|Publisher:||Lyrical Press, Incorporated|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.51(d)|
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The Lady Who Lived Again
A Sole Survivor Novel
By Thomasine Rappold
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2015 Thomasine Rappold
All rights reserved.
Misty Lake, New York, 1882
Everyone wished she had died with the others. Maddie Sutter had accepted this truth long ago. But much to the small town's dismay, she insisted on living and breathing despite it.
Straightening her shoulders, she lifted her chin against the barrage of eyes watching her every move as she forged down Main Street. After three years of suffering this unwelcome attention each time she ventured to town, one would think she'd have grown used to the assault.
Maddie had resigned herself to many things since the accident, but she'd never adapt to the dread her presence induced in those she had known all her life — those who had once loved and cared for her.
With a fortifying breath, she approached a cluster of young boys on the corner. The same wretched imps had greeted her earlier when they'd spied her arrival in downtown Misty Lake. She braced herself for a repeat performance of the cruel rhyme they'd composed in her honor.
"Four dead girls on the slab, on the twelfth day of May. On Friday the thirteenth, one girl walked away."
Refusing to alter her course, Maddie strode straight toward them. Her lungs swelled with triumph as the alarmed little brats scattered like mice. With another fractional lift of her chin, she swept onward and rounded the corner.
She entered the general mercantile, the jingling bell on the door her only greeting as she stepped inside. Along with a handful of patrons, the store housed a hodgepodge of scents. Aromas of charcoal and beeswax mingled with the sweet smell of cinnamon and apples. Renewed by the boon to her senses, she enjoyed the whiff of fond memories that came with it. She shopped quickly, spurred on by the hushed whispers echoing through the aisles as she browsed the shelves.
Gathering a bag of sugar, a tin of baking powder, and the other items on her list, she headed to the front of the store, then placed them on the polished counter.
"Good morning, Mr. Piedmont," she said with a smile.
He wiped his hands on his bibbed apron and took a step forward.
With a curt nod, he lowered his somber eyes to the items on the counter and began to tally her purchases.
Maddie's smile faded, her mind drifting back to the days when Mr. Piedmont's face would light up to see her and her friends bounding into the mercantile. The Fair Five, as they were known back then, had charmed everyone. The girls had hardly put away their pinafores when they first learned to use their collective wit and beauty to full advantage. The Five always left Mr. Piedmont's store lapping at complimentary peppermint sticks, pressed upon them by the kindly merchant with a playful wink.
Maddie took a deep breath, forcing away thoughts of the past and the accident that had snatched her friends from this world. At twenty-four-years old, Maddie was a living reminder and the sole survivor of the worst tragedy in Misty Lake's history. People could barely stand to look at her. And Maddie couldn't blame them. She could barely stand to look at herself.
Mr. Piedmont worked swiftly, the sound of crumpling paper filling the awkward silence as he wrapped her purchases and bound the tidy parcel with string. By rote, his freckled hand reached to the nearby jar of candy. Placing a single peppermint stick on top of the bundle, he slid it toward her, then turned to face the shelves lining the wall behind him.
Tears blurred Maddie's vision as she stared down at the red-striped treat, the simple reminder of who she once was — who she still was, if only one of her neighbors could manage to look her in the eye long enough to see it. She swallowed hard.
"Thank you," she murmured to the shopkeeper's back before he walked away.
Maddie left the store and proceeded to her final errand. As she'd anticipated, a letter from Amelia awaited her at the post office. Maddie would wait until later to open it. Their recent correspondence had rattled her to the bone, and she knew any public display of emotion would be ripe fruit for hungry local gossips.
Not that maintaining decorum could help her cause now. People already believed the worst about her. These rare trips to town only served to remind her that nothing had changed.
Shoving the letter into her skirt pocket, she headed south on Main Street. To her relief, the band of young hooligans that had taunted her earlier was nowhere to be seen. She hurried out of town nonetheless. Each dreaded trip was a tax on her nerves, and when added to the anxiety of what awaited in Amelia's letter, Maddie yearned for the comfort of home.
When she reached the outskirts of town, she took the path through the woods that opened to a large field. She welcomed the sound of chirping crickets and birds. As always after she exerted herself with a lengthy walk, her leg was beginning to ache. She slowed her pace, then stopped to rest at her favorite spot on her grandfather's sprawling property. Sitting on a felled birch log in the broad clearing, she stretched out her leg. The cramped muscles unfurled as she enjoyed the serenity of the surrounding forest, the gentle spring breeze through the swaying trees. The sun felt heavenly, and she lifted her face to bask in its glow.
