Thursday, June 21, 2018

Lara Temple: The Magic and Romance of Summer’s Solstice

Today is summer solstice! This day plays a role in the current book I’m working on, a Regency Highland romance that is part of a four book continuity series with three other lovely historical romance authors.

When my heroine, the plain and penniless widow Jo Langdale, has to comfort her new charge, the widowed Duke of Lochmore’s son, she tells him the tale of the magical mice – how summer’s solstice is the one the day in the year when magic descends on cats and mice and they remember that once in the distant past, before a wizard cursed the animals, they were friends.

And it is on the day of the annual Highland ball held at Lochmore that my heroine and my hero Benneit, the handsome, widowed, single-father Duke of Lochmore have their own magical moment of transformation...

Here is an excerpt from the Summer Solstice Ball…

Jo felt the guests staring as Benneit drew her onto the dance floor and her gaze fell to his shoes and her slippers, somehow moving to the lovely music. She did not recognize it – it was light and dream-like, as if the composer had crawled inside her head and listened to a long lost dream of hers as she had watched Benneit lead Bella and a dozen other beautiful women onto the dance floors of London, their hands in his, earning his smile and his charm and eventually his love.
It made little sense that he was dancing with her now, his hand warm on hers through her glove, his fingers shifting slightly on her waist as he guided her.
‘Are you counting your steps? You don’t need to, you dance beautifully.’ He said and there was laughter in his voice and something else she could not read. Was she embarrassing him? She looked up and smiled.
‘I’m sorry. I was listening to the music. It is so lovely. There is something so…wistful about waltzes. Sometimes I think they should be danced with eyes closed.’
‘If everyone did that it might wreak havoc on the dancefloor.’
‘That is a very practical consideration but not at all relevant to daydreams.’
‘Ah, this is day-dreaming Jo. What tale would unfold behind your lowered lids? Wizards and magical mice again?’
She shook her head, embarrassed to have even said as much, but he continued.
‘You could do that now – close your eyes and dream away.’ His voice sank, and there was heat in it but also a raw edge that brought with it the memory of that brief, wild embrace on the cliff path; the aftermath of fear and fury and the grasping at life.
She didn’t tell him that this time she did not want to close her eyes. That there was no daydream that could outdo this moment. It was a dream come real but with the bitter twist of all such dreams – it was still out of reach and all the more vicious for that chasm. She did not want the moment ruined by bitterness so she kept her smile and forced herself to look up from her contemplation of orange and blue pattern of his kilt.
It was a mistake. She had been warm before but the look she surprised in his eyes seared her skin. In this civilized setting the stark desire in his eyes reached out and grabbed her like a dog sinking its fangs into a rabbit.
‘Jo.’ His voice was so low she felt rather than heard the word, it reached her through his hands on her and the air around them. She could hardly feel her feet on the floor. Had no idea if she was dancing or suspended in his arms like a rag doll. All she could do was feel him; that she was already part of him.
Then the music slowed and the world returned – noisy, colorful, buzzing with chatter and laughter and the scuffing of shoes on the floor. It sounded strange, unrelated to her.
When his hands left her she made her way towards where the butler stood overseeing his small army of footmen. She wanted to be useful. Useful was where she was safe.

Author Contact Links
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Twitter: @laratemple1
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Wild Lords Series:
#1: Lord Hunter’s Cinderella Heiress:
#2: Lord Ravenscar’s Inconvenient Betrothal:
#3: Lord Stanton’s Last Mistress:


dstoutholcomb said...

lovely excerpt


Unknown said...

Thanks, Denise! My first Highland setting and I loved revisiting my trips to Scotland. 🌸