Wednesday, December 21, 2011

On the 3rd Day of Christmas My True Lord Gave To Me...with Isobel Carr (+ Giveaway)

3 French Courtesans with Isobel Carr

Isobel Carr is an avid costume historian and grew up in the wild and entertaining re-enactment community in Northern California. She has participated in everything from The Society for Creative Anachronism to the Renaissance Pleasure Faire (yes, the original one!) to Heyer Con and The Great Dicken's Christmas Fair. So she's made and worn clothing from just about every era from 1400-1900, including the proper undergarments.
Currently, she lives with her mastiff, Clancy, in a 1916 bungalow in Oakland, California and when she's not writing, she's usually working on the house. She's also often found at the Heart and Dagger near Lake Merritt. Just look for the girl with the giant dog.

You can find out more about her by visiting her at isobelcarr.com.

~*~
3 Courtesans
by Isobel Carr

“You don’t like Frenchwomen, my lord. Remember?” Elise raised her brows just enough to imply disdain and stared the Duke of Normanby’s second son down. Her stomach fluttered and her throat went dry. He’d been in a rage the last time she’d seen him. Angry with his father, annoyed with her, furious that the world wouldn’t bend to his will.


Lord George stared right back at her, dark eyes narrowing behind thick lashes as he held her gaze. He filled the narrow corridor of The Crown and Anchor, wide shoulders and long legs barring her way. The urge to step back from him was nearly irresistible. He loomed. An easy enough thing to do considering he topped her by more than a foot, but somehow it was an active thing when he did it, rather than a mere result of their heights.


“Whatever gave you that idea?” he said as she forced herself to push past him. Her skirts tangled with those of his greatcoat, clinging, impeding her progress. Elise inhaled sharply and yanked them free.


Three quick steps and Elise could hear voices from the public tap room. The gruff cacophony of a dozen English voices. Strange to her ears even after several years in their capital. She swung about to enter the private parlor she and her friends had reserved in advance. Elise’s hand tightened around the knob, the urge to slam the door in Lord George’s face rushed through her veins, heady as hot wine.


Before she could do so, Lord George strolled in after her, as though he had the right to command its use—to command her. Elise glanced over her shoulder as Lord George shut the door with an indelicate swing of his booted foot.


“I believe, my lord,” Elise said, “it might have been hearing you say so that left me with such a clear impression of your dislike. On more than one occasion if memory serves.”


She didn’t wait to see if her barb had struck. Instead, she hurried towards the fireplace and the welcoming glow of the coals. She’d hoped to find her friends waiting for her, not Lord George. Adele and Ghislaine must still be resting. Or they’d discovered Lord George was there and were avoiding him. Wise of them, if so.


The floorboards creaked as Lord George followed close behind her. The coals popped and Elise whisked her skirts away from a stray ember. She ground it out beneath her shoe.


“I’m fairly certain what you heard was a complaint about one particular French woman.” The deep rumble of his voice worked its way through her, seemed to lodge in her sternum.


Elise poured herself a glass of brandy from the decanter the mantel, purposely failing to offer her uninvited guest a glass of his own. “A maddening creature with a Gallic temper?”


“As fate would have it, yes. Fairly good aim, too.” He rubbed a long scab that cut across his forehead and disappeared into his hairline. There was a faint halo of a bruise around it, a hint of lavender that would bloom to purple black in the coming days.


“You must have provoked her.” Elise dropped into one of the chairs that were drawn up to the fireplace. She stroked her free hand over her skirts, smoothing the plain kerseymere over her knees.


Lord George smiled, his eyes still grim. “Constantly, I’m afraid.”


He moved to pour himself a glass of brandy. Elise studied him in the failing light. He appeared to have ridden hard, his boots and the skirts of his greatcoat were spattered with mud. His queue was tangled, the bow reduced to a straggling knot. Whatever she’d expected after parting his hair with the heel of her shoe, it hadn’t been this.


