Welcome to the Book Tour for Entice Me, the Romance anthology from the talented authors from Romance Books 4 Us. This 9 author compilation offers something for all readers of the romance genres, leaving everyone feeling satisfied but perhaps wanting more but in the best possible way. Along this tour you'll learn more about these luscious love stories so don't miss a single word as we offer you peeks into this enticing boxed set!
This sweet through hot collection of love stories includes contemporary, period, and historical romance, otherworldly romance, and romance with a touch of magic by Award-winning and Bestselling Authors: Cindy Spencer Pape, Marianne Stephens, Jean Hart Stewart, Janice Seagraves, Gemma Juliana, Denyse Bridger, Rose Anderson, Paris Brandon, and Cara Marsi.
In 2010, author Marianne Stephens started Romance Books '4' Us (All Romance, All Genres) as a Yahoo Group. She soon enlisted the help of 19 other authors and shortly after started the RB4U blog. The Romance Books '4' Us website followed in 2011. On both sites, Marianne and her 19 Member Authors host the romance industry's finest authors and industry representatives. Some of the names have changed over time, but the quality of writing continues. Nine of Romance Books '4' Us’ Member Authors have stories in this first RB4U anthology. We sincerely hope you enjoy reading them.
Heart of Stone by Madeline Archer
The story opens with the notorious witch hunts in 17th Century Salem, Massachusetts.
As formal education for women lacks substance in 1904, Neila Flannigan leaves Ireland to attend Radcliffe women’s college in America. Shy and introverted, Neila passes her lonesome hours making sketches of the Harvard grounds and sending them home to her father. A chance encounter with a kind, elderly Irish woman inspires her to sketch a statue in an old, unused building. Desperately lonely, Neila ends up sharing her thoughts and feelings with a man carved in stone. Some days it feels like he listens.
Setting the Stage:
Attending school in a new country isn’t easy for shy Neila Flannigan who passes her
solitary hours between classes sketching pictures to send home to her father. One
afternoon an elderly woman sits down beside her and inspires Neila to sketch a statue in
an old unused building. Desperately lonely, Neila ends up sharing her thoughts and
feelings with a man carved in stone. Some days it feels like he listens.
In this scene, Neila first meets Mrs. Maguire and explains how hard it is to make friends
because she’s painfully shy. Over the course of the conversation, she learns of a statue
tucked away in an unused building. Neila has made several detailed sketches of the
Harvard landscape. Odd, she’s never seen that building before…
“I’m not one to fit in easily. I’m terribly shy and stumble over my words whenever
someone tries to engage me in conversation,” Neila explained. “I know it’s foolish, but I
just never know what to say.” She looked around at the people laughing and talking in
pairs or groups and shook her head. “I don’t think Americans are burdened this way.”
Waving Neila’s comment off, the woman said, “Oh, ye’d be surprised. There’s all sorts
here just as there are back home. In me long life I’ve noticed it’s not so much fear o’
talkin’ that makes people shy. It’s just that shy people have trouble with talkin’ easily. So
they don’t. Other folks see that an’ think they’d rather not be bothered. Isn’t that the way
of it for yerself?”
Neila blinked. The elder’s words summed up her life perfectly. “Yes, that’s exactly the
reason. I’ve never found it easy, talking with strangers.”
“An’ because it’s not, ye don’t. Isn’t that right?”
Neila nodded. Making friends wasn’t easy. Only Mary Kay and Teagan understood that
truth. The three of them had been best chums since first year in primary school, when
Miss Blackwell purposely put the three shy girls together rather than see them each
standing alone in the play yard. And wouldn’t you know? They weren’t shy with each
other. “Thick as thieves” Da said, every single time he saw them together. She shared
her thoughts with the kindly stranger.
The elder laughed. Patting Neila’s arm, she said, “An’ ye see that? Ye weren’t shy
together! There’s yer proof, dear. Ye can make friends. Easy conversation just takes
practice, is all. I’m sure once ye get used to talkin’ to people here, ye’ll make good
friends.” She tapped the sketch of the bird again, and said, “Just talk, even if it’s to the
beasts ye sketch. It’s good for ye to share yer day an’ to hear your own voice.” Leaning
in with a smile twinkling in her green eyes, she whispered, “But if ye talk with the critters
an’ statues, best be sure no one is lookin’ when ye do, or they’ll think yer daft.”
Neila laughed. It felt so good to laugh.
They talked about home for a while, then the old woman pointed out the window toward
a building. “Have you been there yet, to that far buildin’ in the distance?”
Neila followed her gaze and looked twice, surprised by the red-bricked building standing
there as bold as day. She’d sat in this same seat for the last two weeks and never once
noticed it across the courtyard. In fact, she had drawn the courtyard landscape and that
building had somehow missed her attention. Voicing her surprise, she pulled the sketch
from her portfolio and showed the woman.
“How about that? Ye completely missed sketching it altogether.”
“I don’t see how I could have ….”
“I’d think it’d be easy enough to miss when yer mind is full of yer studies an’ such.”
Neila looked from sketch to building and back again. She shook her head, bemused.
“But it’s right there!”
The old woman laughed. “People generally don’t see it.”
“They don’t see it?” Neila repeated, confused. She slid the drawing back inside her
The elder waved her hand. “Oh, ye know how most people are, they miss things unless
they’re right under their noses! But don’t ye worry, dear, you’re not losin’ your faculties.
It’s only the wear of a new place an’ people on your mind. Your thoughts have simply
Neila nodded. “I suppose they have. What is that building used for, do you know?”
“I don’t rightly know what it was intended for, but it sits unused now. Harvard was built in
the year 1636, ye see, an’ that buildin’ was put up in those early days. I heard it was just
built an’ forgotten shortly after. I suppose the other buildings suited their needs better.
It’s not much to look at on the outside, but if ye go up the stairs you’ll find a foin statue to
sketch.” Tipping her head to the bland figure out the window, she added, “So much
nicer than that oogly thing.”
The woman’s accent warming her inside, Neila bit back a laugh. It was rather ugly. “If it
isn’t in use, then I assume it isn’t open.”
“For you it will be. No one ever goes in there, not fer years an’ years. I promise ye won’t
be disturbed an’ ye’ll not be disappointed.”
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