Hi lovelies! It gives me great pleasure today to host Linda Nightingale and her new book, “Her General in Gray”! For other stops on her Goddess Fish Promotions Book Tour, please click on the banner above or any of the images in this post.
Be sure to make it to the end of this post to enter to win a pair of Black Diamond Earrings and an eBook of the featured book, “Her General in Gray,” – BOTH prizes to ONE lucky winner!! In addition, there will be a SECOND winner that will win a digital choice of one of the author's backlist books!! Yep – that’s right!! There will be TWO lucky winners!! Also, come back daily to interact with Linda and to increase your chances of winning!
Her General in Gray
by Linda Nightingale
GENRE: Paranormal Romance
Autumn Hartley purchases Allen Hall at a steal, but the northern lass gets far more than a beautiful plantation in the South Carolina Low Country. The house comes complete with its own ghost, a handsome and charming Civil War General—for the Confederacy. The stage is set for another civil conflict.
John Sibley Allen died in battle from a wound in the back, the bullet fired by the turncoat, Beauregard Dudley. The traitor’s reincarnation is Autumn the Interloper’s first dinner guest. Sib bedevils her date and annoys her with fleeting, phantom touches, certain he can frighten her away as he did previous purchasers. As time marches on, her resident ghost becomes more appealing while her suitor, Beau, pales in comparison. Autumn finds her ability to love didn’t perish in the divorce that sent her south seeking a fresh start.
After over a century in the hereafter, Sib discovers he is falling for none other than the feisty Yankee girl, but what future could a modern woman and an old-fashioned ghost possibly hope for?
In an age of smart phones and tablets, she stood for a moment contemplating the past. The temptation was almost too much for her, but she’d started to fold the dress back into its resting place when a hand landed on her shoulder.
Sib’s voice was soft and tender. “The dress belonged to my mother. She wore it at a ball before the war. It appears to be in passable condition. Why don’t you try it on? I’ve imagined you so attired.”
“I’m a Northerner, remember? I’m surprised you offer your mother’s gown to me.” She turned, the green frock draped over her arm. “Where have you been anyway?”
“Here. All the time. I was simply playing along with your game of asking for my disappearance.”
She stiffened. “Don’t play games with me. My mother used to do that. It was disturbing and hurtful to a child.”
“You reveal more of yourself every moment, and I’m enjoying getting to know you. Very well, I’ll share something about me. My father—what do you call it today?—cheated on my mother. More than once.. I’d hear her crying at night. Thus, I would have been true to my wife.” Eyes sad, he nodded at the dress. “I’d like to see you in that, Autumn. We are becoming friends. She would have approved. I’ll assist with the buttons.”
“Turn your back. I’ll have to get undressed.” She motioned at him. “I’ve no desire for a ghost to see me in my bra and panties.”
He chuckled, his big grin enticing. “Such modesty. Actually, I was anticipating that view. Anyway, I’ve seen you in your underwear before.”
“You Peeping Tom!” She accused, shaking a fist at him. “Will I have no privacy? Do you follow me to the bathroom, too?”
“No, Ma’am.” He shook his head, his hair moving in soft waves. “I was simply in my bedroom when you changed into your nightgown.”
“It’s not your bedroom. This is my house, and don’t you forget it.” She glared at him.
He snapped a smart military salute. “Yes, commander.”
“Turn around.” She slid her sweatshirt over her head and slithered out of her sweatpants. “You are…such an annoyance.”
“Thank you. I couldn’t be more offended.”
A strange feeling of awe washed over her as she slid the beautiful gown over her head. “Okay. I’m ready for help with the buttons.”
The touch of his fingers filled her with an emotion she’d thought dead. A thrill actually rippled over her. Perhaps, because he was no threat. The General couldn’t break her heart as Chad had done. That dreadful affair seemed as far in the past as the dress of rustling satin. He was the VP at the agency, and their brief association and parting had twisted her feelings into knots.
