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Archive for the ‘Romance’ Category

Who’s ready for a sneak peek at Dante’s Angel?

You?

Well, here you go! Here’s Chapter 1!

Chapter 1

“Karianna! We’re going to miss the flight,” Damiano shouted from the front door. “Anything you forget we can buy on the shuttle or once we get to Rome.”

Damiano was the classical Mediterranean male–tall, with dark hair and gray eyes. His wife, Karianna, was tall, with dark hair and mischievous green eyes.

He’d sent the luggage down to the car already and was simply waiting for his wife to get her personal bag. At the rate she was going, she would take everything in her wardrobe.

“All right, Dam. Ready.”

“Benissimo, cara,” he said as he kissed her.

They finally made it to the car. Marco was driving and Paulo was in the front with him. His two friends and team mates were also going back to Earth for the wedding. Dante was going as well. Marco and Paulo were a little older than Damiano, but they looked like they could be relatives. Dante was the youngest member of the team, but shared their Mediterranean heritage.

“Marco, where is Dante?”

“He said he would meet us at the spaceport. He’ll be there, Damiano. I think he needed a little independence.”

The drive took about half an hour through traffic. Being one of the major ports on Gambler’s Folly, made Speranza exceptionally suitable for hotel and entertainment ventures. Damiano had certainly done well for the family there.

“So, cara, what do you want to do when we get to Rome?” he asked Karianna, his lovely wife.

“I have no idea,” she admitted. “I’ve never even been to Europe. What is there to do in Rome?”

“So much, Kari, so very much to do and see. Since we will be in there for only one day this time, we’ll decide on one venture when we get there.”

They had chosen to take a day for themselves once they reached Earth, before his family overwhelmed Karianna with their well-wishes and wedding plans.

Yes, they were married, but his mother insisted on a cathedral wedding, one they could share with the family. His was an old, religious family and his mother was not entirely happy about their civil marriage.

Once they arrived at the spaceport, they left their things with the porters. Given Damiano’s standing on Gambler’s Folly, their boarding was expedited, which made the whole trip so much more bearable. Their suite was ready when they boarded and their luggage arrived soon after they did. Marco and Paolo were in adjacent rooms, and Dante had a smaller room across the hallway.

Speaking to Marco, Dam asked, “Have we heard from Dante yet?”

“Yes. He’s in the process of boarding now. Has he travelled much before?”

“I don’t think so. Why?”

“He seems uncomfortable, uneasy. Maybe it’s simply nerves about the trip.”

****

Dante had waited as long as he could before he left for the shuttle. He’d never been off-planet before and was homesick before they even left. The rest of the party was already on board and enjoying the amenities before he even got to customs.

On top of it, the whole reason for the trip was the wedding, yet another reminder that he was single and had no prospects at the moment. And here was Damiano, with everything in the world going for him, going to Earth to marry his mate, his bond-mate. It just wasn’t fair.

What was wrong with him? He glanced at his reflection in one of the large plate windows. All right, he wasn’t as tall as Damiano, Marco, or Paulo, but he wasn’t a midget. He was six feet tall and around one hundred eighty-five pounds, with no fat to spare. Dark hair and dark eyes completely the look, from his Mediterranean heritage.

He’d been told he could be mistaken for Damiano’s younger brother, but it didn’t seem to do him much good. He was awkward in crowds and women tied his tongue in knots before he even started talking. He hadn’t had a date in over a month, and now he was going to a wedding on a planet he’d never seen.

Sighing deeply, he answered the questions at the customs desk, handed over his papers, jumped through all the hoops, and finally boarded the shuttle.

“May I help you?” the older man asked.

“Yes. I’m trying to find my berth,” Dante said.

“Ah! Take the lift to the fourth level, turn right, and it will be on your right.”

“Thanks.”

Trudging to the lift, he followed the instructions, used his pass card on the door, and took a look around.

His suite was nearly as big as his apartment, he decided. He’d have to thank Damiano for his generosity. Of course, they would be on the shuttle for a week. At least he wouldn’t go stir crazy. He stowed his luggage in the wardrobe and checked the time.

Pushing the button on his communicator, he checked in with Marco.

“Did you have any trouble, Dante?”

“No, sir. Just huge crowds of people. But I’m in my room now, so everything is good.”

“All our rooms are across the hall from yours. Damiano suggested we all get together for dinner, around seven this evening. But until then, relax and enjoy the trip.”

