Sneak Peek Sunday … His Eyes are Opened

Welcome to Sara Walter Ellwood’s Sneak Peek Sunday!

Sneak Peek SundayAfter a two week hiatus, I’m glad to be back with another peek from SEARCH FOR CAMELOT, a romantic comedy about a wisecracking American college student and a cool-mannered British bluestocking who find love when they join together to search for the fabled sword Excalibur.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  June 1892.

On the eve of his college graduation, our clever but penniless hero, Arthur Pierce, comes into an unusual inheritance, a 16th century parchment that contains a clue to the location of King Arthur’s sword. Is it for real? Or a hoax?

There’s only one way to find out.

Arthur has reluctantly joined up with his arch nemesis from the classroom, the scholarly but secretly adventurous Chelsea Delafield. It’s Chelsea who holds the key to deciphering the ancient clue and following its trail, which begins in her hometown of London. To get there, the two pose as newlyweds on a steamship bound for Southampton.

In today’s peek, it’s the morning after their first night aboard ship when Arthur experiences a most disturbing revelation concerning the prim and proper Miss Delafield…

*

Wondering whether he should wake Delafield, he turned to observe her sleeping figure in the lower bunk. A devilish smile curved his lips. Last night she had emerged from the lavatory swaddled from neck to toe in a flannel dressing gown. Now, he knew she would be furious to know that, as she lay on her side, one leg happened to be poking out from beneath the blankets, scandalously exposing her from knee to toes.

Knee, calf, ankle, Arthur thought wickedly, his gaze traveling down the exposed limb. Then his smile began to fade as his eyes moved back up at a more leisurely pace. Actually, it was a very nice knee. An exceptionally nice leg. Perhaps even nicer than Julia Tierney’s, and definitely nicer than any of the varied and shapely feminine limbs he’d had occasion to study while working at DeLancey’s House of Burlesque.

I’ll be damned, but Delafield has magnificent legs. This thought floated unbidden into his mind and hovered a moment too long before it popped and evaporated.

Arthur shook himself back to his senses, crossed to the lavatory, pulled the lamp chain, and slammed the door. He plugged the sink basin, turned the cold tap, and stared at the mirror.

Light Historical RomanceDelafield with legs. A startling thought in itself, but not nearly so mind-boggling as the one that followed. If Delafield had legs, she obviously came equipped with every other female part that would capture a man’s interest. Breasts, hips, thighs… Stop!

Arthur slammed off the tap just before the basin would have overflowed. Delafield was Delafield, no more, no less. She was the human equivalent of an iceberg. An iceberg had no legs, no breasts, no hips, no thighs. And certainly no… Arthur splashed his face with cold water. What the hell was the matter with him?

*

Now that Arthur has seen what Chelsea has been keeping hidden beneath her skirts … will he ever be able to un-see?

For more fun sneak peeks,  be sure to hop on over to SNEAK PEEK SUNDAY HERE!

Sneak Peek Sunday … In Flagrante Delicto?

Welcome to Sara Walter Elwood’s Sneak Peek Sunday!

Sneak Peek SundayThis week’s peek is from SEARCH FOR CAMELOT, a romantic comedy about a wisecracking American college student and a cool-mannered British bluestocking who find love when they join together to search for the fabled sword Excalibur.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  June 1892.

On the eve of his college graduation, our clever but penniless hero, Arthur Pierce, comes into an unusual inheritance, a 16th century parchment that contains a clue to the location of King Arthur’s sword. Is it for real? Or a hoax?

There’s only one way to find out.

Arthur has reluctantly joined up with his arch nemesis from the classroom, the scholarly but secretly adventurous Chelsea Delafield. It’s Chelsea who holds the key to deciphering the ancient clue and following its trail, which begins in her hometown of London. To get there, the two pose as newlyweds on a steamship bound for Southampton.

In today’s peek, their first night in their cabin aboard ship proves to be an eye-opener for Chelsea as she prepares to retire…

*

When Chelsea emerged from the lavatory in her nightdress and dressing gown, hairbrush in hand, she was confronted by the scandalous sight of Arthur Pierce in flagrante delicto—that was, in the act of donning his nightwear. “Oh, my stars!” She turned away too late to keep from catching her first view of an unclothed male chest.

Even with her back turned and her eyes squeezed shut, Chelsea could envision every distressing detail. Instead of a calf-length nightshirt like her father had always worn, Arthur wore pajamas. And only the bottom half, at that. She was immediately put in mind of a conversation she’d once overheard on Derby Day at Epsom. “Strapping healthy specimen, that one! A thoroughbred stallion born to stud!”

