You know its only fitting that the release of my debut erotic historical from Spice should fall on Wicked Wednesday--true it is that to some, my lovely Cozette (heroine of Diary of Cozette) could be considered "wicked" by the norms of her day. But in researching 19th century England, there was a great deal of "wickedness" going on and not all of it on the surface! I confess I stayed awake until after midnight to check the Harlequin site to be sure all was there on October 1!
I want to thank my Lit partners for allowing me the privilege of sharing an excerpt from Cozette here today.
I was thrilled to awaken to a note from a bookseller in South Carolina telling me he'd seen my book come into the store. Wow! He offered that the door was open anytime for a signing and requested bookplates or bookmarks that they might be able to hand out. Hello! On their way! LOL It was better pick me up than a cuppa java!(and thats saying a lot for me!)
For fun, I was asked by Harlequin to write up what they call their "Free Reads". THE BOYS CLUB--set too in England--begins today with one chapter posted each Wed. and Fri. through October. Let me know what you think!
So to celebrate I thought I would give you a glimpse inside Cozette's diary. Here is the scene (the lesser detailed parts and I am afraid edited as well) that led to the contracting of this story. Scene set up: Cozette, washing the linens is approached my Lord Deavereaux,a guest at the home of her Master and Mistress....in this diary entry she remembers her "first time" with a man (Note: EDITED to PG-13 version)
Septemeber 14, 1873
I smile even now when I think of what he taught me that sultry night long ago. A woman remembers the first time she gives herself to a man.
It was long after midnight and I’d changed into a simple frock, in order to wash my uniform as I finished washing the linens from the evenings repast. Mrs. Archibald has specific requests of how her linens are to be laundered. It is my duty to see her wishes carried out.
Mr. Deavereux looked as though he’d stumbled in from a long ride as he staggered into the kitchen. His heavy boots scraped across the brick floor and given his manner, one I’ve been privy to in many men, I speculated he was under influence of my masters private stock of brandy. However, I do not know how he would have parlayed the key from Mrs. Farrington.
I stood at the washroom door, uncertain whether to offer my help or return to my work.
My heart stood still, for he was most certainly a breathtaking man. He was handsome, tall, with broad shoulders and a supremely wicked smile. His dark, wavy hair, groomed before, now fell over his shoulders in rebellious disarray. It appeared he’d tossed his shirt on in haste as it hung loose from his breeches
His unbuttoned shirt framed a muscular chest, sprinkled with a few dark curls that gave way to the washboard plane of his lean waist. I would not permit my gaze to travel lower for I did not want him to think me a loose woman.
He did not speak, only glanced up at me briefly and offered a subtle nod affirming my presence. That is the way of things and though I know it is not socially acceptable to speaker to those of lower classes, I find the behavior rude, if not all together ridiculous.
He rummaged through the bowls left from evening meal and tore off a hunk of bread, chewing slow, savoring its taste. My breasts tightened in speculation of what his lips would taste like as my gaze clung to his mouth.
I stepped back into the small washroom and returned to my task, ignoring his midnight feast as I scrubbed the linens against the washboard.
A moment later, a small sound caused my gaze to snap up and there he stood at the washroom door, his arm braced on the doorframe, all but undressing me with his eyes. Though it made me blush crimson then, now it gives me only pleasure to remember his gentle care and attentions.
Outside the rain tapped against the small windowpane of the room. It was secluded, private from the world outside by a hedge and the scent of wet grass clung to the humid air. The dusky illumination of a single candle flickered enough to spark the imagination of our secret tryst.
I was not naive to the evidence of this man's desire. I'd seen how he looked at me while I served his meal,(edited)...
For what reason I chose him to be my first, I cannot say. Perhaps it was a matter of timing, two strangers in need of comfort. Nothing more than a few stolen moments when nothing else but pleasure matters. Or per chance I was drawn to the glint of challenge in his eye, his stallion-like tendencies waiting to be tamed at my hand.
To my young and fertile imagination, he was, my notorious pirate and I his lusty wench. My suspicions tell me that I am quite sure Mr. Deavereux is fully aware of his handsome features and dos not waste a moment in using them to his advantage.
I could not speak for I was both fearful and aroused at the same time. If what I sensed was true, there was hope that this night could change my life forever.
With that thought in mind, my breathing nearly stopped when he appeared. I turned back to my duties, focusing on the wash.
Without a word, he approached me from behind and pressed his body against my back.
"I saw how you looked at me, the desire in your eyes. Tell me now to stop and I will be crushed."
He pressed his thighs against mine, pinning my legs between him and the wooden washtub.
My breath caught, a small whimper escaped my lips as his arms came around my waist, his chin resting on the sensitive curve of my shoulder.
“Do not be afraid, I would sooner die than hurt you.”
He nuzzled the corkscrew curls at my temple, his hands gentle on the slope of my neck, easing my inhibitions, releasing me from my fear.
His skin, warm from the sudden humidity of the rain, intensified his musky, male scent, further arousing my state of desire. In my solitude of laundering, my imagination had already gathered a bounty of fruitful musings about the handsome Lord.
I wanted something, something wickedly decadent, and yet with a man of his stature, and the thought of my position at the manor, I was reticent to continue, though my body yearned with an ache that I did not completely understand. But oh, how I wanted to.
He cupped his hands, lowering them into the tepid, sudsy water and lifted the shimmering pool in his palms to the level of our collective gaze. With sweet, sensuality he tipped his hands, deliberately allowing the water to trickle slow over the bare flesh of my chest and disappear past the smocking of my dress. I closed my eyes to the exquisite sensation of the water cool against the heat of my skin.
His breath hot against my neck filled me with wonder that I could have such a powerful affect on a man. He seemed rather to enjoy the game, taking his time, wanting to please me as much as himself...
So to read the edited parts you must, I fear, buy the book *evil grin* or wrangle it free of Lord Craven's hands...the man has not put it down since the messenger delivered his personalized copy this morning!
Dare I tell him that he is my inspiration?? Nay, let him wonder instead...*grin*