Snippet Saturday is the brainchild of author Lauren Dane, wherein a group of authors selects thematic excerpts from their work and shares them on Saturday mornings. This Saturday the theme is hot spots. I thought I’d share a scene from my first published novel, A Spell for Susannah, where our heroine and hero, through some conniving on the part of her mother, end up at the palace hot springs. That doesn’t stop Susannah from figuring out a way around any plans Jon Tom and her mother might have cooked up between them…
She would be charming, but not too charming. She’d soften toward him, laugh more and provoke him less. She’d allow him to think the plan fruitful and report to her mother all was well. And whenever she chose to strike, she’d kick him in the rear, right out the door of the castle. Even if she and her sisters feigned a trip beneath, abraded their slippers on sandpaper, one more failure and he was finished.
It was so simple and so obvious. Why hadn’t she thought of it before?
“Mr. Tom,” she said, keeping a hint of acidity in her tone, “let’s drop the matter of who shall push and who shall pull. I’m weary of the brick wall that is your head, as I’m sure you’ve grown weary of mine.”
“Princess, your head is made of the most enchanting bricks—”
“Please! Drop the flowery talk. We both know it for what it is. No!” She tapped his arm playfully, but hard enough to sting. “Don’t tell me what you want, or what I want. Just tell me what you think will capture the attention of Sir Hanson. We’ve learned enough about his country, his life and his cows. What will interest him as a man?”
“What’s with this about-face?”
Drat, he’d noticed instantly. “I’ll level with you. As you claim to be a student of human nature, you know I can’t help but resent your presence. You regard me with suspicion, you interfere with my daily activities and you patronize me. If I’d barged into your life, wouldn’t those things annoy you?”
“I’ve never appreciated interference and skepticism of my abilities. I see your point.”
“My frustration with you shouldn’t prevent me from taking advantage of something that could help me. You’re right, Mr. Tom. You might not be able to help me impress Sir Hanson, but perhaps you can and I’ll secure the inheritance of our kingdom.”
“Perhaps I can,” he agreed.
“If we crumbled, there’d be no one to protect Foresta’s borders so you could enjoy that fortune you think you’re going to get.” Susannah flipped Jon Tom a cheeky smile and shook her hair out of her face. She’d seen Peter do that to great effect. “You might have to concede your designs upon my dower property, though, unless there’s some other way you think to obtain it.” She directed her gaze toward the hot springs and bathhouse at the edge of the forest and let her smile melt into something more secretive.
Pleased when his grin faltered, she allowed him to take her arm and help her down the smooth granite steps. Her head filled like a balloon with her tiny success. How amusing to suggest naughty things! No wonder Jon Tom always looked as if his life were a party.
Even in spring and summer, a mist rose from the bubbling hot springs, surrounded by ferns and evergreen trees. A stream trickled out of the far end of the irregularly shaped bowl and disappeared into the woods. The water cooled before it reached the lake, but the year-round warmth made for some interesting aquatic life. Transparent salamanders and bright minnows lived in the stream, and birds often came to the springs to bathe. White flowers with fringed petals thrived in the steamy, sulfuric heat, and amidst the ferns thick at the edge of the bowl were tiny purple toadstools, not to mention tiny purple toads.
The small bathhouse was built of the same gray stone as the steps and the contoured seats beneath the surface of the water.
“Tell me,” she mused, “if you were Sir Hanson and I brought you here, what would you be thinking?”
Places to buy A Spell for Susannah, if you feel so inclined:
All Romance Ebooks
Barnes and Noble (paperback)
Barnes and Noble (ebook)
Samhain Publishing (paperback)
Samhain Publishing (ebook)
Bring on the heat!