I'm excited to share the very first excerpt from my upcoming historical romance, The Duke of St. Giles, with you today! To be honest it was difficult picking just one page to share with you. There are so many juicy interactions between Emily and West to choose from, I had a hard time narrowing it down to just one. Guess that means I'll have to share more in the near future!
Excerpt from Chapter Two - The Duke of St. Giles
The battered coach creaked to a halt. There was a loud thump outside the door as the coachman dismounted, followed by the muffled sound of voices as footmen from the inn shuffled up to assist in unbuckling the trunks from the roof. In a less seedy establishment West wouldn’t have bothered unloading all of his belongings, but he knew the sort of crooks that frequented The Three Pigs, just as he knew anything left behind in the carriage would be gone by morning. It was the main reason he’d elected to travel in his oldest coach, a rickety old beast of a vehicle that would neither incite jealousy nor attract attention.
“I told you,” he said, turning his attention back to Emily. She watched him like a hawk, her blue eyes intent on his face and her lips compressed in a thin white line. “We’re in Guildford.”
“I do not know where we are, but this is certainly not Guildford. You lied to me,” she accused, jabbing a finger at his chest.
West shrugged. “So I did. But I could hardly let you know exactly where we were going, could I? You have been kidnapped, Princess. I really don’t have to tell you anything.”
She didn’t like that, and he was rewarded when she grinded her teeth yet again. “Are we even going to Southampton?”
The door opened with a whiny creak to reveal West’s coachman and personal valet, a thin, weedy looking man with a thatch of greasy blond hair protruding from the brim of his hat. His jacket was ill fitting and there was a yellow stain on his sloppily tied cravat, but despite his questionable hygiene Max was one of West’s most loyal men. He was a bit of a jack-of-all-trades, often taking on two jobs at once as he was now. He was also one of only three people West could trust with his life, and the only person he would trust with Emily.
“Are ye ready?” Max asked, his watery brown eyes flicking from West to Emily and back again.
“Certainly. If you would assist my wife out first—”
“Your wife?” Emily squeaked.
West’s teeth flashed in a grin that would have been the envy of the Cheshire cat. “I told you there were a few things we needed to discuss. You can be my mistress if you like, but you’ll need to pick one or the other. Unless, of course, you would like every male within ten miles breathing down your neck. This isn’t Grosvenor Square, Princess. Any woman not attached to man is considered fair game, so I suggest you play whichever part you pick very convincingly.”
“Couldn’t I be your sister?”
She scowled at him. “Why ever not?”
“Because they’d know it was a lie.” Uncoiling his long, lanky body West leaped down from the carriage and extended his arm. “I would never stare at my sister the way I stare at you.”
Their eyes met, angry blue clashing against amused gold. West waited for her to throw a tantrum – something he knew all women were prone to do when they didn’t get their way – but to his surprise she wrapped her fingers around his forearm and jumped down beside him before he had time to assist her.
Standing side by side their differences in height could not have been more obvious. The top of Emily’s head barely reached his shoulder, but what she lacked in size she more than made up for in temperament.
“I will pretend to be your mistress,” she said, surprising him yet again, “for if we are going for believability, I doubt anyone would think it plausible that someone like myself would agree to marry someone like you. You’re a rogue of the worst order, you know.”
He grinned. “Thank you.”
Her mouth opened. Closed. With a little huff of breath she drove her heel into the ground, shoved her bonnet down over her head, and stomped past him.
Look for The Duke of St. Giles, the first novel in the exciting new Rookery Rakes trilogy, on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo this April! Until then, make sure to add to your TBR list on Goodreads.