The following articles are photo copies taken from my local newspaper. The articles are similar, but still have differences, so I have included them both in this post. It amazes me how one substitute teacher, who obviously knows nothing about what a Social Studies teacher was instructing, can jump to conclusions, claim the Confederate battle flag is racist, succeed in rallying other uninformed individuals to petition against its display, and gain so much momentum. If anyone who reads this agrees with her, I will be happy to inform you about the untruths published here, so please feel free to contact me. Once again, this is another example of political correctness vs. historical accuracy and knowledge.
(Articles courtesy of The Colorado Springs Gazette Woodmen Edition, May 5, 2021 and the North Springs Edition, May 12, 2021)
How would you feel when the man you have known and loved for the last five years is not who he said he was? That everything he ever told you was all a lie.
An accident changed our lives forever and now I have to bring him back to us because he doesn’t remember our life, our family or us. One minute, I was just a regular girl from India married to a man she loved, and the next, my life has changed completely because I’m married to an English Duke, who doesn’t remember me.
My name is Aaliya Singh Talbot and I will do whatever it takes to bring my husband back from the darkness and into the light.
I will make him remember no matter what I have to do!
I will make him remember everything – beneath all the lies!
In a heartbeat, I know it’s me. I jerk awake and sit upright on my bed, my heart roaring against my ribcage. My hand trembles as I push my long hair back from my damp forehead. He can’t be dead; this was just a dream! I chant that thought while taking huge calming breaths. This is the third time this week I’ve woken up like this, feeling like he’s gone. The fact that I’ve lost all touch with him screams inside me that something is drastically wrong else he’d never be silent for this long; his phone would never be switched off like it has been this last week. I shut my eyes, anxiety weighing me down. How long should I convince myself there is a reason for his silence?
I grab the photo frame from my bedside table. It is a picture of Damien and I from our honeymoon. His arm is around me and both of us are smiling into the camera, the waves of the Indian Ocean crashing behind us.
I run a finger along his face, tracing that bearded jaw, visualizing him in my mind’s eye. Those striking grey-green eyes that sparkle whenever they rest on me, that heart-stopping smile that almost always makes me melt. I miss him! I miss being tucked under his chin when he hugs me. I miss his scent and I miss how his strong arms and tall frame wrap around me when we sleep, making me feel protected and cherished. This is the first time we’ve been separated for so long and perhaps that’s what is making me anxious. I shake my head. No, something is wrong. I can sense it.
God! Please let him be safe, I pray.
Love is a strange yet powerful emotion that hit me when I least expected it and swept me off my feet without me even knowing it. And now, five years later, it is the faith I have in that love that makes me believe he would never leave me without contact—unless he was in trouble.
Fear for him slithers like a poisonous snake across my veins but I have to tamper it down because I have one more reason to remain sane, to stay anchored to the belief that Damien will be fine, no matter what. I breathe in deep, letting the familiar hum of the air conditioner soothe my nerves before I slide off the bed. My feet hit the cold marble floor and I head to the other bedroom where I tip toe inside.
My darling little boy—an angel with his mouth open and a tiny hand clutching his rather overlong hair—is sleeping in his cot. A small smile skates across my lips and my heart warms as I stare at him for a moment before lifting him carefully and putting him on my shoulder. He wriggles for a moment but soon relaxes in my arms, his nose digging into the side of my neck. I inhale his soft, sweet fragrance, and shut my eyes for a few seconds. Rian is ten months old and the love of our lives. Reluctant to let go of him, I hold him for a second longer before I gently tuck him back in his cot and caress his beloved face, so similar to his father.
My cell phone rings and I run to my room, glancing at the clock that shows that it’s three in the morning. I pray fervently that it’s finally him calling. Please God, let that be my husband!
I lift the cell, scanning the caller id and my shoulders slump.
“Gabriel!” I breathe into the phone. “Where is Damien? It’s been a week since I heard from him. One whole week with his phone switched off and you giving me a different excuse each time I call. I’m scared, Gabe. You can’t even begin to imagine the thoughts running through my mind.”
His silence only fuels my fear.
“Gabe, please,” I plead. “Where is he?”
“Aaliya, he…he’s been in a car accident!”
“No! God, no!” I shudder. “Is he-”
I swallow against the pain in my throat and try again, because I need to know. “Is he fine? Please tell me he’s alive!”
“Aaliya, he’s fine. He was in a coma for a week. He’s just woken up now.”
