Paula Martin has always lived in North West England. She had some early publishing success with short stories and four novels, but then had a break from fiction writing while she brought up a young family and also pursued her career as a history teacher for twenty-five years. She has recently returned to writing fiction, after taking early retirement. Her contemporary romance, ‘His Leading Lady’ was published by Whiskey Creek Press in June 2011, and her latest, ‘Fragrance of Violets’, is released in February 2012. A third novel ‘Her Only Option’ will be published later in 2012.
'Fragrance of Violets' is released by Whiskey Creek Press in Feb 2012. The title is from a quote by Mark Twain: “Forgiveness is thefragrance that the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.”
It’s a story of two people who have to learn how to forgive both themselves and each other. It’s set in the English Lake District which I know and love, and this setting inspired a lot of the story. I’m sure the village, which I’ve called Rusthwaite, will be immediately recognisable by anyone who knows the Lake District!
Excerpt from ‘Fragrance of Violets’
Abbey swung her car into the car park and pulled up beside the shop. After she’d unlocked the side door and switched on the light, she returned to the car and opened the boot.
She’d just lifted out the first box when a voice startled her.
“Want some help with that?”
She spun round in the direction of the voice. It was dark but she didn’t need to see him. Her mouth went dry and her hands tightened on the box.
“No, thanks, I can manage.”
Jack Tremayne stepped into the dim light cast by one of the car park lamps. As her eyes adjusted, Abbey caught her breath. His dark sweatshirt stretched across wide shoulders and broad chest, and mid-blue jeans encased his slim hips and long legs. No longer a teenage boy, but a man whose compelling figure exuded confident masculinity. Something deep inside her turned a double somersault.
“What the hell are you doing here?” Resentment at her involuntary reaction to him lent an extra sharp tone to her voice.
“Welcome to Rusthwaite,” he said with amused irony.
“You aren’t welcome here,” she retorted. “Not by me, not by anyone.”
He shrugged. “Maybe not, but I’m back, and I intend to stay.”
Shock ran through her like a cold shower. “You’re staying?”
“Why not? It’s my home.”
“The home you betrayed,” she said bitterly.
“That was eight years ago. People forget.”
As he took a few steps towards her car, the light spilling from the shop doorway illuminated his face. His blond hair seemed to have darkened to the colour of light sand and was brushed back instead of the tousled look she remembered. But several stray strands escaped over his broad forehead, and her glance took in his handsome features – the blue eyes, the high cheekbones, the well-defined jaw, the perfectly shaped mouth and the cleft above his chin.
A quiver rippled through her but she ignored it. “No, Jack,” she said, as calmly as she could. “This village hasn’t forgotten. People here won’t ever forgive you.”
“What about you?” His eyes challenged her, forced her to remember the night everything had gone wrong between them.
She returned his look with a defiant glare and tried to distance herself from the unwanted sensations inside her that threatened to destroy her composure. “I don’t think you and I have anything further to say to each other. So if you’ll excuse me, I need to unload this shop stock.”
“Are you sure I can’t help?”
“Okay,” he said briefly as she turned away and took the box into the shop.
When she returned to the car, he’d gone. She stared through the darkness towards the main road, but he’d obviously walked quickly. There was no-one there.
She made herself concentrate on carrying the boxes into the storeroom and stacking them tidily, ready to be unpacked the next morning. But as she put down the last box, she realised she was shaking.
Meeting Jack Tremayne again had catapulted all her feelings into total disarray.
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