“They were London rakes, a breed of man beneath Madeline’s contempt….”

 It is blizzardy and deliciously wintery here today, so I thought you might like reading Lucien’s Fall, available now at Amazon Kindle.  Lucien is one of my all time favorite heroes, reckless and beautiful and very nearly unredeemable.

A taste, if you’re so inclined:

 

The riders raced up the road madly. The gleaming, sporty phaeton rocked dangerously in the rain-rutted course. The other man rode on a beautiful, lean black horse; beast and man were illuminated with the bars of hazy light falling through thick tree branches. They were young men, London rakes, a breed of man beneath Madeline’s contempt. She found their arrogance and idleness a bore.

And yet, as they laughed and shouted, each goading the other to a faster pace, Madeline felt her blood rise in a strange excitement. It was in particular the man on the horse who caught her eye. He wore no powder or wig, and his thick dark hair was drawn back into a queue with a black ribbon. His body was long and sinuously made, and he rode as if he and the horse were one being. From where she stood, his face gave the impression of exotic tilts and powerful bones.

But it was the hedonism Madeline ordinarily found so distasteful in such men that drew her now, made her take up her skirts and run toward the opening of the maze so she would not lose sight of him behind the hedge.

She broke through to the open stretch of lawn between the maze and the Elizabethan house of Whitethorn just as the man urged his horse into a full run. Light dappled faster and faster over his dark hair, his dark horse, his long legs. Next to him, only a little behind, the phaeton rocked noisily.

As they neared the end of the drive, Madeline burst into a run. The man on the horse left the road and bolted across the same lawn. His speed was almost dizzying, and he headed with purpose for a shoulder-high hedge that edged the house garden.

Madeline froze. They would both be killed.

But even as she clamped a hand over her mouth, watching in horror, the black beast leaped with stunning grace over the squared hedge. Horse and man hung—haloed and gilded by the afternoon light—for an endless time against the sky.

As he hung there, suspended in midair, looking like Pan, like some untamed beast come in from the wild, the man laughed. The sound rang with robust defiance into the day, and Madeline felt her heart catch with a sharp pang.

To be so free!

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7 thoughts on ““They were London rakes, a breed of man beneath Madeline’s contempt….”

  1. Deanna Constable

    Sold!! What a great excerpt!!! I LOVE YOUR WRITING!! Thanks Barbara for yet another story to look forward to reading! :)

  2. C

    I just finished this book this morning. I could not put it down. I began it Saturday night, stayed up way too late Sunday reading (and my children suffered my sleep deprived impatience yesterday), and finally finished this morning while my 3 year old daughter watched her cartoons. I initially ‘borrowed for free’ with amazon prime, but promptly purchased the book. This is one I want to save and read again…. and again. To return to it when the artist soul in me needs refreshment. I do not know that I’ve ever read something that spoke to both my inner need for romance AND my inner artist, so very, very deeply. That you used both known poetry and the references to music… My heart is too raw at this moment to even begin to wrap my head around words to express how this book touched me. I read a review on Amazon that was unhappy with the book and did not understand Madeline’s attraction to Lucien. It makes me sad, because obviously this person is not someone who understands music and the emotion that is involved. It is that very part that swells in my heart and makes this book an all time favorite to me. I thank you for writing it. I thank you for making it available on kindle (I adore my kindle and it makes reading in this land of stay at home mommyhood so much easier). And I am thankful it was available to borrow for free on kindle – otherwise I probably wouldn’t have purchased it and would have forfeit something that will be with me always. I will most certainly be reading more of your work.

  3. DeNise

    Barbara, thanks for starting my day off with your poetry. I’ve owned this book for a year, thank you.

  4. Deanna, thank you!

    C, that is such a great post! Thank you so much for writing it–because yes, this book seems to polarize readers, and some people absolutely HATE it, and post all over GoodReads and Amazon and Nook, saying that loudly.

    Luckily, there is another camp of readers who deeply love it, as much as I loved writing it–for all the reasons you listed. Music and art and the recklessness of falling in love and poetry, and all those things. It’s not a politically correct romance at all, but I love it anyway. I’m so glad to hear that it spoke to you on that same wavelength.

    Guessing you might really love Night of Fire, too, but don’t read it right way.

    Ah, DeNise, what a rich compliment. Thank you.

  5. Jean M.

    I love writers who can paint a picture with such clarity that you can step into the story, connecting completely with the characters & situation. Reads like a winner that I’ll want to keep!

  6. I’ve read a few good stuff here. Certainly worth bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how much effort you put to make such a wonderful informative web site.

  7. My husband and I arrived for that initial time final year and prepare on returning the fall. Bought some terrific unusual xmas gifts. See you there.

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