Wednesday, May 21, 2014

(The Water Crisis Chronicles) Waterfall and Waterproof by Amber Garr review and giveaway ~Kami

By Amber Garr


Waterfall (The Water Crisis Chronicles)

In a dystopic world where clean water is a commodity and water rationing is normal, Zach and Vivienne try to live a normal life. This is a well written young adult dystopia, which is my favorite kind of genre. I liked the characterization. I thought the pacing and writing was really good. The story held my interest. Lots of exciting things were happening. I am interested in continuing this series. 4 stars.


Waterproof (The Water Crisis Chronicles)

I read Waterfall, the novella prequel first which I liked. Waterproof is full of action and excitement. Zach and Vivienne are members of a rebellion fighting for survival and water. I thought the writing and pacing was really good. I really like these charactes. Vee is tough and prickly and Zach loves her so very much. I liked the dual POV style. My favorite genre to read is YA dystopia and this was a good one. It is very plausible that without clean drinking water, how quickly civilization and life as we know it would cease to exist. 4 stars
Dying of thirst is the new reality.
Five years after the last drop of clean water disappeared, global societies collapsed and nuclear war shattered all hope of recovery. In a place now only a skeleton of its former self, survivors fight to avoid capture by the government. Forced to work in factories that produce the only drinking water available, those who go in, never come out.
Zach and Vivienne have lived as deserters since they were teenagers. Fighting amongst their own and scrounging for the necessities of life, they’ve learned to rely on each other in every way. Yet when tragedy strikes and the true objectives of the government facility are revealed, their world is ripped apart.
A fate once thought to hold their demise may be the sole answer to their survival. Who can they trust? Who can they believe?
In this life, it pays to be waterproof.

Excerpt 1
Ten more steps.
My legs ached with every jarring move, growing heavier the closer I got to my destination. The weight of my bounty pulled against me like a prisoner’s chain. If I dropped it, I would be safe. The idea taunted me as I ran through the abandoned junk yard, dodging large pieces of scrap metal and sliding over the rusty hoods of skeletal cars.
“Drop them or I’ll shoot you dead,” a gruff voice yelled behind me.
I didn’t dare turn back. Something whizzed past my ear and slammed into the side of an old van blocking the path in front of me. A reddish dust full of steel splinters exploded in my face as the unmistakable sound of tearing metal pierced the dusk air. I’d gravely misjudged this group of deserters.
Heart hammering in my chest, I slid to a stop before crashing into the bullet hole meant for my head. Two bottles slipped from my arms and rolled underneath the van before I could stop them. Shit. There wasn’t enough time but I couldn’t go back with only those left in my hands.
I braved a look behind at my pursuers. The three men tearing after me had nothing but revenge in their eyes. If the two sawed-off shotguns didn’t represent their intentions, then the man firing the military rifle at my head made it very clear.
Another bullet slammed into the van just as I ducked down to retrieve the bottles. Footsteps pounded against the broken pavement and dead leaves, sounding more like an army than a handful of survivors like me. I reached as far as my shoulder would allow, ignoring the pain searing through my tired muscles. My fingertips brushed the plastic container just before it rolled further under the van.
“Where’d he go?” one of the men called out. He sounded close.
Dropping to my stomach, I nestled the remaining bottles under my left arm, while trying to retrieve the others with my right. After squeezing half my body underneath the van, I finally grabbed the first, then the second. Another shot ricocheted off the ground in front of me. They were trying to flush out my position and if they found me now, I was dead.
Scooping up the prized possessions I’d risked my life for, I prepared to run. Trapped between two vehicles, only one option presented itself - I’d have to get to the old cargo containers. This particular group of deserters set up their camp inside a metal scrap yard. Smart and resourceful. The dilapidated containers had been pushed to the sides, creating a barrier and providing some semblance of safety. Although I’d slipped through them easily on my way in, my arms were now full of water bottles that slowed me down.
Water. Wars were fought and lost over it. People died. Billions of humans perished in the days leading up to the end. And now I risked my life for a mere eight liters because we’d used the last natural drop of clean water on the planet five years ago.
Metal cracked above my head. Dust fell into my eyes and tiny pellets showered over my back like a swarm of bees.
“I’ve got him!”
I looked up in fear, only to see that I still had a clear path to my escape. Shotgun man had his sights somewhere else. Now was my chance.
Sucking in a deep breath, I scrambled to my feet and ran as hard as I could toward the narrow crevice between the containers. Forcing myself not to turn and look where they were, I ignored the shouting and distinct sound of shells hitting the ground.
Five more steps.

