By J.P. Bowie (Guest Blogger)
About six years ago Phil and I decided we wanted to go on a European tour, Italy, France, the UK. We actually got as far as sending a deposit, picking out hotels etc, then Phil got sick. It turned out to be a serious heart problem which involved a triple by-pass, some complications that necessitated the use of feeding tube, all of which put the kybosh on our travel plans. It seemed that each time we started making future plans something would crop up and we’d have to cancel. Last year we decided that barring the Apocalypse, we were going to Europe in April 2016. By the time we put all our plans together for this trip of a lifetime, we would be gone for close to six weeks!
“Good Heavens,” certain friends declared, that’s far too long, but we forged ahead and left on April 12th for Rome. After 4 days in the Eternal City and thoroughly overawed by all it represents, we boarded a cruise ship which took us to Naples, Corfu, Crete, Santorini, Dbrovnik, Split and Venice. We spent a further three days in Venice then flew to Scotland, then to Madrid, then to Cornwall and finally London. We flew home on May 22nd – 40 days and 40 nights later, thoroughly exhausted but with memories to last us a lifetime – and photographs and stories with which to bore anyone within listening distance.
During that time I had two new releases that had to wait for my return to get some promo going. https://www.pride-publishing.com/book/never-too-late and http://www.mlrbooks.com/ShowBook.php?book=JPBWTRKL
But today I want to tell you about my latest paranormal romance – Highland Hearts – which is available for preorder with a general release date of July 12th. I love writing about Scotland, probably because I was born there, and it was a thrill to visit again last month after many years away.
Callum Robertson has inherited his grandfather’s mansion in northern Scotland, but the house comes with a history he knew nothing about—should he be thrilled, or feel threatened as the house seems to lure him in?
When Callum Robertson first sees the old Scottish country mansion his grandfather bequeathed him, his immediate instinct is to sell the antiquated pile for whatever he can get for it—admittedly not much in a downturned market. Then he meets Craig MacPherson, a local farmer with auburn curls and sparkling gray eyes, and suddenly the gloomy old house doesn’t look quite the white elephant it first appeared to be.
Craig tells Callum that it’s rumored the house is haunted but by what or whom no one seems to know. Books flying off shelves then being mysteriously replaced give Callum pause to reconsider his rejection of the idea of an actual ghost haunting the place. When he finds a journal relating to the history of his family, he is, by turn, intrigued then fascinated as the saga unfolds through the writings of his ancestors.
An encounter with what he feels must be the spirit of his great-great-great-uncle Alistair makes him change his mind not only about selling the house, but also about his future with Craig.
Here’s a short excerpt:
My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here,
My heart’s in the Highlands a’chasing the deer...
~ Robert Burns
Callum Robertson climbed out of his BMW and surveyed, with a fair degree of shock, the property he had inherited from his grandfather, Edward Robertson. The old man Callum scarcely knew of, had never met, had bequeathed this—he wasn’t quite sure what to call it—but the word ‘folly’ might be the one he was searching for. He’d heard it used to describe things that might have been built for decorative purposes only. What he was looking at wasn’t really a folly, despite the several griffin and gargoyle heads that lined the building’s walls and eaves. It could be lived in, he supposed, as he walked towards the several steps that led to an overly ornamental front door flanked by two rather stiff and comical looking lions.
“Someone goose you?” he asked the one on his left which stared back at him, a glazed expression in its strangely crossed eyes. Shaking his head he inserted the large key into the brass lock and turned it. The heavy door creaked open and he couldn’t stop the wry chuckle that slipped from his lips.
“Cue the creepy music,” he muttered.
Once inside, he gaped at the size of the entry hall he’d walked into. The afternoon sun, streaming through the stained glass windows over his head, illuminated the interior better than any spotlight. Colours of green and blue danced over the oak paneled walls and marble floors and picked out the crystal prisms on the chandelier that hung in majestic splendor from the vaulted ceiling. To his right, a staircase curved upwards to the floor above. It reminded him of the set in the musical “Sunset Boulevard” that he’d seen two or was it, three years ago, in Edinburgh, or Manchester maybe? He traveled around so much he found it hard to remember particular dates and places after a time.
“Amazing,” he murmured then entered a large room off the cavernous entry. Obviously the living room, it too sported paneled walls adorned with portrait and landscape paintings. The furniture was shrouded in dust sheets—some, probably high backed chairs, giving the appearance of the room’s silent guardians. Callum was glad he’d left the front door open or the silence would have been oppressive, but from outside he could hear the chirping of birds and the rustle of leaves stirred by a soft breeze that brought a fresh scent into this too long closed up mausoleum.
“What am I going to do with this lot?” he said aloud as he left the room and started climbing the stairs to the upper level.
“It’s all he had to leave you,” Matthew Cross, his grandfather’s solicitor had told him, “but the good thing is it’s free and clear, no mortgage to worry about, just the upkeep really.”
And that would be fierce. The place was huge. Seven bedrooms, Cross had told him, six bathrooms, a library, a dining room to seat twelve, a fully equipped kitchen and five acres of land. There was even a pool, thankfully indoors. He couldn’t begin to imagine how much it would cost to keep an outdoor swimming pool heated in Scotland. Even indoors it would be a bloody fortune most likely. Well, he’d have to sell the place, that’s all. Although finding a buyer in a depressed market for a mansion north of Inverness, miles off the beaten track, and from the looks of things, needing quite a bit of work, might just prove impossible.
He paused at the door to one of the bedrooms. Am I being an ingrate? he wondered as he pushed it open and stepped inside. In the dim light he could make out the shape of an immense four poster bed that dominated the room. He walked over to the window and pulled open the heavy brocade curtains letting welcome daylight fill the room. The bathroom was an eye-opener. A huge marbled space with an enormous bathtub on clawed feet, complete with brass fittings that included a hand-held shower.
“Nice...” He had a sudden longing to fill the bath and take a good long soak in sudsy water. Hmm... much better than that plastic piece of rubbish in my flat. He caught his reflection in the large gilded mirror over the sink and stopped to peer at himself for a moment. He looked tired, he thought. There were shadows under his blue eyes. Too many nights poring over sales sheets and inventories. He ran a hand through his dark, almost black hair, then turned on the tap to splash his face with water. After a lot of rumbling and cranking noises a thin stream of something brownish yellow trickled out.
“Yuck. The tank’s probably rusted through,” he muttered, changing his mind about refreshing himself. He was about to turn it off when with a loud gurgle and a sudden rush, the water poured out, growing clearer every second.
Not so bad, just needed using.
If you would like a free e-book copy of Highland Hearts please leave a comment (with your email address), and I’ll have random.org choose two readers. Thanks!
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