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Election Day Tomorrow! Escape the chaos and vote for your favorite Rose Gordon Hero–

Election Day is tomorrow! Escape the chaos and vote for your favorite Rose Gordon Hero–

Online of course, not really on your ballot.

So in the spirit of “I cannot handle anymore political turmoil and arguing”, I will be hosting my own list of measures to vote on up on Facebook tomorrow. I am not holding a totally fair vote because I don’t plan to post all the questions here tonight–you’ll have to visit my Facebook Page to vote on all the measures. (And of course there will be plenty of prizes to go around.)

The big question, however, is…Who at the end of the night will be crowned the most beloved Rose Gordon. This hero will get special privileges (don’t they all already??) for the next four years and of course be crowned the King of Rose Gordon’s Heroes at the end of the night.

Now of course with so many candidates, it’s only right to hold a small debate so without further ado, I have brought them all here to give a short speech about why THEY deserve such an honor…

[I should warn you that much like the other debates we’ve all witnessed this year, most of the candidates do NOT stay on topic and interrupt each other often…Be warned.]

Gentlemen, in three sentences, or less, could you please tell us why YOU should hold the coveted spot of Most Beloved Rose Gordon Hero for the next four years. We shall go in order of appearance, Andrew Black, Earl of Townson, we shall begin with you.

BENJAMIN COLLINS, DUKE OF GATEWAY: Pardon me, Rose, but actually I appeared before Townson. *grins wildly and folds his arms across his puffed out chest* And in his own book no less…

That will be enough of that.

ANDREW: Yes, we all remember that profound moment, you made the book start with a bang…or should I say a slap heard around the world?

Enough! You two are starting to remind me of real life too much and I do wield the power to remove you both from the running. Now, we shall begin—in the order of heroes. Andrew, you’re your first.

ANDREW—HERO FROM INTENTIONS OF THE EARL: As Rose’s first hero, I should think the honor belongs to me. Not only as the first am I the one she obviously used up her best traits and dialogue with, but I am also the one whose book has been read most, therefore I am most well known.

GATEWAY: *snorts*

shoots a sharp look at Gateway

GATEWAY: *throws hands up into the air* I’m entitled to my own opinion on that. His book might have been downloaded more, but have you seen those reviews?

No and I don’t care to. Paul, your turn.

PAUL—HERO FROM LIBERTY FOR PAUL: I was saddled with Liberty, need I say more?

*sighs* If you didn’t fall madly in love with her by the end, I’d say the honor is yours by default, but…

PAUL: *grins* All right, I think I should be the favorite because A. I got Liberty to stop reading—and quoting—books on propriety; B. I also beat her at her own game; and C. I had my clothes stolen while in the tub, D. beans—that were supposed to be my head—stabbed to an oblivion AND E. am ninety percent sure that my mother-in-law glimpsed me naked. Franky, I’m a damn shoo-in.

Ahem, well, I’m not sure what to say to that. Next?

GATEWAY—HERO FROM TO WIN HIS WAYWARD WIFE: No, Paul, I’m the shoo-in. I’ve been Rose’s most loved hero from the start.

ANDREW: Yes, I recall everyone rooting for you all during my romance with Brooke. NOT!

Boys.

GATEWAY: As I said, I’ve always been the favorite. Have any of you ever peeked in Rose’s inbox? No? It’s me the young girls write about and tell tales of their swooning and say if Arid Alex over there could fashion a time machine, they’d travel–

SIR WALLACE BENEDICT: I believe you’ve spoken more than three sentences.

*all eyes swing to Wallace who is adjusting his cravat*

GATEWAY: Sorry, chap, I was trying to stop at a prime number.

And I have a feeling you aren’t done yet… Nonetheless, you are for now. Alex?

ALEX BANKS—HERO FROM HER SUDDEN GROOM: If I was playing the pity card like Paul, I’d remind everyone I have the nickname of Arid Alex and was once betrothed to Lady Olivia. *shudders* However, I shall instead remind you all of my intellectual pursuits of a regular subscription to Prominent and Avant-Garde Horticulture, being an avid student of chess, having been entrusted to be the guardian of several young ladies…and as Gateway so nicely pointed out, if anyone was capable of creating a time machine, I’m your hero. Therefore, most beloved hero…again, I’m your hero.

GATEWAY: Are we supposed to applaud now?

ANDREW:I don’t know, but his speech is more worthy of applause than yours.

I won’t warn you two again. One more outburst and you’ll be excused from the room.

GATEWAY: Are you threatening voter fraud?

No! You’ll still be in the running, I can’t delete you from the ballot at this late date, but I will banish you from the room so you won’t be able to have another word. Now, let’s hear from Marcus.

MARCUS, LORD SINCLAIR—HERO FROM HER RELUCTANT GROOM: Hands down, I think everyone would agree I am the most honorable of all of your heroes. Even the ones who are given such an honor in their book title— *casts his grey eyes to where Sebastian, Giles and Simon, the three heroes from the Gentlemen of Honor Series, are seated* —I had a lovely young woman staying in my house unchaperoned for quite a while and not a whisper of scandal befell either of us. Nor was she in any way unmarriagable when she left.

PATRICK—HERO FROM HER SECONDHAND GROOM: *snorts* Sir Wallace might disagree with that. She wasn’t very interested in marrying him after you’d given her a lesson in male anatomy and base desires courtesy of a little book in your library.

MARCUS: I’d say all four of our wives— *gestures to Alex, Patrick, Sir Wallace and himself* —benefited in some way from Lady Bird’s Ladybird Memoir.

SIR WALLACE: *clearing his throat, and whispering* I can’t complain too much about that book, Patrick.

MARCUS: *stretches legs out in front of himself, crosses ankles* See? Emma’s gift to Edwina was the perfect apology.

ALEX: Your wife gave that…that…filth to my sister?!

GATEWAY: *cackles* Sir Wallace, you rascal! *lets out a low whistle and shakes his head* I suppose it’s true what they say, it’s always the quiet ones who are the biggest scoundrels. *stands and claps Sir Wallace on the shoulder* Since Rose is gesturing for me to get my arse out, I will go, but Sir Wallace, I’d be honored if you’d take my seat over in the Scandalous Series section. I do believe you having a naughty book has entitled you to a seat with the other debauchers. *bows* I shall take my leave now, I had no idea I was in such depraved company.

ALEX: *Scrubs hands over his face.* The image that is now in my head isn’t going away.

MARCUS: You’ll get over it. I do recall spotting a copy of it in your library. Need I remind you that you are married to my cousin?

ALEX: Point taken. Patrick, I think it’s your turn.

PATRICK “DRAKE”, LORD DRAKELY—HERO FROM HER SECONDHAND GROOM: I willingly admit that I made a few mistakes with Juliet, my heroine, but I’d like to think I redeemed myself during our trip to London. Also, if it weren’t for me, poor Simon over there would have never had his happily-ever-after. So in a way, I’m a HERO FROM two books.

ANDREW to ALEX: I think he’s been spending too much with Gateway, he’s getting a swell head.

ALEX back to ANDREW: That or with his wife and now he thinks he’s as good of a matchmaker as all those of her sex think they are.

PATRICK: I hate to tell you two weasels this, but Brooke and Caroline both think they’re some sort of skilled matchmakers, too.

All right, fellas, let’s stay on course. Sir Wallace?

SIR WALLACE BENEDICT—HERO FROM HER IMPERFECT GROOM: 1. Contrary to my book title, I am undeniably a perfectionist. 2. Unlike some of the others in this room, when scandal knocked on my door, I was ready to do the right thing. 3. Despite my love for being impeccably dressed and as proper as a straight pin as Rose put it, when love was on the line, I put my own wants aside and chased her down at all costs.

ALEX: Chased her down? No you scaled the side of my house and broke into her room.

SEBASTIAN—HERO FROM SECRETS OF A VISCOUNT: There is nothing wrong with that.

ALEX: There is when she didn’t invite him to do so.

SEBASTIAN: *face flushing, shrugs* Again, I don’t find anything wrong with it if he gets the girl in the end.

SIR WALLACE: I did. *pushes chest out* And an enlightening little treatise to boot.

ALEX: Agggghhhh.

Let’s move on to the heroes of the Brides Series. Edward?

EDWARD BANKS, LORD WATSON—HERO FROM HER CONTRACT BRIDE-: Oh? I get to enter the running, do I? I wasn’t sure if I’d get that honor since I’m the only one Rose killed off! I think that means I should forever be memorialized as the most beloved. Oh, is that too morbid? All right, I think ultimately I should be the most beloved hero because I’m the one responsible for building the stargazing gazebo that brought about at least two happily-ever-afters. If it weren’t for me being friends with the late Lord Sinclair, Alex wouldn’t have met Caroline—

ALEX: Or have been engaged to Lady Olivia.

EDWARD: Yes, as I mentioned before, I was lost in celebration that night. Believe me, there was a lot of celebrating. Joseph was finally free from having to visit Bea’s bed and the wine just kept flowing… *waves a hand through the air* Not to mention, I fixed things between Alex and Caro by reminding her that he’s a man. If it weren’t for me and Regina, Alex, Elijah, Henry and Edwina wouldn’t be here and I would have never been born and John wouldn’t have gone to America to meet his wife. And…finally, if it weren’t for me, Andrew wouldn’t have inherited such a beautiful painting.

