I've been so busy since A Scandalous Wager came out a month ago today. It has also just been nominated by the Australian Romance Readers Association for Best Historical Romance 2014.
To celebrate I thought I would post a short snippet. Enjoy.
Set up: Oliver has just drunkenly taken on The Black Raven Wager and is now meeting Lisbeth for the first time. He just wants to leave but Lisbeth has other plans.
She spun to face him, fire poker drawn level with his heart. ‘Do sit down, Bellamy.’
This time he did laugh. He was in no doubt he could overpower her before she did much harm with that mere stick in her hand — as pointy and well-crafted as it seemed.
‘I believe you owe me an answer, Lord Bellamy.’ She moved towards him brandishing the poker like a rapier. He couldn’t believe his bloodshot eyes. He laughed louder. He nearly told her to keep the tip up, until he saw where her target was and it was no longer his heart. He stopped laughing.
‘Fifty pounds,’ he confessed with a slow smile, for there was no longer any reason to conceal his true mission here. Confounded woman had him at a disadvantage though. If only Henry had not been such a blasted fool, leaving him with more debt than he knew how to handle, a doddery old aunt and two entailed estates full of dependents. Oh, and no money.
He saw her glance at the mantel and realised his time was up. Should he start praying now or…? He wanted to laugh again. If only the Frenchies could see him now. Undone by a handsome widow and a fire poker.Her gaze left the clock and seemed to focus on his cravat. ‘I fail to see what is so amusing to you, Lord Bellamy. I can only assume you know of my reputation. Why else would you be here? Ah, yes, the money. Fifty pounds, was it? How would you like to earn a lot more?’
This was a twist he had not expected. ‘Excuse me?’
She glided over to him and pointed the poker at his vitals. ‘Let me explain it for you. These little wagers have been happening for quite some time, Lord Bellamy. You see, you are not the first man to sit on my steps and demand entrance. Some have even tried to break in. I find this whole business very childish and most annoying. Can you understand my frustration, Lord Bellamy?’ The poker came very close to his pride.
‘Yes, most annoying,’ he replied, his eyes riveted on the poker. She had no idea how easily he could turn this scenario on its, or in this case, her derrière. He was too intrigued, however, by her suggestion to bother demonstrating just now.
‘However, if you will assist me, I think you will be more than happy with the arrangement I am proposing.’ She stared at him coolly.
‘Arrangement?’ The fire poker remained hovering above his most important asset.
‘Yes. I find I require an escort. You see, I presume there are a number of…outstanding wagers concerning my reputation as the Black Raven, and I will allow you to collect them on the condition you but play the gentlemanly escort.’ She took the poker away from his crotch. ‘Are we in agreement?’
A Scandalous Wager is available for purchase now: