Please welcome Jackie Barbosa to ALBTALBS. It’s been a while since we’ve had a guest so we hope you enjoy!
On September 15, the fourth and “final” (more about why that’s in quotes toward the end of the post) book in my Lords of Lancashire series comes out. Sleeping with the Enemy is a book I never really planned to write. But then, I didn’t plan to wait to release the third book in what was originally meant to be a trilogy until a full 7 years after the first one, either.
So let’s get into the way-back machine. In the early days of 2011, I had self-published a short story called The Reiver that was originally included in the Mammoth Book of Scottish Romance. And entirely against my expectations, it did really well, especially on Amazon. The experience galvanized me to write a new series with the intent of self-publishing it. (N.B. The Reiver is currently free for kindle.)
I tied the new series very loosely to the second of two short stories I’d sold to Harlequin Spice Briefs that were published the same year. The first book, The Lesson Plan is fairly short novella about a wild, non-conformist heroine who has nursed a crush on the uptight older brother of her best friend for years and has some decidedly D/s elements. Although never got quite as high in the rankings as The Reiver had, since the ecosystem was already changing by then, it sold steadily for months and made me quite a bit of money.
The second book in the series, a considerably longer novella called Hot Under the Collar, is about the twin brother of the heroine of The Lesson Plan. Walter is a vicar who falls for the “fallen woman” of his small town. It didn’t sell quite as well as The Lesson Plan, but well enough that I had every intention writing the third book in the trilogy. I started that book, A Matter of Indiscretion, in late 2012 or early 2013…and got stuck. So, I set it aside and starting working on other things.
Cue March of 2014, when my entire world went to hell. But let’s not dwell on the reasons for that. Suffice it say that I had no emotional space for writing for a solid four years and change. And I honestly wasn’t sure I ever would.
Then, in early 2018, I opened the original manuscript of A Matter of Indiscretion. Lo and behold, it was good! I started poking at it, trying to make it get unstuck. Pretty quickly, I saw where I’d made a wrong plot turn, weeded out the mistake, and then just kept going. And by the end of summer, I had a completed manuscript. And not a novella, but a full-length novel! Which is how the third book in the series wound up coming out a full 7 years after the first.
It was only after I’d finished writing Indiscretion, which stars the best friend of Walter and Freddie, the heroine of The Lesson Plan, that I realized I had a character who appeared throughout the series who didn’t have a book. That character, Geoffrey, is Walter and Freddie’s older brother, who gets mentioned occasionally but doesn’t appear on the page because, as befits the second son, he’s in the military. From that thought and an idea I’d had for years for a romance featuring a hero and heroine on different sides of a British/American war sprang Sleeping with the Enemy. To give you an idea of what the book’s about, here’s the cover copy:
When Mrs. Laura Farnsworth discovers the blood-stained body of a man wearing the distinctive red coat of the British army, her first instinct is to let dead dogs lie. It has, after all, been just two days since the Battle of Plattsburgh, and the disposition of enemy corpses is hardly her purview. But then the man proves himself to be very much alive by grabbing her ankle and mumbling incoherently.
After almost twenty-five years in His Majesty’s service, Lieutenant Colonel Geoffrey Langston never expected to wake up in heaven, much less being tended by an angel. But when he regains consciousness in the presence of a beautiful, dark-haired woman and with no memory of how he came to be there, what else can he think? Except it’s rather odd for an angel to have an American accent.
As the long-widowed Laura nurses the wounded Geoffrey back to health, the attraction between them heats from a simmer to a boil. Bound by his oath to the British crown, Geoffrey should be working to find his way back to his regiment and from the, to England. Instead, he’s sleeping with the enemy…and thereby committing the crime of desertion if not treason. But then, who’s going to find out?
If only Geoffrey didn’t have a family back home who refuse to take “missing in action” for an answer.
I decided I wanted to write this book for a lot of reasons, but the primary one was that it gave me a chance to write an older hero and heroine. Laura is thirty-eight and Geoffrey is forty-four, and while I have a lot of fun writing characters in their twenties and early thirties, being able to write from the point of view of people with more life experience was very appealing to me. Like A Matter of Indiscretion, this is a novel, not a novella, and I’d also have to say it’s a bit more “plotty” than my previous books. Specifically, there’s a mystery subplot and courtroom drama that dominates most of the second half of the book. I enjoyed writing that part so much, I almost wonder if I missed my calling, genre-wise. But not really. I still love writing about people falling in love and triumphing against the odds.
For the past six months, the first three books of the series have been available only on Amazon because I decided to give Kindle Unlimited a whirl. It actually worked out pretty well, but Sleeping with the Enemy has been up for preorder on all vendors for months, so the rest of the series is going back up on all vendors when this KU term expires (September 11).
In addition, I’m discounting A Matter of Indiscretion to 99 cents from September 12 to September 15. That book has never been available for purchase for less than $3.99 and I don’t intend to discount it again any time soon, so I hope that’s enough of a steal to entice some of you to try it before Sleeping with the Enemy comes out. Also, Sleeping with the Enemy will go up in price from $2.99 to $3.99 on release day, so you’ll get it for a dollar off the cover price if you preorder.
And lastly, about the fourth and final book thing. I have a tendency to write bonus epilogues. I love revisiting my characters a few years down the road to see how things are going with them. The hero and heroine of Hot Under the Collar have a special place in my heart—especially the hero. Walter is literally my favorite hero I’ve written, ever. So I decided to write a bonus epilogue for him and his wife, Artemisia. My True Love Gave to Me is a Christmas-themed story with a light mystery plot (whoops, there I go again!) that’s about 72 pages long and it’ll be released for 99 cents on all vendors on October 20. It’s up for preorder now. That said, if you’d like a FREE copy, all you have to do is sign up for my newsletter here. (Trust me, doing this will not flood your inbox. I’m not “together” enough to send out monthly newsletters. I don’t send anything unless I’ve got a new release or some other really good reason. Also, I’ll never sell or share your email address with anyone.)
Okay, if you stuck with me all the way to this point (and if so, thank you!), here are links to each of the Lords of Lancashire books on each vendor: