Pitch

It's Here!

Book Two in The Huntington Saga Series Novels~

Pirate Bride!

Miss Susannah Blakemore is kidnapped and sold into white slavery as payback to the Huntingtons. Will her pirate hero save her?

“The Huntingtons will pay. Oh, they will pay.” Plots and unholy alliances are put into action carrying out long-awaited retribution.

Only … one was not thought of. One was not even considered. How would anyone have guessed that a descendant of a pirate would take up his old family tradition in a mad quest to regain his bitterly lost love? The Marquess of Latham will not abide by this act of violence arranged for his precious love, but will surely save her -- will he not? And will he make her the next pirate bride?

Next? There must be a first to have a 'next'. But there was another ... centuries ago ... that still walks the halls of Stonecrest Castle.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Re-worked and Re-edited Chapter 4 -- What do you think?

Chapter 4

The Best of Manners
*******


Silence.  Wonderful, delicious smells assaulted the hungry governess’s senses, but she stood frozen unable to bring herself forward.  Though the room was warm, she felt ice cold.  Still reeling with the frightening information Millesant had just disclosed to her about her new master, she finally spotted the feared Lord Huntington as he slowly stood, filling the room with his intimidating presence. 
All was silent except for the crackling fire. 
They stood looking at each other, momentarily taking each other in, before he held her chair out for her to be seated next to him.  “Come,” he spoke, nodding his head toward the chair. 
Shivering slightly, she made her way towards him while noticing his nearly black hair that curled slightly at the ends, apparently still damp from bathing, touching his crisp white collar, which contrasted greatly with his tanned skin.  Obviously this gentleman spent time outdoors, unlike most men of his station. 
She approved. 
Nicely chiseled features and strong jaw looked freshly shaven.  Uncertain as to the color of his eyes, they were, nevertheless, penetrating and dark.  Impeccably dressed with burgundy dinner jacket, biscuit colored trousers and polished boots, she thought he must be the epitome of masculinity, although somewhat impenetrable.  Her breath quickened as she became aware of the obvious characteristics of this gentleman that made her so conscious of him; his handsome face, the broadness of his chest, shoulders, and arms through his nicely cut jacket; tight trousers covered solid legs that stood apart in a stance of superior authority. 
As she drew closer to him in this better lit space than the Study from this morning, she hardly noticed the lovely, light green room and immense table, for this man loomed above her, stealing all attention from anything else.  He bowed in a courtly manner while she curtseyed pleasingly.  She attempted to hold herself with a regal air as she sat down, and he, equally expert in his manners, scooted her in.  Carly nervously put her hands into her lap and sat straight as she could, shoulders back, the way her mother had taught her.   
By outward appearances, the young governess looked calm and confident, but Creighton knew she was scared to be here in his presence.  However, he could not believe the transformation in her. 
What a beauty she was! 
Unable to take his eyes from her, he noticed her gown was simply gorgeous but could also tell she was outgrowing it.  The bodice and waistline fitted smoothly about her form framing her blossoming figure elegantly; the billowing skirts flowing out about her made her appear as all that a princess might be.  Creighton startled at the knowledge that his new governess was so well-endowed with such provocative curves.  Most definitely, a woman sat here before him.
Certainly she would make a fine acquisition.
Quickly brushing this temptation aside, he noticed her hair was her crowning glory.  Thick, dark tresses of auburn curled about her head with small golden nuggets of sparkle here and there.  Her curls framed her face, beckoning one to touch.  Enticing locks rested gently upon her delicate pale shoulder further bidding one to trace one’s finger upon such fine treasure.  He shuddered at the tantalizing impulse. 
Glancing shyly up at him, her stunning green eyes were open wide, nudging at his impassable reserves.  He realized he was still standing, staring openly, but could not help himself.  She was a delight.  Her eyes were framed by thick long, dark lashes and dark, delicately tapered brows.  She seemed apprehensive as she stared back at him.  But there was frank honesty in her sparkling depths which invigorated him like never before in his lifetime.  Again, a shiver ran up his spine.  She was breathtaking…magnificent! 
This angered him. 
Realizing his breach in modesty as he brazenly stared, he released his hold upon her chair and sat down, snapping in the process, “Let supper begin!” 
Carly jumped at the loudness of her master’s deep voice.  Instantly, the butler and several footmen came into the room holding silver trays of food as if they would be serving many guests.  They were diligent in their care of her and the master.  It was obvious to her that Lord Huntington obtained thorough respect from all his servants. 
“I appreciate your being on time tonight,” he barked, impatiently placing his napkin upon his lap. 
Carly fidgeted with her own napkin, noticing also the elegant print upon the bone china about the table. How could she possibly notice stupid details at a time like this?
