10:08 AM |
Let's start at the beginning... the very first book I wrote!
SOJOURN THROUGH TIME
Author: Susanne Marie Knight
Genre: Time-Travel Regency
Available electronically at Amazon.com and Smashwords.com
As recently divorced Alexandra waits for her flight to London, she has no idea her actual destination will be in the past. Will she be able to overcome her culture shock and learn to entrust her future to a most persistent duke?
When Malcolm, the Duke of Milcaster, finds Alex on his estate, he immediately intends for her to be his new mistress. Alex, however, has other ideas on the subject. Can he overlook her peculiar ways and convince her that they are meant to be as one?
Malcolm looked up as his intended mistress had the effrontery to enter the state dining room. The cabernet wine, dry and fruity, almost caught in his throat.
Good Lord, the woman was beautiful, he could admit that. Her eyes, heavy and sensuous, had a sultry quality about them. Yet her tentative demeanor as she stood by the doors reminded him of an innocent fawn, unaware of the ways of the world. A delicate flush of pink graced her still pale cheeks, and other than a slight swelling at her jaw line and white bandage peeking out from under her hair, she appeared the picture of health.
Miss Stanford wore one of his late wife's gowns, a simple unbleached muslin dress completely unsuitable for dinner attire. Indeed, it was more appropriate for a walk about the gardens. The hem of the gown, designed to brush the floor, swayed uneasily by the woman's ankles. A modest sight, to be sure, however his pulse began to race.
But the audacity of the woman consumed him. For her to take it upon herself to actually consider dining with him and his virtuous aunt was exceedingly improper in the extreme.
"Hello," murmured his predestined light o'love. "I'm sorry I'm late. Mary and I had a tough time picking out a dress that would fit."
The thought of her revealing apparel when he had found her teased him as a side of beef teased a hungry dog. However strict decorum had to be maintained. He quickly squelched his unseemly desires.
"Miss Stanford, what is the meaning of this--"
"Stuff and nonsense!" exclaimed Olivia. She stood and escorted the woman over to the table. "Come, you must sit and rest yourself. We did wait for you, but Malcolm tends to become irritable if he has not eaten, you know."
The devil! "Indeed, Aunt?" He spoke slowly, to convey his displeasure. "Am I to understand you invited Miss Stanford to join us?"
Olivia signaled to a footman for another place setting. "Yes, of course, Malcolm. Miss Stanford is our guest, is she not?"
There could be no polite rejoinder to his aunt's question so he refrained from commenting.
The woman flashed an expressive glance from him to Olivia, then lowered her gaze to concentrate on the soup.
"Thank you for your kind hospitality, um, sir. Unfortunately, I still can't remember what happened to me. Could you please tell me how I got here?"
Olivia strained his already waning patience by speaking first. "Quite a story that is, am I not correct, Malcolm? Your arrival has certainly thrown this household in an uproar! Gracious me, whatever were you doing, you poor dear, dressed so outrageously?"
To give the woman credit, she blushed furiously. "Please, I must know what happened. This is all so strange."
As they ate, her dark eyes pleaded with him, once again to come to her rescue. The first time was with the bloodletting episode; evidently the feel of leeches against her smooth skin did not agree with her. Intelligent woman. Personally, he thought it an abhorrent practice. Now this, her appeal for information.
He would humor her. After all, not only was she pleasing to look at but she was also well behaved. If he had not seen her previous attire, he would have believed her to be a lady.
"A thunderous noise attracted my attention, Miss Stanford, coming from the outlying lands of my estate, in the woods. I found you almost buried under some rubble."
"Bleeding profusely, you know," Olivia interrupted. "And, I might add, scarcely clothed! My, my yes. Sara said your bare legs were--"
"Aunt." Malcolm's voice brooked no argument. "You are making Miss Stanford uncomfortable."
He was rewarded for his efforts with the woman's demure smile, and for some peculiar reason, his heart beat faster.
"Did you find anyone else?" the woman questioned.
"Only you, Miss Stanford."
"I see." She dabbed at her lips with a napkin, obviously finished with her meal. "So you put me in your car and brought me here?"
"Time was of the essence, Miss Stanford. Rather than return to the Manor for a carriage, I carried you on my horse." Odd the way she abbreviated the word "carriage." Indeed, most everything about her was odd.
"Carriage!" she repeated, turning a weak shade of green.
"Tsk-tsk! Now we have done it; overtaxing poor Alexandra so. I have an excellent idea. Let us leave Malcolm to his port while you and I make ourselves comfortable in the blue salon. Then, when you are done, Malcolm, you can join us."
She stood and held out her hand to the woman. "Come along, dear."
His aunt, always a goosecap, was certainly in rare form tonight.
He took his aunt's suggestion about the after-dinner port, but that would be the extent of his acquiescence.
"I have business to attend to, this night, so I shall forgo the pleasure, Aunt."
Accepting a glass from the footman, he sipped the sweet, fortified wine and gazed down at his visitor's trim ankles. "Miss Stanford, if it would not tire you overmuch, you and I have a few matters to discuss. I will have Treadwell show you to the library presently."
Perhaps she had an inclination of what he wished to discuss for she blushed again before she left. Now alone in the dining room, he polished off his port, then poured another glass. Since Miss Alexandra Stanford had been so obliging as to arise from her bed sooner than expected, he eagerly anticipated not having to wait any longer to sample her tempting wares.
Susanne Marie KnightRead outside the box: award-winning Romance Writing With A Twist!