Sunday, September 29, 2019

Getting Here

Long ago, I lived in Texas. Those who were born and raised there were in one class of folks. Those who migrated there as adults got to wear a popular t-shirt proclaiming even though they weren't born there, they got there as soon as they could.

I thought about that shirt (which I never bought or subscribed to its notion) this week when I read an editorial talking about the same subject, but instead of Texas, they were relating it to North Carolina. Now, that's a notion I can get behind. Since moving here 1-1/2 years ago, I've settled in. I have nice neighbors, I've found work I can do from home, I joined a gym, and my new Revolutionary War series has me waking up each morning raring to go.

The first one in the series, A British Heiress in America, basically wrote itself. The second one's taking a bit longer, since my hero took a while to get his act together. But with a name like Hawk, what else could you expect? Here's a snippet from the second book, A British Courtesan in America:

The streets were bustling with people, all busy with their lives. Libby melted into the throng and wandered from one street to the next. Her next hurdle was to find employment. She glanced at the various shops and tried to picture herself working in one of them, but nothing so far captured her fancy. The street noise was deafening and the cobbles uneven, so she shifted her gaze to the street and lurched to a stop as the heel of her expensive brocaded silk shoe wedged between two cobbles. In her haste to explore her new city, she’d forgotten to change out of her favorite pair of shoes, the final gift from Atticus. She leaned over to dislodge the shoe, or take it off. 
Shouts, and then, thundering hooves, finally resonated. Libby glanced up in time to see a horse barreling right at her, but she was unable to move to safety. A scream formed in her throat as her gaze was pinned on the runaway animal. She closed her eyes, waiting for the inevitable. What a pity, to die on her first day of freedom. Then, the breath got knocked out of her as hands grabbed her and yanked her out of the way. She landed hard on the cobblestones, with an equally hard body on top of her. She fought for air as the man rolled off her, helping her to a sitting position, while Boston bustled around her. 
When she finally was able to breathe again, she opened her eyes and stared at the person who had saved her life. Dark skin, a shock of black hair that stood straight up from his scalp, broad shoulders, and brown eyes that narrowed as she perused him. If she hadn’t had the wind knocked out of her already, this man’s appearance would have stolen it. She’d never seen anyone remotely resembling him. And he still held onto her hand. 
She put her feet under her and he helped her rise. When she tried to put weight on her left foot, her ankle screamed in pain and she winced. 
“Have you been injured?” The exotic stranger asked in a voice that had a French lilt to it. 
“It’s my ankle. I twisted it, evidently. And lost my shoe.” Libby glanced around, searching for her missing footwear. 
The man scoured the area where she had been and pulled what was left of the shoe from the cobbles. He handed it to her. “Hope you weren’t too fond of them. Mighty fancy footwear for the wild streets of Boston.” 

She stifled the moan, and blinked rapidly, not letting the tears fall. “Thank you, kind sir. Now, if you can direct me to my hotel, I’ll let you get back to work.” She took a step forward, but latched onto the man’s arm for support as she cried out in pain. 
“You aren’t going anywhere in that condition, mon amie. I can take care of you.” He picked her up in his brawny arms and carried her through the streets. 
“I can take care of myself, sir. Please put me down.” She struggled, which made him grip her tighter. 
“Not until I take care of your ankle. The longer it’s left unattended, the greater the swelling.” He glanced down at her and smiled slightly. “It’s the least I can do. That horse escaped from my stables.” 
Libby settled into his arms. “Well, in that case…” She took a moment to study him. “I’m sensing a French accent, but something else, too. What is your nationality?” 

“Oui, half French. The other half is Passamaquoddy Indian.” 

And, when I get a spare morsel of time, I'm already thinking of the third book, tentatively titled A British Spinster in America. All my heroines are transplanted from England to the United States at the very moment in time when the states did become united. The Revolutionary War is a battle I can get behind, unlike the Civil War, in which so many died so a few could continue their plantation way of life. I keep my Civil War leanings to myself, since I am technically a Southerner now. But North Carolina is a good place to grow things. Like my office plant. It was a gift when I moved into my new place, and has taken off, spreading its leaves towards the heavens. What only a year ago was a little philodendron of some kind has grown into a plant worthy of Little Shop of Horrors. I can hear it calling out "Feed Me!" each time I come near with a watering can.

So I guess it's time I bought a shirt. One that says "I may not have been born here, but I got here as soon as I could." North Carolina is feeling like home.

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