Sunday, November 1, 2009
Welcome to the WINTER'S DESIRE Release Party!
At last, WINTER'S DESIRE is out! It's party time at LIT Manor!
~~~throwing virtual confetti in the air!~~~
Go grab a warm cuppa and blanket, and join us here for two days of teasers, giveaways, and who knows....maybe that rapscallion Lord Craven-Moore will actually grace us with his presence at some point.
So....let me tell you a little about my novella, Lover's Dawn. It's set in the Edwardian era, which is the early 1900s. Often called the 'Belle Epoque' or the 'Gilded Age,' the Edwardian era was a time when the sun never set on the British Empire, when social division was at its height, when women were allowed far more freedoms than in times before, yet still remained tied down to the domesticity and feminine roles of the past. Ladies cycled in knickerbockers, drove motorcars, smoked and cursed, yet were still denied proper educations and the right to vote. Indeed, just like Regency ladies a century before, Edwardian ladies were raised to serve as wives and hostesses, and not much more.
It was a time of great nostalgia, of ostentatious displays of wealth, of 'Gibson Girl' fashions, of gentlemen in Norfolk tweed coats and derby hats, of enormous country estates and 'Saturday to Monday' house parties. The Great War loomed just off on the horizon, destined to change the world and usher in modern times, but until then, modernism was held at bay.
Aisling Wainscott is the heroine of Lover's Dawn--a gentleman's daughter, raised in the country. She's trapped between her own feminist ideals and her place in society, looking to find where she fits in. She also has a secret: she writes erotica--under a pen name, of course--for a publication called The Boudoir. But her sexy stories are all make-believe; she's never experienced true passion in her own life. That is, until the day she finds a mysterious poem in a circle of stones on the Winter's Solstice and makes a wish for something she knows she can never have.
Or can she? Suddenly, she's seeing her brother's friend Will Cooper in a whole new light.
Here's a little teaser.....
As the dinner conversation buzzed on around him, Will continued to watch Aisling, wondering, as he always did, just what was going on in her mind. It was a sharp mind; of that he was certain. But beyond that, she was mostly a mystery to him. They’d been playmates as children--friends, even. But as they’d grown older, she’d become cold, distant. An ice queen, if ever there was one. The last time he’d seen her, she’d mostly just ignored him.
And yet, inexplicably, she was not ignoring him tonight. In fact, he’d felt her eyes on him since the moment they’d sat down to dinner. Aisling had breezed in, smelling of violets, wearing a wispy, pale rose-colored gown that fluttered behind her like gossamer wings. She’d kissed her mother on the cheek while apologizing for her tardiness, and then taken her seat at the long table, directly across from him.
It was only when she’d raised her goblet to her lips that she’d seemed to notice his presence. She’d looked startled, almost astonished, and he could not credit why. Surely Jack had told her he was joining them tonight. Hell, even if Jack hadn’t, his appearance there at the Wainscott’s dining table was a common enough occurrence. Yet Aisling’s apparent discomfiture hadn’t lessened throughout the interminable meal--five full courses in all.
In all the years he’d known her, he’d never seen her so discomposed. It was disconcerting, and yet somehow arousing if his cockstand was any indication. It would prove embarrassing as hell if he couldn’t rein it in before they finished with dessert.
“I say, Cooper, you’ve not listened to a word I’ve said, have you?” Jack asked, shaking his head.
“I’m sorry?” he asked distractedly. Aisling had taken a bite of pastry and a dollop of chocolate cream remained on the plump center of her lower lip. His pulse began to race as her tongue darted out, licking it away. Good God, that mouth of hers...a perfect, pink bow, just begging to be kissed. And that tongue...just imagining how she could use it, how--
“Bloody hell, Cooper, snap out of it.” Jack tossed his napkin to his lap. “If you’ll pardon my language, Mother.”
“Might I remind you that there’s another lady present besides Mother,” Aisling said sweetly. “Honestly, Jack, have you no manners at all?”
Mrs. Wainscott arched a brow in censure, though the woman could not entirely conceal her smile. “Indeed,” she murmured.
“Indeed?” Jack sputtered. “Why, Aisling curses more than I do, the hoyden.”
“Fascinating,” the elder Dalton said with a leer that made Will’s skin crawl. “A gently bred lady who curses?”
Aisling just shrugged. “I only do it to get under my dear brother’s skin. He’s just ill tempered because my curses are far more original than his own. I’d be happy to demonstrate--”
“You most certainly will not,” Mrs. Wainscott interjected, shaking her head. “Honestly, it’s as if I’ve raised a pair of apes.”
The younger Dalton grinned, looking much like an ape himself. “I beg to differ, ma’am. Your daughter is quite the original. A breath of fresh air, if I might venture to say so.”
Which meant he wanted to fuck her, Will realized, balling his hands into fists.
Jack looked entirely nonplussed. “Suffice it to say that my sister has no equal.”
“I’ll take that as a compliment, thank you very much.” Smiling brightly, Aisling rose from her seat and moved to stand behind Mrs. Wainscott. “I think I’ll leave you gentlemen to your after-dinner smoke. Mother?”
The woman nodded. “Of course, dear.”
“Sure you won’t join us, Miss Wainscott?” one of the Daltons called out, sounding slightly drunk.
“Quite,” came Aisling’s reply. Her skirt’s lace-trimmed hem had caught on a chair’s leg, exposing a good four inches of her stocking-clad ankle. And what a well-turned ankle it was, Will realized with a start. Delicate. Gently curved.
Slowly he slid his admiring gaze up her body, to her face, and he could have sworn her saw her shiver in response, as if she’d physically felt his appraisal. Their eyes met, her hazel ones blinking rapidly, her blond brows knitted in what look like confusion.
With a silent curse of frustration, he pushed aside his napkin and rose. For the briefest of moments he considered offering to escort her out, but decided it best to ignore whatever impulse was tempting him to do so. After all, no good would come of it.
For what felt like an hour but was likely only a fraction of a minute, they both stood, watching one another in silence. And then, just like that, the spell was broken. She shook her head, reaching a hand to her temple, her fingers trembling.
“Aisling? Dear?” Mrs. Wainscott reached for her daughter’s arm.
Aisling threaded her arm through Mrs. Wainscott’s. “If you’ll excuse us,” she said with a nod. Moving in perfect unison, the pair made their way out.
Will held his breath, mentally willing Aisling to turn around, to glance back just once before departing. Why, he could not say. But when she did just that, glancing back over one finely shaped shoulder, his breath caught in his throat and he stood there gaping like a stupid ox.
I guess you could say that one of the themes of the story is "Be careful what you wish for..." Have you ever wished for something--then had the wish come true and realized that maybe it was more than you bargained for? Or maybe just more/better/different from what you expected? Leave us a comment and let us know!
I'll select one commenter at random to win a Celtic Spice sport bottle and a WINTER'S DESIRE coverflat, signed by all three authors! And be sure and check back often over the next 48 hours, because we've got lots more to come, including a "scavenger hunt" for which we'll award our grand prizes--the gorgeous 'winter's sparkle' necklace, the Gods of Football calendar, and a Loreena McKennitt CD!
Oh, one last thing...if you visit Dear Author or Smart Bitches, Trashy Books you'll find gorgeous ads for WINTER'S DESIRE including a coupon code for $4 off the book or ebook at eHarlequin! Go, check it out! But don't forget to come back and leave a comment for a chance to win the sport bottle and cover flat!