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Posts Tagged ‘in good conscience’

Hello, dear readers! I’m glad to be back to the blog after a busy August. My daughter is settling in at college, and my husband and I are adjusting to our suddenly quiet house.

I’m thrilled that my first post after my break is to welcome Cat Gardiner back to Diary of an Eccentric, this time to celebrate the release of the final installment in The Conscience series, In Good Conscience, with an audio excerpt and a giveaway. I can’t wait to revisit Iceman and Lakmé after loving all of the previous books in the series. (See my reviews of Denial of Conscience, Guilty Conscience, and Without a Conscience)

Please give Cat a warm welcome!

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Thank you, Anna for kicking off In Good Conscience mini-blog tour. I am so happy to be here to share an excerpt from a romantic interlude between Darcy (Iceman) and Liz (Lakmé) in Chapter 4. Big things lie ahead after this special visit to an old hunter’s cabin tucked away in the Black Mountains of North Carolina. Our dear boy doesn’t have the heart to tell his wife of less than a year that it’s time for him to leave but, in usual form, his actions give him away. Oh, but the memories they will make at this secret love nest will carry them through the darkest of times looming over the horizon.

I thought it would be not only fun but also helpful to bibliophiles with vision difficulties to include an audio of this excerpt should anyone prefer to listen rather than to read.

Chapter 4 – Making a Memory

Liz set the food out on the coffee table then relocated the dishware and champagne glasses, but not before snapping one of the white daisy stems overflowing from the coffee can vase and sliding it into her hair. This was her day and if she wanted to sit on the sofa to eat, so be it, which was fine with him because he wanted to touch her, not sit across a table from her on a wooden chair.

“Nick outdid himself; you should give him a raise. Who knew that huge hunk had a romantic touch inside him.”

“Higgins picking daisies …” He snorted, “Now, that would have been a photograph to send to his kids.”

She kicked off her boots then sat cross-legged on the sofa. The flower in her hair and the way she twisted her neck as she bit into the curved shrimp fascinated him, giving him pause, thumbs braced at the bottom of the champagne cork. There were many imprints made to his mind today, but this one of her toned body glistening from perspiration—in see-through undergarments—as she bit into the pink crustacean, and the rosy hue to her cheeks from their lovemaking, made him nearly pop his own cork.

“What’s wrong?” she asked with a full mouth.

“Nothing, you’re just …” Tongue-tied, he shook his head with a smile.

Liz snorted a laugh and went back to eating, snapping him from his admiration. A pop to the cork sent it flying across the room, which he did deliberately just to hear her laugh.

Hopefully the champagne wouldn’t knock her on her ass. They only had about four hours before leaving for the farmhouse. As skilled a rider as she had become, she was not ready for navigating the mountains in the dark and definitely not when drunk.

Sitting beside her, he, too, crossed his legs on the deep sofa then poured their champagne.

“What shall we toast to, Lakmé?”

“Hmm … Us, for starters, the tango, opera … children, and happiness. Forever.”

“Sounds like a plan.”

He kissed her, hoping upon all that was holy that that plan was the one to outlive all the others, no matter what.

The afternoon drifted by with Otis Redding vinyl records spinning on the turntable and languid conversation about their dreams until the last song played “These Arms of Mine.” His girl leaned back against the pillow at the armrest, propping her bare feet onto his lap. Their gaze locked on each other and a comfortable silence settled onto their romantic interlude as the lyrics floated around them. She was dissecting him, maybe admiring, definitely thinking of something that amused her evident by the quirk to her lips.

“I love watching you, watching me,” he finally said, caressing the top of her foot.

The wiggling of her painted toenails, alerted him to her desire and, of course, he complied, always enjoying how her perfect toes felt in his hands. Sometimes, she’d giggle, most times she moaned in response to his massaging ministrations. Today, she just simply instructed, “Make it good since you’re leaving me in the morning.”

Startled, he furrowed his brow. “You know?”

“Of course, silly. Why else would you go through all this trouble to make today so special?”

Oh, she was so brave; what a front she had put on today. It was almost as masterful as his own.

“I didn’t realize I was that transparent.”

“Babe, it’s what you don’t say that usually gives you away.”

“That’s not entirely true.” Sure it is. He’d just admitted it to himself moments before.

Rolling her eyes she said, “For example, that first time I met you at the dance school. I felt like such an awkward spaz, technically alone with my two left feet and no dance partner, Jane making moves on everyone in pants, and Bill ignoring me while making googly eyes at his partner. And then you thundered in—my tall, dark, and mysterious hero.”

“And your point is?”

“That once I was able to ascertain that your menacing scowl didn’t represent fault finding, it became clear that you had the hots for me from the moment you saw me through the glass. Further, you were fighting the feeling tooth and nail. When dancing with me, you said absolutely nothing, yet I knew you wanted to rip the blue sundress off my body and screw me right there.”

