Sunday’s Sample – Thoroughly Modern Amanda by Susan Macatee

This Sunday’s Sample is Thoroughly Modern Amanda by Susan Macatee!  Here’s the Sample from Susan’s historical romance.  Thanks for being our guest, Susan, and sharing your sample.

ThoroughlyModernAmanda_w7277_750-200x300“Your stepmother told me she returned to the future after being shot.” He brushed a hand over his chest. “I don’t like that idea much.”

“There must be another way.” She lifted a hand and laid it atop his. “I don’t like the idea of you being shot either.”

Jack held his breath. Her fingers rested over his heart. He grasped her hand, entwining their fingers.

Her face colored. “We should be getting inside. It must be near time for supper.”

“Wait.” Jack grasped her wrist to keep her from pulling away. “What about this Randolph? How do you feel about him?”

“I-I’m not sure. My stepmother says he’s not right for me.” She scowled.

“Because he’s old-fashioned?” Jack guessed.

She lifted her gaze to his. “Why do you say that?”

“It’s what your stepmother told me. Why she doesn’t want you to marry him.”

Amanda smiled. “Yes. He’s boorish and has outdated ideas. He believes a woman is only useful when she’s tending to her home, man, and children.”

“But you work for him.”

“It’s a great opportunity, such that it is.” She shrugged. “What about the women of your time?”

“They can do any type of job they want and are qualified for.” He grinned. “They even get to fly into space with the men.”

Amanda gasped. “You can’t be serious.” She lifted both hands to her mouth. “What a wonderful place to live!” She dropped her gaze and twisted her hands in her skirts. “But I’m sure with all those modern women to choose from, you’d have no interest in an old-fashioned girl like me.”

“Amanda…” Jack took both her hands in his. “I’ve never met anyone like you. When I first saw your photo—”

“My photo?” She frowned. “Where did you see it?”

“It was in the house where you found me, but in the future. It was hanging on the wall at the bottom of the stairs.”

“In the house Randolph is building?” Her lower lip trembled.

Jack leaned forward, unable to stop himself, and lightly brushed his lips over hers. She tasted sweet, like cinnamon and sugar.

She reared back, her lips in a firm line, but then opened, as he enfolded her pliant body in his arms. He stroked his hands around her back and pulled her as close as possible. Her heart beat swiftly, like a delicate, caged bird.

The kiss rocked him to his core. Although he’d dreamed of kissing those lush lips, the reality was so much better. An ache formed in his chest at the thought of going home and never seeing her again.

He finally released her. Her eyes looked a bit glazed, her lips swollen and her hair mussed. He bit his lip, wondering what reception they’d get at supper.

****

Amanda’s knees weakened as a thrill raced through her body. No man had ever kissed her like that. Of course, she hadn’t had much opportunity with other men. And had never allowed Randolph to get so close.

She gazed into Jack’s eyes. His lips twisted into an adorable half-smile, his eyes bright, face flushed. Had he felt the same thing she had?

“Are you okay, Amanda?” His smile turned down into a frown.

“I-I think so.” She touched her lips, the sensation of his pressed against hers still with her. She was also very aware of his male scent. If she didn’t fear someone would discover them, she’d fling her arms around him for another round of kisses.

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Sunday’s Sample – Because of Rebecca by Leanne Tyler

This Sunday’s Sample is Because of Rebecca by Leanne Tyler!  Here’s the Sample from Leanne’s romance.  Thanks for being our guest, Leanne, and sharing your sample.  Because of Rebecca will be free on Amazon from March 19th – March 23rd.

BecauseOfRebecca_7232_750-200x300Rebecca felt her cheeks flush warm and she looked away lest he see the effect his touch, both physical and visual, had on her. She didn’t understand the perplexing effect he had on her either. Sometimes she felt as if she’d burn to an ember on the inside from an innocent touch or glance.

Jared pushed his chair away from the table.

“Would you like to have a tour of the house?”

“Yes,” she said far too eagerly, but she…they…needed a distraction, if he felt anything like she did when they were alone.

She waited as he stood, pulled back her chair, and offered her his arm before leading her into the foyer.

His golden hair still hung in wet curls around the collar of his crisp white shirt. Standing this lose she could not help but inhale the clean, spiced soap scent and heat threatened to flame her cheeks once more as she imagined him in his bath.

