Today she gives us an excerpt and a blurb from the story.
In Secret Shades Revealed: Helena is abandoned by Enrique, the rakish bounder whose sexual prowess and string of female conquests dominate the gossip media, whom she had chosen over Ramón, the man who stole her heart. But now she’s pregnant with Enrique’s child and Enrique doesn’t want to know about the baby – he leaves her because of her secret heritage, a secret that has plagued Helena since childhood, and is now threatening even her unborn baby. Surely Ramón, the man she truly fell in love with but kept away from, would not want Enrique’s reject – and a pregnant one with a "tainted" heritage at that. Helena goes in hiding at Timberlake Priory, her family’s ancient estate in Yorkshire. But she is also determined to continue her quest to find her heritage, if only for the sake of her unborn child. She is totally at the end of her tether when a strange visitor to Timberlake is announced. The stranger finally proves to her what true love is all about...
Excerpt: The taxi had reached the roundabout, arranged in flowerbeds which were ablaze with colours. The family had been sitting by the pool at the gazebo. When they saw the taxi rounding the curves, Brianna and Tim were already sprinting to it with Alexander in tow. Athan and Eleni rose and stepped out of the gazebo.
Helena shot out of the taxi and held her arms wide open for Mummy while Ramón helped her biological mother out of the taxi. Brianna crashed into Helena’s outstretched arms and Tim onto his wife. Ramón stood several yards behind Helena and held the elbow of the nun who was dazzled and bewildered at the same time. Alexander joined the embracing trio.
Then he glanced at Ramón and the nun. She suddenly held Ramón’s arm with both her hands as if for support. A strange sensation went through Alexander as he saw Ramón looking worried. Unknowns shifted and spun in his stomach. Others were rearranged in his mind.
Ramón wondered why Sister Victoria was suddenly trembling and swaying.
Alex hurried over to them.
He would recognise her anytime anywhere. Instinctively because she had remained apart of him all through the years. He would sense her presence, recognise her even if she was wearing a Ku Klux Klan bed sheet.
All the same he couldn’t believe his eyes. He shook his head as if to clear his vision. Like a boxer in the ring who had received a knockout blow. He came closer. Up close. Reflexively he reached out a hand. The person he had reached the hand out to crumbled to the ground, out of his reach.
Ramón felt his arm being jerked down as Sister Victoria mumbled, “Rrrrrrr…!” and fell in a heap on the barbered lawn.
Both men went on their knees, hovering over Sister Victoria.
“She tried to say my name, trembling and swaying, and then simply fainted,” Ramón explained with creased brows. “I think I overestimated her stamina. It’s all been too much and too sudden for her.” He gently slapped her face. “Sister Victoria? Sister Victoria?”
“It’s more than too much and too sudden, Ramón. It’s a miracle…” There were tears in Alexander’s voice which made Ramón look up at him.
Tears blinded Alexander’s vision. He couldn’t swallow the saliva that filled up his drooping mouth and ran down its corner. There was a shuddering wall in his stomach from the next two words he uttered, but his voice refused to accompany the words. He had to try several times. Then he croaked, “Sandy Girl! Oh, my God!”
Sister Victoria’s eyes trembled open as he picked her up. “Rrrrenegade…!”
Ramón looked confused as he straightened up. Renegade? Alexander? The gallant teenaged boy in the dark African night? Something in the far recesses of his mind tried to surface. Something that had occurred to him back in Inverbroch Castle when he saw the Duchess for the first time.
The shuddering wall of Alexander’s stomach was now accompanied by his voice. He said the words aloud, repeatedly, standing still with her in his arms, blinking away his tears.
“My sweet darling. My Sandy Girl. I can’t believe this!” He murmured to himself.
Ramón heard the words and looked in the direction of Helena. God almighty. She was still embracing her parents and Athan and Eleni – who had reached her – back and forth, showing them her engagement ring. She was talking excitedly, bouncing up and down on the balls of her feet. She frequently pointed in the direction of Ramón and her biological mother without turning around to look at them.
Then she turned and saw Uncle Alex obviously weeping with Mama in his arms. She run to them, her parents and grandparents at her heels.
Ramón imprisoned her in the circle of his arms. “A second, mi vida.”
She seemed not to hear him at first. “Mama! Uncle Alex! What happened, handsome darling?” She turned her face to him, brows knitted, wiping a loose curl off her forehead.
Now Ramón remembered what had happened to him at Inverbroch Castle at the sight of Duchess Regina. Something about her had reminded him of the first time he met Helena’s family after touring The House of Dionysus. At the time he had not known that Helena was an adoptive child. But he remembered two features that had struck him. He remembered thinking: It seemed to be in the family because her brother and her daughter too had the heart shaped face with that uncommon widow’s peak.
It was Duchess Regina’s heart-shaped face and widow’s peak.
“Mama! Uncle Alex! Ramón darling, say something. What happened?” Helena repeated, impatient in Ramón’s arms. “Is Mama all right, Ramón? Are you all right, darling? You’re breathing like a sprinter. What’s going on?”
Alexander put Sister Victoria back on her feet when she came to fully and pushed at his chest, pushed him away. Then, without a care, he wrapped his arms around her shoulders and kept her pressed to his chest, just like the last time he had embraced her at Wilson Airport eras ago. Sobs shook them both. Alexander raised his head to look at Helena and sobbed harder. The nun’s arms first hung limply on her sides, then she lifted them under his armpits and patted Alexander’s back gently again and again the more he was racked by emotions. She automatically had the inborn urge to ease his pain. To comfort.
The others had joined the scene. Brianna put a gentle hand on her brother’s shaking shoulder. She and Helena looked at Ramón questioningly, as if only he could explain.
“Meet Renegade and Sandy Girl, mi vida.” He kissed her upturned forehead.
“Renegade?” said Brianna. “You know Alexander’s childhood nickname?”
“Only since a couple of days or so.”
“WHAT?” said Helena.
“Don’t you go fainting on me too, mi amor, but we just found your father.”
“Flames,” wept Alexander, “Tiddler’s my daughter!”
Brianna took her hand off her brother to grab Tim for support. “Tiddler’s your what?”
Alexander knew it without her having to tell him this. If she was Helena’s mother then Helena was his daughter. The math wasn’t exactly nano science. Something luminous flashed in his mind now, like moonlight veiled by clouds. His brain was as convoluted as a tangle of fisherman’s old nets. It tried to wade through his sacred memories of an eighteen-year-old boy falling in love with a sixteen-year-old girl in a tent, in the pitch dark of an African night surrounded with the music of Africa’s wilderness of predators and their victims. Renegade protecting his dusky beauty who was afraid of the dark that hid lupines and other fierce creatures. Memories offering themselves in the convoluted brain, literal and physical with images, crept in his mind, getting sharper and sharper, as if his mind was a photographer’s blank paper suddenly dropped into the developer to come through, find form and produce the images. He extended one hand towards his daughter, not taking away the arm draped around his Sandy Girl, to embrace Helena and her mother in each of his arms. And like a while ago, his arm remained empty and Ramón had another lithe woman’s weight escaping his own protective arms and collapsing at his feet.
Despite Ramón’s admonition, Helena had gone right ahead and passed out.