Posted by Donna MacMeans Dec 2 2015, 12:04 am in Come to me, Debut Author, historical romance, Medieval, Oberon Wonch
I’m honored to have a longtime writing friend join us today with her debut, Come to Me, published by Entangled Press. Oberon has one of the most authentic medieval voices I’ve ever read. Be sure to read the excerpt of her novel at the bottom of the post and see what I mean. With that, let me present Oberon Wonch.
Thank you, Banditas, for having me today! I’m honored to be pampered in your lair. That Sven is a sweetie with his mimosas and cute little pumpkin tarts, isn’t he?
So, let’s talk romance. Did you all read the literary classics in school? The Scarlet Letter, Romeo and Juliet, Tess of the d’Urbervilles? Did you, like me, want the relationships in those books to work out for the protagonists? I even hoped Ishmael in Moby Dick would find a gal and settle down. With only a few notable exceptions, the books we were told best presented the human condition all ended unhappily, usually for the female protagonist (Anna Karenina, anyone?) but often for the male lead as well.
While reading these books—and many more in college as I pursued a degree in World Literature and studied masterpieces in their original languages—I was more interested in the romantic relationships between the heroes and heroines. I desperately wanted the protagonists to find love and happily-ever-afters.
Time after time upon reaching the finale, however, I was disappointed. Rather than sit back and nod sagely over how well the book demonstrated the wretchedness of life and our insignificance in a cruel world, I wept in frustration for the love that never was.
I longed for Tess Durbeyfield to escape her pursuers and be happy forever with her faithful Angel Clare, or for Hester Prynne and Reverend Dimmesdale to overcome the villainous Chillingworth and sail off with their love child Pearl. For Juliet to awaken in time to stop Romeo from his rash and, frankly, cowardly act.
During this time, I was writing my own stories, too. Since grade school, I’d dreamed of entertaining readers the way my favorite authors did me. Jules Verne’s tales were a big influence on my early work. At some point in adulthood, I started reading romance novels, and thank heavens I did. There, I found a world of great literature, characters and conflicts pertinent to my life experiences, and men and women who overcame obstacles to live together in love and harmony. Bingo!
After that, I knew what I wanted to write. I think it was watching the movie Roxanne with Steve Martin and Daryl Hannah that really clinched it for me. That film is wonderful! Funny, lighthearted, tender with an HEA.
But it was based on a famous French play, Cyrano de Bergerac, written in 1897 by Edmond Rostand. You may have heard of this literary treasure in which the swashbuckling Cyrano of the Big Nose is too shy to court the lady he loves, but he helps his handsome, less glib friend do so by feeding him poetic love words to give to the lady. A fun, romantic trope, right?
However, did you know that play ended unhappily for poor Cyrano? Yes! He helped this handsome, young fellow court Roxanne, who actually marries the guy! It’s only years later, after Roxanne’s husband has been killed and Cyrano lies dying in her arms, that she learns Cyrano had been behind all the lovely words. How did such a story become synonymous with romance and courtship? Who knows!
It was seeing how the movie reworked the classic to have a happy ending that made me realize I could write romance as a way to sort of “fix” all those monuments of literature that had disappointed me.
Thus, my first book, Come to Me, was born. It’s a new treatment of the Cyrano story, set in my favorite time and place (medieval England), with a bit of the beloved and very romantic Sound of Music mixed in.
HEA all around, thank you very much!
Do you have a romantic literary classic with a tragic ending that you would like to see made into a romance with a happy ending? Comment about it below. One commenter will be randomly chosen to receive a digital copy of Come to Me.
A maiden’s duty
becomes a woman’s desire…
Comte Grégoire FitzHenri, the new Earl of Shyleburgh, is known for his prowess as one of the Norman conqueror’s most favored warriors…but not for his romantic sensibility or his command of the English language. Now Grégoire wishes to court his elegant betrothed before taking his wedding vows—which means an interpreter…and much-needed lessons in courtly love.
Bridget of Shyleburgh has been secretly in love with Grégoire since his visit when he was promised in marriage to her sister. But when he returns five years later as their new earl, Bridget is tasked with translating for him—including his love letters and awkward attempts to woo her sister. Mortified at first, Bridget soon finds herself completely charmed by his whispers of love and desire. Grégoire’s heated missives tempt a fair maiden to stray down a path filled with forbidden pleasures.
