This time of year has always been my favorite, so it is no wonder that I set a story during the Halloween season, especially since that story is called The Passion of Sleepy Hollow.
The hero, Braden Van Brunt, is the headless horseman, or rather plays that part for the annual Washington Irving Festival in October in present day Sleepy Hollow New York. However, the heroine is Katrina Van Tassel, the 1790’s innkeeper of the Sleepy Hollow Inn. One of the external issues for this couple is that the 18th century village of Sleepy Hollow where the festival takes place, only appears one weekend a year.
Of course once Braeden has met Katrina, he wants to spend more time with her, but the village disappears. So he does what any self-respecting hero would do who wants to find his heroine, he investigates her but nothing works, including private detectives. His only option is to return to the festival a year later, but that makes it difficult to build a relationship.
Lucky for them, having mutually satisfying sex keeps the village in present day for another day. Talk about pressure! It works fine for this new couple, at least until they get into a fight. Then it becomes a matter of whether they will ever see each other again or not (see excerpt)
The is story’s plot gave me an idea. I have started the annual Venetian Mask Giveaway. Every year around this time, I give away hand-decorated masks made in Italy like this one. For a chance to win this beautiful mask, be sure to enter the rafflcopter below. Good luck!
Passion of Sleepy Hollow
Recluse Braeden Van Brunt is not happy to be the Headless Horseman…until he meets Katrina Van Tassel, owner of the Sleepy Hollow Inn, whose allure bewitches him from the front desk into the bedroom. When he discovers Kat and the village of Sleepy Hollow are cursed to exist in the present day for only one weekend a year, he realizes the sacrifice he must make if he wants to keep her.
Katrina Van Tassel lives between slivers of time. She thought she was through grieving her betrothed’s death, but her dreams flare to life when his mirror image arrives, requesting a room. Drawn to Braeden, she is taken to more erotic heights of intimacy than she ever imagined, but she can’t be sure if her heart is with him or the love from her past.
Knowing he has to conquer both time and ghosts to keep the only woman he’s ever loved, Braeden must put the past to rest. But the dead may not rest in Sleepy Hollow.
Excerpt from Passion of Sleepy Hollow
He didn’t look at her, but kept them moving. “I had an enlightening conversation with Jurgen.”
“Jurgen? What did he say?”
“He said you were planning to marry Brom. He said Brom disappeared the very day of your wedding. He said you’re with me because you’re still in love with Brom and think I’m him.”
Her gasp gave him a small amount of satisfaction, but then she tried to pull away. “Braeden, I think I can tell the difference between my dead betrothed and you.”
He stopped and looked at her. “Can you? Then why didn’t you tell me you were engaged to Brom?”
He started to pull her toward the inn again before she could form a word. He had one goal in mind to confirm everything.
“I didn’t tell you because I didn’t want you to think what you’re thinking, especially when I hadn’t decided what my feelings were yet.”
They were at the back door of the inn, and he let her go. “And what exactly are your feelings, Katrina Van Tassel, fiancée of Brom Van Brunt?”
Kat put her hands on her hips, her eyes flashing. “And what are your feelings, Braden? I have yet to hear how you feel about me.”
“How I feel about you right now is that you betrayed me. You led me on. Let me think you enjoyed my company when all the while you were pretending I was your ex-lover!” He yanked open the door and stomped inside, making a beeline for her bedroom.
He ignored her and entered her room. Reaching her armoire in three strides, he threw both doors open, hard. One cracked.
“Braeden, what are you doing?”
The scent of brownies flooded his senses and he paused for a moment. Her scent. The woman he had thought he—the woman who couldn’t see beyond a ghost. With anger spurring him on, he pulled clothes out and threw them to the floor.
“Braeden!” Kat grabbed at his arm and he shook her off, but even in his anger he was careful not to hurt her. With her it was instinct.
He growled, “Don’t touch me.” He continued to pull material and clothes, cloaks, shawls, even blankets out of the armoire.
There it was. White material with delicate embroidery along the neckline and shoulders that declared it a wedding dress. He pulled it from its home and held it before her.
Her eyes grew round.
“Were you hoping to wear this again?” His fingers dug into the material. “Perhaps you wanted to wear it for me so we could recreate your long-lost love story?”
Kat stepped back and shook her head. “No. I kept it as a memory, nothing more. It was all I had left of the happiest time of my life…until I met you.”
He stepped toward her. “You mean until you met the man who could be Brom for you. I thought you were different. I thought you liked me for me.” He gave a hopeless chuckle. “You were different. You liked me for the ghost I could be.”
Emotions played across her face like a movie, so when her brows furrowed and her hands found her hips again, he had fair warning.
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