Here's an excerpt: (from when he's starting to realize he must change)
The entire house smelled wonderful. The mulled cider was kept accessible through out the day, with everyone welcome to warm themselves when they came in from the cold. Jared served himself and walked casually to lean against the wall, cup in hand. He found it hard to believe this cold mansion could be so transformed. Everyone, guest or servant, was going about the tasks Abigail has assigned, and everyone had a smile on their lips.
By god but she’d make a wonderful Marchioness. And eventually, a wonderful Duchess.
She was perfect. And for the first time in his life, he was not at all certain he would win the one girl he wanted.
To his surprise Abigail turned from the garland she was twining around the staircase, and walked up to him.
“Jared, have you noticed the snow is falling more thickly?” Her eyes were as excited as a child’s. “We’re going to have a really white Christmas.”
He grinned. “Do you think it will be thick enough we’ll be forced to miss the Christmas service at the church? I’ll start thinking up pleasant alternatives if you’d like.”
Actually his mind was filled with one activity only. How to get her naked and in bed with him. He could hardly wait to bare every luscious curve and move on top of her.
She laughed. “You’re a heathen, aren’t you? Don’t worry, I’m sure we can make it to the church.” Her eyes lit. “Do you by any chance have a sleigh? Oh, I’ve got to go see.”
He grabbed her arm. “I have no idea, but I’ll send a footman to find out. If we have one it will be half buried in some barn. You insane girl, you’re enjoying all this fuss and bother, aren’t you?”
She didn’t look at him, but she whispered a reluctant yes, and then spun away. Fleeing the room, and him.
He swore under his breath. He nearly gave up and went to his room with a bottle of brandy. But some niggling feeling kept him there.
It was not a nice feeling. A premonition of danger overtook even his lust for Abigail. Something was wrong and he didn’t know what it was. He searched the rooms until he found Abigail wrapping some small objects in glittering paper. She immediately stood and swept everything behind her.
“Go away, Jared. This is a surprise for everyone!”
What he wanted to do was scoop her up in his arms and carry her to his bed. He’d lock her in his room to keep her safe, if she’d only let him.
Instead he looked at with a grave expression she’d never seen.
“Come, Abigail. Something is wrong and I don’t know what it is. I want you protected. Let me see you to your room and you can lock the door behind me. I intend to have the property searched and want to know you’re safe while I do so.”
She put both hands to her lips. “Jared, you’re frightening me.”
“Then let me make you safe. I promise to consult with you in the morning, if you’ll stay in your room tonight.”
“Of course, Jared.”
Holding her hand tightly, he walked her to her door, planted a sweet kiss on each eye and then her lips, waited till he heard the lock turn, and left. At least Abigail had let him kiss her three times, even if they were only little pecks instead of the deep embrace he longed to give her.
It was getting too dark to search far or well, but at least the intruder he intuitively felt was on the property would know he was alert.
He gathered some footmen and made a cursory search of the property. They only found one possible clue, and that was some broken branches on a tree that lined up with Abigail’s window. Not given to accept this as coincidence, he gave orders to the men to cut down the offending oak, but to wait until Lady Abigail had appeared for breakfast. If she could sleep in, he wanted her to. No use both of them being so apprehensive.
In his uneasy state, he never thought that his being so concerned about the amount of rest someone else got was not like him at all.
Taking another footman, he searched the property again. His heart sinking, he released the whole estate was vulnerable to a revengeful madman. Everything had been planned for recreation and leisure and there was simply no way to isolate any portion of it. His only choice was not a distasteful one. Be with Abigail every minute. Give no one else a chance to get at her.
Now all he had to do was persuade her this was necessary.
As you can tell this is pretty far along in the book, when the Marquis knows he wants to reform but we're not sure he can. Maybe you'll have to buy the book and see!
I've got five more books coming out at MuseItUp this next year, so you'll doubtless hear more of them. It promises to be a productive year.
A WONDERFUL HOLIDAY AND NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL!!!!!!!