Choices of the Heart

Choices of the Heart
Laurie Alice Eakes
Publisher: Revell
Series: The Midwives
ISBN-10: 0-8007-1986-7
ISBN-13: 978-0-8007-1986-9

She thought she had left her old life behind . . .

Esther Cherrett comes from a proud line of midwives and was trained by her mother to take over the family calling. But when a terrible scandal threatens all she holds dear, Esther flees, taking a position as a teacher in the wild western mountains of Virginia. But instead of the refuge she was seeking, Esther finds herself in the midst of a deadly family feud—and courted by two men on opposite sides of the conflict. All she wants is to run away again.

But could it be that her past holds the key to reconciliation—and love?

In this gripping story of trust, deception, and bittersweet loss, you’ll discover the true meaning of choices of the heart.

Available at Christianbook.com, Amazon, BarnesandNoble.com, Family Christian, Lifeway, Parable, Books-A-Million, Printsasia and your local bookstore.

Endorsements

“The gifted Laurie Alice Eakes has done it again with a page-turner romance. The wonderful period detail sucked me into 1840s Appalachia, while the realistic characters and tender romance kept me reading late into the night.”—Linda Goodnight, Carol and Rita Award–winning author

“The Midwives series gets better with each book; the third entry has amazing characters and rich historical details. You’ll be able to see the mountains and rivers of 1842 Virginia in your head as you read. …”—Romantic Times (4 stars)

Excerpt

Griff took a few paces away from the house, then swiveled on his heel and stalked back. “I like her too much. I’m half tempted—no, more than half—to take my dulcimer and play it under her window to convince her I’m the better catch. But she runs away from me like I’m a bucket of turpentine next to a fire, and then clings to Zach like he’s keeping her afloat. There. That convince you I’m right to leave her to Zach to take his chances with her?”

Momma smiled. “Not at all. Now go ask her. She’s out feeding the cats.”

“She’s feeding the cats? Doesn’t she know we’ll get overrun with ’em if she does that?”

“Maybe she’s lonely and doesn’t care.” Momma patted his shoulder and turned toward the back door. “Be a good son and do what I say.”

He figured he could find a way not to obey Momma, such as wait for Zach to invite Esther so him doing so too would be nonsensical. But then, he did want to find out what she was running from and why someone would find it bad enough to pursue her to the ridge.

So he waited for three days. After two, he wondered how they had managed mealtimes without her. She cooked, she served, she ensured the young’uns came to the table neat and clean. Sometimes he caught glimpses of her seated in the classroom going through her books and writing things on sheets of paper. Another time he encountered her seated on the porch with Liza, their needles flying in and out of bits of material, making fancy stitchery work. Was there nothing she could not do well? She seemed so perfect.

Too perfect. Instinct warned him to keep his distance until he knew her better. The Independence Day celebration was a month off. He had plenty of time to get to know her before attending an activity that proclaimed a couple was courting if they arrived together.

Zach, on the other hand, had those three weeks’ head start on Griff. He knew her better. She seemed comfortable with Zach and kept her distance from Griff as much as the proximity of their living conditions allowed.

Which was part of the difficulty with Momma. She cornered him one night when he was coming in from a swim in the waterfall pool after a particularly hot day of work. “Did you ask her yet?”

“No, Momma, it’s weeks off yet and I don’t even know her that well.”

“And you won’t if you don’t stick around of an evening and get to know her.” She narrowed her eyes. “You mooning over someone else?”

Griff laughed. “No, ma’am, even though you’ve been after me to do so for two years now.” He narrowed his eyes back at her. “What’s the rush?”

“You wanta find a girl before that mine makes us rich.”

“If it makes us rich.”

“I reckon every female from Roanoke to Bristol thinks it will. And thinks she’ll catch herself a rich husband who looks like you.”

Griff squirmed like a schoolboy with frogs in his pockets at church. “So do you want me to ask Miss Esther to the celebration ’cause you want me to court her, or do you want me to ask her to keep the other girls away?”

Momma just smiled in response.

At the sound of footfalls crunching toward her, Esther rose so quickly blood rushed to her head and light danced before her eyes in the darkness. The two cats she’d been feeding scraps of her fish from supper wound themselves around her legs, butting her with their heads, and purring loudly enough to be mistaken for distant thunder.

“You’ll bring on every cat on the mountain if you feed them fish,” Griff said.

“Not likely. I rubbed them with some cedar.”

Griff propped one shoulder against the side of the cabin. “You know a lot about that sort of thing.”

“It’s part of being a good housewife. That is—” She buried her hot face in the cat’s soft fur, inhaling the tang of the cedar. “A female trained to be a good housewife.”

“Or a midwife.”

She jumped, and the cat leaped from her arms and streaked into the night. “Your mother told you.” “You should have told us.”

“Why? It has nothing to do with my ability to teach.”

“It does if you lied about having teaching experience.”

“I didn’t. I helped teach the other midwife apprentices.”

“Why did you keep it a secret from us?” He leaned toward her, all powerful male and smooth voice. “I’d think you’d be right proud of it.”

Without a touch, he drew her to him. She leaned his way, smelled lye soap and sun-dried fabric, fresh and clean and compelling.

She crossed her arms. “You didn’t need to know.” “Why? Aren’t you proud of it?” He faced her, one hand braced on the cabin wall, scant inches from her head. She swallowed. “I was.” “And now?”

