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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!

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Books, Groom Series, Her Imperfect Groom, Her Reluctant Groom, Her Secondhand Groom, Her Sudden Groom, Sale

SALE on entire Grooms Series!

From now until the end of the month my entire Groom Series (Her Sudden/Reluctant/Secondhand/Imperfect Groom) will be on SALE for 99 cents each!

Groom sale grid

These are available at all major eBook retailers.

Amazon

B&N

iBooks

Kobo

Smashwords

This is the perfect time to stock up for yourself on books you haven’t yet read, get your friends hooked on the Banks family OR if you’ve promised someone a rose garden…well this is close enough, right?!

 

Behind the Scenes, Fun Fact Friday, Groom Series, Her Imperfect Groom

Fun Fact Friday ~ Her Imperfect Groom

  • Sir Wallace has one of my husband’s many hobbies: woodcarving/whittling. Because of this, I asked him vague questions as I was writing the book to have an idea of what to write Wallace doing while he was carving wood and talking to Drake. When Bob read over the book, he was appalled at my “attempt” and insisted I re-write the scene, this time with direct help.
  • Bob and I got out two dowel rods and had a mock duel in the living room for several hours to choreograph the duel between Alex and Wallace and how the end of the duel would happen (realistically). We had this huge thing worked out, but when the book was critiqued, everyone said the scene was too long so I had to practically cut it in half.
  • I wrote about 15,000 words of this book on a trip to my parent’s house for Thanksgiving. Some was written in the car, some at the hotel, and because we decided to camp that Friday and Saturday night…some was written while laying on my stomach in a mummy sleeping bag with a massive tree root jabbing into my stomach. Good times.
  • I wrote the tin soldiers scene in the car and had some fun asking my boys to help with the sound effects!
  • I struggled to learn to read. I’m not dyslexic but my eyes don’t line up straight so reading across a line on a page was really difficult and I was nearly 15 before I could read without having to sound out words longer than about five letters and I still read with a bookmark or piece of paper under the line of text to help me keep my place. Oh and I detest reading aloud.
  • The scene I posted for Wicked Wednesday this week where Sir Wallace isn’t wearing anything was the one I was trying to work on when I had my first horrid experience at the food court with the guy who sat down next to me and started being just plain gross.
  • I loved Sir Wallace instantly in Her Reluctant Groom and wanted so badly to do a story about him but I was afraid that people wouldn’t want to read about a hero who isn’t the norm. After getting positive feedback via beta readers about him in Reluctant, I decided instantly he was getting his own book! And who better to pair him up with than Edwina who was used to Alex’s weirdness.
  • I did NOT plan to duel, it just kind of happened when Alex walked in and saw Edwina and Sir Wallace kissing and issued the challenge. Before that, I thought Wallace’s injury would be that his hand slipped while he was carving and he put a knife in his own leg.
  • Another surprise I got was the reappearance of Lady Bird’s Ladybird Memoir. I didn’t plan that one, either, but Emma just whipped it out of her reticule and I couldn’t very well tell her to put it back, could I?
  • At the end of this book, we get a very short glimpse at the hero into my newest release: Lord Belgrave the hero from Secrets of a Viscount at the ball the night when both sets of characters find their happily-ever-after.
  • New wrap around cover:
    Imperfect wrap sample
Groom Series, Her Imperfect Groom, Wicked Wednesday

Wicked Wednesday ~ Her Imperfect Groom

I don’t know about any of you, but I had to laugh a little at the idea of Sir Wallace being involved in anything wicked.

Alas, this was as wicked as he gets. He tricks Edwina, then both of them lower their guard and get into an extremely compromising situation…and then… Well, why sum it up. Here’s the scene!

Outside his room, she stood in silence. Should she knock? She shrugged. She’d be better served not to knock, that way he couldn’t refuse her.

She closed her hand over the knob and threw the door open.

A startled yelp greeted her. Wallace grabbed a pillow from his bed and used it to cover his bared private area. His movements had been jerky and unstable, presumably from being bedridden for so long.

Standing stock-still, she couldn’t command her eyes to leave his naked body if she’d wanted to. His shoulders were broad, as was his hair-covered chest. His stomach was smooth and flat, with a hint of a line of rippled muscles. A line of dark hair divided his abdomen in two then disappeared behind the pillow he held onto. A heated blush stole over her and she jerked her eyes away before they could greedily drink anymore of him in. “I need your help.”