In her nervousness, Carly unexpectedly hiccupped.  Horrified, she looked up at Lord Huntington to gauge his reaction, but he seemed preoccupied.
Thank heaven!  
Profoundly relieved, she hoped it wouldn’t happen again.  She hated being overwrought, for it always brought on a bout of the hiccups. Heaven help me, she prayed to herself.  Pretending as if it had not occurred, she calmly responded, “Millesant made your wishes known to me, my lord, about…the…uh—I mean, about the supper hour.”
Creighton looked at her, seeing her nervousness and only grew annoyed that he should make her feel so. As dinner was served to the two of them, all that could be heard was the clinking of crystal, silver, and china. 
Then silence.
But silence would be quite welcome to her if only her body would cooperate. The delicious aromas made her stomach growl impatiently, and her hand covered her stomach in embarrassment. Would her body not stop betraying her so?  Feigning ignorance, it happened a second time, the footman serving her pretending he did not hear. Good man.
Thoroughly embarrassed, Carly looked at Lord Huntington who, this time, only said, “I am quite sure your stomach will approve of Mrs. Cooper’s culinary delights.”
Carly nodded shyly, her face freshly pink with color. Father, please help me through this meal, she prayed. Waiting for a formal prayer to be offered before beginning her meal, she waited patiently as Lord Huntington began devouring the creamed pea soup with freshly baked bread and melting butter in hand. 
Looking up, he froze mid-chew, and startled that she was not enjoying as well.  “Is there something that does not meet with your approval, Lady Blakemore?” 
“Only that we...did not say grace, my lord.” 
Frowning at this interruption—and her obvious impudence—and disliking that he instantly felt like a guilty schoolboy being reprimanded by his tutors who were trying to teach him endless discourses on propriety, he sighed heavily, placing his spoon down, his bread down; and wiping at his mouth with his napkin, in a great show of annoyance, he nodded his head in her direction, sharply saying, “Well then, please proceed.” 
As she folded her delicate hands together and offered a humble prayer in thanksgiving, he felt a small tug at his cold, hard heart.  There was no preaching or scolding; only offering up to God a simple prayer of gratitude.  This would now become a habit at mealtime, he was sure.  Clearing his throat gruffly, he began his meal again, this time making sure she was eating as well. 
Dreadfully aware that Lord Huntington watched her every move, and feeling she was on display for his amusement, she ate in silence. At least her body had finally quieted.  At least there was relief.  
However, if the scowl ever left his face it was quickly replaced with an angry mouth.  Why did he have to be so angry in the first place? Did he not know how difficult it could be to eat when he was fuming and always watching? Carly found she had to work at controlling her growing irritation, for she did not like feeling he disapproved of her without having known her at all. 
The next course was offered.  Succulent ham and mouth-watering mashed potatoes with gravy. 
Lady Blakemore had impeccable manners, he noticed as he tried to find fault with her.  But even the green bean that she was currently consuming was eaten with perfect precision.  Creighton was confused at his response to Lady Blakemore’s presence. 
She certainly was a beauty, but what of it?
Yes, she was easy to look upon, but why should he care? 
Creighton had disciplined rigid control over his own feelings and thoughts towards the opposite sex.  Years of control.  Although Creighton was callous and abrupt with most women, he was still a most desirable catch.  Quite perplexing.
His growing emotion confused him.
It irritated him.
He thought again of the many invitations that came his way regularly in hopes of gaining his attentions.  The constant callers, even though he lived a country life.  Regardless of what was said of him, his social status had only grown from the curiosity of others.  It was only his presence at gatherings that had stopped. He had no desire to become entangled with another disastrous marriage.  So why was it that, here and now, he found he could hardly take his eyes from this young governess throughout their meal together? 
It was infuriating. 
He was becoming more and more annoyed the longer they sat together. 
Finally, Carly could stand his intense, emotionally-charged silence no longer.  Forcing pleasantness into her soft voice, she flattered him by sincerely saying, “My compliments to your cook.  What a marvelous meal has been prepared for us tonight.  I have never tasted better.”  Timidly attempting a smile, she found it difficult to look him in the eye. 
Seeing her efforts, yet her continued discomfort, convinced him to try harder to be kind.  Of course—this was always a stretch for him. 
Nodding his head, he answered, “I’ll be sure to pass along your compliment to Mrs. Cooper.  She always appreciates her talents being prized.”  
There, that was not so hard.  However, a smile was not attempted.
Carly tried more conversation.  “I have noticed you have an extensive staff.”  Only silence was given in reply. She continued, “They…seem very kind.” 
He only nodded gruffly, obviously annoyed.
“I believe you have assigned a maid to me, as well.” 
“Yes,” he responded rather impatiently, quickly glancing up before returning to his meal. 
