One of the most common questions I got asked after Love Letters from a Duke came out was “How did Pippin and Dash end up together?” Everyone wanted to see the affair that was being conducted behind the scenes while Felicity was chasing after her duke.
So when I sat down to write their story, I knew I would have to include all the “scenes” that I couldn’t show you in Love Letters from a Duke and the ones that you have yet not to see in Confessions of a Little Black Gown. (Wow, is that ever convoluted, but believe me after March 31st when Tally’s book comes out, it will make sense).
So to set the stage, if you recall in Love Letters from a Duke, there is a scene in Chapter 12 where Tally catches Pippin and Dash in the garden, but what you the reader never saw was the scene before their rendezvous in the snow was interrupted. So here it is, the promised sneak peek from inside the pages of Memoirs of a Scandalous Red Dress.
Chapter 5 ~
“Really, Dash, you shouldn’t . . . Oh, you just shouldn’t have come. If Felicity were to see you, or even worse . . . ” Pippin shuddered to think if someone called the watch.
“Shouldn’t have come,” he scoffed, reaching inside his coat, even as he stepped over the small snow bank separating them and drew closer. “And however would I have brought you this present if I hadn’t?”
“You did bring me something,” she said without thinking. Her gaze flew up to his as she realized what she’d confessed. “I mean—”
He laughed. “That maid of yours isn’t as cork-brained as she appears if she remembered the present.” He reached out and stopped her flutter of words with a single finger pressed to her lips. Even though he wasn’t wearing gloves or even mitts, his touch warmed her. “Sssh, little Circe, how could I come to see such a lofty and pretty lady as yourself without a wee token of treasure.” He put the box in her hands, and let his hand curl around her fingers, holding her just longer than was proper.
Perhaps it wasn’t just his touch, but him, standing so close, all she wanted to do was throw herself into the heat of his embrace and never leave.
But first she had a gift to open. Treasure, he’d said.
“You didn’t steal it, did you?” she whispered, sounding shocked, but quite frankly hoping he had.
A gift was one thing. But a pirate’s booty, stolen and spirited away, seemed magical to her dull existence.
Dash laughed. “No, I fear it isn’t that sort of gift, but one day I will steal you a chest of jewels and a hold filled with gold. And I’ll spend my nights pouring pearls and diamonds at your feet.”
Her toes curled inside her red wool socks and thin boots at such an offer. Even though it was a wild boast, in her imagination she saw them alone together, in some velvet and brocade harem, and she would be wearing some enticing red gown and Dash in the wild pirate costume he’d worn the first time they’d met.
The heat of a blush stopped her wayward thoughts and she turned her attention to opening her present. Slowly she untied the string, tucking it in her pocket to save always, and then she opened the box and found it was indeed filled with a treasure.
“Oooh,” she whispered, glancing up at him, wide-eyed.
“I thought you might like that,” he said, grinning again. Then he leaned closer and whispered in her ear, “Your kiss always tastes so sweet to me, I thought only to give you a taste of it when I am gone.”
Her fingers dipped into the box and came out covered in white sugar. “Turkish Delight,” she whispered. “My favorite.”
“I hoped as much,” he said, his head cocked to one side. “Try it. The man said it is the best in London.”
Staring down at the candies, she wanted nothing more than to eat them, enjoy them. Taking a furtive glance back at the house, a pang of guilt tweaked at her. Part of her considered saving it and sharing it, but then how ever would she explain to Felicity and Tally how she had been able to buy a box of candy when they had barely enough food to eat, not enough coal to get them to the end of the week and no more than twenty pounds between them to launch themselves into Society?
No, she doubted her duke-mad cousin would be all that understanding about Pippin having such improper callers, even ones bearing gifts, even when she knew Felicity had a fondness for lokum, as she called it, having been spoiled with it by their Nanny Rana in Constantinople.
Sadly there was nothing left for Pippin to do but to hide the evidence and so she did by popping a piece in her mouth. She nearly moaned aloud with delight as the sweet sugar teased across her tongue, then came the soft chewy candy, the crunch of a nut and finally the hint of rosewater.
“Mmmm,” was all she could manage.
Holding out the box to Dash, so he could try some, he shook his head. “Those are yours, Circe, as is this.” He reached inside his coat again and pulled out a small posy of flowers. How he’d gotten them in the middle of winter, well, they must have cost a fortune, that and he’d gone to great risk to be scouring London where he could be recognized.
Pippin didn’t know whether to be honored or terrified for him. “Oh, Dash, you shouldn’t,” she whispered. “What if you are caught?”
“Never, not until I finish what I came to do,” he told her.
“And what is that?”
“Why fetch you away from here, of course.”
Fetch her? Pippin, reaching nervously inside the box for another piece of candy, didn’t know what to say. “Me-e-e?” she finally stammered, before she put a second piece in her mouth, chewing quickly.
“Yes, you. If you can steal this house, then I think I shall have to resort to kidnapping English ladies to make my mark in this world. Can’t have a novice like yourself bettering me. Stealing houses, indeed! Why I’ve a reputation to maintain.” He laughed at her, and reached over to wipe the traces of sugar from her lips, but the moment his fingers touched her cheek something happened.
Something so very magical.
She felt it right down to her toes. For all his jokes and teasing, when he came closer to her, it explained more completely why he was here than any word could.
And when Dash touched her, Pippin knew in her heart that he was hers. This man was her destiny. Just as Felicity and Tally’s other nanny, Jamilla liked to say.
When the right man kisses you, you will know for certain.
Kiss me, Dash. Kiss me, she prayed silently as she looked up into his eyes. Kiss me again so I can be certain.
So I can run away with you, be your pirate queen, let you cover me in diamonds and pearls, and your kisses . . .
“Circe,” he murmured, as his head dipped down, his lips gently brushing over hers as if seeking permission, and Pippin answered by opening up to him, letting him press closer and kiss her thoroughly.
In that moment, her heart sang as he drew her into the heat of his arms, pulled her against the muscled strength of his body and held her close, as if he would never let her go.
He is mine. Mine alone. Mine always.
Memoirs of a Scandalous Red Dress is available to pre-order on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and at Books-a-Million.Did you like reading the excerpt? Leave a comment and then share it with your friends on Facebook, MySpace or your favorite social site!