We are getting perilously close to the release of my next novella, The Sea Queen's Daughter. It's an adaptation of the fairy tale The Little Mermaid, set in 18th-century Venice.
Here is a short excerpt from the beginning of the book, where our hero and heroine meet on a tòpo, a Venetian-style barge:
Marco pulled the mysterious woman into the dance, her slim form seeming to fit against his like water to the shore. The complicated patterns of the Hunt dance required them to part, but Marco couldn't bear to release her. Instead, he wrapped his arm around her waist and spun them away from the other dancers, to a corner of the ship relatively shadowed.
"I'm not sure what we're doing is dancing," the woman said. He looked deep into the clear glass of the eyes of the mask but saw only the faint movement of what might have been her eyelashes.
"It will be. Just trust me," he assured her.
He mapped out the steps to the dance and she copied him, their torsos brushing against one another until Marco pulled back, afraid of embarrassing himself. The impenetrable mask she wore tilted, but she said nothing and kept the distance between them.
Eventually he pulled her back and she settled against him, the press of her mask cool against his heated cheek. He set his gloved hand against the side of her head. When she didn't pull away, he ran the back of his fingers down her neck and over her collar bone.
She stirred then. "I must go," she said, pulling away.