The topic for today’s Romance Writers Weekly is “Teaser Tuesday.” In that spirit, I’m offering up a small slice from the project I’m currently drafting, tentatively titled To Lure a Lord. This is Book Two in my Just a Touch of Scandal series, set a few months after the events of The Accidental Viscountess. To set the scene, Lord Blair MacDonald and his friend, the Earl of Chalton, are attempting to escape an event. Unfortunately, they find their was blocked by Lady Eastleigh, who has been a scandal since her elopement some twenty years ago, and now has her eye on Lord Chalton for her daughter. Blair upsets her attempts to manuever Chalton into asking for a dance by asking Miss Eastleigh to partner him. He expects her to giggle and withdraw. She doesn’t.
“You do know what dance we’re supposed to be doing, don’t you?”
Augusta was pretty damn sure he didn’t, not given the expression on his face. He’d asked her to dance because it would annoy her mother, who hadn’t bothered to hide her opinion the third son of a marquis wasn’t sufficient for her daughter. Clearly, he hadn’t expected Augusta to accept.
Drawing himself slightly straighter, Blair cleared his throat. “I appear to have lost track. Could you remind me?
“The Countess of Powis’ Fancy, though what the lady is supposed to be fancying is beyond me.” She fixed him with a steady gaze. “You know the steps?”
“Of course I do.” Those words came out a bit hotter than he’d likely intended, accompanied by a flash of annoyance in his eyes. Augusta couldn’t help smiling. She didn’t mind at all that she’d discomfited him. Perhaps he’d learn it wasn’t nice to simply use a young lady to vex someone else. She doubted it.
The orchestra struck a chord and she made her curtsey as he offered her a bow. They were nearly halfway down the line, but had landed in the position of “first couple” for the figures. That didn’t bother her either, as the complexity of the steps would make conversation somewhat difficult. She wouldn’t have to worry about speaking with him at any length until they reached the bottom.
That was the point where things would become interesting.
To her surprise, Blair did know the steps, moving through them without hesitation. For all she hadn’t seen him on the floor often, he was more than competent, circling gracefully with the other lady in the set.
As they completed the first figure and took hands to move down the line, he asked, “Satisfied I will not embarrass you, Miss Eastleigh?”
“I think you will do, Lord Blair.”
His response was a snort. This dance didn’t matter to him; it was merely an unexpected consequence of his action. Most likely an unwanted consequence as well. It was only when they finished the third repetition that he spoke again. “I have not seen you on the floor much, Miss Eastleigh.”
He might have as easily asked her about the weather. She would have rather he had. What would he think she would say? Many respectable gentlemen do not seek me out because of the scandal which wreathes my mother like clouds. Many do not think me suitable because they know the rumors surrounding my birth. Even if they do not believe them, they would not align themselves with such whispers.
She said none of this.
To Lure a Lord is expected to be released in the Summer of 2020. Until then, you can find The Accidental Viscountess at the links below. And don’t forget to visit Jenna Da Sie’s blog to see what look she has to offer.