Monday, January 10, 2022

Daughter of the Sea by Elisabeth J. Hobbes - Book Tour + Giveaway

Daughter of the Sea

On a windswept British coastline the tide deposits an unexpected gift…

It was the cry that she first noticed, the plaintive wail that called to her over the crash of winter waves. Wrapped only in a sealskin, the baby girl looks up at Effie and instantly captures her heart. She meant only to temporarily foster the young orphan but when news reaches Effie that her husband has been lost at sea, and months pass without anyone claiming the infant, she embraces her new family – her son Jack and her adopted daughter Morna.
Effie has always been an outcast in her village, the only granddaughter of a woman people whisper is a witch, so she’s used to a solitary existence. But when Midsummer arrives so too does a man claiming to be Morna’s father. There’s no denying Lachlan is the girl’s kin and so Effie is surprised when he asks her to continue looking after his daughter, mysteriously refusing to explain why. She agrees, but when he returns six months hence she pushes him for answers. And Lachlan tells a story she never anticipated … one of selkies, legend, and the power of the sea…

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Lachlan, the enigmatic father of Effie’s foster daughter, visits twice a year. On Midsummer’s Day he invites Effie for a walk on the beach and they kiss.

“Forgive me. I shouldna’ have done that. The moment and the moonlight.”. He shook his head. “I have no justification.”

“You don’t need one,” Effie said. She let out a long breath. Her lips were still throbbing from his kiss and she found forming words strange, as if her lips demanded to return to their previous activity. “As you say, a beautiful evening like this can make people behave oddly.”

Lachlan tilted his head a little to the right and held her gaze, unblinking. His dark eyes grew blacker as his pupils widened, almost obliterating the green surrounding them.

“Even so, it was wrong of me. I should have been stronger willed.”

He held himself responsible, not her.

She dropped her eyes, feeling as shy as she had on the night she had first met John. Her heart was thumping and her skin felt prickly, as though she had run through nettles.

“And I should have protested. But I didn’t. It was only a kiss after all.”

He stared at her solemnly with the large, serene eyes that drew her in, pupils large and black, rimmed with irises as green as the rock pools beyond the brig. He reached out and ran his thumb over her cheek, brushing against the corner of her lips with the cool digit. Oh, to be touched again in that place his lips had so recently been! He was right to go now. If he stayed, Effie wasn’t sure what might happen.

Or she knew only too well exactly what would occur.

Her cheeks grew hot with shame but her blood raced at the idea of being touched even more intimately. She stepped back from Lachlan hastily and glanced up again to find him staring at her with an intensity that took her breath away. She wanted to kiss him again, more fully and for longer. She wanted to do so much more but sensed his resistance. At the moment they were friends; if she pushed him, that could change, but something in his face was warning her there was more to his reluctance than she understood.

“Why does it matter so much?” she asked. “Why was it so wrong?”

He fixed his eyes resolutely on the sea.

“We should go back to the house,” Effie muttered. “We’ve left the children for too long.”

She clambered down the other side of the rock unaided, cheeks flaming with shame and desire that welled up inside her from a seemingly unending pool of lava.

Lachlan stood staring at her for a minute before leaping gracefully down and landing beside Effie in a crouch. He stood and faced her. Effie felt a blush rise to her cheeks. He talked of strength, and she knew he had been referring to moral strength but she couldn’t ignore the energy he exuded. She pulled her shawl tightly over her shoulders. It was black, like all her clothing – a widow’s dress. Perhaps that was the cause of his reluctance. It wasn’t immoral to have kissed Lachlan. John was gone and, while she mourned him, she knew deep inside her that the place he held in her heart was only a small part of a greater emptiness that cried out to be filled.

I'll go now,” Lachlan said. “Farewell, Effie Cropton.”

“You're leaving just like that?” Effie exclaimed. After the kiss she felt flustered and more than a little cheated that he was not going to repeat the experience. “Without saying farewell to Morna?”

“Morna is sleeping. If I returned to your house it would not be for her benefit.

Are you still happy to keep Morna in your care? Do we still have our compact, Effie Cropton.”

“Of course. I love her as if she were my own. I’ll care for her as long as she – or you – need me to.”

He dipped his hand into his pocket and produced another pearl. It seemed to glow from within in the fading sunlight as he held it between his shapely fingers.

“Where do you get these?” she asked.

Lachlan smiled and pressed the pearl into Effie’s palm. “I hunt for them.”

She rolled it round with her fingers. It was slightly larger than the one she already had nestled in her drawer. It felt like a drop of ice. Lachlan turned to face the sea once more. Silhouetted against the sunset, his profile was smooth and sharp, reminding Effie of a figurehead from an old ship. She could imagine him dressed in his fur, standing on the prow of a ship as it ploughed through the Baltic waters. Not a modern steamer but a low, open vessel powered by oars. A seal trapper and oyster fisher. It seemed romantically old fashioned.

He turned back to Effie.

“What passed between us tonight… I hope it won’t cause a breach between us.”

The kiss may have meant nothing to him, or as much as it had to Effie, but something in his manner was building a wall between them and she couldn’t let it rise any higher.

“You’re full of secrets,” she said irritably. “I don’t want a breach between us either, but you are keeping things from me and I don’t like it.”

His expression was solemn, sad even. “Go and see to the children. We will meet again when half a year has passed.”

He shrugged the sealskin over his shoulders and walked away. Effie stared after him with a mixture of fury and confusion. He was heading towards the beach, not the town, retracing their steps. There was no other village for miles. Had he left a boat moored somewhere?. They had walked quite a way and if he had a rowing boat in Boggle Cove she hadn’t noticed it. He was full of mysteries and Effie wanted to unravel them more than she had wanted anything for a long time. Barely stopping to think, she ran after him, reaching out a hand to grasp the pelt that swung down his back in order to stop him leaving.

“Half a year is too long without answers!”

He stopped and spun around, his eyes dropping to the pelt in Effie’s hand. She let go.

“I want to know everything,” she said. She held the pearl out. “If you want me to keep your daughter, tell me the truth.”

“Are you sure you want it?” Lachlan asked.

“So there is something you aren’t telling me,” Effie said.

“Aye. And if I tell you, things will change between us. Maybe between you and Morna. Are you sure you want that?”

She hesitated. Nothing Lachlan could say about Morna would change Effie’s love. It was a mother’s love; unwavering and endless.


She closed her fist over the pearl. Lachlan’s eyes followed.

“Tomorrow morning I’ll come to you and you’ll hear it. Farewell for tonight, Effie Cropton.”

He walked away, and this time Effie let him go, watching until he was out of sight.

Author Bio – Elisabeth’s writing career began when she finished in third place in Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write contest in 2013.  She was offered a two-book contract and consequently had to admit secret writing was why the house was such a tip.  She is the author of numerous historical romances with Harlequin Mills & Boon covering the Medieval period to Victorian England, and a Second World War romantic historical with One More Chapter. She lives in Cheshire because the car broke down there in 1999 and she never left.


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Giveaway – Win a signed copy of Daughter of the Sea (UK Only)

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