It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult. - Seneca
Thursday, April 28, 2011
First GLIMPSE at THE FALL OF RAIN ........ Book Three of the Emerald Isle Trilogy by Renee Vincent!!!
Leif Dæganssen, an archeologist from Norway, is determined to trace back his Scandinavian roots as far as the Dark Ages and find proof of their existence on the Emerald Isle. After several yeas of living off the west coast of Ireland, he finally uncovers an ancient artifact—an intricately decorated chest with pagan carvings—buried beneath the very porch of his coastal cottage. Knowing it only confirms the presence of a glorified Norse-influenced settlement on Inis Mór, he’s determined to establish a link between himself and those who once inhabited the rugged isle.
For as long as she can remember, Lorraine O’Connor has had dreams of a Norse warrior kissing her. And even though she’s never fully understood the reason for her vivid subconscious imagination, she welcomes the meaningless and wanton pleasure of being in a Viking’s protective embrace—until the day she meets that brazen Northman on an impulsive vacation trip to Ireland.
Though blindsided by the relevance of her dreams and the strange familiarity of the man within them, Lorraine can’t help but feel a deep-seated intimacy toward Leif. And the more she gets to know him, the more she’s convinced they’ve shared a life together in a time long forgotten.
Are the clues to their ancestral past hidden within the contents of the chest or buried deep within their hearts?
Excerpt from THE FALL OF RAIN ....
There he stood; a monument of beauty and power, sturdy as the ground beneath him. He had long blond hair, a well groomed beard, and skin darkened from the sun. His eyes revealed a sense of maturity and intrigue, but even the darkness could not hide their color for they were as blue as the ocean she had crossed to get to Ireland. His hands showed scars and calluses from years of hard work, yet his broad chest, tapering to a narrow waist, held most of her attention.
“Lochlannach,” she breathed.
“Huh?” he muttered, crowding his brows. “You’re Irish?”
Lorraine swallowed, wondering where that word had come from. Hell, she didn’t even know what it meant. “No, I-I’m American.”
“I can hear that now in your accent, but you just spoke Gaelic and called me a Viking. Lochlannach means ‘lake dweller’, and it was what the Irish called the Norse foreigners a long time ago.”
Lorraine stared at him, still unsure of herself or what had come out of her mouth.
“It’s okay,” he said kindly. “It’s not an insult as far as I’m concerned. I’ve been called worse in my time. Just didn’t expect it.” A smile started to tug at his mouth. “I suppose the blond hair gave me away?”
Not exactly, she thought. But it had something to do with it. It was not everyday a woman would meet and talk to the actual man from her dreams. And quite frankly, it was exceptionally difficult to wrap her head around it.
As she continued to gawk at him, there was no doubt he was, indeed, that very man. The only difference was that he wasn’t sporting a tablet-woven wool tunic, cow-hide boots on his calves, or a thick bear cloak around his shoulders. There was no sword at his hip or silver clips in his hair. He looked like a regular modern-day male—who just happened to step out of a Men’s Health magazine photo shoot, demonstrating the look of a perfectly balanced torso of muscled shoulders and biceps.
Lorraine sat up a bit straighter, uncomfortably hot next to the fire. But as she moved about on the floor, she felt a strange dampness in her clothes.
“You’ll have to forgive me,” he began explaining. “I tried to get you under shelter as quickly as I could, but by the time I mounted my horse with you in my arms, the rain poured from the sky. I would’ve taken you to your hotel had I known where you were staying, but I didn’t even know your name. Is there someone you want to contact? Someone you’re vacationing with to let them know you’re all right? It’s very late, almost midnight. I’m sure they’re worried sick.”
His considerate words stole hers right out of her mouth. If she had any residual fear of him, it had readily diminished. To know he had picked her up in his arms and whisked her away on his horse, just so she wouldn’t get wet, was astounding in itself. If he wasn’t her knight in shining armor, she didn’t know who was.
“Um…I’m staying at the Man of Aran B&B. But I’m not with anyone,” Lorraine clarified as she tried to stand up.
A little wobbly on her feet, he came rushing to her aid, bracing her elbows in the palms of his sturdy hands. Again, his brows furrowed. “You came to Ireland by yourself?”
She blinked rapidly, her reaction to his presence delayed, and suddenly she made an effort to step away from him.
“Here now,” he coaxed, putting his arm behind her back for support. “You need to sit.”
Lorraine looked up at him, his chiseled face only inches from hers, his large, brawny body hovering far too close, too quickly. She shoved him, only to clumsily teeter backward.
Before she could let out a gasp, he caught her and pulled her upright into his arms, her face smacking the warm blunt plane of his chest. “Are you trying to hurt yourself?” he asked, looking down the bridge of his nose. “’Cause at the rate you’re going, you’ll be spending your Ireland holiday in the hospital.”
