Thursday, October 15, 2009
Well, remember I told you my webmistress was going to post site updates, and an excerpt for Sinful? Well, she's got busy with designs, and updates will be delayed. But a promise is a promise, so here's the new excerpt.
I had a devil of a time picking one, so in the end, I turned to the only other soul on the Earth who has read Sinful, my editor. She picked out the excerpt, knowing that you guys would adore Wallingford here. So.....without further adieu, here's Wallingford...
Here's the set up: Wallingford, being Wallingford has found himself in the seedy part of London, where it doesn't really go all that well for him. He's been battered and bruised and his head and eyes are bandaged. Our heroine, Jane, is his nurse......
“Water,” the angel’s voice whispered, chasing away the old memories. He felt his head being lifted and cradled in a supple arm as something pressed softly against his lips, which felt swollen and cracked, and he winced. Immediately his head began to throb in a relentless pulsation.
Disoriented, unable to see, he shook off the hold and clamped his mouth shut. Where was he? He struggled to get out the words, but they came out a growl that was incomprehensible.
“You’re safe. It’s only water.”
The voice was soft, lyrical, with a hint of sensuality to it. It was a woman’s voice, throaty and beckoning, yet held a measure of authority that forced him to sip at the water which was tepid.
She tried to get him to drink more, but he refused, and finally she released him back against the pillow which cradled his head. The scent of her rushed over him as she bent down, fluffing the pillow and pulling up the sheet high on his chest. Soap. He inhaled again, discovering the essence, tasting it. She smelt clean—pure. Not overpowering as so many women did, with their flowery oils and perfumes.
He liked the way this woman smelt. Simple, yet enticing.
When she was about to pull away, he clasped her wrist, holding her still against him. He heard her gasp, felt her pulse quicken beneath his thumb.
For a moment he welcomed the feel of her, the heat of her body so close to his, the scent of her. What a novelty, for he hated the feeling of being smothered by another.
“Sir, you will re-injure yourself.”
The voice, still soft and beckoning was laced with a huskiness that belied her words.
“Where am I?” he asked, while he licked his dry lips.
“London College Hospital,” she replied as she tried to extract herself from his hold.
“Who are you?” He gripped her tighter, pulling her down lower until he could smell the starch in her clothes, and the delicate scent of feminine sweat beneath the scent of her bathing soap.
The word exploded in his brain. Such a simple word. Such a plain name. Yet for all its simplicity and its single syllable, Matthew could not help but repeat it in his thoughts and marvel at how exotic and sensual her name could sound on his tongue.
“Jane,” he whispered her name, liking the resonance when murmured in his deep voice. He liked the sensuality of it said in a dark whisper of longing. Jaaaane….he drew out the syllable, allowing it to echo within the confines of his aching brain.
He fought through the fog, trying to replay the events of the night, and instead he got lost in her voice once again, tripping along in his blindness, and mental fog, waiting to hear her speak to him.
“What is your name, sir? Can you not remember it?”
Licking his lips once more, he savoured the way her voice washed over his body like honey dripping from a spoon—slowly, in golden, hypnotising rivulets, unravelling in soothing waves.
Christ, what the devil had they given him to make him think such queer thoughts?
“Sir?” she asked, concern taking away a measure of the sensuality he had heard.
“Matthew,” he finally admitted. He heard her breath stop for the tiniest second. She knew. He was not simply a man, but an aristocrat. No aristocrat gave his Christian name—not when their identity revolved around a title. He didn’t know why he didn’t give her his title. The fog, he thought, that was the reason he was not thinking clearly. Perhaps, though, he wanted to be someone else—anyone else—here with this woman whose name alone aroused him.
“Matthew, will you release me? My back is hurting.”
It was the shock that freed her. He had not heard his Christian name in years. He’d been ten the last time anyone had uttered it. He had always only been Wallingford, or my lord. Never Matthew. The intimacy of it rocked him, aroused him until he felt his cock stir, filling with need. He had released her as though she were fire and he was singed.
