I finished Not Quite a Courtesan and sent it off. NQAC is a novella which will be part of the Kensington Brava anthology Lords of Passion in December 2010. (A perfect Christmas present!) I am absolutely thrilled to be sharing the same cover with Virginia Henley and Kate Pearce! It was a lot of fun to write, and I hope my editor likes it. Here’s a snippet where Darius and Pru meet:
The man on the step was tall. Dark. Too handsome. “You!” she said. “I am glad you are here. We have business to discuss.”
“We certainly do, madam, and I will not be put off like some other members of my family. But the discussion is not for outdoors where all the world can hear us.” He brushed by her, and Pru became acutely aware she was the only one in the house. But being alone with her cousin’s husband could not compromise her, could it? They stood for a minute in the front hall glowering at each other, although the man did not get the full benefit of her glower, veiled as she was. Pru retreated into the parlor, and Mr. Shaw followed.
He took up far too much room, looking out of place amidst the pink and purple stripes and patterns. To her horror, he picked up the reticule she had left on the sofa. The fortune hunter! But instead of shaking out the few coins she had, he slipped a velvet bag into it.
“This will have to satisfy you. It’s rare and valuable and old. Just like you.”
“I beg your pardon!” Pru said, stung. She was but nine-and-twenty. Oldish , but not yet dead.
“I mean no disrespect. But you must admit you’re past the pinnacle of your profession.”
Her profession? Good lord, did this man take her to be one of the courtesans of Courtesan Court? “Well it is you who is old and addled, if you cannot even recognize your own mistress,” Pru said with asperity. She tore the veil from her face. “And may I remind you that you have a young wife, who, God willing, will long outlive you and outlast the ignominy of being married to you! Only God knows why, but she wants you back. You may have a pretty face, but your character leaves a great deal to be desired, sir! If you do anything—anything at all to ever hurt or discomfort her again—leave the top to the toothpowder tin off, aim carelessly into the chamberpot, snore in your sleep—you will answer to me!”
To Pru’s dismay, the man smiled slowly at her. He had shockingly white teeth—his toothpowder had been used to good effect—and an elegant crease on his left cheek, too sophisticated to be called a mere dimple. For twenty-three or so seconds she could see why Sophy had been smitten.
“I take it you are not Carmela de Castro.”
Pru felt the blood rush to her cheeks. “Of course I am not!” She took a step backward. “And you are not my cousin Sophy’s husband, are you?”
In other news, I’m revising Mistress by Midnight, scheduled for Spring 2011. And I’m going on a cruise for the first time ever! We’re flying to Tampa this weekend and getting on a ship bound for two ports in Mexico. I have a new passport with the most wretchedly hideous picture you will never see. So I won’t be back to blogging until the last week in February, when I’ll spill all the details of my Courtesan Court Contest!
Happy Valentine’s Day, too. Any special plans? Have you ever been on a cruise? Any advice to keep me from falling overboard?