Under These Restless Skies will be released on February 20, and every day until then, I'll be posting a small excerpt. You can check out the book's blog here, including more excerpts and information on the Tudor historical characters in the story, and the legend of the selkies on which the story is based.
He’d had an incredible stroke of fortune to have been walking along the beach that day. A fleeting thought gave him pause, for he’d always felt a jot bitter toward God for his malformed body, but had he been a normal man, he never would have joined the troupe,
never would have had occasion to be walking along the beach in Calais. It was a startling notion, that he should be grateful for his twisted back for the incredible blessing it had ultimately brought him.
Illustration from Arthur Rackham's 1909 novel Undine
Was it worth it, then? Was Emma worth the torments of his youth, the unfair treatment he’d experienced, the mockery and derision? Will smiled, because his answer was immediate and wholehearted. She was. And he would have endured far worse just to have her in his life. In his secret, yearning heart, he had always wanted a wife, one of whom he could feel fond, be companionable with as the years passed, but he never could have dreamt he would have a wife he loved.
Love. He drew a breath in sharply at the word. Having never experienced it before, he couldn’t say for certain that was the feeling warming his heart when he thought of her, but it seemed likely. He needed to tell her about it, he thought, and felt a trifle abashed at the prospect. But what was he afraid of? Emma wouldn’t mock him or use his feelings against him. Even if she did not return his regard, she would see it as a precious gift.