Happy Summer Solstice 2019

I love this time of year–more hours of sunlight means more time spent in the garden. Time to notice the little things. Like this tiny praying mantis on a daylily bloom.

Peach Daylily with Mantis

Time to spend sitting in the garden reading. Perhaps something from the Highland Gardens series…

 

Just Once in a Verra Blue Moon
Just Once in a Verra Blue Moon — Highland Gardens Book 2

* * *

Lively fiddle tunes greeted Finn as he parked his truck in the gravel lot near Laurie’s home and garden center. A portion of her garden and the crowd were visible through the iron gate. He was tempted to leave. He didn’t feel like making nice-nice with her business associates, but she’d never forgive him if he didn’t make an appearance.

The anniversary of opening her garden center meant a lot to her. He couldn’t hurt her feelings. And she just didn’t seem herself lately.

They had a falling-out several years ago when she handed him her resignation and moved to Anderson Creek. At the time, the thought of her in the country seemed ludicrous. But since she survived her adventure—at least physically—and married Patrick, damn if she hadn’t proved him wrong. Her garden center and gift shop, Foxgloves, had grown into a successful local enterprise.

He’d been a real jerk back then. So, yeah, he’d stay tonight. Laurie needed to know she could depend on him.

Finn got out of the pickup and entered the garden through the front gate. Geez. He hoped he could dodge Laurie’s two business partners, Jillian and Caitrina, for the rest of the evening.

His luck, Jillian was the first guest he saw. She leaned against the side of the tool shed, watching the musicians. Whenever they were thrown together, she tripped over herself to get his attention. Although it would make his cousin happy, he’d no desire to pursue a relationship with the mousy woman.

She had a kind heart and nice eyes yet the chemistry wasn’t there. No way could he picture her as the mother of his sons.

“Finn.” She waved her arms and lunged forward, knocking over a planted urn. The ceramic pot shattered on the stone patio, scattering shards and soil. She stared at him then bent to clean up the mess.

Shit, he should offer assistance. He struggled with his conscience. Good manners won, but before he moved, a couple of other guests jumped to her aid. Finn grasped the opportunity and strolled in the opposite direction.

He stumbled upon Caitrina almost hidden within the lush foliage near the rear gate. Their gazes met. An impish smile played on her lips.

The fine hairs on the back of his neck stood on end. He wasn’t sure what it was about her. Beautiful, tall and willowy, she had intense green eyes. Her long auburn hair would set any man’s heart racing. In fact, his buddy Douglas was in love with her. Nevertheless, there was something unusual about her. Something out of the ordinary he couldn’t quite identify, which made him damn uncomfortable.

Caitrina always watched him, staring with her piercing emerald eyes, as if she knew something he didn’t.

She probably did. But still—

Annoyed he allowed her to unnerve him he tore his gaze away.

Before long, Jillian bore down on him.

He sidestepped a server with a tray of champagne flutes and strode to the sanctuary of the house, to the refrigerator for a cold beer, hoping she wouldn’t follow.

* * *

Caitrina stood amongst the rose-colored foxgloves, alone in the shadows near the garden’s rear gate. She smiled when Finn evaded Jillian’s clumsy attempt to attract his attention. As he disappeared into the house, Caitrina turned away to gaze at the silvery haze surrounding the full moon. The time neared, and she’d work to do.

She would set the match into action before the High Queen of the Fae learned the game had begun. Caitrina could almost taste victory. This round and one more—she’d earn her freedom and be returned to the royal realm.

She inhaled a deep breath and uncurled her fists.

From her peripheral vision, she glimpsed Douglas MacKinnon watching her. Didn’t he understand he no longer aroused her curiosity?

She pressed her palm against her chest. She must have ingested a stimulant with an unusual property capable of causing a faerie heart to beat too fast.

Douglas raised a dark eyebrow in question.

What a meddlesome man. Caitrina glanced heavenward, wishing he’d go away.

When she looked in his direction again, he gave her one of his devastating smiles, saluted, and walked off.

Oh, how she wanted to turn him into a horny toad. But she couldn’t waste time thinking about the beguiling man. She’d a challenge to win.

Taking note of the other guests, she made sure no one noticed as she shimmered, faded, dissolved into a fragrant fae mist.

Available at Amazon, B&N, Kobo and Apple.

 

What are your plans for the Summer Solstice?

Enjoy!

~Dawn Marie

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Supernatural Birds from Dawn Marie Hamilton

After singing its heart out, a wren joins the cardinals, titmice, and chickadees at the feeders. Juncos (also known as snowbirds) swoop in from the mountains and mingle with sparrows and doves foraging within the garden beds. Herons wade in the creek.

Birds–symbols of power and freedom–have often been featured in the mythology and folklore of many countries. From prominent figures in creation stories to messengers of the deities to mediators between humans and the supernatural world, birds represent, strength, love, and wisdom.

