Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors !
Well, I am finally back. August turned out to be the month from hell, especially emotionally. Due to unforeseen circumstances I ended up editing two books and writing a third all at the same time. Thank goodness I’m now just finishing up that third book. Because of extensive edits to Almost a Countess I had to postpone the release not once but twice. But now, I’m pleased to say, it will release this Tuesday!
I also received the devastating news that my best friend has terminal cancer, with not a terribly long life expectancy. I’m still reeling from this blow, trying to come to grips with it. And in the end, I thank God for every day we will have together.
I’ve returned to Almost a Countess for the final week. I’m skipping ahead a little to a scene that gives you a good look at Finn’s character. 🙂 Dora’s just ridden off to pay a call on her dear friend Lady Trevor, leaving Finn behind forbidden to ride without her. Enjoy!
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 charging him with treason. 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 a unique opportunity presents itself, Finn claims to be Dora’s husband to save her reputation and throw the soldiers off his trail. Now all Finn needs to do is persuade Dora to make the ruse a reality—before the soldiers can find him and carry out the grim penalty for his alleged crime.
Finn waited until Miss Harper and her groom disappeared before turning to James, saying “Your assistance please, lad,” then he stalked around the house, heading for the stable.
“Where are you going, my lord?” The groom trotted along behind him, uncertainty in his voice.
“I’m going tae saddle one o’ Miss Harper’s wee beasts and have a trot about the estate.” Despite Miss Harper’s request that he not ride in her absence, Finn saw no reason why he shouldn’t test his ankle with a little turn around the park. They reached the stable, and he was assailed by the comforting smells of horses, leather, hay, and manure.
“But Miss Harper—”
“Miss Harper is merely trying tae devil me, lad, tae assert her authority when it makes nae nevermind whether or no’ I ride alone.” Finn summoned all the dignity he could muster. “I wish tae have this horse saddled,” he pointed to a grand, tall beast, coal black with an intelligent eye, and glared at the groom, “or I’ll dae it myself, lad.”
And a little more for good measure…
Reluctantly, the footman did as he was told, though he continued to stare at Finn, a grim look on his face.
Miss Harper’s instructions dispensed with, Finn mounted, gathered his reins. “What’s his name?”
“Hannibal, my lord.”
The groom looked none too happy, but Finn was determined to try his ankle and taste a little freedom in the process. He moved the big stallion down the driveway at a fast walk. Miss Harper still didn’t trust him, so he could understand why she wanted to ride with him. And he’d certainly have preferred riding with her. The lady sat her horse to perfection. Of course, she’d have to be an excellent horsewoman to have maneuvered them home yesterday with him unconscious. Riding well was a quality he’d always admired in women.
Still, he could not waste a whole morning in a stuffy library or picking flowers in the garden waiting for Miss Harper to return. When he presented himself and her horse this afternoon, safe and sound, perhaps she would begin to trust him a smidgeon more.
Almost a Countess is still on pre-order on Amazon for $2.99. Grab your copy at the pre-order price.
And don’t forget to check out the rest of the Warriors here. There’s some fantastic snippets to be read.