Month of Love Guest Blog & Giveaway: Sometimes love needs a helping hand…. by Linn B Halton
*Giveaway Now Closed*
Everyone please welcome Linn B. Halton to Paperback Dolls! Linn’s debut novel, Touched by The Light, was released on February 1, 2011 (in US only) so make sure you check it out!
The Paperback Dolls’ ‘Month of Love’ theme has given me a chance to take a little detour in my search for inspiring ‘romantic gestures’.
However, this gesture just happens to come from a third party, a feisty and romantic young spirit named Mya! I have taken part of a chapter from ‘Touched by The Light’, my debut novel due out on 24 February 2011. I’ve added what I think Mya might have said at this point in the book, as she watches them from ‘the other side’. Her thoughts are added in italics.
Quick intro to the story so far:-
It begins with Mya feeling confused and disorientated, clearly in a lot of pain. She ‘follows the bright light’ and suddenly finds she is able to ‘connect minds’ with Laurel, a young woman born with psychic ability. Mya becomes convinced that her task is to prevent Laurel and her boyfriend Dan’s relationship from breaking up.
She sees something in both of them that tugs at her own heart. It makes her realize that what they are capable of sharing is something she herself had always hoped she would find. She describes Dan as sexily broody, very tall and lanky with a dark, Mick Jagger look. Laurel by comparison is a ‘wisp’, small with naturally blonde hair and big, pale blue eyes. The contrast of his almost jet-black hair and rangy bulk, against her feather-light, fragile-looking frame and quick intensity, is strangely harmonious. Mya admires the way Dan is so protective of Laurel and he emanates a warmth and charm that is almost magnetic. She finds herself wondering if a spirit can cry, as their emotions touch something buried deep inside of her …
So we pick this up at a point where Mya has, with considerable difficulty, managed to ‘steer’ things a little and the two meet up for a weekend trip, after being apart for several months. Both are nervous and unsure they still have a future together, but they want to give it one last shot. Dan is the storyteller in this chapter (this novel is told through the eyes of Mya and five of the other characters involved in the story, including Dan).
– why couldn’t it have been Grease?
Mya – My heart is pounding and my head is spinning – is it possible to feel faint in the afterlife I ask myself? I’m just so excited, they are finally going to be together and what could be more romantic than Breakfast at Tiffany’s? Dan was so nervous on the train on his way here and I longed to sit next to him – let him feel my presence, but it was too crowded. My energy was just one wave in a swirling sea of thoughts and emotions all around him.
Laurel loves the old classic films, in truth we both do, but I don’t go around admitting that. She usually cries, but that’s OK. As soon as she told me we were going to see the stage adaptation of Truman Capote’s classic novel Breakfast at Tiffany’s, my heart dropped into my boots. Silly, I know. What difference could any show make to the success of our first opportunity for reconciliation? I just wish it wasn’t a tearjerker.
We rendezvous at London Paddington station and literally run towards each other as soon as our eyes meet in the crowd. I lift her up and swing her around, oblivious to the stares of people around us. Here is my Laurel and she wants to spend this weekend with ME. This is it; this is the start of getting things back on track, man!
She’s wearing skinny jeans and a long, pale gray jumper dress thing over the top. She wears her hair short now and it looks real cute. Her face is just one big smile. As I grab her suitcase and we start walking towards the tube, she nestles against my arm. Any thoughts of a jinx are left far behind; nothing can spoil this.
Mya – I watch as they hug and instantly see a change in Dan’s aura. The usual silver denoting his strength and originality starts to shimmer and a thin red outer layer appears. Just the touch and smell of Laurel reminds him of the passion they have shared. Laurel is calmer; her light blue aura remains unchanged reflecting hope, her spiritual mind and inner peace finally in tune. Perhaps her doubts and fears are now behind her for good. I ‘feel’ the warmth of their hug and suddenly my mind tingles with the excitement ahead.
The hotel is one of the smartest in Knightsbridge. We’re given a suite and there’s a bedroom with two single beds (how ironic is that?) and a separate sitting room. The bathroom is huge, with a tub and a double walk-in shower cubicle.
The minute the porter leaves and shuts the door, I find myself just standing here, looking at her. I can’t believe we’re together again, even if it’s only for a short while.
‘You’re looking so good,’ she says and she kisses my cheek, softly. ‘The vitamins worked then!’
‘Yeah, I’m fine now. You look delicious as ever,’ and she laughs. I always used to say that and she had a standard retort, but she doesn’t use it today.
‘Thanks for saying ‘yes’ to this weekend. It was a bit out of the blue and I didn’t know if you’d feel awkward about it.’ She’s a bit uncomfortable.
‘Hey, it’s you and me. What’s to feel uncomfortable about Babe? We’ll just take it a step at a time and have some fun.’ I’ve obviously said the right thing, because she comes over and puts her arms around me.
‘I’ve missed you hunky,’ she says and her voice wavers.
I’ve decided that I can’t walk on eggshells all weekend and worry about every little thing I’m going to say. I’m just going to say what comes naturally and hope, really hope that I get it right.
‘Hey girl, I missed you too. Getting together like this means so much, it’s great of your parents, say thanks to them from me.’
‘I think they’ve missed you too,’ she says and I’m starting to feel choked.
By the time we unpack our things and sit and have a coffee, we’re feeling much more relaxed. We sit out on the balcony and although there’s a fair bit of noise from the traffic below, it’s exciting. We’re both buzzing, but trying to remain calm and keep our emotions in check. Getting ready for the show is awkward. Laurel uses the bathroom first whilst I kill time fiddling with the remote on the TV. When she finishes, I have a shower and by seven o’clock we’re ready to be picked up and taken to the theater.
