This week, the work of Lily Silver is in the spotlight here on Nesie’s Place! Get ready for adventure, intrigue, and of course, romance! Lily is also sponsoring an awesome Rafflecopter with a Kindle Fire as the grand prize! ($50 gift card for an international winner!) Check out the excerpt, then scroll down for the Rafflecopter and a FREE gift from Lily!
Bright Scoundrel Excerpt Day three:
I have always loved Irish lore and legends. For my second book in the Reluctant Heroes Series, it was a natural to bring Kieran O’Flaherty back to his Irish homeland. He is the elder brother of the heroine in Dark Hero, and he was the heir of Viscount O’Flaherty of County Galway. Kieran’s life was anything but posh. His father was executed for treason when Kieran was just nine years old. His mother, the daughter of an English earl, returned to England and remarried. Kieran’s stepfather despised him, so Kieran was secretly sold as an indentured servant and sent to the West Indies. The family believed him to be dead for eighteen years.
In the first book of the series, Dark Hero, Kieran was a support character. He meets his younger sister for the first time and is restored to the family. Thus, Kieran went from being a servant, the only life he knew for eighteen years, to suddenly becoming a powerful Englishman’s heir. He didn’t cope well with the change in fortunes. He became a notorious rake. Thus, at the beginning of Bright Scoundrel Kieran has fled the scandal attached to his name in London in the hope of restoring his father’s castle in Ireland and making a life for himself in the land of his birth.
His task is not easy. Kieran struggles to gain the trust of his father’s people, the Clan O’Flaherty, and to bring the estate back from ruin. The castle is cursed, filled with ghosts and a noxious elemental spirit that has a taste for human blood. Smugglers are terrorizing the tenants in the area. Add to that a female estate manager who seems to be all prickles and spines and resents Kieran’s presence at Roisin Dubh Castle. Is she in league with the smugglers? He’s not certain.
This book was so much fun to write! You’ll find romance, a bit of Irish history, and plenty of good old fashioned Gothic suspense as Kieran struggles to overcome the spiritual and physical obstacles in his path. I incorporated some of the Irish legends into the storyline, including a local banshee, the mischievous spirit known as a pooka, a member of the fey race hiding among Kieran’s household staff, and a good old fashioned haunted castle. Kieran O’Flaherty is not like other romance heroes. His strength is in his magical abilities and he must use those talents to resist his enemies and establish his place as a leader among his father’s people.
Rose de Lacey was a unique character to develop. She’s an independent woman in 1802, a disciple of the feminist writer Mary Wollstonecraft, and sees marriage as a form of indentured servitude. Rose embraces being a spinster as it gives her a freedom most females cannot hope to enjoy. She works as an artist and takes on the job of estate manager for an absentee English landlord. Through letters, she’s known only as the Honorable R. de Lacey. When the owner’s handsome grandson arrives to inspect the estate, she’s certain she’ll be sacked. But Kieran O’Flaherty, Lord Grey, proves to be unlike any man she’s ever encountered. Like Rose, Kieran is struggling to remain free in a world where society’s expectations overshadow the dreams of personal liberty.
Excerpt from Bright Scoundrel, copyright Lily Silver, 2013
Rose watched, astonished by Lord Grey’s warm, open manner with the tenants. She expected him to remain proud and aloof as he had been with her. He allowed the older women to fuss after him and chuck his cheek. He shared his family news with those who inquired.
“My mother died in ’95, in London. I wasn’t with her at the time,” Lord Grey replied. He sat in the center of the small cottage with his new tenants gathered around him, mostly the women folk, young and old, as he answered their questions with a pleased smile. The wee lads leaned over the table, fascinated by their lord’s fine black top boots and his smart riding crop. The younger women stood behind their plump mothers, peering at this handsome stranger with unveiled longing, as if Prince Charming himself had deigned to pay them a visit.
Ach, and wasn’t he just the charming rogue when he put his mind to it? There was something peculiar about Lord Grey, a potent allure that reeked of magic. Rose had to admit she was not immune to his charms.
“The Countess O’Flaherty was a kind woman,” an old woman with a soft, round wrinkled face replied. “May she find peace.”
“Thank you,” Lord Grey replied. “My sister still resides in the Indies.”
“A half sister, surely? We heard your mother remarried after his lordship passed on.”
“No, Elizabeth is an O’Flaherty. She was born seven months after our Father’s death. On Lughnassa. Granny Sheila used to say it was fitting the last child of The O’Flaherty was born on the Sun God’s feast day. She considered my sister to be the last ray of sunshine for Clan O’Flaherty.”
“Ooh,” his lordship’s listeners chimed in unison.
“Old Sheila was the high priestess of Clan O’Flaherty,” Grainne, the oldest of the women gathered at Archie O’Flaherty’s cottage, added with an air of authority. She tossed a guarded look at Rose before leaning closer to ask Lord Grey in a low whisper, “Tis said the gift of the seer runs strongest in the female linage if the chieftain. Does your sister have ‘the gift’, my lord?”
He, too, glanced pointedly at Rose. And all eyes followed his lead, settling upon her to remind her that she was the outsider among them, not Lord Grey. These were his people, his clan. “Elizabeth has the gifts of the seer, just as do I,” he answered solemnly, giving Rose a smile that held the force of a physical caress. She felt it, even standing across the room.
