THE FIRST EMMA
Camille Di Maio Historical Fiction / Historical Romance / Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing Date of Publication: May 5, 2020
Number of Pages: 315
Scroll down for the giveaway!
The First Emma is the true story of Emma Koehler. Whose tycoon husband Otto was killed in a crime-of-the-century murder by one of his two mistresses – both also named Emma – and her unlikely rise as CEO of a brewing empire during Prohibition. When a chance to tell her story to a young teetotaler arises, a tale unfolds of love, war, beer, and the power of women.
PRAISE for The First Emma:“Di Maio’s take on a shocking American drama pleasantly blends romantic and historical fiction . . . a sweet memorialization of a real-life female business pioneer in San Antonio.” —Kirkus “A beautifully crafted portrait of an intriguing woman. Mystery and romance are set against the backdrop of fascinating pieces of twentieth-century history, and a richly drawn setting leaves the reader feeling wholly immersed. Historical fiction fans will love this one!” —Chanel Cleeton, NYT bestselling author of Next Year in Havana
“Di Maio does a brilliant job of weaving together all the threads—from past to present—while unearthing a tale of blossoming love, the power of our chosen family, and the losses that make us whole again.” —Rochelle B. Weinstein, USA Today bestselling author of This Is Not How It Ends
CLICK TO ORDER ON: Amazon ┃ Barnes and Noble Indiebound┃ Bookshop.org
THE FIRST EMMA
PROLOGUE, PART THREE
(To read Part One of the Prologue, visit All the Ups and Downs; to read Part Two of the Prologue, visit Story Schmoozing Book Reviews)
San Antonio, Texas
November 12, 1914
Emma had told him no. She would not consent to him divorcing his wife on her account. She would not marry him.
But he continued to beg.
Emma grabbed his wrist and threw it from her, satisfied with the slight thud as it fell against the corner of the nightstand.
“Darling,” he whispered as he hovered over her ear. “Please reconsider. Marry me and you’ll make me the happiest man alive.” “No,” she insisted. The third such rejection in as many weeks. She propped herself up on her elbows.
“Emma,” he pled. He put his knee on the mattress and spoke in a low, heavy moan that indicated how eager he was to return to her bed.
“No,” she said again with all the force she could muster. “Otto, I’m not going to marry you. It’s over. All of this is over.”
She clutched his shirt in her hands and shoved him off the bed. He fell against the nightstand with all his weight this time, sending her silver hand mirror across its marble surface. It stopped just short of crashing to the ground. A precious memento of the life she’d once had on the other side of the world.
A reminder that she wished she had never left.
It was difficult to see his reaction in the dim room where he was nearly a silhouette. But he righted himself and moved forward again. A shot of fear rushed through Emma’s body. Otto had never had so much taken away from him in so short a time: his wife’s health, his first lover’s marriage, his second lover’s refusal. A desperate man might do anything.
As he drew nearer with wide steps, Emma slipped her finger under the pillow and felt around for the .32 revolver he’d bought for her to protect against coyotes. Its cool metal frame gave her some reassurance.
Just in case.
She felt his body fall upon the mattress, his hot breath landing on her neck in frenzied kisses. His hands trying all the things in all the places that had once excited her.
“Get off of me!”
“Don’t leave. Don’t leave me,” he begged. His tone had turned to one of despair and each sob was more wretched than the last.
So much could be hers if she acquiesced. Wealth. Comfort. Affection. It was all very tempting.
But some things were worth more than that.
Emma threw the blankets toward the foot of the bed. “It’s over!” she insisted.
She listened for sounds from the kitchen but couldn’t hear the other Emma in the house anymore. Had she gone outside when Otto arrived? That had always been their arrangement before she left to marry Mr. Daschiel. Only one woman in the house when Otto came around to visit.
She slid her hand under the pillow again, this time clutching the revolver. The sweat on her hand fell on its leather grip. She pulled it out in a quick motion and placed the barrel against Otto’s chest, pushing him away as she sat up.
He jumped back, sweat rippling down the wrinkles on his forehead. “You’re crazy.”
Otto waved a finger at her and turned toward the living room.
Emma lifted herself out of bed, arms weakened after convalescing. She walked across the wood floor in bare feet, avoiding the board that had worn and would splinter her skin. The light from the next room sent more pain to her head and her eyes winced as they took it in. But she could see Otto standing in front of her, just beyond the sofa, a case knife drawn from his pocket.
His hand shook, but his eyes fixed a hard gaze on her.
Her heart beat quickly and a sense of terror seized her.
He’d called her crazy? She’d only meant to frighten him away. But there was a look about him that that held more than a threat.
He stepped toward her and the knife slashed her arm.
She fired the trigger in response. Three times.
Otto crumpled to the floor, clutching his chest. Heat raced to her cheeks and she dropped the revolver on the ground next to her. She collapsed next to his body and pulled away his vest, ripping the buttons from their threads.
What had she done?
Only then did she hear the other Emma, who ran in from the porch. A look of horror passed between the women.
Otto’s thin-framed body writhed on the wool rug, a thick red pool forming on his white shirt. His blood mixing with hers. His eyes fluttered, looking between them.
“Emma,” he whispered as he took his last breath.
But they didn’t know which woman he called out for.
Emma, his first mistress.
Emma, his second mistress.
Or Emma, his wife.
Camille Di Maio always dreamed of being a writer, though she took a winding path of waitressing, temping, politicking, and real estate to get there. It all came to fruition with the publication of her bestselling debut, The Memory of Us, followed by Before the Rain Falls, The Way of Beauty, and The Beautiful Strangers. In addition to writing, she loves farmers’ markets, unashamedly belts out Broadway tunes when the mood strikes, and regularly faces her fear of flying to indulge her passion for travel. Married for twenty-three years, she home-schools their four children. (Though the first two are off at college now!) She is happy to live in Virginia near a beach.
Newsletter ║ Website ║ Facebook ║ YouTube Instagram ║ Amazon Author Page ║ BookBub Twitter ║ Goodreads————————————-
CLICK TO VISIT THE LONE STAR LITERARY LIFE TOUR PAGE FOR DIRECT LINKS TO EACH POST ON THIS TOUR, UPDATED DAILY. Or, visit the blogs directly:
Excerpt Part 1
Excerpt Part 2
Excerpt Part 3
blog tour services provided by