I have to say, she looks totally gorgeous when she eventually comes out of the bedroom. She loves dressing up for special occasions, it’s the only time she ever wears a dress and this one is really sexy. Black with bare shoulders and slit to the thigh. She holds out a little white jacket and I help her into it. She’s wearing her favourite perfume, the one I buy her every Christmas and it brings a lump to my throat. What’s wrong with me?
Mya – I want to reach out and let them know I’m here, tell them that they can make this work if they just grab this chance and let down their guard, talk to each other. Love is too precious to let it slip through your fingers because you’re scared to open up, or worse, you don’t think you are worthy. The air around me feels heavy and I know I need to draw back a little. If I suddenly lose contact I have no idea when I will be back. I feel what has now become a very familiar flash of pain and frustration; having no control over my new existence is hard to accept. Perhaps it’s why all of this is happening to me, but it’s a tough lesson to learn when you spent your earthly life being a control freak!
Cut to later that evening:-
We end up talking about the past, bringing up stories that make us laugh until our stomachs ache. I’m not sure we impressed the waiters and I’m not sure how much of it was down to the champagne and the wine. Heading back to our room, we’re just a little bit tipsy and it isn’t until we’re inside that we both realise there’s a decision to be made here. Laurel leans back against the door and looks at me, raising her eyebrows as if to say ‘what now?’ I want to kiss her, but I don’t know if that’s what she’s expecting.
‘Look Babe, it’s been a while. I’d love to jump into bed with you just like nothing’s happened, but we’d be kidding ourselves. I was so made up about spending time with you, I haven’t thought this all the way through. Guess you’re not surprised, that sort of sums me up, doesn’t it?’ She’s looking at me with those mesmerizing, pale blue eyes of hers and, as usual, I have absolutely no idea what she’s thinking.
‘I hoped it would all fall into place and we’d just know what we wanted to do,’ she says and I can hear the disappointment in her voice.
‘So, I guess I’ve blown it then: if we have to talk about it, then perhaps now isn’t the right time?’
‘Guess so,’ she says and I can’t tell if she’s disappointed or relieved. Heck, for that matter, am I disappointed or relieved? The answer is that I’m too nervous to say for sure. For some reason though, I decide to kiss her anyway and she just melts against me, there’s no resistance. Oh, this is going to be so difficult!
‘C’mon,’ I say, ‘we’ll push the beds together and snuggle up. It’s good we don’t want to make any mistakes – there’s too much to lose, but I need to be close to you tonight.’ Her answer is so soft and quiet; I have to lean in real close.
‘Me too, Dan, me too!’
Mya – I have no idea if the tears I’m shedding have any physical manifestation, but I can feel them deep inside of me. Like little trickles of coldness. Watching the awkwardness between them is strange; their passion was so deep and now they are starting afresh, one step at a time. I want this to work; I need it to work because this sensation of totally selfless, absorbing love is reaching out to me and I feel I am a real part of it. Is this my destiny? Not to have my own wondrous affair of the heart, but to bring together two people who might otherwise have lost their way and their chance to grow as kindred souls? So I will regret nothing at all, if all my efforts are validated and judging by their first kiss I think my little plan is coming together quite nicely!
Mya doesn’t realize that the afterlife, as well as life itself, is not straightforward. The story continues to become more complicated than Mya, Dan or Laurel could possibly imagine. Life can be challenging at times, but Mya learns that the afterlife can present very real challenges of its own!
Today Linn is offering up ONE signed copy of her debut novel, TOUCHED BY THE LIGHT, to ONE lucky commenter. All you have to do is answer this question: What is your dream romantic gesture that you’d love the special person in your life to make for you?
Life, death – then what happens next? ………
“I so wish I had read up on the subject of the afterlife. Is this the way it’s supposed to be, or am I doing something wrong? Whatever happened to angels and clouds? I ask myself. Wasn’t I supposed to have a helper to greet me and show me the ropes?”
Mya remembers comforting light and the pain quickly being replaced by a state of calm and tranquillity. But what now? Mya wants to talk to people, find out how her friends and family are, but there’s no one around to help – until she suddenly finds herself chatting to Laurel.
Laurel has what she sees as the dubious gift of being able to communicate with spirits, and when Mya bowls in, desperate for some answers, Laurel’s life is turned upside down. Her relationship with boyfriend Dan is already in a fragile state and now there’s a bewildered, feisty young spirit getting in the way. As Mya flits around Laurel and Dan’s lives, unable to control how and when she appears, unexpected psychic connections are made.
This contest is international.
More ways to win:
+1 for each place you post about today’s contest on your blog, social network, or anywhere you can. Digg it, stumble it, twit it, share it with the world. Wherever you share it, make sure you add a link to it along with your comment.
Giveaway ends March 7th and the winner will be chosen by random.org on March 8th. We ask the winners to post a review of the novel someplace. Whether it is on their own blog, Amazon, GoodReads, LibraryThing or wherever, it doesn’t matter. Just help get the word out. Also, we will try to contact the winners, but we ask that you check back to see if you’ve won.
‘Touched by The Light’ is available from 24 February 2011 from Book Guild Publishing, Brighton, United Kingdom; also from online retailers and bookshops.
Extract from opening chapters available at:- http://linnbhalton.co.uk