top of page
  • Writer's pictureBrynn Paulin

Daily Joe - First Look Friday



Happy Friday!!! I hope the week treated you well. Today, I'm sharing a first peek at Forbidden Alliance, Book 1 of Daly Origins.


Last week, I shared the cover, but I'm going to feature it again today with the chapter one excerpt. Enjoy!! (Note, this is my early draft unedited version)


Forbidden Alliance - Chapter One

© Brynn Paulin 2024


Chapter One

Jessica Burnham had taken great care with her choice. Whenever, she passed, this one, this man, Zebulon, stared at her as if he mentally removed her clothes.


And now, he would.


She fingered her water glass and watched him. He’d stood in the same place near the door since he’d entered the small line shack. His deep blue eyes focused on a place above her head.


It was those eyes and his silky, coal-black hair that had first attracted her. She could only imagine the sight of him looking at her while his sun-carameled skin slid against her own porcelain white flesh. She suspected perhaps, without the deep tan, his complexion would be the same tone as hers. Even as dark as he was, Zebulon’s skin was far lighter than the rest of her brother’s slaves.


He, however, shared the same hungry look.


“Would you like something to eat or drink?” she asked.


His proud face held a hint of confusion. “Ma’am?”


She indicated to the place across the table. “Would you like to eat something?”


He hesitated then slowly nodded.


“Then come and sit.”


He took a step and froze, calculation entering his gaze. “I beg your pardon Ma’am, but the Master would kill me if I sat at the same table with his sister.”


Jessica didn’t miss the slight sneer in his voice when he said “Master.” She liked that about this slave, too. He had spirit. Her bastard of a brother hadn’t broken it from him.


She gave Zebulon a small smile. “The Master is away. The curtains are drawn, and the door is latched.” She didn’t mention that she’d seen to it that the foreman, the only one who would be of trouble, was occupied off the plantation for the next few hours.


She indicated toward the place across from her. “No one will know you’ve sat in my presence.”


The slave stared at her for a moment, seeming to weigh his options. Suddenly, he lurched toward the chair.


Once he settled, she took her place and loaded his plate with the food she’d had prepared. His eyes widened with each scoop. Though, tempted to watch his strong, fluid movements, she turned her attention back to her own plate. Taking a bite of carrots, she watched him covertly through her lashes.


Zebulon bowed his head then picked up his fork and knife. Though it posed a danger to her, she’d allowed him the utensil as a symbol of her trust for him. She couldn’t believe he’d hurt her.


With more refinement than she’d expected from a field slave, he carefully cut his food and took small bites. He seemed incredibly thirsty, and Jessica filled his goblet three times during the meal. Each time, his eyes widened with astonishment.


Jessica didn’t explain. He’d understand soon enough – when she explained.


“Ma’am, I don’t understand. . .” he said finally. “Why am I here? Why are you treating me like kin rather than slave?”


She put down her fork and folded her hands in her lap, looking directly into his piercing gaze. “I’ve seen how you look at me,” she answered.


He shot to his feet, his eyes wide. “I don’t look at you.”


Her fingers traced the edge of her gown, toying with the lace that barely covered her tan nipples. She tilted her head, her eyebrows arching. “No?”


His stare turned dark and hungry. His lips parted slightly.


A curl of trepidation moved through her and twined with the desire she’d fought for weeks now. “There. That’s the look,” she whispered.


His eyes narrowed in a very unslavelike way. “What do you want from me?”


Jessica nearly smiled. She’d known he’d have this nature. Commanding. Confident. Highly sexual. It both pleased and frightened her to be correct and a step closer to her goal.


Feigning nonchalance she indicated to his vacant chair. “Finish eating. Then we’ll talk about it.”


“You’re playing with me,” he accused. He sat, nonetheless.


Playing? No, she had plans too important for games. “No, I’m not.”


“What is it you want from me, then?”


She paused and forced herself to imitate the come hither look she’d seen her sister give her beaus. The look she’d practiced in the looking glass earlier today. It hadn’t looked convincing then, and with her nerves, probably looked foolish now.


It had more of an effect than she’d dreamed. Zebulon’s fingers curled on the outer edges of the table. His gaze once again consumed her.


A small shiver coursed along her spine. “I imagine, the same that you want from me,” she told him with all the bravado she could summon.


His perusal was blatant. “I doubt it.”


Jessica felt her flush creeping up her neck. She shifted under his intent gaze, but refusing to back down, returned his stare. “You haven’t always been a slave, have you?”


“No.”


Interesting. Most of her brother’s slaves were born that way. “How old were you?”


“Thirteen. My parents died, and the constable of the rotted village, in Ireland where I'm from, sold me to make a few coins.”


Her stomach twisted. The thought of what had happened to him, a boy less than a six years younger than she, sickened her. “You’re white.”


He shrugged and looked away as if that meant nothing. She supposed, it probably didn’t. In the eyes of the law, a slave was a slave, regardless of skin color. To her, despite what society told her to think, it was all wrong.


“How long has it been?” she asked.


“Fifteen years.”