Can’t it wait until tomorrow?” he asked, color rising in his cheeks.

She shook her head. Tomorrow Mother or Caroline would be with her if she came to see him, she couldn’t ask him to read her the letter then. “No.”

His dark gaze penetrated her and he shifted his pillow to better cover himself. “What’s your game?”

My game?”

Why are you here?”

Edwina held up the folded missive she’d carried down with her. “I need to know what it says.”

Wallace’s face flushed crimson and he twisted his lips. The hand he used to hold the pillow in front of him flexed, causing the muscles in his arms to grow and the tendons in his neck to show. “Why?”

Because I need to know,” she whispered. Oh, how she’d longed to know what that missive said. But she didn’t dare ask Caroline to read it to her. Caroline would have, of course, but Edwina wanted Wallace to be the one with her when she finally knew what those words were. Even if Wallace held her in disdain and had nearly died because of her actions, he would be the biggest comfort for her. She was sure of it.

The contents of that letter are unimportant,” he said in a hoarse whisper.

Stung, Edwina instinctively gripped the parchment tighter. “They’re of great importance to me.”

He lowered his gaze. “I’m afraid the meaning of that letter isn’t quite the same any longer.” His words weren’t quite even.

Edwina’s heart hammered in her chest. “What have I done that has made you treat me so cruelly? I didn’t make you fight in that duel. You chose to do that without hearing my side of things.”

He reached his free hand out. “Just give me the letter and go back to your bed.”

No.” She brought the letter closer to her chest.

He twisted his lips. “How did you get it anyway?”

She knit her brows. “My mother gave it to me.”

Well, she shouldn’t have,” he muttered, frowning.

It does have my name on it,” she said sardonically, then pointed the exterior of the missive toward him. “I may not be able to read anything else, but I do recognize my own name when I see it.” That was true enough. When she was originally given the letter, she didn’t recognize the letters as spelling her name, but after those few afternoons spent with Wallace, she was able to recognize the majority of the letters. A lump clogged her throat. Where was the sweet gentleman who was determined to be patient with her as he taught her to read? Apparently that duel had turned his heart to stone. There was no other reason for why he was acting this way.

Fine,” he clipped. He reached for the letter again.

She pulled it away. “I don’t know if I want you to read it to me now. Perhaps I misjudged you.” She turned to the door.

Where are you going?” he asked, his voice so close, she swore he was standing directly behind her.

She peeked her head around to see him. He was directly behind her. “Since you’ve decided to be beastly to me, I’ve decided I shall just ask Caroline to read it to me.”

No, you won’t,” he growled, reaching around her, trying to take the letter from her firm grasp.

Keeping her head turned so she could see his face, she pressed it flat against her chest. Truly, what did he think was in this letter that would lead him to act this way? “Sir Wallace, I—”

He cut her off with a quick kiss and a shiver ran down her spine. “I’ve asked you not to call me that,” he whispered.

Edwina’s lips tingled from their kiss. “But that was before the duel.”

He didn’t deny or confirm her inane charge or the impact that duel had had on their relationship. Instead, he bent his head forward and pressed his lips to hers again. Soft and gentle, his lips moved over hers. She matched his movements, exerting pressure when he did, and moving her lips to let his mold around hers. His kiss was exquisite. Her body relaxed and she brought her hand up to rest against his smooth cheek.

Abruptly, his lips left hers and he took a step back, his arm—and her note—leaving their former position. Shaking the note, he said, “You may go now.”

Rage and hurt washed over her. She spun around to face him. “What a dirty trick to play, Sir Wallace.”

I apologize. Now, would you please take your leave?”

I will not.” She put her left hand on her hip and held her right hand out to him. “My letter, if you please.”

He didn’t make any move to hand it back to her.

She took a step toward him.

He took a giant step closer to the roaring fire.

Panic built up in her chest. He wouldn’t throw it in the fire, would he? It certainly appeared that was his intention.

His left hand was still clutching that pillow in front of himself and his right hand was extending the letter in the direction of the flames.

Emotion clogged her throat. “Don’t!” She half-cried, half-croaked, tears pricking her eyes and terror freezing her in place. “That’s all I have left of my father, please don’t throw it into the flames.”

Father?” Wallace echoed. He brought the note in front of his face and his eyes widened. “Please forgive me, Edwina. I didn’t realize.”

