My dear friend Cat has written & had her début novel published.
These are the pictures of my copy I received the other day & have so far read 3 chapters & am loving it.
What makes this even more remarkable is that Cat is dyslexic & she’s also written it in English which is not her mother tongue.
Signed by the author herself!
Sadly at the moment it’s only available in the Netherlands but this is the ISBN 978-484-2173-2 so check it out.
I will act as the “middle man” if you would like to purchase it directly from Cat.
The Last Lord’s Wife
Hopefully Dutch soon, but I don’t know when.
Romance, drama, mystery,
Lady Lilliane Gaeli, age fifteen, has never been far away from her father’s castle, or her family. Today that is going to change as she starts a journey that will lead her to the country’s capital, away from her family forever, and towards her future of finding a husband.
As her past is shrouded by the darkness brought by her mother’s unsolved murder, and her future is uncertain, her present is in the hands of a man her father ordered to accompany her on her travels. A man who she finds herself slowly falling in love with.
But who is sabotaging their moving towards their goal, and is he or she really out to hurt them?
Here is the 1st chapter for you to read :-
The Last Lord’s Wife
She never felt that special, even if people around her claimed her to be. She saw herself for what she was; a motherless child, raised by her father and his second wife, her aunt.
A motherless child since the age of three. She had watched her mother die after being stabbed in the chest by a dagger. Who had done it? The child did not know, and neither did the young woman who had replaced that child. It was partly why people thought she was special.
The other reason was because she was the only daughter of Lord Frederick Gaeli of Geastwood Castle, the only child of Lady Lilliane. Two brothers had followed after her mother’s death. Her aunt Louisa had been her mother’s younger sister. They were alike; in manners and in appearance, but not in personalities. Where her mother had been kind and gentle, Lady Louisa was cold and difficult. She had no affection for the child that was not hers and very little for the two that were. Not even for the one that bore the same name as her sister; Lilliane Maria Gaeli.
Her brothers. Only eleven and twelve years old, Frederick and Donovan had been training to become master swordsmen since they could walk. Donovan was intended to become the Lord of the Castle after their father had perished, Frederick a high ranking officer in the king’s army. Both men were destined for glory and a life of honour. Her future was less predictable.
Turning fifteen in two days time meant her father’s time of finding her a suitable husband was running out. If she was not married before her sixteenth birthday there was little chance of her marrying afterwards. Young men of her age were scarce in this region. With the ongoing war they did not have a long life expectancy either.
Sighing, she turned back to the task at hand. It was time to pack her things for the journey. Her lady’s maid was waiting for her. Eliza was two years younger then she was. Her mother Beth had been her nurse, and indispensable after her own mother had passed.
Her father was sending her away to a convent three hundred miles upriver. Donovan was to escort her there. The convent was located in the capital, and much larger than the small village surrounding Geastwood Castle. Chances of finding a suitable husband were better.
Dinnertime was as usual a bustle of noise and people. Servants walked in and out of the room and her father was loudly entertaining guests. Sometimes they were clergymen or high trained officers from the village, other times they were noblemen travelling past them.
Lily was anxious. Surely her father would not send her to travel with only Donovan and her lady’s maid at her side, yet he had not mentioned anyone else. To travel in wartime was dangerous enough, but her brother, no matter how skilled he was with his sword, was only twelve. Not a grown man yet. She knew her father cared very little for her as a daughter; he never had much time for her. Lord Frederick had a castle to run, messages to write to the king and two sons to educate. Daughters were the concern of his wife, but to let her travel alone with just a young lad at her side. It would not stand right with the other noblemen.
Yet it was not the only reason she was anxious. Eliza had taken her time with her chores today and this time she had driven it so far that she had made her mistress late for dinner.
She was almost five minutes late for the last dinner she would have with her family for a long time. She hastened along the corridors, Eliza following in her tracks. At least she had dressed for dinner earlier, while Eliza had packed. The door to the great hall was in sight. She stopped and after telling Eliza to go, took a deep breath before opening the doors. Normally a servant would open the door, but during dinner that servant was serving. Her hopes on entering unnoticed vanished when she saw all heads turning to the door. Her aunt was looking at her disapprovingly; her father on the other hand was smiling and stretching out his hand.
‘And there she is, gentlemen, may I present to you my daughter, Lady Lilliane Gaeli of Geastwood Castle. Lilliane, these three men are high ranking officers in the king’s army. They have agreed to travel with Donovan and you to St. Catherine’s Convert.’
Her father grabbed her hand and patted it as he introduced the three men; James Johansson, a Lt. Marsh and Sir William Roderick Marsh. She nodded a welcome at the first two men, but Sir Marsh was out of her line of vision.
Lily quickly took her seat between her aunt and her youngest brother Frederick. They had already started eating soup; hers had been placed there and was almost entirely cold. She grabbed her spoon and pretended to eat, consciously aware of eyes studying her from across the table.
