Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Playing For Keeps, Book III of The Claddagh Series

Hello everyone, I’m Cynthia Owens and I’m thrilled to announced that Playing For Keeps, Book III of The Claddagh Series, has just been released from Highland Press! Miriam, thanks so much for allowing me to visit the Celtic Rose!

It started with Rory O’Brien and Siobhán Desmond of In Sunshine or in Shdow. Gambler and survivor. Landlord and tenant. A love that couldn’t be denied. It continued with Coming Home, when Ashleen O’Brien showed an Irish-American war hero that you can find a home and a family in the most unlikely place.

And now there’s Playing For Keeps, Katie’s story. This half-Irish beauty has finally returned to Baltimore to visit the family she barely remembers.

She was a descendent of the kings of Ireland ~ but in Baltimore, Katie O’Brien is just “Irish.”
Lucas was the despised younger son ~ a dreamer whose negligence had caused a family tragedy. He’s left his family’s home to prove that he can make something of himself ~ something he wants to be.
Philadelphia, 1850
Luke stared in silent horror as glowing red flames devoured the warehouse.
What have you done this time?
The words resounded through Luke’s brain, condemning and inevitable, in his father’s disapproving tones.
What had he done? He’d secured the warehouses. He had, he was sure of it. He’d made certain all the forges were out.
Hadn’t he? Or had his head been too full of the play he’d been studying in secret, the characters he was determined to flesh out, the pages he’d obsessively filled with his own dreams and interpretations?
Clanging bells and pounding hooves hammered in his ears.
Thank you, God.
But as quickly as relief flared, terror chased close on its heels.
Dear God, was anyone still inside? Tobias, his father’s most trusted clerk—surely he’d left long ago. And the two young men Matt hired last month—hadn’t they spoken of going to The Dancing Horse to spend their first pay packets?
He struggled for breath, the acrid smell of burning wood and molten steel tearing at his throat.
Bleak realization swept through him. It was his fault. It had to be. But it was an accident
Matthew. Matt would take care of everything. Matt always cleaned up his little brother’s messes, covered up Luke’s many shortcomings.
“Mr. Lucas? Mr. Lucas!”
Dazed, Luke stared in disbelief at the normally impeccable clerk. Tobias had lost his coat, his once pristine white linen shirt was torn and covered with soot. Luke’s gut clenched as he took in the other man’s wild hair, the bloody gash slashed cruelly across one cheek.
“Mr. Lucas!”
Luke grabbed Tobias’s arm, his head thudding, his fingers gripping convulsively. Fear struck ice cold in his heart. His entire body shaking, he ran his dry tongue over his ash-covered lips.
“Tobias, where’s Matt?”
The clerk gazed at Luke, pity darkening his eyes. Tears trailed slowly down his soot-blackened face.
“Mr. Matthew’s dead, sir.”

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  1. Thanks for sharing this on facebook. That's how I found you today. Love the pull of the classes and the "clean up of siblings life messes". I think we all have lived some of that.

    Awesome post!

    1. Hi Sandy, we sure have! :) It's one of those universal things, I think, that we can all relate to. Glad you enjoyed the post, and thanks for stopping by.

  2. I'm glad the first book suggested its own sequels! Always glad to see them here on The Celtic Rose.

    1. Thanks, Miriam, and thanks for the opportunity to promote them here! I really appreciate it!

  3. I'm not sure how to do this but I'd like share info on my latest book, The Silver Wheel, set in 1st century A.D.


    Visions, human sacrifice and sex magic: A young seeress risks her life and her immortal spirit trying to change the course of history and save her homeland and her people from destruction. Blending history, romance and mysticism, The Silver Wheel gives the Celtic perspective of events during the Roman conquest of Britain.


    Instead of putting on his clothing, Cruthin climbed down the side of the mound and began to twirl around. "I can make the Goddess come to me," he said. He lifted his arms to the heavens and sang:
    "Arianhrodd, Cerridwen, Rhiannon,
    Blodeuwedd, Modran, Don,
    Branwen, Cyhiraeth, Morrigan.
    I invoke you—maiden, mother, crone
    Lady of the moon,
    Keeper of the cauldron,
    Great queen,
    Maiden of summer,
    Grain goddess,
    Lady of love and desire,
    Keeper of pools and springs,
    Raven of death.
    Enfold me in your warm, soft flesh.
    Fill me with your light.
    Quench my thirst with your gleaming rivers and streams.
    Feed me from your supple breasts.
    Make me strong.
    Make me powerful.
    Make me invincible."
    Sirona realized she had never heard him sing before. He had a bard's voice, beguiling and honey sweet, yet edged with power. He continued his dance, his movements wild and unrestrained. Flailing arms. Twirling body. Jumps and leaps. Pure, instinctive movements. As if he heard music. Suddenly, Sirona heard it, too. A wild, keening melody, sad and lovely.
    She stared at Cruthin, in awe of the beauty of his movements. He reminded her of an otter cavorting beside a stream. A salmon leaping the rapids. A deer bounding through the forest. Lithe and graceful. The moonlight flashed over his spinning body, black, then silver, then black again. Light and shadow. Life and death.
    Abruptly, he leapt over the circle of stones and continued his mad dance in the open meadow nearby. As he jumped and twirled in the tall grass among the bracken and heather, people came out of the shadows to join him. Slender and naked, they danced around him, moving in a slow, rhythmic pattern. They began to chant in a language Sirona had never heard before. And yet, it seemed familiar, as if the meaning of the words was buried in her mind somewhere.
    When she returned her gaze to Cruthin, he had turned into Cernunnos again. On his head were the antlers of a stag, while his body remained that of a man. She could not see his face. But she knew now that he was the god of the animals, of the hunt, of death. This time she was not afraid. She was watching from a distance, not feeling the hot breath of the beast looming over her. Faster and faster he whirled, until he was a blur. The moonlight shone down, turning him into a vivid, bright light. The light grew in intensity, blazing, brilliant, the brightest thing she had ever seen. Then it vanished.

    To purchase:

    Thanks, Miriam, for a chance to do this.