Entranced by Maddie James
The Legend of Blackbeard’s Chalice, Book One
Genres: Time Travel | Paranormal | Romance | Suspense
Published: March 20, 2014
Heat Level: Sizzle
Can souls touch through time and hold on when all odds are against them?
Claire Winslow vacations on an East Coast barrier island, content with her life and her potential future—until the illusion of a man walking the misty shore haunts her. Then one kiss—a beautiful, soulful, stolen kiss in the night—and her life changes forever.
Nearly 300 years past, Jack Porter is in hot pursuit of his kidnapped wife. Not an easy feat considering the year is 1718 and the kidnapper is the notorious pirate Blackbeard aka Edward Teach. Determined to rescue his wife and take the pirate’s head in the process, Jack steals aboard the pirate’s ship to save her.
Entranced sends Jack and Claire on a wild search through time, not only for the resolution to a powerful attraction between them, but also for a historical artifact that holds the key to their future happiness—the coveted silver-plated chalice made from Blackbeard’s skull.
Claire stared at the man staring back at her through the night mist. She blinked and then focused her gaze once more.
He was still there.
Her pulse quickened. Her heart hammered in her chest. Slowly, she stepped around the wooden rocker and silently crossed the porch to the entrance. Just to the right of the steps she stopped, placed her hand around the carved porch post and leaned into it, her cheek resting against its smooth and cool painted exterior. Her gaze never left his, and his followed hers as she moved. Inhaling deeply, the misty air hung heavy in her throat. Claire held her breath for a moment and then slowly and silently let it out, trying to clear her mind of the haze.
The nearly full moon provided a shaft of light, perfectly illuminating the man. Waves beat steadily against the shore behind him, an ever-present drone in her ears.
Funny, she thought. The sound used to drive her crazy, now it was barely noticeable. The wind pushed cloud cover in front of the moon’s beam and again she searched the night for a glimpse of him.
There! He’s closer. Definitely closer.
She jumped and fought panic. Her heart skipped a beat. The first night he had stood at the foot of the lighthouse, barely a specter against the illuminated white. The next night he’d ventured nearer, away from the lighthouse.
Now he stood barely twenty yards away, slowly walking toward her on the boarded walkway leading to the steps of her porch. An image of a man. A hologram of sorts.
A ghost? Her imagination run amok?
He fascinated her. Too far away—always too far away to see his eyes—but she knew they were black as pitch, rimmed with clear bright whites.
He stood tall, with his fists placed on either hip. His broad stance was solid, roped with muscle. His hair was long, silky, and as black as his eyes.
She could feel the texture on her fingertips.
How? She didn’t even know what, or who, this man was. But she knew these things about him. Somehow.
He stepped forward. The night breeze ruffled his loose, white shirt, opened halfway down his chest. The wind lifted and swirled her silk nightgown around her legs, and she wondered if the sight of it aroused him, as the glimpse of his bare chest aroused her. She hugged the porch post as he took a step closer.
And then another.
Her spine prickled with fear as well as curiosity and anticipation.
Oh, God. He’s coming closer.
Claire locked her gaze with his, stepping away from the post and backing across the porch until her rear bumped into the screen door. He stopped and stared. Mesmerized by his gaze, she felt a mystical pull, some sort of power emanating from him, propelling her closer. That push-pull rivaled the fear she felt in her heart.
He took another step forward. With each step his body became more solid. More real.
Claire shifted sideways and grasped the cold doorknob behind her.
A soft ocean breeze blew a dark strand of hair across the man’s face, and suddenly she felt compelled to stroke it from his eyes. She wanted to reach forward, caress his temple, peer into those dark eyes… She released the doorknob and took a half step forward.
He stood still.
She stepped forward once more— But before she could continue, clouds passed in front of the moon, leaving her in total darkness.
She stood, waiting, the connection broken. Her chest heaved in anticipation. Her pulse raced. Her breathing came in short, shallow gulps. She waited, but when the wind-whipped clouds passed out of the moon-glow’s path, she saw that he had vanished. Nothing but empty black night filled the open space between her cottage and the lighthouse.
Had he ever really been there?
Claire shook her head and blinked. Without fear, and with her heart beating a rapid tattoo, she rushed off the porch steps, turning in circles, her eyes straining through the night, searching.
“Come back here!” she yelled. “Who are you?”
But the night swallowed her plea. Only the ocean winds heard her call.
