New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author

of Contemporary Women's Fiction, Romantic Comedies, and Historical Romances

 

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An exciting anthology featuring

three women, three centuries, one destiny...

A glossy wooden box, inlaid with an image of a dark-haired woman. Its mysteries sealed tight for generations. Or were they?

Past
The reclusive Maxwell Wolford, Earl of Dorsey, acquires the box-only to discover that the beautiful Lady Amanda Pratt holds the key to its secrets-and his heart. . .

Present
Tina Chamberlain's fiancé, Ryan Kinsey, is convinced the unusual box in her possession contains the secret to his research at NASA. But what Tina needs to discover is is Ryan truly wants her-or the box only she can unseal. . .

Future
During her studies, scientist Sara Tolliver accidentally triggers a time machine, bringing a man named Kendar back from the future. . .a future where women no longer exist. Little do they guess that their only hope of being together lies in Sara's old heirloom chest. As does the future of love itself. ..

 

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Yesterday's Magic

Chapter 1

 Cardiff, England 1820

     Lady Amanda Pratt strode quickly along Cromwell On Sea’s main road toward Gibson’s Antiques and Curiosities.  Botheration, it was already twenty minutes past two, and the sign posted on the shop’s door when she and Aunt Lydia had passed by earlier indicated the store was temporarily closed and would re-open at two o’clock.  Amanda had wanted to return promptly at two, but what with all the fascinating wares Cromwell On Sea’s shops had to offer, she’d completely lost track of time.  When she’d noted the hour and realized Aunt Lydia was no where near ready to depart Hobson’s Millinery, Amanda told her aunt to take her time.  She’d simply nip back to Gibson’s to purchase that extraordinary box displayed in the window.

Just thinking about the treasure quickened her step.  She’d never seen anything remotely like it, not even in London’s grand shops on Regent, Bond, and Oxford Streets where she regularly hunted for pieces to add to her collection of unusual boxes.  The shop owners in London were well acquainted with her finely honed bargaining skills, and her lips curved at the prospect of this unexpected opportunity to put her expertise to use here.  She certainly hadn’t anticipated seeing something so outstanding while visiting her aunt in this small village just outside Cardiff.  The instant she’d seen the rectangular box which was about the size of a loaf of bread and made of intricately inlaid, glossy wood, she’d wanted it.  She’d nearly pressed her nose to shop window, admiring the treasure.

But it was more than the unique gleaming surface that had fascinated Amanda.  It was the image on the curved lid that had so thoroughly captured her attention.  A silhouette of a woman with long hair that appeared to be blowing in the breeze.  She wore a flowing, Grecian-style gown which clung to the front of her form and billowed behind her from that imaginary wind while she seemingly walked into the distance, her arms stretched upward, as if reaching for something above, beyond her.  Her upturned face was turned in partial profile, her pose simultaneously mysterious, beseeching, and seductively teasing.  Yet the woman also struck Amanda as being somehow...lonely.  And searching for...something.  I know precisely how you feel...

Amanda shook off the thought and hurried on, passing rows of well-kept shops lining both sides of the wide, busy street crowded with early afternoon pedestrians purchasing items ranging from freshly caught fish to fragrant bread to embroidered linens.  Children scampered about, the sounds of their laughter rising above the squeak of carriage wheels and entrepreneurs hawking their wares from a group of stalls set-up at the far end of the street next to the smithy.  Normally she would have leisurely strolled, allowing her senses to absorb the scenery, to savor the newness of sights and scents so different from London or her family’s country home in Kent, then engaged in one of her favorite activities--watching people and wondering about their lives--who they were, where they lived, what sort of personalities they possessed, whether or not they were happy, what secrets they hid.  But all that would have to wait.  Right now she was a woman with a mission. 

