Today we continue our 20 Questions Valentine's Event with a special guest: Hannah Corbett, the heroine of Jerri Hines's historical novel, Patriot Secrets - which is available now from Wild Child Publishing....
It’s a dangerous game you set to play, Miss Corbett. One that can have far worse than deadly consequences!
In the midst of the struggle for America ’s bid for Independence , Hannah Corbett makes a fateful decision, descending into a world of deceit. Spurred by revenge, she heads to New York , setting in motion a dangerous game for which there is no return. Searching desperately for the man who betrayed her family, she faces the cold and brutal reality of the life of a spy. Caught in a web of lies, living with betrayal, she is trapped. She has nowhere to turn except to a man it would be treasonous to love, setting duty and desire at war . Her heart is ripped apart when she must choose between the man who risks his career and life to protect her and the only thing that has remained constant in her life…her belief in her cause.
Hannah sat down with our Cozy correspondent, Tink - who traveled expressly to the late 1700's to meet the Patriot Secrets heroine - earlier in the week for a round an interview. Here's 20 Questions with Hannah Corbett! Take it away, Tink....
Tink: Are you the first one on the dance floor or not so much?
Hannah: Dancing without question! Nothing is as romantic as swirling around on the ballroom floor with the orchestra playing so beautifully. It is as though you are the only ones in the room.
Tink: Do you prefer to spend the night at the theatre or at a bike show?
Hannah: Theatre! I love to dress up in a beautiful gown with my hair upswept and jewelry glittering in the candlelight. And there is never man as handsome as when he has dressed for a night at the theatre.
Tink: Do you give relationship advice or think it’s a bad idea?
Hannah: I have never had any trouble giving advice. I have a quite romantic view of the world.
Tink: Describe the ideal hero – rough and tumble highlander, titled gentleman of the ton, modern-day bad boy, or supernatural anti-hero?
Hannah: My ideal hero is a gentleman. Tall and handsome, he would be well educated and from a good family. Brave and true, he would hold to noble virtues and would defend me to the end.
Tink: Would you rather tell someone you love them or show it?
Hannah: Oh, I know I should be proper and say tell them, but it’s so much more fun to show them. Don’t you think?
Tink: Travel to the past or into the future?
Hannah: Since I live in the past, I would have to say into the future.
Tink: Bubble bath or hot shower?
Hannah: Either sounds interesting.
Tink: Flats or high heels?
Hannah: Flats, I suppose.
Tink: Flowers or chocolate?
Hannah: Do I have to choose?
Tink: G-rated or unrated?
Hannah: It wouldn’t be proper to say anything but G-rated.
Tink: Alpha or beta?
Hannah: Is this where I pick an alpha male? Who wouldn’t choose a confident, smart male? I need a man who can stop me from making foolish mistakes! Oh…and protect me!
Tink: Would you make the first move or wait it out?
Hannah: That’s a hard question. I would have to say I’m not shy, but I don’t think I could make the first move. I could definitely encourage the first move, though.
Tink: Favorite love song?
Hannah: Oh! That’s hard especially from the time period I’m from- 1770’s. Don’t think I would consider Yankee Doodle a love song.
Tink: For Valentine’s would you rather go out or stay in?
Hannah: Stay in. Most definitely stay in.
Tink: Karaoke: yes or no?
Tink: Describe your most romantic moment.
Hannah: The one I will always hold dear is the first time he told me he loved me. The sun was setting as we sat in a garden Of course, I was spying upon the British and his being a British officer did present a few problems…such as he was arresting me at the time.
Tink: Boxers, briefs…or kilts?
Hannah: Don’t think I’m allowed to talk of such things.
Tink: What is your idea of a dream date?
Hannah: I love to sit out side under the stars in the middle of the garden. He would be sitting on the bench beside me and we have snuck away from prying eyes.
Tink: Valentine’s Day watch: sappy love story, romantic comedy or forgo all of the above and go with the action flick?
Hannah: I love to read a sappy love story. I have lived the action.
Tink: And, most importantly – do you like your man clean shaven or with a five o’clock shadow?
Hannah: I much prefer a man to be clean shaven. I do so hate the stubble, except I find I don’t care at times, especially when I haven’t seen him for a while. You know how hard it is to find time when you’re in the middle of espionage.
Thank you, Hannah, for answering all of Tink's intrusive questions! Readers, if you'd like to find out more about Hannah and her story, visit author Jerri Hines's website at http://www.jerrihines.com/.
Jerri Hines is just a little Southern girl who loves stories. Growing up she always had a dream to write. Stories always brewed in her head. She loves to read almost as much as she loves to write. She worked in the hospital setting for well over twenty years, but ten years ago she began following her dream of writing with the encouragement of her husband. Her first book was an autobiography on her father, They Called Him Coach. Dream Walker, a paranormal suspense book, was published in 2008 by Wild Child Publishing. Patriot Secrets is the first of her historical romance/suspense books in her American Revolution series.
And now for an excerpt from Patriot Secrets....
Upon the entrance into the house, Mrs. Hayes met her aunt who quickly ushered her away. It would not be long before her aunt was sick. Hannah turned and to her dismay she was standing alone with Marcus.
He shook the fallen snow off his coat. He opened the door into the drawing room. A small fire kept sparked for the family’s return. He turned to the houseboy. “Add a few logs.”
Hannah watched the boy take off upon the order. “Make yourself comfortable, Marcus,” she said matter of fact. She hadn’t the energy to deal with him. “I find that I am tired and have to retire. I am sorry I can’t entertain you. Now if you will excuse me. Thank you for seeing us back.”
The houseboy ran by with a couple of logs. Hastily laying the logs on the sparking embers, he fanned the flames. With a look from Marcus, he exited with a bow. Marcus strolled over the counter and poured himself a glass of Madeira .
