We're kicking off a new week of 20 Days of Love, and today's featured author is Piper Huguley. Her novel, Swan, showcases the town of Noelle and a bit of drama that's about to occur with the arrival of Avis Smith. Read on...
A beautiful woman with secrets comes to Noelle to confront a powerful person with the truth...and only six days left to save the town.
Avis Smith is willing to go to Noelle to marry a man she doesn’t know in order to avenge a fourteen year wrong--her abandonment to a life of misery and abuse when she was just six years old. In order to get to Noelle, she has to lie about who she is, but her thirst for vengeance is so strong, she transforms herself into the pious, beautiful bride that JD Jones wants. Still, she never expected to be abandoned at the altar.
His work as an abolitionist and fighter for justice will not allow storekeeper Liam Fulton to turn his back on the beautiful woman his archenemy is willing to leave at the altar. He figures a way to help Avis out of her predicament, offers to showcase her in his store so that other potential grooms in Noelle will see her and might want to marry the young woman with the long and elegant neck.
When swans mate, they mate for life. When Liam offers to help Avis, he never expects that in working with her to find a resolution to her problem, he discovers a fierce need to protect her. Avis doesn’t know that she might find something better than what she was looking for--a new way to a family and bonds of a strong and life-long lasting love.
Liam usually closed Cobb's Penn when it suited him. Avis's company meant the store stayed open, so he was surprised when he looked at his pocket watch and noticed it was nearly 10:30 at night. "My goodness. I guess we have been talking long enough. Let me show you how to close out for the day."
He pulled out his accounting books and showed her how to make note of barter and money. He noted her swiftness in adding long columns of figures. Her mind was sharp. She figured out the day's deposit ahead of him. Yes, God had certainly blessed him with a gift on Christmas Day when he hired Avis Smith. When everything had been put away, he made ready to walk her back to the house.
"You don't have to do that, Mr. Fulton."
"I most certainly do, Avis. And, I intend to keep doing it, no matter how long you are here. You've had quite a day." He didn't want to add that JD Jones could be lurking close by. It was best this way.
He helped her put on her long winter cloak and noticed how carefully she donned her mitts. "You like to keep your hands warm?"
"Yes," she said, and the look on her face changed to one of thoughtfulness. Liam closed the door to his shop and invited her to put her hand into the crook of his arm.
"Your fingertips should stay warm too, Miss Smith."
"Thank you." She said quietly and did as he suggested. He noticed the careful way she kept her gaze lowered as they walked together. It was cold, as any December day should be, but Liam wasn't noticing it with the gentle press of Avis's hand on his arm. Her touch felt good and right. He hadn't really given much thought to how alone he had been since the cruel death of his fiancée back in Pennsylvania during the war.
They took small careful steps. He didn't want to rush her, given how much had happened to her. Something in him warmed at being in her company, and he was reluctant to rush dropping her off.
"Here we are." Avis announced all too soon as he waited in front of the door of La Maison.
"Yes, I will be here for you at 8:30 in the morning to walk you to work."
Her pretty lips opened just a fraction, in protest, he supposed. He laid his finger on them. The warmth of her moist lips made contact with his finger, and the heat of her breath passed through him like a ripple on a lake. "No protesting, Miss Smith."
"Yes, Mr. Fulton. Thank you." The door opened, and a chattering gaggle of females pulled Avis inside and shut the door. Well, she would be well taken care of without him.
He turned from the door and started the walk back to Cobb's Penn. As he crossed the street, he saw a window shining with light from the abandoned saloon across the way. The lamp was extinguished when he looked up at it. Who was watching him? Was that person more concerned with him or with Avis? It did not matter. He would protect her regardless.
Piper G Huguley, named 2015 Debut Author of the Year by Romance Slam Jam and Breakout Author of the Year by AAMBC, is a two-time Golden Heart ®finalist and is the author of “Migrations of the Heart,” a three-book series of historical romances set in the early 20th century featuring African American characters. Book #1 in the series, A Virtuous Ruby, won Best Historical of 2015 in the Swirl Awards. Book #3 in the series, A Treasure of Gold, was named by Romance Novels in Color as a Best Book of 2015, received 4 ½ stars from RT Magazine, and won an Emma Award for best historical romance in 2017.
Her new series “Born to Win Men” starts with A Champion’s Heart as Book #1. A Champion’s Heart was named by Sarah MacLean of The Washington Post as a best romance novel selection for December 2016.
She blogs about the history behind her novels at http://piperhuguley.com. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and son.
Connect with Piper...
Sales: Amazon only:
Thanks for joining us for another 20 Days of Love! Please leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you!
To join this blog simply click "Follow This Blog," "Subscribe," or "Email" links in the upper right corner.
Inspirational women's fiction author, writing the script to my beautifully inspired life!
Be Inspired, Follow Me!