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.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Re-worked and Re-edited Chapter 5 -- What do you think?

What do you think of my revisions to Chapter 5?  Do you like it better or not?

Chapter 5

Carly could not sleep.  Having slept for several hours prior to dinner, all she could do now was toss and turn and stare at the ceiling.  Reading before bed had become a habit, formed early in life, and now she was used to doing so prior to sleep.  Carly decided to peruse the library she had noticed earlier and had been invited to use at her leisure.  She couldn’t wait to see what was there; many, many shelves full of undiscovered stories.  Smiling to herself, she sat up.  Carly disliked, very much, the idea of redressing just to find a book.  It was unlikely anyone would be up at this late hour, she surmised, but still she put on her robe and slippers, lit a candle, and quietly made her way down the shadowy hall to the stairs. 
This house would take some getting used to, for it was enormous.  The scale must be why fireplaces were still lit, here and there, to keep the large spaces filled with warmth.  Finally finding the library, she discovered it was an exceptionally great room with shelves upon shelves of books, just as she had imagined.  She smiled, giddily.  This room would be a favorite!  Carly could see generations of devoted readers had lived at Huntington Manor. 
A large fire was still burning in the fireplace in this room, as well, enough to warm the immense room nicely.  How thoughtful of the servants, she smiled.  Such a well-run manor house, she thought.  With such a forbidding master, how could it not be?  She snickered in the darkness.  Carly could smell the many books and something else.  Was it cinnamon?  As she walked quickly over to the fireplace she reached awkwardly to set her candle upon the tall mantelpiece.  Welcoming the instant heat, she warmed herself by the fire glad to have it since her lacy robe had done nothing to warm her on the cool night. 
“You may wish to step away from the fire since I can easily see your lovely figure through your…nightgown.”
Carly’s hand covered her mouth to stifle a scream as she swiftly turned around to face the voice in the dark.
There was no one. Only darkness.  Carly gulped gasping breaths, unable to calm herself.  But, as Carly’s eyes quickly adjusted to the firelight’s glow, she spotted Lord Huntington.  She jolted from his nearness. “Oh!” she startled and nearly shrieked. 
He was sitting in a large chair, only inches away, his dark countenance frightening against the dancing glow from the fire. “I apologize for shocking you.” An unease crept over her as he continued his perusal of her figure. Yet she could not move. Each looked at the other, unsure how to proceed.
After an awkward moment, Lord Huntington said, “Please. Have a seat,” he pointed next to him at the other chair.  (Anything to stop the vision she created.) 
How fortunate for her to be caught up in this situation.  Clumsy girl, she thought to herself.  She must say something instead of playing mute.  “I…I…thought you would be asleep or I would never,” shaking her head caused the loose curls to caress her delicate shoulders, “…I would never have come down in my night…my night, um,” befuddled, she continued, “I am sorry if I have intruded upon your privacy.  I shall leave now.”
Lord Huntington halted her by lifting his hand for her to wait.  Carly felt as if her slippers were glued to the floor.  She could not move. What did he want from her? How could he want anything from her at such a time as this?  She thought he began to say something; and when he did not, she thought she had better quickly depart rather than make more a fool of herself than she already had. 
Slowly, Lord Huntington stood to his full stature before her.  Carly began to tremble; all the while, her eyes could not leave his own.  The air crackled with the energy between them. Was she insane to remain here before him?  Yet she could not move. 
Deliberately, he reached down to move the other chair purposely closer to the fire.  “You seem cold…for you are trembling.  Won’t you please join me at the warmth of the fire?” 
Immediately, he was covering her in a warm throw.  Her shock and gratitude showed upon her face.  She could only stare.  Shaking herself, she looked at the flames of the fire instead, her anxiety confusing her.  Finally able to gain a response from her body, Carly slowly lowered herself into the chair he had provided.
“You were going to look for a book?” he asked. 
Beside herself with nerves, she stammered, “I…I was, yes.”  Why would he not sit down?  Or go away!  He was so…so large! 
He, on the other hand, thought the chair seemed to swallow Lady Blakemore up.  She was quite the petite little thing.  “You cannot sleep then?”
Shaking her head and curls, she said, “I cannot.  I am sure I shall adjust quickly though, my lord.”  Carly pulled the blanket more tightly around herself, wishing to disappear. 
Lord Huntington, stiff and unyielding, was a combination of moods tonight, for he looked rather guilty as he sat down across from her.  “I am sorry if I have been demanding of you already.  I have brought you undue stress,” he stated.  “I do not wish to be heavy handed and cause you to lose sleep.” 
Surprised at his offered apology, she was silent.  Never would she expect this man to apologize to anyone, let alone to herself. 
After a moment, she spoke, “Thank…thank you, my lord.  I can be quite outspoken.  It is a weakness, I’m afraid.”  Was that a smile she saw? 
Changing the subject, Lord Huntington uncharacteristically asked, “What do you like reading?  Do you have favorites?  As you can see, we have an extensive library to choose from,” he waved his hand toward the shelves. 
Again, uncertain at his offered, almost-friendly, conversation, she wavered.  She did not feel she was on a leveled playing field in her nightgown.  “Well, I…I do.  But I…I was simply looking for any kind of distraction to help me fall asleep, my…my lord.”
Leaning forward, he insisted upon an answer, “Tell me.  What do you enjoy?”
“Well,” she looked at him timidly, shocked by his discussion, “I do love poetry, for many reasons, but mostly because…,” she hesitated and looked up, a rosiness appearing across her cheeks even in the firelight. 
“Do go on, mostly because…what?” 
The heat grew upon her face till she was positively glowing with color; she was hesitant to disclose such personal feelings to him.  Him of all people!  After a moment, she continued anyway or risk seeming completely immature.  This was not a giggly conversation with her sister, after all.  “Because…because poetry can be so romantic.”  Would that she could sound grown?  “I mean, um, well…I…I find poets can be so expressive in the feelings of the heart.”  She could almost hear her teeth chattering.  “It..it has always fascinated me that a person can describe with simple words, so well, what comes deep from within a soul.”  There.  That sounded somewhat grown up.  But true, nevertheless. 
He looked uncomfortable. “I see.  And,” he prompted, yet unsure he wanted to keep this dialogue going. 
“Well, I am a woman you know, so, I like,” she began, but he interrupted. 