Then and there, she decided to treat her new master as if she had never before heard the rumors concerning him or his late wife.  How could she function with this always in her head?  Determined to be herself and to bring forward what was on her mind, she said, “Sir, this is appreciated, I assure you, but quite unnecessary as I am extremely capable of taking care of myself.”  
All eating subsided.  Lord Huntington stared. 
She turned pale.
He thought it difficult for her to have shared these opinions.
Again, she repeated what she had told the maid, “I…I have never had a personal maid, sir, nor do I plan on having one now.”  Nervously, she fingered her napkin.   
He sat staring, surprised at this slip of a thing. Recovering himself, he said, unconvincingly, “I am sure you are quite capable, Lady Blakemore.”  Taking a drink from his goblet, he wiped at his mouth with his napkin and continued, “But, I insist upon the help; for I believe your duties will become less tiresome with aid, or so I have experienced in the past.” 
Her nostrils flared, “Already you think me incapable of handling your children?”
Now her face was red.  How she wore her feelings upon her face.
Just as if he had said ‘yes’ out loud, he looked her over, carefully, making her squirm.  “I would rather give you a fighting chance is all, Lady Blakemore.” 
Suddenly irritated with the continued use of her title, she shook her head, exclaiming, “My lord, I insist upon a less formal title, please.  Miss Blakemore will do.  I am simply not used to being referred to as Lady Blakemore.”
Lord Huntington looked at her, calculating.  She was na├»ve.  She was innocent.  Why had this responsibility fallen to him?  Nevertheless, he would inform her.  Impatiently, he stated, too flippantly perhaps, “You are young; and, I think, inexperienced with society.” 
Taken aback, Carly exclaimed, “Wh…what do you mean?  Not at all.” 
“The world at large can be quite cruel, and I think you have yet to experience that.” 
“What does that have to do with my title?” 
He watched her carefully as his meaning dawned upon her. 
“Oh…”  She thought of how titles certainly have their advantages in certain circles.  Her family’s title had never meant anything to her before; except for the occasional ball and party she was expected to attend because of it. The inheritance that had helped raise her and her sister had come from that world of gentility she was so keen upon forgetting.  This household, of course, functioned in that world of snobbish peerage that would judge a person according to their wealth, title, and position in society.  Carly smoothed her skirts.  Deciding she wanted nothing to do with this class structure, she continued, “I do not wish to be a part of people’s lives that would judge a person just for their particular title or the amount of riches they have or have not.” 
“You choose to bury your head in the sand like an ostrich then?” 
“No.  I simply think it foolish to take a person’s value so lightly.” 
With appreciation for her sensible words, he nodded his head, considering her opinion.  “You are more wise than I believed.” 
Did she see admiration in his expression?  “Thank you, my lord.” 
“Yet, you respect my title?” 
“Of course.  You are my employer.  I wish to satisfy you and keep my position.” 
Her frank honesty made him laugh out loud, to her shock. This is refreshing, he thought.  He could see that she was startled by his unexpected laughter.  But then, even the butler and footmen were.  “You are honest as well as wise.” 
Still recovering from this spent emotion from him, she whispered, “I do try my best.” 
“And yet you argue with me?  Good!”  He was genuinely surprised at her.  Pleasantly so.  He motioned to the butler to go ahead with the next course.  “But, I must say, as your employer, I act also as a sort of guardian to you.  It is in your best interest to use your title, at least while you are in my household.” 
“But I do not see why—well, yes, I see why—but I do not feel it right.”
“You will, in time, Lady Blakemore.  Now, please accept my attention to detail on your behalf and do not dispute the point.” 
Hesitantly, she nodded in compliance to his greater wisdom upon this subject, feeling perturbed by his arrogance.  Carly tried a different topic, one of more importance to her presently.  “I look forward to meeting your children, my lord.”
All pleasantries were over.
She noticed the scowl returning to his face as he continued eating, ignoring her completely. “In fact, I would much prefer getting right to work starting my day tomorrow with introductions to the children.”
Irksome.  That’s what she was. 
Lord Huntington was now looking at her with furrowed brow and what could only be described as a black cloud which suddenly darkened his countenance.  She would not cower.  She continued undaunted. “And I am quite confident that I will not be ‘tiresome’ if my maid is assigned to much more pleasant duties.” 
Carefully, methodically, Lord Huntington put his utensils down, placing his elbows on the table and crossing his fingers giving Carly a good long look with puckered brows.  His inspection of her made her pale and prompted her to put down her own utensils.
This was going to be serious, she could tell.
“I expect you to follow my orders while under my roof and my watchful eye.”  He continued to glare at her. 
Gulping, she looked him dead on.  “Yet you encourage my view?”             
Her courage was tantalizing.  “Of course.  But do not expect me to agree.” 
“Do you expect me to always agree with you, my lord?” 
“Are you a silly girl then, after all?” 
Blushing generously, she indignantly said, “I think not, sir!” 
