Hello all! In celebration of my new contract, I thought I would share a special sneak peek from Johnnie's book. Here's an excerpt form the book where we have the fellas enjoying a nice afternoon with the Brats. This is a typical day at Hawthorne Manor, one of the quieter days, and of course a little lurve from Johnnie and Henry. Also, for those of you interested, I have an album on my Pinterest where you'll find all sorts of inspirational images for The Auspicious Troubles of Love series.
You can check it out here: http://pinterest.com/charliecochet/the-auspicious-troubles-of-love/
“You ate my shortcake!” Oliver squeaked, his eyes huge. I couldn’t help but laugh. Oh, this was going to be good.
“And it was sooo delicious,” Chance replied, laughing and making a run for it with Oliver bolting after him. Running past the sofa, Chance swiped up a cushion, shielding himself. “You’ll never take me alive, copper!”
“Get him!” Edmund declared, and the Brats descended on Chance. The assault was fierce, cushions from every angle.
“Aren’t you going to help him?” Henry asked me, though I noticed he said it with a shaky smile. I was rather certain he already knew my answer.
“You kidding? Watching them take him down is the best entertainment I’ve had all week.” I finished my cake and tea, enjoying the show. Though I should have known better than to think Chance wouldn’t open his big gob and ruin my fun.
“All right, I’ll talk! It was him! He did it. He said you flat-foots don’t know from nothing ‘cause you got hay for brains.”
Shit. He was pointing at me. “You lousy rat!” I jumped from my chair and made a break for it, only to have them latch onto me like rabid squirrels. I had one wrapped around each leg, arm, and Elliot had his little arms fastened around my waist holding on tight, as if he could get me to stop through will alone. I could hear Hattie and Marion giggling. Clearly, I was on my own.
Jacky put a pastry in his mouth and made like it was a cigar, his Edward G. Robinson impression faultless. “Take’ em down, boys. Show’ em what happens when you mess with the law.”
I was brought crashing down to the carpet and assaulted with cushions, one of the Brats giving me a whack on the backside that had me letting out a surprised yelp. I glared up at Gideon and the truly wicked grin on his face. He was enjoying himself far too much.
“All right, break it up.” A familiar lulling voice took on a sharp American accent and I gazed up at Henry, holding back my smile. “What’s all this now?”
“It’s the chief!” Edmund gasped, bringing all the Brats to scramble off and stand at attention. It was pretty impressive.
Henry came to stand over me, his hands on his hips. “Well, well, well. You think you can pull one over on us? Well, you’re all wet, Johnnie.”
The Brats dragged me over to the armchair. I pretended to struggle, throwing myself back into the chair as they held my arms down against the armrest. Henry marched up to me and put his finger in my face. “You got one more chance to come clean, savvy? Or it’s the big sleep for you.”
“Say, that’s pretty good,” I whispered, rather impressed with his hoodlum talk.
“Thanks. Chance has been teaching me.” He cleared his throat and pulled away, frowning deeply. “Well? What’s it gonna be?”
“Looks like you’re tripping for biscuits, copper. You ain’t getting nothin’ outta me.” I lifted my chin defiantly.
“Tough guy, ay? We’ll see how tough you are.” Henry nodded and Elliot scrambled over the armchair like a little monkey and started tickling me. I wasn’t really ticklish. Henry leaned over and whispered at Elliot. “His ribs.”
“You fink!” That I meant. Elliot, Edmund, and Oliver started a full on tickle assault. It was shameful how quickly I surrendered under the pressure. “Wait! All right, I give. What’s it gonna cost?”
Henry turned to Gideon who narrowed his eyes thoughtfully. When his lips curled into an evil grin, I braced myself. Sure, ask the one fella who loved to torture me the most.
“A kiss,” Gideon replied with a self-satisfied smile.
My heart leapt in my throat. “What?”
“Yes,” Edmund agreed excitedly. “You have to kiss the chief!”
Henry’s mouth dropped open and his face flushed. “Honestly, lads, it’s only pretend.”
“Kiss!” The Brats chanted as they pulled me to my feet and pushed me toward poor Henry who didn’t seem to know what to do with himself.
“Yeah all right,” I grumbled, “stop shovin’.”
“Lads, really, it’s not necessary.” Henry’s polite excuses went unheeded and Chance, of course, was no help at all as he chanted along with the Brats.
I swallowed hard, wondering why the hell my heart was beating so fast. It was just a little kiss, jeez Louise. Deciding I was going to be a man about this, I leaned forward, my gaze going to his lips. It was just a kiss in the name of frivolity, nothing more.
“We might make the ladies uncomfortable,” Henry said bashfully, his cheeks burning. I turned to Hattie and Marion who were also blushing.
Jacky smiled at them. “You ladies may be excused if you like.”
To my surprise, they stayed where they were and Marion waved a hand dismissively. “We don’t mind, sir.” The two looked a little starry-eyed and I could only put it down to Mrs. Whitmore and her bloody romance novels. Did the woman run some secret society I wasn’t aware of, sneaking racy books to dreamy doctors and parlor maids? Usually any staff members uncomfortable with displays of affection were free to leave the room or turn away. For some reason, Hattie and Marion were fine just where they were.
I turned back to Henry when one of the Brats bumped into me from behind. My lips opened in protest at the very moment they touched Henry’s. His breath hitched, his lips parted in a gasp, and before I knew it, my tongue was touching his. Good God...
Well, I hope you enjoyed that excerpt. More from Johnnie, Henry, and the Brats coming soon!
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