I'm thrilled that Return to Winter is now available in print!
And here's an excerpt:
Stephanie sat in Dylan's armchair next to the fire place and kicked
off her boots. It was eleven-thirty. She must have dozed off as the
next thing she knew she was opening her eyes and the clock showed that
it was almost midnight. That was odd. Surely it wouldn't take Dylan
half an hour to fetch a couple of bottles from the cellar?
She slipped back into her boots and walked down the corridor in the
direction of the cellar. When she got there, the door was slightly ajar.
"Dylan!" she cried out, her voice echoing into the abyss. There was no
answer, so she pushed the heavy, creaking door until it opened fully.
She searched for a light switch but failed to find one. Perhaps if she
walked down the steps, there would be a switch at the bottom.
It was ice-cold as she descended the stone steps that had probably
been there for generations. Somewhere down in the very depths of the
castle, she heard a faint dripping sound.
Putting both palms on the wall, she scaled her way down in the inky
darkness. Good, she found a wooden rail she could hold on to.
Something brushed against her face and she almost cried out with fear.
Just a cobweb, she reassured herself. You're losing it, lady. Maybe
this was a daft idea and she should retrace her steps back up to the
top. But what if Dylan was lying at the bottom injured? That thought
was enough to spur her on.
Finally, she got to the last step and found a switch and the light
came on. It was very dim, but at least she had some illumination. She
searched around and found a small, dusty table, on top of which was a
candle holder and a box of matches. She struck one and lit the candle,
just as the light bulb fizzled out.
Shadows flickered in the cellar, casting an eerie impression. "Dylan!"
she cried out again. But all was silent. There were rack upon rack of
bottles down here. They must be worth a fortune, she mused.
It was no use, she couldn't find Dylan. She was about to go and then
let out a gasp, the hairs on her neck standing on end as she saw a
woman coming towards her carrying a lighted candle. Then she relaxed,
and let out a long breath when she realised it was only her own
reflection in an old bar room mirror on the wall.
How silly she was being, imagining all kinds of things. She composed
herself and made for the stairs. The cellar door slammed shut and the
candle blew out. Terror gripped her as she fought to keep in control
of her senses. The thud in her ears deafened her as she heard her own
heart beat as loud as a drum. What if no one found her?
"Help!" she tried to shout, but fear made her voice sound weak.
"Someone please help me!" Then she put her hands out in front of her
to try to find her way out.
Stumbling over something, she tripped and fell, hitting her head
against a wine rack. She put her hands out for something solid to help
her to get to her feet and touched something soft and warm. It was a
human leg, someone was standing by her side.
"Dylan, thank goodness. Help me up."
Two strong hands came towards her and helped her to her feet. Then
they forcefully grabbed her from behind, one hand slipping over her
mouth. This was her worse nightmare and she had no idea who it was.
Trembling, she feared she would black out and then what would happen?
Her legs felt like they were going to give way. I have to do
something. She tried to scream but the large hand was firmly clamped
over her mouth...