Thursday, November 06, 2008

Thursday's Blog - Excerpt & Contest

Good Afternoon Everyone,

It seems we have had a very exciting week! Hopefully all of you were tuning into the elections this Tuesday and got involved yourself. However you feel about the outcome - it sure is great that it's all over! For me, it seemed like this election was never going to end. That being said, it's probably a good time to start relaxing and getting all of the political residue out of our systems. To help you achieve that sense of relaxation, I have created a fantastic "Calming of the soul Prize." The winner will receive "And Able," some calming bath goodies, and a little chocolate to boost those endorphins!

Remember to post your comments today about the except or whatever you feel like and I'll pick a random entry on Monday. Good Luck and Enjoy the Excerpt!!!


They were on time for dinner...just. Brett wore a suit and she wore the skirt outfit he'd bought her in Lincoln City. She was glad she had when she saw the chic dresses his mother and sister wore to the table. She felt that for a woman who had spent most of her life oblivious to fashion, she had become inordinately interested in clothes.

Strangely, it didn't bother her.

It was a surprisingly enjoyable evening. And despite her assertion to the contrary, Claire found herself promising Brett's mother and sister she would join them on a shopping trip to Savannah the day after the party.

Brett spent the evening treating her like she really was someone special to him, not just a woman he had the hots for and had convinced himself he had to marry. She tried not to get caught up in the fantasy, but by the time he came to her room late that night, she was lost to the feeling of being someone unique and important in another person's life.

Her mom had needed her, but no one had ever made her feel central to their happiness like Brett did when they made love.

He held her afterward, their heated bodies close together, and brushed at tears she was getting used to dealing with. "What is it, sugar?"

"It's just so beautiful when we make love."

"Yes, it is."

"But it's not real. It's an illusion," she said to remind herself as much as him.

He rolled on top of her and slid into her body with an erection that should not have been possible yet. Then he leaned up on his arms. "What the hell isn't real about this?"

"It's just sex. It's not love."

"You love me."

"But you don't love me."

"And you think that makes the passion between us something less than what it is?"

"Doesn't it?"

"Don't kid yourself. This is real. What we feel together is real. This..." He thrust into her. "This is no illusion."

"But..."

"Damn it!" He thrust powerfully, sending shards of pleasure piercing through her. "Elena said she loved me, but she refused to leave her country even though she knew she was in grave danger. She died for a lost cause, but she refused to live for me. What we have is better than that kind of love. Can't you see that? It's honest and it's reciprocal."

As he increased the pace of his lovemaking, driving her to a passion filled place that had little room for rational thinking, her mind latched onto one last thought. If he believed this was better than love, maybe that was because he did love her but didn't want to use the word to describe what he felt.

Maybe he couldn't stand the thought of breaking the promise he had made to his dead fiancée. Or maybe saying the words made him feel too vulnerable because the one woman he had admitted to loving had chosen duty over him, not the other way around.

Claire's thoughts splintered as her pleasure spiraled, but this time when she climaxed words spilled from her mouth, unplanned but not unwelcome. "I love you, Brett. I love you so much!"

"You are so beautiful. So perfect for me," he husked, awe in his voice, and then he came too. Afterward, he said nothing more, but he held her close until she slept.

When she woke, he was gone, but she couldn’t forget what he had said. Was it possible that Hamilton Brett Adams could love Claire Sharpe?

The prospect made her jittery with joy, but fear that she was setting herself up for an emotional calamity stopped her from dwelling too closely on the possibility.

She arrived downstairs for breakfast only to discover an unexpected group of visitors. Wolf, Lise, Nitro and Josette were eating with the rest of Brett's family when Claire entered the dining room.

Josette jumped up from the table to hug her. "Claire! It's so good to see you. I heard you've had a very eventful couple of weeks."

"That's one way of putting it, but what are you two doing back? And here? I thought you were going to be gone for at least a few more days."

"We couldn't miss Ms. Adams' birthday party," Nitro said and incredibly Felicia nodded as if she had expected nothing less.

Over breakfast, Claire saw that she and Loren treated both Wolf and Nitro like members of the family and by extension, their wives. No one seemed to find it odd to embrace two ex-mercenary's in the family bosom, but then Brett was ex-merc too.

Still, Claire liked his family all the more for accepting his friends and by doing so, tacitly that aspect of his lifestyle as well. She couldn't help wondering if Brett realized the significance of it though.

After breakfast, he gathered his guests together in a room in the back of the house to discuss the case.

"Have you come up with any connections between the list in the kill book and the people who saw Lester that last month?" Nitro asked.

"Yes, but only superficial connections. Some visitors share last names with people in Arwan's notes, both the kills and the ones who hired the jobs done, but it will take longer to find out if any of those superficial connections go deep enough for suspicion to be attached to them. We're also looking to see if there are connections that are not so obvious and of course that's going to take longer, but we've got help."

"Who?" Josette asked.

"Lester's nephew. He came to the funeral and we met him," Claire said.

"Can he be trusted?" Wolf asked.

"I ran a background check on him and he's clean." Brett handed a manila file folder to Wolf. "Whatever job he holds for the government is deep, but there are no red flags anywhere."

"What does your gut say?"

Brett didn't hesitate. "Never trust someone until they've proven themselves."

"Exactly," Nitro said with a firm nod which Josette emulated.

Claire gasped. "Then none of you can trust me because I've never proven myself."

"On the contrary, you could have sold Josie out to the media after the mercenary school was bombed, but you protected her instead. You were in enough trouble without watching out for Queenie too, but as soon as you realized she was in danger, you insisted on helping her. You don't have a lot of friends, but the ones you do have can count on you. You're as loyal as they come, Claire."

