Margaret, Lady Ravenwood, is trapped in a loveless marriage and firmly entrenched in the medieval world. Along comes Griffin Nightshade, a historian from the future whose soul resonates with hers. He persuades her to return with him to the 1950s, but heeding her heart means courting danger from a curse that could spell her doom.
Haunted by his parents’ sudden deaths, Griffin knows all too well the pain born of love lost. He guards his emotions, but Margaret delves deep and goes straight to the soul. She’s hard to resist…and harder to set free.
The heart’s desire and history’s demands don’t always agree. Yet true love is eternal.
Held in the ballroom of a nearby hotel, the after-party boasted a band of musicians, savory food, a variety of drinks, and a three-tier, white-frosted cake. After consuming a sizeable portion of said cake and a goodly amount of fruit punch, Margaret sat beside Griffin against the wall, watching the other guests and the happy couple interact.
The bride and groom took to the dance floor and moved as though they were one body, which in essence they now were. Frank and Hannah also danced, talking and laughing as they often did around the manor.
Oh to be so happily joined with another. If only…
There it was again: the recurring, inevitable “if only.” Her nights were full of them. She lay in bed staring up at the darkened canopy, wishing he were there beside her. Perhaps ʼtwas wanton and wrong, or by some standards, ridiculous.
But the heart wants what it wants. Hers wanted Griffin. Not just for a day or even a year but forever. She loved him. ʼTwas as simple—and as complicated—as that.
He turned to her now, and his warm, brown eyes sparkled with an invitation. “Shall we dance?”
Her stomach dropped. “I don’t know how.”
He gestured to the dancing couples. “Look at the other women. And see that little boy and girl? If they can do it, so can we. You’ll put your left hand on my shoulder, and your right hand will hold mine. Then you’ll move your feet when I do. Don’t worry. I’ll guide you.”
“Well…” The need to touch him, to feel his hands on her again, outweighed her doubt. “I’ll try.”
He led her to the dance floor, and she did as he instructed. Leisurely, they began to move.
Always the teacher. What might I learn in your bed?
Heat flushed her cheeks. Thankfully, the dance was slow; perfect for a beginner such as she. But the gentle pace enfolded them in a mantle of intimacy.
“This song is called ‘When I Fall in Love.’” His voice was soft and low.
He nodded in silence.
Aye, ʼtis very much like falling. Like stepping off the side of a cliff. Once you take that step, there’s no turning back and no stopping what’s to come.
What would come of her feelings? Heartache? “The melody is pleasing.”
“I’ve always thought so.”
She looked up at him and gazed into his eyes. “You were right. Dancing isn’t as difficult as I thought.” A grin escaped her lips. “Of course, ʼtwould be easier in different shoes.” Her “kitten heels” turned every step into a dare.
His smile stole her breath. “They’re not very practical, are they?”
“No. Nor are they comfortable.” She longed to kick them off and wiggle her cramped toes, but that must wait till later.
“You look lovely, though.”
Suddenly, the discomfort seemed worthwhile, and her heart shifted to a rhythm livelier than their dance. “Thank you. You look good yourself.”
“Thank you. You smell nice, too. Roses?”
“Aye.” His scent seemed an intoxicating mixture of nutmeg, cinnamon, and musk. “A new bubble bath.”
“I trust you had a better experience this time around.”
She gave him a rueful grin. “Easier perhaps, but not better. You weren’t there.”
His eyes darkened, beckoned her into their depths. “Meg.” He sounded breathless.
Her heart fluttered. “I should’ve made some excuse to summon you again. Would you have come?”
“I would have.”
“Would you have helped me from the tub?”
“If you needed help.”
Everything else in the ballroom faded into insignificance. There was only him. “What if I needed another kiss?”
His gaze dropped to her lips. “No one needs a kiss.”
“I beg to differ.” She needed so much more than that. Her stomach quivered. “But mayhap I should beg for something else.”
“Such as?” His husky voice caressed her ears.
“Use your imagination, Griff. You’ll think of something.”
He pulled her closer. The heat of his body mingled with hers. “You really shouldn’t say such things.”
“Why not? I’m thinking them.” And feeling things I never dreamed I could. Until you.
“I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. You’re dangerous.”
She winced. “And you’re on my foot.”
“Oh!” The pressure on her toes eased as he removed his foot. The song ended, and they stilled. “Forgive me. I’m a bit…flustered.”
You’re also irresistible. “I know how you can make amends.”
“Kiss me.” She held her breath.
Amazon UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/Return-Raven-Novels-Ravenwood-Book-ebook/dp/B08RYD2GW8
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Judith Sterling is an award-winning author whose love of history and passion for the paranormal infuse everything she writes. Whether penning medieval romance (The Novels of Ravenwood) or young adult paranormal fantasy (the Guardians of Erin series), her favorite themes include true love, destiny, time travel, healing, redemption, and finding the hidden magic which exists all around us. She loves to share that magic with readers and whisk them far away from their troubles, particularly to locations in the British Isles.
Her nonfiction books, written under Judith Marshall, have been translated into multiple languages. She has an MA in linguistics and a BA in history, with a minor in British Studies. Born in that sauna called Florida, she craved cooler climes, and once the travel bug bit, she lived in England, Scotland, Sweden, Wisconsin, Virginia, and on the island of Nantucket. She currently lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and their identical twin sons.
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