Didn’t realize what?” she snapped, plucking the note from his loose grip.

Whose note that was,” he said, not meeting her eyes.

Edwina ran her fingers over the faded black letters scrolled on the outside of the paper. She’d spent the last four years holding onto this note, and had come tonight to ask Wallace to read it to her, but now she wasn’t certain she could trust him to be sympathetic and compassionate. Her thumb froze midway across the lettering. “And whose note did you think it was?”

He nodded his head once in the direction of his coat.

She forced a smile. Of course. He was still carrying around that blasted letter he’d written for Lady Chatterfield. In the days he was still unconscious and she was helping to take care of him following his duel, she’d been tempted to burn it herself. But why did he want to burn it? He’d already shown it to her once. Why was he so embarrassed about it now?

She shook her head. No matter. “Wallace, I don’t know all the details of your relationship with Lady Chatterfield, but I’d never betray your trust in me by stealing your correspondence or asking someone else to read it to me. Your feelings for her are none of my concern.” She swallowed the emotion that was quickly building a choking-thickness in her throat. Then she frowned. His note to Lady Chatterfield didn’t have her name on the outside. Had he thought the note was from another suitor and was just trying to pretend it was the one he’d written? She nearly laughed at the absurdity. Now would be an excellent time to clear up his misunderstanding about Major Minor.

Wallace, can we talk about Major Minor for a moment?”

I don’t think that’s necessary. I am sure that your family will approve of the match should he ask for your hand.”

Edwina’s heart sank. His words had made it quite clear he had no romantic interest in her. There was no reason to waste time explaining anything if he didn’t care for her. She’d just let him think what he would. At least he thought her charming enough to have a suitor. She shoved aside her melancholy thoughts. “Now that you know the letter is not from the gentleman you thought it was from, will you please read it to me?”

Of course.” He cleared his throat. “Would you mind excusing yourself for a moment while I cover up, please?”

She frowned. “You might lock me out.”

He chuckled. “Always skeptical, aren’t you? And rightfully so. All right, since you won’t leave like a proper young lady should, why don’t you just turn around?”

She obeyed. “You know, this wouldn’t be a problem if you’d remained dressed.”

Or if you’d stayed in your own room,” he parried.

Edwina’s heart leapt. That was the fun, familiar tone she remembered so well. “Are you dressed?”

No, but I’m in bed,” he said.

She turned around and walked over to where he was lying beneath the covers and was holding his hand out, ready to accept her letter.

Reluctantly, she gave it to him then climbed onto the bed.

What are you doing?” he demanded, stopping her with his hands.

She froze. “I want to see it, too.”

Then bring the chair over. There’s no reason for you to make yourself comfortable in my bed.”

Her cheeks heated. “There’s no need to be so condescending. I just wanted to see the words as you read them.”

He groaned and released her. “All right. But you’re not getting under the covers.” He patted the top of the coverlet. “Just sit right here and don’t move around a lot.”

Yes, sir,” she said with a salute before climbing up onto his soft bed.

Beside her, he carefully unfolded the note then smoothed the wrinkles he’d created when he’d taken it from her earlier. She nestled in closer to his warm body. He scowled at her. “Did you know that you are the most improper young lady I’ve ever met?”

And all this time I thought I was the oddest young lady you’d ever met,” she teased.

Indeed.” He shifted. “Are you ready?”

She gave her head a slight nod, too overcome with emotion to speak.

‘Dear Edwina, As you know, I don’t make apologies, and as the final hours of my life draw to a close, I feel no conviction to break from my pattern card. But I do ask that you not be angry with Alex or your mother for not sending for you sooner. It was at my request that you stay at school. Of course I told them my reasons were to protect you, but really it was to protect me. See, after having three witlings for sons, I was finally blessed with the greatest gift a father could receive: you. While I share my academic interests with Alex, and love to travel like Elijah and Henry, it is you who understands me best.

‘Don’t let your life slip through your hands, gel. You have much to offer, and despite the trials you might face along the way, I know in my heart things will work out for you better than either of us could dream. Be strong, my gel. Life hasn’t dealt you an easy hand, but it is a winning hand. Just be patient.

‘All my love, Papa.’”

Hot tears spilled from the corners of Edwina’s eyes and her heart squeezed painfully. She missed him so much. More tears fell. They were like steady currents now. Wallace’s strong arms wrapped around her and brought her to rest against his chest.

