So many friends and reader fans of Kim Carter who visit my book blog have been asking me of late, where has Kim been? Kim has been writing and working hard on her new book for months. Since I have been working with Kim over 4-years now, beginning in 2015, I can tell you she puts an amazing amount of research in each mystery she writes. I received permission from Kim to share the Prologue of her new book! A special peek of this fantastic mystery Exclusively for my book blog readers.
I’ve also had the privilege to read the first 25 chapters, and I can tell you it’s nothing like you’ve read by Kim before. Even though it leans toward a historical mystery, it has all the elements of a thrilling, twisty plot and is packed with suspense and surprises page after page!
This sneak peek consists of the backstories of two families and their history as Kim weaves it all into the present day at the opening of chapter one. As you follow the lineages of these families, more and more of their dark family secrets emerge.
How can a crime that happened in the 1800’s return to happen again in 2018 when all of the original characters are deceased?
Some deep and deadly family secrets are floating around the BAYOU …
I do hope you enjoy it! It pulls you in and leaves you wanting to read more, just like it did Cat. Kim will be having a special “Cover Reveal” soon as well, so keep coming back for more updates of this new mystery book or visit her Official Author Website of upcoming events.
…..Emmanuel Sinclair stood back and surveyed the sprawling plantation home that had encompassed his life for the past two years. What had simply begun as a vast creation in his mind, had soon become an obsession, just as Lucretia, his soon-to-be bride had been.
He nodded his head with pleasure as if someone were there awaiting his approval. The estate was splendid, that couldn’t be denied. She was placed perfectly amidst rows of river oaks, magnolias, and sycamores in the front, contrasting sharply with the stately smooth-trunked, bald cypress and coastal willows rising prominently from the waters in the bayou behind.
There was no doubt Lucretia would be delighted with her new home. She was scheduled to depart from Maine within the next twenty-four hours and begin her journey down the mighty Mississippi River to New Orleans, where Emmanuel would be expecting her at the port.
Lucretia’s trip would be grueling, but she’d experienced many changes over her eighteen years of life. Her grandparents had been part of the Expulsion of 1755 when the British ejected all French Acadians refusing to pledge allegiance to the King of England. Originally settling in Massachusetts, before moving to Connecticut, then finally putting up permanent stakes in Maine, young Lucretia longed for constancy. It was stability that’d first attracted her to Emmanuel Sinclair.
By the age of thirty-five, he’d already made his fortune in the cotton business. His father had died seven years earlier, leaving Emmanuel a sizeable concession of land and a fledgling cotton crop which, at best, kept the plantation self-sufficient. But it was the combination of Emmanuel’s business savvy, the increase of cotton production, and Louisiana’s strategic ports that’d quickly increased his wealth.
As Emmanuel had been steadily building a prosperous empire, on an equally sprawling plantation a few miles away, Thaddeus Jackson was constructing a flourishing kingdom of his own. He’d had his father to thank for being born a free man of color. Mathias had caught the eye and respect of General Andrew Jackson as a standout on the battlefield during the War of 1812. His grueling work ethic and leadership skills had been pivotal in the construction of breastworks, later referred to as Line Jackson.
Thaddeus had quickly tired of the story, even as a young boy, and considered his father nothing more than an Uncle Tom who’d covered cotton bales with logs and mud to protect the white army. However, the general had been quite impressed, enough so in fact, that he’d facilitated Mathias’s freedom. Not one to take any blessing for granted, Mathias had chosen to acquire Jackson’s surname out of gratitude.
Thaddeus had found much to dislike about his father, but he’d inherited many of his best traits. He was a powerful leader and quick learner when it came to amassing a fortune which made him a natural as a privateer along the Mississippi. His tall frame and good looks didn’t work against him either. Both his appearance and his slick-talking skills had captured Fatima Whitman’s attention, followed by her heart.
Fatima came with quite the story of her own. With a shortage of white women in the state of Louisiana and laws forbidding interracial marriage, it was the institution of placage at that time enabled her to be a mistress to the very wealthy, and very old, Benjamin Whitman. She’d been merely a teenager when he’d spotted her working his fields and quickly arranged for her to be a kept woman. Having been accustomed to hard labor and the unrelenting heat, she hadn’t objected to being at his beck and call, and his bed, when he’d insisted.
Fortunately for Fatima, she’d only had to suffer through a few sessions of his sexual desires before he’d dropped dead of a heart attack at the ripe age of 78. With Benjamin being a childless widower and having no other heirs with whom to split his fortune, Fatima became the proud owner of, not only his cotton plantation, but his slaves as well.
It wasn’t her attractiveness as a mulatto that’d lured Thaddeus to pursue her, it’d been her property and the glorious cotton fields that promised years and years of wealth. Once he’d set his sights on her, there was little she could do but concede to his advances. After all, who wouldn’t want a bright, handsome, young husband to take care of things?
A rabbit scurried beneath some underbrush, drawing Emmanuel’s attention to the cool, damp breeze and dark clouds gathering in the afternoon sky, promising an impending storm. He walked to the front porch, pausing long enough to get his oil lamp, light it, and make his way inside.
Emmanuel hesitated briefly to take in the magnificence of the grand staircase that wound its way, like an ornate ribbon, up to the second and third floors. One of the slaves, who’d been trained as a blacksmith, had spent the past few months creating it, and he hadn’t disappointed. It would surely take Lucretia’s breath away.
Aside from a bed and the necessities for his office, the remaining furnishings would be left to her desires. Yet another of Emmanuel’s wedding gifts to her.
Although it was mid-day, and the many windows gave way to ample light, thunder clouds had begun to darken the interior of the home. Carrying the oil lamp, he made his way up the stairs and down the corridor leading to the west wing where he entered his office.
Sliding the mantle a smidgen to the left released the mechanism holding the entire faux fireplace intact, enabling him to unlock the steel door leading to an array of complex tunnels and ultimately, his concealed vault. This was where the story of two greedy and shrewd businessmen merged.
This was the beginning of a story older than time… a story they’d both take to their graves.