Sunday, January 5, 2014


Book 2, Velvet Lies Series
by Adrienne deWolfe
Book Excerpt

Story Notes:  And now the excerpt you’ve been waiting for! That’s right: Aunt Claudia commandeers the Kissing Booth with her shotgun!

For those of you who haven’t been following this chronicle, Claudia is the 75-year-old spinster aunt of our beloved (long-suffering) heroine, Eden. Claudia is a total Toot, as we say in Texas. She stomps around town in her coonskin cap, enormous bib overalls, and fishing boots. She never goes anywhere without her corncob pipe and her shotgun.

For the rest of you readers – especially all the Eden, Michael (and yes, even Sera) fans  I’ve preceded the Kissing Booth bit with some other shenanigans, all of which take place at the Independence Day Jamboree in mythical Blue Thunder, Kentucky,1881.  (Need more in the way of a book description? Visit this site.)

By the way: Bonnie is Michael’s ex-lover (and therefore, Eden’s rival.)  Sera, who is only 18 in this story, is Michael’s kid sister and the heroine of SEDUCED BY AN ANGEL (Book 3, Velvet Lies.) Enjoy! ~ Adrienne deWolfe

"Eden! Good heavens, didn't you hear us calling you?"

A caramel apple cart rolled by, and Bonnie, her lips kiss-swollen and her eyes spitting fire, materialized in its place. A smirking Sera stood beside her.

"You have got to do something about your aunt!" Bonnie said, racing forward. "Claudia was supposed to be the chaperone. Now she's ruining everything! She thinks she can raise money better than us, and she won't listen to reason."

"Or to Bonnie," Sera deadpanned.

Eden didn't dare succumb to the twitch in her lips. "What's she doing this time?"

"See for yourself!"

Eden followed the line of Bonnie's quivering finger. As the crowd shifted again, the seventy-five-year-old rascal could be seen stomping her feet, shaking her gunstock, and hollering at the top of her lungs. She'd climbed onto the Kissing Booth's counter, her dungarees billowing in the wind, her iron-gray hair frizzing in the humidity. Apparently she was taunting any man too foolish not to give the booth a wide berth. It was a wonder she hadn't had a seizure.

"She's going to break her fool neck," Bonnie grumbled, concern actually creeping into her tone. "Did you let her drink corn mash again?"

"I think Auntie ate Sally McGloughlin's mincemeat," Sera interceded glibly. "Sally always overdoes the rum."

Bonnie muttered something about that blue-ribbon pie hopeful that would have made the members of the Ladies Aid Society blush.

Suddenly, a cheer rose from the circle of children behind them. Bonnie turned, saw her giggling son sprawled face down in the mud, and grew as white as the pearls on her kid gloves.

"Jamie Harragan! What have you done to your clothes?"

Snapping open her parasol, she stormed off after her son.

Sera winked at Eden.

"Bonnie can't stand the thought of you and Michael getting close enough to kiss again."

"Honestly, Sera. Must you keep bringing that up? I can fight my own battles. You shouldn't have put Michael in the middle."

"Michael was already in the middle, honey."

Eden tossed her friend a quelling look. Sera giggled.

"Speaking of Michael," the younger girl said slyly, "he's likely to be a big bidder in the picnic auction today, seeing as how the proceeds go to the orphanage. You didn't happen to pack that lovely but plain picnic hamper with the daisy linens inside, did you?"

Eden's cheeks warmed. "Sera," she warned, "don't you dare. None of the bidders are supposed to know who donated those lunches."

"What good are rules if you can't break them?"

"Your brother would throw a fit if he heard you say that."

"Only my oldest brother. Rafe would applaud."

Sera's grin was shameless. Eden shook her head.

"I think it's time I went and talked with Aunt Claudia," she announced diplomatically.

But Sera didn't take the hint. She trotted at Eden's heels as tenaciously as a bulldog puppy.

"You know," she mused aloud, "you might have to spend the whole afternoon with the man who buys your hamper. That could be a perfect dream—or a perfect nightmare. I mean, imagine if Berthold Gunther suddenly got a hankering for daisies and cherry pie."

Eden doubled her pace.

