Sunday, July 31, 2011
My Fifth Contract: AN INHERITANCE FOR THE BIRDS
The Wild Rose Press has contracted my latest Regency comedy novella, An Inheritance for the Birds for their upcoming historical Love Letters series. Each story starts with a letter which changes the characters' lives. Some examples are an arranged marriage, a Dear John letter, an unexpected inheritance, a mail order bride, or the death of a loved one.
My letter is a notice of the hero's inheritance. But there's a catch...
Here's the unedited blurb and excerpt:
Make the ducks happy and win an estate!
Mr. Christopher "Kit" Winnington can't believe the letter from his late great-aunt's solicitor. In order to inherit her estate, he must win a contest against her companion, Miss Angela Stratton. Whoever makes his great-aunt's pet ducks happy wins.
A contest? What a cork-brained idea. This Miss Stratton is probably a sly spinster who camouflaged her grasping nature from his good-natured relative. There is no way he will let the estate go to a usurper.
Angela never expected her former employer to name her in her will. Most likely, this Mr. Winnington is a trumped-up jackanapes who expects her to give up without a fight. Well, she is made of sterner stuff.
The ducks quack in avian bliss while Kit and Angela dance a duet of desire as they do their utmost to make the ducks--and themselves--happy.
Yawning, Kit shut the door behind him. Enough ducks and prickly ladies for one day. He dragged off his clothes and draped them over the chair back. He blew out both candles.
Bates had already drawn back the covers and left Kit's nightshirt on the pillow. The counterpane was soft under his hand, and covered a feather bed. He gave a grin. By any chance, had they used the down from the pet ducks to stuff the mattress and pillows?
After pulling on the nightshirt and tying the bed curtains back, he settled into the soft cocoon and laced his hands behind his head. Tomorrow, he would have it out with Miss Stratton about the steward's house, but that was tomorrow. He fluffed up his pillow and turned onto his side…
A bundle of flapping, squawking feathers exploded from the depths of the covers and attacked him. Throwing his arms over his head for protection, Kit fell out of the bed. He scrambled to his feet and bolted for the door, the thrashing, quacking explosion battering him. A serrated knife edge scraped over his upper arm.
"Ow!" Batting at the avian attacker with one hand, Kit groped for the door latch with the other.
The panel swung open. Miss Stratton, a candle in one hand, dashed into the room. "Esmeralda, you stop right now!"
The feathered windstorm quacked once more and, in a graceful arc, fluttered to the floor.
Kit lowered his arms and gave a mental groan. A duck. He should have known.
Thank you all,