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Regency Romantic Suspense Excerpts

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An Unexpected Pleasure ~ Excerpt from 'A Code of Love'

Cord stepped into the hallway. “Lady Henrietta, what a pleasure to welcome you to Rathbourne House.”

She stood abruptly. By the astonished expression on her face, she hadn’t expected to see him. “My lord…” she mumbled, looking down at the floor. She fingered a necklace hidden under her pelisse, an anxious gesture, he was coming to recognize. “I’ve come to see your aunt.” Her chin went up in defiance.

He knew nothing of her friendship with his aunt. He glanced behind her to see if her maid accompanied her. She was alone.

She didn’t offer any further explanation but bit on her lower lip.

A very sensual lower lip, now that she had called attention to it. He found himself riveted to the pink plump lower lip. “My aunt is out on her social calls with Gwyneth. May I assist you?”

It didn’t matter what brought her here today. He wasn’t going to let her leave until he had time to probe the mystery of her unaccompanied appearance.

She stood motionless.

The air filled with expectation.

“Is your need to see my aunt concerning your uncle? I know they’re close acquaintances.”

It was hard to imagine that her large green eyes could get any larger, but they seemed to grow.

“What do you know of my uncle?” Her strident voice and stiffened stance challenged him. She was absolutely compelling with her fiercely determined eyes.

“I don’t believe I’ve yet had the honor of meeting the gentleman.”

She studied him, weighing his answer.

“I’m trying to understand what would cause you to arrive at Rathbourne House, seeking word with my aunt.”

“My visit is of a private nature.”

His impulse was to take her into his arms and console her about whatever problems she faced, to kiss away the anxiety furrowing her forehead. “May I offer you tea while we wait for my aunt?” He gestured with his hand to the marble staircase, which wound grandly up to the second floor.

A Code of Love

The Invalid ~ Excerpt from 'A Code of the Heart'

A Code of the Heart by Jacki DeleckiAmelia didn’t share Gwyneth’s amusement. She wanted to believe that Lord Brinsley cared about her, but who could rely on the opinion of a blissful bride? She wished she wasn’t lying in bed like an invalid with her tangled hair and a bandage wrapped around her head, but Gwyneth was adamant she had to remain recumbent. Doctor’s orders.

Gwyneth opened the door with the sound of the footman’s tap and waved in the visitor.

“Brinsley. Please come and see for yourself that the patient is doing fine.”

Gwyneth waited at the door, as Lord Brinsley entered. His brown, curly hair was tousled; his shirt and cravat were stained with blood. His eyes were dark and sunken with anxiety.

Amelia had been unaware of the tenderness she felt for him until now; she wanted to hold him, to comfort him, but she didn’t dare.

“Thank you, Lady Gwyneth.” Brinsley’s voice and manner were much subdued.

Gwyneth curtsied to the gentleman and left the room, closing the door behind her.

Amelia clenched her hands on the damask coverlet. She’d be scolding Gwyneth for this newest attempt at matchmaking. Gwyneth’s maid was in the dressing room a few yards away, but Gwyneth had left her alone with Lord Brinsley.

He edged closer to the bed, scrutinizing her face, noting details of the bandage and the facial swelling.

“Miss Amelia, are you comfortable?” His voice was hoarse with emotion.

She tried to lighten his serious mood. “My injury doesn’t warrant bed rest, but Lady Gwyneth and the doctor were quite fearsome.”

“Of course, you must rest. You lost a great deal of blood, and you’re quite pale.”

“I doubt greatly that I’m pale. This is my normal skin color. I suspect you look worse than I do.” There was purple bruising below his eye, covering his strong cheekbone almost back to his ear. “I stopped a ball, but by the looks of it, you stopped a very large fist. We make quite a pair; now we’re matching.” She teased, but the gorgeous man stared at her as if she were on her deathbed.

He stepped closer and she got a whiff of his scent—lime and male muskiness. “I’m truly sorry. This was my fault. If I had stayed quiet, you wouldn’t be injured.”

The way he looked at her, with such concern and care, she couldn’t look away. Butterflies danced a fast tempo in her stomach. She was captured again in his all-consuming stare.

A Code of the Heart

The Foolish Man - Excerpt from 'A Code of the Heart'

Stunned by his abrupt manner, and his obvious rejection, Amelia stood in shock and watc

A Code of the Heart by Jacki Delecki

hed Derrick walk away. What a striking figure he cut in his formal clothes. In black and white, he looked formidable and aloof, and more appealing. But she knew his soft and caring side, and she would’ve chosen a waistcoat with spring colors of gold or green for him.

All the young debutantes and married women watched him make his way with his forceful stride across the crowded ballroom.

Her feelings were reeling. Why had he treated her so cold and distant? She had gotten use to his intense stares and his enticing smiles. He seemed to be both hurt and angry. Aunt Euphemia had referred to better times.

Whatever had distressed him, he showed no inclination to talk to her. And what had he said to her after Aunt Euphemia left? “Congratulations…” Awareness dawned. He had witnessed Michael and her together and concluded that she still cared about Michael. Was that the reason for his hasty departure and his rejection of her?

She needed to talk with him, explain that she was finally clear about her feelings for Michael. But how could she explain to the foolish man when he wasn’t going to listen? She had to find a way to make him listen. She also needed his help in rescuing Elodie.

