Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Wednesday Promo- Deborah Schneider
Since I was a child I’ve always loved picnics. Growing up close to Lake Ontario, it was a summertime ritual for us to pack up the car with charcoal, a cooler and a picnic basket and head out to one of the New York State parks for the day.
We had to go early, because if you didn’t stake out your table and site before noon, chances were you wouldn’t get a space on the busy weekends. The best plan was always to grab the tent and Coleman stove, find a campsite early Friday afternoon and settle in for the weekend.
Now that I live in the Pacific Northwest, summer comes later, but the pleasure in grabbing the picnic basket and cooler is even sweeter. When summer arrives here – it hits with a sudden explosion of sunlight and heat. This year we’ve actually had a 30 degree change in the weather overnight. The saying here is, if you don’t like the weather – wait a few minutes. It’s sure to change!
My love of the outdoors often shows up in my books. In my latest release, Promise Me, I have a picnic scene when my hero, Sam, invites the heroine, Amanda, to go for a horseback ride.
Do you have a favorite memory of playing outside when you were a child?
Excerpt – Promise Me
As they approached a small creek, Sam pointed to an outcropping of rocks. “Shall we take a walk and let the horses rest a bit?”
Amanda nodded. He pulled Stranger to a halt and dismounted, dropping his reins and moving to assist Amanda from her horse. A flirtatious smile played across her lips.
“I’m not sure if I should trust you, Mr. Calhoun. You’ve informed me you don’t consider yourself to be an honorable gentleman.”
Sam wrapped his hands around her waist as he lifted her from the saddle. He kept his hands in place, standing close enough to enjoy the fragrant scent of lilacs surrounding her. The turquoise highlights in her eyes sparkled, the teasing good humor still evident as she looked up at him.
“I’m really quite a scoundrel, Mrs. Wainwright, not to be trusted whatsoever.”
Sam finally released her, but from the way the blood rushed through his veins, he knew he wasn’t immune to the attractive widow’s charms.
She placed a gloved hand on his arm and he escorted her toward the rocks at the edge of a small stream. She settled on the hard granite outcropping and carefully arranged the dark velvet skirt of her riding habit.
Sam removed the saddlebag from his shoulder. “Shall we see what Harriet has packed for us?” He opened the bag and produced a loaf of freshly baked bread, a wedge of cheddar cheese, and two apples. He held up two canning jars filled with cider.
Amanda clapped her hands. “A veritable feast! I confess I’m starving after that ride.”
He handed her a rough linen napkin, then broke off a chunk of bread for each of them. He removed his knife from the pouch fastened to his gun belt and caught her staring at the revolver strapped to his thigh.
“Does the gun disturb you, Amanda?” He sliced a piece of cheese and handed it to her, then began to peel the apple with a slow, lazy motion.
She seemed to consider his question carefully before she replied. “The ease with which some men use guns to solve their problems disturbs me.” The corners of her mouth lifted in an impish grin. “But I understand your need to protect yourself. After all, I could be a very dangerous woman.”
Sam’s mouth went dry and he couldn’t muster an answer. She was a danger, because he found himself attracted to her. He couldn’t afford to care about Amanda Wainwright, because to do so could destroy his mission. He needed to keep his emotions under control.
Yet, she captivated him with her unaffected ways and lack of guile. She didn’t drop her eyes and giggle at a man, playing the games so many of the women he’d known before did. She expressed her opinions honestly, with a forthright manner he found charming. And for some inexplicable reason, she made him laugh.
He enjoyed the way she took obvious pleasure in her meal. Women of his acquaintance nibbled at food, or pushed it about their plates, feigning disinterest. Amanda relished each piece of apple he handed her, closing her eyes as she bit into it, the juice moistening her lips and dribbling down her chin.
Stretching across a large rock, he laid his head on his hand and simply watched her.
“I doubt I’ll be able to resist you, Mrs. Wainwright, and I suspect there are no weapons I could find to defend myself from your charms.”
Amanda threw back her head and laughed, the full throaty sound of it arousing him in a way he never expected. She made him feel alive. No, more than that. She made him grateful to be alive. The sound of the water trickling across the rocks of the creek and the music of birds filling the air filled him with happiness. Concern nudged him, and he reminded himself that seducing this woman was the key to success. There was more at stake than his happiness. He could enjoy her company, as long as he maintained control of his feelings.
After spending years in an arranged marriage as the repressed wife of an older man, Amanda Wainwright has learned the hard way that money can’t buy happiness. She arrives in Willow Creek, Montana determined to keep a deathbed promise to her husband and do something to help other people. When Amanda meets a handsome, mysterious stranger who tempts her with sweet promises and long nights of passion, she discovers a fiery, passionate nature that could lead her to disaster.
For Samuel Calhoun, falling in love wouldn’t just be foolish, it could be deadly. He’s on assignment as an undercover agent for the Secret Service. In order to maintain his secret identity he accepts an offer from a consortium of mine owners to seduce, humiliate and ruin the Widow Wainwright. Before long, Sam knows he’s met the woman who can banish the aching emptiness in his soul and he’s willing to risk everything – even his life – to be with her.
Deborah has a degree to teach American History, but now works for one of the busiest libraries in the country arranging programs for authors, musicians and puppets. Her home is in the Pacific Northwest, where she fulfills her dream of waking up every day to look at a mountain. In 2009 she was named the Librarian of the Year by Romance Writers of America. Her website is http://www.debschneider.com