Excerpt 2
Vivienne yelled out and I whipped my head around to see what happened. The last man standing held an impressive hunting knife in his hand, while Vivienne had a fresh cut on her arm. Still, she held steady, sword gripped tightly in front of her, legs in a fighting stance.
Something stirred inside of me at the sight. Time slowed when I watched her wield the sword like an ancient warrior. It was hard to imagine that just a few years ago we were in high school worrying about football games and which party to go to on the weekend. Now we stayed in abandoned houses, scrounged for water, and spent most of our lives running. If things had been different, Vivienne and I would be graduating college this year. I had plans to go into medicine, and she wanted to be a vet. Funny how those dreams seemed so far away now.
A loud thump echoed through the now darkened night. She almost fell to the ground with the amount of momentum needed to decapitate the man. He dropped to his knees like a sinner begging for mercy, head rolling further down the hill. My stomach fluttered with admiration and annoyance.
“I didn’t need your help,” I said to her, getting up on my feet and trying not to wince at my injuries.
“Sure,” she huffed. Ripping her bandana off her face she tore it in two. “Here, wrap that up.” She nodded toward the tear in my sleeve and I stubbornly yanked the cloth out of her hand.
“I had everything under control,” I said between clenched teeth. It was the only way to mask the pain. “How did you know where to find me?”
“I followed the girly shrieks,” she said without missing a beat. I looked down at her in time to see a smirk pull at the corner of her mouth. “Let me do it.”
Once again, I allowed Vivienne to rescue me. It killed every part of that male ego inside, but I knew she’d let me do the same for her. In fact, I had. We always saved each other.
“Ow,” I said when she tightened the bandana a little too rough around my arm.
“Stop being a baby.”
“Stop showing off your man strength.”
She pulled even tighter but let a small laugh escape. I sucked in a breath at that sound, realizing how close I’d come to never hearing it again.
“Are you hurt anywhere else?” she asked, turning me around and patting her hands along my body. I froze, trying to ignore how comforting her touch felt. We’d been friends for years, and she was the only person in this world I trusted. Why had I risked so much for this run?
I stepped away from her, not liking where my thoughts were headed. “I’m fine,” I mumbled. “Stop mothering me.”
“I wouldn’t have to if you’d listen to me.” She stopped in front of my face and stared me down. I stood a little over six feet tall and she was just a few inches shorter. Together with that glare, almost any man would cower under her. “Was it worth it?”
“The water. How much did you get?”
I hung my head in embarrassment. “I had eight, but they shot through one. So six, I guess.”
“Six bottles?” She looked impressed.
“No, six liters.” Silence.
“You just made me kill three men for six liters of water?”
I shuffled my feet. “You only killed two.”
She reached out so quickly, I couldn’t defend myself. Both hands pushed against my chest and I stumbled back, falling to the ground.
“I could make it three,” she hissed. “I should kill you for your stupidity alone.”

Buy Links

About the Author

Amber Garr spends her days as a scientist and nights writing about other worlds. Born in Pennsylvania, she lives in Maryland with her husband and their furry kids. Her childhood imaginary friend was a witch, Halloween is sacred, and she is certain she has a supernatural sense of smell. Amber is a multiple Royal Palm Literary Award winner, author of The Syrenka Series, The Leila Marx Novels, The Water Crisis Chronicles, and the upcoming Death Warden Series. When not obsessing over the unknown, she can be found dancing, reading, or enjoying a good movie.

Social Contact

Twitter: @AmberGarr1

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Memento Mori by Katy O'Dowd Review and Giveaway

Title: Memento Mori
Author: Katy O’Dowd
Genre: Crime Fiction/Victorian Mafia/ Alternate history with a dash of Steampunk
Publisher: Untold Press
Release Date: April 1
st, 2014
Tour Host:
Lady Amber's Tours

In 1865 a dying man gives a starving girl a necklace. I thought from the very first sentence the writing in this book was really good. It immediately drew me in and held my attention. I like steampunk and I was enjoying this book a lot. It reminded me a lot of Gail Carrigers books. 4 stars

Take tea with the Victorian Mafia – organized crime has never been so civilized
Revenge is a dish best served cold. At the Lamb residence, it is also served on fine bone china.
The untimely demise of Thaddeus Lamb leaves his son Riley in charge of the vast Lamb empire, which imports tea, picks pockets, extorts, and keeps men warm on cold winter's nights. And so the Lambs grieve for their father in the best way they know how… Retribution.
Hired by the new head of the Fox Family, a position recently vacated by another untimely demise, the assassin O'Murtagh is tasked with the utter destruction of all the Lamb Family's business associates. They learn the hard way that there is no better hit man than a beautiful woman with tricks and weapons up her finely coiffed sleeves.
Treachery and deceit abound in the streets of London, and no one is safe. Honestly, it's enough to make anyone drink. Would you care for one lump or two?

Author Bio:
Katy is an arts and entertainment journalist and has worked for Time Out, Associated Newspapers and Comic Relief and her articles have appeared in The Times (London), Metro (London) and many other arts and entertainment publications, paper and online.
Alongside writing with her Dad under the pen-name Derry O’Dowd, whose first book ‘The Scarlet Ribbon’ was chosen to launch the History Press Ireland’s fiction line, she writes under her own name. 'The Lady Astronomer', a YA Steampunk tale was released by Untold Press in 2012.
Katy reviews for the Historical Novels Review and the British Fantasy Society.
Connect with Katy: [Webpage][Twitter][Goodreads]