Oh, merciful heavens! Rose felt her face flush as she held his scorching gaze. How could she have forgotten? The O’Flaherty Chieftains were known for being able to read people’s thoughts and to see the future or the past with a mere touch of their hand. It was rumored to be passed down through the female line but it was said the men, too, possessed the uncanny ability see into a person’s soul.
If it were true then this alluring man would know her deepest secrets. Rose had nursed a strong fantasy as a girl about living in the castle across the way and being the lady there. Worse for it, when she met had Lord Grey she was alarmingly attracted to him.
Did he know? Did this lovely man know he affected her so? Her face felt hot. If Lord Grey knew the secret desires in her heart, she was sunk.
“Does your sister have any children?” Grainne asked when the murmurings regarding a daughter born after the Viscount’s death was discovered. “Has she married? What keeps our rightful seer in the tropics, if not the love of a man?”
“Yes,” Lord Grey answered. “Elizabeth is married to a cane planter and they have three children. Two boys. Twins with the O’Flaherty coloring. And a baby girl was born last winter.”
“Twins,” Mrs. Archie clapped her hands together with glee. “Boys. ‘Tis a sign, it is, an omen foretelling the end of a long barren stretch for the clan. The old ways decree that when the clan seer is fertile the laird shall be fertile, and the land will prosper. So then, when shall ye be setting’ up the nursery at Roisin Dubh, Lord Grey?”
Rose gasped softly. She tried to appear unaffected by the frank talk of the peasants. Sure, and as soon as the words were spoken, didn’t the baron’s eyes dart quickly to her and then away again, almost as if the setting’ up of his nursery was up to her to decide.
“I’ve no plans to marry at present,” the baron said in a light teasing tone, bringing the clucking and tsking of old tongues.
“Lass, what is it?” A pesky old woman brought Rose’s hot flush to everyone’s attention. “You look as if the old seer herself just crossed your path from beyond the grave. Here now, get our Rosy here a pint of ale, she’s ready to faint dead in this heat.”
“Aye, that she does. Let’s step outside for a moment.” Mrs. Archie O’Flaherty took Rose by the arm and led her out of the small cottage where several people had congregated in anticipation of meeting ‘the lost heir of the O’Flaherty’s’. Mrs. Archie was barely five years older than Rose but had seven children and a very solid opinion about marriage and childbearing being a woman’s first duty to God and her husband.
“I’m fine, Mrs. Archie.” There were so many O’Flahertys among the cottagers it was customary to call them by their husband’s first name to differentiate each O’Flaherty brood–or to simply call them by their given name if one was on familiar terms with them.
Rose was not on familiar terms with the people of Roisin Dubh Estates. She’d been careful, as per Mr. O’Brien’s instructions, not to get too familiar with those who owed her employer rents as it would lead to softness in her dealings with them and then she’d not be favored by the owner. It was sage advice. Just the same, Rose found it difficult to remain aloof from these kind people.
“Ach, you’ve got it bad, haven’t ye,” Mrs. Archie whispered as they stood outside against the whitewashed wall.
“I know not what you mean,” Rose demurred. She knew precisely what the keen woman meant. She watched a black and white cat meander slowly across the yard with its tail held high. It dropped suddenly in the grass and rolled about with casual ease. Another cat, a fat orange tabby, came bounding out of the lean-to that held the livestock and pounced on the reclining cat. They tussled and rolled in the grass in good natured playfulness.
“You devour him with your eyes. Ach, and what woman wouldn’t?” Mrs. Archie crossed herself, as if she’d committed a sin in stating the obvious. “And our Lord Grey is a man worth admiring, to be sure.”
“He’s a nobleman. Destined to be the Earl of Greystowe one day,” Rose pointed out, tiptoeing artfully around the subject of her attraction to the man.
“And what of it? Plenty of ‘em marry maids and farmer’s girls.”
Rose laughed at the absurdity of Mrs. Archie’s statement. “In a ha’penny novel, more the like. Not in real life.”
“Tis true, I say. The mighty Earl of Shannon, didn’t he marry a serving girl? Aye, and Lord Kingsbourgh’s brother married the governess he’d hired to teach his children, so don’t be crushin’ the hopes of many a lass with all your fine learning and book reading, Miss de Lacey.” Mrs. Archie turned to her with a scowl. “I know what I’m saying, girl. And as for you, well, you be fairy struck, for sure.”
The gilded copper head emerged from beneath the low cottage door. Lord Grey, the O’Flaherty of Clan O’Flaherty himself stood next to Rose. And he was studying her with those mysterious blue-green eyes. “Are you well, Mistress of the Badgers?”
His teasing brought a smile to her lips. And Mrs. Archie, watching Rose’s response, “fairly Shall we continue on or would you prefer I escort you back to the castle?”
And make sweet, slow love to you in the cool, shaded tower room of the master suite?
Rose looked frantically into those cool azure green pools, uncertain if she’d heard him say that or if she merely imagined it.
Oh mercy, she had to be losing her mind.
As a special gift for visitors to Nesie’s Place, the awesome Lily Silvers is giving away Book 1 in the Reluctant Heroes series, Dark Hero – a $5.99 value! Use the Smashwords coupon to claim your copy. Giveaway ends June 1st!
Use the code XX39V at checkout to get this book for free!
“Dark Hero, A Gothic Romance: Reluctant Heroes #1” on Smashwords
~ RAFFLECOPTER ~
Enter for a chance to win a KINDLE FIRE or a print boxed set of the Reluctant Heroes series – four books!