The Water Nymph

The Water Nymph

by Michele Jaffe
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The Water Nymph by Michele Jaffe

When Sophie Champion crosses paths with the imperiously dashing Crispin Fascari, the notorious "Earl of Scandal," her circumstances are awkward — and precarious. Disguised as a man, and seeking clues in the suspicious death of a loved one, smart, beautiful Sophie arrives at the scene of a murder — only to fall into a tangled web designed to implicate her. Now, her salvation lies with Crispin — and he has a mysterious agenda of his own. Locked in a battle of mutal distrust and magnetic attraction, Sophie and Crispin strike a boldly seductive bargin that binds them together in their search for answers among London's darkest streets — where love is a secret killer, waiting to strike again.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781416598718
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication date: 04/14/2008
Series: Arboretti Family Series
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 854,912
Product dimensions: 0.96(w) x 5.00(h) x 8.00(d)

About the Author

Visit Michele Jaffe's website at
Most people's response upon hearing that I write romance novels is to glance furtively at my husband, lean close to me and whisper, "Where do you get your ideas?" The answer to that question is, of course, a professional secret, but the answer to the question that inevitably follows - "How do you do it?" - is not. For me, writing romance is enormously delightful and, at times, enormously difficult. In an effort to illustrate some of the gnarly dilemmas I encounter, I thought I would share some of the scenes that I wrote that did not make it in to my new book, The Water Nymph.
One of my constant struggles is to keep dialogue compelling, as this scene illustrates:
Crispin looked impatiently at the woman sprawled on the bed. "Come on, Sophie. we have work to do."
"Can't move," Sophie whispered, barely moving her lips. "Faint from hunger."
"You are not in a faint."
Sophie's eyelids fluttered and she gave a pitiful sigh. "Life...seeping...away..."
Crispin leaner over her, struggling to suppress a smile. "Sophie, you are not starving to death. you ate my entire breakfast."
"I did not!" Sophie's eyes snapped open, and color returned to her face.
"You did too."
Sophie sat up. "I did not!"
"Yes, you did."
"No I didn't. I barely got the crumbs." Sophie sucked in her cheeks and tried to look wan.
"Only the crumbs. Is that so?"
"That is so. You ate everything and left me only scraps."
"I did not."
"Did too."
"Did not."
"Did too."
"Did not."
"Did too."
"Did not."
"Did too..."
I have set my books during the Renaissance because it is the period about which I know the most - I have studied it for over a dozen years - and because it is peopled with fascinating characters, like Queen Elizabeth and Shakespeare. But as with writing a book set in any historical period, there are difficulties with the language. In order to make my books interesting to modern readers, I do not restrict myself to Elizabethan English, but I do try as much as possible to use words that would have been current during the 1580's, especially in my dialogue. This has, on occasion, proven to be more difficult that I imagined:
Sophie smiled at Crispin with her mouth full of her third biscuit, then frowned as she looked down at the object in her hand. "What are you going to do about this?"
"First, I am going to wipe the crumbs from your chin. Then I am going to eat my breakfas — " Crispin reached for the platter formerly containing a steaming pile of biscuits, and found it barren. "My God, Sophie, when you said you were hungry, you were not
kidding (not introduced into English until 1811)
fooling (not in use in this sense until 1609)
joshing (1891)
prevaricating (1631)
pleasanting (1655)
razzing (1921)
overstating (1803)
jollying (1370, but sounds strange)
obfuscating (1650, plus it's a bit pedantic for the morning)
fantasticating (not a word)
masticating (not the right word)
jesting (1526! Hurrah! — oops, not in use in English until 1798)
My years in the library were good training for poring over historic word lists, but nothing about my academic training prepared me for the stylistic freedom of being a romance novelist, a freedom which can still make me giddy. Sometimes, caught up in a scene, my metaphors will creep away from me, assuming a life of their own, generally reflecting whatever is in my mind at the time.
He swung round to face her, and when he spoke, his voice was
sharp like a freezing wind
sharp like an Arctic (1391) wind
sharp like the wind off the Pyrenees (1555)
sharp like the knives wielded by the peasants of the Pyrenees
sharp like the whetstone used by peasants to sharpen their knives wielded by the peasants of the Pyrenees
hard like the whetstone used by peasants to sharpen their knives
hard like the whetstone of his cook
hard like the crust of his cook's bread
warm like the crust of his cook's bread
warm like the crust of his cook's chicken and mushroom pie
warm like the crust of his cook's apple pie with a dollop of caramel (1725) or rather, sweet cream, on it
warm like apple pie with iced cream on it...
The pleasure I get from writing is due in great measure to the challenges it poses for me. By far the largest of these is having to leave out some of the scenes that make me like my characters the most, scenes that they seem to write themselves.
Sophie pushed herself up on one elbow and looked down at Crispin as he slept. Moonlight played over his features, catching in his light hair, making shadows of the planed of his face. His beauty made Sophie's heart pound.
"Crispin," she whispered. He did not move.
"Crispin," she said again, this time louder. "Crispin," she pushed on his shoulder. "Crispin, are you awake?"
Slowly, as if being dragged from a great depth, Crispin sat up. His eyes were stil closed as he murmured groggily, "I know, I know. More biscuits. I will be right back." He moved to swing his legs off the bed but Sophie stopped him.
"No," she said softly. "I am not hungry."
Crispin, vaguely awake now, opened one eye and looked at her. "Not hungry? Didn't you just wake up?"
Sophie smiled shyly. "Yes, but it was not to ask for biscuits."
Crispin gave an uncomprehending frown as he resettled himself amongst the bedding. "It wasn't?"
"No. I...I just wanted to say 'hi.'" (1475, possibly)
"Yes," Sophie paused, then rushed on. "And that I love you."
Crispin pulled her to his chest and held her as tightly as he could. "I love you too, Sophie."

