies, riding a unicorn, and taming the pet dragon she adopted at a recent local ComiCon. His name is Zane. She also loves to spend time with her husband and four children, travel to tropical and exotic destinations, drive in the rain with the convertible top down, and play music at full volume so she can sing along.


Q&A With the Author:

1.    
Describe yourself in 50 words
or less.
An introverted socialite who gives out hugs
for free, young-looking, old-feeling mother of the bride x2, justice-seeking,
judgment-hating, preacher of compassion and spreading love. Creative and
scatterbrained, lives a life of organized chaos. Free-spirited, sun-worshiping
summer lover. Down with winter! 
2.
What do you love most in the
world?
My family. And
then probably the ocean.
3.    
What do you fear most?

 

Losing my loved
ones, despite a deep understanding/belief that death is not the end. We’ve lost
a lot of them over the last few years—and even knowing that doesn’t temper the
ache of missing those who have moved on. Also, I think taxes. Because isn’t
that what people always say? Death and taxes? 

 

Connect with the Author here: 
After the chaos of Mexico, Abby and Kye have lost everything but each other. They’re on the run with no purpose, no allies, and very little money. To make things worse, Abby’s wound from the Arawn Dagger is draining her power, leaving her unable to access her Light, or her Healing ability.While the hunt for her long-lost father takes them back through Abby’s childhood homes, they’re forced to question everything they’ve been taught and everyone they’ve ever trusted—including each other. After a desperate attempt to Heal Abby’s wound goes horribly awry, and with the demons they thought they’d lost hot on their heels, the star-crossed couple is forced to face some painful realities that will change life for everyone they know.

When Abby’s best friend is kidnapped by demons, Abby and Kye abandon their search and launch a rescue attempt that morphs into a battle, the outcome of which will determine if Abby and her friends have what it takes to rid the world of demons, or if the royal bloodline and the Gifted generation will be obliterated once and for all.

 

 

Snippet:
Once we’re checked in, I follow Kye to the elevator and down the
hall to our room, dragging my suitcase behind me. He opens the door and waves
me ahead of him. Dropping my bags on the floor, I stumble to the bed and fall
backward onto it to stare at the ceiling. Kye’s face appears above mine. “You
okay?”
              I nod. “Exhausted. But I’ll live.”
              His smile eases some of the
tension between us. “I hope so. If you didn’t, I couldn’t.” He sits next to me
and runs his fingers down my jaw, across my cheek. “I thought it would be good
to have some time alone. We should talk before we get to Kiersten’s.”
              We’ve been alone since we left. My stomach twists with anxiety, and
I can’t prevent the catch in my voice. “More confessions?”
              His fingers keep moving, tracing
my collar bone and shoulder. “No. But I think we need to at least try to make a
plan, figure out where we’re going—what comes next. Sleeping arrangements.” He
glances meaningfully at the pillows. “Didn’t occur to me until now that maybe I
should ask for a double. We’ve been sharing for long enough that I just
assumed.”
 
To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page 

 

Marni Graff – THE BLUE VIRGIN

 

Marni Graff had a successful career as a registered nurse who wrote on the side before writing full time. She has a degree in English Lit and studied Gothic Mystery at Oxford University in England. She also wrote articles for Mystery Review magazine, where she interviewed many of the authors whose work she admired.
Marni is the award-winning author of The Nora Tierney Mysteries, set in England. The Blue Virgin introduces Nora, an American writer living in Oxford. The Green Remains and The Scarlet Wench trace Nora’s move to the Lake District where murder follows her.  In process is The Golden Hour, set in Bath, England. Premiering in the next few months will be Graff’s new Manhattan series, Death Unscripted, featuring nurse Trudy Genova, a medical consultant for a New York movie studio. This new series is based on Marni’s favorite nursing job in real life.
Marni is also co-author of Writing in a Changing World, a primer on writing groups and critique techniques. She writes crime book reviews at Auntie M Writes and is Managing Editor of Bridle Path Press, an author’s cooperative. A member of Sisters in Crime, Marni runs the NC Writers Read program in Belhaven which allows writers experience reading their work out loud and getting immediate feedback.

