Friday, April 10, 2020
The Jeweled Dagger Series Tour and Giveaway
The Jeweled Dagger Series Book 1
by Diane Merril Wigginton
Genre: Historical Romance
Would you keep a secret to save someone you barely know?
Angelina Stewart is a beautiful, bold, independent woman hiding a terrible secret. After returning home from a sea voyage, she is touted as a hero for saving her family’s ship and crew from a band of ruthless pirates, but Angelina feels like such a fraud.
At the same time, her psychic abilities are becoming more pronounced as she attempts to unravel the mystery of London’s gruesome murders before she becomes the killer's next victim.
>>>Captain Jude Deveraux is leading a double life
He and his band of French privateers steal, rob and plunder unsuspecting ships that have the misfortune of wandering into their domain. Awarded a title by the King of France for bravery during battle, The Duke of Bayonne, A.K.A. Pirate Captain, Jude Deveraux, takes what he wants from the world as he and his best friend, Honore live each day as if it were their last.
That is until the day Jude discovers that the only thing he truly wants is to capture the untamed heart of fiery tempered, Lady Stewart for his own.
>>>Angelina's Secret is the unforgettable introduction to the "Jeweled Dagger" series
I was blessed to have twin brothers, Charlie and Jonathan, who had come into this world five years earlier and were as close as two brothers born of the same womb could be. They did everything together and were normal, rambunctious, five-year-old boys unaware of matters and circumstances beyond their little world.
Mother was a beautiful woman in her own right, and in a time when women were revered for their beauty and little else, my mother was a phenomenon. She was a smart, intelligent woman prone to show her witty nature. But Mother had a secret, a sixth sense about things that happened or were about to happen, and she was never wrong.
She told me once that certain gifts ran in our family and that I should always trust my instincts. At the time I was too young to understand what she was trying to say to me. It wasn’t until many years later her words to me made sense.
But I seem to be getting ahead of myself in the telling of my story. Something happened shortly after my birth that changed our family dynamics forever. Some say that a tragedy changes things for the worse, ripping the very foundation of a family. But I attest to you that tragedy only makes the strong things stronger and can bind a family together forever—eternally, linking everyone concerned like stitches of a tapestry tightly woven together for the betterment of all concerned. And so I tell you my tale of tragedy and adventure that leads to a great love so intricately woven through time that the bonds will never be broken.
The Jeweled Dagger Series Book 2
Haunted by a disturbing dream, she must face evils beyond her imagination
It is 1783 England and Isabella Deveraux is an independent, fearless young woman who has hardened her heart to everyone that mattered to her, until the night she experiences a disturbing dream about her twin brother, Charlie, on the eve of their 19th birthday. Charlie and his school mates have been abducted by the devil incarnate and she is resolved to do what ever it takes to save him, even if that means reconciling with her estranged family and placing her faith and life in the hands of an intimidating Irish mercenary Captain.
>>>A mercenary who will do just about anything, for the right price
Captain Aiden Townsend is more than willing to save the lives of three privileged schoolboys, for the right price. Jaded by his own devastating loss, Aiden has worked hard to keep his distance from the female persuasion until he is introduced to Lady Isabella Deveraux. As he sails his ship from England to Dublin, with the beautiful Lady Deveraux aboard, he formulates a plan to help her. But if his plan is to work, he must break through the walls that surround her heart while tearing down a few of his own.
My sweat drenched sheets clung to my body and convulsive shivers shook me to my core. I couldn’t think, nor could I stop shaking. Fear gripped me by the throat, zapping every ounce of strength I had. My limbs felt weak, like noodles that sit too long in a pot of boiling water.
My face felt swollen and my ribs hurt like I had just been through a terrible accident. I couldn’t explain why I was no longer connected to Charlie, or why my vision started, then abruptly ended. It was as if Charlie shut me out of his mind, shielding me from the horror that was about to befall him.
I sat on my bed for the longest time, consumed with grief and fear, trying desperately to form a coherent thought. Finally, I leaned over, fumbling in the dark, to light the candle that sat on my bedside table.
Climbing from the bed, I stumbled before opening the doors to my armoire, then began to rummage about until I found what I was searching for. Pulling out a pair of boy’s trousers, a shirt and a cap, along with the bandages I used to bind myself up, I quickly dressed.
Fumbling about, I found the old jacket and boots I kept in the back corner of my dressing closet. I always kept them safely tucked away for those times I wanted to ride without being recognized or bothered by social convention.
