Author Cynthia Owens is stepping in for me today while I take a day off to celebrate my birthday!
Good morning, Alina, and thank you so much for having me as your guest today! I’m thrilled to announce the upcoming release of Yesterday’s Promise, Book IV of the Wild Geese Series.
…Like the Wild Geese of Old Ireland, five boys grew to manhood despite hunger, war, and the mean streets of New York…
An army doctor, Declan Morrissey fought for the survival of every wounded soldier, rejoicing when they recovered, mourning bitterly when they died.
Valerie Stanton was his beautiful battlefield nurse, strong, courageous, and dedicated.
He never dreamed she was an heiress, or that she’d break his heart in a desperate gamble to save the life of another man.
Now that they’ve found each other again, can they overcome past deception and claim the happily ever after they dreamed of?
The Wild Geese Series, about five boys who fled famished Ireland, grew up together, and fought with Thomas Francis Meagher’s Irish Brigade, has been an absolute joy to write. I’ve loved each and every one of my “Irish Brigade heroes” and their heroines.
And yet, they weren’t my first heroes to fight with the Irish Brigade. That was Cavan Callaghan, hero of the second novel in my Claddagh Series, Coming Home. Cavan sailed to Ireland from America, hoping to find the family he never knew, and wound up falling in love with a beautiful Irish girl. His story was the genus for the Wild Geese.
The first book in the series, Deceptive Hearts, features Shane MacDermott, the leader of this band of brothers.
A former boxing champion, Shane has settled down to live as a police officer in New York, determined to protect his young daughter from the evils of the city. He never counted on meeting a mysterious, wealthy beauty in a Five Points tenement flat, or that their tumultuous relationship would put all their lives in danger!
In Book II, Keeper of the Light, I used a little-known but important bit of Canadian history (first mentioned in Coming Home) to catapult Irish rebel Cathal Donnelly on to a tiny island off the coast of New Brunswick and into the arms of Laura Bainbridge, a very proud Loyalist who’s about to embark on her first London season!
Needless to say, sparks fly from the very beginning.
In the third book, My Dark Rose, we meet the heart of the Wild Geese, Dary Greely. Everybody’s friend, he was the lucky one of the group, until disaster strikes his small family. Can Róisín Donovan, an Irish girl with dreams of a musical career, heal his heart?
And now there’s Yesterday’s Promise, Declan Morrissey’s story.
Here’s an excerpt from my new release, Yesterday’s Promise:
The Sally Malone, Black ‘47
“None o’ yer baby tears now, lad.” The stern voice hissed into Declan’s ear and crawled across his soul. The hand clamped on his shoulder bit into his chilled skin. “Be a man now.”
Declan caught back a sniffle as he tore his gaze from the churning gray sea and stared fearfully at his father. Didn’t Da care about anything—even the fact that Ma’s lifeless body had just been tossed overboard into the foaming, hungry sea?
Declan shivered as the brisk wind tore through his ragged shirt. He was so cold. Hunger and fear gnawed at him. They’d been on this terrible dark ship for weeks now. Would they ever reach America?
His mother’s face had lit with hope when she spoke of America. “There’s food there, Declan. So much food ‘twill fill all our bellies and be some left over for the next day, please God. There’s work in America too, so there is, for those who want it. And there’s a chance for ye, Declan lad, the chance of an education. Sure, there’s no tellin’ what ye might become with an education.” Tears flooded Declan’s eyes and grabbed his throat in an iron fist as he saw again Ma’s body sliding into the sea.
Da’s long, bony fingers dug into his shoulder. “D’ye hear me lad? I’ll not have ye blubbering like a wee babe. Ye’re ten now.”
Declan bit the tremble from his lips. He wished he was home again, in the tiny cottage in Clare, instead of here on the ship. Massive sea gulls wheeled overhead and screamed a mournful lament, and the salt wind whipped his cheeks and stung his chapped lips. “I’m sorry, Da.” The wind snatched the whispered words from his mouth and carried them away.
But someone had heard.
“Go easy, Brendan.” Sean Greely, his own face streaked with tears at the loss of two of his children, shook his head at Da. “Sure, the lad’s just lost his ma. ‘Tis only right he be allowed to grieve.”
Da glared at the man whose son had become Declan’s bosom friend, but he didn’t snap at him, to Declan’s vast relief. Declan knew what Da was thinking. Sean Greely was more than just one of the hundreds of desperate immigrants fleeing famished Ireland. Declan had heard one of the men say there were over four hundred of them crammed into the ship’s hold. Sean Greely had been a good, strong farmer before the praties failed. An educated man who knew how to read and write, and who’d taught his children as well. A man who was respected even on the coffin ship, a man with a few coins put by.