 

 

Q&A With the Author:

1.  Describe yourself in 50 words or less:
 Consummate reader; Anglophile–will travel to UK any time, any reason; slave to my Italian Spinone, Radar; wife to Doc, best partner in the world; Mum to three grown lads with families, all lovely; will work for bacon and/or dark chocolate; Mastperhece Mystery on DVR.
2. What do you love most in the world?
My family and my library. The people are the warmest, best bunch of people to me, filled with quirks and habits and loving gestures; books are my solace and my great delight, a way to go on vacation at the drop of a hat.

 

Connect with the Author here: 
The Blue Virgin (A Nora Tierney Mystery, #1)
Despite a planned move, the mysterious death of photographer Bryn Wallace keeps American writer Nora Tierney glued to Oxford in order to clear her close friend, artist Val Rogan, who has been wrongfully accused of Bryn’s murder. Or has she?
 
Nora quickly becomes embroiled in the murder investigation, much to the dismay of two men: Detective Inspector Declan Barnes, the senior on the case; and Simon Ramsey, the illustrator of Nora’s children’s book. Simon’s efforts to save Nora from herself become increasingly frantic as Nora is forced to push her way into Declan’s case, using her wits and her wiles to prove Val’s innocence.
The first in a series of Nora Tierney mysteries based in the UK, The Blue Virgin is a compelling story of love and intrigue. Nothing, Nora learns, is what it seems, and even the most innocent of choices can lead to murder and revenge. Set in the ancient city of golden spires, the setting lends itself to mystery, as any Inspector Morse fan will agree. The novel is written in classic English style, complete with a cast of characters and chapter epigraphs that add to its literary feel.
Snippet:
    “Who did you say you were writing for?”
    His searching look had Nora clinging closer to the facts.
“I’ve just left People and Places, and I’m trying to break
into freelance.I wanted to start with a profile of someone I knew and
admired.” As she said this, Nora realized this was truly an option open to
her. She added quickly:
“I wouldn’t stay for more than few minutes.”
 Wheeler tapped his pockets for his key. “Just ten minutes
then. Where are my blasted . . . oh, I gave them to Vance while I added to my
notes on Rebecca.” He turned the handle, which opened easily
and gestured for her to proceed into his rooms. “Do you know DuMaurier,
Miss Tierney?”
    “One of my personal favorites. I know Hitchcock had
to promise her to keep the heroine unnamed before she would agree to let him
film it.” Hoping this nuggets from Simon’s eternal trivia would endure her
to Wheeler, Nora entered the room, tripped over the outstretched arm of a man
who lay facedown on the rug.
   “Edward!” Wheeler knelt down quickly next to the
man and felt for a pulse. His face ashen, he looked up at Nora in disbelief as
he pronounced, “He’s dead!”
To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page 

 

David Harris Lang – A Devil In Hong Kong

David Harris Lang, a current resident of Hong Kong, has lived and worked in Asia much of his life. Besides being a prolific author of Asian-based thrillers, he is an international architect who brings an indelible sense of place’ to his writing as well as a deep understanding of Asian cultures, locales, and customs. His vivid fight scenes come from a life-long practice of the martial arts. A Devil in Hong Kong is David Lang’s third book.
Q&A With the Author: 
Do
you have a favorite author?
Stephen King is definitely
my favorite. From word-one he has me hooked.
What
is one piece of advice you could give to a new author that you wish someone had
passed to you?
Just sit down and write,
every day. Don’t listen to critics or people telling you it’s too difficult.
Write for you.
Connect With the Author Here:
 
On a snowy day in the year 889, Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty had an epiphany: he was not immortal. His jade carver created the most beautiful jade burial suit in history, finishing just three weeks before the Han Emperor died. When the priceless two-thousand-year-old jade burial suit suddenly goes missing in modern Hong Kong, a brutal competition to find it ensues between rival Chinese, Burmese, and Japanese factions. As they battle for the priceless artifact, a psychotic killer with a Maori tattoo on his face surfaces leaving a trail of dismembered corpses strung together like traditional Burmese puppets. Detectives Ian Hamilton and Angela Cheung follow a trail of hacked bodies and terror through contemporary Hong Kong in their search for the killer.

