First, don't forget to purchase your copy of my ebook sale items. Me & Timothy Cooper is only 99 cents until February 15th. MISSING and FOUND are both now $2.99 each.
Today's excerpt comes from my next book release on March 1st, Love & Redemption, the first book in my Florida Irish series. In this scene, Michael O'Fallen is singing a love song to his wife and reveals he has a mind-blowing talent.
I did a lot of research to find a song that fit into that time period and pre-dated the story (1870). This one was written by Thomas Moore, a prolific English writer. It is a hauntingly beautiful song; my favorite version of which is sung by Celtic Woman at the video below.
Anne studied the top of Michael’s head, noting the way his hair curled over his collar, the tint of red which emerged when the sun struck it, and wished she could take the words back. He was the most handsome man, but then her memories of him had already told her that.
To see him deflated like this was too much. She’d hurt him. But she’d only told the truth. How could she love him when she didn’t know him at all? It seemed simple in her thinking. Yet the raw emotion on his face when he’d declared his love for her spoke differently.
Bess said he’d wept over her, and now she believed it. She cleared her throat. “Michael.”
At the sound of his name, he flicked his gaze to her face.
“I want to know the rest.”
But uncertainty sat heavy on his features, and she knew. If their wedding was bad, the rest must be worse.
“Are you sure?” he asked.
No. She wasn’t sure. But any key to whom she was seemed important. Their lovemaking was mutual, he’d said. So she’d given herself to him on purpose. Had she loved him then? Her hand crept down to her belly. What of the rest of her memories?
“I’m sure,” she said. “I remember a man, older. He kissed me, and it was … horrible. He … did other things. Who was that?”
He clenched his fists and worked his jaw. So he knows who it was, and he didn’t like him.
“Ferguson,” he replied. “He’s dead.”
Was he reassuring her or himself with that statement?
“Did he … do something to me?”
And again, he met her with silence. He hasn’t worked through this either.
He blew out his breath. “I … No, he didn’t.”
She cocked her head. He’d changed his thought mid-stream. What did that mean? “The baby,” she began. “It’s yours?”
His face colored red. “Yes.”
But he didn’t sound convinced. Why? Did he hide something from her? Did it matter? If he said the baby was his, then surely it was.
She wrinkled her brow. Being married made the baby legitimate. People wouldn’t talk. Wasn’t that better than how she’d felt before, being alone? But marriage, absent of her feelings for him, seemed wrong.
You don’t have to go through this alone, Bess had said. He will be a good father. Don’t you want that?
“Close your eyes,” he said.
She absented her thoughts and focused on his face. “Close my eyes? Why?”
He smiled, and two dimples appeared in his cheeks. She resisted the urge to touch them.
“Just do it,” he replied.
She shut her eyes and her insides raced as his voice with an Irish lilt lifted, clear and sweet, in song.
“'Tis the last rose of summer,
Left blooming alone;
All her lovely companions
Are faded and gone;
No flower of her kindred,
No rosebud is nigh,
To reflect back her blushes,
Or give sigh for sigh.
I'll not leave thee, thou lone one!
To pine on the stem;
Since the lovely are sleeping,
Go, sleep thou with them.
Thus kindly I scatter,
Thy leaves o'er the bed,
Where thy mates of the garden
Lie scentless and dead.
So soon may I follow,
When friendships decay,
And from Love's shining circle
The gems drop away.
When true hearts lie withered,
And fond ones are flown,
Oh! who would inhabit
This bleak world alone?”
His voice stilled and for a moment she lay there, simply breathing in the magic. When she at last opened her eyes, startled, she pushed herself up onto her elbows because the room sat empty. He was gone.
“Michael?” she whispered. But no one responded, and a strange hole opened in her heart.
Check out more about the story and read the Prologue on my blog.
Suzanne D. Williams
Suzanne Williams Photography Florida, USA
Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.