Good morning! It’s a lovely, cold (feels like -8F) but sunny winter morning, the last Wednesday in January. It seems as if time is whizzing by. I’ve put the Christmas decorations away, left a few wintry things out, and the grandkids will help me set out my Valentine goodies this weekend. As I get older, I almost wish time would slow down. I’ve got so many things to do before my hourglass runs out of sand.
This morning I have what I hope some of you will consider a treat. I’m trying to raise my profile as a writer. It’s the only thing I have on my resolution list this year. For step one, I’ve made The Captain’s Promise, the third book I published, available free until Friday. This is one of the books that got caught in the mess with the unscrupulous publisher last year who basically stole royalties from all her authors and left us all in a lurch. The book was re-edited, and I released it through Amazon and Createspace last June. My good friend Melinda De Ross who was here last week, provided the new cover. I hope is to give away as many copies as possible, so please download yours and tell your friends. It’s a historical romance with a touch of the paranormal, and I hope you’ll enjoy it.
About The Captain’s Promise
Etienne Blouin left Danielle de Cherbourg in tears, promising to return; he didn’t. Ten years later, Etienne learns she’s been widowed and left almost penniless. Now a wealthy ship’s captain, he offers to help her, but the only reply he gets is from her aunt telling him to leave Danielle alone. Convinced she’s in trouble, he determines to rescue her whether she likes it or not, even if it means losing her love.
Danielle is shocked to learn that her companion is going to the colonies, while she is to marry a cruel and powerful man as repayment of her husband’s gambling debts. Despondent, she sees no way out of the horrendous situation. When her carriage is waylaid and she’s kidnapped, she fears the worse.
Etienne has enemies who don’t want La Belle Rose to make port. Can he outfox them to save his ship and the woman he loves?
Download your Kindle copy free. http://www.amazon.com/The-Captains-Promise-Susanne-Matthews-ebook/dp/B00KQ5P30G/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1401970716&sr=8-1&keywords=the+captain%27s+promise+susanne+matthews
“Monsieur.” One of the serving girls whose breasts threatened to spill from the low-cut white blouse she wore bent low beside him. “Madame Celine is in the back and asks that you come into her now.” She smirked. “If you want something young and firm after, I can come to your room in a couple of hours.”
He swatted her soundly on the behind. “Ah, Irene, you know full well when Celine milks a man, he’s got nothing left to give anyone else, but the next time I come to the Faucon d’Or, I promise to spend some time with you.” He tossed her a franc and left the main room. Her laughter followed him.
“Be sure you do,” she called after him. “I promise you value for your coin.”
He walked down the dim hallway to the room at the end and knocked twice. He realized he’d been followed by two men, one of them his, the other unknown. It mattered not. If Henri thought the man was a threat, he wouldn’t be long for this world. Henri’s knife was swift and
dispatched his enemies without mercy. He hoped the man had made his peace with God. This was too important to allow a stranger to upset their plans.
Etienne opened the door wide as he’d been instructed, so that both of the men in the hall could see into the room. Celine, wearing a red silk robe barely hiding her voluptuous figure, sat on a chaise. She smiled broadly and gestured for him to join her.
“Chérie, you’re late,” she pouted. If the man who had followed him saw them, he’d think they were about to enjoy a tumble in a well-used bed. If Henri considered him a danger, it wouldn’t matter what his Peeping Tom thought.
He closed the door. As soon as he did, Celine righted her robe and stood.
“Captain, I apologize for the subterfuge, but we’re dealing with a very dangerous man. Powerful men have spies everywhere—especially in places like these where the patrons would just as soon knife you as buy you a drink.”
“Celine.” He removed his hat and smiled. The tavern owner was a good friend, and the fact his second-in-command had married her spoke to her trustworthiness. “A man is never insulted when he sees a beautiful woman. It amazes me you managed to control vermin like these for so many years.”
“It was easier when George was alive, but he wasn’t a smart man; he didn’t know how to keep his mouth shut. In this neighborhood, you live longer if you’re mute—it helps to be a little bit blind too.” She laughed, and Etienne did as well.
“I take it my lieutenant is here somewhere? I wouldn’t want to see my gullet slit accidentally by a jealous husband suspecting I was about to cuckold him.”
A loud guffaw presaged the arrival of Jerome, a black-bearded hulk of a man dressed in the leathers preferred by the coureurs de bois in New France. He and Celine had been married secretly in Rouen a fortnight ago. No one in the tavern was aware of Celine’s new husband; for so large a man, he could be very discreet. It was safer for both of them that way. He was a remarkable man, not easily forgotten, and it was important no one remember his visit to the inn.
“Mon Capitaine, so nice of you to join us. We’re almost ready to go. If it must be as you suspect, I’ve everything ready. If not…”
He shrugged his shoulders, grinned, and reached for his petite wife. “Well done, my dear.” He kissed her and turned to Etienne. “Everyone will believe you’ve satisfied your most basic needs this night, Captain. Irene is out there complaining that Celine keeps all the best ones for herself. You must have tipped her well for her to be so irate.”
“Good! As long as no one ever realizes who I really am.” Etienne turned to Celine. “You’d better finish your packing. I want to leave here as soon as this interview’s over.”
“Yes,” added Jerome giving his wife a hug. “We must be well away from here before dawn to ensure our departure remains a secret. The wagons, carriage, and horses are ready whenever you are. That is, of course unless my lovely wife, has changed her charming mind and decided to stay here.”
Celine laughed and swatted at him. At barely five foot, she looked like a child beside her six foot six husband. “Philippe is prepared to take over the management of the tavern for a fifty percent share of the profits. He’ll invest my share with the Swiss banker as we discussed, believing I’m living there.”
She turned to Etienne and sobered. “The man you wish to meet is waiting for you, Captain.” She pointed to the door on the other side of the room. “He has his head covered to protect both of you. You can’t identify and denounce him, and he claims he can’t do the same to you. The man you ask about is very dangerous. I hope you know what you’re doing. Be careful, the Spider isn’t a man to be trusted either.”
Now, please take time to visit this week’s teasers. You won’t be disappointed.