Welcome to everyone celebrating The Romance Reviews Year-End Splash!
2012 has been a fun year. I sold TWO of my books, one of which, I Do. . .or Die, is releasing on December 10th.
I've also made a lot of great friends this year through blog hops and events such as this. So I'm glad you've stopped by, and I hope I'll see you in all of the online places where I hang out.
Here's an excerpt of Lord Midnight, where the heroine Marisa and her brother Bernard are traveling to the home of her betrothed. Along the way, their carriage is stopped by a handsome highwayman:
His long blond locks fluttered, as if the light breeze found them as irresistible as Marisa did. His thigh-high leather boots, and the black cape which swirled around him, made her heart skip more than once. She glanced again at his face, to see amusement sparkling in his blue eyes. He tossed her an impudent wink.
Clearly he enjoyed her detailed perusal.
The highwayman executed a magnificent bow, never taking his eyes from hers.
Delighted, Marisa sank into a formal curtsey, as though they were ready to commence a stately minuet for the entertainment of the brigands surrounding them.
"Come, Mistress.” The highwayman extended his hand to her, and Marisa took it, glad for his assistance. Her knees wobbled more than she anticipated when she impetuously responded to his gallant gesture.
"Poppet, perhaps you should stand here with me."
Marisa glanced over her shoulder at Bernard, reading the unspoken warning in his expression. His mouth was pursed with annoyance rather than fear, so she dismissed his silent reprimand. She would not be dissuaded from her purpose.
"I should so hate to be deprived of her company," the highwayman said, his lips turned down in a mock pout. He kept her hands in his, the twinkle in his eyes demonstrating he felt no urgency to release her. Marisa was in no hurry either.
"I can scarce imagine you stopped our carriage merely to clasp my hands."
The highwayman smiled, bringing a great deal of bliss to Marisa's heart when his dimple reappeared. He touched one of her errant blonde curls, seemingly enchanted as he twirled it around a gloved finger. Marisa felt her heart speed up once more, and she was grateful the cool night air soothed the heat threatening to overtake her body.
"Had I but known what a jewel resided in this coach," the highwayman replied, his voice a caress.
Before she could respond, he turned her hand over, exposing the pale skin of her wrist above the kid glove. He raised it to his lips with infinite slowness.
Marisa's knees trembled, but she had yet to swoon in her short life. She did not intend to do so now, lest she miss the heady experience of being kissed by a knight of the road.
His eyes never left hers, daring her to call a halt to his audacious act. She returned his gaze, her breathing ragged, her feverish skin impatient for his touch. When his lips finally brushed against her, she closed her eyes and allowed the exhilaration to wash over her.
Why had she not been forced to wed a man such as this one? There would be no need for defiance or escape plots if her father had decreed this man was to be her husband.
Blurb: Gabriel DeVault, a dashing highwayman, lives to avenge himself against the uncle who stole his title and tried to kill him as a child. One night's robbery yields unexpected riches when his uncle's spirited bride-to-be falls into Gabriel's arms. Now his plans for vengeance include seduction of the innocent miss, in the home that once was his own.
Marisa Dunsmore is blackmailed into wedding the cold and calculating Edmund DeVault, Lord Westbrook, to protect her beloved aunt. When her attempts to escape the upcoming marriage fail, she turns for help to the man she knows as Lord Midnight, entrusting him with her love, and her future.
Soon Gabriel must choose: saving the woman who stole his heart, or destroying the man who stole his life.
Lord Midnight is a nominee for Sizzling Read of the Year! Voting ends December 31st.