She couldn’t forget the sounds. Screams. Sobs. The crack of a hand across the woman’s face. Nor could she block out the smells. Blood. Fear. Death.

She summoned up her strength, the core of icy steel inside her for the past four and a half months. “No one needs a midwife anymore. Doctors do most of the work. Some females are even talking of going to medical school if they can get in. Midwifery is no longer an honorable calling for a female.” “Hmm.”

That he didn’t believe her was obvious in that single sound.

“Not that it’s any of your concern, Mr. Tolliver. I am perfectly capable of carrying out my duties and more.”

“Not if you’ve brought us trouble.”

“I. . . haven’t.” His hand was suddenly too close, the fingertips touching her hair. Breath snagged in her throat. The rough wall of the cabin loomed behind her, preventing her from backing away.

“May I help you with something, Mr. Tolliver?” she demanded in the coldest of voices.

He chuckled rather like one of the cat’s purrs. “My mother told me to ask you to the Independence Day celebrations.”

“So are you asking me?”

And she had prayed he wouldn’t ask her. She didn’t need more evidence that God was ignoring her pleas.

“I still obey my momma.” His teeth flashed in the moonlight.

Esther’s middle fluttered, reason enough to say no. She should not feel this way with him, the wanting to be close to someone again, cared for, cherished—all those things her foolish pride had denied her. Because she deserved better than what Seabourne had to offer?

So much better she’d gotten herself into deserving nothing now.

Not that she wanted Griff Tolliver. He was a fine man, hardworking, and even finer to look at. But he attracted her. Once before, disaster came when she thought she had met someone she wanted to be close to. Until she knew more of him than his looks and superficial charm, and then her hopes failed. Worse than failed.

She licked her dry lips. “May I say no?”

“You may, but it’ll be difficult to say yes to Zach when he asks you.”

“Perhaps I can simply stay home.”

“No one stays home. There’ll be two hundred people there if there’s half a dozen. They’ll all want a look at you.” He tilted her chin up with a forefinger.

She couldn’t jerk away or she’d smash her head against the log behind her. Ah, but how that infinitesimal touch felt as though it would leave a mark behind. The flutter in her middle turned to jumping grasshoppers.

“I’ll say no to both.” Her voice emerged in a whisper. “I can watch out for the children.”

“But you can’t miss the dancing. We’ll all want a turn on the floor with you.”

“Of course.”

Reels, quadrilles, any number of dances moved so quickly and changed partners often enough she could manage that without trouble.

“All right then. Something to look forward to.” He ducked his head.

For a heart-stopping minute, she feared he would kiss her. Her heart began to race, and she flattened herself against the logs of the cabin, her lips pinched shut.

With another one of his purring chuckles, he touched his brow as though he were a city gentleman with a top hat and strode away.

Esther slid to the ground, heedless of getting dirt on her skirt. It was an ugly gown anyway, her oldest and ugliest. Liza was right. She should add some trimming to make it pretty, to cover up the bloodstain. She simply needed the reminder of her foolishness, her bad behavior, and the consequences.

“I never saw anything wrong with flirting,” she had sobbed against Papa’s shoulder. “I thought… I never guessed . . .”

“Neither did I. But I nearly cost your mother her work.”

The sins of the father, one letter had reminded her, obviously someone who knew Papa when he was a bondservant in Seabourne. The sins . . .

And there she stood aquiver at Griffin Tolliver’s proximity, his rich voice, his light touch, and she had come too close to flirting with him despite her promise to take more care with the hearts and desires of men. Her actions might be taken as playing hard to get. Considering that she liked his response to her, she surely trod too close to falling into her old habits.

She wrapped her arms around her legs and dropped her brow to her knees. “Lord, are all those people in Seabourne right? Am I wholly without moral fortitude? Was it all my fault?”

If so, she would have to take the advice of whoever had pinned the note onto her door and keep running.

The Carpenter’s Inheritance

The Carpenter’s Inheritance
Laurie Alice Eakes
Publisher: Heartsong Presents
ISBN-10: 0373486359
ISBN-13: 978-0373486359

Lucinda Bell wants nothing more than to follow in her father’s footsteps and practice law. But in 1893, the state of Virginia won’t allow a woman lawyer. So she leaves her family and fiancé and buys a dying practice in Massachusetts, determined to prove herself capable of succeeding at the profession—if she can find acceptance and safety as Loveland’s sole lady lawyer first.

Quiet, handsome Matthew Templin, a local carpenter with a questionable past and a potentially dangerous need for a lawyer, is captivated by Lucinda. But he also knows she’s above his touch—and that a hidden truth may destroy her career and possibly his own life.

As ambitions collide, Lucinda faces a choice whether to give up her dream—or give up the love of her life.

Available at Christianbook.com, Amazon, BarnesandNoble.com, Family Christian, Lifeway, Parable, Books-A-Million and your local bookstore.

Excerpt

Hand shaking, Lucinda dropped her pot onto the table and fled into the kitchen. She yanked open the back door, but a blast of wind, laden with more ice than snow now, slammed into her face, reminding her she wore neither coat nor hat. No matter, she could get home two blocks without them.

A hand fell on her shoulder, holding her in place with firm gentleness. The door was pushed out of her hold, the bar dropped into place.

