Laurie Alice Eakes used to lie in bed as a child telling herself stories so she didn’t wake anyone else up. Sometimes she shared her stories with others; thus, when she decided to be a writer, she surprised no one. Her first book won the National Readers Choice Award for Best Regency in 2007. She also teaches on-line writing courses and enjoys a speaking ministry that has taken her from the Gulf Coast to the East Coast. Laurie Alice lives in Texas with her husband, two dogs and two cats, and is learning how to make tamales.
You can learn more about Laurie Alice and her work at http://www.lauriealiceeakes.com
Heart’s Safe Passage
All Phoebe Lee wants out of life is to practice midwifery in Loudon County, Virginia. But when she is pressed by her pregnant sister-in-law to help save her husband from an English prison during the War of 1812, Phoebe cannot refuse. The two women end up aboard a British privateer crossing the Atlantic under the command of a man with a deadly mission.
Captain Rafe Docherty promises to get Phoebe’s brother-in-law out of prison in exchange for information he holds—information Rafe needs to track down and destroy the man who killed his wife.
As Rafe plots revenge and struggles against his attraction to Phoebe, she determines to get ashore before she loses her heart and before her patient goes into labor. But an enemy in their midst threatens to end their plans, the ship, and their lives.
Welcome to Ink Dots, Laurie Alice. Where do you call home and what do you love about it? I consider Virginia home, though I don’t live there at present. It seems to encompass all the things I love—four seasons of winter, spring, autumn, and summer, with none of them severe. It has mountains and gentle hills, forests and sea. One can take advantage of the amenities of a large city, or one can find peace in the remote trails of a national park. I know what you mean about loving the four seasons. My home town, Melbourne, is known for having all four in the one day!
Why did you become an author? I had stories running around inside my head since I was a small girl. Finally, I just had to start writing them. The urge to tell stories won’t let me go.
Why did you choose this period in history to set your story? The War of 1812 for the United States is fascinating. We were small in population, had precisely eighteen vessels in our Navy, and were up against the most powerful nation in the world, with over 1,000 ships in its Navy. Yet we believed we were right in our demand for the freedom to trade wherever and with whomever we liked and not have our men accosted and taken from our vessels. Going to war with Great Britain was foolish, and yet we won. We got everything we wanted, including Michigan, which is where I was born. This is a time period that symbolizes victory over overwhelming odds, as being redeemed through Christ is victory over the overwhelming odds of our sinful nature and death. What an interesting time in American history!
Have you been to Australia? Alas, no, I have never been to Australia, and I certainly would love to come. Members of my family and several friends have been and say only good things about it and the people. Also, Australia’s history fascinates me and always has. I love reading books about Australia, and would so love to see the land about which I have read so much. I hope you get to visit soon. I know you’ll love it.
Here’s a peek at Laurie Alice’s Heart’s Safe Passage. If you would like the chance to win one of her books, please leave a comment below. If you’re the winner, you get to choose a Kindle or Nook version of Love’s Safe Passage, Lady in the Mist, A Necessary Deception, or the Glassblower. I’ll announce the winner on Friday.
Heart’s Safe Passage
“You want me to go to sea with you?” Phoebe Lee stared at her sister-in-law as though she’d sprouted whiskers and pointed ears between supper and this midnight invasion of Phoebe’s bedchamber. “In the event you’ve forgotten, we’re at war.”
“Of course I haven’t forgotten.” Pain distorted Belinda Chapman’s features, and she twisted her fingers through the fringe of her silk shawl. “If we weren’t at war, my husband wouldn’t be a prisoner in a barbaric English hulk. And I can’t free him if I can’t get to England.”
“Go to England? Free him?” Phoebe stared at her deceased husband’s sister with eyes wide and jaw sagging. “You must be—” She stopped speaking and made a circuit of the pink-flowered carpet of Belinda’s guest bedchamber, her slippers silent in the lush pile, her blood roaring. She must not tell Belinda that she had certainly become a raving mooncalf to consider traveling on water as far as Norfolk, let alone across the Atlantic.
Silence filled the bedchamber. Belinda watched Phoebe, saying nothing. Outside, a carriage rumbled up the roughly paved street, and laughter soared into a crescendo.
Inside, Phoebe inhaled the too-sweet air of Belinda’s townhouse and tried to remember what her teacher, Tabitha Eckles Cherrett, would do under similar circumstances—remain even-tempered. Speak in a slow, calm voice.
“Bel, my dear, you can’t simply step onto a packet and sail across the ocean, land in an enemy country, and demand they free your husband. That is—” She dropped to her knees before Belinda’s chair and drew the younger woman’s hands away from the tangled knots they’d made of her shawl fringe, sending more reek of lavender oil into the air. “I’m devastated with the news of George’s capture.” The news had sent Phoebe racing from Leesburg to Williamsburg in a heartbeat. “And I can’t imagine how awful it must be for you. But this is outright war, and we’re losing on land.”
“But not at sea.” Belinda’s round chin jutted out at a pugnacious angle. “In the last year, George has taken six prizes just with his little sloop. His investors were ecstatic.”
And now he was the prize. Something too obvious for Phoebe to point out.
“We’re all very proud of him.” The twisting of the truth tasted a little sour on Phoebe’s tongue. “And you for bearing up so bravely while he’s gone. But, my dear girl, we can only pray and trust God to take care of George. We can’t take matters into our own hands.”
“Of course we can.” Belinda’s lips curved. She suddenly resembled Phoebe’s cat after a nice bowl of cream. “I’ve already made the arrangements. That’s why I asked you to come here.”
Phoebe’s stomach knotted like Belinda’s fringe. “What . . . sort of arrangements could you have possibly made to get to England in the middle of the war?”
“Privateers are crossing the Atlantic all the time,” Belinda said. “I’ve simply taken berths for us on one of them.”
Phoebe shook her head. “You are not thinking clearly, Bel. No American privateer captain would allow two women aboard for that kind of journey. No scrupulous captain, that is.”
“Who said anything about an American?” Belinda tossed her head of ebony curls. “An American ship couldn’t get close enough to land us in England.”
“Then how—?” Phoebe couldn’t finish the question. She feared the answer.
Belinda inclined her head as though Phoebe had spoken the right conclusion aloud. “We’re sailing on an English privateer.”