Grade A! "Well-drawn characters and the strong sense of time and place will have readers rushing to read Tabor's Trinket, the prequel to this book.
... Rocky Mountain News
Local Bestseller! -
... The Denver Post
The best-selling Gypsy adventures begin!
Part One in the Coin Forest Legend series.
* * * * Four Stars! RT Book Review: "This adventurous and chivalrous story succeeds on many levels."
Local Bestseller! -- Rocky Mountain News
Buy at www.barnesandnoble.com or www.amazon.com
From Romance Reviews Today:
EMERALD SILK is a novel with rich characters in a lush setting... a page turner filled with prejudice, betrayal, loyalty, shame and passion. The journey Kadriya and John embark upon to find the missing chalice will hold readers in captivity from beginning to end. Secondary characters play strong roles in teaching John that not all Romani are evil and, similarly, not all English are righteous.
EMERALD SILK is a powerful tale that shows the destructive power of racism and the enlightening journey one can take to overcome what seems to be a lifetime of differences. It is a stand-alone story despite being part two in the Coin Forest Series. I haven''t read the first story, and I was able to totally appreciate EMERALD SILK. This is a story that I would recommend to all.
... Anthonette Dotson
From Loveromance.com Reviews ... **** * 4 1/2 stars ...
Fans of medieval romance will be thrilled with the tightly written plot. It is a story of love in the face of prejudice and misunderstanding set in a time wrought with intrigue and political machination.
Ms. Lane's debut novel grips the reader from the first page to the last. The disputes between nobles and the intricate weaving of allegiances with those in power are portrayed well and with a fine touch. A strong sense of those uncertain times is seamlessly instilled while we follow the relationship of Sharai and Richard.
One must say that the battles are exciting, the political maneuvering fascinating, the romance beautiful and it all culminates in a very satisfying conclusion. This is a thoroughly enjoyable story in which to lose one's cares. Go ye forth and seek out TABOR'S TRINKET, it far surpasses being a bauble. Indeed, ‘twould more likely be called a small treasure.
"Janet Lane writes the kind of historical romances I love to read--sexy, fast-paced, and peopled with characters that stay with you long after you turn the last page."
...Tina St. John, RITA Finalist and RT Reviewer's Choice author
Tales from Mistwillow, RMFW Press, Sept., 2007
Travel to this legendary Colorado town, nestled in the Rocky Mountain foothills, shrouded by myth and mystery. Best-selling authors Cindi Myers, Jeff Shelby, Janet Lane and a select group of award-winning RMFW writers weave inspiring, chilling and downright fun stories about this fictional town. Relax, settle back and enjoy the suspense, the murder mystery, the love, the comedy, the romance, and yes, more than a few thosts as you enter this colorful western town of many secrets.
Available at www.amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com
Kadriya paused on the hill above the gentle valley where swarthy-skinned men groomed horses and children squealed with delight in a game of tag, their cheeks flush with the breezy freedom of innocence. Their bare feet skimmed the earth, and watching them run, Kadriya’s own feet yearned for escape from the tight English shoes and the confining life they represented. Soon she would feel the rich, earthy grass between her toes. She savored the aroma of fried apples and campfires, and the prospect of returning to a life without barriers, under the stars. The thought stirred the Gypsy side of her heart. It was here she belonged.
Shifting on her horse she spread her arms, palms to the sky, and inhaled the crisp September air. The sun had finally broken through and weeping willows graced the banks of the meandering Parrott River, sprinkling leaves of gold on the surrounding valley floor.
Below, her Spanish-bred stallions nuzzled and nickered in their corral amid scores of other horses offered by competing Somerset breeders. Her patron, Richard, Baron of Tabor, was away fighting in France, and she was handling the sale on her own. She would do Tabor proud and return with a good profit, and then she would begin her new life.
Her escort, Maude, pulled alongside her, reigning her horse to a stop. She filled her saddle, a tall, stout woman with copper hair, ample breasts and a heart just as big. The skirt of Maude’s gown rode up her thigh, revealing a collection of knives big enough to slay a dragon. Maude’s eyes twinkled with good humor. “You look happy as a fox in a warren.”
Kadriya smoothed her skirt, a light yellow wool, and adjusted her own dagger, which she always wore. “I am. Today Teraf will announce our intentions to break the tile together.” Teraf, fiery leader of the Gypsies, was offering her marriage and a home. With him, and with her mother’s people.