*** 


Geo tossed back the entire contents of the small glass of brandy and allowed himself a moment to savor the burn as it slid down his throat. He set the glass back down on the mantel and braced his shoulders against the length of plain wood. Elise watched him warily from the embrace of a somewhat battered wingback chair.


You’d never know she’d left London in a mad scramble, half her possessions scattered across the floor of the house they shared in Queen’s Street. He’d left for a few hours to give her time to calm down, and come home to an empty house and a babbling, hysterical valet.


At the moment, Elise looked every inch the proper young matron, perfection from her artfully-arranged dark curls to the silk bows of her kidskin shoes. Even the simple coral necklet about her throat spoke of moneyed elegance and tasteful restraint.


It was a beautifully constructed lie. Until a week ago, she’d been the most dazzling courtesan England had seen since Kitty Fisher.


“The rest of your things should arrive in time for the morning packet,” he said.


Elise blinked. “I took everything that was mine.”


Geo ground his teeth. The urge to yank her out of that chair and drag her home made his hands shake. He shoved them into the deep pockets of his greatcoat. A show of force wouldn’t melt her resolve. He’d pushed too far; demanded too much.


“Did you?” He let the question hang in the air. Elise nodded and raised her drink to her lips with a slightly unsteady hand. Confusion flickered in her eyes, followed by a flash of concern as he pushed away from the mantel and stepped toward her. Geo dropped to one knee beside her chair. “Because I’d say you left something rather important behind.”


The pinched look of concern left her eyes and one corner of Elise’s mouth quirked up. Geo bit his cheek to keep from grinning back at her. He knew that smile. He was forgiven, or as close to as he was ever likely to get.


“You’re right,” she said, leaning in until her lips nearly brushed his cheek and the faint scent of primrose enveloped him. “I forgot—”


Geo captured her mouth with his, cutting off whatever quip she was about to make. She sloshed the dregs of her brandy across the back of his coat and her glass fell to the floor.


“Yes, you forgot,” he said when he finally broke off the kiss. “Forgot you can’t go running off to the Continent without your husband.”


“No?” She hung back, arms wrapped about his neck.


“No.” Geo swung Elise up and sat, pulling her into his lap. “Though if you were to ask, he might agree to accompany you.”


“Lord George?”


“Yes, Lady George?”


“Would you like to escape your father, the gossips, and the disapproving ton, and run away with me to Paris for Christmas?”


“Paris is a good start,” Geo said, settling back into the chair, their collective weight causing it to creak in protest. “But I was thinking of going a bit farther, being gone a bit longer. What would you say to spring in Italy, summer at Lake Geneva, autumn in the Levant?”


Elise chuckled. “You were thinking that we should roam about the world until London finds something more scandalous to entertain them. And if they never do?”


“Don’t be daft, woman. The Prince of Wales, or one of his siblings, will eclipse us before we’ve even made it to Rome.”

###

Want some more of Isobel Carr's work?


No one would ever suspect Lady Boudicea "Beau" Vaughn, a well-bred, young heiress, of secretly harboring unladylike desires. The object of her affection: Gareth Sandison, a notorious rake and her brother's best friend. Beau knows her brother would never approve, yet one glance into Gareth's smoldering eyes stirs a longing deep inside her.

The second son of an Earl, Gareth has always known the lovely Lady Beau is above his station. But when she is kidnapped, Gareth sees a chance to prove his worth and plans a daring rescue. Soon he and Beau are on the run. Yet Beau's abductors are not the only threat-passion pursues the pair at every turn. Long nights fuel forbidden fantasies, and with danger closing in, Gareth and Beau will finally give
in to the ultimate temptation...

Pick It Up Today!:
Amazon (paperback) | Barnes&Noble (paperback)
Amazon (Kindle) | Barnes&Noble (Nook)

**Giveaway**
Isobel will be giving away signed copies of her two books, RIPE FOR PLEASURE and RIPE FOR SCANDAL to commenter!! Make sure to leave a comment with your thoughts on the scene and fill out the raffle copter form below to be entered!

