February is so drear this year in the UK, lots of storms and floods, so I am not getting my usual fix of walking the moors on crisp icy mornings. Instead it is nicer to curl in the warm and look out of the window! So here's an excerpt from my latest Sarah Mallory romance, which is out this month. LADY BENEATH THE VEIL takes the premise of a couple who should never have married - a prank that went horribly wrong, but of course everything turns out well in the end! Hope you enjoy it.
Dominique stood very still, staring up into the
shocked face of her new husband. It was all there, everything she had expected:
horror, revulsion, disgust. She had known
how it must seem to him once the trick was revealed. He pushed his fingers
through his auburn hair, disturbing the carefully arranged disorder, while
behind them Max’s cruel laugh rang out.
‘But I don’t
understand. Your cousin—’
and Dominique’s heart went out to the man standing before her. He looked
As well he
might. Instead of the beautiful, voluptuous blonde he had courted for the past
two months he was married to a diminutive brunette whom he had never seen
before in his life.
something amiss?’ The vicar looked from one to the other before directing a
vaguely worried look towards Max. ‘Lord Martlesham?’
nothing’s wrong,’ declared Max, still chuckling. ‘The groom is struck dumb by
the enormity of the occasion, that’s all.’ He began shepherding the guests away
from the church. ‘Come along, everyone, the carriages are waiting!’
moment!’ The man beside her did not move, except to shake her hand from his
arm. ‘Where is Dominique?’
Albury, have you not understood it yet? You have married her!’ Max gave him a
push. ‘Come along, man, don’t stand there gawping. Let us return to the Abbey.’
Dominique forced her vocal chords to work. ‘Come back to the Abbey and all this
can be explained.’
grabbed her arm and set off for the gate with Dominique almost running to keep
up with him. As was usual with weddings, the path was lined with well-wishers
who showered them with rice as they hurried to the carriage. It was decorated
with ribbons for the occasion, the Martlesham coat of arms displayed
prominently on the door. Without ceremony her escort bundled Dominique into the
carriage, climbed in after her and the door was slammed upon them. Max’s
grinning face appeared in the window.
Gideon, try to contain your lust until after the wedding breakfast. The journey
from here to the Abbey ain’t long enough to tup a woman properly. I know, I’ve
closed her eyes in mortification. The carriage began to move and the raucous
laughter was left behind them.
was one of Max’s little tricks.’
looked at Gideon. His voice was calm, but there was a dangerous glitter in his
hazel eyes that made her think he might be about to commit murder. She
everyone at the Abbey was privy to the joke, except me.’
‘Max told me
she was too unwell to attend the ceremony.’
bowed her head.
‘She does not
would never have agreed to such a scheme.’
‘I take it
the female I knew as Dominique was hired for the part?’
damned good one. She fooled me into thinking she was a lady. Whereas you—’ His
lip curled. ‘You may be Max’s cousin, but no true lady would lend herself to
this, this joke.’
flayed her. Given time, she could explain to him why she had agreed to Max’s
outrageous scheme, but they had already arrived at the Abbey. She waited in
silence for the carriage to stop and a liveried footman to leap forwards and
open the door. Her companion jumped out first and with exaggerated courtesy put
out his hand to her.
madam, shall we go in to the wedding breakfast?’
Dominique accompanied him into the house.
Lady Beneath the Veil, pub Harlequin.Mills & Boon, Feb 2014