ANDREW: Thank you. I’m still cherishing it.

JOHN BANKS—HERO FROM HIS YANKEE BRIDE: All right, Edward, we get that you’re making up for lost time of not getting any scenes in three of your four children’s books, but enough is enough. Besides, I know the true identity of that “artist”. Not to mention, you allowed your heroine to sink the Gallant

EDWARD: She looked so fetching as the boat went down, I’d have allowed her to sink a whole armada had I had one.

All right, gentlemen, we have a lot more to hear from–

EDWARD: No we don’t, I’m the most beloved. *grins* They need not even speak.

JOHN: Now who has been spending too much time with Gateway?

John, it’s you’re turn.

JOHN: As hero to Carolina I have faithfully done my duty and played countless games of charades. I stood up to her beastly parents and rescued her closest confidant. I endured being sewn into a bundling bag, being watched shamelessly on while bathing in the pond, had to bear witness to a dirty, old merkin lying in the street while eloping, and in the end, swept my girl away from her parent’s evil clutches and eventually brought her and my three daughters to London where all of Rose’s stories began.

EDWARD: You’re rather smug, aren’t you, Trouble?

JOHN: *shrugs* The boot fits.

All right you two, nearly two hundred and fifty years later and you two are squabbling like little boys.

EDWARD: We’re brother’s, that’s what we’re supposed to do.

And now, for another set of Banks Brothers—Elijah?

ELIJAH BANKS—HERO FROM HIS JILTED BRIDE: *squares shoulders and slowly looks around the room* Fellas, you can all go home. This victory is mine. You all might think you rescued your heroines, but I—*points at chest*–I did. I not only saved her from being married to a scheming, lying, reprobate who likely would have done unmentionable things to her person, but I did it by shimmying her through a church window in her wedding gown, no less. *chuckles* And no more, either.

HENRY BANKS—ELIJAH’S TWIN AND HERO FROM HIS BROTHER’S BRIDE: What Elijah neglected to mention was said man hadn’t even shown up yet. So how exactly he spared her such a life… *shakes head* Can anyone truly be certain?

ELIJAH: Right you are, Henry. I was also rescuing her from the humiliation of being jilted. I thought that was implied by the title. And just because he hadn’t shown up yet that day, didn’t mean he didn’t still have plans for her.

HENRY: That’s true, however, had you not married her and just brought her to safety, you’d have been able to fulfill an earlier promise you’d made.

ELIJAH: Oh, you mean I’d have married Laura—YOUR wife? *cocks head to the side* If what I spied in the garden is any indication, I think you ought to be thanking me.

HENRY: Indeed.

ELIJAH: My thanks?

HENRY: *stares at him* I’ll refrain from singing carols at Michaelmas this year.

ELIJAH: That’s even better.

Throws hand up. Henry, it’s your turn.

HENRY: *rubs chin* As I just mentioned I did marry the young lady Elijah had promised marriage to. And I don’t regret it. I did first try to find her another suitable husband because what else can you do when a woman you barely knows shows up on your front door stoop and demands marriage? If rescuing heroines is the key to winning, I should say that I rescued mine from herself when she was spitting out phrases in French that she didn’t know the meaning of. And finally, I do believe, I exercised perfect self-control in the carriage while taking my—not my brother’s *scowls*—bride to Scotland.

ELIJAH: And on the way back?

HENRY: Is none of your damn business.

EDWARD: That’s my boy.

JOHN: Only you would be proud.

EDWARD: Had your wife produced a boy, you’d understand. As it is your girls—

JOHN: Are the most scandalous sisters to ever step foot in London, yes, I know.

EDWARD: I was going ot say saints, but your definition works, too.

All right, we need to–

GATEWAY: *pokes his head in the room* Are you hens still clucking? You all know I won this competition before it even started.

ANDREW: Only if you’ve been out there rigging the votes… *arches eyebrow*

MARCUS: Besides, I think you’d do well to spend a little more time around Alex and allow him to explain to you the difference between hens and roosters.

GATEWAY: I can borrow Sir Wallace’s naughty book for that, I’m sure.

Gateway, come join us again. Apparently, without you making inane and unsolicited comments everyone else feels they need to.

GATEWAY–*lumbers in and falls into a vacant chair* Ah, to be the scapegoat.

Now, let’s switch gears and hear from our American heroes—Wes, are you ready?

CAPTAIN WES TUCKER—HERO FROM THE OFFICER AND THE BOSTONER: About as ready as I was for a spirited and slightly angry young lady to come parading into my life, throwing rocks and making impossible demands.

2ND LIEUTENANT JACK—HERO FROM THE OFFICER AND THE SOUTHERNER: Sounds to me like you’re complaining.

CAPTAIN GRAY—HERO FROM THE OFFICER AND THE TRAVELER: Which you certainly weren’t doing when she came. I do believe you went around whistling a merry little tune as you packed your things and strutted up to your new bedchamber in the married officers wing of the barracks.

WES: Indeed I was. But keep in mind, I managed to keep Allison safe from harm of the other men and from herself with a sewing needle. I used her excellent throw to all of our advantage and taught her how to swing a bat—she can now best even the best in rounders.

JACK: Yes, that all sounds so exciting, lest we forget your book isn’t a shoot’em up.

GRAY: No, that was saved for your book. Would you care to share with everyone just exactly what went on at the shooting range that day?

JACK: That was a private moment between Ella and me.

*laughter from around the room.*

EDWARD: Good for you, young man.

Jack, why should you be most beloved hero?

JACK: I certainly went through some of the worst—sent off for a mail-order bride and received a young lady who was angry with me from the start. *face reddens* For which I do take full responsibility. Nearly lost my heroine to a spider. Had to ride a horse with a man who wore little more than an eyepatch over his…unmentionables, sat in the tent of a naked and half-crazed medicine man—and that was only the first half of my tale. As Gray mentioned, I taught my girl how to shoot…*face turns crimson and coughing ensues* and gave her another sort of education as well.

GRAY: *voice dripping with sarcasm* And now, I’ll never be able to shoot at the range again without that thought. Thank you.

JACK: *grins* You’re welcome.

GATEWAY: Would you like me to ruin a few places in England for you?

EVERYONE: NO!

GATEWAY: *chuckles* Pray continue.

Gray, you’re turn.

GRAY: I do believe I am the most beloved. I had a rekindled romance with a woman I was once forbidden to talk to and because I kissed her–

JACK: Should you remind everyone why you were kissing her?

GRAY: *ignoring Jack, continues*–we were married and I inherited a dragon for a father-in-law.

JACK: *snorts* I have the same father-in-law!

WES: Yes, and thanks to the two of you, he’s now the general at our fort.

JACK: It’s not my fault. I didn’t know Ella’s father was a grumpy old general when I started writing to her. Hell, even Gray didn’t recognize Ella when she first came.

GRAY: And if I had, would you have sent her back?

JACK: Well, no.

GRAY: Then it seems you should stop your complaining about the old dragon.

WES: And you should, too. You both chose to be connected to him. I did not.

GRAY: As I said, if Jack had known any more about Ella’s identity it could have been avoided.

WES: Yes, but then you wouldn’t have had your wife.

GRAY: No, I wouldn’t have–*eyes crinkle and a broad grin takes his lips* and dealing with her cantankerous father is a small price to pay to have her.

Gray, is that all you have to say?

GRAY: No, I have plenty to say if these two would shut up for two minutes. I married a woman who had no reservations in her dislike for me. As has been mentioned, her father didn’t like me either. But even so, she managed to win me over and I daresay, I won both of them over, too.

JACK: That’s the best you could come up with?

GRAY: Yep, I’m Michaela’s all-time favorite hero. I don’t need to be anyone else’s.

*silence fills the room…until broken by none other than GATEWAY* Ah, spoken like a men letting his privates doing the thinking for him—and not the hundred men you command.

GRAY: *shrugs* Her opinion is the only one I value.

That’s very sweet, so then should we stop this competition now and let you all get back to your respective heroines?

SEBASTIAN GENTRY, LORD BELGRAVE—HERO FROM SECRETS OF A VISCOUNT: Hell no. I did not break into the wrong sister’s bedroom and hie my worst nightmare off to Scotland, marry her, lie to her, diligently try to find her another husband while secretly longing for her and praying she wouldn’t wind up with Stoic Simon just to give up now. I love Belle more than life itself, but by golly, I’m the most beloved hero—I’ve even won an award.

Your book isn’t the only one to be nominated for an award, Sebastian, (gracious this man needs to be taken down a peg), Patrick, Edward and John have been finalists, too.

SEBASTIAN: Ah, but they all came in second. I won. And a reader’s choice, nomination style entry no less.

EDWARD: Not true. I won some something or other once, too.

SEBASTIAN: Nobody seems to remember that. Not even the contest officials when it was time to publicly reveal the winners. But me? Oh, they made up this huge poster of my book. The thing was so big, Rose couldn’t get it back home from the conference. A local friend—and saint—kept it at her house for almost two and a half years until a mutual friend happened to be driving across the US and brought it to Rose. See, it’s right here!

soav-award-banner
Exhibit A

GATEWAY: I think I’ve found my match for most conceited.

