Happy National Donut/Doughnut/Dognut Day!!!
Sweet Enemy by Heather Snow, published by Penguin Group, is a historical romance about a lady chemist (I know, cool, huh?) and an earl (I'm pretty sure he's an earl; sorry, can't remember too well) and a murder mystery with lots of code cracking but also some really good romantic steamy scenes.
Heather is in my writing group--love her to death--so I had to do a quick spot of promo there to brag about my buddy!! This is her first published book and I totally loved it.
The scene I'd like to share comes in at about about page 77. Our heroine, Liliana, has been trying to buck the attentions of Lord Stratford (our hero) by critiquing everything he does. But after getting a scolding from her aunt, she's decides to play nice again...except it's a bit too late by this point.
I love this page because of the emotions: the humor, the anger, the irritation, the indignation. It's perfect! So here is my favorite page of the day:
This time, Liliana stood and clapped with everyone else. She smiled prettily, waiting to congratulate him.
But the man who stalked toward her with a bouquet held haphazardly upside down in one hand and a target in the other was no sweet suitor. He was fourteen stone of cross male, and he looked to be spoiling for a fight.
“Congratulations—,” Liliana began, but Stratford tossed the bouquet toward her. Not hard, but clearly without care. She caught the lovely bunch of yellow roses and tucked them in the crook of her arm, as if he’d handed them to her gently.
She took a quick step back when the target was thrust into her face.
Five shots clustered very near the bull’s-eye.
Liliana cleared her throat. “Well done, my lord.”
Stratford lowered the target and glared. “Is that all you have to say?”
“Well, yes, I—”
“Because I can assure you, Miss Claremont, most of my shooting experience has been from the back of a moving horse,” Stratford claimed. “With a rifle, not a pistol.”
Liliana didn’t know what to say, so she nodded.
“So my victory meets your ideals of sportsmanship?”
Liliana nodded again, astounded. Her plan had worked better than she’d thought. “Did my stance meet your approval?” he challenged. “Not leaning too far forward or back?”
“Your stance was perfect,” she said slowly.
He raised himself to his full height and looked down on her, cocking a raven brow. “So even you, with your uninformed petty little standards, couldfind nothing wrong with my performance?”
Liliana narrowed her eyes. Uninformed? Petty? She’d had quite enough of his display. Yes, she’d been rude, but he was being a boor. She stepped toward him, raising herself as well— she was no shrinking violet. “Since you asked,”
she said, simply because she couldn’t help herself, “you didn’t hit the center, not even once.”
She could actually see the blood rising up Stratford’s neck to his face before he exploded.
“No one hits the center with a flintlock!” he exclaimed, throwing his hands up in the air. “It takes so long for the powder to ignite, it throws off one’s aim!”