I am partaking in a blog tour to promote my new release, Damsel in Distress? The first 'stop' is tomorrow at This Chick Reads.
Today, I thought I would start things off with a teaser. Here are the first two chapters of Damsel in Distress? (Book 2 Time-Travel to Regency England).
They were getting closer. Harriet raced through the dark. With her heart thumping in her chest she raced across the lane and under the arched entrance of Hyde Park. Horses’ hooves pounded the ground behind her. She leaned lower on her horse’s neck and swerved him to the left to duck in behind a row of trees. She would not let them capture her. She didn't come to this time only to fail now, the King was counting on her to deliver the information she had safely tucked inside her corset.
The sun began to rise, casting pink shadows across the ground. Her horse was tiring and started to stumble, they had come so far. The foaming sweat on his neck flicked onto her face as she raced through the park. She was going to run out of places to hide once the sun came up. She urged him faster still when they broke from the trees and she dared a glance behind her. There was no one there. Relief flooded through her core and she momentarily loosened her death-grip on the reins.
A shot rang out through the cool morning air. Her horse screamed seconds before Harriet felt him stumble. She didn’t have time to brace herself as he went down. The ground rose up and connected with her face. The package hidden in her corset pressed itself into her ribs when she hit the ground and in the moment before everything went black Harriet wondered if her hiding place would be good enough.
Philip Blade, Baron Eaglestone, regretted his moment of weakness last night when he paid a visit to his mistress, as soon as he had climbed into her bed. He had already bidden farewell to her for good last month. Veronica was a passionate lady and as such was hard to let go, even if she was a candidate for Bedlam. Tonight’s episode proved his theory correct. Next time he wouldn’t be swayed! He might also decide to stay off the drink…or at least off champagne as it tended to make him forget his resolve to stay clear of her. Yes, he’d stick to brandy from now on. That was a much better idea.
Philip bit back a silent groan. His head was pounding to high heaven. What had he done? The naked woman beside him warmed his bare chest. In fact she warmed his entire body. As he lay in her bed, he watched the gentle rise and fall of Veronica’s breath until he was absolutely sure she was in deep sleep. He gingerly slid his arm out from underneath her neck and crept out of the bed. He didn’t dare breathe in case he woke her.
His head didn’t help matters. The room swayed in and out of focus as he made his way around it collecting various items of his clothing. He pulled on his trousers, cursing fashion’s current love of the figure-hugging pantaloons as they were dastardly to get into in a hurry. He shoved his shirt over his head and thrust his arms through the sleeves. Every few seconds he chanced a peak at Veronica’s sleeping form. Once he’d shrugged into his coat, he went in search of his boots. They had to be somewhere! This was ridiculous, they couldn’t have just disappeared. He got down on his hands and knees and searched under the bed and the many flouncy chairs in the room. Nowhere.
Damn. He stood up. Where the hell had they gone? He looked about the room once more. Veronica favoured the floral side of decorating. There were roses everywhere. In fact the multitude of flowers springing from the wall coverings, the chairs, the cushions and the bedspread did nothing to abate the queasiness in his gut. Alcohol he consumed earlier that evening threatened to make a reappearance on Veronica’s beige carpet, the one object in the room that was not covered in the God-awful roses.
Breathing shallowly through his mouth to stop any regurgitation, Philip finally remembered what had happened to his boots. With one last glance at Veronica’s sleeping form he crept from the room and down her stairs, retrieving his boots along the way. How he had managed to get them off while climbing the stairs without breaking his neck, or dropping Veronica, was beyond him.
At last he stepped outside and closed the door softly behind him, thankful that he had managed to make a clean getaway. He cut through Hyde Park to make it home before his sister found him missing. She was liable to put a search party out for him. The last thing he needed was his friend, Lord Bingham, finding out he had gone back to Veronica. Not after last time. He still hadn’t heard the last of it, and he had no desire to add to his torment.
A thundering of hooves broke into his reflections. “Who in their right mind would be out riding at this hour?” he muttered to himself. “They’ll kill themselves running their horse at that speed in the dark.”
He climbed a small rise and stopped dead at the sight that greeted him. A lone rider was riding hell-bent-for-leather with three others chasing after him. The rider in the front skirted around a row of trees while the three others split up and circled around to the front. The lone rider didn’t stand a chance.
Philip’s blood ran cold when he saw one of the trio raise his arm. Philip called out a warning. But he was too late. A shot rang out and the horse fell. A woman’s scream startled him into action. They had just shot at a woman! She flew from the saddle and landed hard. She didn’t move. What the hell was going on?
He took off down the hill, running faster than he ever thought possible, his heart pounding in his chest. He cut through the garden, the smell of roses thick in the air, the scent practically choking him with their aroma. He doubted he would be able to smell roses again without reliving this moment.
The men approached the fallen horse and dismounted. There was something wrong about them. Something other than chasing down a woman in the middle of the night and shooting her horse, that is. There was something about the way they rode, something about the way they approached the fallen woman and her horse. Philip couldn’t put his finger on it as he ran faster across the manicured lawn.
One of the men bent down and patted the horse on the neck. The man’s soothing whisper carried clearly through the crisp night air. The horse’s whimpers settled at his calming words and it lay quietly before the man.
Another shot rang through the air and the horse gave one last jerk as the bullet entered its head.
Philip supposed that along with the bullet hole, the poor creature had broken its leg when it fell. If that was the case, there was nothing that could be done for it.
