This post appeared at my other site Sweet n Sexy Divas, written by resident diva Jean Hart Stewart. This is a great box set and Entice Me is almost here...
I'm thrilled to be a part of this wonderful anthology. It comes out October 10th at Amazon and all the usual places. My contribution is a Regency romance, full of suspense and some twists and turns that surprised even me!!!. I fell in love with my hero Marcus, a veteran deeply wounded when tortured as a spy for Wellington. His wounds insure his belief he can never honorably marry, in spite of his long adoration of Valanna, his ward. Valanna does not understand his cold withdrawals, and these two really have a hellish time getting everything straightened out.
In fact, at times I wondered if they ever would!
Here's an excerpt I hope you like.
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Looking at the woman he’d loved for so long, the impish look on her face made Marcus long to grab her in his arms and kiss that distracting impudence away. Instead, he froze his features and held out his hand to assist her into the carriage. He sprang in, but not beside her. Rather he sat opposite her.
“I trust you are comfortable, my dear. If not please tell me what I can do to make you more so.”
Valanna snorted. “You can sit beside me, my lord. I could then make a fist and smack you someplace on your perfect nose. Hard.”
Marcus couldn’t mask his start of astonishment. Val, his Val, threatening to hit him? He couldn’t quite cover the grin turning up the corners of his lips.
Furious at his disregard for her feelings, plus her frustration at hiding her love for him made her reckless.
“You’re an idiot, my lord. A blind, opinionated ass. How you ever became noted for your bravery I’ll never know. You’re afraid to face up to your own emotions.”
Marcus growled, low in his throat. No one, but no one could accuse him of cowardice. He’d faced more than anyone could ever understand of pain and torture. Yet this one slight girl could look him in the eye and call him names he’d kill a man for even thinking of voicing. He moved so fast Valanna gasped, and was beside her, grabbing both her fists in his strong hands.
“I may be many despicable things, but I’m no coward. Not even you, my love, can call me that.”
His furious eyes glared at her, but all she seemed to hear were the two words, ‘my love’.
“Oh, Marcus.” Her lips were only a breath away from his. “If you only know how I’ve longed to hear you say that. Just that. You’ve been my love for so long.”
She moved to kiss him, and almost succeeded, but he suddenly caught her hands and shoved her from him.
“Don’t be ridiculous, Valanna. You’ve confused whatever you think you heard. Of course I love you, but as a dear, very dear sister. You belong with a man who will treasure you, and you have him in Lance. We had better return. He isn’t that indisposed. He’s probably waiting for you.”
He moved abruptly back to the facing seat. Ignoring the tears running down her cheeks, he looked out the window all the way home. He thought he’d known everything there was to know about pain and agony. Nothing he’d endured compared to the knowledge he could win Val if he’d been a completely well man. A small part of him want to dwell on her sweet words as she’d as good as said she loved him, but the pain of not being able to accept her love nearly doubled him up into helpless agony.
He tried not to listen as she valiantly stifled her sobs. Pray god they would both be able to present an unruffled countenance to Lance. His good and worthy friend.
* * * * *
As you can see, these two have a dreadful time of it. Lots of twists and turns, a steadfast friend (I've already written Lance's story and am polishing it) with a despicable villain that must be unmasked.
Do enjoy all the stories in this wonderful anthology. You can pre-order now and I hope you do!!!