The release date was May, but it was changed to June 1st. Guess what? They changed it back! So I'm excited, maybe a little unprepared, but excited. I absolutely love this cover! Gemini Judson did an awesome job! You have to read it with a cover like that. Don't you?
The Promise is the second book in the Tides of Charleston series. The third, Another Night Falls, is due out in September. The first, The Judas Kiss, is available most places including Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
Cathryn Blankenship Eversleigh suffered greatly in England. Returning home to Charles Town widowed and with child, she seeks safe haven from the heartache she left behind. She quickly finds that much has changed since her departure. Now she is caught in the midst of the rebellion against the Crown. Jake Pennington is determined to convince Cathryn to return to England. Rekindling the flames of their love, Jake promises Cathryn he will return for her. Only now the tide of war has shifted and Cathryn lives in constant danger. Can Jake keep his promise to Cathryn before it's too late?
Lady Cathryn Eversleigh stood on the deck of the Aube Rouge watching the waves break against the side of the ship. A beautiful night without a cloud in the sky to hide the moonlight reflecting off the moving water. Soon...soon she hoped she would be home. How she had longed for home. Needed to be home. She gripped tight to the railing. Memories assaulted her. The last journey she had ventured on a ship, Jake had been by her side. Now he had become a part of her past.
Oh, how her heart ached. Cathryn had lost so much since the last time she set foot on Carolina soil, but she had no time to dwell on the past. She had another life within her to consider. She breathed in the crisp sea air.
Closing her eyes with the breeze against her face, Cathryn saw Philip’s face clearly. How she longed for his smile, his carefree attitude as if all would be as he envisioned, as if he had the world at his feet. Ignoring problems he created as Philip had when he married her. Making all seem that it would work out. Yet, in the end his actions had caused the dilemma she now found herself in. He could not help her now, not now.
Jake’s face emerged. Haunting words echoed within her. You don’t have any crazy schemes such as returning to Charles Town. You realize that war has broken out. It would be no place for you or the child. Philip wanted me to help you. You aren’t alone.
A sudden anger brewed at the thought. Oh, no, do not reprimand me, Jake Pennington. You promised. But in the end, he had failed to protect her against Philip’s father, the Duke of Leominster. Cathryn had no choice, no choice. She did the only thing she could do to protect her unborn child. She ran.
Cathryn had no plan, only a purpose to find her way home. Sumner, her brother, her only ally, would be surprised, she imagined, but she hoped he wouldn’t be disappointed. He had asked her to come home, the only one to do so, but would he be as happy when he discovered that she had lost control of her inheritance? Would he understand she had no other option? Why? Why, she wanted to ask her father, did she ever have to leave?
Her hand went to her enlarged stomach. The baby moved quite often as of late. No, she refused to look back. She would have her child. She would have to deal with it all after. Her main concern lay with delivering a healthy child, but if anything happened to her, Cathryn wanted only Sumner to have the child. She didn’t care what the baby was, but life, she knew, would be easier if the child was a girl. So she prayed for a girl, a little one with blond hair and blue eyes like her father.
“ Ah, I see you are once again not able to sleep.”
Cathryn turned to see Jean-Louis Renton saunter up to the railing, the man hired to take her home. Thankful only that she hadn’t much longer in his company. She did not care for the Frenchman. His appearance would not give way to her discomfort around him. A handsome man, tall, good-looking to the extreme, Jean-Louis carried himself as a gentleman with his immaculate clothes and manner. No. It lay with the airs he gave himself and the look in his eyes.
She turned back to her view of the ocean. “It is my hope this is the last night. The captain said he believed so. This voyage has been uneventful and I pray it continues.”
“ I can’t imagine it would not. I have heard they have spotted land. So, my Lady, what are your plans now that you are almost home?” he asked, as always inquisitive. Tacy had warned her that he would ask quite a few questions. He suspected more than he had been told. “You must be pleased to have your child back at your home.”
“ Yes, it will put my mind at ease,” she answered simply. “I hope, though, the rumors of the outbreak of war are over-exaggerated. It does concern me to a certain extent.”
“ I don’t know what you expect, my Lady, but I do believe the colonies are preparing to break away from their mother country. Your child will be born with the promise of a new country emerging. That in itself is exciting, is it not?”
“ Although it may not seem so, my loyalty lies with England, Monsieur Renton. My father served proudly and died serving his country. I have no desire to break away from anyone, but at the moment my only interest lies in returning home.”
“ You are full of surprises for in your departure in England, I would have taken you for a Patriot. Your strong desire to leave, to return to Charles Town, running away from powerful people,” he said and eyed her carefully. “Who are you, Mademoiselle? Have you left behind a lover? Or are you running from a cruel husband? More importantly, why was the gentleman so interested in the child?”
