My Crooked Cat Books have continued to be set at the incredible BARGAIN price of ONLY 99c/77p for one more day.
For my Sunday Surprise I've got two excerpts for you from The Beltane Choice and from Topaz Eyes.
The Beltane Choice:
“The main settlement of Garrigill is over that hill. A short while only to ride; we must come to an understanding before we reach my father’s house.”
“An understanding?” Suspicious, but that was how she felt.
“You and I must make peace, then all else will follow, you must see that is our only course.”
Nara’s lips pursed in annoyance. “I do not see it is the only course at all, Brigante. Perhaps Tully of Garrigill will not be of your judgment. It may be he will not wish to be so closely associated with his enemies of old. Maybe he will think his son’s wits have become addled. Have you considered that? You do not speak for all of your tribe.”
“I do not know how my father will take my proposals, but we need action to benefit our whole Celtic race of peoples.”
Looking at his solemn countenance Nara knew without doubt he was serious about his ideas. What harm would it do to tell him of recent weeks? There was little chance of escape from this powerfully attractive man riding beside her. Her father could not easily broach Brigantes’ territory to release her-not that he would do so anyway.
She glanced over at the man riding alongside, this time surveying him critically, much to his amusement. Lorcan was a fine warrior, even though he was her captor, and the man who had saved her from life-threatening hazards. Telling him her tale of woe would make little difference to her situation, and she had to make him understand why he was deluded about her worth. She felt the need to be fair about that.
“Are you ready to listen? You want to know why I am worthless in your bargaining scheme. Are you prepared to have your mind changed for you?”
“I do not think I will be changing my mind, Nara, but I will hear what you have to say.”
Investigating the loft took hours. Piled boxes joined others as they painstakingly opened and closed the next one. Keira worked her way through a large crate which must have belonged to John. It was filled with family board games, jigsaws, painting equipment and old tin boxes. Inside the tins, John had stored worn and dented, miniature metal cars, and trains from a long-gone train set.
“Did you have a car collection, too?” Her sudden question shattered the silence as she held one of them up for him to see.
Teun came over to the corner she worked in, his laughter a delighted sound she was glad to hear again. “Yeah! I traded with him when we were little squirts. What else have you got there?”
They took turns to excavate the huge carton, Teun chuckling away as he unearthed something memorable. Keira pulled out yet another old cookie tin. She prized open the tight lid and shrieked.
Inside the tin were two long velvet cases.
“You open them!”
His smile was puzzled since she’d been quite happy to do all the investigating before, without any reference to him.
“What is it?” His words faded as he opened the first – a dark crimson velvet box, the plush so stained with dampness it almost looked white. Most of the loft contents were still in good condition, but this looked to be one of the oldest items they’d uncovered so far.
Keira’s legs trembled. A cool shiver coursed down her spine, the anticipation making the unveiling seem almost creepy.
His voice was a broken hush. “Is this what I think it is?”
“Good God! Look at that!”
Four strands, made from tiny green stones, joined the most exquisite centrepiece clasp of diamonds, the whole necklace gleaming on the faded cream silk interior. At each end of the box lay two different earrings. All the earrings were pear-shaped; one set made from small sparkling bezel-set diamonds, and the other vibrantly coloured. In place of diamonds, the second pair of earrings was enamelled in red, green and blue on a white background. Teun almost dropped the box as he passed it over for her to have a better look, his arm trembling.
“Oh… shit! I can’t believe it!”