Bits 'n Bobs Author Blog
Today I have guest author Kate Hill on the blog, sharing an excerpt from her historical romantic suspense, Captain's Mercy.
Mercy Brown’s life changes when she accepts a position as companion to the disabled sister of wealthy shipyard owner Jonah Barnes. She is instantly attracted to the rugged former sea captain, even if his brusque manner offends her. Mercy soon finds herself entangled in the quirky family’s secrets.
From the first, Mercy is troubled by prowlers, disturbances from the attic, and unearthly howls on the property. After meeting several unusual household members, including a groundskeeper who works by night and the mischievous Maxwell Barnes, Mercy realizes she should flee while she can.
Pages from Mercy’s first novel go missing and Jonah’s domineering personality causes tension in the house. Only Mercy’s fondness for her young companion, Faith Barnes, as well as her fascination with Jonah prevent her from leaving, but will her desire for him endanger her life?
* * *
“Mr. Barnes?” she called again.
She glanced over her shoulder, back toward the stairs. When she turned around, she cried out, startled to find herself facing Jonah who now stood outside the attic door, holding a lamp.
“Miss Brown, what are you doing up here?” he demanded, wearing his usual scowl.
“I heard noise from up here. A crash. I thought perhaps lightning had struck the house and someone might be hurt.” She couldn’t keep the tremors from her voice. “I’m also worried about your siblings. You don’t suppose they’re caught in the storm?”
Jonah’s brow furrowed and he stepped closer to her. He held up the lamp and studied her face.
“I’m sure they’re fine,” he said in a gentler tone. “Max is quite capable and I doubt they’d venture out until after this passes. Are you all right, Miss Brown?”
Another clap of thunder made her jump.
“You don’t look fine,” he said. “Are you afraid of the storm?”
She chuckled nervously. “Silly isn’t it? A grown person afraid of a thunderstorm.”
“Why don’t we wait it out in the library?”
“There’s no need for you to keep me company.”
Again she jumped at the thunder and lightning.
“Keeping you company is far more pleasant than the paperwork I’ve been looking over.” He offered her his arm in a gallant gesture that took her aback. She rested her hand on it lightly. Goodness, she shouldn’t enjoy how solid and warm he felt, yet she was unable to ignore it. His arms were rock hard from years at sea and working in the shipyard.
On their way downstairs, she asked, “What were you doing in the attic? I thought I heard howling up there a short time ago and then a crash.”
“The wind, I’m sure. No doubt the crash you heard was Michaels. He tripped over an old trunk. He’s up there now, making repairs on a window that was blown open by the storm. He’s also trying to get rid of more unwanted guests of the flying rodent variety, so I remind you to stay away from the attic.”
“Why do you suppose the pests keep coming back?”
“I’m not sure. My expertise is the sea. Ask me about whales and sharks and I could probably answer. Bats are another story.”
“Do you still go to sea?” she asked, eager to keep her mind off the storm.
“Not as much as I used to.”
“Do you miss it?”
“At times. I miss the straightforwardness of being at sea. The simplicity. Aboard ship, a man is valued more for what he knows than for his bloodlines.”
“You don’t have much use for polite society, do you?”
“As long as rich men keep buying my ships, I like it well enough.”
* * *
* * *
Always a fan of romance and the paranormal, Kate Hill started writing over twenty years ago for pleasure. Her first story, a short erotic vampire tale, was accepted for publication in 1996. Since then she has sold over one hundred short stories, novellas and novels.
When she's not working on her books, Kate enjoys reading, working out, spending time with her family and pets, and running the Compelling Beasts Blog, dedicated to antagonists, antiheroes, and paranormal creatures. She also writes under the name Saloni Quinby. Find her online at https://www.kate-hill.com and https://www.twitter.com/katehillromance.
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