“When do we lift off?” Dante asked.

“In about an hour. They’ll make an announcement. Follow the instructions and you’ll be fine. It’s much like flying, but the take-off is a little stronger. Don’t worry, amico. I’ve done it several times.”

With nothing else to do, a nap sounded like a good idea. Slipping out of his shoes and jacket, he dropped onto the bed and closed his eyes. Maybe he could at least dream of happy times.

****

“Marco, is everything all right with Dante?” Karianna asked.

“Sì, signora. He’s a little nervous about leaving Gambler’s Folly. He was born here and has no family on Earth. He’ll be fine once we’re underway.”

“If you’re sure,” she said reluctantly. The first time she’d left her home planet, she’d been lost on a bet, divorced from her husband, and married to the strongest of the underworld syndicate bosses—Damiano Leone.

“Should someone go check on him?” she asked.

“Cara mia, he’ll be fine. He’s probably taking a nap. We’ll see him for dinner this evening,” Damiano assured her.

It wasn’t long before the lift-off announcement was made. As far as Karianna was concerned, this was the worst part of the trip. Flying always affected her in the same way. Too much imagination.

At least it didn’t last long. Marco called to check on Dante after lift-off. He chuckled as he ended the call.

“So, how is he?” she asked.

“Dio! He’ll be fine. He swears he’s never doing it again, though how he plans to return to Gambler’s Folly without it, I don’t know.”

“I didn’t think it was that bad,” Karianna reflected. “The one from Earth to here was worse.”

“Don’t worry wo much, cara,” Damiano told her. “Why don’t we send these guys on their way and see what there is to do?”

Knowing her mate, she had a good idea what he meant.

Their friends took their leave, so she was soon alone with her husband.

“So, cara, I think it’s time to enjoy this most comfortable bed, don’t you think? And from what I’ve heard about your last trip, I doubt you’ve ever been loved on an intergalactic flight.”

“Time for a first then, isn’t it?” she answered as his hands unzipped her dress, before they corrected the oversight.

Karianna showered after their lovemaking and decided on a nap before dinner. Later, when she tried to stretch, she was wrapped in Damiano’s embrace. Snuggling deeper into his arms, she drifted off once again.

“Karianna, cara. Time to dress for dinner,” she heard. The kiss did more to wake her up.

“I suppose we should go to dinner,” she said, as her stomach rumbled. “Unless you want to come back to bed.”

“Now, cara, you know we’re all meeting for dinner this evening. We can go back to bed later.”

“Promises, promises.”

“You want promises, cara?” Damiano asked her. “I promise you, before I finish with you later, you’ll be begging.”

“You’ve got rather a high opinion of yourself,” she teased.

A fierce kiss and swat on her bottom told her the night was going to be exciting.

“Now, come on. Put on some clothes before I change my mind.”

When they finally arrived in the dining room to meet the rest of their party, Karianna was still slightly flustered. Damiano’s friends had made an effort this evening. Even Dante was well dressed for dinner. Why he never seemed to have a girlfriend, Karianna couldn’t figure out. He was good-looking, intelligent, and had plenty of money.

“To the most beautiful woman in my world,” was Damiano’s toast to start off the evening. She’d finally gotten used to his flattery. Her first husband never made her feel pretty, let alone beautiful.

Dinner was tasty and the atmosphere around the table relaxed. These four men had worked together for a long time, through dangerous situations. But they had welcomed her into their circle and made her feel safe, even though “safe” could be a relative term around Damiano and his business.

“Dante, are you settling in all right?” she asked.

“Sì, Signora. The lift-off was sort of tense, but I’m fine now.”

“Are you ready for your first look at Earth?”

“I’m not sure. I don’t know what to expect. Everyone tells me it is special, but how can it be any better than Gambler’s Folly?”

“I think it’s the history of humanity there,” she explained. “I haven’t been back since I left nearly two years ago. I want to find out how I react to coming home again.”

“I’ve never been anywhere but Gambler’s Folly. Everyone else here has ties to Earth but me. I feel like an outsider, in a way. Everyone else is coming home, but I have no home to go to.”

“Dante,” Damiano said. “My home is yours. We’re all brothers here—except for Kari, of course. And once Mama meets you, you’ll have trouble leaving.”

“If you say, Damiano. If you say.”

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Yes! If you have an audible account you can get Jareth and Viviane both in audio! Alastair Cameron’s treatment of the characters draws you straight into the story.