She'd avoided town all winter, hibernating like a bear in a cave. She'd emerged from seclusion renewed by foolish hopes, but the first outing of the new season had been just like the last. A bear would be better received.
Maddie sighed in defeat, dug out the letter that was fairly vibrating in her pocket, and unfolded its pages. The bold strokes on the delicate cream sheets conveyed Amelia's confident tone and dramatic style.
My dearest Mads,
I received your response denying my request, but I refuse to take no for an answer. I simply cannot get married without you!
You swore an oath to one day serve as my bridesmaid, and it is time for you to honor it. My deep love and concern for you force me to hold you to your promise.
The past is the past, my dear friend, and you must lay it to rest. Eventually, the town will follow suit. Consider attending my wedding as your first step toward getting on with your life.
We arrive in Misty Lake in three weeks. I look forward to seeing you then.
Maddie's breakfast turned in her stomach. How on earth could she attend? No one, save Amelia, wanted her there. Certainly not Daniel. The mere thought of facing her former fiancé and all the others who'd blamed and abandoned her ... no. Maddie hadn't the courage. Amelia didn't understand. How could she? She was not present when it happened. Nor was she here for the aftermath.
Something rustled in the woods across the field. Squinting against the sun, Maddie scanned the trees. A deer hobbled into the clearing, took one final step, then collapsed to the ground. Maddie gasped at the arrow protruding from its shoulder.
Without a thought, she ran to the deer and dropped to her knees at its side. Blood flowed, a crimson stream from the gaping hole around the arrow. The trembling doe stared up at her, eyes wide with pain and terror.
Maddie glanced around to ensure she was alone. The arrow was a direct hit to the vitals, and the poor creature couldn't have traveled far. Someone might be tracking it. Glancing into the deer's desperate eyes again, Maddie tossed caution to the wind.
She grasped the arrow, clenching it as hard as she could. The blasted thing was in deep. Mustering her strength, she pulled, grunting as the arrow ripped through the torn muscle and flesh in which it was lodged. She fell backward, arrow in hand. Blood gushed everywhere. Tossing aside the arrow, she leaned over the deer and pressed her hands to the wound. Blood oozed between her fingers. Life drained from the deer, the warm flow filling her nose with the acrid scent of looming death.
She squeezed her eyes shut, swallowing against the bile rising in her throat. Behind her closed lids, pictures flashed in the darkness. The wagon careening out of control. The approaching tree. The bodies hurling through the air. Sounds of terrified screams filled her ears. Tears poured down her face as she opened her soul. All the pain, all the guilt, manifested inside her, raging through her veins. Heat radiated to her hands, transferring everything onto the dying deer.
Her hands grew hotter and hotter. Her heart pounded and she could barely breathe. She opened her eyes, watching through her scalding fingers as the stream of blood slowed and the torn hide around the wound began to close. The deer stirred, and Maddie sat back on her haunches, panting for air.
The deer sprang to its hooves. Its wide eyes met hers before it darted across the field, white tail raised like a flag as it hurdled the birch log, then disappeared into the forest. Maddie exhaled a shaky breath. The thrum of her pulse waned in relief. Once again, she felt worthy, if only for a moment, of surviving when no one else had.
She'd awakened after the accident with the ability to heal, and the absolution implied by this power helped her cling to her sanity. The mysterious gift was her only justification for living now, a token she'd smuggled back from some place between heaven and earth. One she had to keep hidden if she hoped ever to regain any semblance of a normal life.
Maddie spun toward the voice in the trees. A man charged into the clearing, a large bow in his hands. With a curse, she pushed to her feet and turned her back to him as she gathered her wits. Wringing her bloody hands furiously between the folds of her beige skirt, she fought for composure, concocting her lies.
She inhaled a sharp breath and turned to face him. He stopped, startled by the sight of her. "Are you all right?" He rushed toward her. "Did it hurt you?"
"I'm fine," she said, backing away from the tall stranger.
He glanced down at the pool of bright blood at his boots, then looked around for the deer. "What the devil happened? Where is it?"
Maddie pointed toward the trees. "It ran into the woods."
"It's still running?" His blue eyes narrowed. "Impossible. I struck a kill shot."
"Unfortunately for the deer, your aim was not so precise." She gauged his wary reaction. "Nor is your eyesight if you thought you struck the vitals," she added, pinning her lies firmly in place with an angry nod. "Your clumsy shot to the gut will prolong the poor animal's misery. I dislodged the arrow to lessen its suffering."