A refreshing, brisk salt-scented breeze courtesy of Bristol Channel ruffled Amanda’s forest green spencer, and she breathed deeply, enjoying the contrast of the warm sun and cool, fresh early summer air.  London’s air definitely did not smell like this.  No, this sea air was scented not only with the tang of salt, but with more intangible fragrances.  Peace.  Tranquility.  Freedom.  When Aunt Lydia had issued her invitation to join her in Cardiff, Amanda had instantly pounced upon the opportunity.

Would the answers she so desperately sought be found in this modest seaside village, far removed from the pressures of her mother’s incessant demands that she quit dawdling and choose a husband?  She prayed that would be the case.  In all fairness she supposed she was dawdling, but only so she could search her heart, which for reasons she did not understand, required searching.  Heavens, with the success of her Season, she should be the happiest girl in all of England.  Declared an Incomparable, and blessed with four serious suitors.  And all gentlemen from fine families.

So why wasn’t she happy?  Dancing on air?  She’d always dreamed of falling love, marrying a man who made her heart race, having a family.  In her mind’s eye she’d clearly envisioned herself surrounded by several laughing children, a half dozen rambunctious dogs, a litter of kittens, a fragrant abundant garden, and...him.  That nameless, faceless gentleman whose identity remained a mystery other than to know that he was kind.  Loving.  Generous.  Made her laugh.  And loved her to distraction, as she loved him.  Why was determining which of her four suitors was that man proving such a daunting, depressing task?  Surely it should not be so.  Well, once she’d decided which of her suitors to marry, this feeling of malaise and frustrated confusion that had plagued her all during the Season would evaporate.

 Gibson’s Antiques and Curiosities lay just ahead, and Amanda nearly ran the last few steps, then halted in front of the window.  And stared.  The velvet perch upon which the box...her box...had rested was now empty.

Dismay flooded her.  Surely someone couldn’t have purchased the box in the past twenty minutes since the shop re-opened.  Smothering the unladylike word that rose to her lips, Amanda quickly entered the shop.  She vaguely noted the two gentlemen in the shop.  Instead her attention was riveted upon the glossy wooden box which sat on the glass-topped counter separating the men.

The middle-aged man behind the counter said to her in a tremulous, reed-thin voice, “Welcome.  I’m Wallace Gibson, the owner.  I’ll be happy to assist you in just a moment.”

Hoping she wasn’t too late, Amanda swiftly approached the counter then pointed at the box.  “Actually, that is the piece I was interested in.”

Mr. Gibson swallowed, bobbing the prominent Adam’s Apple in his pencil-thin neck.  He appeared nervous and flustered, and his gaze flicked to the other man.  “I’m afraid I’ve just sold the piece,” Mr. Gibson said.  “To this gentleman.”

 

I hope that whets your appetite!

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Harriet Klausner for The Best Reviews

This anthology contains three related romantic novellas that is fun to follow as readers gradually learn the secrets of THE HOPE CHEST. Each tale is unique with Ms. D'Alessandro providing a Regency; Ms. Kenner a contemporary; and Ms. Kearny a futuristic science fiction. Yet each tale is linked by fine writing that stars delightful protagonists and the overall lead the Hope Chest.

 

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Got your new book THE HOPE CHEST and that was a very good story. It was not as sexy as some of your books  but was a very interesting story it kept me reading until I finished it to see the out come.


I read your list of books and I found out I have not gotten the last release in 2004   WE`VE  GOT TONIGHT   I thought I had them all right up to 2005  but for some reason that one was skipped and probably because so much was going on with Hurricane clean ups and so on.  I was to a Book store last week but they had a lot of your older ones but not that one so I`m seeing if your mom has it just to read and give her back afterwards  until I can locate it in the stores.


You do such great work  ..   You should be so proud of yourself to be able to write such  great and interesting stories, keep up the writing I enjoy your books  so much.


I will definitely be getting The Hope Chest, it looks really good! Keep up the good work! Regina


Love your writing.

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to write to me.
I love hearing from Readers!

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You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, and blogging with the Whine Sisters -- stop by and say hi!

         

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