If you’re here, it’s probably because you love romantic stories and you’re caught up in all the exciting fever about the Duchess of Essex, Meghan Markle and her charming husband, Duke of Essex, Harry. The royal romance and the royal wedding have still captured our attention and continue to inspire incredible romance stories! Today, I have a sample for you that’s perfect if you love billionaire romance, contemporary romance, and interracial black woman white man love stories. Keep scrolling for the cover reveal and first excerpt from my upcoming book, Devil In Blackmoor Castle.
I always hated when mother dragged me to the ballet. When we came, there was always pomp and circumstance. I’d have to say goodbye to the Corgis and to afternoons with my Latin governess, and have a servant stuff me into a wool suit and she’d comment on my red hair and call me young master as I scowled. Maybe I just hated leaving Blackmoor.
My strong opinions weakened against the view I had from our new special seats, roped off with guards seated around us, some surreptitiously and others in plainclothes to diffuse any potential threats that might be lurking in London theater.
I was wrong about the ballet anyway. I’d hated it before I knew that there were women in it. And these women, although common born, were dazzling enough to catch my eye, even throughout the overdramatic Dracula performance, which I’d watched every October without fail for years. I didn’t care for the plot. I cared for the dancers, with their lithe bodies and their delicate movements which concealed their immense physical strength.
One moment, they’d stand croise dévant and the next, a creature as small as a bird with bones that only appeared twice as brittle, would fling her body across the stage and land with precision that could only be attributed to her strength.
The star of today’s performance was breathtaking. Up on her toes, then down, her face twisted into pain and pleasure as she flung her body off the ground, wrapping her legs around the torso of the overly-muscled nub of a man who held onto her. Her hair, loose and wild, like Dracula’s prisoner, draped over him, a thick sea of luscious black curls.
He set her down. She craned her back, hair touching the ground as he gripped the small of her waist and then lifted her off the ground, over his shoulders where she landed on the tips of her toes and her feet fluttered and flattened, fluttered and flattened, until she was lifted off the ground again, balanced by the indelicate creature that dared hold her.
Jamie leaned over and plucked me out of the reverie of watching her.
“Haven’t you seen Dracula enough times? I can’t believe you’re actually watching this garbage.”
His wife sat at his other shoulder with their two young children. Alice, the poor duchess, had her hands full with the children, Jane and Richard. She wasn’t speaking to him because she found out about his mistress in Edinburgh. Still, she smiled as she’d been trained to do, the way my wife would be trained to do.
“Mina. She’s beautiful,” I breathed.
Jamie smiled, but didn’t risk talking again. If we said too much, the BBC would have lip-readers dissecting every movement just to speculate at what we were talking about. They hung onto our every word.
I lived for the pas-de-deux which continued before me. The tortured dance of lovers was the only thing dripping with enough raw sensuality to make ballet watchable. My Mina slipped down Dracula’s back, butter sliding off a waffle.
I’d never seen a dancer like this one. I could imagine running my hands through her hair, a shadow of her eye-fire.
The dance continued. The brute, the Dracula who I’d come to despise profoundly in a matter of seconds, held her close to his chest, heaving like a drunken pigeon and then he set her down. She frittered away, toes clicking across the floor as she acted torn and morose. When she was just out of reach, Mina’s love for Dracula pulled her back and she fluttered back into his arms while he lifted her over his head, her body stiff and lifeless, like a corpse.
She slipped him back into his coffin, her leg extended out and the dress falling delicately forward as she fluttered off stage.
I couldn’t wait for the show to be finished. Every minute I watched when she wasn’t on the stage was torture. If I stood up and ordered the whole thing done, I could have had it, just to see her. But granny would have been furious if I’d made a scene. At her age, I wanted to avoid spoiling her mood.
The final act was finished. Before the dancers finished bowing and received their applause, I caught my guard’s attention and stalked out the side door towards the backstage.
“Your majesty!” An usher squeaked as she caught sight of me, lowering her knee in a strange low bow. I ignored her, fixated solely on my mission — my Mina.
“Your highness, where are you headed?” My guard asked. Milton Shepherd was accustomed to my whims and fancies.
“Backstage. I need you to find that Mina and bring her to me.”
“The lead ballerina?”
“You’ve seen Dracula as many times as I have and with better seats than your money could ever buy. Yes, the lead ballerina. Now bring her to me. I’ll be in the car.”
“What am I to tell her?”
“Order to her to come. You’re the Prince of England’s bodyguard. Don’t you think that will be some motivation?”
Milton’s flat expression belayed his usual unhappiness with my orders. The crown didn’t pay him to be unhappy. I stormed off toward the car, hoping to beat the press or worse, another icy standoff between Jamie and his wife.
I slid into the back of a white Rolls Royce. Today, we traveled with five of them to avoid detection. If some would-be assassin was hell-bent on killing some powerless heirs to a country, I suppose this was meant to throw him off the trail.
I was just glad not to be in a car with Alice who would be chewing Jamie’s ear off. He could be such a cock sometimes cheating on her like that. Alice already knew about one of his mistresses and she’d cried for weeks, nearly refusing to go out until granny had forced her to make an appearance in The Sun.
Alice knew what she was getting into marrying a Prince, Granny said, You make sacrifices when you’re the kind of woman who will do anything to be the center of attention.
Ouch. But that was Gran. I leaned back in the car, enjoying the privacy tinted windows afforded against the hoi poloi. Milton would bring her back.
I didn’t know her real name, so for now, she was Mina. My Mina.
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