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I grew up in Colorado at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, then lived in Denmark and traveled throughout Europe before coming back to Colorado. I have two adult sons, whom I cherish. I started my writing career as a columnist and investigative reporter and eventually became the first woman editor of two different papers. Along the way, my team and I won numerous state and several national awards, including the National Journalism Award for Public Service. In 2011, I was awarded the Keeper of the Flame Lifetime Achievement Award for Journalism. Now I write historical romance and contemporary romantic suspense.

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Seductive Musings

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Torture by Excerpt — A scene from Untamed

Hey, what's with the freakin' insects outside that click? We don't normally have those in Colorado. It feel like I'm surrounded by strange aliens or something — all that klicking. Are you hearing them, too, Liberty Loo?

But annoying insects are not the topic of this blog. I'm sure you're happy to know that.

Yesterday, it was just a threat. Today, I'm acting on that threat.

Bwahahaha!

Yes, it's another round of "Torture by Excerpt," in which I, the socially maladjusted author, force you, the hapless, innocent FOP — that's "Friend of Pamela" — to read an excerpt from my work in progress. By so doing, there shall be kindled inside you a desire to read more (one hopes), and yet, seeking relief, you shall find none. For the book is not yet finished.

See what happens when a romance writer doesn't get her chocolate? Already insane, she becomes dangerous!



From Untamed

Amalie bathed the Ranger’s face with a cold, wet cloth she’d dipped in water sprinkled with wild sage and juniper. It was a cure she’d learned from her grandmother’s people. The wild sage would purify him, and the juniper would cleanse away the remnants of his sickness. His fever had broken early this morning. There was no doubt now—he would live.

His skin was no longer pale but flushed, his dark hair slick with sweat, little rivulets trickling down his temples, his neck, his chest, drenching the linens beneath him. He slept peacefully, his long lashes dark against his cheeks, his jaw shadowed by many days’ growth of beard, his chest rising and falling with each deep, steady breath. But his peaceful rest would not last long.

The laudanum would soon wear off, and whatever pain he still had would return. Monsieur Lambert, hoping to save their dwindling stores of the precious medicine, had given the Ranger his last dose a few hours past, vowing to force water down his throat if necessary. But that was not the worst of it. When she’d come down to breakfast, she’d overheard Lieutenant Rillieux and Bourlamaque discussing what to do with the Ranger next. As soon as he was able to stand, they would move him to the guardhouse—and his suffering would begin anew.

And this time…

Amalie did not wish to think on it.

She dipped the cloth back in the scented water, squeezed it out, and nudged the linens down to his hips. She bathed first his arms, which were still stretched above his head, each wrist shackled to a bedpost. Then she wet the cloth again and bathed his shoulders, working her way over his chest and down his belly.

Although she knew it must be sinful, she couldn’t keep her gaze from following her hands, his man’s body so different from hers, the sight of him both disturbing and intriguing. His skin was soft, but the muscles beneath it were hard, the feel of him like steel sheathed in velvet. Although his nipples drew tight from the chill of the water as hers did when she was cold, his were dark like wine, flat and ringed by crisp, dark hair. Where her belly was soft and rounded, his had ribs of muscle—and a trail of dark curls that disappeared beneath the linens.

As if drawn by a will of its own, her hand left the cloth behind to press against those ridges, her fingers playing over his sweat-slick skin as she slid her hand slowly from his belly up to his chest, something tickling inside her at the feel of him. Her hand came to rest above his heartbeat, its rhythm steady against her palm.

“Your touch could bring the dead to life, lass.”

Amalie gasped, jerked her hand back and saw to her horror that the Ranger was watching her. Heat rushed into her face, made her cheeks burn, English words forsaking her tongue. “M-mon Dieux! Pardonnez moi, monsieur!

He watched her through dark blue eyes, his gaze soft, a hint of amusement on his face. “Easy, lass. I didna mean to frighten you.”

“Forgive me if I offend, monsieur!”

Morgan’s mouth was as dry as sawdust. His chest ached. His right leg throbbed. But at the moment he didn’t care. He watched the play of emotions on the French lass’s face—fear, shame, wariness—and found himself wanting to lessen her unease. “’Tis only nature’s way for a maid to be curious about men. Besides, I wouldna be a Scotsman if I shrank from the touch of a bonny lass… a beautiful woman.”

Did she understand him?

The deepening flush in her cheeks told him she did.

And she was beautiful. Her eyes seemed to hold all the colors of the forest—greens and browns mixed together. He’d never seen any like them. They seemed to slant upward at the corners, or perhaps that was just the effect of her cheekbones, so high and delicate they were. Her nose was small and fine, her lips full and well-shaped. Her skin was flawless, almost luminous. Her hair was the color of sable, dark and gleaming. It hung to the floor when she sat, tresses so long and lovely they made his hands ache to touch them.

She was French—that much he knew—but he’d bet his ration of rum she was also Indian. Her cheekbones, the slight slant of her eyes, the hue of her skin—like cream with just a hint of coffee—bespoke a mixed ancestry. And then there were the herbs she’d placed in the water. No simple French lass was likely to know about such things. Was she Huron? Abenaki? Mi˙kmaq?