Shh,” he crooned. His right hand caressed her back and he used his left thumb to dry the tears on her right cheek. He bent his head and pressed a kiss on the top of her head.

Quiet sobs wracked her body and she buried her face into the dark mat of crisp hair that covered his chest.

Wallace gently rocked her back and forth. “It’s all right to cry, Edwina.”

I know,” she choked out against his body. Unfortunately, she didn’t know if she wanted to cry more because of her father’s passing or because the man she loved but couldn’t have was holding her and being so gentle with her.

Minutes or maybe hours slipped by as silence engulfed the two of them. Wallace’s steady heartbeat and rhythmic breathing calmed her as much as his touch. Every so often, she’d feel his soft lips brush across the top of her hairline or his fingers tighten their hold on her just a fraction before letting up. She took a deep breath. Wallace’s embrace was the safest haven imaginable. In his arms, she felt secure—like nothing bad could ever happen to her. But of course that wasn’t to be her fate. She steeled her spine and pushed away. There was no use in becoming more attached to him than she already was.

I should probably go back up to my room,” she announced; then froze. Was it possible that the low glow filling the room was created by sun rising and shining through the window and not from the fireplace?

Wallace’s arms didn’t release her right away. Nor did his lips leave where they were pressed against her temple.

Wallace,” she whispered.

Hmm?”

I’d better go before my maid finds I’m not in my room.”

Wordlessly, he brushed one more chaste kiss across her temple then relaxed his hold.

Edwina scooted toward the edge of the bed and put her feet on the floor, stopping instantly when a heavy hand knocked on the door, followed by Alex’s voice. “Sir Wallace, I need to speak to you.”

Groom Series, Her Imperfect Groom

Sample Sunday ~ Her Imperfect Groom

It’s Sample Sunday again and this week it’s time for the last “Groom”, Sir Wallace, to find his bride: Edwina Banks in Her Imperfect Groom.

Imperfect_500x750 USA

 

For this one, I thought the best place to start was the beginning when they first meet…

 

Watson Estate

Late 1815

 

Edwina Banks was certain she would have fallen to the floor in a boneless heap if not for the strong arm half wrapped around her midsection. She was barely aware of the movements of her own body as her feet moved to the steps of a waltz on their own accord. And they must be doing exactly that. Her brain was far too distracted by the handsome image in front of her to function well enough to command her body to move.

There, no more than six inches from her face, was the most handsome face she’d ever set eyes on. And there wasn’t even a particle of a chance her dry, stinging eyes were going to blink and cheat her from the feast they were drinking in for as much as a fraction of a second.

Normally, Edwina dismissed physical appearances altogether, but not tonight. Tonight she was held captive by a chiseled face that had a square jaw, high cheekbones, pale red lips, a slim nose, arching brows, and long, black lashes that surrounded a pair of the most beautiful gold-flecked, brown eyes she’d ever seen.

The musicians’ instruments grew louder, indicating the climax of the waltz. Edwina’s heart sank. This was it, the final seconds of the most glorious waltz she’d ever danced.

It was a pleasure,” Sir Wallace Benedict, her dancing partner, said as soon as the last note of the waltz ended.

The pleasure was mine,” Edwina said. The pleasure was mine? What was she saying? Since when had she taken after her brother Alex who said the first thing that came into his head, no matter how ridiculous it sounded? She chanced a glance at Sir Wallace, and breathed a sigh of relief. At least he wasn’t looking at her as if she were a simpleton.

He offered her his arm. “Shall I return you to Lord Sinclair?”

Lord Sinclair?” Why would he take her back to Marcus? And why did it look as if his handsome face really had just turned to stone?

Lord Sinclair, your brother.”

Edwina’s eyes widened. If it were anyone else suggesting she was Marcus’ sister, she’d be insulted. Olivia, Marcus’ younger sister, was the vilest creature she’d ever had the misfortune to meet. “Lord Sinclair is not my brother.”

Oh, I’m sorry. When he introduced us, I thought he said something about a sister.”

He did,” Edwina confirmed, taking his proffered arm. She honestly didn’t care where he led her—to the refreshment table, the little row of chairs along the back wall, or even Gretna Green—she was game to go anywhere with him at that moment.

Is he your guardian, then?” Sir Wallace asked.

No.” Why was he so concerned about her relationship with Marcus?

Sir Wallace stopped walking and frowned. “Then why am I taking you to him?”

