A Devil’s Own Luck- Excerpt One

June 13, 2011

Okay, so you know it’s out and you’ve read the blurb on the official Dreamspinner new release page, now it’s time for the teaser.

This one’s fairly PG, nothing too naughty just yet.  I’ll be pulling a steamier snippet for later but I want to take my time and make sure you’re warmed up first. LOL



It was quiet in the alley for several long moments before William heard footsteps coming closer and pushed himself further into the shadowed doorway. The two men made their way past him and back up the street, side by side, but no other words were exchanged. He could tell by the stiffness of the shorter man’s shoulders, outlined in the lamplight, that he was not at all pleased, but he still followed Graves back to the club without further protest while William took a moment to absorb what he had heard.

He was not at all certain whether he was pleased or disappointed that the attractive young man was not Henry Bradshaw. On the one hand, it meant that he was not the young man who had attempted to seduce and despoil his niece, but on the other, it also meant that William had no real reason to pursue Stephen any further, most particularly now that he knew the man’s relationship to Graves. Tempted as he might be to steal Graves’s paramour, William needed to concentrate on getting the letters from Bradshaw, and angering the man’s cousin and only connection in society probably would not get him what he wanted.

William was still a little shocked that Graves would have the audacity to invite his paramour to his club, and agreed with Stephen’s assessment that the man might just be a little mad. Stephen definitely showed more wisdom and discretion than his keeper; that was certain. Shaking himself out of his preoccupation with the man, William made his way back to the club at a leisurely pace, stopping to order another drink and chat with a few casual acquaintances on his way back to the game room. By the time he returned, Graves’s circle had dispersed and the men were scattered about the room, most sitting down for a run at the tables.

He spied Stephen in the back corner, drinking a glass of wine and staring at nothing, seemingly lost in his own thoughts. Despite the knowledge that he was merely Graves’s kept man, William still found himself drawn to the young spitfire. Everything he had seen and heard spoke of a sharp wit and passionate nature, and William had to admit that that called to him, perhaps even reminded him a little of himself at that age. Stephen certainly had the speech and manners of someone much higher in station than one would normally find in the role of paramour. His clothes might not be as fine a cut as his companions’, and William could detect a slight Northern accent in his speech from time to time, but the lad still had an air of education and refinement about him that was surprising.

William shook himself again and forced his eyes away from Stephen, scanning the room once more. He found Graves and the thin, sour-faced man he assumed must be Bradshaw seated at a table together near the middle of the room, and made his way toward them. As he approached the table, Alfred Wallis, a casual acquaintance, hailed him jovially and offered William his seat.

“Come, Carey! I am done for the night. Commerce has killed me, to be sure. My darling Emma will have my hide if I lose any more to my fine fellows here,” he said, a pained grin splitting his round face.

“Thank you, Wallis. I will be delighted to take your place. My evening has just begun, so I still have plenty to lose to these fine gentlemen before I make my way to my bed,” William answered with a bland smile for everyone at the table.

Just as William sat down, he caught an exchange of glances between Graves and his cousin, and a slight smile curved Graves’s lips. The smile immediately put William on edge. There was something predatory about it that he recognized all too well, and after a few rounds of play, he realized why. The two men were working together, so subtly that only someone with his experience in these matters would even begin to guess what they were playing at.

They were skilled. William had to admit that Graves was cleverer than he had given him credit for. Either that or Bradshaw was the architect behind their little scheme. But William had spent years playing with men for whom cheating was a matter of course— expected, even—and these green boys were not clever enough to get the better of him for long. William smiled to himself. He would play booty to these fellows long enough for them to become careless, and that was when he would make his move. If all went well, he would have the letters in his hands before the break of day.

The play continued and became more intense, the bids and pots climbing higher and higher. They soon had a bit of an audience, as the other tables emptied and men gathered to watch. William noted with pleasure that Stephen was now among them, watching the game closely. Now that he was closer, William was finally able to see that Stephen’s eyes were a lovely shade of amber, rimmed in dark brown— beautiful, even when they were radiating concern and exasperation, as they were now.

Stephen must have felt William’s regard, for he looked up suddenly, and warm amber met William’s steel-gray. William held his gaze for several moments with a lazy smile and a quirked eyebrow. When William did not look away, Stephen’s jaw hardened and his eyes narrowed. William was not certain if the lad was attempting to look forbidding, but if he was, he was failing miserably. With lips so lush and full, the scowl was more sensual than forbidding, and the fire sparking in his eyes only made William want to take him somewhere private and watch that angry fire melt into the heat of desire… then desperate need… those plush lips softening even further, swollen with passion and kisses….

As William’s eyes hooded at the thought, the young man’s expression turned wary, his own eyes widening and quickly breaking away.

Yes, little lamb. There is a wolf in the wood.

After only a moment, however, he saw Stephen square his shoulders and raise his chin, meeting William’s eyes again in angry defiance.

The lamb has teeth, he thought with pleasure, then sobered as he realized he should not be playing these games in the middle of his club. He had just named Graves a fool for his indiscretion, and now here he was, doing the same. Gritting his teeth, William returned his attention to the play. He did not have time for games of that sort just now, and if Graves had brought the lad as a distraction, William was not going to give him the satisfaction of knowing he had succeeded.

2 Responses to “A Devil’s Own Luck- Excerpt One”

  1. Kendall W says:

    WOW! Ready for more!

  2. Tom J says:

    Awesome – can’t wait to get my copy!

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