Today I’m delighted to be sharing an excerpt from Anna Belfrage’s new edition of A Rip in the Veil as part of a blog tour hosted by The Coffee Pot Book Club.
Excerpt of A Rip in the Veil – In which new acquaintance Mrs Gordon saves the day
Early next morning, Mrs Gordon came rushing into the house, the full chamber pot still in her hand.
“Soldiers?” Alex got to her feet, throwing a panicked look through the half open door. Yes, she was right. The small yard was filling with mounted men—tired, drawn men who must have been riding half the night to show up here this early.
“Hide! You have to hide!”
“But where?” Alex was close to tears, trying to wake a grumbling Matthew. One room, no back door, and in the yard someone hawked and spat. Mrs Gordon set down the chamber pot by the foot of the bed, rushed over, grabbed Matthew by the legs and began to pull him in the direction of her bed.
“Underneath,” she panted, “and let us hope he doesn’t wake up halfway through, aye?”
Together they succeeded in rolling Matthew out of sight, and at Mrs Gordon’s curt command Alex got into bed. A male voice called a greeting, booted feet moved towards the door. A lace cap was crammed on Alex’s head, a pillow was shoved into place above her stomach.
“Squeal, aye? Weep and cry, lass, sound like a birthing woman.”
“A what?” She clasped her hands over the pillow.
Mrs Gordon didn’t reply, busy at the hearth with water and herbs.
“Scream!” she hissed over her shoulder, and Alex complied. “Good, good,” Mrs Gordon said, “keep that up, regular like, aye?”
“I’m telling you, we have no fugitive hiding in here.” Mrs Gordon stood like a bulwark in the doorway, and in the bed Alex squealed like a stuck pig.
“We have to look, mistress,” the officer insisted, sounding apologetic.
“Look! How look? And if the lass dies in childbirth while you’re at it, what then?”
The officer stuck his head in, bobbed his head at Alex who gave up an extra shriek. The little officer jumped, his head retracting from the doorway with the speed of a cobra.
“Alex?” Matthew mumbled, sounding very groggy. Not now! “Alex? Are you hurting?”
“Shit, shit, shit,” Alex hiccupped. She made a puking sound and hung over the edge of the bed, sounding as if she was dying. “Soldiers,” she hissed, sticking her hand in under the bed to squeeze down hard on whatever body part it was she got hold of. Oops! He gasped. She scrambled back up, and when the whole room filled with soldiers she pulled the quilt up as high as it would go. Mrs Gordon came to stand in front of her, arms akimbo as she glared at the soldiers.
“Make haste, I will not deliver a babe with a room full of men, aye?”
Alex did some very credible grunting and whimpering, and when a hand came wiggling up between the bedstead and the wall, she shrieked for real before realising whose hand it was. She gripped Matthew’s hand and squeezed, eternally grateful for Mrs Gordon who stood like a rock by the bed.
One of the soldiers approached the bed. Alex squawked, eyes on the drawn sword in his hand. What was he going to do? Jab it through the mattresses? Even worse, swipe it under the bed? She screamed, clutched at her make believe belly, and the soldier retreated a few steps.
Alex panted, didn’t even have to pretend panic when the soldier moved closer. He knelt down. Oh God, oh God. He set a hand on the floor. Alex couldn’t breathe. There was a loud clatter.
“Now look what you’ve done!” Mrs Gordon said, and the room filled with the stench of piss.
“Me?” The soldier scrabbled back from the spreading puddle. “No, it wasn’t me, I—”
“Of course you! Clumsy dolt. And who will have to clean it up, hmm? Who?”
“I’m sorry mistress,” the soldier mumbled. “I was just trying to look under the bed.”
“Look under the bed,” Mrs Gordon snorted. “Here, let me show you, aye?” She grabbed hold of a broom and jabbed it repeatedly under the bed. Every time she hit Matthew, his grip on Alex’s fingers tightened, but he didn’t utter a sound. Alex did.
For a further few minutes the soldiers remained in the room before the officer sent them off to inspect the outhouses. The officer sat down and accepted a mug of beer with a grateful nod.
Alex counted in her head, screamed and moaned, cursed, counted in her head, and did it all again. Hard work, this giving birth thing; her shirt stuck to her back, but she wasn’t sure if out of exertion or fear. The officer drained his mug, bowed and exited the room. Alex fell back against the pillows. Matthew gave her hand a reassuring squeeze.
