Fatal Fortune, my historical romance, continued from last month:

His silver eyes impaled her. “Do you want to see your sister again? From what I understand, she is a sweet girl, shy and dependent on your strength.”

Valentina shuddered. Already he had sensed that Yolanda relied on her.

The earl picked the dagger off the floor. Relaxed, he wiped the blood from the blade on his torn shirt and set it atop the wooden mantel. His deliberate stance in front of the fireplace blocked her from reaching the dagger.

“Come here.” His command resonated silky, yet smooth. He turned toward a slim ornate table in the corner of the room.

She eyed the mantle. If the earl moved another foot, she might be able to retrieve the dagger.

He sighed heavily. “Do I need to drag you?”

She stood motionless and debated whether to defy him, thinking of Yolanda. “Nay. I can move on my own.” With a haughty lift of her head, Valentina purposely walked ahead of him. She insulted him by doing so, although he was not aware of it. In the Romany culture, a woman never walked in front of a man, as she would contaminate him. He would be unclean. The secret affront gave her a little pleasure and she smiled.
Then she realized that a commoner also did not walk in front of a noble, and this might be an insult he would recognize. She held her breath and waited.

He pulled out a heavy wooden chair and beckoned her to sit with a courteous sweep of his hand. “My interest in speaking with you is a simple one. I want you to read my fortune.” His eyes flicked to steel ashes. “And then you may see your sister.”

“You think our ways are mere superstitions,” she countered. “Most Romany don’t read fortunes.”

He shrugged and smiled. “What I believe and disbelieve is of no concern to you. But you possess an astonishing ability to foresee the future, and I admit I am intrigued. Your superstitions have more than an element of truth.”

4 comments

  1. Mary Ricksen // November 17, 2008 at 2:10 PM  

    Sounds like a good one Joanne, you stopped the excerpt much too soon!

  2. Nightingale // November 17, 2008 at 8:28 PM  

    I read every word -- and I'm guilty of skimming sometimes. Great post, Joanne. And the recipes -- I'm going to blame you if I gain weight! ha ha

  3. Mary Marvella // November 17, 2008 at 8:33 PM  

    Read his fortune, indeed! Can't wait to see what she says about his future.

  4. Joanne // November 18, 2008 at 8:52 AM  

    Thank you, ladies! Another excerpt is coming.