Here’s a preview of Jareth, First Lord!

 

 

To get your copy of Jareth, First Lord, go to

http://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Jareth-First-Lord-Audiobook/B01BU5TV7G

Prefer to read rather than listen?

Jareth First Lord is available from Amazon, in paperback, audio, and eBook formats.

 

 

 

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At least, I think it is finally. I have Swiss Chard coming up in the garden and flowers blooming all around the place.

What are you reading this spring?

Check out my books on Amazon!

http://www.amazon.com/Mellie-Miller/e/B00954K2C8

Enjoy springtime, wherever you are!

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Yes, it’s about time we had another excerpt from Esperance. This is from Jareth, First Lord, Esperance Book 1

Excerpt:

“Have I changed my mind? Do I still want you? I have always wanted you Viviane, since I first saw you on the parade grounds in Belfort. If I ever change my mind, it will be because you have pushed me so far away I feel I can never return. I want you for my wife, Viviane. I want you so badly I can barely stand it. But have you ever felt even the faintest desire for me?”

Viviane looked up at him for a moment, while composing her thoughts.

“Jareth, I went riding today to think about you–about us. I’m not sure how you feel about me anymore. You’ve been a true friend during terrible times I’ve been through. I tried to be your friend as a start toward something more,” she continued, “and I feel more for you than I ever have.”

“Really, Viviane, or is this just some game you’re playing?”

She paused again, temper beginning to rise.

“I don’t play those sorts of games, Jareth! Yes, I have felt desire for you. During the Suitor’s Dance on the last evening of the Gather, the way you held me and looked at me made me feel things I’d never felt before. At the close of the evening, as you swept me off my feet and into the house, your whole attitude toward me was different. I felt whole and alive, like you were seeing me as a woman for the first time. You sometimes act like you’re afraid to show me your desire, for fear I’ll reject you, I assume.”

“Where do you suppose I’d get that idea?” he asked.

“I’m trying, Jareth, I really am! I want to know it again, to feel wanted and desired. For some reason, I can’t allow myself those feelings I want so very much. Don’t turn away from me, Jareth, please!”

Angry and frustrated, Jareth still felt he ought to reach out to Viviane, who was now as upset as he was. While he couldn’t bear the thought of letting her go, after this much work and a pool of tears, maybe it just wasn’t meant to be. As he thought about it, he decided, no. He wasn’t ready to give up yet.

Stepping away, he looked down at her. “Viviane,” he said quietly, “you said you had gone out to think about us today. May I ask what you decided?”

Staring at the floor, she began speaking, almost too softly for him to hear her.

“When I first came here, I intended to make a place for myself in the clan like the others, until I learned of your intentions. That scared me. I’d finally escaped one ruling house. Why would I want to get involved in another? So I decided to use the time to make plans of my own, away from you, to spare me the miseries of a ruling house all over again.”

“Oh, that’s great, Viviane! Lead me on and then dump me as soon as you can. I feel so much better now! Thank you.”

“Jareth, stop! Let me finish. You can’t understand now, unless you understand then.”

“Fine. Pray continue.”

“I was still mourning Robert’s death and this was part of the problem. I loved Robert, yes, but I think I really married him to escape from a place I loathed. Seeing The Choosing as a possibility to start over, I was a little relieved when I was chosen. At least until I got here and discovered I’d jumped from the boiling pot into the fire.”

“And this is supposed to make me feel better—how?”

“Just listen. I figured, since I was here and had some time to recuperate, I might as well see what kind of man you were before I struck out on my own. And somehow along the way, I began to fall in love, albeit against my wishes.”

“Oh, I see,” Jareth said with a sneer. “And then you fell in love.”

“Jareth, this is difficult enough without your ego getting in the way! You wanted me to explain, so I’m trying.”

“Whatever. Go on.”

“I fought my feelings for the longest time, trying to see something about you to hate, but I couldn’t find anything. And then you refused to let me ride alone. Now, you were behaving just like my brother. Here was something I could cling to and get angry about.

“But it didn’t last. You were right and I saw that I was being a fool.”

“Some things never change, I guess,” Jareth muttered.

“Fine! Do you want me to explain or not, because if you don’t, I won’t waste my breath.”

“No, no! Please go on. It makes a fascinating tale.”

