The Coffee Pot Book Club Presents, "A Rip in the Veil" by Anna Belfrage
Please welcome back to the Tavern the lovely and talented Anna Belfrage! We're celebrating her blog tour for, A Rip in the Veil. This time-travel book sounds intriguing! Grab a cup of mead and let's take a peek at Anna's story...
On a muggy August day in 2002 Alex Lind disappears. On an equally stifling August day in 1658, Matthew Graham finds her on a Scottish moor. Life will never be the same for Alex – or for Matthew.
Alexandra Lind is thrown three centuries backwards in time to land at the feet of escaped convict Matthew Graham.
Matthew doesn’t know what to make of this strange woman who has seemingly fallen from the skies—what is she, a witch?
Alex is convinced the tall, gaunt man is some sort of hermit, an oddball, but she quickly realises the odd one out is she, not he.
Catapulted from a life of modern comfort, Alex grapples with her new existence, further complicated by the dawning realization that someone from her time has followed her here—and not exactly to extend a helping hand.
Potential compensation for this brutal shift in fate comes in the shape of Matthew, a man she should never have met, not when she was born three centuries after him. But Matthew comes with baggage of his own and on occasion his past threatens them both. At times Alex finds it all excessively exciting, longing for the structured life she used to have.
How will she ever get back? And more importantly, does she really want to?
Sneak preview from A Rip in the Veil--in which we realise there is something very, very strange about Alex’s mother.
Alex closed her eyes and pretended to sleep. She didn’t want to talk about her mother. Even leaving aside that last horrifying afternoon—no, don’t go there—Mercedes had been uncomfortable to grow up around. Too intense, too . . . well, weird.
He kicked at her foot. “Alex!”
“Why do you want to know?”
“Why don’t you want to talk about her?” he asked back.
She didn’t reply.
“Ah, lass, I’m sorry. Is she dead then?”
Alex shook her head, feeling an uncomfortable rush of heat up her throat and cheeks. She had no idea; she supposed Mercedes was dead—she should be—but she wasn’t sure, not anymore. Alex pulled her legs up and studied the barren landscape. No cars, no distant tractors, no distorted music from a passing vehicle. She missed that, all those sounds that she belatedly realised had tied her to her time.
“Mercedes,” she said, “her name is, or will be, Mercedes.”
“Mercedes? And that’s a Spanish name?”
“Well it certainly isn’t Swedish or Scots,” she replied with irritation. “Her first name was really Maria de las Mercedes, but as every second woman in Spain is called Maria in one form or other, she was always known as Mercedes. And her sister was Dolores, but I never knew her. She’s dead.” And taboo; Mercedes clammed up whenever Alex asked her about this unknown aunt.
“She’s an artist,” Alex went on, smiling at the memory of her mother in front of her easel: smudges of crimson and cobalt on her hands, emerald green streaking her arms, and that ubiquitous cigarette, lying forgotten in the ashtray as Mercedes bent forward to add yet another miniscule dot of zinc white to her latest masterpiece.
“She painted the occasional cat or horse for me, but mostly she painted. . .” Her voice drifted off as she tried to think of how to explain the disturbing canvases that flowered from her mother’s hands. “I think she painted grief, grief and loss.”
“How’d you do that?” he asked.
“I don’t know. But when you looked for too long at her paintings it was as if a silent scream built inside of you.”
Matthew looked pale and Alex laughed dismissively.
“Silly, right? I guess she was good with her brushes, twisting those columns of colour so that they pulled your eye in; always red and orange, always like a huge fire that surged and struggled against the constraints of the frame.” Alex stared off across the faded greens and browns that stretched in silence all around them. “Sometimes she painted small canvases, blues and greens with the odd dash of white. John always complained that they gave him a headache, made his stomach heave, and he’s right, they were rather weird, disconcerting somehow.”
