Two men approached from the rear of the hacienda where, behind them on the mountain slope, acres of coffee plants flourished in the black soil of Colombia. As the men came closer, the intensity of the argument mounted.
One was berating the other in a voice that held thunderous authority. He was lean and tall and walked with a long, graceful stride despite his obvious anger. Muscular thighs flexed under close-fitting tan riding breeches; the blue denim shirt was open at the throat, leaving a patch of sun-browned chest uncovered under a knotted blue kerchief. The sleeves were rolled to the elbows, exposing copper-gold hair on his forearms that matched what she could see of his chest.
With one leather-gloved hand he held the bridle of a superb chestnut stallion that danced along at his heels, responsive to his every move. This was obviously an altercation between the foreman of the plantation and one of the peons.
Rosalind’s body contracted as if she had been punched in the solar plexus. Never had she felt instant, powerful, and uncompromising attraction for a man, but her visceral response was undeniable. It was as if an invisible cord had sprung from his body and landed unerringly in hers. She was an intruder, but she was unable to move as she watched the foreman snatch the wide-brimmed black hat from his head and slap it against his knee as he made a point, prompting a flurry of anxious nods from the field hand.
She was mesmerized by sheer male beauty, crowned by a shock of unruly reddish hair that looked as if it had never known a comb. She stood stupidly as cataclysmic emotions flooded her. The broad shoulders could carry a woman as easily as if she were a child. For a brief moment she wondered what it would be like to be caught up in his embrace. But the deep, booming voice and the torrential speed of his Spanish were frightening, and she was glad to be hidden inside the shadows of the hacienda.
She shouldn’t, but she lingered nonetheless——watching, listening.
You just read an excerpt from:
Buy Link: Pink Petal Books
Linda Kage: Please welcome Julio de Vega, hero in Sharon Noble’s newest story, Passion's Design. Well, hello there, Senor De Vega. Tell us, Who IS Julio de Vega?
Julio:I am Julio Rafael Soledad de Vega, son of the most successful coffee plantation owner in Colombia. I carry my father's tradition in growing coffee beans, and I follow the family tradition of arranged marriage with a woman of my equal. My English is said to be excellent, my horsemanship superlative, and my decision-making skills unsurpassed. Although I inherited my mother's auburn hair, she is no longer a part of my life. I am engaged to be married to Margarita Fernandez, daughter of the family whose plantation adjoins my own, and the two plantations will merge into one.
Kage: Give us a peek into your head. What is one happy memory you have?
Julio:One that passes through my mind most frequently (and one that I do not share readily) is of sitting in the window seat of my mother's music room on a summer afternoon when I was a small boy. She was an opera singer, and I used to love to listen to her play the piano and sing from the many opera scores she owned. All I have of her now is her music room, still as she left it -- my only legacy from her. Her piano has never been played since she left, and her costumes hang in an upstairs closet.
Kage:Okay, now let’s skip to the stuff I want to hear about…this is a romance writer’s blog, after all! Before going into this story, what was your romance life like
Julio: I have never been in love. Of course, beautiful women have been a substantial part of my live since I was an adolescent, but Margarita and I were pledged at birth. It was our fathers' most earnest wish, and nothing must interfere. Nothing. Women come and go before marriage, but I intend to be a good and proper husband to Margarita. Our custom is that a man naturally has a mistress, but that is not my wish.
Kage: And now that your book has begun, who’s the woman starring in your romance? And what’s the trouble with her?
Julio: Ah, the thorn in my heart is Rosalinda Hughes, an American dressmaker who was sent to design the gowns for the wedding. She has put herself in my path in every conceivable way since the day she arrived, taunting me with her naked body on two occasions. I have instructed her on proper behavior in such a situation, but she responds with offense, as if I have no right to rebuke her. She insists that our ways are outdated and have no place in the life of an American. If I can keep her out of my presence until the wedding, I believe I can resist her undisputed charms. If only.
Kage: What do you like most about her? And what do you like least?
Julio: She is fond of children -- a most important feature in a woman -- and she is dedicated to creating a magnificent wedding for Margarita. I like least that she refuses to take instruction from anyone. She is not rude, just stubborn -- an unattractive feature in a woman. She is also beautiful and very desirable, and she takes my attention away from my work. I cannot think when I'm near here, and I resent that. I have always been in control of myself, and she disturbs my libido.
Thanks for stopping by and gracing us with some eye candy--I mean, with your presence. Was there anything else you'd like to add before getting along on your way?
Julio: Yes, I want to make clear that I am a man of honor, and I will be a true husband to Margarita, once Rosalinda has completed her work and returned to Los Estados Unidos.
If you're curious about Julio's author, here's where you can find Sharon Noble on the web: