Welcome, Silver Dagger Tours and Author Linda Rae Sande!
They swore never to marry. But will the right suitors melt their hearts?
Fiercely independent and daughters of a wealthy countess, twins Dahlia and Diana have no desire to husband-hunt, despite their mother’s pleas. But when the ghost of their late father makes an appearance, he takes it upon himself to guide the girls into marriage – even if his presence will scare off potential suitors.
Caught cheating in one of their university courses, twin brothers Anthony and Andrew’s dreams of a Grand Tour are shattered when their father pulls the plug on their allowances. They had hoped to put marriage off as long as possible – but with their father withholding their allowances until they are wed, they have no choice but to face the daunting task of a lifelong commitment. There’s only one problem – although one of the brothers wants to marry, the other feels as if he‘s being forced to wed for money.
Brought crashing together by fate and aided by the girls’ late father, both pairs of twins must learn to see through their differences and get along. But marriage is no easy decision, and it will take more than a miracle to convince these sisters to tie the knot.
Are the twins a match made in Heaven? Or will the girls’ independence and the brothers’ lack of a fortune serve to drive them apart?
Artfully blending a beautiful 19th-century backdrop with all the classic charm of British aristocratic life, this scintillating historical romance novel by bestselling author Linda Rae Sande is a delightful read that’s perfect for anyone looking for their next emotional fix. Scroll up and grab your copy now…
Amazon * Bookbub * Goodreads
A self-described nerd and lover of science, Linda Rae spent many years as a published technical writer specializing in 3D graphics workstations, software and 3D animation (her movie credits include SHREK and SHREK 2). Getting lost in the rabbit holes of research has resulted in historical romances set in the Regency-era as well as Ancient Greece. A fan of action-adventure movies, she can frequently be found at the local cinema. Although she no longer has any fish, she follows the San Jose Sharks. She is a member of Novelists, Inc. (NINC) and makes her home in Cody, Wyoming.
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads
Settling back into the velvet squabs, Anthony regarded Dahlia for a moment, now worried the ghost might have had a conversation or two with his mother. He sighed. “He had a long talk with me, too, although he didn’t mention the insipid miss.”
“When was this?” she asked in alarm.
“He left only a moment ago. Just... disappeared.”
She sighed. “He does that.”
“Well, he is a ghost,” Anthony remarked.
Her eyes once again rounded. “You know that?”
Wincing, Anthony nodded. “I probably should be petrified with fear, but I find the old coot rather interesting.”
“Old coot?” she repeated in disbelief. “Aren’t you worried that he’ll... he’ll—?”
“Haunt me?” Anthony finished for her. “What do you think he’s been doing these past few days?”
It was Dahlia’s turn to wince. “I’m so sorry.” When she noted his furrowed brows, she added, “This is all my fault.” She couldn’t help the sob that accompanied her words. She’d been attempting to swallow it since stepping into the coach.
“May I join you?” he asked as he nodded to the bench upon which she sat.
She nodded and scooted over to give him room to sit next to her.
“Why do you think that?” he asked, his arm resting on the squabs behind her shoulders so he could sit closer to her.
“I should never have looked at that damned book,” she whispered.
He leaned over and kissed her on her temple. “Now I know you’re upset,” he whispered. “You so rarely curse,” he added when she gave him a quelling glance. “I take it you are referring to the book about sexual congress?”
Dahlia gasped. “Did my father tell you about that, too?” she whined as her face bloomed with color.
Chuckling, Anthony said, “Actually, your sister did.” When he saw anger in her eyes, he added, “Don’t be cross with her. I’m glad she did. Otherwise, how would I know about your fear of the marriage bed? You certainly weren’t going to inform me.”
“I’m not supposed to know about such things,” Dahlia countered.
“But now that you do know a thing or two, is that the real reason you don’t wish to marry me?”
“I never said I don’t wish to marry you,” Dahlia countered. When she saw his look of confusion, she added, “I just didn’t wish for us to have to...negotiate.”
Anthony straightened, deciding it best he not respond to the comment about negotiating, at least not yet.
“Well, you’ve certainly vexed your father,” he accused.
