09 July 2015

Excerpt Thursday: A WAGER FOR THE WIDOW by Elisabeth Hobbes

This week, we're pleased to welcome author ELISABETH HOBBES again with her latest historical romance release, A WAGER FOR THE WIDOW. Join 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 A Wager for the Widow. Be 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.


‘I SUPPOSE A KISS OF GRATITUDE IS OUT OF THE QUESTION?’

Widowed Lady Eleanor Peyton has chosen a life of independence. Living alone on her rocky coastal outcrop, she’s cut herself off from the world of men – until William Rudhale saves her life and demands a kiss!


As steward to Lady Eleanor’s father, Will knows the desire he burns with is futile – but he’ll still wager he can claim Eleanor’s kiss by midwinter! Yet when the tide turns Will realises vulnerable Eleanor is far too precious to gamble with. Can he win his lady before it’s too late?

**An Excerpt from A Wager for the Widow**

They travelled fast inland, but it was late afternoon before Eleanor’s carriage reached the crossing of the River Taw. The wide river was unusually high for the time of year and moving faster than Eleanor had seen it before. Hers was the only carriage waiting to cross so the driver manoeuvred it into the front of the ferry. The craft, no more than a large, flat platform with low wooden railings at either side, dipped from side to side alarmingly.
Eleanor’s stomach heaved as the cramped carriage rocked on the chains suspending it within the wooden frame, adding to her sense of nausea. She peered through the curtain.
‘I’m going to get out,’ she told Jennet. ‘I think I’ll feel more nauseous if I stay inside.’ Eleanor fastened her cloak around her shoulders and drew up the hood, squeezing her way past the maid’s knees. A blast of wind hit her as she climbed down, whipping her cloak up around her. She clutched the edges tightly together with one hand while she gripped the low railing of the ferry to steady herself.
The ferryman braced his back and rammed his pole into the riverbank. The craft creaked alarmingly as it started to move away from the shore, the great chain that spanned the river pulling taut.
The shrill blast of a hunting horn sounded, ripping apart the peace. A commanding voice shouted, ‘Ferryman, stop!’
Eleanor peered back at the riverbank. A rider on an imposing chestnut-coloured horse was galloping along the road at the edge of the water. He pulled the horse up short.
‘You’re too late, my friend, the current has us now,’ the ferryman called back.
‘Wait, I tell you. I must cross today. I have business to attend to.’ The rider’s voice was deep and urgent, his face hidden beneath the hood of a voluminous burgundy cloak. The ferryman shrugged his shoulders and dug his pole into the river, pushing further away. Keeping one eye on the drama playing out, Eleanor walked carefully around behind the carriage and made her way to the other side of the deck to get a better view.
What happened next had the texture of a dream. The horseman cursed and wheeled his mount around. He galloped away from the water’s edge, then turned back. With a sudden bellow he cracked the reins sharply and sped back towards the river. As the horse reached the edge, the rider spurred it forward. The horse leapt through the air with ease to land on the deck alongside Eleanor. The ferry bucked, the far end almost rising from the water. Hooves clattered on the slippery wood and the animal gave a high-pitched whinny of alarm.
It was not going to stop!
As a cumbersome-looking saddlebag swung towards her, Eleanor threw herself out of its way. The railing caught her behind the knees and she stumbled backwards, her ankle turning beneath her with a sickening crunch. Crying out, she flailed her arms helplessly, unable to regain her balance as the river came up to meet her.
She saw the horseman lunge towards her, felt his fingers close about her wrist. She gave a sharp cry as her shoulder jolted painfully and her feet slid on the deck. Cold spray splashed over her face as her head fell back, her free fingers brushing the surface of the water.
‘Take hold of me quickly. I can’t stay like this for ever,’ the rider ordered, tightening his grip on her wrist.
Eleanor raised her head to find herself staring up into a pair of blue eyes half-hidden in the depths of the voluminous hood. The rider was leaning along the length of his horse’s neck, body twisted towards Eleanor at what seemed an impossible angle. She fumbled her free hand to clutch on to his arm and he hauled her back to her feet. As she stood upright a spear of pain shot through Eleanor’s ankle. She gave an involuntary gasp and her knees buckled.
With the same speed as his initial rescue, the rider threw his leg across the saddle and dismounted with a thud. His arms found their way round Eleanor’s waist, catching her tight and clasping her to him before she slipped to the ground.
‘I’ve got you. Don’t wriggle!’
The man’s hood fell back and Eleanor saw him clearly for the first time. He was younger than his voice had suggested. A long scar ran from the outside corner of his eye and across his cheek, disappearing beneath a shaggy growth of beard at his jaw. A second ran parallel from below his eye to his top lip. His corn-coloured hair fell in loose tangles to his shoulder. Close up his eyes were startlingly blue.
Footsteps thundered on the deck as Eleanor’s coachman appeared. It struck Eleanor suddenly that the man was still holding her close, much closer than was necessary, in fact. She became conscious of the rise and fall of his chest, moving rhythmically against her own. Her heart was thumping so heavily she was sure he would be able to feel it through her clothing. As to why it was beating so rapidly she refused to think about.
‘You can let go of me now,’ she muttered.
The horseman’s eyes crinkled. ‘I could,’ he said, ‘though I just saved your life. There must be some benefits to rescuing a beautiful maiden in distress and holding her until she stops shaking is one of them. I suppose a kiss of gratitude is out of the question?’
‘You didn’t save my life. I can swim,’ Eleanor cried indignantly. It was true she was trembling, but now it was from anger. ‘I am most certainly not kissing you!’

Learn more about author Elisabeth Hobbes


http://books.harlequin.com/search#p=R&w=elisabeth%2520hobbes&url=http%3a%2f%2fbooks.harlequin.com%2fsearch%3fw%3delisabeth%2520hobbes%26ts%3dajax&rk=1&uid=114292949&ts=rac&rt=racsug&rsc=fJgS1lZEYWGPLzs3&asug=elisabeth%20hobbes&apelog=yes

https://twitter.com/ElisabethHobbes

8 comments:

Mary Preston said...

A wonderful read through thank you.

Debbie McCreary said...

This sounds like a book I would enjoy. Thank you for sharing with us.

Debbie McCreary said...

Forgot to leave my email. Sorry. macdebbielou@yahoo.com

Robin said...

This looks like a great book, it has captured my interest already!

robindpdx@yahoo.com

LilMissMolly said...

Sounds great! Lvsgund at gmail.com

Crystal Cox said...

Wow! I just loved the excerpt . Thank you so much , will it become available on Amazon? I clicked the link and it said it was not available :(

spiritofnlm@yahoo.com

Crystal Cox said...

Wow! I just loved the excerpt . Thank you so much , will it become available on Amazon? I clicked the link and it said it was not available :(

spiritofnlm@yahoo.com

Kathryn Albright said...

Love this excerpt Elisabeth! Very evocatively and compellingly described-- especially the way his blue eyes were within his hood. (Kind of reminded me of Arrow on TV if you've watched that at all.) Best wishes on your release!