Hold your breath! Chapter Two of The Secret Beneath The Veil is a doozy!
Fun fact: I was going through some scraps of paper on my desk, clearing away little messes to make room to tackle bigger ones, when I saw that the working title for this book was 'Runaway Bride.' I had completely forgotten that.
If you saw last week's post, you'll know why I called it that. It becomes even more appropriate in Chapter Two. There's a sneak peek below.
Did you miss last week's post? Read Chapter One Here.
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VIVEKA RAN EVERY day. She was fit and adrenaline pulsed through her arteries, giving her the ability to move fast and light as she fled Grigor and his fury.
The dress and the heels and the spaces between planks and the floating wharf were another story. Bloody hell.
She made it down the swaying ramp in one piece, thanks to the rails on either side, but then she was racing down the unsteady platform between the slips, scanning for the flag of her vessel—
The train of her dress caught. She didn’t even see on what. She was yanked back and that was all it took for her to lose her footing completely. Stupid heels.
She turned her ankle, stumbled, tried to catch herself, hooked her toe in a pile of coiled rope, and threw out an arm to snatch at the rail of the yacht in the slip beside her.
She missed, only crashing into the side of the boat with her shoulder. The impact made her, “Oof!” Her grasp was too little, too late. She slid sideways and would have screamed, but had the sense to suck in a big breath before she fell.
Cold, murky salt water closed over her.
Don’t panic, she told herself, splaying out her limbs and only getting tangled in her dress and veil.
Mom. This was what it must have been like for her on that night far from shore, suddenly finding herself under cold, swirling water, tangled in an evening dress.
Viveka’s eyes stung as she tried to shift the veil enough to see which way the bubbles were going. Her dress hadn’t stayed caught. It had come all the way in with her and floated all around her, obscuring her vision, growing heavier. The chill of the water penetrated to her skin. The weight of the dress dragged her down.
She kicked, but the layers of the gown were in the way. Her spiked heels caught in the fabric. This was futile. She was going to drown within swimming distance to shore. Grigor would stand above her and applaud.
The back of her hand scraped barnacles and her foot touched something. The seabed? Her hand burned where she’d scuffed it, but that told her there was a pillar somewhere here. She tried to scrabble her grip against it, desperately thinking she had never held her breath this long and couldn’t hold it any longer.
She clawed at her veil with her other hand, tried to pull it off her hair. She would never get all these buttons open and the dress off in time to kick herself to the surface—
The compulsion to gasp for air was growing unstoppable.
A hand grabbed her forearm and tugged her.
Yes, please. Oh, God, please!
Viveka blew out what little air she still had, fighting not to inhale, fighting to kick and help bring herself to the blur of light above her, fighting to reach it…
As she broke through, she gasped in a lungful of life-giving oxygen, panting with exertion, thrusting back her veil to stare at her rescuer.
He looked murderous.
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Did you hold your breath the whole time? I did when I wrote it.
I recently sent a cover reveal in my newsletter for my Christmas book, along with a peek at Chapter one. I'm working on getting that posted here, but if you like to get these things sooner, please join my reader group.
Also, I gave Hustled To The Altar a new cover and you can now read all of it on Wattpad.
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Off to tackle some revisions. Hope you're having a great weekend!