Howdy! I’m back from my Houston book signing after meeting some awesome fans. I brought my wonderful PA, Jodi and my daughter with me, too. We had so much fun, and I hope you can come to my next signing in Austin this February.
In the meantime, I’m hard at work on Damned and Desirable, Eternally Yours Book Two, projected to release October of this year. I hope you like the scene (unedited) below in Aedan (Grim) O’Connor’s POV. He has lots of scenes in this book, especially flashbacks to the night he died. I have somewhat of a fascination with the Galveston Hurricane of 1900, and I can’t help but including it in my novels whenever I get the chance. :) Tara
September 8, 1900
I pushed my way through the frigid current, nearly losing my footing at every step as debris threatened to sweep me under. I’d already been struck across the back by a fence post, the nails tearing through my coat and flesh. The laceration burned, but not as badly as the searing pain in my heart. I’d just come from the morgue where I’d identified Callum’s body. He had gone back to Ritter’s, drowning his sorrows in drink, when the building had collapsed under the pressure of the heavy winds.
Now there would be no chance for reconciliation, no chance for healing broken hearts, no chance to tell my brother I’d forgiven his betrayal.
I held onto posts and rails, pushing against the current. Rain pelted my face like stinging needles as the roar from the wind nearly drown out my racing thoughts. I made my way to my home on Twenty-Second, a home which I feared had already washed away. This storm had claimed the life of my brother. I needed to save my wife, Jezebel though she was, for she was the only family I had left in the world.
I was amazed when I turned the corner to see my home still standing, a solitary beacon beneath the gloom of the dark sky. The other homes nearby had been washed away. My home rocked against the current, looking like a lone ship tossed about at sea by the gale. I wondered if Katherine was inside, or if she’d sought refuge on higher ground, perhaps with one of her gentlemen callers. Maybe my rescue attempt was all for naught, and I’d drown trying to save a woman who no longer waited for me. But I’d already come this far, and I couldn’t leave now. I’d sworn a vow to Marie, after all, and a vow to God, though Katherine had broken hers many times over.
I waded out into the current, and then was swept away, sucking in gulps of salty water, struggling to keep my head above the torrent. I struck a post, holding on with all my might. Though fatigue worked against me, I somehow found the strength to climb over the bannister to the first floor, which was already half submerged. I leaned against the side of the house, stopping only for a moment to regain my strength. The pain in my back intensified, and I worried the laceration would bleed out before I could get my wife to safety.
After expelling a deep breath, I kicked in the window and swam into my home. Katherine’s tea cups and fineries bobbled in the current before smashing against the walls. I swam to the stairs and drug myself upward, feeling weighted down by sodden boots and clothes, the pain in my back worsening with each step, as I climbed into the blackness.
I found her sobbing face-down across our bed, the strength of her cries drown out by the ominous howls from outside. A candle flickered across the room, casting long shadows across walls that shook as the wind intensified. I felt a mixture of relief and apprehension at seeing her alive. I only hoped in her darkest hour she had begged for repentance and had sworn to change her wicked ways.
“Katherine!” I screamed above the din, clenching my fists as pain shot across my spine. “We must leave!”
She looked up from our bed and screamed. “Oh, Aedan, you’ve come back for me!” Flinging herself into my arms, she cried against my chest.
I pushed her back, gripping her shoulders. “We have to get out, now!”
She shook her head, her lips trembling as she spoke. “I’m scared. I can’t swim.”
Without hesitation, I ripped her heavy skirt from her waist and told her to tie up her long hair and remove her boots. I knew the weight of her clothes could mean the difference between life and death. Surprisingly, she followed my orders without argument.
Just then, the house tipped, leaning so far to the left, the bed slid across the floor, slamming into the opposing wall. I fell against a wall as Katherine tumbled into my arms. The house had been ripped from its foundation. I knew then we had seconds before the structure would crumble.
Katherine screamed, digging her nails into my arm, but I shook her away as I would fend off a rabid cat. “Calm yourself!”
The house veered the other direction so that the floor was almost level. I shut our bedroom door and then kicked it at the hinges. Once, twice, and it fell, just before the roof spilled into the ocean.
I wedged Katherine against the door, pressing my weight on top of her. “Hold on,” I screamed into her ear, “and don’t let go.”
“I don’t want to die, Aedan,” she sobbed. “I haven’t even begun to live.”
My chest tightened, and my heart sunk, feeling as if it, too, were drowning. She cared only for herself and her pleasures, no remorse for the lives her folly had destroyed.
“Then pray for mercy, Katherine,” I said on a hoarse whisper, though I knew she couldn’t hear me. Then the walls cracked open, and we were thrown into the tempest.