I write in a variety of genres, but my favorite is romantic suspense. SHADOWS AND LIES fits into that category and others, as well. It’s part time travel, part ghost story, and is a hauntingly romantic Gothic set in Louisiana along the banks of the Mississippi River on an 1830s sugar plantation.
When Olivia Lockwood leaves the comfort of her quaint Massachusetts home for an eerie mansion in Louisiana to fulfill her grandfather’s dying wish, she has no idea of the long-buried secrets that await her there. Or whether Jaxon Carter, her grandfather’s right-hand man, might steal her heart or put her life in jeopardy.
When we approached Turnberry Plantation, the first thing I noticed were the giant oak trees dripping with Spanish moss that lined the long driveway. We drove through the open wrought iron entrance gates, and a minute later, I spotted the massive white mansion built in the Greek Revival style. Its pillars rose to the roofline, and a two-story colonnade surrounded the house. It looked very much like I remembered, only a little more run-down, with its cracked and peeling paint.
Before I’d even gotten out of the taxi, the front door opened and a middle-aged man dressed in a navy suit came out and walked toward the car. He opened my door, and then offered his hand to help me out.
I accepted his assistance, stepping onto the driveway with as much grace as I could manage after a long day of traveling.
“Good afternoon, Miss Olivia. I’m Gerard, your grandfather’s butler. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”
“Thank you. It’s nice to meet you too.” When I started to rummage through my purse for money to pay the taxi driver, Gerard reached into his pocket and pulled out a wad of bills. I opened my mouth to protest, but he held up his hand, silencing me.
“Don’t be silly. Your grandfather invited you here. He doesn’t expect you to pay for anything.”
I raised my brows in surprise. Grandfather had paid for my plane fare, but I certainly never expected that he would pay for more than that. A moment later, my bags were taken out of the trunk, after which the taxi quickly drove away.
As I stood looking at the house, clouds covered the sun, darkening the bright, beautiful day and casting shadows over Turnberry, giving it a much more sinister appearance. My gaze traveled up to the second floor, and I could have sworn I saw someone staring out from one of the large paned windows, but upon second glance, no one was there. Could it have been my imagination, or had someone been watching me arrive?
My fingers curled around the spinel pendant that hung from my neck, and I stroked the cool, smooth stone, hoping it would help to ease my anxiety.
“That’s a lovely necklace, Miss Olivia,” Gerard said, his gaze fixed on the pendant.
“Thank you. My mother gave it to me.”
“Many people confuse spinel with rubies, but I don’t quite know how that’s possible. No other stone gives off that fire. Did you know it has mystic qualities?”
I nodded, thinking back to how my mother had said it would protect me…
SHADOWS AND LIES is available now at Amazon.
USA Today bestselling author Raine English writes sweet small-town contemporary romance, along with paranormal and romantic suspense. She’s a Daphne du Maurier Award winner and a Golden Heart finalist. To receive information on all her new releases, you can sign up for her newsletter, visit her website, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.
And don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter. Scroll down the right side of our blog and enter your email address under Newsletter Signup. Remember to join the Sweet Romance Reads Cafe too.