Hello Darling Duchesses and Dears,
On Monday, I told the story of the scandalous marriage of the Prince Regent to his first (if illegal) wife, Maria Fitzherbert. Today I’m back to share a scandalous excerpt from my new book, Secrets of a Scandalous Marriage which was released on October 1st!
Her jaw tightened and anger flashed in her eyes. She turned on her heel, ran over to the double doors, and pushed them open. A blast of cold air shot through the room, and she ran out, into the black, freezing night, into the snowflakes.
James followed her, stalking out into the snow behind her. “What do you think you are doing?”
She turned on him, her eyes flashing blue fire. The snowflakes floated down her alabaster cheeks. She turned in a circle, around and around, her gown looking blood-red against the white ground. She breathed in the cold air. Her breath came in short puffs. Then she took two very deep breaths and exhaled slowly. “I’m feeling, James. Feeling. Feeling this air. Feeling the snow. I never knew if I’d feel this again.”
“What does that have to do with the money, going to the Continent?”
She turned on him, eyes still flashing. “I don’t want your money, James. I never wanted it.”
James stopped himself from reaching for her. Instead, he clenched his fists at his sides. “What do you want, then? Say the word. I have friends. I have money. We can make the blasted ton accept you again.”
She advanced on him, pointing a finger at his chest, and he retreated, slowly, shuffling backward through the snow, the cold wetness seeping through the legs of his breeches.
“You’re always trying to fix everything,” she said. “Always trying to make things right. That’s why you hired a runner for me, and that’s why you’re doing this now. But my reputation is another thing altogether. Even with my name cleared I’ve been involved in a scandal I will never live down. Even if George hadn’t been murdered, everyone knows I wanted a divorce. None of that has changed. God, James, don’t you know by now that not everything can be fixed?”
James closed his eyes. He was helpless. Helpless. The one thing he wanted to fix more than all the others was standing here in the snow looking more beautiful than he’d ever seen her, and telling him he was a failure.
“I can fix this,” he growled through clenched teeth. “I’ll publish whatever you want me to, use the printing press to save your reputation. You’re a duchess—”
She whirled on him, her scarlet gown flaring around her ankles, pooling against the pure snow. The flakes that still clung to her impossibly long lashes were illuminated like sparking diamonds by the candlelight that filtered from the windows of the house. “No!” she cried. “Don’t you understand? I don’t want to be a duchess.”
James dug his fingers into his fists. “What is it you want, Kate. Tell me. I’ll make it happen. I swear it.”
She bowed her head. “No. No.”
He took two steps forward and grabbed her shoulders. They were close enough for the little puffs of her warm breath to evaporate against his shirtfront. “Tell me,” he demanded.
She looked up at him, trembling. Her eyes locked with his. “I want to spend the night with you.”
A NOTORIOUS CRIME
So, what do you think? Leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Secrets of a Scandalous Marriage (print US only, or e-book anywhere else, void where prohibited). I’ll announce both of this week’s winners on Friday!
I’m getting married in October myself, and I *do* hope my own marriage won’t be such a scandal. Be sure to follow along the rest of my blog tour for the story of my appearance on SAY YES TO THE DRESS, ATLANTA and the reveal of a super BIG overall giveaway!
Valerie Bowman is an award-winning author who writes Regency-set historical romance novels (aka Racy Regency Romps) with a focus on sharp dialogue, engaging story lines, and heroines who take matters into their own hands!
Valerie grew up in Illinois with six sisters (she’s number seven) and a huge supply of historical romance novels. After a cold and snowy stint earning a degree in English with a minor in history at Smith College, she moved to Florida the first chance she got.
Valerie now lives in Jacksonville with her family including her rascally rescue dog, Roo. When she’s not writing, she keeps busy reading, traveling, or vacillating between watching crazy reality TV and PBS. Valerie loves to hear from readers. Find her on the web at Facebook, Twitter, and at www.ValerieBowmanBooks.com.