Coming January 2013...
Ejected from her privileged life, Rosetta comes to Noble Island with a broken heart and shaken faith. She is enticed by hope in the arms of the dark and brooding Simon Hale, but people keep dying at Shadow Bay Hall, and Rosetta hears something in the walls.
Simon Hale finds the reclusive Rosetta both beautiful and intriguing, but when she seeks out the truth behind Shadow Bay Hall’s unexplained happenings, he is torn between hope for the future and his need to protect a dangerous secret.
With dark forces determined to keep truth at bay, Rosetta and Simon fight to uncover lies that imprison the island with fear. His wife’ death, tangled memories, a Romany feud; Rosetta must decide if she is strong enough to discover what’s behind The Whispers on Shadow Bay.
I dropped my purse on the bed and looked around. A wrought iron twin bed, nightstand, and an empty book case were all that furnished the room. Thin white curtains covered a shuttered, crescent-shaped window over the bookcase. They rustled softly as wind forced itself through a crack in the glass making a low whistle.
Tired, I sat on the bed, arms around my knees, and fought back tears. Unsettled as this old mansion made me feel, come morning I had nowhere to go and just a bit of money left. Biting back the frustration, I hugged myself tighter, resolving to be strong. Still, in the ache of my heart, I wondered.
I did what you asked, Lord, and lost everything. How could you let that happen? How am I supposed to have faith when it feels like You abandoned me right when I needed you most?
Suddenly, waves of sorrow and shame I’d fought so hard to quell washed over me, and I flashed on my day at the church. The feel of white satin under my hands, the bouquet clasped to my sobbing chest as my would-be sister-in-law led me from the vestibule. He wasn’t coming. He didn’t want me anymore.
And now this. I’d summoned all my courage to travel to these wet and cold woods for what? To be rejected all over again. To be not good enough once more? I had to get out of here. I couldn’t bear to feel their eyes on me in the morning, looks of pity that I’d grown to dread. Shaking my head, I grabbed my purse and yanked open the door. Walking quickly along the corridor, down the steps, and back to the front door, I moved as silently as I could.
Pushing through the double wood doors, I dragged the suitcase behind me. In my hurry, I stumbled down the stone steps, nearly losing my footing as the oversized case tumbled, coming to rest near the front tire.
I fought with the suitcase, shoving it into the back seat with ragged pleas for its cooperation on my trembling lips. I climbed into the driver’s seat, slammed the car door, and tried with shaking hands to start the car. It coughed, then revved. The front door cracked open and Mr. O’Shay stared out at me with a puzzled look.
“Go, just go,” I sobbed.
Pulling away, I took the turn around the driveway way too wide, and ran over some bushes as the car barreled back down the road towards the iron gate. Eyes blurry with tears, I didn’t react to the headlights that burst suddenly from the thick mist. A horn blared as I swerved. The wheel jerked from my hands, and I veered off the path. The car rattled and bounced down the embankment’s uneven ground. A large tree jumped out of the fog right in front of me. I screamed as the car hit it with a jarring blow, and my jaw snapped shut as my head hit the steering wheel. Everything stopped.
Moaning, I felt the bump on my forehead. Pain flashed behind my eyes, and I gasped with the force of it. Unclasping the seatbelt, I stumbled from the car, groping blindly in the dark fog.
“What were you thinking?” A man’s voice, low and tense, called out from the fog. “You were speeding.”
Confused, I heard movement, and someone scrambling down the embankment.
“Are you OK?” The man shouted.
I couldn’t tell the direction from which it came, and I turned in a circle. A wave of dizziness made my stomach lurch. I staggered for the car.
“My head,” I croaked. “I hit—”
The ground tilted. My head spun. I was falling. Strong arms snatched me before I hit the ground.
“Whoa,” the man said, concern creeping into his voice. “You shouldn’t try to walk ’til we get help.”
I glanced up. Framed in the glow of the headlight, a man with piercing blue eyes and light hair looked down at me, his handsome face etched with a thin scar that ran the length of his jaw. It made him all the more magnetic. I smiled at him, my thoughts tumbling together; I thought he was old. How did he get that scar?
“I came to take care of you, Mr. Hale.” My words sounded muffled to me; far away.
“Take care of me?” His blond hair, backlit by the headlight, made a halo around him. “You’re hurt. Be still.”
Sudden clarity rang through my mind at his mention of injury, and I tried to stand. “I’m fine, Mr. Hale.” I tried to wiggle free of his hold, but he held fast.
“You don’t look fine.” His eyes narrowed. Sounding gruff, almost irritated, he bent and lifted me in his arms and carried me up to the road.
“This is unnecessary,” I protested, but my head spun again, and I rested my cheek against his chest as he climbed. Warm and solid, he smelled like grass and sunshine. When he set me on my feet, I glanced back down the embankment at the sedan’s off-kilter lights, worry gripping me again. “I’m so sorry, Mr. Hale, really. I’ll pay for the damage and for the bushes, too.”
He opened his car door, and the interior light cast his face in shadows. My heart thrummed, a flush creeping up my neck under his intense gaze.
“I’m not Davenport Hale,” he said. “I’m his son, Simon.”
A far away buzzing sounded in my ears. I shook my head, trying to clear it. The movement sent a fresh stab of pain flashing across my vision.
Simon reached for me.
“I’m…” I didn’t get the rest out before the world grayed and blinked out.