What did it matter?

She’s like to be the last lass that e’er you set eyes on, MacKinnon.

As Morgan has always loved the lasses, ’twas was a strange thought.

Roused by the blessed relief of a cool cloth against his skin and the fresh scents of sage and juniper, he’d come slowly back to awareness, thinking for a moment that he was a lad again, that he’d fallen sick and was in Joseph’s mother’s lodge in Stockbridge. Then he’d opened his eyes to find himself being perused by the same lovely French angel who’d haunted his fevered dreams, and it had pleased him to know she was real.

He’d watched through half-closed eyes while she’d bathed his body, her gaze traveling over him with innocent curiosity. Then she’d laid her small, soft hand upon him, her timid touch burning a path over his skin, threatening to rouse him in an altogether different manner.

“The Abbesse says I am far too curious.” Her accent was soft and sweet.

“The Abbesse?”

She nodded. “From the convent where I was raised.”

Aye, and that explained her bashfulness.

“Och, well, if you were raised in a convent amidst womenfolk, ’tis even more reason for you to be curious, aye? No wrong has been done, lass. Dinnae trouble yourself. What is your name?”

She looked as if she did not want to answer. When she spoke, her voice was almost a whisper. “Amalie Chauvenet.”

“’Tis a bonny name. I’m thinkin’ you already ken who I am.”

She nodded gravely. “Morgan MacKinnon, the leader of MacKinnon’s Rangers.”

There was a hint of—was it anger?—in her voice when she spoke.

“How long has it been?”

She glanced at the window, at the ceiling, at her hands, which lay folded in her skirts—but she did not look at him. “Fifteen days since you were wounded.”

Fifteen days!

No wonder he felt so bloody weak!

Connor, Joseph and the men would have long since made their way back to Fort Elizabeth. Surely, even Iain would have the news by now. Did his brothers believe him already dead? Would they blame themselves? He pushed the question from his mind.

“Might I have some water, Miss Chauvenet?”

She reached for the water pitcher, a surprised look on her face. “You no longer seek your own death?”

He shook his head. “I have lost that battle.”

Her lovely face grew troubled. She poured water into a tin cup, then lifted his head and held the cup to his lips. Silken strands of hair slipped over her shoulder to fall against his chest, the scent of her like lavender, fresh linen and woman. “Drink.”

He asked her to refill the cup four times before his thirst was quenched, wondering as he drank at the distress he saw on her face. Had the Sisters raised her to be so primsie that she still felt guilt for touching him? Perhaps she was afraid of him and did not wish to be here. “I thank you for your care of me, Miss Chauvenet.”

The troubled look on her face became genuine anguish.

And he understood.

“You ken what awaits me, and it troubles you to be speakin’ wi’ a dead man.”

She stood so quickly that her stool toppled over. Then she stared down at him with eyes that held the first sheen of tears. “I do not care what becomes of you, monsieur! Why should I? You and your Rangers killed my father!”

Then she turned and fled in a swish of skirts.

And as he watched her hurry to get away from him, Morgan knew that his sins had caught up with him at last.

19 comments:

Kristi said...

WOW.. I am SO gonna love Morgan! :) Love and miss you my sista (Liberty TOO!) -KrisTAY (pygmy gangsta bitch #1)

zinreads said...

*deep sigh* How long do I have to wait for this one? No, don't tell me, I'll just get depresed. *g*


Ann

KrisTAY! So good to see your pygmy self here! I hope you're not working too hard. Pass my love to the other pygmy. And I do so hope that I you love Morgan!

Ann, dear, there isn't even a publication date for this one. I think my publisher has given up ever getting a book from me on time and just won't slot it till they see it. Which sucks because it probably means (wincing here) 2009. Believe me, it hurts me, too!

Bo said...

I never thought FOP would be a title of pride for anyone,but I'm glad to be one,LOL! You are too funny,I LMAO reading that! It seems you are becoming comfortable with your sadistic side...*G*

I wanted to go to bed after this,too,now how am I supposed to do that,huh? I hope you're happy! *G* She cares,I can tell! And Morgan lying there awake while she's bathing him,the rogue! I love it.I'm wondering what's going on with the rest of the Rangers in the fifteen days,too.

GREAT excerpt,thank you!!!

Ronlyn said...

typing one handed...again (I'm getting good at this) *G*

LOVING this!!!! Although it's hard for me to crush on a beautiful man who has the same name as my sister. ;)

ames said...

Torture indeed! I can't wait. :P

Debbie H said...

The pain the agony, may I have more please? *BEG* I read that and just sighed at the thought of Morgan,I love him already. Thanks for the excerpt, was wondering how they were getting along.

Cheryle said...

I do so love a man tied to the bed post. 2009 you say, I guess that means plenty of more time to torture us with the book!!

Sue Z said...

Hey, I just happened to be listening to my Mac Rangers sound track....

PC you ARE such a tease...Moragan is yummy! You gotta love that crisp line of curls leading to the nether lands!

