A dilapidated mansion on Philadelphia's Main Line. A wedding day promise from decades ago. A love that even death can't end--or can it? Ann Kinnear has a yearly engagement for Valentine's Day, but it's not one she's looking forward to.
So dear I love him, that with him all deaths I could endure, without him live no life.
— John Milton, Paradise Lost
Although an icy January wind knifes through the streets of Southwest Harbor, Maine, Ann Kinnear is snug in the warmth of her favorite Mount Desert Island bar. But when an overheard conversation draws her to the town docks, Ann finds trouble. Will she have the strength to save a young woman from a threatening presence that only Ann can perceive?
I’ll never pause again, never stand still,
Till either death hath closed these eyes of mine Or fortune given me measure of revenge.
— William Shakespeare, King Henry VI
Childhood memories flood Ann Kinnear as she enters St. Andrew's on the night before Easter. But this time, she's a hired hand with a mysterious assignment. When she learns what that assignment is, she's pretty sure she's not the person ordained for the job—but she finds her shaky confidence in human nature bolstered by the tale that unfolds against a backdrop of misplaced guilt and the true meaning of faithfulness. Not a traditional Easter story ... and likely not the right pick for readers looking for Christian lit!
Lay her i' th' earth,
And from her fair and unpolluted flesh
May violets spring!
— William Shakespeare, Hamlet
When a cruise line hires Ann Kinnear to get to the bottom of what caused two passengers on two separate voyages to jump from the balcony of the same stateroom, it looks like the perfect engagement: an all-expense-paid cruise from Hawaii to Vancouver. But when Ann finally makes contact with one of the victims, will anything be able to rescue her from the despair she encounters ... and prevent her from ending up on the bottom herself?
To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them ...
—William Shakespeare, Hamlet
Ann Kinnear can't pretend to be a fan of her latest gig: accompanying a rock cover band to their first session without their deceased drummer ... or is it the first session of a new, six-feet-undercover group? A rock classic accompanied by an unseen presence on the throne seems like the break the band has been waiting for ... until the wheels come off and Ann must try to keep things in the middle of the road for this stage of fools.
NOTE: This short story was written for an anthology that encouraged profanity. You have been forewarned. : )
When we are born, we cry that we are come
To this great stage of fools.
—William Shakespeare, "King Lear"
A suspect suicide note. A dinghy washed up on the rocky Maine coast. An angry man determined to send his dead wife a message. Ann Kinnear travels to an isolated island in Blue Hill Bay to convey that message ... and discovers the private truth behind the public story of a death on the water.
Men's evil manners live in brass; their virtues
We write in water.
— William Shakespeare, Henry VIII
An angry lover who turned a place of dance and light into a place of death. A much-missed husband in the wrong place at the wrong time. Who will be waiting for Ann at the top of the stairs?
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A hall, a hall, give room!—And foot it, girls.--
More light, you knaves! And turn the tables up,
And quench the fire. The room is grown too hot.--
Ah, sirrah, this unlooked-for sport comes well.--
Nay, sit, nay, sit, good cousin Capulet,
For you and I are past our dancing days.
—William Shakespeare, Romeo & Juliet