“Why are you running away from us and into that?” Matt steered her toward the stove’s heat. “You’ll be a block of ice before you reach your rooms, if you even get that far and don’t fall down and break something on the way.”

“Would anyone come to my rescue if I did?” The instant she said the words, she wanted to pull them back inside. “That was childish. I’m sorry.”

“You should be. You know I would.” He turned her so her back was to the blazing stove and she faced him. “Are you letting them scare you off? The lady who moved hundreds of miles from home to a strange town so she could answer the calling of the Lord?”

“Perhaps I was wrong in that. Perhaps I wanted to be a lawyer and the Lord doesn’t want me to be one at all. People here don’t like me.”

“The women like you. Their husbands are a little afraid of you.”

“Me? But I’m so—so—”

“Sweet. Kind. Strong.” He rested his hand on her cheek and lowered his voice. “Pretty.”

“Pretty useless as a lawyer.” She stared down at the toes of her boots peeking from beneath the hem of her serge skirt. If she looked at him, saw the same tenderness in his eyes as she heard in his voice, felt in his hand, she might weep. Worse than weep, throw herself against his chest and sob. It was such a solid-looking chest. She shook her head to try to clear that thought, noting as she did so that her hair was coming loose. “I can’t even afford to live someplace where I can cook a pot of hot soup on a cold night.”

“But God’s given you neighbors to rely on when you need that hot soup, hasn’t He?”

“I’ve never had to ask for anything in my life.”

“Including the Lord?”

She sank her teeth into her lower lip.

He nudged her chin up with gentle pressure from his thumb. “You’ve had everything handed to you, haven’t you? A fine education, admittance to law school in spite of being a female, and then things got harder.”

“I’m sure I’m supposed to practice law, but if people here don’t like me, they won’t come to me.”

“Sure you’re supposed to practice, but why do you think you should be wholly independent in doing so? Let others help you.”

“How?” Almost absently, his thumb stroked across her lower lip, and he smiled. “Don’t be so secretive about walking out with me. Go to church with me.” He raised his other hand to her face. “Go to the Christmas ball with me.”

“I. . . How. . .?” The right question eluded her. Blood roared through her ears. Her heart raced. She raised her hands to push him away but clung to his lapels. You cant. Not here. Not now. Surely she said those words, yet no sound emerged.

And then she couldn’t talk, for his lips covered hers. His scent of fresh-cut wood and fresh air filled her senses. The floor must have vanished from beneath her feet, for surely she floated on air, with only his hands on her face and her fingers gripping his coat keeping her from banging her head on the ceiling beams.

“Ahem.”

The thunderclap of someone clearing her throat brought the floor slamming into Lucinda’s boot heels. She would have leaped backward if Matt hadn’t held her in place.

“The stove is behind you,” he murmured, then looked past her shoulder and smiled. “Are we in your way, Gertie?”

Only Gertie. Good.

Except she stood with the door to the cafe wide open and half a dozen lingering patrons able to see straight into the kitchen.

Not good.

Gertie was grinning, though. “About time.” “About time for what?” Lucinda asked. That broke the paralysis of the coffee-drinking audience. They burst into laughter. A couple of men called encouragement to

Matt.

Lucinda ducked beneath his arm and darted to the counter out of sight of the dining room doorway. She needed the chill away from the stove to cool her heated cheeks, steady her charging heart. Matthew Templin had just kissed her. She had just let Matthew Templin kiss her. She had welcomed it, perhaps even invited it. Goodness, what was she thinking?

The same thing she’d been thinking when he met her at the door—that she’d fallen for him, that she might even go so far as to say she loved him.

A Flight of Fancy

A Flight of Fancy
Laurie Alice Eakes
Publisher: Revell
Series: The Daughters of Bainbridge House
ISBN-10: 0-8007-3467-X
ISBN-13: 978-0-8007-3467-1

Her head is in the clouds. His feet are planted firmly on the ground. Can love cover the distance?

Cassandra Bainbridge may be a bit of a bluestocking, but when Geoffrey Giles is near, love seems a fine alternative to passion for Greek and the physics of flight. With his dashing good looks and undying devotion to her, the

Earl of Whittaker sets Cassandra’s heart racing with his very presence. It seems his only flaw is his distaste for ballooning, the obsession that consumes so much of her thoughts.

When a terrible accident compels her to end her betrothal, Cassandra heads for the country to recover from both her injuries and her broken heart. With time on her hands and good friends to help her, she pursues her love for ballooning and envisions a future for herself as a daring aeronaut. But when Lord Whittaker slips back into her life, she finds her heart torn between her love for flight and her abiding love for the man she fears will no longer want her once he knows of her hidden scars.

Available at Christianbook.com, Amazon, BarnesandNoble.com, Family Christian, Lifeway, Parable, Books-A-Million and your local bookstore.

Endorsements

“Eakes seamlessly blends romance and intrigue, faith and history, into a story that readers won’t want to put down.” — Booklist

“Masquerades, English manners, romance, and intrigue abound in this historical series. Regency romance aficionados and fans of Nicole Jordan will adore this.” — Library Journal

“Eakes weaves the fine silk threads of historical richness, dangerous intrigue, and forbidden romance into a flawless literary tapestry . . . that will leave readers breathless.” — Louise M. Gouge, award-winning author of At the Captain’s Command

Excerpt

“Let me lend you a hand.” Mr. Sorrells held out both his hands.

