Thursday, March 17, 2016

Get Lucky this Saint Patrick's Day with a Nice Irish Setting

Ireland makes for a great book setting, doesn't it? From the rolling hills and haunted gothic castles that radiate romance and evoke magical visions of fair maidens and frightful dungeons to the bustling metropolis of Dublin alive with entertaining cultural pursuits, beautiful architecture and lively pubs. Not surprisingly, one of the most anticipated and beloved parties revolves around Ireland’s national holiday, St. Patrick’s Day. Parades, expressive costumes, street theatre and a lively carnival atmosphere will leave you spellbound. But if you're like me then perhaps you'd prefer to do your celebrating via the pages of a nice cozy mystery. If that's the case why not check out The Temple of Indra Series. Here's an excerpt to wet your whistle.

Excerpt from The Temple of Indra's Jewel

Chapter Twenty-Three| Curator’s Connection

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 Surrounded by hedges and covered in moss, his home looked like a whimsical Tudor-style cottage with beautiful steps leading up to it. It had sectioned-off gardens with alder trees, bells of Ireland, forget-me-nots, wisteria, iris and lavender. It was asymmetrical, with fa├žades of dark timbers and limestone. The roofs were steeply pitched and complex, with gable ends poking this way and that. The massive chimney crowned with chimney pots thrust skyward. Bays of casement windows with diamond-paned leaded glass jutted out from exterior walls, a lot like Gigi’s windows. The whole place reminded me of Snow White’s cottage—unique, charming, clean and comfortable.
I looked around to see where Cullen had disappeared to. At any other time, I would have enjoyed taking in the details, but this time I was more interested in the owner than the well-appointed house. I wandered down the hall and into the living room, where Cullen had placed some family photos and artwork on the wall. He had sunk into the sofa with a pint in hand.
“Who is this?” I asked. “Is this your ancestor, or do you enjoy hanging large portraits of men on your walls?”
Cullen laughed. “Well, I do enjoy a good manly portrait from time to time, but that would be my great-great-great-grandfather, Tandy O’Kelley.”
“I can see the resemblance. What is that?” I asked pointing at his great-great-great-grandfather’s side.
“That was his dagger. Beautiful, isn’t it? When I was little my Da made one out of cardboard for me and I pretended it was his.”
“And I take it that is your great-great-great-grandmother.”
“Ye’d be right, all right.”
“What is that she’s wearing?” I said, suddenly standing straighter.
“A frock?”
“No. That!” I said sharply, pointing to her neck, where a huge purple scarab gem sat.
“Ah. Good eye. My great-great-great-grandfather was a curator at the National Gallery of Ireland.”
I cut him off. “Your great-great-great-grandfather? What?”
“What’s the matter, Sophia?”
“Are you kidding with me?”
“No, why?”
“That’s the reason I’m here.”
“I thought I was the reason you’re here.”
I looked up sheepishly. “You are, but remember the family heirloom I mentioned? I think that’s it. I was coming here to look for information on it. All I know is that my grandfather got it from a man who worked as a curator at the National Gallery of Ireland.”
Cullen took a huge gulp of his beer. “This is way too much of a coincidence. I wish I could remember the name of it, he said it was the strangest thing he’d ever seen. There was script carved into it.”
“The Purple Delhi Sapphire.”
 “Yes that’s it. It came with a note that said it was cursed and stained with the blood and dishonour of everyone who had ever owned it. He showed it to my grandmother, and she begged him to let her wear it for the picture. That was the only time he ever let my grandmother wear it. She fell and broke her leg that same day.”
My grandfather was a very superstitious man so after that he sealed it with protective charms and got rid of it. Sophia. What are you looking at?”
“Sorry,” I said, turning away from the painting. His hand slid to my neck, and he gently cupped the side of my face with his other hand.
“Cullen, I overheard you say that you dreamed of me?”
He gave an involuntary shudder. “I did,” he replied, gently running his thumb back and forth, mesmerizing me.
“What was the dream about?”
“I’m . . . after forgettin’ the details now.” His face reddened.
“Come on,” I encouraged him.
Embarrassed, he looked down at the floor. “I’ve actually had a couple of different dreams. There’s one in a castle, and another in the sea.” He lifted a hand to the back of his head and ran his hands through his hair.
Was he some distant relative of the Graf?
“It’s not a sign of weakness to dream about people,” I said gently.
I looked back at the portrait of his ancestors. Should I tell him about Sapphira? Were we all connected because of this purple sapphire? I stared at him, the conversation sinking in.
He snorted. “Ah, well, it’s just Arthur Guinness talking,” he said, taking a swig of beer to hide his embarrassment.
No, it wasn’t but I decided to let him keep his sense of normalcy for the moment. I wished I could still pretend there wasn’t more going on.
I looked down at the table and saw a cute gold tin with a blue lid. Sweet Kilarney. “Are these candies?” I asked picking it up. I could go for something sweet right about now.
“Candies … no. Well, maybe candy for men. That’s pipe tobacco.”
“You smoke a pipe?”
“I’ve had a puff here and there but no, not really.”
My attention was attracted by a play of light coming in through the half-opened window. I got the feeling that someone was out there. The draperies, gently buffeted by the breeze, took on a life of their own.
“I can’t stand smoke. It always reminds me of this nightmare I had as a kid.” I set the tin back down and wandered over to the window. There was no one there. His phone beeped at his side, and he pulled it out of his pocket and stared at it.
“Bollix. I have to go into the office for an hour. Will ye be all right here, or I could drop ye at Ma’s?”
“I’ll be fine. I’m kind of tired.”
“The guest room is upstairs, second door on the left. Here, I can show you.”
“No, go ahead. I’m going to grab a glass of water first. I’ll see you later.”
He walked away but then turned back, “I was thinkin’ we’d head down to one of the local haunts when I get back for some drinks and dinner. Would ye be into that?”
“Sounds great.”
“Make yourself at home.”
I watched Cullen get in his Land Rover, and then I walked up the stairs. The painting was still haunting me. This was all too strange to be true.
It couldn’t be real.
But it was real. Wasn’t it?
I picked up the phone and dialed Leslie. She would have to believe me now. My call went straight to voicemail. Damn it! Maybe I’ll send her a quick text. As I was typing my phone rang. Wow. That was fast.
Silence. I almost hung up. Then I heard breathing.
“Did you think you could get away?”
The voice was muffled like the phone was covered with something.
“Nick?”
“I know where you are.”
“Nick? Is this you, you son of a bitch?”
“You know what I want.”
Maybe it wasn’t Nick. “I think you have the wrong number.”
“Sophia.” The voice was raspy, gravelly, a growl. Disguised.
A prankster? Can’t be—he said my name.
A whisper now, barely understandable. “I can see you. Give it up.”
“Who is this? What are you talking about?”
“I won’t stop until I have it.”
“Have what?”
“I’ll be watching.”
The phone went dead.
“Damn you,” I screamed to the empty house.
I walked to the window to see if Cullen’s vehicle was still there. No. I frowned suddenly, feeling a cold tension seize me. Why? Something … A sound.
Yes. I thought I’d heard a sound downstairs.
“Cu—”
I opened my mouth to call out and then closed it quickly. Some sixth sense warned me that it couldn’t be Cullen; the Land Rover was gone.
I remained dead still, listening. Not a sound.
I waited. Looking down, I realized that my fingers were curled hard over the windowsill. I made a point of relaxing them.
Still nothing. I had imagined it.
Then I heard something again. At least I thought I did. A sound, coming, fading, gone. What had it been? A creaking?
And then I realized …
Someone was coming up the stairs.
I started to rush into the hall. Then I realized that if a burglar was in the house, I would run right into him. I stood frozen. No, I couldn’t go running into the hall.
He was coming closer. Coming straight for the guest bedroom. I spun around and tried to silently open the closet door. It creaked loudly.
I could feel his footsteps through the floor. I felt around in the closet. I needed a weapon. I couldn’t think.
My fingers grasped something long and cold with a thick end. A golf club. There was a whole set of them. I pulled one out.
The closet would be an obvious place to look for me. I ran to the bed. Too low to fit under. The footsteps were almost upon me. I jumped behind the curtain, gripping the club tightly in both hands, holding it upright against my body.
I waited, barely breathing. I heard nothing. Nothing at all. He must have gone.

