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Archive for the ‘excerpts’ Category

It’s time for Monday Excerpts! Since most of us are probably recovering from the holiday weekend, let’s do blurbs, or snippets. Buy links are welcome.

Here is mine from A Kiss for Lady Beresford, which releases on July 21 and is on pre-order!

lady beresford's lover_ebookElla Quinn’s bachelors are quite sure of what they want in life—and love—until the right woman opens their eyes…

After a painful heartbreak, Rupert, the handsome young Earl of Stanstead, has decided that when it comes to love, avoidance is best. Until he meets a woman who makes him forget his plan—and remember his longing for a wife and family. Yet he senses that she too has been hurt, though she attempts to hide her feelings—and more—in the most baffling and alluring way. Intrigued, Rupert is willing to play along, if winning her is the prize…

Crushed by her late husband’s scorn, Vivian, Countess of Beresford, believes she is monstrously undesirable. Sadly childless, she has moved to London resigned to a solitary life. Still, when she encounters Rupert at a masquerade ball, her disguise as Cleopatra emboldens her. Convinced he doesn’t recognize her, she begins an after-hours affair with him, always in costume—while allowing him to innocently court the real her by day. But when Rupert makes a shocking choice, will Vivian be able to handle the truth?…

Buy Links: Kensington  ~  AmazonB&N ~ Kobo

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It’s time for Monday Excerpts! Today I invite you to post the first time your characters meet. Buy links are encouraged as are social media links.

Here is mine from Lady Beresford’s Lover, which releases on July 21st, and is available for pre-order.

lady beresford's lover_ebookVivian had the strangest sensation she was being watched. She glanced up and fought to control her countenance. It was him! The gentleman from the park. She was sure of it, and he was staring at her. Their gazes met, and he held hers as he strode forward, apparently not seeing either the footmen who darted out of his way or the other guests attempting to draw his attention.

He was taller than she’d thought, had a strong face with lean cheeks and strong bones. His aristocratic nose was blade straight, reminding her of an ancient Greek or Roman. He carried himself with ease, as if he was the master of his life and the world around him. At first he appeared to be in his early thirties, but when he came closer, she could see no lines bracketing his well-defined lips or marring his smooth brow. The gentleman appeared good-natured, as if a grin hovered permanently around his mouth. In time, she imagined his eyes would have smile lines.

When he reached her small coterie he bowed to Phoebe. “My lady, always a pleasure to see you again.”

Phoebe smiled at him. “You will soon rival Kit and Robert in your address, my lord.”

Vivian did not know who Kit was, but the only Robert she had been introduced to was Lord Beaumont. The grin Vivian had known was not far away graced the gentleman’s lips. “Ah, Featherton is the standard to which all gentlemen aspire. I am a mere pretender to his throne.” The man’s gray eyes twinkled. “As for my cousin, I trust I have surpassed his address already.”

He did resemble Lord Beaumont to a large degree. Both gentlemen had classic good looks, but this man appeared—Vivian searched her mind for the word . . . vital. He had an energy about him she did not see in most gentlemen of the ton. Even young men, such as he must be, contrived to appear fashionably bored.

“Please introduce me to your friends, my lady,” he said to Phoebe as he glanced at Vivian.

Phoebe’s eyes seemed to dance, but there was no indication of laughter in her voice. “Certainly. Ladies, my I introduce you to the Earl of Stanstead. My lord, the Dowager Marchioness of Telford, the Countess of Beresford, and Miss Corbet. Lady Telford is my great-aunt, Lady Beresford is her cousin, also a connection of mine, and Miss Corbet the granddaughter of my aunt’s friend.”

Lord Stanstead bowed over each of their hands. “My pleasure, ladies. We shall all be richer for your presence.”

Vivian tried not to let her heart flutter, but it was no good. She drew in a small breath. His voice was as deep and clear as his eyes.

Buy links: Kensington  ~  Amazon ~ B&N ~ Kobo

Now it’s your turn!! 

 

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Happy Sunday!

in the spinster's bedroom_ebookLet’s start with the winner of Sally Mackenzie’s book, In the Spinster’s Bed. Congratulations to Jacque McNeal!!

