It's been a while, but I'm so pleased to be back with Sweet Saturday Samples , and this Saturday I am offering a short sample from my current release Honor's Dilemma, published by Astraea Press, and the prequel to Vidal's Honor.
“What is it, Charles, what is wrong? Are you not well? Shall we sit down?” Honor tried to pull away, to see him more fully, but he tightened his hold on her.
“I asked you to dance this waltz with me, Honor, because I need to talk privately with you, and this—” He indicated the other dancers. “—is about as private as we can manage tonight.”
Her heart skipped a beat. Two men. She loved two men with equal devotion and had pondered long and hard whether to deny them both and marry for convenience, or to accept the first offer she received. For she knew, without knowing how, that very soon, either Vidal or Devlin would offer for her hand.
It was Vidal who increased the distance between them this time.
“What I have to say to you I didn’t want you to hear from anyone else…”
Never had Honor heard such anguish in Vidal’s voice before. “What is it? You are frightening me.” This was not going to be an offer for her hand, and something within her died a little death while another part of her wondered whether she’d misjudged Vidal’s affection for her. Perhaps she’d transferred her own feelings onto him and been mistaken in thinking he returned them.
The briskness of his tone startled her back from her wandering thoughts.
“You are not listening and I am running out of time. Pray pay attention, my dear.”
“Sorry, Charles, I am listening now. You have my full attention.” She wanted to weep, but managed to pin a smile on her face instead.
“I am leaving for the Peninsula tonight.”
The words refused to penetrate. Instead they seemed to buzz, like a swarm of bees, round and round inside her head.
“I beg your pardon? What do you mean, you are leaving? You said only last week you were going to the country for the summer.”
“I am leaving for Portugal—” He pulled his fob watch from his top pocket. “—in less than two hours.”
Her legs buckled and she fell against Vidal’s chest, all thought of dancing forgotten. The flash of brightly coloured gowns swishing past and the sparkling light from the overhead crystal
candelabra faded into a misty grey. The gay rhythm of the waltz music transformed into a cacophony of harsh sounds to Honor’s ears.
“Why?” She’d known that choosing between the two men she loved above herself would cause her grief, but never had she anticipated it would be the other way round, that one of them would walk away from her first. The shock of Vidal’s action robbed her of rational thought for a moment while she continued to cling to him, fearing their imminent separation.
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