This week we are exploring unusual settings and I thought I’d feature a snippet from my historical romance/time travel novel, No Regrets. A modern-day woman is swept back in time, away from the comforts and amenities of the twenty-first century and thrust into Regency England. Lucky for her…there’s a hot duke waiting at the other end!
“Didn’t Mrs. Henry tell you to stay away from here?”
Surprised by the malice lacing his tone, she took a small step backwards before nodding.
“Then why are you here?” he asked, his face twisted with anger.
“I—” she stumbled, fear beginning to course in her blood. “I was w-worried about you.”
A harsh bark of a laugh cut the silence of the room.
“Worried?” he asked sarcastically.
“Y-yes,” she answered, glancing back at the door, feeling very much like Chelsea must have only minutes earlier. Desperate for escape.
“Oh.” He slowly rose from his chair. “Yes, you should be worried, but not for me.” His clothes were wrinkled as if he’d slept in them, which she assumed he had. His white shirt was open at the neck and, as he approached her, she was able to make out the lightest smattering of dark hair on his chest. His hair was disheveled, as if he’d tried to pull it all out. His feet were bare, except for his stockings and she worried briefly about him cutting himself on the broken glass on the floor.
“I’m sorry I disturbed you.” She wished she had taken Mrs. Henry’s words more closely to heart. This man towering over her was not the Ben she’d come to consider a friend. He was a cold stranger who oozed danger through every pore on his body. “I can see you aren’t in the mood for company tonight.”
“Yes,” he hissed. “Sorry. You should be sorry. You were warned.”
“I’ll leave.” She turned quickly for the door.
“Oh no,” he said as he roughly grabbed her shoulders preventing her from taking a single step. He lowered his face until it was only inches from hers. His dark eyes bore into hers with an intensity that stole her breath. This man was not a friend. She shivered in his grasp as she looked into the eyes of a stranger, a madman.
“Ben,” she whispered, hoping to dispel the anger in his eyes, the violence in his face, the powerful grip of his hands.
“You were warned and now you must pay the penalty,” he said softly. Before she could reply, his lips descended to hers in a painful kiss. His grip on her shoulders tightened as he held her still for his assault. She struggled to turn her face away, but he moved his hands to the side of her face, refusing to allow her retreat.
His lips roughly ground into hers, his tongue pounding into her mouth, his teeth nipping her lower lip until she could taste the bitter metallic flavor of her own blood. She shoved against him with all her might, but her slight strength was no match for his power.
She began to fight back in earnest, pummeling his chest with her fists, as he continued to back her against the wall, his mouth relentlessly attacking hers while his hands moved slightly to capture her head in an even more forceful grip. Roughly, he pulled the pins from her hair, the sound of each one hitting the floor like another nail being driven into her coffin as he continued his assault. She realized she was defenseless against his might and for the first time since she’d met Ben, she was truly terrified of him.
Her soft whimper of alarm and violent shaking must have broken through his crazed mind as he slowly softened the kiss. His grip loosened as he brought his arms slowly around her back in an almost gentle embrace. His tongue, when it touched her this time, attempted to soothe the damage he’d wrought on her lips. It was if he were trying to heal the wounds he had inflicted with his own. The power of the previous kiss was gone, replaced now by lips that gently caressed hers.
The fear that had permeated her body only moments earlier fled, replaced with something perilously close to raw desire. Her clenched fists on his chest opened as she slid her arms over his muscular shoulders to wrap them around his neck. Driven on by her sudden capitulation, his hands roved over her body, touching her everywhere, desperately, as if she were about to vanish from his sight forever. No part of her was safe from his frantic, tender exploration. Her back, bottom, waist, breasts, stomach were all touched with a compassion and adoration she would never have suspected given his frightening mood. Shocked by the force of her own desires, she was helpless to resist his touches, his kisses. Her own cravings replaced the fear and uncertainty. She wanted this. She wanted him.
His hands returned to her head, soothing her scalp where he’d roughly pulled her hair before, clasping her cheeks gently, almost reverently in his large palms and the kiss turned even softer, his lips barely brushing hers in a wordless plea for forgiveness.
He worshipped her mouth as his hands slid through her long silken tresses savoring the feel of each strand. She mimicked the motion with her own hands as she ran her fingers through the soft, thickness of his hair, pulling him closer to her, unwilling to allow him to remove his lips from hers.
Her contented sigh cut through the silence breaking the spell that surrounded them. Replacing his hands on her shoulders, tenderly this time, he pushed her away from him slowly. One look in his eyes revealed, not the desire she knew was glowing in hers, but unadulterated anger tinged with something else—anguish. True heart-wrenching anguish.
She opened her mouth to speak, to comfort, but before she could utter a sound, the anguish turned back to pure rage as he turned her toward the door, leaning down from behind her to whisper one word in her ear.
Check out more unusual settings by these creative authors!