 

 

In book news, it is less than a month until the release of Lady Beresford’s Lover!! Naturally, it is on pre-order. For you bloggers and reviewers, it is on Netgalley. If you are already a Marriage Game fan, you’ll see a lot of the characters you’ve already met.

I really love this book, and I hope you will as well!! Just to pique your interest, I’ll tell you a little more about it.

Here is the cover.

lady beresford's lover_ebook

 

The blurb.

Ella Quinn’s bachelors are quite sure of what they want in life—and love—until the right woman opens their eyes…

After a painful heartbreak, Rupert, the handsome young Earl of Stanstead, has decided that when it comes to love, avoidance is best. Until he meets a woman who makes him forget his plan—and remember his longing for a wife and family. Yet he senses that she too has been hurt, though she attempts to hide her feelings—and more—in the most baffling and alluring way. Intrigued, Rupert is willing to play along, if winning her is the prize…

Crushed by her late husband’s scorn, Vivian, Countess of Beresford, believes she is monstrously undesirable. Sadly childless, she has moved to London resigned to a solitary life. Still, when she encounters Rupert at a masquerade ball, her disguise as Cleopatra emboldens her. Convinced he doesn’t recognize her, she begins an after-hours affair with him, always in costume—while allowing him to innocently court the real her by day. But when Rupert makes a shocking choice, will Vivian be able to handle the truth?…

And an excerpt.

“My lady—” Hal, who’d been her personal footman since her come out, hovered in the open door. “The new Lord Beresford asks if you’ll receive him.”

What could he possibly want? Since the reading of the will, Vivian hadn’t had much to do with her husband’s cousin and best friend who’d come into the title.

Well, whatever it was, she would not allow it to stop her from leaving.

“I’ll see him. Please bring tea and ask Miss Corbet to join me.” Silvia Corbet, the vicar’s eldest daughter, had been Vivian’s companion for the past year, and during that time Vivian had come to love Silvia like a sister.

“Yes, my lady. I’ll get her first.”

“Thank you. That would be best.”

Vivian was not completely conversant concerning the rules of being a widow, but she could not think they would allow her to be in the same room with a gentleman who was not a close relation. Or perhaps that was incorrect. She had heard that some widows took lovers. Still, she did not want to be alone with the man. In any event, he could have nothing to say that would interest her.

A few moments later, Silvia entered the room. “Hal said we have a visitor.”

“Indeed, the new Lord Beresford.” Vivian moved to the sofa. “Thank you for coming so quickly.”

“I was on my way to you in any event.” Silvia’s demeanor had changed from her normal friendliness to barely suppressed anger upon hearing his lordship had come. She chose a chair in the corner of the room near one of the windows, took out her embroidery, and gave a short nod.

As soon as Vivian’s companion had settled, his lordship was announced. At the same time, Hall brought in the tea tray, setting it in front of her, and obviating the need for her to stand and greet the man. “Good afternoon, my lord.”

Lord Beresford glanced at her, bowed, and smiled, apparently not even noticing that Silvia was in the corner. “Good day. I hope I find you well.”

“Yes, thank you, quite well.” And she’d be even better when she left this place. What she did not understand was how the man could fail to notice Silvia; however, he hadn’t glanced her way. What could he want that had him so focused on Vivian? “Would you like some tea?”

“Please. Two sugars and milk, if you would.”

The Queen Anne sofa opposite her groaned as he lowered his large, muscular frame onto the delicate piece. Vivian winced, expecting it to splinter at any moment. Nothing in this parlor was made for persons of his size and weight. Finally satisfied the sofa would not break, Vivian handed him the cup.

He took a sip, focusing his solemn brown gaze on her. “Have you made plans for what you will do after your year of mourning is over?”

Vivian glanced up, then lowered her eyes. By any standards, he was a handsome man with thick sable hair, a straight nose, and well above medium height. However, his resemblance to her late husband was too strong for her to be comfortable in his presence, and she had no intention of telling him of her cousin Clara’s invitation. “Have you need of the dower house?”