“Good, because he’s done nothing but make matters worse,” she complained on a huff.
“Careful what you say, or he might haunt you for the rest of your life,” Anthony warned.
$10 Amazon – 1 winner,
ebook of THE VIXEN OF A VISCOUNT – 3 winners!
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!
XLII. PASTA (TRIJ)
Nature: Warm and moist in second degree.
Optimum: That which is prepared with great care.
Usefulness: It is good for the chest and for the throat.
Dangers: It is harmful to weak intestines and to the stomach.
Neutralization of the Dangers: With sweet barley.
Effects: Very nourishing. It is good for hot stomach, for the young, in Winter, and in all regions.
(Vienna, f. 45v)
Do you love pasta? I'd like to dedicate today's Medieval Monday post to our grandchildren, Colette and Oliver, who are vacationing with their parents in Italy right now. Like their beautiful mommy Julia, they are pasta-lovers.
I'm sharing this color plate from the Vienna Tacuinum because along with its notation, it made me smile. It seems that like all foods, even pasta should be prepared with loving care for optimum nourishment. I would not have guessed that it's good for chest and throat, but for Julia's and the babies' sakes, I'll accept.
But barley? Could it possibly reduce that full feeling after enjoying a healthy portion of one's favorite pasta? Has anyone tried it lately? In any case, the particular medieval physician clearly believed in his carbs!
In my handbook's collection, grapes are showcased on the facing page. A wonderfully Italian display, don't you agree?
It doesn't have to be in a health manual to know that a little fun and relaxation is good for you -- but there it is! So why not enjoy a little pasta, some vino, and la dolce vita?
Happy Medieval Monday! Obsessing on my garden these days and I thought to share a little of this little handbook that I love.
I'm so proud of it that anyone might be surprised it's not an original edition! It's just that it's the sort of health handbook I appreciate, all about herbs and human temperament and natural elements. And the illustrations are beautiful!
Tacuinam Sanitatis was first published in Italy in 1976. Author Luisa Cogliati Arano chose colored plates from several different medieval manuscripts. Those manuscripts, in turn, had been translated into Latin from Ibn Butlan's eleventh century handbook Taqwim al-Sihhaa.
Isn't that amazing?
My version of the handbook is in English. It was translated in 1976 by Oscar Ratti and Adele Westbrook and published in New York. While I would love to know Italian, I am grateful for this translation.
The Physican Speaks:
The Tacuinum Sanitatis is about the six things that are necessary for every man in the daily preservation of his health, about their correct uses and their effects. The first is the treatment of air, which concerns the heart. The second is the right use of foods and drinks. The third is the correct use of movement and rest. The fourth is the problem of prohibition of the body from sleep, or excessive wakefulness. The fifth is the correct use of elimination and retention of humors. The sixth is the regulating of the person by moderating joy, anger, fear, and distress. The secret of the preservation of health, in fact, will be in the proper balance of the elements, since it is the disturbance of this balance that causes the illnesses which the glorious and most exalted God permits.
--Rouen, f. 1
The medieval illustrations/illuminations are accompanied by recommendations. For example, according to the The Taquinum of Paris, watermelon and cucumbers "cool hot fevers and purify the urine", but they might also "cause pain in the loins and stomach."
There's also advice as to how to minimize the danger, "with honey and oil". I'm not sure if that means to ingest honey and oil along with the cucurbits or only if they cause discomfort. But I have a feeling it would work.
I'll share more about the book next week. After all, while my hero Lachlann probably would not have been aware of its existence, his contemporaries in medieval Scotland might have shared some of the same lore.
Don't miss great posts from these magnificent medieval ladies!
Medieval Monday: "BY THE SAINTS"-FASCINATING FEAST DAYS - Barbara Bettis - Historical Romance Author
Medieval Monday | A Shift in Realms on a Journey to the Orkney Islands (marymorganauthor.com)
Wishing you a wonderful week ahead!
Ruth A. Casie, welcome. I’m excited and honored to be hosting you. Congratulations on your latest release, The Lady and Her Duke. I love your books, which always contain a dazzling combination of adventure and romance. Your highlanders and pirates are absolutely thrilling. This latest series, The Ladies of Sommer by the Sea, is clearly no exception, but it does have a different feel than your previous publications.
