The books towered all around her. Hundreds of them. Mary stared in awe at the beautifully leather bound copies of more novels than she could ever have imagined stacked carefully on the mahogany shelves. This was twice the size of her father’s library.
Several titles jumped out at her, Pride and Prejudice, Les Miserable, Tom Jones, Wuthering Heights, Villette. . .
How long had it been since she had slipped a book into her hands and vanished into a story? Years. So many years and stories lost. Hesitating, her fingers curled into her palms, aching to touch them, but unsure if she should.
She’d almost not left her room, but after being locked away for so long, her new relative freedom couldn’t be denied. Slipping down Edward’s wide stairs had been thrilling and the first room she’d found had been this one.
She took a step forward, her slippers sliding over the deep red and cream Turkish carpet. The long hem of Edward’s dark navy dressing gown trailed behind her.
Wearing his clothing hadn’t bothered her as she thought it would. Surprisingly, the lustrous feel of the velvet and silk traced over her skin easily, as carefully as his own touch had done. She hugged it a little closer and glanced to the tall windows.
Though the drapes were all pulled back, exposing London’s dark night, lantern light spilled in over the carpets dancing with the candles flickering from the many candelabras interspersed throughout the library. The lights surrounded her in a soft glow giving the room an ethereal feel of magic and hope.
In this room, she felt so warm, so at ease. . . Well, more at ease. She was still unsure of her position and what Edward truly thought of her and what he might think if he found out the truth.
“Do you enjoy reading?”
She jumped then whipped towards that deep voice.
Edward stood in the door, his shoulder pressed against the frame. His white linen shirt was open slightly at the neck, a careless posture.
It was all so strange. Being free and being here with him. She should have been terrified. But she wasn’t. Not at all. “I do,” she folded her hands tightly before her. “If the book is good.”
He pushed away from the door and took two steps forward, close, but still far away enough to allow her space. She appreciated his effort. She imagined everything he did was rather calculated, even the decision to take only two steps.
Excerpt from LADY IN RED ©2013 by Maire Claremont. All rights reserved.
2011 Golden Heart winner Máire Claremont first fell in love with Mr. Rochester, not Mr. Darcy. Drawn to his dark snark, she longed to find a tortured hero of her own… until she realized the ramifications of Mr. Rochester locking his first wife up in his attic. Discovering the errors of her ways, Máire now looks for a real-life Darcy and creates deliciously dark heroes on the page. Oh, and she wants everyone to know her name is pronounced Moira. Her parents just had to give her an Irish Gaelic name.
The Victorian era was full of majestic beauty and scandalous secrets—a time when corsets were the least of a woman’s restrictions, and men could kill or be killed in the name of honor…
Lady Mary Darrel should be the envy of London. Instead, all society believes her dead. For Mary holds a secret so dangerous, her father chose to keep her locked away…and have a grave made for her near her mother’s. Driven to the edge of desperation, Mary manages to escape the asylum, only to find that her fate yet again rests in the hands of a man…
Edward Barrons, Duke of Fairleigh, longs for some way to escape the torment of his father’s crimes. In Mary’s warrior spirit and haunted gaze—which so mirrors his own—he finally sees his path to redemption. He will stop at nothing to keep her safe, even as she seeks revenge. But will the passion they discover in each other be enough to save them from their demons?
More About The Book: http://www.maireclaremont.com/#!lady-in-red/ckzw
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