– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free. –
Today I’m on the ‘Daughter Of The Sea’ blogtour, organized by Rachel’s Random Resources.
To promote this book I have an excerpt, but before I let you read it first some ‘basic’ information.
About the Author :
Elisabeth’s writing career began when she finished in third place in Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write contest in 2013. She was offered a two-book contract and consequently had to admit secret writing was why the house was such a tip. She is the author of numerous historical romances with Harlequin Mills & Boon covering the Medieval period to Victorian England, and a Second World War romantic historical with One More Chapter. She lives in Cheshire because the car broke down there in 1999 and she never left.
On a windswept British coastline the tide deposits an unexpected gift …
It was the cry that she first noticed, the plaintive wail that called to her over the crash of winter waves. Wrapped only in a sealskin, the baby girl looks up at Effie and instantly captures her heart. She meant only to temporarily foster the young orphan but when news reaches Effie that her husband has been lost at sea, and months pass without anyone claiming the infant, she embraces her new family – her son Jack and her adopted daughter Morna.
Effie has always been an outcast in her village, the only granddaughter of a woman people whisper is a witch, so she’s used to a solitary existence. But when Midsummer arrives so too does a man claiming to be Morna’s father. There’s no denying Lachlan is the girl’s kin and so Effie is surprised when he asks her to continue looking after his daughter, mysteriously refusing to explain why. She agrees, but when he returns six months hence she pushes him for answers. And Lachlan tells a story she never anticipated … one of selkies, legend, and the power of the sea …
Lachlan, the enigmatic father of Effie’s foster daughter, has visited on Midsummer’s Day and invited her for a walk along the beach.
The breeze was still warm from the heat of the day. Effie wrapped her shawl over her arm rather than wear it. Her neck felt sticky and she longed to feel the air on her skin. She undid the top button of her blouse and then the one below that and loosened her collar to let the breeze do its best to cool her. Lachlan had draped his fur over his arm. It looked heavy and hot but he didn’t seem to mind.
The beach curved away from the village towards the inlet called Boggle’s Cove. Effie and Lachlan walked side by side until they reached the stream that trickled down to join the sea from the cove between the rocks. The bay was sheltered and out of sight of the village. They would only be visible from the sea itself. Any worries that they might be seen melted away.
Lachlan selected a large, smooth boulder. He spread his fur out and sat on it before gesturing to Effie.
“Will you join me?”
The boulder was not large and they would be sitting intimately close. Her heart gave another thud, quickly followed by a shiver that ran down through her stomach and settled low in her belly. He had no idea what effect he had on her but, given his brief show of jealousy over Walter, she wondered if she was having the same effect on him.
She spread her shawl out next to the skin but not touching, and sat on it. She twisted round to face him and where his collar fell open she noticed a blueish-green circle about the size of a thumbprint. At first she thought it was a bruise but it was too regular. It must be a tattoo of some sort. She wondered what the rest of it – the part concealed by the shirt – looked like.
“You seemed ill at ease with Morna,” she said.
“I’m not used to children. I don’t know what to do with them.”
“You’ll grow better. You did well tonight soothing them to sleep.”. Effie patted his arm. “The song you sang was beautiful.”
Lachlan ran his hands through his hair and over the back of his neck.
“Tell me about Morna.”
Effie thought before answering. How to conjure a child’s life in a few words for a father who seemed reluctant to know her in person.
“She’s wilful,” she said, smiling as she added, “and I don’t mean that in a bad way. She’s strong and determined to get her own way as all children are. She likes strawberries but not in jam. She fights going to sleep. At least usually she does. If I could sing to her like you did I’d have an easier time.”
“I could teach you the tune but the words are harder to learn. The language is ancient,” Lachlan said. “Tell me more.”
Effie chatted easily now, listing the new words Morna had learned since his last visit, how well she could walk and how close she and Jack were. Lachlan nodded in encouragement, asking questions and before long Effie had almost forgotten her awkwardness.
“Children grow so quickly. If you came more often you would see the change yourself,” she said.
“I can’t do that.”
A breeze blew the warm scent of saltwater across the beach. Effie inhaled with a satisfied sigh and was instantly consumed by the urge to wade into the depths. She looked towards the sea.
“If you want to go in then do it,” Lachlan murmured.
She turned to him in surprise.
“How did you know that is what I was thinking?”
“You have a very expressive face. Also, I was thinking the same thing.”
She kicked off her clogs then turned her back to Lachlan and discreetly peeled off her stockings. The sand was cool and she burrowed her toes in it with a sigh of pleasure She picked her way over the shells and pebbles to the edge of the water and stood close enough for the gentle waves to lap at her toes as they washed in.
Lachlan was still sitting on his fur watching her with a look of longing on his face.
“Will you join me?” she called.
After a moment he pulled off his boots and came to stand beside her at the water’s edge. He rolled up his trouser legs, revealing well-shaped, smooth calves that were lightly tanned. He took a couple of steps further out than Effie. This brought them to the same height so that when he turned back his eyes were level with Effie’s. He smiled and the edges of his eyes crinkled.
The sea was chilly but not as cold as it would be by morning. It felt refreshing. Invigorating. Her skin came alive. Effie wished she could lift her skirts and wade in as deep up her legs as Lachlan. Wished she could spread her arms and fall backwards into the waves.
“Morna loves the sea,” she said, smiling at him. “She makes it her purpose to reach it at every opportunity.”
Lachlan looked at her sharply.
“Has she managed it?”
Effie took a step back, surprised at his sudden ferocity. “I take her to play in the waves. It doesn’t do any harm. She was so determined it seemed cruel to deny her. She wanted to do it so much I was worried that forbidding it would lead to her trying all the more.”
“Did something happen to make you suspect that?” Lachlan asked. His voice was soft once more, inviting her to tell him.
Effie gazed out to sea as she told him of the terrible day when she had lost sight of Morna and how the child had almost gone headfirst into the foam. While she spoke, Lachlan stood rigidly, face carved from granite and eyes never leaving the sea.
“I’m so sorry,” Effie whispered. “I should never have taken my eyes of her. If she had drowned…”
She swallowed the end of the thought, a painful knot tied in her throat. She stumbled back to the rock and sat on it, her head in her hands. Warm tears bubbled at her eyes. She felt Lachlan draw close and looked up.
“It wasn’t your fault. It is in her nature. I had hoped…”
He broke off and gazed out to sea. “It matters not. The fault is mine.”
Win a signed copy of Daughter of the Sea (UK Only)
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