Can you tell us about the inspiration for this series?
Anastasia, thank you so much for inviting me to your blog today. I’m so glad you enjoy my stories.
Medieval versus Regency
Your observation, that The Ladies of Sommer-by-the-Sea a Regency Era series, has a different feel is spot on. My other historical stories are Medieval ones, a wilder time with sword fights, pirate battles at sea, stories of witches and other with druid masters one tingling with magic, the other traveling through time.
To me the Regency is a more restrained era that required less physical action and more cerebral gymnastics although… Good versus evil is a strong theme in my stories centered around trust and betrayal.
In my earlier stories, the nature of the time period lent itself to a physical conflict. Knights fought for justice and the fair maiden. For me, the Regency is a more restrained era. Moving out of the countryside and into the towns and cities required a different set of skills. The very strict guidelines of this era demanded a different approach to settling conflicts. You will see in my new story, The Lady and Her Duke, in 1815 dueling at dawn was already forbidden.
In this series the fight scenes are the last resort, when the villain has gone too far, or the love interest is in jeopardy and there is no other course of action available. The hero may be restrained by society, but he will protect and fight for the heroine, and she for him.
The Inspiration for The Ladies of Sommer-by-the-Sea
What was the inspiration for The Ladies of Sommer-by-the-Sea or why Regency?
There are several reasons I wanted to write this series:
I appreciate the setting. Is the village based on a real place? Was it fun creating a wonderful school for women?
Sommer-by-the-Sea is fictitious place. Here is what I think a realtor would say about the village.
Welcome to Sommer-by-the-Sea, a vibrant village nestled on the rugged northeast coast of England, 15 miles north of Newcastle upon Tyne. Here, the world is centered on the country village and the lives of the landowning and professional families. Sommer-by-the-Sea is populated with aristocrats, gentry, self-made men, shop owners, local workers, and servants, a cross-section of the people of the time. Steeped in history dating back as far as the original Vikings settlers, the villagers are proud of their ancestors and celebrate their heritage.
Everyone from the elite summer residents to the year-round residents keep businesses flourishing and gossip thriving. As with any small village, there are challenges and successes, secrets, disagreements, and feuds. There is no shortage of romance, mystery, drama, and even a murder or two.
There are aspects of the village that I see in places I’ve visited and even British period television series I enjoy watching, Midsomer Murder, Father Browne, to name a few.
For the series, I wanted the heroines to be unique, intellectual women with minds of their own and the wherewithal to succeed, a bluestocking. I wanted these women to have a support group. The idea for a female boarding school came out of a discussion with a group of authors.
Creating the Sommer-by-the-Sea Female Seminary was a lot of fun. I wanted the school to be unique, not only in the subjects taught, but I wanted to make it a prestigious place. Rather than applying, admittance is by invitation of the headmistress only.
Graduates of the Sommer-by-the-Sea Female Seminary have a unique education. Along with the usual studies available, the head mistress has nurtured each woman’s innate ability and helped them develop into the women they are today. This shared unique experience has kept the graduates close.
Each lady has her own story to tell as she is called to action and must demonstrate she is smart, strong, and sensible and must challenge the accepted definition of a “woman’s place.” For these women, arranged or political marriages will not do. If she chooses a husband, it will be for love, on her own terms, and with a man who will accept her as a partner.
The ladies in the stories are well-educated, smart, and so different from each other! What sort of research did you have to do?
I researched women’s education during this era. I found some gems, but I found myself going down a rabbit hole. I investigated women of the era and their little-known outstanding accomplishments. Since I was writing during COVID all my research was online, using google books, historic websites, university papers, and the Beau Monde authors who have a wealth of information.
Lady Alicia is a bestselling author who faced prejudices. Even her own publisher thought her bestselling novels were simply little stories even thought they kept his business afloat.
When her parents arranged Lady Patrice’s marriage, she found that a good friend who enjoyed solving puzzles with her was not a good husband. Overlooked by her parents in favor of her brother, her husband did know and admire her intelligence. Upon his death, he leaves her one last puzzle to solve. The secret code that unearths government traitors.
