Here's a never-before released excerpt of Jack and Georgiana once they are in France and she has started causing all sorts of trouble for him. Enjoy!
“Have you been shut up in here all day with the ghosts of old composers?” Jack announced from the drawing room door. He crossed the room to where she sat, and leafed through the music on top of the case. She snatched the papers from him.
“Some of us are not carousing all day and night.” She played blindly, not caring what tune emerged from her fingers.
“Some of us are not doing that, either.” He picked up a stray sheet and held it to her. “What is this? Doesn’t look like Mozart to me.”
She glanced carelessly at the paper and gasped in dismay. At the bottom, she’d drawn their entwined initials, complete with tiny hearts and an attempt at a rosebud. She snatched the paper from him and crumpled it up.
“I was bored.”
“Hmm.” He went to the cabinet against the wall and removed a violin case. “I’ll wager you don’t know this about me.”
“Which of the myriad fascinating things about you do I not know?”
She bit her lip in feigned concentration, picking out the tune almost effortlessly. Normally, her excellent playing was a source of pride, but since coming to France, she took no pleasure in it. All she’d done since his absence was daydream and draw silly pictures. She was grateful she’d burned the last one before he came home–a little sketch of his lips she’d spent an hour drawing.
He unlatched the case and carefully removed a violin and bow. He held it up to her, almost reverently. “This.”
“Was it left behind by one of your grandfather’s guests? The one with the smelly gowns, perhaps?”
He frowned comically, but she sensed a touch of bashfulness. “It was my father’s, if you must know. I did learn other accomplishments besides drinking and chasing skirts while at university.”
As she watched in semi-amused silence, he placed the violin under his chin, took a breath, and closed his eyes as he drew the bow across the strings. The familiar strains of Boccherini’s Violin Sonata poured forth from the instrument, as effortless as her own playing had been.
She snapped out of her dazed confusion and accompanied him on the pianoforte. As he played, he walked slowly toward her, his gaze locked with hers. Their playing was harmonious. Neither of them missed a note, and he increased his speed, but she kept up.
With a flicker of his gaze, he indicated she should move over on the bench, and she did, without losing her place on the keyboard. He sat on the edge, his back against her shoulder as they continued to play. His hair brushed her face a few times, and she inhaled deeply, her breath catching as her pulse sped up. Sensual memories of the night before threatened to disrupt her concentration, and she had to will her hands to hit the right keys. When the piece ended, he rested the violin and bow on top of the pianoforte and faced her.
“I had no idea you could play! Why did you not say something before? We could have played duets when you and Jonathan were home at Christmas.”
He grinned. “That is precisely why I did not say anything. Besides–I would much rather sit in the audience and listen to you. You always played for me, Georgie.”
She turned toward the keyboard again, fiddling with a loose d sharp key. “How you will flatter yourself.” Her heart pounded so hard she feared he could hear it. Perspiration broke out under her arms and she shifted on the bench, wishing he would get up and move away from her so he wouldn’t detect the effect he had on her.
He chuckled. “I am speaking the truth. The last time I was home with Lockewood, you were–what, fifteen? You found out my favorite piece and learned it for a week. At the Christmas party, you played it, and stared at me the entire time. I still remember you wore a white dress with a pink bow tied in the back.”
She sniffed. “I was probably watching you in the corner, drinking wine punch and fawning over Lady Ellenton’s daughter.”
“Ah, yes. I’d forgotten all about Clementine Ellenton, until you mentioned her. I wonder whatever happened to her?”
His hand rested on the keys. She dropped the lid, banging his fingers. He drew them back with a sharp yelp, and looked into her eyes. She tried to return his grin but failed. Surely, he could see the helpless jealousy and naked emotion on her face. It was useless to pretend anymore. The feelings she’d had as a lovesick girl–unsated by even Edward’s flattering attention–were unabated where Jack was concerned.
She started to rise from the bench, but he caught her wrist, turning her body as he placed her hand around his neck. Her fingers curled into his hair of their own accord. The desire she’d experienced the night before–the yearning ache as she’d clasped him in her arms–rushed back in a torrent. She pushed at his shoulders but it was more for show.
“If you want to find out about Miss Ellenton, perhaps you should write her. I’m sure she would love to hear from you. You should visit her and let her nibble on your neck with her little rabbit teeth.”
He shook his head. “I have no wish to see her. It’s your teeth I want nibbling on me.” He pulled her into his arms.
“You ignored me the last time you saw me. You refused to dance with me, leaving me to…to Edward’s devious plans.” The accusations tumbled from her and she thumped his chest, but he caught her hand in a strong grip. “You always used to spend time with me, but that Christmas you avoided me as if I were leprous.”
The teasing grin faded rapidly. His gaze burned into hers and she forgot to struggle. After an interminable moment when she’d nearly given up on him saying anything, he spoke.
“I didn’t want to see you all grown up. You were so…uncomplicated then.”
She gulped to moisten her dry throat. “Am I so complicated now?”