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

Stay Cool with Christmas in July

Just in Time for a Highland Christmas

Just in Time for a Highland Christmas
A Highland Gardens Novella

The 3rd tale in the series.

e-book sale:
$0.99 through July 31st

(regular price: $2.99)

 

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?

 

Snatch your copy today…

Kindle : Nook : Apple : Kobo

 


Twelvetide-200

Twelvetide: Twelve Nights of Highland Magic
A Highland Gardens Novella

e-book:
$0.99 or KU

 

He has twelve nights to gain her love. She has twelve nights to save his soul.

Fulfilling a childhood promise, Ashley Dumont returns to an ancient Druid garden in the Black Hills of Scotland on the eve of the winter solstice—a time when magic hums and the veil between realms thins and tears, allowing all manner of supernatural creatures through. Will the ghost who claimed to be her destiny still be there?

Caelan Innes awaits her arrival. Unjustly murdered in the sixteenth century, a second chance at life depends on this woman. The Druids grant them the twelve nights of Yule to find love and save Cael’s soul. Will a trip through time and the treachery of enemies make the sacrifice too dear?

 

Find it on Kindle…

Kindle

 

Hope you have a magical summer!

~Dawn Marie

Goodreads Giveaway: Just Wait For Me by Dawn Marie Hamilton

Wow! I can hardly believe August is nearing its end. It has been a hot, hot, hot month in my neck of the woods, making it a chore to putter in the garden. The solar eclipse was great, but I’m looking forward to cooler weather and comfortable gardening time.

I have a giveaway going on over at Goodreads. Five signed copies of Just Wait For Me are up for grabs…

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Just Wait for Me by Dawn Marie Hamilton

Just Wait for Me

by Dawn Marie Hamilton

Giveaway ends September 27, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

 

Hope the rest of your month is magical!

~Dawn Marie

Portals to Other Times and Realms with an Excerpt from Sea Panther by Dawn Marie Hamilton

Blue passage

 

‘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.”

“Okay.”

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…

when-love-conquers-time-teaser-400

Get your copy before the set is withdrawn. Available at Amazon.

~Dawn Marie