Lady Katherine’s unique ability centers around her love of gears and how they work. She is an excellent artist and focuses that skill into drafting. Her hobby is lockpicking.
The Lady and Her Duke
And now, for your latest release, won’t you please tell us about The Lady and Her Duke?
The Lady and Her Duke is the third book in the series.
Lady Katherine Thornton has no interest in men after an indiscretion at her disastrous Season in London. No man can be trusted. Instead, she indulges in her fascination for gears and all things mechanical. Her unique drafting skill is an asset to her uncle Bennett Sutton, who is automating his textile factory. She doesn't need anything else.
Lord Ian Wallace, the 4th Duke of Blackhall, is a retired military officer. An accidental duke after the deaths of his father and brother, he retreats from society and the clawing mothers and debutantes who stalk him. He’s focused all his energy on his partnership with Sutton. He’s satisfied and needs nothing else.
All appears right with their worlds until agitators threaten the textile factory. While Sutton and Wallace are at a meeting several miles away, Sutton is murdered. Before he dies, Sutton makes his partner swear, in front of a field of onlookers, that he will marry his niece. Wallace never knew his partner had a niece.
Wallace brings Sutton home to rest the day before an annual celebration honoring a young Templar Knight, Katherine’s ancestor, whose bravery revolves around his sword, Invincible. The sword becomes the target of the agitators. They believe if they have it, like the knight, they will be invincible. Not to disappoint you, Anastasia, there is a sword fight.
In the end, it will be Katherine’s secret skill, lockpicking that will save them when the agitator’s leader locks them in the mausoleum. And Wallace’s skill as a swordsman to defeat the ringleader.
An oath to marry, a family legend to preserve, an uprising of the factory workers, and Sutton’s murder, throw Katherine and Wallace together to find the murderer. They also will find two things neither knew they were missing… each other and their happily ever after.
About Ruth A. Casie
Will you share a little bit about yourself? I have a few questions I’ve been dying to ask you for ages. Are you a master swordswoman? Did you take fencing lessons? Are you by any chance – we won’t tell – a spy, ninja, or time traveler?
This is a great question. Let me answer with a short story. When I wrote my first book, Knight of Runes my husband read it and quietly came into my office and sat in front of my desk. “Where did you borrow this from?” He had the book opened to the prologue.
I can hear you suck in your breath and possibly feel a bit (or very) indignant. Before I could say anything, he added. “You can’t fight. You wouldn’t know what to do with a sword let alone be able to pick one up.” He was right about that. I am not a swordswoman. I have never had fencing lessons, nor am I a spy or ninja. Full disclosure: in the gym I did box with my trainer.
Where did that scene come from? I studied and researched. I read stories about sword fights. Watch YouTubes of sword fights. The New Jersey Romance Writers had a demonstration by an expert. I was excited when I realized I had gotten most of what I’d written correct.
To answer my husband… I asked him a question: “How did you feel when you read the scene?”
“I was there with your Arik. I could feel the scene, hear the swords, taste Arik’s anxiety. It felt authentic.”
That was the best compliment I could have gotten. For me the secret of writing a scene, any scene, is to be there. Experience it. Live it with all your senses.
Here is a link to the Knight of Runes prologue. This is not an action scene. It’s a race through the woods, The Guardian’s Witch.
One last question: is it too soon to ask if there’s another book on the backburner?
I am currently writing a novella for a winter boxed set. I’ve decided it will be tied to Sommer-by-the-Sea. While our heroine is not one of the seminary ladies, she is bright and resourceful. A Duke in Winter is currently on pre-order and releases December 29. My story is The Duke’s Lost Love. The theme of the box set is Shakespeare with a happily ever after. My theme story is Love’s Labour’s Lost.
Our heroine, Lady Nanette de Chappell, the Comtesse de Moyne is fighting to protect her independence. No suitor is acceptable to her. Her father is at wits end. Our hero, Lord Morgan Fitzhugh, the 2nd Duke of Prestwick. He and three of his friends have decided to spend the next three years in the pursuit of knowledge. They will eat but one meal a day, fast every Friday, and give up women.
