Update: Thanks to everyone who left a comment during the Fall Into Romance Blog Hop, sponsored by Jane Wakely. Congratulations to Yolanda M. who won the Grand Prize, and to Samantha B. who won my book pendant giveaway.
Fall has always been my favorite season, probably because I grew up back East (Western Pennsylvania) where the autumn leaves were spectacular, red, gold and orange. Now I live in Southern California, where we are lucky to have some fall color by December. And instead of crisp, cool days, we’re more likely to get hot, dry weather and the dreaded Santa Ana winds. Fire season traditionally occurs in the fall, though the fire season is getting longer by the year, thanks to record drought.
But back to the leaves. My memories of autumn in Western Pennsylvania, the setting for my Historical Romance, Rogue’s Hostage, inspired this scene. It takes place at Fort Duquesne, where Mara has been taken by her captor Jacques. (Emile was her husband.)
Sighing, she moved to stand next to one of Jacques’s precious cannon. The view from the ramparts was magnificent. Under a leaden sky, the green of bushes and grasses seemed more intense than ever. The turbulent waters of the river tumbled past the fort, frothing over the rocks along the shore.
She glanced toward the hills on the other side of the Monongahela. The heavily forested slopes were dappled by drifts of gossamer mist, but not thickly enough to obscure the colors of autumn. Among the green shone clusters of gold and orange. Occasional patches of red were visible, as if stained by the blood of the men who had died trying to possess this cursed spot.
Lord, but she was morbid today. Her mood was due to a combination of weather and circumstance and surely would be temporary. She glanced at the view again, wishing Emile were here to see it. He would have been enchanted by the vista.
The fragrance of autumn, clear, crisp, and tangy, wafted on the air. Soon, very soon, winter’s frost would snuff out autumn’s fire, leaving the landscape bleak and brown until the first snowfall came to shield it with a pristine layer of white.
A flock of birds flew overhead, heading south for the winter. Mara watched them with envy, wishing she, too, could soar over the treetops. She would fly all the way back to Geneva, she thought, smiling at her fancy.
A shout from the sentry drew her attention to the plain in front of the fort. Her heart raced at the sight of the raiding party straggling back. In the lead group, she spotted a tall officer in a blue and red uniform. Jacques.
She hurried to the ladder and scurried swiftly but carefully down the slippery rungs, then ran to the main gate, straight for him. When she skidded to a stop about a foot from him, he grinned at her.
“What, so eager, madame? Can it be that you missed me?”
She felt her face flush, but refused to acknowledge the truth of his words. “Do not flatter yourself, monsieur. It is merely that I am bored. I have had no one to argue with for weeks now.”
In 1758 the Pennsylvania frontier is wild, primitive and dangerous, where safety often lies at the end of a gun. Mara Dupré’s life crumbles when a French and Indian war party attacks her cabin, kills her husband, and takes her captive. Marching through the wilderness strengthens her resolve to flee, but she doesn’t count on her captor teaching her the meaning of courage and the tempting call of desire.
French lieutenant Jacques Corbeau’s desire for his captive threatens what little honor he has left. But when Mara desperately offers herself to him in exchange for her freedom, he finds the strength to refuse and reclaims his lost self-respect. As the shadows of his past catch up to him, Jacques realizes that Mara, despite the odds, is the one true key to reclaiming his soul and banishing his past misdeeds forever.
Nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Small Press Romance, 2003
Now, back to the hop business. Here’s the details:
GRAND PRIZE: a $75 Amazon Gift Card
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My prize is this lovely book pendant from Pixie Whimsy via Etsy.
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What’s your favorite season? Do you get fall color where you live?
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