Monday, July 14, 2008

THE VIOLIN

This picture of Keanu Reeves reminded me so much of John Douglas in THE VIOLIN that I just had to post it.
Here is an Excerpt and a Blurb from my latest release, THE VIOLIN.

THE VIOLIN by Sarah J. McNeal (Blurb)


Genevieve has dreamed about him all her life, but it isn’t until she buys his violin and finds the remnants of his life and the mystery of his death within its case, that she makes a decision that will change her life forever. Is there a way to change the past and save the man who haunts her heart?



THE VIOLIN by Sarah J. McNeal at Amira Press
http://amirapress.com/theviolin.htm


John came to the Susquehanna River and turned north until they arrived in front of a house that had been converted into a restaurant. The front porch faced the river and had tables set with linen and hurricane globes that kept the candles from sputtering out in the light breeze from the river. The entire front of the house was one window after another until it appeared to be all glass.
Genevieve looked in awe at the splendor of the fine linens and the warm glow of the candles placed on every table inside as well as the little crystal vases of fresh flowers that were placed on each table.
A striking woman wafting in a cloud of thick perfume greeted them at the door and gave John with a familiar hug. Too familiar as far as Genevieve was concerned. “It’s so good to see you again,” the blond headed woman with stark red lips and rouged cheeks said. She smiled, oh, so prettily.
She wore a red satin dress with a dropped waist and a short hem just above the knees. Her black, silk stockings were rolled about mid thigh and, when she leaned over to give John a kiss and a generous view below her loose neckline, Genevieve could see the tops of her stockings. Several long strands of faux pearls hung from her neck and were tied in a knot just below her breasts accentuating the voluptuous orbs that bobbed unencumbered by a bra. A red sequined scarf was tied around her head and tied in a bow just above her left ear. The ties fell to her shoulders. She was definitely a modern girl for nineteen-twenty-seven. Genevieve remembered reading about this type of woman and recalled that they adopted the name of flapper.
The smile vanished from the ruby lips as soon as the painted lady's pale eyes fringed with fake lashes beheld Genevieve. The woman studied Genevieve slowly from head to toe and smirked drawing her lips into a thin, disapproving line. “Well, your standards have certainly shifted mighty low, John,” she said.
Genevieve drew in a sharp breath at the hurtful remark. As usual, she had no witty or philosophical retort. She stood there with stricken vocal cords and a little knot of pain in her throat. She was very aware of her haphazard apparel, her ordinary brown hair and blue eyes and her plain looks with not even a dot of redeeming makeup.
John loosened himself from the woman’s grasp. He smiled at the witch and said, “In with those claws now, Ruby.” Of course, her name would be Ruby. “I see you’re on your way somewhere so you probably want to go on and get there. You wouldn’t want to make some fella wait too long and lose interest.”
Ruby threw her chin in the air and sniffed the air. “By the looks of things, John, you’ll be having an early night tonight,” she said and twirled her beads as she slinked down the steps.
“It’s not the quantity of time, Ruby, dear, it’s the quality,” John called after her. “But you go on and have a nice time just the same.”
From some distance came a sharp reply, “You go to hell, John Douglas.” The click of heels fell faint in the distance.
John opened the door for Genevieve and guided her in with his hand to the small of her back. “Don’t mind her. Ruby’s just jealous. I hear she’s seeing Hank Shifford. He’s a nice guy I guess but kind of dumb and no where near as handsome as me.” John gave Genevieve a charming grin.
“You are the most arrogant man I have ever met,” Genevieve retorted but she couldn’t help smiling back.
A finely dressed waiter directed them to a table beside the front windows. Other diners were already there and more were threading through the door in a somewhat steady stream. Everyone seemed to know John and treated him well with kind words and generous attention. Genevieve surmised that John dined at this restaurant quite frequently.
Everything was perfectly beautiful from the table linens to the fine china and flatware to the meal itself. John kept her entertained with funny antidotes and stories until her sides ached with laughter.