Perhaps that is why so many of us enjoy watching birds. Birds have uncanny smarts. If you’re lucky, you can observe supernatural bird behaviors in your backyard.

Many birds build elaborate nests without ever getting lessons. They just know how to do it through instinct.

hummer

Some birds are born knowing how to navigate by instinct. Hummingbirds hatch during the summer in North America then fly solo a thousand miles or more to their wintering habitat in the tropics, without the guidance of a parent or a flock. In the spring, a hummingbird may return to the place where it began its journey, using its amazing memory. Perhaps you might see one in your backyard hovering around the spot where your sugar feeder previously hung, even though you haven’t put the feeder out as of yet. I’ve seen this occur in my backyard. When I do, I rush to get the cleaned feeder hung. I want to keep the hummers coming to my backyard.

raven2

 

 

Members of the crow family–jays, ravens, magpies, etc.–have incredible memories. They excel at hiding things and then finding them.

 

 

green heron

 

 

Green herons dine on small fish. They’ve been seen dropping pieces of bread or other bait to lure fish to the surface. Amazing. Right?

 

 

 

I enjoy writing birds into my romance stories…

From Just Once in a Verra Blue Moon, Book 2 in the Highland Gardens series:

She marched across the ridge, her hair blowing in the wind. A loud, rapid kek kek kek kek kek sounded before the whish of wings and the large bird landed on her outstretched arm.

“Trystan, you’ve returned to our mountain. I’m glad to see you, my friend.”

The peregrine falcon murmured close to Caitrina’s ear.

“Ah, you want to feel the sun on your face again. Aye, I imagine the northern tundra was verra cold.”

 

Just Once in a Verra Blue Moon

What happens when a twenty-first century business executive is expected to fulfill a prophecy given at the birth of a sixteenth-century seer? Of course, he must raise his sword in her defense.

Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, and Kobo.

 

~Dawn Marie

Yes, the Name of the Fae Horse Matters

black and white photo of horse - 1000

Does a horse mentioned in a romance novel need a name?

If you’ve read the books in the Highland Gardens series, you may recall that Caitrina rides a white stallion. The fae horse is mentioned in a couple of the books, but never by name.

In Just Beyond the Garden Gate, the fae horse is mentioned sort of as description…

When they cleared the forest and road into the glen, a mysterious woman galloped out of the mist. Tinkling music filled the air. She raced toward them across the moor, her flaming red hair flying behind her like a pennon billowing in the wind. She rode a handsome white steed with a golden bridle and with golden bells plaited in his mane. The stallion was a fine beast, fast as wind, with an arched neck and broad chest. His nostrils flared; his ears laid back.

Something similar from Just Wait For Me

A red-haired woman, richly garbed in green velvet and fur, sat a magnificent white steed with golden bridle and golden bells plaited in its mane. The beast stomped a hoof and snorted steam from flared nostrils, impatient for action. The lady murmured something in an ancient tongue and the animal calmed.

I think the stallion needs a name for the next book in the series, Just His Fae Kiss, especially since the tale is about Caitrina and Douglas. I expect Caitrina will have more interaction with the animal in this story and I hope the fae horse will become a character himself.

So I need your help. I’m running a contest over on my Facebook author page, Dawn Marie Hamilton, to find a name for Caitrina’s steed. Consider heading over there and entering the contest pinned to the top of the page. I sure will appreciate your help.

The contest will run through December 13th. Good luck!

Dawn Marie’s Facebook Author Page

~Dawn Marie

A Visit to Annapolis and an Excerpt from ‘Sea Panther’ by Dawn Marie Hamilton

House and Garden

street jogger

 

 

Today is the last day of summer and tomorrow the first day of autumn. I love this time of year with its cooler temperatures. Recently, I spent a few days in Annapolis, MD. I enjoy hanging out in the historic section of town and taking in the sights. Kimberly and Robert from my paranormal romance, Sea Panther, visited Annapolis during their December cruise along the coast headed for Florida and Robert’s Florida panther refuge in the Everglades.

 

 

 

boats

They traveled on a 90-foot sailing yacht named Sea Panther (also Robert’s nickname) and harbored in Annapolis while Robert was to meet with a boat builder to discuss the renovation of the yacht. Much, much more happened.

street scape

 

 

 

While there, Kimberly shopped along the cobblestone streets and visited a shop with mostly wool merchandise based on an actual store on West street.

 

 

 

 

An Excerpt from Sea Panther:

After dinner, the boys headed farther into town to hit the bars. Not inclined to join them in the carousing, Kimberly strolled the main drag where stores were open late for holiday shopping.

Glitzy seasonal decorations sparkled everywhere. The sight of animated Santa’s elves plying their trade on high tech electronic toys behind the plate-glass storefront of a hardware shop made her chuckle.