His brows shot up. "You dislodged ... Are you addled?" He stared in disbelief. "What possessed you —?"
"Senseless torment possessed me," she shot back. "And I assure you, my mind is quite sound."
The man was not convinced. Lowering his chin, he yanked off his hat and scratched his dark head. "I could have sworn I hit the ..." Tousled black hair gleamed in the sunlight as he bent for the arrow. "You dislodged it, you say?"
He analyzed the bloody hair on the arrow, clearly distracted. She could see the questions forming in his bewildered eyes. She had to get rid of him.
"Your deer bolted, but it won't get far." She gave a nod toward the trees. "You should hurry."
Ignoring her suggestion, he took a step forward. "What's your name?" He dropped the arrow, his gaze fixing on her bloody hands. Reaching into his coat, he pulled out a handkerchief. He grabbed her wrist and attempted to wipe at the blood.
Maddie yanked back her hand. "My name is Madeline Sutter, and I can do that myself."
With a frown, he relinquished the cloth and let her proceed with the task.
"I'm Jace Merrick, Miss Sutter. I've taken over Doctor Filmore's practice in town now that he's retired."
The news surprised her. Doctor Filmore was eighty years old, if he was a day, and she'd always assumed he would die wearing his stethoscope. She was equally surprised by the youthful mien of Filmore's replacement. And by this new physician's obvious appetite for hunting. Weren't doctors supposed to be devoted to preserving life? Not that Doctor Filmore had gone out of his way to preserve hers. He'd pronounced her dead for God's sake. She slapped the cloth between her palms.
"It's about time that old fool retired," she muttered.
Pushing her disdain for the elderly doctor aside, she focused on the man before her. Jace Merrick possessed a palpable confidence, but dressed as he was, he didn't look like a doctor. His brown trousers were tucked into large boots, and a green flannel shirt peeked out from his open tweed coat.
And yet, even in his casual hunter's uniform, the man was impressive. The words ruggedly appealing sprang to mind. He stood taller than most, surely taller than Daniel. Doctor Merrick's build was broader than Daniel's as well. A twinge of longing fluttered in the pit of her belly.
The queer sensation took Maddie aback. She straightened her spine, steeling herself against her attraction to the handsome stranger. As she knew only too well, a man in the medical profession could destroy her. The doctor's stern voice snapped Maddie out of her reverie.
"Wild animals can be dangerous, Miss Sutter. Especially when they're wounded. You were fortunate in this instance, but I'd advise you against taking such risks in the future."
"I appreciate your advice, Doctor Merrick, and I have some for you." She took a step toward him. "There is no hunting allowed on Sutter land, so please do your murdering elsewhere." She finished wiping her hands, then handed him back the bloodstained handkerchief. "Now take your belongings and get off my property."
* * *
Jace blinked, staring at the woman. Whatever he'd done to earn her hostility, he'd obviously done it well.
"This is your property?"
"My family owns twelve acres. Hunting is restricted on all of it." Her spine stiffened like a broomstick. Beneath her simple straw bonnet, wisps of dark hair fringed her pretty face. Specks of hazel and gold sparked in her brown eyes, along with an annoying tinge of righteous indignation. "My grandfather makes exceptions in cases of necessity only." She eyed him from head to toe. "Since there are several eating establishments in town, and you're clearly not starving, you can pursue your sport elsewhere."
"In my defense, Miss Sutter, this hunt was necessary."
"Is that so?"
His business was none of her concern, but the challenge in her skeptical tone got the best of him. "Your elderly neighbor, Mrs. Tremont, is a patient of mine. Her weight has dropped drastically, and her appetite continues to wane."
Her smug tone faded. "I'm sorry to hear that," she muttered, looking genuinely distressed.
"The woman has a craving for fresh venison. I apologize for trespassing, but I intend to provide it."
She lowered her eyes, and Jace couldn't help enjoying her contrite response.
"Had you not intervened with my deer, I'd have no reason to dally here. On your property," he added, just for the hell of it.
"Well, don't let me keep you," she snapped. "Good luck with Mrs. Tremont." Her hard look softened again, as did the harshness in her voice. "Please send her my regards."
With a lift of her chin, she collected her market basket from where it sat beside a log, then hurried away. Jace stared after her, absorbing the view. She held her head high, her stance rigid and aloof. Her frame was small but curvaceous, possessing the perfect measure of female proportions. Ample breasts, narrow waist, pleasing backside.
Of course, one had to get past the bloodstained dress to appreciate what lay beneath, but as a doctor who'd seduced dozens of nurses whose aprons were soaked with far worse, this posed no problem for Jace. Her slender form moved swiftly as she made her way down the path through the field, but her pace was slowing. He detected a slight limp in her gait, though from this distance, he couldn't be sure.
