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And now, an excerpt from my Gilded Age historical thriller, with a strong romantic element:

“Come and look at this,” he said, pointing to the water.  “Tell me what you see.”

She got up from the seat to do as she was bid, shakily going to his side.  But she was too frightened to lean over the water, so O’calan knelt close to where she sat, holding out his hand to hers. She looked down, placing her weight onto his, trusting his discretion.

“What do you see?” he asked.

She peered over the side, looking into the water which was clear in the still cove.  Below the water was a line of wood, gilded to white, that had been the fence from that long-ago tryst.

“It can’t be,” she breathed, recognizing the place where they had lain together many years ago.  The place where they made love was in a watery grave, never to be resurrected.  She could not look away from the terrible sight, and nearly lost her balance.

He gripped her waist just in time, steadying her as she sank down onto the seat beside him.

“Why did you bring me here, to this place?” she asked, miserably.

But he seemed far away, the direction of the dam holding his attention.  “The lake is too big for the dam.  The waterline was never meant to be this far, or this high.”

Sarah felt a chill.  She had never seen O’calan so troubled.  “You must warn the club.”

“Even if they wanted to, there is nothing they can do.”

“What do you mean?”

“That man Parke showed me where the drainage pipes had been removed.”

The rowboat remained stationary in the still water, and Sarah felt her breath catch with the enormity of what they had seen. 

“I did not mean to frighten you, Sarah,” O’calan said.  “But you are the only one, apart from me, to realize the magnitude of what has been done here.”

The historical event is the Johnstown Flood.  In a place barely remembered, but whose tragedy America will never forget.

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