Three weeks out…

It’s been nearly two years since I sent out the first chapter of my first book to a writer’s contest.  As God is my witness, I was only looking for more feedback!

Believe me, I’m not complaining about getting my first sale, but I thought it would take a lot longer.  And that I’d have more time to prepare myself for the publicity hat authors need to wear.  That said, these days I alternate between anticipation of seeing my book in stores and hyperventilating with fear that no one will like it.

(Yeah, my mind works that way.  I can find the dark cloud in any silver lining — my DH says it’s my special gift.  Just wish he’d quit rolling his eyes when he says so.)

I digress, however.  The first chapter of To be Seduced hasn’t changed much since I first mailed it out two years ago.  Here’s an excerpt:

“I regret to inform you, Mistress Dallison, that you will be coming with me.”  He knocked on the roof again.

“I — beg — your pardon?”  Dumbstruck, Bethany scarcely noticed as the vehicle lurched into motion.

“You will accompany me to my estate in Yorkshire, where we will be married.”  His matter-of-fact tone did not stop the air rushing out of her lungs in shock.  He looked at her sympathetically.  “I’m very sorry, my dear.  But I need a great deal of money very quickly, and you are the most accessible heiress of my acquaintance.”

He continued to observe her minutely during the long pause that ensued.  When she lunged to wrest the door open, he hand shot out to capture her wrist easily.

“No.”  The softly spoken word belied his iron grip.  Trying to pull away from him only resulted in an agonizing stab up her arm, and Bethany yelped in pain and anger.

He released her at once, only to move across to her side and examine her slender wrist in the light of the window.  “I apologize, madam.”  He looked at her ruefully.  “I did not realize you have such delicate bone structure.”  He looked bemused as his gloved thumb and forefinger encircled her wrist.

She froze as his hand slowly moved to her face.  His leather-clad fingertips grazed her cheekbone as his eyes looked soberly into hers.  Bethany caught her breath at the intimate touch, but a blaze of outrage cleared her mind.

The arrogant blackguard was trying to seduce her!  She glared at him.  “Get away from me and stop the coach at once.  I am most certainly not going to marry you.”

Instead, he released her and leaned back against the seat at her side.  “I believe you will have no other choice.  Rest assured, I have no desire to harm you, but after two days and a night in my company, the world will assume the worst.  You will either become Lady Harcourt or you will be ruined.”  Glancing her way at last, he raised his eyebrows suggestively.  “A title and an estate, my dear.  Many other females would snap me up without hesitation.”

As you see, Richard needs to be taken down a notch or two.  Fortunately, Bethany is the woman who can do just that.

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