"Madeline Sutter," he mumbled, shaking his head. What kind of woman went about pulling arrows from dying deer?
Jace had met some odd people during the month since he'd arrived in town, but he'd yet to meet anyone like Miss Sutter. Dragging his gaze from the fading view of her, he squatted before the patch of blood in the grass where his deer had fallen.
Excerpted from The Lady Who Lived Again by Thomasine Rappold. Copyright © 2015 Thomasine Rappold. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Maggie had lived through an accident while 3 of her best friends had not. The doctor had even pronounced Maggie dead and the next day she came to and then the town felt she was some kind of demon and wished she had died with the other girls. It had been three years and still whenever she went to town everyone watched everything she did. Even those who had cared for and loved her. Now seemed to dread seeing her like all the rest of the town other than her grandfather.Her three friends were gone but before the accident they were called the Fair Five. Maggie was the sole survivor of the worst tragedy in Misty Lake’s history. Daniel even broke off Maggie and his engagement. Maggie had awakened after the accident with the ability to heal but she kept that to herself. Jace was the new doctor in town and had been quiet the player in the big city. Jace had shot a deer on Maggie's grandfathers land Maggie had healed it before he came tracking it.Amelia was out of town before and after the accident so she hadn’t seen how Maggie was treated and still was being shunned for being alive. She is the one friend Maggie still has. Amelia wanted Maggie to be a bridesmaid at her wedding. Maggie helps Jace get his office up and running and Maggie tells some people they are engaged. Jace sees how Maggie is treated and decides to go along with the fake engagement. I really liked this story. I felt really bad for Maggie for all she had suffered. Felt like I was there with her. I understand why she lied about her and Jace and was very glad he went along with it. It had only toke one person top say Maggie was a demon for the whole town to turn on her so sad. But back in those days …. How hard it had to have been to been so popular and loose three of her best friends as well as her own serious physical things Maggie had to go through to heal but then to be so unwanted by everyone but her grandfather. A couple times Jace was a little mean to Maggie and i didn’t like that at all after how everyone else treats her. I love the plot . I liked the ins and outs of this story. I recommend. I received an ARC of this story for an honest review.
This book grabbed my attention from the beginning. There's a steamy romance, judgmental town folk, sticky situations, dangerous situations, and a touch of the paranormal for good measure. Maddie's a pretty amazing character. Her strength and ability to overcome her past is inspiring, especially in this time period. She has her moments of breaking down, but who wouldn't? It really showed her as human and brought her to life even more. Jace was fun, and he was Maddie's complete opposite. This was an absolutely wonderful start to a new series. I'm ready for more. The ARC of The Lady Who Lived Again by Thomasine Rappold was kindly provided to me by the publisher for review. The opinions are my own.
The Lady Who Lived Again by Thomasine Rappold is A Solve Survivor Novel. Madeleine Sutter is twenty-four years old and lives in Misty Lake, New York with her grandfather. She is the sole survivor of an accident that claimed her friend’s lives three years previously. The town doctor declared her dead (I personally think she was in a coma) and then Maddie woke up the next day. Now no one in the town will associate with her (they are a superstitious lot). Maddie did wake up with one little benefit—she has the ability to heal (which she keeps a secret). Her grandfather tried to convince her to move away, but Maddie will not leave him (he is ill). Maddie was engaged to Daniel Hogle, but he broke up with her after the accident (the jerk). Daniel has now returned to town with a new fiancé. Maddie’s old friend, Amelia Strope is coming back to town to get married. Amelia wants Maddie to be a part of the bridal party. Maddie is hoping this will be a chance to show the town that she is the same person that she was before the accident. Dr. Jace Merrick is the new doctor in town. He is taking over the practice of Dr. Benjamin Filmore (the doctor who declared Maddie dead). Jace would like to study Maddie’s case. He does not believe the superstitious nonsense that the townspeople have been spouting. They come to a mutual agreement. Jace will pretend to be engaged to Maddie and escort her the festivities leading up to the wedding as well as the wedding. Maddie will share information from her accident and recovery with Jace as well as help him with his practice (she is a good assistant and a good organizer). But Maddie cannot help but use her special powers to help those who are ill. Can this ruin the budding relationship between Maddie and Jace? Can Jace ever accept Maddie’s special abilities? Will the town ever accept Maddie? The Lady Who Lived Again was a very interesting novel. It is an historical novel with a paranormal element (which is the best part). I just wish the paranormal element had been played up a little more. It took a back seat to the romance in the novel. The Lady Who Lived Again is easy to read. My interest was captured right away. The setting sounded beautiful, and I liked the main