 

Snippet:
“Right, Liquid Hero. National eliminations are going
to be held right here, dude. Anaheim Convention Center. You should do it!”
“Entry fee is $200.00, Scott. Don’t have the bones.”
Carl said as he reached into a crumpled, grease-stained paper bag and pulled
out a French fry.
“You could get the smack easy, Dude. Lame-gamers pay
big dinero to people like us for weapons and armor and shit. You know that
Sword of Wuhan that you captured in ‘Wasted Souls’? You could sell that bad boy
for big bucks. What about the Invisibility Armor from ‘Blood Bath’ you got when
you killed the giant Kappa? You can sell lots of shit like that online to
lame-o’s.” Scott said.
“Selling virtual crap for real money, I heard about
it. ‘The Man’ Maniero comes up with a plan! Not bad!” Carl said.
“How do you think I’ve been funding all that E we been
rollin’ with, dude? Selling virtual weapons online is how!” Scott said as he
rummaged in the breast pocket of his plaid shirt. He removed a plastic medicine
bottle, and then wiped his Doritos stained fingers on his jeans.
“Which, by the way, we should partake thereof. Let’s
get mundo-level high and play some ‘Quake III’.”
To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page 

 

Tim Hemlin – If Wishes Were Horses…

 

Tim Hemlin is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire, having studied with poets Charles Simic and Mekeel McBride.  He has published in poetry journals, anthologies, and magazines–most notably in Ellery Queen.  Currently he has six published novels, two short stories and is included in an anthology.
By day he is an educator; however after teaching ELA for 22 years he decided to put his master’s degree to work and is now a high school counselor.  In addition, he is an avid marathoner, fly-fisherman, and outdoorsman.  He lives just outside Houston, Texas with his wife Valerie, two dogs and a cantankerous cat.









Q&A With the Author:

If you could travel anywhere, on earth or off, where would you go?
Paris
. . . so if I can’t go back to the 1920s I’ll go there now.
What color would you wear if you had only one choice?
Blue.
Think of George Harrison in his denim shirt and blue jeans crossing Abby Road.
Describe your dream writing spot.

 

A cabin in the
country with a bay window looking out over a verdant forest. In fact, one
summer I wrote one of my mysteries in the mountains of Colorado in just this
setting. Coffee and stories after an early morning trail run sounds like heaven
to me. 





Connect with the Author here: 

Facebook ~ Website ~ Amazon ~

Newsletter ~TwitterGoodreads ~


Find all of Jim Hemlin’s Books Here


 

If Wishes Were Horses…


” Neil Marshall is a graduate student in the University of Houston’s creative writing program and a promising young poet. However, facing a financially and emotionally draining divorce has him worried about more than paying tuition. So to make ends meet, Neil moonlights as a chef for a high society caterer.  Just when Neil’s life seems bleakest, his oldest friend, racehorse breeder Jason Keys, is murdered. And Neil becomes the prime suspect.  To avenge his friend, clear his name, and rescue a missing championship thoroughbred, Neil infiltrates the dark underworld of horse theft and illegal breeding. Neil’s friends—his attractive writing teacher, his cooking colleagues, and a freckle-faced teenage horsewoman—offer their support. But their cheers quickly turn to gasps when Neil becomes the hunted.”