She felt a sharp twist inside at the thought of John. What was he doing now? Would he believe Diane when she insisted that she, Alex, had decided to go AWOL, or would he know that she’d never do that?
“You don’t speak much of him, John, either,” Matthew said.
“Well, you don’t speak too much about her, Margaret, do you?”
“No, but if you want me to, I will.”
“It’s not really any of my business, is it?” Her eyes caught his and held them, and they sat like that for some time, green locked into blue.
“Mayhap it is,” he smiled, and stretched out a finger to run down her cheek. All of her thudded, wanting him to touch her some more, but instead she sat back, forcing him to drop his hand back to the ground, to rest very close to hers.
“Maybe. And if you tell me about her, I’ll tell you about him.”
He splayed his hand so that his little finger touched hers. She closed her eyes and concentrated on her breathing.
He helped her back onto her feet, holding on to her a bit longer than necessary. Blood was flowing so swiftly downwards it left him lightheaded, and his fingers tightened round her hand as he struggled to bring himself back under control.
He couldn’t walk like this, with his privates a coil of aching tension and throbbing blood. For an instant he saw himself pulling her back down onto the grass, saw how he struggled with her odd breeches and . . . He snaked an arm round her waist and pulled her close, ignored her little “oh” of surprise, and kissed her.
She stiffened at first, hands flat against his chest. But then an arm slid round his neck, the other followed suit, and he drew her even closer. She opened her mouth to his, and she tasted of tart, unripe blackberries, of the grass stalks she’d been chewing as they walked, and, very faintly, of smoked fish.
He just couldn’t let her go, and she didn’t seem to mind, grinding her hips against him in a way that made him groan. Ah, Jesus; he was on the verge of losing all restraint, and so, seemingly, was she, a pliable warmth in his arms.
He released her so abruptly she nearly fell. She stepped back, an unreadable look in her eyes.
“I’m sorry,” he stuttered. “I shouldn’t . . .” His chest was heaving, as was hers, and in silent consent they turned away from each other, a moment in which to collect their thoughts and regain a semblance of control over themselves.
When they began to walk he took her hand and she let him, opening her fingers to braid them with his. All that afternoon they said nothing at all, but their intertwined hands seemed to fuse together, and it was with reluctance he let her go to set up their camp for the night.
Available from these online retailers:
AMAZON UK | AMAZON US | AMAZON CA | AMAZON AU
This title is available to read on Kindle Unlimited
Meet the Author
Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a time-traveller. As this was impossible, she became a financial professional with two absorbing interests: history and writing. Anna has authored the acclaimed time travelling series The Graham Saga, set in 17th century Scotland and Maryland, as well as the equally acclaimed medieval series The King’s Greatest Enemy which is set in 14th century England.
Anna has also published The Wanderer, a fast-paced contemporary romantic suspense trilogy with paranormal and time-slip ingredients.
Her Castilian Heart is the third in her “Castilian” series, a stand-alone sequel to her September 2020 release, His Castilian Hawk. Set against the complications of Edward I’s invasion of Wales, His Castilian Hawk is a story of loyalty, integrity—and love. In the second instalment, The Castilian Pomegranate, we travel with the protagonists to the complex political world of medieval Spain. This latest release finds our protagonists back in England—not necessarily any safer than the wilds of Spain!
Anna has also authored The Whirlpools of Time in which she returns to the world of time travel. Join Duncan and the somewhat reluctant time-traveller Erin on their adventures through the Scottish Highlands just as the first Jacobite rebellion is about to explode!
All of Anna’s books have been awarded the IndieBRAG Medallion, she has several Historical Novel Society Editor’s Choices, and one of her books won the HNS Indie Award in 2015. She is also the proud recipient of various Reader’s Favorite medals as well as having won various Gold, Silver and Bronze Coffee Pot Book Club awards.
Find out more about Anna, her books and enjoy her eclectic historical blog on her website, www.annabelfrage.com
Connect with Anna here:
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