It’s Tuesday! Today we’re lucky enough to have Maggie Robinson sharing with us from her upcoming book. (Out next week!) Yes, Seducing Mr. Sykes will be out on June 20th! Read on for the book blurb and the exclusive excerpt!
In Maggie Robinson’s sparkling new series, the quaint village in Gloucestershire is where the wayward sons and daughters of Great Britain’s finest families come for some R&R—and good old-fashioned “rehab”. But sometimes they find much more . . .
No one at Puddling-on-the-Wold ever expected to see Sarah Marchmain enter through its doors. But after the legendary Lady’s eleventh-hour rejection of the man she was slated to marry, she was sent here to restore her reputation . . . and change her mind. It amused Sadie that her father, a duke, would use the last of his funds to lock her up in this fancy facility—she couldn’t be happier to be away from her loathsome family and have some time to herself. The last thing she needs is more romantic distraction . . .
As a local baronet’s son, Tristan Sykes is all too familiar with the spoiled, socialite residents of the Puddling Rehabilitation Foundation—no matter how real their problems may be. But all that changes when he encounters Sadie, a brave and brazen beauty who wants nothing more than to escape the life that’s been prescribed for her. If only Tristan could find a way to convince the Puddling powers-that-be that Sadie is unfit for release, he’d have a chance to explore the intense attraction that simmers between them—and prove himself fit to make her his bride . . .
My darlings today we have birthday girl Maggie Robinson visiting with us! <3 She was recently in Scotland, but we like her anyway because it’s her birthday. 😉 Maggie was also totally awesome and has not only a giveaway for you, but her own question, so I’ll just leave you in her capable hands! (And remember to wish her a very happy birthday! Maggie I hope you have a brilliant day with lots of cake and ice cream :D)
I’m way past the presents-candles-spanking stage, though I would never turn away a piece of frosted cake. Hey, I’ll eat almost anything with frosting. But I love my birthday anyway, mostly because it’s in the fall. It’s as if a whole season sets itself on fire just for me, turns the sky its bluest ever, insists upon those forgivingly roomy sweaters. I’m still on a “Fall starts the beginning of everything” schedule, even though my school and teaching days are behind me. I get energized by crisp air, crisp apples, crisp leaves. October is the most glorious month, and then it’s all downhill from there, LOL. I live in Maine, where I’m soon to be buried in snow (but it’s great for staying inside and writing!).
I have a new book out too, which makes October even more special. In the Heart of the Highlander is a fun change-of-identity romp, which makes it perfect for Halloween reading. Who doesn’t like to pretend to be something they’re not? And in the birthday gift department, I’m giving readers a chance at a great one—a Harris Tweed handbag worth 77.50 pounds. (That’s about $120.) You can visit my contest page for details, and read the first chapter of the book too if you have time.
I bought the bag in my favorite Highland store, Macnaughtons of Pitlochry. Pitlochry and its Atholl Palace Hotel were the inspirations for the setting of Highlander. We’ve visited the hotel twice, and each time there have been weddings and lots and lots of men in kilts. How can one go wrong?
Scotland is one of my favorite places. It turns out my husband’s paternal side emigrated from there to Nova Scotia in the 1800s. (He tells me the family lore is that they were “thrown out” of Scotland. I can believe it.) When they came to Maine, they changed Robertson to Robinson because they thought it would make American assimilation easier and it sounded “more English.” It makes me laugh, because every time I say my name, people write down Robertson. Just think, I should be even closer to Nora Roberts on the shelf. 😉
So, happy birthday to me and all the Robertson and Robinson clans. Does your family name have a story? Have you ever been thrown out of a country? What’s in your purse that you can’t do without? Answer any or all questions and I’ll give one commenter a copy of In the Arms of the Heiress, the first Ladies Unlaced book!
Ladies! (And gentlem[a]n? No seriously – are there any dudes who read this blog? I want you to fess up. You might get a cookie. No joke.) Anyway. Today we’ve got awesome author Maggie Robinson visiting with us! Double bonus (which I first somehow typed as “donus” which obviously must mean I have donuts on the brain…) Margaret Rowe is here too! ;D Funny how that works, eh?
We also can tell just how fantabulous Ms. Robinson-Rowe is, because I’m being… well, me+. (I’m on “sick-brain” still and it’s after midnight and I’ve been very sleep deprived.) Haven’t you guys missed me?! Anyway, the point is, I feel comfortable being insane in the introduction.
I’m sure Maggie now regrets this and will never guest again. So I hope you guys make the most of this, okay?!
Lime, thanks so much for having me here to talk about Lord Gray’s List, the first book in the London List Trilogy. And thank you also for doing your annual online charity drive. You’ve proven what one person can do, and provided me with a blog topic as well, LOL.