“Of course not,” he assured Vivian hastily. “You are naturally welcome to remain as long as you wish.” He set his cup down, clearing his throat. “There is, however, a proposition I’d like to place before you, if I may?”

He probably wanted her to act as his hostess until he married. She would tell him she was not interested. Vivian wanted no more dealings with anyone by the name of Beresford. Unfortunately, curiosity had always been another one of her faults. She raised her brows and returned his gaze, praying she presented the image of a calm, composed widow, when in fact her stomach churned as it had when facing her husband. “Go on.”

“I’d like to propose a marriage between us.”

Marriage!

In the year Lord Beresford had been at the abbey, he hadn’t once sought her out, and now he proposed marriage? Did he think she was simply to be a piece of property to be traded at will? Fury pierced her like lightning during a summer storm. After what his cousin had put her through, he must be mad. It was all she could do to maintain her countenance. How could he think she would exchange one Lord Beresford for a newer version? She would never even consider such a suggestion. And if she did, she’d be made a laughingstock among the servants and the villagers. If his expression weren’t so serious, she would have thought he was playing a sick joke.

When she didn’t respond, he continued. “You are, after all, familiar with the abbey and the area. It would not be a love match, but neither was your union with my cousin. I believe I can promise I will never embarrass you or cause you any distress.”

As her husband had done when she’d discovered his long-standing affair with a local farmer’s wife. She took a few shallow breaths, attempting to gather her wits and find a way to end this conversation civilly. “We barely know one another.”

For some reason, that seemed to hearten Lord Beresford. “A state which may be easily remedied. The fact remains that I am in need of a wife, and you fit the bill. I can give you children.”

Vivian’s cup rattled. She was that close to throwing cup, saucer, and pot at him all at once. The next thing she knew, the delicate china was taken from her hands. Silvia put her arm around Vivian’s shoulders and sat next to her.

Beresford jumped to his feet as if a bee had stung him. “What are you doing here?”

“Why am I not surprised?” Silvia replied in a voice of icy distain. “Apparently you have forgot I am Lady Beresford’s companion. Now, my lord”—her tone took on the manner of a queen—“I believe you’ve said quite enough, and it is time to take your leave.”

He flushed as he stood, strode to the door, opened it, and fixed his fierce look on Silvia. “You may leave. I wish to speak with her ladyship alone.”

“Over my dead body,” Silvia mumbled just loudly enough for him to hear.

He opened his mouth, and Vivian decided to step in before all-out war could ensue. She knew nothing about his lordship’s manner, but, as much as she appreciated her companion’s championship, she’d never seen Silvia so exercised or rude.

In a calm but unapologetic tone, Vivian said, “I asked Miss Corbet to remain with me.”

He glared at Silvia as if he’d argue.

“However,” Vivian continued firmly, “I do not believe I need to hear any more of your proposition, my lord. My answer is no. I have no desire to wed you. In fact, I have no desire to marry anyone ever again. Once was quite enough, thank you.”

As he stalked out of the parlor, he glanced over his shoulder. “I’ll speak to you again when you are in a better frame of mind, my lady.”

“Not if I have anything to say about it,” Silvia hurled at his retreating form.

His shoulders hunched, then the door snapped shut behind him.

Buy Links: Kensington  ~ Amazon ~ B&N ~ Kobo

On to boat news. As you know, I’ve been sailing up the east coast.

After leaving Deltaville, we spent the night in the St. Inigoes River and caught up with one of Alicianna’s (our puppy) sisters.

Alicianna and Chelsa June  2 2015Alicianna and Chelsa June  3 2015

Then on to the Solomons, Maryland for a night.

Anchorage at SolomonsAnchorage at Solomons2

And finally Annapolis where we’ll remain until July 5th.

Annapolis 4

Annapolis

Contact me if you’re in the area and wish to get together.

Ella

 

 

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Welcome to Monday Excerpts. Today you’re invited to post any excerpt up to 800 words featuring secondary characters. Please feel free to post buy links, or your social media links. If you’re not a writer, tell me what type of secondary characters you love!

Here is my excerpt from Lady Beresford’s Lover.

