Saving Grace by @Aubreywynne51 is a Trick or Treat Bonanza pick #romanticsuspense #halloween #win
Romantic Suspense/historical fiction
A tortured soul meets a shattered heart...
Chloe Hicks' life consisted of an egocentric ex-husband, a pile of bills, and an equine business in foreclosure until a fire destroys the stable and her beloved ranch horse. What little hope she has left is smashed after the marshal suspects arson. She escapes the accusing eyes of her hometown, but not the memories and melancholy. Jackson Hahn, Virginia Beach's local historian, has his eyes on the mysterious new woman in town. When she arrives in Pungo, he is struck by her haunting beauty and the raw pain in her eyes. Her descriptions of the odd events happening in her bungalow pique his curiosity. The sexy historian distracts Chloe with the legend of a woman wrongly accused of witchcraft. She is drawn to the story and the similarities of events that plagued their lives. Perhaps the past can help heal the present. But danger lurks in the shadows...
“We must accept infinite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Shawnee, Illinois 2006
Two days later, she had an official visit. Chloe once again gave silent thanks her mother was with her. Fire Chief Young stood by her bedside.
“Glad to see you recovering. You had us all worried.” He took off his black Stetson and fiddled with the brim, staring at his boots.
Apprehension gripped her stomach. Something was wrong, he wasn’t meeting her gaze. “Do you need me to answer more questions, Chief?”
“After a preliminary investigation, we have reason to believe there was foul play. The tests detected use of an accelerant. I’m sorry, Ms. Hicks.”
“Arson?” Her voice came out a whisper. “Who would…” Her mind raced. Unhappy clients, angry teenagers who hadn’t placed in a show?
“Are you sure?” It was her mother’s shocked voice. “Is my daughter a suspect?”
“First off, I want to say that I personally have no reason to believe you are responsible, Miss Hicks. I’ve known you and your mama since you were in grade school. And I told that to the insurance agent.” He leaned his weight on one hip and tapped his hat on his thigh. “I’m afraid until we complete the investigation, there won’t be any checks cut by your insurance agency.”
She covered her face with both hands and shook her head. The energy drained from her body. How much could one person take? “This can’t be happening. Why would someone want to put me out of business?”
“Maybe it’s not you. Maybe someone has a hankering to do wrong by Paul Toby.” The chief put up a hand. “I’m not saying he’s involved, just that he could have some enemies of his own. I’m keeping this under my hat for now but wanted you to hear it from me and not that city yahoo from St. Louis.”
“I appreciate that, Chief Young.” This would set them back for the year. How could she start the barrel racing season without a barn? Her customers would settle into whatever place they’d found and never come back. Her students might end up taking lessons where their horses were temporarily boarded. And none of them would settle for outside paddocks indefinitely.
“Mama, come into the house.” James laid a hand on her shoulder. “He’s asking for you.”
Grace Sherwood sat on a three-legged stool along the creek, her cauldron simmering freshly cut medicinal plants and herbs. The soil on the shore was fertile and moist, perfect for growing the herbs and plants needed for healing. Sweat covered her face and trickled down her back. Her baggy pants allowed a little breeze up the bottom cuff when she stretched her legs. The scent of mint hung in the humid air. But the task gave her a sense of control, eased the sense of helplessness in her now precarious world. It took her mind off the man who lay dying inside. Her husband. Her best friend.
“Do you remember when we met?” His soft voice was heavy with emotion as they both watched their middle son. “You were lovely even then.”
“I was a scrawny girl who drove my father crazy.”
John shook his head. “My love, I adore everything about you—from your outspoken opinions to your backside in my pants. But not all of the townspeople appreciate your independence. You must be careful.”
“Fie on them! They are resentful because we know how to work the land, how to irrigate and protect our crops against the floods.” Her chin went up and a spark of anger colored her cheeks. “My father taught me how to properly dry the wheat and grain when it’s been saturated. Have I not tried to share this information? Yet I am accused of sorcery because they do not listen?”
“Wife, hear me. I will not be around to protect you from further charges of witchcraft. We have been lucky so far.”
“I would hate to be wretched then, if being called a witch is lucky.”
His eyes closed for a moment as if he willed himself more strength. “Grace, I indulged you with the countersuits of slander. It was a high price to pay and not just in coin.” He coughed and clutched his belly at the pain it caused.
She hovered over him, fighting the panic rising in her throat. “I cannot live without you. I cannot finish raising our sons and face the villagers without my John, my rock by my side.” A tear fell onto the sheet and slowly spread, like the life that gradually escaped his body. “Why can I not heal you? That is what I do. It is all that I can do.”
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If you could dress up as anything or anyone this Halloween, what or who would it be and why?
Eleanor of Aquitaine. She was beautiful with many talents and a courageous spirit. She held her own against the men in her world, even when imprisoned by her husband.
Explain why your featured book is a treat to read:
Saving Grace has a dual storyline. Chloe is a modern-day gal who owns a stable and breeds and trains horses. She is on the suspect list for the torching of her own barn.
Grace Sherwood is a healer who is accused of witchcraft. Her ideas for farming and healing may help save the townspeople but also makes them suspicious of her.
Both women are wrongly accused, independent women who defy the constraints of society. Grace’s ghost is said to still haunt the area of Pungo, Virginia.
One lucky reader will win a $75 Amazon (US or Canada) gift card.
Open internationally. You must have an active Amazon US or Amazon Canada account to be eligible.
Runs October 1 – 31
Drawing will be held on November 1.
USA Today bestelling author Aubrey Wynne is an elementary teacher by trade, champion of children and animals by conscience, and author by night. She resides in the Midwest with her husband, dogs, horses, mule, and barn cats. Obsessions include wine, history, travel, trail riding, and all things Christmas. Her Chicago Christmas series has received the Golden Quill, Aspen Gold, Heart of Excellence, and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence and twice nominated as a Rone finalist by InD’tale Magazine.
Aubrey’s first love is medieval romance but after dipping her toe in the Regency period in 2018 with the Wicked Earls’ Club, she was smitten. This inspired her spin-off series Once Upon a Widow. In 2020, she launched the Scottish Regency series A MacNaughton Castle Romance with Dragonblade Novels.
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