If Charlie had been killed, surely I would have felt something by now, like the splitting of a mighty oak tree by a bolt of lightning, I would have felt the confirmation of such an act. But I didn’t feel myself split in two. I simply felt consumed with grief for the horrific act perpetrated against my brother.
Slowly the feeling of rage began to stir inside of me, becoming all consuming as it mixed with desperation and the need to be whole again. My emotions propelled me forward, placing one foot in front of the other. Slipping everything but my boots on, I extinguished the candle and piled my hair under the cap. My disguise was now complete.
Ducking quietly out the door and down the hall to the back staircase, I listened for a moment, making sure that no one was wandering about this part of the hall. The only noise I heard was coming from the kitchen as the cooks prepared the bread for baking. I exhaled, realizing that I had been holding my breath, and my heart felt like it was going to pound its way through my chest. Tiptoeing down the stairs and past the cooks was no easy task, but I waited for the right moment and made my way to the side door.
Silently lifting the latch, I opened the door just wide enough to slip through, then closed the door behind me. I froze when the top hinge squeaked slightly, quickly closed my eyes, I said a little prayer. Then easing the latch back into place, I said another prayer that my absence wouldn’t be discovered for hours. By then it would be too late for anyone to do anything about it.
Stopping long enough to slip my boots on, I stayed in the shadows, just in case anyone was up rummaging through the garden for fresh herbs. Finally, making my way to the barn, I eased the heavy wooden door open, and listened for any noise of men moving about. When I was satisfied that the only noises were those of the horses shuffling about in their stalls, I pushed the door open wider.
Growing up with horses, I knew how to saddle one for myself, and didn’t require the help of a stable hand. The only thing left to do now was to pick the right horse for the long ride to Oxford. I needed a horse with lots of heart, and not one that had gone barn sour, or become fat and lazy. No, I needed a horse that was willing to run and not stop until I had reached my destination, and I had just the right horse in mind.
Making my way along the wall of closed doors, I peeked into a darkened stall, trying to make out the horse standing in the shadows. “Third stall on the right…oh sorry, Rosy, wrong stall, sorry girl,” I whispered shutting and latching the top of the door. “Must be the forth stall on the right.” I whispered to myself as I gingerly unlatched and opened the next stall door to check. “Yes. Good morning, Dodger, my handsome lad. I have an important mission for you today,” I whispered, greeting him with a gentle pat on the nose and a cube of sugar, before slipping a feedbag over his head so I could saddle him quietly.
The Jeweled Dagger Series Book 3
How far would you go to save your best friend from a fate worse than death?
Olivia Townsend is willing to do whatever it takes to save Lilly from just such a fate.
The year is 1804 and Lady Olivia Sophia Allen Townsend has just turned 20 years old. She is beautiful, well-educated and considered by some in polite society to be far too eccentric for her own good. When Olivia was younger, she was very open about her gift. She is not only able to see spirits, but she can talk to them as well. Being shunned by her peers has caused Olivia to turn her back on those who need her the most - spirits caught between two worlds. That is until her best friend Lilly Collins comes to her in the middle of the night and asks for her help. Lilly can’t remember what happened to her and finds herself in need of Olivia’s unique gifts.
>>>Across the sea
Olivia’s younger sister, Coco, is also gifted with a unique set of skills - she can touch someone and know things about them that they would sometimes prefer to keep hidden. Together, the sisters set off on a sea voyage, from Ireland to America, intent on solving the mystery of Lilly’s untimely death.
>>>Southern elites, heirs to an empire
Brody and Quinton Beaumont are fine-looking, eligible, southern gentlemen, and heirs to a successful cotton empire. They also happen to be twins, hiding a deep dark secret. Their mother, Annabelle Beaumont, died eight years earlier on the night of their annual birthday winter ball, yet she continues to rule over their plantation home with an iron fist.
Olivia, who has never been drawn to any man, feels an undeniable connection to Brody Beaumont, but first, she must figure out if she can trust him, and if he or his twin brother Quinton had anything to do with Lilly’s death.
“Olivia, wake up,” the horse whisper sounded harsh next to my ear.
Slowly I opened my sleep-filled eyes and recognized my best friend, whom I hadn’t seen in months, “Lilly. What is it? What’s the matter?” I asked, with a degree of shock at seeing her dress disheveled and torn, standing in my bed chambers. Slowly sitting up in bed, I rubbed the sleep from my eyes.