But his words are meant for another…aren’t they?
Link to order: http://amzn.to/1Q4VYRp
Blind panic drained Bridget’s limbs of warmth. “I don’t read those kinds of poems. I read the gospels and ancient sages.”
FitzHenri ignored that. “Simply substitute Aislinn fair for Blancheflor, or Guinevere.”
“I tell you I don’t know those poems.”
“I’ll get you started.” His impassive gaze remained fixed on hers—that dark, forest-colored gaze with the blackest lashes. But when his fierce Norman lips moved again, Bridget instinctively sighted on them. She shivered over every delicious vowel he articulated. “Lady fair, of the crimson lips and snowy breast…”
Her face heated. Those words were so…so evocative, and she just knew she’d gone as red as the flamboyant apron Nurse wore on feast days. Heavens! And her sister was watching them!
She licked her lips and sucked in air. I can do this. I can do this.
After whirling stiffly toward Aislinn, she delivered the lord’s words in English as indifferently as she could.
Her sister blushed sweetly and averted her shining eyes. Bridget ground her jaw. Even Aislinn’s shyness was delicate and enchanting.
The earl said, “You know the rest. Tell her.”
“But I don’t know the rest!”
“Then make something up. You don’t expect me to utter these absurdities, do you? All that drivel and sniveling.”
She stared at him. “How is this possible? You are famed for wooing women and yet you don’t bring gifts. You don’t dance. You memorize love poems but sneer at them.”
“I’m a man of action. Not a minstrel.” He winked. “Tell her something…” In the air he waved a forefinger, drawing Bridget’s gaze to his handsome ring of garnet set in gold. “Something about her sweetness and lovely face.”
Bridget met her sister’s eager, bright eyes and observed the anticipation there. For whatever reason, Aislinn was making an effort to please her intended husband and be pleased by him. All Bridget needed to do was nudge her sister, metaphorically speaking, a little closer in his direction. Indulging the girl’s vanity was certainly a way to do it.
This was all part of her plan, she reminded herself. Let Aislinn believe the earl found her irresistible, that he loved her. What woman could resist that? Bridget would also convince his lordship that Aislinn loved him. Everyone would be happy. For, if Aislinn fell in love with the earl, Bridget could forget about him and his disturbing kiss. She could never desire the man her sister loved. Never.
So what if she had to fabricate some of the words? She was a creative sort.
Posted by Anna Campbell Jan 5 2015, 12:02 am in Anna Campbell, At the Billionaire's Wedding, At the Duke's Wedding, Avon, historical romance, interviews, Miranda Neville, Regency romance, The Best Laid Planner, The Duke of Dark Desires, The Wild Quartet
Someone who always makes me laugh at her wit, both in person and in print, is the wonderful Miranda Neville. I’m delighted today to host her for a return visit to the lair. She’s here to tell us about the fourth book in her wonderful Wild Quartet, THE DUKE OF DARK DESIRES.
Just a quick alert – I’m travelling today so will only be able to pop in intermittently (hoping I can get onto the internet). In the meantime, I’ll leave you in Miranda’s capable hands.
Here’s the blurb:
Wanted: Governess able to keep all hours . . .
Rebellious Julian Fortescue never expected to inherit a dukedom, nor to find himself guardian to three young half-sisters. Now in the market for a governess, he lays eyes on Jane Grey and knows immediately she is qualified–to become his mistress. Yet the alluring woman appears impervious to him. Somehow Julian must find a way to make her succumb to temptation . . . without losing his heart and revealing the haunting mistakes of his past.
Lady Jeanne de Falleron didn’t seek a position as a governess simply to fall into bed with the Duke of Denford. Under the alias of Jane Grey, she must learn which of the duke’s relatives is responsible for the death of her family–and take her revenge. She certainly can’t afford the distraction of her darkly irresistible employer, or the smoldering desire he ignites within her.
But as Jane discovers more clues about the villain she seeks, she’s faced with a possibility more disturbing than her growing feelings for Julian: What will she do if the man she loves is also the man she’s sworn to kill?
