Shannon here: Historical romance author, Tiffany Amber Stockton shares how she met her husband at a writers’ conference plus her hero and heroine’s first meeting. Answer the question at the end of the post or comment on any post date March 4 – 8 to get your name in the drawing for a copy of Antique Dreams – Book 3 in the Brandywine Brides series. Deadline: March 16th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Tiffany:
Once upon a time a red-haired princess sat alone in her tower gazing out at a distant land. Though she was fair of face and form no prince had come to free her from her isolation. She dreamed of the time when she could escape the tower and live free. Her only relief came through the benevolence of a queen far away who let her attend a gathering of scribes once each year.
‘Twas at the third one of these gatherings that she beheld a strange sight. A great blue-eyed dragon stood before the assembled scribes and spoke in a tongue most strange. Yet something about the dragon captivated the fair lady. Perhaps it was the longing she caught in his face or the quiet manner in which he held his audience of scribes captive. Thus, when once more in her lonely tower, she sought out the dragon through enchanted letters.
Now far away in his lair the great blue eyed dragon found these magical missives quite to his liking. For though he had been enchanted by other fair maidens who had fleed at his presence, and heard many frightful tales of princesses, he found this one to be far from threatening. And so it was that at the fourth gathering of scribes, the sweet maiden and scaly beast formed an unlikely friendship, sharing in jokes and meals together, and piquing the interest of the scheming madams of the land.
Something stirred in the hearts of the princess and the dragon even then. Though the dragon feared some sorcery might be afoot, he found the princess to be quite different from the ones he’d previously encountered.
The princess locked in her tower, sought to break the spells binding he heart through this connection with the dragon. Their messages continued to flow, and their friendship blossomed.
In the year of the fifth gathering of scribes, in the land of the lone star, the Unseen Hand who had been weaving the threads of these lives together quickened the loom. Though the blue-eyed dragon was loath to admit it, the red-haired princess had stolen his heart.
For three long months, the dragon fought against the tug of his love. During this time, the princess fought her own battles. For despite the counsel of several scribes in the far off land, the bond between her and the dragon could not be broken. And so, she continued.
At last, wearied from his struggle, the dragon succumbed to the sweet bliss of the maiden’s charms and flew to her tower. There, with a single kiss, the great dragon was transformed into a handsome blue-eyed prince with the gleam of the dragon still in his eyes. He swept her from her tower and carried her among the stars. From that glimmering sea, he plucked the brightest spark and pledged his undying love.
And thus, let it be proclaimed throughout the kingdom, from scribe to scribe. The fair princess, Tiffany Amber Miller, has given her consent to marry the noble prince, Stuart Vaughn Stockton, on the 28th day of the 7th month of the 2007th year. Festivities and celebrations are planned throughout the kingdom, for this will be the first marriage of two members of the esteemed scribes.
Excerpt of hero & heroine’s meeting from Antique Dreams:
A door opened down the hall, and out stepped a young lady, garbed completely in black. With her head bowed, she walked in his direction but showed no signs of seeing him. Should he alert her to his presence or allow her to continue uninterrupted? Aaron couldn’t see her clearly, but her veil had been pushed back from her face, revealing carefully styled blond hair, pinned with a decorative comb. Her demeanor and clothing confirmed what he’d wondered from the moment he’d arrived in Wilmington. They had been notified of Conrad’s passing.
Was this the sister he was supposed to find? Or perhaps another family member? She placed a hand on the knob at the bottom of the banister. A loud smack echoed in the foyer, and the lady immediately stopped. Aaron looked down at the book that had slipped from under his arm then back up at the lady. The resemblance to Conrad was uncanny. No doubt about it. This had to be his sister.
“Do forgive me, miss.” He withdrew his hand from his pocket and bent to retrieve the book then straightened again “I did not mean to startle you.”
“Oh! You’re British,” the young lady said without preamble.
Aaron gave her a rueful grin. “Guilty.”
