Kimberly Gould is the author of the Cargon Series. The first book in the series, Honour & Privilege, introduces Eve, a serving girl moving beyond her limited social circles into the world of the elite. Along the way, she works with her new peers to rediscover a long lost power. In the second volume, Duty & Sacrifice, Eve lives with the repercussions of her hasty transition to elite. Her heart and mind are tried anew as one enemy becomes a friend and a new one takes his place.
For the Blogger Book Fair, I’m pleased to present an excerpt from Duty & Sacrifice. Below that, sign up for a chance to win a copy for yourself!
Louis accompanied Eve to and from dinner.
Eve heard whispers as he led her to the High Table. Those most likely came from the women he had spent his nights with in the past. He was a very attractive young man, his chin was a bit more pointed than Adam’s and his nose more slender. She preferred Adam’s rugged looks to Louis’ pretty ones. Although Eve refused any physical relationship with him, she couldn’t deny he was lovely to look at. He kissed Eve’s hand before he left to his own seat. She was approached by his admirers after the meal as she had been previous evenings.
“You can’t think you will keep him.”
“He will stray; he always does.”
“Mother?” Eve asked. “Is there an appropriate response to these women?”
“Don’t accept their banter. Dismiss them.”
Eve nodded and waved away anyone else who came to her. She didn’t need to be informed about Louis’ prowess in the bedroom, his stamina, or his ability to juggle multiple women. She had heard more than enough already. None of them made him more attractive to her, and it made the women seem petty and juvenile. The whole affair left a bad taste in her mouth, a pity after a lovely meal.
Had any of the women had serious intentions, they could have challenged her. He wasn’t her husband yet, but she also had nothing but the crest of Second to wager. If she lost, they would take her place. She wondered where that would leave her. A servant again? Probably not. She would be exiled to a farm most likely. So far, it seemed the prowess she displayed while playing against Adam was intimidating enough to keep that threat at bay.
Louis claimed to be constant to her, despite the impression the ladies gave. Judging by the sourness in their expressions, he had been shunning them of late. Silly to think on it, it would only put her in a fouler mood than it already had. Putting Louis and his female companions out of her mind, Eve focused on conversation with Mother. Much more palatable.
As she painted her own face for dinner again the next evening, Mother spoke with her. “You seem to be preparing for your trip, I hadn’t expected you to leave quite so soon.”
“No?” Eve asked, pausing in reddening her lips. “I thought sooner would be better.” She resumed.
“Indeed. Augustia will be happy to have your assistance, I imagine. I just… You are still new to your role. I should not have worried.” Bianca patted Eve’s hand. Her affections made Eve feel less like an outsider and more like a member of her family. It made it easier to accept that she belonged among elite.
When no challenge came the second night, Eve and Louis approached Vanto Ethan, who witnessed their exchange of honours and made their marriage official. Eve left feeling no different than when she went in. Perhaps this was why the elite were able to treat marriage so lightly. She and Louis were a cooperative of two, sharing honour. That was all. When more honour could be gained elsewhere, or one lost honour, the partnership ended. Despite months among the elite, Eve was no closer to understanding how they could be so cold to their spouses. Her instincts all screamed that she should be marrying Adam, not Louis, yet by the rules of the elite, Louis had won her hand.
Win a free electronic copy of Cargon: Duty & Sacrifice OR Cargon: Honour & Privilege!
In 2009, Kimberly returned to writing beginning by expanding on the work of others, filling in scenes left out of books she enjoyed, elaborating back stories of lesser known characters, and in some cases, writing beyond the end of a book or series. With these stories, she learned how to craft a novel of her own and finally saw the opportunity to explore ideas she had jotted down, not expecting to return to them again. She also found she enjoyed the endeavor so much that the need to write and create filled her. Now she can’t imagine going a week without writing a short story or a chapter for a novel.