|Photo by Sunny Forest|
Her steps lagged as her eyes took in the old place. It had always been a retreat, a respite from the dutiful demands of family, work, and, yes, even her public persona. She had bought the little house with her first royalty check, as meager as the house. Over the years, as her checks had increased, she could easily have afforded to restore the place to a quaint luster. Yet she had kept its genteel shabbiness, something to hide behind, something real, something authentic, when she no longer knew who she was, when she needed to escape the demands of everyone, waiting for her to solve their problems. Now the children were in college, her husband claimed by someone else, her work schedule less demanding but more rewarding. And the little house was no longer shabby but serendipitous, for inside awaited, at long last love. Her steps quickened.
Standing in the rough grass, Cassie looked at childhood home, the sting of salt air sharp on her skin, salt scents teasing her nostrils. Teasing her memory. She’d been isolated here. Lonely. Protected - the doors and windows roughly carved with runes, curtains woven with spells, dreamcatchers snaring nightmares.
Silence embraced her. Not silence without. Even on the most sunbaked summer day, the air weighted with heat, the sound of waves crashing on the rocks floated over the cliff’s edge. Sometimes, like now, a gull screamed.
But blessed silence reigned within. The rising cacophony of voices – voices of minds screaming, souls screaming – they did not carry here. They did not invade her.
Cassie walked forward, then gasped as a cold spike of fear pierced her spine, pinioning her where she stood.
Someone waited inside. Hid inside. Anticipating. What?
Had she not chosen to come here?
Had she been summoned?
She walked toward the cottage.
Fifteen years, she thought, and it looks the same.
Her heart began to beat faster as it would have fifteen years earlier.
Would he still look the same, she asked herself, and now questioned her decision to come back to Ireland. When she left, it was never to return. Yet here she was.
She had changed her name and, with a new identity, achieved a certain peace in Dallas. For fifteen years she believed she had buried the past. Then his letter came, and it was as if those years meant nothing.
“Please,” he wrote, “come home. Until now, I did not know why you left. If only I had known the truth then, I would have done everything in my power to stop you.”
Would you, she wondered as she opened the door.
He stood tall before her.
“Hello, Harry,” she said.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
|Parris Afton Bonds|
PARRIS AFTON BONDS
Parris Afton Bonds is the mother of five sons and the author of thirty-five published novels. She is the co-founder of and first vice president of Romance Writers of America.
Declared by ABC’s Nightline as one of the three-best-selling authors of romantic fiction, the award winning Parris Afton Bonds has been interviewed by such luminaries as Charlie Rose and featured in major newspapers and magazines as well as published in more than a dozen languages. She donates her time to teaching creative writing to both grade school children and female inmates.
Yves Fey’s debut mystery, FLOATS THE DARK SHADOW is set in the dynamic and decadent world of Belle Époque Paris. Aspiring artist Theodora Faraday and Detective Michel Devaux clash in their search for an elusive killer who has already claimed too many children. Classic detection and occult revelation lead Michel and Theo through the dark underbelly of Paris. Following the maze of clues they discover the murderer believes he is the reincarnation of the most evil serial killer in the history of France. Whether deranged mind or demonic passion incite him, the killer must be found before he strikes again.
Rebecca George is the award-winning author of five novels. Her newest, SO WHISPERS THE HEART, was released recently on Kindle. Of her four previously published books, DAPHNE was a Romantic Times award winner, Best Historical – Love and Laughter, and was considered by Aaron Spelling Productions for a TV movie. CALL HOME THE HEART was a runner-up for Best Historical.
A native of Georgia, Rebecca was raised in the Tidewater region of Virginia. She went to the University of Georgia and majored in history. She lives with her four rescued dogs in a historical district in Upstate South Carolina.
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