By Terry Spear
An excerpt from A GHOST OF A CHANCE AT LOVE…
A glimmer of early morning light shimmered through the separation in the burgundy velvet curtains hanging loosely over the window. Shadows flitted across the papered wall in a choreographed dance. Not wanting to rise without turning on some heat, Lisa finally gave up and grabbed her blouse at the end of the bed then hurriedly put it on. She buttoned the pearls of her lace-trimmed sleeves and slid off the goose-down mattress. After groping around for her skirt, she finally felt the denim and pulled it on. Feeling slightly warmer, she reached over to turn on the lamp but couldn’t find it. She slid off the bed and made her way to the door, trying not to stumble over anything in the dark.
Her vision blurred, and her head swam as if a heavy dose of vertigo suddenly infected her. Stumbling back to the bed, she collapsed.
“Why am I so dizzy?” Trying to still the pounding sensation, she massaged her temple.
The last time she’d felt this lightheaded, she’d had heat exhaustion, hiking with Tom in Palo Duro Canyon out west without enough water to chase away dehydration on a hot summer day.
A sickening thought occurred to her—what if she was pregnant? She’d made the horrible mistake of having sex with Tom right before the separation. Before she knew he was having an affair and planned to leave her. As irregular as her blasted periods were, she could never be sure.
Not wanting to deal with that scenario, she quickly dismissed the notion.
She lay back down to settle the turmoil in her head and stomach when a hazy light appeared, wavering in the corner of the room. For a second, the dimly lit figure lingered then vanished.
Groaning, Lisa closed her eyes and rubbed them. “Now, I’m seeing things.”
Turning on her side, she saw pale sunlight peeking through the edges of the curtains. She slipped off the bed, went to the window, and pulled the heavy drapes aside. The leaded, opaque glass distorted the view. Admiring the beveling she ran her finger over the old-time panels. They reminded her of the ones in her mother’s sunroom when she was little. A hint of rose wafted to her as if she was in her mother’s garden again. A pang of regret washed over her. She’d wished her parents had lived to see her marry. Now she was almost glad they didn’t have to see her marriage dissolve in disgrace.
Lisa shoved the window open and took a deep breath of the cool fresh breeze.
Turning her attention to the bedside tables, she noted the lamp sat on the one farthest from where she’d been sleeping, until she’d snuggled with the stranger. She walked around the bed and studied the shiny lantern mirroring her disheveled reflection. When she touched the amber glass, the heat burned the tips of her fingers, and she jerked her hand back.
An oil lamp? She could have sworn she turned on an electric lamp last night. She didn’t have any matches to light an oil lamp. Unless the cowboy had lit it while she was dead to the world. But it had to have been hours since then. So why was it still hot?
Another question came to mind. Did the guy come in after she was asleep? She couldn’t even remember having gone to bed, let alone much of anything else.
She fingered the necklace hanging about her neck, the deep purple stone shimmering in the sunlight.
Her stomach grumbled. She sighed. It was definitely time to indulge herself in a day spent shopping at the quaint little gift shops, but first things first.
Glancing around the room, she looked for her tapestry bag. Where in the world was it? She was sure she had set it on the floor next to the bed.
Her gaze shifted. No bathroom? She’d never stayed overnight here before. After this, she’d never stay here again. She wasn’t into roughing it. When she didn’t see her bag anywhere, she peered under the bed’s Battenburg lace dust ruffle. No bag, but a copper pot sat near the edge of the bed and, fluttering beyond her reach, a piece of paper beckoned to her.
Curiosity got the best of her. Standing, she looked for something long enough to pull the paper toward her. She spied a cane leaning in the corner of the room, partially obscured by a high-backed, winged chair where the strange light had appeared.
If the previous guest had left it behind, wouldn’t he or she have missed it before this?
She crossed the room to the cane and examined the hand-carved ivory handle shaped in the form of a swan’s head. Maybe it was part of the nineteenth century look of the room. She returned to the bed, stretched the cane out to the paper, and snagged the floral note.
Dated October 26, 1870, a woman’s delicate lacy letters were written on what looked like brand new parchment.
Aunt Polly has brought me here away from the prying eyes of the rest of the family since I have been very ill of late. She has seen to my needs for several days, but she has not come in the last twenty-four hours, and I fear will not return. Although I felt I was recovering, I have been too weak to leave my bed. None of the hotel staff have come near the room. If I do not make it, my darling, know I loved you with all my heart. If not in this lifetime, we will surely be together in the next. Our love for one another can never die.
Yours eternally, Josephine.
And that was the beginning of all the trouble. Well, except she had nightmares about men trying to kill her and found a sexy…naked…cowboy in her hotel bed. And the messy divorce before that. And…well, as you can see, poor Lisa is really having a time of it. When all she wanted was to get away from it all.
Which she did…a long, long ways away from it all.
One of the things I queried about when I was researching the story—did this Stagecoach Inn [Salado, Texas] have an indoor community restroom during this period of time? No, it would have been an outhouse outside. So that’s another thing Lisa learns right away.
One of the places that Lisa goes to in the story is Table Rock, which was a lover’s tryst and had multiple names etched into the rock of lovers past. It’s fun finding true instances for a setting to add to a story. Like the fact that cattle did muddy the water source for the town of Salado as they were herded across Salado Creek until they built a bridge. And outlaws and others hid in caves in the local area. And that other caves were used for cold food storage before refrigeration was available. Even the photographer in the story in Waco was a real photographer back during this period of time. I love research and adding what I learn to a story.
Sometimes while doing research, I learn that I can’t use a scene I intended, like in DREAMING OF THE WOLF, I set it in Breckenridge, Colorado, and wanted a drive-in movie scene, but it would have been too far away to travel to. So sometimes setting a story in a real place, can limit our fictional scenes and the way we want to write them. But oftentimes, I find that when I’m thwarted, I can find something else that will work just as well.
Why werewolves then a time travel western ghostly romance? In HEART OF THE WOLF, it actually began back in the old west where the heroine, a red wolf was rescued by a gray wolf and raised by their pack. And in DESTINY OF THE WOLF, the town is an old silver mining town started by werewolves in the old days. They live long lives, so it’s fun for me to explore some of the historical past with the contemporary characters. In that story, they actually have a Victorian Day where they wear clothes of that era, even though some own the real old world fashions. It was fun viewing this from a werewolf’s point of view. All those clothes to get out of when they had to shift in a hurry!
And in HEART OF THE HIGHLAND WOLF, I actually included a ghost, because what self-respecting Scottish castle can’t lay claim to one?
So it only seemed reasonable that these manifested from my love of the old west and ghostly tales. I wrote this one way before I wrote my werewolf stories, you see! :)
Back to the past…and a tale of ghostly proportions—where the only wolves were the fully wolf kind—if you woke up in the Salado Inn with a naked cowboy in the past, what would you do?
Vinspire Publishing: http://www.vrpublishing.com/vinspirepublishing.com/author_pages/terry_spear.html
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Ghost-Chance-Love-ebook/dp/B005LHO9U4/ref=sr_1_27?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1322706323&sr=1-27Terry Spear
“Giving new meaning to the term alpha male where fantasy IS reality.”
ABOUT TERRY SPEAR
|Terry Spear, author|
Don't you long to read Terry's A GHOST OF A CHANCE AT LOVE? I've ordered it, but I'm behind on my reading. I'll treat myself to it this week, because I just can't wait much longer to dive into the story. I love visiting Salado, so it will be fun to see some of the historic sites used in her book.
Join me Wednesday for a look at Tracy Cramer-Kelly's TRUE SURRENDER. Thanks for stopping by!