The man rose and walked slowly, calmly towards the fallen woman. This time he crouched close to her and whispered in her ear. Philip couldn’t hear his words but pushed himself harder when he saw the woman stir. The man ran his hands over her body, whether he was looking for something or obtaining some sick pleasure from the situation, was unclear in the half light. The man pressed the muzzle of his gun to the woman’s temple.
“Stop!” Philip panted. He didn’t think he could make it to her in time. “Stop!” he yelled louder when they didn’t hear him. With his heart in his throat, Philip shouted as loud as he possibly could across the remaining distance. He forced himself to run faster still towards them. He had no weapon, but he could not watch while they killed a defenceless person, and a woman at that.
The man crouching over the woman lifted his head at Philip’s shout. He very calmly rose and considered Philip as though he had all the time in the world, but then he drew back his foot and kicked the woman in the head. A sickening crack rang through the air. The man turned and remounted his horse and left. The other two men got back in their saddles, swung their horses around and followed him through the park just as the sun broke the surface of the horizon.
I hope you enjoyed the teaser. To find out what happens next, visit my Books page for the links of where to purchase.
My new book, Damsel in Distress? is now out and available at all good e-book stores. Please visit my Books page to find the links.
Most of you will be unaware of how much this particular novel means to me. My debut, Debutantes Don't Date is close to my heart because it was my first, but Damsel in Distress? was a massive struggle for me to write and I am hugely proud of it.
When I received my two book contract at Christmas time last year, I was over the moon and so excited. Who wouldn't be? And after Debutantes Don't Date was released I thought I had it made. (not financially of course, most people need to write more than one measly book for that to happen), but I thought I knew what I was doing. I wrote one, so therefore it stands to reason that to write another would be easy, or at the very least easier than the first.
Nope. Not in my case anyway.
The book I started writing is not the book that ended up being written. I floundered around for months, determined to make the story I was writing work. But it didn't. I was writing in circles and in knots. No part of my plot made sense and my main character was not even remotely likable. I was writing the novel I thought I should write, instead of the one I wanted to write.
The problem was, that the idea was good and it excited me, and so I persisted. And persisted. Long after I should have admitted defeat, I finally came to my senses and gave up. I finally acknowledged it wasn't working. But now what? I still had a book due and now only had two months to write it. Did I mention it took me three years to write Debutantes Don't Date?
Luckily I had another idea brewing in the back of my head and was able to start a new story right away. Unfortunately, I was only able to write about 3000 words in a week. At this rate, even if I wrote every day it would take me 20 weeks to write a 60,000 word novel or about 17 weeks to write a 50,000 word one. If you recall, I only had two months to my deadline.
I was totally screwed.
My editor was kind enough to give me two extra weeks but that still was nowhere near the amount of time I needed. Something was going to have to change.
In the meantime, the house was becoming an absolute mess and even though I tried, I couldn't find the time to clean and I had no more luck finding a cleaner either.
With low self confidence and terror beginning to burn a hole in my stomach, I got sick. I mean really sick. I was in bed for about four days with a chest infection. I couldn't sleep because every time I tried laying down, I started coughing and couldn't stop. Lucky for me, I have a wonderful doctor who gave me some great drugs that calmed my cough enough I could at least sleep in the reclining chair in the living room.
During the many hours in my bed, hiding from my children, I found a book about how to write faster. Thank God. The book I picked up really was a God send.
So I was back on track and instead of writing 3000 words in a week I was writing 3000 in two hours and was able to get my manuscript finished in time for my deadline.
The problem was then that my manuscript was crap. Not complete crap, mind you, just not what I wanted it to be. After a few weeks, my editor sent me revisions and I had the chance to fix it up a bit before it went to copy edits. (This is where a 'copy editor' goes through the manuscript one line at a time and fixes spelling and checks facts.) My editor sent more revisions with the copy edits and after quickly going over again what I had written I sent back my manuscript on the last possible day in order to make my publication day.
So now my story was about to be sent out into the world. My nerves were raw and I was disgusted with myself. How could I have let this happen? How could I be so stupid to have taken so long to write a book? I wasn't feeling my best about Damsel in Distress? and I thought I had not only let myself down, but also the smattering of fans I had gained with Debutantes Don't Date.
To go off topic a little for a moment, I have a good friend who also happens to be an Energy Healer. I had been meaning to have a healing from her for ages but for whatever reason I kept putting it off. She came to see me two days before Damsel in Distress? was released and I told her about my feelings toward this book. She made me realise that I was feeling guilty for even attempting to write this book in the first place and that I was wondering who the hell I thought I was for writing it. I was feeling guilty for having a messy house and getting dinner to the table slightly late some nights. And because of this, there was no way I could feel good about Damsel in Distress?
And then she worked her magic.
Today I feel very proud of myself for getting Damsel in Distress? out there and available to the public. I feel proud of the words I have written and I feel proud for keeping it all together while I was writing. So the house is a mess, who cares? So dinner is little late, who cares? The kids are happy, the husband is happy (now that I finally found a cleaner) and most importantly of all, I'm happy.
Now you know why Damsel in Distress? is so important to me. Not because I wrote it, but because of what I learned about myself while I was doing the writing.
My mother once gave me notebook with the saying by Eleanor Roosevelt A woman is like a tea bag. You never know how strong she is until she gets into hot water.
Ain't that the truth? Thanks Mom.
I am an author and this is my story.