Thursday, August 23, 2007

Weekly Excerpt: THE CURSE, The Legend of Blackbeard's Chalice

It's countdown to liftoff and I've got several books coming out this fall and winter, so I'll be posting an excerpt weekly for one of the upcoming titles. This week, we start off with a little pirate action. Argh! :)

THE CURSE

The Legend of Blackbeard’s Chalice

(book one)

Maddie James

Resplendence Publishing

...an intriguing and magical book that makes it possible to believe the power of love can overcome a curse and centuries to bring the lovers back together again. Beautifully written, sensual and emotional, this is a compelling read. Five red roses.

Anne, Red Roses for Authors Reviews

Jack Porter is in hot pursuit of his kidnapped wife. Not an easy feat considering it is 1718 and the kidnapper is the notorious pirate, Edward Teach aka Blackbeard.

Nearly 300 years later, Claire Winslow vacations on a secluded east coast island, where the image of a man walking the misty shore haunts her. Then he comes to her one night, kisses her, and disappears. Or was it a dream? And why did he call her Hannah?

THE CURSE sends Jack and Claire on a wild search through time for a powerful historical artifact – the silver-plated chalice made from Blackbeard’s skull. Only with the chalice will they be able to reverse Blackbeard’s Curse. Will they find it in time? Or are they destined to be parted by fate once more?

Time-Travel, Paranormal Elements, Suspense
Available, November, 2007 Pre-Order Now!
Resplendence Publishing http://www.respledencepublishing.com

From Chapter One

The Outer Banks of North Carolina, 2006

Claire Winslow stared at the man staring back at her through the night mist. She blinked, and then focused her gaze once more.

He was still there.

Her pulse quickened. Her heart hammered in her chest. Slowly, she stepped around the wooden rocker and silently crossed the porch to the entrance. Just to the right of the steps she stopped, placed her hand around the carved porch post and leaned into it, her cheek resting against its smooth and cool painted exterior. Her gaze never left his, and his followed hers as she moved. Inhaling deeply, the misty air hung heavy in her throat. Claire held her breath for a moment, and then slowly and silently let it out, trying to clear her mind of the haze.

The nearly full moon provided a shaft of light, perfectly illuminating the man. Waves beat steadily against the shore behind him, an ever-present drone in her ears.

Funny, she thought. The sound used to drive her crazy, now it was barely noticeable. The wind pushed cloud cover in front of the moon’s beam and again she searched the night for a glimpse of him.

There! He’s closer. Definitely closer.

She jumped and fought panic. Her heart skipped a beat. He’d not come this close before. For the past two nights he’d kept his distance, though closer each night. The first night he’d stood at the foot of the lighthouse, barely a specter against the illuminated white. The next night he’d ventured nearer, away from the lighthouse.

Now he stood barely twenty yards away, slowly walking toward her on the boarded walkway leading to the steps of her porch.

He fascinated her. Too far away—always too far away to see his eyes—his gaze uncannily bored into hers. Those eyes seemed black as pitch, rimmed with clear bright whites surrounding the dark irises. Claire knew that, or perhaps sensed it somehow, for she hadn’t really been close enough to see.

He stood tall, with his fists placed on either hip. His broad stance was solid. Every inch of his body was roped with muscle—she knew that too, though how was a mystery. And she knew that his hair was long and silky and as black as his eyes.

Soft.

It was as though she could feel the texture on her fingertips.

How did she know these things? She didn’t even know what, or who, this man was. But she knew these things about him. Somehow.

He stepped forward. The night breeze ruffled his loose, white shirt, open halfway down his chest. The wind lifted and swirled her own silk nightgown around her legs and she wondered if the sight of it aroused him, as the glimpse of his bare chest aroused her. She hugged the porch post as he took one step closer.

And then another.

Her spine prickled with fear as well as curiosity and anticipation.

Oh, God. He’s coming closer.

Claire locked her gaze with his, stepping away from the post and backing across the porch until her rear bumped into the screen door. He stopped and stared. Mesmerized by his gaze, she felt a mystical sort of pull, some sort of power emanating from him, propelling her closer. That pull rivaled the fear she felt in her heart.

He took another step forward.

Claire shifted sideways and grasped the cold doorknob behind her.

Too close.

A soft ocean breeze blew a dark strand of hair across the man’s face and suddenly she felt compelled to stroke it from his eyes. She released the doorknob and took a half-step forward.

He stood still.

She stepped forward once more—drawn to this man as she’d never been drawn to another—but before she could continue, clouds passed in front of the moon, leaving her in total darkness.

Hannah?

The word bounced across sand and dune.

Had he spoken? Called out a name?

Claire stood waiting, the connection to him broken. Her chest heaved in anticipation. Her pulse raced. Her breathing came in short, shallow gulps. She waited, but when the wind finally whipped the gathering clouds out of the moon-glow’s path, she realized he had vanished. Nothing but empty black night filled the open space between her cottage and the lighthouse.

Nothing.

Claire shook her head and blinked. Without fear this time she rushed off the porch steps, her body turning in circles, her eyes straining through the night, searching.

“Come back here!” she yelled. “Who are you?”

But her plea was swallowed into the night. Only the ocean winds heard her call.

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