Just a little about me: I was born in Manchester, New Hampshire. After graduating from Central High, I joined the US Army. I spent 11 years in the military, 7 in Germany. While in the military, I earned a BS in Political Science from California Baptist University in Riverside, CA in 1995. I left the Army in 1997 and settled in California, but my favorite football team is still the New England Patriots. I work for LAPD as a 911 dispatcher. I've been married for 19 years. I have two boys, Andrew, 8, and Joseph, 4.
My visit to Budapest, Hungary
At the time, I was in the US Army and deployed to Taszar, Hungary in support of Operation Joint Guard. They offered me a chance to go to Budapest on a USO Recreation weekend. How could I refuse?
My hotel was on Margaret Island, in the middle of the Danube. The weather was mild, the leaves were just starting to change – it was the perfect time of year to explore.
Fisherman's Bastian helps to accentuate the setting in The Count's Lair, Book 2 in the Budapest Moon series. The story takes place in Budapest, Hungary during Christmas time 1901. Count Anton Varga harbors a dark secret, but he's in love with a talented pianist, Lady Amelia Andrassy. He'll give her 3 clues to his secret. What will Amelia do when she discovers what he's hiding?
Question for you: I'd love to hear about a place you visited that resonated with you.
Enjoy this small excerpt:
She flashed him a tender smile. "Well, my mother was musical. She played piano and sang. My sister likes to sing. My father would take us out into the woods, and we'd pick our tree. He'd cut it down, and we'd bring it home. We all decorated it with glass ornaments, garland, and popcorn. My mother would take us caroling with her church choir. We'd even bake special foods for the holiday."
"What? Yorkshire pudding and rib roast?"
"How did you know?"
He chuckled. "You grew up in England, if I remember correctly."
"I did grow up in England."
"Near London, right? Ester?"
"It's Esher -- just outside of London."
Again, he chuckled. "I'm sorry. I know you told me--"
"Before you left."
"Yes, before I left."
She stepped away from him, as if forcing distance between them for not remembering. He grabbed her wrist. "I'm sorry."
"Don't be," she said quietly.
"Perhaps you can help me to enjoy the Christmas season," he suggested. "Let me take you to the Kris Kringle Market in Budapest."
Her eyes danced with delight at the suggestion. "I'd like that. When?"
He frowned. "A week from now."
"I have to go to Sopron. I'm finishing the improvements to the estate."
"Oh." She withdrew her hand.
Silence grew between them. He frowned. He wished he could escort her back to Budapest, but he couldn't. The full moon commanded his actions for the next week.
"Amelia, please, let me take you."
"Can I trust you, Anton?"
"Yes." He stepped next to her, radiating warmth. A small smile graced her lips, as if she'd been infused with hope from his heat. She looked up into his eyes. He wrapped his arms around her. Their combined auras made him blink.
"Is something wrong, Anton?"
"No." He cocked his head, poised to kiss her. "Do you sense this?"
"This what?" she whispered.
"This spark? This heat? Amelia, a week isn't so long, is it?"
"No, I'll wait."
He drew her close, slowly pressing his lips against hers, caressing them like a reverent pilgrim. She softly leaned against his hard body. Their kiss ignited a flame in his loins, but it was too early to fan it. He would go too far. Rather abruptly, he disengaged from her soft mouth.
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