Anne-Marie Humphrey stood with her back stiff, but not because she was inclined to the sort of personality of someone who often stood stiff-backed at a ball. No, she stood in such an uncomfortable way because her mother had fastened her newest corset so tightly that she hardly had room to breathe, no less, slouch, as she was most accustom to.
“The Earl has arrived,” her friend, Miss Lynn Connerly, whispered, clenching her arm.
Anne-Marie wanted to leave in that very moment. Earl Randal Susset had been her betrothed. He’d dashed her heart by leaving with nothing more than a letter, on fine stationary, scribbled with I’m sorry.
If not for him, she wouldn’t have been in such a poor state of mind those six years ago. She wouldn’t have allowed Lord Agathes to court her, nor would she have been bitten by the man. Which in the end, destroyed any chance at marriage. She couldn’t, after all, hide her vamperic state from a husband. And so, she’d accepted her life as a spinster, hoping to never again set eyes on the man who’d changed her life forever.
Miss Connerly dug her nails into Anne-Marie’s arm, and then, if things weren’t bad enough, pointed. “How dare he come here! He must have known you would be in attendance, and that his sudden appearance would remind everyone of your shame.”
“Which stands to reason the man hoped to embarrass me.”
Despite all the reasons she didn’t want to look, Anne-Marie’s gaze went to the entrance hall of The Looder’s ballroom. Her gut clenched. Randal hadn’t changed a bit. A masculine energy radiated from his strong body, even from across the room. His face, dusted with the beginnings of a beard, and his almost unruly dark hair, remained at odds with his suit, the latest in fashion.
Admiring girls swarmed him, completely forgetting all social decorum in their attempt at winning the young, wealthy, and socially powerful man’s attention. To Anne-Marie’s complete embarrassment, heat gathered at the back of her eyes.
“I think I’ll go outside for some fresh air.”
“Are you sure? Everyone will be watching you.”
Anne-Marie pried herself free of her friend’s grip. “I’m sure.” But before she could turn to flee, The Earl’s gaze fell on her from across the room.
Randal’s heart bled. The woman who’d haunted his dreams for six lonely years stared back at him with pain, and then, hate in her eyes. Damn it! Why couldn’t he have slunk into town, taken care of his business, and left? Because he had to see her? Now such a thing seemed ridiculously cruel. For both of them.
She wore a scarlet dress in the latest fashion, with a small bustle, and a low neckline. The dress hugged the generous curves of her body, in such contrast with the sea of petite women flocking around him. Her long, dark hair laid in soft curls down one shoulder, drawing attention to the long lines of her neck.
The woman was every bit the siren now as she had been those years ago, stealing his heart where every other woman had failed. Her powerful allure alone should have sent him racing away from her. But even as he told himself this, smiling, nodding, and making small chat with the girls around him, he was slowly making his way towards her.
Inhaling deeply, he tried to pick up her scent, vanilla and something spicy, but there were too many people between her and him. He saw her trying to flee. A young man stepped between her and her exit, and a wave of gratefulness followed by jealousy swept through him.
Randal closed in on her, inhaling again. This time her delicious scent made his steps falter. Vanilla and spice and… he frowned, inhaling again. He knew that scent. But such a thing was impossible, Anne-Marie was many things, but not a vampire. At least not the last time he saw her.
A dangerous anger rushed through him as she escaped out of the ballroom. He’d run from her to keep her safe. And what did she do? Take a vampire as a lover? Have him change her? There was no other explanation, but he’d be damned if he didn’t find out who the rake was.
Randal sensed his fangs growing with his anger as he all but raced after her. Whoever it was, he would pay.
To be continued…
The above was a little writing exercise for me. I’m constantly trying to find ways to deepen my characters. I want to create a multidimensional quality to them that keeps the reader interested from the very first line.
How do create really unique and interesting characters?