SEBASTIAN: Exactly, the Gateway Era is over and the Sebastian Era has begun.

SIMON APPLETON—HERO FROM PASSIONS OF A GENTLEMAN: I still can’t believe Isabelle chose this for herself.

HENRY: Ha, if awards were given out for which hero made Rose bang her head against the desk most while writing their book, Elijah would win handidly.

SEBASTIAN: And Simon would win for most re-starts.

JACK: Gray would be a close second for that one.

Hey now! Stop airing MY dirty laundry. Giles, are you ready?

GILES GODDARD—HERO FROM DESIRES OF A BARON: I don’t need this award. I married Lucy a woman who loves me no matter what I say and do. With Lucy came Seth. The boy asks me uncomfortable questions about the origins of babies, when unsightly hair will appear, and now calls me Papa. I already have my reward.

SIMON: And don’t forget a brother.

GILES: How could I? You’re the reason I was questioned about the appearance of body hair.

SIMON: And the reason you met Lucy.

GILES: Yes, it was because of you we met, but you certainly didn’t have any intentions of backing down.

SIMON: I’d met her first.

GILES: And it was obvious that she didn’t return your interest. At least it was obvious when I read the book—living it was a different matter.

All right—again, more bickering brothers! Simon, you’ll have your turn in a bit–

SIMON: Of course I will. I already had to wait two years to get my book, why not wait longer to have my turn to speak.

In order of heroes, I think Gareth is next.

GARETH, LORD WORTHE—HERO FROM THE PERFECT LADY WORTHE: As many of the others have said, I already feel like I’ve won because I was blessed to have such a wonderful heroine to spend the rest of this life with. But…since Rose is twisting our arms for these speeches, I will say that I am indeed gentlemanly and clever. I was the HERO FROM her first novella who apparently knows exactly how much is in my bank account and takes abbreviated naps throughout the day. Not to mention, I married my best friend’s younger sister against his wishes, that’s pretty damn brazen and heroic, if you ask me.

GATEWAY: Twisted your arm? Hmmph.

Aaron, your turn.

AARON LENTZ, HERO FROM MISTLETOE & MICHAELMAS: I had to endure a Christmastide stay with the straightforward Duke of Danby. The man is so obsessed with matchmaking, I went to his house as part of my duty as a vicar and less than a fortnight later I was in need of one myself. Also, for the record, it should be mentioned, my name wasn’t always Aaron. I was given that name the afternoon the book was submitted because another story in the anthology had a hero with the same name. How is that for enduring?

JOHN: I wondered how you ended up with what was originally my name.

I confess, I confess! Aaron is telling the truth. His name was different when I wrote the book and I had to change it. John is also correct—his name originally was Aaron. But when I was typing Aaron, my fingers were moving so fast I’d capitalize both As. Plus, Intentions of the Earl didn’t need anyone else with an “A” name. Now, let’s move onto our next hero: Joel.

JOEL CUNNINGHAM—HERO FROM JESSE: BRIDE OF SOUTH CAROLINA: What can I say? I was commissioned to bring the girl I’d once loved more than life itself one hundred miles in my wagon to a train depot so she could go off to the wilds of Montana and marry Mr. Perfect—which couldn’t have been too perfect or he wouldn’t have submitted an ad for a mail-order bride. I kept my hands to myself—most of the time, my trousers buttoned up—a blasted hard thing to do at times and reined in my sarcasm–

No you did not!

JOEL: And no you did not have this book done by Oct. 26, 2015 like you were supposed and yet you still told everyone you had. If I remember right you were only 1,000 words in.

What has that to do with anything?

JOEL: Nothing, other than I was the perfect hero to write about. If I hadn’t been so easy to write about you wouldn’t have gotten this book done in under a week.

GATEWAY: Dang! Here I thought my book was the fastest at ten days.

JOEL: No, mine took less time but after meeting you today, I see why yours took so long. You’re a fountain of fodder.

GATEWAY: Thank you. I enjoy being complimented.

JOEL: Yes, and so does my wife. Who, I’ll have you all know I managed to win over on that trip despite fear of her father catching us, being robbed, having to sleep outside, meeting a deranged man who loves his junk more than Andrew and Gateway hate each other and more sarcastic remarks than have been shared here today.

You are correct, Joel. On all scores. James?

JAMES NORTH, EARL OF WYNN—HERO FROM THE WOOING GAME: I daresay this award is in the bag for me. Charlotte and I had a nasty first start. Blooming humiliating all the way around if I dare say. However, I managed to win her—even woo her—and all by sending her anonymous letters of admiration, a feat not even the notorious Banks men—or heroes of the Banks women–could pull off.

GARETH: The first missive you sent her, wasn’t so anonymous….or charming.

JAMES: Shhh! I made a mistake. You’ve made one I’m sure.

GARETH: Never.

SIMON: Is it my turn yet? Have I waited long enough?

Yes, Simon, you can go now.

SEBASTIAN: I don’t know why you’re bothering to, I’m sure everyone has already decided.

GATEWAY: Yes, they only needed to hear the first three.

ANDREW: Nope. Just the first one.

SIMON: Well, aren’t you both rather cocksure? Haven’t you ever heard of “saving the best for last”? My book was “in the works” for two blasted YEARS. Rose received emails inquiring when it was coming out. People asking why they couldn’t find it. She even received a very nasty email about tying her to a chair and making her write it. I daresay, if the emails are to be believed, I would consider this contest already over. Name me the winner and hand me my crown.

SEBASTIAN: Just because they asked about you and demanded she write your book doesn’t mean they liked it. Heck, if sales reports are any indication, I’d honestly say your book is the least read book Rose has written!

SIMON: That’s because everyone read your book and hated you so much they didn’t want to risk reading the others in the series for fear of encountering you again.

SEBASTIAN: Again, may I point your direction to Exhibit A?

soav-award-banner

All righty then, I think we’re done.

GATEWAY: No closing remarks?

No, you’ve all said more than enough already. All right ladies, you’ve heard what they have to say and tomorrow—on National Election Day—you can cast your vote for your favorite Rose Gordon Hero on Facebook. Please read over this as many times as you feel are necessary and share with your friends who might like to vote.

From just outside the window of my living room where everyone had gathered…GABRIEL ELLIS—FUTURE HERO FROM HIS PENNILESS BRIDE: Damn. She’s been receiving emails about the whereabouts of my story for four years—that’s before more than half of these fellas were heroes—I now have another four years to get my story, read all of their books to dig up the most gossip and I’ll be an easy win next go-around.

Ah, Gabriel, you forget…since your story hasn’t yet been written, you could be the most scandalous of them all!

GABRIEL: Marjorie! Let’s run away. Now!

Banks Brothers' Brides Series, Books, Cover Reveal, Covers, His Penniless Bride, His Yankee Bride, Updates

I have a cover…so now it’s official!

A few days ago, I mentioned that I was planning to write Marjorie and Gabriel’s story. (These are secondary characters from His Yankee Bride.)

Well…now I have NO CHOICE but to write it because I have a a beautiful cover! And it MUST be used, right?

I present to you the cover for His Penniless Bride–Banks Brothers’ Brides, Book 2.5

Red Beauty

 

The plotting has begun and so has the writing. More details coming soon!

Banks Brothers' Brides Series, Books, Desires of a Baron, Happenings, New Release, Officer Series, pre-order, The Wooing Game, Updates

New Collection Release, a sale, a pre-order, and an announcement!

That’s a mouthful! Here goes:

Hearts Ablaze

hearts-ablaze-kindle

Eight bestselling authors. Eight sizzling tales of the Old West to set your heart ablaze…
From the wild Pacific forests to the lonesome plains, on wagon trains and at frontier outposts, fall in love with lumberjacks and soldiers, trailblazers and trick riders, courageous warriors and rugged cowboys…

In Whispered Love, bestselling author Kathleen Ball takes you to the wild Pacific Northwest, a land bristling with handsome, well-muscled lumberjacks. Foreman Samuel Pearse has only one rule; no women allowed. Until he finds one asleep in his bathtub—Pat Clarke, the company cook. With her secret revealed and her virtue at stake, Pat turns to the only man who can help her…the one man who sets fire to her heart.

In Kate’s Outlaw, award-winning author E.E. Burke spins a suspenseful yarn about a half-breed desperado who abducts—and then rescues—a railroad heiress. On the run from danger, with enemies on both sides, Jake and Kate seek solace in each other’s arms…and ignite a love as powerful as it is forbidden.

The Officer and the Bostoner, from USA Today bestselling author Rose Gordon, follows the adventures of a well-to-do lady traveling cross-country to meet her intended. Instead, she finds herself stranded at a military fort and forced into an unwanted marriage. Can a hot-blooded officer spark love in his wife’s cold heart?

Fools Rush from USA Today bestselling author Ciara Knight. A young woman, desperate for independence from all men, embarks on a crazy cross-country wagon train adventure disguised as a man. Instead of finding her independence, a bounty hunter captures her under the guise of horse thieving, a crime punishable by hanging. Will a man she’s lied to for months save her, or will he surrender her to a monster with a badge?

Ridin’ For a Fall by Kirsten Lynn immerses you in a fiery tale of forever love. When circumstances force best friends and Wild West Show performers, Lena Boden and Kyle Allaway to marry and return to Wyoming, they must stand together against internal doubts and external forces seeking their destruction—or risk a fall that will knock them out of the saddle for good.

