The Druid’s Curse
Print Length: 260 pages
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Golden Alexander is trapped in a nightmare.
Trying to flee her hallucination of a demon, she runs heart first into the brooding alpha male she’s been dreaming about for years, and then her nightmare really begins.
Kris Pietka is done with women…he’s broken. But when he meets Golden, an overwhelming need to protect her tests everything he thought he knew about himself, and the paranormal.
A bond forged centuries ago thrusts them together as they search for a way to break an ancient Druid curse prophesying their demise. Racing against the clock, they travel from Vermont, to the Carpathian Mountains in Poland, and the Scottish Highlands in search of answers and a way to break the curse.
But something evil watches—it covets, and time is running out.
Will fate allow love to prevail against unbeatable odds, or will Golden wake to find it was all a delusion?
Golden Alexander hated interviews. She hated the fact she might be insane worse, but she had to make a living regardless. She smoothed her black pencil skirt and stared at the side door of a white, Victorian house in Poultney, Vermont.
The word etched above a moose on a purple, slate plaque hung on the dark stained door, beckoning her. It promised security, a homecoming, but she wasn’t coming home. No, she was as far from home as she could get.
Three thousand miles, and a week had slid by since she’d last seen the demon, and she still woke up in a cold sweat every night, heart thumping, a scream on the tip of her tongue. But when she opened her eyes, all she found was the ceiling above her bed.
She prayed it would stay that way.
The sun heated the top of her head and beads of sweat tickled her armpits. She stepped back and waved her arms, trying to cool herself before she got on with this necessary evil.
A light tapping startled her. Her hand shot to her chest while her gaze darted to a big picture window between two hanging pots of red petunias.
A woman with plump cheeks, salt and pepper hair, and a motherly face peered out and smiled. Crap, she couldn’t wait until she stopped jumping at every noise. She blew out the breath she’d been holding and attempted a smile. The woman probably thought she was an escaped mental patient. Her smile felt like a grimace and she was sure she looked like she was trying to fly away, which didn’t sound like a bad idea at the moment.
Not the image she was going for at an interview.
The summer heat combined with the cloying sweet fragrance of the flowers left her slightly nauseous as the woman raised a finger in her direction before disappearing from view. She took a deep breath, now or never. She glanced back at her car, wondering if she should . . .
The door opened with a thump. “Golden? I’m Mary Pietka.”
Golden turned back, her opportunity for escape gone.
Mary wiped her hands on a faded red apron, which covered a navy housedress. Her short, round figure and rosy, unlined cheeks reminded Golden of the German nesting dolls her mother had kept on the windowsill in the kitchen. The only thing missing was a scarf around Mary’s perfectly coifed hair and she’d be the mother doll. That doll, the tallest of the set, had always been her favorite, the one her eyes were drawn to whenever she stood at the sink, and the similarity eased her urge to flee somewhat.
“Call me Mary. Is it Golden or Goldie?”
“Golden.” She hated Goldie. Her sister, Izzy, was the only one who called her Goldie and only because Izzy refused to stop. But then her sister always did whatever she wanted. Izzy had left home shortly after the accident and was never subjected to their other sister, Maggie’s, constant meddling.
She shook Mary’s outstretched hand, hoping her palms were no longer sweaty. Mary gave her hand a pat before releasing it. “Come on in, dear.”
She followed the woman up a short flight of stairs to a small kitchen. Frying onions and butter scented the air, her stomach clenched as though about to rumble. She hadn’t smelled home cooking since the accident, frozen food and take out were the staples back home.
She handed Mary her now crinkled résumé, but Mary barely glanced at it before setting it aside and waving her into a chair next to a beige Formica kitchenette. Cherry stained, twelve-inch moldings and trim, ancient looking appliances, and a deep country sink gave the place an old world charm that made her feel as if nothing much had changed since Poultney had become a town at the turn of the nineteenth century.
