Welcome to Monday Excerpts! Let’s do a free for all today. Any excerpt of 800 words or less. Please keep it PG-13. Buy links and social media links are welcome.
Here is mine from Lady Beresford’s Lover, book #7 in The Marriage Game, which releases on July 21st.
Rupert entered the ballroom and was announced. The roar of voices barely lowered. Across the way, Marcus leaned casually against a pillar, fondly grinning at something or someone Rupert couldn’t see, most likely Phoebe. He made his way through the already crowded room. Snagging a glass of champagne, he wove around clusters of ladies in brightly colored silks, which made a stark contrast with the darker colors the gentlemen wore. He knew most of those present and exchanged greetings as he came upon a circle of acquaintances. It took several minutes before Rupert was finally close enough to Marcus and Phoebe that he could see the other ladies.
He sucked in a breath. One of the women wore a pale, almost ice-blue gown. Her curls were silvery, much like he’d imagined the color of the snow maiden’s hair in a fairy tale his mother had read to him. When the lady glanced at him he could see her eyes were of the same deep blue as the trim on her gown, and the color of the deeper waters he’d seen in the Mediterranean Sea. Not in her first blush of youth, her cheeks were no longer plump. But not that old, perhaps close to his age. She had turned her head toward her neighbor, and her determined chin firmed. God, she was even more beautiful than he’d imagined. Who was she? Rupert was quite sure he’d never seen her before.
He gave himself a shake. Standing there like an idiot wouldn’t do him any good at all. He’d never been shy about meeting a lady, yet he couldn’t stop himself from staring at her. What would happen when they were introduced? Would she be as fascinated by him as he was by her?
He prayed she wasn’t married.
Vivian 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.”
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