Monday, April 07, 2008

Excerpt! You Belong to Me ~ Chapter One

Since we're already a week into April, I will post the first few excerpts this week - and then for the remainder of the month, I'll post the excerpts on Mondays...

A Little Bit About: You Belong to Me

This is the back cover blurb:

A marriage of convenience, to a man she’d only just met, was the only way to protect Brenna McIntyre from the cruel viscount determined to have her no matter what. The only problem was a most unwilling groom.

The last thing Tony Radcliffe wanted, or needed, was a wife – even if their marriage was in name only. Left without a choice, he relented, but remained determined to keep Brenna at arm’s length.

The journey from Ireland to America sparks a desire neither had expected, and one too powerful to ignore, even as the shadow of Brenna's past threatens the peace she’s found in Tony's arms.

Chapter One (excerpt)

Ireland, 1789

Nothing made Brenna McIntyre jump quite as badly as the short, no-nonsense rap she heard against the oak door of her chambers. That knock meant only one thing. Charles McIntyre stood on the opposite side of the threshold, and their meeting would not end well for her.

“Open the door, git.” Charles’s voice, deep and cold, like the black waters of a bottomless river, was soft but by no means gentle. In fact, when his wife was not around,
he made no attempt a’tall to hide his dislike for his stepdaughter.

Brenna stared at the door, wondering if she dared ignore his command. It mattered not whether she obeyed or disobeyed. He would still discipline her, as he preferred to call it. And according to him, she was constantly in need of discipline. She was a disgrace, a harlot, reveling
in the attentions of the men and boys whose paths she crossed, and it was his duty as her father to correct each fault. Especially, as he so often pointed out, if he ever hoped to marry her off.

He knocked again, louder this time. “I said, open up. Do so at once!”

She sighed softly, setting her book aside, and rose slowly from the comfortable chair in the corner where she had been enjoying a pleasant hour. She smoothed the wrinkles from the skirt of her emerald green silk gown, lest Charles see them and discipline her for allowing her
clothes to become what he considered shabby.

The uneven floorboards beneath her feet creaked with each step. However, the key turned without protest, as the lock on her door was kept well oiled. Brenna fought to control the quiver in her hand as she twisted the knob and opened the door.

“Moving a bit slow this eve?” Charles sneered, his dark gray eyes slivers of coal-infused ice as he stepped into the room, closing the door behind him.

She stepped back. “My foot had fallen asleep,” she explained, making certain she kept her voice appropriately meek and quiet. “I did not wish to fall.”

“I see.” He continued to stare her down, arms folded over his narrow chest. He was a deceptive, slender man, but she knew from experience that a blow from him packed the strength of a man twice his size.

She stood there, her belly twisting into knots that made breathing most difficult. Charles did not seem particularly troubled and this was the mood she most feared. At least when he was angry,his attacks were not surprises. However, this calm demeanor could mean anything.

Lifting her eyes to his, she said, “Did you need me for something, Father?”

His stare raked her from head to toe. “You’ll need to dress appropriately for supper this evening. I suggest the dark orange dress I brought from Dublin.”

Brenna swallowed the flinch rising to her lips. The burnt orange silk and taffeta gown he’d brought her was one of the ugliest garments she’d ever seen, buried beneath yards of unfashionable, stiff ivory lace, and more bows than she would have thought possible to stitch onto a gown. Fortunately, it wasn’t often she was told how to dress, and therefore could forget about it.

“Aye, Father,” she replied, casting her gaze to the bare floor. The scuffed and scratched oak offered little warmth in the cold and withheld heat in the summer. Thankfully, it was a crisp September day, so the floor was neither too warm nor too cold.

“Are you not even the least bit curious as to why I wish you to dress in your finest?”

She forced herself to meet his cool gaze. “I must admit, I am a mite curious, sir.”

An equally chilly grin lifted the corners of his thin mouth. “At last I have found the man to take your ungrateful hide from beneath my roof.”

Don't forget to enter for your chance to win an electronic copy of You Belong to Me, as well as a second title fro The Wild Rose Press - All you have to do is leave a comment to enter!
Happy reading!
Coming Wednesday ~ Chapter Two excerpt (and another chance to enter!)

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