By Love’s Honor Bound
by Patricia Bond
Categories: Action/Adventure, Mystery/Thriller
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Release Date: July 17, 2013
Heat Level: Steamy
Word Count: 98,000
Someone is killing Conductors on the Underground Railroad one by one. With a cellar full of runaway slaves, Olivia June Mathieson must decide – is the handsome Fenton Pierce-Smythe savior or traitor?
Both Fenton Pierce-Smythe’s fiancee and grandfather were killed when runaway slaves spooked their horses. Determined no one else will face that pain, he hunts runaways to return them safely to their owners. But can he remain unmoved by their plight? And unaffected by the beautiful woman who risks her life to lead them to freedom?
Warning: This title is intended for readers over the age of 18 as it contains adult sexual situations and/or adult language, and may be considered offensive to some readers.
He was, he admitted grandly, ever so slightly foxed.
Hell, what would you expect after spending the entire evening in a tavern drinking cheap whiskey? As he stepped outside, the cold night air struck him in the face like a loose sail, and he knew he’d have a devil of a headache tomorrow.
And for what? The night had been an abysmal failure. He hadn’t found out one thing about the Underground Railroad here. Nor had he heard anything about any runaways. It had been a total waste of precious time, except perhaps for that blond.
He smiled as he walked unsteadily to his horse, thinking of the girl. She’d been eye-catching, no doubt. The memory of her silken speaking voice washed over him and he found himself thinking of the “O” her mouth had made when she’d poured the coffee on him. The soft pucker just begged to be kissed.
But, that coffee! He grimaced as he ran his hand over his thigh and the front of his trousers. They were dry now, but he was still a tad tender to the touch. Thank God he’d been quick enough to escape most of the hot liquid.
He reached his horse, Thunderbolt. Stupid name for a horse that ran slow as molasses in winter. He’d received the animal for his sixteenth birthday, and had chosen the name with visions of a dashing hero dancing in his head. He’d seen himself riding through storm-tossed nights, rescuing fair damsels in distress, and receiving his loving rewards from them. Of course, he’d been sixteen, and his blood had run as hot and randy as any young man’s.
Now, at the ripe old age of twenty-nine, he’d learned fair damsels seldom needed rescuing. And especially not by a man named Fenton, riding the slowest thunderbolt known to nature.
Damn, he’d never liked his name. Fenton. He snorted, wishing to hell his mother had never read that silly novel. Why couldn’t he be named something dashing like Drake, or historical, like George or Alexander? Or even biblical, like Abraham. At least those were names that engendered respect. But Fenton? For God’s sake!
He swayed slightly while his clumsy fingers worked to untie the reins. With a wry smile, he admitted to himself that having that name taught him a lot about self-defense. He’d had to fight his way through school from the time he wore short pants. Still fumbling with the reins, he wondered if his young temperance singer could give herself to a man named Fenton.
Testing the sensitivity of his thigh again, he found he could touch it almost without pain now, although even in the dark he could see a definite stain from the coffee. He’d had to put up with a lot of ribbing in the tavern. His fellow drinkers had made numerous comments regarding his ability to control himself around beautiful women. It had taken all his control to laugh along with them instead of smashing in a face or two.
After several frustrating minutes, he finally managed to loosen the reins. He didn’t remember leaving them in such a muddle when he’d gotten here. Someone must have been playing a joke, he decided, untangling the leather from around his fingers.
He led the horse to an open area, lifted his foot to the stirrup . . . and missed. Thunderbolt nickered softly and Fenton patted the animal’s neck. “C’mon, Bolt. There’s a good boy.” He felt the first drops of rain start to fall. Great. More rain. Just what he needed. He didn’t care at all for the idea of riding the thirty miles back to Baltimore in a rainstorm.
He raised his foot again, and missed the stirrup a second time. “Dammit, stand still!” he hissed in an annoyed whisper.
Thunderbolt turned his head and snorted into his master’s face.
Fenton was ready to try once more when he heard a vaguely familiar feminine voice raised in entreaty coming from just up the road. She sounded as though she were in trouble. Had some rogue accosted her, trying even now to have his way with her?
