Stephen gave Rose a short bow and stretched out his right hand. “Miss Van Buren, may I have the honor of this dance?”
Rose laughed. The sound was like a healing tonic. They took their places on the dance floor with the shadows of the past. He held her close as he guided her over the well-manicured lawn, weaving between the other couples. She was too beautiful to be real, and that smell of roses she always carried—he knew he was dancing with an angel.
Rose’s eyes were bright with the pleasure as they moved around the lawn. The other Rose glided past them in the arms of a young man in a gray suit.
“Who was that?” Stephen asked.
“The brewer’s son. He was a nice young man, but my father didn’t approve of him. Papa wanted me to have an easier life than he had, so he needed me to marry well. The brewer’s family worked long hours each day in their business.”
Rose lifted her head and looked into Stephen’s eyes. “May I ask you something?” she said.
“Anything you like.” He smiled back at her.
“Why did you go into politics?”
Stephen blinked. The question took him by surprise.
“I guess I got into it because of my dad.”
Rose tilted her head and scrunched up her adorable forehead.
“Your father wanted you to be a politician?”
“I don’t know. I didn’t really know him. He died when I was two.” Stephen shot a
glance at Peter Van Buren, who was talking to a group of men on the far side of the lawn.
Rose frowned. “I don’t understand.”
Stephen smiled at her. “All the time I was growing up, my mother told me stories of
my father, of how he was interested in politics and had been planning to run for office. After I finished law school and landed a job at my firm, an opportunity came up to run for the legislature, and I took it. I guess politics is my way of having a connection with my dad.” He pulled Rose closer and twirled her on the dance floor.
The orchestra began a new song, and Rose led Stephen toward the food tables along the back of the house. They cleared the crowd of couples entering and exiting the dance floor just in time to see John Jacob disappearing around the side of the house with Felicia.
“Well, now, that’s interesting. Are they—” He didn’t finish his sentence but looked at Rose to check her reaction.
She sighed. “Yes, it is exactly what you think.” She waved her arm and the scene around them dissolved and reformed. They were still at the party, but the band was now playing a different song and the light had changed slightly.
“Watch the door.” Rose pointed to the French double doors they had passed through at the beginning of the party. Felicia slipped quietly through them, glancing from side to side to see if anyone had noticed her. Her lips looked slightly swollen and her skin was flushed. A few stray hairs were out of place from her fancy hairstyle, and her dress looked a little wrinkled. She wound her way through the crowd, stopping to stand next to a large matronly woman who looked her up and down and frowned.
Rose turned to Stephen. “That’s Felicia’s Aunt Miriam. She was Felicia’s chaperone for the party.” They watched as Aunt Miriam thanked her hostesses for the lovely evening and led her niece through the French doors and into the house.
Stephen looked around and spotted John Jacob talking to a group of young men in a corner of the yard near the orchestra. He didn’t look as ruffled as Felicia, but his shirt was more wrinkled than it had been. He wore a smug expression. Stephen wanted to wipe that smile off the man’s face with his fist.
Rose from the past twirled in front of John in the arms of another young man. John’s expression went from cocky to angry in an instant. Stephen tightened his fists, his knuckles turning white from the pressure. John had already had Felicia that evening and now he wanted Rose too.
He shook his head and turned to face Rose. She wore a look of concern. He gave her a weak smile. He needed to get a grip. He was getting angry about something that happened in the 1800s.
Title: The Kiss of a Rose
Author: Augustina Van Hoven
Genre: Paranormal Romance
A DISTANT PAST
In 1882, Rose Van Buren loved the wrong man and paid for it with her life. Now, more than a century later, the angel Gabriel has granted her another shot at living. In exchange, she must convince a smart, handsome, up-and-coming lawyer to set aside his lofty ambitions.
A FUTURE PRESENT
Stephen Winship is headed straight for the governor’s chair. He has a brilliant career, solid allies, and a seemingly perfect girlfriend. But night after night he finds himself dreaming of a heavenly beauty, a luminous but long-dead girl. Like some altered Ghost of Christmas Past, she shows him her own tragic tale in order to “save him.” And he’s beginning to see Rose is risking her heart as much as baring her soul. Yet falling for her will cost him everything—and open him up to a happiness he never imagined.
Augustina Van Hoven resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, two dogs and three cats. She is an avid reader of romance, science fiction and fantasy. When she’s not writing she likes to work in her garden or in the winter months crochet and knit on her knitting machines.
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