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Water Nymph 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I like this novel better than the first one. I believe it is cuter than Stargazer. Starting out right away Sophie is dressed as a man and is wearing a fake mustache which is on a mission of its own trying to fall off her face. Crispin chases her through the city trying to figure out why she is there and if she has done the murder. Of course like always The Heroine has no where to go and is helpless. She has to turn to Crispin for help. The love scenes are hot. Once Crispin has caught her he makes her strip naked so she is not concealing anything under her clothing. Talk about embarrassing for her but really hot for Crispin. My favorite scene is when they are at this guy's 'forgive me It's been a while' club/courtesan lair and she is sitting by Crispin and is not suppose to say anything because Crispin has told the guy she is french and cannot speak english. But the guy keeps saying things that make her mad and Crispin is like if you say one word I will kiss you. And she doesn't because she doesn't want anything to do with Crispin. But after they are done and they leave the club and they get to their horses she starts to yell at him and he lays a big wet one on her. Its so cute and saucey at the same time. The ending is really cute to, cause they got this bet going that who ever can solve the murder gets one wish. The wish is something that the other person has to do no matter what the circumstances. This is after Sophie has to strip naked so you can believe she is going to wish for something spiteful for Crispin. It is a very lovely story cute plot and even cuter ending I really enjoyed it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book did not diapoint,,,a great continuation to the Arboretti family. Once again the love scenes are HOT. Peaches will never look the same to me now
Guest More than 1 year ago
If your looking to suspend all belief about the practical, then this the book for you. It's a great frothy beach read. However the only way the reader is aware that Ms. Jaffe is using the Renaissance period and in particular the Elizabethan age as her backdrop is when she mentions ( in passing ) Queen Elizabeth, doublets, swords, and William Shakespear. Don't expect to be entertained and also enlightened about the Renaissance in this series of books. This is not Ms. Jaffe's forte.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love reading an author's first book and Michele Jaffe's The Stargazer was a real treat. Continuing with the same delicious humor and intrigue are Crispin and Sophie in the Water Nymph. I tore through this sensual mystery and was sad to see it end. Can't wait for the next installment in this family's mystery ridden life, especially if they are all as talented as Crispin.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1588 London, Queen Elizabeth I informs Crispin Foscari, Earl of Sandal, that he is relieved of duty due to accusations of treason. Her Royal Highness gives a shocked Crispin fourteen days to clear his name or potentially face the hangman¿s noose. Crispin wastes no time seeking information to prove his alias Phoenix is innocent of the charges.

In the Unicorn club, Crispin observes Sophie Champion dressed as a male. He confronts her with her gender and accuses her of killing informant Richard Tottle at the fastidious gambling hall. Sophie denies murdering Richard. She like Crispin was seeking information from the deceased. Sophie hopes to learn why someone killed her beloved godfather though officially it has been declared an accident. While Crispin and Sophie wage a battle of wits throughout London¿s seamier side, they fall in love even as an unknown enemy wants to take both of them out.

Faster than the speed of light, Michele Jaffe has attained a high reputation for excellence from romance readers and reviewers. Her newest novel, THE WATER NYMPH, is a delightful Elizabethan romantic suspense that historical fans will fully enjoy. The story line is filled with intrigue that brings a bygone era alive even as the tension grips the audience. The lead charcaters are an intrepid pair whose humorous battle provides comic yet serious relief. This book is another triumph for Ms. Jaffe who will find readers clamoring for a sequel starring an intriguing secondary character.

Harriet Klausner