TODAY IS ONLY SCANDAL WILL DO’S
I’m so incredibly happy I want to PARTY all day!
For details on the contest and giveaways, scroll down to Post #1. It gives you the Contest lowdown.
My 4th and final post of this fabulous day is a flash forward of sorts. I’m sharing excerpts from the first three books of the House of Pleasure series: Only Scandal Will Do, Only Marriage Will Do, and Only A Mistress Will Do. There are two more books in the series, but they are only in outline form at present.
First, an excerpt from the book of the day, Only Scandal Will Do! Lady Katarina Fitzwilliam has been abducted and sold to a man for a night’s pleasure. They’re in a face-off in the bedroom of the House of Pleasure:
Except from Only Scandal Will Do:
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.
In book 2, Only Marriage Will Do, Lady Juliet Ferrers is fleeing London, running from a man who may or may not be her husband. She’s also fallen in love with another man, Amiable Dawson, who rescued her from the other man’s attentions. In this scene Juliet claims she has seen the “husband” to try and keep Amiable by her side.
Excerpt from Only Marriage Will Do:
“Are you sure it was him, Lady Juliet?”
It was easy to act flustered. “Oh, perhaps not, Captain Dawson. But perhaps it was. I don’t really know! But I was thinking ‘what if he follows me to Honoria’s? What am I to do?’”
Amiable took her hand and squeezed it gently to comfort her. At his touch, Juliet thought she would melt into the springs of the carriage. “I know you are still frightened of him, my lady. But all will be well. Your friend’s family will rebuff him if he puts in an appearance there.”
“But what if he brings papers and convinces the Claypools that I am his wife?” Juliet’s false fright deepened into a real concern. If, in fact, St. Cyr could produce such papers, the Claypools would have no choice but to turn her over to him. Fear poured off her and she gasped in air in an effort not to faint.
In a moment Amiable moved to sit beside her. His arm went around her shoulders, his voice as he consoled her low pitched and soothing. “Any papers he brings would be forgeries, would they not my lady? You can insist the Claypools take them to an attorney for authentification.”
Juliet’s eyes teared, her fears not allayed in the slightest. “But what if he has been clever about it? What if they can’t tell they are forgeries? He seemed so determined this morning I believe he would do anything to. . .to. . .” Great sobs broke from her throat. “I. . . just. . .just wish my brother. . . was here,” she managed to stammer before weeping overtook her in earnest.
“My dear! Please do not distress yourself so.” Amiable’s hand steered her head to his shoulder for the second time that morning. She struggled to get herself under control, all the while reveling in the feel of his strong arm around her, the clean scent of his clothes and the fainter but still comforting smell that was simply male. It was a scent that reminded her of Duncan and therefore made her feel protected.
He stroked her hair, her cap having come off again, and her hair spilled all around her shoulders. She must look the very devil. Juliet attempted to sit up, but he would have none of it, pressing her to stillness against his chest. She nestled there quite readily, happy to feel this closeness to him. “I feel so safe with you, Captain Dawson. Is that not strange?”
She felt his cheek move, as though he smiled. “I suppose it is, my lady, as we have only known each other for about an hour. Of course,” he chuckled, “we were married for at least half that time.”
Juliet smiled at that. He was so comfortable to be with. She never wanted them to be apart. “I begin to fear I will not be safe at the Claypool’s. I find I truly do not wish to go there, Captain Dawson. If Philippe finds me I am afraid he will manage to take me away with him, and I would rather die than have to be married to him.”
He drew her head away from his body and lifted her face so he could look into it. “Is there somewhere else I can take you, Lady Juliet? Some place you will feel safe?”
Juliet paused, thinking carefully, and sealed Amiable Dawson’s fate.
And book #3, Only A Mistress Will Do, is the story of Violet Carlton, beggared when her brother is killed in a duel, who is now forced to seek employment at the House of Pleasure or starve. In this scene she is awaiting her first client.
Excerpt from Only A Mistress Will Do:
“What pleasure may I give you this evening, my lord?”
No matter how many times she practiced that phrase Violet still doubted she would be able to utter it when the time came. She sat before the fire in the “green” room downstairs in the House of Pleasure, staring into the dying embers and repeating the phrase Madame had taught her, the question all Vestry’s girls were supposed to ask to their clients before complying with their demands for the evening.
Violet shivered, though the room remained warm from the blazing logs set aflame to take the chill from it more than an hour ago. No amount of warmth could take the chill from her heart and mind now. She was about to become Madame Vestry’s newest girl and lose her virtue to the man with the money to buy it.
She tensed as footsteps approached outside the door, sagging back in the dark green velvet armchair when they continued past. After five days of “training”–in which she learned things she never imagined went on between men and women–her nerve was all but gone. God help her if she could not bring herself to go through with this debacle, though He hadn’t spared a thought for her in over a year.
“What pleasure may I give you this evening, my lord?” She did not know the name of the man about to ruin her, not that it mattered. Madam Vestry informed her this morning that one of her customers had responded favorably to her invitation–she’d actually called it an invitation–and Violet should make herself available in the green room at eight o’clock tonight. Her time up, she waited now to greet the man and pray for a mercifully brief encounter.
Wild laughter out in the hallway, faint strains of a pianoforte, and the sickening grunts from the room next door ate at her frayed nerves. The raucous sounds of the brothel had become more familiar during the week, but still set her on edge. Now she only wished the matter done with. Afterward she could curl up on the sheets stained with her blood and cry uninterrupted. No one would hear her in this place.
Footsteps approached once more, slowed, stopped. Violet’s heart pounded, her rapid breathing keeping pace. She seized the arms of the velvet chair, holding herself still in place. Her nails sunk into the soft fabric as she fought to slow her breaths. The doorknob turned. Violet’s head came up, back straight, forced smile plastered on her face as the door opened wide and she caught a glimpse of the man who had bought her virginity, bought her–for the night.
I hope you enjoyed these little snippets of Scandal and the books to come. Leave a comment below and be entered to win an Only Scandal Will Do pen, pictured below.
And I have to tell you that Only Scandal Will Do now has three 5-star reviews at Amazon, in addition to a 4-star review from The Romance Reviewers and is available at Amazon, iTunes, and All Romance E-books.
And here are the Prize Packages again:
3rd Place Winner will win a Scandal swag pack
(Bookmark, signature card, business cards, magnet,
and print copy of Heart of Deception, my historical romance short story)
2nd Place Winner will receive a $15.00 Gift Card
1st Place Winner will Become a Character
in the third book of the Scandal series, Only A Mistress Will Do
And each post on my blog this week (including each of my four posts today) will be entered into my Instant Giveaways. Instant Giveaway prizes will include pieces of swag, e-copies of my books or a signed print copy of Heart of Deception.
Thank you all for coming by today. Please check in tomorrow when I’ll be talking about seduction–and how to plan one!