“I need your help,” she said, pulling her shawl tightly around her slender shoulders and sounding desperate as she walked to the end of my bed.
Reaching over to the night stand, I struck the flint and lit the candle, while absently answering her, “Anything, Lilly. Name it,” I replied, turning back around to get a better look at her. As my eyes adjusted and fell on Lilly, my heart sank to my stomach, because I just realized that she was no longer among the living. She was now just one of the many spirits paying me a midnight visit before crossing over to the other side. Quickly bringing my hand to my mouth to keep from crying out, tears filled my eyes and all I could do was stare at her ethereal form. The feeling of loss was so raw it hurt. I swallowed a gasp, at least I thought I had. Lilly’s eyes flew to my face.
“What’s wrong? Why are you staring at me like that, Olivia?”
“What happened to you, Lilly?” I cried, feeling despair overwhelm me. “I have been inquiring after you for months now, but all your sisters would say is that you were away visiting a relative in England.”
“I can’t remember off the top of my head where I’ve been exactly, but I don’t believe I went to England,” Lilly replied, with a stricken look.
“Then tell me where you did go.”
“That’s just it, I can’t remember. The only thing I do recall is feeling happy and excited that I was going someplace. Ever since Mama died, I’ve wanted to be happy again, Olivia,” Lilly whined. “Truly happy!” she added, with emphasis, poking out her bottom lip slightly. “I grew tired of the mask I wore every day to appear happy to everyone.” Lilly clutched her fist to her belly, then, wringing her hands in her gown, she began looking around with confusion, unable to remember how she had come to be there.
“We will figure this out. I just need you to stay calm. I have something to tell you and I’m not entirely certain how you are going to take it,” I prefaced my next statement, while climbing out of bed and walking over to her.
“Don’t be silly, Olivia, you can tell me anything.”
“Forgive me for being blunt, Lilly, but I don’t know any other way to say this,” I stated, through sniffles while trying to soften the blow. “You’re dead, Lilly.”
“That is ridiculous, Olivia Townsend. You don’t know what you are talking about,” Lilly retorted, looking down at her bare feet and torn dress, before running over to the full-length mirror. I followed behind her with my candle in hand. “I’m so sorry, Lilly.”
“No, no, no, no, no, no…” she kept repeating, bringing her hands to her face in disbelief, when she couldn’t see herself in the mirror. Her celestial form began to fade before my eyes.
“Lilly. Lilly, come back here. I insist you come back here this minute!” I stomped my bare foot on the hardwood floor. “Oh please, Lilly, I promise everything will be alright.” I cried, holding the candle a little higher. “Please come back, Lilly,” I sobbed.
The door to my room slowly opened and I turned suddenly in surprise.
“Olivia?” Coco’s voice was tentative as she looked back over her shoulder before stepping into my room and shutting the door. “Who were you talking to? I heard you calling out to Lilly and thought maybe you were having a bad dream.”
“It wasn’t a bad dream, Coco. It’s was a nightmare,” I sobbed into my hands, slumping into the nearest chair, wondering what I was going to do next.
“I don’t understand, Olivia. Tell me about your nightmare,” she sweetly coaxed, setting her candle down on the dresser and kneeling beside me.
“Oh, Coco,” I gasped, placing the candle next to me on the little table and covering my mouth with the back of my hand.
“What is it, Olivia? What’s happened?” “Why have I been cursed with this ability?” I snapped, suddenly angry that I had been given the ability to see spirits. I’d always considered it a gift and a blessing to help people to cross over to the other side when I was younger, but lately it had become a curse.
“What are you talking about, Olivia?” Coco questioned, “I don’t understand. You’re not making any sense.”
“Oh, never mind,” she uttered, reaching out to take my hand and easily slipping away to the place she goes when she sought answers. Coco closed her eyes and fell silent. Quickly turning loose of my hand, Coco jumped to her feet and gasped. Her beautiful eyes registered her shock and horror at what she had just witnessed. “This can’t be, Olivia! I don’t believe it.”
“You don’t believe it,” I sniffed, “I don’t believe it!” “How did this happen to her?”
“I never got that far in our conversation. When I told Lily she was dead, she disappeared on me, and I don’t know where she went,” I cried again as tears trailed down my cheeks.
“But she is coming back?”
“Where else would she go?” I bluntly stated.
by by Diane Merril Wigginton
Genre: Historical Romance
SHATTERED BY HEARTBREAK
“When a heart breaks, it does not break evenly, cleaving in half exactly down the middle.”
