#3 Amelia Island's MARK OF A MAN by Jane Marie Malcolm


Amelia Island's 
MARK OF A MAN


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 (e-book and paperback)


MEET ANGELIQUE


     Housemaid Angelique is a featured character in
Angelique, Amelia Island's Mark of a Man
 my
Amelia Island's Mark of a Man, set in 1898, during the Spanish American War in the tiny seaside town of Fernandina in north Florida. Her involvement with one member of the Irish Dunnigans makes for, as I have been told, a compelling tale.

The Rains, The Rage
The Romance...  


in Ebook and Paperback,
part of The Goodbye Lie Series


Read an Excerpt below:

   "She's here ta see Dunnigan-again."
   Pat heard both his jailers chuckling as they entered the three-celled room. Raising his eyes from his newspaper, he saw Angelique's serious face through the iron bars. He looked past her dark dress and the pot of dinner she carried and watched her struggle to lift the corners of her mouth. He smiled at her and, when he did, her brown eyes visibly brightened.
   "Hey, you two," teased Boliver Shagnasty, the fat guard with the malformed ear. "This is becomin' a habit—A habit I could get used ta, real easy."
   "Yeah?" Pat said, ignoring the keeper's true meaning. "Any time you say, I'll trade places with you, Bolly, and you can be the one inside lookin' out."
   "That's kind a ya," responded the big man, his tone sarcastic. "Trouble is, since it's your sentencin' day, I won't get the chance ta trade with ya after all. I would have, too, fer the fringe benefits …" He reached out to flick the yellow three-inch trim on the flowery shawl Angelique wore.
   His cohort in uniform laughed as he chewed his own tongue and his spittle splashed Boliver in the eye. "Christ on a crutch, Banjo!" Boliver wiped at his face with a dingy kerchief. "Unlock that door, you fuzzy-headed idiot! Don't keep the lady standin' there. She can sit in the cell with Dunnigan. It puts me in a good mood ta think his spoiled ass is gonna be residin' here with us for a long time, if the judge don’t send him somewheres worse. And there won’t be no fancy extras neither, once ya get what’s comin’ to ya, boy. Here now, missy, let's have a look inta what ya brung." After rifling through her shoulder bag and lifting the lid on the pot, "Ya passed inspection."        
   Boliver winked at Angelique as Banjo's large key clanked in the lock. She flinched under his gaze while Pat surprised himself for taking such strong offense at the verbal abuse as well as the fingering of the housemaid's wrap.
   Pat pushed wide his heavy iron door, and took the crock and sack from her. "Don't mind those guys. They're both crazier than pet possums. Here, have a seat," he motioned. "Since Mama and my sisters decorated the cell for me, and Clover toted in that chair, we might as well make good use of it. Once again, my father's prestige in the community affords certain luxuries, bizarre though they seem for a house of punishment. Peeper's braided rug there helps keep the evening's damp away from my feet like those blue curtains keep the sun from my eyes."
   Angelique's silence made Pat uncomfortable. He removed the well-worn baby quilt from around the pot, which was keeping it warm, and placed it on the small oak drop-leaf table. Lifting the lid, the escaping steam carried an odiferous scent that twisted his belly tight. Fish stew. Again. Although she was generally a wonderful cook, this glop was beyond awful. As he stared back at the floating fish eye, he was glad the slop jar was big enough to hold most of the last batch she'd brought. It would serve the same purpose this time, too.
   The pretty visitor wondered how Pat could stand to get the spoon near his lips, let alone put the disgusting substance in his mouth. She'd followed the recipe exactly, too … "This is the last of it. Shall I make another kettle for you? When I told everyone at Dunnigan Manor how you loved it so much, they all saved their portions for you."
   "I'm a lucky man to have such a caring family, that's for sure. Hey, don't you want to share it with me?"
   She'd tasted it once and once was enough. Touched by his offering, nevertheless, she declined, not realizing her expression showed her true feelings. "My word, no. I brought it all for you, seeing as it's your final meal before— before—"
   He strode from the table, leaving the soup untouched. If he were starving, he'd have lost his appetite. He’d let himself temporarily forget his fate would be set and sealed today. What could he do about it anyway?
   "Hey there. Don't feel bad." Another step in the small cell and he put his arm around her shoulders by way of comforting her. In instant order, solace disappeared, replaced by a far different feeling. The reality that the liberty of being this close to a beautiful woman might not be his for a very long time, accosted him.
   He looked down at Angelique's feminine features, her high brow, attractive nose and deliberate chin … and began to chuckle.
   She stepped from beneath his arm and verbally turned on him. "I'm glad you have the ability to find humor, Pat. I cannot."
   "Oh, it's not so much humor that makes me smile. It’s fond memories."  Think of anything, he ordered his soul, anything except her. "You know, for as long as I can remember, Peep has always been old and looked old to me."
   "Don't ever let Peeper hear you say such a thing, although I’m sure you don’t mean it in a cruel way."
   "Of course I don't. It's just that I will always see her through my eyes from childhood, when we first met her.  I was a little boy and she had gray hair so she looked old.  I would never be disrespectful of Peeper. I love that old gal as much as any member of my family. I remember one time, when we were kids, we caught her up on a ladder, yes, I'm talking about Peep—short legs, bad feet and all. Anyway, she was up on this eight foot ladder with a file, filin' off the sharp tips of the thorns on the purple bougainvillea Mama had trellised against the barn."