Thoughts of rescue and rewards sprang to his mind. He dropped his reins and slogged as fast as he could through the mud left by an earlier rain, plotting his attack on the ruffian as he went.
The sounds were coming from a modest buggy stopped under a bare-branched tree.
Fenton ran around the side and threw himself into the vehicle, landing in a soft lap.
Livvy would have screamed, had the man who leaped into her buggy not knocked all the air from her lungs. As it stood, she was just barely able to hold onto her reins. “What are you doing?” she finally demanded, shoving him off to the side.
“Saving you. Where is he?” Fenton looked around the buggy wildly, his eyes searching the darkness.
“Where is who? There is no one here but the two of us.”
“You sure?” he asked, squinting at her.
“And Rosabelle,” she said, indicating her horse.
“But I heard you. You were begging to be let go.”
“I was saying ‘Let’s go.’ To Rosabelle. We’re stuck.”
“Stuck?” he asked, his face a study in confusion.
“In the mud,” she said with great deliberateness.
“Oh. Well then, let’s have a look,” Fenton said, hopping down from the seat and stumbling only a little as he landed. He walked around the back of the buggy and peered through the darkness at the wheels. “Everything’s fine here.”
He came around the front and studied the closest wheel. She could see him sway as he stood. The odor of cheap whiskey she’d smelled when he landed on her wafted up on the night wind. Finally he looked up at her, grinning.
“You, madam, are stuck in the mud.”
Livvy rolled her eyes heavenward before answering. “And you, sir, are drunk.”
A Day with the Patricia:
- Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I live with my husband of 38 yrs in Western New York, not far from the shores of Lake Erie. We have four children and one grandson, so I guess you could say I’m a lady of a “certain age” (insert tongue in cheek here). I work in our local middle/high school as our attendance officer, so I’ve heard quite a few excuses along the way for why children are absent or late to school. I’ll have to admit, there have been some doozies.
- As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
You mean, besides being a writer? That depended on how old I was. I think every child who starts school at some point wants to be a teacher. I think we all have that desire to be the one in charge. I also wanted to be a doctor, a singer/actress, and through it all, I wanted to have a dozen kids. As reality bore down, I scaled that one back a bit to four, but when you count in their spouses and the grandchild, I’m slowly closing in on that dozen number.
- When did you first start writing?
I’ve been writing in one way or another, I think, all my life. I tried writing fiction early on in high school, but even in grammar school I tried poetry and stories. They were always meant to be full novels, though, never short stories. Why dream if you’re not going to dream big? Problem was, I couldn’t plot my way out of a paper bag, and the “novels” I wanted to write were invariably mysteries. So, I was kind of stuck.
- When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
As soon as I could read
- How long does it take you to write a book?
Depends. The first draft of “By Love’s Honor Bound” took 2 years to write. Since the setting was not popular these last few years – there isn’t a duke or a cowboy in sight in this story – the manuscript sat under my bed while I tried my hand at the types of stories that were selling – romantic suspense, paranormal, etc. But you find out pretty quickly that when you write to the market instead of to your heart, something is missing and it shows. Unfortunately, it took probably a dozen manuscripts in various stages of completion to teach me that. Did I mention I was stubborn?
- Where do you get your information and/or ideas for your books?
That dreaded question. . . . For ideas – I play a lot of “what if?” If your brain is in the right mode, you can get an idea from the most mundane things. Like when I saw a yacht far offshore when I was at the lake, and I thought “What if there were treasure hunters aboard, but they didn’t have the coordinates to find the treasure? But a marine archeologist did? What if he didn’t want to give them to the hunters, and they kidnapped a family member and blackmailed him to get the information? All that spawned from seeing a boat on the horizon. As far as information, it’s called research and I do it wherever, however and whenever I can. Sometimes story ideas are born from something interesting I’ve come across in my research. It might not pertain to the story I’m thinking of just then, but becomes the germ of something entirely different.
- What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Anything creative. I’m an amateur photographer, Guild knitter, avid reader. I’m also a Reiki master. I’d love to learn to draw and paint – I’ve tried, but something gets lost in translation between brain and hand. I also like cooking – you can’t get hips like mine without working at it all the time. My specialties are soup and pies, and Polish coffee cake – “placzek” – but pies only at Thanksgiving, placzek at Easter. I make so many for all the extended family, I get “pied out” and placzeked out.