“Let’s start upstairs. I’d like to show you the library. It was my mother’s favorite room in the house. She loved to read. The shelves are stocked with all her first editions of the classics.”

Rebecca smiled, her heart beating faster with each step. She naughtily thought about him bathing, water glistening on his rock hard body. Even though he was dressed, she couldn’t stop sneaking a look at him. She imagined his skin was just as tanned underneath his clothing as above. He no doubt removed his shirt when working in the hot fields, letting the sun bake him. Her desire to touch him was strong. Her mouth felt dry and her heart beat a little faster.

She missed her footing on the next step and stumbled forward, but he caught her, helping her right herself.

“Are you all right?” he asked when they reached the landing.

Embarrassed, she looked away and nodded. She didn’t understand what made her lose all propriety when she was around him. They’d just met, but she’d simply die if he didn’t feel anything for her. She felt like a silly goose allowing herself to hope that he did. She stepped closer to him and laid her hand on his chest.

He blinked and she saw the surprise in his eyes that she’d touched him.

“Do you like me, Jared?”

Her unexpected touch seared his flesh and he hesitated a moment trying to read her thoughts before he answered. “Yes. I like you. Why do you ask?” He could feel the rise and fall of her breasts as she stood so close to him. Her emerald eyes were dark and her lips were pink, inviting him to taste them if he dared.

My God yes, I like you. Inwardly he groaned, but did he dare to confess his desire to her? “Come with me.” He entwined his fingers with hers and led her quickly into the library past the many bookshelves of leather bound volumes. He walked over to an alcove for privacy. Turning around, he pulled her close until she was pressed against him. “I like you far more than I should for the time I’ve known you, Rebecca.”

She swallowed. “You do?”

With his free hand he cupped her cheek, caressing it gently. He rubbed the pad of his rough thumb over her lips. They trembled in response and he lowered his head, nibbling at her mouth with small kisses until she responded in kind. Without warning, he parted her lips with his tongue and captured her mouth, exploring its depths.

Her hand crept up his arm to his neck, holding his head so he couldn’t pull away. Her fingers speared through his damp hair, sending shivers down his spine.

His body hardened and he groaned, pulling away before he lost his head completely. He walked toward the French doors on the opposite side of the library afraid she might see what had started out as an innocent kiss had done to him. He didn’t want to frighten her, or make her think he was on the verge of losing control.

Startled by her reckless behavior, Rebecca didn’t know what had gotten into her asking such a question.

How A Series Created Itself

My second novel took about eight months to write.  I’ve revised it several times and I know it still needs some work but it’s a good story.   It’s a historical romance set in the Victorian era.  My heroine, Ainsley, is victim of a violent crime.   My hero, Roderick, is a Marquis assigned to protect her.  Roderick is a member of an elite group of crime fighters, called the Vipers, consisting of only members of the peerage.

What I loved most about the story was the characters.  I feel in love almost instantly with Benjamin, a secondary character, Roderick’s trainee.  He is sarcastic, witty, and self-absorbed, and his one-liners kept me laughing throughout the creation of the story.  I knew after his first quip about the heroine’s ass that he would have his own story.  In fact, I even drafted out, very roughly, what it might be but never wrote it.  I’ve sense changed his story several times and I look forward to eventually getting it all down on paper.

Before I could write his story, I came up with another story idea for another set of characters.  This one set earlier in the Victorian era, involving a married couple who reunite after a crime.  I rolled the idea, set down the first five chapters and then stopped writing.  What I realized later, is that I was actually forming the origination of a series.  I was writing the first book of the Vipers, where Roderick would eventually take over, making my finished book the fourth of fifth book in a series.

Now that I am forcing myself to write again, I’ve picked up this new book and I’m actively trying to whittle out the nuances of the series.  I created a brother of my hero, and now I have another story line going.  At current, I’m fleshing out seven different stories for the series and each one very different.   My creative juices are flowing, all I need is the time to thrown them all on paper.

So there you have it, the birth of a series in my mind. To be honest, I am not one for writing series because I don’t want to devote my life to an entire line of characters.  I have a thousand more stories to tell far outside this idea, time period, and genre.  But, I figure if the inspiration has found me it’s on purpose and I should take the gift.