   "Why in the world was she doing such an odd thing?"
   "It wasn't odd to Peep. She'd seen how little Marie's balloon popped on the thorns and it left her crying. So, in order not to have it happen again and still keep Miss Ella's plant in tack—"
   "She filed off the points!" Angelique smiled herself.
   Laughing, "That Peeper is a gem, pure and simple."
   "She is, Pat. She truly is." Her expression this time turned thoughtful. "What is it, about some people, that makes the whole world love them? That makes them special?"
Pat Dunnigan
   Pat walked to the barred window, reached up, pushed the curtain back and let the sun sear his face for a long moment. When he turned around, Angelique was plumping his bed pillow. "Your mother sent along a crossword puzzle book and—"
   When he stepped up behind her to take hold of her shoulders, again, he could feel the tension, even a trembling, in those slender shoulders.  She didn't struggle when he pulled her against him. As he savored the way her curves fit to him, his eyes closed and his mind emptied of all thoughts except those of the woman he held close. Time with her was what he wanted, time with her like this. To that end, he turned her and she came into his warmth, her length meeting his. Pat wrapped her in his embrace and he said aloud what he was thinking. "You feel so soft and wonderful—and feminine." 
   His hands explored her back, seemingly of their own volition. They crept low until they felt the indentation of her waist and remained there resting on her hips. After a dozen or so rapid heartbeats, they made their way up to find the coiled bun, low, at the nape at her neck. His fingers discovered the thin wire of her hairpins. The anticipation of her hair, the color of sparkling coal, tumbling down her back, destroyed any sense of nagging propriety imbedded in him from youth. A physical presence such as hers, her loveliness, her fresh smell, unadorned with fancy perfumes, had smothered his good sense and he hoped it had done the same to hers. The seconds passing, passed too quickly. He would not let them be wasted. He pulled at one pin, and another, letting them fall silently onto the braided rug. As the third came loose, the tip of the braid showed itself and the silken rope began to unwind. 
   A breath of, "Ohhh …" emitted from her waiting lips just beneath his. Her warm hand stilled his movements, and she challenged, "Pat," against his cheek. "You mustn't do—We—"
   He wanted this woman. Disregarding the reason he was in this confined place, he blamed the damned law for trapping him here. He cursed society’s scruples for they were depriving him of taking his pleasure and he didn't like it. He instantly determined he could change her mind. His mouth no longer hovered, but landed on hers with a rough insistence that demanded compliance. The message he sent was clear to him and he hoped he was making it equally clear to her. At any moment, the will of someone else would separate them. He had to have something to take with him when they parted. He had to.
   Angelique let him invade then raid her reserved manner. Ripped and ragged, her inhibitions should have strengthened in this forbidden place of physical stirring and emotional want. Any warnings trying to rise failed, their cautioning call muted, as she handed all control to him. She didn't care that his day old growth of beard sanded raw her lips and cheeks. No, she didn't care, for when she'd tasted him, savored him, it was no teasing kiss. In her experience with this kind of thing, he was different from anything and everything before … Was she really surprised? Jack Patrick Dunnigan was all man and all a man should be. He was fun. He was kind. He was caring—to his family, anyway. And, he was smolderingly handsome.  
   His kiss devoured her. Just what should she do? She didn't want to make a mistake. Then, again, could she really? Was a mistake even possible in a moment like this, floating as she was on waves of what surely must be defined as passion? She didn't need instruction. All she had to do was follow Pat's lead. Her motions, her actions made their way from her heart to her hands and lips. She recalled her earlier protest to him. How empty that protest really was. There was little conviction behind it. Stolen moments, she'd heard of such things—and now realized the depth of meaning that tiny phrase conveyed. Maybe, if her wish for continuance of this bliss was strong enough, maybe they could go on like this. Maybe they—
   Pat's hand was at the third button of her bodice. He was touching the simple lace edging of her chemise! Some of her hair had come loose from its weave. The remaining length of the braid over her shoulder was an arrow pointing straight down toward hades! Yet, she couldn't bring herself to form the word no. She didn't have to.
   "Quite a show you two is puttin' on fer us," interjected the nastier jailer. "Me and Banjo surely do appreciate it." The homely sentinel was practically drooling. Grinning a foul, half-brown stained smile, Boliver took another jab. "We hate ta have ta disturb y'all, but seems everybody in town is waitin' ta see ya git yours, Mr. Dunnigan." 
   With fire in his eyes, Pat stepped in front of Angelique, trying to shield her from the perverted stares his selfishness had instigated.
   Her expression sad, she turned her back on the three men while she re-buttoned her blouse. Tying her shawl securely around her shoulders, she left her long hair concealed beneath the wrap, not bothering to reclaim the pins on the floor, which lay witness to her depravity. Gathering her small satchel, she walked past Pat without daring to speak or chancing a glance up into his evocative green eyes. She endured the callous guards tasteless lip smacking as she passed and exited the door to freedom, a thing Pat might not know for some time.   