Ooh, doesn’t that sound intriguing? You can find out more about Miranda and her wonderful books at her website: www.mirandaneville.com
Miranda, a very warm welcome back to the Romance Bandits. It’s been a while between drinks. Lovely to have you back in the lair. Firstly, can you tell us about your new release from Avon, THE DUKE OF DARK DESIRES? Fabulous cover, by the way.
The Cover Gods, to whom writers make regular obeisance, have mostly been good to me; in this case they earned a slew of extra votive candles. My shriek of delight when I saw this baby could probably be heard in Australia.
What were the inspirations behind this story?
Julian, Duke of Denford, has appeared in the previous three books of The Wild Quartet series. I always had a plan for him and I’ve dropped vague hints about his traumatic past, but the details didn’t come into focus until I started his book, THE DUKE OF DARK DESIRES. All I knew is that he was haunted by the betrayal and execution of an aristocratic family during the French Revolution. His heroine would be a survivor of that family, out for revenge.
The back story of the French Revolutionary Terror is, of course, heavily influenced by Dickens’ A TALE OF TWO CITIES and the Scarlet Pimpernel stories. In researching the history I learned that there were many English in Paris when the Bastille fell in 1789 and they continued to visit for the next few years until it became too dangerous and France and Great Britain went to war. At that point Julian Fortescue was a mere mister and making his way in life as a dealer in paintings. Later he inherited the dukedom from a third cousin, as so often happens in historical romance! When the story starts he has also inherited the guardianship of three young half sisters. Enter our heroine Jeanne de Falleron, aka Jane Grey, the governess with murder on her mind. But she doesn’t know that the “Mr. Fortescue” she seeks is actually her employer the duke. She falls in love with him before she knows she wants to kill him. Awkward.
Jeanne/Jane’s family owned a fabulous collection of art that is now in Julian’s possession. When the collection is finally revealed I had a marvellous time ransacking the art galleries of the world to find paintings that were similar to the Falleron collection, including those illustrating this blog.
Love it when you talk art, my friend! What’s coming up next?
I’m working on a new historical series but I’m not ready to reveal any details. I have an “under-the-bed” book about an opera singer that’s a labor of love for me – you and I share a love of classical music, Anna. I hope to find time to revise and self-publish it this year. (I also planned to do it last year so don’t hold your breath, ladies.)
I notice you have a story “The Best Laid Planner” out in the recent anthology AT THE BILLIONAIRE’S WEDDING. I’d love to hear more about this! It seems to be a slight departure from your usual territory.
In 2013 Maya Rodale, Caroline Linden, Katharine Ashe and I published an anthology of connected stories called AT THE DUKE’S WEDDING. We wanted to collaborate again and it turned out we all had a hankering to tackle something contemporary. That’s the beauty of self-publishing—you can do anything you want. Maya had written a series of novellas about a Bad Boy Billionaire Duke Austen and his historical romance writing girlfriend Jane. She kindly lent us her characters and we set the stories around their wedding—in an English stately home, naturally. My heroine Arwen (yay, I got to pick a LORD OF THE RINGS name instead of being limited to Regency appropriate monikers) is the New York wedding planner who has to pull together an event in a foreign country at very short notice. In this she is helped and sometimes hindered by Harry Compton, who seems to know everything about Brampton House. Is he merely the handyman or does he own the place? Either way he’s hot as hell and a distraction Arwen doesn’t need.
Writing contemporary was enormous fun and very challenging. Never say it doesn’t require research! If you read the anthology you’ll know why I never want to hear the words “internet connection” again. With an American heroine and an English hero I had to watch the language with every line of dialogue or point of view switch. And while it was relaxing not to have to police myself for modernisms, I had the opposite problem with my characters tending to lapse into Regency speak.
That sounds like great fun. Seeing it’s so close to new year, what are your plans apart from your writing for 2015?
Funny you should ask that. My big plan for the year comes in October when I’m going to London with my writer friends Megan Mulry and Anne Calhoun to see Benedict Cumberbatch in Hamlet. A little bird told me that I might overlap with a certain Australian romance writer while I’m there!
I hear that Aussie romance writer is a real jet setter! 🙂 Do you have a question to get the conversation rolling, Miranda?
