Author Archives: Dawn Marie Hamilton
The 5th tale in the Highland Gardens series.
Fae pixies are meddling with Gregor’s heart…
Gregor MacLachlan returns to Castle Lachlan, where he fostered as a green lad, ignoring rumors of fae activity. As a warrior with his cousin’s elite private guard, he hopes to prove to the clan he’s matured and has worth. A trio of pesky pixies have other plans for his heart. While hunting, a wayward shot from his bow nearly hits a strange lass who appears as if by magic.
Emily Smith follows one of the young boys in her care onto a forbidden mound in the woods behind the local garden center’s display garden and wakes in a strange bed, in a place and time not her own. Can she rise above the heartache caused by the untimely death of her fiancé and find love in the arms of the dark-eyed stranger who becomes her champion?
Emily gazed at her new husband with awe. It didn’t matter they were strangers. She sensed there was something special between them, perhaps magical, something that bound them together even though they were from different places. Different times.
She studied his full lips, anticipating the feel of them against her mouth. She moistened her lips, wanting him more than she would have imagined possible only a few days prior.
His pupils dilated, and he sucked in a ragged breath. He lifted a loose tendril of her hair and tucked it behind an ear. His calloused fingers brushed along the sensitive skin at the nape of her neck.
Fire and ice. She shivered. A delicious chill tingled over her shoulder blades. Why was he making her wait?
Happy Valentine’s Week! Tuesday may have been the day, but many romantics celebrate the entire week, some the whole month. One of the ways I’m celebrating is with a book sale. The e-book version of Just Beyond the Garden Gate, the first novel in the Highland Gardens series, is on sale at Amazon, B&N, Apple, and Kobo for a mere 99 pennies for a limited time. If you haven’t read the series yet, now would be a great time to start.
I will be presenting and signing at the St. Mary’s County Library’s Author Fair in Lexington Park MD on April 1st from 10:00 to 2:00. There will be presentations from other local authors, a writing workshop, and an information session on self-publishing. If you are in the Southern Maryland area, stop by and say hello.
On most Wednesdays, I share excerpts from my books at my author blog, Dawn Marie Hamilton Writes. Hop over there on occasion for a short read.
I’m excited and honored to share that Just Wait For Me, the third novel in the Highland Gardens series, is a finalist in the 2017 Scéal Award Contest at Books & Benches for Otherworldly Romance (paranormal, fantasy, and time travel). Winners will be announced in late March. Wish me luck!
Just Wait For Me
‘Tis said a picture tells a story. In this picture, I see a portal to a fantasy realm. Perhaps a tale for a future book.
Portals in books can take a reader to a parallel universe, another time, or another realm.
In The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis, the wardrobe is a portal to another realm. With the Outlander series, Diana Gabaldon uses the standing stones as a portal to the past. In my Highland Gardens series, the characters travel through an enchanted garden gate and a faerie mound to Scotland past. In Sea Panther, a wormhole in the Bermuda Triangle whisks the characters to Jamaica past.
What are some other memorable portals from books and movies?
An Excerpt from Sea Panther by Dawn Marie Hamilton
Without warning, the breeze quit. Completely stilled. Kimberly jumped into action, tending the sail while Robert engaged the engine. He shot her a strange unnerving glance as he shrugged into a black linen shirt.
She swallowed apprehensively and moved to stand beside him. “What is it?”
“The compass is going haywire. Spinning wildly.” His tone of voice revealed growing excitement.
Kimberly chewed on the edge of her lip, taut with anticipation. They’d been waiting for something to happen, though she hadn’t really believed the stories. The contents of her stomach shimmied. Was she ready to confront the unknown?
A cool mist advanced, quickly developing into dense fog, which expanded into an enormous semicircle not five hundred yards off deck.
“The RPM’s are dropping,” Robert reported.
The boat slowed to a near idle. Kimberly’s stomach lurched. She glanced at her watch. The second hand had stopped moving. She tapped on the crystal. Nothing.