Links:Katy blogs at
Twitter: @katyod
eBook  Links  
Snip. The jewelled secateurs caught the soft light thrown by the candles. Snip. Dark orange on green. Snip. Tiny white blossoms fell to the stone floor. Snip, snip.
Carmine Fox took an orange in her gloved hand and turned it over, this way and that, examining the pitted skin and running a finger along the bumps and grooves in the fruit.
In an alcove, the huge Brass Lady statue gleamed, her beautiful features painted buttery gold, eyes looking blindly at nothing at all.
Carmine's dress swept the floor, not a mourning dress as you might expect, having lost her father, but rather dove grey and lavender picked out with black trim along the panel, cuffs, hem, and bustle. Her hair, long and coiled, was the color of Grip's wings, as were her eyes. The muted tones of her dress made her sallow, or maybe it was just the lack of light.
Years of water and living things within the man-made lake had given the huge cathedral style glass ceiling and everything beneath a greenish hue and made the walls bleed rust.
She looked up from her study of the orange and threw it across the room, faster than the eye could see.
The woman standing in the shadows caught the orange, her arm shooting up to stop the fruit, as it nestled in her palm.
"Oh, brava."
O'Murtagh stood silently before Carmine Fox who walked toward her, the secateurs dangling lazily from her hand.
"Quiet little thing, aren't you?"
Fox peered at her intently, taking in the pale face and brown eyes framed with a veil of auburn hair.
"Well, quiet suits my needs. Feel free to eat the orange, which will be sweet and ripe. Ah, but how could such a thing grow here you wonder?" She paused. "It didn't, of course, there is a vast orangery in the house, but I like to be here to prune, the setting eases my mind."
O'Murtagh made no move to peel the fruit; instead she put it in one of the many pockets of her skirts.
Carmine Fox shrugged. "No matter. When you come to eat the orange, you will find it as I say. But now, we have other matters to discuss."
She walked back to the table where the plants stood and put the secateurs down.
"You have come highly recommended." Her heel tapped on the black and white tiled floor. "I have been told of your merits, misdeeds, and probably know more about you than your own mother, whom I believe has been dead a long time. But that doesn't interest me, your skills do."
O'Murtagh nodded imperceptibly.
"This is not a pretty tale, but then I suppose these things never are." Fox sighed and smiled, pacing the room, warming to her tale and the task ahead.
"Tell me, O'Murtagh. Do you believe in an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth?" Fox waved her hand airily. "We are not here to talk about the philosophy of doddery old men falling asleep and drooling into their beards. I mean vengeance, retribution. Honor, even if it is only the kind to be found among thieves."
Fox stopped pacing, abruptly, and O'Murtagh could feel the heightened tension in the room under the still water.
"There is no need for you to know everything, but know this," Carmine resumed talking and walking, "I am not sorry that my father is dead. Vile man. He made my mother's life a misery. Drove her to her death. I had this statue of her made. You know, I talk to her as I prune." She gazed fondly at the Brass Lady.
"But he didn't do this alone. No. Rather he was fuelled by his once great friend turned great enemy. Interesting that they should have died in the same week, is it not? Thaddeus Lamb and my father climbed the tree to the gold at the top, from ragged boys to prosperous men, branch by branch to the prize at the end. Suffice to say there was a falling out and my father the Fox did everything in his power to bring the traitor Lamb down."
Carmine went to the Brass Lady, and standing on tiptoe, ran her hand down the statue's cold cheek.
"My mother would have hated to see this. Hated to see what he made me. But my father not only left me his riches, he left me his hatred. After my mother died, all I heard of was how he was going to get his revenge. Now that he is no longer here, it is up to me to see this thing through. You do understand, don't you?"
"I do."
O'Murtagh's voice was so quiet that Carmine Fox wasn't sure she had heard her in the first place.
"I suppose you do, why would you be in your line of work otherwise?"
The assassin kept her brown gaze on the woman who had hired her, but held her tongue.
"Very well. Your job then, is to take the family down. Not directly, but by hitting them where they will hurt the most. Trade routes, business associates, and so on. My father left a diary full of any information you should need. I shall release the names of four people to you when the time is right. None of this shall be traced back to me, and if you should fail, I will make your life one long misery."
"I have no doubt."
"Good. So," Carmine Fox rubbed her hands together, almost gleefully, "Thaddeus Lamb, the Head of the Family is out of our way. I have been told that other factions are gathering like vultures over the rotting corpse of what remains and that the Lambs–when they are able to act–will find other matters to occupy their time. Such as a nasty little turf war. At which point we shall have progressed to a point where we will be able to muzzle them entirely."
She laughed, and O'Murtagh, seasoned as she was, felt the small hairs on her arms raise and her skin became as pitted as that of the orange in her pocket.
Fox pirouetted, her skirts spreading out and then settling.
"None of it shall ever be traced back to me," she delighted in her glee, before quietening. "Then I can get straight to the heart of things."
O'Murtagh's place was not to ask. She was being paid handsomely and had more time than she cared for to do these jobs. Nor was she squeamish, her body-count was impressive. Though she stopped short at children, babies, and pregnant women.
"Now, my dear." Fox clapped her hands together. "Time for tea. Would you care to accompany me back to the house?"