“Yes, I am extremely well-aware of the fact that you are, indeed, a woman.”  An unnerving twinkle shone from his dark eyes.  Even in the firelight, he could tell she was blushing again.  He was finding she did this quite regularly and with very little effort.  Maybe this conversation wasn’t so boring.  “Indeed, I would say you are a fine sampling of womanhood.” 
Carly thought she would die of embarrassment!  Would that she could!  She found herself tripping over herself, yet again.  “What…what I meant was that women are…are sort of romantic creatures, you know.”  She could not believe she was having this conversation with him.  What a blundering fool she was!  Oh, heaven help me! 
“Yes, I know.  Do go on.”  Still, the alarming twinkle sparkled in his eyes. 
Frustrated with herself, a little more fire returned to her address.  “I am merely saying I enjoy a good romance, whether it be in poetry form or a lovely story.  The happily ever after thing and all.  I simply love happy endings.”  She shrugged her shoulders.  “I so dislike being sad.” 
“I see.”  Her nose was in the air again.  Such a delightful little nose. 
“Do you?  You see, my parents were so in love.”  Her nerves had caught up with her tongue and now she was sure she babbled ceaselessly.  “The way they talked to each other, the way they looked at each other, one could always tell.  They could finish each other’s sentences, they were so in love.”  
She was correct.  She was babbling. 
“It made such a difference to my sister and I to be part of a happy family.  I think it is crucial to any family.” 
He was frowning, but nodded for her to continue. 
“Well, I guess that is why I love reading about love and happy endings.  I have seen both the lack of it and the abundance of it.  I much prefer the abundance.” 
The sting on his face was evident.  Carly thought he must be thinking of his departed wife.  They sat in silence for several moments till she bravely asked, “What kind of reading do you enjoy, my lord?” 
Still frowning, he answered automatically, “Anything I can get my hands on, but mostly history.”  Quietly looking up at her, he added, “And…occasionally, poetry.” 
Before she could stop herself, she exclaimed with great surprise, “You do?  I would not have guessed that of you.  Well, I would the history, but not the…”  She froze and shook her head in instant apology, “Oh sir, I am sorry to presume…”  Faltering, she looked at him, but he was staring at her intently, almost humorously.  “I should not be so bold.”  What was he thinking of her now?  Could she muddle this conversation any more than she already had?  “I…I do apologize.” 
Chuckling a little, he did not relieve her much, for she was too astonished that he had such emotion. 
He only continued to stare at her, taking in her hair that fell around her shoulders spilling upon the cozy blanket enveloping her. Her tiny slippers peeked out from under her nightgown hem. She was so petite.  So tempting.
Suddenly, she stood and said, “Please, excuse me.  I apologize again for intruding.  I…I shall pick out my book and get along to bed so you can have your library back to yourself. And if you don’t mind, I…I shall keep this…this blanket until morning?”  When he nodded his head in assent, she walked over to the nearest bookshelf.  She could still feel his gaze upon her, watching her every move.  Why didn’t she just leave, she asked herself.  And yet if she did without her desired book, she surely would never sleep now.
Creighton was mesmerized by this unpretentious young lady as she picked her way through the shelves; the way her hair, in all its amazing length, moved and bounced when she took a step; the way the blanket shifted around her lovely curves as she swayed.  Even from here, he could still distinguish her subtle fragrance which smelled of roses.  What would it be like to hold her, he wondered?  He shook his head from the thought.  He refused to consider it. 
Carly looked over her shoulder to see his hands raking through his dark hair.  Oh!  He must be so perturbed with her.  She immediately said, “I beg your pardon, my lord.  I can tell I have disturbed your solitude tonight.  I will just go.”  But she stood dumbly, transfixed by his stare. 
How frightening he could be. 
Carly was completely inexperienced with men and did not have a clue as to what this man was thinking or wishing of her.  Where was her courage now that she needed it most?  She was stupidly petrified by him and this silly situation.  He was looking at her so strangely, which completely unnerved her.  The logs shifted in the fireplace, jolting her nerves.  The receding light the fire was now giving was of little comfort. 
Slowly, Lord Huntington stood and walked towards her in the darkening room, forcing her to back away from him until she was against the library shelving. 
What did he want with her? 
She refused to ask. 
Lord Huntington was inches from her.  She questioned him with her eyes while her breathing became labored.  What was he going to do?   Was he angry with her again?  Might he really be a monster like the gossips made him out to be?  The blanket fell to the floor, pooling at her feet.  But she was helpless to do anything about it. 
His eyes longingly took her in.  So beautiful…she looked so soft and vulnerable. His rigid reserve wavered.  As his hand came up and gently touched her face, she gasped out loud.  Gently, softly his fingers rubbed her velvet-soft cheek. 
Closing her eyes at the intimate contact, she could not breathe.  Breathe, she told herself. 
Tracing along her delicate jaw, he made her tremble from the touch of his warm fingers.  Leaning in, he inhaled her fragrant skin and whispered only one word, “…enchanting.”  She started.  They looked into each other’s eyes, the firelight flickering upon their faces. 
He leaned closer. 
Unwillingly, she pressed her hands against his chest and just as quickly took them away, only to replace them again from fear of his proximity.  Feeling his solid muscles, she grew more frightened of him still. 
His breath was warm, making her quiver as he whispered in her ear, “You look like an angel.  Where are your tiny wings?  Your halo?” 
She looked into his eyes, confusion clearly showing in her own. Such kind words from him filled her with frightening emotions; the kind of words that were a balm to her lonely heart.  Slowly inhaling, she felt lightheaded and heady.  She closed her eyes to his intense gaze.  When she opened them, the softness of his look astonished her, as did his nearness. 
Leaning forward almost against her, he reached his long arm above her head.  Closing her eyes again, she thought he would kiss her.  She unintentionally breathed in his masculine scent, catching her breath as she readied herself. 
Her pulse raced.  How could she endure this?  But how could she escape? 
Just run! 
Taking a small book from somewhere above her on a shelf, he handed it to her.  After a still moment, she opened her eyes to see his innocently proffered gift and opened them wider in wonder and embarrassment.  She let go her held breath in a quick sigh.  Her hand shook as she accepted his gift. 
“You might enjoy this book.  It is my favorite poetry.”  Then Lord Huntington gently lifted her chin with his hand.  Quietly, and with great restraint, he whispered, “Sleep well…little angel.”  Almost painfully, it seemed, he turned and walked out of the room. 
Carly was alone. 

