Delighting in Your Company
A Haunting Romance
By Blair McDowell
What more could a girl ask for?
When Amalie Ansett visits her elderly cousin on the small Caribbean island of St. Clements, the last thing she’s looking for is romance. Just out of a disastrous marriage, she’s ready to swear off men forever.
That is until she meets local plantation owner, Jonathan Evans.
He is tall, good looking, intelligent and incredibly sexy.
What more could a girl ask for?
An unsolved murder … Then Amalie discovers that the man she loves is a ghost. Only she can see and hear him. Perhaps he is real to her because Amalie is the image of her distant ancestor, Jonathan’s bride in that earlier time.
Jonathan was murdered two hundred years ago, and has no knowledge of who killed him or why. A perilous trip to the past… When Jonathan asks her to help him by returning with him to his past, Amalie is torn. If she helps him solve the mystery surrounding his death, she could lose him forever.
If she doesn’t, she is stuck with a ghost for a lover. And a love that crosses the boundaries of time.
To save Jonathan, Amalie agrees to travel with him back in time to the Caribbean of the 1800’s, when sugar reigned supreme and the slave trade was making fortunes for wealthy planters and ship owners. Her adventures there include a slave uprising, murder, deceit and an enduring love that crosses the boundaries of time.
A Love That Crosses the Boundaries of Time By Blair McDowell
Delighting In Your Company is scheduled for release by Rebel Ink on April 17, 2012. The title is taken from a song, Greensleeves, attributed to Henry VIII, but the story takes place much later, in two time periods, the present and the early eighteen hundreds. Delighting In Your Company is a paranormal romance with time travel.
The idea for this story had its origins many years ago. I was building a house on the small Dutch island of St. Eustatius, in the Caribbean. I had no electricity and no running water. I had to dip water for cooking and bathing by bucket from an outdoor cistern. I was, as the locals put it, “Out in de bush.” A friend who lived some distance up the hill from me, a local black woman named Mrs. Belle, asked me if I wasn’t afraid at night, staying way out in the country by myself. Since the crime rate on this tiny piece of paradise was zero, I asked her what I should be afraid of. “The jumbies,” she answered. I didn’t know the meaning of the word. “The jumbies,” she repeated, “The dead who walk.”
I was to hear that word many times in succeeding years. Belief in the occult is alive and well in the Caribbean. I heard stories about the mysterious crack in the steeple of the Methodist Church, about the woman who was buried standing up in the Anglican cemetery, and about the ghost who walks White Wall Road. I heard these legends not once, but many times and from many people. I heard also about the practice of Obeah, an ancient religion based on a belief in black magic, brought from Africa to the Caribbean by the slaves. Although people speak about it in hushed tones and infrequently, its practices have definitely survived into the twenty-first century in the Caribbean.
When I decided to write a book placed on my beloved island, these stories all came flooding back to me. So I made my hero, Jonathan, the ghost of an eighteenth century planter who was mysteriously murdered, and has walked White Wall Road ever since. My heroine, Amalie, is a twenty-first century descendant of Jonathan’s betrothed, who has the misfortune of falling in love with a jumbie.
In the following scene, Amalie has recently arrived on the island, and her cousin, Josephina, is showing her through the local Historical Society Museum.
Josephina hesitated. “There’s one further thing I want you to see. It’s why I brought you here this morning.”
Puzzled, Amalie followed her into a drawing room furnished in eighteenth century style with a camelback sofa and wing chairs. Portraits lined the walls.
“Our past Administrators and their wives,” Josephina commented as she walked across the room and looked up at one particular picture.
Amalie followed her gaze and gasped. She was looking at a portrait of herself.
“Amalie Ansett Benstone.”
Amalie studied the image. The woman’s clothing was different, and that other Amalie’s ash blond hair was arranged formally in the long soft curls popular in that day rather than in the simple casual style today’s Amalie preferred. But the portrait could have been her own.
The woman in the picture appeared to be younger than Amalie by nine or ten years. She was perhaps eighteen. There was a softness about her face. It was gentle and sweet where Amalie’s own features were a bit sharper, more defined. That was probably due to the fact that she was older. However, there was one marked difference. Amalie Ansett Benstone’s eyes were brown like hers, but they held no life. They were eyes that saw nothing.
“What happened to her? Why are her eyes so dead?”
“I’ll tell you her story when we get back to the house. But first, perhaps you should look at the portrait of her husband, Charles Benstone. He was Island Administrator at the time.”
Amalie looked at the picture beside her ancestor’s. An involuntary shudder passed through her. It wasn’t that Charles Benstone was unattractive. He was, in fact, extraordinarily handsome. High cheekbones accented an angular face. He was broad shouldered and powerful looking. His long black curly hair was carefully coiffed. However his mouth was shaped into a sardonic smile and his expression was arrogant, almost cruel. Looking at him, Amalie shivered again. How could a mere oil painting, and not very good one at that, make her feel such revulsion?
I started to write soon after I found my first pencil. But I began to write for publication about 30 years ago -- professional books. I wrote six of them, all still in print and still in use. Only lately have I turned to fiction.
I'd have done it a lot sooner if I'd had any idea how much fun it was! I’ve lived in many different places. The US -- Certain cities call to me. I love San Francisco and Seattle and the wonderful Oregon Coast. Australia -- among the most open welcoming people in the world, and a wide open young country with incredible land and sea scapes, with amazing animal and bird life right out of science fiction.
Canada -- HOME. The place where I belong. I travel a lot. I usually spend the month of October in Europe, Greece or Italy, and the winter in a little house I built many years ago on a small non-touristy Caribbean Island. I have worked and studied in many places -- Hungary, Australia the US and Canada, and have spoken in most of the States and Provinces as well as Taiwan and various cities in Europe.
I enjoy being surrounded by cultures other than my own. I enjoy my own as well -- but variety is indeed the spice of my life. I keep busy -- and I love my life. I love meeting the people who come here to the west coast of Canada and stay in my B&B. I love traveling after the tourist season is over.
And I love writing. My interests?? Music, especially opera, reading everything in print, and Writing. And walking on the beach and swimming. At one point I had hoped to swim in every major sea and ocean. I've realized that may not be possible in one lifetime -- but trying has been fun!
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