Do you have travel plans for 2015? London? Paris? Timbuktoo? Dayton, Ohio? What’s getting you into your car or onto a plane this year?
Get commenting, people! Miranda has very generously offered someone who responds to her post today a copy of THE DUKE OF DARK DESIRES (international). Good luck!
Posted by Anna Campbell Dec 10 2014, 12:02 am in A Grosvenor Square Christmas, Anna Campbell, Annie West, Bargain Books, Bought by the Italian, Christmas reads, Christmas Revels, ebooks, free books, Her Christmas Cinderella, Her Christmas Earl, historical romance, Hot Italian Nights, Kate Noble, Louisa Cornell, novellas, reading, Regency romance, Shana Galen, The Winter Wife, Tiny Treats, vanessa kelly
..of goodwill to all men and of great reading for us gals!
Christmas seems to bring a million books out of the woodwork – all that kissing under the mistletoe obviously inspires romantic thoughts.
Today, I want to introduce you to three stories of mine with Christmas themes and mention two more Christmas anthologies well worth your time – and then, just as a ring-in, a new novella from Annie West that while it’s not a Christmas story, will definitely light up your Yuletide.
All are available digitally on multiple platforms. If you’ve got a Kindle, just click on the cover and it will take you to the page on Amazon. We like to make it easy for our Bandita Buddies!
First up is HER CHRISTMAS EARL: A REGENCY NOVELLA which has been going like hotcakes, I’m pleased to say, including reaching the number 1 spot on a number of Amazon lists, including Regency romance. This is a story of a mishap on Christmas Eve that leads to an unlikely marriage of convenience – and of course true love!
It’s available for the princely sum of 99 cents. You can read the blurb and an excerpt here: http://annacampbell.info/xmasearl.html
If you’re a member of the den (and why wouldn’t you be? Just click the members button on the top toolbar for information and registration), there’s another exclusive excerpt of Earl available this month here: http://romancebandits.com/exclusive-excerpt-from-her-christmas-earl/
My second recommendation is my 2012 Christmas novella, THE WINTER WIFE, which is a reunion story featuring a Scottish earl and his headstrong countess. You can read an excerpt and the blurb here: http://annacampbell.info/winterwife.html
The last of my Christmas stories is such a bargain, it’s FREE! Last year, I teamed up with Shana Galen, Vanessa Kelly and Kate Noble on an anthology called A GROSVENOR SQUARE CHRISTMAS. My story, “His Christmas Cinderella,” is, you guessed it, a Cinderella story about a girl from a humble background who dares to love a Scottish earl. Scottish earls seem to proliferate in my Christmas stories!
Now for the other books I want to bring to your attention. First up features the debut of multi prize-winning Bandita Buddy Louisa Cornell. Her novella “A Perfectly Dreadful Christmas” is included in the anthology CHRISTMAS REVELS, just out! I’ve got this on my Kindle and I’m saving it as part of my Christmas book wallow. It sounds delicious.
Next is another freebie that gives you so much Christmas reading, you’ll still be going next year! A whole stack of authors including Banditas Trish Milburn, Donna MacMeans, Nancy Northcott, Suzanne Ferrell and Tawny Weber got together to put together a free Christmas themed anthology called TINY TREATS. I don’t know about you but at this time of year, short really suits my reading requirements and this is like a big box of chocolates!
My final recommendation isn’t exactly a Christmas book but it’s just come out from the brilliant Annie West. Annie visited us yesterday to tell us about her latest release in the Hot Italian Nights Series, BOUGHT BY THE ITALIAN. I’ve read this little treasure and it’s a fantastic story – not to mention an absolute steal at only 99 cents.
You’ll notice that none of these books are exactly going to break the bank which is great news at this time of year where everything else seems to require major spending!
The other great thing about all of these is that they’re bite-size chunks of romance goodness. Another item people are short of at this time of year is time. We’re all so busy running around, it’s the ideal occasion for some stress-busting reading, but it’s finding space to indulge in it, isn’t it? Well, all of these will take you a couple of hours at most, mostly less. A sweet moment of bliss to reward you for all your Christmas hard work.
So go ahead, why not treat yourself to some great reading this Christmas?
This is my last blog for the year, so I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and all the best in 2015. Thank you for your support!