‘What kept you?’ hissed her aunt next to her.
‘I am sorry mother, I lost track of time.’
Mother; the word was spoken with the usual manner of respect, but not with love. She had no love for the woman that married her father three weeks after her mother’s death. Not even as her aunt.
Her father signalled the servants to remove the soup and bring in the meat and bread. Lily happily let the servant remove the cold dish. Glancing upwards under her lashes, she dared to look at the man across the table. He had barely stopped staring at her since sitting down. Deep blue eyes locked with her brown ones, and a smirk that Lily felt belonged on his handsome face covered his lips. She nodded a hello at him, then looked away, well aware of her aunt’s presence next to her and what it would mean if she was caught staring at a man she had just met. She could feel him look away as well and sighed in half-relief.
As dinner progressed Lily listened to the men talk, occasionally answering a question if it was directed at her. She could feel eyes on her from time to time and knew that he was still looking at her. She didn’t dare glance again, her aunt was keeping track of her every move.
Whoever this Sir William Roderick Marsh was, it might prove interesting to find out more about him.
It had seemed like a longer dinner than usual. Lily was glad when it was over and she could retire to her own chambers. The piercing blue eyes of Sir Marsh would follow her wherever she went in the room. She wondered why he found her so interesting; he had not said one word to her. As she turned around in her bed, she wondered what he was doing right now. Was he sound asleep, not a care in the world about the upcoming travels or was he awake, thinking about things…? Maybe even about her.
She turned the other way, chastising herself for her thoughts. Although her father was a Christian and her mother had not been, she had been raised believing that thoughts about a man were wrong, especially the thoughts she was having. Sighing, she rose from her bed and pulled her dressing gown on. Perhaps a stroll in the moonlit corridors would do her some good; it always did when she was a child. And she could not be sure if she would ever truly be an inhabitant of the castle again.
She walked softly, staying out of the brightly lid parts of the hallways. Though she was known for nightly strolls it was frowned upon by her aunt. She was amazed that the light in the great hall was still on, laughter and singing could be heard coming her way as the wind blew through the open windows and into the corners of the old castle. She imagined Sir Marsh there, talking with her father, drinking wine and maybe even flirting with one of the servant girls. She quickly shook her head. The image made her frown, yet it also gave her the idea of a lifetime; this was the perfect moment to find out more about him. His quarters were nearby and all the men were downstairs. She shiftily walked towards his chambers, putting her ear to the door. No sound came from within, a sure sign that he was downstairs with the others. She opened the door and slipped inside.
She had been in these chambers before; a young lady had travelled with her father and they ate and rested at the castle. They looked different filled with male things. He had only been there since that afternoon, yet he had left his distinctive mark in every corner. Clothes and belongings covered the bed and some of the chairs. She appeared to be the only one there.
Slowly she moved her hands over the garments, feeling the soft fabric between her fingers, at the same time imagining how his skin would feel. No other man had ever made her feel this way. She wondered if he had even noticed it, or was she just some girl he was meant to transport. Would he really flirt with the servants? Some men were ruthless. She had seen it many times.
‘This is a dangerous thing to do milady.’
She turned suddenly at the sound of his voice. He was standing at a small distance from her, smirking at her with that peculiar grin of his. At first she looked at her feet, unsure what to respond to him, but when she saw he was dressed in nothing more then a cloth clinging to his waist; she quickly lifted her chin up in the air. His chest and legs were glistening with water drops and it took a moment for her to control herself. She had never seen a man looking like this before.
‘Forgive me Sir; I must have taken a wrong turn.’ She moved to pass him, but he grabbed her arm and stopped her.
‘Did you now.’
‘Yes. If you will excuse me, I must return to my own chambers.’
His grasp loosened, but he did not release her arm. ‘Perhaps I should escort you back, to make sure you don’t get lost again.’
‘I fear that will make a wrong impression if anyone would spot us Sir, dressed in the attire you have on right now, especially at this hour of night..’ She said boldly looking at his chest and bare legs.
It was his turn to look away. She was glad to see she had some effect on him as well.
‘Your loose tongue will get you into trouble one day Lady Lilliane.’
He released her arm, grabbing his shirt from close by to pull it on. As he dropped the cloth that had been covering his rear and backside, she looked away wide eyed, unsure of what to do now. Should she leave immediately or wait until he dismissed her. He was slowly dressing himself, almost as if he was used to doing that with strange women in the room.
He finished and turned, surprised to still see her standing there.
‘You are right Lady Lilliane, you should go.’
Though she was confused about his sudden brisk manner, she thought it best to obey this time. He was right after all; if one of her brothers caught her here, he was sure to tell their father and that would only lead to trouble. For her and for the man whose chambers she was currently in. Not to mention what would happen if her aunt caught her here.
As she slipped out of the room and crept towards her chambers, she realised how her excuse must have sounded to him. As if she could really take a wrong turn in the castle she had grown up in.
A better picture of the front cover.