Wow - it's hard to believe April's almost over. But all good things do come to an end, and so here is the final excerpt from You Belong to Me and the last chance to enter to win a digital copy of it, along with another book from The Wild Rose Press.
A little set up - In the last excerpt, Brenna approached Tony with a bargain - in exchange for a child, she will give him the freedom he had as a bachelor. Tony was surprisingly angered by it, but nonetheless, he agreed to it. This led to a steamy love scene, after which, Tony's anger came rushing back...
So, without further ado....
Brenna cried herself to sleep that night—the first time she’d done so since leaving Hillcrest.
After his cold words, Anthony finished dressing and stormed out of the cabin, slamming the door with such force that the walls seemed to actually rattle.
By the time she’d gone to bed, he still had not returned and she was grateful for his absence. She was terrified of what else he might do in his fury, humiliated at the ease with which he could prove himself so right. She was furious as herself for her stupidity.
She woke in the middle of the night to the moaning howl of raging wind and the sheeting of freezing rain driving against the window. The cabin lurched all around her, books toppling from shelves to hit the floor with repeated thuds, each one making her jump.
She sat upright and instinctively reached for Anthony, but her fingers caught only empty space.
He had yet to return.
Kicking back the covers, she reached for her pelisse as the first flutters of fear chilled her. Why she should be frightened she didn’t know, but she couldn’t deny that it was exactly how she felt. Only her fear was not for herself. For reasons she could not explain, she was terrified that something had happened to Anthony.
“Of course, it would serve him right,” she muttered, fastening her pelisse and swinging her legs around to jam her feet into her slippers. No sooner had the words left her mouth than she felt the sting of shame. She hadn’t meant them. Not a’tall.
She wanted to go in search of him, to find him and make certain he was all right. Without stopping to think, she threw open the cabin door and stepped out into the suffocating blackness of the corridor.
The lights that normally flickered behind the glass globes had been extinguished, leaving nothing but pitch blackness pressing in on her from all sides. Still, she knew to turn right, knew the stairs were somewhere in front of her.
“Oh!” Her gasp was barely audible beneath the roar of the storm all around them, as was the crunching sound of her foot slamming into the bottommost step leading preceding that gasp.
Reaching down to rub her aching foot, she leaned against the banister, curling her fingers around it and hanging on tight as the ship gave a mighty lurch. A bolt of lightning split the blackness, lighting up the corridor as if the sun had risen for a brief second, before plunging her
back into darkness.
Wind tore through the corridor, and Brenna’s teeth rattled at the ice woven through it. The icebergs—could they be dashed up against one of those giant ice mountains? Fear mingled with her panic, and taking a deep breath, she forced herself to go topside, into the angry elements raging all around them.
The rain was like thousands of icy-hot nails piercing her skin. Her teeth set to chattering anew as, within mere seconds, she was soaked clear through to her skin. The rain froze in her hair, stung her skin, and temporarily blinded her as she emerged from the relative dryness of the staircase.
It was as if she’d stepped into a frozen hell. The wind was even more brutal topside, tossing her frost-laden hair about her face to slap and sting her like so many tiny whips. The ice in it speared through her with each breath and the rain teemed down so hard she could barely see. It was impossible to tell which roared louder—the thunder, the wind, or the angry ocean.
She forced herself to move away from the stairs and her heart skipped a beat as she saw a monstrous, whitecapped wave rise out of the blackness. It slammed up against the side of the ship, sending tongues of stark white foam licking across the deck, which was more than a little slick as the rain froze to its surface upon contact.
Brenna knew it was beyond stupid to be topside in such weather, but she had to know Anthony was all right. She had to see him for herself even as her feet slipped and skidded beneath her as she inched towards the quarterdeck.
“Anthony!” She could barely hear her shout over the cacophony all around, and through the driving rain she could see nothing but darkness upon darkness. It was almost impossible to tell what was ship and what was space.
Gathering a handful of her crunchy, icy hair, Brenna threw it away from her face, wincing as it stung her back like a lash. Cupping her hands about her mouth, she tried to shout above the wind again. “Anthony!”
Another lightning bolt streaked across the sky. The wind seemed to grow even stronger and she lost her footing as the ship gave a mighty lurch beneath her feet.
“Ah!” She hit the slick deck with a painful crash and lay there for a long moment as she fought to catch her breath. Another lurch and she shrieked as she slid across the icy surface with ease.
Right towards an opening in the railing.
She scrabbled to grab hold of something, anything, that might stop her, but there was nothing but ice and more ice. Each time she tried to stand, her feet slipped and slid across the surface, stinging her nearly to the bone. Another gasp ripped free as the ship lurched portside once more and another wave washed over the side. This time, the frigid foam fingers stung her legs, wrapping around them like death’s icy grasp, dragging her closer to the edge. The ocean seemed determined to hold her, to pull her into its deadly embrace.
“Anthony!” Her fingers caught one of the railing supports and she latched onto it, wrapping both arms around it and clinging to it as the Pegasus tilted even more sharply towards the water.
Her arms were numb with cold, her pelisse and chemise offering no protection from the frozen raindrops spearing through her. It was harder to hang on now, especially when another wave slapped up over her, washing completely over her, and tried to pry her from the post. Her legs dangled over the side of the ship, into empty space, and she fought like mad to tighten her hold.
If she let go, there would be nothing to catch her but the angry, icy sea.
Tony jerked hard against the wheel, shivering beneath his oilskin as the rain drove into his face. The wind stung his cheeks, his hands practically frozen into claws from holding onto the wheel.
The storm had come out of nowhere and he was grateful for the distraction. It was an outlet for the fury still burning through him—both at Brenna for her idiocy and himself for his own. It wasn’t in his nature to be so cold towards a woman, not even when she deserved it, and he was disgusted with himself for allowing that to happen with her.
The wind roared around him again, but this time he was positive he heard something else within that howl. He shook his head. My imagination’s toying with me, playing tricks on me.
But still he turned, convinced he heard his name being shouted out in a lilting Irish brogue. Then he saw her, the tiny slip of a fool he’d married. Rolling his eyes, he hissed, “Jesus. I must be dreaming.”
But he wasn’t dreaming and it wasn’t his imagination. His eyes had adjusted well enough to see the white pelisse and dark braid. Fear bit into him as the Pegasus gave a gigantic lurch and he saw his wife go sprawling across the deck’s surface…
I hope you've enjoyed reading these excerpts...
Leave a comment to enter for your chance to win! The winner will be chosen April 30!