In the midst of trying to finish up edits and then being out of town–and then recovering from being out of town–I forgot to post the official excerpts for my forthcoming historical romance Only Scandal Will Do!
Here’s the short excerpt, used by the publisher:
Katarina clutched the chair’s golden upholstery to keep from launching herself at him and wrapping her fingers around his arrogant throat. “I am Lady Katarina Fitzwilliam, sister to the Earl of Manning. I was kidnapped and brought here tonight against my will.”
He cocked his head. Then his mouth twitched. “Truly? What an exciting life you must lead…Lady Katarina, was it?” He chuckled deep in his chest, and took a step toward the chair.
She glared at him. “I am Lady Katarina Fitzwilliam, you dullard.”
“And true ladies always run around London at night scandalously underdressed as Greek slaves?”
“My brother and I were on our way to a masquerade ball when I was abducted.”
“As was I, fair lady,” he bowed with an exaggerated flourish, “when I decided to come to this charming establishment instead. Perhaps if we had continued on our ways uninterrupted, we would even now be dancing together at the ball.” That nasty laugh grated against her nerves worse than the screech of rusty nails, making her contemplate murder. If the scoundrel didn’t believe her story, killing him might be her only means of escape.
And here the official one I’ll be posting permanently on my blog:
“Lady Katarina,” the marquess said, taking her limp, cold hand. “I have been looking forward to this moment ever since I heard you were in London.”
That voice sent shivers down her spine. She remembered well the arrogance in it when he’d declared himself her master. Soft and silky now, his mouth poised over her hand, and the words sent searing heat that penetrated her long kidskin gloves. Only sheer determination kept her from snatching it out of his grasp, and fear at what might be said if she acted in any way as though she had met this man before. No one must know.
She made herself look at his face, into the dark brown eyes that gleamed with…apprehension? Amusement? Katarina twitched her mouth into what hopefully passed for a smile and said, “I am delighted to make your acquaintance as well, Lord Dalbury. Although I must confess that until just now I had not heard your name.” Although pleased to hear how strong her voice sounded, she feared she might choke on the lies she spouted. Kat slipped her hand from his and a measure of calm returned.
Jack was deep in his conversation with Lord Braeton, completely unconcerned about her. She tried to refrain from looking at the marquess, but he demanded her attention by addressing her again.
“I almost missed the pleasure of making your acquaintance, Lady Katarina. I left the ball just before midnight, but one of my carriage horses came up lame and I returned to ask Braeton for the loan of a replacement. Lady Luck surely smiled on me tonight.” His wide smile seemed genuine, his voice tinged with a hint of relief.
She sighed. Her last night in England and Lady Luck had to favor this fellow.
He continued on, disregarding her silence. “I understand from Lord Braeton that you and your brother only arrived from the colonies three months ago, Lady Katarina.”
She found it hard to keep her tone civil. “Yes, my lord. We came to England in early February.” As she had told him before! It helped not to look at his eyes. Instead she fastened her gaze on his cheek. He would likely carry those scars the rest of his life. She hoped it hurt his vanity every time he looked in the mirror.
He apparently saw where her gaze lay, for he ran his finger down the center mark. “Ah, I see you are curious about my wounds.” He shifted his weight slightly, drawing her a little away from the others.
“Is it a war wound, my lord?” she asked, feeling the return of her confidence.
“It is a badge of honor I wear, given to me by a worthy opponent who I underestimated in many ways. I now regret the chance encounter, Lady Katarina.” He lowered his voice. “She did not deserve the treatment she had at my hands. I make my most sincere apology for doubting her words to me.”
Kat stiffened at this offering. How could he stand there and try to apologize so cavalierly in a crowded ballroom? “Whoever she is, then, Lord Dalbury,” she said sweetly, “I hope your opponent is more forgiving than I would be.”
And here’s some not quite official news: It is not confirmed, but I’ve got my fingers crossed–according to Lyrical’s website, Only Scandal Will Do is set to release
July 23, 2012!
I’m getting excited again, and I have a kind of different idea for a contest to be announced on the day it does release. So stay tuned for that announcement–the prize is a bit different from most I’ve seen.
If you’ve been following my medieval romance Betrothal, Book 1 of Time Enough to Love, come back tomorrow when I post a bit more for Sweet Saturday Sample.