Name That Scene — Mystery Excerpt

    The Kenleigh-Blakewell Family Trilogy art by Jenn J

    Time is moving so quickly these days, I can't keep up with it. I see on my Widget that there are only 64 days until the release of Untamed, the next book in the MacKinnon's Rangers series. (Notice I didn't say "trilogy"... )

    But before Morgan and Amalie arrive to share their story with you, something else exciting is happening. My entire backlist is being re-released. That includes the Kenleigh-Blakewell Family Trilogy that most of you have never been able to find, as well as the first book in the MacKinnon's Rangers series, Surrender.

    So I thought I'd steal an idea from RBL Romantica and play some rounds of "Name That Scene," featuring mystery excerpts from my first three books — Sweet Release, Carnal Gift and Ride the Fire. Then, when I post the answer, I'll tell you a little about writing that scene and that particular novel, giving you a bit of background.

    Some of you will know these because you've stuck with me these past years and met me by reading my historicals. Others only know the I-Team and perhaps don't even read historicals... yet.

    For those of you who've never visited RBL Romantic, Name That Scene is a guessing game. I post a scene with the hero and heroine's names removed, and you try to guess which book it's in. Post the answer. People who come after you won't be able to see your answer until they go to post their own (no peeking). We'll see how many recognize each scene. I will be giving signed copies of Surrender away to those who play, and the good news is you don't have to get it right to be eligible to win a book. Just participate.

    I might do several scenes from the same book. I might skip around. Who knows what I'll do to try to stump you...

    Without further blather or ado, let us begin.

    This ought to be easy for you veterans, not so easy for others...

    Name That Scene #1:

    She stifled a giggle at the thought of what she was about to do. When she'd told him she would punish him for defying her, she'd been jesting. Then an idea had begun to form in her mind — a startling, irresistible idea. Over the course of the evening, the idea had become a plan. She'd decided at least a dozen times not to go through with it. It was, she knew, not the sort of thing young ladies from good families did with men — even after they were married. It was positively indecent, which made it all the more enticing. In the end, curiosity — and the desire to give him the surprise of his life — had won out over propriety, and she had decided to stick with her plan.

    She glanced nervously into her mirror and smiled conspiratorially at her reflection. Her hair was twisted stylishly upon her head, a few curls tumbling down her temples and at her nape. Her cheeks and lips were touched with rouge, her eyes lined with color. She wore the same ivory silk-and-lace gown she'd worn to Geoffrey's birthday party — the one she'd worn when she'd first called him by his real name. She looked ready for the ball — except, of course, there was nothing beneath the gown. Nothing.

    She smoothed her skirts and looked around the room one last time. He'd arrive any minute. The candles on her bedside table cast a warm glow over the room. The covers of her bed were already turned down. In the middle of the bed lay the only pair of shackles she'd been able to find on the plantation. Though old and unused for years, they still worked. The key hung on a silken cord between her breasts.

    The creaking of footfalls on the stairs told her he had come. She smoothed her skirts nervously, her heart pounding. Could she really do this? She felt herself smile, but forced it away.

    A quiet knock came at the door. The handled turned. He stepped in and turned to close the door. He looked so handsome, dressed in a clean linen shirt and breeches. She had to fight the urge to rush forward and fall into his arms.

    "XXXX, love, I..." He turned toward her, staring. "You look beaut—"

    "You're on time, convict." It took every ounce of determination she had not to smile or giggle. "That's good. It will go easier on you."

    She could see in his eyes the moment he understood her game. His look of confusion was replaced by surprise and then amusement before his gaze grew cold and hard. "I'm to be punished then?"

    "I can no longer tolerate your insolence, convict. I mean to teach you a lesson." It was good she had rehearsed her lines. It would have been impossible to say them else. Was she really going through with this?

    He leaned against her bedpost nonchalantly, crossing his arms. Defiant and confident, he reminded her so much of the man he'd been when she'd first purchased his indenture. "And what makes you think I'll cooperate, mistress, when I could just as easily break your pretty neck?"

    "You'll find what I have in mind far more pleasant that what you'll receive if you disobey."

    "I see." His gaze raked over her body in blatant sexual appraisal, and she shivered in anticipation. "And just what do you have in mind?"

    "Undress — slowly."

    He raised an eyebrow, then untied his shirt and slowly pulled it over his head. It fell, forgotten at his feet. Candlelight cast the bronze muscles of his arms, chest and abdomen in glorious high relief. He reached for the opening of his breeches, his muscles shifting, and began to untie them.

    She felt desire flow like warm brandy through her veins. "Slowly, convict."

    His gaze locked with hers again as ever so slowly he pulled on the ties , undid his breeches, and let them drop to the floor. He was rock hard, his sex thick and heavy.

    She found she could scarcely breathe. "Your hair. Remove the thong."

    Not breaking eye contact, he reached back with one hand, and his dark hair slid free, falling just below his shoulders. He looked untamed, primally male, and, with his lash scars, not a little dangerous. He stepped toward her.

    She stepped back. "Stop! The shackles." She pointed to the bed. "Lock one end around your right wrist, then pass the chain behind the bedpost, lie down and lock the other end around your left wrist."

    He looked at the bed and saw the shackles. She heard his quick intake of breath and saw a shadow pass over his face. Then it was gone. "Don't you trust me, fair mistress?" His voice was dark as sin and soft as velvet. His eyes held the allure of every man who'd ever tried to beguile a woman into a false sense of sexual safety.

    "Never." She smiled and spoke in a rich, seductive voice she didn't know she had. "But I will have your complete cooperation."

    "I see." Naked, he walked to the bed, picked up the shackles, and closed one end around his right wrist. It locked with a click. He sat and moved backwards across the bed, then reached behind his head and passed the chain behind one of the bedposts. "What makes you think these chains will protect you?"

    "Do it, convict."

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