Stranger’s Secret with Laurie Alice Eakes

StrangersSecret_final[1][1]This week Laurie Alice Eakes shares with us about her latest release. Welcome, Laurie. Please tell us about A Stranger’s SecretA Stranger’s Secret is the second Cliffs of Cornwall set in, of course Cornwall, England, in 1811. In the first book, A Lady’s Honor, we meet Morwenna. She is the cousin of A Lady’s Honor’s heroine, Elizabeth (Elys in Cornish). Morwenna has a troubled past and present, to say the least. Angry with her controlling grandparents, who have raised her while her parents explore the world, Morwenna is determined she will restore her son’s inheritance without their help. She’s taking steps in the right direction when “wreckers” lure another ship onto her beach for looting, and, as she seeks clues to find out who is committing this crime that is being blamed on her, she finds David, who is nearly dead from a beating and half drowning. She nurses him back to health, but someone wants him dead and wants Morwenna to take the blame for it. Even as David falls in love with her, he doesn’t trust her and withholds information that could save or destroy them both.

Do you have a favorite scene you’d be willing to share? The following is from Chapter 9 of A Stranger’s Secret

 

David’s hands came down on Morwenna’s shoulders, gripping them hard enough to hold her near, gentle enough to feel like comfort. “Is that Penmara?”

“It is.” Morwenna resisted the urge to lean back against his broad chest. Earlier in the evening, his strength had sheltered her from the horror of what the lieutenant had told them all. She had wished away everyone in the room so she could be held.

No one had held her with such tenderness in far too long.

You’re frightened, vulnerable, lonely. You. Do. Not. Care. About. Him.

But that was a lie, the part about not caring. She liked him, but how much was because of the person he was, and how much was her empty heart and arms she didn’t know. What she did know was that caring was dangerous. Yet she didn’t move away from him.

“How long will they stay there?” David asked.

She shrugged. “Until morning. Until—until a ship wrecks.” She shuddered with a violence that knocked her teeth together.

He moved his hands from her shoulders to her waist and drew her back against his chest. “You’re cold. We need to go in.”

“I need to watch.”

Not until the words flew from her lips did she realize how they could be understood. And he understood them that way. She felt it in the sudden tension of his body.

No sense in denying it. Denial would make her sound defensive, as though she did have something to hide. Now she must go inside where she could not see across the headland to the cliffs above Penmara.

She stepped out of David’s hold, instantly freezing to her marrow, and turned toward the house. “Let us be on our way before we catch our death.” Because the night was so dark between flashes of lightning, she took his hand and led him back to the garden. “How did you find your way out here?”

“I had a candle.” He lifted the iron bar into place to secure the door.

“Then why did you come out here?”

“Perhaps the same reason as you.”

Morwenna gritted her teeth. “Do you mean if my coming out here is innocent, you came out for the same reason?” Her hands fisted around the edges of her shawl. “But you say ‘perhaps’ in the event I have other reasons for being out here, as in waiting to see if my gang is successful this time?”

“I haven’t made any accusations, my lady.” He took her hand this time, as they traversed the path toward the house. “I was concerned.”

And wanted to stop her or anyone else?

Weakened from his wounds or not, he was a powerful man. The hand holding hers was surely broad enough and long enough of fingers to capture both her wrists at once. The roughness of calluses told a tale of labor that explained his strength.

Conan’s hands had been callused, as well, but not so much. They weren’t nearly as strong. David’s were more like Sam Carn’s, honed in the mines.

Dear Sam, her first flirtation, then her friend, now a married man who wouldn’t so much as look at her for fear of enraging his wife. Another abandonment, another loss. In days, perhaps as long as weeks, David would leave. Everyone went away, leaving her with the broken pieces to try to fit back together again. Each time, another sliver went missing, leaving an aching hole.

She removed her hand from David’s and gathered anger around her like a half dozen shields. “You may as well outright accuse me of being in league with these men. The lieutenant didn’t hesitate to do so.”

“And got him nowhere. His evidence was poor at best.”

“He could get a conviction from a jury at the assizes, men who don’t know me.”

“But they know your grandfather, which seems to be enough.”

They reached the steps to the terrace, and Morwenna slammed her booted foot onto the bottom tread. “Of course. Think badly of the widow with the tarnished reputation, but don’t dare offend the richest man in Cornwall. I tell you, if I’d been alone at Penmara, I’d be in chains right now.”

How has publishing changed your life? Publishing has given me a career I love. Now I don’t need to feel guilty about writing because it’s my job. And I have met so many wonderful people, both fellow authors and fans who never would have come into my life and enriched it with their presence had I not pursued publication.

What does a typical day look like in your life? I am usually at my desk by eight o’clock after I have made breakfast and packed lunches, fed and walked my golden retriever and fed the cats. Around noon, I take a break and walk the dog again—how far depends on the weather—then I work until five or five thirty before I stop to make dinner. I try hard not to work much on weekends, especially not Sundays. Sometimes, when I am on a deadline or the house is quiet because my husband is away, I will work. This is a business and I try to work business hours. Working includes being active on social media—mostly Facebook and Twitter—answering email, and talking with fellow authors or my agent or editor.

Are you published in more than one genre? I have written in various time periods of history from colonial America, to Regency England, to nineteenth century England. Now, however, I have just finished my first contemporary novel about which I am really excited. It will be out next year from Zondervan.

What is next for you? I will be writing more historical romances, but my main focus will be on contemporary romance in the form of more midwife books, spinoffs of my historical series The Midwives.

It was wonderful learning about your new book. Thanks again for joining us.

rwa 2014 literacy signingLaurie’s bio: “Eakes has a charming way of making her novels come to life without being over the top,” writes Romantic times of bestselling, award-winning author Laurie Alice Eakes. Since she lay in bed as a child telling herself stories, she has fulfilled her dream of becoming a published author, with a degree in English and French from Asbury University and a master’s degree in writing fiction from Seton Hill University contributing to her career path. Now she has nearly two dozen books in print.

After enough moves in the past five years to make U-Haul’s stock rise, she now lives in Houston, Texas, where she and her husband are exploring their new neighborhood. Although they haven’t been blessed with children—yet–they have sundry lovable dogs and cats. If the carpet is relatively free of animal fur, then she is either frustrated with the current manuscript, or brainstorming another, the only two times she genuinely enjoys housework.

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