Hi Everyone, I hope you’re enjoying the party. Our lovely November day here in Victoria, Australia, has suddenly turned cold so here, at the computer, is the place to be, weaving my intrigues about love, duty and desire.
Earlier I posted an extract about my January release from Ellora’s Cave, Her Gilded Prison.
I’ve now posting another excerpt which I hope you enjoy.
The lovely Lady Sybil’s 20-year marriage has not produced an heir – which is hardly surprising since her husband cannot bear to be parted from his long-term mistress.
When heir-apparent, handsome cousin Stephen arrives at Grange Hall to be briefed on his duties as the next Viscount Partington, he sets many feminine hearts a-flutter, including those of Sybil’s two daughters: plain, dumpy Hetty and fiery, exquisite Araminta.
Then a unwelcome contender for the viscountancy emerges. Presumed dead, Edgar turns out not to have died on the battlefield – but nor has he distinguished himself there, either.
In order that mutton-headed Edgar never inherit what her husband has spent his lifetime creating, Lady Sybil devises an extraordinary plan…
In his wildest dreams, Cousin Stephen never expected his duties would be so diverse.
This scene takes place in Sybil’s bedroom after Stephen has climbed between the sheets.
She knew it was wrong.
And yet, the wicked sensations were like nothing she’d ever experienced before.
Heady desire turned instantly to horror at the sound of Araminta’s voice, filtering in through the doorway with the light of the candle she held. Sybil froze and held her breath as she silently demanded her breathing become more regular.
Araminta. She’d never thought…
Araminta placed her candle onto her mother’s dressing table at the far end of the room and lowered herself onto the little seat.
“You didn’t knock?” It was all Sybil could say. Thank God Stephen was beneath the covers, albeit also between her legs.
The heavy carved post of the bed and three yards of floor space diluted visuals. Fortunately, Araminta didn’t seem particularly concerned about her mother who knew that her complete nakedness, including lack of nightcap, and disordered hair might ring alarm bells. That is, if Araminta were not so self- absorbed.
“I was afraid you wouldn’t hear,” Araminta excused herself, adding with a sigh, “Oh mama, I do so want to marry Stephen.”
“What!” It was a croak at best. Sybil registered Stephen’s horror too, somewhere in the darkness beneath the bed covers and yes, between Araminta’s own mother’s legs.
“Yet how can I, now that Edgar has returned and is heir? Stephen is handsome and charming and he makes my heart beat faster and I know he is madly in love with me but-” She gave another gusty sigh, “with Edgar alive, Stephen has nothing. Does he, mama?” She spoke as if desperate for her mother to refute it.
“I…I don’t know very much about Stephen’s situation, my dear.” Sybil shifted, careful to keep the sheet up around her neck – and not to smother Stephen. Lord, she’d never felt so desperately cornered. “Araminta, it’s very late. Perhaps we should have this talk in the morning.”
“Mama, what do you think about Stephen?” Araminta clearly felt her mother’s desire to talk in the morning of no account.
“What do I think of him?” It was all Sybil could do just to repeat the sentence. She didn’t know if she could possibly answer it in such a situation.
“Yes, what do you really think about him? Do you think he’s handsome?”
“Yes, he’s very handsome Araminta but-”
“And do you think he’d make a good husband?”
Sybil swallowed. “I think he’s a very kind man. I didn’t think that at first. I thought he was young and callow and very much like so many other young blades who like to sow their wild oats and behave badly.”
“So you don’t think he’s the kind of young man to sow his wild oats and behave badly? I think I know what you mean.”
Sow his wild oats? Isn’t that what he was doing right at this moment? At Sybil’s behest? Right here in Sybil’s bedchamber? Oh Lord, she had to get Araminta out of here.
“I think Stephen understands matters more than you think, Araminta. He knows you won’t – can’t – marry him now that Edgar has returned.”
“Do you think he will forgive me?” Araminta sniffed. “After all, I’ve broken his heart, mama. He barely caught my eye this afternoon and I was all but begging him to understand that we must be forever rent asunder by the tragedy of this altered situation.”
“The tragedy being that Edgar survived that bullet, after all.” Sybil’s tone was dry. She was fast losing patience.
Of course, Araminta had never understood irony. Now she said, dolefully, “I daresay Edgar’s the only one who’s really pleased about the situation but the rest of us must make the best of it. I tried to explain that to Hetty but she refused to speak to me. She’s being awfully churlish. Please will you talk to her, mama, and tell her not to be so selfish?”
A muffled, choking noise emanated from beneath the covers. Araminta looked up, her brow wrinkled and Sybil coughed violently. “It’s late, Araminta, and I was in a deep sleep. We can take a stroll in the morning and talk about it then, if you like.”
END OF EXTRACT
The book won’t be out until January but if you enjoy erotic Regencies or Historical Intrigues I’d love you to visit my website at: http://www.beverleyoakley.com
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