Surrounded by her large, boisterous family in 1840s Ireland, Lara Flannigan has never known anything but love and belonging—until the day tragedy strikes, leaving her abandoned and forced into indentured servitude.
REMADE IN A NEW WORLD.
Just when all hope seems lost, Lara is discovered by a childless American couple, visiting Ireland to aid in the famine-relief effort. With barely a chance to look back, she’s swept away to a bustling new continent—and a dizzying new reality. One of petticoats, opulent townhouses, and the cold reaches of Philadelphia high society. Desperate for a future, Lara works tirelessly to fit into her new life... while still haunted by a past that won’t let her go. Set in a fascinating historical period, Lara’s Story is a gripping young adult novel that explores the strength of the human spirit and the power of forgiveness to heal a broken heart.
April 27, 1854
Philadelphia Wharf Lara’s Story
EVERY QUESTION BEGINS WITH a quest for answers, and every testimony of what is true begins with a test of our resolve. I am reminded of this simple formula as I stand here on this boardwalk, looking out to sea. Each life is a journey, defined by turns we take or the roads we choose or those which fate chooses for us. Some of us move from one place to another, along a well-worn path or the path less taken; it really doesn’t matter much as long as it leads you home again.
Memories of my home involuntarily flash through my mind as Mama’s words come back to me like a sounding board that has followed me my entire life. She would often tell my sisters and me, “Don’t ever make yerself smaller to satisfy the needs of another.” Mama was always insightful and perceptive when it came to her children.
Oh, how I still miss her so, even to this day. I smile to myself, wishing my ears could hear that beautiful, rhythmic sound of Mama’s voice again, just one more time as a terrible memory of the last day I saw her alive flashes through my mind and I vigorously shake my head to dispel the thought.
When a heart breaks it does not break evenly – cleaving in half exactly down the middle. It breaks, jagged and rough, cutting one to the very core of their soul. And while things may appear perfectly normal to the naked eye, beneath the surface lies the real tragedy, fragmented and splintered beyond reconciliation. Heartbreak is not an innocuous pain, easily excused like a stomach ache. It is more insidious, spreading throughout ones’ system, like an infection. Merely closing my eyes to the pain does not eliminate it in the least.
Just breathe in, then breathe out and move forward, I remind myself. This simple little mantra is something I taught myself so many years ago, and it has gotten me through more than a few dire situations.
I was born Lara Flannigan, on the twenty-first day of April, in the year of our Lord, eighteen hundred and thirty-three. Mama liked to tell me it was a beautiful spring morn, the day I was born, which would have been an unusual occurrence for that time of year.
Mama also said, “I knew ye were special and destined for greatness the moment ye took yer first breath, don’t ye know. Cause the sun poked out from behind the clouds with yer first breath of life. Why twere’ like the Heavens above truly recognized that an angel had been born to me,” she teased.
If truth be told, I believe mama told this exact story to each of her six children. But I loved hearing it nonetheless.
I was the sixth child of the seven children born to Rory and Laurel Flannigan, and I was named for my Da’s mother. Our days were long and our lives were hard, but our nights belonged to us. I never knew life could be anything other than what I had experienced. My world was very small in those days, so I never missed the things I didn’t have.
I am an Irish immigrant and I came to America at the tender age of thirteen, a disillusioned child, harshly mistreated by the very people entrusted with my care. I tell you this not to solicit your sympathies but to impart knowledge and gain your understanding, for I was a pitiful, angry child who was unaware of how many things in my life were about to change. People meeting me today might say that I was more fortunate than most. Yet they would never have heard my story nor known that I suffered in silence. I did not wear my pain, like a badge of honor, but kept it deep inside of me, hidden away from the prying eyes of others.
Fear has made me keep my story to myself. I was afraid of the repercussions from the actions I took in the name of survival, when my whole world fell apart. Furthermore, I feared the behavior of peers, those who would use the circumstance of my birthplace and subsequent difficulties to hold me back or bludgeon me with my story like a weapon.
For many years I have pushed from my thoughts memories of home and all that happened there. And yet, every now and again I indulge myself with less painful memories of the past, that push their way to the surface, and I give myself permission to embrace them, loving, bold, nostalgic memories that are impossible to forget. This is especially true today as I find myself waiting, yet another day, for a ship to come in, one that I thought would never arrive upon these great American shores.
