Embers

For the 1st Time

Unabridged and Uncensored

(Click Cover To Read Selected Passages)

She wishes it had burned to the ground: that’s Anne Marquel’s first thought when she learns that Yesterday’s Dream, her childhood home, has been ravaged by fire.  Haunted by the shocking secrets of her past, she’s forced to return to the place she fled in terror twelve years ago, and only the prospect of seeing Connor McLeod, youthful hero of her girlish fantasies, allays her fear. But will the unexpected spark that flares between her and a very adult, strikingly handsome Con have the chance to grow into a future together?  Or will it be destroyed by the wicked secrets that Anne is bound to keep?  Is the menace behind those secrets truly gone—or does it lie smoldering in the ruins of Yesterday’s Dream?

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Awards . . .

  • RT Book Reviews Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Finalist, Romance Writers of America Rita Award.

Reviews and Accolades . . .

  • “Beautifully written, Embers is gritty, suspense-filled, and sensual.  A moving story of childhood friends torn apart by secrets and drawn back together by love.”

    ~ Diane Chamberlain, best-selling author of
    The Midwife’s Confession

  • “Few authors would dare venture into the emotional depths of Mary Kirk’s wonderful . . . book, Embers. But then, there is only one Mary Kirk, and romance readers are extremely fortunate to enjoy the fruits of her magnificent talent and superb craftsmanship. . . .  Handling difficult issues with extraordinary sensitivity, Ms. Kirk creates a love story that will reverberate in your soul for many a day to come.”

    ~ Melinda Helfer, RT Book Reviews.

  • “. . . a beautiful story of love lost and regained; wise and
    touching—and sexy, too!”
  • ~ Laura Kinsale, best-selling author.

  • “You can depend on Mary Kirk for a story of the heart—and from the heart. This page-turner is land-mined with subtle power.  It’s all here:  danger and fear, the destiny of two characters who belong together, honesty and humor, secrets that need to be told, and the warmth of love.  A WONDERFUL book!  Another Kirk for my keeper shelf!”

    ~ Jennifer Greene, best-selling author

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Dear Reader,

When I finished Embers, it was so far over my publisher’s required length that I knew I was facing massive revisions.  I also realized (way too late to do anything about it, even if I’d wanted to) that I’d written a story that wouldn’t merely stretch the envelope of what was then considered acceptable subject matter for a romance; it would rip that envelope apart.

I was in trouble, and I needed a way out—fast.

For better or worse, I decided that the story itself would have to take its chances, and if readers hated it, I’d have to live with that.  But readers were never going to see the book if I didn’t do something about the word count.  So before turning in the manuscript, I gritted my teeth and cut, cut, cut.

I’d be lying if I claimed I wasn’t happy with the result.  As, apparently, were readers:  Embers made several best-seller lists, and it won a Lifetime Achievement Award from RT Book Reviews.  I also received more positive letters from readers about Embers than I’d received about all my other books combined.  Very reassuring, those letters.  I’ve kept every one of them.

Still, through all the intervening years since the first print edition of was published, those lost words have haunted me.  As though the story wasn’t entirely what I’d wanted it to be.  As though it wasn’t quite finished.

But no more.  I’m truly thrilled to offer you the unexpurgated edition of Embers.  With a twist.  That is, the book isn’t merely longer; it’s been updated to reflect twenty-first century culture, as well as today’s romance reader’s sensibilities.  More importantly, it’s changed because I’ve changed; I’m not the same writer—or person—I was at thirty-three, when I first put fingers to keyboard to tell Anne’s and Connor’s story.

Yet, I promise you this:  I believe, as I did then, that the human spirit has the capacity not only to survive but to flourish even under the most difficult circumstances.  And because of that belief, I can also promise you that, though the words may be different, Embers remains a deeply romantic story about the inestimable strength of love to heal, to empower, and to engender hope even in the most deeply wounded hearts.

Best wishes,

Mary Kirk