Maude’s blue eyes shone. “Sharai will miss you.”
Sharai. At the mention of her name Kadriya’s joy ebbed. “I wish she could be with us. But I can no longer abide the whispers, Maude.” Twenty and unwed, unwanted by the nobility because of her mixed blood. “I must make my own way.” Anticipation shortened her breath. She would finally be wed. At last she had found her place.
* * *
John Wynter peered through the sunset’s gloom, separating the bushes enough to keep the heathens in his sight. Their camp fire leapt higher, illuminating the frenzied swine as they danced at the river’s edge, oblivious of the mud dripping from their feet. They had left the British section of the horse fair and gone to their own camp some hundred yards distant. Several small fires and a community blaze where they all gathered. Two dozen tents, the larger ones flying colors of red and yellow. Gypsy flags. Devil’s music leapt from their strange instruments, and they danced as if plagued with St. Vitus’ disease, the women swaying their hips in an unholy bid for attention from all who watched.
John Wynter peered through the sunset’s gloom, separating the bushes enough to keep the heathens in his sight. Their camp fire leapt higher, illuminating the frenzied swine as they danced at the river’s edge, oblivious of the mud dripping from their feet. They had left the British section of the horse fair and gone to their own camp some hundred yards distant. Several small fires and a community blaze where they all gathered.Two dozen tents, the larger ones flying colors of red and yellow. Gypsy flags. Devil’s music leapt from their strange instruments, and they danced as if plagued with St. Vitus’ disease, the women swaying their hips in an unholy bid for attention from all who watched.
John rolled his cross between his fingers, tracing the dent on the right crossbar, damaged during battle. The smooth surface of the gold reminded him of his faith, of his friendship with and duty to the abbot.
It had been two long, miserable days of riding from the monastery in a torrent of rain that had stopped just today, but worth it. They’d found the thief, Teraf. He had stolen a priceless chalice from the abbey, a chalice with a history and significance that could cause his abbot great embarrassment and loss of funding were it not found, and soon.
All because of a Gypsy thief. These foreigners looked to Teraf as a king and he held court like a swaggering peacock, wild-eyed, his hair, bound in a yellow scarf, flowing past his shoulders like an ink-stained curse.
Roger, one of the five knights who rode with John to seize the Gypsy thieves, joined him. “Still no sign of the other thief, Erol.”
“The Abbot wants both, but by the saints, I will not let this one get away. Erol must not be here, and their ceremony is over. The Gypsy king has won his hen.” John watched the beautiful Gypsy tart who stood so proudly at Teraf’s side. Teraf had treated her like an ornament all the day, while she happily accepted any shred of attention he gave her.
He could not help but notice her large almond eyes with lively, expressive brows-- none of that infernal plucking-- and her full mouth. Her hand swept to her breast, a woman’s enticement, but the gesture betrayed the hesitance of a girl. She covered it well with a delightful smile, but she was a maiden.
Her scarf fluttered from her movements, touching her neck, and her steps, sure and effortless, made her skirt seem to flow over the matted grasses. In spite of her excessive obeisance to the thief, she seemed to possess her own spirit.
Her hair was exposed and her clothes shameful, but never had he seen a more captivating woman.
An arrow of lust pierced him.
Leather sandals held her small feet and strapped up her ankles and higher, peeking out when the fabric rolled softly from her movements.
How high, he wondered, did the leather lacings climb?
Cease. He pulled his gaze from her, chipping a scale of mud off his armor with his thumb. He was here to serve his Abbot, and she was nothing more than one of them.
In moments she would learn her peacock was just a pigeon, and a black one, at that.
John turned to Roger. “Are their ponies hobbled?”
“Good. Now we strike."
--Marseilles, France, 1426
The sound of strangers’ voices woke Sharai. Ropes binding her feet, she stumbled to standing and stood lifted on tiptoe to see outside the forecastle at the bow of the ship. A slave ship.
Dawn. Seagulls called, circling the limp sail that flapped around the main mast. Below that, the dead body of the slave, Zameel, draped over a coil of ropes, his forehead white with maggots and his neck black with grotesque knots.
Sharai’s mother stirred, her eyelids red and swollen. “Ves’ tacha,” she rasped in Romani. My beloved. “What is it, my little Faerie?”
