Friday, 20 April 2012
Author Spotlight - Excerpt from "A Discreet Gentleman of Discovery"
Thanks so much for supporting Kris during her spotlight week. Leave a comment on today's post today, Saturday, or Sunday and you'll be entered for Kris's giveaway. Kris is giving away a "Norway is the New Scotland" mug and a keychain from the cathedral ruins in Hamar, Norway. Remember to leave your email with your comment so we can get a hold of you. Enjoy this excerpt from Kris's release, "A Discreet Gentleman of Discovery."
He had nothing at stake. He and Niels were merely escorting a woman and one or two of her servants around the southern tip of Norway. And earning three hundred dalers in recompense. In addition, he would soon make a profit on the money he spent paying off Skogen's debts.
If he was to be nervous about anything it should be facing his family again after stomping out of their lives eight years ago. He wasn't certain he would even be welcomed. He might be forced to let Niels complete the woman's delivery if his own reception proved hostile.
But he couldn't think about that now.
And he certainly couldn't think about romancing the beautiful widow.
Niels reined the pair of horses to a halt in front of Lady Regin's manor. No -- he must think of her as the Baroness. Or Lady Kildahl. Or Jarl's wife.
Not Regin. Not the woman whose unbowed determination in her desperate situation had touched his heart and gained his respect. Not the glossy-haired blue-eyed noblewoman who stooped to selling eggs in the village market. Not the intelligent beauty who figured out a way to give up her family's estate and regain it through the same action.
Thoughts like those could only lead him down undesirable alleys with no way out.
"Ready?" Niels asked.
In answer, Brander jumped down from the carriage seat. The cousins climbed the steps and Niels knocked on the massive wood door.
The door was opened by a maid dressed in traveling clothes who ushered them into the entry hall. Lady Kildahl stood at the bottom of the staircase. She wore a lavender bodice and sleeves over a long-sleeved linen blouse and a matching woolen skirt. A brown fur-lined hooded cloak waited, draped over the stair railing. Her back was straight, chin high, and hands clasped under her bosom. She appeared controlled and calm.
Until she saw Brander.
The words, "It's you!" rounded her pink lips. Her brow lowered.
Niels made the introduction, and his hand swung around to Brander. Brander gave the lady a deep bow.
"You are Lord Olsen?" The incredulous look on her face hovered on furious. Even so, her hand floated upward toward his. "Why didn't you - when I saw you--"
Brander took her hand and pressed it to his lips. The blisters on her palm surprised him; the reassuring scent of lemon soap did not. He straightened and his eyes never moved from hers.
"Why do you stare at me so rudely?" she demanded. "Will you not at least speak to me?"
Her startled gaze jumped to Niels and rested there a moment. Her cheeks paled, then flushed with disturbing radiance. Brander didn't turn away; he assumed what Niels was saying.
She looked at Brander again with eyes huge and dark.
Her hand covered her throat. "Oh!"
He didn't know how to react so he stood still, rooted stupidly by her surprised consideration.
"You can't hear me?"
He shook his head.
She frowned again. "But you know what I'm saying..."
He touched the edge of his eye, his lips, and pointed to her.
Her features relaxed a little. "You--" She pointed at him. "Watch--" She touched the edge of her own eye and slid her finger down her cheek to her lower lip. "My mouth."
He nodded, pleasantly surprised. No one had ever mimicked him with such respect.
Her head tilted. "And how will I know what you are saying?"
He blinked, momentarily unable to think coherently. She was talking to him. Not to Niels about him. That never happened. When people found out he was deaf, they spoke to his valet and cut him out of their conversation.
They never asked how he would communicate with them!
Brander lifted his hands, palms up and fingers splayed.
"You talk with your hands?" Her expression lightened. "That makes sense."
He clamped his hands together to signal 'and.' Then he mimed writing on his left palm with his right hand.
"Well of course! You write!" Lady Kildahl blushed again. The way the heightened color complemented her eyes made Brander's pulse jump. Steady, man.
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