“What the devil do you think you are doing?” Nick growled at his longtime friend and fellow former officer, Damon, Marquis of Hawksworth.

“Saving you from yourself,” came the self-assured reply. “Couldn’t you see the lady didn’t want anything to do with you?”

“I made a promise.” Nick clung stubbornly to his desire to have all of this finished, one way or the other.

“Well, if you really do wish to wed her”—Hawksworth’s tone was more of a question—“I suggest you leave the lady alone for a bit.” He pressed a glass of wine into Nick’s hand. “I thought all of you fellows on Wellington’s staff had a good deal of address, or did his standards fall after I sold out?”

Nick opened his mouth and closed it again. He actually did want Lady Beresford to refuse him, but he didn’t want Silvia any more incensed with him than she already was. Which meant he had to corner Vivian when Silvia wasn’t around. “You are generally correct. I merely see no reason to postpone this. If she rejects me again, I shall have to look for another woman to be my wife.” Such as Silvia, if he could get her to tell him what he had done to deserve her ire. Conversely, he didn’t wish to see another man hurt Vivian again. His cousin had done quite enough of that. “By the way, who was that pup with her?”

“Oho, I’d be careful of who you are calling a pup.” Hawksworth gave Nick one of his irritating superior, I know more than you do looks. “That was the Earl of Stanstead, and although he may be young in years, he is not a man to be taken lightly. He boxes with Jackson, fences with Angelo, and the times I’ve seen him shoot he never missed. If you were to fight him, even with your experience, I don’t know that I would wager on you.”

Just then, a woman in a cream gown caught the corner of Nick’s eye and he turned. Silvia. She was enchanting. Even if she could flay a man’s skin with the sharp edge of her tongue. Though she didn’t look to be doing that now. She smiled up at the gentleman dancing around her. She’d never smiled at him that way, except the once. Nick let out a low moan.

“If you’re ill, we should leave,” Hawksworth said. Then he apparently got a look at what, or rather who, Nick was staring at. “She is an Incomparable.”

“Don’t even think about it.” Nick surprised himself by snarling. Hawksworth lifted one dark brow. “She may look like a sweet young lady, but she’s a shrew. I have reason to know.”

His friend’s other brow joined the first. “To you or to everyone? Her partner appears to be enjoying himself.” Hawksworth’s lips formed a sardonic smile. “I never knew you had such a difficult time with ladies. It must have been caused by Waterloo, or are you still upset that you had to sell out? Without the uniform, you now must actually work at being acceptable.”

Nick scowled. “At least I’m not aping the Dandy set.”

His friend laughed. “My dear friend. I never copy. I am leading the Dandy set. Let’s depart before you do something that will reflect badly on both of us.”

Maybe Hawksworth was right. It was time to retreat and attack at a later time.

Buy links are here.

Now it’s your turn!

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I’m sorry for missing last week, but here we go again. Let’s do something easy and post blurbs and buy links. If you’re unpublished, post a short excerpt and your social media links.

Here is mine from A Kiss for Lady Mary!

Ella Quinn’s bachelors do as they like and take what they want. But when the objects of their desire are bold, beautiful women, the rules of the game always seem to change…

Handsome, charming, and heir to a powerful Viscount, Christopher “Kit” Featherton is everything a woman could want—except interested in marriage. So when he hears that someone on his estate near the Scottish border is claiming to be his wife, Kit sets off to investigate.

                                                                                                                                                             Sinceher Since her parents’ death, Lady Mary Tolliver has been hounded by her cousin, a fortune-hunting fool after her inheritance. Refusing to settle for anything less than love, Mary escapes to the isolated estate of rakish bachelor, Kit Featherton. Knowing he prefers Court to the country, she believes she will be safe. But when Kit unexpectedly returns, her pretend marriage begins to feel seductively real…

 A Kiss for Lady Mary

Buy Links: Amazon ~ B&NiTunes

Now it’s your turn to strut your stuff!!

 

 

 

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Please welcome historical author Judith Laik to the blog! Judith thought her book, A The Lady Protests, would be finished by now, but has had to push off the publication until later in June. But, she has decided to share with us some of her writing process! Judith will give away either the new book or reader’s choice of one of her other books. All you have to do is leave a comment telling her you want it.

