Wednesday, December 28, 2016

#Excerpt: DARE TO LOVE A SPY by Debra Elizabeth


Seventeen-year-old Hannah Richardson curtsied to her partner before leaving the dance floor. Her cheeks were flushed, and the ringlets of her rich brown hair that had escaped their pins lay wet against her neck. She made her way to the double doors leading to the balcony overlooking her aunt’s gardens and stepped through. She looked around to make sure there were no gentlemen in the vicinity so as to not compromise her reputation. She was hot from dancing and a few moments outside on the balcony couldn’t possibly cause a scandal. She inhaled deeply of the cool night air. Goosebumps rose on her arms from the chill, but she ignored them. She was happy to be out of the stuffy ballroom, if only for a moment or two. Aunt Mary’s gardens were one of her favorite places to visit, and she felt at home and comfortable here. It was her own private sanctuary, and she relished the beauty and peacefulness of the place. A few goose bumps were well worth it for such a sanctuary.
 “It’s so lovely here,” she murmured as she stepped off the balcony and wandered down the path while breathing in the exotic smells of the gardens. Her aunt had hired the best and most experienced gardener in London, and no other gardens rivaled the Tisbury Gardens, especially with its many varieties of roses. Hannah bent over one of the more fragrant roses and breathed deeply. When she straightened, she thought she heard voices scattered on the breeze. She looked farther down the path, but the shadows were deep and no one was in sight.
“Who’s there?” she whispered. Perhaps it was a couple seeking privacy. She knew she shouldn’t go snooping, but the thought of seeing who was meeting in secret spurred her down the path.
She looked left and right, but there was no one around. She sighed. There would be no spying on illicit love tonight and it was time to return to the ballroom before her own reputation was compromised. Before she could take another step, an arm circled around her waist and a hand tightened around her throat as she was tugged back against a broad, hard chest.
“Oh!” she cried out in surprise as her heart hammered in fright. A cold, quiet terror unfurled in her chest. She had never been handled so roughly in her life. Who would dare do such a thing, and especially in her aunt’s gardens? What was the meaning of this?
“You must be careful not to walk alone at night, Miss Richardson,” a deep, husky voice whispered in her ear.
“What do you want? Unhand me at once,” she demanded, her rising indignation overtaking her original scare.
“To pass along a warning, that is all. Heed my advice,” he said, his hot breath on her neck sending unexpected shivers down her spine.
“How dare you put your hands upon my person?” she asked, trying to dislodge the arm around her waist.
In an instant, the pressure was gone, and she almost felt adrift with the mystery man gone. Hannah whirled around to confront the scoundrel who had accosted her, but there was no one there.

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Title: Dare to Love a Spy
Author: Debra Elizabeth
Genre: Regency Romance

Blurb:
Miss Hannah Richardson is enjoying a Season in London. She's not looking for a husband, at least not this Season. She wants to enjoy herself before settling down to married life. All that changes, however, when she sees the Duke of Wetherby. He's tall, dark and impossibly handsome and someone Hannah wants to get to know better.

Camden Darkin, the Duke of Wetherby, is not fond of attending soirees, dinners or balls, but his latest mission for the Crown demands he mingle with the ton. He has vowed never to marry because of his dangerous work and the constant bevy of beauties anxious mothers throw into his path is not tempting him in the least. That is, until he meets Hannah Richardson, a young woman unlike any other he's ever met. Can he learn to love or will his hardened heart rob him of the very thing he needs the most.

Amazon link:
  
Reviewer’s comments:

"I loved the murder-mystery flair that seemed present and the deliciously tense undertone of the spy network. These points gave lots of flavor to the budding romance and caused lots of conflict well so we ended up with a really meaty story"

"A very well-written book, I highly recommend it for those who love a witty, fast-paced Regency romance."


Author bio:
Debra Elizabeth is the romance pen name for fantasy author Debra L. Martin. She has been writing stories since her teens and decided to finally publish her romance stories under a pen name so as not to confuse her fantasy fans. She publishes epic and urban fantasy under her true name with her co-author and brother, David W. Small. A full list of all of her books can be found at her blog, Two Ends of the Pen.