Thursday, June 4, 2015

Cajun Bride by Eugenia Riley Excerpt

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Orphaned at seventeen, Cajun beauty Angelique Fremont is left to the tender mercies of her profligate uncle Giles in antebellum New Orleans. Then Giles cruelly betrays his niece, offering her on the auction block to his depraved poker companions! Only the intervention of Jean Pierre Delacroix, notorious rogue turned Cupid, saves innocent Angelique from a fate worse than death. Yet Jean Pierre knows he can never make this untouched angel a proper husband, so he engineers a marriage of convenience for Angelique with his wealthy, enigmatic cousin Roland.


Angelique is stunned to find herself forced into marriage to handsome, formidable Roland Delacroix. All too soon she is Roland’s bride and mistress of Belle Elise Plantation. Angelique’s mysterious bridegroom both allures and unsettles her, and she struggles between her pride and her budding desire for him. Why does her masterful husband seem to want her one moment, then shun her the next? Why is he so jealous, so determined to control her every move? What are the terrible hurts, ghosts, and betrayals haunting Roland, painful secrets he withholds from her even as their passion ignites? Barely past girlhood, Angelique must confront a woman’s dilemma and fight for Roland and their marriage. For only through overcoming Roland’s demons can the tempestuous couple find true passion, love, and happiness together.

Cajun Bride is a vivid and emotional historical romance of approximately 120,000 words.


Why does her bridegroom shun her bed?

Angelique spotted her husband sitting slumped on the loveseat in his shirtsleeves and trousers, his body outlined in quicksilver light. Roland’s shirt was partially unbuttoned, revealing the dense, dark hair on his chest, and his sleeves were rolled up, baring his muscular forearms. He was asleep. A crisp breeze wafted through the window beyond, billowing the curtains, and she reasoned that the wind must have blown out the lamp.
She approached him, and found there was something quite endearing about his countenance as he slept, his breathing deep and regular.
Leaning over him, she whispered his name.
He didn’t respond and she said it again, louder.
Her husband’s eyes opened and he stared up at her.
“Roland, I’m sorry,” she whispered achingly.
When he still didn’t respond, she added breathlessly, “I mean—about the things I said today. They were cruel and—it’s not like me to be cruel.”
Still, he said nothing, just staring up at her with his beautiful, deep-set eyes, hypnotizing her. He looked sad and oddly vulnerable. After a moment, for a reason she couldn’t fathom, she leaned over and pressed her mouth gently on his—
The next thing she knew, she was dragged down onto Roland’s lap, his arms like bands of steel around her as he crushed her lips with his own. His mouth was hot, devouring, tasting heavily of brandy. Her senses swam in his male scent. His tongue stole into her mouth, drinking boldly of every texture and recess. She felt electrified, shaken, aroused . . . And she couldn’t have been more conscious of the fact that she was half-clothed, totally vulnerable to this powerful stranger.
Within seconds, she was pressed beneath him on the love seat, his dark gaze burning down into hers. And then he spoke—hoarse, agonized words. “Do you know why I’ve been staying away, little Cajun? Haven’t you any idea how you’ve haunted me? Oh, I want you, ma chère. I do want you so!”
His words were tortured, the naked desire in his eyes making her heart race, and even as he spoke, his strong thighs were nudging hers apart, a bold hand raking up her bare thigh.
“By God, tonight you’ll find out,” he said, lowering his lips to her own . . .

Copyright © 1990 by Eugenia Riley Essenmacher

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