Meet the Heroine: Miss Rebecca Bond

Enjoy an excerpt from Romancing the Rogue!

“You cannot mean to toss me out on my ear,” Rebecca begged.

“I intend to marry you off, girl. I daresay that’s hardly ‘out on your ear.’” The new earl stared at her as if she’d gone mad.

No—it was perhaps worse than madness. It was sanity. The bleak loss of freedom. Up until now, she had been mistress of herself. As a wife, however, she would lose all autonomy. Her independence would be gone forever.

A flash of lightning lit the corridor, followed by a crack of thunder that shook the very walls. As it always did on nights such as these, the icy ocean wind shrieked through the castle turrets like the high-pitched wail of a madwoman.

Lord Banfield’s cheeks blanched at the eerie sound. “Honestly, child. You cannot wish to stay here. No reasonable person would.”

Rebecca swallowed. Castle Keyvnor had been the last place she’d wished to visit when her parents had first proposed the idea five years ago. Back then, her life had been full of laughter and joy. Seventeen years old and the light of her parents’ eyes, her first London Season had been everything Rebecca had dreamed.

Until her childhood friend and the love of her life—the delectable and devilish Daniel Goodenham, Viscount North-Barrows—had given her the cut direct at the height of the Season. After leading her to believe that between them was something more.

She’d been too distraught from his cruel rejection to even consider putting herself forward with other men. When her parents despaired, she’d reminded them there was always next Season…

Except next Season never came.

Lord North-Barrows might have been the first to forget about Rebecca, but it had taken no time at all for everyone else to do the same. Day by day, she’d faded from everyone’s memories.

Now that the new earl had been reminded of her existence, she was nothing more than a problem to be fixed. An error to scrub away as quickly as possible.

“I’ve nothing with which to attract a husband,” she said dully. If her own family could forget her, attracting a suitor was impossible. “I haven’t so much as a ha’penny. And every frock I own is five years out of style.”

“Piffle,” Lord Banfield scoffed. “I’ll give you a dowry, of course. Five hundred pounds should do. Plenty of men would wed a sack of grain for less.”

How complimentary. Rebecca pressed her lips together. Her attractiveness as a wife was comparable to marrying a sack of grain. Was it any wonder she preferred to be left alone?

And yet…that much money could completely change her life.

“If I were to live very simply,” she mused aloud, working the financial details out in her mind, “five hundred pounds might be enough for me to live on my own as a woman of independence.”

“You don’t get the five hundred pounds,” the earl reminded her impatiently. “It goes to your husband.”

“You could give it to me instead,” she said hopefully. Such a neat solution would grant her the independence she craved without causing her to be a burden on anyone else.

“And have you spend the entire sum on tiaras and fur muffs?” He laughed. “Come now, child, I’m far too practical to blunder that badly. You would be penniless in a fortnight. Have you forgotten I live with six ladies of impeccable taste? What you need is a strong hand, I’m afraid.”

“There has to be another way,” she whispered.

Lord Banfield brightened. “If you don’t want a Season, we can have the thing solved in no time. Surely a village like Bocka Morrow must have at least one bachelor in want of a wife?”

Rebecca’s stomach churned. She would have no more chance for happiness with one of the local fishermen or wayfaring smugglers than she would with the London crowd. She didn’t fit in anywhere.

What she wanted was her independence. Not a husband. Just the freedom to be herself.

“Please, Uncle.” She clutched her hands to her chest, fully prepared to beg. “Could you please give me the money outright? I promise never to return, asking for more.”

He laughed jovially and gave her a kind pat upon the shoulder. “Of course I cannot. The very question proves how silly women are. How would you pay your bills? Everyone knows females aren’t good with figures. I take care of my business myself. Starting with you. If you wish to make your own decisions, then turn your pretty head to selecting a husband.”

“And…if I can’t find one?” she stammered with dread.

“If you aren’t wed before the start of the Season and cannot bring anyone up to scratch before your portion runs dry, then you leave me no choice but to do the selecting myself. If you haven’t chosen a husband by the end of January—I’ll choose for you.”

She tried to hide her shiver as a chill went down her spine.

He nodded at the solicitor. “Now if you’ll excuse us, we’ve invitations to address, and then I must collect my wife and daughters. Dozens of guests will be arriving for the reading of the will. Lady Banfield will wish her family to be settled first.”

Rebecca stepped back as the two men swept past her. When they disappeared down the corridor, she sagged back against the wall and tried to calm her heart.

