Friday, December 18, 2009
The Raven Saint chapter tease
The winner of last week's free copy of The Raven Saint is: Kaitlin Rose!
This week's contest I will keep all the names of the people who have entered so far in addition to the ones entering this week and I'll put them all in the same hat. In other words, if you've already entered twice and you enter again this week, your name will be in the hat 3 times.
Now, that you know a bit about the characters, can you predict what they will say? Here's a snippet from chapter 5. At the end, choose the response you think best fits our hero, Captain Rafe Dubois.
Hot fluid seeped into her mouth. Spicy, bitter. It slid down her throat, stealing her breath. Grace jerked her head away. Her cheek brushed against something soft. The pungent scent of meat intermingled with the sting of brandy that bit her nose. Vague nightmarish memories lurked like shadows in her mind, taunting her. Memories of her capture and a tall Frenchman with a heart of stone.
A hand gripped her chin and forced her face forward. Fingers that felt like rough rope and tasted of salt pried her lips apart. More hot liquid burned her tongue, poured down her throat, and she gagged. Raising a hand to her mouth, she sprang up, coughing. Dark eyes peered down at her, the spark of concern in them instantly hardening.
“Drink this, mademoiselle.” Captain Dubois inched the bowl toward her mouth.
She pushed it away, shaking the fog from her head. “Can you not wait until I am conscious?”
“When you are conscious, you do not eat.” A shadow of a smile played around his mouth. He rose from the bed and set the bowl atop a table.
Only then, did Grace realize she lay upon a real bed. She scanned her surroundings. Two massive wooden chests ornamented in gold and bolted shut with iron locks guarded the wall opposite her. Upon the plush Persian rug at the room’s center sat three colorfully upholstered armchairs. Beyond them, a cabinet housed a haphazard assortment of books, swords, pistols, and bottles. A large carved mahogany desk perched before a span of windows that stretched across the stern of the ship. Two guns, perched in their wheeled carriages, flanked either side, ready to be shoved through portholes should an enemy dare to approach from behind.
She was in the captain’s cabin.
In the captain’s bed.
With the captain looming over her, wearing that sardonic smirk upon his lips.
Her chest tightened. “Why am I in your bed? What day is it? How long have I been here? And why are you feeding me instead of Father Alers?” She glanced down at the loosened ties of her bodice, and a flush of horror heated her face. “How dare you?” She cowered away from him.
Captain Dubois raised his brows. “Which question would you like me to answer first, mademoiselle?”
“None.” Grace swung her legs over the side of the bed. “I wish to leave this instant.” But her body would not cooperate. Her breath caught in her throat. Her head spun like a waterspout upon the sea, and her legs quivered like pudding. She lifted a hand to her forehead.
A warm hand gripped her arm. “I suggest you lie back down, mademoiselle, and eat something. It has now been seven days since you have partaken of a full meal.”
Grace shifted from beneath his touch and gazed out the windows where the rays of the morning sun angled across the captain’s desk, setting the brass lantern aglitter. The glow lit the quadrant, backstaff, charts, and quill pen and beamed off a rapier, setting aglow the amber liquid in a half-empty bottle.
“Mercy me, I slept here all night?” She snapped her gaze to Captain Dubois. The possibility sped through her mind, seeking an alternative, any alternative besides the one that her purity could never consider.
He grinned, yet a spark of playfulness flitted across his dark eyes. Remembering the loose bindings of her bodice, Grace threw a hand to her chest. “What have you done?” Terror crowded in her throat.
He gave a derisive snort then shook his head and gripped the baldric strung over his white shirt. “Never fear, mademoiselle. I prefer mes conquêtes to be awake.” He sauntered to his desk.
Conquests. Grace swallowed, praying he told the truth, praying she had not become one of his conquests during her unconscious stupor.
He picked up a chart, examined it, then tossed it back to the desk, sending dust particles floating within a ray of sunshine into a frenzy that reflected on his face. Danger hung on his broad shoulders like a well-fitted cloak, but there was a depth to this man that went beyond the baseness of a common brigand, a depth that lurked behind those dark, smoky eyes. He spoke of a greater good—what had he meant by that?
“You should not treat women as property to be conquered or sold to the highest bidder,” she finally said. Grace clasped her moist hands in her lap, trying to stop them from trembling. “Intimacies”—her voice squeaked and she cleared her throat—“between a man and a woman should remain within the sanctity of marriage.”
He turned, crossed his arms over his chest, and chuckled as if she’d told a joke. “Do spare me your proverbs, mon petit chou pieuse.”
“Did you just call me a shoe?”
A smile broke across his lips and widened. He chuckled. “Non. A little pious cabbage.”
“A cabbage? Of all the. . .”
“It is a term of endearment.” He waved a hand through the air, then settled his gaze upon her.
Endearment, indeed. More likely an insult to her intelligence. Fidgeting, she looked away beneath the warmth in his eyes. She’d never been alone in a room with a man other than her father. And Father Alers. What would Reverend Anthony say? Her reputation would be besmirched beyond repair. But what did it matter? Where she was going, she would not require a reputation.
He approached her. “You slept here because I feared your fever would return, and I loosened your bindings to allow you to breathe.”
Graced fiddled with the ties. “Though I am appreciative of the clothes, Captain, the bodice is far too tight.”
“Perhaps you are too fat.” He grinned.
“Fat?” She jumped to her feet. The cabin spun around her. “You are no gentleman.”
“And it took you only seven days to reach that conclusion?”
Grace sank back down to the bed, studying his cavalier attitude with curiosity. “You seem proud of your boorish behavior.”
“I am proud of many things that would not engender your good opinion.”
“Of that we are in agreement, Captain. But as I am sure you know, ‘Pride goeth before a fall and a haughty spirit before destruction.’”
He chuckled. “So, do you chastise me for being proud or being a boor?”
“Yet you are the one who has fallen.”
“I have not fallen,” Grace snapped. “I am here for a reason.”
Will Rafe say?
A. "You are here because I wish it so."
B. “Oui, to line my pockets with gold.”
C. "Oui, for my entertainment."
D. "There can be no reason for this madness."
E. "My apologies, mademoiselle, if I have offended you."