“Since you’re so obviously bored by the whole thing, suffice it to say that I decided to give it a fighting chance, which is what led to my decision at the Gather. Instead of what I’d intended, which was to wait and tell you it wouldn’t work out and try to let you down easily, I gave us a chance.”

“And was your decision only a wonderful story to keep me on the hook until you had some more time?”

“No, damn you! After all the time I’d spent with everyone here in the house and working on the Gather, I understood how different your household was. There’s very little formality wherever you go and no pages or attendants at every turn. You are respected and loved by your people without demanding all the nonsense my family thrives on. With them, it’s almost an addiction. I decided being First Lady of Brannach might not be as bad as I’d believed.”

“I suppose it might be considered a fate worse than death, to some,” Jareth interjected.

“Be that way then, but you will hear me out. The dance at the Gather was extraordinary. I felt alive in a way I didn’t know existed. Then it all faded and like the char girl in the fairy tale, it was as if it had all been a dream.”

“Poor little Princess.” Jareth added.

“Think what you will, Jareth, but today while I was riding—apparently without leaving word—I tried to decide what I wanted to do. I really have fallen for you, but there’s something in the way, some fear or doubt. There’s something I can’t name which keeps me from taking that one last step. Until it’s gone, I can’t move forward.”

“And what do you expect me to do, wait in attendance and hope you’ll make a decision sometime during my lifetime?”

“My time is not yet up Jareth. You gave me a year…”

“…and it’s been a damned long one!” Jareth finished for her.

“Maybe it has, but it isn’t finished yet. It may be only a few weeks, but there is time. Unless you decide we’re through, I have until the end of the year to see if I can get past this last hurdle.”

“So what do we do now, Viviane?” he asked finally. “I can’t continue on this way. To have you in my house, in my life, someone I want as much as I want you–I can’t do it! It’s more than a man can bear.”

“I know the love and desire I hope for will blossom. But if you’re no longer willing to wait, I’ll understand.”

Jareth looked at her for a moment, and then shook his head. More time, always more twice-damned time.

“Perhaps we both need to reassess how we feel. Go to your room Viviane. I’ll be in my chambers if you want anything.” He turned to the door and left.

****

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MORGAN–The Pixie and the Green Man

Excerpt:

Morgan dropped her bag by the door and slumped wearily into an old, comfortable chair. What had she done? Had she made a date with James? For lunch?

She couldn’t go. Why had she said she would? It was too much, too soon. It would probably always be too soon. After her experiences, she was completely off men. Not that she fancied women, she thought. But men always had ulterior motives. One lunch led to another, and then dinner, and after dinner. Eventually, they all wanted the same thing.

And she was having none of it. When she was younger, she’d dreamed of having a handsome, loving man, who would take care of her. As she grew older, she slowly realized such a man didn’t exist. Not in her world anyway.

Her family was always in strife. Her father and mother argued all the time and when he’d had a pint or ten, her father used them all for punching practice.

One of her uncles always tried to get her alone somewhere, so he could paw at her and maybe get the chance to “break her in.” She’d managed to avoid that, somehow. When she knew he would be at the house, she found something else to do, somewhere else to be. Once she’d finished school, she used work as an excuse and prayed for a way out.

When First Lord Jareth came to Clan Belfort, she’d jumped at the chance to leave. She’d been one of the first to volunteer. Her family had been livid when they’d found out, but there was nothing they could do. She’d made her escape.

Things had been looking up, until Ian found her. And then the whole sordid affair began, which landed her here in the market and afraid to have lunch with James, the handsome young man with green eyes and dimples. If it weren’t for those dimples…

She couldn’t decide if being alone or being in a crowd was worse. She was afraid either way, except with James. For some reason, he made her feel safe. Well, as safe as she ever felt. She couldn’t believe she’d accepted his comforting arm around her in front of the restaurant last night. She’d needed someone to lean on, and he’d cared enough to help.

Maybe lunch, one lunch, would be all right. Maybe he was different.

 

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After writing Jareth, First Lord, I couldn’t get little Morgan out of my head. So quiet and retiring, I felt I had to write her story.

Morgan’s home life was abusive and she would do anything to get away. So when Jareth, First Lord of Clan Brannach came to her clan and demanded the Choosing, she volunteered to leave her clan.

Unfortunately, a few short months after her decision, she is attacked by a young man in her new clan. He’d approached her several times, but she’d refused to go out with him. He wouldn’t take no for an answer.

