In my latest romance, Triptych, my heroine Miranda wrestles with the question of true love. She also wrestles with recalcitrant sisters, mysterious machines and art thieves.
The Great Falls of the Potomac River, which separates Maryland and Virginia, slice through the Mather Gorge just fifteen miles north of Washington, DC. In less than a mile, the river goes from a thousand feet wide down to a hundred feet wide, creating twenty waterfalls and dropping 76 feet in elevation. It is, needless to say, a spectacular view and a whitewater rafter’s dream.
Miranda and her sisters live just south of the falls, near the Three Sisters, rocky islands in a bend of the river. It is on these rocks that Miranda watched her husband and his lover crash and die. She is thus not quite ready for the new love that awaits her.
Triptych, by M. S. Spencer
Ebook 67,300 words; Print-on-Demand 213 pp.
M/F, 2 flames
Take lost masterpieces, brilliant inventors, and stolen prototypes. Add the Three Sisters, Indian spirits who guard the Potomac River. Stir in three sisters and their lovers. Result? Jealousy, sex, genius, larceny and love. Who will end up with whom, and will the Three Sisters take another life as the legend demands?
Triptych is available in both eBook and Print-on-Demand.
Excerpt (G): Miranda
Sybil dropped a pebble and listened to its clicks and clacks as it hit every crag and spur on the way down to the water. It took a long time, for she stood very high above the river. She waited, hand to ear, to catch the tinny, far-away splash, then gently tossed another pebble over the cliff.
“Sybil! Where are you?”
The girl turned swiftly, her simple white shift catching on the bark of an ancient elm tree. She pulled at it impatiently, tearing a bit of the delicate lace from the sleeve. “Here I am, Miranda! By the sun house!” She flew up the path.
A woman of about thirty-five, beautiful but stone-faced, waited on a flagstone patio wreathed in a thickly branched wisteria. To her right a large flower garden ambled down to a grassy verge. Behind her loomed a vast, Queen Anne-style mansion complete with tower. She crooked a finger at the girl. “Sybil, Honor needs you. She has to measure the hem.”
“I’m coming. It’s almost finished then?”
The woman began to smile, but then her thin lips tightened as though she’d caught herself just in time. The glow of the afternoon sun backlit a rivulet of well-worn grief seeping from the closed face. “Of course it is, Sybil. You need it for the tea dance tomorrow, don’t you? Honor has been working on it day and night.” A soft chestnut curl escaped from her severe French twist to graze the heart-shaped mouth. She raised a thin, ring-less hand and plucked the strands from her lips. “Do hurry in and help her.” As Sybil ran eagerly past her, she blinked a tear away.
Miranda gazed out over the cliff and down to the river. Directly below her, three small rock formations, known as the Three Sisters, reared out of the water like iceberg babies. When she was young, she loved to observe the intercourse of river and rocks from high atop her hill. In the spring the Potomac River, heavy with silt, rushed headlong past, shooting plumes of whitecaps up and over them. In the summer, the calm water filled with boats—canoes, punts, motorboats. A few months later, when the oaks and hickories turned the cliffs into a mass of scarlet and gold, the water would thin to a gentle trickle, and people forgot how strong the currents could surge, and grow unwary.
She shaded her eyes and looked north, where the steep canyons of Great Falls split the folded metagraywacke rock, the river slicing through it as easily as if it were paper. The Three Sisters marked the upper limit of the Potomac’s navigable waters. There, at a dangerous part of a dangerous river, Miranda and her sisters had helplessly watched many a hiker or kayaker flounder in the treacherous channels between Great Falls National Park and Teddy Roosevelt Island.
She no longer came out to watch the boaters, not after seeing Edward die when he crashed his Donzi 38 ZR on the rocks. He and the woman he left her for. The nightmare still haunted her though. In the dream she waited, hidden in the summer house on the edge of the cliff, as the sleek, sexy, Italian-made speed boat slammed into the half-submerged Sisters in the middle of the river. Alone in the dark she relived the sight of the flames as they shot up almost high enough to singe her bare toes. She heard again Wanda’s Banshee shriek as she died in agony. Her husband never appeared in the dream. True to form, Edward had disintegrated in the maelstrom, leaving nothing behind to remember or bury, not even a belt buckle.
About the Author
Although she has lived or traveled in every continent except Antarctica and Australia (bucket list), M. S. Spencer has spent the last thirty years mostly in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, Congressional staff assistant, speechwriter, editor, birdwatcher, kayaker, policy wonk, non-profit director and parent. She has two fabulous grown children, one fabulous grandchild, and currently divides her time between the Gulf coast of Florida and a tiny village in Maine.
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