She reached for Robert’s hand. “It’ll be okay,” she said, lacking true confidence.
Robert squeezed her fingers. “That’s my brave lass.”
The eerie fog swirled, encircling the sailboat yet kept a distance of about three hundred yards. Kimberly glimpsed the clear sky in the center—bright blue with no clouds. It was as if they were caught in the eye of a mellow storm.
Without warning, a large mass burst through the edge of the milky fog to hover about thirty feet above the surface of the water off their port side, throwing a huge shadow. The air smelled different. Like after a thunderstorm.
“What the hell is that?” Kimberly whispered.
“I dinnae ken.” Robert wrapped an arm around her shoulder, pulling her tight to his side.
The elliptical shaped thing began to vibrate. She held her breath. A soft whirring broke the unnatural quiet. Lights on the bottom of the object flashed, alternating between red, green, blue, and white.
Off the sailboat’s bow, a hole opened in the fog, exposing a tunnel of sorts with swirling mist walls. Before Kimberly could blink, the floating object entered the opening and vanished. Just as quick, the tunnel entrance closed.
“Wow. Was that real?” Kimberly asked.
“I am not certain, but I read an eyewitness report within Patrice’s notes describing a similar sighting.”
“Do you think it was a UFO?”
“I hope not. If it was, then this isn’t a time portal.” Robert gave her arm a squeeze.
“It could still be. If the portal could take us back in time, why couldn’t it also bring someone, or in this case, an object from the future to our time?”
“Get rid of anything from the present time.”
As she checked her pockets to ensure she hadn’t accidentally picked up something that didn’t belong in the past, the amount of blue sky overhead shrank to nothing more than a small circle over the cockpit. Then the milky haze overtook even that tiny bright spot.
A fine mist moistened her face, and she tasted salt on her lips. The fog rolled across the deck, thickening and becoming darker and heavier as strands of vapor swirled around equipment and through openings. Visibility declined to mere inches.
Kimberly felt as if chilly fingers reached for her from within the ominous fog. She grabbed Robert’s hand. “Please don’t let go of me. I’m frightened.”
“I will keep you safe.” He wrapped muscular arms around her and pulled her back against his broad chest. “Remember to talk in the lad’s voice you practiced and if we get separated, tell anyone who finds you that you are my nephew, Ian, my cabin lad.”
Abruptly, she heard whispering within the fog.
“Ahoy there. Is anyone aboard?” The disembodied voice made her shiver.
Kimberly pressed tighter against Robert and the heat of his body. “Did you hear that?”
“Aye,” he said, voice muffled against her damp hair.
Within the fog, someone whistled a jig-like tune. The haze dissipated slightly. Three men dressed in old-fashion aviator gear stood off the bow of the sailboat as if they walked on water. One saluted, and then they all vanished into the vaporous mist.
“Oh. My. God.” Gooseflesh prickled the length of Kimberly’s arms. She leaned into Robert’s strength. “You did see that, didn’t you? I read about flight crews being lost in the forties.”
“I saw.” He gave a gentle squeeze. “I am certain we will see more unusual sights before our adventure is complete. Are you still willing?”
Kimberly took a deep, settling breath. She wasn’t letting him go alone. “Yeah.”
“Good lass.” He brought her down with him, and they settled on a cockpit bench.
The temperature dropped. Her blouse became soaked from the moist air and the cold seeped into her bones. Her teeth started to chatter.
“You’re freezing.” Robert opened the storage lazarette beside them, drew out an oiled canvas jacket, and helped her into the sleeves. When she was snug within the fabric, they resumed position with Robert hugging her from behind.
“Have I told you recently how much I respect you?” Love glowed in Robert’s tone. “How brave I think you are?”
“Thanks for the reminder.”
He kissed the top of her head, brushing lips across her hair. His arms wrapped her within comforting warmth. She sighed with contentment and burrowed closer.
