Thanks to Susanna and Sourcebooks Publishing I have an excerpt from the highly-anticipated release of THE FIREBIRD and a complete prize pack of Susanna's previously published books: The Rose Garden, Mariana, The Winter Sea and The Shadowy Horses!
By Susanna Kearsley
EXCERPT #1 (CHAPTER 4)
I’d rehearsed this scene, with variations, all the way from Edinburgh, perfecting my dialogue based on the things I felt sure he would ask me, but all of that went out the window the minute he took the seat opposite, leaning back easily into the bench as though these past two years hadn’t happened. In that heartbeat as I looked across at him, I could have made myself believe they hadn’t.
He looked just the same, with his almost too-perfect face. When I’d first met him I’d thought he looked French from his bone structure—straight nose and boldly drawn eyebrows and deep-set blue eyes, and that sensual mouth that could suddenly change from its serious line to a quick boyish smile more in keeping with the black unruly hair that always flopped onto his forehead. At the moment his hair was damp, trying to curl at the ends. In a gesture I remembered well he pushed it back and nodded at my drink. “You want another one of those?”
He didn’t need to call the waitress over. She had seen him coming in and was beside us in an instant.
“So you’ve found each other, then.” “We have, aye. Sheena, this is Nicola.”
She gave a nod of greeting and assured him we’d already met. “George sent her from the police station. I’d just heard it on the radio that you were on your way back in. Everyone all right, then?”
“Aye. It was fairly straightforward, a couple of fishermen taking on water. We gave them a tow back to Burnmouth.”
“Better than Tuesday’s shout,” Sheena agreed. Then, to keep me included, she told me, “A couple of tourists capsized off St. Abbs, Tuesday morning. The woman was nearly done in when the lifeboat arrived, and she’d have likely drowned if not for Keenan, here. He’d seen it already, up here,” she said, tapping her temple, “and he’d telt the coxswain who did a phone round so the crew were all kitted up and on their way in the lifeboat afore the call even came in.” She winked at me. “He likely kent that you were coming, too. That’s why he’s dressed so nice.”
He said to her drily, “There are other places to eat in Eyemouth. I could take her to the Ship…”
But Sheena only grinned and told him, “Never. Did you want a pint of Deuchars?”
“If you think that you can manage it. And one more glass of wine, please.”
As I listened to their easygoing banter, I was trying to imagine how incredible it must feel to be living in a place where everybody knew—and from the sound of it, accepted—that you saw things that they couldn’t see. Small wonder Rob McMorran was so well adjusted.
And he was dressed nicely, now I noticed it. His fine knitted sweater of deep navy blue looked like cashmere, and followed the breadth of his shoulders and chest in a way that looked tailored without being tight. He kept his head bent as he studied the menu, but from the quick glance that he gave me I halfway suspected he’d noticed me noticing, so I looked down myself, reading the menu without really seeing it, trying to summon up small talk. I could start by asking why everyone here called him Keenan, I thought.
“It’s no Keenan,” he answered my unspoken question without looking up. “It’s ‘Keen-Een’—keen eyes—from my having the Sight, ye ken.”
“Oh. So it’s a nickname.”
“My bye-name, aye. Sort of tradition in Eyemouth, it helps sort us out. In a small place like this with so many old families, it’s nothing to find a few men with the same name—a few David Dougals, say—so we use bye-names to tell them apart.”
“And how many Rob McMorrans are there here in Eyemouth?”
“Only me.” He looked up then. “But I got my bye-name from some of my dad’s friends the summer I went to the fishing with them, when I turned twelve, and it’s stuck.” His blue eyes smiled the way that I remembered. “Go ahead.”
I hadn’t noticed that the waitress had returned, but now I turned to her and ordered. “Can I have the chicken curry, please, with rice?”
“No problem. Keen-Een?”
“Make it two. With chips for mine.” He thanked her as she took the menus from us, then he raised the pint of dark ale that she’d brought him as he settled back and faced me as before. “So.”
Breathing deep, I echoed, “So. It’s good to see you, Rob.”
“It’s good to see you, too.”
“I’m really sorry—”
“There’s no need,” he cut me off, and took a drink before continuing, “I told you at the time I understood your reasons. I still do.”
He very likely understood them better than I did myself, I thought. I cleared my throat and said, “I’ve been to Edinburgh this afternoon.”
Whatever else he knew, it was apparent that he hadn’t known that, because he lifted his one eyebrow in the way he always had when I’d surprised him. “Oh, aye?”
“Yes. I went to visit Dr. Fulton-Wallace.”
When I hesitated, not quite sure how to proceed from there, he sent me a lopsided smile. “Is this a twelve-step program that you’re on then? Making peace with all the people from your past?”
His tone was teasing, but I shook my head with an unnecessary force. “No, it isn’t. I…” I faltered, not sure how to ask this question.
Rob said, “Of course I will.”
“Come with you to Dundee.”
There was no need for him to ask if that was what I’d wanted; I had always been an open book for him to read. Too bad it didn’t work the other way around, I thought. I tried to read him now, and met a stubborn wall of static as his blue gaze leveled calmly on my own.
I took a long drink of my wine. “I suppose that you already know all the details.”
“No,” he said, “but you’ve had a long day, it’ll keep. I’ve the day off tomorrow, we’ll drive to Dundee in the morning, and on the way up you can tell me the whole story. Suit you?”
It suited me fine, and I said so. “Rob?”
“I am sorry.”
The warmth of reassurance wrapped around me like a hug, so nearly physical I couldn’t quite believe he hadn’t moved. He looked away. “I ken fine how you feel,” he said, and moved his pint of ale aside to make room for the plates as Sheena brought our meals.
About the Book
Publication Date: June 4, 2013
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Whoever dares to seek the Firebird may find the journey — and its ending — unexpected.
Nicola Marter was born with a gift. When she touches an object, she sometimes sees images; glimpses of those who have owned it before. It’s never been a gift she wants, and she keeps it a secret from most people, including her practical boss Sebastian, one of London’s premier dealers in Russian art.
But when a woman offers Sebastian a small wooden carving for sale, claiming it belonged to Russia’s first Empress Catherine, it’s a problem. There’s no proof. Sebastian believes that the plain carving — known as “The Firebird” — is worthless. But Nicola’s held it, and she knows the woman is telling the truth, and is in desperate need of the money the sale of the heirloom could bring.
Compelled to help, Nicola turns to a man she once left, and still loves: Rob McMorran, whose own psychic gifts are far greater than hers. With Rob to help her “see” the past, she follows a young girl named Anna from Scotland to Belgium and on into Russia.
There, in St. Petersburg — the once-glittering capital of Peter the Great’s Russia — Nicola and Rob unearth a tale of love and sacrifice, of courage and redemption…an old story that seems personal and small, perhaps, against the greater backdrops of the Jacobite and Russian courts, but one that will forever change their lives.
One lucky winner will receive a copy of The Rose Garden, Mariana, The Winter Sea and The Shadowy Horses.
To enter, please complete the Rafflecopter entry form below.
Giveaway open to US and Canadian residents ONLY. Ends on February 15. Good Luck!