Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Delicious Tease Day #45: Charlotte Featherstone

I'm thrilled to have my very dear friend Charlotte Featherstone here today. A wonderful writer who always pushes the envelope in her historical eroticas, Charlotte is one of a kind-- I hope you enjoy her excerpt as much as I did. Remember to comment for a chance to win a copy of Sinful.

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful
than the risk it took to blossom.
—Ana├»s Nin
This is the quote that inspired the overall theme of my upcoming erotic historical romance, Sinful (May 1, Harlequin Spice). It has profound meaning, for both the hero and heroine, and it paints a nice visual at the same time. It also brought me back to a time and a place that greatly inspired me. It was in England, in Evesham, and I was on vacation. It was May, and I was following the blossom trail; a path that is miles long and filled with the heavenly scent of apple, cherry and quince blossoms. It was gorgeous. I also spent a lovely day picnicking on the grounds of Stourhead gardens. I even started the beginnings of an untitled book while sitting beside the romantic Gothic cottage situated on the grounds. I always knew that one day I would write a book with the gardens and the cottage as a setting. And Sinful turned out to be that book.
Nin’s most apt quote, along with the memories of the English countryside in spring cemented what I wanted for Sinful, which is a story about growth, about shedding that dark cloak we wear and stepping out into the light, reborn and transformed.
Personally, I love writing stories set in the spring. It feels fresh and new and alive. And I had a lot of fun digging out the old photos of that vacation and reliving those weeks. As the copy edits for Sinful arrived—right before Christmas, it was a special treat to read about feeling the sun on my face, the chirping of birds, and the smells of spring. It’s put me in the mood for spring ever since, and finally, here in Canada, the first tentative signs of the season are beginning to show.
My most favourite thing to do in the spring, is to climb into bed with the windows open and feel the night air blowing through the curtains. I love to listen to the crickets, and see the moonlight filter in. It’s my best time for thinking up new hunky heroes, and romantic loves scenes. There’s something about the smell of spring, of fresh cut lawn, of seeing the grass turn green, and the scent of sheets hung to dry in the wind and the sun. It’s spring, and it makes us feel happy and alive after a long, cold winter.
I’ll leave you with an excerpt from Sinful, a spring teaser, to get you in the mood for those sunny days, and maybe a bit of sinful behaviour beneath your very own apple tree!
I’ll be giving away a signed copy of Sinful, and all you have to do is comment, and tell me what your Sinful good weather indulgence is!

In Victorian England vice of every kind can be purchased, and Matthew, the Earl of Wallingford, makes certain he avails himself of every possible pleasure. Bored and jaded, he is as well-known for his coldness as for his licentious affairs with beautiful women. While these numerous dalliances fulfill Matthew's every physical need, they secretly leave him numb and emotionally void. Until one night when he finds himself beaten, eyes bandaged and in the care of a nurse with the voice of an angel - and a gentle touch that soothes the darkness in him and makes him yearn for more. Yet Jane Rankin is a lowly nurse, considered shy and plain by most. There is no place for her amongst the lords and ladies of the aristocracy - despite Matthew's growing craving for the fire that burns behind her earnest facade. And then there is Matthew's secret. A secret so humiliating and scandalous is could destroy everyone he loves. A sin, he fears, not even the love of a good woman can take away...

In this excerpt, Jane and Wallingford are on a picnic, by the lake that surrounds his estate. Wallingford is an artist, accustomed to be beauty...

"I am full of flaws, Jane, but with you—" He swallowed hard, his Adam's apple bobbing up and down, making Jane wish to press her lips to. "With you, Jane, I have the very great desire to be the sort of man that cares. That feels. A gentleman, I believe the ladies call that sort of man."

Jane smiled despite herself. Matthew, Lord Wallingford, would never be the gentlemanly sort, and the knowledge secretly thrilled her.

He reached into a satchel that lay on the grass and pulled out a book. “ Look.”

She flipped through it and scanned the elegant nudes he had sketched. They were of a woman with a lovely body, sprawled in many positions. The woman was faceless in every sketch, until the last. There she saw her face. It was her in bed, blossoms covering her.

"I want to paint you like this," he murmured, taking the book from her hands. He pressed her back onto the blanket with his palm on her belly. "I want you naked, surrounded by blossoms."

Matthew slid in beside her, his hand resting beneath her breast. The breeze blew across them, sending a few blossoms wafting down, landing on the exposed flesh of her chest. She moved her hand to brush them off, and Matthew clasped her hand in his, threading his long fingers slowly between hers.

"Let me." Then, lowering his head, he gently blew the blossoms off her gown. Jane couldn't smother the small cry that escaped her, nor could she hide the goose bumps that sprang up to cover her flesh. His hand tightened on hers, then his lips brushed over her skin in much the same way as his breath had. Her skin tingled, and an ache developed in her breasts.

"You taste so sweet," he breathed against her flesh. "Your skin is so soft, so warm."

Jane cried out when he unlocked his hand from hers, but her protests ceased when she felt his fingers beneath the edge of her bodice.

"It all went so wrong last night, Jane. So wrong," he murmured as he tugged the bodice lower and ran his tongue along the edge. "You thought I believed you insignificant, but the truth is, I find you fascinating. You think I suppose you're not pretty, but, Jane," he said, looking up, "I find you stunning. Your eyes…your imperfect mouth. It's beautiful, and I want to paint you how I see you, sensual and womanly, dying to break free of an ideal that imprisons you." His fingers unhooked the top buttons of her gown as he parted her bodice to reveal the swells of her breasts, " I know your body is not mine, that you will not give it wholly, but could you give me something of you, Jane?"

