On the brink of womanhood, Katherine Fairbanks glories in the sweet love of the boy next door. When her life is brutally ripped apart by tragedy, she believes she will never love again and seeks only peace for her life. But betrayal sweeps her across the sea and lands her in the hands of a man she dares not trust.
Thoroughbred breeder Jayce Langston has little interest in taking a wife. His time is consumed with the struggle to help his family recover from the devastations of America's Civil War. When a beautiful, mysterious woman pursued by thugs drops in a deep swoon at his feet as he leaves a New York club, Jayce is both captivated and intrigued. He returns with her to his Kentucky stud farm in hopes of learning her identity.
Together, they must work against terrifying odds to secure a future where love triumphs over loss.
In the early hours of the night, the violent reverberations of thunder shook the house, waking Katherine from a sound sleep. Somewhere close, a loose shutter banged. Rain slammed against the windows as if trying to break through the fragile glass panes. The wind roared like a whole pack of banshees.
Katherine hid herself, curled into a tight ball beneath her covers. She clasped her hands over her ears, trembling and whimpering as Abbey used to do. An eerie howl commenced and quickly escalated to a ghastly shriek. It was only the wind, but she buried herself deeper.
It wasn’t the first time she’d done so since she’d been at Langston Hall. Storms came often to the area, though this one was the worst. Furious with herself for her childish fears, she nevertheless could not overcome them. The turbulent weather was a catalyst for memories still too painful to bear.
She nearly leaped from the bed when, in the midst of the storm’s tumult, she felt herself caught up, blankets and all, into a powerful embrace. Strong hands pulled the covers from her face.
From the darkness came Jayce’s deep, calm tones. “Don’t be frightened, Kate. Go back to sleep. I’m here.”
He made himself comfortable on top of the bedclothes, his body wrapped around hers, offering warmth and the security of his arms.
“Jayce!” Uncaring that he should not be there, she buried her face in the smooth hollow of his throat. Despite the raging elements, her trembling eased. She drowsed, and then slept.
When Bess woke her to bright sunshine the next morning, there was no sign he’d been there. Had she dreamed his presence, and the comfort he gave?
She dressed and hastened to the office. Jayce was at his desk, writing. She stopped in the doorway. He looked up, and in his dark eyes glowed tenderness tinged with a gentle mirth.
She sat at her own desk and picked up a pen. “Jayce? Thank you.”
“It was very much my pleasure, Kate.”
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Màiri Norris is a USN vet who lives in Virginia with her USCG retiree husband and three cats, though her heart belongs to the Highlands of Scotland. She loves to read, travel, and make dollhouse miniatures when she's not busy writing. Màiri made up stories in her mind from childhood. Her mother taught her to read at age six, when she discovered a whole new universe to explore through books. She is a proud member of Romance Writers of America, Celtic Hearts Romance Writers, Hearts Through History Romance Writers, Chesapeake Romance Writers, Beau Monde and Clan Donald, USA.
E.E.: How often do you get lost in a story?
Màiri: as often as possible! I read constantly, both for fun and research. Historical romance is my favorite sub-genre, but I also enjoy the old sci-fi and western writers, mysteries (I'm a sucker for Donald Blain's "Murder, She Wrote" stories) and romantic suspense.
E.E.: What turns me off like nothing else?
Màiri: The one thing that will result in my setting aside a book and never returning to it is a H/H who for selfish reasons commits actions that put others, especially the one they claim to love, in jeopardy. True love is selfless, giving and if necessary, sacrificial.
E.E.: Is there a "blooper" in one of my stories?
Màiri: Lol, oh yes. Sometimes it seems impossible to prevent the occasional mistake, no matter how carefully we research. For instance, in my post-Conquest medieval, Rose of Hope, I call Wulfsinraed, the home of my heroine, a "burh" (loosely meaning a fortified village, a town set aside by the king for the purpose of defense). I didn't discover until shortly after I published Rose of Hope that while there were 33 royal burhs created by Alfred of Wessex, not one of them was in Essex, where my story is set. Eventually, I may republish the story and fix that small error. In the meantime, I'm allowing "creative license" to rule!
E.E.: Do you write while listening to music? What kind?
Màiri: I sometimes do, yes, if I can find music evocative of that particular story. When I was writing Viking Sword: A Fall of Yellow Fire - The Stranded One, I listened to the theme song to The History Channel's "Vikings" and to Wardruna, a Norwegian music group. For An Edwardian Christmas Tale: Loft At 22nd Street I listened to historic Scottish songs. I also love Adrian von Ziegler's Celtic and Medieval style music.
E.E.: If you were given a chance to travel to the past, where would you go, and why?
Màiri: Viking England (as long as I could come home again, alive and well, lol). I am utterly fascinated by the ancient Norse people and their culture. Life was so very difficult in that time, but they faced it with a singular courage and resilience. Incredible warriors, merchants and seamen, they were among the best of all three. But what draws me most to them was their curiosity. Yes, the promise of wealth did lead many among them to risk life and limb to travel to new places, but the desire to learn of different peoples and of new lands also sent them across the waves. I understand that sense, that longing for learning and adventure.
E.E.: Which already filmed movie represents your writing style?
Màiri: Hmmm. Interesting question. I think perhaps Frenchman's Creek with Joan Fontaine and Arturo de Cordova, with maybe a little of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings mixed in.
E.E.: What would we find in your heroine's purse?
Màiri: My heroine, Katherine Fairbanks, would have a book inside her purse, as she loves to read. She might also carry the usual things: a handkerchief, a bottle of smelling salts (for other ladies - she is no wilting violet), her keys, watch and comb, a little pocket money, and perhaps a small sewing packet with a needle, thread, scissors and thimble (to repair tears to those hems!)
One last question, this one for our readers…and to make it more interesting, I'll be giving away an e-copy of To Dream of Langston to two of our responders.
In a sense, most historical romance books are fairy tales. In light of that, what is your favorite among the old fairy tales (I think my favorite would have to be The Little Mermaid)?