“A Brilliant Historical Romance!” ~Wanda at Romance Writers Reviews
Chapter Three: October 1789, the King’s Arms, Dover, England
With a petition to the Blessed Virgin that Captain Evans might find her très adorable, Cecile Beaumont lifted her burgundy-striped skirts and swished down the narrow steps from her second floor bedchamber to the scrubbed flagstone entry.
Fortune smiled on her and determined seamen had salvaged her trunk before The White Rose sank and bore all her worldly possessions to the bottom of the sea. That the forceful captain persuaded them to surrender her goods, she did not doubt. They’d plundered some of the cargo. Uproar followed, soldiers arrived, and shots were fired—a minor distraction to Cecile after the upheaval in France.
Her all-consuming focus centered on her doubtful ability to masquerade as Mademoiselle Devereux. What other choice had she? She must remain in England!
Robust voices assailed her from the thronggathered in the main room of the King’s Arms. She paused outside the arched doorway framed with darkened oak, then stepped uncertainly inside. The massive hearth, flickering white tapers, and oil lamps shed light on the guests, mostly men, quaffing ale and recounting the adventure of the day in lively animation. One man even stood on his hands— comical if Cecile hadn’t been so taken aback. And hardly a female was to be seen. Those women she spotted were serving wenches or more common folk. Surely it was improper for a young lady, whom Cecile made every effort to emulate, to progress unescorted among the boisterous assembly? Her rescuer had invited her to meet him here whenever she was ready. Or was he her guardian, host?
Whatever he was, her chest pounded like the surf when she spied Captain Evans seated alone at a corner table. His bearing instantly set him apart from the others. His companion, Sir Thomas Archer, must still suffer from his malady, poor man. The captain stared into the hearth as though oblivious of the surrounding commotion. His blond head shone in the mellow glow. He’d changed into a reddish-browncoat, fresh linen—not in the least frilled—fitted leather breeches, and boots buffed to a high gloss. His attire emphasized his rugged masculinity while declaring him a gentleman of the first order. And so he was, his late father a lord, she’d been told.
Should she hurry to his side, or remain as shewas? Calling out to a gentleman in public was unthinkable except under the most grievous circumstances. Hovering inside the doorway while male eyes roved over her didn’t qualify as dire, but she squirmed under their open appraisal. One bold man winked at her. Another made a gesture obscene in any language.
As if sensing her predicament, he glanced around. His blue gaze locked on her and the rowdy assembly faded into the background. A giddy swell surged through her middle, more potent than when she’d met the finest of French aristocracy, and stronger than any emotion she’d ever known—except fear. A goodly measure of that mixed in with the current coursing through her.
If violent emotion seized the captain upon sighting her, he gave no indication. Acknowledging her arrival with a nod, he got to his feet and strode to where she waited. The hint of a smile, reflected in his eyes, provoked a rush of hope in Cecile.~
Historical romance Into the Lion’s Heart is reduced at The Wild Rose Press and available in various formats (even ePub) to suit any e-reader or electronic device. So if you haven’t popped into the Wild Rose Press lately, or ever, give it a try.
**** For more SWEET SATURDAY SAMPLES, please visit: http://sweetsatsample.wordpress.com/2012/01/14/the-sweet-list-01142012/