She’d wait for a

break after his dance with Lady Rowley. Why had his aunt arranged for him to dance with the flirtatious widow? Derrick didn’t seem to mind the crude cut of the dress or the way her wobbly breasts jiggled. In fact, his eyes hadn’t left Lady Rowley’s very voluptuous bosom the entire time they danced.

Her face burned to watch his obvious attraction and the woman’s blatant flirtation. The lady had feigned ignorance of the turn in the dance, allowing herself to bump against him, so he had to catch her from stumbling, affording him a perfect view down her dress. Derrick smiled at the lady in appreciation. Jealousy and anger formed a molten mix of hurt.

Just then Derrick looked up at her, as if he knew she was blazing with jealousy. He gave her a cold smile, filled with a grim satisfaction. The look scalded her. Why was he angry with her? He was the one flaunting himself with Lady Rowley.

Secret Rendezvous

A Christmas Code by Jacki DeleckiThe door to the conservatory squeaked open pouring light into the room. She jumped behind the Palmaceae. Her heart accelerated wildly. She waited, her ears drumming with the silence.

“Gwyneth?”

Ash’s whispered voice was a balm to her shattered nerves.

She stepped out from the plant. “Ash, I’m here.”

He walked toward her. His strong profile and confident walk made her want to run into his arms, but she controlled the impulse.

“Why are you hiding?” He asked in a teasing tone.

“Why were you late?” She didn’t like the idea that he’d found her frightened at their first secret rendezvous.

“Late?” He placed one hand on his hip, his tone sardonic. “I didn’t realize I was late.”

“Never mind. I’m unsettled after my fall.”

He stepped closer to inspect her carefully, his light eyes moving over her body. “Did you trip?”

She wasn’t quick to get mad, but she felt the anger slowly moving up her spine. Cord and Ash had tormented her relentlessly about her clumsiness when she was a young girl. “First of all, I didn’t trip as you suspect. And I wasn’t clumsy as a girl. I always tried to impress you with my daring feats. And I accomplished my deeds despite growing almost as tall as Cord in one year.”

Ash snorted, which only added fuel to the burning fire of her displeasure.

“Honey, you’re not that tall.”

His endearment went a long way in appeasing her. “Did you just see Lady Charolois in the hallway?”

“No. I didn’t see anyone.”

“She just ran out of the door at the same time someone knocked me down.”

“Someone knocked you down?” Ash pulled a pistol from beneath his waistcoat and scanned the room. He moved closer to her. “Are you hurt?”

“I’m fine, just shocked.”

“Which way did he go?”

“I’m sure he left through the garden door when I was getting up from the floor.”

“Did you recognize him?”

“No. When I was struggling to stand up, I heard the door open and saw Lady Charolois running out of the door.”

“Let me take you to your room then I’ll come back here to look around.” Ash took her by the elbow and led her toward the door.

“I’m not going to my room. I’ll go with you.” She pulled away from his arm.

He took her arm again and led her to the hallway. “You’re not going anywhere, but back to your room. You could’ve been hurt…”

She looked down the hallway and behind her before she whispered, “I’m fine. You said I could be part of this mission.”

All About Kissing - Excerpt from 'A Code of Love'

Excerpt from A Code of Love

Gus pounced as Henrietta rose from her knees, the task of weeding the flower beds complete. Henrietta teetered but the impact of the four-stone Labrador couldn’t be stopped. She fell backward on her heels, giving Gus the perfect position to lick her face. His wet kiss landed squarely on her lips and was followed by a full frontal assault. Her shrieks encouraged Gus to intensify his slobbery affection.

“Gus, you kiss better than the gentlemen of the ton.” She stood, brushing the paw marks from her pale yellow muslin dress.

“You never told me that you kissed a lot of men.” Edward came down the steps. Her younger brother never appeared to be listening, but it was like him to hear her slightly risqué comment.

“I was joking, and a gentleman would never ask a lady whom she has been kissing.”

“Why were Michael and his friends laughing about Lady Hawksley’s lips?” Edward asked.

Henrietta was going to wring their older brother’s neck for being indiscreet about the voracious widow in front of Edward. “I’ll let Michael explain what he and his friends were discussing.”

“I knew you weren’t going to tell me anything. Michael is in France and isn’t going to be home for at least four or five years.”

With his round baby cheeks and the golden Harcourt hair, Edward looked like a cherub in a Raphael painting. Leaning over, she tousled his hair. “I’m sure Michael will be home before you’re twelve years old and will answer all your questions.”

She had definite plans for educating Edward on the relationship between women and men, to shatter the male balderdash that women needed to be protected and thus excluded from the workings of the real world. With Michael’s departure to France for intelligence work, the management of the entire household fell on her shoulders.

Edward chased Gus over the grass and behind a tree. The dog came then waited for Edward to give chase again. The boy and dog ran circles around the giant oak.

Watching their enthusiastic play, she felt a deep longing for something she couldn’t identify. When Edward and Gus came to a halt near her, she hugged her younger brother. “I’ll tell you about kissing. It’s delightful when you’re kissing someone you care about, like your younger brother or your dog.”

“Hen, I’m not talking about that kind of kissing.” Edward, appearing to have no interest in the conversation, drew away and threw a stick to Gus.

“Kissing between women and men is exactly like kissing between families, a sign of mutual affection between people who care about and respect each other.” She shook her gardening gloves, carefully choosing her words. “Women want to know men respect them for their minds, their wit, who they really are, before they share their affection.”

Why was she thinking of a man whose kisses wouldn’t be the least respectful?