I’m guilty. Guilty of ignoring my website. Guilty of not posting anything here for, what? I think it must be two weeks now. Three? My WIP has so consumed me, I haven’t done anything else but edit, slash, trash and rewrite for days, weeks . . . feels like months. I think I may have permanently damaged my neck from a less-than-ergonomic keyboard to screen ratio.
So, since I’m obsessed at the moment anyway, why not go with it?
This brief except is from the first in this series of four historical romances comes out in November, 2015, the second in spring, 2016, from Berkley.
This is the third novel in the series, tentatively titled “Lady Sutherland’s Seventh Suitor.”
It had grown quite late, so he took care his boots didn’t ring against the stone terrace as he made his way toward the back of the house where he’d left his horse. He’d not reach London before midnight, and it was dark, despite the stars—
He stopped. Froze for a moment. Turned.
Every night afterward, for months, years even, he’d think about this moment and wonder what had made him turn. Had he sensed her before he could see her? Or did he catch her scent? Every night afterward, for months, for years, he’d remind himself it didn’t matter why he’d turned. It mattered only that he had, and that he’d seen her.
And nothing was ever the same again, after that.
She’d never given him permission to call her by her first name, and yet that’s the name that rose to his lips, as if it had always been there, waiting for him to speak it.
She turned and he caught a glimpse of her just for a moment, bathed in starlight, her hair a dark cloud against her white neck. For months afterwards, for years even, he’d wonder why she hadn’t looked surprised to find him standing there.
Had she been waiting for him? She couldn’t have known—
“I knew you’d come.”
Julian’s breath stopped in his lungs. She’d thought of him? Had she wanted him to come?
“Did you hope I would?”
She laughed softly, and to Julian it was as if the sound was born of the night itself, and yet still hers, all the same.
“You already know.”
Something in his chest leapt toward her then. His heart, he thought it was, but it didn’t matter, really. Whatever it was, it was part of him, and he’d never get it back from her. Didn’t want it back.
“You already know,” she said again, the laugh still in her voice.
He did know. He’d known since the first moment he’d seen her. No. Before that. He couldn’t remember a time now when he hadn’t known.
He hadn’t come here tonight for his cousin. He’d come for her.
“Yes. I already know.”
He should leave. Leave her here, untouched, alone in the starlight. But he’d not reach London before midnight, and it was dark, despite the stars . . .
This is what he told himself as he held out his hand to her.