Today’s Sunday Snippet is from my “Eastern” Western, Rogue’s Hostage, set during the French and Indian War. At the time, the frontier ran through western Pennsylvania, including the Pittsburgh area where I grew up, former site of the French Fort Duquesne, which plays a prominent part in the story. Swiss immigrant, Mara Dupre, has been taken captive by a French and Indian War Party after her husband’s death.
“Madame, are you listening to me?”
The Frenchman’s voice, sharp and insistent, demanded her attention. “There is not much time. My companions are not patient men. We must leave soon, but first I want you to bind my shoulder. Where do you keep bandages?”
Her mouth and throat were dry when she swallowed, but she choked out an answer. “The trunk. Under the bed.”
He squatted beside the bed, pulled out the trunk and rummaged through it. She watched his every move, unable to take her eyes off him, alarmed by the physical threat he represented.
He was a tall man who dominated the cabin as Emile never had, and his state of undress revealed nearly every inch of his lean and powerful form. Not only was he bare to the waist, but his breechclout and leggings failed to completely cover his thighs and buttocks. He had a wide-shouldered, rangy body and long, sinewy legs. He looked strong, virile, and dangerous.
In celebration of my birthday month, Rogue’s Hostage is on a Kindle Countdown Deal for 99 cents at Amazon.com and Amazon.uk.
Today’s hook is from Chapter One of my sweet Regency romance, Lady Elinor’s Escape, currently on an Amazon Kindle Countdown Deal in the US and UK. (Apologies to readers in other countries. Those are the only two places where I can do the Kindle Countdown deals.)
Today’s snippet is from Chapter 1 of the book. Elinor has written a letter in Frnech to an old family retainer asking for permission to join her in London when her aunt enters her room and snatches the letter from her. Fortunately, she cannot read French.
Fighting to keep her voice level, Elinor said, “That is merely a letter to mother’s former maid. She prefers I write in French as it is easier for her. Shall I read it aloud to you?” she asked, thankful Aunt Sarah had never learned the language.
Her aunt barked a humorless laugh. “As if you would read it true. No, you’d make up some innocuous nonsense about fashion.”
Elinor said nothing, for it was true. She could hardly read what she’d written about her aunt to her face. “As you suggested, nonsense about fashion is all. I do rely on Mimi to keep me up to date, in the event I am ever allowed a London season.”
“Oh, so that’s what this is about,” Lady Sarah said, her face red and blotchy with anger. “Hoping to get to London where you can meet with your Frenchy contacts? Well, not if I have something to say about it, missy.” She pulled a tiny pistol from her pocket and waved it under Elinor’s nose. “And if any of your friends show up here, I’ll take care of them myself, see if I don’t.”
When she put the pistol back in her pocket, Elinor let out the breath she’d been holding. “Please, Aunt Sarah. It is clear that we do not rub along well together. Let me go to my papa in Portugal.”
Her aunt’s eyes gleamed with malice. “So eager to ingratiate yourself into diplomatic circles, are you, girl? What better spot for a French agent?” She started pacing the room, gesticulating wildly. “No, you’ll get no help from me. I know your papa has been sending you secret information. Hard to believe my own brother a traitor.”
Elinor jumped up, her heart pounding. “Oh, no, Aunt. Papa is as loyal as any good Englishman. And, as I have not heard from him in months, how could you know what he tells me in his letters? Unless you have intercepted them, that is.”
When her aunt avoided her gaze, Elinor knew it was true. “You have kept his letters from me. How dare you?”
Without warning, Aunt Sarah raised her arm and swung, her fist connecting with Elinor’s left eye.
With a cry, Elinor stumbled backwards, her face throbbing. She tasted blood and knew she’d bitten her tongue.
“That will teach you to talk back to me,” her aunt said, satisfaction writ on her face. With the letter still clutched in her hand, she left the room.
Elinor rushed to the door and, with shaking hands, turned the key in the lock. Dear lord, her aunt was surely mad. Her stomach churned with fear. She could not wait for Mimi’s permission. She had to leave for London right away.
LADY ELINOR’S ESCAPE
by Linda McLaughlin
Sweet Regency Romance