Author: Diane Merrill Wigginton
Series: Jeweled Dagger Series (Book 3) (Part of The Benjamin Franklin Award Winning Series)
Genre: Historical Romance/Suspense
Publisher: Jeweled Dagger Publishing
Release Date: Aug 4 2017
Edition/Format: 1st Edition/Formats ~ eBook & Print
The year is 1804. Lady Olivia Sophia Allen Townsend has just turned 20 years old, beautiful and considered by some in polite society far too eccentric for her own good. When Olivia was younger, she was very open about her gift of being able to see spirits, but the shunning by her peers has caused her to turn her back on those who need her the most - spirits caught between two worlds. That is until her best friend Lilly Collins comes to her in the middle of the night and asks for her help. Lilly can’t remember what happened to her so finds herself in need of Olivia’s unique gifts.
Olivia’s younger sister, Coco, is also gifted with a unique set of skills - she can touch someone and know things about them that they would sometimes prefer to keep hidden. Together, the sisters set off on a sea voyage, from Ireland to America, intent on solving the mystery of Lilly’s untimely death.
Brody and Quinton Beaumont, fine-looking, eligible, southern American gentlemen, and heirs to a successful cotton empire, are twins hiding a deep dark secret. Their mother, Annabelle Beaumont, died eight years earlier on the night of their annual birthday winter ball, yet she continues to rule over their plantation home with an iron fist.
Olivia, drawn to no man, feels suddenly akin to Brody Beaumont, but she must figure out if she can trust him, and if he or his brother had anything to do with Lilly’s death.
I awoke with a start to find Coco gone. Panicked, I leapt from the bed, ran to her room and found it empty. “Margot, where are you, woman?” I shouted, the sound of my own voice reverberated off the walls. The rooms were empty.
Quickly dressing in a Grecian-inspired, muslin white gown with tiny pink rosebuds embroidered around the neckline and hem, I picked up a soft pink shawl to keep my arms warm and left the room. Half way down the stairs, I could hear loud laughter coming from the sunroom. One voice in particular was very familiar — my father’s.
His booming laughter quickened my steps and, as I rounded the corner, I hesitated a moment. I was not sure of the reception I would receive. Composing myself before stepping through the doorway, I decided the doting daughter would be my best move in this situation. I rushed through the door and immediately came face to face with Father.
Throwing myself into his arms, I greeted him as if I hadn’t seen him in months, which I hadn’t. “Oh father, you finally arrived. I have missed you so,” I cried, planting kisses on both his cheeks. Then turning to my mother, I made a dramatic show of throwing my arms around her as well. “And Mother, it has been an eternity. How was your trip? Uneventful I hope,” I rambled, embracing her and kissing both of her cheeks. “Coco was just saying last night, how she hoped you would receive our message in time to attend the Beaumont’s annual party, and here you are!”
“Yes, here we are,” Mother repeated, in a tone that let me know she wasn’t for one minute buying what I was selling.
“How fortuitous,” I stated gleefully, feeling like a trapped animal.
“Yes, how fortuitous, indeed,” Father mimicked, with a death stare that made my insides turn liquid. A nervous laugh bubbled up from somewhere inside escaping my lips, while I turned three shades of red. “I can only assume that everyone has introduced themselves.”
“Yes, and I have already made arrangements for your parents to stay in the same wing of the house as you and your sister,” Harrison said, gesturing towards the table. “Perhaps we can all sit down and enjoy a lovely breakfast together.”
“Yes, thank you, Mr. Beaumont, that would be most hospitable of you, considering my daughters have already intruded upon your generosity,” Mother stated, taking ahold of my arm, escorting me to the table, while Father flanked me on the other side, like a pair of armed guards escorting a prisoner.
My eyes wandered over to Coco in hopes that she would help me in some way. But she suddenly found something interesting to stare at in her lap. Coward!
“We haven’t decided to stay,” Father informed me, then cleared his throat. “I’ve sent Captain Bellamy home to unload his cargo. So it seems that you and your sister will be traveling back with us.”
“If you will allow me to say, sir, Olivia is a tough negotiator. I believe I may have lost money on our deal,” Brody interjected, seeing the stricken look in my eyes.
“You don’t say!” Father turned to give Brody the full measure of his scrutiny.
“Why, yes. She wouldn’t budge from the amount she was willing to pay. I tried everything, but Olivia didn’t blink. She was very convincing when she stood up and thanked me for my time,” Brody laughed and shook his head. “I believe she would have actually walked away. In the end, I was the one who blinked.”
“You don’t say,” Mother mused, looking at me with fresh eyes.
“Your daughter truly is a shrewd negotiator, Lady Townsend,” Brody replied, never averting his eyes, even when I blushed and looked away.
I smiled to myself, taking the seat next to Coco, who finally decided to look up at me. The little turn coat!
“You didn’t give the farm away, did you, boy?” Harrison choked on his coffee, sputtering and coughing into his white linen napkin.
“No Father, I did not give the farm away. I simply did as I was taught. I made up the difference on the next deal I made,” Brody assured him, before giving me a wry smile and a wink.
This caused Coco to giggle into her napkin, then cover it up with a cough, while reaching for her cup of tea. “Something in my throat…”
“I would expect nothing less of Olivia,” Father stated with pride. “I taught her to play poker when she was only six. Take my word on this one, she is very good at a bluff.”
Brody gave a hearty laugh. “Believe me, I know.”
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Born in Riverside, California in 1963, my family and I moved to San Diego when I was nearly 8. I had a very rich life growing up, with my brother, David and best friend Gigi, for company. I was married to my current husband, David in 1998 and we moved to Herald, California in 2001. We have a blended family of 6 kids and enjoy the rural life on our 5 1/2 acre ranch, 45 minutes south of Sacramento. I love writing and creating stories that are different and intriguing. I like to give my readers a little something unexpected. I have always wanted to be a published author, but the timing never seemed right. Raising a family and working full time always took precedence. Shortly after I turned 50 I decided that it would never be the right time, and determined that I needed to live my truth and follow my dreams. So I began writing on a whim, and loved everything about it. My first book is out, and the second one is at the publishers, scheduled to be released, April 4, 2017. I am currently working on book 3 of my series, slated to release the first week in August, 2017. I am very excited about the future, and thrilled to be writing. I count my blessings every day because I know how truly lucky I am. Life is good.
Facebook Page/Book Page Angelina’s Secret
Website/Publisher Jeweled Dagger Publishing