1. Although my daughter is a certified scuba diver, I'm petrified of water and don't swim.
2. In order to travel within our budget my husband and I are members of homelink--www.swapnow.com, and house exchange all over the world. Piggy-backing on this, I subscribe to the Points Guy, an informative website regarding air travel using credit card points. (It's easier than you think!)
3. I am a well-known coupon queen, and regularly save so much money at the grocery store that the clerks follow my weekly shopping lists.
4. I am an international adoption advocate, and my husband and I adopted our beautiful daughter from South Korea 20 years ago.
5. We flip houses! If you need designer and decorator ideas, don't hesitate to contact me.
Multi-award-winning author Josie Riviera is a mother of three grown children. She spends her days teaching piano, lending an ear to her teenage daughter’s ongoing drama, and, of course, writing. Josie and her family are transplanted upstate New Yorkers, now living in the sunny state of SC. She writes character-driven novels filled with inspiration and emotion.
Learn more about Josie at josieriviera.wordpress.com.
Do people prove their self-worth by strength, or by character?
A Romany leader confronts the English heritage he has denied when he lands, beaten and powerless, in the path of a high-spirited young widow. Will the prim countess agree to hide the charismatic rogue in her home and jeopardize her safety while her stepson accuses her of murdering her elderly husband?
Patience Blakwell is not beautiful. As a dutiful young countess in Regency England, she endures her husband’s cruelty. She struggles with her faith, trying to understand why God is not following the plan she had for her life—to be loved and cherished by her husband. After her husband’s unexpected death, her grown stepson charges her with her late husband’s murder.
Luca Boldor, more Gypsy than English, is determined to prove that he is strong and capable and doesn’t need anyone. But once he is forced to depend on Lady Patience Blakwell, a woman who represents all he loathes, he must decide whether he should turn away when she needs him, or risk his most vulnerable, forgiving self to keep her safe. By denying his English heritage, has he denied a part of himself?
Copyright 2013 © Josie Riviera
Luca Boldor had made a mistake—a big mistake.
“May God strike you all,” he whispered under his breath at the murderous band of rival Roma tribesmen gaining on him, ready to attack. He’d merely been looking for food for his tribe.
He pulled his ragged overcoat around his shoulders and made his getaway through the snow. Snowflakes fell thick and heavy, twice as fast as earlier that evening. Wind carried the drifts in wayward, wispy circles and thankfully concealed his tracks.
He could escape unseen. He’d become good at that.
Slipping on a patch of ice, he stumbled and hit the ground face first.
His voice broke in agony. A scream he stifled, because a man never screamed. Certainly not a Roma man.
Relying on sheer muscle to raise the lower half of his body, he dug his elbows into the gritty, wet snow and crawled forward. Aye, a man did not crawl, either.
But sometimes a man made exceptions to his own rules.
Advancing shadows split the stretches of dull white snow. Desperately, he searched his surroundings, knowing he was too easy to find. His body shimmered with the pain of a cruel beating. His breath, so cold a moment ago, burned in his chest.
But the thought was inconceivable and Luca pushed it from his mind.
Instead, he envisioned the elders of his tribe foraging for food. They would starve without his hunting skills and perish in a sennight. Long ago, he’d taught himself not to think of anything except their desperation, to protect the tribe no matter the danger. If he could only get them through another winter, he could improve their lot by moving them to the coast. Food was more plentiful by the sea, and they wouldn’t need to steal to survive.
Heavy footsteps crunched through the snow and Luca risked a swift glance over his shoulder. Marko, the leader of the rival tribe, and his men drew closer. Blind panic rushed through Luca’s limbs.
Past a swell of blackthorn trees, he spotted a ravine. He dropped to his knees and burrowed into the snow. Faster. Deeper. His nerves pinched in short, silent spasms.
Curse the frost for numbing his fingers. Curse his senses for deserting him.
Snapping off brittle tree limbs, he lowered himself into the hole and threw the branches on top. Then he peered through the branches and waited.
The bleary figures of Marko and his tribesmen approached. A glimmer of moonlight lit the darkness and threatened to expose Luca’s meager covering.
A persistent voice whispered in his mind. Run. There is time. They will not see you.
Run. He grimaced. His restless body shifted. His battered leg stiffened, a reminder of his helplessness.
“Luca shall not escape me.” Marko’s rough tone severed the cold night air. “He claims he disappears like a spirit, but he is just a man.”
A few men spoke uneasily and Luca recognized their voices. Killing was a sport for them.
Despite the numbness consuming him, tiny hairs on his nape stood on end. He was obviously their intended sport this harsh January night.
Marko’s booted toes stopped within a few feet of Luca’s makeshift hole. The stench of his unwashed body filled Luca’s nostrils. He held his breath until he thought his lungs would burst. His eyes watered from the cold, but he kept his gaze on Marko.