“One week!” I gasp out. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
Tears burn my eyes, threatening to spill over. “His trip to London was planned for two days not ten, Gabe. I’ve lived in terror this last week ever since I lost contact with him. You knew how worried I was and yet you fed me with one excuse after the other. How could you keep his accident from me? I deserved to know, Gabe.”
“Don’t you dare try and placate me!” I yell, unable to hold it back any longer. “You should’ve called me the minute he was admitted to the hospital.”
“Aaliya, I’m sorry. I truly am!” His voice comes out broken. “This is hard for me too. I didn’t tell you because he told me to look after you and Rian first if anything happened to him. I never imagined that he’d meet with an accident so soon after. You may not understand this now, Aaliya, but I did this to protect you both.”
“Protect us from what?”
Gabe sighs. “How much do you know of the English aristocracy?”
My fist squeezes tighter around my phone. “I don’t care about the damn English aristocracy. Tell me about Damien. How is he?”
“Like I said, he’s fine now. He woke up a few hours ago. He’s injured his head, but he will be fine. There’s a lot to tell you, Aaliya. Damien hasn’t told you entirely who he was…is.”
“What do you mean, Gabe? Don’t talk to me in riddles. Besides, I know who he was…” I shake my head. “…he is. I know about his life in England. So, stop trying to tell me something else.”
I’ve known Gabriel Westcott for as long as I’ve known Damien, which is five years now. He is Damien’s best friend, his business partner and was his best man at our wedding. Since Damien was an orphan, Gabe was also the only person to attend from Damien’s side. This last week he’s given me one excuse after the other regarding the silence from Damien and now he’s feeding me some nonsense about my husband that I refuse to believe.
“Damn it, Aaliya. You need to listen to me!” Gabe shouts. “Damien is the second son of the Duke of Kittridge. He returned here to England ten days ago not on a business trip, like he told you, but because his father and brother died in a car crash. He came for their funeral and because of his new responsibility. Damien is now the Duke of Kittridge.”
“No!” I whisper, dropping down on the bed. “That can’t be true. He would have told me. No! I don’t believe you.”
“Google it. Now! It’s K I T T R I D G E.”
He spells the word as I grab my laptop and open Google and type the letters. My eyes widen in shock. Oh my God! The cords in my neck strain as I stare at the images on the screen. There are dozens of pictures of Damien. He’s at a funeral. He’s with an older woman. Another picture shows him with his arm around a younger blonde woman, comforting her. Who are these women? What in the hell is going on? I read tweets on him.
“The new Duke of Kittridge”
“Missing son returns after five years”
“The Devil Lord is now the Devil Duke”
The Internet has the whole history of Damien; it knows things I’ve never known. My Damien is not Damien Alexander, as I’ve always known him; he is Damien Alexander Talbot, now the Duke of Kittridge.
“How…how is this possible?” My voice trembles. “How could I have not known?”
“I will explain it all to you, Aaliya. But first, you need to come to London as soon as you can. Can you organize to leave Rian with someone for a few days?”
“I’ll bring him with me. Damien will want to see him.”
“Aaliya,” Gabe lowers his tone and my heartbeat accelerates yet again, “he doesn’t remember you. He has no memory of the last five years of his life, which includes Rian and you.”
Did he just say that? No! It can’t be true. But I know to the core of my being that it is true. This is why my instincts have been roaring at me since the last few days. My stomach plummets, the hollowness spreading through every inch of my body. A whimper escapes my mouth and I press a hand on my lips to stop myself from screaming.
About the Author: Sapna Bhog is an author from India who writes contemporary and historical romance novels. As a self-proclaimed die-hard romantic, her books are filled with swoon-worthy heroes and feisty heroines who clash all the time, but do get their happy ever after. Sapna has always surrounded herself with books and when she is not writing she is reading. Originally from Dubai, she now lives in Western India with her husband, kids and a Siberian Husky. Sapna gave up a successful IT career and took a foray into writing and has never looked back since. Her favourite pastimes are reading, writing, traveling and shopping—not necessarily in that order. She loves to hear from readers.
Lady Annabelle Trask is missing. Unfortunately, MISix doesn’t know if they’re looking for a woman, a cow, or something in between!
Is it real or is it fantasy? That’s the question MISix Agent Mathilda Honoria Spencer struggles with on her latest assignment. Tasked with discovering the whereabouts of Lady Annabelle Trask, Tillie is thrust into the world of Hucows and other human animals. It’s a world that raises serious questions about sexual fetishes, intentional physical enhancements, and even pornography, but in the end, Tillie has only one mission—to rescue and return Lady Annabelle to the Queen. However, as she and her partner, Agent Abdul Ali, attempt to find Lady Annabelle and keep her out of the clutches of terrorists bent on destroying the monarchy, they must also wrestle with their feelings for each other. Can they draw the line between their duty to the Crown and their relationship with one another? Or must they embark on separate paths to continue to serve the Queen?