Secure within Robert’s arms, Kimberly dozed until he stiffened. She flipped her eyes open. Not five feet off the starboard side of Night Thrill floated an intricately carved, wooden sailing vessel. The entire ship lay swathed in long strands of clinging seaweed, even the three rows of unmanned oars.
“What is that?”
“A Corinthian trireme…I think.” The boat rammed the side of Night Thrill, tossing them onto the deck. Robert clambered up only to lose balance as the two boats bumped again. He finally got his feet under him and stood. “Dinnae move.”
“Don’t leave me. I—”
The fog twirled, spinning fast, picking water up from the sea, tossing Night Thrill on its side. Long tendrils of kelp wrapped around Kimberly and tugged her away from Robert as seawater rushed across the deck. She reached for his hand, but their fingers slid apart as they both toppled overboard. A strong force dragged at her body, pulling her downward through a spiraling tunnel comprised of the oppressive haze.
She choked on the scream of terror caught in her throat as the world spun.
Time is almost running out. For only a short time longer, Sea Panther is part of a four author collection…
Get your copy before the set is withdrawn. Available at Amazon.
My author friend, Terry Spear, challenged me to write a short, very short story inspired by a holiday picture of my choosing for her blog . I’m also sharing the wee tale here. If you’ve read Just Wait For Me from my Highland Gardens series, you met a young lad named Tevin in the epilogue. He appears again in the upcoming novella, Just Within a Highland Mist, coming Winter 2017.
In A Red Mug and a Christmas Kiss, this very short holiday tale, Tevin is all grown up and working as a Santa’s helper for the holidays at Foxgloves, the garden center owned by his mother, Jillian, and her two partners…
A Red Mug and a Christmas Kiss
by Dawn Marie Hamilton
Melinda had always wanted to be a Santa’s helper. At twenty-five, it seemed like a silly childhood dream.
Snowflakes danced on the breeze, landing on her cheeks and the tip of her nose. She shivered and sipped from the red ceramic mug she’d just purchased at the garden center’s gift shop along with hot cider. The owners of Foxgloves were Scottish and all the greenery was decorated with tartan ribbon and bows.
Wandering past rows of Christmas trees, the sharp scent of fir, along with apple and cinnamon from the cider, reminded her of Christmases long past. She missed her family. Felt alone in this new mountain town.
In the center of the display garden, a Christmas village had been erected. Young men, dressed in kilts and tunics and wearing elf hats, used hand puppets to entertain children waiting their turn to sit on Santa’s lap and give the white-bearded man their Christmas wish lists.
Melinda couldn’t help but ogle the guys’ muscular legs exposed to the chilly air. She’d be covered in goose bumps if she—
“Lass, would you be so kind as to help me with a medieval skit?”
She lifted her gaze from a firm pair of masculine legs, up a tight body, to very kissable lips that broadened into a grin. Blue eyes glinted with humor. Heat burned her cheeks. And it wasn’t from the steam rising from the red mug.
“Aren’t you cold?” she blurted. “I mean, of course, I’d be happy to help.” Gosh. She sounded silly.
“My name is Tevin,” he said.
“Mine is Melinda.”
He handed her a puppet depicting a faerie princess and another a fair maiden and introduced her to the crowd as Santa’s Helper Melinda. She then joined him in an improvised skit where the faerie princess bestowed magic powers upon a warrior who slayed a dragon and won the hand of the fair maiden.
The children clapped.
“That was fun,” she said as they walked away from the Christmas village to a secluded picnic table.
“It was.” He pulled a flask out of his sporran. “I’m finished for the night. Would you care for some whisky?”
He poured a small measure of the amber liquid into the red mug and handed it over. She sipped the drink and smiled. How could she let him know of her interest in him without feeling a fool?
Tevin took the mug from her hand and drank from the spot her lips had touched. “I like the taste of your lips. May I?”
The intent glowing in his eyes near to burned her. Her stomach shimmied. Still, she nodded.