“Are you here to see my father?”
“I believe so, yes.” He quirked an eyebrow. “But that all depends on your identity.”
Despite the somber dress and her obvious state of mourning, a light pink colored her cheeks.
“Oh, I’m sorry.” She raised her right hand to her cheek, then clasped her hands in front of her. “My name is Lillian Bradenton. Andrew Bradenton is my father.”
Under normal circumstances, a cordial smile might grace her lips, but not today. Sadness made her brown eyes dark, and a slight frown pushed her mouth into a straight line. Aaron wanted to approach for a formal introduction, but he didn’t want to make her uncomfortable.
“Miss Bradenton, my name is Aaron Stone. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance.” He nodded. “And yes, I am here to speak with your father.”
“I am sure he will be here shortly.”
“Actually, I am already here,” a man spoke from behind Miss Bradenton.
She turned, and Aaron swayed to the left to peer past her shoulders.
“Mr. Stone, I presume?” Mr. Bradenton approached, aided by a polished beech-wood cane with a brass handle. His slicked back, silver-lined hair and tailored black suit befitted the owner of such a manor. He paused to touch his daughter’s cheek before standing directly in front of Aaron and extending his hand.
Aaron accepted it. “Yes, sir. Aaron Stone, sir.” He released the man’s hand and put his own in his pocket, holding the book close. “I sent a message ahead to alert you to my coming arrival.”
Mr. Bradenton nodded. “Yes. I received it.” He turned to his daughter. “Lillian. Would you please fetch your mother, then join us in the parlor?”
“Yes, Father.” Miss Bradenton nodded at Aaron before again resuming her path toward the stairs.
This time, she ascended them with grace and dignity, her head held high, and the smooth slope of her shoulders erect. The lone lock of blond hair curled into a tight ringlet had fallen across her back and now bounced with each step she took on her way to the second floor.
Mr. Bradenton cleared his throat, and Aaron shifted his eyes back to the man in front of him, who regarded him with a slightly amused expression.
“You wouldn’t be the first gentleman to be taken by my daughter’s quiet charm, Mr. Stone. I’m only sorry this meeting isn’t under better circumstances.”
“As am I,” Aaron replied.
About Tiffany: Tiffany Amber Stockton has been crafting and embellishing stories since childhood. Today, she is an award-winning author, speaker, and virtual assistant, who lives with her husband and fellow author, Stuart Vaughn Stockton, in Colorado. They have one girl and one boy, and an Aussie/retriever mix named Roxie. She has sold fourteen books so far and is represented by Sandra Bishop of MacGregor Literary. Read more: http://www.amberstockton.com/, www.facebook.com/AuthorAmberStockton, www.twitter.com/AmberStockton
About the book – Antique Dreams, book 3 in Brandywine Brides: Lillian’s brother has one last request. On a cold April night as the Titanic sinks to the ocean floor, Conrad Bradenton asks his new business partner, Aaron Stone, to fulfill a final wish: that Aaron return a well-worn book to his family and take care of his sister. Aaron seeks out Conrad’s family, never imagining the depth of his commitment until he meets lovely Lillian Bradenton. Hit hard by the despair in her eyes, Aaron encourages Lillian to restore her hope by bringing a boarded-up bookstore back to life. Lillian is uncertain whether she can trust this stranger, the last link to her beloved brother. But she has faith in her brother’s ability to read people. If Conrad saw something in Aaron, maybe she will in time. Then Aaron is summoned to London, and Lillian wonders if it is too late to turn hesitant friendship into undying love.
A note from Tiffany: You must leave a comment on either one of the two stories provided in these posts, or answer this question, in order to be entered for a chance to win an autographed copy of Antique Dreams. Here’s the question: Have you ever lost someone very special to you? How did you heal and recover? What is one special memory you have of that person?
Come back March 6th for the most romantic thing Tiff’s spouse has ever done!