“You’ve taken a very bad blow to your head. Do you remember anything at all about your attack?”
“I recall your voice,” he murmured. Intimacy swelled up once more between them, and he searched for her hand that lay in the wrinkles of the sheet. “You spoke to me.”
“Yes, when the doctor was helping you.”
“Come closer.” Desire made his voice thick, “you are much too far away.”
He felt the mattress dip slightly, heard the crinkle of fabric and petticoats as she arranged her skirts. He felt the weight of all that fabric as it pressed against his thigh.
“There now, is that better?”
“No.” He reached for her, pulling her by her wrist until he felt the edge of her bodice graze his chest. The warmth of her skin met his, and she gasped, steadying herself with her hand against his shoulder.
She was too close, his brained warned, but his body over-ruled logical thought, and wanted her closer, until her breasts were crushed against him, and his mouth was buried in her throat.
“Sir, release me.”
“Jane…” he released his hold and brought his hand up, connecting with what felt like a soft, plump cheek. She had ample time to retreat from him, but even with his blindness, he could see that she moved closer. “Jane,” he murmured again, not understanding this strange fascination with her name, or the sound of it coming from his mouth. She held still, although he heard her breathing change from slow and steady to shallow, unsteady rasps as he caressed her cheek, the tip of her nose, her full mouth that inflamed him.
He discovered her with his fingertips, painting her in his mind’s eye. Her cheeks were full, her face narrow and her nose little, the tip slightly pointed. Her skin was smooth, like warm butter, her lips full and pouting. He moved his hand upwards, to trace the contours of her eyelids, but she inched back, evading his touch, which exposed her throat, and the swell of her breasts. His hand fell away from her face and glided down her throat to the apex of her heart which beat furiously beneath the stiff fabric of her gown. Her breasts were high, full, soft, and the sound she made, part cry, part surrender had him stirring beneath the sheets.
“You…you’ve had an injury,” she stammered as he traced the contours of her breast over her gown, “you’re confused.”
Yes. He was confused. He wanted to touch her. To learn her, and her lush form. He wanted her to touch him despite the fact he hated to have his flesh stroked. He wanted to stay like this, with his hand roaming over her.
“Matthew,” she gasped, pulling away, “this is most unseemly.”
“Stay, Jane.” A beat of silence whispered between them.
“All right. But you must promise that you will sleep.”
“And what if I dream of you?” he asked, as he searched for her hand, and found her fingers trembling.
“You won’t,” she said in a quiet voice he knew he wasn’t supposed to hear. “Men don’t dream about women like me.”
He tried to reply—wanted—to say something, but the blow to his head, combined with the alcohol he had consumed swiftly robbed him of speech. He was asleep, struggling to return to Jane and her angel’s voice.
How long he slept, he could not say. He only awakened for brief moments when Jane would rouse him, and ask him his name. Carefully she would check the bandage that wrapped around his head and eyes. Gently she would cover him up, and whisper to him that it was all right to return to sleep.
And always he would reach for her, grasping at her wrist, tugging her down beside him until he could feel the outline of her thigh against his.
“Stay with me, Jane,” he mumbled hours later as he clasped her small hand to his chest.
“I cannot,” she replied quietly. “The dawn has arrived.”
“I despise the morning,” he murmured as he traced the satiny nails of her fingers with his fingertips. “I am a creature of darkness, whose element is night and shadows. I belong in the dark with the other sinful creatures.”
She caressed his cheek, and he did not flinch and shrink away in revulsion. Instead, he savoured that gentle touch, eating it up like a starving man given a few scraps of bread. Why had he admitted such a thing? Christ he was making himself vulnerable. Instantly he regretted saying those words, that secret truth. He never wanted to be weak, never wanted to show anyone that there was a chink in his armor. Yet there was something about this woman, this female he could not even see that invited his trust, that lured the demon within him.
He clutched her tight as she pulled away, trying to keep her with him. “I will return tonight, Matthew.”
“Then I will sleep until you do, and then, Jane, I will stay awake the night with you.”