- What does your family think of your writing?
You know – I’ve never asked. I hope my kids are proud. They put up with a lot when they were younger. When I was in my basement office writing, the rule was you leave Mom alone unless there’s blood AND guts. And there better be a lot of it. It’s been a long haul to get published, and there’s a validation there that doesn’t come any other way. My husband is excited and has visions of me on the NY Times or USA Today lists. Like I said, why bother dreaming if you aren’t going to dream big?
- What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating books?
How hard it really is. It’s incredibly rewarding to see the story and the characters take shape from your fingers, but it really is hard work. I also learned how much fun it is to have a character become so alive that they do something completely unexpected and unplanned in the story and you have to catch up to them and go “Hey, wait! How? Why?” In “By Love’s Honor Bound,” Grandmere loans Livvy her “pirate’s sapphire” to wear one night. I wrote that, stopped and had to ask Grandmere where in Hades did that come from? What pirate? When? In true Grandmere fashion, she smiled and said to me, “Later.”
- How did you choose what genre to write in?
When my mom was in the ICU, my sister gave me a couple of historical romances to pass the time and I got hooked on them. But back in grammar school, I also read a lot of historical things – Gladys Malvern was a favorite, as was Louisa May Alcott, so I guess it was just natural to go there first. After trying my hand (so badly, I might add) at mysteries, suspense, etc., when I tried the historical romances, I felt like I’d come home. It was where I belonged. I’ve always been a history buff anyway, so it combines 2 passions into one. Besides, I always suspected I was born 100 years too late, or have lived before.
- If you could have a signed copy of any novel what would it be and why?
Yeow – that’s a toughie. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many of my current favorite authors at conferences, and getting signed copies of their books, so I have to count them out. Would you think I’m really weird if I said Louisa May Alcott and Ian Fleming? Anything they wrote. I know they’re at the opposite ends of the spectrum, and yet they both were able to craft amazing characters that endure. I mean, Jo March and James Bond? Who doesn’t know them? Those authors crafted stories that transcend time. I learned storytelling from them both – relationships from Alcott, magnificent villains from Fleming, love and suspense. They are opposites that meet in the middle of great storytelling. But the piece de resistance would not be a novel, but a play. “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is one of the greatest pieces of literature to me. We like to make Shakespeare elite, but he wrote for the common man of his time, touched on themes common to humans. Midsummer has love, betrayal, comedy, redemption – pick something, it’s in there and done superbly. That would be my all-time desire.
About the Author:
Ever since her first encounter with a long hooped skirt gown at age 5, Ms. Bond fell in love with the style. Her love of historical romance began a bit later, when she discovered Gladys Malvern’s books and scoured the public library for every one she could find. Reading Gone With the Wind as a teenager cemented her suspicion that she was born about 100 years too late. She daydreamed about writing novels but knew it was beyond her ability at that time. Instead, she tried her hand at poetry and really bad iambic pentameter flowed from her fingers. Thankfully, for the world at large, it was a short-lived obsession.
After attending an all-girl high school run by Felician nuns, she enrolled in a local men’s college that had just opened its doors to women. (A Libra, she understands the need for balance.) She earned her B.A. in English, and met her future husband there. Many years, four children and a grandchild later, the man who made her see fireworks with the first kiss is still her go-to research assistant for all things romantic.
The desire to write books never left, even as she worked selling property and casualty insurance, Avon, and craft kits. She sold luggage at a local department store to earn the money to attend her first RWA national conference and finally feels safe enough to admit to hiding a legal pad under her counter where she wrote scenes in between customers. She still does much of her writing longhand. (100 years too late, remember?)
RWA is the best thing to happen to her writing career, teaching the art as well as the craft of writing. It also brought her together with four of the most amazing women she’s ever known – critique partners and friends. Special thanks and much love to Helen, Karen, Carol and Jan. An amateur photographer, Reiki master and Guild knitter, Ms. Bonds lives in Western New York one mile from the home she grew up in. You can often find her at the lakeside, camera and notebook in hand.
Connect with Patricia Bond