I don’t know, but when you decide, perhaps you can inform me,” Edwina said with a smile.

He returned her grin with the most beautiful smile she’d ever seen. “Then where shall I take you?”

Where do you want to take me?” She blushed as soon as the words were out. What had come over her? She never played the swooning debutante. So why was she doing so now?

Sir Wallace reached his arm across his chest and covered her hand with his, then squeezed—for some show of affection or just reassurance, she didn’t know, nor did she care. “As long as it’s not back to Lord Sinclair, I’ll take you wherever you wish.”

Do you not like Lord Sinclair?”

No. I don’t dislike him. He dislikes me.”

Edwina stopped her steps. “Pardon? I may not be overly familiar with him, but I’m well acquainted with his cousin, Caroline. She speaks quite highly of him.”

I’m sure she does.”

Then why on Earth would she invite you both here if she knew her cousin disliked you?”

She didn’t.”

She didn’t what?”

He glanced in Caroline’s direction. “Lady Watson didn’t invite me. Drake did.”

Edwina blinked. “Lord Drakely invited you?”

Exactly. Drake wanted me to serve as a distraction for Lord Sinclair while Drake stole his wife away and begged her forgiveness for his many faults,” he said with a rueful shake of his head.

Edwina’s brows knit. “And he knew you’d serve as a distraction to Lord Sinclair because he knows Lord Sinclair doesn’t like you?”

Sir Wallace twisted his lips just a bit and gave a slight nod. “I’d say that’s accurate.”

The opening strains of another waltz filled the air. Shamelessly, Edwina used her eyes to beg Sir Wallace to dance with her again.

It’s not proper, you know,” he whispered.

I know,” she whispered back. She licked her lips. The only other people there aside from her brother and sister-in-law, and Lord and Lady Sinclair, were her cousins, Lord and Lady Townson, the Duke and Duchess of Gateway, and Mr. and Mrs. Paul Grimes. Lord and Lady Drakely had already made a scandalous escape—hand in hand—just a few minutes before. Of the five remaining couples, she highly doubted any of them would notice or care if she danced twice with the only unattached gentleman in attendance. “Do you always do what’s proper?”

I try to, yes.” He pointed them in the direction of a little cluster of chairs. “How about if we sit this one out?”

All right.”

Here, you sit, and I’ll be right back with some of Lady Watson’s punch.”

Edwina sat in an empty chair and waited for him to come back with her drink. “Thank you.”

It’s the least I can do to make amends for refusing to dance with you.”

She flushed. Was her disappointment that obvious? “Yes, well, bringing me punch is only the beginning, Sir Wallace.”

His eyebrows rose. “Oh?”

I think for your refusal to dance with me when clearly there is no one else from which I have to choose—” she gestured to four of the other five couples in attendance as they danced with their respective spouses— “you should tell me just why you think Lord Sinclair doesn’t like you.”

A strange, groaning noise came from Sir Wallace’s direction. “I’d rather not.”

And why not?”

He rolled his eyes. “While it’s quickly becoming apparent you’re one of those sorts who has no inhibitions and doesn’t embarrass easily, I feel it is my duty to inform you not everyone is that way and I shouldn’t like to bring any undue embarrassment on anyone if I can help it.”

Edwina frowned. “Who was embarrassed?”

I’d say everyone involved was.”

She made a rolling hand gesture. “Mmmmhmmm?”

Rather inquisitive, aren’t you?”

I’m training for when they allow women to join the Watch.”

He snorted.

You think that’s humorous? I’d be willing to bet every pence in my dowry that if a lady were conducting those investigations, half the crimes would be solved within an hour of being reported.”

Sir Wallace threw his hands into the air. “I forfeit,” he exclaimed, a sparkle in his eye.

Good. Now, tell me what happened between you and Marcus that made him dislike you.”

Persistent, too.”

It’s another skill I’m honing for my investigative work.”

Could you find someone else to practice on?”

She shook her head. “No, you’re the only one here. Perhaps next time you’ll just dance with me.”

He snorted again. “For some reason I have a hard time believing that if I had asked you for another dance that I could have avoided this conversation.”

You’re likely right,” she agreed. “Now, just tell me what I want to know, and I’ll leave you alone for the rest of the night.” That was a brazen lie. She couldn’t explain exactly what it was, but there was something about this man that fascinated her to no end and she honestly didn’t think anything short of an act of parliament could separate her from him for the rest of the night.