Three months. She had only until the end of January to find a sweet, not-too-demanding suitor delighted to have her dowry—and happy to leave her alone. She swallowed.

Perhaps Bocka Morrow would be a fine pond to fish in. She could stay in the country, far from London. And her husband would be gone all day, doing whatever it was country husbands did.

Such a marriage could be bearable after all. Provided she could arrange one within three short months.

Her fists clenched. She could not allow her uncle to choose for her. He’d pick some dreadful London fop, or an ancient roué, or a self-important, fickle rakehell like that arrogant Lord North-Barrows…who undoubtedly topped the guest list for the reading of the will. Not just because he was related to the prior earl’s sister. But because everyone who knew Lord North-Barrows, loved him.

Once, Rebecca had too.

She leaned the back of her head against the wall in despair. What hope had she of even attracting a country gentleman? Even her alleged friends had turned from her ever since the moment of Lord North-Barrows’ public cut.

In fact, Rebecca had been hurt so badly that she was relieved at first when her parents didn’t have the funds to give her a second Season. But they loved her too much to give up.

They’d trekked all the way to South Cornwall in the hopes that her mother’s distant uncle, the Earl of Banfield, might be impressed enough with the gentle manners and pleasing face of a young Rebecca that he might be coaxed into sponsoring her second Season.

It worked. Banfield had agreed to fund her second Season. Rebecca’s parents had been ecstatic.

They’d begged her to join them on a pleasure boat to celebrate their financial success in Cornwall before returning to London.

Rebecca had declined to join them. She’d discovered the castle’s soaring library, and meant to inhale as many books as possible before returning to their barren rented cottage on the outskirts of London. ‘Twas both the best and worst decision of her life.

She had never seen her parents again. Only bits of wreckage ever drifted ashore.

When her year of mourning had concluded, Lord Banfield no longer recalled his promise to sponsor another Season. He had forgotten she was under his roof altogether.

And the new earl would be rid of her three months hence, come hell or high water.

Rebecca rubbed her temples in frustration. What was she to do? She had no fashionable clothing. No knowledge of whatever was popular at the moment. No skill at flirtation—or even conversation. She had spent the past lonely years haunting the library, the billiards room, and the hedge maze behind the castle, should the sun chance to peek through the omnipresent clouds.

How would she possibly attract a promising bachelor’s attention, much less his hand in marriage?

Especially with Lord North-Barrows under the same roof, right there to see her fail.

She cringed at the imminent humiliation. Saints save her. He was the only person likely to remember her name—and thus the only one who might be able to help a reclusive spinster without the slightest talent at coquetry obtain a marriage proposal before time ran out.

That settled it. She lifted her chin in determination. Swallowing her pride would be well worth the chance to attract a better man.

Who better than a rakish viscount to teach her how to snare a true gentleman capable of appreciating her charms?

###

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Romancing the Rogue was first featured as part of the Vexed anthology.

Series Spotlight: Dangerous Series by Caroline Warfield @carowarfield

Today, I’m thrilled to have Caroline Warfield here on the blog, sharing a completed historical romance series with us!

book cover

Series Name: Dangerous Series
Genre: Regency Romance
Heat level: One or two love scenes

Grab your copy at: Amazon

$2.99 USD – $3.77 CAN – £3.99 GBP

author photoTell us something fun about the heroines.

These heroines are nobody’s cupcakes. Brave, intelligent, and resourceful, they all have special skills. Two have work they value. Three are older than typical regency heroines. Lily, a diplomat’s daughter, is a linguist. Catherine manages the family’s farm. Georgiana is a classical scholar. Nora has enough courage to take on powerful men in a country in which she doesn’t speak a word of the language.

How much research do you do?

I do more than I should! I go off to answer one question and end up wandering down various side roads. Historical detail and setting enhance the stories, but I always end up with piles of research I can’t use. Most of it ends up on my History Imagined blog.

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Who was your first ‘Book Boyfriend’?

I fell in love with Edward Rochester very early. However a few years later I was madly in love with Crawford of Lymond. I probably still am.

Find Caroline Warfield at: Facebook | Twitter | Website

Grab your copy at: Amazon

We want to hear from you!

Which clothes do you prefer, Regency, Restoration, or Victorian?

Leave a comment below!

Win a Dukes of War Audiobook!

I am SO excited to announce that the talented Stevie Zimmerman has narrated books 5-7 of the Dukes of War romances in audiobook!

Brigadier Edmund Blackpool fights his way home only to discover his intended before the altar with his best friend!