Nanette and Fitzhugh met ten years ago. She was a hoyden, and he was usually the person who got her out of trouble.
Nanette’s grandmother has left her a small estate with a castle in Sommer-by-the-Sea. It is in the center of Lord Fitzhugh’s grander holding. Her quest? Secure the property for herself and bring back a special artifact from the Dunamara Castle.
This is a work in progress. Sticking to the Shakespearean elements of the story, the two are thrown together and their love grows. As in the original story, our heroine returns home. However, our twist will be our hero returns with her to ask for her hand.
Since this is a short story and there are really four couples involved, the other three will have their own books.
Also, I have plans to develop the stories for four more Ladies in Sommer-by-the-Sea.
This is wonderful news! Thank you for spending time with us today. I look forward to reading and reviewing The Lady and Her Duke and all the book in the series!
Anastasia, thank you for hosting me today. Your questions were brilliant. I had a wonderful time!
Information about The Ladies of Sommer-by-the-Sea
The Ladies of Sommer-by-the-Sea books are free for Kindle Unlimited readers. Here is a link to the series where you can purchase the digital or paperback versions individually or together.
About the Author
Ruth A Casie is a USA Today bestselling author. She writes historical adventures from the shores of medieval Scotland to the cobblestone streets of Regency London. Her stories embrace strong women and the men who deserve them. Within the pages you’ll discover ‘edge-of-your-seat’ suspense, mind boggling drama, and heart melting emotions. Grab your favorite cup of tea, or an ale if you prefer, and join her heroes and heroines as they race across the pages to find their happily ever after. Ruth hopes her stories are your next favorite adventures!
Ruth’s Newsletter Signup: https://www.subscribepage.com/ruthacasie
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/RuthACasie/
Amazon: https://amazon.com/author/ruthacasie https://tinyurl.com/RuthonAmazon
Ruth video bookshelf: https://youtu.be/nCG0NdDh7RQ
Happy Medieval Monday! This week, I'm pleased to announce the publication of Tremors Through Time. It's been quite a journey, first writing the story, self-publishing, and then the story being picked up by The Wild Rose Press. It's been fun, challenging, emotional, wonderful. And now, I'm well on my way to finishing Book Two in the series! FYI, there will be four books.
I thought I would share a small excerpt from Tremor Through Time for a dual celebration: the book release and Medieval Monday!
“My job.” He shrugged. “I like it well enough, I suppose. As they say, it pays the bills. It’s very different from anything I’ve done before. Do you like yours?”
“I love my job, but I know that I’m one of the lucky ones.”
“Tell me, please, your job title again? Joe kept talking about it the last time he was home.”
Deidre laughed. “He did seem surprisingly interested when we talked about it. I’m Director of Medieval Studies at the University of Houston.”
Medieval studies…Lachlann struggled for words. He knew what “medieval” meant. If he had one question, he had a thousand. Simple ones would have to do for now.
“What do you like about it?”
“There’s so much,” she replied. “The ongoing learning, the students…I love teaching.”
“Why did you choose medieval studies?”
Deidre opened her mouth as if to speak, then closed it again. Glancing down at her plate, she pushed around a carrot. “I…I’ve been interested in medieval artwork and history since I was a little girl. It’s always fascinated me.”
“I…” She paused again, her brow knit, her soft lips twisting a little as she searched for words. “Life was so different back then,” she finally said. “People were different, and yet they were still human.”
Lachlann blinked. “Well, of course they were human!”
She put a hand up. “Now, hear me out. For all intents and purposes, they lived in a different world from ours. Almost everything they knew was different from what we know. Agreed?”
“But their humanity was no different from ours. They had the same emotions, the same feelings, the same basic needs.”
“How do you know how they felt?”
“They left us art, music, writing, and so much more.”
“But their languages were different. How did anyone ever learn to read their writings?”
“Languages changed slowly,” she explained, “and one translation led to another.”
“But if a group of people died at once, their language would have died with them. Isn’t that true? So would their history.”
“That would be true in some cases, but not all. Is there a particular language or culture you have in mind?”
Lachlann hesitated, sorting his thoughts, still trying to get past her “yet they were human” remark. What had happened to his own language? Should he mention it? Could it hurt?