Posted by Anna Campbell Dec 1 2014, 12:00 am in Anna Campbell, Christmas, ebooks, Her Christmas Earl, historical romance, Regency romance
Hartley Manor, Wiltshire, Christmas Eve, 1823
HER HEART RACING, Philippa Sanders inched the massive oak door into the bedroom open. She prayed that nobody emerged into the lamplit corridor and caught her in a place where no lady of good reputation should be. Especially near midnight.
Quick and silent as a cat, she slipped into the shadowy room and carefully closed the door after her. In the stillness, the latch’s snick resounded like a gunshot. Her breath jammed in her throat, and she stood still and trembling, waiting for someone to investigate the noise. But the rambling old house remained quiet. She sucked in some desperately needed air and berated herself for being a jumpy widgeon.
The room, as she’d known it would be, was empty. Before coming here, she’d checked that Lord Erskine remained downstairs, carousing with his drunken cronies. If the last three nights were any indication, his flirtation with the brandy bottle would continue into the early hours. That left Philippa plenty of time to search his belongings undisturbed.
The thought did little to calm her nerves. Should anyone catch her alone in a gentleman’s bedchamber, worse, such a notorious gentleman, there would be the devil to pay.
If only the stakes weren’t so high. If only her sister Amelia wasn’t such a ninnyhammer. If only Erskine wasn’t a man who turned even sensible women silly.
Philippa sighed and straightened away from the door. “If only” wouldn’t help. It was imperative that she found and destroyed the compromising letter her henwitted sister had sent Erskine before her engagement to Mr. Gerald Fox had been announced last night.
Then Philippa would take to her heels and never think about the rakish Lord Erskine again.
By the light of the fire blazing in the hearth, she surveyed her surroundings with a jaundiced air. The chamber was large and luxurious. Her aunt must be trying to turn Lord Erskine up sweet, in the hope that he’d offer for her horse-faced daughter Caroline. Given the trouble his libertine lordship had caused, Philippa almost wished her vile cousin on him. Over the last few days, she’d observed him closely. She couldn’t approve of the cynical light in his eyes and the way he arrogantly assumed that any chit in his vicinity must swoon at his merest word.
However Philippa wouldn’t be female without admitting that he was a spectacular specimen of masculinity.
She’d worried that it might take too long to locate the letter, or that he might carry it as a trophy, but her gaze immediately fell on a beautiful mahogany writing slope left open on the window seat. She could hardly believe her luck. Pulses kicking with relief, she rushed toward the window.
Then stopped on a horrified gasp when she heard the doorknob squeak as it turned.
Lord save her…
Frantically she dived across the few feet of floor to the dressing room. She had time to notice dark coats hanging from rows of pegs and shelves neatly stacked with clothing. Hands shaking, she tugged the door closed until she cowered in thick darkness. Thick darkness redolent with leather and soap and sandalwood—and something undefined that teased her senses.
Dizzy with fear and that unfamiliar but pleasant scent, she silently prayed that whoever had come in would finish what they were doing and go. Much as she strained, she couldn’t hear a thing, even with her ear pressed to the door. The thick wood blocked all sound, just as it blocked all light.
The dressing room door jerked open, unbalancing her. She only just saved herself from tumbling to the floor in an undignified heap. As she stared up at the looming figure above her, panic hammered through her, turned her blood to ice.
“What have we here?” The Scottish burr in the deep drawl brushed across her nerves like sandpaper.
Sick with dread, Philippa lurched away, crowding against the coats lined against the back wall. This was beyond awful. What must he think? What might he do?
Lord Erskine’s chest was bare and a white shirt dangled from one elegant hand. The wall lamp near the doorway spilled gold over a terrifying expanse of gleaming skin. His lordship’s sardonic green gaze focused on her.
His calmness only built her fright. One would imagine that he was accustomed to discovering well-bred virgins huddled in his undergarments. Curse him, he probably was. Philippa had only met Blair Hume three days ago, but like most of the nation, she knew his reputation for subverting even the most virtuous ladies.
“My lord—” Desperately she struggled not to stare at his impressive chest with its scattering of dark hair.
“Miss Philippa Sanders.” With unconcealed irony, he bowed. “To what do I owe the pleasure?”
