Magnolia and Southern Blue Gum trees fill the massive gardens and huge Live Oak Trees line the entry to the courtyard where we wait. The mansion reeks of American Gothic.
Spooky! I swear there are ghosts here. The grounds are so frightening! I'm not walking around out here alone, I swear!
Lyn, Sharon and Mary wait to welcome Beth to a wonderful Southern Ball which we have arranged for her. The massive ballroom is filled with guests who await Beth's arrival. The mansion is loaded with rooms filled with Queen Anne tables and chairs, sideboards, hutches and Red Damask wallpaper adorns the walls. Each room if filled with guests. Some of them ghosts of the past, it's hard to tell them from the real guests. How do they take corporal form like that?
There will be many more ghosts, and Beth mentioned a mysterious dagger, to tell you the truth I'm a little scared. There is a murderer amongst the guests, that would make anyone nervous. Who could it be? Would they murder someone tonight?!? Now I'm gettin' nervous.
Oliver took care of the food. His famous red velvet cake and its luscious cream cheese icing calls to me. He has prepared massive amounts of fried chicken, turnip greens, mustard greens, cornbread, fluffy buttermilk biscuits, roasted fresh ham to go along with the tables of deserts that include my favorites, buttermilk, pecan and sweet potato pies, I couldn't take the temptation and had to leave the area where the refreshments are when I saw the wonderful Southern foods. Yummy.
"Lyn, Sharon, I'm a bit worried about the knife Beth mentioned. Is someone after her with a knife? Or could they be after one of us? What the heck is going on? She actually mentioned there would be a murderer here tonight." Mary anxiously faces her friends and cohorts.
"Mary you worry too much, everything will be fine." Sharon always thinks positive. But Lyn she shares my worries.
"Oliver has hired a team of ghoul/human creatures that will be guarding the premises. Junior is in charge of security. His team of wolves are trained to pick out their natural enemy, the werewolf. Cuddles uses his magic to keep watch. By the way Mary. One look at a werewolf or a shifter of any kind and we'll run for the hills," she whispers.
"I know, I know." Mary shakes her head and looks toward the drive, where the arrival of a carriage and the clop of horses' hooves approach. "It's the threat of poison in the punch. The mention of wolfs bane that has me worried. Too late now here she is."
A shiny black carriage with matching black Friesians pulls to a halt in front of them. Out steps Beth, she is a vision in her green ball gown with it's daring decolletage.
Beth descends, just as Oliver shows up. He is out of breath and pushes the three of us out of his way as he drools watching Beth twirl her lovely dress and turn to him with a wink. He passes out cold.
"Thank goodness we got that out of the way." Sharon's laugh brings a chuckle to us all, he's done worse after all. After hugs and hellos we enter the mansion and huge double doors are open to a beautiful spectacle. Couples dance as the women show off their gowns. Several men try to crowd Beth, but we are able to pull her to a lovely curved arm fainting couch. All around the room candlelight flickers, even the daunting staircase is lit with candles, they add an errie mood to the elegant Gothic mansion.
Lyn speaks up reminding me to post a blurb and an excerpt of Beth's wonderful book Somewhere My Love. Oliver reads it with tears in his eyes.
'Star-crossed lovers have a rare chance to reclaim the love cruelly denied them in the past, but can they grasp this brief window in time before it is too late? Newly arrived at Foxleigh, the gracious old Wentworth home in Virginia, British born Julia Morrow is excited at the prospect of a summer working as a guide in the stately houseand herb garden. She quickly discovers the historic plantation holds far more. She becomes obsessed with the portrait of handsome Cole Wentworth, killed in a quarrelover the lovely English lady, Julia Maury, two hundred years ago. Then she meets his double, William, the only remaining Wentworth heir.
Somehow, Julia must persuade Will that their fates are entwined with those of Cole Wentworth and Julia Maury,and that the man who killed his ancestor has returned to enact the deadly cycle again, or she will lose him twice. The blade is about to fall.Star-crossed lovers, flashbacks to early 18th century Virginia, ghostly, murder mystery,light paranormal romance, Gothic flavors…SOMEWHERE MY LOVE.
Excerpt from SOMEWHERE MY LOVE:
A cold finger laid its icy touch on Julia and ran down the length of her spine. “How
did it happen?”
“He’s said to have been run through by the very man who made that mark on the door. A Mr. Cameron. Scottish fellow he was, back in…” Mrs. Hensley pursed her thin lips, blue eyes distant. “Ah, yes, 1806. Some fuss over a woman.”
“How dreadful. What about Mr. Cameron?”
“The friend of a neighbor, I believe. He escaped and was never found. No justice was ever done in the matter.”
Julia hesitated, then asked, “And the woman?”
“Heartbroken, poor thing. She returned to England. She was a guest of the Wentworth family and greatly enamored of Cole. All the young ladies were, but he had a particular fascination with this girl.”
“Why was she so special?”
“Apart from her legendary beauty? She had an angelic quality about her. Or so the story goes.”
An irrational jealousy twanged a jarring note in Julia. In the space of a few short minutes she’d fallen in love with the man in the portrait—typical of her impractical nature and unlikely to advance her nonexistent love life. And yet, she couldn’t help plunging into this sweet madness.
She tore her eyes from the painting. “Do you recall the lady’s name?”
Mrs. Hensley gave a little laugh. She tapped a finger to her furrowed forehead. “Isn’t that odd? It was Julia something…hmmmm.”
Was Mrs. Hensley teasing her? She had to know.
“I’ve got it. Julia Maury,” the guide continued and arched graying brows. “You’re from England, aren’t you, Miss Morrow? Tread with care here, my girl. We don’t want you stirring up any ghosts. Foxleigh has enough already.”
“No,” Julia said, reaching out to the dresser to steady herself. Without meaning to, she suspected she’d already stirred up some force beyond her understanding.'
"Wonderful excerpts Beth." Mary tries to speak above the din of the massive crowd. But it's useless. Finally Beth stands and offers a wave to the many avid readers and fans who are attending this ball. A loud cheer fills the room and the stamping of may feet literally shakes the floor.
"Beth Trissel! Beth Trissel!" Cheers all around are suddenly silenced and all eyes are glued to her. All those in the room wait for Beth to speak.