“Go ye now, lad,” Mr. Greely said quietly, his gaze firm on Da’s face. “Off you go now with the other boys.”
Declan cast a furtive glance from his father to Mr. Greely. Then, not daring to argue, he darted off to join his new friends.
He had to be strong. Had to be a man.
He mustn’t make Da angry.
New York City, February, 1868
“Val? Where are you?”
The hoarse whisper jerked her from her light slumber. Valerie Stanton brushed the tangle of dark brown hair from her eyes and jumped stiffly from the chair, hurrying to the figure tossing restlessly on the bed.
I must have fallen asleep. Searing guilt swamped her as she reached a hand to smooth Edmund’s tousled hair from his damp forehead. Warm, but not feverish. Oh, thank you, God!
The last thing Edmund needed was a physical illness.
“I’m here, love.” Tenderly, she picked up his hand—such a firm, strong hand, the nails clipped short, the back lightly dusted with golden brown hair. The convulsive way that hand gripped her fingers belied that strength and brought a rush of tears to her eyes.
Oh, my darling Edmund, what did they do to you?
“I was afraid.” His broken murmur tore at her heart. “Afraid…you’d gone away too.”
“Never!” She squeezed his hand, brought it to her lips. “I will always be with you, darling.”
He opened his eyes, the blazing indigo blue a mirror of her own, and smiled at her in a moment of pure clarity. “Would that that were true. I know I only have you for a little while.” His eyes drifted shut. He heaved a great sigh, and she knew he slept again.
But he didn’t cease his constant tossing.
Valerie sighed. Edmund’s covers had slipped halfway off the bed. Moving automatically, she righted them, tucking them around his taut shoulders, noting the anxious lines bracketing his eyes and mouth.
What horrors did he relive in his dreams? She never knew, because he never spoke of them.
Refused to speak of them.
How could she help him if he shut himself away from her?
He groaned, jerked to one side and began to mutter frantic syllables she only half understood. “No…please…please don’t…I’m not a spy…” Raw anguish bled through his tone. “I’m only a soldier…a common soldier…no…don’t—don’t…”
Valerie blinked back tears. Merciful heaven, the pain in his voice! What had those damned Rebs done to him?
“No! No, not Gage…he’s just a boy… Keep your hands off him… No!”
“Edmund!” The helpless whisper tore itself from her throat even as she caught his flailing fist in a vain attempt to calm him. “Oh, Edmund, it’s all right. It’s all right, my dear, you’re safe. You’re home and safe, I promise you. Don’t be afraid.” The words dissolved into tears, and she swiped impatiently at the moisture on her cheeks.
Edmund needed her. She must be strong for him, as he’d always been for her…
As if summoned by her worst nightmares, the door burst open and banged against the wall.
“What the hell’s going on here?”
I believe I was destined to be interested in history. One of my distant ancestors, Thomas Aubert, reportedly sailed up the St. Lawrence River to discover Canada some 26 years before Jacques Cartier’s 1534 voyage. Another relative was a 17thCentury “King’s Girl,” one of a group of young unmarried girls sent to New France (now the province of Quebec) as brides for the habitants (settlers) there.
My passion for reading made me long to write books like the ones I enjoyed, and I tried penning sequels to my favorite Nancy Drew mysteries. Later, fancying myself a female version of Andrew Lloyd Weber, I drafted a musical set in Paris during WWII.
A former journalist and lifelong Celtophile, I enjoyed a previous career as a reporter/editor for a small chain of community newspapers before returning to my first love, romantic fiction. My stories usually include an Irish setting, hero or heroine, and sometimes all three.
I’m the author of The Claddagh Series, historical romances set in Ireland and beyond, and The Wild Geese Series, in which five Irish heroes return from the American Civil War to find love and adventure.
I’m a member of the Romance Writers of America, Hearts Through History Romance Writers, and Celtic Hearts Romance Writers. A lifelong resident of Montreal, Canada, I still live there with my own Celtic hero and our two teenaged children.
I also love to hear from my readers! Here’s where you can contact me:
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Cynthia-Owens/e/B003DQ1V2E
Hi, everyone, Alina here.
Thank you, Cynthia! The book and series look wonderfully soul-stirring. I bet you had a lot fun researching the period. Looking forward to this new release!
All Images: Cynthia Owens