Monday, October 12, 2009

Forbidden Chamber Excerpt

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Once a month, a bunch of authors get together and post excerpts from published books, contracted work or works in progress, and link to each other. You don’t have to be published to participate–just an writer with an excerpt you’d like to share. For more info on how to participate, head over to the Excerpt Monday site! or click on the banner above.

This is an excerpt from The Forbidden Chamber, to be released from Samhain Publishing October 27th. Chamber crosses several genres from twisted fairy tale, to historical paranormal, to paranormal romance, to Gothic. The story features a shape shifting Raven family, a curse, an innocent young miss, and a mysterious alpha.
For more, check my Samhain author page.

England, 1823

The wife-murderer whirled Isabel Colven around the crowded ballroom while hundreds of candles blazed from sconces on the smoky amber walls. Lord Hayle’s eyes, dark and mysterious, glinted with an emotion she could not name. Was it desire? Was it desire for her body or for her death in his bed—though he would have neither? Despite the cloying heat in the room from the pressed bodies twirling in mindless abandon, she shivered.

Lord Hayle clasped her against him and grinned down at her. The cream satin gown with a sheer layer of soft organdy provided no protection from his long, hard frame. “Are you frightened, little bird?”

Isabel’s eyes widened. His voice burrowed into her soul to curl into a ball, lodging there to stoke a fire. Unfamiliar warmth expanded in her stomach and buffeted against her previously unassailable defenses. The resonance beckoned the eighteen year old, and she inched closer to whisper her reply, intrigued despite the tales of his past.

“Yes. Pardon, no, of course not.” The breathiness was new to her, as well as the flutter of her heart. Scarcely able to reach his broad shoulders, her white-gloved hands trembled.

“Do not believe the rumors you hear, dove.” The crisp black tailcoat outlined his masculine form and lent him a civility she wasn’t certain he owned. “Your mother would not have brought you or your sisters if you were in mortal danger from me.”

She doubted the assurance but kept that to herself. Even if she were not in danger of bodily harm, his chiseled features and handsome visage threatened her maiden’s virtue. She’d never wanted to touch a man’s face before or to run her palms over the bristly stubble and brush back the silky lengths of hair falling across his charcoal brows. Long enough to curl at the ends, the thick strands invited her fingers to smooth and tunnel through and cling.

“Why did you ask me to dance? My sisters are older. They have the entrée into society.”

“You do not?”

His eyes mocked her. He thought her naïve. Yet, how could he know that her mother had delayed her coming-out for no other reason than oversight? Lady Colven disregarded the duty but still brought her along to functions when it suited her purpose.

“I have not had my debut, but you requested Mother bring us all. Or perhaps there has been a mistake?”

“No mistake.”

The small window of hope slammed shut in her face, but she tried again. “I do not understand why you asked for my attendance.”

“It is no matter.”

His cryptic remark silenced her. Her heart thudded with fear and the irrational desire that had slipped her bonds. Flustered and unsettled since her mother had received the invitation, Isabel held her heightened anxiety in check by a bare thread.

Late to the week-long event, Isabel’s trepidation had turned to dread when they’d left the lushness of Cornwall and crossed into the fog enshrouded lands of Hayle. The manor rose from the stark hills and struggled against the mist clinging to the stone spires and arches. Dark birds dotted the window ledges. Her family carriage had swept past the ornate gates. The drive curved to the grand, wide steps made of dark stone. Once there, they took no time to rest, but rushed into their finery in time for the beginning dance.

Shocked when Lord Hayle had chosen her for the first dance at his house party, and, at that, a forbidden waltz, Isabel had hoped he would pick a woman outside her family or, if not, one of her sisters. Shameful to wish them to be on the chopping block, but she dreaded being his chosen. That was their purpose here, to be displayed, lambs to sacrifice.

“More’s the pity,” he mumbled.

“What do you mean, sir?” Isabel hid her confusion and masked her expression. The few men she knew overlooked her. Happy to be quiet in the corner while fops chose her unreserved, worldly sisters, Isabel remained content on the edges of social gatherings at her brother’s estate.

With mysterious midnight eyes the same color as his too-long hair that swept the top of his white shirt collar and cravat, Lord Hayle kept his silence and led her through the dance. His muscular physique held lethal grace, fluid in his movements to the waltz.

