Weekend Excerpt Time!

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Tomorrow is the start of my blog tour for my second book from Soul Mate Publishing, Taming Miss Tisdale.  Most of the excerpts being shared on this tour are all taken from moments that my hero and heroine, Marc and Tamsin, share with each other.  But it’s not all about the romance.  There’s a fair amount of the book that’s about ‘the bromance’. Marc and his best friend, Jason, exchange some great dialogue and their ‘bromance‘ is almost a character itself.

perf5.000x8.000.inddMiss Tamsin Tisdale believes herself to be completely unsuitable for London life. After a myriad of social mishaps, and the potential ruination of her family name, she’s shipped away to her cousin’s northern estate. Only after she accepts the type of existence Society dictates she must follow will she be welcomed home.

Marcus Winston, the Duke of Grayson, has a lackluster reputation. The last in a dying line, he’s endured a protected life—rank with privilege, but encumbered by isolation. After a brief encounter with rebellion, he learns the devastating consequences of his carelessness and willingly accepts living life from inside his gilded cage.

However, a chance meeting with the brazen Miss Tisdale gives Marc the opportunity to reinvent himself into the man he’s always dreamed of being. But when his deception comes to light, and ghosts from both their pasts threaten to unravel the intimacy they’ve come to cherish, will either of them set their fears aside long enough to embrace love? Or will Miss Tisdale’s stubbornness divide them?

Marc eyed him over his cup of coffee as he took a sip. “You know, you could always eat at your own home.”

“Wouldn’t dream of it. You know your kitchens are far superior to mine. Besides, with the way mother’s been hounding me about settling down, I’d prefer to stay here with you.” Jason leaned back in his chair, putting both arms behind his head. “Now tell me about your morning.”

Marc took a stab at his coddled egg. “I walked a bit further than usual and found myself out by the fence that runs along Lord Randolph’s

“Speaking of, are you coming with us on the hunt next week? Both Father and my brother should be there. Randolph promises a capital time . . .”

Marc shook his head. “You know I hate those things, senseless gunfire and all. Not to mention your brother couldn’t properly hit a target to save his own life, let alone take one from some poor animal. I wouldn’t dare risk my life hunting with him.”

“That’s the Harpy speaking. Your mother’s soured you against all gentlemanly pursuits. If it were left up to her, she’d have you embroidering pillows.” Jason remarked, turning his attention back to his brandy-laced tea.

Or more accurately—tea-laced brandy.

Marc ignored the comment. “Hunting aside . . .”

“Yes, the walk. I was a bit worried about you after the way you were acting this morning. I believe all this country life is finally getting to you, Grayson. The fresh air and nature—it’s just not good for a person. You are most definitely coming with me to London this spring.”

“I know, London in the spring. Now, listen to me—I met someone,” Marc finally announced.

Jason stopped mid-drink and set his cup to the side. “Someone? A woman?”

“What leads you to believe it was a woman?”

“Because no self-respecting man refers to another man as a someone. Such vagueness is reserved only for when a gentleman wishes to present a bit of mystery or generate dramatic suspense in his story-telling. Now, tell me all about her and spare no details. And if you could possibly exaggerate a great deal, I would be greatly appreciative and probably show far more interest.”

“It was indeed a female.” Marc signaled the footman to take his plate.

“Wherever did you meet her?” Jason leaned forward and set his chin on his hand.

“Here, at Beardsley.”

“A woman at Beardsley? Your mother must be beside herself.”

“It’s not like that. She was lost. Apparently, she’s visiting family in Barton and got turned around while out riding. The fog is a menace this time of year.”

“Well, that wasn’t very smart of her. What is the punishment for stumbling upon the estate uninvited nowadays? Stoning? Hanging? Or does Her Grace prefer the amusements of her youth—like the Iron Maiden or the rack?”

Marc chose to ignore his friend, rather than grace his idiocy with any sort of acknowledgement. “She was riding without a chaperone, so I assumed her to be a country girl.”

“No chaperone? Sounds promising. Exactly what was it that made this morning so eventful? And again, spare no details.”

Marc ignored the innuendo. He inhaled the nutty aroma from his coffee before taking a long drink, all the while contemplating just how to answer. “Nothing along the lines of what you’re thinking, I’m sure. It’s just . . . she was unlike anyone I’ve met before.”

“My, that is eventful.” Jason rolled his eyes.

Marc didn’t let his friend’s sarcasm deter him. “Do you remember the stories that Scottish gardener used go on about? She reminded me of one of those creatures that would come out of nowhere and turn the lives of men upside down. Weren’t they sprites or fairies or something of that sort?”

Jason inclined his head. “Didn’t your gardener imbibe a great deal?”

“Yes. He died from his overindulgence. One of the grooms found him dead in the rose garden, flask still in hand. What does that have to do with anything?”

“I’m simply pointing out that in hind sight, perhaps your gardener wasn’t the best source for information. Call me skeptical, but I find it hard to believe you encountered a fairy on your morning walk.”

“Don’t be absurd. I’m not saying she’s some sort of mythological creature, I’m simply trying to convey just how fascinating I found this woman to be.”

Jason looked bored. “Get to the important part, Grayson. Was she beautiful?”

Again, Marc was ill-prepared to answer such a question. Taken individually, that large mouth, those plump pink lips, her long nose, red hair, and freckled skin—nothing about her was spectacular by any means. But together, all those odd pieces and parts, which seemed so ordinary at first glance, fit together to form the picture of a particularly stunning woman.

“Yes,” he answered quite simply. No need to give Jason any more fodder for discussion by rambling on like some sort of awful poet.

Jason grinned from ear to ear. “Well, that is quite eventful, indeed.” He swept a crumb off his jacket sleeve. “Does this original have a name?”

Marc stopped suddenly, his coffee halfway to his lips. “Name?”

Jason laughed. “Yes, her name. This unique creature has to have a name. Diana? Aphrodite? Venus, perhaps?” Then Jason stopped laughing as realization spread over his face like a mordant rash. “You don’t know her bloody name, do you?”

Marc set his cup down on the table and stared at it. “She never volunteered the information and I never bothered to ask.”

He knew his future plans held no place for this alluring stranger. He’d chosen to lie about his own identity since he knew the improbability, the impossibility, of ever seeing her again. There’d simply been no need for formal introductions.

Jason sat back from the table and crossed an ankle over his knee. “That’s rich, Grayson. Finally, you meet a woman that piques your interest and you don’t even ask her name.”

Jessica JeffersonJessica Jefferson makes her home in northern Indiana, or as she likes to think of it—almost Chicago.  She is heavily inspired by classic sweeping, historical romance novels, but aims to take those key emotional elements and inject a fresh blend of quick dialogue and comedy.  Visit her at http://www.jessicajefferson.com for more of her random romance musings.

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