08 September 2011

Excerpt Thursday: Diane Scott Lewis

This week on Excerpt Thursday, we're welcoming historical author Diane Scott Lewis, as she celebrates the release of her latest novel, ELYSIUM. Join us on Sunday, when Diane will be here to talk about the novel and give away a electronic copy! Here's the blurb:

In 1815, after the battle of Waterloo, Napoleon Bonaparte is exiled to Saint Helena.  On this remote island, Amélie Perrault, the daughter of Napoleon’s head chef, is determined through healing herbs to rise in importance and is fascinated with the fallen French Emperor. When her beautiful singing voice catches Napoleon’s attention, she is drawn into his clash with their British jailers, court intrigues and a burgeoning sexual attraction.

Napoleon is soured on love. Since political maneuvers fail to release him, he desires freedom no matter the risk. Amélie suspects someone in their entourage is poisoning the emperor. Will she uncover the culprit in time and join in Napoleon’s last great battle plan, a dangerous escape? 

***An Excerpt from ELYSIUM***

“Indeed, they are afraid of me, Amée.” Napoleon felt a crack in the rock. How could he distract her?

“You have choices to be happy here or not. I could help you. Doesn’t it make sense to seek comfort?” She bent to pluck a pink Venus rose that straggled on this cliff of slag. Her breasts swelled in her bodice. The longing in her voice asked too much of him.

“If I’d made a humiliating peace I might have kept my empire for the second time, but my enemies wanted me disposed of.” He traced his finger in the crack. “Ah, I’ve made many mistakes and now I’m paying for them. I over extended myself in my aspirations.”

“Don’t lament the present like Ossian. You have a brilliant mind, put it to use.” Amélie sniffed the delicate petals, feathering them over her lips.

“Nothing is that simple.” Napoleon stared away from her face, toward the coastline. “They should require me in Europe. I’m the natural arbiter between the past and present, between the ancient nobility and the revolutionary ideals.”

Amélie frowned. “Could you stand such an intermediary position for long? Why don’t you try to mediate here, with Governor Lowe?”

Napoleon laughed. He couldn’t help it. “No more books for you. Your intelligence has surpassed mine.”

“For enjoyment I rely on simple things. My garden doing well, a day without rain, a pleasant walk with you. I used to think the singing made you happy.”

“It does, Amée, but the kindest thing I can do is to repeat my offer to send you to Italy for professional study.” Napoleon squeezed her shoulder.

“But it’s my wish not to go. I refuse to be sent away like an insignificant lackey. I’m worth more than that.” Amélie dropped the flower and turned her back on him. He pulled her around to face him.

“You are worth more. I’m trying to be noble and think of you, something that’s rare for me with women.” He shook his head wearily. She stirred up so many clashes inside him—like his fascinating Josephine, when he was young and foolish. “All right, I’ll remain selfish.” She’d see reason later. He framed her face in his hands and kissed the tip of her nose, treating her like the child he wanted her to be. He leaned back against the spear-shaped rock that hid the orderly officer’s view, hopefully hers as well, and slid his left hand down another crack.

Amélie stared down as he fumbled in the stone’s crevice, feeling for the paper supposedly stuffed there. He extracted it. She bent forward, eyes sharp, mouth open. Her lips dusted by petals hovered close to his. His willpower dissolved, Napoleon forgot his purpose, his reason, and pulled her against him. He tasted her breath, sweet like cherry juice, caressing his lips over hers. Her body felt warm and pliant along his and she sighed into their kiss. His foot shifted and dislodged several pebbles, which ricocheted like gunshots down the cliff side.

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