Cassandra took only one to give her stability as she stepped onto the box. She needed the other hand to manage her skirt and petticoats. From there, climbing into the basket proved easier than mounting a horse. Inside, she found a flask of water and half a dozen apples, a hunk of soft cheese, and a loaf of bread.

“I thought you might get hungry,” Mr. Kent admitted, “if you make this a long flight. I know I did the last time I went up. It’s all that fresh air.”

“You are so thoughtful.” Cassandra leaned over the side of the basket to offer him her best smile. “I had no breakfast, and I rather like the idea of having it a mile off the ground.”

“We’ll get the ropes then.” Mr. Sorrells strode to one end of the balloon and loosed the first rope.

Mr. Kent went to the diagonal corner. The basket began to bob and sway with the inflated balloon tugging upward, its filling of hot air anxious to lift up and up.

“This is glorious!” Cassandra cried out and lifted her arms. “If we cannot create wings for men to fly themselves, then this is the next best way to go into the air. It is positively—”

Hoofbeats thundered across the field at a speed too fast for the lack of light in the sky and the roughness of the terrain. “Cassandra, do not go!” a shout carried on the wind. “Do not—”

“Quick,” Cassandra said, doubting she was strong enough to unhook the ropes herself now that the balloon was rising. “Loose the other ropes.”

But neither Mr. Sorrells nor Mr. Kent did so. They stood watching the approaching rider.

“Cassandra, come out of there.” Lord Whittaker reined in a dozen feet away and flung himself from the saddle.

“Now,” Cassandra commanded.

Perhaps her voice held authority. Perhaps they simply did not want their morning’s enjoyment spoiled by someone who did not appreciate their balloon travel experiments. Whatever the reason, Mr. Kent and Mr. Sorrells sprang into action, unfastening the last two ropes. The balloon began to rise.

“Cassandra, you cannot.” Whittaker sounded desperate. In the torchlight, his face gleamed pale, tense.

“I cannot stop it.” Cassandra started to lean toward him, realized she was not rising all that quickly and he might still manage to pull her from the basket. “It truly is safe, Whittaker. Never you—”

“But it is not. Cass—” With a noise rather like a growl, Whittaker leaped onto the box she had used, grabbed the edge of the rising basket, and half-dragged, half-rolled himself over the edge. “How do we get this to land again?”

“We do not.” Cassandra glared at Whittaker, her tone hard. “You are here for the duration of the journey.”

“But you do not understand.” Breath coming in gasps, Whittaker scrambled to his feet and caught hold of Cassandra’s shoulders. “It is dangerous today. After the other morning, I’ve learned some things. I warned you you were in danger.”

“Only with you.” She smiled at the glorious expanse of the sky arching around her. “Alone, or rather, with my aeronaut friends, I am perfectly secure.”

“But you are not.. Jimmy, one of the Luddite weavers—oh my.” His eyes went out of focus. His face turned green. “We’re off the ground,” he said in a strangled voice.

Cassandra glanced at the diminishing figures on the ground, now no more than blurs for her even with her spectacles on. “About five hundred feet ,. No more than that, I expect.”

“Five hundred? Five—”

“Standing is better in a balloon, but kneel if you are going to be sick, preferably over the edge.”

He sat. He lowered his head to his knees. “I dislike looking over the gallery into the great hall. That is only twenty feet. Five hundred . . .”

Cassandra resisted the urge to kneel beside him and offer comfort. “You got in of your own free will.”

He raised his head, perspiration beading his brow and upper lip. “I thought you would land it again.”

“Just because you ordered me to? I am your mother’s guest, not yours. And, as you admitted yourself, our betrothal is most definitely over; therefore, you have no control over my actions.”

“I do if I am trying to save your life.”

Heart’s Safe Passage

Heart’s Safe Passage
Laurie Alice Eakes
Publisher: Revell
Series: Midwives
ISBN: 978-0-8007-1985-2
ISBN-10: 0-8007-19859

It’s 1813 and all Phoebe Lee wants out of life is to practice midwifery in Loudon County, Virginia. When Belinda, her pregnant sister-in-law, presses Phoebe to accompany her onto a British privateer in order to cross the Atlantic and save her husband from an English prison, Phoebe tries to refuse, then finds herself kidnapped.

Captain Rafe Docherty is a man in search of revenge. His ship is no place for women, but he needs Belinda in order to obtain information about the man who destroyed his family and his life. Between Belinda’s whining and Phoebe’s hostility, Rafe can’t help but wonder if he made the right choice.

When it becomes apparent there is an enemy among them on the ship, the stakes are raised. Will they reach the English shore in time? Can love and forgiveness overcome vengeance?

Available at Christianbook.com, Amazon, BarnesandNoble.com, Family Christian, Lifeway, Parable, Books-A-Million, Printsasia and your local bookstore.

Endorsements

“In her delightful and descriptive style, author Laurie Alice Eakes has once again crafted a story that will capture readers’ hearts from the first page.” — Kathi Macias, author of Deliver Me from Evil

“Laurie Alice Eakes’s turn of phrase and twist of a plot had me smiling long after the last page was turned. A don’t-miss story.” — Kathleen Y’Barbo, author of The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck

“Make room for this one on your ‘keepers’ shelf!” — Loree Lough, author of From Ashes to Honor

“If you’re looking for something that will stir your soul and leave you breathless with the romance, then look no further.” — Marylu Tyndall, Author of Veil of Pearls.

