Tuesday, September 16, 2008

One step forward, two steps back in time...

Now and then I get tired of living in the future...this summer, for some reason, I preferred living in the past, and writing in the past and this weekend, the fruits of that labor will be released at Amber Quill Press/Amber Heat.

My first historical romance novella, A Rogue's Reward, comes on September 21st!

Here's the blurb and a brief excerpt:

In 1708, kidnapped and ransomed by the legendary lady pirate, Captain Fallon Robard, Sheppard York finds his only salvation in the kindness of the captain’s beautiful young ward, Rhea Galant. But when negotiations with Sheppard’s wealthy father go sour, Captain Fallon plans to exile him to a deserted island where he will have to fend for himself and face possible death.
After weeks of tending her captain’s handsome prisoner, however, Rhea discovers she can’t bear to part with him, let alone see him abandoned, and plots to help him escape.
What will be her reward for abandoning her shipmates for love?

Rhea imagined her face would catch fire if she had to spend another minute staring at Sheppard York’s naked body.

She fought to keep her aim steady on the center of his chest while he shrugged out of his shirt. The muscles beneath his tanned skin flexed with each careful movement as he fished the melting lump of soap from the kettle pot, then dipped the cloth in the now-cold water and wrung it out. She should have turned around and given him a small measure of privacy while he scrubbed his face and chest, the back of his neck and quickly under his arms, but Fallon had warned her not to. Even if she’d been given leave to avert her eyes, Rhea wasn’t sure she could have. Having never seen a naked man before—fully or partially—she simply couldn’t look away.

She swallowed a gasp when he reached for the buckle of this belt and tore the fastening of his breeches open. “You’re not going to—”

“I have to relieve myself. Perhaps you’d like to help with that?”

His smirk annoyed her, but in all honesty she couldn’t take offense. He’d been denied all amenities for half a day, and after a night she figured he’d spent mostly lifting tankards of ale, he had to have been terribly uncomfortable.

“I’ll step outside. There’s a bilge grate in the corner.”

“Ah, the finest accommodations.” He turned away and, before he lowered his breeches, Rhea ducked out the door. Sighing, she let the pistol droop. Had Fallon assigned her this thankless task as a form of amusement, or simply because no other member of Gabrielle’s crew could be trusted not to damage the governor’s son before the ransom was paid?

After a few deep breaths, she steadied herself and chanced a polite knock on the partially closed door. “Are you through?”

“I am.”

She let herself back in, leading the way with the pistol barrel in case he thought to jump her. The heavens above knew she’d never shoot an unarmed man…in the balls or any other body part, but she owed it to her captain to make the prisoner think she would.

Once inside, she let her eyes roam his body, and her mouth worked to produce some sound. He stood wearing nothing now but a dun-colored pair of under breeches, which left little about the shape of his nether regions to the imagination. His smooth chest sported only a few dark hairs, unlike his muscular thighs and calves. The hair on his head was damp now and slicked back as if he’d run wet fingers through it to tame the sleep-tousled ends.

He’d shed his boots along with his clothes and had placed them neatly aside with his thick leather belt coiled atop them. With a hopeful expression, he held his pants out in her direction.

“You might wash these, too.” His tone held no irony, though she couldn’t imagine why not. “They also smell of stale beer. Did your lady captain drag me through every barside gutter in Tremont on the way to the dock last night? I reek like a common drunk.”

Rhea swallowed hard and accepted the garment. He’d pay for this somehow she decided before backing out of the room, while instructing him to replace the cuffs and toss her the iron key. Lord York would definitely pay for his insolence. She just hadn’t figured out how.

Stay tuned for more about A Rogue's Reward and updates on the sequel [finished the rough draft yesterday, A Rogue's Redemption].