Brett seemed very satisfied by that knowledge.

Lise smiled, rubbing her pregnant tummy. "I usually reserve my research skills for my books, but if you point me the direction to look in, I can help search for connections between the two lists."

Claire knew Lise was due in just a few weeks. She couldn't believe the pregnant woman had come with Wolf to help in the investigation. "You people are amazing."

And they proved just how amazing over the next few hours while they each did what they could to help with the investigation. They worked through lunch, although Wolf made Lise take a nap in the early afternoon.

She grumbled, but she looked tired and left with a smile after he gently rubbed her tummy and told her he thought Junior was sleepy.

When it came time to get ready for the party, they had established three possible connections that looked like real leads.

Josette offered to come to Claire's room so they could get ready together. They had each showered and put on their dresses when there was a knock on the door. It was Eleanor, already perfectly put together, but with a large basket full of beauty paraphernalia dangling from one arm.

She smiled, her eyes dancing with anticipation. "I had an idea for Claire's hair and thought I'd see if y'all were ready to go yet."

The hair in question was still damp and Claire grimaced. "As you can see, not even close."

"I love your natural curl, but it needs a little taming. I think if you put a little product in it and then let it dry naturally, you'd really like the results."

"Product?"

"Curl enhancer, light weight hair gel and when it's dry something that will make it shine without making it stiff."

"You think my curl needs to be enhanced." She didn't mean to use a tone of voice that implied Brett's sister was unhinged, but she couldn't help herself.

Claire's hair was curlier than Shirley Temple's would have been after sticking her finger in a light socket.

"You want to enhance the actual curl, as opposed to the kinks and twists."

"Oh."

Eleanor lifted the basket. "Are you game?"

"Definitely." Claire sat down on the edge of the bed and let the other woman apply whatever goop she wanted to her hair.

"Now we'll let it dry while we're doing make-up."

Josette's eyes lit up at that pronouncement and what followed was forty-five minutes of hysterical fun. Eleanor happily showed Josette three different ways to apply eye shadow. They settled on one that gave Josette's eyes a slightly tilted, exotic look that both Eleanor and Claire pronounced perfect.

The former mercenary asked scads of questions about all the girlie type products in Eleanor's basket and insisted on trying a few of them out. After she was done, her usually straight, unstyled hair was swept up with a few curling wisps framing her face and she had finished her make-up with a dark lip gloss that complimented her strikingly made-up eyes.

When it came to doing Claire's make-up, Eleanor said she wanted to go with the natural look. Claire wasn't sure exactly what that meant, but it sounded good to her. She was willing to believe she'd like it more than the extensive grooming she'd received for the wedding. And she was right.

When she went to look in the mirror, she was shocked at how feminine the halo of ringlet curls around her head looked. It was totally natural and yet not. Her curls were tamed, or at least looked like an actual hairstyle and her brown eyes looked dark and intriguing highlighted by the subtle shadows and liner on her lids.

"Wow," she whispered.

Eleanor stepped behind her and grinned at her in the mirror. "My brother is going to drool so much, you'll need to carry an extra handkerchief for him."

Josette laughed. "I think you're right."

Eleanor turned to face her, still grinning. "Your husband will probably just pick you up and carry you back to your bedroom. I've seen how that man operates."

Josette twirled in front of the mirror, her skirt floating around her highly toned legs. "He'll have to catch me first and that's not as easy as he likes to think it is."


19 comments:

traveler said...

Thanks for the great excerpt. I too am glad that things are back to normal. Hopefully everything will settle down and our future is safe and secure.

Amy said...

Thanks for another great excerpt. After all these wonderful excerpts I had to pull the book from my shelves and re-read it.

Vicky said...

Aw. I can't believe I still haven't read this. But the first two books of the series were fantastic.

petite said...

Amazing excerpt which interests me. Thanks.

sarabelle said...

Great excerpt. Thank you. I am really looking forward to starting this series.

Stacy S said...

This is a great book.! I'm also glad elections are over.

limecello said...

Another great excerpt as usual - and I agree with everyone else; so glad the election is over :)
It's nice to have the land line free, and not have to watch constant mudslinging political ads.

Caffey said...

Lucy, I loved this book!!! Wanted to come by and say a huge hello!!!

ReadingIsSoMuchFun said...

Hi Lucy! Great excerpt. Yes I did vote :-) It felt good to vote for the first time :)

Hugssss
LindaH

CrystalGB said...

Another great excerpt. Have a great weekend everyone.

Cryna said...

Another great excerpt and I have started rereading this series - because of all the excellent excerpts........

Susan said...

That is a terrific excerpt. Yep, I voted. I'm so glad that the phone has stopped ringing and the political ads are gone.

robynl said...

another great excerpt; you people made history in the election!!!

Jane said...

Thanks for another great excerpt. I'm glad the election is over, too.

Michele L. said...

Oh my gosh I never thought the election would ever end! I got so tired of seeing all the commercials on TV about the bashing, vote for me, and the never ending comment, "and I endorse this ad." Now I am ready for change. I hope Obama can turn the country around for the better.

Absolutely loved the excerpt! You are a fantastic writer Lucy!

Hugs,
Michele L.

flchen1 said...

Ah... another terrific excerpt! And the elections are happily behind us :) Hooray! Thanks, Lucy (and Andre!) :)

Lori said...

I agree, it's so nice to be able to turn on the radio and the TV without watching or listening to costant mudslinging and ads!

Thanks for the excerpt! Yup, I do love Lucy's books!

kim h said...

great excerpt
carefully out int eh rain
we missed u at writerspace chat.

Sue A. said...

Thanks for the great excerpt!