Friday, February 1, 2008

A Gentleman's Wager

by Madelynne Ellis

A long time ago, back before wi-fi, in the days when I had an office, a friend suggested I write an erotic novel for Black Lace, so I sent off for the guidelines and after having laughed myself silly at them, proceeded to write.

Quite a bit later, after so many rewrites I lost count and several trees worth of shredded paper, A Gentleman's Wager was born. Leastways, I sent it to Black Lace, thoroughly expecting to get a form rejection letter. I mean, they weren't really going to want a Georgian historical set in Yorkshire featuring a bisexual rakehell competing with a woman for the man of her dreams, or were they?

I got a postcard confirming the receipt then nothing...

I got pregnant... time drifted on... I started writing another book set in Saqqara, Egypt. I pretty much forgot about the novel sitting at the bottom of the Black Lace slush pile...


'Hello, this is Kerri Sharp the editor for Black Lace Books, can I speak to ---.'

Me (currently dripping wet, and clinging to a towel having just got out of the bath): OMG!

KS: I have A Gentleman's Wager in front of me. Is it still available?

Me: Meep! Yes.

KS: I'd like to commission it. How much of it is written?

Me: All of it.

KS: Great. I'll send you a contract.

Now, there may actually have been slightly more of a conversation than that, but I think this gets across the pertinent points, and it's frankly all that I remember, as I thought I was about to have a baby there and then. Naturally, the first thing I did was phone Mr Madelynne and start gushing.

Anyway, a few dramas later, A Gentleman's Wager was indeed published, and it came with a lovely note from Kerri Sharp, which reads: Think this reads really well. Like a lavish BBC costume drama.

Although I actually prefer the description later ascribed to it by a manager of Waterstones book store. "Jane Austen with bumming!'

And so, after years of being out of print, A Gentleman's Wager is being reprinted with a lovely new cover on 7th Feb UK & 1st April US. Just in time for the long awaited sequel (but that's another story ;-))

I'll leave you with a teaser:

[Vaughan] leant close to her as he spoke, so that she could feel the warmth of his breath and watch his mouth descend. He grazed her bottom lip and held it. The taste of him released her memory and she answered his kiss, while her arms moved to pull him closer. She clawed at him urgently, then slipped her hands under his coat as he drew her deep into his kiss. Nobody had ever kissed her the way Vaughan did. He made her lips burn with a heat that washed straight to her cunt.

He grasped her shoulders and thrust her against the blackened oak panelling with enough force to make a thump. She didn’t notice the pain, feeling only a rush of desire and vertigo, like a foretaste of orgasm. His teeth met her neck and nipped the delicate skin, while he loosened her stays enough for him to slide his fingers between fabric and flesh. Her nipples sprang to attention, then stiffened a little more as he teased her.

Bella hooked her thumbs into his waistband and tugged him closer. All her instincts craved penetration. She was ready for him now, but he was holding himself back. To her surprise, he suddenly sank gracefully to his knees. He lifted the hem of her skirt, bunched up the swathes of velvet and hoisted it to her waist. He brushed his cheek against her stockings, pressed a kiss to the skin above her garter then cupped her buttocks. His hands were hot against her cool cheeks, and warmed the soft skin as he pulled her forwards. She felt his tongue on her labia and the desire for penetration grew stronger. He dabbed at her clitoris with the tip of his tongue, teasing but never quite delivering. Even now, he toyed with her.

‘A gentleman should use his tongue fairly in the presence of a lady,’ she said.

He snorted, and pulled back long enough to give her a reproving glance. ‘A lady has two essential attributes: modesty and underwear.’

Bella almost kneed him on the chin. She’d never known a man who could swing her between desire and anger with such ease, and she wasn’t sure she appreciated the ability in him. How dare he! Yet the lapping of his tongue at her sensitive bud sapped the anger from her, taking away all her desire to hurt him.

'Do you like that, my nightingale?’

Bella shook her head, stifling the purrs that rose in her throat. She didn’t want him to know how much she was enjoying this. He didn’t deserve that.

‘You’re a harlot,’ he said. ‘Perhaps I should use you like one. I could throw your skirt over your face, ride you hard against the stone and leave you a crown for you trouble.’

‘Bastard,’ she hissed. ‘Do it then.’

Vaughan laughed and returned to his feet. ‘Maybe I will.’

Bella’s heart skittered over several beats. She whimpered as he began to massage her, fingers moving slickly in her wetness. If he entered her now, he would slide into her all at once. She tugged at the buttons on his waistband, then touched the head of his cock. She needed him now, this instant, inside her.

Vaughan stepped back and Bella’s eyes snapped open in surprise. ‘Vaughan,’ she sighed. He turned his back on her and she watched in disbelief as he strode to the door. ‘My lord?’ In the doorway he stopped and glanced over his shoulder from beneath his dark eyelashes. Bella reached out a hand, desire for him still coursing through her veins. He shook his head, watched her expression change from ecstasy to anguish, then blew her a kiss and left.

Alone and a hair’s breadth from orgasm, Bella slumped to the floor, devastated. She couldn’t believe he’d walked out on her. Blinking back tears of shame, she reached down with one trembling hand to give herself the relief he had denied her.

Madelynne Ellis
Buy at Amazon UK | Amazon US |
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PS. Add a comment for the chance to win a copy.


Kate Pearce said...

I can't wait to read this-it sounds just up my alley (ha ha)
Jane Austen with bumming-I like that!

Emerald said...

What a neat story, Madelynne (about its being published I mean, lol); thanks for sharing. Fabulous excerpt as well! Congratulations, and congrats on the reprint -- I love the new cover!!


Kat said...

I like what I read in the little preview - I'll definitely have to check it out!

Dayle A. Dermatis said...

