It was 1995 or so, and I had made my home on the west coast of Florida with my husband and three kids. We’d been living there for about ten years, and the cost of living along with the cost of raising three kids was pinching a bit . . . plus, property values were up. Some very good friends of ours had recently sold their Florida farm for fat cash and moved up into Alabama, near Birmingham. They bragged about the low cost of living, property, et al. We drove up to visit and toyed with the idea of relocating there as well.
Yes, property was cheap. We went around with a real estate agent who showed us vacant land for hundreds of dollars an acre instead of thousands. He also said he had a very nice, antebellum home that was in some need of repair . . . it had been empty a long time. It was within our price range. We visited the home.
Wow. The tour of that day, apparently, branded my memory. I’d never been inside a plantation-style home, and this was laid out like a mini-Tara. Much smaller, but complete with soaring ceiling heights, a curved stairway, and upper and lower front porch galleries. It was, yes, in need of some TLC. Some updating. Maybe more than a little.
As I walked through that house I had the feeling I was being watched. Like we weren’t alone. The hair at the base of my neck prickled and gooseflesh puckered my skin, even though it was a very hot, summer day. I kept getting the unsettling feeling that there was something—or someone—just beyond my line of vision. But when I turned, there was no one there.
We didn’t move to Alabama. Jobs were hard to come by, and no matter how cheap the land was, anything we could afford—including the antebellum home—was in the middle of nowhere. We remained in Florida for nearly another decade.
Fast forward to 2017. I had long ago forgotten the tour of the antebellum home in Alabama. We had eventually moved—three times, from Florida to Texas to North Carolina, and ultimately landed in Massachusetts. But from somewhere in the depths of my memory, the Alabama memory resurfaced one night in a dream. Complete with the ghost of a Confederate soldier pounding on the front door.
Civil Hearts was born.
He’s a sexy Southern gentleman—with epilepsy. She’s a widow scarred from her late husband’s brain cancer. Her new home, an abandoned antebellum mansion, is haunted by a Confederate soldier—and she’s a Yankee.
A widow with no family, web designer Liv Larson yearns for big change. After all, she can work from anywhere, right? Why not throw a dart at the map? She heads out of the big city for the rural South and falls in love as soon as she arrives—with the Belle Bride, an abandoned antebellum mansion.
Heath Barrow loves his country life, managing his antiques store in sleepy Camellia. But he’s lonely, and his condition—epilepsy—makes life uncertain. It’s already cost him a marriage. A new medication and the new girl in town have his heart hopeful again.
Sparks fly between Heath and Liv. But his first seizure sends Liv into a tailspin. Its mimics those her husband suffered before he died . . .
To make matters worse, Liv discovers she’s not living alone. Her challenge? Dealing with a Confederate soldier, one who clearly resents his Yankee roommate—even though he’s been dead for over a hundred and fifty years.
About the Author
Strong Women, Starting Over
Claire is a multi-published, award winning author of five titles in the genres of contemporary romance, supernatural suspense, and women’s fiction. She also writes Author Resource guide books, and presents seminars on writing craft and marketing.
Her supernatural suspense, Hearts Unloched, won the 2016 New York Book Festival, and was a finalist in the 2017 RONE Awards. Also in 2017, her women’s fiction, The Phoenix Syndrome, was a finalist in the National Reader’s Choice Awards, and her contemporary romance, A Taming Season, was a Literary Award of Merit finalist in the HOLT Medallion Awards. Her latest release, Spirits of the Heart, was a finalist in the 2017 “I Heart Indie Awards.”
Creating cross-genre fiction she calls “supernatural suspense,” Claire loves exploring the paranormal and the unexplained, and holds a certificate in Parapsychology from the Rhine Research Center of Duke University.
A New York native, Claire has lived in five of the United States and held a variety of jobs, from waitress to bridal designer to research technician—but loves being an author best. She and her happily-ever-after hero, her husband of 39 years, now live in central Massachusetts.