Dear Readers, please note the giveaway details below. As usual the review will be added later on today, but for now, please give a warm welcome to our guest author, Shelley Munro!
Sassy Note: The review is up! Please click here to read Angelika's take on this book.Comments are encouraged! :)
Tea Leaf Reading
When I started writing Tea For Two I decided I needed an unusual occupation for my heroine. I was also feeling nostalgic and wanted to visit London, England again. Unfortunately, the wallet wasn’t up to an overseas jaunt so I did the next best thing. I decided to set my story in London. At least that way I had a good excuse to drag all my old photos, maps and guidebooks out of the cupboard and maybe slip into a travel agent or two when Mr. Munro wasn’t paying attention.
One of the special things I enjoyed during my six years in London was going to afternoon tea at the Ritz Hotel. Honestly, it’s very swish and steeped in tradition and my visit there is an enduring memory. Tea, I thought. What could I do with tea?
After much thought an idea came to me—my heroine would read tea-leaves. I like drinking tea had a lot of fun doing the research for Tea For Two.
The Romany people brought the art of tea-leaf reading to Europe, and passed the secrets down from one generation of women to another. The arrival of tea bags spelled doom for tasseomancy (tea-leaf reading) although the growing popularity of loose-leaf teas has revived the art.
To do a reading you need:
A teapot that pours easily and doesn’t dribble.
A teacup with a rounded bowl. It should be plain inside (no decoration) and of an average size.
Tea-leaves of average size—not too big or small. The leaves should be off different sizes and shouldn’t contain added ingredients such as orange peel.
Only one cup is read from each pot of tea—the first one poured. This is because the tea-leaves usually flow best when pouring the first cup of tea. Drink the tea, leaving only a teaspoon of liquid in the cup. Close your eyes and silently ask for guidance about your future. Turn the cup three times in an anticlockwise direction and place it upside down on the saucer. Allow to drain for thirty seconds. Carefully turn the cup up the right way and give it to your tea-leaf reader to interpret.
Here’s a short excerpt from Tea For Two:
“No harm done,” Hayley said. “Would you like me to do a reading for you? I have a pot of tea ready to go.”
Melissa arched a brow, a faint smile flirting with her lips. “Isn’t this a load of showmanship? No offence, but I can’t believe all of this is for real.”
“Not at all,” Hayley answered in a level voice. It was one thing for her to doubt her own skill, but Hayley had seen how happy she made people with her readings. She did the very best job she could and had read extensively into the background and the interpretations. “Tea leaf reading dates back thousands of years. Do you read your stars? Reading tea leaves isn’t any different. Both are accepted methods of divination.”
“I read my horoscope sometimes.” Melissa had lost her mocking tone and started to look genuinely interested.
Hayley went through the familiar routine, having already sized up the other woman. She was no different from most women. Secretly she yearned for a man to sweep her off her feet. She wanted to fall in love. “Close your eyes and concentrate on your future, the things you’d like. Now rotate the cup three times in an anticlockwise direction with your left hand.”
Melissa completed the ritual, a faint wrinkle of concentration on her forehead.
“Now open your eyes.” Hayley picked up the eggshell-blue cup and peered inside. “A broken heart,” she said. “The relationship is over and there is no going back. You need to mourn and look ahead to the future.”
Melissa gasped before smiling ruefully. “You’re trying to warn me off Sam.”
“There was someone before Sam who hurt you badly. If he comes back into your life, tread carefully. Don’t give him the opportunity to hurt you again.”
Biting her bottom lip, Melissa nodded.
Hayley couldn’t tell if she believed her or not. “You also have a new moon in your cup. This is a positive sign because it indicates a new relationship on the horizon.” Hayley smiled. “Take things slowly and allow yourself time to think. Don’t let him sweep you off your feet, no matter what your heart tells you.” Hayley became aware of Sam hovering in the background. A burst of applause rang out after a man completed his welcome speech and announced the conference open.
Melissa’s body jerked. “Oops, duty calls. Thanks very much, Madam Deveraux. That was intriguing.” Smiling, she stood and hurried toward the podium at the front of the room.
“Very impressive,” Sam said. “What did you do with the real Melissa?”
“I think the conference preparations have been a bit stressful for her,” Hayley said diplomatically. “Did Suzie get away okay?”
“Yes, she’s worried about letting me down. I tried to tell her it wasn’t her fault.”
Hayley could imagine the scene. Suzie had probably cried and worried about mucking up her first conference. Hayley didn’t think Suzie needed to worry and would tell her so once she arrived home.
“What happened to my tea?”
Hayley’s thoughts ground to a halt at his husky voice. “Melissa used it for her reading. Do you still want to do one?” Please say no, she prayed. Hayley wanted him to go away, to stop presenting her with temptation. It would be too easy to reach out to touch, and the idea of kissing him again sent spirals of delight soaring through her. She stirred, sliding about on her chair as if it were suddenly uncomfortable.
- “Of course I’d like
some tea,” he said. “I’d like to see you in action.”
Do you like reading about unusual occupations? What are some of your favorite occupations for heroes and heroines?
Shelley Munro lives in New Zealand and loves to travel. Tea For Two, her debut book for Samhain Publishing, is now available for purchase in both e-format and print. You can visit Shelley at www.shelleymunro.com
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