Welcome to the Burns' Night Blog Hop. Mr. Burns is one of my favorite poets, even before my dad brought be back a copy of his collected works on his life-changing visit to Scotland. I tried to come up with a Scottish themed post for this hop, I even have a couple of stories floating around in my head. But I just couldn't do it. No matter how hard I tried. In fact, in the novel I'm working on right now, My Mistake, Summer goes to Scotland to hunt down her girlfriend, who is there to investigate a haunted castle. But since I've never actually been to Scotland, I didn't feel comfortable writing the obvious spin-off story. I couldn't get it right in my head...
If you aren't familiar with Mr. Burns, visit Em Taylor's blog. She's got a brief little biography on it today.
So instead, for today's post, I'm going to give you an extended teaser from my next work, Falling for Hope. It should be coming out late February/Early March. I will be donating a digital copy of it, as soon as it's released, to a random commenter on this post. Just comment with your favorite Scottish thought (it can be a memory, a story, joke, song, or Burns quote, whatever) and make sure you leave me your email address. If you're not comfortable leaving your email in the comments, you can email it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hope is an eccentric librarian who lives with her five cats and loves to spend her time fantasizing about living in a world of shapeshifters, vampires, and fairies. Although the existence of a paranormal world is far from Hope's reality, she can't help but sense there's something different about the mysterious man lurking in her library.
Gabriel is God's Strength, the Messenger, who's been tasked with delivering the Word for millennia. His most recent assignment will be his last, to fall in love and become human. But he can't quite figure out what he's done to displease the Boss. Gabriel's latest assignment might be the hardest, but this gorgeous rubenesque quirk of a woman definitely has him intrigued.
This is book three in the Four Winds series, a paranormal romance series by Anne Conley.
Hope and Gabe ended up at the Fine Art Museum. Like the other city buildings that Gabe had noticed, this one looked very generic on the outside, but when they entered, he could tell that some effort had been put into the interior of the building. A recent remodel was evident by the sterile smell, accompanied by the lemony scent of wood polish. He looked around, curiously.
“It’s not much, but we get some good touring pieces from time to time. Come on.” She grabbed his hand, pulling him to the spiral staircase. “I want to show you something specific.”
His hand engulfed her dainty one as she tugged him along. He watched her face set in determination as she walked at a quick clip to wherever it was she was leading him. Something inside him stirred to life at that moment, and he could feel her resolve as it seeped into him through her clasped hand. Interesting.
When she got to a large three paneled painting, she stopped and dropped his hand, exhaling a loud breath as she did so. “Here. Isn’t it breath-taking?”
Her face radiated with a yearning he couldn’t comprehend. When he looked at the painting she had maneuvered them in front of, he had to steel himself to keep from reacting to the familiar image. It was him.
What had drawn her to this particular image? Did she see the resemblance? He realized she knew he was different, but he wasn’t sure if the time was right to tell her everything. This certainly wasn’t the place. But he needed to tell her soon.
She rubbed her arms, as if struck by a sudden chill, and Gabe moved behind her to help. As his hands stroked the bumps forming on her arms, he was glad she couldn’t see his face. He’d lost the ability to hide emotions, since he didn’t used to have emotions. He hadn’t seen this painting in centuries, and was surprised to find it here, with Hope. He remembered Titian, and when he’d painted it, his genuflections, the master’s praises for the muse. Not that Gabe had done anything really. He hadn’t even told him who he really was. Apparently though, after seeing this particular piece, Titian had known at some level what his real identity was.
“What do you like about it?” He asked quietly in her ear.
“I’m not really sure, but I’ve been sort of drawn to it since it’s been here, especially the Gabriel part.” She gestured toward the top left corner, his portrait. “It sort of looks like you, don’t you think?”
He made a noncommittal sound in his throat, wishing he hadn’t moved behind her so he could see Hope’s face now. Would she look at him the way he looked in the painting?
“The emotion on Gabriel’s face is so…I don’t know…It’s wrenching, don’t you think? It just amazes me how something like that can be captured with a paintbrush and some pigments.”
“It is quite extraordinary,” Gabe agreed, still looking at the painting. She said she was drawn to it. Gabe wondered if that meant anything. “When did you first see it?”
“Oh, about two months ago. They usually do ten-week visits with the touring pieces, so this one’s about to move on. I wanted to show you before it was gone.”
Before his arrival. “And you were drawn to it then?” She nodded, and he couldn’t take anymore of only seeing the top of her head. He moved back alongside her. The look on her face was rapturous, no other word described it. Her eyes were wide and her mouth slightly open as she gazed at the painting. The beauty she exuded reminded him of some other of Titian’s Renaissance muses.
He wanted to kiss her.
Before he could act on the impulse, he noticed a toddler behind Hope, near the spiral staircase. It was a little boy, struggling to get out of his mother’s white-knuckled grip. The mother was chatting with a friend, absently tugging the boy back to her. He could see the little boy’s tiny had slipping free, but the mother seemed unaware. If he slipped free, the momentum of the tot’s leaning would send him tumbling down two flights of stairs.
And then it happened.
The mother’s fingers snapped together as the little boy wiggled his hand out. The furrowed brows of concentration on his face gave way to surprise as he found the ground no longer under his feet. Gabe stopped time and walked through the sea of frozen people to catch the tot, setting him back on his feet and clasping his hand back in his mother’s, before turning to go back to Hope.
She was standing there watching him, mouth agape.
“What in the world is going on?”
Gabe looked around, at the people frozen mid-step, mouths open mid-conversation, cameras held mid-click, and realized that Hope alone was unfrozen.
“Um…” This had never happened before. He’d never been visible to anyone when he did this, and he felt as if he were caught red-handed. Chagrined, he shrugged, “I was helping?”
“I can see that, Gabe. But what are you doing to these people?” She waved her hand around the room.
“It’s complicated.” He wanted to tell her, but still wasn’t sure the timing was right. In fact, he’d never been so unsure of anything in his long, long life.
“What are you?” She asked in a hushed whisper.
If you are interested in reading the first two book in the series, they are Falling for Heaven and Falling for Grace, and you can find links to them on the My Books tab on this website. They are steamy paranormal romances about Christian icons, as I write my way through issues with myself concerning my own desires to be a God-fearing Christian woman with a completely dirty mind. These books are a way for me to reconcile that, so if you can bear with me, I think they're good. Falling for Hope is at the editor currently, so the excerpt may contain errors, but they will be fixed soon.
Don't forget to enter the rafflecopter giveaway, for a chance to win some totally awesome prizes, and then comment on this post for a chance to win a copy of Falling for Hope as soon as it's released. Thanks for stopping by!
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