Isn’t there something sort of strange and mysterious about Leap Day? How does it even happen that we end up with an extra day once every four years or so? I know it has something to do with the Gregorian calendar and the Julian calendar and the earth rotating around the sun, but it’s still confusing. Just as confusing are the traditions that surround it, most of which have to do with love and romance.
Leap Day Tradition #1
This might not seem like such a big deal today, but it ancient times it was huge. Women did not propose to men. Ever. Except on Leap Day, because that was the one day that had no legal status because it wasn’t recognized by the courts. It was basically a free-for-all. And women went for it. Why not? What did they have to lose? Not much, actually, although they did have something to gain.
Leap Day Tradition #2
What if the guy says no?
Well, this is kind of the fun part. If a woman’s proposal was rejected on Leap Day, the man had to pay up. In Denmark, the man had to buy the spurned woman twelve pairs of gloves, mostly to cover her embarrassment at not having a ring on her finger. In Finland, he had to buy her enough cloth to make a skirt. Either way, it’s sort of a nice consolation prize. I wonder if any women just randomly proposed because they wanted a new skirt. I could see it happening.
Leap Day Tradition #3
It’s unlucky – for love and other things.
Greeks don’t like to get married on Leap Day. They consider it very unlucky. In fact, they’ll try to avoid getting married in Leap Year altogether, if possible. Scots don’t like it, either. An old Scottish proverb says, “Leap Year was ne’er a good sheep year.” Nothing to do with love, but definitely bad for sheep. And Italians say, “Anno bisesto tutte le donne senza sesto”, which means “In a Leap Year, woman are erratic.”
How about a new tradition?
So, in spite of the obvious benefits of women being allowed to propose to the man she loves (or getting a skirt as a consolation prize), it’s a day that causes a lot of mixed feelings. It’s bad for sheep. It makes Greeks nervous. And it causes women to act a little crazy (or crazier than usual). It reminds me a bit of the superstition and fear that surrounds Friday the 13th, but with none of the super-scary psycho killer kind of elements – which is a good thing.
What do you plan to do on Leap Day? I think it should be a day to do something for yourself. Make a special meal. Enjoy a glass of wine. Have a long bubble bath, or curl up by the fire with a good book.
If you’re going for the last option, I have a suggestion. My new paranormal romance, TRAVELLER, comes out February 26, 2016. Just in time for Leap Day! Maybe it can be part of a new tradition (although a new skirt would still be nice, too).
Thank you and Happy Leap Day!
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Date of Publication: February 26, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-5092-0569-1 Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-5092-0570-7 Digital
Number of pages: 250
Word Count: 80,000
Cover Artist: Debbie Taylor
Former Junior Miss Kentucky Emerson Shaw won pageants using martial arts as her talent and Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War” as her guide, but a painful secret leads her to the University of York, and puts her in the path of tattooed and pierced bad boy, Michael Nightingale.
Michael is a Traveller, part of an ancient line of mercenary gypsies who protect the world from vicious monsters called the Moktar. When Emerson gets attacked, she has no choice but accept Michael’s offer of protection or face certain death.
Traveller society, full of outdated rules and ridiculous superstitions, isn’t a good fit for the headstrong Emerson. Traveller women aren’t allowed to fight. Traveller women aren’t allowed to win. Traveller women aren’t allowed to leave. But Emerson will do what she must, even if it means losing the one person who matters most.
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“Who are you and what do you want from me?”
I took a deep breath. It probably wouldn’t be a good start to tell him he occupied my every waking thought and most of my dreams, too. I decided to go with a more conventional approach.
“You’re here every morning, and I thought I’d say hello.” I stuck out my hand. “Emerson Jane Shaw.”
He surprised me by reaching for my extended hand and holding it firmly. His hand, large, warm and rough, had cuts and bruises all over the knuckles. He had faint bruises on his face, too, and some small wounds still in the process of healing. He’d been in some kind of fight recently.
It didn’t surprise me. He had the look of a warrior about him, the lean strength and watchful eyes of a predator, and he was lethal. Sun Tzu would have seen it, too. He would have recruited him without a moment’s hesitation.
“Michael Nightingale.” He stared at me with those hypnotic eyes as he continued to hold my hand, using it to pull me nearer to him.
“I know. Mrs. Burke told me.” I couldn’t focus on what I was saying while he touched me, not that I’d done such a great job up until now with my witty repartee.
He tilted his head to one side, studying me the way a lion studies a gazelle before he eats it. His face was only inches away from mine.
“Do you like to flirt with danger, Emerson Jane Shaw?”
“Not usually, but today I can make an exception.”
The touch of his hand sent an electric current through my body that made my heart speed up and my brain slow down. He was intoxicating. I almost had to fan myself.
Abruptly, Michael let go of me and stood up, shoving his books into his backpack. I stood up, too.
Michael glared at me, threw some bills on the table and stomped out of the shop. Like an idiot, I grabbed my backpack and followed him.
He walked quickly through The Shambles, dodging pedestrians and umbrellas with ease. I wasn’t quite as lucky. The rain poured down, filling the street with puddles. Michael wore combat boots and jeans. I had on a useless pair of flats and no jacket. It only took seconds for me to be soaked to the skin and miserable. In minutes, I looked like a little blonde drowned rat.
I’m pretty fast, even in slippery shoes, and I was motivated. I kept him in my sights until he reached a side street at the end of The Shambles that led down a narrow lane. I was only half a block away when he turned and looked at me, his eyes locking with mine, and disappeared.
He hadn’t walked away. He hadn’t moved. He’d been there one second, and gone the next. Running as fast as I could, I reached the spot where I’d last seen him and looked down the lane and on either side of the street. My ribbon flew out of my hair, blowing away in the wind as I slid on the wet cobblestones and nearly fell. I skidded to a halt, realizing I hadn’t been fast enough. It was a dead end, and he was gone.
About the Author:
Abigail Drake has spent her life traveling the world, and collecting stories wherever she visited. She majored in Japanese and International Economics in college and worked in import/export and as an ESL teacher before she committed herself full time to writing. She writes in several romance genres, and her books are quirky, light, fun, and sexy. Abigail is a trekkie, a book hoarder, the master of the Nespresso machine, a red wine addict, and the mother of three boys (probably the main reason for her red wine addiction). A puppy named Capone is the most recent addition to her family, and she blogs about him as a way of maintaining what little sanity she has left.
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