Here is an excerpt from Midnight Heat (Moonlight Romance, Book 2) published by Liquid Silver Books. Midnight Heat is a sweeping gritty African American historical romance and is set in St. Louis after the Civil War. If you like your romance “real” and a little on the dark side then this might be the book for you!
Midnight Heat is a historical romance complete with fire and passion. That is after the hero rescues the heroine. Can a woman with a painful past learn to trust the man who saved her from a fiery death or will their romance go up in flames?
His green eyes swept her frame with unbridled lust. Gooseflesh rose on her arms and her stomach threatened to empty. That look never ceased to repulse her.
“Are you going to be a good girl tonight?”
No. Allison’s mouth popped open, but instead of answering she shrieked. One night, just one night, perhaps someone would hear her and come to her aid.
He kissed her forcefully, his mouth covering hers to keep her quiet.
Sweat slicked her body, pulse galloping like a runaway horse. She started counting. She would get through this again. Just one more time.
He grabbed her by the shoulders and pushed her down on the bed. Pinning her arms over her head, he pulled her shift up revealing the lower half of her body. She hated being trapped worse than anything. Her heart filled with hate. How dare he keep doing this to her! She wanted to hurt him, bad. He was nothing but a monster, and a monster deserved to die. Enough.
“When are you going to learn?” he growled.
Never! Her body stilled, but her insides were a torrent of frenetic energy looking for release. To do him harm.
With his knee he spread her thighs apart.
She saw an opening. She raised her leg and kicked him and he grimaced. “Damn you! You’re going to pay.”
No. He was. Tonight. She kicked him again, aiming for gold and striking it rich.
He let go of her hands and stepped back. “Son of a bitch.” He grabbed his crotch, doubled over, cursing, his raspy voice coming in gasps.
Emboldened by her sudden freedom, she sprang off the bed and smashed the kerosene lamp on the floor, sparking a fire. She picked up one of the pillows, held it to the flames until it burned and then threw it at the drapes. She needed to start a fire too big for him to put out. If she had to, she’d burn the place down with both of them in it. Either way this ended here, tonight.
A hand tightened around her arm and he dragged her over to the corner, clamping the iron around her ankle again.
“Are you trying to kill us both?” he muttered.
He frantically tried to dowse the flames by beating them with blankets, but the fire spread fast. He covered his mouth with his arm and coughed. Soon the whole room was engulfed in smoke.
Allison didn’t have anything to live for. For years she had fantasized about catching scarlet fever or some other deadly disease just to make the misery end. But death had never come. And her dreams of finding the perfect man had withered on the vine. This was the only way she could find peace. Death of her own choosing.
Mr. Grier might as well been spitting on the fire for all the good he was doing. A wicked delight overtook Allison. She’d get her revenge. The flames had ignited everything easily flammable from the bedding to curtains, now spreading to the wood floor.
Mr. Grier dropped to his knees, coughing. He shot her a malicious glare with an undertone of fear. Good. He knew what was coming. He closed his eyes and lay on the ground, perhaps accepting his fate. He continued to utter an occasional curse, until she could no longer make out his muttering words.
Trapped in the corner of the room, she stared with satisfaction at Mr. Grier’s body sprawled on the floor. He hadn’t moved for several minutes.
She couldn’t hear anything above the crackle of hungry flames and the roaring in her ears. She coughed, dragging more black smoke into her lungs. She took off her white lacy headband and pressed it to her mouth. Lying on her stomach on the floor, she eyed her master, willing him to die.
Mr. Grier hadn’t moved. She didn’t know if he was alive or dead and she didn’t care.
The acrid smoke seared her nostrils. Now billowing across the room she could barely see. Her eyes burned. Her throat burned. Her chest burned.
She closed her eyes and prayed for freedom.
The windowpane broke. A large shadow lumbered over the broken glass. Was this the grim reaper?
“Anyone here?” a male voice called.
Allison tried to respond but all she could do was cough. The man stepped quickly across the hot wood floor, carefully making his way to her. He held a wet rag to his mouth.
He glanced at the chain on her ankle then over at her jailor lying still on the floor. “Where is the key?”
Allison blinked at the young black man towering over her. “Around his neck,” she said in a raspy voice.
The man retrieved the key and Mr. Grier didn’t stir. This stranger unlocked the leg iron, picked her up into his arms, and carried her out of the cabin.
Stunned, Allison struggled to comprehend what was happening. Strong arms cradled her. She rested her head against his rippled chest. Only the cotton shirt he wore kept her from feeling his skin. Her stomach fluttered with a combination of fear and delight. She felt safe for the first time since she was a little girl. She closed her eyes as it donned on her how dangerous that safe feeling was. She shouldn’t feel safe. After all, she didn’t know him. She couldn’t trust him.
She wanted to tell him to put her down and leave her here, but her mouth couldn’t form the words. It took all of her strength just to breathe.
She wasn’t worth saving. Still, this man was rescuing her, being a hero.
Her head ached and she closed her eyes. This had to be a dream, a hallucination. This stranger seemed to come out of nowhere, but this wasn’t the type of freedom she had been expecting. Or even wanting.
God obviously had other plans for her. Would she learn to like them better?
Living in St. Louis, Missouri, is a nightmare for Allison. It is 1868, but for her slavery never ended. After enduring years of abuse, she reaches her breaking point. She sees a fiery death as her only escape. She did not expect to live through the night, but George came to her rescue and changed her plans. Now she has a chance to fulfill her dream of falling in love and having a normal relationship with a handsome black man. But will he accept her with her baggage and the dark secrets from her past?
At eighteen, George is ready to make his own way in the world. He leaves his brother’s farm and gets a job as a roustabout. Working on the Mississippi River gives him the freedom he craves. Going ashore one night he sees a shack along the waterfront on fire. He never expected to find a beautiful colored woman trapped inside. Protective instincts kicking in, he instantly wants to be her man and take care of her.
Will he be able to gain her trust and love or will the memories of Allison’s painful past burn their relationship to cinders before it has begun?