Each week I welcome a guest author to share an excerpt of a first meeting. Today on First Sight Saturday, Marilyn Baron brings us a scene from Under The Moon Gate, her historical romantic thriller.
Fun Fact about the Author: She’s traveled to Bermuda, the setting for Under the Moon Gate, ten times.
Setup of scene:
Under the Moon Gate, a romantic thriller set in contemporary and World War II Bermuda, begins when dashing Virginia sea captain Nathaniel Morgan sails into the life of prim and proper Bermuda heiress, Patience Whitestone, determined to dig up her family secrets at any cost.
The two are immediately at odds when Nathaniel moors his vessel, the Fair Winds, in front of her prestigious Tucker’s Town, Bermuda, estate and refuses to leave until he finds a cache of Swiss gold he is convinced her grandfather—a German sleeper agent planted in Bermuda in 1937—buried somewhere on the property during the war.
The following excerpt describes the first meeting between Patience and Nathaniel.
Patience yanked open the thick Bermuda cedar door, ready to brush off the unwanted visitor. Instead, she experienced a shock of recognition when
she stared at the man standing before her.
Taking a step back, she examined him cautiously. With long black hair, pulled back by a stark white tie, stunning blue eyes, and a fabulous face that managed to
look both sensitive and sensuous, he could easily pass for a dangerous pirate.
Perhaps she was daydreaming or hallucinating. She hadn’t gotten much sleep last night—or any night in the past month—and she had been reading a romance with
a lusty pirate hero on the cover. Probably she still had pirates on the brain.
Although the man at her door was in desperate need of a shave, he intrigued her. Her “pirate” was a tall, imposing presence in tight-fitting but ragged
khakis, with muscles bulging out of a snug, sweatstained white T-shirt.
Good Lord! was the first coherent thought that pierced her brain. She might have said it out loud had she been capable of speech. Her grandmother had said
someone would come for her, but certainly she didn’t mean so soon and definitely not this brash pirate person. And what was he doing at her door, unannounced and unwelcome, on a Sunday afternoon, disturbing her peace and leaving her speechless? One look at this man and she was about to toss all thoughts
of proper behavior out the window.
“H-how did you manage to get through the gate?” Patience finally stuttered.
“Ah, she speaks.”
“Of course I speak,” Patience hissed, still stunned.
“What are you doing here?”
“You mean how did I manage to access a place that’s locked down tighter than the Tower of London?”
“I’m going to call the police now,” Patience threatened.
“If you’re talking about the two bozos at your front gate who are supposed to be patrolling your house, don’t bother. They’re snoring like drunkards. I didn’t
have the heart to wake them. I’d complain if I were you.”
The pirate stuck an oversized deck shoe in the doorway as Patience tried to slam it shut.
“You’re not going to get rid of me before you’ve heard what I came to say. It’s about your grandfather.”
The breath caught in her throat. “What could you possibly know about my grandfather?”
“I can’t tell you if you won’t let me in,” he said.
Patience knew she should be cautious, but if the man truly had information about her grandfather, well, then, she wanted to hear it—now.
“If you have something to say, say it and leave,” Patience insisted, preparing to do battle.
“It’s obvious you’ve been misnamed, Patience. You don’t seem to have any.”
More indignant and angry than ever, Patience snorted. Word of her notoriously sweet and tolerant disposition hadn’t yet reached this man, apparently.
“Aren’t you going to invite me in?” he continued. “It’s teatime.” The man flashed a smile and a hint of dangerous dimples.
“I think I’ve been more than patient, and I don’t even know your name,” Patience insisted, wondering how he knew hers.
“I didn’t give it. And I scaled the fortress to get to the princess.”
“I’m hardly a princess.” Patience scowled.
“You’re the closest thing Bermuda has to royalty, one of the most respected names on the island. Blood in Bermuda doesn’t get any bluer than yours, does it, Patience? Your grandmother’s family has been connected to all the big names on the island. You can’t go anywhere in Bermuda without tripping over a legend—the Smithfields, the Tuckers, the Triminghams, the Goslings, the Overbrooks, the
Coopers, the Carters, the Whitestones.”
“Why don’t you come back later? This isn’t a good time.”
“I’ve come a long way to talk to you.”
“I don’t know you.”
“But I know you,” he said, eyeing her narrowly. “You’re Patience Katarina Whitestone?”
“Patience Katherine Whitestone,” she corrected. No one had called her Katarina since her grandfather died. She’d loved the way the hard sound of her middle
name had tripped off his tongue, like a lullaby, when she was half asleep and he thought she couldn’t hear it.
“If you don’t leave this instant, I’ll have to notify the authorities.”
“I don’t think you’ll want to call the authorities after you hear what I’ve come to say.”
The man was speaking in riddles again. And Patience couldn’t take much more of his insolence—or the unsettling effect his strange behavior had on her.
“Are you threatening me?” Patience bristled, surfacing from her fog and summoning a burst of energy. “Because I’m not alone here. Sallie will be
back in a minute, and I have a gun.”
Lifting her chin with a defiant jerk, she tried for a look of bravado she
didn’t really feel. For all she knew, the man could be a criminal—a murderer—or her stalker.
“I’m no threat to you,” he assured her, as if he had the ability to read her mind.
“Tell me who you are, and I’ll be the judge of that.”
“My name is Nathaniel Morgan. You have something I want. And I have something you want. I think I may know who killed your grandfather.”
Patience faltered. The color drained from her face, replaced by a look of panic.
“What do you know about my grandfather’s death?” she demanded weakly as she faced him squarely, barely able to catch a breath, her knees about to buckle.
“More than you would want to know, I imagine, liebchen.”
“Goodbye, liebchen,” were the last words her grandfather spoke to her. But how could this man have known that, unless he’d been there? And that would
mean… She could still see her grandfather’s blood on her hands. Still feel the thickness that had oozed from his wounds and soaked her bright coral sundress. She needed to be on guard, but suddenly she was exhausted, overcome by a languorous feeling and a sensation of dizziness. Her mind clouded. Her pulse pounded as lightheadedness overtook her.
BUY UNDER THE MOON GATE
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