The London List is my fictional Regency newspaper, a kind of combination National Enquirer/craigslist, but it also serves as a charity for trouser-wearing termagant Evangeline Ramsey. She has so many requests for help that she can’t possibly publish everything or she’d be cutting down swaths of forest for newsprint. So she has a little private business on the side, matching employees and lonely hearts and collectors with the objects of their desire. She’s sort of a fixer, but she ignores her own needs until hero Benton Gray comes along. Here’s what he thinks after they’ve worked side-by-side for a week:
Ben could see Evie’s breath in the air as she stomped in irritation at the curb. She reminded him a little of an unbroken thoroughbred, all lean lines and attitude. But according to her, she’d never be broken to bridle.
Ben wouldn’t even bother trying.
Evie was a shrew. A confirmed spinster. True, she could be soft-hearted with all her cases of people to place and protect. He’d now seen the drawers full of begging letters for which she took no coin. What kind of businesswoman was she? She was more like some demented fairy godmother.
Anyone looking less fairy-like would be hard to find. Although perhaps his mother’s tales of sweet, inoffensive winged creatures dancing at the bottom of the garden were at odds with some of the older legends. Some fairies were spiteful—clever and capricious, quick to trick the unsuspecting innocent into giving up their best chance for happiness. Or even their babies. Ben drew the line at thinking Evie would kidnap a child, but he could see her meting out her own brand of justice from her Fairy Court in solemn pronouncements and punishing seduction.
Right now she wasn’t speaking to him, not even thanking him as he helped her into the hack. Which he shouldn’t have done, as she was still in her trousered disguise. The merchants on the street would think it very odd.
The street lights had been turned on, and Ben saw people locking up and scurrying home to their suppers. The List’s office was dark, the new window glimmering in the gaslight. A raggedy girl selling roasted chestnuts tended the flames on her brazier at the corner, and if Ben weren’t so full he would have asked the driver to stop. The carriage lurched through the thick evening traffic, the familiar sounds and smells of London Ben’s only stimulation. Evie seemed determined to ignore him despite their working so seamlessly together just hours before. How was it that the glow of their mutual accomplishment had dimmed so suddenly? One minute they’d been chuckling over their ale, and the next Evie looked ready to chuck him out in the street.
He’d insulted her independence, he supposed, but really, she was just a lady beneath her clothes, even if she chose not to act like one. She might have a walking stick and be taller than the average man, but it wasn’t as if she fenced and boxed and built up her slender limbs. Anything could happen to her as she walked the chill streets of London. Anything at all.
Yesterday it was the shattered window, when she wasn’t even out in the elements. What if she’d been cut by flying glass, or worse yet, conked on the head with the brick?
Perhaps some sense might have been knocked into her, but Ben doubted it. She was the most stubborn, most vexing creature he’d ever met. His usual tricks to charm women were proving useless, but damn him if he was going to sit across from her like a lump as she shot daggers at him the whole way home. So he took a time-tested, easy route.
“What for?” she asked, suspicious.
Ben grinned. “I don’t really know. It seemed like the right thing to say.”
Ben is an easy-going guy, and Evie is anything but. Her difficult childhood has honed her independence, and made her aware of injustice. She’s really a crusader, and Ben shows her he can be every bit as dedicated as she can, with especially deep pockets. Ben thinks the way to win Evie’s heart is through generous donations to her causes—but he really won it despite her resistance long ago. Kirkus Review called Lord Gray’s List “a charming, fun Regency romp that combines an innovative, compelling plot with characters that jump off the page and a hot, captivating romance that will tug at heartstrings.”
During the holiday season, a lot of people wonder what kind of difference they can make to those less fortunate. I support two local food banks all year, and wish I could do more. Wow, what if I’d won the recent big lottery? Think of the good I could have done! (Of course, I would have had to buy a ticket, LOL) What charity would you like to give unlimited support? I’ve got a signed trade paperback of Lord Gray’s List for one commenter, and a $25 donation to their cause.
As if I needed any reason to like Maggie more. I, obviously, am fully behind this giveaway. In fact, no need to hang around. The winner is drawn… and it is ME! (And you know what’s sad? I had a moment’s pause and wondered “is that grammatically correct?” And then I thought “damned if I know – that was my worst subject and it’s my blog so I can mess up if I want to. And feel stupid. Which is why I’m drawing so much attention to it.)
… I’m never formatting posts ever again. I also thought about deleting all/most of this in the extremely lengthy times I had to wait while my broken computer chugged along… but I figured I’d leave it so you guys know what I’m like with less of a filter. You see why I schedule so many guest posts? It’s to save you from me. And while I was doing this I saw the next cover is up, so here’s Captain Durant’s Countess – you’re welcome. 😛
And you know – speaking of saving and all, in a real way – what charity would you wish to donate to? Inquiring minds want to know! (Not just for the usual, but hey – SMSG13, 14, and so on will be upon us sooner than we think!)
Oh and, uh, for anyone who might be wondering – no, I’m not the winner. I was joking. It’s going to be one of you.
