Thursday, February 14, 2013

Where's the Love? Blog Hop

Love is in the air--and on the pages. Heather Webb of Between the Sheets is hosting a Valentine's Day blog hop. Follow the trail and read love scenes from participants' novels. Here's a contribution from my work-in-progress:

They walked a bit in silence, the unlit windows of the near-empty château withholding both succor and judgment. Their footsteps echoed on the cobbles, rousting pigeons from the eaves and sending mice scurrying to the safety of shadows. Far off, an owl hooted, hungered by the croaking of the pond’s countless frogs. The sweetness of the honeyed wine lingered on Catherine’s tongue, stilling each feeble tremor of caution. When the duke changed direction and led her into the cour de la fontaine, she did not resist.
They stood at the railing and gazed out upon the lake. The moonlight lay like early frost upon the rippled surface. The reedy bank below them exhaled a rich breath of damp earth, while above them the stars winked in complicity.
“A gift from heaven,” Orléans murmured. 
The view, the moment, the day? “Indeed it is, my lord.”
He cocked a brow. “I don’t supposed you’d call me Charles?”
She shook her head. “I dare not presume.” 
Disappointment flashed in his eyes, only to be doused by her murmured disclaimer. “Not aloud, that is.”
He tipped her chin, raising her gaze to meet his. “Then I shall have to imagine the whisperings of your heart.”
"They cannot be difficult to discern.”
He bent then and kissed her, his breath sweeter than the sugared plums, his lips softer than the velvet sleeve beneath her hand. Though they were of one age, she knew nothing of love. Breathless with delight, she closed her eyes and surrendered to the wonder of his exploration.

Comments and critique welcome. In fact, commenters will be entered into Heather's drawing for FREE CHOCOLATE! Be sure to visit Heather's blog and follow the links to other scenes. Spread the love!
Happy Valentine's Day!


Jess Schira said...

I love the quietness and peace in this scene. You did an excellent job of simply allowing it to flow. It has a very organic feel.

Anonymous said...

Oh, wow. My only comment is that I'd really like to see more.You set the scene brilliantly with "the unlit windows of the near-empty château withholding both succor and judgment." And your voice and pace are just perfect.

Thanks so much for sharing this beautiful scene. I just love it!

kriswaldherr said...

Love. So beautifully written, Julianne! Can't wait to see you at HNS.

Laura Kenyon said...

"while above them the stars winked in complicity." LOVE this line. You do a fantastic job of setting the scene and transporting the reader to those shadowy cobblestone streets. It is very serene and beautiful. The very last phrase "surrendered to the wonder of his exploration" pulled me out of an otherwise fantastic scene because it made me concentrate on the writing more than the characters. But everything else was very well done. I'm intrigued to read more!

Heather Webb said...

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this scene SO MUCH. Poetic, beautiful. SIGHHHHHH! I have nothing to add to that! Happy Valentine's Day! <3

historywriter said...

First of all, I love your header with the chateau. I'm going to France next fall, first since I was a student there many, many years ago.

Onto the scene. Love how you've used the five senses in it. Smells, sounds and the visuals of the stars, the fountain. In its quiet way, it provides a growing tension. I get a sense there is an unequal social relationship which wants me to read more.

Julianne Douglas said...

Thanks to all who have taken the time to comment on my excerpt. I am very ill today with the flu and will respond and read your pieces tomorrow. Thank you for understanding!

Donna Barker said...

I'm in awe of how beautifully you captured a time I know nothing about. I adore, “Then I shall have to imagine the whisperings of your heart.” I want my husband to say things like that to me!

I've never read historical fiction and in just 250 words you've got my interest piqued. Well done!

Candie Leigh said...

Oh my, such beautiful words, Julianne. Anyone that writes with such grace and eloquence doesn't deserve to be sick, ever! Feel better soon.

Rae Ellen Lee said...

Ah, yes, "imagine the whisperings of your heart." I, too, would surrender. I found this scene mesmerizing. Only one word seemed odd in the scene, and that is "succor" at the beginning. But perhaps they spoke like that back then. This is a beautiful introduction to your blog and your writing.

Anonymous said...

Oh Julianne!! I was THERE.. Perfection!

Marci said...

So beautiful, Julianne!! I can't wait to see this on shelves!!!

Veronica Bartles said...

I agree with everyone else. This was a very well-written scene that transported me into the past. And I loved the "I shall have to imagine the whisperings of your heart" line.

The only part that caused me to hiccup a bit in the flow was the "though they were of one age, she knew nothing of love" line. I wasn't sure what you meant by "they were of one age." Does this mean they were the same age, but he was experienced, where she was not? Or does it mean they were both of an age of consent? I'm not sure how to read it.

Julianne Douglas said...

Thanks you all for your lovely, lovely comments. I did want to capture the beauty of the night in the almost empty chateau, only to underscore the bittersweet sadness of Catherine knowing she was falling in love with a man she could never have. Glad to see the "whisperings of your heart" line worked on the readers as well as Catherine! By "Though they were of one age, she knew nothing of love," I meant that they were the same age, but she was inexperienced, whereas (this would be clear given the 200+ pages that come before!) he definitely is not! Sorry if that was confusing. I will reconsider the spots you all pointed out as giving you pause.

Historywriter, have a wonderful trip to France! I am so envious. The chateau in the header is Fontainebleau, where my story is set.

Donna Barker, I'm glad your first foray into historical fiction pleased you! There are so many wonderful titles out there. I've listed some of my favorite books in my sidebar. You might want to try some of those. I hope your interested enough to try some!

Thank you all again. It is such a boost to learn how much you liked this scene. Now I just have to finish the rest of the book....