She closed her eyes and allowed him to bend his head to her breasts. He nudged the gown lower with his mouth, nipping her skin.

"Yes," she murmured. Tentatively, she ran her fingers through his hair.

"Yes, Matthew."

He exposed her, pulling her breasts free of her corset. The warm breeze kissed her nipples, hardening them, and she opened her eyes to see him tracing one areola, his circles becoming smaller and smaller until his fingertip caressed the very tip of her nipple. Reaching above her head, he picked up a handful of blossoms and dropped them onto her chest, then he lowered his head, and blew them so softly away from her.

"Matty," she whispered, catching his gaze. A tear slipped from her eye, trickling beneath the lens of her spectacles, before sliding down her cheek where he brushed it away with his lips. "What have you done to me?"

Question of the day: What is your sinful good weather indulgence? Comment for a chance to win Sinful!


  1. Oh gosh... Just being outside, not couped up in the house... or if so, windows open. Riding in my car with the windows down... I use to have a hammock and I would lay on it with a book.. and fall asleep (nappy time) for a while and that was heaven!

    Ohhhh I definitely want to chance to bring Lord Matthew home with me! =) Thanks for such a great contest!!!!

  2. I love when it is raining outside and I don't want to go outside. I love to cuddle up on the couch and watch movies or read a book with snack foods.

  3. I don't know about sinful..but just being outside enjoying the nice weather,whether its gardening or reading or taking a walk.Anything to get away from the winter blahs.

  4. I love going out and sitting on the porch after a rainstorm. The peace and serenity is beautiful.

    cindyc725 at gmail dot com

  5. Sinful outdoor indulgences? Enjoying the good weather while taking a leisurely walk, or sitting outside with a cool drink and a good book :)

  6. Talk about indulgence, nice excerpt!

    I'm ashamed to say that I spend most of my time inside, but when I'm not inside I sometimes like to take a walk or sit on my porch with a good book, I also like to walk around camppus on warm sunny days! Sprigtime bliss!

  7. I enjoy relaxing in a hot tub in the winter time! I also enjoy swimming on a hot summer day!

  8. Sitting on the deck in the sunshine reading a good book. Sinful sounds good. Nice cover.

  9. Either when the sun is slowly setting, the atmosphere warm enough for skimpy clothes or just after a storm has hit and it's left the aftermath of chaos and the forests wet. <-- Love. ;)

  10. Sinful good weather indulgence? Laying on a quilt after a picnic and reading my book. Just feeling the sun shine on my back is blissful, then afterwards, jumping into a pool to refresh.

    Thanks for hosting Charlotte Featherstone today. Sinful is definitely on my list to buy.

  11. My sinful weather indulgence is laying on the grass on a sunny day reading and getting a tan.

  12. Like cait I like the rain :)
    and I really love watching thunderbolts - when I'm inside the building!!!

    thanks for being here today!

  13. Thanks for the hot excerpt!

    My sinful good weather indulgence is going out to the beach and walk along the water, beachcombing and taking photos of the scenery and wildlife, if any. Of course, I would do this in less than great weather, too. Why is it sinful? Because I burn through a quarter tank of gas each time.

  14. I love laying outside in my hammock, sometimes with a good book, sometimes just letting myself daydream while watching the squirrels play or finding shapes in the clouds.

  15. I love taking an after dinner walk when the weather is nice.

  16. Oooh, such Sinful indulgences! I especially like the blanket and a book beneath a tree!

    Thanks to everyone for reading the excerpt and commenting!!!

  17. It's not very sinful, but I like to hang my laundry and sheets out to dry on nice warm days.

    I also enjoy sitting on the porch, rocking in a chair, and watching the chipmunks, squirrels and birds (and the occasional turkey family) find food and chase each other around. It's very peaceful, and if there is a breeze, the windchimes tinkle.

    Less occasionally then I used to, I'll make the 1 1/2 hr drive to the beach for the day, slick up with plenty of sunscreen, and plop down with my ipod and a book :D

  18. I love sitting on the beach, reading a good book. I could sit there all day.
    Your book sounds great. You have me hooked.

  19. Being outside in my flower garden.

  20. Sunshine, a fresh, warm breeze, a great book, and cheap wine by my side. PERFECT!

    Tracey D

  21. When it's sunny and warm outside, I grab a book and some strawberry lemonade and sit on the porch soaking up the sun. I pretty much ignore everything around me but my book and let the sun soak into my bones--cheaper than a massage. And this book is one I'd sell my soul to have after reading Addicted!

  22. hmm... my "sinful" good weather indulgence? sitting/laying on the grass in the park reading or just staring at nothing. sinful looks and sounds good! count me in please!

  23. Mine is driving with the sun roof wide open and hopefully no traffic! or Ice cream + Iced coffee on my terrace.

  24. When it's nice and warm out I love to sit outside and read a good book or just people watch.


  25. Homemade ice cream is an addiction that increases with the heat.

  26. It was a beautiful day here today! I loved it! I wanted some ice cream and a evening drive; all I got was freezer ice cream and American Idol :-(

  27. Ice cream & lashings of it. Nuts & topping as well of course.

  28. I love to lie in a hammock with a gentle breeze blowing through my hair and just relaxing.Of course all that would change a little if I could have Mathew with me. :)
    Carol L.

  29. I don't know about sinful, but I just enjoy being outside when it's a beautiful day. I do have a shaved ice machine that I'm looking forward to getting out!

  30. On a beautiful day I love to indulge in a jog through my local college town (eye candy!) and then strip out of my jogging clothes and lay out in the sun with a good book for about an hour (at my secluded home - not in the college town) :D


  31. Sitting in the sun, dreaming away when I have tons of work to do.