The Crimson Castle was my first book, and probably my first love. This was very much written for myself rather than for the world of publishing. And below is an example of a moment that I relished writing. The dialogue between them came so naturally, it was so much fun playing on the tension between them. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.
“Are you enjoying yourself, Evelyn?”
“Does it seem I am?” A wry smile touched her lips and she turned to meet his gaze.
“You are most practiced at appearing so, it seems.” Gabriel’s eyes crinkled in a half-smile of amusement.
“I am a woman. It is our duty to appear happy in the company of boorish men. I believe I am not the only one practiced in the art of deception.” She gave him a knowing look.
“You believe me to be a liar?”
“Nay, not a liar but I think you as capable of deception as I am.”
“I know not how to deceive as a woman does.”
“And yet you are but a riddle to me, sir. With one hand you will slay and burn and with the other you will save and protect. Tell me, which of these is the true Gabriel of Merston?”
He bore down upon her, his eyes darkening. “Why do you wish to know?”
She studied him, undeterred by his piercing look. “I know not.”
“Does it please you to believe that I am playacting? That my actions you so deeply disapprove of are merely a ruse?”
“Please me? If your actions were part of a ruse then I would think it a vile trick indeed. I think you capable of many things, but a ruse…? Nay.”
“Then mayhap, my lady, the only one here being deceived is yourself. I can offer no excuses for my deeds but that I performed them in the line of duty.”
“You will continue to defend your misdeeds by way of duty?”
“Defend? Nay, I offer no such defence, I cannot excuse the inexcusable. I simply offer explanation. I suspect such a justification to be deficient for you, my lady, but here you have the truth.”
Evelyn tilted her head and studied him. Whilst Gabriel had never openly lied to her, his brutal honesty and the admission of his guilt were far more than she had expected.
He gave her a mocking smile when she answered him with nothing but silence. “I fear mayhap the truth is a little hard for you to endure, my lady.”
“You have little knowledge of my endurance; I assure you there is much I can bear, even the truths you keep so deeply hidden.”
“You would be wise to hasten your curiosity, Evelyn, lest you regret the answers you may receive.”
“Are you trying to scare me, Gabriel?”
“Do I scare you?”
A look crossed his face, a confusing mixture of hope and anxiety and Evelyn realised once more how difficult this man was to read. Jolting her out of her reverie, he held out his hand.
“I will save you from answering as I fear your response will pain us both.” He looked around the dancers jostling for space. “Will you not join me in a dance?”