“Oh!” she gasped again. Her heart pounded and her stomach seemed to be executing a breathtaking series of swoops and curls that she knew from firsthand experience had nothing at all to do with seasickness.

“What’s the matter, Miss Delafield?”Light Historical Romance

“You’re naked!”

“Not quite. My best part’s covered.”

*

It seems Arthur is enjoying Chelsea’s maidenly distress. He shouldn’t be so amused. This is only day one of a week-long voyage. Will Chelsea get her chance to even the score?

SEARCH FOR CAMELOT is on sale for $1.99 at Amazon this week!

For more fun sneak peeks, hop on over to SNEAK PEEK SUNDAY HERE!

Sneak Peek Sunday . . . Young Man in Deep Doo-Doo

Welcome to Sara Walter Ellwood’s Sneak Peek Sunday!

This week’s peek is an edited snip from SEARCH FOR CAMELOT, a  romantic comedy about a wisecracking American college student and a cool-mannered British bluestocking who find love when they join together to search for the fabled sword Excalibur.

Light Historical Romance

In a race to find Excalibur . . .
Who knew they’d find love?

Last week, we met our clever but penniless hero, Arthur Pierce, on the verge of his college graduation when he was visited by an eccentric British solicitor bearing an inheritance from Arthur’s long-lost uncle. It’s a 16th century parchment that appears to contain an ancient clue to the location of King Arthur’s sword.

Is it for real? Or a fake?

Arthur knows one person who can spot a forgery in a minute. Unfortunately, it’s his arch nemesis from the classroom, Chelsea Delafield. Chelsea is certainly not the fun-loving type of girl Arthur likes to dally with, but he needs her. She’s an expert in Arthurian history…

***

Ridgway Library, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  June 1892.

Arthur took a chair across the table from where Chelsea sat reading and nibbling quietly on a peppermint stick. Today, as always, she was impeccably well groomed—a white leg-o’-mutton sleeved blouse, bow tie, blue skirt, and sleek ebony hair swept up into a fashionable pompadour knot. Arthur concentrated on that neat little knot and waited for her to look up.

She didn’t look up. For a long time, there was no sound except for the ticking of a clock and the rustle of skirts as a librarian moved among the stacks.

Drumming his fingers on the table, Arthur contemplated how best to approach the situation. He knew, of course, that Delafield was angry with him. This in itself was nothing new. They’d spent the past academic year grating on each other’s nerves so often that each was now capable of annoying the other by virtue of mere proximity.

This time, though, she had good reason to be miffed. Normally, he wouldn’t have troubled himself beyond offering an apology for not showing up for their lecture last night, but today he needed something from her.

He cleared his throat and donned the crooked grin that had melted countless disgruntled girlish hearts in the past. “My, but you’re looking delightful today, Miss Delafield.”

She pulled the peppermint stick from her mouth, adjusted her spectacles and turned to peer at the wall clock. Behind those lenses, Chelsea Delafield had striking eyes, eyes almost the color of amethyst quartz. There was no getting away from them, really, not once they fixed on something, and Arthur certainly felt them fix on him when she turned back around. “You’re eighteen hours, thirty-seven minutes late.”

***

It looks like Arthur’s boyish charm is on the blink. Will our young hero be able to find another way to melt this disgruntled girl’s heart?

For more fun sneak peeks, hop on over to SNEAK PEEK SUNDAY HERE!

Sneak Peek Sunday… The Quest

Welcome to Sara Walter Ellwood’s Sneak Peek Sunday! This week’s peek is from Search for Camelot, a  romantic comedy about a wisecracking American college student and a cool-mannered British bluestocking who find love when they join together to search for the fabled sword Excalibur.

Light Historical Romance

In a race to find Excalibur . . .
Who knew they’d find love?

Philadelphia, June, 1892.

Meet our hero, a charming but penniless college student, Arthur Pierce. Arthur was raised on his late mother’s bedtime stories of Camelot, but growing up in a family of sharpers taught him that only suckers believe in dreams.

Arthur learns of the unconventional terms of his wealthy Uncle Sidney’s will when he’s visited before his college graduation by an eccentric British solicitor, Maxwell Hamilton.

Max has traveled from London to deliver a portion of a 16th century parchment that contains twenty lines of elegantly scrolled Latin—lines that, once transcribed, appear to contain an ancient clue to the location of King Arthur’s fabled sword, Excalibur …

*

Arthur stared at the fantastical words he’d just scrawled on the back of an old calculus test: Gladius Caliburn. It was not simply a name but an image. An image all the more powerful because it was a child’s image, his own, interlaced with the sweet whispered tones of a spellbinding storyteller he had once called Mother. “It was magic, Arthur.”

