#SampleSunday - The Marriage He Must Keep (3)

The Marriage He Must KeepBaby SwapThe Consequence He Must ClaimThe Wrong Heirs

How is your weekend shaping up? Mine started out great! I was right on target with my word count on a new Presents as of Friday Night. Then I woke up last night and thought about a completely different way to approach the opening and argh!

I don't usually completely rewrite my opening pages. There are times I might wind up using different words, but the time, place and point of view usually work. So now I'm frustrated with myself and must hurry through this blog post so I can figure out whether to scrap my initial beginning or fall way behind on my word count. Double-argh!

SampleSunday - The Marriage He Must Keep

I've been all over the place with my #SampleSundays I know, but you can read the opening on Amazon so I figure I should find something fun and different where possible.

This scene is from later in the book, when Sandro and Octavia have returned to Italy. He's been away a couple of days and comes back as a huge formal celebration has started downstairs for his grandfather's birthday.

One of my goals with this duet was to pay a small homage to the close and special and very important relationships that mothers develop in maternity wards and later, as they are nursing infants. So I wanted to show Octavia and Sorcha becoming fast friends.

~ * ~

He entered their suite in high spirits and two things happened. First, he was knocked breathless by the sight of her.

He’d told her stylist, Michaela, to bring jewel tones. He always preferred stronger colors on his wife than the pastels she gravitated toward. The gown she’d chosen was black velvet with a skirt of sapphire blue. The top clung lovingly to her ample breasts and tied behind her neck, leaving her back and shoulders covered only by the loose curls of her long, dark hair. The fall of blue draped in flattering lines over her round hips. Tall heels gave her the ultra-feminine sexiness that every man enjoyed. He wanted to tumble her to the bed and forget the guests arriving downstairs.

But it wasn’t just her beauty that struck him. It was her. He was glad to see her. He’d missed her. He waited for her to come across like in the old days and slide her arms around him. They had come that far, hadn’t they?

“I just fed Lorenzo. Almost ready,” she said with barely a glance at him, head bent and attention on her phone as she tapped out a message.

Apparently, they hadn’t.

He frowned, wondering who she could possibly be texting so feverishly. She made a final strike and it whooshed, but at the same time released a ringtone chime.

Octavia read it and let out a delighted laugh.

Alessandro was taken aback. That rich sound was something he hadn’t heard in… He didn’t know how long. Far too long. It was like birdsong in spring, promising and filling him with hope.

Her smile, so genuine, took her look of aloof sophistication to a level of sparkling beauty that did more than knock him breathless. It kicked him in the heart. He hadn’t seen her happy like this since before she had gone to London.

And someone else had made it happen.

The jealousy that blindsided him in that moment was as shocking as it was severe. He didn’t mean to sound so harsh when he said, “Who is that?” but he must have because she sobered quickly, face going into that neutral mask that tucked all her thoughts and feelings away.

“Sorcha,” she replied, spine stiffening defensively. “Why?”

“Sorcha? The woman from the hospital?” He subtly recoiled. His shame over how his cousin’s subterfuge had affected the stranger was only eclipsed by his remorse over the damage done to his wife and marriage.

“We’ve stayed in touch,” Octavia said with a cool click of the button to blacken her screen, setting the phone facedown on a side table.

“Why?” He couldn’t see any sense in it.

“Because she’s a new mother like me. I can ask her about rash creams and growth spurts, things no one else wants to talk about.”

“Bree knows about those things. Ask her.”

“She doesn’t have a baby. It’s different. And I like hearing how Enrique is doing,” Octavia stated, setting her chin stubbornly. “Why do you disapprove?”

He heard the frost in her tone and realized he had to tread carefully. “I didn’t say I don’t approve, only that I don’t understand,” he prevaricated.

“Exactly. She does. We’re in the same boat. I was telling her that I had this party to go to, but that I was tired because it was another rough night with Lorenzo. She’s supposed to be organizing a gala, but isn’t up to starting because she’s tired, too.”

“And you were laughing about that?”

“Not exactly. I asked her if it was too late for her to take Lorenzo so I could get a good night’s sleep. She texted at the same time, wondering if I still wanted Enrique because he’s been so colicky. Perhaps it’s bad taste to make jokes about what happened, but…” She sighed and flipped her hair. “It’s nice to have a friend with a baby the same age. I’m not going to stop talking to her. She needs me as much as I need her.”

Beneath her defiance was a disturbing hint of loneliness. It twisted Sandro’s insides.

~ * ~

The Marriage He Must Keep is still on shelves, but you can also find it at these online retailers in ebook & print:

Amazon: US | CA | UK
Nook | Kobo | iBooks | GooglePlay | BAM | Mills & Boon | Harlequin

The Consequence He Must Claim - The Other Half Of The Baby Swap

The Sorcha mentioned above is the other mother in the baby swap. It's already getting great reviews! This one's from Amazon:

"I loved the first book and I loved this one, if possible, even more. It can be a read alone book since the author does a wonderful job of incorporating the first story into this one, but I highly recommend the series."

Interested? Grab The Consequence He Must Claim here:

Amazon: US | CA | UK | Aus | Nook | Kobo | iBooks | GooglePlay | BAM | Mills & Boon | Harlequin

Keeping it short and sweet as I hit the re-writes. And yes, I am blaming Mercury Retrograde for my false start with this latest WIP!

Have a great weekend!