Friday, April 16, 2010
Excerpt from my latest book, The Third Rose
This is the book I've worked the longest on and researched the most. All about spies, secret codes, set in the time of Waterloo but definitely not a regency. Too much sex, for one thing. It's coming out April 29th, which is soon, soon, soon.
I love the cover, which conveys some of the suspense in the book. Here's an excerpt from near the beginning of the book, when Wolf is beginning to realize he likes Sara more than is safe for either one of them.
"The night of the opera found Sara dressed early, and sitting in the parlor as rigid as one of its porcelain ornaments. She’d sent Samantha and her aunt to their rooms, saying merely she needed time alone to compose herself. Instead she found she could barely put one thought in order. She finally just sat, twisting her lace handkerchief, with her eyes fastened on the door.
She heard Walters open the door to a distinctly masculine knock, and still sat motionless. His deep voice greeted Walters, and then Wolf stood in the doorway. A magnificent Wolf, in black formal attire which became him enormously, its close fit emphasizing his virile, muscular body. He was impossibly handsome and elegant.
She raised great, wounded eyes to his.
He reached her side in an instant.
“My dear Sara,” he said, pulling her to her feet and holding her lightly against him. “Whatever is the matter? Surely you are not frightened of appearing in public with me?”
“It’s not you, my lord, it’s appearing in public.” Her voice quivered as she found she could no longer meet his eyes.
“But I will be with you every moment.” His tone was puzzled as he did not quite understand what so upset her. This intrepid girl, who’d accosted him with a pistol? And proudly assured him she was equally adept with a rapier?
She would not look at him.
“I should never have consented to this, my lord. What if your friends remember my father’s scandal? I’m sure you must have pieced the story together by now. What if somehow it reflects on you? It will, you know, and then I’ll have injured your mission instead of helping it. I’ve been purely selfish.”
She was looking at the floor and didn’t see his eyes fill with pity, but she felt the small shake he gave her.
He knew sympathy would ruin what was left of her composure. “All years ago. The ton needs a new scandal every fortnight, and generally finds one. They don’t have the brains to keep nattering away at one subject for long. Your name will probably only bring blank stares. Do you think some old story can compete with the fact the Duke of Danfield’s granddaughter just eloped with her French tutor?”
She raised her golden eyes, a spark of laughter in them.
“She didn’t!” Sara exclaimed.
“She did. And just yesterday. You are stale news, my dear. Not really very interesting.” He lifted her chin with one finger and smiled at her.
He found his smile getting warmer as she gazed at him with eyes not nearly as wounded as before. He breathed a small sigh of relief. Whether for himself or for her he didn’t stop to analyze.
“Shall you call for your aunt now and we will be on our way? You are devastatingly lovely, by the way. Sara. That deep bronze color is unusual and just right for you. If you cause a sensation tonight it will be because of your outstanding beauty.”
If she’d been more worldly he would have caught her hands in his and kissed the inside of her wrists, slowly and warmly, letting his lips linger. Not the thing to do with Sara. But how he would have enjoyed it, seeing if her skin was as warm as his whole body felt. He might even have moved his lips to her seductive mouth.
Well hell, he’d like to move his lips to her breasts and other places on her supple body. He shut off his thoughts. At least his words of praise seemed to please her. Her sudden smile brought even more heat to the room, as well as his unruly loins. He felt as if she’d somehow grabbed his heart and twisted it.
“You are a blatant flatterer, but a brilliant and perceptive conversationalist.” Her smile now blazed at him. “Therefore I accept your verdict. Let me call Aunt Lavinia, and we’ll go to the opera.”
She sailed out of the room, her head held regally high, and Wolf breathed a sigh of relief. It was only he didn’t like his plans interrupted. Surely her feelings couldn’t matter to him. He’d soothed her only as one would an injured child. He’d meant one thing he said, though. She was a beauty. And he found it delightful she’d not protested when he called her Sara."