A few weeks back I had an open call for volunteers to help me find fun and memorable passages/quotes to use for memes and other such things. I’ve since decided to do weekly features on different books, going in the order they were written. This week, I’ll take a deep breath and start with my first book, Intentions of the Earl.
The second excerpt/sample I’m about to post was highlighted as a favorite by one of my regular commenters: Darah. Thank you, Darah! I did want to add a little background to help set the stage for what led to her favorite quote, which is the reason for the abbreviated first scene!
“You deserved it, you lecher,” Brooke Banks exclaimed, scrambling to get off the secluded bench where she had been kissing Benjamin Collins, Duke of Gateway.
“What was that for?” Gateway demanded, rubbing his cheek.
“You have to ask?” Brooke crossed her arms. “I came out here to see the gardens, not have you maul me in the shrubbery.” Why did he, like all men, assume her agreement to go into the gardens translated into permission for him to touch her person—specifically her chest?
“I wasn’t mauling you,” he spat. His face looked like it had been carved from marble with his mouth clamped so tightly that white lines had formed around the ridges and his eyes had transformed from warm, blue candle flames into hard, cold chips of ice.
“You’re correct; you didn’t maul me. Yet. I felt your hand drifting from my shoulder. Don’t think for one second that I didn’t know its intended destination.”
Gateway snorted. “And are you trying to tell me you didn’t want me to touch you?”
“You know I didn’t,” Brooke snapped. She clutched her skirt with both hands, twisting the fabric to refrain from striking him again.
“So you say, but your actions suggest differently,” he responded slyly.
“You didn’t protest my kisses,” he said smoothly.
Brooke flushed. He was right, she hadn’t protested his kisses. Not to say she enjoyed them, because she hadn’t. But she hadn’t stopped him, either, which he probably took as encouragement. “Once again, I’m sorry you mistook that as encouragement for your amorous urges.”
“I didn’t mistake anything. You, miss, are nothing but a tease.”
“And you, sir, are no gentleman,” she exclaimed, heedless to his sneer.
“I never claimed to be.” His eyes flashed fire.
*** (2/3rds of the book later)
The last gentleman she’d kissed prior to Andrew had been the Duke of Gateway. His kisses had been satisfactory, but paled in comparison to Andrew’s. He hadn’t tried to caress her before she ended their time together. However, that was the reason she’d ended things. She felt his hand straying from her shoulder, dropping lower. Just the idea of his hand on her breast made her cringe.
“Is that the face you always wear when thinking of Townson?” asked the object of her thoughts, coming to lean against her shade tree.
“No, not at all,” she replied primly. “It’s the one I wear when I think of you.”
Gateway smiled a bit. “I’m flattered that I’m the subject of your thoughts. I do feel bad for Townson though. I believe he may be heartbroken to know the woman he’s courting is entertaining thoughts of me.”
“Don’t flatter yourself, Your Grace. As you so kindly pointed out when you approached, they were not pleasant thoughts.”
“Indeed,” Gateway allowed. “But thoughts, all the same. Would you care to share those thoughts with me?”
“But if I’m part of them, then I think common courtesy would dictate you should share them with me.” Gateway gave her an encouraging smile.
“Fine, I’ll tell you, although they don’t do you any favors. I was thinking of what an awful kisser you are. Have I satisfied your curiosity, now?” she asked, taking a small measure of delight in seeing his smile vanish and his eyes widen. Either his face changed because he was shocked she was so blunt, or he was shocked she thought he was a bad kisser. She wasn’t sure which, and didn’t care enough to ask.
“I’m sorry you feel that way. Would you like to give it another go?” Gateway asked, his smile fully recovered.
“No. I have suffered that tragedy once already. I have no wish for a repeat performance.”
“Hmm, I’d think you’d like to kiss a man who’s known to be skilled in that department.” Gateway said easily.
Brooke snorted. “You’re not that skilled.”
“You would know,” he quipped with a sly smile.
(Reading that, you might think my heroine was a floozie, but I suppose she had to be a touch…er…scandalous otherwise her story wouldn’t have worked. Not to mention, Brooke was the one who started my entire Banks family saga!)