Saved from certain rape and possibly murder, the man is tried, found guilty, and executed. And Morgan is offered a new job at the local grocery. After her ordeal, added to her past life, she’s off men altogether. They can’t be trusted.

Until James walks into the store and into her life.

He’d been one of the men who came to her rescue and had been biding his time to let her recover. But he’d fallen had over heels in love with her when he’d first seen her.

Now, how can he win her heart if she won’t even walk across the square for a cup of tea?

And if he does win the heart  of this black-haired pixie, can she accept those things about him that make his family unique?

MORGAN–The Pixie and the Green Man. A story within a story. A romance with a happily-ever-after on a distant highland world known as Esperance.

Come with me and Share the Romance…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Haven’t read the rest of the series?

ESPERANCE–The Series

 

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Jareth, First Lord. The first book of the Esperance Series. A story about a young ruler, widowed and without an heir.

It is also the story of the woman with whom he falls in love. The daughter of a First Lord, she is spirited with a fiery temper.

 

Excerpt:

The next morning Jareth was up early. Viviane, though, had had enough. Deciding to stay in bed and rest, she was happily on her way back to sleep when someone knocked at the door.

“Viviane? It’s Annie. Lord Jareth wants to know when you’ll be ready to leave.”

“I’m not going Annie. I simply can’t. Give my apologies to the First Lord.”

A few minutes later there was another, stronger knock at the door.

“Viviane, come on. We’re going to be late!”

“No, Jareth, I’m not going to be late. I’m not going. Please extend my apologies to your guests.”

“This is not acceptable Viviane. You knew the requirements beforehand. You will be up and ready in ten minutes.”

Now she was fully awake and mad. How dare he give her orders?

“I beg your pardon, Lord Jareth, but exactly who do you think you are? I did not come here to be ordered about like a servant. I told you I might not manage the entire week and I can’t. Go away!”

“You will be ready in ten minutes or you will go to the Gather just the way you are. A bargain was struck and you will be held to it. Now get ready!”

Fearing he might carry out his threat, Viviane snarled and stormed out of bed. She dressed to an accompaniment of slamming doors and drawers before attacking her hair with the brush.

Jareth was pacing the hallway when she opened her door. “It’s about damned time! There will be no more of this nonsense. You will accompany me at the Gather each day and at least appear like you’re with me willingly. Is that clear?”

“Do stop, Jareth. Nobody’s impressed.”

“I beg your pardon?” he asked in a dangerous tone of voice.

“Yes, okay, fine. You’ve made your point, now shut up. We’re late. Remember?”

If anyone noticed a bit of frost in the air they said nothing, but there did seem to be more space around them than usual. It was nearly halfway through the day before Viviane began to calm down. How had she gotten herself into this mess?

 

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…to Esperance.

Stone arch and green hills

 

A place of beauty, wonder, and, of course, Talent.

Excerpt from Viviane, First Lady.

“So, how were you planning to catch fish for dinner?” Viviane asked. “I don’t see any fishing gear anywhere, except for a bucket.”

“I was planning to coax them over to the bank and pick them out of the water,” he told her. Normally he wouldn’t use his talents for something this simple, but he thought it would be a good lesson for her at this stage of her training. Besides, with the need to bring everything in with them, he’d forgotten to bring any fishing tackle along.

“You’re kidding, aren’t you?” she asked, not sure what to believe.

“What kind of fish do you want for dinner,” he asked, ignoring the question. “Up here there are silverback, gold speck, rainbows, and cat’s eyes.”

Looking at him like she was humoring a lunatic, she said, “Well, since I have a choice, I really like gold speck.”

“Gold speck it is then. I think I’ll get a couple rainbows to go along with them.”

He took off his shoes and socks, rolled up his trousers, and stepped into the shallow water at the edge of the stream. Standing quite still, he mentally reached out gently to find the fish he wanted, and then pulled them toward his location by the bank. One by one he picked them up and put them in the bucket of water, three gold speck and two rainbows.

VIVIANE, FIRST LADY–Esperance Book 2

Esperance The Series

Esperance2_webesperance-series-covers

 

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Black and white

Morgan, The Pixie and the Green Man is finally out! So how about a few pages to get you started?

Chapter 1

As the sun was beginning to peak over the horizon, Morgan let herself in through the back door of the market. After the trouble with Ian, the shop owners had offered her a position that kept her safely inside. Walking alone still made her nervous, so she was grateful for the offer. Having stored her lunch and jacket in the back room, she checked her reflection in the mirror before beginning her work.