To her horror, he stepped into the confined space. The dressing room had been tiny before. Now it was suffocating. Her heart pounded with fear. That cursed elusive scent made her head swim as she wedged herself into the wall, wishing she could disappear altogether.
Still his tall body remained scant inches away. Surely it was only in her imagination that a subtle heat radiated out to envelop her.
“I mistook the room,” she stammered.
She made the error of glancing at his chest. Broad. Powerful. Sculpted with muscle. She gulped for air. Watching the farm workers from a distance without their shirts wasn’t at all the same as facing down a half-dressed rake in his bedroom.
A wry smile curled the rake’s thin, expressive lips. “By a whole wing, apparently.”
She straightened and glared at him, struggling to ignore the way his thick black hair was ruffled and his eyes devoured her. A gentleman would pretend to believe her, however feeble her lie.
Clearly Lord Erskine was no gentleman.
“It’s late,” she said with hard-won steadiness, telling herself that if she kept her head, she might yet escape unscathed. By Lord Erskine or by scandal. “I must return to my room.”
He didn’t step aside to let her pass. Definitely no gentleman. “Not quite yet.”
Meeting his gaze required every ounce of faltering courage. “Not before you return my sister’s letter at any rate.”
Surprisingly he laughed. “Huzzah, Miss Sanders. I knew there was more to you than the little shadow glowering at me from the corner.”
She flushed with chagrin. She’d had no idea this darling of the ton had noticed her, let alone remarked her disapproval. “My lord, I insist that you give me Amelia’s letter immediately.”
“Or what?” Dark eyebrows tilted in supercilious inquiry. At least he’d stopped staring at her like he meant to gobble her up like a Christmas bonbon. “You’ll unfold all my shirts and stamp on them?”
Welcome anger bolstered her defiance. “A man of honor would return the letter.”
“I’m afraid that’s impossible.”
“Why?” Her fists clenched at her sides as the urge to clout him thundered through her. “What do you intend to do with it?”
His smile broadened, and in spite of irritation, frustration and fear, his male beauty made her throat tighten. No wonder Amelia had made such a fool of herself over him. Right now, even clever, pragmatic Philippa Sanders felt a little giddy to have all that glorious virility focused on her humble self.
“I intend to do precisely nothing, my sweet little Yuletide burglar.”
Her eyes narrowed. “What does that mean?”
His smile intensified. “It means that I burned it immediately after I read it.”
She drew her first full breath in what felt like days. Since Amelia’s tearful confession of her arrant stupidity, apprehension had knotted Philippa’s belly. If Erskine wanted to cause trouble, he could use her sister’s letter to spark an awful scandal—not to mention scupper Amelia’s newly minted engagement to a nice young man of substantial means.
Philippa paused, knowing she owed Lord Erskine her heartfelt thanks for his unexpected chivalry and, even more urgently, an apology for invading his room. But her response sounded grudging, even in her own ears. “That was…generous of you.”
The mocking smile didn’t fade. “I’m glad you think so.”
All night, anger had lurked beneath her fear. Firstly at Amelia for being such a rattlebrain and creating this mess, then at herself for getting caught. Most futile of all was her anger at Lord Erskine for coming in at such an inopportune moment. Although at least now she knew what had happened to the letter. “I must go.”
“No rush, my fascinating Miss Sanders.” He shifted closer and the light behind him lent his face a suddenly sinister expression.
“I’m not your Miss Sanders,” she snapped with a resurgence of dread. A chill trickled down her spine. Awareness of her own danger swamped any gratitude for Amelia’s reprieve.
“Not yet, at any rate,” he said mildly, pulling the door shut behind him.
Darkness wrapped around them. Rage and terror spurred Philippa to surge forward, shoving hard at Lord Erskine. Her hands met smooth, warm skin and an immovable male body. The silky hair on his chest created soft friction against her palms. “Let me out of here.”
“Devil take you, do you never say please?” He shifted to break the contact, but not nearly quickly enough for her peace of mind.
As he leaned away, she pushed past him to tug madly at the doorknob, but even using both hands, she couldn’t budge it. As she struggled, her shoulder brushed Erskine’s arm. To her surprise, he made no attempt to hinder her departure. If he intended seduction, he was insultingly half-hearted.
