Thursday, August 19, 2010

Excerpt - Beloved Deceiver

I am not lazy, truly I am not, but my mojo is still not working, so please bear with me as I post another excerpt from one of my contemporary romances. I enjoyed writing this book, I was able to have scenes in the Yorkshire Dales, a favourite area of mine.
Hope you enjoy.

Beloved Deceiver, published by

“I have something to ask you and I’m being perfectly serious,” Flora said, then, after taking a deep breath, plunged on, the words colliding. “I would like you to marry me!”
Marsden Collingwood had guessed at a variety of requests, but not this one. This one momentarily knocked the breath from his body. It was a good job he was sitting or he thought he might have fallen backwards. It was just as if she had struck him in the solar plexus. It was incredible!
He looked up the length of the girl standing before him and practically burst out laughing. The gall of it, the sheer damned cheek! She was a chit of a thing, a girl who barely reached his chest; her russet-coloured hair was a riot of tipsy curls and had not pretence of style about it. She was wearing scruffy jeans and a baggy t-shirt that bore the name of some American university, and she asked him to marry her!
“I know what you’re thinking,” she said brightly, smiling up at him.
“That you’re insane?” he murmured, in a more mellow tone than he believed she deserved. “Well, that has been said to me before, but I thought you might have been polite and said that the idea is insane. I am quite sane, as you’ll discover if you listen to me.” His intense scrutiny caused her to blush, but she made herself hold his gaze.
Of course he was surprised. He had to be really. He was considered quite a catch. Tall, well built…thick tobacco-coloured hair that curled at his neck and, in spite of his attempt to tame it, fell across his brow. His eyes were almost the same colour of gold with green speckles on the iris, unusual eyes that at that moment were sparkling with amusement. At least he wasn’t angry.
“I don’t mean a marriage proper,” she went on. “I mean a pretend marriage.”
“I see,” he said, mockingly. “I just let people think I’ve lost my mind and married you.”
“You could do worse!” she said, not offended. She could understand his feelings. After all she was no catch, and she knew that. He went out with really stunning women. She had seen his photo in the society magazines many times, squiring some goddess or other.
“We’d have to do it properly to have it legal, but it would be a marriage on paper and not one that’s in the…in the…”
“In the bedroom? How disappointing, and here I was thinking you were after my body.” His voice dripped sarcasm.
“I don’t want your body. I just want to be someone.”
“Flora, I’m sure there are plenty of young men who’d be delighted to marry you.”
“But I want you…you wouldn’t be intimidated by my father…and that is why it’s so perfect for you, Mars. You’d be able to get one over on him…and you’d like that, wouldn’t you?” Her smile was crafty.
“I must confess the idea of, as you so sweetly put it, getting one over on your father would be a real pleasure, but I’m not so desperate I’d marry his daughter!”
She sighed loudly, then sank into the folds of the sofa opposite the white armchair where he lounged.
Her legs stretched out; her grubby trainers attracted his eye. She had very small feet, but the trainers made them seem enormous. She was an urchin and a rather scruffy one at that. Her most redeeming feature was her lapis lazuli-coloured eyes; they were large, round and full of a charming innocence. However, any appeal they may have for him was soon obliterated by her snub nose that was smattered with freckles, her slightly protruding teeth, and her shapeless body.
“I look better when I try,” she said, as if reading his mind.
“I’m sure you do,” he said, “but now, Flora, if you’ll excuse me, I’m rather busy.” He checked his watch meaningfully. It was a ruse, of course, because he had nothing to do but laze around the villa until evening.
“Aren’t you curious why I am asking you?” she persisted.
“Not really. I think perhaps the sun has caused something to happen to your brain. When you get back to England, it’ll sort itself out. You’ll see how ridiculous you’ve been.”
“Ouch!” she said. “You don’t have to be cruel as well!”
“My dear…”
“Ooh, don’t do that either!”
“Do what?”
“Patronise me. I am not your dear, and have no intention of ever being your dear. I am talking business, Mars.”
“Ah, now that is interesting…business is a much better thing to discuss than marriage.”
She pulled herself up, shoving her small hands into the pockets of her jeans. He wondered why she had chosen him. Was it because of how they had met? Did she imagine him as her knight in shining armour?


Kathleen said...

Good excerpt!

jrlindermuth said...

An enticing excerpt. Any reader with sense should want more.

Pauline said...

Wonderful description and dialogue Margaret....very English!

margaret blake said...

Gee whiz, thank you guys.

Paula Martin said...

Love this excerpt, Margaret, especially your descriptions of both characters. Wish I could describe characters' features as well as you do!