Contest Winner #6 & BLOOD LILY Excerpt!

That was a close-run contest! It was neck and neck between Penelope & Alex and Eloise & Colin. (Sorry, Freddy, old thing.)

So, here is my exceedingly cunning plan. Since Penelope and Alex did win, fair and square (at least as of my last count this morning), I’m going to post their excerpt today. BUT, since it was so close, I’m going to post the Colin and Eloise excerpt tomorrow and announce a second winner then. Let’s call that Mini-Contest #7.

Today’s winner, randomly chosen, is… J, of comment #27. Congrats, J! Just email me and I’ll send along your hardcover Night Jasmine.

I’ll announce a second winner tomorrow, when I post the Eloise and Colin excerpt.

In the meantime, without further ado, I give you Penelope and Alex….

This scene takes place at the start of the journey from Calcutta to Hyderabad. Alex isn’t too happy about having Penelope along (or Freddy, for that matter) and has made the mistake of making that clear. You can imagine how Penelope reacts to that….

Breakers lay to one side, but on the other squatted a dense mass of thickly matted vegetation. Penelope thought she could see a tiger through the trees, its striped pelt a vivid amber against the hanging fronds of the trees.

“What is that?” she asked Captain Reid as he passed behind her.

“The island of Sangor,” he said briefly. After a moment, he added, “The island is sacred to Kali. Sangor has long been used as a ritual center for human sacrifice.”

Penelope could feel the Captain’s eyes on her, gauging the impact of his comment. He no doubt expected her to be spooked, to express womanly alarm, to demand his protection against the big, bad beasties who ate pretty little Englishwomen—or, even better, to demand that he turn around and take her back to the metropolitan protection of Calcutta posthaste, tide or no.

There was only one thing to be done.

“What kind of human sacrifices?” Penelope demanded, twisting around to look up at him.

It was marvelous watching Captain Reid’s discomfiture.

Blinking rapidly, he managed to effect a quick recovery. “In human sacrifices one generally sacrifices humans. I understand that that is the usual practice.”

Penelope rolled her eyes. “Yes, but how do they go about it? Do they burn them? Cut them up into little bits? Flay them alive?”

Captain Reid backed up a step. “I believe they generally fling them into the river.”

Penelope made a moue of disappointment. “That is fairly tame, I must say. If one is to have a blood sacrifice, I would hope there would at least be a bit more drama about it. Otherwise, it strikes me as a waste of a perfectly good human.”

A tiny glint of humor showed in Captain Reid’s steely eyes, clearly much against his own inclination. “If it makes you feel better, they do have a fair amount of ceremonial around the event. The devotees are robed in scarlet and draped in flowers. There are hymns and all that sort of thing.”

“Rather like Evensong,” commented Penelope, with an arch glance at Captain Reid.

“Only rather more fatal.” He had given up the battle against his better self; the glint expanded into a bona fide grin. It was a quirky sort of grin, pulling up one side of his mouth more than the other, but it was oddly engaging for all that.

He was really rather attractive when he wasn’t scowling at her.

“Why do they do it?” she asked.

“Why? For the same reason one petitions any deity; for riches, for health, for advancement. It is,” he added wryly, “rather amazing what a man will do for the hope of advancement.”

There was a self-mockery in his tone that suggested there was more than abstract philosophy at play.

Penelope wondered just what dubious measures Captain Reid might have been driven to in the interests of advancement.


  1. Katie on January 11, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    Yay! So amazing, I can’t wait to get my hands on the book!

  2. Carole on January 11, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    =) Only a couple days left. I can’t wait to read it!

  3. am7 on January 11, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    awesome! and how! but they really do human sacrifice in India? I love Pen.
    I have a question. Should I purchase a copy of the book tomorrow, even though I plan to go to one of your book signings? It seems weird to go to a bookstore with a purchased book from potentially a rival store, but I have never been to a book signing before.

  4. Chelsey on January 11, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    Only one more day now 🙂 Yay!

  5. Stephanie Ball on January 11, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    My Blood Lilly is on its way. ordered it from amazon. Says it will be here WEDS!!!

  6. Jane on January 11, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    Oh clever Lauren, to give us two excerpts to settle a close contest! Now if I can just figure out to put my life on hold for long enough to read the entire book, all will be well.


  7. Natasha on January 11, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    ahhhh! SO EXCITED! 😀

  8. Rachel R on January 11, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    Can’t wait until tomorrow!!

    Also, to the person who asked the question about sacrifice – look up the practice of Sati in India.

  9. kellie on January 11, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    Thank you, Lauren, for indulging the Eloise fans. We are mighty!

    One more day!

  10. J on January 11, 2010 at 6:22 pm

    Oh! I can’t wait to see what trouble Captain Reid ran into because of advancement. I do like how Pen turns the conversational tables on Alex!

  11. Nikki M on January 11, 2010 at 8:08 pm

    Fantastic! Always amazing. 😀

  12. Lauren on January 11, 2010 at 9:33 pm

    Hi, am7! I’ve had readings show up to readings with pre-purchased books before (some quite battered and well-loved), so I think it should be okay.

  13. Lauren on January 11, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    Um, yeah, that was meant to be “people show up to readings”, not “readings show up to readings.” It’s been a long day.

  14. Alex on January 11, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    Cannot wait!

  15. Jessica Dean on January 11, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    I am so excited for tomorrow!!

  16. Jennie on January 11, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    Yay! Can’t wait to start procrastinating in schoolwork in order to start reading 🙂 Its only been a day back to school, and already i need a Blood Lily break from college…

  17. Debra Callaway on January 12, 2010 at 10:35 am

    if am7 cannot find the reference as sati, look under the spelling suttee. I haven’t ordered it yet, I thought I would get it from the bookstore in the small town I live in, even if I have to pay the full publisher recommended price(with so many online discounting even brand new books and large chains it is hard for the independants to survive), so many of the businesses have closed in town (mostly antique stores but that is why folks come here), I NEED the bookstore to stay open

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