A Warrior’s Heart, by bestselling author Amanda McIntyre, brings to life the passionate story of a bold Cherokee warrior and the brave white woman he rescues from certain death. Thrown together by circumstances not of their own making, they overcome betrayal and tragedy to find a love strong enough to bring nations together.

The Rancher, by bestselling author Hildie McQueen, transports readers to 1870s Montana Territory and into a sensual encounter between an injured rancher and a woman running for her life. Sometimes love enters at the worst moment…

In The Drifter, bestselling author Elizabeth Rose takes readers on an epic journey across the plains, as drifter Chase Masters shows up wounded at Nessa Pemberton’s stagecoach relay station mistaken as the bandit who killed her husband. Can a single mother learn to love again and put her trust in a man who is nothing but a drifter?

Ignite a new love for the Old West. Order your copy today for only 99 cents.

Amazon ~ Apple ~ B&N ~ Google ~ Kobo

 

DESIRES OF A BARON is ON SALE for 99c through today (or sometime midday tomorrow when Amazon gets around the changing the price. 

RG_desiresofabaronw.sn

Giles Goddard, Lord Norcourt is odd. Odder still, he has suddenly taken a fancy to his brother’s love interest, the fallen Lucy Whitaker. Lucy was once thrown over by a lord and she has little desire to let it happen again, but she’s about to learn that his desires just might be enough for the both of them.

Amazon ~ Apple ~ B&N ~ Google ~ Kobo

The Wooing Game ~ Coming as a single Nov. 21, 2016

twg

The first meeting for James, Earl of Wynn and Miss Charlotte Cavanaugh was not so spectacular. Come to think of it, neither was the second which led to a hasty marriage followed by three years of speculation as to why the two were never seen in the same room. But that’s all about to change…

When an anonymous letter of admiration—and scandalous invitation—arrives for Charlotte, James realizes this might be his chance to start over, and thus begins The Wooing Game.

~*~Please note this story was originally released in a collection called Evading the Duke~*~

Amazon ~ Apple ~ B&N ~ Google ~ Kobo

And finally….

After almost five years, Marjorie Reynolds and Gabriel Ellis will have their happily-ever-after!!!

Five years seems like an eternity and I cannot believe it has been that long, which it hasn’t yet, but by the time the book comes out it will be close.

I recently agreed to do a cross-promo group for next summer and then was informed, you need to be showcasing a new book. So alas, that is all the motivation I needed. The working title is: His Penniless Bride and will be number 2.5 in the Banks Brothers’ Brides series. Yes, I am aware that Gabriel isn’t a Banks, but there just isn’t anywhere else to fit their story in. I have already started and I am super excited. More details…including a cover, coming soon.

All the best this week,

Rose

Banks Brothers' Brides Series, Behind the Scenes, Books, Gentlemen of Honor, Groom Series, Just for Fun, Officer Series, Scandalous Sisters Series

Reviving some old blog features–cast your vote!

I’m thinking to bring back some old blog days: Story Sample Sunday, Wicked Wednesday, Fun Fact Friday, Meme Monday, and maybe a few new ones. My question to all of you, what scenes would you like to see posted? It can be from any book I’ve written.

Please note, I don’t plan to feature ALL 19 of my books one week at a time again like I did last time, just kind of hit and miss on each of these features.

Also, if there are any other features I’ve done in the past you’d like to see come back, let me know!

 

Banks Brothers' Brides Series, His Brother's Bride, Wicked Wednesday

Wicked Wednesday ~ His Brother’s Bride

A little background on this: Henry is intent to find Laura a new husband so he can clear Elijah’s name and he’s not stuck with her–though he’s becoming undeniably attracted to her, which isn’t so great since she’s letting him believe she thinks he’s Elijah. A blow to the male ego, to be sure. To find her a new beau, he’s taken her to a local assembly where they’re pretending to be French so that nobody recognizes him. The problem? She doesn’t know French outside of a few sentences which she’s been spouting without knowing what they mean. She might not know, but the men did and when one takes a moment to inform Henry of what his “daughter” is saying, Henry does the only thing he can think to do:

Every drop of blood that had been roaring in Henry’s ears was now in his toes.

Due to the lack of blood flowing to his brain, he took a momentary leave of his senses—something he’d prided himself on never once doing during his nine years as a spy—walked straight over to where Laura was dancing with that cad, wrapped his arm around her and carried her from the floor.

Put me down!” Laura demanded of the madman who’d inhabited Henry’s body and carried her from the middle of the floor. She let out a slight shriek when he tightened his hold.

He ignored her demands and the curious stares from the onlookers as he carried her straight from the ballroom to a little room off to the side, where he promptly did as she asked and put her down—on the soft surface of a plush settee.

What was that about?” she asked, crossing her arms. She knew it was foolish to ask. He’d never tell her. While a gentleman could demand a lady’s motives and use physical force, if necessary, to get her to expose them, a woman could make similar demands until her throat was raw and still wouldn’t have an answer.

Parlez-vous du français?”

She bit her lip. “Oui.”

Comment faire vous vous sentez de moi”

She swallowed, hard. Then she lifted her chin. “Viens ici que je te saute.

Vraiment?”

Oui,” she said without hesitation.

Henry sneered, “Madam, do you have any idea what you just said to me?”

She pulled her lower lip between her teeth but didn’t say anything.

I didn’t think so,” he said thickly, sinking to the haunches to close the gap between them. He lifted his hands to cup her face. “Perhaps you’d like for me to show you?”

Laura moistened her lips with the tip of her tongue. Was he about to kiss her? The very idea was laughable. He had no genuine interest in her, for if he did, he wouldn’t have kept finding her dance partners.

I’m not in need of any demonstration,” she said in a broken whisper.

His eyes held a gleam she’d never seen before and she shivered.

As if he didn’t hear her weak protest, he brought his lips to hers.

His lips were surprisingly soft, she noted.

Just as quickly, he jerked away as if he’d been burned and muttered a mild curse. He stood, removed his hat and raked his hand through his hair.

That’s what I was saying?” she asked, dumbfounded. She mindlessly lifted her fingertips to her lips that were still tingling from the three seconds they’d been pressed against Henry’s. “I was asking for a kiss?”

No.” His voice was sharp. He cleared his throat. “What you were asking for might involve a kiss, but only as a mere afterthought.”

She furrowed her brow. “I don’t understand.”

You were suggesting the two of you go away together so you could allow him to sample your wares.”

Her eyes grew wide. “I said all of that?”

He scowled. “No. What you said was far more vulgar—including you asking to sample his wares. I was merely phrasing it nicely.”

Oh, dear.” She had the strangest urge to laugh. The faces of the twenty or so different dance partners she’d said that to flooded her mind. That’s why they’d been smiling and it had taken a firm reminder that her “father” was waiting for her return. Good grief! A burble of laughter welled up inside of her and she was no longer able to control it.

You think it’s humorous?” Henry’s face was expressionless, save his clenched jaw.

Well, yes,” she said with a giggle.

And what if one of them had tried to fulfill your demand?”

My demand?”

To come close so you can initiate intimacies with him.”

She laughed even harder, her body convulsing with it. The idea that she’d ever initiate intimacies with anyone was more comical than a man wearing a purple suit of clothes, white cream on his face, and a hat with bells while standing on stilts, juggling and singing about his longing for a wife.

I don’t know why you find this so funny, madam; but those words whispered to the wrong man could lead you into more trouble than you can imagine.”

Like you,” she suggested between peals of laughter.

Yes.”

She sobered instantly, their eyes locking. His were still dark and intense. She swallowed her unease. She’d been uncomfortable in his presence before, but never like she was now. “I hope you know when I said that, that I wasn’t issuing an invitation. I was just…”

Spouting nonsense?”

She nodded. That was exactly what she was doing. Robbie had said those words to her, or other ladies within her earshot, on more than one occasion, but she never knew what it meant.

I know you did not know what you were saying. But still, you’d better be careful who you say that to; and if you ever say it in my presence again, you’d best be ready to fulfill that promise.”

A shiver skated down her spine at the roughness in his voice. Would he try to kiss her again? Did she want him to?

I do believe it’s time for us to take our leave from here.”

And where shall we go?” She hadn’t meant to ask it, but now that she had…

Home.”

Home. What a foreign word. “I presume you mean your home,” she murmured, standing.

He lowered his lashes as if he didn’t know how to respond, not that she’d expected him to. It was the truth. Where they’d been staying was his home, not hers. She hadn’t had a home in many years, only places of residence.

Laura walked over to the door and waited for Henry to join her. Something was odd about him. He was unusually quiet and stiff, yes stiff. His movements weren’t as graceful as they usually were, and he appeared a bit…distracted.

Would you like to wait here while I have the carriage sent?”

No. I’ll go with you.”

Very well.” He opened the door for her and then escorted her down the hall.

Is something amiss?” she asked when she could no longer stand the silence between them.

No.”

She frowned. “I hope you don’t intend to blame me for giving away your identity because of my blatant lack of knowing French.”

He flashed a half smile at her and with a thick French accent said, “I wasn’t aware my identity was revealed, madame.”

Then why are you upset? What have I done?”