“Then why would you always agree with me?” 
“I am sure I shall not!” 
“But you will obey me.”  It was a command.  He looked steadily down upon her. 
“I do not agree about the maid…” she brusquely stated. 
“But, you will obey me.”  He looked almost humorously at her for a moment. 
She would not be laughed at.  “I find it strange that I cannot meet with your children right away.”  She continued to oppose him. 
Something powerful emanated from him.  She could feel it like a hand reaching out to her throat, grasping at it.  Her eyes grew wide.
Lord Huntington was angry with her.  His wrath curled and filled the room.  His breathing was labored.  Yet, he gained control before it was ever unleashed.  And then, he stated, “You may find my ways strange to you, but you have no choice in the matter if you wish to stay in my employ.”  His look was dark, mysterious. 
Carly was alarmed.  Now, she was angry.  She was impatient with all his scowling and commanding, his making her afraid.  “My lord, if I am to be a part of any household, I must be myself,” she shivered, “and in being myself, I must speak my mind as I see fit or go mad with frustration at being false in any way.”  More shivers enveloped her body.  His countenance frightened her.  “If you will learn anything of me, let it be that I believe my opinion matters.” 
Now visibly shaking from exerting this side of herself, she suddenly became annoyed at having been forced from a known world of contentment and fulfillment to one in a strange household at the mercy of a formidable master, but she did not wish to lose herself in this process.  She must be allowed to be as honest as possible with those around her.  Even him.
Surprised at her passionate disclosure, Creighton sat looking at her, exhilarated with her defiant views.  After a moment of allowing her more discomfort, he said, “First of all, I can deal most excellently with your opinion, whether you agree with me or not.  Secondly, I cannot believe any one of my servants would find any ‘more pleasant duties’ than serving you.”  Her face grew warm, indignant.  He almost smiled.  “Thirdly, I will introduce the children to you in two days as was planned; and, then, finally…I do not like being crossed, Lady Blakemore.  You see, my word is final.” 
Dark eyes narrowed down upon her, “There is no debate.” 
Standing with quiet strength, all six plus feet of him, Lord Huntington smoldered, leaning down over his haughty, headstrong governess. 
Catching her breath, she sat back in fear, hand at her throat. 
In a hushed tone, still vibrating throughout the entire room, he said, “You will cease this line of questioning me.  Do as I ask,” straightening, he finished, “please.”  Sitting, he resumed his meal. 
Stunned to silence, her fingers trembled as she placed her napkin upon the table.  After a moment of watching him eat, she asked, “May I please be excused?”  
Displeased that she would run from their battle of wills, he nodded, “As you wish.” 
She stood with quiet grace, head held high, and came and stood before him surprising him that she was not, indeed, simpering away.  Smiling at her courage, he also stood as any gentleman would, vibes pulsing between them.  Looking down upon her with his devilish smile, he captured a whiff of her gentle fragrance.  Her delicate nose was slightly turned up at the end giving her a flirty, pixie-like innocence.   She was so petite, so becoming, so willful after all!    
With all the confidence and strength she could muster, Carly looked up into her master’s darkly handsome face and stated, “Sir, I will not be controlled.  I will do as I please within the agreement made between us.  I am a lady, and you, my lord, will please treat me as such.”  Faltering for only a moment, she steadied her hand upon the table, pulling at his conscience, his steadfast resolve.  With grace and poise, Carly continued, “I will accept your kindness of the maid and the day tomorrow to adjust myself to my new surroundings.  I thank you and…goodnight.” 
Bowing in acceptance, he allowed her to go. 
With a rustle of her skirts, she curtsied, turned and gracefully exited as if she were, indeed, a princess leaving her throne room before her humble subjects.  Noticing the gentle sway of her hips, unlike the over-exaggerated pretense of society women, Lord Huntington stood there stunned. 
Scowling now as he sat, a hint of a smile came to his lips as his dessert was served him.  Creighton hardly noticed his favorite pudding as he thought of this small but spunky little governess with the gorgeous hair. 
           

After quietly eavesdropping at the door upon the conversation between Lord Huntington and the new governess, Mrs. Cooper, the cook, and Mrs. Thompson, the housekeeper, and best of friends, snuck back into the kitchens.  Not only had they worked together for more than thirty years, but had raised their families together as well.  Not too many things within the great manor house escaped their sharp eyes or ears. 
“She is a little firecracker, that one!”  Mrs. Thompson was clearly surprised. 
“My, my!  I would never have guessed it of our new little governess, to stand up to the master so boldly.  And did you notice how he took it?  Stood there watching her walk away like she owned him.” 
“We might be in for an interesting jaunt, eh?”  They both giggled like school girls, their heads together. 
“I cannot wait to tell the others.” 

I would like to know what you think about my new version of Chapter 4.  Do you like it, or do you like the original chapter better?  Thanks for your help!

Ellise

No comments: