Today I am very excited to welcome Anne Brooke, author of the new book Heart’s Greater Silence. She is here today as part of her big blog tour and will be sharing a story about her favorite Christmas, as well as bringing a great giveaway (see details below).
Christmas 1992. I was several months into dating a very special man and three months into studying for a Master’s degree that took me about 300 miles away from him.
We’d gone out on and off for quite a while, ever since I was 22 years old and I was now 28. This was our third session of serious dating and I wanted more. Didn’t know how he felt about it though – men are so hard to ask!…
So I wasn’t sure how Christmas would be. We were spending some of it at my mother’s house in deepest rural Essex. I’d already told him I loved him. He told me he loved me too – in fact it was he who’d said it first a while back, when I was going out with someone else actually, though that’s probably another story for another time…
I just didn’t know where we went from here. We’d had a great day with my mother and stepfather, we’d eaten loads, opened presents and drunk just enough to give us all a mellow feeling without living in fear of any hangover. The perfect late winter afternoon in fact. We were in the sitting room just chilling. My stepfather decided to go and watch TV in the other room, and after a while my mother got up to go and fiddle around with tea. She refused my offer of help.
My man and I were cuddling and chatting as you do, and then I decided to grab some of the chocolates on the Christmas tree before Mother came back in case I got told off for way too much indulgence. My man decided to come and keep me company – the lure of chocolate is always a powerful draw … And that was when it happened.
We were both kneeling under the tree, ferreting for the goodies (as it were), when he grabbed my arm and the following conversation took place:
Him (with great courtesy): So then, do you think you’d consent to marry me?
Me (with great shamelessness): Ooh yes, please!
Him (sporting a look of astonishment and relief): Oh, good. Would you like a ring?
Me (having to be restrained from getting her coat and shoes): You bet. When do the shops open?
Sadly the shops didn’t open as soon as I’d hoped so we decided to keep our engagement secret for a few days until I’d got The Ring. Which turned out to be a delightful and very delicate emerald (I love emeralds – they go with my eyes, you know…) surrounded by diamonds. Bliss.
My man, being of a traditional nature, wouldn’t let me put it on in the jeweller’s shop but had it wrapped up in a box and put it in his pocket. I assumed he’d let me wear it once we got back to his place. So I was happily chatting away and making plans as we crossed the churchyard towards where he’d parked the car. I suddenly realized the woman coming towards me with her dog was laughing and pointing at something behind me. When I turned round I realized my new fiancé was a good many yards behind me kneeling on the grass with the ring-box in his hand. The poor love had been determined to do the whole thing correctly, with the ring, and so had rather romantically gone down on one knee and proposed again. Being me however, I hadn’t noticed a thing and had carried on walking and chatting away happily to nobody until the kind-hearted dog-walker woman put me right. Naturally I rushed back to my now muddy Loved One and gave him another positive response to the second proposal of marriage I’d received that Christmas, as well as a big sloppy kiss. Well, I didn’t want to disappoint our audience after all…
We got married the next year in 1993. Eighteen years on and still happily spliced (though I have yet to recover from my mother’s screams of joy when we told her the news), those two proposals are definitely my best Christmas present ever.
The Heart’s Greater Silence
Mark isn’t sure he believes in love, especially when he finds himself torn between two very different men: his reliable boyfriend, Craig, and his illicit lover and priest, Richard.
Mark knows what he should do, but he can’t bring himself to give Richard up. The sex with Richard is unlike anything he’s ever known with Craig, and he hungers for it as much as—if not more than—the truer intimacy he finds in his boyfriend’s arms.
When Craig discovers his betrayal, Mark is forced to look at his life more closely, but the path to self-knowledge is never an easy one. Richard seeks the way back to God, but Mark finds no solace there. Can he ever discover the truth of his own soul, or is he too afraid of what he will—or won’t—find inside his heart?
Anne has two great giveaways up for grabs today! Read carefully because there are different instructions for each one.
First, everyone who comments here at Joyfully Jayon this post will be eligible to win one of two prizes:
- One backlist ebook
- One signed cover flat and magnet
- Three backlist ebooks
- Gift certificate
Again, these will be awarded one each to two different winners. To enter to win the blog tour prizes you need to send answers to the following questions about Heart’s Greater Silence to Anne via email.
- What item of his trade is Richard wearing when Mark sees him in a church?
- When Craig discovers Mark and Richard together, what does he do just before leaving?
- What action does Mark take at the end of the story?
(Fine print below applies to the Joyfully Jay part of the contest)
- By entering the contest, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
- Winners will be selected by random number.
- If you win, you must respond to my email within 48 hours or another winner will be chosen. Please make sure that your spam filter allows email from Joyfully Jay and leave your email address if it is not in your profile.