Wednesday, June 03, 2009
Masquerades By Christie Kelley
Does the idea of being someone you’re not intrigue you? I love a good masquerade party. Hiding behind a mask so people can’t determine your identity, or just becoming someone you’re not for a few hours. It’s exciting to be there wondering if people really know who you are, or not.
In my second book, Every Time We Kiss, masquerades play an important role but not just in the party aspect. Until I started to write this blog, I never realized the parallels that I had written into the story. The hero and heroine, Matthew and Jennette, first meet at a masquerade party for the heroine’s twenty-fifth birthday. They had known each other years ago but this is the first time she’s seen him in over five years. At first, she doesn’t recognize him behind the mask he’s wearing.
The second masquerade party is part of the black moment of the story. The couple are both starting to believe they could be in love and make their relationship work when everything is ruined by another character (in a mask of course).
But then as I wrote this, I realized that both my characters have been pretending to be something they are not in real life. They are both masquerading from the truth. My heroine has been pretending to be a frivolous lady with no cares but she is hiding a dark secret that only the hero knows. While Matthew has been living a lie. He has let Society believe he did something terrible when, in fact, he is completely innocent.
“Are you a fairy or an angel?” a low raspy voice sounded behind her.
Jennette sat up straight and looked around frantically. She’d been sure there had been no one out here. Her heart pounded in her chest erratically. This was ridiculous. She was at her brother’s house in the middle of a party for ton. Only those invited could be here.
“Well, if you’re an angel, I guess that makes me the devil. Can you resist the devil, Jennette?” the voice whispered.
Jennette stood and turned toward the voice. A man dressed like a highwayman from the last century rose from his seat behind the dying rose bushes. His clothes appeared dirty and worn, and she wondered for a moment if perhaps he wasn’t in costume. A black mask covered enough of his face to make her pause.
But as he stepped forward into the torch light, she could make out his eyes--icy gray as the morning frost. She would never forget those eyes. The way he had stared at her that morning from his seat, unable to move because of what she’d done.
He could not be here. Not at her brother’s home. Not at her birthday ball.
He’d promised to leave her alone.
“Don’t move,” he commanded. “You are the reason I came to this party. I need to speak with you.”
“I have nothing to say to you.”
She lifted her skirts and ran toward the safety of the terrace and her family. The gravel crunched loudly under her feet. Couldn’t someone hear her footsteps? As she reached the first step of the terrace and within shouting distance of the party, he pulled her against his chest. His large, gloved hand covered her mouth, silencing her.
Jennette attempted to twist out his strong grip as he dragged her back into the shadows of the garden. This couldn’t be happening. Not now, when all her plans were almost complete. She had less than four weeks before her ship sailed, allowing her to leave him and this mess behind forever. He shoved her back against the pillar of the pergola and trapped her there with his arms. Fear shot through her like lightning.
“What do you want from me?” she asked.
His smile turned feral. Through the mask, she could just make out his eyes. She shivered from the cold stare he leveled at her.
“What have I always wanted from you?” his low voice rasped.
“Take off your mask,” she whispered.
“Why? You know who I am.”
“You’re frightening me.”
He leaned in closer and smiled. He drew a gloved finger along her cheek, making her tremble even more. “Good. You should be afraid of me, Jennette. You know what I could do to you and your family.”
She closed her eyes and tried her best to breathe in deeply. “Please,” she begged.
“Very well.” He untied the mask and shoved it into his vest pocket. “Better?”
God, no, she thought. Seeing his face again after five years was not better. It was far worse. Chestnut hair, too long to be fashionable, lined his square face. His high cheekbones and stubborn jaw accented his rugged features. He’d always been a handsome man but the last few years had only made him more intriguing.
So how do you feel about a masquerade? Do like to put on a costume or mask and pretend you’re something different for an evening? Do you like to attempt to figure out who is behind the mask before they speak up and you recognize their voice? What was the best costume you ever wore to a masked party?
Christie Kelley was born and raised in upstate New York. After seventeen years working for financial institutions in software development, she took a leap of faith and started her first book. Seven years later, EVERY NIGHT I’M YOURS was bought by Zebra books.
She now lives in Maryland with her husband and two sons. Come visit her on the web at www.christiekelley.com.
Christie will be giving away a copy of Every Time We Kiss to one lucky commenter who leaves a comment or question and their email addy. (No email addy, no entry). Winner will be announced at the end of the week.