“Shh.” Sharai put her fingers gently to her mother’s lips. “. . . and touch nothing!” A man’s voice commanded from outside the ship on the port side. Heavy footsteps sounded as men jumped on board. “If anyone still lives, kill them.”
Fresh terror seized her chest. All the crew and slaves had died, all but Sharai, her mother, and the captain, who lay still at her feet. He had been delirious these last few days, but still able to navigate to Marseilles where he had planned to sell forty healthy slaves. Sharai checked the captain but he didn’t stir, nor did he breathe. He must have died during the night. She pulled his dagger from a sheath at his side. Its blade had been recently sharpened and its ivory handle had been delicately carved with a bird in flight. She gripped it tightly.
Footsteps sounded on deck and she knelt by her mother. “Feign dead,” Sharai whispered. Not a hard task, for they were close to it. The bug-ridden biscuits had run out days ago, and they had been living on ale, wine, and rancid meat. “Mother of God,” exclaimed a man. “Slaves. Gypsy slaves, dozens of them.”
“There’s more below deck,” said another. “What stench!” He gagged and retched, and the dull splashing of vomit followed.
Sharai’s throat constricted. A cockroach crawled up her neck, but she willed herself to remain still.
“See the lumps. Plague!”
“Get off the ship! Burn it!”
Liquid splattered on the deck, followed by a whooshing sound. The rope ladder creaked and the men’s voices diminished.
Sharai risked checking. “They have gone.” Using the captain’s fine dagger she severed the ropes that bound her and her mother’s feet. “The shoreline is but a hundred yards away. We must swim to safety.”
“Curse Murat,” her mother said of Sharai’s uncle, who had betrayed them. “I cannot swim, Faerie,” she said. “I have no strength. Go without me.”
“Never!” She lifted her mother’s chin. “I will help you.”
“You are but eight summers. I will drown you. Go!”
Sharai half-carried, half-dragged her mother down the ladder from the forecastle to the main deck. She grabbed a small wine barrel and dumped it, and the stale, musty odor of tainted wine filled the air. “I cannot leave you here,” she told her mother, and handed her the empty barrel. “Hold onto this and you will stay afloat.”
A gust of wind whipped the smell of burning death and the heat of hell into their faces. Hurrying past the flames, they climbed over the railing. Sharai slashed the last remnant of rope from her ankles and dove into the water, imploring the helpful spirits for safety.
It's About Time - from Tales from Mistwillow
by Janet Lane - 1st pages
The sun burned like shame, stinging Steve Stratton's face. He stood at the opposite end of the semicircle as far from Jennie Parry as he could get without entering the street. Jennie. She preferred to be called Jen these days, more appropriate for the mayor of Mistwillow, Colorado, she'd said. More current, of course. She'd pulled her hair back, still black but probably from a bottle since she was almost forty, as he was. She held her chin high as if daring the hot July wind to provoke her. Focused forward, as always.
They stood in a tidy dedication park in the old center of Mistwillow. With the remaining town trustees, they surrounded an iron railing that circled a tall granite marker. Steve didn't need to read the bronze plaque; since he was old enough to read the words were engraved in his identity as well as in the fine stone: "1833-1891. Dedicated to the memory of Jake Stratton, founder of the first trading post and first mayor of Mistwillow, Colorado."
Jake Stratton, Steve's great-great-great-great grandfather. Pride and a solid connection pulsed through Steve's veins, a bond as deeply rooted as the veins of gold that had lured the first settlers to this valley. Now generations later, Steve proudly served the town as Building Commissioner.
But along with Fourth of July heat, dread seeped through his skin, spoiling the moment. At his feet, a four foot square area had been isolated with orange tape. There, some three feet deep, a time capsule would be unearthed in mere moments, and its contents would embarrass him beyond words. Twenty years ago. Such stupidity! Steve's father had been mayor, and in the eleventh hour before it was buried, Steve had slipped something into the capsule. To send Jennie a message. He closed his eyes remembering the lush fullness of her lips against his, her fingers, cool and knowing as they freed the button and zipper of his blue jeans. The minute she saw what he'd placed in that time capsule twenty years ago, she would know.
He shook his head to clear the images, images best left buried along with the capsule. He was a Stratton, for God's sake. Dignified. Reliable. He rubbed his neck, wishing he could be stricken with a deadly rash to make the crowds disperse, running in terror from the site.
Copyright 2008, 2009 Janet Lane, Author. All Rights Reserved.