 

 

Snippet:
1)
Talk about high-flying euphoria
turned to grounded fear. The downshift was so sudden I could’ve thrown up. Be
cool, Neil. Okay, I wasn’t going to outrun the guy in the Taurus, and I wasn’t
going to confront him. Yet. My only other option, then, was to play the shell
game and lose the bastard. ~ Neil Marshall

 

2) Nothing in my twenty-eight years could’ve
prepared me for the scream that awaited me inside. Bloodcurdling, the howl
lifted every hair on my neck to attention, siphoned ten years off my life, and
threatened to claim my first child before I’d even found someone to conceive
him with. Fajitas hit the floor, fists shot up, and instinctively I crouched,
looking for the source of Satan’s cry. ~ Neil Marshall
To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page 

 

Beautiful Broken: A Poetry Collection by Amanda Leigh

Life is a beautifully broken piece of art…
★★★COVER REVEAL★★★
Coming Soon from Amanda Leigh

Beautiful Broken: A Poetry Collection
by Amanda Leigh
SYNOPSIS
Life is a beautifully broken piece of art.
Fractured pieces coming together to form
our selves, our hearts, our souls, our world.
A beautiful, fractured mosaic.
One we build and shape day by day.
In her poetry collection, Amanda Leigh
explores what she sees and has seen in humanity
and in her life and self.
Showing pieces of herself while at the same time
taking on current and controversial issues.
She bares pieces of her soul in every poem.
Reveals pieces of herself and comments
on current issues in her new collection,
Beautiful Broken.
 
 
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
AMANDA LEIGH
 
Amanda Leigh has had a love of words since before she could write them herself. Once she learned to read and write herself she just couldn’t stop. She reads any genre as long as the book sounds interesting. Which may explain why she can’t and never will be able to stick to one genre in her writing. From Contemporary Romance to Women’s Fiction to Paranormal Romance to Poetry and more to come. When she’s not writing or reading she enjoys getting swept away in a great TV show, going to the theater, listening to music, cooking and many different forms of art. She has a cat she adores and also loves Psychology, tea, coffee and chocolate.
 
FOLLOW AMANDA
 
★ GIVEAWAY
 
HOSTED BY
 

 

Ashley Nixon Cutlass & Flintlock

 

Ashley was born and raised in Oklahoma, where the wind really does sweep down the plains, and horses and carriages aren’t used as much as she’d like. When she’s not writing (haha, like that EVER happens!), she’s probably working out or pretending she’s Sherlock Holmes. Her obsession with writing began after reading the Lord of the Rings in the eighth grade. Since then, she’s loved everything Fantasy–resulting in an unhealthy obsession with the ‘geek’ tab on Pinterest, where all things awesome go. 

 

Author’s
Favourite things:




 

  • Tea & Tea Cups – I LOVE tea. I drink it a lot when I write. I mean one cup after the other. I stopped drinking coffee about two years ago, and well…replaced it. I also love tea cups. The one below is one I got from Windsor Castle!
     
     
     
  • Ireland – Dingle Peninsula

    Travel – I’ve been to Ireland, Peru, Italy, and London and France – in that order. I have always dreamed of traveling, and thankfully, I’ve gotten to do it! There are so many more places I want to go! In 2016, we are returning to London and France to explore more! We also would like to visit Greece!

    Peru – Machu Picchu

     

    England – Tower Bridge
    Rome – The Colosseum
  • Connecting with people who love my books! The feeling I get when I talk or chill with readers is just awesome. I mean, it’s still a surreal feeling and I think it will always be, but I hope I can convey how grateful I am for every message, comment, and download of my book.


     

 

Connect with the Author here: 
Cutlass:Notorious pirate Barren Reed has one thing on his mind: Revenge against the man who killed his father. So kidnapping his enemy’s fiancé seems a perfect plan…until he actually does it.

Larkin Lee is more than a pretty face and fiancé to a powerful man. Her fierce personality is enough to make any pirate want to push her overboard.

But when the King of the Orient comes to Barren with a task—to find the Bloodstone, a powerful gem thought only to exist in legend, Barren sees another opportunity to destroy his enemy. Together, Barren, Larkin and a crew of pirates set off to find the stone, only to discover it caused the death of Barren’s own mother and Larkin’s, too. As his strongest allies turn into his greatest enemies, and the life of the girl he kidnapped becomes more important than he ever dreamed, Barren’s quest for revenge becomes a fight to save the Orient.