Thanks to Limecello for having me here today to talk about the last ‘Mistress’ book in my Courtesan Court series, Mistress by Marriage. There is, however, a ‘Master’ book coming out next April, Master of Sin, which features Andrew Rossiter, who is introduced in Marriage.
There are already too many characters competing in my head, so I’ll try to stick with Baron Edward Christie and his wayward wife Caroline today.
Quite by writing accident I invented Jane Street (named in honor of Jane Austen who is surely rolling in her grave). It’s the fictional home of some of Regency London’s most exclusive, exotic, erotic mistresses. But they’re not my heroines—the five women I’ve placed on Jane Street in two novellas and three novels definitely don’t belong there. They are, to play off the title of the first book in the bunch, mostly mistresses by mistake.
In Mistress by Marriage (September 2011), Lady Caroline Christie has been set up on the street by her uptight, upright husband Edward as a sort of punishment, but the torture’s on him, because he just can’t leave her alone there. Caroline is everything he thinks doesn’t want— she’s too beautiful, too impulsive, too scandalous. Too unsettling. For a man like Baron Edward Christie who is wrapped tighter than a dowager’s turban, it takes him a good long while to unwind. I’ve said somewhere that Edward is like a Regency Boy Scout who needs Caro to light his fire. It was such fun defrosting him, turning him from imperious idiot to love-struck fool.
In fact, he takes the plot from one of Caro’s own books—she writes lurid gothic romances, the Courtesan Court series…how meta ;)—turns himself into one of her villains, and kidnaps her to try to reconcile.
Once Edward cracks, he throws all his ingrained inhibitions away. Here’s a never-seen- before excerpt. Edward is washing off his disguise in the bathtub in front of a tormented and bound Caroline.
“You know,” he said conversationally, as if she were not tied up like a rabid dog, “I’ve become a terrible creature of habit. Some find the scent of bay rum pleasant, but give me my own lime cologne. My play-acting the villain was as much torture for me as it was for you. I itch all over. I’m going to have Hazlett burn that suit.” Water sluiced down his brown chest, beading on his nipples. He must have spent the weekends helping his tenants with the harvest at Christie Park when he wasn’t plotting his evil, insane stratagem.
He lathered his bristled face and unkempt hair. This new, unimproved Edward confused her. He had never shared so intimate an act as bathing in front of her, except for the one time she’d barged into his dressing room and slipped into his tub uninvited. She’d made him like it in the end, but he was a man who thrived on a strict routine, and she was usually an unwelcome interruption. She had spent their year of married life weighted down by his continuous disapproval.
“Bastard.” Her old sense of humiliation fluttered to the surface. Perhaps he’d get soap in his eyes and go blind, she thought sourly. He leaned back and poured water on his head, slicking back his long dark hair until every beautifully chiseled plane of his face was revealed. Then he pulled the wet cotton from his ears, tossing it among the flattened roses on the floor.
“Did you say something?”
Caroline bit her tongue.
“This bath is so refreshing. I find travel arduous in the best of circumstances, don’t you? You know, the water is still hot.”
Caroline tasted blood.
“The tub is large enough for two. If you like, we can share it. Get the road dust off.”
Caroline would like. She found herself furiously jealous of Edward’s liquid display. “Will you untie me?”
“Unnecessary. I believe I’m perfectly capable of washing you. Everywhere.” His smile was purely satanical.
“Absolutely not then.”
“Don’t be stubborn, Caro. I know how you like your baths. Do you remember the morning you surprised me in my bath at Christie Park?”
God, he remembered. Or could he read minds? “You were appalled at the disruption of your daily regimen. And your old valet—what was his name? The one before Cameron— couldn’t look me in the eye for months.”
“Well, as I said, it was a surprise. Poor Melrose didn’t expect to find us in such a tangle when he came to barber me.”
“I wish he’d cut off your—” She snapped her lips shut.
“Pardon? I must have water in my ears.” He shook his head like a glossy spaniel.
“Nothing. Edward, while I appreciate your effort to get me in your clutches, I don’t want to be clutched. I made that perfectly clear several weeks ago.”
“I know what you said. I don’t agree anymore. We may not be ideally suited to each other, but I’m sure we can find some common ground with a little work.”
“The only time we’ll find common ground is when we’re both buried under it in the family plot. I assume there’s still room for me at the churchyard?”
Edward looked a bit sheepish. They once had a discussion about her eventual placement.
As an ever-organized Christie, he had dispassionately informed her of her future. Edward was to be the jam husband to his two wives’ bread. The headstone was already in place, just waiting for the requisite dates. In Edward’s case, Caroline hoped it would be soon.
If it wasn’t clear, the fantastic Maggie Robinson is guesting with us today, and I believe that’s another exclusive excerpt she’s sharing. Exciting, yes? I didn’t think my silly little intros would fit before her post. Also, I’m still on brain melt. So, answer Maggie’s question and be entered in her giveaway!