I’m in the middle of reading Deeanne Gist’s newest book, Maid to Match and let me tell you…FABULOUS! I love the era (1898), the setting (Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC), and the characters. WONDERFUL!
And very fitting that Deeanne’s book just came out and has a brilliant FIRST ENCOUNTER – just for my blog. She planned it just for me, I know it 😉 And my favorite encounter among her characters, Tillie and Mack, is in the dark. (I’ll let that mystery float around on the screen so you HAVE to read the book 😉
Deeanne is best known for her historicals, which are packed with loads of humor and romantic tension. She’s a gifted writer of conflict, which is also one of the reasons why she’s a two-time Christy award winner. But don’t take my word for it. Check out her website at www.deeannegist.com and you can check out my reviews of some of her other books.
Deep in the Heart of Trouble – http://pepperbasham.wordpress.com/2009/09/29/deep-in-the-heart-of-trouble-by-deeanne-gist/
or A Bridge in the Bargain – http://pepperbasham.wordpress.com/2009/06/20/a-bride-in-the-bargain/
Okay, okay – now lets get on with the good stuff 🙂
What do you think causes great romantic tension, especially for that first hero/heroine encounter?
A slow, slow build. I want the reader to feel exactly what the heroine is feeling. That means I need to engage her emotions one baby-step at a time. If I do my job, then the tension building between the hero and heroine will ultimately extract a visceral response from my reader.
And I’m so tickled you have an excerpt from Maid to Match. Woohoo! Let’s get our sneak preview.
Mack Danver stood stiffly beneath the archway in front of Biltmore House as its heavy wooden door creaked open. His chest tightened. It might as well have been the entrance to Central Prison in Raleigh.
A middle-aged man in a dark navy suit stepped onto the landing, his jowls slackening. “Earl! What are you doing out here? And dressed like that?”
“I’m not Earl. I’m his twin brother, Mack. Mrs.Vanderbilt told me to come.”
The man sniffed. “I think I’d know if you had an identical twin, Earl.”
“You must be Mr. Sterling, the butler.” Mack extended his hand. “Earl’s told me about you.”
Sterling slapped his hand away.
Mack didn’t so much as hesitate. Grabbing the butler by the shirtfront, he propelled him backwards. “Listen, mister. When I say I’m Mack Danver, I mean I’m Mack Danver. When I extend a hand in greeting, I expect it to be taken. When it’s not, I take offense.”
“Mr. Sterling? Is everything—” A young maid stepped to the door. “Earl! What’s the matter with you?”
Black hair peeked out from beneath her small white cap. The eastern sun had reduced her pupils to dots, leaving eyes so blue they appeared almost lavender. Rushing out the door, she jumped between them, squaring off with Mack. “Stop it! Stop it right this minute.”
Releasing the man’s collar, Mack took a step back. Did she actually believe he was frightened of her? He felt a smile tug at his lips. “I’m not Earl, miss. I’m his brother, Mack.”
The disapproval she’d shown before was nothing compared to the horror that filled her eyes now. She pressed a hand against her stiffly starched apron. “Oh, no. You’re the brother?”
“And you came to the front door? What possessed you to come to the front door?”
“I was just looking.”
Rolling her eyes, she turned to the butler. “He’s a mountain man. He was engaged in fisticuffs when Mrs. Vanderbilt first saw him. I’ll take him round back myself and make sure he doesn’t get into any more trouble.”
Mack tucked his shirt into his trousers. “I can fight my own fights. You needn’t do it for me.”
She seared him with her gaze. “Do not say another word.”
He bristled and opened his mouth to argue.
She lifted her index finger. “Not. Another. Word.” With her finger still in the air, she turned back to the butler. “May I take him round back, sir?”
Tugging the hem of his jacket, Sterling tightened his lips. “Go ahead. I’ll talk with the housekeeper and tell you what we decide to do with him.”
Mack took a step forward.
The maid steepled one hand on his chest. With the other, she pointed toward the gate. “That way, Mr. Danver. The servants’ entrance is that way.”
Can I write like you someday? Just pass on the creative genuis through cyberspace and I’ll be a very happy lady What a wonderful excerpt, and great introduction into the world of Maid to Match.
Thanks so much for being a part of the blog series.
****WIN A COPY of Maid to Match********
Some commenter will win Dee’s new novel. A name will be drawn by Sunday, June 13 – so make sure you get your name in for this opportunity.
If you guys could write a novel in any setting, what would you choose? or if you are writing one right now, what DID you choose and why?
And stop by the blog tomorrow to find out who’s visiting next week for the Sizzlin’ First Encounters Blog series. It starts and ends with a BANG, with lots of fireworks in between.