Sleek, argent steel rising to break the pristine blue surface of a lake. A gift. A woman’s hand, white and delicate and perfect. A gift offered to him by . . . Dripping wet and shimmering, sun’s rays dancing off steel forged on the magical Isle of Avalon. “It was magic, Arthur. That sword was magic unto itself, a gift offered to him by Merlin the Enchanter and the Lady of the Lake.”

Arthur closed his eyes to dispel the tenacious remnants of old dreams. When he opened them again, the words were still there, but the images were gone, wisps of smoke stolen back to the deep recesses of childhood memory.

Hamilton broke into his thoughts. “The clue to Excalibur’s whereabouts is in the last line. Our monk apparently subscribed to the legend that King Arthur never really died but that he would rise again to reclaim his throne. This played an important role in his decision regarding where to hide the sword.”

Arthur was familiar with those legends. They contended that King Arthur and his attendants were passing the centuries asleep in an enchanted cave, awaiting the day when they would be summoned to rise again . . .

Arthur frowned at the direction of his thoughts and tossed his pencil aside. He barely remembered his Uncle Sidney, but what little he did remember, he recalled with a mix of affection and reverence. Sidney Pierce had been a master of the Big Con. In the end, though, it appeared that he had been reduced to the unseemly role of a gullible mark. This idea not only saddened Arthur, it made him angry. “It’s a hoax,” he said.

*

Is Arthur right? Is the parchment a fake? Or could this final clue from his uncle’s unfinished quest to find Excalibur be the real thing?

For more fun sneak peeks, hop on over to SNEAK PEEK SUNDAY HERE!

Sneak Peek Sunday . . . Abduction on the Union Pacific Express

Welcome to Sara Walter Ellwood’s Sneak Peek Sunday! Today is another peek at A Touch of Camelot, a lighthearted historical western with a Camelot twist.

Sneak Peek SundayGwin and her ten-year-old brother Arthur are the only survivors of the murder of their troupe after playing a tent revival in San Francisco. They’ve fled California in fear for their lives but have since been apprehended by the authorities.

Cole Shepherd is a brand new Pinkerton detective. His first assignment? Escort the beautiful con artist and her precocious brother across country by train to testify.

Last week, we peeked at the conclusion of their second grueling day aboard the Union Pacific Express. Cole has thwarted more than one escape attempt by his lovely charge, not the least of which was her attempt to convince him that if he didn’t let her and Arthur go before they reach San Francisco, Cole would be delivering them into the hands of corrupt authorities intent on seeing them dead before they ever set foot in a courtroom.

Cole isn’t stupid enough to fall prey to the pretty con artist’s lies. At least, not until tonight, when Gwin vanishes after visiting the ladies wash room in their sleeping car. All that’s left behind in the deserted aisle is her damp towel and a shattered perfume bottle. Cole gets a very bad feeling as he searches the moving train, not because he thinks she’s finally eluded him, but because he knows she hasn’t.

She would never flee without her little brother . . .

*

Cole paused at the door to the baggage car, his fingers tightening on the doorknob. Through the door window, he saw them, and what he saw confirmed all the fears that had nagged at him since discovering Gwin’s shattered perfume bottle. It was not Monroe, but the Chinese man.

The man was on his knees, leaning over Gwin’s sprawled, unconscious form. Cole’s stomach lurched at the sight of her lying so deathly still. Keep your wits about you, Shepherd.

He twisted the knob only to discover the door had been locked on the other side. The man’s head jerked up at the first rattle, and Cole knew he had to move fast. He stepped back and kicked. The heel of his boot landed squarely against the wood just above the doorknob. Luckily, the flimsy connecting door had not been made to withstand such punishment. It splintered and flew back on its hinges, cracking into the wall behind it.

All of this took less than five seconds, but it was plenty of time for the other man to react. Still on his haunches, he pulled Gwin’s limp body up and around to front him like a shield. The lamplight caught and glittered on a sliver of steel at her throat—a stiletto poised at her jugular. Her eyes were closed and she didn’t move. Cole couldn’t tell if she was breathing.

His eyes flicked back to the Chinese man’s face. They recognized each other in that instant, the way one professional recognizes another. This was no immigrant imported from the Orient as cheap labor for the railroads. This man had come here for a very different reason.

When the man spoke, Cole was surprised by a British accent. “I’m impressed by your timeliness, Mr. Shepherd, but then, they say if you want a job done right, call the Pinkertons.”

*

Uh oh. Cole’s first assignment for the Agency just got a whole lot more complicated. Is he up for it?

For more fun sneak peeks, hop on over to SNEAK PEEK SUNDAY HERE!

A Touch of Camelot is available now at AMAZON, ALL ROMANCE EBOOKS, and iTUNES!