Monday, March 9, 2015

Excerpt from the historical romantic suspense novel A Murderous Masquerade by Jackie Williams

Chapter One

One year, ten months and twenty two days!
The actual hours he hadn’t bothered counting since the day he’d first met Lady Anne, his best friend’s widowed sister in law, but they hardly signified as he hadn’t been carrying a watch when he first set eyes on her.
Giles Denvers was about to run his finger around the inside of his over tight cravat when he remembered his valet come butler’s dire warning. Craddock was a positive demon when pontificating over creases or even worse, a dreaded grease mark. He touched his lonely diamond cravat pin, paced across the over warm room for what felt like the fiftieth time, and thanked his stars that he didn’t need padding at his shoulders as he felt the perspiration begin to bead on his brow.
He knew that it was the fashion to keep a gentleman waiting for upwards of ten minutes, but after all the waiting he had already endured he rather hoped that Lady Anne would be keen to see him. He took his handkerchief from his pocket and dabbed it across his forehead. Wouldn’t do to look like a nervous fop when it came time to do the deed, he thought as he paced the room yet again.
He glanced at the clock once again and then felt his heart surge as he heard a light footstep outside the door. He would have known it anywhere.
The door swung open and a vision of beauty wearing the softest shades of emerald green floated in on a waft of delicately perfumed air. Her rich, chestnut curls cascaded over one ivory shoulder and onto the exposed upper curve of her creamy white breast. He swallowed the sensation rising in his chest that begged him to immediately drag her into his arms and kiss those ruby red lips relentlessly and instead, walked calmly towards her. He took her hand as she dropped her silk gloves and fan onto the table inside the door. Sweet pain sliced through him as he realized that he was about to kiss her unadorned hand and for the first time in his life he actually thought he might pass out.
For a whole year after her husband’s death she had worn the severest black and for the next twelve months, the deepest purple. No one could ever fault her or say that Lady Anne Chartris hadn’t taken her mourning seriously, but now the two years were over and the paleness of her gown and the brightness of her smile proved it.
Giles lifted her over-warm hand and felt hers tremble on his palm. It was all he could do not to sweep her into his arms, take her to the nearest bedroom and ravish her until the next millennium, but he held his nerve and slowly lifted her hand as he listened to her own gentle breaths. He had waited this long, he could wait a few seconds longer. He breathed in deeply, his heart aching and throbbing violently as her scent invaded his entire body before he let his lips burn a path across her delicate skin.
Flames of passion instantly raged through him as he found that the world had stilled, life outside this room no longer existed and the universe had ceased to spin. It was just him and her and he couldn’t step back or let her go. He could hear her breathing, fast and shallow and he at last lifted his head and gazed into those beautiful, meadow green eyes. He could see the deep and tender feeling she held displayed openly to him and in a sudden fit of daring he moved his hand to her waist.
If she was surprised at his boldness she never showed it. He pulled her nearer to him and lowered his head. Her eyes dipped closed, heavy lashes sweeping over her blushing cheeks and he could wait no longer.
The first delicate touch of their lips was so shocking that she gasped. He didn’t hesitate, couldn’t. The time had long since passed for delay. He managed to breathe out her name just once before his mouth covered hers and he plundered every recess with the abandon of a starving man being offered a banquet.
It seemed that she wanted to join the repast.
Her fingertips threaded from the broad expanse of his chest, slowly across his shoulders and up the back of his neck until they threaded eagerly through the thick waves of his hair. She lifted her body towards his, her breasts straining the delicate fabrics of her gown. His hands spanned her waist and Giles crushed her to him, pulling her hips against his, letting her know that his desire was true and urgent.
Long minutes passed as they explored each other, her long fingernails driving him wild as they grazed the back of his neck and ruffled his hair. His hand slid upwards, skimmed the underside of her breast and he was lost as he felt her sigh into his mouth. It was too much. The waiting had been too long. He couldn’t stop. Refused to. She was everything he had ever wanted, ever needed and she was going to be his. Forever.
He let her go at last and pressed his forehead to hers. Her breath was as ragged as his own, the gentle blush of her cheeks now spreading down her slender neck to the swell of her breasts as they heaved with a near desperate desire.
“Giles...” Her emotion filled whisper set his heart racing faster than he thought possible.
The time had come. He wanted her more than life itself, but he wasn’t about to dishonour her. He was about to fall onto one knee and beg her to make him the happiest of men when there was a loud knock on the heavy oak door behind him.
Giles staggered backwards and glared in fury at the drawing room door. Anne frowned and pressed her hands to the front of her rumpled gown. She glanced in the over mantle mirror and saw that miraculously, her hair was still virtually in place. She smoothed a wayward ringlet and took a step back towards the table. She quickly picked up her gloves and opened the fan, wafting it rapidly to cool her blushing cheeks while Giles took a long pace backwards and moved towards the book case. He ran his fingers through his dishevelled hair and plucked a book from the shelf as Lady Anne found her voice.
Giles nearly choked at her choice of word. Just kissing her had nearly unmanned him. His fall was dangerously tented and he decided that sitting would probably be his best, if uncomfortable option, until the ill timed intrusion was sent away or his riotous blood supply could be brought back under control. He dropped into the fireside chair and placed the book carelessly in his lap.
The door opened and Whittaker, Lady Anne’s butler, stepped inside the doorway.
“My Lady, the Earl of Lavenham and Lord Edward Ellesworth,” the butler announced with a flourish and a deep bow.
The sound of those two names was enough for Giles and he let out a low groan of despair as his ardour cooled quicker than an eyelid could blink. He had first met Anne’s father and brother when visiting her ancestral home with his friend, Alexander, Duke of Ormond. Anne had been whisked away from Ormond with indecent haste after Alexander’s brother’s death, and Alexander had needed answers to some difficult questions.
Alexander had never forgotten young Edward’s vile behaviour. He couldn’t believe that the boy was so prejudiced over rank or title. Not only had he insulted his sister but he had called Giles’ honour into question over his apparently lowly beginnings. If he hadn’t been Anne’s brother, Giles would have called him out. As it was, the boy was lucky to have come out of the meeting unscathed. Fortunately he had only encountered them infrequently since. Anne had been installed in her own household soon after and Giles had always discovered that he had pressing engagements whenever they called.
He fought back a growl of annoyance as his heart went out to the beautiful woman standing trembling before her visitors.
She looked as though she was about to faint, but quickly took a steadying breath, dragged a smile onto her exquisite face and held out her hands to her portly father and rotund brother as they entered the room.

