Friday, January 9, 2015

Sneak Peak: The Trouble With Scots

I love this story. Because I have a great love of historical novels, sometimes it is difficult to think outside the world of Regency ballrooms, ton marriages, corsets and Hyde Park. Maybe that's why this series is so much fun. The Body of Knowledge series, TTWS will be the third novel, are all historical novels but with a proto-science edge.

The novels all feature members of a secret group, The Society for the Advancement of Science. Each member has a special talent. All of them struggle with their abilities in a world obsessed by etiquette and propriety.

In The Trouble With Scots, the leader of the Society, Eadan MacMurrough has visions of the future. The troublings as he calls them are most an annoyance, sometimes his visions save lives and sometimes they are debilitating, especially when he has visions of his future. For ten years, he has had visions of a laughing beauty who is to be his wife.

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So here is a blurb:

Eadan fought to keep the vision alive. For once he did not want the vision to end.

One thing stood out besides the beautiful, laughing woman. He was wearing his clan blue-and-black kilt and a white linen shirt covered by his black jacket and waistcoat with silver buttons and buckles. His sporran was about his waist. The clothes were distinctive because they were the clothes he wore now, including the new broach he had just purchased in London.
When the carriage came to a stop, Eadan glanced out the window. A flash of lightning pierced the sky but it was a storm without rain—the kind one expects to produce a deluge but expends itself in the drama of threatening thunder and perilous streaks of blue-white light.

The inn yard was busy. Several carriages filled the space as the inn filled for the night, all worried about the hazard of road travel when the ground beneath the wheels would be unsteady. The noise was deafening and would have been crippling if his headache had remained.

But a certain excitement stirred in his heart and in his loins, for it couldn't be denied the visionary miss had held his interest for far too long and without relief. He could almost believe she was a ghost, a figment of his imagination, except his visions were specific. He had watched her mature into a woman—a disturbing, uncomfortable result at times.

He strolled through the courtyard, entered the inn and made arrangements for a room. Glancing about, he was supremely disappointed to see there wasn't a single woman in the main hall, only several boisterous men well into their cups.

His valet, a proper stiff who made sure Eadan was turned out appropriately when he was on English soil, also made sure his luggage was carried in. Eadan requested a room at the back of the inn where, he hoped, the cacophony would be minimized.

“Would you like me to arrange supper in a private room, my lord?”

“Have the food sent up, Mr. Terry. I believe I will turn in after.”

“An early start in the morning?”

“Ten should be soon enough.”

“Headache, sir?”

“Remnants. Nothing a good meal and good sleep won’t cure. If ye could arrange for a bath also.”

“As you wish.” Mr. Terry gathered Eadan’s belongings and headed to the assigned room.

Eadan worked a coin from his pocket and tapped it on the wooden counter.

“My lord.” The chubby woman working at the inn rubbed her hands on a dirty apron, glancing only at the coin she was about to earn.

“Is there a woman here, about so high?” He held his hand to his shoulder. “Auburn hair.”

“Her name, my lord?”

He cleared his throat. “I dinna ken. She smiles—”

Eadan realized how ridiculous he sounded. The only thing more ridiculous would have been to tell the mistress of the establishment he had only seen the auburn-haired woman in a vision. “Never ye mind.” He tapped the coin one last time before placing it on the counter.

Eurydice. Where are you, Eurydice?

The trouble was no one else seemed to know where she was either. Or who. Was he going to have to go to Hell to find her?

He strolled to the main dining hall and glanced about the dimly lit room. A few of the inhabitants stared back, examining him over their pewter mugs of ale. Their shuttered looks reminded him he was more at home in Scotland. Then again, perhaps he ought not wear his kilt while on English soil. 

Even if it wasn’t illegal.

Another burst of thunder sounded and another party of travelers stumbled into the inn.

The throaty laughter of women caused Eadan to turn toward the commotion.

His chest constricted painfully, nearly stopping his breath.

She used both hands to throw back the hood of her swirling cape and laughed again. “My goodness, we’ve only just made it in time.”

Her smile was brighter than a thousand suns and her dark eyes sparkled with mischief. He knew from a hundred visions her eyes were green.

Eadan stared, the realization heady and warming. His heart thumped with a steady beat and he heaved a sigh as if he’d been relieved of a great weight. And then he understood why he had never met the striking beauty. She was a Colonist. An American.

“Good evening, your ladyship,” the innkeeper’s wife said.

“Three rooms, my good madam,” she said.

“Of course. Right away, mum. Oh, and mum, there was a gentleman looking for you earlier.”

“For me? Goodness, I can’t imagine why.”

Her laughter filled the lighted foyer and she tossed a glance in his direction. Her smiled faded at the sight of him. The edge of her brows creased inward and her eyes closed slightly, taking his measure.
Visions of her had been consistent—always the laughing, sensual creature who came to him willingly.

There was a palpable tension between them now. Aye, she knew.

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