By the time Mrs Gordon decided things were safe again, Alex was so hoarse she could barely speak, and quite convinced they should leave—now.
“That would be foolish,” Mrs Gordon said. “The countryside is swarming with them, and anyway, your man is in no shape to do much walking, not for a day or two at least.”
Her man? A liquid warmth flowed through Alex. Her man? She slid Matthew a look. Yes, her man. Soppy idiot, she remonstrated with herself, trying to stop herself from smiling. He was smiling too, a slow smile that lit up his eyes and did strange things to her knees. Back to business; Mrs Gordon was right. No matter that Matthew insisted he could walk, was right fine, it was patently obvious he wouldn’t make it far before collapsing.
“They’ll not be back,” Mrs Gordon chuckled, “not after nearly witnessing a birth.”
“And if they come looking for the baby?” Alex said.
“Well it died, no?” Mrs Gordon sighed. “It happens all the time.”
On a muggy August day in 2002 Alex Lind disappears. On an equally stifling August day in 1658, Matthew Graham finds her on a Scottish moor. Life will never be the same for Alex – or for Matthew.
Alexandra Lind is thrown three centuries backwards in time to land at the feet of escaped convict Matthew Graham.
Matthew doesn’t know what to make of this strange woman who has seemingly fallen from the skies—what is she, a witch?
Alex is convinced the tall, gaunt man is some sort of hermit, an oddball, but she quickly realises the odd one out is she, not he.
Catapulted from a life of modern comfort, Alex grapples with her new existence, further complicated by the dawning realization that someone from her time has followed her here—and not exactly to extend a helping hand.
Potential compensation for this brutal shift in fate comes in the shape of Matthew, a man she should never have met, not when she was born three centuries after him. But Matthew comes with baggage of his own and on occasion his past threatens them both. At times Alex finds it all excessively exciting, longing for the structured life she used to have.
How will she ever get back? And more importantly, does she really want to?
A Rip in the Veil is available on Kindle Unlimited at
Amazon UK • Amazon US • Amazon CA • Amazon AU
Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a time-traveller. As this was impossible, she became a financial professional with two absorbing interests: history and writing. Anna has authored the acclaimed time travelling series The Graham Saga, set in 17th century Scotland and Maryland, as well as the equally acclaimed medieval series The King’s Greatest Enemy which is set in 14th century England.
Anna has also published The Wanderer, a fast-paced contemporary romantic suspense trilogy with paranormal and time-slip ingredients.
Her Castilian Heart is the third in her “Castilian” series, a stand-alone sequel to her September 2020 release, His Castilian Hawk. Set against the complications of Edward I’s invasion of Wales, His Castilian Hawk is a story of loyalty, integrity—and love. In the second instalment, The Castilian Pomegranate, we travel with the protagonists to the complex political world of medieval Spain. This latest release finds our protagonists back in England—not necessarily any safer than the wilds of Spain!
Anna has also authored The Whirlpools of Time in which she returns to the world of time travel. Join Duncan and the somewhat reluctant time-traveller Erin on their adventures through the Scottish Highlands just as the first Jacobite rebellion is about to explode!
All of Anna’s books have been awarded the IndieBRAG Medallion, she has several Historical Novel Society Editor’s Choices, and one of her books won the HNS Indie Award in 2015. She is also the proud recipient of various Reader’s Favorite medals as well as having won various Gold, Silver and Bronze Coffee Pot Book Club awards.
Find out more about Anna, her books and enjoy her eclectic historical blog on her website, www.annabelfrage.com or by clicking on the links below.
Website • Twitter • Facebook • Instagram
BookBub • Amazon Author Page • Goodreads
More information on the Coffee Pot Book Club and other works of quality historical fiction can be found on Twitter and Instagram.
Book Title: A Rip in the Veil
Series: The Graham Saga
Author: Anna Belfrage
Publication Date: Originally, 2012, but the new, re-edited version January 2023
Publisher: Timelight Press
Page Length: 370
Genre: Historical Fiction, Time Travel Romance
4 thoughts on “A Rip in the Veil by Anna Belfrage”
Thank you for participating in my tour!
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My pleasure, Anna.
Thanks so much for hosting Anna Belfrage today. xx
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Glad to be of help, Cathie.