All right,” he said with a sigh. “What is it you want to know again?”

She shook her head at the teasing grin on his lips. “You should already know. I’ve asked at least twice already.”

Actually, you’ve asked three times.”

You were counting?” she asked with a tiny, embarrassed giggle.

His face flushed, and he bobbed his head twice in a jerky nod.

She cleared her throat delicately. “Goodness. I didn’t realize I was being so annoying.”

You’re not being annoying, I rather like—” He broke off and mumbled something under his breath. “Right. Well, I may have been exaggerating a bit when I said Lord Sinclair doesn’t like me. It’s not that he dislikes me exactly, but he doesn’t like me, either. Does that answer your question?”

No. You either like someone or don’t. I don’t think there’s a lot of middle ground there.”

His cheeks puffed up as if he’d tried to stick a whole plum into his mouth at once; then he blew out a long breath. “I almost married his wife.”

Edwina started. “You did?” Emma, Lady Sinclair, was one of Caroline’s closest friends and had spent a considerable amount of time visiting Caroline at Watson Estate since Alex and Caroline’s wedding over a year ago. Though Edwina wasn’t that close to Emma, she knew her well enough to know she and Marcus had a love match. So why did she almost marry Sir Wallace?

I did,” he confirmed, bringing Edwina back to present. He ran his hands up and down his muscled thighs. “I’m surprised you haven’t heard about any of this.”

Now, it was Edwina’s turn to blush and grow uncomfortable. “I don’t typically read scandal sheets.” That was true enough.

He chuckled. “Did you know you are the oddest young lady I’ve ever met?”

Good. I should hate to be considered ordinary.” She flashed him a quick smile. “Now, go on with your story.”

That was the story. Last spring Lady Sinclair and I were betrothed, but never married.”

Why not?”

You’ve really never heard any of this?”

She shook her head. “As I said, I don’t read scandal sheets.”

Yes, but surely you’ve heard someone gossip about—” He waved one gloved hand through the air in an upward spiraling motion.

No. I don’t believe I have.” Caroline and Emma weren’t gossips. Neither was their friend, Juliet, Lady Drakely. Other than those three, the only ladies she knew were the young ladies she attended school with. But none of them would gossip. At least not with her. She bit her lip. Hard. She flinched, then ran her tongue along her smarting lip. She had to stop biting her lip like that or one day she’d bite clear through it. “Go on.”

And here I was hoping your silence meant you’d lost interest.” A teasing smile pulled his lips. “Actually, there’s nothing more to tell. We were engaged for a while, but in the end, she married the gentleman she truly loved.”

Instinctively, Edwina reached forward and placed her hand on his forearm. “I’m sorry.”

I’m not.”

With another blush, Edwina removed her hand. Here she was attempting to console him or at least be sympathetic, and apparently he didn’t wish for any such gesture. “Oh.”

He brushed a piece of lint off his perfectly pleated black trousers. “With the exception of the scandal borne from that awkward day’s events, I’d say overall it worked out how it should have.”

You mean you didn’t want to marry Emma?”

No. Not especially.” He shifted his gaze to where Emma and Marcus were dancing. “I would have gone through with the wedding if she’d wanted to, mind you. But I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I was just as relieved as Lord Sinclair was, if not more so, when she chose him instead of me.”

You were?”

Very much so.” He shifted in his seat. “Though she’s a very nice lady, our marriage would have been…er…shall we say, uncomfortable.”

Because she loved another?”

He nodded.

Did you—” She bit the inside of her lip to keep it from quivering as an odd, painful sensation built in her chest for no good reason. “Excuse me. Did you love her?”

No.” His face held no hint of emotion.

A wave of relief flooded Edwina and she averted her eyes to where her hands were resting in her lap. She frowned. How had the front of her pink silken skirt become so wrinkled? It looked almost as if she’d been clutching the front of her skirt while waiting for his answer. She immediately pushed the thought from her head. That was just foolishness. She might find the gentleman intriguing, in an unusual sort of way. And he may even be handsome beyond comprehension. But she did not have genuine feelings for him, especially none of the jealous or romantic variety that would lead a young lady to ruin her gown in anticipation of his answer to such an inconsequential question.

She folded her hands. “So you were relieved, were you?”

Indeed. I’m sure over time we would have become close friends, of sorts, but nothing more than that.”

