05 March 2015

Excerpt Thursday: HEART OF ICE by Sibelle Stone

This week, we're welcoming author Sibelle Stone, whose latest title is HEART OF ICEJoin us again on Sunday for an author interview, with more details about the story behind the story. One lucky visitor will get a free copy of Heart of IceBe sure to leave your email address in the comments of today's post or Sunday's author interview for a chance to win. Winner(s) are contacted privately by email. Here's the blurb. 

Will their passion for each other be a blessing, or fulfill an ancient curse and destroy them?

Lucinda Stafford is uniquely unqualified to serve as governess for the children of a handsome inventor. But, she’s determined to prove to her family she’s not a fragile, pampered heiress who can’t take care of herself. She didn’t plan to be attracted to the man who makes her furious one moment and whimper with desire the next. When danger threatens, can she save two innocent children from a terrifying nightmare?

Grayson Thorne has only weeks to prove his geothermal plant can generate electricity, or he’ll lose much needed funding. He’s desperate to hire a new governess, but shocked when his housekeeper returns home with a beautiful, educated female who awakens long dormant desires. She’s the perfect choice, if he can manage to keep his hunger for her kisses and fantasies of taking her to his bed under control. An ancient Icelandic curse hides in the hills, haunting the residents of Thornehús. Grayson and Lucinda may be swept away by passion, but they must face an unspeakable horror that threatens them all.

**An Excerpt from Heart of Ice**

            Lucinda expected more of an introduction. She’d also expected to see a man sitting at the huge desk in the middle of the room. But the leather chair behind it was empty. She stood, confused over what to do. No etiquette book ever described this scenario.
            The room was filled with shelves of books, arranged along the wall and behind the desk. A small gas lamp was the only light. A box sat on the desk and she walked across the room to look down at the contents, realizing she was probably snooping.
            She stared down at a turtle.
            “What the hell does one feed a box turtle?” the man’s voice bellowed at her from the dark shadows of the bookcases.
            Lucinda jumped at the question. “Worms, snails, slugs. You must dice it up of course and they like small bits of fruit and berries,” she suggested.
            A tall man holding a book, slipped from between a set of shelves. His hair was thick, dark and a bit too long for the current style. A neatly trimmed beard and mustache framed his supple lips. He wore a white shirt with the sleeves rolled up, revealing the thick muscles of his arms. A woolen vest covered an expanse of chest. He stared at her.
            “How would you know that?”
            She swallowed. Of all the things she’d anticipated about her new employer, she hadn’t considered the possibility that he could be handsome enough to take her breath away. She finally reminded herself to breathe.
            “I, um.” She licked her lips. “I had a turtle for a pet when I was a little girl.”
            “Are you quite sure about the dietary requirements?” He stepped closer and she could see his eyes were an amber brown. She swallowed again, hoping her voice wouldn’t squeak when she answered him.
            “Quite sure. Speedy enjoyed a very long life.”
            “Speedy?” He grinned.
            She felt her knees go a bit weak and she grabbed the edge of the desk for support.
            “That was the name of your turtle?”
            She smiled and tilted her head a bit. “I wanted to give him some incentive, but he never quite lived up to the name.”
            The grin turned into a laugh and he tossed the book on his desk. “Please sit down Miss…um, I’m afraid I was distracted when Mrs. Jensson introduced you.”
            “Miss Lucinda Stafford. I believe I’m to be the new governess―that is, if you approve of me.” She sat on the chair he’d indicated across from him and carefully arranged her skirts.
            “You’ve certainly proven to be useful already.” He pointed at the box. “My brother-in-law sent my son a turtle. I’m not sure if he was aware that Iceland isn’t exactly the right climate for this kind of pet.” He sat in the huge chair behind the desk.
            “I noticed you have a conservatory behind the kitchen, so perhaps the turtle could live in there. I suspect from the way it’s situated that even in the coldest weather the temperature is quite moderate in that space.”
            He sat back in his chair and studied her for a few moments. “That’s actually an excellent idea. Now, let’s get down to this governess business. I was told you have a reference.”
            Lucinda reached into her pocket and removed the letter of recommendation from her Great Aunt Millicent. “It’s from my former employer, an elderly relative I spent the past year caring for while in France, as a companion. While it doesn’t sound like an outstanding review, if you knew how stingy Millicent Gillhourne was with praise, you’d understand how pleased I am with the letter.”
            He read the letter and then handed it back to her. “You’re right, she isn’t exactly effusive with admiration, but she says some important things―that you make good decisions, and are trustworthy and kind. As a father, those are the qualities I look for in a caretaker.”
            Lucinda nodded. “I’ve met your children, and they seem quite bright but a bit quiet and reserved. I mean, for children.” She was babbling and she knew better than to criticize her employer at their first meeting. “I imagine it’s because of the many governesses they’ve had, that they don’t easily trust new people.” She let her words die in the silence.
            The Mister, who hadn’t yet introduced himself, gave her a scathing look. “I don’t think my children are reserved and they will change your mind about that in a very short time. Several of the governesses I’ve hired lacked the necessary skills to manage them. Certainly that was not the fault of Niels and Mari.”
            “Exactly what I think,” the words spilled out of her too quickly. “I think the last governess was too strict and certainly didn’t encourage Niels. Do you know she told your son he was a dolt?”
            A storm cloud passed over the man’s face and a muscle near his mouth tightened. “I did not know that, so I’m even more relieved Mrs. O’Brien left on her own. Knowing this, I would have marched her from this house immediately.”
            Lucinda nodded. “I quite agree. So you will be relieved to know I don’t believe in humiliating children, calling them names or using physical punishment to discipline them.”
            The smile returned to his face. “Exactly how do you discipline children, Miss Stafford?”
            She arranged her features to appear cool and confident. More confident then she actually felt considering the situation. “I have a theory that children are capable of understanding logic. I would simply reason with them, point out the value of cooperating and reward them when they do as I ask.”
            He nodded, although his mouth was a thin line. “It sounds reasonable. But, exactly how many children have you taught, Miss Stafford?”

Where you can find Heart of Ice:

About Sibelle Stone:
Sibelle Stone is the pseudonym for award winning historical romance author Deborah Schneider. Sibelle writes sexy steampunk and paranormal stories, filled with mad scientists, dirigibles, automatons, and creatures that would scare the panties off Deborah. In her spare time Sibelle enjoys dressing up in Victorian ensembles, modding play guns into something that looks a bit more sinister and wearing hats.

Find Sibelle Stone on the Web