Exclusive Excerpt from Rise of a Nobleman
by Valentina C. Brin
“Norwich Orphanage, June 23, 1680
Dorian looked up at the sky. He closed his eyes and dropped his arms along his sides, fingers grazing his lily-white tunic.
Raindrops spattered on his forehead and ran down his temples, but he didn’t move. He let the water wash over his skin. When he felt it trickle onto his lips, he tasted it—it was fresh, pleasant like the peaceful atmosphere surrounding that labyrinth of hedges.
But then something changed. The clean taste of rain turned pungent and metallic, an unmistakable coppery taste that made him nauseous. His mouth was full of blood.
Alarmed, he touched his face but found no cuts. Nothing hurt, not the slightest hint of pain.
Another drop fell on his fingers. He saw it from the corner of his eye—a vermilion blotch standing out against the uniform paleness of his skin, a stain that removed all doubt. It wasn’t water any more.
Heart gripped with anxiety, he touched his cheeks, forehead, nose—everywhere the rain had fallen—but again found no sign of wounds. Checking his palms, he discovered them covered with blood that was still warm.
He really tried to scream, but his voice didn’t come out. It wouldn’t.
There wasn’t enough of it.
His hands were trembling, his knees shaking powerlessly. A coarse sound erupted in the sky.
Dorian looked up. A large crow flew in a circle overhead, its tiny black eyes pointed right at him as its wings flapped, spattering blood—the same blood that had just smeared his face. When it glided to a landing on a hedge, the blood strewn on the ground began to spread. The splotches grew larger until they formed puddles, but didn’t stop there—they kept growing and growing and growing. They spread out, touching one another, filling in the entire length of the pathway. In an instant, the blood had soaked Dorian’s feet, submerging his toes. But it didn’t stop there. The blood continued to rise, engulfing his ankles and reaching his shins.
Dark, magnetic eyes were trained on him. Waiting for him.
About Rise of a Nobleman
London, 1680. For the young Charles Rochester, Marquess of Bolton and heir to the Duke of Norfolk, desiring another man is unacceptable. His fierce attraction to the new scullery boy must be suffocated at all cost. But it’s not easy to silence your heart when the people who should understand you end up betraying you, and the only one loyal seems to be the one you’re desperately trying to avoid.
But Dorian Pratt knows he’s hopelessly lost the second he first lays eyes on his new master. As a lowly servant, he understands he can never have him, but he can’t stop his body—and heart—from reacting to the dark, handsome nobleman.
When dangerous secrets hidden within the walls of Norfolk Manor come to light, everything collapses. Charles has only one hope for hanging onto Dorian, but to make it work he must be prepared to sacrifice the most valuable gift God has bestowed upon him: his very humanity.
Sins will not be forgiven and there’s always a price to pay when blood is spilled.
Warning: Due to some raw content of a violent nature which some may find upsetting, as well as the depiction of graphic sex between men, Rise of a Nobleman is recommended only for consenting adults.
Available at: Amazon
About Valentina C. Brin
Valentina C. Brin is a self-published Italian author who lives in Padua with her partner and their four pudgy cats. She enjoys writing both MM and MF books, especially angsty ones. Powerful, dark, sexy stories are sort of her thing, and her psychology degree comes in handy for crafting twisted characters that never fail to surprise her many readers. Rise of a Nobleman is her debut novel and the first in her dark historical MM series.
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