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Sometimes it’s really difficult to choose which thread to go with when you’re trying to describe a multilayered historical romantic thriller/action/suspense. This is the extract of my Napoleonic espionage romance, The Reluctant Bride, chosen for inclusion in the October edition of the magazine that goes to libraries and independent book shops throughout Britain – but first, a little explanation…
The Reluctant Bride opens with my brave, self controlled (but deeply passionate) war hero, Major Angus McCartney, visiting Emily, the woman he’s loved from afar for many years, to tell her that the fiance she was due to marry the following week, is dead. Unable to reveal the truth surrounding the death, Angus tells Emily a lie to spare her pain; a lie which comes back to haunt him when Emily becomes his ‘reluctant bride’.
In this scene, Angus has returned a few months after delivering news of Emily’s fiance’s death, and is shocked to see Emily’s condition. As you will see, though, he’s not entirely disgusted.
‘You see how it is with me,’ she said harshly, smoothing the loose, unflattering garment over her stomach. ‘I don’t wonder you are struck dumb, Major. Nor do I know why my aunt, who has been at such pains to keep me hidden, should have me flaunt myself before you.’
‘When I told her I’d come from Kent she seemed to realise my interest was sincere. ‘My–’
The young soldier bit his lip. ‘Did Captain Noble know?’
‘That he was to be a father? No, Major McCartney. He was killed before even I knew.’
‘Sorry that he never knew? Or sorry for my predicament?’ Crossing the room she
lowered herself awkwardly into a chair, gesturing him to be seated while she poured
the tea that Mary had just brought in.
‘Both.’ Frowning, he leaned forward to accept the dainty china cup she offered him.
‘What will you do…?’ Clearly too embarrassed to complete the sentence, he coloured once more.
Emily regarded him with wry amusement. ‘You have no sisters, do you, Major?’
‘No, ma’am,’ he confirmed.
‘But you ask me what I will do?’ She sipped her tea and said with the faintest shrug, ‘I am ruined, of course.’
‘You were to be married the week after I visited you, I recall.’ Quickly, the young major added, ‘I’m not judging you, Miss Micklen. It was ill’ – he reddened further – ‘luck.’
Alright, for one lucky commenter – if you can tell me why you think Angus is shocked, I’ll be giving away a copy of my most recent release, Lady Farquhar’s Butterfly, which has the following premise: Falsely branded a faithless wife and unfit mother after the death of her brutish husband, Olivia, Lady Farquhar, embarks upon a bold charade to regain all she has lost.
And if you’d like to buy The Reluctant Bride, which has a lovely review in this months’ RT magazine, you can do so here:
I’m very happy to announce that Barbara is the randomly picked winner of my prize, Lady Farquhar’s Butterfly, which is now winging its way to her.
Thank you, Barbara, and everyone else who dropped by with wonderful comments.
It was a lovely festive atmosphere and I thoroughly enjoyed the party!
All the best,
Beverley Eikli / Beverley Oakley