Hardly surprising. She wasn’t nearly beautiful enough to appeal to that famous connoisseur of female loveliness, Blair Hume.
She told herself she didn’t mind. And didn’t believe it for a minute.
“Stop this nonsense immediately and open this door,” she demanded breathlessly.
“Have I persuaded you against breaking into anyone else’s room?” he asked without shifting. “Especially if the anyone else is a man.”
Shock made her hand drop away from the doorknob. “You’re trying to teach me a lesson?” she hissed incredulously.
That familiar soft laugh played up and down her backbone like music, and she realized with an unwelcome frisson that the evocative scent filling the room was Lord Erskine’s own. The intimacy of recognizing his personal essence scared her more than being trapped with a rake.
“I am indeed.” In the tight space, she was close enough to hear him draw breath. More encroaching intimacy. “Step aside and I’ll set you free, chastened but unharmed. And hopefully a little wiser.”
Her snort was derisive. If her mother had heard the unmannerly response, she’d have a fit. But then so much of what Philippa did gave her mother the vapors. “Who on earth do you think you are? What a cheek.”
“Miss Sanders, I feel some humility is called for.” He still sounded as though he found her endlessly diverting. “If you’re as clever as you think you are, you wouldn’t be stuck here with a rake while your sister sleeps comfortably in her own bed, safely beyond scandal’s reach.”
The comment’s justice rankled. “You’re a very annoying man,” she muttered, wishing to heaven she’d left Amelia to solve her own problems.
“Undoubtedly,” he said without inflection. “But that doesn’t mean I’m wrong about you needing to temper valor with discretion.”
She bit back a blistering response about profligate libertines following their own advice and waited impatiently for him to let her out. She very much feared that if she spent much longer with the irritating Earl of Erskine, she’d strangle him with one of his neck cloths.
For what seemed a ridiculous length of time, Erskine rattled the doorknob.
“Stop playing games,” she said sharply, tired of his antics. He might find his teasing funny. She just wanted to leave this room and say goodnight and never see him again. “Unlock the door and let me out.”
He stopped tugging on the doorknob. A fraught silence fell. For the first time when he spoke, no trace of humor warmed his deep voice. “It’s stuck.”
Posted by Anna Campbell Nov 10 2014, 12:02 am in Anna Campbell, Christmas, ebooks, Her Christmas Earl, historical romance, Holidays, Marriage of Convenience, novellas, Regency romance, Scandal
It’s a launch party in the lair!
But first, an apology!
I know it’s far too early to be talking Christmas – even when it’s only Christmas books. Please don’t take this post as a signal to run off and give your list to Santa! It’s still a bit over six weeks until the fat, jolly bloke with the facial hair squeezes down your chimney!
So having got that off my chest, let me tell you about my latest release, HER CHRISTMAS EARL: A REGENCY NOVELLA!
While it mightn’t be the time yet to wrap the gifts for under the tree, it’s definitely the time of year when it’s nice to have something romantic and short to read while the world goes crazy around us. I think novellas are really great when there’s Holidays everywhere and all the other end of the year madness. You get your romance fix and still have time and attention to deal with any crises that pop up!
Writing a novella at this time of year is almost a public service!
So given how chaotic things get in the lair in the lead up to the festive season, I thought we’d have a practice run so the cabana boys have everything down to a T when the real time comes.
But before I introduce your Yuletide entertainment, let me introduce HER CHRISTMAS EARL. Firstly, here’s the blurb:
No good deed goes unpunished…
To save her hen-witted sister from scandal, Philippa Sanders ventures into a rake’s bedroom – and into his power. Now her reputation hangs by a thread and only a hurried marriage can rescue her. Is the Earl of Erskine the heartless libertine the world believes? Or will Philippa discover unexpected honor in a man notorious for his wild ways?
Blair Hume, the dissolute Earl of Erskine, has had his eye on the intriguing Miss Sanders since he arrived at this deadly dull house party. Now a reckless act delivers this beguiling woman into his hands as a delightful Christmas gift. Does fate offer him a fleeting Yuletide diversion? Or will this Christmas Eve encounter spark a passion to last a lifetime?You can read an excerpt on my website here: http://annacampbell.info/xmasearl.html
And all of that Christmassy Earlish goodness for the measly price of 99 cents!