 

 


Flintlock:Barren Reed hopes to protect the Orient from his tyrant uncle, but his plans to make the King’s life a living hell aren’t supported by the Elders of the pirate community. As it stands, Barren has earned the Elders’ disdain for his carelessness, and they threaten him into exile if he makes one more mistake.

Barren’s not the only one feeling the Elders’ wrath—they don’t trust Larkin either. Worse, Barren can’t comprehend Larkin’s wish to have a relationship with her father, and the secrets she’s forced to keep create a tension that may pull them apart forever.

When the Pirates of Silver Crest begin to die, bullets laced with dark magic are to blame. With more and more of these weapons infiltrating the Underground, discovering who’s behind the dissemination is no easy feat. As fear and tension mount among the people of the Orient, Barren and his crew find themselves in a race against time to stop the spread of dark magic before the world of Mariana spirals into collapse.


Cannon (coming soon!)The king is dead, the Network is destroyed, and Barren Reed has been exiled by the Elders of Silver Crest. To make matters worse, the black spot–a curse of dark magic–continues to devour him. It’s true purpose is still unknown, but one thing is certain: It will corrupt Barren in the worst way.

With her greatest secret revealed, Larkin Lee flees Maris. Accused of slaying the king, there’s only one place to go–Silver Crest. But Barren isn’t happy to see her, and their reunion leaves more questions unanswered, including whether they have a future together.

As Datherious rises in power, Barren and Larkin must work together to find the fifth Relic to complete the King’s Gold and prevent Datherious from obtaining control over dark magic, but the black spot has other ideas, and the closer they get to finding the final Relic, the more corrupt Barren becomes. Larkin finds herself in a head to head battle with the only man she’s ever loved and the reality is harsh–only one can walk away alive.

 

 

