Enticing Miss Eugenie Villaret By Ella Quinn

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

I’m so excited to be back on RomCom for my latest release, Enticing Miss Eugénie Villaret. Book 5 in The Marriage Game. The book is set in the Danish West Indies in 1816, and the excerpt I’m going to share with you is of my hero’s, William, Viscount Wivenly’s first look at St. Thomas’s Charlotte Amalie harbor.

Will braced his feet on the ship’s deck and held the telescope to his eye. A large group buildings stood at the water’s edge. “That’s it then, the free port of Charlotte Amalie?”
“Indeed.” Captain Black grinned. “It will soon be one of the largest ports in the West Indies, if not the entire Caribbean.”

“What are those spaces on the hills?”

Black looked where Will pointed. “Stairs used as streets. They are called step streets. They make going up and down the hills easier. I’ve heard some European cities have them, as well.”

Anything to make hills easier would be welcome. Drat, he hated hills. He’d been ecstatic when his family had moved to Hertfordshire, where it was nice and flat.

Wharves lined the shoreline, each with its own warehouse, followed by taller buildings that spread up the three hills behind the city. Palm trees punctuated the landscape in an orderly manner, and a large fort jutted out into the harbor. The numerous ships at anchor added to the picturesque view, but what really struck Will was the color of the water. Ranging from darker blue to turquoise closer to shore, it took his breath away. He’d never seen anything as beautiful, and right now he’d like to dive overboard. The sun wasn’t even directly overhead and already the day promised to be hot. How the devil did gentlemen dress in suits here? Or perhaps the question should be why Englishmen must behave as if even the tropics were no warmer than the home counties.

He passed the glass back to the captain and rubbed a hand over his short beard. Tidwell had been threatening to take the razor to Will’s face, but with the movement of the ship, his valet had resigned himself to merely trimming his beard. Once on land, he’d have a good shave, though whether his coats would still fit him was uncertain. His normally lean frame had filled out as he’d handled the ship’s lines and sails. Will smiled to himself. Learning to sail had been every bit as fun as his friend Marcus had told him it would be, though remembering some of the terms had been a bit more problematic. Now he needed to turn his attention to the problem of the Wivenly family of St. Thomas.

During the passage, Will had tried to surreptitiously draw information about the island and its inhabitants from Captain Black. One night the man had laughed and said, “Just tell me what it is you need to know, my lord, and I’ll be happy to give you any information I have. You don’t need to worry I’ll be indiscreet. I take pride in my prudence.”

Will had reluctantly realized that he needed the captain’s assistance and told him about the apparent problems with his late great-uncle’s business. “It appears prosperous on paper, yet the widow is claiming poverty.”