He froze, his eyes searching hers. “Nothing.”

It’s not nothing. What has made you turn so cold? One minute, your lips are on mine, and the next, you’ve become a monosyllabic statue.”

I wasn’t aware statues could talk, in one syllable or five.”

They can’t,” she burst out. “You know exactly what I mean. You—you—” She closed her mouth with a snap. He knew what she meant; he was being obtuse on purpose.

What do you want from me, Laura?” He peeled off his mustache and leaned in closer. “Do you want me to kiss you again?”

Heat flooded her, but she couldn’t deny it. Kissing him was different than anything she’d ever known; not that she could tell him that. His male pride would soar and he’d never see any reason to be kind to her again.

Hmm?” he asked, closing the space between them.

She could practically feel his lips against hers, though they were still a hair’s breadth away.

Then, they were on hers again, sending the same delicious sensations through her body. Soft and gentle, his lips moved over hers. Henry’s hands came up to cup her face, holding her to him. She didn’t mind and wanted desperately to wrap her arms around his neck to keep him there, but fear held her back.

He parted his lips and drew her bottom lip in between his and gently raked his teeth over it. She gasped. He repeated the gesture, this time running his tongue over her lip just afterwards. “Henry,” she said on a sigh.

He froze.

She froze.

He pulled back from her, his eyes still dark with desire but also narrowed on her. In them, she saw the question his lips had yet to speak.

A chill ran over her. What would he say when he learned that she’d known all along?

Laura.”

She squeezed the fan in her hand; both of his hands still holding her face. “Yes?”

What did you just say?”

Were she a sarcastic sort, she’d have repeated the word yes; but she knew what he’d meant, and she also knew it would not be in her best interest to trifle with him. “I said, Henry. Your name. If you’d rather I didn’t, I could call you Mr. Ban—”

The rest of her sentence was cut off when his lips took hers again. This time, his kiss was different, more passionate. He parted his lips against hers and ran the tip of his tongue along the seam of her lips. She gasped his name, and devilish man that he was, he took advantage of her surprise to push his tongue into her mouth.

A small measure of panic built in her chest, momentarily dampening her enjoyment of his kiss. Would he gag her or slobber on her?

Her thought was banished in an instant as Henry slowly brushed the inside of her left cheek, then her right, taking time to taste her. She instinctively moved closer to him. His kiss was so different than any she’d ever experienced before, and for as wanton and unladylike as it was, she craved more and wasn’t ready for him to stop.

But he did.

Panting, he pulled back. “Let’s go.”

Go? Go where?” she asked, blinking in confusion.

He showed no sign of being annoyed or irritated with her inane question; instead, he reached for her hand, laced their fingers together, opened the front door and said, “To Scotland.”

Banks Brothers' Brides Series, His Brother's Bride

Story Sample ~ His Brother’s Bride

This week’s book is the last “Banks” book I’ve written (so far–you just never know…), His Brother’s Bride.

Red Beauty

The hero for this one is Henry, Elijah’s twin and Alex’s youngest brother (which also makes him Edward’s youngest son). While most will love the hero based solely on the fact his last name is Banks, the heroine might take some warming up to? Why? Because her name is Laura Swift as in the same Laura Swift who swooped in and stole Madison’s beau back in New York. Of course it all worked out just fine and dandy for Madison–I don’t think anyone could argue that. But, just because things worked out well for the former heroine, doesn’t mean that everything will be a bed of roses between them. In fact, while Madison despised Laura in her book, Laura also has ample reason–in her mind–to detest Madison, which is the reason she’s come to England: she wants revenge.

July 1819

Watson Estate

 

I’m ready to get married.”

Pardon me?” Henry Banks said, matching the same blunt tone the young lady with the sophisticated bun standing outside his door had used.

She sighed and shoved a folded piece of parchment into his hands.

Henry’s pale blue eyes widened as he scanned the foreign lines. When had he lost his ability to read? It had to have been in the last five minutes, because he knew his twin brother Elijah hadn’t signed a betrothal contract during their brief time in America. Not that it was an official contract written up by a solicitor, but it had all the important details about a marriage that was to take place between the two parties who had signed below. One of whom was definitely Elijah. Under Elijah’s name were the names and markings of two witnesses. It might not be as “official” as most he’d seen, but with Elijah’s signature and those of two witnesses, it was official enough.

The creature with pink lips and alabaster skin who’d shown up on his doorstep cleared her throat.

He met her hazel eyes. “Yes?”

I’ll only require a few days before the wedding,” she said, flashing him a sweet smile that matched her all-too-sweet Southern United States accent. “As you already know, I’m a simple miss. I require nothing fancy.”

Henry nearly snorted. He remembered meeting this chit during his travels; she was anything but a simple miss. Every time he’d seen her, she’d been dressed in the height of fashion and her hair had been styled in a different arrangement, complete with some of the fanciest combs he’d ever seen. Either she’d fallen from grace in the worst way possible or the woman he’d met before had a twin. There was no way the lady he’d met could be termed as a simple miss. “Ah, so a small wedding with only family in attendance will suffice,” he said, more for the amusement of saying it than out of being serious.

Something flickered in her eyes and her smile as sweet as her accent returned. “Yes, I think that should do nicely.”

Henry sighed and shook his head. “I hate to be the one to tell you this, madam, but there won’t be a wedding—”

Yes, there will be,” she interrupted, jabbing her index finger at the paper he held. “It says so right there.”

Henry’s chest constricted at the desperation he heard in her voice. She’d come halfway across the world with the intention of getting married—she’d be crushed to find her groom was already married. But what could he do about it? “Won’t you come inside?” he invited, gesturing inside the little cottage on the edge of Watson Estate that his oldest brother, Alex, allowed him to stay in, while visiting the country. Technically, the cottage belonged to his mother, since she was the dowager; but she much preferred to stay in the main house and neither Alex nor Caroline had a problem with that, leaving it available for Henry to occupy.

His uninvited guest pressed her lips together. “No. Ladies do not go into the homes of gentlemen they’re not married to.”

He blinked at her. Her starchy tone and the uneasy look in her eyes spoke much louder than her voice had. She might want to marry, but she surely seemed to be uneasy at the idea of what she’d be expected to do after she was married. Fortunately for her, that wouldn’t be a problem she’d need to concern herself with in the near future.

About that—” he idly tapped the paper she’d given him against his thigh— “would you be interested in marriage to another?”

Her eyes narrowed on him. “Are you interested in a scandal, Mr. Banks?”

Her challenge brought him up short. “No,” he said carefully.

That’s what I thought,” she said, her sweet smile resuming its former place on her lips.

Henry’s mind raced. His family might not wish for her to bring a scandal to their doorstep, but unless his scientifically-inclined brother, Alex, was able to discover a way to travel back in time within the next few days, a scandal was exactly what would come to them. A thought popped into his mind. It wouldn’t work long term, but it might work just long enough to accomplish his goal and avoid scandal.

He heaved a heavy sigh then stepped onto his porch. “What would you think if I were to court you a while first?”

***

Laura Swift stared at the addled gentleman who stood in front of her. She’d just spent the last two weeks traveling; first across the ocean and then all over southern England, tracking down her groom-to-be. Surely she should be the one speaking nonsense—not him.

Why?” she asked.

He shrugged. “To see if we suit.”

Why would Henry care if they suited? Her agreement was with Elijah. “Does it matter how we suit?”

Absolutely,” he said jovially. A little too jovially. “I think it’s important that we rub along well if we’re to be married.”

Oh he did, did he? She didn’t remember signing a betrothal agreement with the pompous Henry Banks. She’d found his intense, blue eyes unnerving and seemed to lose her confidence whenever he spoke to her. No, Henry was not the brother she’d tricked into signing the agreement. But apparently marriage to Elijah wasn’t an option any longer. Otherwise, Henry wouldn’t be pretending to be him and asking to court her. The good Lord knew Henry’s disinterest in her rivaled hers for him.

She tamped down her nerves and forced a smile. “Very well; you may court me,” she forced herself to say as evenly as she could. Truly, it didn’t matter which one she married; one was as good as the other for the purpose she needed him.

Excellent,” he said; his face and tone as impassive as always. He offered her his arm and turned his head to the right, then the left. “Have you ever ridden a horse?”

Pardon?”

My brother has some of the best horses in England in his stables. We should go riding.”

She commanded herself not to grind her teeth at his suggestion. “Why?”

Because that’s what people do when they’re courting.”

They also spend time in the parlor,” she pointed out. The last person she wanted to ride horses with was Henry and his scrutinizing gaze and condescending tone.

He led her in the direction of the stables. “While I’m sure my mother would love to act as a chaperone, I’d rather court you without her presence so we can actually get to know each other.”

She came to an abrupt stop. “I think not, Mr. Banks.” His wince at her sharp tone made her blanch. “Excuse me,” she said in an uneven tone. “What I meant to say was that I think it would be best if we spend time in the presence of a chaperone until we know each other a little better.”

He spun around to face her. “Is that so?” His cool blue eyes held her gaze. “But no more than five minutes ago, you were discussing our wedding. You do realize that once we repeat our vows and leave the church, there will be no more chaperones. It’ll just be you and me. Alone. Together.”

