Friday, November 11, 2011

New book cover for "Secrets After Dark"

I'm so excited to show you my new book cover!  Can you hear me screaming with happiness over here? lol  I'm also going to give you a teasing unedited excerpt. (wink)

Thornton Manor is a place of secrets, from the ghost haunting the East Wing, to the young women who have simply vanished from the estate. Hannah Forester visits Thornton to uncover the mystery of her father’s death, but will its secrets be the death of her, too?

A knock on her bedroom door made Hannah jump. “Who is it?”
Hannah released a pent up breath. “Come in.”
Her maid bustled in. “I’m here to get you ready for bed.”
Eager to crawl between the blankets and snuggle against the pillows, Hannah hurriedly undressed. While Francine brushed Hannah’s hair, the maid babbled about the friends she’d met in the Thornton’s staff.
“Although they are very kind, I fear they are keeping secrets,” the maid said.
Hannah yawned. “What secrets, do you think?”
            “Well, there was no mention of the East Wing ghost, but instead they talked about the cursed white wolf that roams the land.”
Arching an eyebrow, Hannah met her maid’s gaze in the vanity mirror. “A white wolf? Are you certain they didn’t mean wild dogs?”
          “No dog, Miss Hannah. They definitely said white wolf—and said he was cursed.”
“Hmm, I wonder if the wolf and the ghost share tea every evening. Do they meet on the cursed island, as well?”
Francine snickered. “Your sarcasm is not becoming, Miss Hannah.”
Hannah laughed. “Forgive me. I’m tired.”
“I believe the servants,” Francine continued. “They say every full moon the white wolf comes out of hiding and feeds upon the innocent.”
Hannah scrunched her forehead. “Feeds upon the innocent? What does that mean? And how does the wolf know if a person is innocent or not? Does he ask them before he kills and eats them?”
“It’s rumored that the wolf only kills virgin women.”
“Once again, Francine. How does the wolf know they’re virgins?” Hannah rubbed her forehead. “Oh, why must you believe these stories? Haven’t you stopped to think the others are telling you this to frighten you?”
Oui.” Francine stopped the brush in mid-stroke and leaned closer to Hannah’s ear. “Why, and for what purpose? Why would they wish to scare us away?”
“Why, indeed.” Hannah tapped her finger on her chin. “I think they’re creating these stories to cover the truth.”
“Which is?”
“I don’t know, but I will find out.” 
Hannah shrugged. “That’s a good question, one I will ponder tomorrow.” She exhaled slowly. “Because tonight I plan to rest.”
Francine placed the brush on the vanity table and turned toward the door. “I shall be in my room if you need me.”
“Good night, Francine. Please lock your door.” Hannah tried not to grin. “With the roaming wolf who seduces virgins and musical ghost, I’m quite certain you’ll need as much protection as you can get.”
Francine shook her head and hurried out of the room. Hannah chuckled as she pulled back the blankets and slipped between the sheets. After switching off the lamp, she thumped her fist into the pillow and curled on her side. What she needed was a couple hours sleep if she intended to search through the house tonight. Although she didn’t believe these ridiculous ghost stories, there was still something not quite right in the manor.
Just as her body relaxed, the floor creaked. She snapped her eyes open to cloaking darkness.
She pulled the sheet to her neck. Soft noises shuffled in the room against the far wall. Her heart slammed against her ribs and her breathing became ragged.
Straining, she cocked her head toward the noise, but heard nothing more. She rubbed her eyes and tightened the sheet around her before curling back under the covers. Fear threatened to close her throat. She squeezed her eyes shut, concentrating on her surroundings. She should really pull on her wrapper and investigate, but she didn’t dare. Not yet.
She rolled in bed and peered toward the window. The moonlight peeked through the slit in the curtains, but did little to brighten the room.
So intent on listening, her forehead pounded in a quick rhythm. She breathed a deep sigh, rotated her shoulders and once more closed her eyes. Old homes settled and groaned, and certainly the manor was no different.
The floor creaked again and she stiffened.
Heavy breathing floated through the air. She focused on the dark shadows playing marionette with her sanity. Someone was in her room. But how? Her gaze darted to the closed door. Nobody had entered or she would have heard.
As her eyes adjusted to the darkness, a tall shadow appeared at the foot of her bed. She managed to discern someone dressed in a cape with a hood pulled low to hide their identity. A man, she assumed, with wide shoulders. Darkness covered his face.
Was this the ghost the housekeeper, Mrs. White had spoken of?
Hannah wanted to scream, but fear kept her mute. Should she lie still and pray he’d disappear?
The stranger’s breathing grew heavier, as did her own. The figure didn’t move. Building the courage she needed to scream, she opened her mouth, but the caped figure held up his hand, his finger pointing at her.
"You're in danger here. You must leave."



Roseanne Dowell said...

Beautiful cover. I don't blame you for being excited. Sounds like a great book.

Marie Higgins said...

Thanks, Roseanne! I'm very anxious to get this story out. This is far different than the others already published, and I'm nervous to see how well it's accepted.

Stephanie Black said...

Very exciting!

Jolene Perry said...

WOW! I love it :D

It must feel nice to have such a lovely row of pretty covers!

Marie Higgins said...

Jolene, it feels VERY nice!! :)

Marie Higgins said...

Thanks, Stephanie!

Unknown said...

Beautiful cover! And the book sounds fabulous.
Robin Delany

Marie Higgins said...

Thank you, Robin!

Tristi Pinkston said...

So, so, so pretty!

Marie Higgins said...

Thank you, Tristi!

Morgan Mandel said...

Great excerpt and great cover!

Morgan Mandel

Stacey said...

I cannot wait to read this! You are such an amazing writer!

stanalei said...

Congratulations Marie!! It is a beautiful cover and the story sounds great!

Author Sherry Gammon said...

Beautiful COVER!! When does this come out? It looks really good!

Stacey said...

I can't wait to read this book on Kindle! It sounds like my kind of story. Love the cover, too.