Author's Profile:
I was born in Essex England during the mid sixties but I missed all the fun. Being only young, I assumed that all Beatles were six legged creatures and Flower Power was something to do with the vigorous way my mother kneaded the bread dough.

My wonderful parents brought me up with a huge love of books. We read anything and everything. Bedtime stories were a treasured time of adventure and mystery. My sister and I sat wide eyed in wonder and to this day I worry about Dinah and Dorinda being pricked with pins because they grew so fat, and I never pull faces at the a waning moon (or was it a waxing one?) just in case my chops stay that way . (The Wind On The Moon)

I began reading romance while still at school. The fuel for many a teenage fantasy leapt from between the covers of wildly romantic books and my passion still lingers now for all those dark haired heroes.

My own beautiful teenage daughter persuaded me to write my first romance. She was only fourteen at the time and between books for children and adults. She couldn't find anything that ticked all her numerous and particular boxes and so she asked me to write a book, with all the exact ingredients just for her. Though not just a book for teens, she enjoyed the resulting tale so much that she shared it with her friends and I eventually published A Perfect Summer as an ebook on amazon.

But I have discovered that writing is not easily stopped once you start. It has turned into a grand passion that I just cannot hold back. The fingertips start tapping the keys and ideas suddenly come flooding, far too many for just one book and so I began another and then another. Fourteen books later I am still nowhere near done. Book fifteen is on its way and only just the other night I woke from a wild and wonderful dream with book sixteen fully formed in my head.

Romance will always be my first love but recently I was so influenced by a tiny polished plaque on a sea wall that I gave paranormal romance a try. (Echo Beach) Mixing the two genres was a real challenge for me but I was delighted with the result.
Historical romance is my latest genre. All those fabulously titled and passionate men are impossibly hard to resist!

I hope you enjoy all of my efforts and I look forward to your comments and reviews.

If you are interested in finding out more, you can see what I get up to at:

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