Ok, so Something Silly isn’t the actual title of my next Abigail Graves book. It’s just a placeholder of sorts so I could create the cover. Titles… Ugh. You know. But I wanted to include this as a sort of proof of life offering for the readers that keep asking about Eric Yardley, Lord Gasden. I get a message on Twitter, here on the blog or in an email and I’ll feel terrible. I’m sorry. I know it’s been a while. I’ve been so caught up in my K. Sterling projects and I’ve been in such a contemporary groove lately. It’s clicking and I’m enjoying the different writing style more than I expected.
Also, I’m a little stuck on Lily. This happens with my heroines that aren’t Mirabelle. I have to wait until something triggers an idea and she suddenly has shape and a voice. Part of the problem is that I got a good ways into it and asked Mr. Bawdy Book Writer to take a peek and he haaaated her. Well… shit. What do I do now? I decided to take a break and it’s been hard going back. I will, once a week or so. I’ll read through it all and add a 1,000 words or so before I get distracted by a different project.
I can’t give you an estimate as to when it will be done. It’s trudging along slowly. But, I’ll try and give more updates and excerpts, so you know I haven’t forgotten about Eric. I love you for hanging in there and keeping him in my thoughts though.
Here’s our guy:
This library. It was like standing in the middle of his heart. Eric felt tears stinging his eyes as he stood in the center of the room and breathed it in. The day he packed up his belongings and left Gasden House had been the most painful of his life. He was too angry and hurt that his mother would kick him out, missing and worrying about her came much later. But he’d stood on the doorstep and his chest felt like it was caving in when he realized he didn’t know when he’d see his library again.
Every adventure Eric had as a child happened within these tome lined walls. When he was sad or scared or lonely, he took refuge in his library. The only living, breathing children he’d ever played with were Lucien Haviland, the Duke of Clerendon and the Spencer children: Gilles, Alastair and Mirabelle. The four of them had tried to include him but he always felt like an afterthought, an outsider. Also, their antics were often too loud, reckless and destructive. He’d abstained whenever he could and retreated to his library. His closest friends were made of pages and words, they were always where he left them and they never got him into trouble.
Eric let his arm extend as he walked across the room and his fingers connected with the leather spine of the book he’d read before his mother had summoned him for their last argument. He let his finger glide up and pulled at the edge and it slid toward him. His hand closed around it and he raised it. Without thinking, he hugged it to his chest. He shut his eyes and sighed in relief. When he opened his eyes, they immediately went to his chair. It sat in front of the fireplace and was still turned so that the sun from the window shined over his shoulders and right into his hands as he read. Eric felt a lazy smile curve his lips as his feet carried him to it. He turned and slowly let his body sink and he couldn’t stop the ecstatic groan that escaped his throat as warm, cloud soft leather hugged him. He let his head fall back and waited until his emotions settled before he looked at the book in his hands.
Le Morte d’Arthur. As a child, Eric had always taken refuge in the Knights of the Round Table when he was worried or when he was avoiding conflict. As an adult, the habit had remained. He’d spent the days after his return from India hiding in his library, avoiding his mother and the endless quarrels about his marriage. He looked down and his fingers were tracing the embossed gold letters on the cover. He tapped the leather thoughtfully before he rose and put the book back in its place. Eric grinned as he let his hand fall away from it. I won’t be needing you today. He rubbed his chin as he stepped slowly to the side, letting his eyes scan the titles before his hand shut up and to his right. The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha, he chuckled softly as he flicked the cover open and found the first page, his feet moving on their own to his chair.
Eric’s eyes sped across the pages and he lost track of time. He snickered at Sancho and was about to turn another page when the smell of jasmine and citrus reached him. He raised his head and found Lily staring at him from the door. He quickly shut the book and set it on the table as he rose.
“Come in!” He gestured to the sofa. For some reason, he tensed. This started in a library, his brain reminded him. Eric shooed the thought away as he went to the bell pull. His eyes surveyed Lily’s appearance and he wasn’t as relieved as he imagined he would be to see her in more conventional clothing. She wore a deep blue day dress that while perfectly fashionable and well made, seemed a bit too drab and common for her. He frowned as he took the seat next to her.
“What is it, my lord?” Lily asked softly, she looked uncertain and uncomfortable. Eric shook his head and smiled warmly.
“Sorry, I was woolgathering. You look lovely.” He took her hand and raised it to his lips. Just then, Parkman entered and Eric looked up. “Could we have a tea tray, please?” He asked without taking his eyes off of Lily. Even in a drab, common dress she made his body tighten.
“Very good, my lord” Parkman mumbled and Eric nodded as he considered her hair. He didn’t know a damned thing about women’s hairstyles but whatever it was she had done to it, he didn’t like it. It was something he’d seen countless times, he was certain, but for some reason it made him unhappy seeing it on Lily. It was better down. He pictured it curling around her bare shoulders in the conservatory and he felt his erection returning.
“Lord Gasden?” She whispered.
“Hmmm?” Eric hummed as he tried to think of a tactful way to ask her to uncoil her hair. It was so long and he had a feeling most of her delightful scent was concentrated in her hair.
“Lord Gasden?” Lily said gently.
“Yes?” He nodded as he spied a tendril that had escaped behind her ear. The tip of his finger felt warm and his arm twitched as he fought the urge to reach out and curl the strand around it.
“Lord Gasden!” She demanded. Eric jumped and his eyes flew to hers.
“I’m sorry, what?” He smiled sheepishly as he focused on her eyes. Lily sighed and bit her lip in frustration.
“I asked if you had come to any decisions while you were waiting but now I’m wondering if you’ve misplaced your brain.” She grumbled. He chuckled as he sat back, resting his elbow on the back of the sofa.
“You’re quite distracting, my lady.” Eric admitted. She blushed and became engrossed in the sleeve of her dress. He liked that he’d flustered her. After the way she’d tied him in knots in the conservatory, she deserved it. He set his finger under her chin and raised her eyes to his. “I want to move back in. I’d like to send for my belongings.” He kept his voice even and soft. Her eyes flared. In awareness or surprise, he wasn’t sure. If he was honest, he didn’t blame her. Until he said the words, he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do. Between her and his library, he didn’t want to leave Gasden House. If I could have her, here in my library… There was a groan. He’d groaned. He shut his eyes and rubbed his hand across his face. She was going to think he was an idiot. Or a lunatic.