His arm encircled her waist; drew her close. The touch of his lips against hers was soft. Gentle. Stole her breath. Became demanding. She dropped the empty red mug into the snow and wrapped her arms around his neck, surrendering to the magic of his Christmas kiss.
Meet Tevin as a lad…
The fifth tale in the Highland Gardens series
Coming Winter 2017
Published Books in the Highland Gardens series:
Available at Amazon.
With Halloween only eleven days away, I thought to share a bit of spidery fast fiction…
Sylvia’s Worst Nightmare
Shit. Late for work again.
The early morning California sun blinded. Sylvia slid into the cracked leather seat of her red MGB midget and her short black skirt rode up her thighs. Fumbling, she inserted the key into the ignition. “Please start.”
Click, click, click, click, click, vroom. “Yes!”
She pulled out of the driveway and headed for the city.
With one hand on the wheel, she scratched the raised bite mark near the vein on her wrist and shuddered. That too familiar prickly sensation of eight tiny phantom legs crawled over her skin. Revulsion chills crept down her spine. She despised spiders.
Breathe, Sylvia. Breathe. She inhaled air deep into her lungs.
Entering the freeway, she zipped across the lanes to the left and sped with the traffic. Holy shit! Her worst nightmare crawled across the dashboard. She grabbed a used tissue from the passenger seat garbage pile and squashed the damn creepy crawly.
Her thigh started to itch like crazy. She swallowed hard and glanced down. A black widow skittered across her leg, and she spun the wheel.
The crunch of metal was the final sound. She’d never be late for work again.
~Dawn Marie Hamilton
It’s time to start a new story. So many possibilities.
So what am I working on?
Two stories for the Highland Gardens time travel romance series are in the works. One a full-length novel. Just His Fae Kiss will be Caitrina and Douglas’s story. And the other a novella. Just Within a Highland Mist is Emily and Gregor’s story.
We met Emily near the end of the first book of the series, Just Beyond the Garden Gate. She was working at the Whispering Pines Inn as a hostess and her boyfriend tended bar in the lounge. Well, since then, they became engaged. Unfortunately, her fiancé was murdered.
Gregor is a new character to the series. He fostered at Castle Lachlan in his youth and has returned.
Here is the working blurb. It is unedited and could change before the tale is complete.
Just Within a Highland Mist:
Gregor MacLachlan returns to Castle Lachlan where he fostered as a green lad, ignoring rumors of fae activity. As a warrior with his cousin’s elite private guard, he hopes to prove to the clan he’s matured and has worth. A trio of pesky pixies have other plans for his heart. While hunting, a wayward shot from his bow nearly hits a strange lass who appears as if by magic.
Emily Smith follows one of the lads within her care onto a forbidden mound and wakes in a strange bed, in a place and time not her own. Can she release guilt over the tragic murder of her fiancé and find love in the arms of the dark-eyed stranger who becomes her champion?
I’m working on the cover and hope to share it soon.
Published Books in the Highland Gardens series:
I’m very excited to announce the release of the most recent book in the Highland Gardens time travel series—Just Wait For Me. This book is the third novel in the Highland Gardens series and the fourth story rife with faeries and brownies and other fae creatures causing mischief. One such individual is the enigmatic auburn-haired Caitrina—a halfling faerie challenged by the Queen of the Fae to complete three unlikely matches uniting mortal couples separated by the veil of time. During one scene in Just Wait For Me, she glimpses something totally unexpected on a ridge of the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina.
Unicorn. Is the magnificent beast real or illusion?
About Just Wait For Me
The third match in the Fae Queen’s challenge is in play. Will fae magic change Stephen and Jillian’s destiny?
In the chaotic aftermath of the battle of Flodden, an injured Highland warrior makes a vow to a twenty-first century lass cast back in time by a meddling, matchmaking faerie. Stephen MacEwen promises to find a way to send her forward to her own time. But is that an oath he’ll want to keep after finding love in Jillian O’Donnell’s arms? And after saving Stephen’s life, will Jillian want to go?
