Tuesday, August 26, 2014

RELEASE DAY: Sandy Bruney "A Question of Boundaries"

By 1895, the United States is in the 80th year of the isolation imposed by King Thomas I and upheld by his successors. But, some are chafing under the shortages and restrictions, and when inventor Dr. Featherstone declares he has found a way to override all borders, there are those who applaud the discovery and those who fear it.
When Dr. Featherstone fails to return home for an important scientific gathering, his daughter Caroline enlists the help of the Member of Parliament from Charlotte, Nathan Llewellen. As the two search for the kidnappers, Caroline is plunged into a world where travel to other realities is possible in the blink of an eye, and people can assume the forms of fearsome as well as familiar animals…and where love comes at the most unexpected times and places.
Nathan’s peculiar gift might cost Caroline her life, but she has already lost her heart.
Originally from New York State, Sandy Bruney lives in North Carolina with her husband. They have three grandchildren who are growing up much too quickly. When not writing, she enjoys reading books of every genre and avoids housework as much as possible.
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Chapter One
“I believe this invention will eclipse them all.”
Father was a man who collected prizes and accolades as his just due. So when he did not appear at the annual dinner of the Charlotte Society of Inventors and Scientists, Caroline Featherstone knew something was wrong. Father would never miss an opportunity to listen to admiring speeches on his behalf, which meant more to him than any gold medal.
“I’m going out,” she told her housekeeper, Tabby.
“And just where, Miss, if I may ask?” The woman, not much taller than a twelve-year-old, tilted her head back as she waited for an answer.
Caroline’s glare was impressive, but Tabby refused to be intimidated. “In case you disappear as well I’ll need a place to start looking.”
“I’m going to see Mister Jennings. I’m hoping he may have had some word.” Jamming a straw hat on her head and tying the ribbons under a determined chin, Caroline went out the door and headed for the trolley stop three blocks away.
Leaving the trolley at Elizabeth Street, she found Mr. Jennings’ office without difficulty. At the last minute, Caroline wondered if she should have ascertained if the solicitor were in before coming all the way downtown. Her concern seemed justified when she saw the office was locked, but she knocked just the same, and attempted to peer in the window.
“Is something wrong, Miss?”
Caroline swerved to see a rather large policeman standing not two feet from her. Startled, she backed up a step and put a hand to her breast. “I came to see Mister Jennings, but he doesn’t appear to be in. I’ll have to come back another day.” She tried to maneuver around the bulky man, but he didn’t move.
“What’s your business with Mister Jennings then?” he asked. His tone, mildly curious up to now, hardened and his genial smile disappeared.
Caroline debated answering. It wasn’t his affair, after all, but then again, he was an officer of the law. “He is my father’s solicitor. I had some questions to put to him.”
The officer’s stiff posture relaxed, although his face remained grim. “I’m sorry to tell you this, but Mister Jennings has met with a misfortune. You won’t be able to talk to him.”
“Oh. I’m sorry. Well then, as I said, I will just have to come back. Maybe next week, if he has recovered by then.”
The man shook his head. “No chance of that. He was shot in the heart and is dead.”
Caroline let out a gasp. “Murdered?”
“Hard to shoot your own self in the heart, although it has been done. We’re investigating, but yes, it’s safe to say he was killed by an unknown assailant.” He nodded as if he had much more he could share if he were so inclined. “You’d best run along home, Miss.”
Caroline nodded and this time the officer stepped aside to let her pass. Only a passerby’s warning shout kept her from stepping in front of one of the steamcabs that were gradually replacing horse-drawn carriages on downtown Charlotte’s busy streets. Her attention had been diverted by an urchin, no older than eight or nine, who was selling newspapers. “Murder most foul!” the boy yelled. “Read all about it!”
Caroline exchanged a coin for the newspaper and, flipping it open, found the article about poor Mr. Jennings. With dread, she read his office had been ransacked and an untold number of files had been taken. A witness described seeing two men, one a larger than normal person, walking past the building scant minutes before shots were heard. The witness also said the taller man wore a green or brown suit in a checkered pattern. The other had no jacket, but wore a red kerchief. They were being sought for questioning, but were not suspects. Caroline filled in the missing words — as yet.
The mention of the stolen files made her blood chill in her veins. What files? Were some of them Father’s? If so, were these men responsible for his disappearance?


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