“Printed on My Heart”

“Printed on My Heart”
Highland Crossings
Laurie Alice Eakes
Publisher: Barbour
Series: Novella Collection
ISBN-10: 1616266449
ISBN-13: 978-1616266448

Head to historic North Carolina where a brooch unites the lives and loves of four women. Dangerous accusations force Seona to leave Scotland with the brooch in tow, but will she find peace before her past is revealed? Years later, Fiona hopes to recover the brooch only to wind up on the whipping block. Can she trust the man who comes to her rescue? Seren sells the brooch to open a confectionery, but will the precious heirloom be lost to a hopeless dream? When the brooch is stolen, can Brynna reclaim it before she loses something even more valuable?

Available at Christianbook.com, Amazon, BarnesandNoble.com, Family Christian, Lifeway, Parable, Books-A-Million and your local bookstore.

A Necessary Deception

A Necessary Deception
Laurie Alice Eakes
Publisher: Revell
Series: Daughters of Bainbridge House
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3466-4
ISBN-10: 0-8007-3466-1

When young widow Lady Lydia Gale helps a French prisoner obtain parole, she never dreamed he would turn up in her parlor. But just as the London Season is getting under way, there he is, along with a few other questionable personages. While she should be focused on helping her headstrong younger sister prepare for her entré into London society, Lady Gale finds herself preoccupied with the mysterious Frenchman. Is he a spy or a suitor? Can she trust him? Or is she putting her family in danger?

Readers will enjoy being drawn into this world of elegance and intrigue, balls and masquerades. Author Laurie Alice Eakes whisks readers through the drawing rooms of London amid the sound of rustling gowns on this exciting quest to let the past stay in the past and let love guide the future.

Available at Christianbook.com, Amazon, BarnesandNoble.com, Printsasia and your local bookstore.

Endorsements

Four-Star Review from Romantic Times

“The first in Eakes’ Daughters of Bainbridge House series, this is a great Regency-era novel with characters who may not be who people think they are.” – Patsy Glans

“With her clean, sleek prose, Laurie Alice Eakes is one of the best storytellers the world has today. A Necessary Deception is one of her best, deftly weaving an intriguing spy chase with the elegant life of the ton in a beautiful love story that kidnaps unwitting readers and holds them hostage to the very last page.” – Delle Jacobs, award-winning author of His Majesty, the Prince of Toads

“In A Necessary Deception, Laurie Alice Eakes weaves the fine silk threads of historical richness, dangerous intrigue, and forbidden romance into a flawless literary tapestry. This is Georgette Heyer meets Terri Blackstock in 1812 Regency London, an adventure that will leave readers breathless.” – Louise M. Gouge, award-winning author of At the Captain’s Command

“Laurie Alice Eakes writes a page-turning story with an in-depth knowledge of the period, an eye for detail, and an escalating mystery that will keep readers guessing till the end.” – Ruth Axtell Morren, author of Wild Rose and The Rogue’s Redemption

“Intriguing, suspenseful, masterful, and romantic – all the things you want in a great book! Add to that enchanting characters with real problems and real flaws who grow throughout the story, and a twist-and-turn plot, and I guarantee that once you dive into this book, you’ll be happily lost in Regency London for the duration.” – MaryLu Tyndall, Christy Award nominee and author of the Surrender to Destiny series

“Laurie Alice Eakes’s novel is a captivating combination of romance and suspense set in the glittering Regency period.” – Jane Myers Perrine, author of Second Chance Bride

“A Necessary Deception will lure you into a fascinating Regency full of danger, surprises, and a romance to quicken your pulse.” – Jillian Kent, author of Secrets of the Heart

“A time of romance and intrigue with characters who grip one’s heart and won’t let go–this is the kind of book I look forward to reading when I want to be uplifted and carried away.” – Jennifer Hudson Taylor, author of Highland Blessings and Highland Sanctuary

Lady in the Mist

Lady in the Mist
Laurie Alice Eakes
Publisher: Revell
Series: Midwives
ISBN: 978-0800734527

By virtue of her profession as a midwife, Tabitha Eckles is the keeper of many secrets: the names of fathers of illegitimate children, the level of love and harmony within many a marriage, and now the identity of a man who may have caused his wife’s death. Dominick Cherrett is a man with his own secret to keep: namely, what he, a British nobleman, is doing on American soil working as a bondsman in the home of Mayor Kendall, a Southern gentleman with his eye on a higher office. By chance one morning before the dawn has broken, Tabitha and Dominick cross paths on a misty beachhead, leading them on a twisted path through kidnappings, death threats, public disgrace, and . . . love? Can Tabitha trust Dominick? What might he be hiding? And can either of them find true love in a world that seems set against them? With stirring writing that puts readers directly into the story, Lady in the Mist expertly explores themes of identity, misperception, and love’s discovery.

Available at Christianbook.com, Amazon, BarnesandNoble.com, Printsasia and your local bookstore.