She swallowed the lump of emotion in her throat. “I know,” she whispered, as her mind flooded with the memories of what happened the afternoon she’d married her late husband. At least this time, she’d know what to expect and could take precautions.

She looked at Henry’s profile. He was close to six feet, a good six inches taller than average, and had a large, imposing body with broad shoulders, a rounded chest that was clearly muscled and a thickness in his abdomen that she highly doubted was composed of loose fat, but firm muscles. His appearance was drastically different than that of her first husband, Robbie Swift, which would mean Henry would only hurt her more than Robbie had. She shivered at the sickening thought and then pushed it away. She wasn’t getting married this afternoon, so there wasn’t anything to worry about. Besides, she might not have to do that after all if everything fell into place the way she hoped. And if she did, well, it was a small price to pay.

She looked over at a waiting Henry. His eyes were fastened on her, his lips tight and his left eyebrow quirked; but as unnerving as his demeanor was at times, she knew that he was a gentleman and wouldn’t try to coerce her into sharing intimacies today. There was no need to be nervous.

I know there won’t be chaperones on our wedding night,” she said, forcing a smile and praying there wouldn’t be “chaperones” or any other type of observer on any of their other nights, either.

Are you feeling well?” he asked, his usually high brow puckered.

Of course,” she said quickly. “I was just thinking that I’m not properly attired to ride just now.”

He swept her with his gaze from the top of her head to the hem of her wide skirt.

You’ll be riding sidesaddle. I think you’ll be fine. You can just lift your skirt and sit directly onto the saddle, then rest your skirts over top to cover up with.”

Her jaw fell slack. Was he trying to scandalize her? If so, she’d have to congratulate him because it was working. She narrowed her eyes on him. The left corner of his mouth twitched. Not a lot, just enough to give him away. He was trying to scandalize her. Presumably, he was doing this because he wasn’t Elijah and he had every intention to make her cry off.

Well, that would not be happening. She’d determined she’d marry one of the Banks brothers five years ago and she’d see to it that she did. No half-hearted scandalous statement would keep her from her task.

Very well, then. That seems to be the perfect solution.”

His impassive face gave away nothing as he nodded once then led her toward the stables. “Why don’t you wait here and I’ll get our horses?”

A small wave of sadness crashed over her. As a girl, she’d loved to ride. Never sidesaddle, mind you. But her riding days felt like a lifetime ago. She’d not been atop a horse since she was taken to New York at seventeen and married off to an imbecile who didn’t know how to ride.

She clasped her hands in front of her and waited for Henry’s return. The warm country air felt good against her face, a reminder of the cotton plantation she’d been forced to leave behind more than seven years before for the stale air she’d been inhaling in Brooklyn, New York. She swallowed. There was nothing that could be done about it now. She had no future in New York or Georgia, nor did she have one here, either.

Your mount,” Henry’s clipped tone brought her from her thoughts.

She took a step back so he could lead the slow stepping nag in front of her. She frowned. “Is there a reason you selected this particular horse for me?”

I thought perhaps you’d prefer this one since you were so apprehensive about riding.”

I wasn’t apprehensive about riding a horse,” she said defensively. “I was apprehensive about being alone with you.”

He clicked his tongue and the horse whose name couldn’t have been anything but About-To-Be-Glue came to a shaky stop in front of her. “As I said earlier, madam, you’re going to have to get accustomed to being alone with me, if we’re to be married.” The challenge in his tone was unmistakable.

Unease settled in Laura’s stomach. She’d never ridden sidesaddle before. She’d seen a number of ladies in New York do so, but where she’d lived in Georgia, it hadn’t been practical. But she’d be damned if she’d admit her unease to Henry.

Mrs. Swift,” she corrected, trying in vain not to make a face, since saying her own last name filled her mouth with a bitter taste. “My name is Mrs. Swift, not madam. As for the rest of your statement, I have no qualms about being alone with you after we’re married—” I’m already preparing myself for the travesty that will befall me then— “nor do I have any aversion to riding a horse.” She walked right up to the tired-looking horse he’d brought out for her and took the reins for both horses from him. “I’ll hold the horses while you go fetch me a mounting block, if you please.”

Wordlessly, Henry’s two strong hands encircled her waist, lifted her high into the air, and then brought her down onto the saddle.

Apparently, a brute like him didn’t find a mounting block necessary!

 

Banks Brothers' Brides Series, Behind the Scenes

Fun Fact Friday ~ His Jilted Bride

  • I’ve had three pet tarantulas: Harry, Mr. Fuzzinelli, and Quatzequatel.
  • One of my favorite comments from my husband came from this book. At the beginning of the second chapter when Amelia is waking up to a horrible headache and her gown in disarray, Bob wrote in the margin, “Moral of this story: don’t drink the fruity punch.”
  • I absolutely LOVE the name Elijah (and I certainly wish I’d thought of it while thinking up names for my boys)–it’s probably my favorite name of all of my heroes.
  • I had no idea that Henry was so…difficult and serious until this book! But I still love him.
  • I got the idea for the glass blowing scene after seeing a glass blowing demonstration. I think the skill is fascinating.
  • I didn’t want to rehash the sadness of Edward’s death, so I simply eluded to it (and in the next book), but still wanted to give him a little scene, hence the beginning.
  • I got the idea of prologue a few years back when my son used to come home from Kindergarten and complain that all the girls used to chase him around, tackle him and try to kiss him. He hated it. I thought it was hysterical and just had to hang onto the idea until I found a book where it’d work.
  • It took me almost six months to write this book and at times I honestly wasn’t sure it was going to happen, but then it all just came together.
  • I really didn’t have a plan for this book other than that they’d known each other their entire lives. How romance would form I didn’t know until I started writing.
Banks Brothers' Brides Series, His Jilted Bride, Wicked Wednesday

Wicked Wednesday ~ His Jilted Bride

Today’s post is “wicked” in a different sort of way. Elijah plays a wicked trick on Amelia which then leads to another activity that I wouldn’t be so vulgar as to post here!

A little set up, earlier that morning Amelia asks Elijah to be a dear and get rid of Mr. Henry Hirsute, his pet tarantula. Of course Elijah doesn’t wish to comply and they reach a compromise that Mr. Henry Hirsute will move from their bedroom to the parlor area and now Amelia and Elijah have just returned from a day out…

The picnic was wonderful with the tall shade tree, the cool water covering them to their ankles, the gentle breeze, the delicious food, and most importantly the company. Three days ago, she’d have never imagined they could be both friends and lovers. But last night had certainly changed her opinion of that. Her skin grew warm just thinking about it. Perhaps when they got inside, he’d hold up his earlier promise of ‘later’.

Or perhaps not.

Elijah, why isn’t the glass on Mr. Henry Hirsute’s cage?” she nearly shrieked, on the verge of hysterics as she entered the little cabin where they were staying.

I didn’t know it wasn’t.” Elijah stepped around her and went to the cage. “Damn,” he muttered.

Damn? Damn what? What are you damning, Elijah?”

He shot her his best smile. “It would appear Mr. Henry Hirsute has decided to go on another travel adventure.”

Amelia shrieked. She didn’t give a hang if that made her a ninny. There was a fuzzy spider on the loose, and it could be anywhere! Screaming like a madwoman, she ran through the cabin to jump on the bed, stepping only on her tiptoes as she went. She wasn’t going to put her whole foot on the floor until Mr. Henry Hirsute was back in his prison cell.

You think being on the bed will keep you safe?”

Amelia shivered. “It won’t?”

Elijah shrugged lazily. “I don’t see why it would. He can crawl up just as easily as he can crawl across a flat surface.”

Amelia jumped to her feet. “Elijah, I swear if I see that filthy scoundrel, I’ll kill him.”

Elijah chuckled and peered behind the bureau then under the wardrobe. “Must you call him a scoundrel? It’s not as if he’s the greatest debaucher in all of England.”

No,” she said with a sniff. “He’s worse.”

Shaking his head, Elijah lifted the overhanging bedsheets and searched underneath them for his errant pet.

Why did you have to keep him?” Amelia asked again.

Elijah frowned. “I couldn’t let him die, could I?”

No, but you could have at least let his namesake adopt him.”

You’re in a rather humorous mood today, aren’t you?” He lifted one of the bed pillows and looked underneath.

Amelia’s skin crawled. If that dratted menace had shed even one hair in this bed, she’d be taking up residence in the main house. “Why can’t you give him to Henry?”

Elijah heaved the loudest sigh she’d ever heard. “I don’t think that’s wise. What with how upset he was when Mr. Fuzzinelli died.”

And just who was Mr. Fuzzinelli,” she asked though she doubted she really wanted to know.

Elijah placed his hands around her ankles, searing her skin straight through her stockings. “A distant relative of Mr. Henry Hirsute’s.”

Enough said.” She darted her gaze around the room to see if she spotted the soon-to-be dead visitor. “Why did you name him after your brother, anyway?” she asked, hoping conversation would distract her enough to calm her nerves.

I thought to name him Harry Hirsute, but that seemed too redundant because hirsute already means hairy, So naming him Harry Hirsute seemed to put too much pressure on him to keep his hair. What if he were to start losing it?” He shook his head, his eyes wide as if he were feigning some sort of great outrage. “Besides, Harry by itself is just too popular of a name.”

