25 August 2012

Sweet Saturday Sample 25-08-12

Another week has flashed by andhere we are again offering more Sweet Saturday Samples for you.
Here is another sample from my wip for your this week. My heroine and hero are being questioned by a particularly suspicious gendarme.

Still held in a tight embrace, Honor listened in astonishment as Vidal castigated the intruders in fluent French for their untimely interruption.

“We beg a thousand pardons,” the leader offered, “but we are searching for a traitor and were told he was here.”

“Well unless he is hiding in a cupboard, “Vidal let his glance roam round the intricately carved wooden panelled walls of the room, “he is not here.”

“When did you arrive?”

Honor hid a smile in Vidal’s chest when she heard the doubt in the interrogator’s voice.

“My bride and I arrived,” he made a display of digging out his watch, “about two hours ago.”

One of the men standing behind the speaker and just beyond the door leaned forward and whispered something.

The speaker’s eyes sharpened and he stepped forward.  “What if I told you, you were seen in Bordeaux this afternoon?”

“I suppose it is possible.” Vidal put his arm round her shoulder and pulled her even closer to him.  Something inside her trembled and knew the heat spiralling within her had reached her face.  Embarrassment added fuel to her sudden longing and guilt added to discomfort.  How could Vidal’s kisses create such a storm of wanting within her?  And at critical moment when they were in danger of being exposed as English travelling through an enemy country?

“My dear,” Vidal’s finger beneath her chin brought her head up until her eyes met his.  A look, strong, demanding and yet full of an understanding the added to her confusion unsettled her further. “The chief of gendarme is asking you if you have seen the man they are looking for?”

“Man?” She dimpled at the official, who she suspected was more likely a soldier than a gendarme. “I have eyes only for my husband.”

“Perhaps I can jog your memory?”

Her heart pounded to the rhythm of her fear, what had she missed while daydreaming about her reaction to Vidal’s kisses?

“I think he means the man who stopped us in Bordeaux and asked for directions.”

“Oh, I see.” She let herself give in to her longing to touch Vidal’s face, and trailed her finger down his cheek, and hid a smile when his eyes darkened with desire.  “He was not as tall as my husband, more slender I think, and his hair was darker. Was it darker?” she asked Vidal. Then before he could answer addressed the man now standing directly in front of her.  “I cannot say for sure, for he was just someone asking the way.”

“And what did you tell him?”

“What could I tell him?” She waited for his challenge and when it didn’t come looked up at Vidal. “You gave him directions, did you not?” She let the memory of his kiss heat up her face again. “I’m afraid I only had eyes for my husband.” She reached up and kissed him on the lips.

18 August 2012

Sweet Saturday Sample

It's a while since I particpated in SSS and it feels good to be back.  Today I am sharing a scene between Honor, the heroine in my Christmas Regency wip, and 'le Duc' a French agent.
I hope you enjoy.

“Be calm, my friends,” the duke laughed, a carefree sound, and turned to the men.  “The south pavilion houses the Musée des Douanes and not only displays the history of Bordeaux as a port town, but models of different ships, various navigational instruments and much more. I thought it might interest my lord Vidal and your friend Juan.”

When both men hesitated the duke held their gaze and shook his head. “Both ladies are safe in my care. Shall we say,” he pulled his watch from his pocket and studied it. “An hour? Perhaps more?  I believe it has extensive displays, we will enjoy a stroll and find somewhere to enjoy another sample of the local wine.”

Reluctantly the men set of in the direction of the museum.

“That was very naughty of you,” Honor offered a smile with her mild rebuke.

When Consuela ran ahead  the duke turned a serious face to her.  “It has come to my notice that my enemies are closing in.”

Not a trace of humour remained in his eyes or round his mouth. He stopped walking and placed a preventative hand on her arm. Not knowing what to say, or what the duke expected from her, she remained silent.

“While you need not fear your wretched brother-in-law any more, I am afraid he managed to spread his rumours far and wide before he left England.”

“So you told me.” Her empathy ebbed with his reminder of what lay in store for her once she reached home.

“There is little I can do that will not exacerbate the situation, and it might amuse you to learn that while he betrayed his brother, and you, he also betrayed me, too.”

“He told you?” Vidal had warned her of Cedric’s villainy, but this? She watched the duke’s lips tighten, his eyes grow hard.

“Indeed, almost his last words were his boast that he’d been paid twice for the same information.”

“Then surely they are nothing more than idle threats of an evil man bent on causing mischief to the end.”

“So I thought,” the duke agreed. “Sadly, this time he did not lie.  If I return to England there will be no room for explanation.  There is, I believe a bounty on my person, and so it grieves me to admit that I will not be visiting your country anytime soon if ever again.”

“What does this have to do with me?”  A quick glance revealed Consuela studying some wares displayed outside of a building across the square.

