Shannon here: Roseanna White shares how she met her husband and an excerpt of her hero and heroine’s meeting. Comment on any post dated Feb 28 – Mar 4 for a chance to win a print or digital copy of A Stray Drop of Blood or Jewel of Persia, winner’s choice. Deadline: Mar 5, midnight central time. Here’s Roseanna:
I’ve known my husband most of our lives. I believe the first time we met was in the halls of our middle school. He was the best friend of my then-boyfriend (if one can call “boyfriend” a boy who never called, held my hand all of twice, and . . . well, we were 12. What do you expect? LOL), and I spotted them talking on my way to a class. I stopped to say, “Hi! I’m Annie.” David looked at me, said nothing, and then went back to his conversation. He later said he looked at me and was awe-struck. Ahem. Oh, yes, 12-year-old me, with my stringy hair and stick frame, was just SO impressive! =) As it turns out, we dated all through high school and got married during college. Never regretted a moment.
In Jewel of Persia, there’s no history between my characters. Kasia grew up in a poor Jewish family with more servants than luxuries. She certainly never expected to be taken to the palace to join the king’s harem, and her father is so unhappy about it that he tells her siblings she’s dead. Not exactly a perfect match. But theirs is actually a story of love at first sight . . . that gets put through the furnace in the years that follow.
Excerpt from Jewel of Persia: (Kasia and her friend Esther were bathing their feet in the river when Kasia spotted two wealthy Persian men approaching them. She tries to jest their way out of trouble and make their escape without taking the time to put their shoes back on.)
The man arched a brow. “I have no intentions of hoisting you over my shoulder the second your attention is elsewhere.”
“And I would see you prove it with my own eyes.”
He shook his head, smiling again, and backed up a few steps. “There. You can sit and put them on, and you will be able to see if I come any closer. Is that satisfactory?”
Though it felt like defeat to do so, it would have been petulant to refuse. She sat and swallowed back the bitter taste of capitulation. Glanced up at the man and found him watching her intently, his smile now an echo.
Who was he? Someone wealthy, obviously. Perhaps one of the king’s officials, or even a relative. She guessed him to be in his mid thirties, his dark mane of hair untouched by grey. He had a strong, straight nose, bright eyes. Features that marked him as noble as surely as the jewelry he wore.
But it was neither the proportions of his face nor his fine attire that made her fingers stumble with her shoes. It was the expression he wore. Intent and amused. Determined and intrigued.
He fingered one of the ornaments on his clothing, gaze on her. “Who is your father, lovely Kasia?”
She swallowed, wondering at the wisdom of answering. Surely he had no intentions of seeing her home now, of . . . of . . . what? What could possibly come of such a short encounter? It was curiosity that made him ask. It could be nothing more. “Kish, the son of Ben-Geber. He is a woodworker.”
Esther made a disturbed squeak beside her, but Kasia ignored her.
The man’s mouth turned up again. “Kish, the son of Ben-Geber. And I assume he is not inclined toward his daughter socializing with Persians? It is a prejudice I find odd. Are you not in our land? Have you not chosen to remain here, even after King Cyrus gave you freedom to leave? It seems very . . . ungrateful for you Jews to remain so aloof.”
Kasia sighed and moved to her second shoe. “Perhaps. But it is an outlook hewn from the continued prejudice the Persians have against us.”
“Some, perhaps.” The man flicked a gaze his companion’s way. “But most of us recognize that the Jews have become valuable members of the empire. Take Susa for example.” He waved a hand toward the city. “It is such a pleasure to winter here largely because of the Jews who withstand the heat in the summer and keep the city running. We are not all blind to that.”
She inclined her head in acknowledgment. “And some of us recognize the generosity of Xerxes, the king of kings, and his fathers before him, and are grateful for the opportunity to flourish here.”
“But . . .” He cocked his head, grinned. “Your father is not one of those?”
Kasia sighed and, finished with her shoes, stood. “My father has lived long under the heel of his Persian neighbors. Were it not for the size of our family, he would have returned to Israel long ago.”
“Ah. Well, fair and generous Kasia, I thank you for taking the time to speak with me. Your wit and eloquence have brightened my day.” He stepped closer, slowly and cautiously.
Esther shifted beside her, undoubtedly spooked by his nearness. But Kasia held her ground and tilted her head up to look into his face when he was but half an arm away. “And I thank you, sir, for your kind offer to see us home, even if I must decline.”
“Hmm. A shame, that. I would have enjoyed continuing our conversation on the walk back to the city.”
With her eyes locked on his, she was only vaguely aware of his movement before warm fingers took her hand. She jolted, as much from the sensation racing up her arm as from the shock of the gesture.
He lifted her hand and pressed his lips to her palm. Her breath tangled up in her chest. If her father saw this, he would kill her where she stood.
But what was the harm in a moment’s flirtation with an alluring stranger? He would return to his ornate house and forget about her. She would go to her modest dwelling and remember this brief, amazing encounter forever.
A stolen moment. Nothing more.
His other hand appeared in her vision even as he arched a brow. “A gift for the beautiful Jewess.”
That tangled breath nearly choked her when she saw the thick silver torc in his hand, lions’ heads on each end. “Lord, I cannot—”
“I will it.” He slid the bracelet onto her arm, under her sleeve until it reached a part of her arm thick enough to hold it up, past her elbow. Challenge lit his features. “If you do not want it, you may return it when next we meet.”
“I . . .” She could think of nothing clever to say, no smooth words of refusal.
With an endearing smirk, he kissed her knuckles and then released her and strode away. Kasia may have stood there for the rest of time, staring blankly at where he had been, had Esther not gripped her arm and tugged.
In case you missed the excerpt from A Stray Drop of Blood: http://shannonvannatter.com/roseanna-white-romantic-tension-excerpt-part-2-of-2/
About Roseanna: Roseanna M. White is wife, mommy, writer, reviewer, and lover of all things literature-related. She has two books published with WhiteFire Publishing, A STRAY DROP OF BLOOD and Jewel of Persia. She is the editor and senior reviewer of the Christian Review of Books, and a member of ACFW, HisWriters, and HEWN Marketing. She makes her home in the mountains of Western Maryland with her husband, two kids, and the colony of dust bunnies under her couch. Learn more about her and her books at: http://www.roseannamwhite.com and http://roseannamwhite.blogspot.com.
It’s then end of another quarter for the Inkslinger. Come back March 5 for my 2nd favorite blog post from December – February. Each Saturday from March 12 – April 2, I’ll countdown my favorite post and yours for the last quarter.
March Lineup of Authors:
March 7 – 12 – Historical and Suspense author, Anne Greene
March 14 – 18 – Historical Romance author, Elaine Cooper
March 21 – Historical Romance author, Lena Nelson Dooley
March 23 & 25 – Romance author, Catherine West
March 28 – Apr 1 – Amish Romance author, Mary Ellis