Just because I'm feeling oh-so-generous tonight—oh, it's after midnight here, so...this morning then—here's an excerpt from Heartless. This is the ever-so-romantic marriage proposal Derringer bestows on Merri (Leandra). Enjoy!!
“You sound like a gentlewoman,” he remarked lazily.
“I was raised in my father’s house. I was sent to Miss Forester’s Select Seminary for Young Ladies when the time came and given every benefit of a daughter of the house. Then papa died and his wife threw me out after the will was not found. Everything of papa’s went to his son, the new earl.” All this was said prosaically.
Her voice changed subtly as she continued. Derringer thought it would have gone unnoticed by anyone but him. “I was told he left nothing for me but I refuse to believe my father would not take care of me. We were very close and he assured me I would always be taken care of, that I need never fear poverty. Well,” she shrugged fatalistically.
“And you had no one else to turn to when you found yourself in straitened circumstances?”
She hesitated. “I first went into the village to see my beau, Mr. Hubbard,” she confessed reluctantly. “He had heard about the lack of will and let me know that he was no longer interested in marrying me. But he was more than willing to give me a much different position.” She shook her head and shrugged. “So now I am alone and apparently at your mercy, sir.”
“So you are,” he agreed with an assessing look, uncomfortably surprised at his sudden desire to tear Mr. Hubbard limb from limb. “Marry me.”
Leandra dropped her fork. It clattered onto her plate and her eyes flew up to stare at the crazy man sitting across from her. “Are you daft, sir?” she asked with her normal candor. “I mean, are you an escaped bedlamite?” She didn’t give him a chance to reply, adding quickly, “I thank you for the meal and the sympathetic ear, but you needn’t feel that such desperate means are called for in helping me. I’m sure you like to help people, but marriage? Is that not going much too far, my lord? I assume you are a lord of some sort based on the landlord's attitude but perhaps you are escaped from your keeper? I mean, even lords can lose their minds. The newspapers overflow with such stories...” Her voice drifted to silence.
How was that? Besides my overuse of words ending in —ly, that is.
This scene made me laugh all over again and reminded me why I love this book so much. I'm having a blast re-reading it, even with the "errors" I see. And it's very, very true that writers are their own worst critics. Well, most are.
The preceding is (c) copyright 2012 Laura J Miller. All rights reserved.