Sunday, January 5, 2014

HIS WICKED DREAM: Picnic Auction

Book 2, Velvet Lies Series
by Adrienne deWolfe
Book Excerpt

(Story Notes:  Dr. Michael Jones just spent $100 to take Eden’s picnic basket out of the auction at the Independence Day Jamboree.  He claims he did so for her own good, to prevent an “outlaw” from bidding on it.  The scene is written from Eden’s point of view.  Need more in the way of a book description?  Visit this site.)

Rural Kentucky, 1881

"Are you trying to make me crazy?"

She'd taken him by surprise. She could see his guard waver in those breathtakingly blue eyes.

"I'm not sure I follow you."

"All protestations to the contrary, you're behaving like a beau. A jealous beau."

Amusement curved his lips. "I'm behaving like a good neighbor."

She blew out her breath. "Fine. Call it what you like. But you are not responsible for me, Michael. Besides, Chance wasn't doing anything I didn't give him permission to do."

"Chance, is it?"

She rolled her eyes. "You're missing the point. Deliberately, I think."

He shifted her picnic basket to his other arm. "As much as I enjoy sparring with you on a public fairground," he said evenly, glancing at the eavesdropping children who huddled, bug-eyed and mouths agape, at the rear of the orphans' tent, "might I suggest we find a cooler location?"

Eden could ignore the trickle of perspiration sliding under her whalebone to dampen her chemise. But she couldn't disregard the orphans, especially when one chubby twelve-year-old with brown, sausage-style ringlets waved to Michael.

"Hi, Doc!" she called shyly. "Is that your new sweetheart?"

The whole tent tittered. Michael weathered the giggles with aplomb. Mrs. Witherspoon appeared, tossed Eden an apologetic glance, and ushered the girls back into the shade for cookies. Eden suspected Michael the Pirate had stolen a couple of adolescent hearts, too.

"Honestly, Michael." They began strolling toward the nearest stand of trees. "You might have told the children the truth."

The glance he slid her way was veiled. "That you prefer outlaws to doctors?"

She glared back. "Must you be so difficult? I don't have to picnic with you, you know. After removing my basket from the auction and fueling a virtual prairie fire of gossip at my expense, I think I'd be well within my rights to leave you standing in the dust."

"Hmm. I suggest we drive, then."

Her lips twitched at this sally, despite her staunchest resolve. "You're impossible. Did you really pay one hundred dollars to save me from Chance McCoy?"

"I'm afraid so."

She caught her breath, uncertain whether to be elated or deflated. He'd neatly foiled her accusations that he was jealous, and he still refused to acknowledge he was behaving like a beau. Maybe he'd planned to spend the money at one of the half-dozen auctions, anyway.

"Well... thank you. I think."

"You have nothing to thank me for."

"You're not the lesser of two evils?"

"Not necessarily."

He caught her elbow, guiding her toward the carriages parked along the perimeter of the field. "While it's true your reputation will survive Chance McCoy," he said, "the question remains, will it survive me? That, my dear Eden, would be your dilemma—if you still had a choice."

He gazed fully at her then, and the heat of those blue cinders melted the protest that had bubbled to her lips. She wanted to believe Michael was making light of himself, but after that night in the parlor, she wasn't so sure. She couldn't help but remember his warning, I'm nothing like the angel I was named after. Then he'd proved his devilry with his kiss.

A thrill prickled her arms at the memory.

"Where do you propose to take me?" she demanded as he handed her into his phaeton.

The smile he flashed her was sinfully male.

"Somewhere we won't be disturbed."

(More exclusive excerpts to come!  And don't miss Part 2 of SECRETS AND SCHEMES, taking you behind the scenes of HIS WICKED DREAM.)

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-launch party for HIS WICKED DREAM (Below):



Cathy Lee said...

I think that picnic basket auctions are so charming. I think the first one I ever saw was on the Gilmore Girls TV series. It looked like fun.
capefearlibn at gmail dot com

Adrienne deWolfe said...

Would you believe I got the idea from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, OKLAHOMA? :-) Thanks for sharing, Cathy! Hugs!