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As long as I can recall, I've never been afraid of thunderstorms. Ever since I was little, I enjoyed watching the lightning streak across the sky. I remember as a child counting one one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand, and so on as soon as I saw a flash of lightning. I was told you could determine how close the storm was by the amount of time that passed before you heard the thunder. If it took three seconds from the time you saw the lightning to the moment you heard the thunder, it was roughly three miles away. I can't say for sure if this is actually true or not, but it certainly kept me occupied. I was too engrossed in "tracking" the thunderstorm to be "scared" of it.
Another thing I remember from my early childhood was my grandmother telling me there's nothing to be afraid of when it came to thunderstorms. She'd told me it was just Jesus bowling in Heaven against the angels. The rumbling thunder was their bowling ball rolling down the lane and the crash of lightning foretold of someone landing a strike. I remember mentally keeping score and wondering if Jesus would ultimately win.
Just writing this all out has me laughing at the crazy stories my family told me to keep me from being afraid or fretful of passing storms.
As a grown woman, I no longer believe Jesus is bowling when it's storming. But as an author, I've written about them. While my protagonists have never counted seconds between lightning strikes and thunder, or rooted for celestial beings in a heavenly game of bowling, I have enjoyed placing them in the throes of natures elements.
Here is an excerpt of The Fall of Rain, when my archaeologist hero, Leif Dægannsen, is trying to unearth an incredible find beneath his front porch in the midst of a thunderstorm. I hope you enjoy!
THE FALL OF RAIN
Emerald Isle Trilogy Book 3
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Present day, Ireland
Leif Dæganssen was soaked to the skin. The cool June rain beat on his back and thunder rolled across the heavens as he staked his shovel into the saturated ground outside his quaint Inis Mór cottage. Normally, he would never think of digging in the ground on such a terrible night. But every bone in his body urged him onward. Though he had no idea what he was looking for, his gut told him that something grand and unique might very well be hidden beneath his porch.
Leif was not a superstitious man. In fact, his livelihood as an archeologist never allowed him to consider supernatural practices. After years of schooling and countless, tedious digs, he believed only in things explainable through science, carbon dating, and the naked eye.
This was different.
He dug on a hunch, an innate feeling coursing through his veins. By rights, the rain should have slowed his progress, or, at least, made him think twice on the idiocy of this escapade. But the aching muscles in his back and arms from the extreme measures of cautionary excavation seemed to be fueled by the dousing of the Erin rain. The more it drenched his clothes, the more he scooped dark, sopping mud away from his lattice-enclosed porch.
Shovelful after careful shovelful, he dug away the soil, ignoring the long heavy sighs of his younger brother, Kristoff.
“How long are we going to be out here in this storm digging for worms, Leif?”
Leif paid him no attention. He concentrated on the depth of his ditch around the front of his house and the silent calculations he made in his head. The perimeter hole he had already dug was about a foot deep and he knew the topsoil would eventually give way to rock-solid limestone beneath. A few more inches—at max maybe a foot—and he’d find something.
He could feel it.
As sure as the rain dripped from every strand of hair in his face, he could feel his adrenaline rising at the thought of his shovel hitting something solid.
“Leif!” Kristoff yelled, jerking him by the arm. A flash of lightning ripped across the midnight sky. Both flinched at the heart-stopping crack and peered above.
Kristoff turned his attention back to Leif. “This is insane! We’re going to get killed out here!”
“Then go inside,” Leif snapped back. “I’m not quitting.”
“And I’m not letting you get struck by lightning over some stupid gut feeling!”
Leif squared his shoulders and leaned in close, the rain spitting like needles in his face. “I’m. Not. Stopping.” He staked his shovel deep in the ground. A low thud reverberated around them.
“Did you hear that?”
Kristoff looked at Leif skeptically. “I did…”
Leif’s face lit up brighter than the violent streak of lightning that passed overhead. “I told you I’d find something!” He dropped to his knees, throwing his gloves aside as he dug beneath the last bit of mud. Using as much caution as he could muster, he tore away handfuls of soil, feeling for the object his shovel had struck. Within seconds, his fingertips scraped against something solid.
“I feel it,” Leif uttered breathlessly. “It’s right here.” Like a dog pawing for its buried bone, he kept pulling away at the dirt until the top could be seen.
“Holy Halfdan Haroldsson,” Kristoff mumbled as he saw a distinct pagan carving come into view. As the rain washed it clean, a whole slew of carvings took form before his very eyes.
Leif glanced at Kristoff. “Now, do you believe me?”
“Hell yeah, I do! Come on, dig it out!”
Leif didn’t need his brother’s encouragement. For years, he had been trying to convince Kristoff that this Irish island was the home of their Norwegian ancestors. More importantly, that the house he had bought two years ago was likely sitting atop their settlement. He had no proof. Only a vibe he felt from the moment he stepped on the treeless island.