Don't Forget to head over to Ramblings From This Chick and read Caroline Linden's special holiday scene (plus ener her giveaway)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
**Grand Prize Giveaway**
On behalf of myself, Dani and a whole host of generous and awesome authors, we will be having one BIG Grand Prize given away to 1 lucky winner. The grand prize consists of a mix of books, swag, and lots of other secret goodies. Believe me, you want to enter to win this prize. Just make sure to leave a comment every day on each post on both blogs and fill out that day's grand prize giveaway form on each blog. You can follow THIS link to today's form for this post or fill it out below after you comment.
That's it. Super easy!
Good Luck everyone and Happy Holidays!

32 comments:

  1. What a great story. I never would have thought upon first reading this: Mr. and Mrs.! How wonderful!

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  2. I really enjoyed this short story Isobel. It's so easy to imagine something like this happening after an argument.

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  3. Wow, I enjoyed the story a lot. I have to be honest, you got me. I didn't for one minute realize that they were married. Not until he asked if she had forgotten something. lol

    Thank you for this opportunity.

    dpd333 (AT) aol dot com

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  4. Nice little tale. Thank you!

    Sue P.
    pennsdog(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  5. Great story. I did not catch on to them being married until he was talking about her leaving something behind. I really enjoyed it. Thanks so much & have a great holiday season.

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  6. Awesome story! I love little twists at the end :) I hope you have a great holiday!

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  7. I would have spilled my brandy too! Great short!
    Gareth to the rescue! I have to check out these books!

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  8. Terrific story! :) Love the end.

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  9. Great scene. Thank you so much for participating.

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  10. Great excerpt! I want to read more of your work. Thanks for sharing! Thanks for the giveaway.

    Merry Christmas to all!

    pnc07 (at) aol (dot) com

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  11. Nice little story! I would not have guessed at first that Elise and George were married. LOL But I liked the ending, definitely. :)

    Pam

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  12. Beautiful twist! Thanks for the lovely scene, Isobel.

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  13. Great twist! Totally took me by surprise.

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  14. Great short scene! I already have both of Isobel's books so please don't enter me for the books.

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  15. That was fun...now I want to read more of her books.

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  16. Tricky - Tricky - I love to be surprised at the end. Haven't read Isobel's stories before, but she's on my TBR list now!
    sallans d at yahoo dot com

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  17. I enjoyed the scene and I'm looking forward to reading Isobel Carr's books.

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  18. That was a lovely surprise ending!

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  19. Some are under the false impression that the abandoned property held by the government is not for sale.

    Community Management

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  20. Very lovely. Just wish the contests were International.

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  21. Lovely--I can't wait to read more of your work! Beautiful covers, great storylines--what more can I ask for?

    Enjoy!
    TBQ
    http://tbqspersonalbookpalace.blogspot.com

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  22. This was fantastic-- I loved it!
    Oh, and that cover for Ripe for Scandal? Very smexy! :-)

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  23. I loved Elise and George's story and was thrilled they were married. George actually sounds a lot like my own husband - no wonder we're still married after 41 years together!

    You also got me hooked and I can't wait to read Beau and Gareth's story. I can already see myself in front of the fire with the snow falling outside settled down for a great night's cozy read!

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  24. A surprise ending! Can't wait to read more of your books.

    e.balinski(at)att(dot)net

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  25. Lovely scene loved the part about the sure and his forehead lol

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  26. Loved the excerpt. Thanks! Can't wait to read the entire book. Merry Christmas!

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  27. Thanks, everyone! Hope you all have a Merry Christmas (or Happy Chanukah, since I'm doing both, LOL!).

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  28. This is a new to me author but I really enjoyed the excerpt so looking forward to reading her!

    catslady5(at)aol.com

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