Hey, everyone. It’s always a pleasure to host friend and fellow author Mae Clair. She has a brand-new release, the third and final of her Hode’s Hill Series. I’ve read all three books and had decided this one is my favorite. Let’s welcome Mae!
Joan, many thanks for hosting me on your blog. It’s a pleasure to be here today as I share my new release Eventide, the final book in my Hode’s Hill series. One aspect of writing the series I’ve really enjoyed is getting to play with dual timelines. Each book features a mystery in the past, along with one in the present. Both mysteries eventually collide as the characters in the present unravel clues from the past.
In the case of Eventide, I chose early spring of 1878 for my setting in the past. Hollande Moore has been hired by twin brothers Nathaniel and Tristan Stewart to look after their mother, Sylvia, who has become difficult and reclusive, following the death of her husband. But Hollande senses something more sinister at play. Something unspoken between the brothers and their mother who seems determined to get rid of her.
In this excerpt, Hollande tries to learn what she can from the Stewart family cook, Annabelle.
“Annabelle, are you aware of any disagreement this morning?”
“Disagreement?” Head lowered, Annabelle worked at shaping biscuits.
“Between Nathaniel and Sylvia. I thought I heard them arguing in the drawing room before Nathaniel left.”
“I wouldn’t know, miss.” Annabelle’s back stiffened slightly. “Surely if I did, I wouldn’t linger. You know how the missus can be.”
Sadly, Hollande did. Sylvia would have accused the girl of eavesdropping. “I just don’t know what to do.” She sipped her tea but had no true taste for it. “I’ve been useless at helping Sylvia. I fear she may dismiss me.”
“Mr. Nathaniel would never allow that.”
Heat rose to Hollande’s face. Had Annabelle sensed the growing closeness between them? “What about Tristan?”
“I couldn’t say. I’ve never met Mr. Tristan.”
Hollande stared. “Never?”
“He doesn’t come until evening, does he, being away at the quarry all day? I leave well before that.”
“But there must have been times when he delayed in the morning? Stayed for breakfast.”
“He’s gone before I arrive. Usually grabs a meat pie or such to take with him.” Annabelle fell silent and still as if internally debating a matter. Finally, she faced Hollande. “If you ask me, miss, there’s something wrong between the brothers. I don’t wish to speak out of turn, but I sense no great love between them.”
Hollande’s fingers tightened on her teacup, a sliver of cold knifing through her. Apparently, she wasn’t the only one who’d noted Nathaniel’s disregard for his brother. Yet only last night he’d spoken so fondly of their younger years. What could have happened to drive them apart?
“I think they intentionally avoid each other,” Annabelle continued. “Make certain their paths don’t cross. I only have sisters, but that’s no way for siblings to behave.”
It certainly wasn’t.
Hollande’s stomach knotted. Could their brotherly animosity have anything to do with the way Sylvia doted on Tristan? She’d only been a resident of Stewart Manor for a short time, but even to her it was obvious Sylvia preferred one twin over the other. No wonder Nathaniel had been so sullen when she arrived. His brother spent his days in Curtisville, leaving Nathaniel the bulk of responsibility for their mother, yet she often snubbed him.
What a wretched circumstance.
Hollande enjoyed Tristan’s company, but on the whole, spent far less time with him than Nathaniel. A few hours in the evening while he entertained his mother. In the morning, he was usually gone before she awoke. Only once, she’d caught him coming down the steps and managed a few snippets of small talk before he dashed off for another day at the quarry.
There’s something wrong between the brothers.
Hollande met Annabelle’s gaze, the cook’s words ringing in her head. “How long have you been here?”
“Oh, not long.” Annabelle turned back to the counter and began tidying up her mess. “Just a few months, but I’m determined.”
“What do you mean?”
“There were several girls before me, but she drives them all away.”
Annabelle nodded. “If you ask me, she doesn’t want another woman in the house.”
To learn how these characters from the past impact the lives of Madison Hewitt, her sister, and their friends in the present, I hope you’ll consider purchasing Eventide, which is now available from all major booksellers. You’ll make this author very happy. Thank you in advance for your consideration, and many thanks to Joan for hosting me today!
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The darkness is coming . . .
The old house near Hode’s Hill, Pennsylvania is a place for Madison Hewitt to start over—to put the trauma of her husband’s murder, and her subsequent breakdown, behind her. She isn’t bothered by a burial plot on the property or the mysterious, sealed cistern in the basement. Not at first. Even the presence of cold spots and strange odors could be fabrications of her still troubled mind. But how to explain her slashed tires, or the ominous messages that grow ever more threatening?
Convinced the answer lies in the past, Madison delves into the history of the home’s original owners, only to discover the origin of a powerful evil. An entity that may be connected to a series of gruesome attacks that have left police baffled. No matter where she turns—past or present—terror lingers just a step away, spurred on by a twisted obsession that can only be satisfied through death…
Order Eventide HERE
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