Your turn!  What are your thoughts on series?  Do they typecast an author making it harder for them to explore other avenues?  Do you like to read series but not like to write them?  Do you have series ideas – how did your form?  Let’s chat it up!

Toodles,

Michelle

 

 

 

Spring Cleaning Challenge #4

Welcome back to my Spring Cleaning Challenge!

While editing, I’ve learned my story starts in the wrong place and I need to throw them into action together faster. Rewrite! lol. Although this is common and don’t fret if you discover the same in your story. IT’S OKAY!

I hope everyone is working hard and having fun like me! Spring Cleaning never felt so good.

This week, I picked a chapter where Athena and the Mad Duke, “Stratton” aka Savage just met.

Quick Setup:

Athena has forced her way into the Duke’s home, thinking he is the Savage mentioned in her brother’s letter. Confronted with the “mad” Duke, she must fight to gain his trust and learn his secrets.

###

           “Start explaining what’s so bloody damn important, or I will toss you out.”  Stratton covered up his instant attraction the only way he knew how, by command. The words came out exactly like he wanted; cool, abrupt, harsh.  His body’s temperature though shot up, when Athena ran a hand down her bare neck drawing his attention towards her plentiful cleavage.

          The minx was trying to seduce him? “You have three seconds.”

          A mixture of emotions ran across her face and she fisted her delicate hands. Good, she thought him a rude beast. Focus on that and not how smooth and creamy her skin appeared.

           “I am here for your services.”  Her large golden-colored eyes widened as much.    Fascinating, she hadn’t meant to say such provocative words, but Stratton was a strategist and willing to dominate her weakness. Anything to hasten her departure.

          “My services?”  He couldn’t stop his instant look of interest that roamed over her body, soft as a lover’s touch and made her blush red as a cherry tomato, any more than he could stop breathing. Dressed in high fashion, she was a lady. So what was she doing here? And what game was she playing?

          She bit her lip and looked ready to cry.

          Excellent.

          “Your Grace. I did not phrase myself correctly,” her head shook side to side causing her light brown hair to shimmer in the sparse light.  Her hand rose and she pointed one finger at him reclining in the chair. “While I’m flattered, you took my words out of context.”

          Their gaze caught and he swore he saw her lips twitch in amusement before she quickly repressed them and looked down. Fine, he’d let her think she had the upper hand. What harm could come?

           “Explain, my services, you do want?” he repeated slowly and stretching out his legs, opening them ever so slightly almost touching her shoe.

          Her head jerked up and the smile, diminished. “I apologize. I don’t normally act so outspoken or forward. My only excuse is I am out of sorts from the long journey.”

          He doubted both statements, but inclined his head anyway.

          Moving her foot away, she straightened. “I will start at the beginning. My brother is missing. He never returned home from the war. The letters he sent to me led me here.”

          This was not good. How could this slip of a girl find him when he was supposedly dead? By letter was impossible. “Here? I fear you are mistaken.”

          Her eyes narrowed. “There is a good possibility you know my brother. He was last seen and heard of in France?”

          He tried to hide any discomfort at her words. The last thing he wanted was to be involved in a hunt for a dead solider. No matter how attractive the sister was. And France would only be a suicide mission. “Your point? I don’t see how I can be of assistance. Contact his commanding officer.

           “I feel I’ll have better luck with you since you were mentioned in his letter. He saw you command a charge that probably won the battle. The letter was the last one I ever received and since he admired you so I figured he’d had sought you out. You could tell me if you knew what has happened to him.”

          “How do you know I’m the same man mentioned in the letter?”

          “Although, he called Savage, when I heard your full name, James Savage Stratton, I had to come to see if you and that person were the one and same. Everyone assumes he’s dead, but I know that’s not the truth.”

          “He referred to me as Savage?” Abruptly standing, all thoughts of her beauty and seduction were doused. A cold feeling swept inside, making him on guard and alert. “What kind of letter are you referring?”

          “Personal correspondence. My brother wrote whenever he was able”

          Trying not to appear overly concerned, he examined the beauty sitting so blasé in his study. Her sudden presence in his home could be associated with the recent attacks against him. The many missions he’d been associated with in the past had been sent in letters, but no civilian should know of his secret identity. Was it possible that she was a spy trying to get information? The war was over, but many that were still fighting their own personal wars. Just how far was she willing to go to get information; was she willing to use her body?