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Monday, May 12, 2014

Centuries Of Blood (#1) by S.I. Hayes Review, Excerpt and Giveaway ~Kami

Title: Centuries of Blood
Author: S.I. Hayes
Genre: Historical Paranormal Romance
Tour Host:
Lady Amber's Tours


The prose of this book sounds purposedly old fashioned since the story is taking place in the 1500's, but for me it wasn't working. It sounded forced. The transitions leave something to be desired. The book was reading like a list in the beginning. This happened, and then this happened, and then this happened. Catherine marries Henri but she loves the vampire Alexandarius. My mind kept wandering while reading this and I really wanted to skip a lot of it to get to the naughty bits. This book needs more development. 3 stars.

Blurb:Three men, a single heart. What's a girl to do? Especially when one of them has fangs...

16th Century England. A land at war. It's people fighting, dying for a king who chases skirts and takes heads on a whim. It is a time of reformation, of love, lust, betrayal and secrets. Catharine Morrigan Cecil is but sixteen years old as the tale unfolds, but her soul screams to be free of Glastonbury. Named for a child lost, she is chained to a life she doesn't want. Promised to a man whose ways foretell an unhappy life while still in love with another who will not fight for her.  

Left rejected, in a reach for freedom she runs. Finding a mysterious town with an even more mysterious stranger. Alexandarious (Darious) is young, strong, and Immortal. A Blood Devourer. Knowing his nature, Catharine Morrigan dares to give him her heart. She has pierced him through and through, but his people are waring and her safety is in peril. He wants and needs the beautiful woman "Morrigan" is becoming. But his heart knows better. She deserves a full life, one he can not give her.

The marriage bed awaits her as the Ottoman War zone calls him. The pair must separate to save the people to whom they are bound. While Darious fights for his Lord and Lady, Morrigan must fight for her survival at the hands of the man she calls husband.

Can they beat the odds, find each other once more and prove that love truly is Eternal?

Author Bio:
S.I.Hayes is the Co-Author to Awakenings: The Wrath Saga, a Paranormal drama likened to Big Brother meets The Real World, of the Preternatural.
She is currently working on the third novel in her In Dreams... Series, Due for release in 2014.
In her own words... I have a mind that is easily distracted and prone to wandering. Tangents are my forte, and if you think my characters are going to fit a cookie cutter shape of any kind, think again. They live, they love, they eat, sleep and f***. I believe that people are inherently sexual creatures and my characters be they human or something all together else are no exception.
I don't adhere to a single genera, I toe the line on several and wouldn't presume to be a master of any. So I suppose you could call me jack-of-all-trade-paperbacks.
I am a truth seeker, in my life, in my work. I’d apologize for it, but I kinda can't help m’self. It's my best and worse personality trait, well mostly, being Bi-Polar I guess you could say that is the worse. But I believe that the disorder have made me, well... Me.
I have taken this life and twisted, carved, shaped and molded it in to the worlds of my characters. Albeit with a chainsaw, and it has made all the difference.

Buy Links:
Amazon US

Chapter 1

Rain poured down in dime-sized droplets, and violent thunder shook the house of Jonathan Cecil as he watched his wife Willomeina, heavy with child earnestly tending to their only daughter Catharine, whose body was wrecked by a long illness. According to the doctor the fight was lost, he believed she would not last much longer this was probably the girls last night on earth.
When the priest came, Jonathan tried to pull Willomeina from Catharine, protesting, "Think of the Child!"
She would not heed the disputes; she would sit the night out, if she were going to lose her daughter tonight than she herself had to be there at that moment, when Catharine’s spirit released.
He understood, after all this was his child too, but it had taken so long for the blessing of the child she now carried. What of its life? The Doctor told them that Willomeina needed rest, that she should distance herself from sickness of any kind, she was fragile, and so was the pregnancy.


Willomeina’s mind and body fought against her. Lightning surged and the wind tore open the shutters causing the candles to flicker wildly against the onslaught of rain. She tried to close the shutters as Catharine began to cough fiercely, blood staining the cloth at her lips.
"Mother" She gasped her voice broken, consumed in pain. "Please, do not try your time with me, I am forsaken."
Willomeina’s eyes were red rimmed, her face stained with tears as she wiped the beaded sweat from Catharine’s brow.
"You waste your tears, Mother." She reached out touching Willomeina’s rounded belly, "Love her." She gasped again, "Love her." Her eyes fluttered fleetingly as she let out one last exasperated breath, and was gone.
Willomeina collapsed upon her, sobbing penetratingly, her gentle woman Marian, now came to her; she too had been crying, silently outside the room, with the Cecil’s five year old boy, who had sprung out of bed with the lightning, and now clutched her skirt.
Taking Willomeina by the shoulders, Marian softly urged her to come away, but it was young Jonathan’s little hands wrapped around her belly, which brought her back.
Defeated, Willomeina calmed herself, as the boy helped Marian with his mother.
They found Jonathan senior, sitting by the fire, a log book in his lap; it was used to record the life and deaths of the family. He looked up at them, reading their faces. He scribbled in the book a moment and then closed it solemnly.
"Then it is finished." He reached out his hand to his remaining family, beckoning to them. Willomeina went to his side, little Jonathan embraced between them.
They needed father’s strength now; moreover, his strength was what they would get. Through all the months of Catharine’s sickness, he had never waned, however, when he was alone at night and the house was quiet, he would cry. As the man of the house, he did love his child, but it was his duty to show strength, always. Least he be thought woman like and weak.
This was the opinion of the men of his century. In 1525, a man was the head of the house and must always act accordingly. They stood silently together, as Marian went to attend to Catharine’s body. The Priest would return in the morning, as well as the doctor, and neither was to see her in such a state. Marian would before then, bathe and clothe her properly. For Marian this was a daunting task, and she herself was the same age as Catharine, merely fourteen years. Saddened by all of this, for promised Catharine was to a young man, Henri Vanden Meyre only months before her sickness had taken hold. The thought that this match would now, never take place broke her heart.