Endorsement

I loved, loved, loved this book. Laurie Alice is a master storyteller. Her book grabbed me by the heart and held on. I loved the characters and the plot, which was full of delicious romance and dark mystery. Authentic historic details brought the setting alive. I can hardly wait for her next book. ~ Lena Nelson Dooley, author of the McKenna’s Daughters series and Love Finds You in Golden, New Mexico

“Featuring a charming hero with a mysterious past and mission, Lady in the Mist brims with tension, intrigue, and romance.” ~ Julie Klassen, bestselling author of The Silent Governess and The Girl in the Gatehouse

“Laurie Alice Eakes pens another novel that keeps the reader turning the pages with her expert knowledge of the time period and her skill with language. If you want to read a historical with romance, intrigue, and mystery all rolled into one, Lady in the Mist is a book you won’t want to miss.” ~ Golden Keyes Parsons, author of In the Shadow of the Sun King and Prisoner of Versailles

“I loved, loved, loved this book. Laurie Alice is a master storyteller. Her book grabbed me by the heart and held on. I loved the characters and the plot, which was full of delicious romance and dark mystery. Authentic historic details brought the setting alive. I can hardly wait for her next book.” ~ Lena Nelson Dooley, author of the McKenna’s Daughters series andã•Loveã•Finds You in Golden, New Mexico

“Lady in the Mist is not to be missed. Secrets, suspense, and a sweetly told love story make this a highly rewarding read.” ~ Cheryl Bolen, Holt Medallion—winning author of One Golden Ring

“Tabitha had lost everything dear to her, but just when she thought her heart might mend, two men vie for her feelings. Two men with pasts as gray as the turbulent sea.” ~ DiAnn Mills, Christy Award—winning author of Breach of Trust

“Laurie Alice Eakes tackles an era in our country’s history about which little has been written to craft a fascinating story of redemption and sacrificial love. Her absorbing novel captivated me from the first page. Lady in the Mist boasts a fresh plot, impeccably researched prose, and realistic characters. Readers are sure to have their hearts stirred as Tabitha and Dominick learn to trust one another and their heavenly Father’s plans for them.

“I hated to leave these characters behind when I finished the story. I’ll be eagerly awaiting book 2 in the Midwives series.” ~ Ann Shorey, author of At Home in Beldon Grove series

“The first book in Eakes’ new Midwives series is filled with secrets, a budding romance and mystery with characters who have their doubts about themselves and those around them. Readers will not be able to put this gem of a novel down.” ~ Patsy Glans, Romantic Times four Stars

“Lady in the Mist brims with tension, intrigue, and romance.” ~ Julie Klassen, bestselling author of The Silent Governess and The Girl in the Gatehouse

“A fascinating story of redemption and sacrificial love. It captivated me from the first page.” ~ Ann Shorey, author of At Home in Beldon Grove series

Excerpt

But as she turned and crunched her way along the hard-packed sand toward home, she couldn’t stop herself from slipping into the hope, the dream of a beloved striding out of the mist to greet her, take her hand in his–

Lost in her imagination, she blundered straight into a person standing on the beach. He grunted. She reeled backward. Her heel caught in the hem of her skirt. Her other foot slipped on the wet sand, and her posterior struck the ground with a splat like a landed fish.

The person moved, looming over her. “What do we have here?” Quiet, the voice was real and male, deep and unmistakably English. “Are you all right?”

He sounded friendly, even warm, and not threatening. Yet no one should be about on this stretch of beach in the wee hours of the morning. No Englishman should be about on the Atlantic coast, where young men disappeared with regularity unless he were–

“Pressgang,” the word burst from her like a curse, and her heart began to race. Her mouth went dry, tasting bitter.

She tried to scramble to her feet. She needed to warn the village men to stay inside. But her cloak and skirts tangled around her, holding her down.

“Let me help you.” Still speaking in an undertone, he stooped before her. She caught an exotic scent like sandalwood, saw no more than a shadow outline and dark hair tumbling around features pale in the misty gloom.

Listening for others moving about on the beach, Tabitha waved him off. “No, thank you. I can manage myself.”

She tugged at her skirt, and nearly toppled sideways.

“You don’t look to be doing such a good job of it.” Laughter tinged his words. The hand that clasped one of hers was real and masculine, strong and too smooth to belong to a fisherman or sailor. “Perhaps you can get to your feet if I help. Do you have feet? There does seem to be something trailing behind you. Perhaps it’s a tail. Are you a mermaid?”

Tabitha snorted and tried to wrench her hand away. Flirtation would get the stranger nowhere with her. The instant she regained her feet, she would run back to town and warn the sheriff or mayor that the English were at it again, stealing young American men to serve aboard their ships in their endless war with France.

If the man let her go. At that moment, he gripped her hand with a firmness suggesting he would not.

“I’m not certain whether or not that noise you made was human.” He closed his other hand over hers. “But this lovely hand hasn’t any scales on it, which argues on the side of human. On the contrary, it’s as smooth as silk.” He rubbed the tip of a finger across her knuckles, and the skin along her arms felt as though lightning were about to strike. “What’s a human female doing out so early?”

“Going home.” Her voice emerged hoarse, sounding unused. She swallowed to clear it. “What’s an Englishman doing in Virginia?”

“President Madison hasn’t managed to rid these shores of all of us yet.”

“A pity.”

“Ah, a hostile mermaid.”

His words pricked her conscience. She was being rather rude to someone who, although in a place where he had no business being, acted kind enough he deserved a modicum of courtesy in return.

“I’m not hostile. I’m cautious and worn to a th-hread.” Her voice broke.

