This month we were asked to share our favorite wedding story ~ and one from our book was a "legal" choice. In "A Woman of Choice" my hero Nicolas tells the heroine Sydney that his grandparents met on the ship from Norway to America, and when the boat docked his father was a month past conception.
If that's not a romance plotline, I don't know what is!
Here is a scene from my current work in progress, the moment that Dagny realizes she is going to be married to Martin. And that at this point, she doesn't have any other options before her:
The captain’s presence was expected. The purser’s presence was understandable. The first mate’s wasn’t a surprise. But what was Martin Hansen doing here?
Martin came to her and grabbed her cold hands in his large warm ones. His eyes bore into hers. “I’m sorry, darling, I had to tell them the truth.”
“What truth?” Dagny demanded. Was he going to bury her further?
His gaze was so intense he didn’t even blink. “I told them that whenever your – brother,” his eyes narrowed slightly, “left you unchaperoned that we stole away together.”
Dagny had no brother. None of this made any sense. Perhaps the time she spent imprisoned in the hold had addled her mind. “Martin, what are you talking about?”
“Dagny, sweetheart, you don’t need to pretend anymore.” He tilted his head toward the captain. “He knows everything. And we’re here to make it right.”
Dagny shook her head a little and fought to draw a deep breath against the pressure that constricted her chest. Tiny gnats flew through her vision. “Martin tell me, please, what have you said?”
Martin led her to a chair and sat her down. “Might you give her a cup of wine?” he asked the purser.
The man went to the captain’s sideboard and poured a glass of red wine and pressed it into Dagny’s hand. She stared at it, confused as to why it was given to her.
Martin lifted her hand so the cup touched her lips. “Take a sip, my love. Your nerves are understandably distressed at this news. But it was the only way to clear your name.”
Dagny gulped the wine. Its warmth settled in her belly and slowly leaked into her chest. It was easier to breathe, now, and she no longer felt near to collapse. She handed the empty cup to Martin. His words hit her consciousness.
“You cleared my name?” she asked.
Martin shrugged and looked embarrassed. “Well, the part about the thefts.”
Dagny glanced at the other men. They all looked a little embarrassed. She felt a surge of hysteria.
“What – what other part is there?” she coughed.
Martin knelt in front of her so his eyes were level with hers. He held her hands again, so tightly it hurt. If he hadn’t looked so distraught, Dagny would have pulled away. His words tumbled out like a life-ending avalanche.
“I told them that when we were together, without your brother Torvald’s knowledge, that I took your maidenhead and have ruined your reputation. Captain Gilsen has agreed to marry us here, now, so that these wrongs may be set right. The other two gentlemen are to act as legal witnesses.”
Dagny’s mind understood Martin’s statement one slow word at a time. And as it did, a fury like she had never known took her over. She yanked one hand from his and slapped Martin across the face with every ounce of her outrage. The stinging sound rang through the small space and the other three men cringed.
Martin didn’t move.
As the outline of her fingers reddened and swelled over his cheek, he held on to her other hand. His green eyes were fixed on hers.
Angered beyond measure at his lack of response, Dagny slapped him again. This time, she felt the pain in her own hand. Martin’s eyes watered and his jaw clenched, but his hands still held one of hers. His gaze didn’t waver.
“How dare you?” Dagny croaked.
Working title: "Leaving Norway"
Releasing late 2012