I mean, strategy is key, and that really was genius of her to A, not rush to talk to Governor Hendricks when he first arrived, and B, approach him when he's stuck with someone like Mrs. She's been through a lot lately. So what if she has a couple of drinks? Logan would just love to run a smear campaign against Bernie We've been over all of this before. But come on, Gretch. This is a birthday party. Do you really think your mother would let any of Logan's spies in? Gretchen thought about it for a second, then shook her head. Veronica's eyes narrowed at something over Gretchen's shoulder.
A few moments later, Elizabeth rejoined them.
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You holding up okay? Elizabeth shrugged, but volunteered nothing. Knowing how sensitive the baby issue was, neither Veronica nor Gretchen probed further. As yet, Lucile and Erich Lauterbach had not been blessed with any grandchildren--unless Gretchen's older sister Rachel, who had been virtually disowned by Gretchen's parents five years before, had had one. Even if she had, given the current circumstances, Lucile and Erich wouldn't have acknowledged the baby's existence anyway. Regardless, it was highly unlikely that Rachel would be the one to bless the family with the first grandchild.
She was forty-four, a year younger than Bernard, was not married, and had never expressed any interest in becoming a mother--except to Hitch, a mutt she'd rescued from the highway many years before. Then there was Gretchen.
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Like her sister, she was single, but she was also much younger. She'd been born late in Lucile and Erich's lives, coming as somewhat of a "surprise"--not an "accident", Gram had often insisted, as none of God's children were that--to parents who thought their childrearing days were behind them. Since Bernard and Elizabeth's childbearing years were numbered, Gretchen's parents--mainly her mother--now looked to their youngest daughter as their sole heir-providing source.
A pressure Gretchen could have done without, but one that made her more sympathetic to her brother's plight. As the only male child, Bernard was painfully aware that his parents desired more from him than just grandchildren. They wanted a boy to carry on the family name. It wasn't like he and Elizabeth hadn't tried.
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For the last ten years they'd tried everything, but with no luck. Now, instead of worrying about how to simultaneously finance college educations and retirement funds like their peers were doing, Bernard and Elizabeth prayed the next fertility treatment would work. They'd discussed adoption, but Lucile quickly put the kibosh on that idea, making one message in particular perfectly clear to the entire family: Everyone got the message.
She was one of the few family members who asked Gretchen and Bernard about their sister, and one of even fewer who sent along hellos. Rachel and Veronica hadn't been close, but they'd always been amiable. Perhaps because of their shared position on Lucile's Top 10 list of most despised family members. Not even a card. But I expect I will. I'm hoping she calls this year, but I guess it depends on where she is. I'm not even sure she's in the States. The waiter appeared with champagne.
Elizabeth and Veronica traded in their chardonnays, then Elizabeth fixed her focus on the tent's arched plastic windows and changed the subject to the weather. Gretchen followed her sister-in-law's gaze and sighed. The little bit of blue sky that had been overhead when she'd first arrived was gone. In its place reigned the legion of clouds she'd seen threatening to take over from the south. The bird of paradise and oleander bushes thrashed in the growing winds, and the air smelled wet and sweet with the promise of rain.
Gretchen turned and saw her mother approaching them. Elizabeth simply nodded and smiled. Lucile nodded demurely to Elizabeth before shooting Veronica one last disapproving sneer. The girls watched her strut back to the front of the tent where the caterers were setting the massive birthday cake on Gram's table. Lucile had never liked anything about her older sister Marguerite--including Veronica, Marguerite's only child.
From what Gretchen understood about the aunt she'd never known, Marguerite's death had been as unjust as it was untimely. She'd been murdered shortly after Gretchen's birth, but the murderer had never been caught. The tragedy hadn't softened Lucile's attitude towards her sister's offspring any; even though, at age twenty, Veronica found herself essentially orphaned, having lost her father to a car accident a few months prior to her mother's death. Gretchen approached her grandmother, placed a hand on her shoulder, and kissed the top of her head.
Gretchen eyed the crowd of guests gathering in front of them and said, "Yes, Gram. They're all here to wish us, but especially you, Happy Birthday. Here to see me? Before Gretchen could answer, her father boomed, "A birthday toast! May you both continue to grow more beautiful with each passing year. Everyone lifted their glasses and the remarks, "Here, here! The guests serenaded Gretchen and Gram while the musicians provided the Happy Birthday melody.
The singing ended in a round of applause, then Gram leaned in, Gretchen bent down, and together they blew out their candles, which was followed by more clapping. One member of the catering staff hustled to transfer cake slices to plates while the other servers lined up to distribute them. Gretchen was about to explain that her sister wasn't there, but she saw Gram smiling at someone and she turned to see whom. It took a moment for the raven-haired woman's face to register, although it was complete surprise, and not because Gretchen didn't immediately recognize the olive-skinned beauty.
