About the Book
Maidens & Monsters #1
by Marie Piper
Genre: Western Romance Suspense
Each Sunday for ten years, the young and prominent Maidens of Mapleton have met in the town schoolhouse and told each other all.
A town with a violent past, now-booming Mapleton dotes on its favorite daughters: Christine, a featured singer at the town's beautiful music hall, Mina, the daughter of the newspaper owner, Esme, a ward of the church and Lucy and Elizabeth, daughters of the widower Mayor-one ladylike, the other a hellion.
Slowly, the truth begins to cloud. The pieces of the past don't add up, bad dreams are haunting Esme, and familiar tales and faces fail to comfort. In this five novella series from Marie Piper, comprised of Old West adaptations of gothic/horror tales, the Maidens find their friendships tested, fall in (and out) of love, and are forced to unravel the mystery of that one terrible day. What really happened on the day of the Mapleton Massacre?
The first installment, CHRISTINE, features a music hall under new management, a mysterious patron, a dancing girl turned soloist, and murder to boot. It's a Western romance tribute to a story that has delighted for decades!
Available Here: Amazon
The servant answered.
“What is your name?” I demanded, somewhat rudely.
Nothing came from him. No reaction.
“Twice now I have been to this house and we have not been introduced.” I folded my arms over my chest. “I wish to know your name so I may address you in the correct way in future visits.”
He stood very still, and I wondered if he could even hear me. I was about to ask again when a voice from behind him broke in.
“Are you so sure there will be future visits?”
“You may have bitten off more than you can chew with me,” I said. “I’m incredibly demanding and bossy. I am a diva, after all.”
I heard a soft chuckle from the dim hall. “This is William. He has been with me for longer than I can remember and there is no one I trust more in this world.”
“William,” I said, my manners returning. “It is very nice to meet you.”
William did not speak, but he nodded in acknowledgment.
“May I come in?” I asked. “Or am I to stand on the steps like a beggar all day?”
“Come inside,” Eric said. “We’ll go to the piano room.”
Inside the house, it was still nearly as dark as night. This was my first visit in daylight, but from inside it was hard to tell. There were few windows, and I could only assume that the heavy draperies blocked the light from the windows there were. Eric led us directly into the piano room.
“Is everything alright? How is Meg?” he asked, obviously worried.
I held up a hand. “I do not wish to talk about Meg right now. I cannot feel that helplessness for another minute.”
“Very well,” he said. “What would you like to talk about?”
He scoffed. “A boring subject, I assure you.”
“I doubt that. For starters, did you design this house to be a tomb?”
“I designed it for comfort, as all homes should be designed.”
“And this is your idea of comfort?” I asked, incredulous.
“I like beautiful things.”
“And then you keep them in darkness so they can’t be seen.”
I saw his fists clench, the only outward sign of his annoyance. His tone remained level, admirable considering how hell bent I was on pushing his buttons.
I changed direction. “What happened to you?” I asked, directly.
“It is not a story you need to hear.”
“I beg to differ. I’ve no desire to run a love affair in the darkness, built on secrets.”
There was a long pause, as he seemed to drink in my words.
“Is this the start of a love affair?”
“What else could it be?” I asked. “The very idea of seeing you thrills me, and I know you feel the same. You pushed me away, and I ran from you, and now I’ve come running back to you because there’s nowhere else that makes sense to me. And I’ve never even seen your face, Eric.”
He did not deny it. “If you see me, you will leave.”
“Do you think women are so fickle?”
“My sweet Christine. It is not women I find fickle, but people as a whole.”
“Perhaps you’re right, but I will not be included with the rest of them. It is not the idea of your face being horrific that repulses me, but your very actions. You push me away when I want nothing more than to move closer to you.”
With an audible exclamation of annoyance, I turned on my heel and stepped to the curtains. They were beastly heavy, but I grabbed hold and, using all my strength, pulled one half of one set aside, letting bright light into the previously darkened room. Eric turned from the light. I did the same on the other side until the room was illuminated with the sunlight of a lovely summer day.
About the Author
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