Haley Whitehall has been obsessed with telling stories since the age of four. Her addiction to the Civil War era came later, but proved no less potent. She earned her B.A in history from Central Washington University. Pairing her two passions, she writes historical fiction with a touch of faith. Learn more about Haley and her books at her website.
It is a pleasure to be on Killer Crafts and Crafty Killers. I’ve been writing Civil War era historical fiction for a little while now and finally ventured over into historical romance. There is something fulfilling about bringing two characters together and writing a happy ending.
My first historical romance novella Midnight Caller has been published by Liquid Silver Books. Actually, the second book in the Moonlight Romance series Midnight Heat has been published now, too. I seldom take the easy way out. When I tell people I’ve written African American romance set right after the Civil War, I usually get some odd looks. I guess I just feed off the added complications.
The question is how to smooth over those complications. You know the saying: the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach? Well, in many instances I believe this to be true—perhaps more so in the past when a woman’s place was firmly in the home. In Midnight Caller Emma woos Frederick with peach pie. Frederick knows it is not safe for them to be together, but love blossoms at the table.
Emma put on a pot of coffee and presented him with a peach pie. “I made this for you,” she said coyly.
Emma had made him a peach pie? None of his clients had ever baked for him before. None had cared.
“Thank you, ma’am.” He hadn’t wanted to put his big toe over the line, but by baking him a pie Emma had jumped across it.
What should he do now? Admit his true feelings? Let her know he’d fantasized about her every night on the steamboat, couldn’t wait to get back to her, and wanted to make love to her for hours?
Before he said something he’d regret he filled his mouth with a bite of pie. “This is delicious.”
“I haven’t made a pie since…but I’ve had a lot of practice with baking.”
“Mm, that’s something I’m looking for in a wife; well I reckon every man would like a good cook.” His cheeks heated. The words slipped naturally out of his mouth.
Emma’s dazzling hazel eyes brightened, sparkling like crystal. “I hope you’re right.” She paused and leaned forward. “My husband didn’t want children. But I do.”
Frederick nodded. “I’m sure you’ll be a good mother.” He didn’t know what else to say.
“You said you have a younger brother. Tell me about him.”
Frederick shifted in his chair. Why did she care? “His name is George. I took care of him after our mama was sold.”
“Oh.” For a minute she was speechless and the awkward conversation paused. “Well,” she dragged out the word, “I’m glad you have each other. You’re better off than me.”
“Why do you say that?”
“I’m an orphan and an only child. It has made many of my years lonely.”
Frederick poked at the pie with his fork. He didn’t want Emma to be lonely. “Have you considered getting a dog? Many are protective, too.”
She tilted her head as if considering this. “That is a good idea. But what I really need is a man.”
10 fresh peaches, pitted and sliced
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup butter
2 pre-made crusts for a 9 inch pie (or you can be like Emma and make your own.)
Mix flour, sugar and butter into crumb stage. Place one crust in the bottom of a 9 inch pie plate. Line the shell with some sliced peaches. Sprinkle some of the butter mixture on top of the peaches, then put more peaches on top of the crumb mixture. Continue layering until both the peaches and crumbs are gone. Top with lattice strips of pie crust. (Okay. I confess I never get this fancy. I just put the crust on top.)
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 45 minutes, or until crust is golden. Allow pie to cool before slicing. Best when eaten fresh.
Midnight Caller (Moonlight Romance, Book 1)
When Emma Bennett’s husband dies in a carriage accident in 1865, she is released from her loveless, controlling marriage. Now she has a chance to find happiness and raise a family. But before she begins courting again, she wants to experience her freedom. At the advice of the leading socialite in town, she takes a black lover to fulfill her sexual needs. His raw, masculine power awakens feelings she didn’t know existed. After the first touch she craves more.
Frederick works as a roustabout by day and moonlights as a prostitute. He knows better than to fall in love with his white client, but Emma enchants him the first time he calls on her. To keep them both safe, he works hard to put up barriers. Unfortunately, he can’t protect Emma from the slimy Mr. Hawthorne, who wants her as his bride. Frederick vows to keep her safe even if his forbidden love costs him his life.