Lorraine flinched at the approach of his hand, but he stopped short. “Your head…you passed out. Remember?”
She touched where he was pointing and winced. “Oh…I fell out of my bed.”
“I think you’re mistaken,” he corrected. “You were standing on the cliff near Dún Aonghasa when you went down and I’m pretty sure I didn’t see a bed.”
“No, I mean I this bump is from a few days ago when I fell out of my bed at home.”
His face drew back in surprise. “A grown woman falls out of her bed? That must have been some dream you were having.”
Lorraine froze, his tone sounding as if he knew something about her dreams. As if he were hinting he’d had the same. She studied him, peering into his beautiful blue eyes for a clue. But after a few moments of silence, he cocked his head, trying to read her just the same.
“Do you always make a habit of falling out of your bed?” he joked.
Though his jest made her smile with embarrassment, it confirmed she had hit her head harder than she thought. Before her, stood a man who resembled the brazen warrior in her dreams, and she had to start realizing that it was purely a coincidence. Nothing more.
Backing slowly out of his embrace, she began making excuses. “I’m merely jet-legged, I think. This vacation was a spur of the moment kind of thing. And…”
“Don’t worry yourself,” he said, giving her some space. “I’m just glad you’re all right. Now, take off your wet clothes and then you can have my—”
She reacted as if his words seared through her like one of Patrick’s red hot brands he uses on his horses.
“I most certainly will not!”
“You cannot get warm in sodden clothing,” he proclaimed.
“I will do no such thing!”
“Listen, princess,” he retorted, beginning to take off his belt and boots. “You, above all, should know this rain will be holding us here for many hours, if not days. I am not going to sit in wet, uncomfortable clothes when I have perfectly dry blankets at my exposal. And I suggest you follow my lead.”
She hadn’t long to contemplate his candid advice before he had completely disrobed.
“Oh, my goodness!” she gasped, turning her head away from his nakedness.
“You might as well get used to it, my lady. Soon you will be seeing me this way every night.”
“I will not!” she argued over her shoulder.
“Will you close your eyes to me even on our wedding night?”
“You are a stupid heathen of a man! How can you possibly think that I will want to marry you?”
Lorraine’s eyes flashed open at the sound of the man’s sharp, deep voice resonating behind her. She half expected to look over her shoulder and see him completely naked in front of her. But when she peeked around, he was standing there, hands on his hips, a look of bewilderment on his face.
“Don’t you think I should at least know your name before you propose to me?”
Lorraine brought both hands to her head. What the hell was that? One minute she was talking about being jet-legged in this man’s living room and the next she was standing in a cave—from what she could gather—watching the same man remove his wet warrior clothing while demanding she do the same on account of rain. It all seemed like a dream, yet she clearly was not sleeping.
“Is it still raining?” she asked curiously.
The blond stranger narrowed his eyes, confounded by the string of bizarre utterances coming from her lips. “It is…which is why your clothes are wet and why I was suggesting you remove them and get into dry ones.” He quickly pointed behind him. “In the bathroom, down the hall, of course.”
Relief washed over her. “I’m sorry…I’m…um,” she stuttered, words failing her.
“Are you sure you’re all right? There’s a doctor who lives up the road from here. At this hour I know he’s taken to his bed, but I think this would be considered an emergency. Clearly, you’re suffering from some mild head trauma.”
“No,” she said at once. “I don’t need a doctor. I’m fine. Really.”
He didn’t look convinced. “If you insist.”
“Yes,” she tried to say with confidence. “I just need a moment to gather my wits if you don’t mind.”
“Sure.” He reached for a pile of clothes from his coffee table and handed them to her. “I know they probably won’t fit you, but they’re dry, and I found a pair of pants with a drawn string so that might help. The bathroom’s two doors down on the left”
“Right. Thanks.” As her cheeks flushed with heat, she accepted the clothes.
But he didn’t let go of them, cocking his head in scrutiny. “So, why am I a heathen again?”
A nervous laugh fell from her mouth. “I don’t know where that came from. It was an outburst. It’s obvious you’ve been nothing but kind and gentlemanly. And I’m sorry it I came off as rude.” His eyes played over her, toying with her already scrambling mind. She’d never seen such brilliant color in a man’s eyes before, and it was hard not to drown in them.
Finally, he let go of the clothes and reached for her backpack sitting on his couch. “Trust me, you didn’t come off as rude,” he allotted, handing over her things. “However, I think you’ve given me too much credit with that ‘kind and gentlemanly’ nonsense. You might not think that come morning.”
Lorraine’s eyes widened.
“Joke, love,” he amended. “You know, for an American woman you sure are a bit uptight. I promise, I’m not going to hurt you.”
THE FALL OF RAIN~ COMING DECEMBER 2011
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