Even in the dark of night, through the shroud of Ireland’s unmerciful rainfall, there was no mistaking the Scandinavian carvings on the wooden artifact. They were telltale coils of a history forgotten—instantly recognizable designs spiraling and twisting into a complex weave of creatures, demigods, and beasts.
To a pair of young archeologists, it was like striking gold.
“What is it?” Kristoff asked as he found its edge and began digging.
“I don’t know. Perhaps a shield…or a weather vane from a longship.”
“No,” Kristoff said, peeling hunks of mud away from the side. “It’s thicker than that. It’s…holy shit…it’s a…”
“I don’t know! It’s a…”
Words escaped them as their excitement vaulted in unearthing the sizeable object from its grave. Neither man was confident enough to say what they thought it could be, but one thing rang true. It was a large find—literally.
In the archeological world, antiquities, such as a small coin or even a glass bead, were significant discoveries. Most times, if one were found, it was purely by accident. Then, once the find was made public, archeologists from all walks of life would try to establish the site as historical and gather funding for a further, more intensive dig. Finding anything beyond the small artifact, takes months or even years of dedication and careful excavation with skillful hands.
Leif had found something substantial within a matter of minutes, and it was certainly nothing short of impressive. As he and Kristoff lifted the heavy, wooden relic from the muck and mire, they lost all sense of speaking. They stared at the highly decorated object. Their eyes traced every complex loop and spiral of the elaborate, dated designs.
This was no accident. This coffer had called to Leif—had beckoned him to buy this property. Though it proved nothing about his ancestors specifically settling here on this very spot, it did confirm that someone of Scandinavian descent had visited the isle. He was determined to find who and hopefully link them with his Norwegian descendents.
Gazing at the stunning carved box through the pelting rain, Kristoff broke the silence. “We’re going to be famous.”
Leif shot Kristoff a grave look. “No. We’re not telling a soul about this.”
“Are you out of your mind? Do you not know what this is?”
Leif disregarded his brother and took hold of the box, trying to stand in the slippery mud. All he wanted to do was take it inside and get it out of sight, but the blasted quagmire beneath him wouldn’t cooperate. He lost his footing and fell on his backside.
Leif let out a curse, and tried again.
“Here,” Kristoff said, thrusting out his hand. “Let me help you.”
Gasping a firm hold, Leif stepped out of the shallow ditch and made haste up the two meager steps of his front porch. As he suspected, Kristoff navigated past him and opened the door wide so he could pass through with ease.
Through the dark, he walked straight into the open space of the living room and into the adjoining kitchen, setting the object on the table. He could feel his heart hammering at the excitement of finally seeing his find under the blessing of light.
Stepping back, he reached for the light switch on the wall, pinching it between his fingers, unable to tear his eyes from the dark object displayed on the table. He heard Kristoff’s heavy footsteps approaching, but he didn’t have the strength to flip the switch.
“Turn it on already!” Kristoff demanded.
“What do you mean, not yet? Turn on the light.”
Leif studied his brother in the dark. “If I turn this light on, you must promise that what we see stays between us. No one is to know what we’ve found. And I mean no one.”
“Why?” Kristoff scorned. “We found something highly prized and we could—”
“We’re not going to tell a soul,” Leif instructed direly. “Think about it. If we reveal what we’ve found here tonight, this place will be swarming with media, treasure seekers, and museum enthusiasts. My home will no longer be mine and my life’s work will be ruined. I have spent countless hours tracing our ancestors to this very isle and this…this,” he said gesturing toward the table, “could very well be the missing link to finding my distant family. Please, Kristoff. Don’t spoil this for me. Don’t take away my one chance of uncovering my past. Our past.”
In the shadows of his kitchen, Leif heard his brother heave a heavy sigh. The moments ticked away with each bead of water dripping on the cheap linoleum floor.
“Fine. I give my word. Now turn on the bloody light.”
As he beckoned, Leif flipped the switch, but nothing could have prepared him for what he saw. It was not just a carved artifact, beautifully sitting on his table above a puddle of muddy water, but a chest—a chest that quite possibly held more riches than one man could fathom in a lifetime.
* * *
From the daunting, charismatic Vikings, to the charming, brazen Alpha male heroes of modern day, readers will be whisked away to a world filled with fast-paced adventure, unforgettable romance, and undying love.
Her books have earned numerous accolades, including a #1 Amazon Bestseller for Viking Romance, countless 5 Star TOP PICKS by Night Owl Reviews, a "5 HEART Sweetheart" Award by The Romance Studio, and a "Best Book of the Year 2011" nomination from Long And Short Reviews.