FantasyFridayI’ve signed up for Camp NaNo again, with a 20k goal this time. I’m writing my twin story, Twin Curse, and I’m already halfway to my goal due to my getting up early and banning Facebook policy. So it was an easy choice for today’s excerpt.

This scene takes place not long after my hero and heroine first meet, and Brianna is about to discover that Lyall isn’t quite the man she first thought…

“I thought being a serving maid was beneath you. Mucking out stables is even more so.”

She glanced up and the man from last night, Lyall, leant against a pole, watching her. He was dressed as neatly as the night before, and Brianna was unsurprised at his comments.

She leant on the shovel, and said lightly, “Nothing is beneath me. How can you possibly understand a job, or ask anyone to do it for you, if you have not yourself done it?”

TwinCurseCampNaNoHe looked at her in surprise, then a smile crinkled the corner of his mouth. “Wise words, beautiful Brianna. In that case, I think perhaps it is time I gave it a go.”

THAT was not what she had meant. She couldn’t imagine him mucking out the stable in his spotless breaches and creaseless shirt. But he was rolling up his sleeves, she saw with alarm. “You don’t have to do that. I…”

She stared at him in amazement as he came across and took the shovel from her. “You’ll have to give me some instruction though, I’ve never done this before.”

He shoved the spade into the muck, straight up, and Brianna stifled a laugh as he struggled to force it through the thick hay. For a few moments, she watched him, too amused to offer any instruction, until he gave up, and looked up at her. “Yes, I see exactly what you mean. I realised it was an unpleasant task, but obviously there is some skill to it that I lack. Are you going to teach me, or are you going to sit there and laugh?”

Brianna covered her mouth to hide the laugh, but it was unsuccessful. She took the spade from him, and starting at the edge of the hay, shoved it underneath and lifted and threw it into the wheelbarrow nearby with a practiced move. “You have to get underneath it, not on top.” She shovelled another couple of loads to show him, and he watched intently.

“I think I have it now, may I?” He held out his hand for the shovel.

“You really want to shovel dung?” she asked in disbelief. “Your pants will get all dirty.”

Lyall laughed. “I think it is too late to prevent that. And I am determined not to be bested by a girl.” Brianna was about to bristle at that, but he poked his tongue out at her, and she was so surprised she laughed instead.

“Be my guest,” she said, handing him back the shovel.

She watched him for a while, but he seemed to have it worked out now, and he fell to with gusto, so she fetched the second shovel, and they worked together in companionable silence.