Thursday, 26 May 2011

Shadow is out!

My book is up! Shadows is on sale at Sapphire Blue, Amazon and All Romance Books. $6 dollars at SB and ARB, £6.91 at Amazon.com. I haven't checked other places yet.
Click here to go to Sapphire Blue's page.


A word of warning - this morning I noticed that Two Lips has a review for Shadows, but it's the old 2006 version, before I expanded the story by 30,000 words - and changed the names of the two main characters!


Here's an excerpt when Melissa has just arrived at the old mill:


The heat bounced off the pale flagstones, and bees and dragonflies buzzed the riot of flowers and weeds surrounding two sides of the patio. From the third side the patio opened out on to rough meadowland stippled with half a dozen tall trees, and a line of shrubs and bushes told her a stream bordered the property. Standing in the heat and scent of dust, lavender and geranium, listening to the delicious rustle of leaves in the tall trees, she knew she would like it here. Closing her eyes, she inhaled a deep breath of delight.


Something made her glance up to the higher level. A tall figure in black stood on the grassy patch beside the bolly, watching her. Who was he? Had someone come to visit Rory? The stranger was young, and handsome, even if he looked like a priest in that long, dark robe. As she stared, he raised a hand, palm out and strode off into the trees.
Rory’s voice called through the open window. As she trotted up the steps, she looked for the stranger but he had disappeared along an overgrown grassy track leading away through the trees. Rory walked out onto the bolly, a glass in each hand.

At the sight of him in slacks and checked shirt, a jolt of pleasure ran through her. He looked even more handsome out of the elegant suits. “Who was that man?” She accepted the glass he offered.
“What man?”
Melissa gestured to the grassy area. “The man who stood there two minutes ago and waved at me. He walked away up the old track.”

Rory frowned. “I didn’t see anyone. Jonny said the track is still a public bridleway but he’s never known anyone use it. There’s a monastery at the top of the hill. Maybe the track is a shortcut.” He smiled and raised his glass. “Let’s hope we’re not about to be invaded by holiday-makers tramping by every day. Especially not the clergy.” He pulled out a chair for her. “Dinner’s just about ready. If you sit down, I’ll bring the food out.”

The white table already held a bowl of salad, a wicker basket of bread and the opened bottle of wine. He was fast and efficient. No sooner had she taken her seat than he put a plate of steak before her and offered the salad bowl.
She tilted her head back and smiled at him. How good to have a man prepared to cook for her. “This looks delicious. Does Jonny plan to do a lot of work here?”
He picked up his cutlery and cut into his steak. “The grand plan is for two bedrooms and a bathroom on the lower level so Jonny can invite friends. The bathroom’s finished, but the rest is a muddle.”


That meant no bedrooms on the lower floor, and only one on this level. An ugly suspicion bloomed in her mind. Melissa heaped salad onto her plate and replaced the steel salad servers carefully in the bowl. “Then am I right in thinking there is only one bedroom here?”
The chilly edge on her voice brought his head up.

His peacock blue eyes narrowed. “’fraid so. That isn’t going to be a problem, is it?”

Dismay at his deception roared through her, and small flash of fear and timidity followed it. Yes, one bedroom most certainly would be a problem. She wasn't ready. Not yet. Talk about being taken for granted—the conceited ass expected her to tumble into bed with him without a second thought. She inhaled sharply. “It is presumptuous of you to assume I’ll share a bed with you right away.”

He stopped eating and stared at her, surprise etched into the lines of his face.

Had she misjudged him? Maybe she had jumped to the wrong conclusion. He'd be insulted if that was the case. So she offered a sweet smile and spoke gently. “Unless I’m wrong and you intend to sleep on the sofa?”


“Presumptuous?” His gaze darted across her face. Presumably he was trying to read her expression. He didn’t know how to answer her. Melissa lifted her brows slightly, smiled without opening her mouth and waited.
He put down his cutlery and picked up his wine glass. “What do you mean?”


She frowned. How could he pretend he did not know what she meant? “We are not lovers.” She bit off each word. “We may become so, but right now I expect a room of my own.” Heat rose through her skin, and her hand trembled on the rim of the table. She whipped it out of sight. Let him make of it what he would.

Rory swallowed too soon, choked and coughed.
He flung himself out of his chair, coughing, one fist to his mouth as he strode across the bolly. As the fit lessened, he thrust one hand against the oak upright supporting the roof and stood there, head down, breathing hard.


Annoyance did not stop her admiring the way his shoulders heaved with his breathing, or the graceful way he stood even when he was in some distress. His attention not on her. It was the first time she'd seen him rattled, and his reaction interested her. When his breathing calmed, he slowly strolled back to the table and took his seat.

His eyes still watered a little, and he blinked rapidly to clear them. “Christ, I feel as if all sorts of pits are yawning at my feet. Would you believe me if I said I honestly hadn’t thought about it?”

Melissa sipped her wine. She didn't believe him for a moment. “How could you ignore it? There is only one bed.”

He winced, as if her words pained him.

3 comments:

FICTION AUTHOR said...

Great excerpt! Congrats on your new release, Jen.
Maggi

Rebecca Ryals Russell said...

Very nice, Jen. I was enthralled by the entire scene and your setting sounds gorgeous.

Jen Black said...

Thanks guys! Good to know someone liked it!