Thursday, April 24, 2014

Excerpt from Lord Jasper's Angel

Eleanor finds Lord Jasper out of his mind on the moor.  She saves his life and tries to keep it secret, because he is such a wicked rake that she fears what people will think if they know she spent the night with him.  Being forced to marry him is a poor reward for her kindness.

Lord Jasper is handsome, cold, and self-controlled.  Eleanor only likes him insane, when he adores her as his angel and obeys her every command.

Lightning danced along the high ground and thunder blasted until her ears rang.

Eleanor dismounted at the edge of Bog's Bowl and took off her riding jacket to tie the sleeves in a knot around the mare’s neck. Her father’s warning that iron attracted lightning, meant leaving behind as much as possible. The rain plastered her white shirt to her body with cold drops driven hard by the wind.

She unfastened the saddle and draped it over a tussock of grass, taking care not to let go of the makeshift halter. Grizelle’s bridle was soon tucked under a stirrup.

The wind blew Eleanor’s hat back from her head. It tugged painfully on her hat pin. She removed the pin with one hand to secure it better, only to see her hat sail off into the bog.

“Damn!” If the Halyton Horde could swear, so could she. She stabbed her silver hatpin into the collar of her shirt. Thunder and lightning roiled about her.

Grizelle sidled closer, treading on Eleanor’s voluminous skirt. The laces tore and her skirt fell to the sodden ground. Her white shirt and petticoat made her feel like a ghost in the gloom cast by the thunder clouds. She struggled to retrieve her skirt from under Grizelle’s hooves.

The mare shuffled nervously and trod heavily on her toes.

Eleanore urged Grizelle forward to free her foot. She hopped about near the edge only to have her remaining clothes blown skyward by the wind. When she could unclench her teeth, she cursed even harder, “Damn and blast it!”

As if she’d conjured it with her words, a bolt of lightning struck the edge of Bogs Bowl. The peal of thunder almost knocked her off her feet.

In the following silence, a man’s voice drifted up, drowsy and warm, “Angel, are you from heaven?”

Eleanor squinted over the lip of Bogs Bowl, through the rain and shadows. Her heart pounded in her breast.

She had found the missing Halyton rakehell. The dark-haired sinner who only spoke to a respectable virgin to discuss her price.

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