He chuckled. “I don’t quite remember it that way.”

She dropped a grape into her mouth. “Of course, you don’t. That would’ve made you a perv, and we both know that you’re not.”

“It was yellow, the dress was lemon yellow … and, in my defense, it was cold in the studio. How could I not look?” He smiled wickedly.

“See—what did I tell ya’? It’s your smolder that gives you away … I can give you more examples if you like.”

No, he didn’t need more examples. He knew them all and redirected the way this conversation was going by tickling the instep of her foot. She broke out into a fit of laughter, wiggling on the sofa.

“Stop. Please. Okay, okay … uncle! No more examples. You’re ent … irely mys … terious.”

Raising her foot to his mouth, he first kissed her big toe then wrapped his lips around it. Popping it from his mouth, he kissed it again. “Stay right here, just like this, and I’ll be right back. I have something for you.”

He could feel her amorous gaze peek around the edge of the sofa, eyes burning upon his backside when he strode out the front door to his Harley.

“Hurry back!” she teased with a laugh, and he did as commanded, quickly removing the day’s most special gift of all from his saddlebag.

Wrapped in simple brown paper with a red bow, he held the package out to her. “I bought this for you because … well, your last one—not that you used it much anymore, but it was destroyed in the hothouse.” Damn; he was stumbling over his words. “It … um, your first one … saw me through that dark time when I came back to Pemberley. It gave me hope, helped me to face my demons.”

She sat up, looking adorable with her disheveled hair, dried in a wild mess, and he pulled the fallen daisy from her locks. Untying the ribbon, the paper fell open revealing a new—blank—sketchbook.

“Oh, babe,” she softly said, smoothing her hand over the image on the cover: two lovers entwined in a sensual tango. “She’s wearing a red dress.”

“Like the one I bought you in Seville.”

“I love it! Thank you!”

“I thought you might want to take up sketching again. I also found you a professional set of colored pencils, but I left them up at the compound.”

Crossing the length of the sofa, she lunged into his arms with a mind-blowing kiss. He felt the wetness from her tears against his cheek and tightened his embrace, heart thundering against his chest wall. How the hell was he going to get through tomorrow? How could he ever leave her?

“See,” she whispered when her mouth left his wanting more. “You don’t need to say anything at all. I can feel your heart beating against mine, just as steady, just a strong.” She took a breath. “I love you so much, Fitzwilliam.”

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Oh my, Iceman! Thank you for sharing this excerpt, Cat! I’m sure all of you are as excited to read the book as I am!

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About In Good Conscience

The third and final romantic adventure in The Conscience Series

No man has loved a woman as much as Fitzwilliam “Iceman” Darcy loves his wife Elizabeth. His love is indestructible, insatiable, and his Achilles’ heel.

Since the whirlwind and dangerous adventure in Paris and Moscow in Without a Conscience, life at Pemberley has been a combination of idyllic repose and focused preparation and defense. Darcy’s enemy is still out there—a hair’s breadth from delivering revenge for his father’s assassination.

When the enemy strikes first, Iceman’s world comes crashing down kick starting a firestorm. How far will the gelid warrior go to protect all his loved ones? Just how much is the former Navy SEAL willing to sacrifice? Is his attritional warfare blind rage?—or are his extreme actions in good conscience?

This emotional, wild ride will take you on a breathless, white-knuckle international journey from heartbreak and revenge to survival and enduring bliss because …

No woman has loved a man like Elizabeth Darcy loves her husband Fitzwilliam. Her love is invulnerable, unyielding, and her strength.

Author Note: Jane Austen and Elizabeth Gaskell wrote such wonderful characters, I borrowed their names and some of their characteristics for inspiration to tell my own tale of contemporary love. In Good Conscience – The Final Adventure is a sequel, and I recommend reading Book 1 (Denial of Conscience,) and Book 2 (Without a Conscience) beforehand. Further, it is an original story that follows the lives of the characters of the aforementioned books and therefore, not meant to be a Pride and Prejudice variation. This novel contains explicit sexual content and occasionally salty language. So if you are looking for a clean, canon read, this book is not for you.

Buy on Amazon

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Giveaway

Cat is generously offering my readers a chance to win 1 paperback of In Good Conscience (U.S. only), 1 ebook of In Good Conscience (international), and swag, which includes 1 ebook, sketchbook, and pencil set (U.S. only). To enter, please leave a comment with your email address. This giveaway will be open through Sunday, September 16, 2018. The winners will be chosen randomly and announced in the comments section of this post. Good luck!

Thank you for being my guest today, Cat, and congratulations on your new release!

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