What was available through ILL was Rebecca Ryman's only other book - Shalimar. Once again, we visit the exotic locales of India, and I have to say I am enjoying it very much, particularly the interactions between the two main characters, Emma and Damian.
For my teaser today, I am sharing a scene that is pretty pivotal in the book, but isn't really a spoiler given that you know what is going to happen by reading the book's blurb. It does actually read a bit like a scene from a historical romance, which is right up my alley anyway, but the book really is drama-filled historical fiction with exotic locations, daring deeds and plenty of intrigue!
The teaser comes from page 101:
The words took an instant to register. Emma stiffened, her cheeks flooded with colour to match the crimson of the curtains and her gaze buried itself in the floor. Continuing to observe her intently from behind his desk, he allowed her a few moments of silence. Her sense of shock finally receded; she thrust her trembling hands beneath her poche.
"If I understand your drift correctly, Mr Granville," she said in a voice acceptably steady. "I find it unworthy of comment. Indeed, I find both you and your proposition contemptible."
"Oh? Just what do you think my proposition is?"
"That in exchange for the cancellation of my brother's debt I should agree to become your mistress," she said, bluntly refusing the refuge of euphemism.
"My dear Miss Wyncliffe!" He threw his hands in mock horror, a model of outraged innocence. "You astonish me more and more. I find it difficult to believe that a pure, untouched English rose like you could even be aware of such dreadful creatures as mistresses." He laughed and crossed the length of the room to where she stood, his thumbs tucked in the armholes of his waistcoat. He halted so close to her that whiffs of his tobacco-tinged breath fanned her face.
"No, Miss Wyncliffe," he said, "mistresses I have galore. I doubt if I could accommodate more without inviting serious damage to my health. You will therefore be relieved to know that I do not want you for a mistress." His manner was casual but his eyes held a curious, piercing intensity. "I want you for a wife."
For an eternity, it seemed, the words remained suspended between them. The silence expanded and then thickened, punctuated only by the tick-tock of the clock. Emma stared at him wide-eyed and incredulously, unaware in her astonishment that she had folded back into a chair.
"So, Miss Wyncliffe," he murmured. "It appears that I do have the capacity to surprise you, after all."