Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors !
This week I’m continuing my current WIP, Almost a Countess , book 2 of my new series, Captivating Countesses.
Exiled to a lonely estate in north Yorkshire, Dora Harper finds life satisfying, if appallingly routine—until an escaped Scottish prisoner begs for her help. Despite her misgivings, Dora takes him in, feeds and clothes him, and is amazed at his transformation into a very handsome, virile gentleman, who claims he is an earl. No matter who he really is, his very presence in her house could ruin her reputation for good. Trouble is, Dora might not mind that at all.
Phineas “Finn” MacDonald, the Earl of Aberfoyle, is on the run from a troop of soldiers bent on hauling him to London to be transported for a criminal act. Dora’s miraculous appearance is a godsend for him, in more ways than one. The pretty young English woman is kind, compassionate, and willing to help him in his attempt to seek justice and evade the troop that is quickly closing in on him.
With their close proximity over several days, Finn’s desire to escape wanes, even as thoughts of Dora fill his mind. So when Dora suggests she pose as his wife to throw the soldiers off Finn’s trail, Finn wonders if he can persuade her to make the ruse a reality—before the army finds him and banishes him from Britain forever.
We’re starting this week where we left off last week. Dora is out riding and has been told British soldiers are roaming the countryside searching for an escaped prisoner. Dora is reflecting on her folly of riding out alone. Dora has just come upon a man lying hidden in the creek bed. He asks for her help and then collapses into the stream.
So sorry I didn’t get to the linky list in time! I’ll still be coming by your websites, though!
Stopping at the top of the bank, Dora laid him down so his head was pillowed on a thick patch of weeds and inspected him more thoroughly. He’d been through some travail, that was certain–a deep gash on his forehead might account for his fainting. She could see him still breathing, so he hadn’t inhaled any of the water. She’d best try to wake him for the afternoon shadows were lengthening alarmingly.
She gently poked his hip with the toe of her boot to no avail.
Well, as he was still breathing, he surely wasn’t dead. His well-muscled chest rose and fell rhythmically. Fascinated, she gazed at that wide swath revealed by the largest tear in his shirt, a generous sprinkling of hairs the color of flame spreading across the expanse.
A sigh escaped Dora’s lips. She should find a way to get back on her horse and leave now, while the man was insensible because if he woke now and asked for her assistance again, she’d have no choice but to render him aid–it simply wasn’t within her power to abandon anyone who needed her help.
And a little more for good measure…
She darted glances around the field, suddenly afraid the soldiers would appear and find both her and their fugitive. But the landscape was silent save for birdsong and the rustle of the breeze in the trees. Giving herself a shake, Dora peeled off her leather riding gloves, grasped her handkerchief, dunked it in the water, and pressed it to the man’s face. It seemed to have no effect on him, but she could feel the prickly stubble of his beard through the scrap of linen.
Chills shot up her hand, the hairs on her arm standing on edge. Who would have thought that brush of whiskers against the pad of her thumb would be as…erotic as any kiss she’d ever experienced? Not that she’d had many, mind you, only one or two from Tristan. And while they had been quite pleasurable, the feeling this man’s rough skin evoked in he was quite wild in comparison.
She jerked her hand away. The water seemed to have no effect any way. She must find a way to rouse the man for now she required she required the stranger’s help as much as he needed hers. There was no way for her to remount Gretchen without help, so she had to come up with some way to wake him up and soon. Thrusting the sodden handkerchief into the pocket of her habit, her hand brushed something hard and cold.
Her smelling salts. She grasped the vial, blue glass covered in silver filigree, and popped the top. Bending down, she took a breath and held it, then thrust the bottle under the man’s nose.
With a gasp, he sat up and grabbed her wrist tightly. “Dinna do that again, lassie, or I’ll not be responsible for what happens to your nasty potion.” His eyes, as sky blue as her riding habit, narrowed. “Will you help me up, lass?”