When she hears footsteps behind her, racing through the pumpkin patch, manic laughter echoing through the forest, she bolts up the rickety steps and bangs at the door, heart in her throat.
With a hissing creak, the door swings open and Officer Oliver stands there, razor sharp sword strapped to his hip. He grins, his eyes glazing over.
“Who be knocking at me chamber door? Why it’s Linda Banche, the Pumpkinnapper. This way, dearie.”
Oliver handcuffs her as he escorts her to where the Queen of Hearts sits on her nail-back throne. Dank air snakes through the long dark corridor to the parlor. The pet bat screeches and the floorboards creak. Skeletal remains bang at the walls, their chains rattling. From the parlor, the organ grinds out Humphrey the Blue-nosed Pumpkin.
Sharon: That will be all, Officer Oliver. Now while I decide if Ms. Banche is indeed the pumkinnapper, bring us some Diet Pepsi and Devil Dogs. Then the room goes dark as the facts about Linda Banche and the Pumpkinnapper illuminate on the screen.
Linda Banche writes sweet/sensual Regency romances. Her historically accurate stories include humor (most of the time), fantasy (sometimes) and the paranormal (once in a while).
Linda read romances for years before she finally decided to write her own. She quickly found out it's harder than it looks. She lives in New England and likes aerobics and ducks.
Pumpkinnapper, Regency Halloween comedy
Buy link: http://www.thewildrosepress.com/pumpkinnapper-p-3685.html
Pumpkin thieves, a youthful love rekindled and a jealous goose. Oh my!
Last night someone tried to steal the widowed Mrs. Emily Metcalfe's pumpkins. She's certain the culprit is her old childhood nemesis and the secret love of her youth, Henry, nicknamed Hank, whom she hasn't seen in ten years.
Henry, Baron Grey, who's never forgotten the girl he loved but couldn’t pursue so long ago, decides to catch Emily's would-be thief. Even after she reveals his childhood nickname--the one he would rather forget. And even after her jealous pet goose bites him in an embarrassing place.
Oh, the things a man does for love.
"Emily, even with Henry, formidable as he is--" Hank glared at the goose. The goose glared back "--you need protection. I will send over some footmen to guard the place."
"No. Turnip Cottage belongs to Charlotte's husband. What will the townspeople think, with Lord Grey's servants about my house?"
Her refusal increased his fury. The sight of her hand on that damned goose's head didn't improve his mood, either. He balled his fists as his patience thinned and something else thickened. "I'll find you a guard dog. You must have some protection out here all alone."
"But I have Henry." She patted the goose's head and the bird snuggled into her hand.
Again Heat flooded Hank, part desire for Emily's touch, and part desire to murder that damned goose, who was where he wanted to be. His insides groaned. "Very well, then, you leave me no choice. I will help you catch the culprits.
"But--" He changed his voice to the voice that either melted a woman or earned him a slap in the face. "Who knows, mayhap we would enjoy ourselves as I lie in wait with you." I would love to lie with you.
Her eyes widened. Had she understood the innuendo? "I cannot stay alone with you, and you know it," she said, her voice severe.
"You are a widow in your own home and no one will see. I will make sure of it."
"No." She marched back into her cottage and slammed the door. Henry smirked and waddled away.
Hank grinned. He would be back, whether she liked it or not.
Regency romance--most with humor, some with fantasy, and occasionally a paranormal
Lady of the Stars--4 stars from Romantic Times, Regency time travel available from The Wild Rose Press
Pumpkinnapper--Regency Halloween comedy from The Wild Rose Press
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Officer Oliver places down the refreshments and takes a seat, his searing gaze penetrating.
Sharon: Hmmm. And tell me, Ms. Banche. How do you plead to this crime? Are you the Pumpkinnapper? And don’t lie because the inmates have sixth senses from beyond the other side.
A blood curdling scream shakes the chandelier and rattles the windows.
Sharon: That one lied. So how do you plead?
Linda: Innocent! I love pumpkins! I would never steal one.
Sharon: And what prompted you to write this book?
Linda: Pumpkinnapper is the byproduct of a Halloween story I planned for an anthology. As I sifted through Halloween legends for the first story, the idea for Pumpkinnapper popped into my head. A real Eureka moment. The original story, which is the prequel to Pumpkinnapper, is still in my Ideas folder.
Sharon: Tell us about your main characters, the setting, the aura of the book.
Linda: Pumpkinnapper is the story of a love triangle: man, woman and goose. Emily lives in the countryside of Regency England with her pet goose, Henry. Everything is peaceful until the Pumpkinnaper shows up. Enter Hank, who wants to help, much to Henry's chagrin. The goose isn't about to let this outsider win Emily without a fight, and bites Hank on an embarrassing portion of his anatomy. Meanwhile, the dread Pumpkinnapper, who has an agenda of his own, keeps trying to steal Emily's pumpkins. Hank and Henry trip over each other in their efforts to catch him, a regular comedy of errors.
Sharon: You look a bit faint. And we need to hear all the facts before deciding your fate. Officer Oliver, go get that lemon cake to revive our inmate. Sharon glances at the raven clock. And once the clock strikes the witching hour, your fate will be decided.
Linda gulps as Oliver feeds her a bite of lemon cake.
Sharon: Just time for a few more questions. What inspired you to write a story about somebody stealing pumpkins? Was this some secret fetish of yours, to nap pumpkins?
Linda: Fetish? What fetish? I'm so straight I'm boring. I would never steal a pumpkin. But, every story needs a villain, and the most dastardly of Halloween villains is a pumpkin thief.
Sharon: And what is your favorite costume for both male and female?
Linda: Why, Regency, of course. Ladies in high waisted dresses, and men in tight breeches and ruffled shirts. But only if they look good.
Sharon: And finally, will you be handing out tricks or treats to the wee ones this Halloween?
Linda: Oh yes, I always hand out candy. No tricks, only treats.
Sharon: Opens her mouth to speak but the raven screeches as the bell tower chimes in the witching hour.
Oliver slams down his fist on the coffin table. “Order in the Chamber.”
Sharon: Stand up, Ms. Banche. How do you plea?
Linda: Not guilty.
Sharon: We the people find you guilty of being the Pumpkinnapper. Officer, take her away!
Linda: No, no! I want an appeal! The Pumpkinnapper is still out there, stealing pumpkins!