Sometimes, or all the time, an author needs visual inspiration to see what their characters look like. And that is what Judith did.  So, she is sharing with you the pictures she found of her secondary her heroine Arietta Foxworth.

Mauzy Mackenzie from Soap Opera Magazine

Mauzy Mackenzie from Soap Opera Magazine

This is a photo of her secondary hero Jasper Linton (although Jasper is a little more blonde).

Jared Padelecki

Jared Padelecki

Eventually, actually, probably pretty quickly, Judith’s thoughts about her characters and story will produce a cover something like this.

the-lady-in-question-web-copy2

Now the blurb.

A Lady in Charge

Since the death of her musician stepfather, Beatrice Foxworth has struggled to hold her remaining family together: her innocent, head-in-the-clouds stepsister, Arietta; and her devastated mother. When Arietta is abducted, Beatrice must save her from ruin – or worse.

A Pleasure-seeking Gentleman

Philip Hollesley carelessly promised a friend to oversee his naïve younger brother’s first essay into London bachelorhood. When Jasper Linton elopes with an unsuitable young woman, the last thing Philip wants to do is become involved. But he gave his word, so it’s up to him to chase down the young fool before he can tie the knot in Gretna Green.

Adversaries turned Reluctant Allies

But there never was so strange a pursuit. Beatrice and Philip, chaperoned by her matchmaking mama, discover an odd assortment of humanity is also tracking them: a rejected lord, an aging demimondaine and her aristocratic lover, a group of rowdy young bucks, and a mysterious man.

The Lady Protests

Beatrice and Philip can’t agree on anything – except the necessity to overtake Jasper and Arietta – and to fight their inconvenient attraction to each other.

 

And an excerpt.

As Jasper paid for two meat pies, Arietta spotted something moving in the alley and nearly moved away from the corner, suspecting a rat or other vermin. The creature didn’t move like one, however, and she peered as it slunk closer.

It crawled under the cart and looked fearfully at Arietta. She realized it was a small dog, the tan color of the dirt in the street, with a matted coat, and, even through the mats and dirt, she could see it was terribly thin. Two bright black eyes shone through the hair falling in its face, and a pink tongue lolled out of its mouth.

With her pie in hand, Arietta bent down, and the dog darted away, just a few feet, then stopped, staring at the pie. “You poor ragamuffin,” she said in a coaxing voice, “do you want some pie?” She broke off a piece and held it out to the dog, who looked at it suspiciously, but longingly.

“That beast been hanging about for days. It’s just a nuisance, but nobody’s been able to catch it,” said the pie lady.

“Come here, love, and I’ll give you some pie,” Arietta wheedled. A stump of a tail wagged doubtfully, and the dog came forward a foot or two.

Jasper said, “The thing is filthy, probably has fleas. You should let it be.”

“No, he’s starving, poor puppy. And he’s so afraid. Come here, baby,” she pleaded again, and the dog crawled closer, merely a couple of feet from her outstretched hand. “Just a little more and the pie is yours.” She waved the bit of pastry slowly so as not to startle him, and he came all the way to her hand and snatched the tidbit, then ran as if afraid to be trapped.

He stopped just a few feet away, looking back at the rest of her pie. “Yes, you can have more if you come back,” she said, breaking off another bite and holding it toward him.

He moved towards her more boldly, but still snatched the bite and ran off. This time, Arietta went toward him. He retreated, and she bent down again with her hand out. He came forward, to discover she didn’t have any treat in her hand this time. As he sniffed, her hand settled very gently on his head and stroked him softly. She offered him more of the pie, with her hand resting in her lap, and he climbed up to take it from her, not retreating this time, but looking at the rest of her pie.

She closed her arm around him and cuddled him against her, feeding the rest of the pie to him, then standing with him in her arms. He wiggled a little bit and she reassured him with soothing sounds. “We need to take him with us,” she said, looking up at Jasper. “He obviously has no one to care for him.”

Jasper groaned. “We can’t take him. How can we care for him on the road?”

