Thank you Ginger for having me the next two days to celebrate the launching of your blog! I'm going to start out with my latest published book - Eliza's Hope - an Edwardian romance set in New York City. I've posted a blurb and excerpt for your readers to enjoy. More about my writing and books can be read at:
http://vgaia.blogspot.com ~ shoes from the Bata Shoe Museum!
Eliza's Hope can be purchased in ebook format or paperback!
My book videos can be seen at YouTube:
Eliza Lily is a woman harboring a terrible secret she cannot fully recall. With her past exposed, and her reputation ruined, she leaves for New York with her guardian - William Bennett and his sister, Jewel.
Hoping to forge a new life for herself, will her past come to haunt her future happiness?
Eliza Lily's fragmented memories torment her of the terrible day she fled Jeb Harris, her foster parent. William Bennett finds Eliza by the river with blood on her dress. She insist its from an animal, but being an avid hunter, he knows better. Ignoring the inner alarm in his head, he makes a decision that will forever change his life. He brings Eliza home to live with him and his sister, Jewel.
When ugly rumors resurface years later, Eliza and Jewel take shelter with William who now lives in New York. He plans to marry Eliza to a suitable gentleman who can give her a home and safety from her past. Eliza thwarts his plans in her quest for social change. To make matters worse, stirrings of love for this exasperating women challenge his determination.
Even in a city of millions, Eliza's past once again resurfaces. Only by going back to the scene of her lost memories can she hope to discover the truth. But will the truth set Eliza free or dash all hope?
Eliza's Hope, Published 2007 Grace Publishing / Enspiren Press Gorrie, Ontario, Canada
Printed in the USA
Copyright © 2007 VICKI GAIA
PRINT ISBN 978-0-9739502-8-1
"Remember when I taught you to swim. You screamed your head off."
His deep voice brought her back to the present. She frowned. "Because you threw me in!"
"It's how Pa taught me." He grinned.
"What a fib. I'm beginning to wonder if you ever tell the truth, William Bennett."
William’s teasing hit her like a gust of wind, breezing over her skin. When his lips parted into a smile, a fierce sensation washed over her. His eyes darkened to a smoldering shade of blue. Eliza pulled back as if slapped. She hitched up her skirt and tucked it into her sash, taking off down the slope.
“You’re on.” Her only course of action was to escape, get away fast as possible before she did something stupid, like kiss him.
William whooped and fell in step behind her. His panting whooshed past her ear before he sped by. She stepped aside to admire his backside. At the lake’s edge, he stripped off his shirt and shucked down his denims, unlacing his boots and kicking them off along with his socks. He left on his knee-length drawers and did a belly dive off the boulder into the lake.
"Whew-hoo, it's invigorating." He splashed the water with his hands, sending a spray up to the shore. "Are you coming in? Or, are you chicken?" He mimicked a ‘gobble - gobble’ and splashed the water up to the shoreline.
"That’s a turkey you dodo,” she laughed.
“Chicken, turkey…you’re making excuses.”
Eliza removed her shirtwaist and skirt, and untied her boots, leaving her shoes and stockings next to her pile of clothes. She unlaced her corset and kept on her camisole and drawers. From the corner of her eye, she saw William treading water, his gaze intently focused on her, his goofy smile turned serious. Taking a deep breath, she rushed into the lake and let out a scream, the cold water shocking her skin, quickly stealing her breath.
This seemed to snap William out of his daydream because he dived underneath the surface, and tugged at her feet.
Wrestling loose from his grip, she bobbed up and laughed with abandon. The freedom of letting go, the sparkling crystals reflecting off the lake, all of this made her forgot about her troubles. She floated on her back and let the water bring her into its protection.
William swam in circles, nudging her side. "I'll race you to the boulder."
Here was the playful Will, the boy she’d loved, and she grinned, and brought her palm down on the surface of the water, sending a giant spray towards his face.
William yelped and hollered, making a racket, and Eliza laughed at his antics. He swam up to her, his eyes roaming down her breasts, an unfathomable curve of his lips. She looked down at her underclothes sucked to her skin. Horrified to see the outline of her nipples through the transparent camisole, the dark peaks clear as the sky above. Dying from embarrassment, Eliza twisted away, but William dived underneath her and flipped her over.
She came up sputtering, and out for blood. “Why, you…you polecat!”
His mirthful laughter cascaded across the lake. “Come and get me if you can,” he taunted, and took off across the lake.
Eliza picked up the gauntlet but she wasn’t fast enough. William slowed down and turned, and she ran smack into him. His hands grazed her breasts, before settling on her waist.
“Whoa, I’m out of breath,” he said, but he held her up without a problem.
Their closeness sent goose bumps up her arms despite the warmth of the sun. His musky fragrance and the pressure of his hands on her skin evoked a desire to let them roam wherever he chose.
“I want to do what’s best for you. I didn’t mean to upset you the other day,” he said.
“Tell me why you stayed away?” Her hands slipped to his wrists, and she held on, stalling him in the water.
“Time slipped away,” he said before sinking below the surface. He shot up and combed back his hair with his hand, his chin skimming the water. “I’m sorry for not coming home sooner.”
“You haven’t answered my question. I didn’t ask for an apology.”
He kept a hold on her arm, and let out a gust of air. “I had to make it on my own. To prove Pa wrong. Show him I could do better, much better than he ever did.”
“But we always believed in you.”
“And you and Jewel are the only two people I care about. Never doubt it for a minute.”
Eliza brought up her hand to his cheek. Suddenly his face shut down, and a moan crooned from his throat as he pushed away. He swam towards the shore using powerful strokes. She swore he was running away from her.