Monday, November 18, 2013

Historical romance, adventures at sea Giveaway with Deanna Jewel

$1.99


North Yorkshire, England, 1775
 
   Michael ‘Nathaniel’ Clairmont, the Fourth Duke of North Yorkshire, crumpled the missive he’d received from his fiancĂ©e’s parents as he raked his fingers through his shoulder length hair. Fear tightened his chest as he stepped to the door and called to his squire. “Prepare Caesar, now!”
    Stepping back into the room, he addressed his longtime friend, Anthony Faulkner. “I’m going to see Lady Stockholm’s parents. Clarissa is missing. Are you with me?”
     Faulkner jammed his tricorn hat atop his head. “Bloody right I am!”

    Moments later, after meeting with the Stockholm’s, Michael urged his bay Barb to greater speed along side Anthony’s. An unnatural scattering of branches and leaves strewn about the road ahead caught his attention. He reined Caesar and dismounted for a closer look. Footprints of horses and men marred the dirt and led deeper into the woods where the underbrush lay trampled and broken.
     After tethering Caesar to a branch, he motioned for Faulkner to follow him along the path. A piece of green silk shimmered atop a briar bush, and Michael grabbed up the soft material. It was the color he’d last seen on Clarissa. The fragrance of jasmine assailed his senses. His eyes widened in recognition of the scent...the same one Clarissa wore!
     He gripped the material in his fist. Bile rose in his throat as fear knotted his gut. Though afraid of what he’d find ahead, he pushed forward; low-hanging branches slapped at his face and caught at his shoulder-length hair. He pushed the foliage out of his way and tromped the underbrush in his desperate search.
     When he reached out to block another branch, a silk stocking skimmed his face and he grabbed the stocking for inspection. Michael looked at Faulkner’s worried face, swore under his breath and moved on but a foreboding feeling ate at his senses, almost like being watched.
     He couldn’t miss a gown strewn atop the bushes. The shock that tore throughout his system stopped Michael dead in his tracks, his muscles recoiling in reaction. Meticulously arranged over the waist-high bushes, as if in preparation for wear, lay a dark green silk gown, a vicious tear low in the neckline. His gaze moved slowly over the material. Tightness gripped his chest, feeling as though someone had reached in and squeezed his heart, the pain so intense it burned. He touched Faulkner’s arm, and gritted his teeth. “It’s the gown Clarissa wore at the ball last night,” he said in a gut-wrenching rasp. His gaze searched the area until the very thing he wanted to avoid seeing lay before him. His body froze.
      A bare, delicate ankle peeked from beneath the underbrush.
     Lunging forward like a wild beast, ravaging the area, throwing branches and uprooting ferns, he uncovered her body...clad only in her white satin chemise, splattered with her own blood.
     His tortured scream echoed throughout the surrounding forest as he fell to his knees beside her battered body. Praying she might hear, he whispered her name. Touching her bruised cheek--he found it still warm. A flicker of hope ignited within his heart as he pressed his fingertips against the slim column of her throat. Moments later, finding no trace of a pulse, that slight flicker of hope extinguished itself. His mind was a whirlwind of thoughts at who could be her killer. (Click the book on the left and read Ch 1)



 

 
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