Today I am featuring an extract from Katie Moran…
Crow briefly closed his eyes, turning to walk rapidly to the window. ‘Kitto did more than vex me, although God knows I didn’t deal with him as I should have. Do you think I don’t wonder why he kept refusing his leave, and why he hasn’t come home, even though MacArthur said he ought to be here by Christmas? It shouldn’t have taken him more than one month to sail from St Petersburg, and it’s been two.’ He sensed Hester standing close behind him, knowing that the moonlight would be shining through the fine linen of her nightgown. ‘You must know that I would never hurt the maid,’ he said to her in Cornish, holding on hard to the windowsill. He had done so much that was wrong. He didn’t deserve this woman; he didn’t deserve their child, asleep in the nursery. He turned and against all odds she put her hands behind his head and kissed him, her fingers light against the sweat-damp skin at the nape of his neck. He ran his hands down her back, with only that gossamer layer of linen between his fingers and her naked skin; lifting his wife again, he carried her to the bed, and the curtains at the windows and around the bed had all been left undrawn, heavy velvet shifting in an easterly wind coming in through the casement he always left open; he’d never been able to sleep in an airless room. At last, he laid her on the bed and knelt before her in supplication, sliding that profligate nightgown up around her waist and brushing the inside of her thigh with kiss after kiss, higher and higher, until her fingers curled in his hair, pulling it tight.
‘I love you,’ he said, and then kissed her there again so that she arched her back as she lay on the bed, ‘you and only you, Hester.’
‘You are so shockingly badly behaved—’ She broke off, liquescent and incoherent, clutching at his hair again when he cupped the round warmth of her rear in his hands, and as he did so, there was a knock on the door that persisted even after his imperious dismissal, but she had already curled away from him, tugging down her nightgown.
Hester sighed. ‘You must go – whatever it can be at this time of night.’
By the time Crow reached the door and turned the handle, still dizzy with desire but his every sense now also surging with the urge to fight or to flee, he found Hughes once more, still dressed, holding a glowing Davy lamp, his face alive with alarming panic, dark skin sheened with sweat.
‘It’s the Deliverance, your honour – that caravel of Sir Hawkins Boscobel’s,’ Hughes said. ‘They say she foundered for some reason right out beyond the cove, and the tide and the wind will soon have her smashed into pieces against Carn Du.’
And for the briefest moment Crow remembered lying on the Belle’s bowsprit when he was a midshipman at twelve years old, watching the sea sparkle and heave far below, knowing even as dolphins played in the spray as they crossed Biscay that this same ocean might easily one day be his grave. He turned to Hester: there was no choice.
‘I know,’ she said, tears standing in her eyes. ‘I know you must go, but be careful. Do you understand?’
She came to take his hands and he loved her with all the force of his being. ‘Of course,’ he said, knowing this might well be the last thing he said to her, ‘I’m ever your obedient servant, my dear.’
‘The chance would be a fine thing,’ Hester said, and kissed him. ‘Now go.’
He reached the top of the stairs at a run, knowing that he was almost certainly too late to save a single life on board the Deliverance, and that he might be lost himself in the attempt, but that he still must try.
About the book
Four women sit in the candlelit drawing-room at Nansmornow, an ancient Cornish manor house. The air is thick with unspoken suspicion and secret malice. As Hester Lamorna pours tea for her three guests, she has no idea one of them is about to rock her new marriage to its very foundations.
Half a world away, Hester’s impossible and charmismatic husband, Jack ‘Crow’ Crowlas, will be caught up in a chess game of sexual manipulation, played out across the sumptuous ballrooms of St Petersburg. All Hester and Crow hold most dear will be tested to the limit and beyond: their love for each other and their child, and for Crow, the loyalty of his only brother.
About the author
Katy Moran is a Carnegie nominated author, she write high-octane Regency romance, which include, muskets, gunpowder, Cornwall and Russia. She writes that when she is inspired by a new place ‘Regency England, Cornwall, Russia, the ancient palace of Fontainebleau — I want to actually be there. I want to take you there too, in the company of complex characters that you will fall a little (or a lot) in love with on the way.’