About the author:
Susanne Matthews was born and raised in Cornwall, Ontario, Canada. She’s always been an avid reader of all types of books, but always with a penchant for happily ever after romances. In her imagination, she travelled to foreign lands, past and present, and soared into the future. Today, gets to spend her time writing, so she can share her adventures with her readers. She loves the ins and outs of romance, and the complex journey it takes to get from the first word to the last period of a novel. As she writes, her characters take on a life of their own, and she shares their fears and agonies on the road to self-discovery and love.
The Captain’s Promise
Etienne Blouin left Danielle de Cherbourg in tears, promising to return; he didn’t. Ten years later, Etienne learns she’s been widowed and left almost penniless. Now a wealthy ship’s captain, he offers to help her, but the only reply he gets is from her aunt telling him to leave Danielle alone. Convinced she’s in trouble, he determines to rescue her whether she likes it or not, even if it means losing her love.
Danielle is shocked to learn that her companion is going to the colonies, while she is to marry a cruel and powerful man as repayment of her husband’s gambling debts. Despondent, she sees no way out of the horrendous situation. When her carriage is waylaid and she’s kidnapped, she fears the worse.
Etienne has enemies who don’t want La Belle Rose to make port. Can he outfox them to save his ship and the woman he loves?
The Captain’s Promise is available in Kindle format through Amazon.
Excerpt 4: The Captain’s Promise
Giddy with anticipation for her sixteenth birthday party, the depressing prediction of the afternoon shoved to the back of her mind, Danielle stood in front of the looking glass admiring her gown. The royal blue silk frock showed off her bourgeoning woman’s body. It was a long-waisted slender dress, one worn without crinolines, ideally suited to her five foot, seven inch, slim frame. The neckline cut low, with a wide horizontal cream lace collar decorated by a central royal blue silk bow, exposed more of her bosom than her gowns usually did. The sleeves, set low in the shoulder, opening into a full ruff ending just below the elbow, were similarly adorned with lace. The whalebone corset pushed up her firm young breasts, and the straps of her pale blue camisole, pulled down along her arms to hide them inside the gown’s sleeves, further lowered the neckline, accentuating her cleavage. With the dress, she wore a single rope of pearls and matching pearl drop earrings.
“Mama, it’s the most beautiful dress I’ve ever seen. I can’t wait for Etienne to see it. Finally, he’ll have to admit I’m a woman.” She put her arms around her mother and kissed her cheek. She drew back and noticed a momentary sadness in her mother’s eyes. She thought she knew what had put it there. “I know.” She squared her shoulders, determination in every inch of her body. “Etienne is his own man, but I love him so much. He’s only thought of me as a childhood companion. Well, tonight he’ll see me in a different light.”
In keeping with the fashion of the day, Danielle’s auburn hair hadn’t been powdered, but had been braided flat against her head on each side, with both braids pulled together into a long rope secured by a royal blue, silk ribbon, and drawn over her right shoulder.
Her mother frowned. “Elle, I’m sure Etienne will be surprised when he sees how much you’ve changed, but remember, you’ve seen him as a young man for some time now, whereas he probably still thinks of you as a child. You’ll have to give him time to adjust to the new you. My darling, much as it breaks my heart to say it, his emotions may never be the same as yours.”
Danielle shivered, Marie’s words of premonition invading her thoughts for the moment, but she forced them away. She couldn’t bear the notion Etienne didn’t love her as she loved him.
“Mama, I want to be his wife. Is love always like this? This wanting and yearning just for the sight of him? I haven’t seen him since he left for Paris last May. I’m more excited about seeing him tonight than I am about anything else.”
Her mother shook her head sadly, and Danielle could see she was worried.
“My child, you’re so young. What you feel for Etienne is puppy love, an infatuation that won’t last. I’d spare you the tears if I could.”
Danielle frowned. Anger sparked in her, but she fought to keep it down. Why was it that everyone refused to take her love for Etienne seriously? She wasn’t a child! As of this day, she was a woman, albeit a young one, but she knew her own heart. Her mother continued her lecture, a speech, like Marie’s premonition, she didn’t want to hear.
“Fifteen months is a very long time. Etienne isn’t a boy anymore. He’ll be twenty-one in a few weeks, and his time in Paris will have changed him. Someday, you’ll realize that just because you want something to be so, doesn’t mean it will be. I’m afraid your father and I’ve spoiled you. Forget this nonsense about love and marriage. There’ll be time enough to discuss such matters when you’re older. Go and enjoy your birthday. I’ll be here when you need me.”
Danielle shivered at her mother’s words, which were almost identical to those Marie had spoken earlier, but she dismissed her uncertainties. Nothing would spoil this night, certainly not foolish superstition and her overactive imagination. Mama and Marie were wrong; that was all there was to it. Etienne loved her, and once he saw her, he’d realize it.
She kissed her mother’s cheek, and hurried from the room. No matter what Marie or her mother said, she knew her feelings for Etienne were deep and true. He was the only man she’d ever love.