Yes, because everyone names their pet tarantula Harry,” she said on the verge of hysteria again. She hadn’t spotted the vile creature anywhere which left two options: one, it was in the common room, or two, it was hiding and waiting to make its grand reappearance later—most likely at a time when Elijah wouldn’t be present. “Elijah, I’m telling you now, if I see Mr. Henry Hirsute and he’s not in his box, his new name will be Mr. Elijah Expired.”

All right, but that means you have to come down here and help me look.”

Just then, something touched her calf and she squealed like the little ninny Elijah and Henry used to claim her to be. “Something touched me! Mr. Elijah Expired just crawled on my calf!”

Hmm, I guess I’ll have to look into that for you,” Elijah said cool as can be, slowly lifting her skirt. He handed her the fabric to hold and slowly skimmed his hands up her calves, his eyes never leaving hers.

Were the circumstances any different, she’d melt into a boneless heap at his touch. He slowly rolled down the top of her stocking, then leaned forward and placed a kiss just behind her knee. “Elijah, now isn’t the time,” she choked. “Mr. Elijah Expired touched me. You have to find him now.”

Yes, Mr. Elijah touched you,” he agreed, caressing her calves. “Mr. Elijah Banks, that is. Your friend Mr. Henry Hirsute has been safely curled up in the bottom of his box this whole time. I must not have shut the glass all the way, but he never got out.”

All the muscles in her body relaxed. “Why didn’t you tell me that sooner?”

I’d planned to.” He moved his hands up to rub her thighs, inching ever closer to where she ached to have him most. “But when I saw you stand up on the bed like this, I decided not to miss the chance to do this.” Just then, two of his strong fingers pressed against the sensitive flesh between her legs in the most delicious way.

She released her hold on her skirt and her hands flew to his shoulders for balance as his probing fingers continued their exploration, now adding a third to the fray. Her knees buckled and his strong hands moved to catch her.

Lie down.”

Banks Brothers' Brides Series, His Jilted Bride, Story Sample

Sample Sunday ~ His Jilted Bride

This week, we’ll start the second half of the Banks Brothers’ Brides with His Jilted Bride.

Red Beauty

The stars of this book is Elijah Banks as the hero and Amelia Bryce as the heroine.

A little set up on this scene: Amelia has found herself embroiled in a scandal and as a result, she’s being forced to marry Hiram, Lord Friar. Only he doesn’t show up for the wedding so in rushes our dashing hero who does what any Banks man would do: offers to marry her to save her from any further humiliation.

Elijah Banks clenched his hands into twin fists and willed himself to stay seated.

He shifted on the hard bench and took a deep, calming breath. It had only been forty minutes. Lord Friar could still arrive.

The silence that filled the room seemed louder than the crowds who gathered each night at Vauxhall.

Or mayhap that was just the steady tattoo of his blood pounding in his ears.

Would you relax?” his twin Henry whispered. “It’s not your wedding.”

And what a pity that was. For as much as he’d denied the possibility to his father when he was younger, he’d gone and fallen in love with Lady Amelia Brice. And desperately wished it was his wedding today. “It might not be my wedding, but she is my friend.”

Do you think he woke up this morning and realized he was about to marry a spinster?” one of the ladies sitting in the pew behind him asked with a slight giggle.

Elijah bridled at her remark. Amelia might be four-and-twenty, but she wasn’t what he’d consider a spinster. Besides, if anyone was getting the bad end of this bargain, it was Amelia. At least she was young and attractive. Hiram, Lord Friar was older than her father; and though Elijah had never actually seen the man, as he mixed in circles that even Elijah wasn’t welcome in, the man’s reputation of being one of the worst sort of no-good, lecherous scoundrel preceded him.

Henry lifted his eyebrows at him and Elijah jerked his gaze away. In a moment such as this, he wished he wasn’t a twin. For as odd as it might seem to others, he and Henry had the ability to finish each other’s thoughts and sentences with no difficulty, and with something as simple as an exchanged look, they could communicate every thought and feeling they had to the other. And right now, he didn’t want his twin to know a single thing that was racing through his mind.

Only five more minutes, then I can claim my winnings,” another lady said behind him.

The hair on the back of Elijah’s neck stood on end. What was she talking about?

He was saved from asking when one of the lady’s companions inquired.

Nothing you’d be interested in, Griselda,” the woman said archly. “Just a little wagering.”

You placed a wager on the wedding today?” the lady who must have been Griselda said in shock.

Perhaps.”

A little sputter of laughter passed one’s lips and Elijah’s temper flared. Amelia had been his friend as long as he could remember and he’d be damned if he’d continue to sit idle while she was mocked behind her back.

He shoved to his feet. “Excuse me,” he murmured, pushing his way down the pew and to the aisle, where he dodged a multitude of curious looks on his way to the back of the sanctuary.

Closing the large oak door behind him, he exhaled and swallowed. He could do this. He needed to do this. He owed it to Amelia.

Chancing a look down both sides of the hall to make sure her father or brother weren’t stirring about, he knocked softly at the door to her bridal chamber. “Amelia?”

No answer.

He twisted his lips and considered knocking again, then dismissed the idea. She was in there, he was certain of it. Quiet so not to startle or upset her, he turned the knob and opened the door.

Amelia,” he said, uncertain if his word was a question or a statement as his eyes fell over her quiet form.

She half sat, half lay on a floral settee that blended into the equally flowery wallpaper, wearing one of the fluffiest dresses he’d ever seen. Her shawl lay in a little pile of white silk next to her, which was exactly where it should be, not draped around her, covering up her delicate shoulders or the tops of her luscious breasts. He swallowed. She’d always been a beautiful young lady, but just now she was absolutely breathtaking as she sat there and idly twirled a fallen lock of her silky, dark brown hair.

He found an empty chair from across the room and pulled it over to her so he could sit beside her. At least when they were both sitting, the height difference between her petite five foot frame and his towering five foot-eleven didn’t seem so noticeable; and that was much the way he preferred it: equal.

I should have known he’d do something like this,” she whispered.

I’m sorry,” Elijah whispered just as softly as she’d spoken.

Don’t be. It’s not your fault he jilted me at the altar.”

No, but it is my good fortune, because now I won’t even have to halt a wedding and pray your answer will be yes. He shoved the thought from his mind. If she truly wanted to marry Lord Friar, he’d have stepped aside and blamed himself for taking too long to tell her how he felt. But since he knew as well as she did that a match between Amelia and Lord Friar would be the equivalent of a death sentence, he’d come today to make one last appeal. Not to her father, to her. Fortunately, Lord Friar’s absence had afforded him an opportunity to offer her marriage without the same risk of scandal or rejection.

He hated the bitter taste that word put in his mouth, but it didn’t change the truth of it. Amelia was no longer the simpering miss she’d once been around him, talking of love and marriage to him. Instead, she seemed guarded around him and spoke as if those sorts of feelings no longer existed.

Nobody has to know he jilted you,” he said, reaching forward to push the hair sweeping across her forehead behind her ear.

She shook her head; her grey eyes shining with unshed tears. “They already do.”

No,” he corrected. “All they know for sure is a wedding is not currently taking place. What they don’t know is if it was the groom who jilted the bride or the bride who jilted the groom.”

Amelia eyed him curiously. “No, I’m fairly certain they all know it was the groom who jilted the bride. My mother and father are both out there.”

Yes, and they are doing a wonderful job acting as if they’re waiting for their daughter’s wedding to take place.”

Acting?” she said, her eyes narrowing in on him.

Acting,” he confirmed. “See, your mother is sitting in her pew, dabbing her eyes with a handkerchief while your father is pacing a hole in the wooden platform just outside the front door of the church. Both are playing their roles perfectly, giving off the illusion to the rest of the guests that they are just waiting for the wedding to begin any moment.”

Which seems to be less likely to happen as the minutes pass.”

Exactly,” Elijah agreed. “Which is why you need to act now before someone discovers your game.”

My game?”

He nodded once. “Yes, madam, your game.” He picked up her petite hand and wrapped his fingers around it. “I’m not as dimwitted as the rest of them. I see what’s really going on here.”

At least you do, because I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

He ignored her. “I almost fell for it, too.”

Fell for what?” she burst out in hysteria, presumably due to her current situation, lacing her voice.

You’re jilting your groom,” he said evenly, meeting her eyes.

A shadow crossed her face and she cleared her throat. Twice. “What are you suggesting?”

I’m not suggesting anything. I’m just merely making mention of the fact that the wedding has yet to begin, and both the bride and the groom have yet to be seen. How does a guest such as myself truly know whether it was the bride or the groom who didn’t come today? How do I—a random guest—know that the bride and groom were not so in love with the other they could hardly wait another day and decided to elope?”

She snorted.

All right, well, perhaps that scenario isn’t very believable, but the other very well could be possible.” He took a deep breath. “Amelia, listen to me, I know you’re a very strong young lady and you come from a very important family; but none of that will matter come tomorrow when this is all over the scandal sheets.”

I know,” she said with a swallow.

Then see the sense in what I’m saying and marry me.”

***

Amelia’s jaw would have hit the end table next to the settee had she had the mouth of an ostrich. Elijah Banks was offering her marriage as a way to escape a scandal?

Elijah, you don’t have to do this.”

He laughed at her weak protest. “I know I don’t have to. I want to.”

