Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Audition: Excerpt from SCOUNDREL FOR HIRE by Adrienne deWolfe

“The Audition”
Chapter Excerpt from
By Adrienne deWolfe

(Set up:  Welcome back, folks!  In this scene, our heroine, Silver, has just entered into a Devil’s bargain with the Shakespearean actor-turned-confidence man, Raphael Jones. However, Silver is still having misgivings about their arrangement. She demands to know if Rafe really is capable of wooing her father’s fiancée and proving that the woman is a gold-digger.)

Rafe halted less than an arm's length away. Silver could actually feel his heat, smell his mountain-fresh cologne. A tendril of uneasiness coiled in her belly.

"Perhaps you would prefer an audition," he drawled.

"An a-auditiion?"

His hand reached out to catch a strand of her hair. When he tucked it behind her ear, she felt the whisper of his knuckles against her cheek.

"How might a lover satisfy you, Miss Nichols?" he murmured, his thumb skimming her jawline until it dipped lower, pressing against the hammering vein in her throat. 

"With words of poetry? A bouquet of roses?" His lips inched nearer. "A kiss?"

That was it. The instinct for self-preservation took over.

"I must ask you not to do that," she said, snatching his fingers from her cheek.

"But your guarantee. I couldn’t have you go on thinking me unequal to the role in which you’ve cast me."

"That you thoroughly enjoy seduction, I have no doubt," she retorted, wishing the butterflies in her stomach would alight. "Save your bag of tricks for Celestia."

He chuckled, a rich rumble of sound that vibrated into her fingertips and danced along every nerve. "As you wish. But if you should ever change your mind..." He raised the back of her hand, and the moist touch of his lips sent goose bumps scuttling to her toes. "...I am, of course, at your command."

She rather doubted that, but when he released her, she was too relieved to debate him. She ran her damp palms down her skirts in an effort to rally her composure.

"Since we are agreed, Mr. Jones, you'll find your first payment and your instructions waiting for you at Aspen's Windsor Hotel. I'll send for you there."

"So thrive my soul."

She suspected he was quoting Romeo again. Apparently the rogue had a one-track mind. For the future, when they'd have to rendezvous secretly to discuss their conspiracy, she made a mental note never again to meet him on a balcony—or worse, in the moonlight.

"And now, if it's not too much to ask, I'd like for you to leave my hotel room."

"Ah, me. The lady grows weary of my company." The corner of his mouth quirked. 

"Very well." Sweeping low, he performed a flawless bow. "Sleep dwell upon thine eyes, peace in thy breast..." He straightened, his hand pressed forlornly to his heart. "Ah, would I were sleep, and peace so sweet to rest."

She blushed in spite of her strong counsel against it.

With a naughty wink, he reached for the tree limb, swung from her balcony, and plunged into the huddled shadows of the night.
Silver gulped a ragged breath.

She listened for his landing, her ears straining above the thunder of her pulse. When she heard nothing, not even his retreating footsteps, she crept closer to the railing and peered over the edge. A glint of gold caught her eye. That evidence of his slipping halo had been her first glimpse of Raphael Jones; now it was her last. The devil with the angel’s name had vanished so completely into the darkness, that she wondered if he hadn't hung a dark curtain below to make his exit more dramatic.

She gazed down at her tingling fingertips, still warm and slightly tremulous from his touch. A dreamy smile curved her lips.

Celestia Cooper didn't stand a chance against that man.

Then a more disturbing notion struck.

Did any woman?

Purchase Links:


M_Nark said...

VERY nice excerpt! Love some good tension.

Also really like your covers. They're gorgeous.

Adrienne deWolfe said...

So glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for the kudos. Hugs!