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Ladies in Time 3
At Lavender House, Evie McIntyre is haunted by the whispers from her bedroom closet. Before she can make sense of their murmurs, the house "warbles" between times and transports her to the Civil War. Past and present have blended, and Evie wishes she'd paid more attention to history. Especially since former Confederate officer, Jack Ramsey, could use a heads up.
Torn between opposing forces, Jack struggles to defend the valley and people he loves. Meeting Evie turns his already tumultuous world upside down. Will solving the mystery of the whispers return her home, and will the handsome scout be by her side?
Against the background of Sheridan's Burning of the Shenandoah Valley, Jack and Evie fight to save their friends and themselves – or is history carved in stone?
Page Count: 232
Word Count: 55543
June, Present Day, the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, Victorian Farmhouse on the Lavender and Lace Herb Farm
The closet. It had always been about the closet, and Evie McIntyre strove to delay the nightly trek to her room.
Still wearing the Victorian styled gown Grandma G. had decreed for helping in the herb shop or giving garden tours, Evie hugged the tufted mauve couch, darting uneasy glances at the doorway. Mounds of violet sprigged cloth overflowed the velvet upholstery, nearly engulfing the cat. She wasn’t exactly comfy in a full skirt and corset better suited to Gone with the Wind, but changing clothes meant going upstairs.
Chimes. The ornately carved, hand painted mantel clock struck eleven. She tensed, inhaling the voluptuous sweetness of the peachy pink roses in the etched crystal vase by the clock.
Maybe Grandma G. wouldn’t notice her parked in the parlor this evening?
Sure enough, the indomitable Gladys McIntyre padded into the room on the last chime. Ever elegant, she’d changed from her Victorian dress into a frilly lilac robe and satin slippers. The light from a stained-glass lamp played over her long silver hair.
She surveyed Evie and the purring gray tabby at her side, her ample chest heaving in an impatient sigh. “Figured you’d be down here with Tiddles.”
Evie met her grandmother’s narrowed gaze, the same blue-gray hue as her own, staring back at her with weary annoyance. “He has too much sense to go upstairs.”
“For heaven’s sake. This isn’t a bedchamber.” Puffing in exasperation, Grandma G. swept her dimpled hand at the frilly room, papered in tiny bunches of lavender, and decorated much as it might have been a century or more ago. The decor was frou-frou feminine, but many of their visitors were female, and the strong- minded widow did as she liked.
The random collection of several lifetimes crammed a large glass cabinet, spilling out onto tables and book shelves. A porcelain Jack and Jill skipped up the hill beside figurines dressed for a ball. Petal-filled jars of potpourri wafted a spicy floral scent. Vintage valentines and beribboned chocolate boxes covered in anything from hearts to flowers, to oddly enough kittens, kept company with framed photos from bygone days.
All very charming, Evie supposed, except for the presence she sensed upstairs. Visitors didn’t stay long enough for that shudder-worthy experience. A braver soul would march up there, swing open the closet door, and face whatever summoned her. But Evie didn’t feel particularly courageous, quite the opposite, actually.
Another huff escaped her grandmother. “Evelyn Louise, you cannot camp on the couch like some passerby caught in a snowstorm.” She waved at her. “Wearing that.”
“It’s my favorite,” Evie lied.
“It’ll wrinkle.” Grandma G. was nuts about these historic costumes.
“I have six more. Plus.” Evie’s Victorian wardrobe reflected her grandmother’s preference for fashions of the past.
“Don’t be ridiculous. That’s not night attire.” Grandma G. paused, her plump face creased in thoughtful lines. “Besides, the whispers never hurt anyone…much.”
Evie startled. “What?” There was something the secretive woman wasn’t telling her.
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