The months passed, Catharine was buried in the Cecil family plot, and on June 21, 1525, Willomeina gave birth to a healthy baby girl. To honor their dearly departed daughter they named her Catharine Morrigan. Willomeina swore that this child would have all the things that Catharine never did, all the things that she could ever desire.
Over the years, Catharine’s father spared no expense with her education. His wealth coming to him after years of service in the kings army, he was for all purposes considered a gentleman, although he maintained a hands on approach when the harvest was near. She was instructed in all things proper and useful to run a home and to the chagrin of Willomeina; Jonathan wanted his daughter to understand all aspects of the family trade. From how the sheep were tended to the trade routes which brought them the most equity.
Catharine excelled here as in all of her studies and was fluent in Latin and French by the age of ten. More often than not translating many of her father’s merchant letters to English for his Greek was lacking. These accomplishments however wonderful to her instructors made her quite unpopular with the other girls who struggled with even the most menial tasks, and Catharine Morrigan often spent her little leisure time with whatever book she could get her hands on.
The gossip would continue about her through the years. Catharine appeared awkward growing up, her arms and legs seemingly too long for her frame. Scolded was she when defending herself from the teasing by her peers. In spite of this, no amount of chastisement would break her of her spirit.
When her mother would ask the Abbot for advice as to what to do, "This child is in need of a good whipping," became the only answer provided. In spite of everything, this was not to be. For although Catharine was scolded, her father would never allow an unkind hand to touch her, lest a mark be left on her delicate skin. The Abbot believed that it was in her naming that the problem lay.
For she possessed two names, which was mostly unheard of in this time and age. Having this feature, in theory meant Catharine possessed two spirits, that of the deceased sister and her own. This was what made her difficult.
Her father protested and decided that the problem was not his beautiful child, rather the other children. He accordingly pulled her from the classes and paid the instructors to come to her. Catharine spent most of her time in the home with the teachers and her family. Her brother Jonathan was away at University in Cambridge and only came home to Glastonbury occasionally. When he did, he spent all of his time with her, showing her what he was learning as she absorbed the writings of Aristotle better than he did. For he believed that, she should learn all that was possible even if the other women of the time thought it useless.
"Morrigan." He called her this, always believing their mother calling her Catharine morbid. "You should try to become better than those around you, never let your sex be your limitation. Rather let it be your freedom."
This would make her smile, his believing she should be more, that she was capable of it.
Until this time, in her fourteenth year, her world began to change. It was now 1537, and Jonathan had been away nearly a year. He came home and visited with her briefly, before going to their mother and father. He had come home to ask for their blessing, as it was customary for those who were a long time from home, for he had a mind to marry.
While visiting friends in Bristol, he had met a woman named Meagan, from a wealthy Irish family. He had already approached her family and now wished to announce it to his own.