Nervous energy caused her hands to twine in her lap, and she found herself really wanting the job. Mary’s warmth, and the house, made Golden feel as if she’d come home. To a real home, not just a house with people living inside going through the motions of life, but a genuine home. She was suddenly desperate to spend more time here.
“My mother’s sleeping now, and I don’t want to wake her,” Mary said. “Why don’t you tell me about yourself?” She picked up a piece of cabbage and palmed it, then scooped a spoonful of rice and ground beef mixture from a large silver bowl and dropped it onto the cabbage.
Let’s see . . . I inherited a house from relatives I didn’t know. I traveled across the country to this foreign little town to get away from my overprotective sister and the weird things that keep happening to me. I’m trying to be a grown up while part of me wants to get in my car and run back home. I now live isolated in the middle of nowhere, and I really want this job so I don’t totally lose it from lack of human contact. Oh, and I might be insane.
She decided on the abridged version instead. “I grew up in Southern California and just moved into town. I have two years’ experience caring for the elderly.”
Mary wrapped the cabbage leaf around the filling. “My mother-in-law, Jadwiga, is one hundred and three. She was in perfect health, until a few months ago, and now requires more care. I no longer feel comfortable leaving her alone. I have a nurse coming in a few days a week, but I need someone to keep her company so I can run errands, clean the house, and have a break once in a while.”
Mary’s gaze never left her as she placed the oblong food into a casserole dish and reached for another leaf. Her brow creased ever so slightly, and her head tilted as if she were listening to something. “It must be hard moving into a new town, being as young as you are without any family around, living in that big house in the middle of the forest.”
A tingle of unease pinched her shoulders and straightened her back. “Ah . . . ye . . . yes it is.” Had she said all that aloud? How did Mary know about her house?
Mary smiled, her crow’s feet deepening. “Small town, dear. Are you going to take some classes at Green Mountain College?”
Golden eased back in her chair. “Yes, I’ve signed up for some core classes this fall.”
Mary went over the details of the job while she ladled tomato sauce over the top of the cabbage rolls and put the dish into the oven. “Have you ever had Golumpki? Are you Catholic?” Mary turned in her direction. “Can you start Monday morning at nine?”
“Um . . . no, yes and yes.” Golden chuckled at the rapid succession of questions, warming to Mary’s offbeat personality and so relieved she wouldn’t have to go back home a failure and listen to Maggie telling her she wasn’t ready to leave home.
The side door to the house opened behind her.
“Matka? Dzien dobry? Ma? Hello?”
The deep male voice filled the kitchen. Filled her. Her muscles tightened, her arms vibrated like she’d been doing yard work for the last hour and had just turned off the weed whacker.
Mary raised an eyebrow in her direction before looking past her to the door. “Kris, proszę meet Golden. Come, come.”
Heavy boots sounded on the wooden steps. The loud thumping stopped as if in mid-step and an invisible electric current slammed into her back. Heat spread through her and settled in her belly.
“Matka, what’s going on here?”
“Golden is your Babci’s new caregiver.” Mary enunciated as if she were speaking to a five-year-old. “I told you last week she answered the ad and was coming today. She’ll be starting on Monday.”
Mary glared at Kris and then turned to Golden with an apologetic smile on her face. Kris moved around the table and stood next to his mother.
Her mouth fell open.
He narrowed his piercing blue eyes at her, and a lock of sandy brown hair fell from behind his ear.
He looked exactly like the man she’d been dreaming of for years.
About the Author:
Sophia Kimble has always wanted to be an author, but for years, life got in the way. She wouldn’t change a thing about how her life turned out, though. Her family keeps her laughing and loving. Her wonderful husband and two extraordinary children stand beside her every step of the way and make this journey called life worth living.
Sophia has worked as a nurse for twenty years, but has put that career path aside to devote her time and imagination to writing down the stories that keep her up nights.
She takes her love of the paranormal, history, and genealogy, and weaves them into tales of family, fated love, and supernatural occurrences.