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The Spaniard's Cross

The Spaniard, a young Armada survivor, pledged his love for a beautiful English maiden with a gold and ruby cross. Now, the cross is a modern Spaniard's obsession, and Ellie and Trev are forced into a deadly game for the heirloom ... a game that ends in a smugglers secret passage deep beneath Cornwall.

A Hard Shell Word Factory Release

Sharon K. Garner

     Sharon K. Garner enjoys writing stories about love and danger set in exotic locations. A former library cataloguer and newspaper proofreader, she keeps her hand in with freelance proofreading and copyediting for other writers. She lives in PA with her welder/EMT husband of many years, a man who no longer flinches when asked such questions as "How long does it take to bleed to death?" and "How can I disable a big piece of equipment?" One neurotic black cat completes the household. In her free time, the author reads English mysteries and regularly prances around the living room doing walk aerobics, all the while keeping an appreciative eye on her small collection of Tiffany-style lamps and her significantly larger collection of crystal figurines. Visit her athttp://www.sharonkgarner.com


"The Spaniard's Cross is an excellent story of friendship, love, and mystery. Ms. Garner weaves an unforgettable and suspenseful story with excellent descriptions of Cornwall and the Penwith estate, as well as an outstanding characterization of Trevor and Ellie. The love between Trevor and Ellie is breathtaking in its intensity and emotion. Readers will be on the edge of their seats with the plots unexpected twists and turns. For an excellent story that will keep you guessing until the very end, be sure not to miss The Spaniard's Cross."

Edith Morrison -- Romance Reviews Today

"Congrats to Ms. Garner for a beautifully written book. Her dialogue is quick and witty, the emotions of two long-lost lovers are heartfelt and poignant, and the mystery and suspense of the devious Mr. Reynaldos shines through loud and clear. I look forward to another paranormal twist romance from Ms. Garner in the future."

Jennifer Wardrip -- The Romance Junkies

"The Spaniard's Cross is well-told and enjoyable to read. Ellie and Trevor were totally believable, as was the situation in which they found themselves. Sebastian Reynaldos was picture perfect as the handsome but dangerous man, who would do anything to get what he wanted. The descriptions of Cornwall, and the smuggling and tin mining the region is famous for, were made a vital part of the story. Even though this isn't a true who-done-it, it was still interesting to see how the pieces were going to fit together. The cliffs of Cornwall, old legends, secret passages, fiery gold and blazing rubies, and a hint of past lives and loves coming together again, all play their parts in this interesting tale. If you're looking for a bit of English countryside to explore through a fun and quick story, this book is worth picking up."

Kris -- A Romance Review

Chapter One


Deep, resonant, and laden with a potent mixture of surprise, anger, and fear, the voice came from above her—and got through her pain pill-induced doze.

Ellie's eyes popped open to confusion and a heart-pounding panic. Denied a waking moment, she had trouble focusing on the even-featured face hanging over her, blue eyes agog. A thick mass of too-long blond hair topped the sleek, light brown brows and vaguely familiar features.

His gaze fastened on hers. "Oh, thank heaven," he declared, closing those beautiful eyes and bowing his head for an instant.

She used the opportunity to grasp the black thorn walking stick she'd found with her left shoulder in her napping place, the sofa in Penwith's sitting room. She brought its silver handle down with a healthy whack on that cushion of light hair.

Too late she noticed that her attacker was leaning well over and that he was tall. Stunned by the blow, he folded over the high back of the sofa and slithered down onto her, full length, forcing the air from her lungs in a whoosh.

Traveller, who had dibs on the other end of the long sofa, growled and went elsewhere.

Ellie, unfortunately, could not. She froze, fighting for her next breath. When he raised his head to groggily peer at her, she heard herself whimper. The sound roused him into awareness.

He came up onto his elbows, gingerly probing his hair with the long, slim fingers of one hand. "Bloody hell!" he repeated with feeling.

His voice jolted her out of her terror-induced paralysis. If she were being attacked, then she would go down fighting. The rest of the way down, she amended. She hefted the walking stick again, aiming to show this Englishman what American women were made of.

His hand shot out and grabbed her wrist. "What do you think you're doing, Ellie?" he inquired, tossing her weapon of opportunity just out of her reach. "Is this an American greeting custom you never shared in your letters?"

His voice saying her name told her she had probably misunderstood what was happening here. "Er, defending myself? Trev?" she asked, still woozy from the pills but heartily relieved. "Oh, I'm so glad it's you."

"Really? At this point I'd much rather someone else had been on the receiving end of that walking stick." His voice changed as anger crept in. "So help me, Ellie, if you'd come to Penwith to kill yourself, I'd—I'd—"

"Kill myself?" She worked hard to focus on his face at such close quarters. "Why would I come all the way to England, the trip of a lifetime, to kill myself? What makes you think that?"

She followed his glanced to the low table beside them where she'd set down her pill bottle and empty glass beside the whiskey bottle and the soda bottle already in residence.

"The whiskey. The pills." He paused. "The accident."

Her eyes widened in understanding. "Oh. No, I only took two. With some soda. For my leg. And I'm coming to terms with the a-accident. Really."

She was babbling, so she closed her mouth and took a deep, steadying breath. In this expansion process she noted that the body of her pen pal of 18 years nested quite well with hers, curve to hollow, hollow to curve. Disconcertingly well. Meanwhile, she was aware that his gaze followed the contours of her face, coming to rest on her mouth.

"I'm glad you're finally here, Ellie, but why didn't you tell me you were coming?"

"I wasn't sure when I'd arrive." She was conscious that he watched her lips as she spoke. "Now that I'm at Penwith, may I stay awhile? I can do PR for the tours and the bed and breakfast."

His gaze shot up to meet hers. "Of course you can stay. As long as you like. It's a standing invitation, plus you're an investor. My only investor, by the way. I'd appreciate the PR help, though," he added with a little smile.

"Thanks. Now, could we…"

He tested a strand of her hair between his fingers, judging its silkiness. She watched out of the corner of her eye.

His next words accompanied a look of distracted concern. "Well timed, Ellie. I might need your help with something else. A difficult guest. What do you know about Spaniards?"

She wondered briefly what this foreign guest had done. "Er, they're from Spain? Don't you think—"

The head of a large gnome hove into view above the back of the sofa. She screamed in Trev's face, unable to look away from the creature. When its mouth split in a grin, it changed before her eyes into the wizened features of a small man.