“I have done what I can to restore your good name, but, as I said, now my own position has been compromised, it may not be enough. Indeed it could work against you.” He looked down, real regret in his eyes.

“I told you, did I not, that I have only one mistress?”

“You did.” Honor confirmed.  “Your country.”

“I knew I could rely on your good memory for I have a confession to make. One I hope will not distress you, rather you will remember with a little fondness.” He let go of her arm, and dug into his pocket once more.

“I once thought myself in love with a woman, but she taught me well never to trust her gender again, and until I met you I never deviated from that vow.”

Puzzled more than embarrassed Honor shook her head in semi denial of what she knew was coming.

“I will not go so far as to describe what I feel for you as love, rather that no other woman has touched my heart the way you do, and that is why I have taken it upon myself to escort you and your friends through France.” He looked round at the people. “I intended to use my yacht to send you across the Channel a final damning of your character in the eyes of your authorities. Now I find I cannot do it, so I have arranged for another vessel to carry you from France to England. Remember the name, it is important.  Marie Anne. You will ask the captain 'if this is the Marie Anne, not the queen'. Only then will he let you onboard.”

“But will you not be there to see us set sail?”

When the duke shook his head, Honor couldn’t identify the feelings swirling through her.  She’d feared him, loathed him, been grateful to him for the provisions he’d left them, and more than a little wary of his motivation for meeting them at Irun and escorting them across France.

“No, my dear, it is unlikely I will be there when you set sail.”

There are more great offerings at Sweet Saturday Samples.

14 August 2012

Crimson Footprints Blurb Blast

Shewanda Pugh


When an insecure, bi-racial woman begins a cloak-and-dagger love affair with a Japanese American man, she is intent on keeping her bigoted family in the dark—albeit with devastating consequences. On the night of her brother’s murder, Deena Hammond stumbles upon Takumi Tanaka, lost and on the wrong end of a .32. After rescuing him from the certain fate driving through the hood in a Porsche will bring, a sweet kind of friendship begins. A balm for her grief. Maybe, Deena likes to think, it happened the day her white mother killed her black father. Or maybe, it was always a part of them, like DNA gone bad. Whatever the case, Deena knows that her family would never approve, hell, never acknowledge her fast-growing love for Takumi. And had he never made love to her that way, in that unraveling, soul-searching sort of way, she could’ve done the same. But love’s a devil that way. So, their game begins. One where they hide what they are from everyone. Anyone. And Tak understands this—for now. After all, Deena’s career hinges on the favor of her mentor and boss, his hard-ass of a father. And the Hammond family is already stretched thin with grief. Yet, each step Deena takes toward family and career brings her closer to an acceptance she’s never had. And away from him.

EXCERPT:  Crimson Footprints

        A slender, striking man of Asian descent was on the wrong end of Anthony’s .32. With arms raised, his hands were splayed in a show of defenselessness. His expression was calm, despite the growing crowd of onlookers and the pistol in his face. Behind him, an old woman made the sign of the cross.

        “Anthony!” Deena cried, rushing towards them. Her brother cast a single sideways glance but kept his gun level.

        “Get back in the house,” he said.

Deena turned her attention to the Asian man. She was struck by his eyes, wide and heavy-lidded. His mouth was generous, his square face softened by layers of thick black hair. He had boyish good looks and a long, lean athletic frame.


            She was certain he was Japanese.

            Deena turned to her brother. “Will you put that thing away?”

            The two stared at each other, older sister, young brother, eyes narrowed. When he didn’t move, Deena stepped between the gun and the stranger, her eyes level with the barrel. Anthony lowered the gun with a sigh and Deena seized the opportunity to snatch it.

            She turned to the stranger. “I assume that’s your car,” she said, nodding towards a sleek gray convertible parked haphazardly, a shiny nickel in a murky puddle. He nodded, his glossy black tresses falling into wide almond eyes.

            “Yeah, um, about that.” He cleared his throat. “He uh, took my keys.”

            Deena turned to her brother, hand extended. He dropped the keys in her palm with a sigh, a new Ferrari slipping from his grasp with reluctance.

            She passed the keys to the stranger and their fingertips brushed. Something warm and foreign turned over in her and her lips parted in surprise. She thought she saw the makings of a smile in his eyes, but she dismissed it. He took the keys and thanked her. And as she watched him peel off with the top down on his sleek convertible, Deena’s pulse skittered then and long after.


Shewanda Pugh is a native of Boston’s inner city, though she now lives in sunny Miami, Florida. She has a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Alabama A&M University and a Master’s in Writing from Nova Southeastern University. Fueled from a young age, her passion for crossing societal boundaries like race, class and culture, is the inspiration for both her cluttered bookshelf and her writing. When she’s not busy obsessing over fiction, she can be found traveling, nursing her social networking addiction or enjoying the company of loved ones.


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