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Mark of a Man  Excerpt: 
   Aunt Jency was a youthful thing and delicate, barely older than Pat, himself. In the short while he'd known her, he decided he liked her. She seemed a fine and caring person, even if she wasn't much of cook. From the looks of her husband's belly, he was finding sustenance somewhere.
   They caught sight of the rough, painted sign spelling out Crusty Anchor Pub in faded red letters. Pat envisioned it rowdy with mariners and didn't want to see Jency put in an uncomfortable position, especially with her baby. To his pleasant surprise, the small place was mostly crowded with families. The chatter was high and the aroma wonderful. 
   They sat at a table in the center of the room with thirty or so customers enjoying their meals. Twenty feet from the window, they crooked their necks to get a glimpse of the darkening sky and deep gray of Presque Isle Bay.
   "You know, y'all," Pat commented, "the scene outside reminds me of Florida, with the boats, I mean."
   "You'll be having your fill of water by the time your hitch is up in the Navy."
   "You're right about that, Uncle John," Pat agreed, but silently hoped he was wrong, since water was what floated his family's business.  
   "Hear that accent, y'all?" mimicked a booming male voice. "Sounds like we got us a dirty Grayback clear up here in Erie."
   Tightly and quickly, Pat blinked, hoping that menacing voice behind him spouted only an empty challenge. Hags-teeth! Brawling got him where he was today. In the second before he turned to face his aggressor, he tossed a glance at Uncle John who was polishing his utensils on the sleeve of his plaid shirt and seemingly paying no mind. Jency, bending over her child, shielded the baby with her body. Pat stood, spun on his boot, and stepped away from the table, in case there was trouble. He tensed, saying, "The war's long past, man. If you still want to do this, I'll give you one free swing. After that--"...



*** 

   Perpetua stirred, fussed, and Jency pulled forth a tea towel wrapped baby bottle. "Good, it's still warm."
   "It had best be," the child's father said. "We don't want our little girl to be unhappy."
   "My daddy always says girls are made for spoilin', Uncle John. I see you both have the same philosophy."
   Their attention turned from one another and back to the baby when she let out a huge wail as the bottle slipped from her mother's hand and pulled from Perpetua's mouth to crash to the floor. Spikes of glass glistened in the light of the oil lamps on the surrounding square tables.
   "Oh dear," Jency murmured, the worry heavy in her tone. "Perpetua may still be hungry. I never imagined this happening. I haven't another bottle with me."  She lifted the baby over her shoulder and patted the child's back. A soft burp erupted and Perpetua calmed down...
   "Shall we go before the poor thing realizes she hasn't had a full meal?" Uncle John ordered in the form of a question.  
   The buggy ride jostled Perpetua back to sleep. Pat talked softly so as not to wake her. "Thank you both for a wonderful taste of home." The moment he'd said it, he realized the thoughtlessness of his remark. He would never intentionally hurt Jency's feelings about her cooking. "I mean--being with you has reminded me of my family in Fernandina. I miss them a great deal."
   Riding up to their front door, Pat dismounted and helped Jency and the baby down from the buggy. He didn’t go inside. Instead, he shook his uncle's hand and kissed the back of his aunt's on their front stoop.
   "Well, son, we'll write to your father and tell him what a fine man he has in you. Be sure and come visit us again when you get leave. Don't be a stranger."
   "I won't, sir." On his horse, "Thanks again, Uncle."
   "Goodbye, Pat." A tender smile lit Jency's face. Perpetua whimpered. "I must see to my little one."
   Riding away, Pat aimed his ear in the direction of Uncle John's house.  Curious, he thought, how similar a child's cry was to that of a woman's.  