“It’s no harder than caring for ourselves. He won’t be any trouble. Could you buy me another pie? I’m still hungry.”

With a quiet curse under his breath, Jasper obeyed, and they headed back to the inn. “I strongly doubt the innkeeper will let you bring him inside. He’s filthy and no doubt flearidden.”

“You already pointed that out. He needs a bath, obviously. I’ll ask the maid to bring up a tub. Once he’s cleaned up, I’m sure he’ll be quite presentable.”

 

An hour later, Jasper reflected that Arietta’s airy words had proved utterly false. Not only was the dog trouble, he was a damned pestilence. And the bath that would make him presentable had turned out to be near-impossible.

He looked around their room at a scene of chaos. The tub full of muddy, cooling water, puddles of water dotting the floor, Arietta’s dress and his own clothing soaking, and the dog lying, in his mud-bespattered glory, on the white coverlet of the four-poster bed, which was now spotted with paw prints all over its surface.

The mutt lay panting, an expression that looked very like a laugh of triumph.

Arietta, on the other hand, appeared about to cry. She glanced at him, took a deep breath, and said, “We are not going to let one small dog get the best of us.” She marched over to the bed, picked up the dog, and carried him, squirming in her arms, back to the tub.

“Here, you hold him, and I shall find something to tempt him to behave.” She handed over the wet bundle, and started for the door. The terrier growled at Jasper and, with teeth bared, leaped at his face. Jasper threw his head back, his grip on the dog loosening.

As Arietta departed the room, Jasper’s nemesis squirmed out of his arms, dashed through the open door, and down the stairs. Screams and crashes sounded from below. Jasper and Arietta raced down the stairs.

A party of passengers from a stagecoach had arrived at the inn, and were refreshing themselves while the horses were changed. From the spatters of mud on their coats, the dog had bounced off them all, as well as the barmaid, who had dropped a tray with a teapot and cups on the floor.

At that moment the front door opened, and the coachman started through it. Arietta yelled, “Close the door! Don’t—” But it was too late. A brown streak flashed through the opening.

“Oh, no!” Arietta ran to the door and looked out, Jasper following in time to see the dog run down the street in front of the inn and around a corner, disappearing.

 

About Judith.

headshotI live on a mini-farm near Seattle with my husband, daughter, some horses (only two are ours), two cats, and a number of Collies — we’re a dog show family.

Our vintage farmhouse needs constant upkeep, which we can barely keep up with, since it always needs new paint or new fences or…Luckily the most recent thing we repaired is the plumbing, so that’s working pretty well these days. With us living out in the country, we experience frequent power outages. There’s nothing more romantic than huddling under blankets in front of a cozy fire in the fireplace, with more blankets blocking the drafts from the other rooms in the house. The downside is that without power the well doesn’t work, either.

My husband and I like to get away as often as we can, taking off for a few days at the ocean or the lake. I usually bring my laptop with me on these excursions, working on whatever my current writing project is. I love to travel to more faraway places also. Our big adventure this year will be a family trip to my husband’s birthplace, Estonia. I think his relatives are a little taken aback by the thought of being inundated with seven of us, but we’ll manage.

My favorite destination, though, is England. My most recent trips there, in 2003 and 2005, were with groups equally fascinated with the Regency period, and we visited many sites with associations to that time. Heaven! There’s nothing like actually seeing the locations where my stories took place, even if altered to varying degrees by the 200-some years since those events happened. As a bonus, the gift shops at many of the museums and historic sites have more lovely books that I would never have come across at home!

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Please welcome historical author Ashley York to the blog. Ashley is here to promote her latest book, The Gentle Knight!! She will give a copy of the book to one of you who tells her you want it.

As always we’ll start with the cover.

TheGentleKnight5_1400

Next the blurb.

A medieval soldier returns home to find his lover died in childbirth just as his own mother had. Believing he is cursed, Peter of Normandy turns from love. When he must give escort to an Irish princess more noble than many knights, he struggles with his decision to live a solitary life. Can he take the chance that his love won’t be a death sentence and possibly make them stronger?