For long moments, Carly leaned against the bookshelf trying to recapture her breath, her hand to her throat.  She could not read now even if she wanted to. 
Had he only been getting her a book all that time?  What a way of going about it.  Did he not see he had frightened her?  Quivering, she was so confused; for she had thought…she was sure—well, almost sure—he had determined to kiss her. 
What if he had actually done so? 
How would she have coped with a kiss when only receiving this book had thrown her into such a dither?  I am hopeless, she thought. 
“Oh!  I am sure I shall never recover myself!” she whispered to the darkness.  Pressing the book to her breast, she thought, Nevertheless, I shall take this book…and perhaps several more. Deciding this was actually a very good idea, she tested her footing by letting go of the shelving.  There, she was yet standing.  After concluding it would take much reading to stop the rapid beating of her heart, she randomly grabbed an armful of books and her candlestick, quickly making her way back to her room. 
What she did not know was Lord Huntington still silently watched her from the darkened doorway of the Study.  Having sensed in Lady Blakemore a naïveté and innocence to the ways of men, Creighton found this pleased him. 
Clearly, she had not understood the struggle he had experienced facing her just now dressed only in her night things, but he knew he had frightened her.  Truly, he had not meant to alarm her; it was simply that, beyond doubt, this intriguing girl was a beauty, in mind and body, over any other female of his acquaintance. 

I've uploaded this revised version to authonomy.com.


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