Saturday, November 28, 2015

Fire In My Heart Series: The Heart of Now by C.L. Bush

After a deadly fire six years ago in which he lost his father, Lawrence Sheridan is finally going back to London. With a hateful half-brother and a venom spitting stepmother, he is determined to figure out if the fire was just an accident or something more.

Francis Hudley has been brought to London by her Aunt Livingston and she, at eighteen, is finally having her coming out. She is shy and anything but overjoyed at the prospect of finding a husband. While enjoying the season, she meets an old family friend of her aunt's and is captivated by his love of the same things that interest her most.

Neither are seeking nor interested in marriage, but when a connection happens their passion is kindled. Can Laurie find the person who is responsible for murdering his father and trying to kill him while following his heart with this young woman who has so captivated him? And if he chooses her, can he keep her safe until the mystery is solved?

Read an excerpt:


All was quiet as Lawrence Sheridan walked up from the library late one spring evening. At twenty-five he was young and fit and had just spent the night with a bottle of Madeira and a good book.
His father lamented him not enjoying his youth, but Laurie could tell he appreciated that he handled responsibility well as he was heir to Waltham, an estate of some 5,000 acres.
Laurie’s younger brother Theodelphius, at fifteen lacked all that Laurie had in terms of temperament and good sense Edmund Sheridan had said. It was only two weeks ago that Laurie reconciled with his father over his marriage to his stepmother. Edmund, at fifty-seven, had married the eighteen year old Cecilia and six months later she gave birth to Theo. If it wasn't for the Sheridan gray eyes, many would suspect that child wasn't his. 
Laurie thought about this as he walked up the steps to his room, pleased with another pleasant evening with his father.
As he reached the second floor of the west wing he paused. Something smelled off. Smoke, yes because it was spring the fires would be lit. But it was stronger than normal.
Following his nose he rounded the corner and saw it.
The smoke was seeping out under the door of an unused guest room. He was surprised as the room wasn’t in use and thinking it could possibly be a clogged flue, Laurie opened the door. Flames licked at the entire room as the thick smoke enveloped him and stole his breath.
He quickly tried to close the door, but not quick enough as the renewed oxygen fueled the fire. The room had already been fully alight and now, the fully engulfed flames followed him into the hall, setting the carpet on fire. Before Laurie even had time to wonder why this room was on fire, he realized that the situation was out of control and the whole wing was at risk of going up.
Laurie quickly ran down the hall, yelling at the top of his lungs that there was a fire. Servants and his stepmother ran in to the hall as he yelled for a servant to notify the fire brigade while he directed the others to exit. He grabbed the butler and his valet, Billingsworth, to help with buckets of water and to prevent the spreading of the fire to the rest of the house.
As Laurie started pouring the water, he realized it was useless. He quickly told Billingsworth and the butler, Thompson, that they needed to exit and make sure that everyone was safe while they waited for the fire brigade.
Leaving the smoke and exiting to the group outside he saw his stepmother was in hysterics. After inquiring what the situation was, he found out that her lady's maid was still inside. His stepmother was ranting that the maid had been using the unused room for a tryst with one of the other servants.
He quickly asked Thompson if everyone was accounted for and got a response that they were still counting. Knowing it was the only way to calm his stepmother and that he couldn't allow an innocent woman to burn when he could rescue her, Laurie removed his coat, covered his mouth and ran back into the burning west wing.
He got as far as the stairs before the smoke reached him. As he tried to navigate through the thick smoke, he started climbing to the first floor. The smoke was lighter here, but still had the ability to make him cough.
He knew the maid usually was in his stepmother's room at night because she slept on a cot in the dressing room, but if she were having a tryst as his stepmother said, he had best check the main area where the fire had started to see if he could spot her.
As climbed to the second floor and he headed in that direction he was met with fire. It was all around him - climbing up the curtains, on the carpet, burning through the tables along the wall. The fire was spreading so fast there wouldn’t be much of a west wing left by the time the fire brigade got there.
Laurie realized the situation was hopeless. He turned to go back, but at once he saw that the fire had already spread behind him. The curtains had fallen, swinging to light ones further down the wall on fire, setting more of the carpet alight as well.
He could feel the flames starting to burn his hair. The side of his face was getting hot. Knowing there was no other choice, he ducked his head and ran through the wall of raining debris, still lit with flames that licked out at him. He could feel their white hot fingers melting his flesh.
As he reached the other side he tried to scream. There was no air left in his lungs. They felt burnt. He knew he needed to move, but fear and pain were freezing him in place. Just as he thought to give up, he found one final breath and groped to get up only to find Billingsworth there grabbing his arm.
He felt his valet pulling him down the stairs, making it down to the first floor, all the while the blinding pain making him want to scream. Coughs racked his body.
Once outside he collapsed into Billingsworth’s arms and the man laid him down on the ground while calling to the housekeeper to bring water and bandages. The aged woman rushed over as fast as a girl of twenty and poured water on Laurie’s fresh wounds.
He felt himself fading into darkness, but he had just enough strength to grab Billingsworth’s hand and ask, “My father?”
Billingsworth gave him a long look and said, “Sir, we will take it as it comes.” 
The last thing that Laurie remembered was the burning pain of his skin as they peeled his clothes off of him and the burning in his heart knowing that his father was gone. He let the blackness consume him.

You can now get books 1 and 2 together in this specially-priced bundle! Look for it at these fine retailers:

About the author:

C. L. Bush started reading at a young age. Since then she has voraciously read all she can get her hands on. As a mother of two boys and three grown stepdaughter's, as well as the wife of a soldier in the U.S. Army, her life is busy, but she has always kept her love of reading and writing. History is also a passion of hers and she regularly goes on trips with her family to experience it firsthand. She looks forward to bringing her love of reading, writing and history to her readers with her new 'Fire In My Heart' series.

Please feel free to visit her author page on Facebook for updates on new releases!

Also find her on Goodreads.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Due to tremendous amounts of spam, all comments are moderated and will be approved and published throughout the day.