I haven’t shared much about my books here on my blog, but I thought today I would share the first couple of pages with you. Blue Moon is the second in the series: By the Light of the Moon. It follows the story of Vanessa and Valerie, identical twin sisters. At the core, it is a tale about forgiveness and what unites and divides them as sisters.
June 7th, 1895
A half hour before midnight
“Come. We must be quiet.” I motion to the lad as I kneel next to his bed.
“Is this part of our game?” Luis looks up at me. His sleepy eyes appear to hold doubt that his auntie wants to play at this hour.
“Oui, but we must be quiet. Yes? Juliet, Maman, and Papa will not understand.” I’m clothed in a plain, black gown, and a black, netted cap confines my dark hair. The full moon shines through the nursery window. Luis searches my face for a moment and seems satisfied with what he sees in the reflection of my eyes. He quickly rises and does my bidding.
The large estate of his home offers unlimited fodder for outdoor games of all types. All his favorite games involve adventure. We’ve been reading Treasure Island together, and I often encourage his playfulness. I hope he goes along with my charade, a secret, promised excursion.
“Where are we going?” Luis asks as he pulls on his trousers, with excitement in his voice. He tears off his nightshirt and yanks on the shirt and sweater I offer him. His pupils widen in the dim light as he questions me.
“Don’t forget your shoes.” I hold up a pair of stylish, black leather boots to the boy before me. Luis snatches the boots, steps into them, and trusses up his feet with their laces.
“Now what?” he demands.
I grab the carpet bag at my feet, which contains some of his clothes I had packed earlier in the day and hidden under his bed. I pluck his still warm stuffed elephant out of his cozy nest of sleep and add it to the stash. Luis should be past the age for stuffed toys, but he still loves Elephant. I encase Luis’s warm hand in my cool, clammy one and proclaim, “Now our adventure begins.”
I lead him with whispers and light steps out of his room through the hall, down the stairs and out the library window, which I’ve left open. He follows me. I’ll keep up the pretense until we are safely stowed away on the train tomorrow morning, which will take us to Lake Huron’s shore. There, a steamer awaits to take us to our inheritance across two Great Lakes.
When far enough away, I will tell Luis. I hope his ten-year- old heart can forgive me.
March 7th, 1885
Ten years prior
“Vanessa . . .? Vanessa, please.” Valerie spoke the words with a pleading tone. “Don’t you want to look?” Valerie—Vanessa’s identical twin—touched Vanessa’s shoulder with a light hand.
If Vanessa had a dollar for every time people had told her and her sister how identical they truly were, she’d be rich. Valerie’s dark, wavy hair mirrored Vanessa’s, and Vanessa’s dark chocolate eyes matched the exact shade of Valerie’s.
Vanessa brought a hand up to her face and ran her fingers over the contours there. “You and Valerie were sculpted from the same lump of clay.” How many times had Vanessa heard her maman say those words? Too many. Vanessa sighed.
Vanessa knew no way of separating herself from her sister, at least physically. When she looked in the mirror, she saw Valerie. Even their temperaments were alike—pliable but with an inner, stubborn backbone, cheerful but never giddy, and caring but with reserve. As children, they had the same favorite toys, stories, and clothes.
Why can’t I have just one thing I claim to be mine? But now Valerie has him too. Vanessa closed her eyes and shut out the cracked wall with the chipped, butter-yellow paint, the peaceful room, and the morning sun. She tried to imagine a different world, one where she could have what was hers, but that world did not exist.
The bond tying her and Valerie together had almost eroded. Vanessa remembered how emotionally connected they once were. When sadness or cheer touched Vanessa, inevitably Valerie experienced the same, even if they were not together. Some special frequency irrevocably linked their emotions. The frequency had a rift in it now, for Valerie didn’t know the searing grief Vanessa knew—the pain of handing over her child to Valerie and relinquishing her right as his mother.
This thing called motherhood made them unique, made them individuals. Vanessa and Valerie were identical in every way, except one. Valerie had been deemed barren, and Vanessa fruitful.
But which one of us bears the curse and which the blessing? Oh, Vanessa knew; she bore the curse, at least according to her papa . . .