Because her affections lay elsewhere?”

As did mine.”

Edwina’s heart constricted in the most painful way imaginable. “Oh,” she croaked. She coughed delicately, and forced a brittle smile. Truly, what was coming over her to make her react this way?

Sir Wallace removed his hat and idly fingered the brim. “I don’t imagine either of us would have grown to love the other. And if one of us had—” he twisted his lips and shrugged— “they would have found themselves in a worse torment than what they were already living.” He put his hat back on and exhaled. “A person doesn’t know true hurt and suffering until they’ve felt the pain of falling in love with someone whose affections lie elsewhere.”

Edwina didn’t doubt those words for a second. If the crippling pain in her chest was any indication, she’d say she was experiencing such a painful phenomenon this very instant. 

Banks Brothers' Brides Series, Groom Series, Her Imperfect Groom, Her Reluctant Groom, Her Secondhand Groom, Her Sudden Groom, His Brother's Bride, His Contract Bride, His Jilted Bride, His Yankee Bride, Intentions of the Earl, Liberty for Paul, Officer Series, Officer Series, Reader Questions, Scandalous Sisters Series, The Officer and the Bostoner, The Officer and the Southerner

Which Book is WHOSE???

Two years ago, I never really anticipated this, but being emailed every few days to inquire about a reading order, really isn’t a bad thing. However, I wanted to post this here for those who are wondering, so they don’t have to wait on my response.

First, I should mention that The Officer Series isn’t really connected to my other books so they can be read first or last, it doesn’t really matter.

Now, for the others, I’d strongly suggest to read them in the order I wrote and published them. Why? Because though two of them are prequels, I was able to write in events/activities that are described in the earlier books without any sort of explanation other than “that’s just the way it is/was.”

So if you’re new to me, I’d suggest you read them like this:


SCANDALOUS SISTERS SERIES (First)

Intentions of the Earl

Liberty for Paul

To Win His Wayward Wife

 

GROOM SERIES (Second)

Her Sudden Groom

Her Reluctant Groom

Her Secondhand Groom

Her Imperfect Groom

 

BANKS BROTHERS’ BRIDES (Third)

HIs Contract Bride

His Yankee Bride

His Jilted Bride

His Brother’s Bride

 

Now, if you are one who MUST read things in chronological order, I’d say to read them like this:

 

BANKS BROTHERS’ BRIDES

HIs Contract Bride

His Yankee Bride

 

SCANDALOUS SISTERS SERIES

Intentions of the Earl

Liberty for Paul

To Win His Wayward Wife

 

GROOM SERIES (Second)

Her Sudden Groom

Her Reluctant Groom

Her Secondhand Groom

Her Imperfect Groom

 

BANKS BROTHERS’ BRIDES

His Jilted Bride

His Brother’s Bride

 

His Contract Bride and His Yankee Bride are prequels that are about the parents of the siblings/cousins in the other books.

 

I know just listing it out doesn’t really “help” everyone, so if you’re more of a visual person, I’ve attempted to make a family tree as best I could on here.

BANKS FAMILY TREE!

Edward & Regina—His Contract Bride

Alex & Caroline
Her Sudden Groom

Elijah & Amelia
His Jilted Bride

Henry & Laura

His Brother’s Bride

Edwina & Sir Wallace

Her Imperfect Groom

John & Carolina—His Yankee Bride

Brooke & Andrew

Intentions of the Earl

Madison & Benjamin

To Win His Wayward Wife

Liberty & Paul

Liberty for Paul

(Naturally born Banks family members are in bold. Also, I’d strongly suggest NOT reading them in this particular order, I write it out this way so you could see birth order.)

Two books that I’ve written that aren’t part of the Officer Series are NOT listed in this family tree–Her Reluctant Groom, which is about Alex’s friend Marcus. His parents, however, are witnessed in action in His Contract Bride. Also, Her Secondhand Groom is also not a “Banks book”. It’s about Marcus’ other friend–Patrick. When I first got the idea for the Groom Series, Marcus was to be the main “connection” between the heroes. They were both friends with him. But when I got Sudden and fell in love with Edward (and of course John threw a curveball at me when he mentioned that the circumstances surrounding his and Carolina’s marriage were not up for discussion), I decided I needed to write about them. This was also the case with the whacky Sir Wallace in Reluctant. I loved him INSTANTLY and knew almost immediately who would be the perfect heroine for this imperfect groom.