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Crust Anchor Tavern

Making the Mark:
Readers often ask me where I get ideas for my novels.  Here is one quick explanation with a short excerpt from my upcoming Amelia Island's Mark of a Man, part of Amelia Island's Goodbye Lie Trilogy. Set in 1898, the action happens from Florida up to Pennsylvania, down to Cuba and back to Florida. This particular scene is set in the Crusty Anchor Pub. The fictional pub is named for my granddaughter's stuffed cat.  When she was very little, she used to chew on the tail, it would dry, and get icky between washings.  Hence, we nicknamed the animal, CRUSTY Kitty.  The ANCHOR is to honor my brother, a Navy man, and there you have it- Crusty Anchor.


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Goodbye Lie Diaries-Amelia Island's Mark of a Man's Pat & Marie Dunnigan


1898
Fernandina, Florida

Marie Dunnigan
Marie Dunnigan writes: Congrat-ulations, Jane Marie, on completing Amelia Island's Mark of a Man, your historical novel all about me!  I've read The Goodbye Lie about my sister, Breelan, and your Amelia Island's Velvet Undertow, about my other sister, Carolena.  I thought I knew those two.  They did some
very wild and dangerous things when they were young women.

I wish Mark of a Man was only about me and that I didn't have to share the story with my brother, Pat.

That part about the soldier and how--Oh, I had best not reveal what happened, but it certainly was less than ... But did you have to include so many of my private thoughts?  Readers will think I'm spoiled, naive and selfish when I am really only curious, trusting and, well, maybe a tiny bit selfish.  I enjoyed the parts where Peeper and Aunt Noreen fight.  What an explosive combination they make.

While it is not all flattering, you told the truth of things and that makes for the best stories.  Thank you for including me in your Goodbye Lie series!

***
1898
Fernandina, Florida

Pat Dunnigan

Pat Dunnigan writes: Frankly, Jane Marie, I am torn over reading about myself.  On one hand, it is somewhat interesting, if I might be so bold.  On the other, I, like Marie, don't want the world knowing so much about me and my--what do you call them in your time?  Ah, yes, my issues.  The good Lord knows I have my share of them.  And that includes the war and the women in my life. Since I did not have pre-approval as to what was included in the final version of your book, and since  Amelia Island's Mark of a Man is in bookstores now, or so I read on this blog of yours, I will take the taunts from Mickey and Warren Lowell. Of course, I will tease them right back as you include my buddies in the novel, too.   Well, should my next twenty years be as full as my last twenty, you will have enough material to write a sequel. 


******
Present Time
Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island, Florida

Jane Marie writes:  Hello Miss Marie, Mr. Pat. Perhaps I should have asked your permission before I wrote your stories. I just wanted the world to hear of your adventures, same as I did Breelan's and Carolena's.

If you can keep a secret, the next novel I'm working on, Amelia Island's Sand and Sin, takes place in the same town of Fernandina, has your same Aqua Verde passenger line family business still going strong,  your relatives are still living in your same Dunnigan Manor,  your same -- but it is set in modern times!  Stay tuned, as we say, for more details as they develop.  Oh, and thank you! While you're at it, please convey my thanks to your parents and Peeper and Aunt Noreen, too, all for being key players in our series.  Especially Aunt Noreen.  I don't want her getting mad at me... I haven't your experience on how to handle her, but I've gotten lots of pointers from your stories.  