Oh, I have everything a person could ever desire. Enough food to ward off hunger for a lifetime. Good health, a beautiful home, fashionable clothes, and the love of my family. I truly have every comfort one could want at my disposal, yet still, I long to recover the missing pieces of myself torn from me the day I left my native land of Ireland. A loss that can still be keenly felt whenever I lay my head down upon my pillow at night. And even though I am far from familiar old haunts, I swear I hear the land beckoning to me in my dreams, calling from across the ocean, summoning me home to the cliffs of Dunmore Head on the westernmost shores of Ireland. Closing my eyes now, I can still recall the smell and taste of the breeze on my tongue and the tangy feel of her salty sea air as it mixes with the sweet scents of wildflowers growing on her craggy cliffs.
The memories grab hold of my soul, leaving me longing for home, even more this day.
“Ireland,” I whisper, as it all comes flooding back to me — the green grassy moors waving in the gentle breeze like waves on the ocean. I can still feel the way the grass tickled my bare feet when I walked upon it.
In my mind’s eye I can see the ancient moss-covered rocks and hills that seem to roll on forever, and the overwhelmingly familiar smells of home assault my senses and kindle even more longing inside me. Peat moss burning in the hearth, the earthy smells of fresh mud coming from our simple thatched roofed dwelling, built from wattle and daub that plastered the rocks and boulders in place to form walls. The rain that often leaked upon my head in the middle of the night whenever a storm blew in just right. The way the sweet earthy tones mingled with the bitter as they played across my tongue whenever I chewed on a blade of grass.
Vivid, sweet memories wash over me, transporting me back in time as I see myself as a little girl, sitting in the middle of a field of tall grass, watching with fascination as the wind blew the grass to-and-fro. Then I see myself laughing and playing among the cliffs again with my best friend, Jamie. There are so many precious and sweet memories that I had denied myself for so long.
I swallow hard to push down the lump that forms in my throat. I can recall every ridge, crag, twig, and moss-covered rock that littered our unyielding plot of land.
There were so many afternoons spent upon those cliffs, basking in the glorious sun after bathing in the ocean with Mama and my two sisters. Alana loved tickling me just to hear me laugh while I lay upon the warm cliffs, soaking up the last glorious rays of sunlight. A cool breeze would kick up, washing over my skin, and chilling my flesh with her gentle touch. Those were the days I thought would never end, and it is those same sweet memories that now make me mourn the loss of them all the more.
I shake my head quickly, dispelling any more memories of the past as I hold back more tears, attempting to keep them from escaping. Swiping at the unfortunate few that trickle down my cheeks, I feel anxious and frustrated all at the same time.
Please do not mistake my tears for weakness, for they convey more than mere words are able and can express so many different emotions.
One should never assume that there is only one reason to shed them. There are tears caused by overwhelming grief and pain and tears of contrition. There are tears of joy and love, or tears of annoyance caused by situations that are beyond your control. Yet my tears today are a culmination of so many different emotions that are simply hard for me to put into words.
I was born in Riverside, California in 1963. My family and I moved to San Diego when I was 7 and I never looked back. I had a very rich life growing up with my brother, David, and best friend Gigi. I married my husband, David in 1998 and we lived in Encinitas, California for a couple of years before moving to Herald, California in 2001. We have a blended family of 6 kids and truly enjoyed the rural life on a 5 1/2 acre ranch, 45 minutes south of Sacramento. I love writing and creating stories that are different from and intriguing. I like to give my readers a little something extra and unexpected. I have always wanted to be a published author, but the timing never seemed right. Raising a family and working fulltime always took precedence. Shortly after I turned 50 I decided that if I continued to put off my dreams, the time would never be right. So, with an idea in my head, I sat down and began writing. I wanted there to be no regrets in my life. What resulted was a historical romance, filled with adventure, suspense, and an underlying epic love story weaved in for good measure and "Angelina's Secret" was born. I loved everything about the process of writing and there are currently three books in "The Jeweled Dagger Series." I am very excited about the future and thrilled to be writing fulltime now since I retired from my "9 to 5," job at the end of April 2017. My husband retired shortly after me and our youngest was a sophomore in college so we decided that it was time that we had an adventure of our own. We made the move to Kalispell, Montana and the adventures just seem to happen every day. We go for hikes in our own backyard or take off for Glacier National Forest on a whim. We currently have seven grandkids, with another one due this August 2018. Being "Grandma and Grandpa" is the icing on the cake for us. I count my blessings every day because I know how lucky I am. Life is good and now I can devote my days to doing what I really love, and that is writing and creating more stories.
$10 Amazon – 2 winners
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