Today I'm showcasing fellow Australian author Elizabeth Ellen Carter and her brand new book, which is out today!
Here's the blurb:
Refused his rightful promotion, Adam Hardacre quits the Royal Navy in disgust and is quickly approached with an intriguing proposition to serve his country undercover.
His first assignment takes him home to Cornwall to expose traitors plotting a French invasion of England. There, he meets newly unemployed governess, Olivia Collins, who has stumbled upon a hidden secret from Adam’s past – his youthful summer love affair with the local squire’s daughter. It is a tragic history that brings Adam and Olivia closer than is wise.
However, with the attraction deepening to something more, neither realize that Olivia unwittingly holds the key to his mission.
As Adam infiltrates the plot, Olivia finds out the shocking truth behind his lost love’s death many years ago, and both their lives are in danger. But their growing relationship is clouded by suspicion. Who can and cannot be trusted – anyone or no one?
Or... even each other?
Here is the buy link:
US - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07L23VCZT
CA - https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B07L23VCZT
AUS - https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07L23VCZT
UK - https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07L23VCZT
Adam felt the hair rise on the back of his neck.
He was not alone.
Whoever watched did not want to make themselves known. He turned slowly, looking in the shadows for a tell-tale figure. Nothing made itself obvious to him. The stream bubbled along merrily as it had always done; the old priory was still there. He’d played in the ruin as a child and later became a man there, in deed if not in years. In fact, it looked as though not another stone had tumbled since he first saw it. It made him feel like he was ten years old once more.
Surmising that whoever watched had slipped away, more cautious of him than he of them, Adam started whistling a familiar tune, one they used to keep time as they brought in the halyards. He approached the standing end wall where an old window opening would have once have contained stained glass, the sill at waist height. Adam lay a palm flat on the wall to the left of the opening and closed his eyes, feeling the rough texture of stone weathered for centuries but still solid – a mute sentinel which had stood watch while two young people cautiously and tentatively explored the act of love together.
Kenstec House was only just through the trees. Perhaps it wouldn’t do any harm to venture as far as the edge of the lawns. He doubted anyone would recognise him. Squire Denton would be in his seventies now, if he lived.
Even if his presence was questioned, he could always say he was a rambler who had lost his way.
Adam took a deep breath bringing with it the nostalgic scent of honeysuckle. It was a perfume Constance favored, and it was strong here, as though her presence lingered still. And yet...
He furrowed a brow. There was no honeysuckle covering the ruins, so where had it come from?
He opened his eyes and was face to face with a woman through the opening in the wall.
The woman looked as shocked as he did.
Before he had time to compose himself, the woman fled, disappearing into the thick of the trees.
He called out her name once more but had gone no further than a few steps in pursuit before his rational mind could alert him to the differences between the two women.
Constance would be nearly forty now. That woman was at least ten years younger. This woman’s hair was much darker. But it was the eyes he remembered. Constance’s eyes were the lightest shade of blue. His wood sprite had brown eyes – as big and as frightened as a doe’s.
Adam chuckled to himself. He’d frightened a maid from Kenstec House. Or perhaps it was she who startled him.
Either way, it wasn’t an auspicious return to Ponsnowyth.Constance? Constance!
The man’s question lingered and his exclamation rang in Olivia’s ears as she ran through the woods into the safety of the estate grounds.
Who was he? Why would this stranger mistake her for a girl who had been dead these past twenty years? She was afraid she knew the answer, but no – surely it was too much for a coincidence for it to be Adam Hardacre.
By the time Olivia had got half way across the lawn, she had dissuaded herself from such a foolish belief. She must have misheard the man. Clearly, he had been as surprised by her appearance there as she was of his.
She let herself into the house via the kitchen and bolted the door. In the stillness, she became acutely aware of her isolation inside the manor walls. Perhaps it wasn’t wise to stay here on her own tonight.
She wondered if it was too late to accept Polly’s invitation to live at the inn for a few days. Olivia hadn’t minded being on her own in the earlier part of the week when there was much to do in the house, but now, with that work nearly complete, one could almost entertain the thought of ghosts.
And while she was in the mood to contemplate such matters, it was also time to stop dwelling in the past; worse still, in someone else’s past.
The fate of the ill-starred lovers from Constance’s diary was long ago and there was nothing more she could do about it. The mystery of it had been solved.
Olivia went up to her room and packed a small valais. The afternoon sun through the window brought out the red grain of the mahogany of the writing box. Inside it, she had reunited Adam’s love notes with Constance’s diary as well as the letters from St Thomas’ Hospital in London which told of the young woman’s untimely end.
She ran her hand over the box. Did this Adam the carpenter still live?
If she left now, she could stop by the Trezises’ at the timber mill on her way to the inn and ask if they knew how to contact the former owner. She would write him a letter to explain who she was and what she had found. She would make the offer of returning the box and the papers relating to his one-time sweetheart.
Without truly knowing why she did so, Olivia shoved the writing box under her bed next to her trunk. Something which had been hidden for so long ought to be kept hidden until it could be returned to its rightful owner.