Harun stood and hugged his brother. Then he turned to Tillie. His gaze was steady, but his eyes were cold. “Forgive me if I cannot give you a similarly warm welcome, but my wife and I have not yet recovered from the brutal attack on our daughter.”
“Harun.” Marianne Benson spoke softly, but her gaze was fierce. “I believe Hope and the Agency have settled the matter. You don’t need to pursue it further.” She turned to Abdul and smiled. “I am pleased to see you, Abdul.” She cocked an eyebrow. “Though for a while there, the rumor was that you had gone rogue and were dancing with the devil.”
Abdul laughed. “I may dance with the devil occasionally, but that does not mean he owns my soul. I am still slaving away for the Queen.” He smiled at Mari. “Thank you for coming so quickly.”
“Well, it’s hard to ignore a summons from the Queen, and when your husband has a plane, it is much easier to respond quickly.” Mari motioned to the chairs at the table. “Please sit. Let’s get down to business. It was made clear that time was of the essence.”
Everyone sat, and Mari walked over to a control panel set into a console. She pushed a button, and a whiteboard lit up. “As you know, after we rescued the people off Flight Eight Seven Zero and The Mars were prosecuted, Dianna and Anders interviewed them extensively at Guantanamo Bay. We were able to collect a considerable amount of information on the organization, its members, and its financing.”
Twelve photos appeared on the screen. “These are the current members of Marwolaeth I’r Frenhines. Six are incarcerated at Guantanamo, three have been released, and three are recruits.”
Tillie leaned forward and studied the faces. It always amazed her how normal terrorists appeared. There was nothing in their faces to indicate that they were evil. Most were smiling in their photos. However, the tell was in the eyes. They were stone cold.
Mari pointed at the photos of those recently released. “These three have been fairly quiet. We could not detect any significant communication or contact between them and the new members, which makes me think this may be a new group that merely adopted the name.” She brought up a few more photos. “These gentlemen are believed to be the financiers of the new order.”
Tillie studied the group and gasped. “But that’s a former member of Parliament.”
Harun nodded. “And someone who wishes to dissolve the Monarchy. Apparently, he has put his money where his mouth is.” Another screen popped up. A bank statement.
Abdul cleared his throat. “Fifty million pounds? That’s pretty significant. Has this been verified?”
Harun gazed at Abdul. “I’m afraid so. We have transfers to the account, bank acknowledgments, and proof the newest members of The Mars have been drawing on these funds.”
Mari pulled up another screen. “Though we were a little puzzled by their purchases until now. We thought they had gone into farming.” She pointed at an invoice. “Everything you need to raise a cow, or in this case, a human cow.”
Tillie hugged herself and shuddered. “Lady Annabelle is most certainly in their sights.”
Mari gazed at her husband and nodded. Harun opened a file he had set in front of him. “Apparently, it is much worse. There were also several purchases for the care of an infant. Either Lady Annabelle is pregnant, or they intend to impregnate her.”
Abdul slammed his fist on the table. “Bloody hell. A royal baby? The Queen would move heaven and earth to protect her own blood. What a crafty way to manipulate her for their own purposes. She would be damned no matter how she responded. That could end the monarchy.”
Tillie stood. “I think I’m going to be sick.”
About Seelie Kay:
Award-winning author Seelie Kay writes about lawyers in love, sometimes with a dash of kink.
Writing under a nom de plume, the former lawyer and journalist draws her stories from more than 30 years in the legal world. Seelie’s wicked pen has resulted in nineteen works of fiction, including the new paranormal romance series Donovan Trait, as well the erotic romance Kinky Briefs series and The Feisty Lawyers romantic suspense series. She also authored The Last Christmas, The Garage Dweller, A Touchdown to Remember, The President’s Wife, The President’s Daughter, Seizing Hope, The White House Wedding, and participated in the romance anthology Pieces of Us.
When not spinning romantic tales, Seelie ghostwrites nonfiction for lawyers and other professionals. Currently, she resides in a bucolic exurb outside Milwaukee, WI, where she enjoys opera, the Green Bay Packers, gourmet cooking, organic gardening, and an occasional bottle of red wine.
Seelie is an MS warrior and ruthlessly battles the disease on a daily basis. Her message to those diagnosed with MS: Never give up. You define MS, it does not define you!