An eternity! How had he, once a freeman, endured it? “I’m surprised you’ve never tried to escape. You could blend in with the genteel population quite easily.”


“I have. I’ve always been caught. Your brother is quite fond of attempting to breed me with his female slaves. He wants light-skinned stock, and I’m his means to getting them.” Frowning, he took a sip of his water. “He likes to watch.”


She tried to hide her grimace of disgust, though Zebulon refused to look at her and wouldn’t see it anyway. She’d long known her brother was vile, but as of late, she’d learned more and more to confirm her opinion. “How many children do you have?”


Zebulon shrugged again. “None. I’ve never willingly spilled my seed in one of his women. He merely believes I have. I will not allow a child of mine to be a slave. The foreman and his men are more than happy to pick up where I ‘fail.’”


He rested his forearms on the table and leaned toward her, once again consuming her with his gaze, now roiling with suppressed anger that matched the bile bubbling in her middle.


“I know what Samuel wants from me.” He paused, and she knew he waited for her reaction to his use of her brother’s Christian name. When she didn’t react, he continued, “What do you want from me. . . Jessica?”


Her name on his tongue sent a riffle of excitement along her nerve endings.


“I want you to finish eating. Then I want you to. . .” Her head bowed, and she looked away. She couldn’t say it. She’d thought she could entice him, offer her body even as a way to persuade him. She had to leave here.


His sigh sounded angry. “You want the same as everyone else.”


She shook her head. He’d read her intention too clearly. Her intention, not her desire. “What payment would you require to take me from here?”


His eyes widened in disbelief. “Take you from here? Get in your fancy carriage and go wherever you like. You’re free.”


“I’m a woman who would be unescorted. I’m hardly any freer than you are. I can only go so far, and even that would be questioned by others making my travels suspicious. It’s unsafe, and I don’t want to be noticed.”


Zebulon looked ready to argue with her. But pressed his lips together and exhaled sharply. He leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms over his chest as his sharp gaze traveled her face. “Where do you want to go? Why?”


She had good reason. “‘Why’ doesn’t matter? And ‘where’ is anywhere far from here. What payment would you require? Your freedom, of course. Money? Land? A horse? What?”


He seemed to consider a moment before his eyes grew even darker. A signal of trouble. She stifled a tremble. What had she done?


“You,” he answered firmly.


Jessica blinked. “I beg your pardon?


“You. My payment would be you.”


Her heart thudded in her chest, and she thought it might fly free. She could barely breathe. Why had she let Emmy lace her corset so tight?


In the dark of the night, she’d considered that he might ask for this. But in the light of the day, her reasoning convinced her that a slave would never ask for such a thing.


She’d been wrong. She’d underestimated this slave. This man.


The chair scrapped on the rough planked floor. Slowly, she stood and took a step from the table, struggling to appear calm when a faint seemed immanent.


Smug, and again completely unslavelike, triumph filled his countenance when she turned back to face him. It faltered when she held her hands out to her sides, and disappeared completely when she spoke. “Then take what is yours.”


Cautiously, he stood and came toward her. She couldn’t read the intent in his eyes, but she knew what she wanted, even if it frightened her. She wanted exactly what she’d offered.


How many nights had she laid in her bed and fantasized about his lips on hers, his hands on her body, him inside her as her sister had explained men did? She wanted him over her, taking the one thing she refused to give another – the reason that compelled her escape.


His callused hands encircled her wrists, and he brought her arms to rest against her body.


“Not now. . . after,” he told her. He brushed a work-roughened finger along her smooth cheek. “What could be so bad that you’d be willing to lay with a slave to escape it?”


"Everything."


 

How about that? You might see why I chose to start this in 1854. It's before the Civil War and it's also during the time when men were able to lay land claims out west.


Side note: I considered making this book interracial, but for the time period, I couldn't realistically pull that off. I also hope that by choosing to present the story this way, no one thinks I am lessening the plight on slaves in the United States or anywhere in the world. It is an atrocity and a blight on the so called land of the free.


I'm so looking forward to bringing you this insight into the beginning of Daly. I have a bazillion ideas rolling around in my head, but I wrote out the history of the Daly family, themselves, way back in the beginning of the series. It'll be fun to share those stores with you.


But...speaking of the Daly family, before I release Forbidden Alliance, we're going to have Robert Daly and Sunflower Szuzman's story. She's been working for him for a couple years, sniping and bickering and running, but when she decides to set up a date with the hot rock star who lives on the outskirts of town, Robert's having none of it.


Be on the lookout for Sunflower getting Corralled and Claimed by the bossman himself.


But... But... even before that, Sunflower's newfound half-sister, who's a year younger, will have her story.



Xana Szuzman has zero time for men. Working in her family's bakery every morning and Leena's Diner four evenings a week, when she gets a minute to rest, she takes it. She has no judgment of other's polyamorous lives, but she has no interest in the lifestyle for herself, either.


So why do James, Anthony, Jesse and Spencer keep filling her thoughts? Why does she want not one but all of them?


There must be something in the Daly water supply.


Baker's Men is next up for Daly Way.


XOXO,

Brynn

6 views

Comments


bottom of page