30 December 2010

Excerpt Thursday: Alix Rickloff

This week on Excerpt Thursday, we're welcoming Pocket author Alix Rickloff as she celebrates the release of her latest historical romance, EARL OF DARKNESS, set in 1815 Ireland. Not only is the Irish setting unusual, but this romance integrates paranormal elements. Join us Sunday when Alix will be here to answer questions and give away a signed copy. Here's the blurb:

Born a lady, but reduced to surviving in the slums of Dublin, Catriona O'Connell has been hired to steal a mysterious book from Aidan Douglas, Earl of Kilronan. But Cat is secretly Other, an age-old mixture of Fey and human--something Aidan recognizes immediately when he surprises the lovely young burglar in his library, about to steal a magical diary.

From the moment Aidan sees her, Cat's spirited beauty enchants him, but her uncanny abilities are what he truly needs, for Cat can understand the mystical language in the diary he inherited from his murdered father. So Aidan makes an offer: translate the book or be thrown in prison as a thief. And as Cat slowly deciphers each page, she and Aidan are drawn together by passion...and into the violence of the Other world that is the Kilronan legacy. Can they defeat those who seek the book, or are their lives in even greater danger than their hearts?

Cat O'Connell's intelligent gaze fell everywhere at once as she stepped lightly across the floor. Took in the blank walls where selected artwork had been sold off. The mantel cleared of its most expensive items, the spaces where prized family pieces once stood. The rest of Kilronan House was much the same. A sad witness to all that had been lost.

Aidan motioned to a chair near the fire. "Have a seat, Miss O'Connell."

"Cat works well enough."

She was right. It did. She walked with a feline, sinuous grace only intensified by those damn trousers. He shook his head. Thank the gods women wore gowns. Men would be reduced to blabbering idiots if they spent every day subjected to the spectacle of women's legs. The male species wasn't up to that kind of continuous temptation.

First thing on his to-do list. Something to cover those long legs and that sweet, round ass. A solution? Doubtful. She'd need a damn sack to completely disguise that lissome allure. But it would definitely help. "Who are you, Miss O'Connell? And what were you doing in my library?"

Uncertainty flickered over her face before hardening to stubborn resolve. And from the porcelain elegance emerged the steely features of the thief who'd broken into his home and fought like a tigress. Two sides of a very interesting coin.

"It's not Miss O'Connell. Not anymore. It's Cat now. And I'm whatever I have to be to survive."

"No angry father beating the streets looking for you? No brother with a blunderbuss and priest in tow?"

Her lips compressed until white lines bit into the hollows of her cheeks. "No one."

"Fair enough." He shrugged, reluctantly letting his curiosity go. A burglar who spoke and carried herself like a queen tantalized with possibilities, but he'd reached his quota of mysteries already.

"As for your library," she continued, "I was stealing." She crossed her arms. "Now are you going to send for the Watch or not?"

He bit back the retort on the tip of his tongue. Settled for, "Not."

The answers he sought were in the diary. They had to be. Why else would it have been hidden away and not with Father's other personal papers? And not just hidden away but warded and written in a language every scholar he'd contacted had labeled gibberish? The diary contained the keys to finally understanding the truth about his father's death. Perhaps even clues to his brother's disappearance.

And he sat across from the only person he'd found who could decipher it. Newgate would wait. Cat belonged to him now.