The year was 1990. I had just discovered Romance Writers of America and was attending a yet-to-be-official Kentucky chapter meeting. I’d met informally with a couple of the women who were pulling the chapter together. The lady who was soon to be the president had just returned from the RWA convention. During the meeting she pulled out a thick, red, hardback novel, placed it on the table, and said, “And this publisher was giving away this novel. I assume they think she is going to be huge! Why would they put a hardback novel on the chair of every attendee at dinner if they didn’t think so?”
She passed the book around. I held it in my hands and could only dream. I jotted down the title, and soon thereafter, bought my own copy.
That book was Diana Galbadon’s Outlander. And yes, she of course, turned out to be huge.
Outlander was my introduction to time travel novels – especially romantic time travel novels. I fell in love with Jamie Fraser like most every other woman who has read the books. I loved the idea of falling through time—how does that work, exactly? And was curious about how to handle parallel universes, and make everything fit together.
The thought of escape, disappearance, of not being in control of what was happening to you, or where you had landed, intrigued me.
And after reading the first few in the series, I knew that I needed to pen one of my own.
How? I wasn’t sure. And I definitely didn’t whip one or two out within a few months. I can easily say this writing project has been with me for two decades.
At this point in my writing career, I was a neophyte. I’d been stabbing at contemporary category romance, sending my work out to Harlequin and Silhouette. Unsuccessfully. What made me think I could pull off something incredibly complex like a time travel novel? Or a series?
I suppose it was the immediate love I had for the genre. It was different, at least to me. I’d never read anything like it before. And I knew I had to go for it.
I also knew it would be tricky, and that I needed to take my time with it.
While on a family vacation during spring break of 1992, I found my premise, and the setting. Pirates, the ocean, the Outer Banks of North Carolina. My next step was research. And finally, I started to write. And write. And write.
And what a path it has been!
In 1999 it was published by a long gone and forgotten ebook company that produced its books only on CD. The title of the book then, was Night Kiss, and written under my then married name. Sad to say that the author copy CDs I received in the mail lasted a lot longer than the company, and the book lay fallow in my computer for a number of years. I thought it was dead in the water.
In 2007, a new ebook publisher emerged and showed interest in the book. I shared that I also had proposals written for books 2 and 3 – were they interested? Resplendence Publishing published the revised first book, now retitled The Curse, followed by The Cult, and The Quest.
Several years passed. I toyed with the plot of book four, and also a fifth. The books did “okay” but were not huge sellers. And I was so new at the ebook game, I wasn’t quite sure how to market them. I also was under multiple contracts and it seemed I could never get back to writing the fourth and fifth books.
I was caught in a writing time warp, of sorts.
Then, in 2010, I opened my own small publishing house. Over time, I pulled all of my books into my own house. I knew that I wanted to hit this series again, but it had been so long since I had worked on them. Did I still have it in me to tackle them?
I did. Night Kiss/The Curse, underwent extensive revisions, with the first third of the book heavily revised, with additional content. Revisions occurred throughout the book, as well. And I know this – it’s much better! I am extremely excited to bring it back out into the world, after several years absence, with a new look, new content, and an overhaul for the entire series, complete with books four and five.
I hope you are excited, too!
Entranced, Brazen, Entangled, Wanderlust, and Entwined, will all release in 2014. Entranced is available now. Stay tuned for future releases in the series!
About the Author
Whether writing traditional contemporary romance or building paranormal worlds, bestselling romance author, Maddie James, pens stories that frequently cross a variety of romantic sub-genres. Sweet or spicy, suspense or comedy, western or time-travel, her heroes and heroines always chase one thing—the happily-ever-after—whether they realize it or not!
A Food Network junkie who plots the way she cooks—by the seat of her pants—Maddie always has a delicious end product in mind (and she always follows a secret recipe!).
Her first book, THE WILD WEST, a Kensington Precious Gems romance, received a Calico Trails Cameo Award. RED: A SEDUCTION TALE, claimed first place as the Romance Book Scene’s favorite novella of the year. A four time nominee for a CAPA/Psyche Award from The Romance Studio, Maddie’s books have received numerous 5 Star and Top Pick reviews. Her books have landed on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo top-selling lists, and she is frequently listed as a Top 100 Most Popular Contemporary Romance Author at Amazon.
Maddie is a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA) and its Published Author Network (PAN), Louisville Romance Writers (LRWA), Novelists Inc. (NINC), Kentuckiana Authors, and the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA).
Visit Maddie’s website: www.maddiejames.com
Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/maddiejames1 or https://www.facebook.com/MJNovelist
Maddie is giving away a signed print copy of Entranced! Enter using the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win. Good luck!