My guest this week is historical romance author, Clare Rhoden, who is sharing an extract from her new novel, Stars in the Night. Isn’t the cover evocative?
Harry Fletcher is a confident young man, sure that he will marry Nora, no matter what their families say. He will always protect Eddie, the boy his father saved from the gutters of Port Adelaide.
Only the War to End All Wars might get in the way of Harry’s plans…
From the beaches of Semaphore to the shores of Gallipoli, the mud of Flanders to the red dust of inland South Australia, this is a story of love, brotherhood, and resilience.
In this scene, Harry Fletcher has returned from the war, badly scarred and grieving for his losses. After several months in hospital, he finally travels to outback South Australia to visit his fiancée. Nora has written to tell him that she doesn’t care about the damage to his face, but she has been waiting weeks for an answer.
At dusk on the last day of January, as the last bloody rays of sun flooded the long drive, Nora stepped onto the verandah. The eucalypts along the fence looked like petrified coral. Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight. Shepherds must like hot weather. She waited. The trees exhaled, freshening the air. The first creaking whisper of coolness teased the dust on the grass. The earth seemed to stretch and yawn. Insects jabbered at the coming night.
Nora leaned on the post, aware of the turning of time. Then she saw him coming down the drive, the strap of his swag crosswise on his chest. A self-willed, obstinate, lone merino ram, pride and despair of the flock, returning from the hill paddock in his own good time. Shepherdess’s delight. She nearly shouted his name. The next moment she realised that the waiting was over, that the future was here, and it frightened her. But it was her time.
She stepped back into the hallway and turned on the electric light. She didn’t look at her reflection in the mirror or remove her workday apron. She didn’t think of any such mundane things. She took the kerosene lamp from the side table and lit that too. Bearing it high, she went out again and placed it on the broad railing that guarded the verandah, as a beacon, a welcome, a sign. She saw the instant he noticed it, saw him check and then come on in the growing darkness. She held her arms out to him. At the yard gate, he fumbled the catch and then looked up at her. A moment more and he bounded up the steps and had her gathered against him. He was warm and solid and very real, smelling of sweat and dust and sunshine. He filled her arms.
‘Oh God, oh God. Harry! Harry!’
Harry didn’t answer. He had no words for what he felt.
Hooked and want to read more? You can purchase the book here: Amazon
Clare Rhoden writes, blogs, reads too much, and reviews books.
Inspired by society, politics, culture, and history, she writes thoughtful stories about characters with heart and soul. From immersive world-building in science fiction and fantasy, to well-researched details in historical novels, Clare’s books pivot on hope and love in the darkest of times.
Clare lives in Melbourne Australia with her husband and their very clever spoodle.
Thanks so much for dropping by to tell us about your new book, Clare. Wishing you many sales.
My new book, Single All The Way – an unputdownable and uplifing Christmas romance – is now on pre-order.