Shannon here: Donna shares an excerpt from A Very Private Grave, when the hero and heroine first really get to know each other. Leave a comment on any post dated Oct 25 – 29 by Oct 30, 8:00 PM Central for a chance to win her book. Here’s Donna:
Love’s First Stirrings
Excerpt from A VERY PRIVATE GRAVE
Donna Fletcher Crow
If your heart is in the right place Love can find you in the most unlikely places. That’s certainly what happened to Felicity and Antony. Let me explain: Felicity Howard, a young American student at a theological college in a monastery in Yorkshire was devastated when she found her beloved Father Dominic brutally murdered and her church history lecturer Father Antony standing over his body covered in blood.
The head of the Community asked them to follow up on clues Fr. Dominic gave Felicity shortly before he died. And so Felicity and Antony set out for the Isle of Lindisfarne, an ancient holy site in the North Atlantic which can only be reached a few hours a day over a narrow causeway when the tides are out. Antony and Felicity, who have known each other only as lecturer and student, find themselves stranded, waiting in a tiny, leaky bus kiosk in a driving rain:
Felicity knew that if something didn’t drown out the sound of the rain she would start screaming. “So, tell me about your family.”
“What! My family?” He sounded as shocked as if she had made an indecent suggestion.
She shrugged. Surely he needed something else to think about, too. But then he was probably satisfied just praying or meditating or something. “I just thought we ought to get acquainted. If we’re going to be working together for days— maybe even weeks— we might as well know something about each other.”
The silence that followed her suggestion was not encouraging. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to pry— ”
“I have an older sister. Gwendolyn and I were orphaned when I was 10.” He was standing, facing forward, his back almost squarely toward her. His voice was even and colorless.
“An aunt and uncle in Blackpool took us in— Beryl and Edward, my father’s older brother and his wife. They didn’t have any children of their own, didn’t want any, and really didn’t know what to do with us. They did their duty, though. We had all the necessities: healthy food, fresh air, regular exercise, precise schedules, lots of books, excellent schools.”
Felicity shivered. “It sounds— ” she groped for the word, “sterile.”
He shrugged, his dark form silhouetted by the dim, grey light beyond the door of the kiosk. “Well, there wasn’t much emotion, if that’s what you mean.”
(He tells her about his actress sister, then stops: )
The wind picked up outside and the rain lashed the kiosk in gusts. “So what about you?” she tried again.
“What about me?” He turned and looked at her blankly through the thick gloom, as if he wasn’t sure who she was talking about.
“Yeah, you in the dog collar. What did you do for emotional support?”
“Oh,” he fingered his collar. “Isn’t it obvious? The church.”
“Mother, brother, sister, father is it?” When he didn’t reply she wondered if she could go further. Didn’t seem like she had much to lose. “And girlfriend?”
To her surprise a flash of white teeth in the gathering dark indicated a fleeting smile.
(And she is even more surprised when he does tell her about former girlfriends. Then it’s her turn. She gives Antony a brief sketch of growing up in America with two big brothers and lots of friends. Then Antony asks about her church background:)
“Oh, we were very devout! In all my growing up I can’t remember ever missing a service.”
“I’m impressed. That’s quite a record.”
“Yes, indeed. Never a single Christmas or Easter without going to church. CEO Christians, my parents.”
“Christmas and Easter Only.”
Antony’s furrowed brow relaxed and in the reflected light she could see the tiny lines crinkle at the corners of his eyes. “Ah, having me on, aren’t you?”
“Well, yes and no. The point is, when we did go, I loved it. Sometimes I would even sneak off and go to church on my own. I’d say I was going to a movie or something so my brothers wouldn’t tease me. Don’t worry. I didn’t just sign on to life in a monastery because I like men in skirts. I’d have gone for a bagpipe band if that was what I had in mind.”
Their shared laughter was hardly more than a chuckle, but it was so good. Felicity realized it was the first time they had ever really laughed together.
Suddenly the little kiosk felt less chill. She was warmed by her memories and she wanted to share them with her companion: Karen and Amy, her forever friends from childhood; the goofy, carefree things they did together; the blazing spats; the whispered confidences.
Antony listened to her account with a small smile. “It sounds so warm. So, well, friendly.” The tiny note of longing in his voice made her heart constrict.
Learn more about A VERY PRIVATE GRAVE at: www.DonnaFletcherCrow.com
November Line Up on the Inkslinger:
Nov 1, 3, & 5 – Black Lyon Publishing author, Lisa Lickel shares a real life romantic interview, a fictional interview, an excerpt from her book, Meander Scar and a chance to win a copy.
Nov 8, 10, 12 – I’m celebrating the release of White Roses by sharing my awesome real life romance story, an interview with me and hubby answering questions, and a never before seen excerpt from White Roses. Plus, two book giveaways. A copy of White Roses and anyone who’s never won any of my books anywhere, a chance to win White Roses & White Doves.
Nov 15, 17, & 19 – Barbour author, Lynette Sowell shares her real life romance and a book giveaway.
Nov 22, 24, 26 – Recipes for Turkey in the Ground, Brine Soaked Turkey, Sweet Potato Casserole, and Dressing from writing buddies, Brenda Anderson, Lorna Seilstad, Linda Fulkerson, and me. Two book giveaways: Making Waves and White Roses.
Nov 29 – Harvest House author, Mary Ellis shares a romantic interview and a fictional interview, plus a chance to win her book, Sarah’s Christmas Miracle.