Thursday, 30 March 2017

At The Swan at Alresford

File:John Cordrey - A Gentleman with His Pair of Bays Harnessed to a Curricle - Google Art Project.jpg

Driving in Giles' curricle behind his splendid matched horses, Anna cannot help enjoying the ride. They stop in Alresford at The Swan.

 ' He swept under the archway and through to the yard of The Swan. Ostlers came running to attend to the horses. Giles jumped down, and helped her descend. He noted how gracefully she managed this.
            'Do you always stop at hostelries called The Swan?' she asked as they approached the open door where the landlord stood waiting.

'Anna was impressed by the ease and speed with which Giles whisked her into a private parlour. She was even more impressed when a meal started to appear almost immediately. The drive had made her hungry. She removed her bonnet and came to survey the food on the table. The serving boy was hurrying in with a large dish of vegetables. Anna sniffed appreciatively. 'That smells delicious.'
            The young man looked up, gaped at her and set the dish down too close to the edge of the table. There was a mighty crash, which brought him back to his senses. 'Sorry, sorry, miss…sir…' He fled.
            Giles shook his head, his mouth thin with annoyance. Anna smiled uncertainly. 'That was a silly thing to do-' she began but stopped as the landlady bustled in and quickly cleared up the mess. She gave the floor a last wipe and straightened up. She glared at Anna then turned her fearsome gaze on Giles before sweeping out. The serving boy came back in, eyes lowered and bashfully set another dish of vegetables down carefully before scuttling out and closing the door behind him.
            Giles sighed as he carved the sirloin. 'I must remember not to come here again for some considerable time.'
            'Why ever is that?' Anna inspected all the dishes eagerly and helped herself to a generous portion of vegetables. 'Mmm, carrots, my favourite.' When there was no answer to her question, she eventually looked up. Giles was leaning back in his chair, watching her.
            'Are you not hungry?' she asked, eager to begin her meal but making herself wait until he had served himself.
            He shook his head slowly. There was a strange little smile on his face. 'Miss Lawrence, you are an education. I begin to perceive that I have taken on a new role in life. Perhaps it's doing me good.' He poured some lemonade into her glass. 'Behold me in the position of chaperon!'
            Anna frowned over this. 'Surely we are only two travellers, whose paths go together for a short while?' 

            He laughed. 'You just do not understand, do you? You have been too sheltered from the real world. You bewitched that poor mooncalf of a serving boy. And you're not aware of why, are you?' He set his glass down abruptly. 'And the landlady evidently thinks I'm running away with you.'

excerpt from The Rake's Challenge

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Another Rake, revisited

Today I'm a guest on Sherry Gloag's The Heart of Romance Blog.

On the theme of 'Books Revisited' I discuss my story of the summer holiday in Brighton that so nearly ended in disaster - but thanks to the Rake, all turned out well.

                                                                                                                                                                        File:King George IV when Prince Regent (1762-1830), by Henry Bone.jpg

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Blogger Beth Elliott said...
On a sunny day like today, it's easy to think of Giles driving Anna in his curricle along the leafy lanes of yesteryear...
Thank you so much, Sherry for hosting me and my characters.
15 March 2017 at 09:55
Blogger Jane Risdon said...
Fabulous reading this and getting into your head and finding out about Giles. I must read more glossies. Much success Beth, wonderful.
21 March 2017 at 15:57

Friday, 10 March 2017

First meeting

                         It all starts badly

Riding on a vital mission through the Pyrenees, Louise is pursued by Napoleon's agents. A mighty thunderstorm makes matters worse. Then, when she seeks shelter in a cavern, it seems that is the worst choice she could make. 

She was shivering more violently than ever as he reached them and held his lantern aloft, training it first on Joseph and then on her. She forced herself to sit straight, and stared into a dark, angry face with gleaming eyes that seemed to see through her disguise.
 Joseph said something in the local dialect. Louise made out only a few words, just enough to know that Joseph had not revealed she was a woman. He had merely asked for shelter. The man held the lantern closer. His almond eyes were suspicious.
 ‘How am I to know you're not a spy?’ he growled. At least he spoke French, not this dialect she could scarcely follow.
 A surge of dislike rushed through her at his hostility. ‘I am on an urgent mission,’ she croaked, through chattering teeth. ‘I must get to my rendezvous quickly. But someone is pursuing me and I need to escape them. If you are unwilling to give us shelter from this storm, we'll leave now before night falls.’ She tugged at her horse’s bridle but to her dismay, she swayed and nearly toppled from the saddle. The man looked more closely.
 ‘You’re just a boy,’ he exclaimed, putting a hand on her horse’s nose. The beast immediately stilled. ‘Very well. Get down. You can strip off and dry.’
 Oh heavens! He would discover her secret; and as she thought again of that woman’s moans, she feared he was not to be trusted. But Joseph had already dismounted and was holding her bridle. The flash of rage had faded, leaving her head spinning with fatigue. She slid off the horse and her knees buckled. The stranger caught hold of her.
 ‘Not a seasoned adventurer, are you?’ He laughed and slid an arm round her ribs to steady her. She felt his hand jerk as it encountered her breast.  Awareness snaked through her as he brought his head close, examining her face keenly.
 ‘No, leave me,’ she protested, ‘I can manage.’ Panicked, she pulled away but staggered and sank to her knees with a little sob. Immediately his strong arms were hauling her up. Then everything blurred. 

The book is available here :

and it will be on free offer between 14th - 18th March

Louise's cavern in the Pyrenees. She was so glad to get out of it !!