characters (especially Maddie’s grandfather) for the most part. Jace’s attitude grated on my nerves sometimes (especially when he would dismiss Maddie’s ideas). The Lady Who Lived Again is a good novel to read on a quiet evening. I give The Lady Who Lived Again 4 out of 5 stars. It is well-written and engaging. A good first book in a new series. I just wish the paranormal element had been more prominent. That is what drew me to the book. I received a complimentary copy of The Lady Who Lived Again from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This has been an exquisite read for me! Maddie has been an outcast on her own town for the past three years, ever since a terrible wagon accident in which four girls were found dead. Among them, Maddie, too. But to the doctor and the whole town's surprise, she didn't stay dead. In fact, when she suddenly opened her eyes, everyone assumed she was resurrected. But, her severely injured and broken leg would leave her unable to walk again, according to the doctor's sayings. So, when she started walking again, through her own struggling, everyone started believing that miracles don't happen twice, and all this must have been the work of the devil. In a small town like that the rumors spread fast, and everyone started viewing Maddie as a nuisance to the peacefulness of their town. She lost her friends, her fiance and her place in the small society. But Maddie, has an even deeper secret. Ever since she awoke after this accident, she has been able to heal other beings. When Jace, the new doctor of the town finally arrives, is immediately intrigued by the young woman, even after asking around and realizing how infamous she is. Her rare case intrigues him even more, but his effort on getting direct information from her has been futile. With the wedding ball of one of her friends approaching, one where Maddie has been invited to, she must find an escort so that she won't have to face the pity of her neighbors. She then decides to strike a deal with Jace: She will offer him more information about the accident and help him set up his new office, while he will pretend to be her fiance and escort her to the ball. But, what they never counted on affecting them, was the intense attraction between them. And, Maddie's deep secret, too! This was a very passionate novel with a very intriguing story! Maddie was a very strong young woman, who, taking into account all the tragedies she had to go through, that changed her life to the core, managed to cope in a much better way than anyone would have anticipated! Jace was a bold young man who completely had my attention since the very beginning. The author's easily flowing writing style made the novel an even better read, I completely enjoyed. All in all, 4,5 stars to a unique and passionate read that narrated the story of one particularly brave and gifted heroine.
Great Start for Paranormal/Historical Romance Series I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher as a part of a book tour for a fair and honest review and rated it 5 out of 5 stars. A captivating mixture of paranormal and historical romance, The Lady Who Lived Again by Thomasine Rappold grabbed my attention from the first page and never let go. The first book in a new series, Ms. Rappold’s story is filled with colorful characters, sharp dialogue and a scintillating romance. Set in a small town in upstate New York, showcasing the best and worst of small town living, Ms. Rappold’s Soul Survivor series is off to a promising start. Ms. Rappold does a good job introducing us to her characters right from the start. A young woman who survived a catastrophic accident that claimed the life of three of her best friends, Madeleine Sutter, is both emotionally and physical strong. She’s also beautiful, intelligent and very lonely due to the small minded nature of several people in town. I easily connected with her from the start and enjoyed watching her character develop like a butterfly emerging from its cocoon. Especially since she’s “come back” from death with a “gift” she keeps a secret. Ms. Rappold also did a good job developing Jace Merrick, the new doctor in town, who quickly finds himself attracted to both Madeleine and the mystery behind her accident, recovery and reputation. A man of science, who both wants to heal his patients and change the brutal nature of disease, Jace is intelligent, curious and somewhat flawed. He’s also somewhat of a womanizer who only misses one thing from living and working in a big city hospital, the nurses. While I liked Jace and had no problems connecting with his character, I wasn’t always sure he was a good fit for Madeleine. At least at the very beginning. The attraction and romance between Madeleine and Jace is well developed and felt natural. The story is well paced and I liked how Ms. Rappold brought Madeleine and Jace into each other’s everyday life so that they could get to know each other better. I also liked how it gave us a chance to get to know the characters in town better as we got to watch them interact with Madeleine and Jace as individuals and as a couple. The secondary characters are well written and several of them prove to be very challenging to deal with. Will Madeleine share the secret behind her recovery and her “gift”? Will Jace accept that there might be things in life science can’t explain? And will their attraction and romance turn into something more permanent? You’ll have to read The Lady Who Lived Again to find out. I loved it and can’t wait to read the next book in this series.