Title: Return of the Raven
Author: Judith Sterling
Genre: Time Travel Romance
Margaret, Lady Ravenwood, is trapped in a loveless marriage and firmly entrenched in the medieval world. Along comes Griffin Nightshade, a historian from the future whose soul resonates with hers. He persuades her to return with him to the 1950s, but heeding her heart means courting danger from a curse that could spell her doom.
Haunted by his parents' sudden deaths, Griffin knows all too well the pain born of love lost. He guards his emotions, but Margaret delves deep and goes straight to the soul. She's hard to resist…and harder to set free.
The heart's desire and history's demands don't always agree. Yet true love is eternal.
Margaret performed a half-hearted smile. “Thank you for showing me the ruins this morning.”
“ʼTwas my pleasure.” Griffin held his tongue as she crossed to the door, then couldn’t hold back. “Are you sure you’re well?”
She paused on the threshold but didn’t turn. “Perfectly well. I’ll sup with you all later.” Without a backward glance, she stepped into the hall and moved out of sight.
Clunk. Her bedroom door was closed.
All afternoon, she stayed in her room. It wasn’t until teatime that she emerged, and while he and the caretakers engaged in an animated discussion, she consumed her potato soup and Cornish pasty in relative silence. Thankfully, they ate in the kitchen instead of the formal dining room; otherwise, her reticence would’ve made for an awkward meal.
Frank offered to light another fire in the long gallery as Hannah washed the dishes. A short while later, they left for the evening, and Griffin settled on one of two plush chairs near the fire.
Margaret sank onto the other chair and glanced at the dormant piano. “Won’t you play?”
“No. Tonight, we’re going to talk.”
Her gaze darted to the mullioned windows, as though she might escape through them. A second later, it returned to him. “About what?”
“You know what. The vision.”
“Griff, I’m not—”
“I cannot stand it any longer. You’ve been a changed person ever since you saw…whatever the hell you saw. Unburden yourself and tell me about it.”
She looked to the crackling blaze, then back at him. “I saw two moments in time. The first…” She fell silent.
Jeez! What is it? “Go on.”
“You and I were standing right there.” She motioned toward the center of the oriental rug before the fireplace. “Garbed in the same clothes we’ve worn all day.”
His gaze roamed over her. She looked positively fetching in her gray slacks and violet sweater. “So you think you saw tonight? And we were standing.” He flashed a wry grin. “Gripping drama indeed.”
She gave him a pointed look. “Not just standing. We were kissing.”
His stomach lurched. Kissing?
“Say something, Griff.” Her gaze held his.
“I don’t know what to say.” Or do. Jesus!
She laced her fingers together in her lap and looked down at them. “I see. The very idea appalls you.”
His throat tightened, but he owed her an honest response. “No.”
She looked up again, her violet eyes alight. “Then it appeals to you.”
He raised his hands. “I didn’t say that.”
“Well, what are you saying?” she huffed. “Either you want to or you don’t.”
“ʼTis more complicated than that.”
“Hogwash.” Her mesmeric eyes held passion barely restrained.
God help him, he wanted to kiss her. Her lips, her soul called to his with a force that was both primal and noble.
He shook his head. “You are the most vexing woman I’ve ever met.”
“Am I?” She cocked her head to the side. “Well, at least I’ve made an impression. And apparently, you found no fault with my body last night.”
His willpower faltered. “Quite the opposite.”
“But you’ve never kissed me. Perhaps that is where my charms fail.”
“A flawed theory if ever I heard one.”
“Is it?” She stood and moved to the center of the carpet. Her eyes held a dare. “Then let’s test it.”
Sure. Let’s strike a flint and see just how badly we get burned.
“Griff…if nothing else, we must fulfill the moment Woden’s Pond revealed to me. I know in my heart that future is now.”
Breath held, he hesitated. Oh, to hell with it! He jumped from the chair and closed the distance between them. The heat of the fire—and in her gaze—goaded him to action. He slid his arms around her waist and pulled her close, then lowered his mouth to hers.
Her lips were smooth and full. Inviting. He slid the tip of his tongue between them, seeking entrance. Without hesitation, she opened to him, and he began a rhythmic exploration of her mouth. It was sweet, yielding. Sheer heaven to kiss.
Her hands glided up to his neck as she leaned fully into him, and he deepened the kiss. Her long, silken hair tickled his fingers. Her sweater was soft against his palms, but when he slid his hands beneath it, her skin was softer still and hot to the touch.
They moaned at the same time, as though singing a duet. Every fiber of his being urged him to whisk her to his bed, to show her the tenderness she’d never known and give her all the pleasure she could handle. And then some.
But afterward, he’d be a lost man. She’d have the power to crush his soul, simply by leaving. For theirs would be a dance not of lust, but love.
No. This ends now!
He wrenched himself from her embrace and took three steps back. Panting, they stared at one another for a brief, yet eternal moment.
“Well,” she breathed. “That sufficiently disproves my theory.”
A puff of breath escaped his lips, followed by an irrepressible grin. “To say the least. You’re dangerous, you know that?”
Firelight twinkled in her eyes as she grinned in return. “Thank you…I think.”
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Return of the Raven is a perfect read for Mother’s Day because it highlights the love and sacrifice motherhood requires. Margaret, Lady Ravenwood, loves both of her daughters with all her heart, and she’s willing to do whatever it takes to ensure their happiness.
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Judith Sterling is an award-winning author whose love of history and passion for the paranormal infuse everything she writes. Whether penning medieval romance (The Novels of Ravenwood) or young adult paranormal fantasy (the Guardians of Erin series), her favorite themes include true love, destiny, time travel, healing, redemption, and finding the hidden magic which exists all around us. She loves to share that magic with readers and whisk them far away from their troubles, particularly to locations in the British Isles.
Her nonfiction books, written under Judith Marshall, have been translated into multiple languages. She has an MA in linguistics and a BA in history, with a minor in British Studies. Born in that sauna called Florida, she craved cooler climes, and once the travel bug bit, she lived in England, Scotland, Sweden, Wisconsin, Virginia, and on the island of Nantucket. She currently lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and their identical twin sons.
Social Media Links:
Website – https://judithmarshallauthor.com/
The Wild Rose Press – https://www.thewildrosepress.com/bookauthor/judith-sterling