Exclusive Excerpt: Dangerous Indenture by Kelli A. Wilkins
Today I’m sharing a look at my historical romance, Dangerous Indenture. This novel is set in Pennsylvania Colony blends sensual romance with mystery.
Eager to escape her past in Ireland, Shauna Farrow signs on to become an indentured servant to Joshua Stewart, a wealthy man in Pennsylvania Colony.
But a life of servitude quickly turns to drudgery, and her hopes for starting over and creating a better life for herself are waning—until she meets her master’s roguish son, Ashton.
Stewart House has an unsavory reputation: a previous servant died there under mysterious circumstances. When another servant goes missing in the middle of the night, Shauna is convinced that a member of the family is responsible.
When Shauna’s investigation leads her too close to the truth, it’s up to Ashton to save her before time runs out.
Here’s an exclusive excerpt:
She followed Ashton into the parlor, her heart racing. What would become of her in the morning? She had cursed out the master of the house in his own bedchamber. Now Joshua would sell her for sure.
“Care for a brandy?” Ashton asked as he walked to the sideboard.
“Aye. I could use something to settle my nerves.” Ashton handed her a glass, and she gulped down the liquor in two swallows.
“Want a refill?” Ashton joked as she started coughing.
“Damn, that’s stronger than what we’ve got at home.” Without warning, all the fight drained out of her and she collapsed onto the sofa. “I’m so bloody tired of fighting all the time. What’s the use?”
Ashton sat next to her. “Don’t worry, Shauna. I’m proud as hell of you for standing up for yourself. If you need anything, come to me.”
Her skin tingled as Ashton stroked the back of her hand with his thumb. His gentle touch soothed her frazzled nerves.
“I never shoulda left Ireland. Back home, I used to have a good job, and I earned a wage. Instead of coming here like a dolt, I should have gone to London or Dublin and looked for work.”
Ashton cocked his head to one side. “You haven’t always been a servant?”
“Nay. I worked in a shop, ordering supplies and running the till. I can read and write and do numbers as good as a man.”
“If you had all that, why did you leave?”
“I needed a change,” she lied, then looked away. The liquor was loosening her tongue, and she didn’t want to get into the details. “May I ask you something?”
“Missus Stewart told me I’m the fifth servant who’s worked here. What happened to the others?”
“I suppose they quit,” he replied with a shrug. “You shouldn’t concern yourself with them. You’ve been through an ordeal of your own tonight.”
She yawned and sat back on the sofa. Ashton was right. “What am I supposed to do now? I don’t wanna go to my room. It’s not safe.”
“If it will make you feel better, you can sleep in my bed tonight.”
Her heart skipped a beat, and she gazed into Ashton’s eyes. He was handsome, and thinking about being close to him set her heart aflutter.
“I didn’t mean it the way it sounded,” Ashton added in a rush. “I’ll sleep on the sofa, and you’ll take my room. There’s a lock on the door. You’ll be safe.”
“You’ve already done so much for me tonight. It wouldn’t be right for me to put ya out of your bed. You’re a man of the house, and—”
“And I’ll have no arguing. I may have the reputation of being a drunken rogue, but I’m not without compassion.” Ashton leaned closer to her. “Have no fear, dear lass. I’ve passed out on groghouse floors and along roadsides. One night without a bed will not matter much to me.”
Ashton rose and extended a hand to her. “May I escort you to my bedchamber?”
She giggled and placed her palm in Ashton’s hand. As she stood before him, she became aware of the fact that she was naked beneath her thin chemise. Her heart pounded faster as Ashton lifted her chin toward him. She closed her eyes, anticipating the kiss.
A shiver ran up her spine as Ashton’s lips gently covered hers. Despite the pain in her split lip, she kissed him back, delighting in the feel of his mouth moving against hers. Before she knew what happened, Ashton pulled away.
“I shouldn’t have done that. Not tonight. You’ve been through too much.”
She stroked his shoulder. “I don’t mind. I’m grateful you’re here, Ashton. If you weren’t . . .” She paused, then dared to ask a question. “Could you please hold me for a minute?” Considering the circumstances, her bold request was highly improper, but she wanted to be close to Ashton. He made her feel safe.
“Of course. It would be my pleasure.”
He opened his arms wide, and she settled against his chest. Ashton smelled smoky and manly. With him around, she had nothing to fear. He’d protect her from anything or anyone.
“I was warned about comin’ here. The coach driver said no servants stay here at night.” She clutched Ashton tighter. “Now I know why.”
Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 19 romance novels, and 5 non-fiction books. Her romances span many genres and heat levels.
Her paranormal-comedy, Beauty & the Bigfoot, was published in September 2017.
Kelli released Trust with Hearts, a contemporary romance, in July 2017. Her third gay romance, Four Days with Jack, was released in June 2017. Kelli’s trilogy of erotic romance novellas, Midsummer Night’s Delights, Midwinter Night’s Delights, and Ultimate Night’s Delights was published in spring 2017.
Loving a Wild Stranger was published in January 2017. This historical/pioneer romance is set in the wilds of the Michigan Territory and blends tender romance with adventure.
Kelli's third Medallion Press romance, Lies, Love & Redemption was released in September 2016. This spicy historical western is set on the Nebraska prairie in 1877.
Her writing book, You Can Write—Really! A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Fiction is a fun and informative guide filled with writing exercises and helpful tips all authors can use.
Kelli posts on her Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins and Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor.
She also writes a weekly blog: http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/
Visit her website, www.KelliWilkins.com to learn more about all of her writings, read book excerpts, reviews, and more. Readers can sign up for her newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/HVQqb.
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