“ Monsieur Renton, although I’m deeply indebted for your help in returning to my home, my situation is my own. I can assure you it’s nothing more than a family squabble. After I departed, that man will undoubtedly forget my existence, which I can assure you will make both of us happy.”
“ If you say so, my Lady. He seemed, should I say, quite upset with your intentions.”
“ Monsieur, if he wants to see me again, he knows where I am heading. I didn’t conceal such and made perfectly clear my intentions. So you are looking into the situation too deeply. My question to you is why?” Cathryn glanced over at the man beside her.
His face broke into a smile. He gave a slight shrug. “Just curious. Biding time. That is all, my Lady. You seem so sad. Is it wrong to try to help a beautiful lady in distress? What if he comes after you now?”
“ It won’t be your concern,” Cathryn said simply. “I appreciate your help, Monsieur, but I assure you that my brother will be able to well look after my interests. You don’t need to worry on my account.”
“ Ah, look, Mademoiselle on the horizon!” Jean-Louis pointed out over the railing. “I believe I can see land. See, it will be a beautiful day.”
Her heart leaped. She was home. She held tight to her stomach. Little one, she thought, we’re home. All will be right for us now. Cathryn pushed back her uneasiness with her conversation and directed her focus upon the sight in front of her.
* * * *
The city of Charles Town, the heart of the South, was situated on a peninsula bounded by the Ashley and Cooper Rivers. The city served as the provincial capital and principal port in the South, which in turn led Charles Town to serve as the hub of political and economic life. The beauty of Charles Town couldn’t be compared with its affluence and splendor. Cathryn had heard Jean-Louis comment on looking forward to what he had heard of Charles Town: playing cards, gambling, and attending horse races. She didn’t care for she was home, away from all the pain and loss she had come to know in England.
A sense of loss swept through Cathryn as she was walking along the harbor. The last time she had she had her father beside her and hope in front of her. She had lost much since that time, but fortitude grew inside of her, a determination to begin life anew. She smiled viewing familiar scenes. Mary walked beside her. Her own fears had emerged over the journey, but Cathryn had declared that Mary had no issues with the life in front of her. She would always have a home wherever Cathryn lived.
The problem that lay before them at the moment was travel to her home. Not expecting Cathryn, there was no one here to greet the trio, but Jean-Louis had kindly offered his services. With his strange attentions during the journey, Cathryn hadn’t expected less. She would have Sumner deal with him after they were safe within her home.
Although Elm Bluff lay only seven miles south of Charles Town, the small group didn’t make it to the plantation until the sun had begun to set. Cathryn had forgotten how warm Charles Town could be in May, oppressive to breathe in, but Cathryn dismissed her discomfort as they traveled down the long roll of tall oaks that led to her home. The tranquil beauty of it all descended upon her. How she had missed her home.
Cathryn blinked back joyful tears when she caught sight of the large elegant brick house situated not from the river bank. She could make out the brick wall that surrounded the gardens. The carriage circled around the driveway up to the entrance. Drawing to a stop, Cathryn suddenly became nervous, but the moment the carriage door opened, she heard familiar voices.
“ It’s Miss Cathryn!”
She emerged to a bedlam of activity from the announcement. A moment later Juriah appeared at the front door with a wide smile. She scurried down the stairs, taking Cathryn within her arms. Without warning, Cathryn burst into tears.
“ Oh, Cathryn! I’m so happy to have you back. We have been so worried,” she uttered, holding Cathryn at arm’s length to look at her. “So, we are to have a small one. Someone needs to rest. Come, Sumner is out in the fields. You have nothing to worry with now. You’re home.”
“ Juriah, I have brought company,” Cathryn managed. Her hand reached for Mary. She pulled the young girl forward. Petite in stature to begin with, Mary’s huge brown eyes looked unsure. “This is Mary Montross. I owe her much.”
“ Then our home is hers as well.” Juriah eyed Mary tenderly. Cathryn noted the recognition in Juriah’s eyes, but didn’t dwell on it.
Cathryn watched while Jean-Louis walked up to make his introduction. She noted the pleasure in his eyes as he gazed upon Juriah. Juriah politely, but coolly, acknowledged him.
“ We will celebrate tonight, my dear.” Juriah turned her attention again to Cathryn, hugging her once more. “Our prayers have been answered.”
Juriah was interrupted for from the corner of her eye, Cathryn caught movement. She turned toward it. She wiped her eyes. She watched while a rider jumped the lower fence pasture. Her brother had heard. Sumner galloped up and in one swift movement was off his horse, wrapping his strong arms around his sister. Cathryn was home.