09 September 2010

Excerpt Thursday: Lila DiPasqua

This week on Unusual Historicals we're welcoming contributor Lila DiPasqua as she celebrates the release of her debut, AWAKENED BY A KISS, available now from Berkley Sensation. This collection of re-imagined romantic, erotic fairy tales is set in 17th century France! We hope you'll join us Sunday when Lila will be here to answer questions and give away a copy.

Sleeping Beau: Five years ago, the notorious rake, Adrien d'Aspe, Marquis de Beaulain, was awakened by a sensuous kiss--and experienced a night of raw ecstasy that was branded into his memory. Years later, he spots his mysterious seductress--and this time, he has no intention of letting her go...

Little Red Writing: Nicolas de Savignac, Comte de Lambelle, has been assigned by the King to uncover the secret identity of the author writing scandalous stories about powerful courtiers. He never expected his investigation would lead to his grandmother's house, or to a ravishing woman who would stir his deepest hunger...

Bewitching in Boots: Elisabeth de Roussel, daughter of the King, is accustomed to getting what she wants--and she wants Tristan de Tiersonnier, Comte de Saint-Marcel, an ex-commander of the King's private Guard. A recent injury has forced Tristan to leave his distinguished position, but Elisabeth is determined to make him see he's every bit the man he once was--and more than man enough for her...


Excerpt from "Sleeping Beau":

Two final strides and he was before her. Tall. Muscled. With hair the color of a moonless night sky. Her fingers began to tingle. Catherine clasped her hands tightly together. She could still feel its cool silky texture between her fingers, as if it were only yesterday that she'd caressed his dark shoulder-length hair. She'd forgotten just how large a man he was--his broad shoulders, his magnificently sculpted form. She felt small, very feminine near his powerfully built body.

Give nothing away. He doesn't remember you. He can't. Then why did he leave the gardens so quickly? Why is he here?

Schooling her features, she expelled the air from her lungs and met his gaze unwavering. "Yes?" she said, amazed at the coolness in her tone when she was on the brink of discomposure.

Those unforgettable light green eyes scrutinized her face. She fought not to fidget. His presence and proximity were disquieting on so many levels. Her insides quaked.

"I believe we've met, madame."

Her heart lurched. She managed a small smile. "I'm afraid you have mistaken me for someone else. Now, if you'll excuse me." She turned.

He caught her arm. A jolt of sensations shot through her.

"Unhand me," she said, shaken, a dizzying combination of excitement and dread inundating her.

He released her, the corner of his sensual mouth lifting, stopping short of a smile. Without a word, he slowly walked around her, his bold assessing gaze moving over her body. She could feel his tactile regard right through her clothing, making her hot from the inside out.

"Sir, your conduct is outrageous." Did she sound as breathless as she felt? "You are being extremely rude."

He stopped, his towering form now a formidable obstacle between her and the door to her rooms.

"It's you," he said.

She swallowed and lifted her chin a notch. "Pardon?"

"You're the woman who sneaked into my chamber that night five years ago."

Stirring memories filled her mind. She shoved them aside as she'd done many times throughout the years.

"You are mad. I told you--I don't know you."

He tilted his head to one side, a smug look in his eyes, much like the cat that had cornered the mouse. "Madame, you do know me--in the biblical sense. Though there was nothing but sinful delights in what we shared."

Heat crept down her face and neck to her chest. "Tell me," she responded with as much calm as she could muster. "Is this a habit of yours? Skulking around hallways? Making lurid--unfounded--accusations?" she asked. "Or perhaps this is your twisted way of enticing women? By telling them of your sexual exploits. Are there women who actually fall for this ploy?"

He stepped closer. Awareness rippled through her. Yet she refused to step back, knowing he was trying to intimidate her. His mouth was oh, so close to her own... Images of that skillful mouth on her body, grazing over her skin, drawing on her breasts made her sex clench and moisten.

"Perhaps you and I have a different definition of twisted," he said. "I'd like to know what twisted motives you had when you decided to taint my wine and surrender your innocence to me."

"It sounds like you had quite an evening," she said without flinching. "Though I can't comprehend why--after five years, did you say?--it would be so vivid in your mind. How can you be certain that it was I? Surely, you managed to find a woman or two since then willing to overlook your barbaric manners. You are"--she shrugged--"mildly attractive."

His brows shot up, surprised at first, then his lips twitched as he fought back a smile.

"Have I amused you?" How she wished he'd step back. His closeness was making it difficult to breathe. Or think. She had to get away from him. From the château.

Preempt her vacation.

"You have. I'm not accustomed to receiving a set-down from a woman." He slipped his fingers beneath her chin and caressed his thumb along her cheek. Pleasure streaked from his touch down to the tips of her breasts, causing her nipples to harden.

She took a quick step back and bumped into the wall. He braced his palms on either side of her shoulders, trapping her.

"I am also not accustomed to having a woman dupe and drug me." He stared at her pointedly.