"Father?" Jonathan stood before the fireplace facing him, and wrung his hands nervously, unsure of the reaction he was about to receive. It had only been moments since he made his announcement and his father sat silently staring into the fire.
His father raised a hand silencing him once more, and now turned to look upon him for the first time, his face veiled in quiet contemptible fury.
"I see you not in nearly a year," His voice was low as smoke from his pipe ebbed from his lips like a great dragon as he spoke. "You enter to tell me you are to be married. Should I be amused?"
"I thought-"
"And to a Celt!" He slammed his fist on the oak chair cracking it, "Not my son!"
"Jonathan!" Willomeina gasped, "Let him speak." She pleaded.
"Quiet Woman!" He stood now eye-to-eye with his son. "Tell me again why I should not throw you from my house?"
Jonathan stood sound, staring his father in the face.
"No words? You are not the man I thought you to be."
"I am not you." He stiffened; this action of pride was worthy of a lash.
But no lash would come.
Willomeina now stood between them, "Hear him out Jonathan," She looked to her husband her cerulean eyes, misted with tears.
He stood back, the look on Willomeina’s face softening him.
"Now both of you, please, sit." She motioned to the chairs by the fire.
They both sat down not looking at one another, not speaking a word. Willomeina stood waiting for one of them to speak.
She dragged a stool between them, the effort wearing her down.
Her son looked at her; she was no longer the flower of youth he remembered. Her dark obsidian hair, which once glistened like polished glass was now dull and streaked with the signs of her age.
With the fire dancing, playing on the shadows of her rounded cheeks, he glimpsed the fine lines that now extended from her beautiful eyes. In that instance when she looked at him, he saw that of a broken spirit, how he longed to take her away from him.
'The one who took it from her?' He thought.
She took a deep breath, "Jon, your father..."
"Do not speak for me."
"I will if you are to choose haste words and actions. Jonathan, I have watched you for many years now show no interest in our son, claiming he should think for himself. Yet now when he comes to us and tells us of a decision he has made, you choose to rave." She shook her head in disgust. "And you, Jon, you come to tell us you are going to marry, and yet this is the first that even I have heard of a woman. That, I do not understand. I want to know who she is. What is her family like that they would agree to such a marriage with out first a meeting with us?"
"I" He looked to his father."
"Go on then, speak boy," He muttered.
"I've spoken with Meagan's parents. They have taken a fancy to me, Mother, they believe Meagan and I to be a good match, and they will not give their final blessing until they have met the two of you, hence my coming home."
"So you would have married her already, had they only agreed?" His father huffed. "Marry the wench then."
"Jon, your Father only means-"
"Mother I know what he means. He has no use for the Irish people; he believes them to all be heathens, and heretics. But The Kilkenny's are a good family, well established in London, and she brings with her a handsome dowry." He leaned toward his father now, "Beg you, put aside your contempt and do for me what you have never done before, trust my judgment. Father, I would never do anything to tarnish the fine name you bestowed unto me. I am my Father’s son, though I am not my Father." He sat looking at them both, unsure of how it would turn out.
The silence that fell between them all was maddening. As his mother and Father sat looking at each other, not a word exchanged, then Jon saw his father squeeze his mother's hand.
She turned to Jon. "When shall this meeting take place?"
Jon’s heart eased, the silence was broken and the decision made, they would meet Meagan's Family.
"On Thursday next. I thought that would give each of you time to meet Meagan before hand."
"When will I see this child?" His father finally spoke.
"She is here in town, out in the coach actually." Jon smiled patiently.
"Go fetch her then." He answered stifled.
Willomeina stood to go with Jon, taking him by the arm they walked down the hall to the door.
"You had her in the coach? How presumptuous of you." She smiled.
"I had faith in you, Mother." He kissed her cheek, grasping the latch of the door.
"Wait." She clasped his hand.
He stopped watching her as she smoothed out the creases in her dress, straightened out her bodice and fussed with her hair. "Mother, you're beautiful." He grinned, planting a kiss on her cheek as he opened the door.
The coachman who tended the horses turned seeing them. He hurried to the door, opened it, and helped the woman inside the coach.
Her hair reflected copper in the sun light as it toppled out from beneath her bonnet, the coachman catching it as she stepped down.
She let out a genuine laugh. "So sorry." She giggled her accent a mixture of Irish and English, yet it was velvety smooth. She wore a baby blue satin dress, the bodice trimmed in pale blush pink with tiny white flowers. She stood up looking to Jon and Willomeina.
"Hello." Her face beamed as she walked up to them. "I’m Meagan Kilkenny." She curtsied, as Jon came to her side. "Jon has spoken highly of you."
"Has he? Come in, please." Willomeina wrapped her arm around the two of them as they entered the house.


Meagan's demeanor impressed Willomeina and Jonathan; rather Jonathan was impressed by her dowry. It was not that he was a greedy man, far from it; it was that he felt a woman should bring something to a marriage. Willomeina, had come with a handsome dowry upon their marriage arrangement, and although they had hoped to marry Jonathan well, it seemed he had found himself an even match in Meagan. She was intelligent, kind and above all encouraged him in his studies. Of course it helped that the Kilkenny family was protestant, and would help solidify Jonathan during this time of Reformation.


The meeting with the Kilkenny’s went on with out a hitch and Catharine was finally allowed to meet Meagan, for when she had come to the house prior, Marian had kept Catharine in her room. The Kilkenny's were pleased with Catharine, knowing Meagan had always wanted a sister, and they thought that Catharine was perfect; Catharine however was not as thrilled.
Since the announcement of the impending wedding, Jon had been home more often, but did not concern himself with her it seemed. The mutual decision was made that the wedding would take place after Jon's education and a one-year internship in The Kilkenny Law Office in Bristol.


