Title: Choosing Heart or Home
Author: Chris Karlsen
Genre: Victorian Historical Romance/ Holiday Fiction
Release Date: November 1, 2018
Hosted by: Buoni Amici Press, LLC.
The widowed Victoria reigns over an empire the “sun never sets on,” and London is bright with holiday decorations. Detective Rudyard Bloodstone is Holborn Station’s lead investigator. With his career moving along well, Rudyard’s year got even better after meeting London music hall star, Honeysuckle Flowers.
As he and his lady begin to celebrate the holidays, Rudyard grows homesick for Wales and for his family there. He makes plans to see his parents and thinks it is the perfect time to introduce Honeysuckle to them.
His joyful vision of how the visit will go fades, when to his unhappy surprise, his mother paints Honeysuckle with a trollop’s brush. His mother is firm: he is loved and missed and most welcome to the family home but not his lady. Loyalty to his parents is challenged by his love for Honeysuckle. He must choose between them, and to choose one means the risk of losing the other.
“This is my Mum, Emma, and Dad, Davy. Mum, Dad, this is the gentleman I wrote you about, Rudyard Bloodstone.” Honeysuckle smiled up at him as she spoke his name.
Ruddy extended his hand to her father. “Nice meeting you.”
Her father pulled the blonde wig of fat curls from his head before shaking hands. “We were hoping to meet you.”
Her dad still wore his heavy Cinderella’s wicked stepsister makeup: Cherry red lipstick, a deep pink smear over his cheekbones and kohl-lined eyes. Over the years, Ruddy had interviewed a handful of men in women’s makeup. They ran the gamut from witnesses, to victims, to suspects. None were in the theatre. It was hard to hold a snicker back with most of them.
Ruddy turned to her mother and with a slight bow of his head. “Mrs. Fowler.”
“Please, it’s Emma and Davy.” She still wore her stage makeup as well. Hers wasn’t as extreme as her husband’s but Honeysuckle had said her role was part of the chorus.
Her parents were average height and a couple inches shorter than Honeysuckle. Silver strands streaked the brown hair of each. Davy was right, Honeysuckle took her looks from Emma. She had her mother’s thick eyelashes and full mouth even her petite nose that turned up slightly at the tip.
Davy brought a second chair over and placed it in front of a table covered in jars, sponges, and brushes. “Please sit.” He gestured to the chairs and joined Emma on the dressing table bench seat. “Is everything still good in London? You said in your letter you were doing well.”
“It’s all fine, Dad.”
“This is such a marvelous surprise, seeing you,” Emma said. The bodice of her gown opened as she bent to show a lot of cleavage where a red corset pushed her breasts high. Ruddy glanced at the sight and immediately raised his eyes, fixing his attention on Emma’s face. She released Honeysuckle’s hand and sat back. In his peripheral vision Ruddy saw a flash of white as the lower half of the gown parted. He continued maintaining his attention on her face.
“We should go someplace special tonight to celebrate being together,” Davy said.
“Actually Dad, we’re here for a reason other than social,” Honeysuckle replied.
Emma adjusted her robe so it didn’t gap open top or bottom, though not the faintest pink tinged her cheeks at the exposure. Honeysuckle had warned him her parents weren’t bashful types. The only time Ruddy had ever seen his mother’s undergarments was on wash days when they hung on the line.
“What do you need sweetie?” Davy asked.
“As I recall, the panto ends today.” Emma and Davy nodded. “Instead of going to dinner a special place, I need your talents to help me put on a fundraiser for a good cause. It’s in Brecon.”
“What’s the benefit for?” Davy asked.
“A plaque for the lost loved ones fallen in battle,” Ruddy answered. “But the village can’t afford the stonework. You’d be making a lot of folks happy.”
“Of course, we’ll do it,” Davy said, Emma nodding in agreement.
“When?” Emma asked.
“By Christmas Eve.”
“Christmas Eve!” Emma’s brows shot up. “How can we put on a show that fast?”
“You don’t have to put on a new routine. Just your promenade skit, a song or two, and I’ll do the rest of the entertaining,” Honeysuckle said. “I think we have the makings for a fun show.” She clasped Ruddy’s face in her palms and laid a huge kiss on his lips. “We are on our way, darling.”
I was born and raised in Chicago. My father was a history professor and my mother was, and is, a voracious reader. I grew up with a love of history and books.
My parents also love traveling, a passion they passed onto me. I wanted to see the places I read about, see the land and monuments from the time periods that fascinated me. I’ve had the good fortune to travel extensively throughout Europe, the Near East, and North Africa.
I am a retired police detective. I spent twenty-five years in law enforcement with two different agencies. My desire to write came in my early teens. After I retired, I decided to pursue that dream. I write three different series. My paranormal romance series is called, Knights in Time. My romantic thriller series is Dangerous Waters. The newest is The Bloodstone Series. Each series has a different setting and some cross time periods, which I find fun to write.
I currently live in the Pacific Northwest with my husband and five wild and crazy rescue dogs.