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Tuesday Teaser April 1, 2014-Wolf’s Lady Part 13

Today’s tidbit from Sand and Amanda’s story is not as exciting as I would have liked it to be. This is a section where I want the reader to get to know a little bit more about Amanda. What sort of family does she come from? What does she think of her life working in Sky’s house? This is the sort section that I will spent extra time on during my self-edits because it rambles more than I want it to.

Speaking of edits, I just finished edits on Wolf’s Vengeance. I’ll be sending out the first couple of chapters in the newsletter later this week, along with news of a blog hop where you can win tons of prizes, including gift cards and a kindle paperwhite.

Amanda woke the next morning feeling oddly happy. She hadn’t felt this sort of fragile hope since her early childhood, before she learned lavish Christmas presents only came to rich little girls. A set of pretty clothes that were brand new instead of hand me downs had been at the top of her wish list for years, until she realized a sanitary worker couldn’t afford them, even one who cherished his daughter above anything else.

Sand wasn’t her Christmas present, but he could be. She lay on her back between cool sheets and cast her mind back over the events of last night. A giggle escaped when she remembered Paul’s misunderstanding. The giggle died. Sand’s violence had been controlled, but was there any doubt he could have killed Paul? No, not in her mind. What would it be like being married to him? The sex part would be fine, no matter what sort of lover he was. In seven years she had plenty of experience. Some men were good at it, others weren’t. She shrugged, her shoulders moving against the pillow. As long as he wasn’t cruel she could accept his lovemaking. Sex was only one slice of the marriage pie. There were other things that outweighed sex. She had a month to decide if Sand could give her what she wanted from a husband.

She got up and threw on a robe. Unlike her sexy working robes, this one was bulky and comfortable. Summer was winding down, and the morning air was a bit chilly. Was it always this cold in the morning? Since she normally slept until noon, Amanda wasn’t sure.

She opened her door to go downstairs to breakfast and nearly tripped over a foot. Sand jumped up to steady her.

“You okay?” he asked.

“Yeah.” She tightened the sash of her robe. “I’m going to use the bathroom and then have breakfast. Have you eaten yet? I’ll meet you in the dining room in a couple of minutes.”

 Sand was still at the head of the stairs when she finished in the bathroom. He walked beside her down the stairs, through the kitchen to the dining room. There she found a half a dozen women seated at the long table. They were what Amanda considered day staff. Ginny, Sally, Carey, and Rebecca were laundresses, and Jennifer and Denise worked in the kitchen.

Sand said a quiet good morning and headed over to the buffet under the window and loaded his plate with enough eggs and sausage to feed an entire family. Amanda filled a plate more modestly.

Sand wasn’t one for chatting while he ate. Amanda watched him empty his plate one forkful at a time. He ate neatly, she noticed, but steadily. When he got up to fill his plate again, Amanda met Carey’s wide eyes with wide eyes of her own and a little shrug.

He finished his second plate before she finished her first. He leaned an elbow on the table and put his chin in his hand to watch her. “What would you like to do today?” he asked. “Are there chores you need to finish first?”

Ginny snorted, a sound loaded with bitter sarcasm. Amanda put all her attention on finishing the last of her raspberries. “Let’s go for a walk,” she suggested when she put her fork down. “Give me five minutes to dress, and I’ll meet you by the front door.”

Without looking at Ginny, Amanda went back upstairs. She put on ankle boots, jeans, and a loose blouse of pale green cotton. Because it was a little cool, she added her mother’s shawl. It seemed right to wear the shawl her mother had knit before her death.

 Sand stood in the foyer, deftly braiding his long black hair into a single braid that dangled between shoulders blades. Amanda’s fingers itched to do it for him. He had gorgeous hair.

“If I decide to marry you, you’ll have to agree to let me play with your hair whenever I want.”

Surprise lit his face before melting into a smile. He ducked his head almost bashfully. “It’s just hair. You can play with it anytime you want.”

She laughed and went past him through the door he held open for her. “You’re making it too easy for me. You should hold your hair hostage. Tell me I can’t touch it until I agree to marry you.”

Sand stopped her by touching his fingertips to her shoulder. “No.” His face was very earnest. “I want you to accept me. I want that so bad it’s all I can think of. But I won’t use blackmail to get you. I want you to be my mate because you want it too.”

She swallowed a quick stab of emotion. What exactly the emotion was she wasn’t sure, but it brought tears crowding the back of her eyes. She hurried past him to the steps. He fell in beside her.

“Let’s go down to the city gardens,” she said quickly. “I like to walk there.”

“Sure.” They walked in companionable silence for a few blocks before he spoke again. “Why doesn’t Virginia like you?”

Amanda sighed. “Ginny is an unhappy person. Her family paid nearly all they had for her to marry. They belong to a church that believes all women should be married. They don’t approve of my profession.”

“Hm.” Sand’s face looked interested. “Where is her husband?”

“He died a year ago. Ginny is twenty-nine. The city ordinance requires all women from eighteen to forty to pay a tax to remain single, or go to work in one of the brothels.”

“Even widows?”

“Even widows. Sky’s house might be a brothel, but he doesn’t force anyone to accept clients. It’s a good place for Ginny. Her sons live with her parents, but she has two days off a week to visit them.”

“So why does she not like you?”

“Well, I’m a whore.” She laughed lightly. “Which according to her church, means I’m evil and going to hell. Besides that, I make more money than she does, and I don’t have to do any of the labor she does. Other people wash my clothes, cook my food and clean my house.”

Sand’s brow was furrowed as he tried to understand. “Is she jealous?”

Amanda shrugged. “That might be part of it.”

The entrance to the gardens came in sight. She grabbed his hand. “I don’t want to talk about that anymore. I want to show you my favorite spot in the gardens.”

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