Her black hair was very fine and the least bit of breeze made her look like she’d been through a windstorm. The eyes looking back at her were blue-gray at the moment. Depending on her mood, they changed from a definite gray to bright blue. Before the market opened for the day, they had to ready the displays, dust the shelves, sweep the floor, and make sure the till was ready for business. Grabbing the broom from the closet, she set to work.

The market was owned by a husband and wife, Mr. and Mrs. Kennoway. In their late fifties, they were open and friendly to friends and customers alike.

“Good morning, Morgan,” she heard Mrs. Kennoway call as she came in through the back. “How is life treating you today?”

With her salt and pepper hair pulled back in a bun, the plump lady with laugh lines and brown eyes dumped all her bags on the table in back with a thump.

“Fine, ma’am,” Moran answered.

“That’s all right then. I worry about you sometimes.”

“I’ll be fine, Mrs. Kennoway. Really, I will.”

“I’m sure you will, but things have been awfully tough on you since you came here.”

“Yes, well, you have to take life as it comes. Don’t worry.”

Mr. Kennoway came in soon after and unlocked the front door, ready for business. He was a portly, jolly man, with gray hair, bright blue eyes, and an easy laugh.

Their daily customers were soon arriving to buy morning snacks, with mothers shopping for fruit and vegetables for dinner, and an odd assortment of other folks browsing for something different from their usual fare.

As it neared lunchtime, she took over the till while her boss went to have lunch with his wife. They were so cute, she thought, even after all the years they’d been together. What must it be like? She doubted she’d ever know.

“Excuse me, Miss,” she heard from a deep, resonant voice close to her.

She jumped, as her head whipped around to locate its owner.

“It’s Morgan, isn’t it?” the young man asked. Tall, with sandy brown hair, and twinkling green eyes, his smile was warm and inviting.

“Um, yes. Sorry. I was daydreaming. Can I help you?”

There was something familiar about him, but it took her a moment to figure it out. Back on that dreadful day when Ian had attacked her, the man standing before her had come to her rescue.

“You came to help me,” she stated flatly.

“Well, yes, but I don’t think we’ve ever been properly introduced. James Ferguson. My family owns the lumberyard.”

“I’m Morgan Delaney—but I guess you already know that.”

“Yeah. I’m taking a break from work and thought I’d grab something to snack on. What would you suggest?”

Morgan showed him the fresh golden fruits, which had recently come into season.

“I’ll take a couple of these,” he said with a smile.

Morgan quoted the price, accepted his payment, and put the fruit into a sack.

“Here you are. I had one yesterday. I know you’ll enjoy them.”

“Morgan, would you come have a cup of tea or something with me later? When do you take a break?” he asked.

“Oh, no. I’m sorry. I can’t today. I’ve got a few things to catch up on. But thank you.”

“Another day, perhaps,” he said. “Thanks for the suggestion,” he added, raising the sack in her direction.

Morgan was shaking as she slumped back onto the stool behind the counter. She wasn’t ready to go out with anyone yet, but why was she so very upset?

“Morgan? Is something wrong?” Mrs. Kennoway asked.

“No, I was talking with James Ferguson. He came in for some fruit. I think I need more sleep.”

“Did you have breakfast this morning?”

“Yes. Coffee, and toast with jam. It’s what I usually have.”

“It’s time you had some lunch, young lady. Take yourself into the back room and take your break.”

Morgan slowly ate the lunch she’d brought. It wasn’t much—she didn’t usually eat much—just an apple, some cheese, and some bread. After finishing her meal, she made a cup of tea before going back to work.

“You look a little better,” Mrs. Kennoway told her. “Did James say something to upset you? He’s usually such a polite boy.”

This “polite boy” had to be a little older than she was Morgan thought, and she was twenty-five.

“No, he was nice enough,” she answered, looking down at her hands on the counter.

“Well, then why won’t you look up and tell me about it?” the older woman asked.

Meeting her gaze, Morgan flushed. How could she tell this sweet lady that the idea of going anywhere with a guy scared her to death?

“He asked me out for lunch,” she said, embarrassed and exasperated all at once.

“And what did you say?”

“I told him I would be busy all afternoon.”

“You needn’t stay in here all day. A break for lunch might have done you some good.”