Snippet:
Flintlock:
A knock interrupted Cove’s thoughts and he uncurled the fingers he hadn’t realized he’d been clenching. He waited, expecting Camille to answer or enter the study any minute to tell him someone was here to see him. Though he didn’t have any appointments that he was aware of, it wasn’t unlikely for someone to drop by for a few moments.
The knock sounded again. Camille and Nob must be busy, he thought. He strode into the foyer and opened the door.
“Cove!”
“Sara,” Cove took a step back, trying to stifle the surprise in his voice as he took in the woman at his door. She was Sara Rosamund—a friend, and the daughter of Frank Rosamund. Her sapphire blue eyes were painfully innocent and so kind, and set within the prettiest face, heart-shaped and fair-skinned. Her blond hair was pinned up in a bun, but she could never quite catch all the strands, as loose curls always managed to make their way free. Her lithe frame was draped in blue, a coat with black clasps kept her gown hidden, and white gloves covered her fragile hands. They’d grown up together, both having fathers in politics, and had spent many nights walking the gardens behind his house during balls and their fathers’ social calls.
“What a surprise,” he gestured to his foyer. “Come in.”
He closed the door behind her and as he turned to face her, Camille appeared from the hallway. “Apologies, Master Rowell,” she said, and then her eyes moved to Sara. “Ah! Miss Rosamund, it is good to see you!”
She swept forward and took her hand. A warm smile spread across Sara’s face as she folded her hand over Camille’s. “You look as lovely as a flower!”
“Camille,” Cove interrupted. They both turned to look at him, and he felt bad for halting their reunion. “Will you bring Miss Rosamund tea?”
“Why yes, of course!” she said and patted Sara’s hand before running off toward the kitchen. An awkwardness fell between them in Camille’s absence.
“Shall we sit?” Cove asked, indicating the open doors of his study. He permitted Sara to walk before him, feeling a little self-conscious at the clutter he’d allowed to overtake the space. She didn’t seem to mind and went straight for the chair she’d always claimed as hers, the one closest to the windows. His heart felt heavy as he recalled the many nights she’d sat there, staring out the unblocked windows, admiring the starry sky.
“Does the daylight bother your work?” she asked, looking at the heavy curtains that now covered the windows. He hadn’t bothered to open them since returning from his adventure with Barren. Perhaps this space offered too many memories.
“No, not usually,” he said. When she did not seem to like his response he added, “Though it does get warm in here with the windows unblocked.”
She seemed to comprehend, mouthing ‘Oh’ in understanding, but silence fell between them again, and tension built. Why was this difficult? Things with Sara had never been difficult before.
Camille brought tea. Any other time, her excited chatter would not bother Cove, but today he was feeling impatient. He had a long list of things to do to prepare for the ball, and there were pirates in his house. Not to mention Camille’s love for Sara was just a reminder of what once was.
Camille left when the doorbell rang, and Cove was glad for it until silence filled the room again. For a while the clank of Sara’s cup and saucer sounded as she sipped tea. After a moment, she set the china aside.
“I’m sorry if you are busy,” Sara said. She played with the hem of her sleeve, pulling it down over her hand. Cove watched the motion closely. It was a strange thing to think, but he’d never noticed that habit before. Was she nervous? “I know the ball is tonight, and I could have waited to speak with you then, but I wasn’t certain I could catch you alone. I tried to call earlier in the week, but Camille said you were away,” she paused and finally met his gaze. Her sapphire eyes were so sincere. “You’re gone so often now.”
“It is the nature of my job,” he said. “As you well know.”
“Yes,” she said with a hesitant smile. “I suppose, yet it was not so in the beginning.”
“Times are changing. The sea is…unpredictable.”
“Are you speaking of piracy?”
He stared back at her, taking a sip of tea. “Yes, among other things,” he replied.
“Oh, it is awful,” she said. “There were three men hanged in Maris just yesterday. I don’t understand why we must make a spectacle of a human’s life, no matter their transgressions.”
“Many would argue pirates are not human.”
“You don’t believe that, do you?” She stared at him, almost demanding.
“I suppose it’s never mattered what I believed,” he said. He cleared his throat and stood. “But the news at sea won’t affect your plans, will it?”
“Mine?” she was confused.
“The wedding,” said Cove. “Ben’s campaign centers on piracy. I can’t imagine how he will balance the two—a new wife and his obsession.”
She seemed surprised. “It’s not like you to be so cynical.”
They stared at one another, and then Cove laughed. “You’ll forgive me, I did not intend to insult your beloved.”
“Don’t,” she shuddered and took a breath. “Don’t apologize.”
Cove had a feeling that’s not what the shudder was for.
“We digress,” he took the moment to turn the conversation in a different direction and smiled politely at her. “What had you hoped to discuss in secrecy?”
She cleared her throat and stood, smoothing out the folds of her dress and pulling down on the sleeves of her coat again.
“I…,” she began, taking a breath, but she hesitated, twisting her fingers together. It was strange to see her like this, so changed. Had her engagement made her a different person? Or had Ben?
“Sara,” Cove watched her as she spoke, and her eyes seemed to grow wider. “You can tell me anything.”
She opened her mouth to speak, but looked away. “I just…I just wanted to say that I’m glad you’re back.”
Cove raised a brow and stared. “Oh,” and there was silence.
She curtsied. “I must go,” she said, and turned quickly to leave the study. Cove followed closely behind her.
She reached the door when he called out, “Sara!” She turned around to face him, and suddenly he wasn’t sure what he had wanted to say. There was nothing he could say that would bring her back to him and nothing that could undo the decision she’d already made.
“You will invite me to the wedding?”
“Cove,” her voice was a whisper, and her eyes glazed with fresh tears. It might have disarmed him, but he had worked for a very long time to maintain the composure he had now. He reached behind her and opened the front door.
“Have a good day, Sara.” His words were just above a whisper, and they urged her out the door. She turned and hurried to her waiting carriage. Cove watched it rattle off until he could see it no longer. When he closed the door and turned, he found Barren watching him from atop the stairs.
 
To view our blog schedule and follow along with this tour visit our Official Event page