“You’re tense.” Sib stroked her back. “I sense it isn’t the dress.”
“I’ll tell you later.” She spun, swirling the skirt. “What do you think?”
“I think you are the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.”
“You’ve got to be kidding.” A very sweet emotion seeped through her.
“Not in the least.” He offered her an old-fashioned bow.
The Inspiration for Her General in Gray
My inspiration for Her General in Gray was a movie made in the year I was born [no it wasn’t a silent movie!] but I hate to say it was quite a long time ago. In 1947, Gene Tierney and Rex Harrison starred in the film The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. I was born on December 27 of that momentous year. So, needless to say, it was a few days before I watched the flick.
A very short version of the story is: In 1900, a young widow finds her seaside cottage is haunted...and forms a unique relationship with the ghost.
Rex Harrison was dashing as the sea captain (deceased), and John Sibley Allen, the hero in Her General in Gray, is quite the charmer too. Incidentally, John Sibley Allen was my grandfather’s actual name, and like his namesake was called Sib. He was tall, dark and handsome—part Native American (Cherokee)—who loved the ladies and was loved by the ladies in return. That’s why my aunt was born six weeks after I came screaming into this world.
Once I have a name and an overall idea of the character, I let him or her tell the story and introduce the other stars of my storybook show. Usually, the first character to take the stage is the hero, but in this instance, Autumn, the heroine, jumped to the foreground. The first chapter is from her POV, and the second is from Sib’s.
One exchange on the first page more or less sets the mood for the story:
“I don’t believe in ghosts. You’re not welcome here. I bought this house and am struggling to pay for it. Get your Halloween self out of my living room.” [Autumn speaking]
He smiled. “It’s not Halloween, and we share this house. It was mine, you know, and still is. I’m willing to share it with you—even if you are a Yankee. After all, the conflict is over, and I’ll hold no grudge against the Northern aggressors. Even though the South will never surrender.”
I wonder what Grandpa would think of my using his name for a Confederate general. Mental snap of my fingers—I must tell his daughter (my aunt) that I used her father’s name in one of my flights of fantasy.
The tension is set immediately between Autumn and Sib. She’s from Massachusetts, and the plantation is his family home. The Confederate general isn’t pleased that a Yankee has moved into Allen Hall.
I’m a South Carolinian, transplanted to Texas (I love the Lone Star State bunches, too) and set many of my tales in the Low Country near Charleston. If I could choose any place to own a summer home, it would be on the Battery in Charleston. The famous Battery faces the Atlantic and is a graceful street lined with Antebellum mansions. I simply love driving back and forth on the Battery looking at the homes and imagining their ‘lives’. Years ago, I did this, up and down, until the residents must have thought I lived there. I had the top down. The sun rushed in. The wind tossed my hair. (you get the idea) This trip with no destination was dedicated to choosing the home of my hero in one of my vampire novels, Sinners’ Opera, but that’s another story, literally.
I’ve wandered a long way from sharing my inspiration to discussing the setting, but Charleston is also part of the inspiration for Her General in Gray. The very fact that he is a blueblood from the Low Country and she’s a Yankee is grounds for another civil war.
Born in South Carolina, Linda has lived in England, Canada, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Atlanta and Houston. She’s seen a lot of this country from the windshield of a truck pulling a horse trailer, having bred, trained and showed Andalusian horses for many years.
Linda has won several writing awards, including the Georgia Romance Writers Magnolia Award and the SARA Merritt. She is the mother of two wonderful sons, a retired legal assistant, member of the Houston Miata Club, and enjoys events with that car club. Among her favorite things are her snazzy black convertible and her parlor grand piano. She loves to dress up and host formal dinner parties.
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Linda will be awarding Black Diamond Earrings and an eBook of Her General in Gray (International Giveaway) to one winner via Rafflecopter, and a second winner will receive a digital choice of one of the author's backlist during the tour.
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