Download on Audible
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Captain Blackheart shouldn’t have any trouble keeping his hands off the gently-bred lady he’s commissioned to abduct—except his cargo turns out to be feisty and passionate!

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Miss Katherine Ross is a wealthy, eccentric socialite who knows precisely what she wants: No candlelit tête-à-tête with the insufferable Duke of Ravenwood!

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Have you ever listened to an audiobook? If so, where do you get yours?

NOTE: ALL WINNERS HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED

NEW RELEASE: A Lady without a Lord by Bliss Bennet @BlissBennet

Today, I’m thrilled to have Bliss Bennet here on the blog, sharing a brand new historical romance release with us!

book coverA Lady without a Lord

Theo Pennington, newly named Viscount Saybrook, has a long history of failing those he loves. But it’s surely not his fault that the funds meant to pay his sister’s dowry have gone missing. Can he trust Harriot Atherton, daughter of his steward, to help him find the lost money—or might she be the one responsible for its disappearance?

Series Name: The Penningtons
Genre: Regency Romance
Heat level: One or two love scenes
ISBN: 9780996193757

Grab your copy at:
Apple iBooks (iTunes/iPhone/iPad)
Amazon USA | Amazon Canada | Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble Nook
Kobo

$3.99 USD – $5.99 CAN – £3.99 GBP

author photoWhat was the hardest part about writing this story?

My hero has a learning disability: dyscalculia, a brain-based condition that makes learning or understanding math difficult. Portraying a character with this condition, without making him appear like a victim of his disability, took a lot of research, and a lot of hard thinking and planning.

Do you write every day?

I try to write five days a week, Monday through Friday, in the mornings. Some days that’s harder to do than others! But I put my butt in the chair…

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Who was your first auto-buy historical romance author?

Courtney Milan. I love the combination of her humor, her respect for history, and her determination to portray women who ACT, rather than women who are acted upon. And I love that her heroes love and respect her heroines for their strengths, not for their weaknesses.

Find Bliss Bennet at: Facebook | Twitter | Website

Grab your copy of A Lady without a Lord at:
Apple iBooks (iTunes/iPhone/iPad)
Amazon USA | Amazon Canada | Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble Nook
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We want to hear from you!

What other historical romances with learning disabled or neurotypical protagonists have you read?

Leave a comment below!

NEW RELEASE: A Cowboy’s Temptation by Michelle Beattie @MBeattie

Today, I’m thrilled to have Michelle Beattie here on the blog, sharing a brand new historical romance release with us!

book coverA Cowboy’s Temptation

With a thirst for adventure and a new life, Katie Matthews heads west to Marietta, Montana to reconcile with her estranged sister. But a series of unfortunate eventsd lands her in jail and at the mercy of a stranger.
Scott Taylor hitches horse and wagon to rescue his partner’s sister-in-law from jail. But once he sets eyes on her, his normally steadfast and simple life will never be the same.

Series Name: Frontier Montana
Genre: Historical Western
Heat level: One or two love scenes
ISBN: 9781945879678

Grab your copy at:
Apple iBooks (iTunes/iPhone/iPad)
Amazon USA | Amazon Canada | Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble Nook
Kobo
Google Play (Android)

$3.75 USD – $4.99 CAN – £3.75 GBP

author photoTell us something fun about the relationship conflict.

I’m not sure how many "one night stands" happened in the old west but this one was super fun to write. I really liked that Katie was more the aggressor when it came to their passion and that it was Scott who felt the responsibility. That it was Scott who demanded they do the right thing.

Do you plot your books before you write?

Lol. Not much. With this one I knew they’d sleep together immediately and that his past would be the conflict between them. Other than that, the book tends to come as I write. I find it really hard to plot ahead. If I know too much before I start then I’m bored and don’t feel I need to tell the story. Of course, this way is much more stressful but I also think it’s more fun.

Who was your first auto-buy historical romance author?

Sandra Brown. I LOVE Another Dawn. Love that story. And also Hidden Fires. Sandra Brown sold me on historical westerns.

Find Michelle Beattie at: Facebook | Twitter | Website

Grab your copy of A Cowboy’s Temptation at:
Apple iBooks (iTunes/iPhone/iPad)
Amazon USA | Amazon Canada | Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble Nook
Kobo
Google Play (Android)

We want to hear from you!

In this book, Scott and Katie find some unconventional places to make love. What “unconventional” place would appeal to you (if you were a heroine in the west in the 1880’s?)

Leave a comment below!