In the tab for this page in my browser, it says "Lust Bites: A Gentleman". I think lust bit everyone in this excerpt!

Madeline Moore said...

Love it. Congrats Madelynne. It must be great to have a book reprinted - more money, no work.

I like the new covers - how do you like it being classified erotic romance? My next Black Lace, 'Amanda's Young Men' is, too. I hope it jacks up sales!

Thanks for the hot excerpt, too.

danetteb said...

a Georgian historical set in Yorkshire featuring a bisexual rakehell competing with a woman for the man of her dreams

Ooooh,sounds like my kind of read. Loved the teaser. Thanks.

Congrats on the reprint!

Hugs, Danette

Portia Da Costa said...

This is an awesome book... I know, I've read it! And the new cover is fabboo!

I love your call story too... I don't think I've ever actually had 'a call'. It's always been letters or emails for me.

Olivia Knight said...

Lovely, Madelynne. And something about the word dabbed just hits the spot - as it were - erhmmm. She cleared her throat loudly.

Beautiful new cover. I'm so pleased Black Lace is now producing covers worthy of the writing inside!

Janine Ashbless said...

Blimey - did I get up late? Or have the US Lusties been up all night?

Lovely excerpt Madelynne!

Madelynne Ellis said...

Having spent the last ten minutes swearing at my router, it wants me to believe there are no radio waves in my house, it's nice to get here to some lovely comments. Thanks all. Yes, I'm pleased with the new cover too, just wish the guy's hair was a bit longer.

Dayle: Lust Bites: A Gentleman. I think the might be a post for another time. LOL.

Madeline: I'm happy with the erotic romance label, because AGW is one, just not in the traditional sense.

Madelynne Ellis said...

I was wondering the same, Janine.

Olivia Knight said...

Yeah, who says novelists lazy buggers are who string can't sentences properly togther until with seven cups after eleven o'clock of coffee?


Mathilde Madden said...

AGW is a brilliant book and was way ahead of it's time.

I cannot wait to read the sequel when it comes out too!

Janine Ashbless said...

The only thing I remember about my Phonecall From Kerri Sharpe was me stammering "You've made my day ... my week... my month... my year..." in a truly pathetic manner!

Ansley Vaughan said...

Great story about the phone call. And congratulations on the reprint. It sounds fabulous.

Now, about that sequel...

Sabrina Luna said...

Congrats on the re-print! I absolutely love the *variety* of stories at Black Lace & the re-prints! ;)

Sabrina )O(

Nikki Magennis said...

Congrats, Madelynne! Great news, and I'm very jealous of your beautiful writing. Don't you love the old cover too though? I think it's a gorgeous image.

Madelynne Ellis said...

Beautiful writing! Where?

Thanks Nikki, and yes, I do like the old b&w cover. It is very evocative of the windy moors.

Monique said...

Loved the excerpt...wanna read the rest of it!

Madelynne Ellis said...

Soon, Monique. It's out in just 6 days time.

tetewa said...

cpEnjoyed the excerpt, sounds great!

Little Lamb Lost said...

Potent excerpt! Congrats on the reprint.

Kate Pearce said...

Janine, I checked in yesterday evening and as the post was already up I got in first for the first time ever! Yay me!

angell said...

That's so great Madelynne!! What a fantastic excerpt - yet another title to add to my wish list.

Angie-la said...

Wow. As a newcomer to this blog, I gotta say it was quite a welcome! LOVED the excerpt! Can't wait to check this one out.

rlr260 said...

That was one HOT excerpt. Congratulations! I'll look for it in the bookstore.

Caffey said...

Madelynne, I love historicals! And too I love the setting of Yorkshire! And then too the sizzle! I remember when I got the internet and found black lace books, they at first couldn't give me a list of the books in the different genres (I was trying to ask them for a list of historicals) but they didn't have that. So it often took me going up and down the shelves and reading the backs but I couldn't fine much. I recently got a paranormal and saw in the back they now list the genres and the books there! I know I'm babbling! I'm excited about this book! Congrats on having it re-released!

Madelynne Ellis said...

Welcome to Lust Bites, Angie-la, and rlr260. Caffey, it's lovely to hear there are some historical fans reading. I agree those lists in the back are damn useful.

Deanna Ashford said...

Well done with the reprint Madelynne. I read it soon after it came out and loved it, the story pressed all my buttons so to speak.

Caffey said...

Madelynne, are there more historicals of yours in the works? Any setting you'd still like to write in?

Madelynne Ellis said...

Phantasmagoria, the sequel to A Gentleman's Wager is due out 6th March. I'm hoping to write more in this series (one half written on my hard drive at the mo, and another two outlined). I also have a highwayman story I'm hoping to find a home for set in the early 1700's.

chronicole said...

Very nice!

QB said...

While the old cover was a lovely image, it really didn't relate to the book at all. I like the new cover so much better-- particularly the tag line: "Pride and Decadence". Although, they should have placed a glimpse of another man somewhere in the background.

But we STILL have to wait for April 1st here in the U.S... dammit!

In the past, every person who has read AGW on my recommendation has added it to THEIR all time favorite historical list, too. So it's been making me crazy that I can recommend AGW till I'm blue in the face but no one has been able to get it over here! GAH!

BTW, what month year was AGW originally released? How much time elapsed between finishing the writing and the actual release date?

Crystal Adkins said...

Wow!!! This sounds great! I wish I had the ideas you ladies do!

Madelynne Ellis said...

Hi QB, I wasn't sure about the 'pride & decadence' tag initially, but it works with the cover.

AGW was first printed in May 2003. I first sent it to Black Lace in early 2002. I started writing the book in 1995.

I'm pleased to say I don't take quite that long over a novel these days. LOL