Kimberly suppressed the urge to enter a brightly lit jewelry store. She couldn’t afford to feed her fetish. But on approaching one of the trendy boutiques, the wintry window display drew her in. It was love-at-first-sight with the wool merchandise. While admiring a red cashmere sweater dress, her cell phone rang. Darn. She’d lost track of time.

Sarah’s number lit the screen. Her sister’s phone batteries must be good for a change.

“Hey,” she whispered into the phone not wanting to disturb the other shoppers.

“Are you okay? I went to pick up your car. One of my guy friends went with me. Thank God. ’Cause someone broke into the car. And the cops—”

“Slow down. What happened?” Kimberly’s pulse raced.

“I’m trying to tell you. Someone shot out the light on the lamppost over your car at the marina and smashed the passenger side window.”

“You’re kidding. Right?”

“I wouldn’t kid about a thing like this.”

Shit. Shit. Shit. Why would someone break into her car? She’d only left clothes in it.

“Kim? What where they looking for?”

“No idea. Tell me the whole story.”

“The police searched the car. Lifted some prints. They’re checking to see if any match the ones found in your room at the B&B. I told them about the hit man. They questioned Mr. Romano. Of course, he denies involvement.”

“Oh, Sarah, you didn’t. He’ll never forgive me.”

“What does it matter? He’s not your client anymore.”

Kimberly looked heavenward. Her sister didn’t get it. Sarah didn’t understand the importance of maintaining professional contacts.

“What else did the cops say?”

“They’ll let me know if they learn anything from the prints.”

“Was my car damaged?” The darn thing would probably cost a fortune to fix.

“Only the window and I had it repaired. And hey, all my friends think I look really cool driving around in a shiny black Beemer.”

“Be careful. That car is the only valuable possession I have left.”

“Yeah, it’s a good thing you paid it off before Jerky Jason came into your life.”

“I don’t want to go there,” Kimberly murmured, tired of Sarah’s constant reminders of how rotten her ex had been.

“Gotta hang up. Boss is calling for me. Be careful. Love you.”

“Love you too.” Kimberly pressed the End button and returned the cell phone to her purse. She glanced through the large plate-glass window into the street at the holiday shoppers strolling by. Unease tightened the muscles across her chest.

Just how much danger was she in? Was someone trying to scare her or was someone out to hurt her?

Needing a distraction from the mounting fear, she wandered to the next clothing rack and fingered the soft weave of a mohair cape. The tactile sensation soothed. Suddenly the hairs on her arms rose. Someone stood behind her. Heart pounding too fast, she spun to meet the captain’s intense gaze.

“Ach, lass, I didn’t mean to startle you.” He stepped closer.

Kimberly released the breath she held and willed her pulse to slow to a normal pace. “It’s okay. I’m not usually the nervous type. You must have caught me during a rare moment.” She didn’t want him to think she jumped every time a man came near.

The captain fondled the forest green cape she’d been admiring, and a delicious chill shivered along her spine. For a man with large hands, he had a gentle touch. What would those long fingers feel like caressing her skin? The thought of him massaging her breasts the way he did the wool caused a shot of lust to rush through her system.

Chills and fever. What a potent mix.

“This garment would look beautiful on you,” he said.

“Thank you.” She lowered her head to hide a flushed face. “I’m afraid I can’t afford it.”

“Will you tell me why a woman with a quick mind like yours is out of work and homeless?”

His question was blunt and to the point—a splash of cold water to raging hormones. How she’d landed in the current situation was the last thing she wanted to explain. She raised a wary gaze to meet his. “Captain MacLachlan, I—”

“Never mind.” He waved an arm as if to erase his words. “I did not mean to put such deep sadness into your eyes.”

“Excuse me. We’re closing,” one of the shop’s employees interrupted. Her gaze lingered on Robert as if to say, you’re welcome to stay.

“We are leaving,” he said to the woman then smiled at Kimberly. “Come. Walk with me.”

She followed him out onto the sidewalk. Cars slowly drove by on the one-way street. If a hit man was after her, in truth, he could be anywhere. She tamped down on her nerves, feeling foolish, refusing to believe someone wanted to harm her. It didn’t make sense. Her ex-clients were respectable businessmen. The burglaries had to be a bizarre coincidence. After all, she’d left the car in a nearly deserted marina. No wonder someone broke into it.

“I’m on my way to a jazz club. Care to join me?”

The invitation surprised Kimberly and she nodded.

* * *

Hope you enjoyed this excerpt from Sea Panther.

Sea Panther
E-book:
Amazon,  Amazon UK,
B&N, Apple, and Kobo.
Trade paperback:
Amazon, BAM,
and Barnes&Noble.

~Dawn Marie