“Have you heard of Norroena?”
“Norroena.” Her eyes widened. Clasping her hands together, she leaned toward him. “Lachlann, are you talking about Norn?”
“The language of the islands, of Orkney and Shetland.”
“Aye, that’s the one.” He tried not to show his excitement. She knew of it!
“But the people didn’t all die at once. I believe Norn was spoken well into the sixteenth century.”
“Yes, it was.”
He thought that over for a moment. “It still died out. But it was spoken on the mainland as well as the islands, wasn’t it?”
“Yes, it was.” She smiled at him. “It was spoken in Caithness. You know your history.”
She was silent for a moment, that thoughtful little frown forming between her eyes, and then she shook her head. “I haven’t seen evidence that it was spoken anywhere else.”
But it had been, damn it.
“If it’s any consolation,” she continued, “Norn lasted longer than many other ancient languages. What’s sad is that we’re not sure how it sounded, and there are very few examples of written Norn.”
He couldn’t help her with the written part, but he’d love to surprise her, to speak his language to her.
“That’s why history is so important.” Deidre’s voice drifted off.
“Why?” he asked, glad he had caught that last sentence.
“So that we won’t forget.”
He felt the familiar constriction in his chest. “You’re saying that if the history is lost or no one cares about it, everything happened for nothing.”
She looked shocked. “That is most certainly not what I’m saying. It’s not true!”
“It isn’t! Nothing is ever really lost.”
He sat back, folded his arms, and forced himself to speak calmly. “I disagree.”
I hope you enjoyed this little peek. Tremors Through Time is available at your favorite online bookseller.
Be sure to visit the beautiful blogs of Barbara Bettis and Mary Morgan for more medieval fun!
Wishing you a wonderful Medieval Monday!
I'm so happy to be celebrating my book release! YAAAAAY! I'm on tour with Silver Dagger Tours. It's Day One of the tour as well as launch day! Enjoy and don't miss the excerpt or free giveaway!
In the infinite vastness of time—past, present, future, past—love prevails.
She's made mistakes and paid the price, but Deidre Chisolm is no quitter. She'll never again be a fool for a man, not even her gorgeous new neighbor with his haunted eyes and strange accent. She'll be friendly, but nothing more.
Lachlann has to go back to fourteenth-century Scotland. He can't forsake his family, his son. But when a beautiful, kind, funny lady buys the house next door, he's never been so drawn to anyone in his life. Would she believe his story? After years of struggling through nightmares and flashbacks, headaches and illiteracy, dare he ask her to help him return?
For me, playing is the best -- playing outdoors in nature or in my garden, experimenting in the kitchen, spending time with those I love. I also enjoy disappearing into a good book, attempting crafts, learning, writing, exploring, discovering. I especially like to mix it up and have yet to perfect any of it; and I've come to realize that perfection's not the point. It's all wonderfully fun. That's the point!
I prefer authentic and natural, be it food, lifestyle, people. I passionately enjoy both history and science, and certainly sociology to a degree, and I am most truly a romantic.
My husband and I have been married for over forty years. We reside near Houston, Texas, surrounded by loved ones. We have a blast with our little grandchildren.
I thank God for this wonderful life.
Bronze, damp, male…Lachlann’s powerful torso glistened before her, barely covered by a form-fitting, white muscle shirt. He was the most amazing sight she’d ever laid eyes on.
He was still sawing boards on a makeshift sawhorse and had worked up a sweat. His T-shirt was slung over the back of a chair. She watched, fascinated, as he sawed a thick board.
His shoulders were massive; they moved almost like separate entities. His chest was vast, muscular; his abdomen lean, ripped. Deidre’s mouth went dry. She was hyper-focusing.
The board split. He looked up, wiping his brow on his forearm, and smiled at her. Deidre didn’t smile back. She’d forgotten how to breathe.
Today, he wore his hair bound back in a ponytail, revealing the chiseled perfection of his face. Broad cheekbones, a strong nose, light, slate-gray eyes. His wasn’t a pretty face. It was too strong, too masculine, to be pretty. Except for his lips, which were full, sensual. She stared at his mouth.