During the course of the evening Genevieve remembered what the older Julia had told her about John in the dress shop in Sunbury the day she almost left to go back home. Supposedly John had a finance’. So where was this woman? Her heart felt a little heavy in her chest as she thought about John belonging to another.
She knew she should leave the subject alone and just enjoy this meal and his company for whatever time she could. She would be going back to another time and place soon. She had no right to be jealous or hurt that John had a life without her in it. But it did hurt.
“What are we doing here?” she asked interrupting his story.
His words sputtered to a stop in the middle of his little antidote. He was silent for a moment as if trying to grasp what she just asked. “What in blazes are you talking about?”
“What are you doing with me here? Don’t you have a girlfriend or maybe a finance’? What would she think about you being out dining with another woman?” There it was. She had just laid it out there. She almost wished she could take it back and that she hadn’t said anything at all. It was too late now.
At first, John looked pale and fell silent. He clasped his hands in his lap and stared at them for a moment. Then he looked up, smiled at her and said, “I swear to you that there is no woman in my life except the one sitting across the table from me right now.”
“But I ... well I...,” Genevieve started to tell him what the older Julia had said but her words ground down to silence. How could she tell him that? No sane person could believe she was from the future. What was she thinking?
John lifted a brow. “It appears that you are mistaken. Think about it, honey. Here we are in a small town. Everybody knows everybody else’s business. If I were cheating on my finance’ as you believe I am, wouldn’t it stand to reason that someone would tell her?” He grinned. “I can do some stupid and crazy things but I’m not that stupid or that crazy. Not yet anyway.”
Genevieve settled her spine against the back of the chair and looked at him for a moment. Her internal radar that was ever vigilant was ringing loudly in her head. She felt that John was holding back something. What secrets was he keeping? Genevieve’s heart wanted to trust him in spite of her misgivings. Perhaps the older Julia was mistaken. “So this is like a date we’re on?”
John rolled his eyes. “I would have thought that was perfectly clear. For Pete’s sake Genevieve, what else could it be?”
“I thought you were just being nice to me for helping your mother bake for the picnic tomorrow.” Genevieve clasped her hands in her lap trying to get control of her runaway heart.
“I hate to state the obvious but this is a date, a romantic interlude, if you will. I’m pretty sure you know how this works. I find myself attracted you. I hope with all my heart that you’re attracted to me. I take you out presenting myself in the best possible light to give you food and wine with the hopes that I appeal to you enough to merit a kiss. It’s an elaborate sort of mating dance.” John’s mouth twitched as if holding back a burst of laughter. “Now don’t go getting all nervous. We’re not at the mating part yet.” Then he did laugh.
He wasn’t quite the hero from a romance novel but he was charming in his own way Genevieve thought. He made her laugh. Mostly he made her insides churn all up. He would say the sweetest things and then ruin it by just infuriating her. She was sure there was no one like him, not ever.
He took her out of her comfort zone, away from safety. He made her step to the edge of her ability to cope then convinced her in his own enchanting way to take just one more step. But he always took the step with her.
He made her nervous. She couldn’t look at John without her heart racing and blood surging through her veins out of control. He was turning her world upside down.
She looked across the table at him and his eyes looked into hers almost as if he could read her thoughts. She felt the crimson tide of blood race up to her cheeks and neck in an embarrassing blush.
This was everything she had ever feared. She was in another time and didn’t know how she got there, didn’t know how she would get back to her own time, and, even worse, didn’t know if she wanted to get back to her own time. She didn’t understand any of it.
She did know one thing and it came to her like a blinking neon sign; she was head over heels crazy in love with John Douglas. It terrified her. She didn’t really know him. They had just met. Her insides were rambling out of control.
John reached under the table, pried her clenched hands loose, and took her right hand in his warm, comforting grasp. He leaned across the table, peered into her eyes and said ever so softly, “Don’t be afraid. Every thing's going to be all right.”

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