Two years passed; Jon finished his schooling and took the position at his soon to be Father-in-Law's firm and the preparations for the wedding were made.
With the entire goings on, Catharine was not seeing much of Jon. This made her contempt for Meagan worsen; she felt that Meagan was taking Jon away from her. Yet, her mother believed in the end, this would bring them all together some how.
Catharine was not so sure. She did hope, however that once this wedding was over her life would level off and go back to normal. That did not matter though, for this day she was to meet Jon at the tailor. He had been in Bristol for a year and had not seen her. She arrived early with Marian, it was the first time this spring she had left the confines of her family's property. Over the long winter, Catharine had grown into her features and when Jon entered the shop, he did not recognize her all at once.
The dress she wore fit her newly acquired frame, showing the change in her from boyish to the full embodiment of womanhood, he could see that she had truly inherited their fathers’ height, as he had, making her all of five ten, quite tall for a woman of the period. Her raven black hair was lustrous and full with a cascade of curls, and although pulled back by her bonnet, it illuminated her fair skin no less. In a time when the women began to powder their faces, she had not the need. Jon stood in the doorway watching her read a book oblivious to the tailor, Monsieur Vanden Meyre, who hemmed her dress.
She looked up, her hypnotic green eyes, catching his in the mirror. "Jonathan!" She threw her book to Marian and gathering her skirts, hurried down from the pedestal on which she stood.
"Mademoiselle!" Monsieur Vanden Meyre protested as she pulled from him, embracing her brother, kissing his mouth gently.
"I have missed you, sister, though I almost did not recognize you." He laughed embracing her tightly again. "Oh! I have so much wanted to see you."
"Then you should have."
Monsieur Vanden Meyre cleared his throat impatiently. "Mademoiselle Cecil? May we ever finish that dress? You’re Mother-"
"Alright" Catharine dragged the word as she huffed and went back to her place before the mirror.
"So my dear Jonathan why are you late?" She smiled.
"The coachman took a wrong turn last night putting us off schedule." He looked to his sister, "Speaking of mother, where is she? I thought she would be here with you."
"Father tore a shirt; you know how she takes pride in that."
"Like Queen Katharine, always."
Monsieur Vanden Meyre nodded his head, "A woman should care for her husband, but I fear your mother may well put me out of business... Robert! Mademoiselle Cecil is waiting." He laughed. "The boy should be out momentarily."
"Fine." Jon turned his attentions to his sister once more. "Morrigan, how have you been this last year?" He tugged at the tendrils of her hair playfully.
"Quite well actually, but I do not want to talk of me. Tell me, Brother, how is Bristol? And when may I come to visit you there?"
He sighed, "Bristol is beautiful, the busy streets and shops that go on for as far as one has mind to walk. Yet the real beauty is here, not beyond this village, why would you ever want to leave, when you have all you could ever want at your fingertips?"
"Boredom." She answered her voice defeated, her mind knowing he would never understand.
She stood looking at him reflected in the mirror. 'This can not be my brother’ she thought, as Robert came from the back of the shop.
He was a handsome man of twenty. Dark hair and dark eyes, full of mischief it seemed. His presence pleased her, straitening her posture she smiled as he came in to view.
"Mademoiselle’s garment." Presenting the layers of burgundy fabric as well as farthingale to his father, a swaggering smile on his lips as his eyes met Catharine’s.
"What do you think of Robert's work?" Jon asked her.
"Lovely." She answered, trying to appear unimpressed although an affectionate smile was beginning to waltz across her lips.
Robert returned the reflection, bringing a flush to her cheeks. "Henri should be back momentarily with the proper cording, I had not the color and he went to fetch it."
Their eyes were in their natural habitat, upon one another, the flirtation unnoticed by most, except Marian who would never speak of it, but saw it often, and Jonathan who of course was not so naive.
Their stare was broken by Henri’s entrance.


Henri was the eldest son, the one who would take over the shop when the time came. At the age of thirty-three, he was however growing impatient with their fathers’ reluctance to retire. He had plans and the favor of every woman in town, yet, Catharine mystified him, for all of his efforts to please her went unnoticed. While this would have discouraged another, it only made him want her more. He would make her understand his intentions. But it was he who did not understand, for with all of Catharine’s learning, in her naivety she did not seem to see or understand his advancements as other women did.
With her, he seemed not a doter, but rather a comical figure. She did like him, he amused her, but that was all.
"Hello Jonathan," He nodded, walking past him to Robert who stood by their father.
"Did you get it?" Robert asked.
"Actually I got something better instead of the cream ribbon which disappears within the bodice I acquired this forest green cord, it will make it more beautiful." He smiled handing it to Robert.
"You may be right, I'll get the bodice, and we will see." He looked to Catharine, "If that would please you."
Catharine nodded in compliance and Robert went to the back of the shop for the rest of the dress.
Catharine went back to her book, Marian having returned it, as Henri walked over to her.
"How are you my lady?" He smiled watching her read.
"Fine." She answered without an upward glance.
"Whenever I see you," He tilted the book; "Your nose is always behind a stack of pages." He mused.
"I enjoy it." She snapped, pulling away, "Besides, books don't talk back." She mumbled turning the page. "I'm almost done with the chapter now leave me to it."
Jon laughed shaking his head.
"Catharine! Don't be rude." Marian protested.
Catharine lifted her hand in jest, "So now I can not be honest?" Turning, she saw the defeat in Henri's face.
"I'm sorry Henri," She drew out her words condescendingly, and then regaining her composure, slipped the book on to the table beside her.
"You know I jest, don't be angry." She smiled sweetly as she finished.
With a sheepish smile, Henri tilted his head as she gently touched his face.
"Don't let her kid you, Henri, she reads in her sleep." Jon laughed, "But that's my girl." He winked at Catharine.
"Ha- Ha-." She said coldly.
Monsieur Vanden Meyre smiled, as he finished the last few stitches on the hem of her dress.
"Henri let’s you and I, go help your brother prepare the dressing room for Lady Catharine."
Henri nodded to his father, helping him to his feet; they promptly went to Robert's aid.
"You do not realize the power you have over them, it’s..." Jon huffed as he helped Catharine off the pedestal. "Dangerous."
"Meaning what?"
"They both dote upon you, yet you see it not."
Catharine smiled brazenly. "Don't I?"
"You Fiend. Do you care nothing of them?"
Monsieur Vanden Meyre called to her, "My Lady, we are ready."
Catharine flashed a roguish smile as she and Marian disappeared behind the curtain.
Jon sat in a satin chair, "A world of trouble that one," He laughed to himself.


