Excerpt from Devyn’s Dilemma by Susan G. Mathis
Today I’m happy to welcome author Susan G. Mathis as she shares an excerpt from her novel, Devyn’s Dilemma.
Devyn’s Dilemma, book two of The Thousand Islands Gilded Age series, just came out April 3, 2020. It’s a story set in 1910, in the mysterious Towers Castle on Dark Island in the Thousand Islands, New York.
While others may consider The Towers castle on Dark Island an enchanting summer retreat, to Devyn McKenna, it’s a prison. Yet as she works as a maid for Frederick Bourne, former president of the Singer Sewing Machine Company, her life blossoms under the kindness of his family and fascinating entrepreneurs such as J.P. Morgan, Thomas Lipton, and Captain Vanderbilt. But more than anything, the growing friendship of Mr. Bourne’s valet, Brice McBride, begins to pry away the painful layers that conceal Devyn’s heart.
Brice is drawn to the mysterious Devyn even though he’s certain she’s hiding a secret, one far more dangerous than the clues they find in The Towers that hint of a treasure on the island. When Devyn is accused of stealing Bourne’s investment in Vanderbilt’s New York City subway expansion, he might not be able to protect her.
Here’s an excerpt to whet your interest:
Devyn took one step into the entryway and stopped dead in her tracks. “And he deceived me about this being a hunting lodge. I had no idea it was so grand.”
Brice laughed, his voice deep and comforting. “Aye, and I am to give you a tour. I was with the Bournes when they first viewed this place, and they reacted the same way as you. Mrs. Bourne was entirely overcome, though their primary home on Long Island, called Indian Neck Hall, is far grander.” He allowed Devyn to take in the large stone fireplace, massive granite pillars, carved stone arches, and vaulted ceiling before continuing. “This is the Great Hall where we receive our guests. And look at these infinity mirrors.” He led her to the center of the room and pointed to the mirror over the fireplace.
“Oh my! It seems to go on forever.” She snapped her head around to see a duplicate mirror on the opposite side of the room that created the illusion. “Amazing.”
He grinned and motioned her on to what looked like a hall closet. “And over here is the wine vault. It holds an excellent collection.”
“And suits of armor?” Devyn quirked a brow as she glanced at the armor standing at attention and then turned back at her tour guide.
“Aye, this room makes quite an impression for first-time guests, don’t you think? The Bournes love to delight everyone who visits them.” Brice set down Devyn’s carpetbag and continued his tour of the lower level. He led her past the kitchen, gesturing toward it. “You’ll see the kitchen soon enough. Everyone is reelin’ just now preparing for a dinner party tonight, so we won’t disturb them. But you’ll be pleased to know it’s a fully equipped, modern kitchen with indoor plumbing, a gigantic range, a dumbwaiter, and a servant call box.”
She liked his slight brogue that spoke of his Irishness. He rubbed his clean-shaven chin, apparently debating with himself where to take her next. He was a head taller than her, his short hair neatly parted down the middle. His strong features made him appear rather aristocratic. But those eyes …
“This is the east wing where some of the servants reside, and the laundry is there too. You’ll explore that another time.” Brice touched her arm to turn her around, sending a shiver through her. He motioned her down the hall. “Are you cold? The castle can be chilly at times.”
“I’m fine, thank you.” She scurried past the kitchen and back into the Great Hall, where she hoped to catch her breath. His presence, his voice caused her heart to race.
Brice caught up with her. “Another fascinating detail about The Towers is that you’ll find several secret passageways throughout the castle.”
“I’m sorry, I just can’t get over my shock. Falan told me none of this.” Devyn rested her hand on her chest.
“Aye, well, let’s finish touring the ground level, shall we?” Brice didn’t wait for her to answer but led her once again back through the Great Hall to the other side of the fireplace. “Here’s the library and billiard room, and over there …” He pointed to the left of a huge granite fireplace. “There’s a hidden switch in the bookcase panel that opens a secret passageway so we servants can move from room to room without disturbing anyone.”
Devyn grinned so wide that her lips felt dry and taut. She loved secrets and hidden places—and books. She loved to read and discover faraway places and marvelous stories. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad here, after all.
ABOUT SUSAN G. MATHIS
Susan G Mathis is an award-winning, multi-published author of stories set in the beautiful Thousand Islands, her childhood stomping ground in upstate NY. Her first two books of The Thousand Islands Gilded Age series, Devyn’s Dilemma and Katelyn’s Choice are available now, and she’s working on book three. The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, Christmas Charity, and Sara’s Surprise are also available. Visit www.SusanGMathis.com for more.
Susan is also a published author of two premarital books with her husband, Dale, two children’s picture books, stories in a dozen compilations, and hundreds of published articles. Susan makes her home in Colorado Springs, enjoys traveling globally with her wonderful husband, Dale, and relishes each time she gets to see or Skype with her four granddaughters.
Lighthouse Publishing: https://shoplpc.com/devyns-dilemma