Call me an idiot but I just realized I've never actually plugged my own book (or soon to be—books) on my very own blog. Guess it just seemed sort of "exhibitionist" or something. So while my next blog will be about a useful tip for writers (creating your basic press sheet), this week, I'm going to be shameless and promote my own book. I figure folks might like a small sampling of what they will get if they lay down their cash on, SMUGGLED ROSE. It's a Regency—which basically means it's set in the early part of the 19th century. Oh, and it's about a Lady rose smuggler who really wants to repair her reputation but isn't sure how to go about it. To her dismay, an earl decides to take matters into his own hands and drags her off to "enjoy" a Season in London. Neither one of them expects things to go as truly wrong as they do.
So here's a small teaser (basically, the blurb off the back cover) and an excerpt. I selected the passage which my editor indicated first made her "sit up and take notice". That's got to be good, right? It's the effect you're looking for, at any rate.
See what you think.
Back Cover Blurb
A cynical earl and a rose smuggler are an unlikely pair, particularly when the smuggler is a supposedly fallen woman the earl owes for saving his brother's life.
Nonetheless, Michael, the earl of Ramsgate, is determined to repay his family's debt by presenting Margaret at Court—an action calculated to repair even the worst reputation. But Margaret has been burned before and is suspicious that Michael's intentions aren't entirely honorable…despite the certainty in her heart that she can trust him.
As the tension between them flares and Michael's feelings for Margaret strain his self-control, an old enemy bent on revenge returns to challenge Michael's iron determination…and threatens to take Margaret away from him forever.
Without thought, he bent his head to her neck. A shock ran through him at her scent. Breathing harshly, he ran his mouth over the smooth, cool skin, tasting the soft flesh laced with an echo of lavender and rain.
She turned her head away. Her body, instead of relaxing under his touch, stiffened.
Michael raised his head and smiled at her. "Mistress, I won't harm you. We can both enjoy this if you stop struggling."
In response, she kicked him on the shin and twisted her hands to break his hold. He let her go, confused, and she jerked out of his reach.
The fire and single candle did not provide sufficient illumination for him to see her expression clearly, but she seemed almost abnormally composed and chillingly cold. However, her very control made her that much more desirable.
While he hesitated, she moved further into the shadows.
He stepped around the trunk at the foot of the bed. When he approached her, she reached out and plucked what appeared to be a small penknife from a writing table.
The gesture would have been ridiculously histrionic had it not been done in such a calm and calculating manner. Michael smiled, though he knew she could not read his face. The heat of the fire seeped into his back, leaving his face in cool shadow.
"Are you intending to kill me or yourself?" he asked sardonically.
"I can't decide. If I kill you, it'll be very difficult to explain one dead and one wounded Englishman." She paused as if considering the matter carefully. "Of course, I could simply throw your body into the Channel, but that's risky and the tides uncertain. It might inconveniently wash up upon my shore. I don't have a boat, you see, and it would be dreadfully awkward to borrow the Vicar's under the circumstances." She sighed mockingly. "Then there's your brother. I can't expect him to be particularly grateful if I murder you, though he'd inherit the earldom, wouldn't he?"
Nodding, he wondered if he was quick enough to grab the knife without risking a stabbing. It was unsettling to think of Edward celebrating his untimely demise. Michael wished she had not placed the thought in his head.
His brother loved him more than the earldom. Didn't he?
"Give me the knife." Michael held out his hand.
"Do you believe he'd object if I removed you? If so, I may need to ensure he doesn't recover, either. But then, two deaths are so frightfully bad form, aren't they? Not at all bon ton, though I'm sure I needn't worry about that."
"Damn it, just give me the blade. There are many much more pleasant ways to pass the night." She was making an ass of him and he did not find it at all amusing. He sighed. Why did his brother have to get himself shot on this difficult woman's doorstep? Why not in the yard of a comfortable tavern with plenty of wine, good food and buxom serving wenches?
"Your lordship may find this hard to comprehend, but I don't appreciate your suggestions. You don't know me."
"Ah, you're wrong, Miss Lane. You have a certain reputation…"
"Reputation?" She took a firmer grip on the knife as he edged closer. "You don't know—and please discontinue creeping about in that manner! I find it very difficult to hold any sort of a meaningful conversation with you when you insist on acting in this deplorable way. Have you no manners at all?"
Her tone pulled Michael up short. She sounded precisely like his mother when he arrived late for supper. If she screamed, or cried or behaved in any other acceptably hysterical female fashion, he would have been able to laugh at her. They could have both relaxed. As it was, he just felt rather naughty.
He was an adult, not an errant five-year-old, damn it!
"For the last time, put that knife down," he repeated testily. "I don't force myself on unwilling women."
"That's not at all the impression you gave me earlier. And, not to put too fine a point on it, doesn't your set make a habit of insisting your demands be met? Since when has a woman's willingness been a consideration?"
"Damn it, Miss Lane! I don't insist on anything except some sort of regard for personal safety. Now be reasonable."
He was surprised to hear a faint laugh and was thankful she could not see his face. He felt a hot flush rise up his throat and stain his cheeks.
"When faced with unreasonable behavior, the irrational is an effective recourse."
He snorted. The situation was just aggravating enough to tickle Michael with frustration. He examined her again, though the dim light revealed precious little.
She was attractive, but not overwhelmingly so. If anything, he should have been put off by her coldness and her obvious distaste for a man's touch, but her attitude inexplicably fueled the burning within him.
Her shawl had dropped to the floor during their struggle, and though she kept the neckline of her dress closed with one hand, she could not hide the contours of her shape beneath the thin material. His mouth remembered the fine texture of her skin. It glowed pearl white against the darkness. His heart hammered in his chest.
"Miss Lane," he said, his voice harsh.
"I should get back to your brother. Please hand me my shawl."
"Let me apologize." He was acting badly and impulsively, but he could not stop.
"No. Don't apologize. Hand me my shawl and let me pass."
He picked up the material and let it slip from finger to finger as he studied her. She hadn't dropped the knife, but how resolute was she? Would she truly kill him—or herself?
That's it—that's all you get. ;-)