The music throbbed through her, and her pulse kept time with the dizzying pace. The red lure of his quirked lips became her focal point. This, the only warmth to be found in his face, attracted her like a magnet for her scattered senses. She watched his mouth form the words.

“You are beautiful. Innocent, are you not? Would you mind your husband? Be faithful to him and his commands?”

The question had the taste of an order, from husband to wife, as if he owned her already. Almost as afraid of her wayward ardor as the rumors that he’d killed his first two wives, she craved his nearness to a fathomless depth.

“I would, sir.”

He smiled at her, and she found herself staring at his mouth again when his lips moved forward ever so slightly and parted. His tongue flicked over his full bottom lip, and butterflies tumbled through her stomach.

Isabel’s mind whirled and her world skewed, but whether from the dancing or her attraction to the dangerous man, she could not determine. At once enjoying herself while suspecting he had some secret power over her or wove a spell to bind her, she abandoned herself to the tumult.

The dance ended all too soon...

For a chance to win The Forbidden Chamber, come join Raven 5th Annual Scavenger Hunt. The ebook is one of over twenty prizes.

Links to other Excerpt Monday writers
Note: I have not personally screened these excerpts. Please heed the ratings and be aware that the links may contain material that is not typical of my site.

Jamie Babette, Fantasy Romance (PG13)
M.G. Buehrlen, YA Fantasy (PG13)
AJ Chase, Paranormal Romcom (PG13)
Stephanie Draven, Paranormal Romance (PG13)
Heather S. Ingemar, YA (PG 13)
Cynthia Justlin, Romantic Suspense (PG13)
Kaige, Historical Romance (PG13)
Julia Knight, Fantasy Romance (PG 13)
Nadia Lee, Paranormal Romance (PG13)
Jeannie Lin, Historical Romance (PG13)
R.F Long, Paranormal Romance (PG13)
Shawntelle Madison, Paranormal Romance (PG13)
Christa McHugh, Paranormal Romance (PG13)
Debbie Mumford, Fantasy Romance (PG13)
Bria Quinlan, Rom Com (PG13)
Megan S, Paranormal Romance (PG13)
Dara Sorensen, Historical Fiction (PG13)

Melissa Aires, Futuristic Romance (R)
Kendal Ashby, Contemporary, (R)
KB Alan, Contemporary Erotic Romance (R)
Carly Carson, Contemporary (R)
Cate Hart, YA (R)
Felicia Holt, Contemporary Romance (R)
Ali Katz, Historical Erotic Romance (R)
Inez Kelley, Contemporary Romance (R)
Annie Nicholas, Paranormal Romance (R)
Christa Paige, Paranormal (R)
Mary Quast, Contemporary Romance (R)
Alexia Reed, Paranormal Romance (R)

Sara Brookes, Erotic Paranormal Romance (NC17)
Ella Drake, Historic Paranormal Romance (NC17)
Angeleque Ford, Dark Urban Fantasy (NC17)
J. W. Hankins, Dark Fantasy (NC17)
Kim Knox, Erotic Romance (NC17)
Elise Logan, Contemporary with Paranormal Elements (NC17)
Dawn Montgomery, Paranormal Erotic Romance (NC17)
Kirsten Saell, Erotic Fairy Tale Romance (NC17)
Bryl R Tyne, Erotic Sci Fi m/m, (NC17)

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Nadia said...

Oh wow. It sounds very intriguing. I look forward to the release date! :)

Elise Logan said...

Very gothic, atmospheric. Sounds interesting.

Emily Ryan-Davis said...

I NEED this book. Can't I paypal you $5 and have it early?

Felicia Holt said...

Beautiful. Been a long time since a read a gothic novel, but you've totally put me in the mood for one.

Annie Nicholas said...

The dance ended too early! You brought out her innocence beautifully. I HAVE to wait? That's cruel.

Jeannie Lin said...

I love dark, dangerous men and the lush descriptions of the ballroom were mouth watering. Congrats on the upcoming release!

Mary Quast said...

Hmm... you've woven the tale around my mind. I think I'll dream of that dark, mysterious lord.

Zora Stout said...

Ella, you're stories make me happy. That is all. :)

J. W. Hankins said...

Sounds very interesting. I descriptions were great.

Ella Drake said...

Thank you, all of you, for stopping by and for the wonderful comments.

Stephanie Dray said...

I love how evocative this is!