She started working on the prequel the day she was offered a publishing contract for Bonded By Crimson. Then it got pushed to the back burner while she worked on other projects. Since then she’s written and published Treasured Chest, a pirate romance, Love Remains, a time travel romance, and Deck the Halls, a Christmas novella.
Rose of Crimson is based on a Croatian legend from late 17th century. Local people like to refer to the tragic love story as their Romeo and Juliet, only in this version, the young lovers (Miljenko & Dobrila) are from feuding aristocratic families who would stop at nothing to keep them apart. Even when Dobrila’s father offered the hand of peace, he couldn’t live with the fact that Miljenko won and took his daughter.
However, Rose of Crimson is not a historical romance. In the book the hero, Miles—he shortened it from Miljenko—telepathically projects his story onto heroine, Kate—who has a special connection with him through her ancestor. I wanted to present the passages of his past life differently than just jump from past to present through the chapters. I wanted a reader to know when we’re entering and exiting his story. Because, he sought her out to write down his story.
KATE ROKOV‘s grades are plummeting. She needs to get the voice out of her head or she will flunk her finals.
MATTHIAS ZRIN, a three centuries old immortal, born into an aristocratic family as Miles Rušinić, is enthralled with Kate. It is his voice preventing Kate from sleeping and her ignorance is testing his limits. He wants her to write down his story to settle his wife’s earthbound spirit. His tragic love story has become Kate’s obsession since fifth grade during her summer trip to Rušinić castle.
And now the excerpt:
Kate dug her fingernails into her palms. The loneliness must be getting to her at this dead hour or she wouldn’t imagine the incoherent whispers had taken a deep masculine tone. Impossible, she wasn’t that lonely or loony and she had been conversing with him for the past twenty or so minutes. He seemed less threatening and that smooth voice of his eased the tension between her shoulders.
A spark of curiosity ignited to a full blaze. She must find out more about him. “Need me? What for?”
“To tell my story.” There was no mistaking this time as his fingers raked gently through her hair, making her chest heavy and spinning her mind. How could he have known she was a sucker for head massages? He moved his fingers down her neck and shoulders. Yes, dig in right there and loosen up the knot. Damn this was good, she must stop him or she’d write down the complete saga.
He eased the pressure on her skin. “How does that kink in your shoulder feel? Better?”
“It’s almost gone.” Bless him, the man worked magic on her in more than one way. “Hey, how did you know I had a kink in there?”
“You rubbed that spot before.” By now he brushed his fingers over her neck.
Hmm, what else had he seen her doing? Oh no, those few times she’d stepped out of the shower and realized she’d forgotten to hang a fresh towel and ran to the linen closet wet and naked. Heat rushed to her cheeks, she sucked her lower lip between her teeth. The invisible visitor remained silent. Perhaps he hadn’t been in her flat during those incidents.
“So, what’s your story about?” She arched one brow, tilting her head under his pressing fingers. Of course everyone had a story, so why was she surprised an un-dead ghost consulted her to tell his tale?
“You’ll find out soon enough.” A tickle ran along her arm once more. “And it can’t be told in one night.”
20 Zrinka Jelic
Wonderful, that was what she got for sticking her nose in the paranormal stuff in the past. Now he’d cling around her for who knows how long. She had hoped to be rid of him, preferably tonight. The feel of his caring touches returned to her mind. From what she gathered by his closeness and the touch of his big hands caressing her neck and shoulders, he must be tall and, she imagined, quite muscular. Oh, if she could only see him, but she quickly shook the idea away.
Why was she so accepting of this disembodied voice? Though she struggled to remain as calm as possible, from the literature on the subject, the best was to keep one’s fear in check in the presence of a haunted soul. Yet, her curiosity sprouted and spread through her veins like weeds. “Listen, Miles.” She exhaled. “You sought out the wrong person. I have to cram for my exams and I have term papers due. Can’t you find someone else?”
“No.” He demanded, “I can’t let you go. I need you to write down what I can’t tell anyone anymore.”
She gasped. He wanted to confess something. A murder he committed long ago. Or had he been murdered and wanted to point out his killers? Either way the dial on her curiosity gauge turned up to full volume, this had Agatha Christie written all over it. If the crime took place long ago, what was she to do with the evidence? There she went again, letting her imagination run wild.
The absence of his touch left her wanting for more. “I’ve seen your school papers. You are a good writer.”
“What, were you standing over my shoulder the entire time?” Of course he had. She shouldn’t be surprised. Chances were he’d seen her running for the towel, the fact he hadn’t mentioned it told her he was a true gentleman. “College assignments cannot compare to what you’re asking me to do. There are so many other skilled persons for sure. So, why me?”
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About the Author:
Zrinka Jelic lives in Ontario, Canada. A member of the Romance Writers of America and its chapter Fantasy Futuristic &Paranormal, as well as Savvy Authors, she writes contemporary fiction–which leans toward the paranormal–and adds a pinch of history. Her characters come from all walks of life, and although she prefers red, romance comes in many colors. Given Jelic’s love for her native Croatia and the Adriatic Sea, her characters usually find themselves dealing with a fair amount of sunshine, but that’s about the only break they get.
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