"Of course, there's always the possibility nobody will bid on your hamper. If they don't know it's yours, I mean." Sera heaved a gusty sigh. "Last year, Abner Buckbee did the charitable thing and bid on a hamper without knowing who'd packed it. A day later, when he was able to crawl back out of the privy, he told a sawmill worker that he'd been poisoned by boot-leather boiled in kerosene. Eventually, word got around town that Sammy Jo Proctor had made that lunch. She had to move to New York City just to catch herself a beau!"

Eden slid her friend a dubious glance. "Don't you think that's a bit extreme?"

"Well, yes. Can you imagine having to kiss one of those vulgar, strutting Yankees?"

Eden hid her smile.

"A Kentucky gentleman—like my dear brother Michael," Sera gushed unabashedly, "would know how to kiss a lady. But then, I don't have to tell you that, do I, Eden?"

Eden's belly quivered just to imagine kissing Michael again. She couldn't help but notice him then, chatting companionably with the orphanage's plump, good-natured headmistress. Some of the older children, who'd survived the measles epidemic unscathed, were selling the rag dolls and peashooters that they'd made to raise money for their home. Michael had already magnanimously contributed to the cause: a Y-shaped stick with a leather sling poked out of his trouser pocket.

In spite of the toy—or maybe because of it—Eden couldn't take her eyes off Michael. The slingshot was so contrary to the Michael he wanted her to know that it made her wonder. Beneath his gruff facade and prickly armor, did a charming rascal long to break free and wreak mischief on the world?

The idea was an intriguing one. She already knew that Michael wasn't the stern, steely-eyed tyrant he pretended to be. A man made of steel couldn't boast the sensual magnetism, the smoldering virility that radiated from every inch of Michael Jones. Blue Thunder's doctor could tie a woman's tongue, buckle her knees, and fire her pulse all with a single glance. Indeed, Eden wondered that the orphanage’s headmistress could withstand the dazzling flash of one of his unpredictable smiles without melting into a puddle at his feet.

Sera, of course, had missed none of Eden’s wistful glances at Michael. She was grinning like the cat that ate the canary.

Honestly. If match-making was a profession, Sera would be the wealthiest woman in Kentucky.

"Don't you have anything better to do besides torment me?" Eden asked dryly.

Sera beamed. "I can't think of a thing."

By this time, they’d drawn close enough to the kissing booth to hear Claudia heckle passing bachelors from her stance on the counter.

"You there," the spinster bellowed in a voice three times her size. "Johnny Dufflemeir! I see you skulkin' behind that draft horse. C'mon over here and kiss me, dadblast it! The orphanage needs a new roof. Hey! Hey! Abner Buckbee. I saw them moths fly outta yer wallet. Git yer scrawny arse over here. Kissin' me'll cost you a buck. Fer three bucks, you can go home without my buckshot in yer britches!"

Eden smothered a giggle as Claudia leveled her barrel with deadly accuracy. She could see the coins glinting in her aunt's kisses jar. Claudia and her shotgun had amassed more silver dollars than all of the younger, prettier volunteers combined. No wonder Bonnie wanted Claudia chased from the booth.

Eden nodded politely at scowling, red-faced Noel as he stalked forward, dug a fist in his trousers’ pocket, and plunked three coins into Claudia's jar.

Claudia shook her shotgun after him as he fled. "My picnic basket's the one with the coon tail 'round the handle! Be sure to bid on it, if you want my bear traps on credit!"

Chortling, she squatted, her gunstock balanced across her knees and a sparsely toothed grin creasing her cheeks. "Hello, niece. Hello, neighbor. Dang. I don't know what the deuce Bonnie was gripin' about. Raisin' money fer them orphans is easier'n shootin' fish in a barrel."


The official tour for His Wicked Dream (Book 2, Velvet Lies series) starts Jan. 20. You’ll get lots of exclusive sneak peaks, plus the chance to win 2 Amazon gift cards and 3 bundles of ebooks in my Rafflecopter Giveaway.

Previous posts in the pre-tour party for HIS WICKED DREAM (Below):



Cathy Lee said...

I love the sound of Aunt Claudia! She sounds like a hoot!
capefearlibn at gmail dot com

E.L. F. said...

Wow, she's definitely a feisty lady. Cute excerpt, thanks for sharing.

Adrienne deWolfe said...

So glad you like Claudia! (Good grief, could you imagine having this woman as a chaperone?! Poor Eden! LOL!) Thanks for sharing!