Goodness, I think you should go and buy 10! Well, I would think that, wouldn’t I?
If you click on that pretty red cover at the top of this piece, it will take you right to Amazon (we like to make things easy for you!).
You can also buy HER CHRISTMAS EARL from Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/486725
The story starts on Christmas Eve during a country house party in Wiltshire – a good excuse for me to share a couple of favorite photos from beautiful Haddon Hall which is in Derbyshire but was very much on my mind when I wrote this.
So I asked the cabana boys to turn the lair into a stately home in Regency England at Christmas. But I fear they didn’t get quite the right idea!
Plastic Christmas trees in lovely Hartley Manor in 1823? Sacre bleu as the French chef there is fond of saying!
And what about the plastic reindeers that light up? It’s enough to send Wellington back to Waterloo in disgust! And Napoleon off for a nap!
So if you were arranging a lovely Christmas party in snowy Wiltshire for an Earl and his new bride, what would you do to make the house atmospheric and lovely? Mince pies? Carol singers? Roaring log fires? Lots of mistletoe for the earl and his bride to kiss under – not that they need much encouragement!
I have three downloads of HER CHRISTMAS EARL: A REGENCY NOVELLA up for grabs today to people who comment so get talking Christmas decorations! Good luck!
Posted by Anna Campbell Oct 10 2014, 12:01 am in Anna Campbell, books, heroes, historical romance, Jane Austen, Mr. Darcy, Pride and Prejudice, Regency romance
Hi Bandits and Bandita Buddies! Today I thought I’d talk about one of my fave historical heroes. He might be over 200 years old, but we all still sigh over Mr. Darcy from Jane Austen’s immortal Pride and Prejudice.
Last year, I was fascinated (and amused) when a 12-foot statue of Darcy, including nipples under his wet shirt, in his Colin Firth incarnation was placed in the Serpentine in Hyde Park, bang in the middle of London:
Not bad publicity for an old guy. They don’t even do that for the latest pop star! You wonder how many current romantic heroes will pack the same punch in 2215.
As someone who writes romance (and hopefully compelling heroes) for a living, I find the world’s crush on Darcy fascinating. I wonder what he’s got that places him so high in the feminine pantheon of wonderful blokes.
I think part of it is the eternal attraction of the cool boy. Darcy’s richer than anyone else in the story, except maybe the fearsome Lady Catherine de Bourgh. And it would be a brave person who had a crush on her!
Darcy’s handsome. He has a sophisticated sense of humour. He’s impressively clever. Among the many things I love about his exchanges with Elizabeth is that those two are clearly the smartest people in the room. Even while they’re fighting fate, it’s obvious that they’re made for each other.
Another part of his attraction is that he’s so articulate. There’s something about that historical language when it’s used to persuade and seduce that turns me to mush. How about his first, disastrous proposal to Lizzie that starts out with, “In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you”? Wow!
Another heroic aspect of Darcy is that he’s willing to put himself on the line for the sake of the woman he loves. And without any expectation of reward. When he rescues Lydia from the disaster she’s got herself into with the vile Wickham, you know how it chafes at his pride to deal with his enemy. Yet, for Elizabeth’s sake, he does. Not only that, he succeeds – there’s a lot to be said for a competent hero!
We also admire that he sees beyond rank and fortune to Lizzie’s true value. We all love a Cinderella story, and Prince Charming in this particular one comes with the magnificent Pemberley as his palace.
Darcy’s generous enough to see the error of his ways by the end. We adore a self-aware hero who admits to the heroine where he went wrong. And there’s the delicious enjoyment of watching the journey as he struggles with painful change before he reaches his happy ending.
So all round when people start talking literary heroes, I do a time slip and go back to the Regency when men wore coats, neck cloths, breeches and boots, and spoke in perfect sentences. Long Live Mr. Darcy! 201 and still going strong!
So what about you? Are you a Darcy girl? Who’s your favourite book hero, historical or contemporary? Do you think the old guys have something going for them that the current crop of whippersnappers don’t? Do you think any of today’s heroes have what it takes to last 200 years as worthy subjects of a literary crush?