Thursday, November 21, 2013

A Tryst in Time by Eugenia Riley Excerpt

A Tryst in Time by Eugenia Riley

In a spooky antebellum mansion along River Road, two anguished souls are drawn together across time. Both Sarah and Damien have lost a brother to war, only the wars are a century apart! Out of their grief and despair come love and healing . . . but is their love strong enough to overcome the barrier of time itself? A breathtaking Victorian Old South romance from a master of the genre.


Haunted in time . . .

The man haunted Sarah now, every time she meditated. She called him her “dark cavalier.” He spoke to her often, and in his voice was both pain and healing. Always, there was music—sad, beautiful music. And images of the house—sometimes beautiful and whole again, sometimes old and abandoned. She sensed she was becoming a part of the house, that she was being drawn into its very soul. Pain dwelled in that soul, along with need and grief. She wanted to understand the house, to embrace its very aura. She knew it was becoming her obsession.
And on the eighth morning of meditation, Sarah awoke consumed with a desire to paint the house . . .
She stirred awake in the old parlor, with Casper the cat in her arms. For the first time in a number of months, she knew she was ready to take up her brushes once more. Like one possessed, she rushed back to Miss Erica’s house to gather her paintbox, a canvas and easel, and a light lunch.
Sarah went back to the old house and set up her easel on the bare ground before it. The late September morning was lovely, an invigorating coolness lacing the air. The light was perfect as it hit the time-washed house. Sarah knew she would paint it just as it was, in its gray, antebellum majesty.
Sarah was normally a very controlled, precise painter, drawing many sketches before she ever put brush to canvas. But in painting the house, everything was different. She mixed vivid hues on her palette—cerulean blue, viridian green, yellow ocher, and raw umber—and splashed them on the canvas boldly with her sable brushes and palette knife. Her strokes were powerful, unrestrained, more expressionistic than they’d ever been before.
She worked all day, praying the light would not fail her. She captured the house awash in light and shadow, the vivid curtain of green branches entwined above it, mixed in with the ghostly splendor of Spanish moss, the silvery Mississippi off in the distance.
Casper hovered nearby as she worked. At noon, she stopped to nibble on her lunch and shared half of her tuna sandwich with the cat.
By sundown, the painting was finished. Sarah marveled at her own speed as she gathered up her supplies. Most of her paintings took several weeks to complete.
She went home in the scant light, holding the wet painting carefully so as not to smear it. When she arrived back at the house, it was dark and locked, so she let herself in with the keys she now kept under the mat.
In the den, she set the painting on an easel to dry and turned on all the lights so she could get a better look at it.
Studying her work, Sarah was stunned. Never before had she done anything so energetic and passionate. The painting literally vibrated with bright colors and vivid contrasts. The boldness of her brushstrokes amazed her. The house was so real it seemed to jump out at her from the canvas.
Sarah backed off to take in the effect as a whole, and that’s when she saw the face—its lines superimposed on the lines of the house itself, a perfect study in counterpoint. Sarah gasped, for she had no conscious memory of putting the face there.
It was a man’s face, a poignantly smiling face. But the eyes were dark, haunted, filled with pain.
“Damien,” she whispered. Then Sarah fell to her knees on the rug, staring at the face as if hypnotized.

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