Displacement by Anne Stormont
I am so pleased to take part in the blog tour run by Love Books Tours @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours for the fine novel, Displacement by Anne Stormont @writeanne. Enjoy the tour.
Divorce, the death of her soldier son, and estrangement from her daughter, leave Hebridean crofter, Rachel Campbell, grief-stricken, lonely and lost.
Forced retirement leaves former Edinburgh policeman Jack Baxter needing to find a new direction in life.
After Rachel and Jack meet on a wild winter’s night in the most dramatic circumstances, an unlikely friendship begins, despite their very different personalities. However, their feelings for each other gradually go beyond friendship – something neither of them feels able to admit. And, when Rachel leaves to go on a life-changing journey to the Middle East, it seems unlikely their relationship will go any further.
Can Rachel give her heart to Jack?
Can Jack trust himself not to break it if she does?
Set against the contrasting and dramatic backdrops of the Scottish island of Skye and the contested country of Israel-Palestine, Displacement is a story of courage and love – where romance and realism meet head on.
This extract is from near the end of the book. Rachel is back home on the Isle of Skye and is attending an evening party at her friend Morag’s house. Jack has been away in Edinburgh visiting his daughter and her family but is due to return to Skye soon.
Once outside, I stood for a few minutes staring into the flames of the bonfire and enjoyed its warmth. I also took a minute to look at the stars and do that thing of pondering my own insignificance, which for some reason I found rather comforting. I also admired all the little lights and lanterns that Morag and Alasdair had hung around the garden. The atmosphere was magical and felt full of possibilities. But it wasn’t long before I was spotted and dragged away from my introspection. I was soon mingling with the other guests and chatting to various neighbours and friends. Our talk was accompanied by the background noise of a fiddle and a guitar being tuned, signalling that the ceilidh part of the evening would soon be underway. I felt so completely at home, and at peace with everything, that when Morag appeared at my side and asked if I’d be willing to sing a couple of songs to get things started, I readily agreed.
I decided to sing the same two Burns’ songs I’d sung at Mari’s bat-mitzvah. I’d begin with Ae Fond Kiss, that beautiful song of yearning for lost love. Then I’d sing The Silver Tassie, a song close to my heart because of the poignancy of the words, the words of a soldier bidding farewell to his sweetheart before going into battle.
It was at the end of Alasdair’s introduction, just as Ken the guitarist began to count us in, that I saw him. He was standing beside Morag and was looking right at me. Jack was back.
Somehow I managed to start singing. And, once I began, I focussed only on the music. I didn’t dare look at Jack, not while I sang about love. Ken, Robbie and I slipped from the first to the second song with only the shortest of pauses between. It was only as the applause greeted the end of the second song that I allowed myself to look at Jack. He hadn’t moved and he was still looking at me as he joined in the clapping. Alasdair stepped forward to ask everyone to take their partners for some dancing and announced that Strip the Willow would be the first dance. As Alasdair was speaking, Jack came over to me.
“Wow,” he said. “That was beautiful.” His voice and expression were gentle and soft. It was so good to see him.
“Thanks.” My own voice had faded to a hoarse whisper. I cleared my throat. I was also aware of Morag. I could see her out of the corner of my eye. I knew she was watching us.
“It’s lovely to see you, Rachel.” He smiled and stroked my cheek with the back of his hand, pushing a loose strand of hair back from my face. For a moment we just stood looking at each other. For a moment I felt like teenager at a school dance. I struggled to speak, struggled not to give Morag the satisfaction of grabbing him and kissing him, kissing him long and slow.
I swallowed, tried to steady my breathing. “Good to see you too,” I said. “When did you get back?”
“Today, late afternoon. Morag called me a couple of days ago to let me know about the party. She seemed very keen for me to be here, and when Maddie heard about it, she said it was time I left her to it and to get myself back here. So here I am.”
“Here you are.”
“Shall we go inside, get a drink?” he said.
Everyone else was still in the garden, dancing or chatting, so we had the kitchen to ourselves. Jack poured me a glass of wine and got himself a beer. We sat facing each other at the kitchen table.
“Poppy was asking after you. She wanted to know when she could come to see you again.”
“Oh, that’s nice. I’d love to see her again too. How is she? And Maddie and the baby too, of course.”
“All doing well. William seems to be a good baby, sleeps a lot, and Poppy’s a great help to her mum, no sign of jealousy.”
“It must have been hard to leave them.”
“In some ways. But…”
Jack reached across the table and took hold of my hand. “I wanted to get back to see you.”
“Oh,” I said.
“That kiss, before I left, it made me think.”
“It did. It made me think you might want to—to be more than friends.”
“Oh,” I said again. And again I was struggling to speak, struggling just to breathe. I hoped his desire to see me wasn’t so he could make his feelings clear, so he could tell me he didn’t want to be more than friends. I needed to know, but I didn’t want to hear it. For a moment we just looked at each other.
Anne Stormont writes contemporary romantic fiction where the main characters may sometimes be older – but not necessarily wiser.
She hopes the stories she tells will entertain, but she also hopes they will move, challenge and inspire her readers.
She has written four novels so far – Change of Life, was her first. This was followed by the three novels set on the Scottish island of Skye – Displacement, Settlement and Fulfilment which tell the story of Rachel and Jack.
Anne is a Scot, living in the land of her birth. She’s a former teacher and when she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, country walks and gardening – and the occasional pillion ride on her husband’s motor bike. She also loves spending time with friends and family – especially her three grandchildren.
Anne has travelled all over the world and has visited every continent except Antarctica – somewhere she really should go considering her penchant for penguins.
She can be a bit of a subversive old bat, but she tries to maintain a kind heart.