          Could he withstand?

          She went on, oblivious to his mistrustful thoughts or an excellent actress. “My brother mentioned your courage and how much he respected you. He called you Savage. Only I could never find anyone with that last name, believe me I looked for the past year. But then it really isn’t your last name, but your middle. It explains why I could never find you.”

          He remained silent.

          Her head tilted and in a hesitant voice asked, “You did serve in the war? In the cavalry?”

           While the urge to play words games was considered, yet the sooner she was gone the better. The small chance she was a spy would over shadow his focus on more important matters needing his concern. “I do not discuss personal matters with anyone, let alone a female that showed up uninvited on my doorstop. Since I’m feeling charitable, I’ll make exception since you went to the trouble of traveling so far since I’m feeling charitable. I did serve in the war, in the cavalry, but I was never called savage. Except for perhaps by my nanny,” he smiled sardonically while the intense need to prowl seized him.

          “That’s it? That’s all you wish to say?” She watched him with curious eyes.        “What do you wish me to say?” Suddenly, he was disappointed in his hasty decision to not find out who she was and what she might know. Was it possible she was behind the attack in France that killed the general?

          As he continued to watch her, the desire to keep her there shot like a wave through his body. The lack of control showed him that he was weak against her beauty and would be too deadly to let her stay near. He turned away in self-abomination. He hated to feel weak. No one had had this effect on him since he was an adolescent and he did not care for it one bit.

          “You’re not insane,” just pigheaded  Athena muttered under her breath, “just pig-headed.”

          “What!” Certain this time of what he heard, not like in the parlor before, he swung around and stared incredulously at the gumption she showed.

          “I can see where this is headed, Your Grace. That is what I said.” She nodded once and sniffed into her handkerchief held up a hand trying to calm him. “Please, reconsider your harsh attitude and try to remember anything that you can about the River Nivelle and Clavinets Heights. Who you might have met there-”

          “I am not insane.” Why he felt justified to add, he knew not. To care what others thought drained too much common sense.

          “Just pigheaded,” slipped between her perfect white teeth before she could stop herself.   At least she could have the decency to look embarrassed.

          “Blast, I did not mean to say that. Well, I did. But not so you could hear. I’m afraid I sometimes speak before I think things through.” She lifted her chin as she replied, “I am ruining my chances of gaining your help every time I speak, aren’t I?”

          “My hide is tougher than that, do not worry.”  He replied, oddly amused by her frankness. And the opposite was true, the more she spoke the more she was winning her chances with him. A spy would not be so gauche. Yet, he wanted her to have no hope and choose his next words carefully. “I do not talk of my time at war. What is done is done. It is over and I will not open the wounds.” He sat back down with a slash of his hand.

          She tilted her blond head in interest.

          And before he knew it, he heard himself explain, “Someone such as you doesn’t need to hear about the carnage I have witnessed. I spent a long time in war, was wounded, then came home. I try not to think about it. That’s all I have to say.”

          She nodded in sympathy and he frowned.

          He clearly didn’t want her understanding. He wanted her anger. “I don’t know anyone from the last battle. They all died.”

          “All?”

          “Yes. All.”

          “I wonder the real reason for such bitterness. Is it because of the wounds you suffered or that you survived? I have a good friend back in London who feels useless and stays drunk most of the time due to his wound.”

          How dare she. He leaned forward with a black stare. “Do not imply as if you knew me. And I’m not useless.”

          “Prove it. Help me.”

          Christ, he’d fallen neatly into her trap. “First, I was insane, now I am wounded beyond repair. And you want my help? What does that make you?”

          “Determined.” She reached over and patted him.

          She irritated the hell out of him. He clenched his fists to keep them from breeching the distance between them and strangling her.

          “I only say those things because I have a feeling you would rather deal with honesty.”

          She was right. Damn her. “I can’t help you. I’m wounded, useless and insane.”

          “We both know that’s not true. Now’s your chance to prove to them that you’re not. Help me, help you.”

          “How could you help me?”

          “Marry me.”