No matter what the lovers decide, Stephen’s wife—a woman who acquired the title through deceit—and an old enemy attempt to destroy the couple’s chance for happiness. Only with the help of Fae allies can Stephen and Jillian overcome and earn their reward—everlasting love.
The peregrine falcon rose on thermals and soared out of sight. Caitrina crossed her arms in a self-hug, already feeling the loss. ’Twas best he fly wild and free until spring when he would head for northern climes. She was needed in Scotland past.
As she wandered toward the trail heading down the mountain, alarm hummed over her skin. Someone watched. Unnerved, she thought to vanish, but then she wouldn’t learn who or what flaunted such intent interest. Trying to appear nonchalant, she scanned the meadow, the rocks, the forest edge, and froze in awe. What the…
She closed a gaping mouth and stared.
The silky black stallion reared up on hind legs then galloped away, disappearing into the forest, though not before Caitrina glimpsed the single horn protruding magnificently from the center of the animal’s broad forehead. Couldn’t be. Wasn’t possible. Unicorns only existed in Tir-nan-Og. Faerieland. Land o’ heart’s desire. There were rumors, of course. Stories made up by the local storyteller, Mr. MacNaughton, more than likely. Faerie tales meant to amuse children.
Caitrina rubbed tired eyes, feeling deflated. Dealing with the queen’s matchmaking challenge made her daft. Made her see things that didn’t exist. She needed to complete this match and win the game. If only Jillian and Stephen would cooperate.
A large hand clamping on her shoulder made her jump. As she partially faded into the vanishing, a unique scent of earth and wind and animal musk invaded her nostrils. Ah. Said hand belonged to Douglas, the proprietor of the Celtic Image shop in the Village of Anderson Creek, and her sometimes lover. The grip tightened on her shoulder, and she jerked back to solid form. She didn’t dare bring him along to the past, which would have happened if he touched her.
The Highland Garden Series
It has been hot, hot, hot where I live. The other evening around 6 o’clock, we crossed the Potomac River near Dahlgren , VA. It was 101 degrees at the highest point on the bridge. So, to cool down, I’m thinking of snow and Christmas. Christmas in July. And, a Christmas in July Sale.
Just in Time for a Highland Christmas
A Highland Gardens Novella
Just 99 pennies for the rest of July!
Can a determined brownie craft a perfect match in time for Christmas?
When the Chief of Clan MacLachlan travels to the stronghold of his feuding neighbors to fetch his betrothed, she is gone. A year later, she is still missing. Making life more vexing, a band of reivers are stealing clan cattle, leaving behind destruction. Archibald MacLachlan determines to capture them and administer harsh punishment.
Though once in love with the man, Isobell Lamont refuses to wed her clan’s enemy. After running away, she joins the band of reivers set on revenge.
Can Archibald forgive the raven-haired beauty? Will a journey through time bring them together for a Highland Christmas?
A snowy excerpt:
“Can we make snow angels?” Scott hollered over bantering voices.
“Yes, please,” Young Iain begged, too.
Laurie urged the lads into jackets and the entire family trudged out into the snowy garden. Patrick flicked a switch. Light illuminated the area, making the snow sparkle. The lads fell onto their backs in the snow, waving their arms and legs. The imprints left behind were the images of angels. Laurie made a large one. Patrick’s even larger.
If a once powerful warrior could display a playful side so could she. Isobell dropped onto her back to make an angel of her own. To her utter surprise, Archie threw off his plaide and plopped beside her in naught but his trews and leine. As they spread their arms to make angel wings their fingers touched. Their gazes met. A thrill shot through her.
Archie’s eyes flared. He must have felt it, too.
She couldn’t let the moment pass without making one last memory with him. Isobell squeezed his fingers. “Come with me. I ken a special place.”