Then suddenly, just when I was relaxing my stance, breathing deeply, easily, the curtain was pulled back.
THE TEMPLE OF INDRA’S JEWEL is the first in a series of four. It is centered on the adventures/misadventures of Sophia Marcil, an unlucky-in-love librarian who is mysteriously swept back in time to 1857, where she is caught up in a plot for the throne. A modern day woman in the body of an 18th century princess, she believes she’s been cast in an elaborate dinner theatre, but as she’s pursued by suitors both odious and dreamy, she begins to investigate and unearths the truth. Her family’s heirloom has cursed her and tied her to a dangerous man, one who would stalk her in every life and do anything to possess her stone’s magic, including murder. Perhaps being a princess is not all fun and games. Buy Now

"A sexy Lord of the Rings/Da Vinci Code/Twilight" Lacey Crowe - Published onAmazon.com

"This is a good read! Calling all Diana Gabaldon fans... if you are a fan of the Outlander series you will enjoy this book." Stephanie. Published on Goodreads.com


CURSE OF THE PURPLE DELHI SAPPHIRE is the second in a series of four. It is centered on the adventures/misadventures of time-traveling librarian Sophia Marcil, who is going to be murdered unless her love for books can save her—or rather one book in particular—The Book of Rochus.
It's been one year since Sophia last fell through time and her troublesome trinket has found her once more, this time in the form of an engagement ring. As usual it’s pulled her into a past life and placed her in terrible danger, the home of her nemesis circa 1920. Determined to change history and her fate, she attempts a spell from the five-hundred-year-old book given to her by a shopkeeper in London, but she unwittingly deepens her connection to her killer.
Sophia returns to the present and for her own safety goes to stay with Cullen's relative on the family estate, a property that has been passed down for generations. While there, she discovers a gravestone which makes her wonder if a murderer’s blood runs in her fiancee's veins. Desperate to uncover the truth, she searches for answers but doesn't like what she uncovers. In every life, her killer has been revealed as someone close to her and now she’s beginning to wonder if she’s being duped once again. Buy Now

Rachel Stapleton spent her youth cultivating a vivid imagination inside the book lined walls of an old Victorian library where she consumed everything from mystery to biography, creating magical worlds, hidden elevators, and secret spiral staircases. At sixteen, she penned a column for the local newspaper and in 2006, wrote her first book featuring an adventurous librarian. She lives in a Second Empire Victorian with her husband and two children in Ontario and enjoys writing in the comforts of aged wood and arched dormers.

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