“You must have been swimming against the tide.” Speaking with a tenderness that drew all too ready tears to her eyes, he rose, drawing her to her feet with him. “No, not a swim. Alas, a fatigued female human. That’s a cloak, I see, not a tail. Forgive the mistaken identity, But I’d expect to see a mermaid out here before I’d think to find a. . .lady.”

“An understandable error.” She used the edge of her cloak to dab at her eyes. “I wouldn’t be out here if I weren’t a midwife.”

“Indeed?” His tone spoke of disbelief. His hand lingered on hers, that errant fingertip tracing the third finger on her left hand.

She didn’t need to see his face or have him speak the words to understand he sought a wedding ring.

She snatched her hand free and tucked her ringless fingers inside the folds of her cloak. “Indeed.”

“Then it’s the last proof you’re human, since surely mermaids are hatched in the bottom of the ocean.” He curved his hand over her forearm. “Then allow me to walk you home, Madam Midwife.”

“I’m not going—” she glanced around her.

A hint of sun glowed along the line between sea and sky, turning the sand to a silvery gray and the mist to tendrils of gauze. Other than the usual flotsam thrown up by the tide, the stranger, and her, the sand lay empty. If he’d had cohorts, he’d managed to distract her long enough for them to get away. By the time she found someone in authority, he would have vanished, too. She couldn’t even identify him with any certainty. He stood with his back to the light, a tall, broad-shouldered silhouette with hair tumbling from his queue.

“It’s not necessary,” she said instead. “I’m perfectly safe, especially now that daylight is nearly here.”

“I insist.” He released her arm, but headed in the direction of her house. “You were going this way.”

“I was, but if someone sees me walking with a man. . .” She sighed and hastened to match her stride to his. “I depend on my reputation to make my living secure, sir.”

He continued up the beach, but slowed. “Ah, I see. If someone sees you with me, they will think perhaps you had an assignation rather than a duty.”

“Only my good name allows me to move about freely at night without being accosted,” she affirmed.

“Then I’ll leave you here, before we’re in sight of the village again.” He stopped, took her hand in his, and bowed as though they were attending a formal reception. “Have a care, Madam Mermaid Midwife.”

He released her hand and retraced their footprints in the sand, his head bent, his hands clasped behind his back.

Feeling as though flotsam filled her shoes, weighing them down, Tabitha trudged toward home. Images of the Englishman filled her head, tingled along her fingers, danced down her spine. She despised the way she thrilled to his flirtation, his touch. She feared his presence on her normally empty beach.

When the Snow Flies

When The Snow Flies
Laurie Alice Eakes
Publisher: Avalon
ISBN: 978-0-8034-7776-6
Historical Romance

Audrey Sinclair Vanderleyden sets her heart on fulfilling a promise to her deceased husband to continue practicing medicine, despite opposition from their families. But the old physician from whom they bought a practice stands in her way and refuses to honor the contract. Audrey must either give up medicine and return to her family, or marry a near stranger. A gunshot wound robs Nathan Maxwell of the ability to continue practicing medicine. He must find another purpose in his life. Marriage isn’t an option; only a desperate woman would want a blind man for a husband. Audrey is desperate, but marriage to Nathan isn’t the salvation of her medical career she thought it would be. For Nathan, the union challenges loyalties and exposes what he’s lost.

Available at Avalon Books, Amazon, BarnesandNoble.com and your local bookstore.

Endorsements

“A strong-willed woman used to fighting a society that doesn’t accept her career choice goes toe to toe with an equally determined man who would give anything to have a second chance at the job she covets in Eakes’ sweet, richly emotional historical romance.” – Booklist

“Good characters and many plot dilemmas with no perfect solutions create a fascinating story historical fans won’t want to miss.” – Romance Reviews Today

“Relationships are strained, boundaries are crossed, lives are changed and lessons are learned in WHEN THE SNOW FLIES.” – Story Circle Book Reviews

Excerpt

No one met Audrey Vanderleyden at the train. A wizened old man with hair like mountain mist popped out of the station, spoke with the conductor for a moment, then darted into the clapboard building without so much as glancing Audrey’s way.

The train pulled out of the station. Audrey remained on the platform amidst a collection of trunks and valises until the locomotive’s last whistle died away in the valley, and pine resin scent from the planks beneath her feet overcame the stench of coal smoke. Still no one came to meet her, neither a porter from the hotel nor Dr. Hornsby, with whom she had an appointment in an hour, according to the watch pinned to her black lapel.

She left all but one of her bags behind and marched toward the station. Her black muslin skirts hampered her brisk stride, and she kicked them out of her way with each step. When she reached the door, she yanked it open, took one step into the hot, still air, and stopped to look around.

In one corner, the telegraph machine clattered. A diminutive operator sat beside it with his booted feet propped up on the desk on which lay a slip of yellow paper with the words addressed to Dr. Hornsby printed in bold, black letters.

DR. A. S. VANDERLEYDEN ARRIVE AFTERNOOON TRAIN TUESDAY STOP MEET HOUR LATER STOP

The message for the hotel was similar and requested that a conveyance meet her at the train.

“You didn’t deliver my messages.” She used the same tone she too often had to use on nurses who failed to carry out her orders for a patient’s care.

As did those nurses, the old man jumped. His heels hit the wooden floor with a resounding thud, and he sprang to his feet. “Ma’am? I… uh … don’t know what y’all are talkin’ about.”