By the way, a women wrote to me after having read Amelia Island's Goodbye Lie Trilogy, to say how finishing the novels was bittersweet because it was like not knowing when you would see your dear friends again.  That touched my heart.  See, readers love you all as much as I do.  We are all blessed by that mutual love.   I'm also guessing you are as anxious to read Sand and Sin in future times as we are to read about your life from our past!

*****
Marie replies:
You bet we are! I speak for everyone, including and especially Aunt Noreen.  As if she doesn't have enough to gossip about in our time, once she reads your next book, she'll get lockjaw, her tongue will be flapping so much! Oh, I can only hope.

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EZ BBQ CHICKEN


According to the Amelia Island's Mark of a Man short excerpt, I expect Clover's preparation of BBQ Chicken takes longer than mine and he must stand over a blistering fire. Oh, it must be so worth it. Read below:

Amelia Island's Mark of a Man excerpt:


   “Marie is in a mood lately but she’s foraged for colored glass bottles and will fill them with wild flowers for the tables, last minute, so they don't wilt too much. We’re lucky so many plants have recovered from the storm in time to have a few new blossoms and enough greenery.  And this afternoon, we’ll fashion a pretty bouquet for Winnie from three white rose buds off my struggling climber, some ivy and fiddle-head fern and tie it all with Marie’s blue hair ribbon.”
   Pat couldn’t remember when his mother was so excited about something. It was good to see.
   “Oh, here's another surprise for everybody, including Clover. Peeper found time to make him a red apron from a tablecloth and stitched Love Chef across the chest. Butter thinks it's a fine idea, so he'll wear it. Anyway, he and Butter have been working on the barbecue since early this morning."  
   “I can smell Clover’s chicken clear up here.”
   "It's always so delicious."
   "He'll tell anybody who asks that his secret is burning black jack oak he gathers just off the island somewhere. Ya know, I can't decide if I like his chicken or pork better.  It's the best in the county and ... 

Clover inspired me to create my own BBQ chicken. We're all so busy and this is hands free, once it's prepared.  The best part, next to being so easy, is that it is simply delicious - if you like chicken and KC Masterpiece BBQ sauce, that is.


Jane Marie's EZ BBQ Chicken

You'll need:

Slow cooker
Chicken- skinless, boneless, 6 to 8 tenders or breasts, according to how much chicken you want to produce
1/2 cup KC Masterpiece BBQ Sauce- original flavor or your favorite BBQ sauce
1/2 cup water

Place rinsed chicken in slow cooker. Mix the BBQ Sauce and water. Pour over chicken.  Cover and cook on high for 3 hours. Reduce to low for 2-3 hours.  (Times depend upon how hot your cooker gets. My newer cooker is half again as hot as my old, original pot. Just make sure the chicken is cooked through.  While chicken doesn't take that long to cook, you want sauce to permeate throughout each tender or breast, so reduce the heat to low.  Don't scorch, of course.) Shred when cool enough to handle. Serve on your favorite buns and pass the BBQ sauce!

*****
The Goodbye Lie Diaries
Clover
1880s
Fernandina on Amelia Island, Florida

Clover writes:  Thank you, Miss Jane.  I'm happy my kind of cooked cluck made you try your own.  Makes me wanta go out hunting some black jack oak right about now.



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Here are a few of Jane Marie's favorite lines from the book.  I have removed character names to keep readers guessing who said what.:

  • He was fun loving, free loving and frequent loving.
  • ... willing, wanting and welcoming trouble.
  • His words fell to the floor with a silent thud.
  • Her emotions flashed between gray and a dark, deepening black... An all-consuming love for the child, loathing for the foe who'd violated her family, ... so much internal turmoil, she ...
  • I adore you, Nugget, but if you don't quit pulling the weights on our grandfather clock and messing it up, I'll throttle you!
  • What will become of me and what will I become?
  • I can't know that word. ( Editor adds: All my kids said it that way, too. I can still hear baby voices saying it when I read that sentence.)
Editors says:

  • "Awwww. Martha Bear has made it to another generation of Dunnigans."
  • "I really love the way you worked in the shamrocks and what they represent into the story. Very nice."
  • "What a foolish, foolish girl."
  • "HaHaHa!! I DO LOVE PEEPER!! I just adore her.  Everyone should have a Peeper in their life."
  • "Oh no!  Miss Ella left Peeper and Aunt Noreen on their own?  They will destroy each other!"
  • "My gosh ...You have my heart palpitating.  You certainly have a way with painting a tense scene!"