Gretchen, like Bernard, took after her father's Germanic origins and donned golden brown hair, fair skin, and blue eyes. Rachel, on the other hand, inherited their mother's Spanish and French blood. There was no mistaking the dark cascading curls, the oval face, or the exotic eyes. If it were possible for Lucile to have a much younger twin, Rachel would be it. She was thinner than Gretchen remembered, and she looked frazzled--which was understandable considering her unexpected appearance--but, overall, she was as radiant as ever.
For one moment, a hush fell over the crowd. Then the whispers started. Erich clutched his wife's elbow and whispered in ear, "Lucile, let's take this somewhere else. You don't want to create a scene. And that was all it took, reminding Lucile where she was--and who was there. Flaunting her best smile and a gentler voice, she requested that Rachel please accompany her into the house. My family is in the middle of a party. If Lucile's words had stung--as it was obvious they were meant to--it didn't show.
July 31, – Courtney Lynn Mroch
Somewhere a flash went off. Rachel approached her parents. Rachel took another step forward, but Lucile flew into a rage. Mortified, Gretchen watched in horror as her father struggled to pull the women apart. All the while the photographer clicked away, capturing the squabble's every grappling detail. Don't you understand I just came to see Gram? Now leave," Lucile insisted, smoothing her skirt. Rachel headed out of the tent, but paused when Gram's scratchy voice pleaded, "No.
I want to talk to her. Her bottom lip quivered, her eyes glistened with tears.
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And with that, she dashed across the lawn and disappeared around the side of the house. Gretchen started to run after her sister, but her father grabbed her and held her back. It'll only make things worse. How can you just abandon one of your own children like this? Overhead, thunder crashed, followed by a zip of lightning. The dazzling white after-burn flickered across the guests' stunned faces.
Then the rain came, a threatening deluge that assaulted the tent's top, instantly drenching everything not covered. Her father's sad eyes caught Gretchen off guard, revealing something she'd never before considered. He missed Rachel too. Upset by Rachel's dramatic exit, Gram started crying. Waite quickly wheeled her away from the guests. After helping her parents with damage control, Gretchen finally had a chance to sneak away and check on her grandmother. She found Gram in her bedroom, sitting in her recliner, watching the storm through a large bay window topped with a soft pink swag.
Along with rain, the room smelled of rose-scented lotion. The sounds from the party, the music and the conversation, were barely audible, muffled in part by the frenzied, watery drumbeat of raindrops pelting against the glass. Every few minutes a violent thunder-boom rattled the house and shook the panes, and flashes of lightning illuminated the storm-darkened bedroom, but Gram didn't seem to notice.
Gretchen asked the nurse to give them a few minutes alone, and Mrs. Gretchen went to sit next to her grandmother in a wingback chair covered in pink and white floral chintz. With the exception of the white walls and the white leather recliner, almost everything in the room was pink, Gram's favorite color.
The floor was covered in a plush, dusty-pink pile, which, on Gram's more coherent days, she referred to as her carpet of rose petals. Against the west wall, before the door that led to the pink and white tiled bathroom, stood a large bureau where powder, rouge, and lipstick shared space with the pictures of Gram's grandchildren. A large portrait of Gram's late husband hung on the wall. Five more frames filled with young, smiling faces--Gram's children in their teens and twenties--surrounded their father's imposing, stern face.
To the left of Gram's recliner stood a nightstand that held a pink porcelain lamp with an ivory-fringed lampshade, a bottle of lotion, and a box of tissues. There was no bed in the room. I decided to do what writers do and inject that story with some fiction to make it my own. I was out of my vampire phase at that point. I wanted a different monster. I learned of some real life lycanthropy cases like Jean Grenier.
Except their werewolf transformations were not just bite-induced and full moon-influenced. Some required a wizard who bestowed upon the cursed a cloak made of wolf fur. Frail, old, near-death grandma gives her granddaughter a map marked with two Xs and asks her to make sure her former lover gets a proper burial. But exactly which part of France to set it all in?
In Burgundy, the French have a saying: Even before I researched further and discovered the Morvan was forested and would make a good haven for wolves. Except, as far as I know no wolves roam the Morvan these days.
Beneath the Morvan Moon
Or, like the fictional pack in my book, do they but they stay so well hidden that no one knows about them? Nor do any werewolves, but with its history it was a preferred hideout for many criminals over the centuries because it was so harsh and inaccessible how do we know none ever roamed there? Or that the Wizard of the Wolves himself ever lurked there? And Celtic mythology, legends, and folklore prevail to this day. Another reason it appealed to me.
Druids, other religious orders, and royalty have also both reigned in this area.
Wars have been fought on its soil. Such a diversified history of legends and inhabitants has certainly given it quite the character. The last thing I want to do is give anyone a bad taste for this place. See the picture below for an example.
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Read more Read less. Kindle Cloud Reader Read instantly in your browser. Product details File Size: January 6, Sold by: Related Video Shorts 0 Upload your video. Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. I enjoyed this novel immensely.
I found more there than originally expected and was surprisingly rivetted by the characters and their interactions. This is truly an out of the ordinary must read. One person found this helpful 2 people found this helpful. Mroch's talent is shown in this descriptive and exciting page turner. I look forward to hearing more from this first-time author. Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway. Beneath The Morvan Moon.
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