“These.” Audrey stalked forward and snatched up the messages. “They should have been delivered two days ago.”

The telegrapher shrugged. “No sense in it.”

“No sense—” Audrey paused to take a deep breath and count to ten before her voice shifted from mellow alto to shrill soprano. “And why, pray tell, is there no use dehvering messages I paid Western Union to deliver?”

“Thought it was a mistake.”

Audrey set her jaw and tried to meet his gaze while she waited for him to explain.

He didn’t look her in the eye, an easy evasion, as she stood half a head taller than he. “Well, gosh, ma’am.” He rubbed his bluish nose.

Audrey caught a whiff of smoked fish on his breath, and her stomach roiled.

“We all heard Dr. Vanderleyden died ’bout three months ago,” the telegrapher explained.

Audrey tensed inside her plain black mourning suit. A wave of sadness calmed her racing pulse.

“Dr. Adam Stephen Vanderleyden did pass away fourteen weeks ago. I—” She gripped her leather bag more tightly in one lace-gloved hand. “I’m Dr. Audrey Sinclair Vanderleyden, his wife—widow.”

Even before she stopped speaking, he was shaking his head, sending the wispy gray hair floating up like fluff from a dandelion. She half expected him to deny her claim. Instead, he murmured, “Quarter century back, I thought the War Between the States was the worst thing I’d ever witnessed. But a lady doctor’s about got that beat.”

The Newcomer

The Newcomer
Laurie Alice Eakes
Publisher: Barbour/Heartsong Presents
ISBN: 978-1602609143
Series: New Jersey Historical, Book 3

Marigold McCorkle’s well-to-do father demanded she work as a nursemaid for a year to remind her of her family’s roots and teach her some humility. When her employers drown in a boating accident, their children have no one to care for them until their uncle arrives from out West. But his tardy arrival causes Marigold’s impatient fiancée to cancel their engagement. Gordon Chambers dreams of Alaskan gold. The last thing he wants is to be burdened with his late brother’s responsibilities in New Jersey—especially not two precocious little girls and their beautiful, uppity nursemaid. Determined to sell his brother’s boating business then find a boarding school, he ignores warnings about the safety of the excursion boats until one of them begins to sink with his niece on board. Will Gordon abandon those who’ve come to depend on him? Or will he discover that Marigold and his nieces are more precious to him than gold?

Available in various formats at Amazon, BarnesandNoble.com and your local bookstore.

Teaser – The Newcomer

The girls shot her glances of triumph and strolled into the parlor.

“How dare you counter my directions?” Her tone, though low, held so much fury Gordon expected sparks to fly from the ends of her hair. “I am their governess, and they need to view me as an authority.”

“I am their uncle, and they need to view me as an authority.” He made his own voice as cool as he could to emphasize her hot fury. “Since I am their legal guardian, I believe what I say has precedent over what you say.”

“Since you couldn’t be bothered to come home for months,” she shot back, practically hissing, “you seem to have relinquished your right to barge in here and start telling them and me what to do.”

“I couldn’t get here faster.”

“Or ensure that we had money for wages and other fees?”

“I didn’t realize—”

“The only reason we have had food to eat and clothes the girls fit into is because their parents had good credit and the vendors knew they’d be paid eventually. The music teacher and others haven’t been quite so accommodating, nor were servants.”

“You’re here.”

“I”—she slapped her hands onto her hips—“cared too much about the girls to desert them in their time of need.”

The Heiress

The Heiress
Laurie Alice Eakes
Publisher: Barbour/Heartsong Presents
ISBN: 978-1602607682
Series: New Jersey Historical, Book Two

Susan has a large inheritance, yet all but a small allowance is held in trust until she marries. What good works can she do if her future husband has other plans for her money? Daire arrives at his fataher’s bedside to learn that the heirloom he reluctantly sold for fare home is more valuable than he imagined – and its loss could mean the ruin of the family business. By the time Daire finds Susan to buy it back, the heirloom is missing. Will they find it before its secret is discovered? Or will God lead them to something of far greater value?

Reader Feedback

I recently finished reading your title, The Heiress, and enjoyed it very much. I understand why you win awards for your writing. It’s very engaging. Characters that are really characters seem to be one of your extraordinary talents.

– Donna Winters – http://www.greatlakesromances.com

Available at Christianbook.com, Amazon, BarnesandNoble.com and your local bookstore.

Teaser – The Heiress

Susan wished she could see Daire’s face as he talked to Bridget. Hers was stony, cold. His stance was rigid.

He’d been taut since he stepped out of Bridget’s flat and caught sight of Susan. She hadn’t looked at him directly, but she caught the flash of tenderness in his face, a softening that made her heart feel like mush, before he turned his back on her and marched toward Bridget with shoulders as rigid as a building wall.

Such nice shoulders.

“I love him,” Susan murmured to the baby. He cooed in response and took two fistfuls of her hair. “But he’ll never love me. He’ll get his goldfinch back and leave.” The baby giggled. Smiling, Susan cuddled him close. “I can live without him if I can make babies like you laugh.”

If she could bring hope to the little ones and their parents.

“How can I do this, Lord? I don’t know You enough to talk to people like Deborah talked to me, but I must do. . . something.”

Her gaze strayed to Daire. Her heart had reformed itself from the ball of mush and now bounced off the wall of her chest like a ball. It hurt to have him ignore her. Physically hurt.