Padraig MacNaughton’s death bed decree rips his daughter, Brighit, from the shelter of her protective clan in Ireland. Forced to take vows at a Priory in England, she finds herself in the hands of lecherous mercenaries with their own agendas. Dare she trust the Norman knight to see her safely to her new life as a nun? Even when she finds in him the fulfillment of all she’s ever wanted?

Or will honor and duty eclipse their one chance for happiness?

And an excerpt.

The barrenness of the countryside would take Brighit some time to get used to. Perhaps it was only this area, but it seemed nothing like her home which was so lush and green. She missed her family. A tightness began to build in her throat but Brighit refused to acknowledge it. A splashing sound came to her from just beyond the tree stand.

She glanced back the way she’d come. The need to return immediately or confront Ivan’s wrath had her clenching her teeth. That splash sounded very much like the lake Lachlann had mentioned. A chance to clean her face and hands in a refreshing body of water rather than with a soaked cloth? The heat in that confined carriage was making her wilt. She sniffed and confirmed her stench was overwhelming. Before even thinking it through, she headed in the direction of the sound.

Brighit paused on the barely discernible path. Sure she heard rustling, she glanced behind at the open field she’d come from. It was empty. Nothing behind her that could make such a sound. Was it a deer perhaps? Taking a few steps farther, the small rise gave way to the breathtaking sight of a small lake. The top glistened like glass without a ripple to disturb its surface.

The slight breeze carried the pungent aroma of honeysuckle and lavender. The plants would be a wonderful thing to find and put in with her few belongings. Each night she would be surrounded by the smell of flowers. Without another thought she headed through the bushes to her right, careful to not make a sound in case the deer were still nearby. Movement along the banks drew her attention and she froze.

A man stood there dripping wet and naked. He pushed his hair away from his face. A handsome face with a strong jaw and a thick brow. She followed the movement of his hands, sloshing the water off his chiseled body. Blond hair spanned his broad chest and across his rippled torso, leading down his muscular legs, glistening in the fading light. His tarse was visible even from this distance. She looked long and hard. Her breathing became labored. Magnificent.

He turned in her direction. She ducked. She held her breath and shivered in the bush, willing her heart to stop pounding so loudly. When she ventured another peek, he was gone. Disappointment welled up inside her gut. She’d wanted nothing more than to sit and watch him, imagine how it would feel to run her hands down his expansive chest and firm body as he had done, to appreciate the rippled strength there. She blew out the breath she’d been holding and licked her dry lips. That certainly wasn’t going to happen, not in this lifetime—as a nun. A small bush of purple flowers brushed her hand and she snatched it. Lavender. The sun was dropping below the hills in the west and she needed to get back. Enough of these wasted desires.

Desire made things happen. It was her grandfather’s favorite saying. As the seventh son, he had been a man of some notoriety among Irish nobility. He was given the Celtic Princess, Faighrah, to wed. When he sired his own seventh son, the other leaders turned to him for guidance, for wisdom, in return for unfailing loyalty. The belief always that the seventh son of the seventh son of the seventh son had a special anointing from God. No evil could befall him.

Brighit was no son and evil seemed a little too close. Ivan had told her he would not hesitate to make up a lie about who she was. Even saying she was his wife. Others would believe him because he was a man. Perhaps a little more protection from the same God who made her a female was not asking too much.

Buy links:

Apple    Kobo    Amazon    Barnes and Noble

 

About Ashley.

headshot Ashley YorkI have wanted to be a writer since the sixth grade. My first story was a mystery and I discovered that my classmates loved it and it kept them guessing. I was a voracious reader, even at a young age, and loved the history in the novels I picked up. I was so enthralled with that history that I decided to get my MA in History. The early medieval period is my favorite, as you can tell from the novels I write.

Although all my works are fiction, I often like to incorporate authentic places, events, and people to increase the reader’s enjoyment. One of the more valuable lessons I have learned as a writer is the importance of using real history with the flair of artistic license. You’ll discover a world of fiction wrapped around historical people and events! I hope you enjoy reading these stories as much as I delight in writing them.

I live in New England with my husband, two cats and a yellow Labrador named Caledonia. I can be found at http://www.ashleyyorkauthor.com

 

 

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