Why? To make amends for dumping a bucket of cold water on me after I told your father that you wouldn’t let me ride your mare?”

No, nor is it because I feel bad about volunteering you to sing during the reception at Edwina’s wedding.”

I knew it was you, you scoundrel!” She clapped a hand over her mouth.

He grinned at her outburst. “What do you say, Amelia? Will you be my wife?”

Had his question been asked because he loved her, she’d have dissolved into a watering pot on the spot. But it wasn’t. Well, perhaps it was, but not love born of a romantic feeling; but rather that of a friend. A pang of sadness pierced her heart. Elijah was the only gentleman she’d ever wanted to marry. Since she was a young girl running around his parents’ estate when spending summers with her aunt and uncle, she’d fancied herself in love with Elijah. He was the reason she’d turned away any gentlemen who wished to court her, hoping one day he’d see her as more than a friend. How unfortunate he never saw fit to feel the same for her.

She bit her lip. Hard. She needed to put that thought out of her mind immediately. If she let emotions get in the way and didn’t take him up on his offer, she’d forever face a life of shame. But what of her other problem? The one that made this hasty marriage necessary. It had only been two weeks and she still didn’t know whether she carried a life inside of her yet. A lump formed in her throat. “I can’t.”

Can’t what?”

Amelia blinked back her tears. “Elijah, I cannot marry you and condemn you to—”

Nonsense,” he cut in. “Amelia, if I didn’t want to be here right now, I wouldn’t be. You know that. No amount of goading and threatening can make me do something I don’t want to do. I want to help you. You’re my friend.”

She inwardly flinched at his confirmation: she was just a friend. She knew that of course, he’d told her for years he was only her friend and had even gone so far as to help her find another gentleman to give her attentions to. Gently, of course. He’d never been cruel about her feelings or dismissive of her as a person, just the sincerity of a young girl’s feelings. But try as she might, she couldn’t fall out of love as easily as she’d fallen in. Only now, she didn’t dare let him or anyone know the truth. He wanted to be her friend and that’d have to be good enough. “But what if I have a secret?” she challenged.

He pulled a face that reminded her of his late father. “It’s not that you’re genuinely in love with Lord Friar, is it?”

Most certainly not! It has nothing to do with him.” At least it had better not. She’d still yet to determine the identity of the masked stranger, and for all she knew it could have been Lord Friar. Her stomach lurched at the wretched thought. “It’s something else.”

Elijah’s gloved fingers tilted her face up toward his. “As long as it’s not that, I don’t care what it is. Now, what do you say?”

A lead weight lowered on her chest. He might say he didn’t care about her secret, but how would he feel in nine months when she presented him with a child that wasn’t his? Or even sooner when he went to take her innocence only to discover it was already gone?

His deep sigh pulled her from her thoughts. “You’d be doing me a favor, wouldn’t you know?”

How could she be doing him a favor? “How so?”

Now that Weenie and Alex have both married, Mother has nobody to play matchmaker for except me and Henry, and if I’m married…that only leaves Henry.”

Amelia nearly laughed. “Your mother doesn’t play matchmaker, Elijah.” She played the role of confidant and voice of sanity to perfection, but never once had Amelia caught Regina Banks, the dowager baroness, playing matchmaker.

Just because she hasn’t yet, doesn’t mean she doesn’t intend to,” Elijah pointed out. “She and my Aunt Carolina have been spending a lot of time together recently. And there is nothing that can stop thatwoman when she takes a notion into her mind. So what do you say? Will you spare me the unpleasant fate that would befall me otherwise?”

All right, but only if you promise me something.”

Anything.”

No matter what happens, you won’t regret this?”

Elijah grinned and shook his head. “I accept your condition. Now we just have to sneak you out of here.” He walked over to a window and opened it just far enough to poke his head out. “Perfect.” He pushed open the window as far as it would go and motioned for her to come over. “All right, I’ll climb out first and then help pull you through.”

She cast him a tentative glance. “Is that really necessary?”

He stared at her as if she’d just asked the stupidest question ever. “Do you know another way to get out of here without being seen?”

No.” But that still didn’t mean she wanted to climb out a window.

Don’t worry, Amelia. I’ll be right there to help you.”

Wonderful,” she muttered as he threw his left leg over the window sill, then his right.

He jumped down and took a step back. “All right, Amelia, let’s see those superb leaping skills you used to boast about having.”

Had she a heavy object at her disposal—and not been in the middle of escaping what was sure to be the scandal of the season—she’d have brained him right then and there. With as much grace as her heavy satin gown would allow, she made her way to the window, pulled her skirt up as far as she could, and then threw one stocking-clad leg over the windowsill.

And that’s as far as she got.

Between the heavy skirts and the voluminous petticoats underneath them, she couldn’t move.

Elijah, help me. I think my skirt is stuck.”

He grinned at her.

Elijah, why are you just standing there?”

Just admiring the view,” he said with a wink.

Elijah!” She gave her dress a hearty yank, but it would seem her iron hoop stays were too wide to go through the window. “You can gawk all you want later. Just help me out.”

Promises, promises,” he muttered, coming up to her.

If she honestly thought he was genuinely interested in seeing her naked body, she’d be flattered by his staring and excited by his statement. But she knew better. He was just enjoying the fact she was stuck in the window!

He walked over toward her and reached his hands up inside her skirt to find the ties that would release her stays. The bare skin of her thighs burned at the feeling of his gloved hands brushing them.

Just cut them,” she blurted.

Are you sure?”

She’d never been more sure of anything in her life. “Yes. I have no idea why my mother insisted I wear these hoops anyway, they’re nearly twenty years past fashion.”

All right, I’ll cut them. Step back into the room and lift your skirt.”

How charming,” she said under her breath.

I try,” he said with a smile. He reached into his pocket and pulled out his penknife. “Ready?”

She nodded as nervous excitement coursed through her. It was bad enough she’d been jilted today. It’d be even more awkward if someone were to enter the room at this very moment and see her holding her heavy skirts up so Elijah Banks could reach in through the window and cut her stays away. If her bridegroom not showing up wasn’t enough to make her a laughingstock already, this particular situation would get her name whispered behind fans for generations.

The sharp sound of cloth—not just any cloth, but the cloth under her gown—being torn sent chills up her spine. Chills of excitement or danger or uncertainty, she might never really know.

Turn,” Elijah commanded.

She turned and he continued cutting the fabric until suddenly the sound of fabric-covered metal hitting the wooden floor floated to her ears.

Elijah put his knife away and then reached up toward her. “Let’s go.”

Without hesitation, she leaned out the window, wrapped her arms around Elijah’s neck and let him pull her out of the church and away from the public shame and embarrassment she’d be condemned to as a jilted bride.

Banks Brothers' Brides Series, Fun Fact Friday, His Yankee Bride

Fun Fact Friday ~ His Yankee Bride

  • I personally think this story has the most similarities to my relationship with Bob than any of my others. Maybe not our personalities, but we eloped one afternoon and later found out that the guy who married us may or may not have been licensed to do so. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the money to go get remarried and just prayed for the best. We’ve been living together and acting as Mr. and Mrs. so long enough now that there’s no longer a possibility of us just living in sin as we’d be considered common-law married. Isn’t that great?
  • When I first started writing this book, we took a family vacation to Charleston (the locale of the book) and spent several days touring the city and some of the plantation homes on the outskirts.
  • I’d originally planned to give Gabriel a side romance in this book, but as we all know, I am horrible at doing that and couldn’t. He’ll one day have his own book, but I’m not sure when.
  • Marjorie was nearly an afterthought–at least at first. I’d gotten as far as the part where John gets a sunburn and felt like I’d written myself into a hole with the only person who Carolina could talk to being Bethel. So on a whim, I was like, “Oh, I know where she gets the idea for a quick treatment for his burn: the neighbor girl Marjorie tells her” and wrote her in. Then when I went back for a second draft, I wrote about their first visit at Marjorie’s plantation. It wasn’t until after I’d asked a few others for ideas on the book, that Marjorie made her way into the opening scene.
  • I’ve had characters who I didn’t like: mainly Robbie because even Lady O for her awfulness was still somewhat amusing, but I all out DETESTED Mrs. Ellis. In fact, I actually wanted to reach in the story and slap her silly. Repeatedly.
  • I didn’t really have a plan for this story until I started it. I just knew John was visiting in America when they met while she was wearing that fancy red dress that she gave Brooke in Intentions of the Earl. Oh and that John didn’t have quite the same attraction to Carolina at the start–only she refused to believe it.
  • It really wasn’t in my original master plan to bring Edward and Regina to America, but the taxidermy thing I mentioned last week prompted me to. Plus, I think it gave closure for John and Edward as they were both about to move on with their lives in their perspective countries and form their own families.
  • My husband absolutely loved the part where Carolina compares a part of John to a battering ram and even tried to convince me to have him (John) later tell her, “Lower the drawbridge and open the castle doors because here comes the battering ram.” As you can see, I refused. In fact, I was horrified that he thought I’d actually take him up on such a suggestion.
  • At last check, this was my husband’s favorite book of mine as it was the first one he stayed up (outside on the back porch with mosquitos buzzing around his head due to the light on the iPad, no less) until 2 a.m. to finish it.