Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors!
I’m continuing with snippets the first of my House of Pleasure books, Only Scandal Will Do. I’ve gotten the rights back to this, my first full length novel, and I’m planning to re-release it at the end of the month! Here’s the new cover I just revealed this past week!
He has the woman of his dreams, but what price will he have to pay to win her heart?
Kidnapped and sold at auction in a London brothel, Lady Katarina Fitzwilliam squelches an undeniable attraction to the masked stranger who purchased her, pits her wits against him, and escapes him and the scandal that would ruin her life.
Unable to resist temptation at The House of Pleasure, Duncan Ferrers, Marquess of Dalbury, purchases a fiery beauty. She claims she’s a lady, but how can she be? No lady of his acquaintance in polite society is anything like her. Then he discovers she is who she says, and that this latest romp has compromised her reputation. He knows how that is. One more scandal and he’ll be cast out of London society, but he needs a wife who’ll provide an heir to carry on his illustrious family’s name. He seeks out Katarina, intending only to scotch the scandal, but instead finds his heart ensnared. He’s betting their future he’ll capture her heart, but does he have what it takes to win the wager?
I begin my snippets for Scandal well into the book. Lady Katarina Fitzwilliam has been kidnapped and sold at auction in a brothel, The House of Pleasure. She escaped her purchaser, Duncan, Marquess of Dalbury, only to be discovered by him some days later at a ball. He wishes to marry her, but she loathes him. Now he’s afraid they will both be ruined by the incident in the brothel and has forced her brother to defend her honor in a duel. However, Kat, who has learned excellent skills with a sword from her brother, has insisted on defending her own honor in a private duel with Dalbury, the stakes the highest of all: marriage. If she wins, he abandons all hope of having her, if he wins, she marries him immediately. In this snippet, I’ve skipped ahead to the point just before the duel is to commence. We are still in Duncan’s POV.
At the weapons table, he selected his blade and began to prepare. Katarina had retired to her end of the room and waited in a relaxed stance; she held the sword naturally in a gloved hand, her grip sure, as if with long hours of practice.
He watched the snug cut of her breeches hug her calves and thighs as she executed a series of practice lunges–if only he could strip off that garment to feast his eyes on the smooth, creamy flesh of her lean thighs, trace the curve of her sleek calf with a reverent hand all the way up to…
His breath caught in his throat, stifling the harsh rasp of his panting. With Herculean effort, Duncan dragged his gaze away from her siren’s form. He pulled on his gauntlets, reached for his sword–and stole another glimpse of her–damn, how in hell was he to focus on the duel with such a distraction before him?
Cursing under his breath, he looked over his shoulder. Katarina now stood between Dr. Pritchett, who had arrived just after Tommy, and Matthews, seeming relaxed and calm. She raised her head and, catching his look, sent a dimpled smile his way.
And now to finish the scene :
Damn the woman! He’d wager she could fence just fine in skirts and had donned this outlandish costume merely to distract him. The idea of her cold, calculating nature steadied him, brought him back from the brink of a muddled disaster. He’d show her. He would give her the five minutes he’d promised himself, then a swift cut to her arm and his torture would be over.
Now completely composed, he affected a careless air as he walked to the center of the ballroom where chalk lines delineated the combat area to await his opponent. Katarina embraced Matthews, making every hair on Duncan’s head stand on end. “That is not the usual method to acknowledge a second, Lady Katarina,” he hissed as she took her stance across from him.
“But this is not the usual duel, is it, Lord Dalbury? I will not be offended if you do likewise and embrace Lord Trevor before we begin.” Her eyes were wide in false innocence.
Hah! He would not take that bait. “Shall we commence, my lady? To first blood?”
“To first blood, my lord.” She became quiet and grave. “I wish us both bon chance.”
Beauty, strength, integrity. The perfect woman. “I as well, my lady. You are ready?”
In response, Katarina raised her rapier into position and nodded her head. Duncan took a deep breath and raised his weapon to hers.
Due to time constraints, I won’t be able to put Only Scandal Will Do up on pre-order but it will release on June 30 with what would have been the pre-order price of .99. Come by my blog for the release party!
And don’t forget to check out the rest of the Warriors here. There’s some fantastic snippets to be read.