Wednesday, November 27, 2013
A visit from another Elf, featuring her title Lord Monroe's Dark Tower
I am delighted to feature a post from another Elf, Elf Ahearn, here to talk about her deliciously spine-chilling tale. Without further ado, here she is...
Lord Monroe’s Dark Tower
by Elf Ahearn
WARNING! This book is darker than most romances, kind of Gothic-y and has aspects of a psychological thriller. I made sure there’s a happily ever after, but it’s earned through a lot of grappling with a deeply disturbed villainess. Just saying… Okay, read on…
Two years of bewildering silence have passed since Claire Albright met powerful, brooding, Lord Flavian Monroe. On the brink of her debut he suddenly summons her. Can her knowledge of healing stop his ward from hoarding? Embroiled in a desperate attempt to curb the child’s madness, Claire cannot understand Flavian’s burning kisses yet cold demeanor. Will she reach his heart before his ward’s insanity undoes her chance at love?
When he was fourteen, Flavian made a mistake so devastating it ruined all hope for happiness. Years later, he’s still paying for his sin. But before his ward’s troubled mind destroys his home and family, he must see Claire once more. Vowing to keep their relationship professional—she the healer, he the guardian—he finds the bonds of his resolve snapping. Somehow, he must content himself with memories of her . . . but he cannot resist . . . one final embrace . . .
Abella grasped the reins of Robespierre’s bridle just under the bit and pulled him into a stiff-legged trot. The change in stride forced Claire to concentrate on staying in the sidesaddle. “Release the reins. I’m capable of steering my own horse.”
Abella ignored her. “We go dis way,” she said, turning off the lane. Robespierre shook his head and pulled to go back.
“This is not the way we came.”
“Is a short cut.”
“But it’s taking us onto the moor!”
Abella pretended not to hear.
A sudden lurch pitched Claire onto Robespierre’s neck. Her jaw snapped hard—teeth on teeth. Slipping in the sidesaddle she found herself falling into a fetid bog. Time crawled as she struggled to stay on her mount, but Robespierre, panic stricken, plunged and heaved in the muck. When she hit the mud, it closed over her head, black, cold, and horrifying.
She fought her way to the surface, the heavy skirt of her riding outfit weighing her down. One breath and she went back under. Don’t panic. Don’t panic!
With frantic fingers she undid the suspenders and found the hooks on the skirt. Already her lungs begged for air.
First hook undone, she pulled down, but the skirt would not go over her hips. Lungs bursting, she yanked on the second hook. It wouldn’t give. As she fumbled with the fastener, reason whispered to give up, to let the muck take her in its welcoming arms. Then the hook came free. She flailed at the surface, swimming against the weight and suck of ooze. The skirt fell away and her hand hit Robespierre’s saddle. With all her strength, she hauled her head above the watery surface. Gulp after gulp of air filled her lungs. She coughed bog mire; spitting, gasping, yet so happy to be breathing, she could have laughed.
Astride her mare, Abella sat watching.
“Help!” Claire cried.
“I find someone,” replied Abella. But she didn’t move.
Robespierre snorted. The old horse’s eyes flashed white, spittle foamed at the corners of his mouth and he thrashed heavily in the mud. The animal’s jerky movements sucked Claire closer to its hooves.
She kicked to get away and went deeper into the mud instead.
Frantic, she looked to see how far Abella had galloped. The girl was still there—watching with an odd, distracted look. “Go! You must get help,” Claire screamed.
“Si, si,” Abella said, eagerly. But still she didn’t turn the mare.
With the clarity of a whip cutting the air, Claire knew Abella wanted to see her die. “Please,” she begged. “Please, please help me.”
A rain of Spanish curses was the only response. The girl opened her mouth for a new tirade, and Claire hurled a clot of mud that smacked between the parted lips. Sputtering and coughing, Abella spat, “You die now!”
Claire scarcely heard her.
“I get help,” the girl taunted. “Look, I leave now. I get your lover to help you.”
Too tired, Claire clenched her teeth and refused to open her eyes. Every ounce of strength was gone. She lay back in the mud and felt it seep slowly into her hair.
“Watch me go!” Abella screeched, “Gallopy, gallopy up de hill—down de dell. I find Vav. I tell him, ‘She in trouble. I so scared.’”
Soon, Claire thought. Soon the mud would fill her ears. Soon she would no longer hear Abella’s jibes, and oh so terribly soon, ooze would cover her eyes, slide down her nostrils, and cram her mouth. Soon . . .
Buy Links: Lord Monroe's Dark Tower (Amazon link), Barnes & Noble, iTunes
(Note from ELF, The Reading Addict...my Night Owl Review is at this link)
The first book in the Albright Sisters series is A Rogue in Sheep's Clothing but Lord Monroe's Dark Tower can be read as a stand-alone.
Now, for a chance to win a free download of Lord Monroe’s Dark Tower, I want to know, what’s the scariest near miss you’ve ever experienced—almost in a car accident, nearly fell off a cliff, barely escaped a mugging, etc. Or, tell me the most horrifying moment of your life. I adore scary stories.
(A note from the ELF who lives on this blog: Elf Ahearn is saying the above, I personally do NOT like scary stories, lol. Please remember to leave a valid e-address for the giveaway and good luck!)