Love ya (PGB #2)

Bo, I'm glad you enjoyed the excerpt, but I guess I can't post any more till after this baby is born. I don't want to be keepin' you awake nights... And, yes, dearie, you are an FOP. I'm glad you like the title. LOL!

As for the other Rangers, well, it will be a long time ere he sees them again...

Ronlyn, one-handed typing is a great skill to have in the days of Internet sex. D'oh! Did I just say that?!? Um, in your case, of course, you're cradlin' a new babe.

Hey, Ames... I'm only on Chapter 5, so it's going to be a long wait, I'm afraid. But I'm glad you're excited. :-)

Hi, Debbie, dear. I'm so glad you love Morgan. So do I! (What a coincidence!) I'll try to do somewhat regular torture sessions so you can keep up with him and Amalie.

Cheryle, I'm with you. Give me a big, strong muscular man... and tie him to my bed. LOL! There's something about all that power rendered helpless. *sigh* Oddly, there is a notable lack of men tied to my bed at the moment.

SueZAY! Yo, pygmy beeotch! You've been having too much fun lately. I'm glad you like Morgan. And they don't call that line of curls the highway to heaven for nothin'. Do you know what I'm saying? I think you do. LOL!

I'm so glad, too, that you enjoyed your brief trip on the "Pamela Clare Reality Tour." LOL! I love that. We won't mention all of the stops on that tour (one in particular needs to remain secret...). But it was so fun to have you all here to share it with.

Aimee said...

WHY IS MY MAILBOX EMPTY!?!?!?!?!
*snort*

Reads verra nice! I can't wait to see more!
Love ya!

Ooooh - I'm with Cherlye - a hawt gorgeous virile hero tied to a bed. *shiver*. I loved how you did it with Nicolas and I'm thinking I'm going to love how you're doing it with Morgan.
That could be your signature! Helpless hero tied to bed *g*

Hi, Aimee

Glad you liked it. I haven't sent chapters out yet. I'm only on 5, and you know how I tend to rewrite and rewrite and rewrite. :-)

Love you, too.

Ronlyn, I thought that would make you laugh.

KristieJ — What a great idea! I need a graphic with a thick male wrist bound and tied to a headboard. Anyone have an image like that to share? LOL!

Joanie said...

"See what happens when a romance writer doesn't get her chocolate? Already insane, she becomes dangerous!"

Is that a hint??

I have just caught up on everything and am sitting here with tears in my eyes. Your son, sigh, what a sweetie and first love is so darn precious and intense...Did my heart good to read about all the lovely, romantic moments he has had in the last year.

I am intrigued about some old dead guy in a freezer? WTF? I will have to check that out when I make it to CO. Unfortunately, mountain men are now off the menu, but a girl can still peruse said menu, just not order, ah? *evil smirk*

Glad you had so much fun with your gangsta mates, I am such a bad RBL, I haven't been there for months.

I am definitely a FOP and you are an evil, sadistic author. I want Rangers and I want them now!
Apparently the first ranger story is no longer available?
Sheesh, that is like giving someone crack and then putting them on the moon. Get is sorted, ah?

Saw HE in another bookshop here!
Woo-Hoo!!! So I went up and ordered all the rest of your books.
I won't go in and buy them and then they will have to go on the shelf for some other lucky woman to stumble across....heh, I have my evil side too!!!

Too long since we last spoke,
take care of you and my best wishes for your son in his heartache.

Joanie xx

Sheila said...

Thank you ma'am may I have another!!!? What a great excerpt! The torture continues....Morgan tied to a bed? Yup, thats gonna give me some dreams tonight!

Your son seems like the greatest kid!!! Not too many boys do things like that for thier girlfriends anymore. So glad to see he was brought up right!!! So sorry he is going through this difficult time. Is he going to school where she is next year?

The mountains are gorgeous!!!! I need to come to Colorado! It seems very peaceful there and what a view to wake up and go to work to every day! You are a very lucky lady! The pics of your visit with Kristi and Suzie were great! Of course you and Evil Libby both look fantastic!! Glad you had a great time!

2009? I can't take it! UGH!!!! The torture!!! I think I may be caught up now! LOL!

LOL, Joanie! So glad to see you here!

Now that I've whetted your appetite for Rangers, I need to get some copies of Surrender so that I can send you one. I think they have them at Amazon again. I know they reprinted it. Cool about HE being in an HK book store. :-)

Thanks for your words about Ben and Liz. He's doing pretty well, considering. School keeps him busy.

Hi, Sheila! Another excerpt? Don't you think you'll grow board with Morgan and Amalie? Hmm. I'll have to think about it... *EG*

Ben doesn't know where he's going next year. He's hoping to get into Northwestern University near Chicago, which would be two hours away from her. But it's a tough school. He's got great grades and test scores, so we're hopeful.

The mountains are gorgeous, and the Gangsta Bitches are pretty hot, too. I miss them!

I'll try to finish Morgan's story sooner!

Hugs,
P.C.

Casee said...

I refuse to read it. LMAO. It's torture, I tell you. Torture.

Anonymous said...

Oh my! I can hardly wait!

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