“It doesn’t matter to me if you want to retire. I find I have an issue to talk with you about. If you want to do so in your bedroom, you will find it wouldn’t bother me in the least, I assure you.” He took a sip and with a twist of his lips upward dared her to do so.
She unhooked her cloak and laid it upon the back of the chair. Marcus, with his glass in hand casually walked to the window. He glanced out the curtains. The snow still fell, blurring the scene without. He tossed the curtains back. He seemed satisfied with the present situation.
Anger built within Hannah.
“I doubt we will see anyone in the near future,” he said. He placed his glass down upon the table and stepped toward Hannah.
She retreat a step, but tripped on the leg of the chair. In a swift movement he caught her before she fell. Looking up into his eyes, his lips came down upon hers. She fought back, tried to push him away even as his mouth crashed hard on hers.
“Are you really ready to play this game, Hannah?”
“I don’t know of what you speak,” she forced out the words. “Let me go! My grandfather!”
“Do you think I care what your grandfather thinks?” he questioned. “There is something between us, Hannah. I know you feel it too whether you admit it or not.”
His hand gently touched her face, bringing her face up to his again. He kissed her. He kissed her cheeks, her neck. A sensation vibrated through her.
“Please, Marcus, no,” she whispered. He broke from the embrace, staring into her eyes.
“Oh, my Hannah! I have been back for a couple of days,” his fingers edged to the back of her neck, touching her in the most intimidate of fashion. “I don’t think you listened to me well upon my leave the last time. Oh, for once listen. I have thought long and hard about your situation. There is only one possible conclusion on why you came to New York . Someone has convinced you that you can play the game, or maybe, knowing you, you came upon it yourself.”
Hannah’s anger spurted forth. “Arrogance! A game? I don’t consider my life a game.”
“Hannah, I watched you tonight. Gannon appeared on the scene and the whole of your body shook. You have to know,” he cupped her face with his eyes gazing straight into hers. “Tell me you don’t know.”
“What if I do know? What of it? Why wouldn’t I have a right to feel thus?” she vehemently responded. “Because I live within these boundaries, I can’t hear news from beyond. Others do.”
“Others don’t live with your grandfather who has attempted to withhold news from you. Don’t even try, Hannah. I know you too well. If you didn’t want to live within those walls, you would well have gone. If it didn’t suit your needs.”
She tried to wiggle free. “Let go of me. I wish to go to my room. Leave me alone.”
“It has gone further than that now, Hannah,” His tone changed. “I had time to think while I was gone. Thinking of what you were doing. Don’t think I don’t admire your bold attempt. I know of no other who would have attempted to such, but to accomplish acquiring information!”
She took a breath and glared at him. “And, pray, what do you think I accomplished?”
“Why you would have come here after the raid? Revenge. The only link I’m sure came from your uncle’s appearance. Looking back, it would seem logical to you. Why anyone would have let you attempt such an operation is questionable to me to say the least,” he said, releasing his hold.
“But with Gannon’s appearance here in New York . He’s screaming for your arrest, you know, Hannah.”
“Why?” She drew back. A fear came over her. “What have I done?”
“Nothing Gannon can prove at the moment. He says you are a spy within our social ranks. Gathering information. Of course, General Howe feels it’s preposterous, not from a young woman.”
“What do you think?” she asked in almost a whisper.
“Do you really want to know?” he responded. “Do you want to know I had already gone to the General with concerns about you?”
She said nothing but turned. She started back away from him. His arm took hold. “Don’t run from me, Hannah. I have found an acceptable solution. Taking you from harming yourself and from your grandfather’s house. And of course, more damage that you have probably already inflicted.”
“You have no proof of any of these speculations. Let go of me,” she said stoically. “If you felt that way you probably would have had me watched. What have you found? Nothing, because I’ve done nothing. I appreciate your admiration of work I wish I could take credit for.”
He studied her for a moment. An amused expression appeared upon his face. He dragged her back within his arms. “You’re right, but I do feel my solution is for the better of all.”
“What do you speak?” she whispered for his hold upon was so tight she could barely breath.
“I’ll set you up. I’m to go back to England in the early summer. I’ll take you with me,” he said simply.
As if she had been slapped, she drew back, “And you think I would accept that?”
“I don’t believe many would refuse such an offer, Hannah.”
“I have a fiancé.”
“And I hear he’s to marry another,” he said bluntly. “It’s not up for discussion.”
This time he took her prisoner with his arms around her waist. She protested hardly until his hands moved from her waist over her body. She uttered a small, terrified moan. His hold loosened. He took his hand to her face. “Hannah, don’t fear me. I’m not going to harm you.”
“You talk nonsense. So you look at me as someone you want to bed. Then go off leaving me alone. In your thoughts only when you grow older to your friends. I remember the war. I had this girl. Pray, what was her name?” She tried to turn, but he wouldn’t let go of her.
“It wouldn’t be such, Hannah, for I wouldn’t let you go,” Marcus said. He touched her neck. She shivered.
She shook her head. “Stop. I don’t know why I allowed this conversation to go such.”
“Because you feel it, too.” His mouth came down upon hers again. Her lips parted to receive him.
He pressed her backwards, hands caressing her shoulders. Her fingers slid to the back of his head as she responded to his touch. She returned his kiss. A need arose in her, drowning every thought but one.
“Come with me now. Leave this house,” he whispered. He kissed her neck.
Reality of the mission slowly crept back within her. Her hand pulled to her mouth. “I can’t. I can’t.”
Stumbling backwards to the door, her hand turned the handle of the door, opened it and ran. She didn’t stop until she was well within her room.
Readers, tune in tomorrow for more 20 Questions, excerpts, and goodies during our countdown to Valentine's Day!