She set the tray down.
“Thank you,” he was saying. “I’m hungry. I’ll just go and wash up.”
He walked to the side of the house where she’d arranged a small basket with hand soap, a scrub brush, and a couple of hand towels near a hose. The day before, he’d set his bar of soap on a brick and dried his hands on his jeans. The least she could do was offer small conveniences.
“It’s hot!” he said, returning to the patio. He grabbed his T-shirt. “I thought it was supposed to be cooler in October.”
“Cooler, yes, but not yet cool,” she replied as they sat down. “And you’re working hard. I can’t believe how fast you are. You really don’t like power tools?”
“I told you I’m old-fashioned.” He helped himself to a sandwich. “But in all truth, I haven’t had much need of any up till now, and it’s not as though I have my own workshop. Joe wouldn’t begrudge me the space, but his garage is full as it is.”
“I understand. Don’t get me wrong. It’s just that I’ve never seen anyone so fast with a saw. You’re…” She stopped and felt herself blushing.
“I’m what?” he questioned, frowning slightly.
“You’re strong,” she answered and hurriedly continued, striving to cover her embarrassment. “Do you work out?”
He looked confused. “Outside?”
“No. I mean, do you work out in a gym?”
“Ah, work out. No, I hate gyms. I understand training for warriors…”
“Warriors?” she interrupted.
“Soldiers,” he said quickly. “I can understand training for the military, or policemen, and others who protect people, and for certain other jobs. But otherwise, I believe that people’s daily lives and work should keep their bodies strong enough to suit their needs.”
“But what if, like me, a person’s job largely involves sitting?”
“You sit when you teach?"
“No, not usually. But I do have a desk. Lots of people sit at desks all day.”
“They shouldn’t, no matter what their job. But if they earn their livelihoods sitting, why do they need to be muscular?”
“Because it’s healthy?” Deidre sputtered.
“It’s all about health, then?”
“Yes! No!” She blew out a breath. “All right, some of it has to do with vanity, but not all of it. I walk. Do you consider walking a vain pursuit?”
“Walking is a normal activity. You’re an active person. When you’re at home, you’re outside a lot, working, moving. I live next door, remember? You take care of your garden, you work on your pool. You don’t just sit.”
“Well, I’m from the country. I like being outside and working in my garden. But you’re awfully hard on people who are just trying to look good and be healthy.”
“Am I?” He shrugged. “I don’t mean to be. It’s their time, not mine. I feel sorry for them. It seems unnatural, not using one’s body enough to sustain a healthy life.”
“I can agree with that,” she conceded. “Not everyone does, though, and not everyone looks like you.” She almost gasped. Never mind that it was the vastest understatement in the history of understatements. Was she losing her mind?
“Me?” He grinned broadly. “How do I look? Do you like it?”
Wasn’t it supposed to be cooler in October? Deidre fanned herself with her napkin. She had to get hold of herself and this conversation which, she knew only too well, she had started. She forced a laugh.
“How am I supposed to answer that?” she teased. “If I say ‘no,’ you might stop working. If I say ‘yes,’ your head might become too big for such menial labor.”
“Honesty is the best policy,” he quoted pompously.
Smiling, she put a hand to her chin and pretended to assess him, giving herself a moment to think. Good thing he wasn’t a mind reader. She wasn’t any good at flirting. But could she be honest? It seemed easy enough. Never, not even for a moment, had he seemed anything but supremely unaware of his appeal.
“All right, I’ll spoil you with the truth just this once.” She held up her ale. “Here’s to the world’s most handsome gardener.”
His eyes widened. Unbelievable! His grin stretched like a kid’s from ear to ear.
“And to the world’s most beautiful gardener.”
They clinked their bottles, and she hoped he would attribute her blush to the heat. Her whole face was burning! He’d flipped tables on her.
She could count on one hand the number of men who had ever called her beautiful.
$20 Amazon – 1 winner
ebook of If Only You Knew by Anastasia Abboud – 2 winners!
Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!
It's no secret that I prefer fat HEAs. Where better than in a beautiful romance?
From me to you with a smile.
You have successfully joined our subscriber list.