“I can’t. I just can’t,” said, nearly in tears.

“You poor girl. You’ll have to take the first step sometime. I know his father and mother. James is a good boy. He’d do you no harm.”

“I know. I’ll think about it, if he asks again.””

 

MORGAN–The Pixie and the Green Man

Paperback:

Also available on Kindle:

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Black and whiteI know it has been a while since I’ve posted anything, but life has a way of getting busy. So what’s been happening around here?

Morgan–The Pixie and the Green Man is still waiting for the cover art. With any luck, it’ll be out soon.

In the meantime, it is NaNoWriMo time! I’ve decided to join in the fun and get started on the first sequel to Gambler’s Folly–Dante’s Angel.

You’ll remember Dante from Gambler’s Folly, perhaps. One of Dam’s inner group, he is also the youngest and least experienced. But I loved the idea of giving him his own story.

Ready for an excerpt?

 

DANTE’S ANGEL

“Nothing to say, Dante?” Karianna asked.

“Nothing.”

“Cat got your tongue?” Angela asked. The lilting, musical tones of her voice drew him like a siren’s song.

The challenge issued with the remark came from behind those beautiful eyes, the color of tiger’s-eye, framed by long, thick lashes, which she fluttered at him.

Of all the responses he could give, none of them seemed appropriate, and one or two of them were downright rude. While her wit wasn’t necessarily at odds with her beauty, the two in conjunction did hamper his thought processes.

“Signorina, when I play with kittens, it is not my tongue which is in danger.”

What had just come out of his mouth? He suddenly wanted to disappear from the face of the planet and he didn’t care where he emerged. She sat with her eyes wide and her mouth open, apparently shocked at his answer.

The table erupted with laughter as the two of them locked gazes. In a moment, she dropped her eyes, tossed her thick tresses over her shoulder and said, “I don’t believe we’ve met. And I’m not sure we should.”

“I see. It’s fine for you to wound a stranger, but not for him to defend himself. I am Dante Bonfiglio, of Speranza on Gambler’s Folly. My family was originally from Sicilia, though this is the first time I have been to Earth. Now we can fence as friends, rather than as strangers.”

Again, she seemed to search for a comeback and simply stared at him. Time to get back to dinner, perhaps. With a nod in her direction he turned back to his plate.

“Dante! It is a first. I can’t remember the last time anyone left Angela speechless,” Damiano exclaimed. “Well done.”

“Speechless? I am not speechless, but I don’t see any point in encouraging such an attitude. Rude!”

“Angela mia,” Signora Leone said, still chuckling. “You were speechless and, if rudeness were a sin, you would be as guilty as Dante. Maybe you’ve finally met your match.”

“I don’t think so, zia Caterina. Never would I be associated with a man as arrogant as he is.”

“You mean like you and the rest of your family?” Damiano added.

“I am not arrogant.”

“Oh? Maybe you are just rude.”

“Damiano, when it comes to rude and arrogant, you take first place.”

“Then you are a close second, cugina. Perhaps Dante is the man to take you in hand.”

“Not in this lifetime.”

How had he managed to get involved in this old family feud? And how had he let his mouth get out of control? He was normally shy, not adding much to conversations. One remark without thinking and he was embroiled in a family dispute, which, though friendly, was a little closer to the family Leone than he cared to be.

“Dante, since the brat won’t introduce herself,” Damiano said, “this is my cousin, Angela diGatti, from my mother’s side.”

Piacere, signorina,” Dante replied. “Pleased to meet you, miss.”

“Humph…” was all she said.

“And now who is being rude?” Signora Leone asked. “Maybe this is why you have no boyfriend.”

“Who needs a boyfriend?” the young woman answered.

“Who is always wishing someone would ask her out in the evening?” her aunt countered.

“Fine. Think what you will.”

“Well, there’s nothing like a spat to get a relationship off to a good start,” the signora said with a smile. She reached for the olive oil to season her pasta.

“No!” he and Angela said together, looking daggers across the table. Once again the dining room erupted with mirth.

“This should make for interesting times,” Damiano said, wiping tears from his face.

 

I’ll keep you posted on my progress. At the moment, I have 22, 828 words written on Dante’s Angel. With a 50,000 word goal for the NaNoWriMo, I should be good. And after the first 50,000, I’ll see how much more it will take to finish it.

Watch for Morgan–The Pixie and the Green Man and Dante’s Angel.

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