June 14, 2016 by Valerie Ullmer
Featuring Liza O’Connor
Steel wishes to share his knowledge about the Paleo-Indians
who once inhabited Iowa.
Steel stood and gazed over the site with clear pleasure. “The Paleo-Indians ate Gooseberry seeds long before corn showed up in their diet. I noticed a great deal of marsh-elder down below. Their presence here indicates we are perhaps looking at Indians from the Woodland era. The grains from both plants are edible and are believed to have been cultivated by the Woodland Paleo-Indians. He pointed to the giant white oak farther back on the plateau. “They would have collected and roasted the white oak acorns as well.”
By Liza O’Connor
Contemporary Suspense/Sweet Romance
Tess Campbell is a mafia princess who wants nothing to do with her dangerous family. She’d rather spend her life making Grams’s forest the best state park in Iowa.
Alistair Castile, aka Steel, is a British prince, his archeological career in ruins due to his promiscuous nature. He’s hired on as forest manager of Tess’s woods and quickly falls in love with the charming young woman, so different from the socialites of his world.
Only there are several serious barriers between them: Steel’s career cannot withstand another scandal and Tess’s father will kill anyone who gets in the way of his daughter marrying a Chicago mobster.
Excerpt for Unexpected Love
Steel pushed himself up and walked to the bear mound. “These are much smaller, yet far better defined than the Effigy Mounds.”
Tess nodded in agreement. “These two also seem to have an understructure of rock.”
Steel climbed a tall rock and stared down at them from above. “You’re right. I can see smaller rocks curve like ribs…and leg bones.” His gaze centered on a large rock peeking through the shallow soil like the skull of the bear. “These are significantly different.”
“Want to hear my recently revived theory?” she asked.
“Since they cut half this hill away to make room for their village, the Indians didn’t have the room to make giant earth mounds. To please the Gods with the smaller mounds, they took the time to build a more lifelike bear and bird.”
“Good theory. Certainly works with what I’m looking at.” He then sighed. “Another possibility is that these two are more recent mimics of the Effigy Mounds.”
Tess’s mouth fell open. Did he really just accuse her and Grams of perpetuating archeological fraud?
Upon noticing her anger, he defended his position. “As an archeologist, I have to consider the possibility these have been built in the last two hundred years, if for no other reason than to prove it wrong because anything different is immediately suspect.”
She returned to staring out across the river. Logically, she knew his comments made sense, but emotionally, she burned from his unstated implication. “Grams found these mounds the first year she came here, and while you might not find her word reliable, I certainly do.”
His hands settled on her arms, and she jumped from the unexpected contact. “I’m not saying either of you perpetuated this fraud. As you stated before, the existence of these mounds actually endangered your trees since it would have allowed the state to claim public domain of your land.”
“Then what are you saying?”
“Even though I don’t believe these were created in modern times, it remains the likely explanation until proven otherwise. I’m sorry to say, fraud is the first conclusion the archeological world will make.”
“How do you even prove something like this?”
“We’ll start by giving these guys a sonogram.”
His reply worried her. “And how big is the equipment you need to do that?” Large equipment could do serious damage to the trails.
“It’s a portable unit. Can be carried in by two strapping young men.”
About the Author
Liza O’Connor lives in Denville, NJ with her dog Jess. They hike in fabulous woods every day, rain or shine, sleet or snow. Having an adventurous nature, she learned to fly small Cessnas in NJ, hang-glide in New Zealand, kayak in Pennsylvania, ski in New York, scuba dive with great white sharks in Australia, dig up dinosaur bones in Montana, sky dive in Indiana, and raft a class four river in Tasmania. She’s an avid gardener, amateur photographer, and dabbler in watercolors and graphic arts. Yet through her entire life, her first love has and always will be writing novels.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT
Investigate these sites: