Inkwell Guest: Cynthia Owens and Playing For Keeps
Today, I welcome the lovely and talented Cynthia Owens to the blog! Please stick around for her post and be sure and say hi! Take it away, Cynthia!
Hello everyone, I’m Cynthia Owens, and I’m so pleased to be here to announce that Playing For Keeps, Book III of The Claddagh Series, has just been released from Highland Press.
The Claddagh Series is a series of historical romance novels set in Ireland and beyond. The first book, In Sunshine or in Shadow, introduced Rory O’Brien and Siobhán Desmond. He was a gambler. She was a valiant survivor of famine and tyranny. He was a landlord. She was his tenant. Theirs was a love that couldn’t be denied.
In Coming Home, Ashleen O’Brien showed an Irish-American war hero that you can find a home and a family in the most unlikely place.
Playing For Keeps is Katie’s story. This half-Irish beauty has finally returned to Baltimore to visit the family she barely remembers … and finds herself falling head over heels in love with a Shakespearean actor with a mysterious past.
Here’s an excerpt from Playing For Keeps:
“The Theatre Royale is obviously the place to be tonight.”
Lights dimmed; thunder cracked and rumbled through the theatre. Katie blinked as bright flashes of lightning illuminated the house. Then her breath suspended in her throat as the red velvet curtain slowly rose and, accompanied by eerie music, three bearded witches slunk onstage.
When shall we three meet again?
In thunder, lightning or in rain?…
The magic had begun.
Lost in Shakespeare’s mystical otherworld, Katie drank in the lyricism of the Weird Sisters’ chants. A trumpet sounded off stage, and suddenly the words registered not only in her ears, but in her heart.
This is the sergeant, Who like a good and hardy soldier fought ’gainst my captivity.
That voice! As smooth as her father’s best Irish whiskey, it shot through Katie’s veins like a liquid flame. It was he. The height, the golden hair, his very presence screamed to her that it was he, Apollo. Oh, how very fitting that he should play the role of Malcolm, the bright young prince destined to be king…
He was magnificent in medieval plaid, his strong legs encased in woolen hose, his sword glittering at his side. His broad shoulders wore the plaid with pride, and when he turned to face the audience, she felt his smile like a blow to her heart.
The instant the house lights came up and she could see properly, she glanced quickly through the program.
Lucas Howard. A fine, strong name, and somehow appropriate. Those golden eyes could pierce right through to a woman’s soul and strip it bare. Oh, if only she could see him again, hear his whiskey-smooth voice, see his dazzling smile aimed only at her.
But of course, that was silly. Lucas Howard was probably as unaware of her as she was conscious of him. She was nothing to him but a potential member of a prospective audience, a ticket sale to add to the theatre’s coffers.
With that depressing thought, she pasted on a smile as the first guests arrived at their box.
…Let us seek out some desolate shade, and there Weep our sad bosoms empty.
The voice, filled with such powerful grief and longing, sent shivers dancing along Katie’s spine. She stared hard through her mother-of-pearl opera glasses, cool against her heated fingertips. His presence on the stage was compelling, his attraction undeniable. As she let her gaze wander for a fleeting second, she saw many pairs of opera glasses pointed in the same direction.
She’d be willing to bet all her winnings at last year’s Galway Races that most of them were pointed at Mr. Howard.
She soon became absorbed in the play once again. And it wasn’t only because of Lucas Howard. The entire cast was superb, particularly the lovely blonde actress who portrayed Lady Macbeth, and the older actor—it was he who had swept into the White Rose with Lucas—in the role of Macbeth.
But in truth, Katie only saw Lucas.