Clear as mud?

 

Happenings, Her Imperfect Groom, Her Sudden Groom, His Brother's Bride, His Jilted Bride, Randomness, Reader Questions, Scandalous Sisters Series, Swag, The Officer and the Bostoner, Updates

SWAG Part 2: Bookplates (And a few reader questions)

Yesterday I showed bookmarks, today I have bookplates!

Scandalous sisters PC front 200x300
Scandalous Sisters PC back 200x300

Grooms PC front 200x300

Grooms PC back 200x300

Brothers PC Front 200x300

Brothers PC back 200x300

Officers PC front 200x300

Officers PC back 200x300

For the sake of me not sending out so many emails to clog your inbox, I’m going to answer a few reader questions in this post.

1. What does “swag” stand for?

“Something we all get” If you ever go to a readers’ conference or book fair or even sometimes your own library, there are items that you’ll get in your registration bag or just to pick up. This can be anything from pens to chip clips, lip balm to USB drives, business cards to signed book covers, chewing gum to bandage dispensers. Just a hodgepodge of items that the author has his/her name put on to help you remember their name/books.

2. Who designed the bookmarks and postcards?

Anya Kelleye. I meant to post that yesterday, but I got distracted (sorry, Anya!). Anyway, she has done several projects for me including the bookmarks and bookplates.

3. Is it necessary to read the two previous books in the series to read His Jilted Bride?

Not at all. The two previous books take place nearly 30 years earlier and are the stories of the hero’s mother and father and aunt and uncle, respectively. If you want to see Elijah (or his twin Henry who is the hero in His Brother’s Bride) in previous books, I’d recommend Her Sudden Groom which is about his eldest brother, in which he plays a very minor role toward the end, and in Her Imperfect Groom where they both play another small roll in the first third. Nothing that is crucial to the plot of Jilted takes place in any of the other books.

4. Will you be signing books at RT this year?

Yes. I will be signing during the Indie Expo on May 2, from 4-6pm. I’ll also have two “meet & greets” in Club RT at 1pm on Wednesday and 2pm on Thursday. Come see me and divest me of some swag! In addition to this, I have pressured a good friend of mine Ruth Ann Nordin to come to dinner with me and with us, we’d love to have some readers join us for that dinner! So if you’ll let one of us know that you plan to be there and would like to dine with us, we can get you more details.

5. What is your progress with The Officer and the Bostoner, young lady? (That was EXACTLY how that was written to me and it was not from my mom!)

Very, very good. I am hoping to finish the first draft today, actually. I have one more chapter and the epilogue. It shouldn’t take long, then I have to spend the afternoon and Sunday to sort swag before I can start my prelim edits on Monday morning.

6. When will The Officer and the Bostoner be out?

July. I still have to do several rounds of edits, THEN send it to the professional, then make changes and have it go to proofing. At the same time, I can’t just focus on this book with RT coming, a 70 mile bike ride for diabetes and a ton of end-of-the-year field trips that I have to chaperone. Oh, and for some crazy reason, I agreed to take a group of tweens and teens from my church camping the weekend before RT. So…it’ll be a bit. I want it done right. Also, I’m hoping while this one is being worked on with edits, I can start writing the next. If they can both be done being written before July, and I can work on the final installment, then I’ll be able to put them out closer together. (Keep in mind, this its just all in theory, I’ve learned never to make promises!)

And for our last question…

7.  At the end of Liberty for Paul it’s mentioned that Sam (Paul’s brother) will no longer be able to sire children, what exactly happened to his parts?

Uh…well, I really left this open to the reader’s interpretation and what they wanted to happen to him. How much do they hate him and what do they think he deserves. In my mind, I imagined the privilege was gone. As in, he wasn’t like Marcus where he’d had an accident and could still perform but not sire children; but rather his ability to even have any type of sexual activity was squished right along with his…er…wedding tackle. Realistically, back then, I don’t think he’d have survived if the accident had been so bad it had actually divested him of his lust musket (yes, I put lust on purpose–that man doesn’t know the meaning of love) or if not immediately, but later. They have the means such a misfortune now, but not back then. But that doesn’t mean that he wasn’t hurt in such a way that destroyed the nerves underneath that allow him to rise to the occasion and that perhaps his whirligigs didn’t get damaged to a point that it was necessary for them to be removed. Really though, it’s up to you. How badly do you want to imagine he got injured?