Published March 27th 2014 by The Wild Rose Press
She fell deeply in love with him in the early days of her childhood. And in return, she captured his heart the moment he first cast his gaze upon her...
Renowned artist, Mariah Jennings hired to paint a thirteenth-century Scottish castle, gets the shock of her life when she encounters the handsome knight who has dominated a lifetime of portraits and sketchbooks.
But Sir Cailen Braithnoch is no ordinary ghost, nor did he suffer an ordinary death. Magic of the blackest kind cast a pall over the knights centuries ago. As the ghost and his lady seek to unravel the paradox surrounding his death, black arts, otherworldly forces, and a jealous rival conspire against them.
Will those forces tear them apart, or is their love destined to last throughout the ages?
I’m just tickled to death that our guest, Debbie Peterson agreed to share her thoughts on a subject I have pondered for many an hour. Are there people we are MEANT to be with? Does fate have a say in our future happiness or is it completely a matter of choice? So without more of my ramblings….. I give you the talented Debbie Peterson.
Thank you so much, Sebella, for inviting me to your blog today! It is such a pleasure to be here while I share some of my thoughts, as well as a bit about my current release, Spirit of the Knight.
You know, I am often asked if I believe two specific people can really be meant for each other…
Call it mutual attraction, love at first sight, or even the orchestration of fate; I wouldn't be an author of romance if I didn't answer that question with a resounding, enthusiastic, yes! Two halves of a perfect, complimentary whole just have to exist. One of my favorite examples of this (though I have plenty,) is the historically documented, immeasurable love between Prince Khurram, also known as Shah Jahan of the Mughal Dynasty, and his “Chosen One of the Palace,” or “Mumtaz Mahal,” the title he officially gave his beautiful wife, Arjumand Banu Begum.
The couple met during the Royal Meena Bazaar in the year 1607. Now this festival took place in a private marketplace attached to the palace harem, wherein the women of the aristocracy purchased every item they considered essential for their personal, elaborate toilette. As you might expect, if any man dared enter the confines of this marketplace, he could expect a date with the executioner. Except, of course, during a specifically designated event known as Contrary Days.
On these special Contrary Days, the people of Agra went about doing every action in reverse. The Meena Bazaar always followed this jovial event. During the festival the marketplace opened its gates and welcomed everyone, be they royalty, the lesser nobility or person of rank—both male and female. Role reversal was the favored game played at such times. The reserved, docile ladies and concubines of the court looked forward to, and became, the noisy shopkeepers while selling their wares from behind their individual pavilions. They indulged in both flirting and haggling with the male courtiers who in return vied for the attention of the ladies. History reveals that occasionally the emperor would make an appearance during the gala. If he chose to appear, even he became fair game for the bargaining, as well as gentle insults if he balked at the asking price for a particular trinket.
Arjumand Banu Begum, daughter of the prime minister, arrived at the bazaar intending to sell fine silk and glass beads. Her beauty, position, and the reputation of her austere father, only served to keep most of the men at bay. Of course, Prince Khurram harbored no such reservations. Once he caught sight of her, he made all haste to her side. He inspected her wares and then inquired as to the price of the glass piece cut to appear like a diamond. In turn she insisted the piece truly was a diamond and carried a very high price—10,000 rupees, to be precise. She further goaded that even a prince such as he couldn’t afford to purchase it.
According to legend, he gazed deeply into her eyes for several moments, and then without saying a word, gave her the asked for price, took up his prize, and vanished into the crowd.
The very next day, he asked his father for her hand in marriage. His father, who mysteriously smiled over the request, immediately granted permission. In following the advice of the astrologers, five years would pass before they were allowed to marry. Yet, from the very day she became his bride, Mumtaz Mahal became Shah Jahan's constant companion, even travelling with him all over the Mughal Empire. She would bear him fourteen children before dying in childbirth. He carried his grief for his lost love all throughout the rest of his life. In response to his grief, and the deep, eternal love he had for Arjumand, he built the spectacular edifice known today as the Taj Mahal. A love like that occurred as a result of mere happenstance? Call me a romantic or simply foolish if you wish, but you will never convince me of that.
What about you? Do you believe there is a special someone for everyone?
Did he find her “bonny” then? A blush stole across her cheeks as she shook her head. “I don’t think I’ve ever heard of the creatures.”
“Kelpie are water horses that are uncommonly strong. Their shiny coat comes in colors of both black and white. They have a mane and tail that never dries. No matter how long they remain on dry ground, th’ hair will drip water constantly from th’ ends. Although their skin shines like silk in th’ sun, it feels cold as stone when ye touch it no matter how warm th’ day. These ghostly horses use trickery to keep themselves hidden from your eyes or they simply transform into any normal creature, includin’ th’ shape of a comely man or woman. ’Tis in this way they lure ye to them. And, ’tis also said that once they take ye captive, they might never let ye go back to the surface.”
“That’s a very interesting story. Have you ever seen a kelpie yourself?” she asked.
Cailen chuckled as he shook his head. “Nay, I cannae, in all honesty, tell ye that I have.”
“So then you don’t really know if these ghostly creatures carry women off or not,” she challenged.
The look he gave her quite literally stole away her breath. He turned his body fully toward her then and moved closer still. His eyes bore into hers. “Nay, but th’ danger still exists of other ghostly creatures that might."
Talk about a book that keeps you guessing! Spirit of the Knight is definitely not a book for the dimwitted. There are more threads to this story than a Persian rug. Not only is there a castle with one ghost knight, there is a whole garrison and they evidently like to party like Prince in the nineties. Who knew there was a party circuit in the afterlife? There is obviously a bad guy, I mean it says so right in the blurb, but is there just one?? Ah ha! Could be, or maybe not. It also says Cailen is no ordinary ghost, I mean, these guys have ghost food and can SNOG!!
Mariah, now I really liked her. I'm usually not into characters who are artist because they just get a little to existential for me, but Mariah had her head on tight. She did not freak at ghost sightings, or speakings or even a ghost smooch or two. Nope she treated them just like you would any hunky dead guy in a hauberk. The biggest mystery for me though, was did they or didn't they? I mean I know they kissed, I read it. I know they slept in the same bed. Well, she did, ghost don't really sleep. But I never could figure out if they did or didn't. In case you're missing my point here, in sexual terms, this is a very sweet, use your imagination type book. Normally, not my thing..... at all. But there was so much already going on that I think the absence of sex may have been beneficial to the story. The tension and strong romance was plenty for Spirit of the Knight.
Despite being almost four hundred pages, this was a one sitting book for me. I was determined to figure out the mystery of why there was a castle full of dead knights and how they got there. This was a fun, smile and "awwwww" book, with lots of Scottish brogue, a wee bit of gore, and a very delightful couple. Thank you for the smiles Debbie, and job well done.
Debbie has always had a soft spot for fairy tales, the joy of falling in love, and happily ever after endings. Stories of love and make believe filled her head for as long as she can remember. However, it was her beloved husband who encouraged, cajoled and inspired her to take up a pen and write some of them down. Her journey to published author could fill quite a few pages. However, in June of 2010, she submitted her debut novel “Spirit of the Rebellion” to her wonderful, patient, editor at The Wild Rose Press and the rest is history. She now has five published novels to her credit.
When she is not busy conjuring her latest novel, Debbie spends time with the members of her very large family, within the lovely, arid deserts of southern Nevada. She also pursues her interests in family history, mythology, and all things ancient and historic.
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