This year’s Blogger Book Fair theme is to let your imagination travel to far-away places. Since I love to travel, but can’t always match my wishes with my budget, I let my writing take me where ships and planes can’t go. Even better, since I write historical romances, I can visit the dark forests of medieval England in armor, or sail the high seas in breeches and a cambric shirt, ride the moonlit moors as a highwayman, or stalk the Highlands of Scotland in a kilt.
In Swept Away, I swept myself to Regency England where a half naked stranger has been washed ashore on a lonely stretch of beach. He is badly beaten, with no memory of who he his or how he came to be there. Annaleah Fairchilde has been sent to the seaside as punishment for refusing to marry the man her parents have chosen for her. Her frustration at being treated so unfairly ends when she finds the body of Emory Althorpe and the first words he whispers to her are: They have to be told the truth before it’s too late.
What unfolds is a story full of mystery and intrigue, betrayals, spies, double-crosses and seduction. Is Emory a traitor or a spy? Is he working for the English, or is he one of Napoleon Bonaparte’s inner circle of conspirators? Why is there a French assassin hunting for him, and why have the English charged him with treason?
A brief excerpt from SWEPT AWAY:
The inn was one of the ones Broom had named and the proprietor had extorted a celestial twenty pounds for the privilege for the use of a small, squalid room under the eaves.
“Might I ask just what your intentions are?”
He turned from the window. “I plan to wait another hour or so then leave under cover of darkness.”
“And you plan to take me with you? Slung over your shoulder like a sack of grain?”
Emory smiled faintly. “Actually, no. I was going to leave you here with this for company.” He picked up the haversack and from it withdrew a small leather-bound book.
“I’m afraid I could not find a copy of Romeo and Juliet in your aunt’s library, but I thought A Midsummer Night’s Dream might prove equally engaging.”
She gaped wide-eyed at the book, then at him. “You want me to read a bloody play?”
“Tut tut, Miss Fairchilde. Language. And yes, I want you to amuse yourself for a couple of hours.”
He dragged the angled bandage off his head. He had tucked most of his hair beneath the linen binding and had to give it a vigorous raking with his fingers before it fell soft and thick around his collar again.
“Why, indeed,” he murmured. “Can you think of a better diversion in a town swollen with cutthroats and thieves than for a young and beautiful heiress to go missing? Within a couple of hours at most, every soldier and constable within five miles will be pulled off their other duties and ordered to search for you instead.”
“How very clever,” she said, staring at his broad back. “And what makes you think I will sit here calmly reading Shakespeare after you have gone? What makes you think I will not run out into the street at once and tell the constables exactly where to look?”
He leaned slightly to the side and pulled the heavy greatcoat off his shoulder. “I suppose I was not thinking clearly.”
“I suppose you were not,” she said slowly, the words fading as she watched him shrug his other arm free of the coat and toss the heavy garment on the bed. The upper half of his coat sleeve was stained around a long gash in the wool. When he took the jacket off, she realized the stain was red and the linen of his shirtsleeve was soaked with blood.
“Dear God,” she whispered. “What happened?”
“It’s nothing. A lucky shot. Barely a scratch.”
“You have been shot? You might have told me!”
“I did. I told you the guard at the toll house shot at me.”
“You did not say he hit you. Oh, dear gracious me!” This last exclamation brought her out of the shadows as he peeled down the sticky layer of linen and bared the damaged flesh beneath. The wound was, as he had said, not very deep but it had bled a good deal and ungluing the congealed bits of the torn sleeve caused it to start weeping again.
Anna searched around for a towel, but although the innkeeper had supplied a jug of brackish water and a chipped washbowl, it was apparently left up to the guest to provide his own toiletries. She spied the haversack and after rummaging through the contents, produced two handkerchiefs and a large square napkin that had been wrapped around some of Mildred’s biscuits.
She pointed him to a chair and removed her short blue spencer jacket. “Sit down and let me look at it.”
“It isn’t necessary–”
“Oh, do shut up and sit down before I pinch some sense into myself and let you bleed to death.”
Find Marsha at:
My website is http://www.marshacanham.com
I am on Facebook as well: http://www.facebook.com/marsha.canham
And my blog, Caesars Through the Fence http://marshacanham.wordpress.com/
Swept Away can be found at: