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Belle_91
04-21-2011, 07:03 PM
Hello, so I need a beta-reader for my YA Historical Romance Northern Promises.

The story is set during the Civil War and takes place in Concord, Massachusetts. My main character, Emma, is trying to be all that a young lady should be: polite, poised, and elegant. She knows never to speak her mind, espically when it comes to politics.

However, when she meets her brother's handsome tutor, things start to change. She is encouraged to speak her mind and stand up for her beliefs. She also helps Charles in his transportion of runaway slaves on the Underground Railroad.

Here is a sample of Northern Promises. If you like it and can beta read, please feel free to pm me! Thanks :)

Chapter One



December, 1861


Emma squeezed her eyes shut as the sleigh moved faster and faster. The runners glided effortlessly while the horses cantered along. Cold wind stung her face and whistled in her ears as the vehicle moved across the snow. The bells on the horses’ harnesses rang out clearly through the crisp afternoon, breaking the silence of the sleepy New England town.

“Ambrose, slow down,” Emma giggled.

“Stop being such a ninny.” He flicked the reins harder, urging his span of two Morgans faster.

“Forgive me for not wanting to spend Christmas nursing wounds…or worse.”
Ambrose laughed. “You are far too serious. You sound just like my mother.” He winked at her and Emma smiled before scooting closer to Ambrose. She wanted to thread her arm through his own and press her cheek against his shoulder. She could smell his spicy cologne, a scent which she loved. She hoped perhaps he would slow the horses down so they could spend more time together, but Ambrose was completely oblivious to her signs.

“Look how fast we’re going,” he shouted. “I never got to go at full chisel while I was at Harvard. Pity I can’t go dashing through the streets in Cambridge again. I would love to see the look on the constable’s face.”

“No doubt he remembers you,” Mrs. Hale muttered. “Especially since you were expelled for dueling.” Emma’s mother was seated behind the couple in the back of the sleigh. She was wrapped in a blanket with her fur muff sitting in her lap as cautiously eyed the couple.

“I believe Miss Hale thought it was some sort of romantic gesture. She thinks I am like one of the heroes in those fairy stories that she reads. Like a real Mr. Darcy, perhaps.”

“What are you going to do now?” Mrs. Hale asked. “I hope you have made arrangements to finish your education.”

“I think I shall go on holiday actually.” He had a wicked sense of humor, one that sometimes did not agree with the citizens of Concord. However, Emma imagined that the joke did not sit well with her mother.

“Oh, dear me,” she heard her whisper.

“Where shall you go?”

“Paris or Rome.” He leaned in close and whispered, “And I shall go with you, of course.”

She felt him place his gloved hand on top of her own, giving it a tender squeeze. Despite the cold, Emma felt her cheeks grow hot, and she wished he could whisk her off to a faraway land.

“Perhaps we can be presented at Queen Victoria’s court and dance in a real palace. Could you imagine that? Go to England, where there are real princes, knights, and noble ladies.”

“That would be nice, but I fear my Father might have other plans.”

“Such as?”

“He is threatening to send me into the army. He says I should do my service to the Union.”

“What?” Emma straightened up. “You can’t go to war, Ambrose! What will I-?”

“Don’t get so hysterical about it,” Ambrose said. “Mother won’t let him send me off to fight. But I do fear that Father will send me to West Point or some other horrible military institution.”

“But West Point is all the way in New York!” Emma exclaimed. “I’ll never see you except on holiday! At least when you were at Harvard you came home often, even if it was to beg your father for funds.”

“Emma,” Mrs. Hale, her eyes narrowed in warning. Emma knew that her mother’s patience was wearing thin, and that she was ready to go home.

Ambrose shrugged. “Well, I doubt the old man will loan me any spending money now. You should have seen his face when I told him that I was caught dueling…again. I swear he was as red as a cherry.”

“You could have seriously been injured, Mr. Brown,” Mrs. Hale said. “Or worse.

“I don’t know what I would have done if you had gotten hurt.”

“You wouldn’t have found some new beau to take you sleighing?” Ambrose asked.

“Never. All of the boys in Concord are as dull as powder compared to you. Besides, who would take me to England?”
Ambrose’s smile returned. “You are too sweet for your own good. Despite everything, I am glad to be home. Now I get the chance to call on you more often. That was terribly hard to do when I was in Harvard.”

Emma laughed. “I’m glad you’re home too. Just think of all the fun we’ll have this Christmas.”

“Indeed. Another day at Harvard and I would have…I would have shot someone.” He chuckled at his own joke.

“Promise me you won’t get into any duels here?” Emma said.

Ambrose dramatically placed a hand over his heart as though he were about to recite some Shakespearian sonnet. “I swear I shall not get into any more scrapes whilst I am at home.”

“Good.”

“Don’t worry, Emma.” He placed a hand over hers, giving it a tender squeeze. Emma turned her face to look up at him, noting how their lips were only mere inches apart. She could feel his warm breath on her face, and she yearned to close her eyes and kiss him.

“I will make sure that I do not get into any scrapes while I am here. Despite what Mother says, I do think Father is at the end of his rope. I fear if I do something I will be shipped off to the army.”

“Then make sure you don’t spoil it.”

He smiled at her, and Emma’s heart sped up in her chest. He looked so handsome in the waning sunlight which fell upon the snow, making it appear to glisten.

The horses pulled the sleigh up to the Hale’s house, and with a gentle “whoa,” Ambrose brought them to a halt. The animals huffed and snorted after their rigorous exercise. Despite the cold, their brown coats were almost black with sweat, and white froth dripped from their mouths.

“Who is that fellow in front of your house?” Ambrose asked.
Emma looked past him and saw a young man, bundled up from head to toe, carrying a few books in his arms.

“Oh, dear, I’m afraid that is Henry’s new tutor,” Mrs. Hale said. “Come along, Emma. You’ll catch cold in this weather.”

“Yes, Mother.” She turned to Ambrose. “Goodnight, I had a lovely time.” She turned to leave when Ambrose caught her hand. She watched breathlessly as he kissed the top of her wrist. She could have even sworn that she felt his warm lips through her woolen gloves.

“Goodnight, Miss Hale,” he said like a proper gentleman. “I had a nice time as well. You are going to the Hudson’s Christmas Eve party?”

Emma nodded mutely.

“May I request that you save at least one waltz for me?I have no doubt that most of the other gentlemen will be clamoring for a dance with you.”

Emma looked down bashfully, feeling her cheeks redden at the compliment. She didn’t know if he was teasing her or was actually serious. “Thank you,” she whispered, not sure of what else to say.

“Until then, goodnight.”

Emma alighted from the sleigh, suddenly feeling warmer than normal. She told Ambrose farewell again as she opened the garden gate, having completely forgotten the other young man who watched their little scene from the front door. When he saw Emma and Mrs. Hale coming his way he looked about frantically, as if he might dodge behind a bush so he could conceal himself.

“Hello,” Emma said. She glanced back over her shoulder, but Ambrose had already whipped the horses into a frenzy and they had cantered off into the night; the sound of the sleigh bells growing fainter and fainter.

“I’m terribly sorry we are so late,” Mrs. Hale said as she opened the door. “Mr. Wilson, this is my eldest daughter, Emma.”

“How do you do?” Charles said with a curt nod. He was a handsome enough looking lad, though as far as Emma was concerned no one could hold a candle to her Ambrose. Charles had copper colored hair that scraped the edges of his collar and kind blue eyes.

Belle_91
04-22-2011, 06:46 AM
Anyone?

bananamelissa
04-22-2011, 11:20 AM
do you still need someone? I could start on this next week. My email is arcticmelissa at gmail.com