Monsieur Vanden Meyre stood beside the dressing room door holding the rest of Catharine's gown.
Taking it from his out stretched hands, she smiled.
"Why the weight?" Marian asked.
"I- we, thought Catharine would benefit from this new design." Robert answered, "It is a Vertugadin Tambour, err... Tambourine Farthingale, it is less bulky, and covered by these beautiful flounces, t will give a lovely shape and be more comfortable with the stay. "
Catharine took the dress and went to work putting it on before Marian could protest further.
Monsieur Vanden Meyre wrung his hands nervously.
Moments later she came out, Monsieur Vanden Meyre let out a contented sigh.
"Beautiful." He laughed clasping his hands with joy. "Come let's see if your brother approves."


The three men were still in the front, laughing and talking of old times. They fell silent as she came out to them.
"Father." Henri broke the silence. "You've out done yourself."
"You look beautiful, sister, very grownup." he walked to her, "But." he turned her around and began to pull the pins from her hair.
"Jon? What are you doing?" She laughed, as he tossed the pins to Robert who was trying frantically to catch them, her hair falling down around Jon’s hands. "I think you should wear it down like this."
He pulled the sides of her hair back braiding it straight down, leaving the rest of her hair free, the curls intact, and falling at her waist. Tying the ends of her braid with a bit of fabric, he turned her to himself, smiling, now satisfied with what he saw, he stepped aside so all could see.
She blushed as they all nodded and said things of approval, the white of her chest growing pink, casting the shade over her now impish smile.
"You look stunning." Robert whispered. "But Father, isn't something missing?"
"Yes the overskirt, I have it here." Monsieur Vanden Meyre handed it to Robert.
It was a deep red like mulled wine, split in the front to show the layers of black silk that made up the bulk of the dresses vast width a stark and beautiful contrast to the crème stay which held her firm breasts down against her thin frame.
Robert secured it around her, breathing in the smell of her hair.
'Roses?’ he thought. He breathed again; 'yes' he pushed the hair from her back, his warm hands grazing her bare shoulder blades as he placed her hair over her shoulder. His touch sent a shiver through her body, causing her to stiffen a little; no one noticed as they talked amongst themselves, though Robert felt it.
"Excuse me," he whispered softly, his breath warm against her ear, sending another quiet tremor through her as he smoothed the dress.
"There, now it's complete." He faced her pushing her hair back beyond her shoulders.
"Perfect." Catharine smiled as he fussed with her hair.
For him this was gratifying, to be so near to her, to touch her softly scented skin, it was his job, to fuss over her and no one could protest to his attentions. These moments were why he stayed, he had been given the opportunity to sail abroad, to learn the merchant routs, but he did not want to leave her.
"I think Meagan has competition." Jonathan smiled kissing her cheek. "You look radiant."
Robert busied himself now with the fabric of the overlay, smoothing it out over her hips. She smiled, as he crouched down in front of her.
"Thank you, its beautiful Robert."
"It was our pleasure." He kissed her hand softly, then the shop door opened and Willomeina, Catharine's mother entered. Seeing this gesture caused a disdainful look to cross her face.
"Mother." She pulled her hand from Robert, who stood quickly. "I thought you weren't coming."
"Seems I've arrived just in time," She shot Robert a sideways glance. Then her features softened, as she finally looked at Catharine, "You look lovely, Catharine Morrigan." She always called her that now. "It was after all, her name." She would answer when asked.
For her daughter was not her lost Catharine. She was someone…something… different and did not act at all like her namesake. By fifteen, her lost child was going to be married, but that child was gone. This child did not seem to have any interest in those things, so she thought. Then what was this she had witnessed a moment ago?
She let it pass. For now.
"Thank you Mother." Catharine answered obediently.
Willomeina nodded, "Go change, we have much to do." She turned to her son. "Jonathan," she hugged him tightly, as Marian took Catharine to change.
Looking at him, her face was solemn. "Your father wants to see you so," She ran her fingers through his well-trimmed hair and down his shaven face. "Married... My little boy." She spoke, though not to him, it seemed more so to her self. Convincing her self-maybe, as she looked in the mirror.
"By weeks end, if the rains stay." He answered looking to the mirror as well.
"Am I so old?" She whispered.
"You’re Beautiful." He kissed her cheek.
There was no one to witness this tender moment between Mother and son. Robert attended a man who came in behind Willomeina. Monsieur Vanden Meyre and Henri waited for the pieces of the dress from Catharine as they came over or through the door.
"Married." She laughed quietly.
"Yes, now we need to get Morrigan a gentleman." He smiled as she picked lint off his lapel.
She frowned. "I do not think she'll ever marry.
"She will." He looked to Robert.
Seeing the disapproving frown on her face when Robert returned unsettled him, "Mother?" He whispered, uncomfortable.
"I don't like the way that one looks at Catharine Morrigan." She whispered back.
Before Jonathan could question further, Catharine appeared, back in her usual overly restrictive dress, her hair pulled back beneath the bonnet once more.
"This is not the time nor the place." Willomeina whispered. "Come now, Marian, you'll procure the packages and have settled with the Vanden Meyre’s?"
"Yes Madame, right away."

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