For those of you who don’t know (or remember me :-p ) my name is Rose Gordon and once upon a time I wrote historical romance–mostly Regency-era.
Here’s a few visuals…
And when I wasn’t slaving away to write about unsuspecting fellows and their over-scandalous counterparts, I was on here blogging about nonsense like…
(The time I fell through the attic on Thanksgiving.)
(Crazy stuff I’ve found–and maybe bought…–at the fair or craft mall.)
I also shared on here about my failed attempts at crafts:
Held crazy votes:
Or shared stories about my kids:
(100 “signed by author” stickers, plus autograph for 100th day of school; and my kids fighting over a stuffed enema…)
So many of you supported me when I raised $10,000 for MS and looked like an idiot while doing it!
On the bike for the first, but certainly not last, time for the weekend. (Picture blurry to protect the guilty…as well as the innocent.)
Let me share some seriously scandalous “swag” I’ve picked up at different conventions:
I had so much fun writing over 600 blog posts whether they were stories about the craziness in which I live, a man’s POV of my books, hosting contests and so much more. I have missed out on so much by not posting very consistently for the past three years. A fact I wish I could change–but some things aren’t things you post. Or at least not things *I* could ever post.
Many don’t know that about 3.5 years ago my world tilted on its axis when the happily-ever-after I believed I was living fell apart. I have gone through fire after fire since and in my own opinion, I think I’ve emerged a much different, and perhaps stronger person.
Am I ready to write romance novels again? No. Maybe one day, but not today.
Am I ready to start blogging about the craziness that I now face with boys who are 10 and 12 and have entered into their first year in public school? Oh, absolutely. (Funny sidetrack: on Halloween my kids left for the school bus 10 minutes earlier than they needed to. Why? Because they could and I was in the shower and couldn’t tell them, “Oh, hell no.” When I got out of the shower, I noticed I had received about 5 texts from my kids. “Mom, we’ve been down here for 5 minutes and haven’t seen a single bus. I don’t think they’re having school today. You know, Halloween is a holiday.” Oh, my poor kids who’ve always been in a church school or heaven help me homeschooled for an overwhelming year. I wrote back: “Wait for the bus. You left 10 minutes early. The bus doesn’t even get there until 7:40 and you usually leave at 7:30. Writing me at 7:25 to tell me you haven’t seen the bus and you think there’s no school in observance of Halloween will be posted to Facebook if you two argue when you get home tonight. 😀 Love ya!”)
So, if you’re up to following my blog to follow more about me and my shenanigans, my crazy parenting, unusual finds, ridiculous signs, craft fails, wild tales and other craziness where truth is stranger than fiction, than please stay tuned and subscribed. (After all, it IS called Rose Unscripted.)
If you followed my blog as a means to keep up with my writing progress and being informed of new books only, I will by no means be disappointed if you’d like to unsubscribe.
Again, I want to thank you all. Whether you’ve been a follower since I started blogging in Feb. 2011 or have subscribed recently, it doesn’t matter, I just appreciate that you’ve enjoyed my work enough to sign up!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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?
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!
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.
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?
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!
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?!
1. I’m running a super-easy giveaway on Facebook for a wide array of swag and a few of my books. All you have to do is like the POST. That’s it. I’ll randomly select a winner from the list of likes on March 31, 2015. This is open worldwide.
Here’s the post (sorry, I couldn’t get the picture to upload):
2. The Perfect Lady Worthe will be out in one week from today–March 24, 2015.
3. For a limited time, I’m offering Her Sudden Groom for FREE.
This is kind of late in the day, but fear not, I have not forgotten everyone’s favorite weekly feature: Wicked Wednesday. I would have posted sooner, but my husband is out of school and we went to the movies this morning (which I definitely plan to blog about–tomorrow).
But for today, Alex and Caro are about to play a round of pall mall.
To set this scene I should give you some brief information. In his plan to woo Caroline, Alex has invited her to his house to play lawn chess–her favorite game.
Unfortunately, Alex misunderstood what game she liked. It wasn’t lawn chess, but lawn chess–where the board is a huge wooden platform and the pieces are life-size. To salvage the afternoon, Lady Watson (Regina Banks) says that she’s instructed a footman to set up a pall mall course and with her parting words, reminds Alex to be a gentlemen and allow Caroline to use the pink mallet if she so wishes.
And thus begins their game of pall mall:
“What was it your mother said about the pink one?” she asked, reaching out and wrapping her fingers around the handle of the pink mallet.
Instinctively, his hand flew to hers and covered it. The feel of her warm hand under his sent a jolt of desire from his fingers and palm straight to his groin. With a silent curse, he forced himself to let go of her hand. “Go ahead,” he said irritably. Nearly everyone else he knew had heard the story. Why not her, too?
She snatched the pink mallet from the rack and turned it over in her hands. She blinked up at him, her lips twitching. “Why is your name carved into the handle?” The way she was staring at him made his insides uneasy.
He ran his hand through his hair. “It’s a long story.”
She fingered the four letters permanently engraved into the handle of the pink mallet. “I’ve got all day.”
Sighing, he met her gaze straight on. “As you can guess by my mother’s laughter and my earlier groans, this is not a game I enjoy. To say I loathe this game would not be an untrue statement. The reason I do not enjoy this game is partially due to the lack of thinking that goes into playing it. The other reason is, uh, to be honest, I don’t stand a chance at winning.”
“You mean you only like to play games you’re sure you can win?” she interrupted. Her lips stretched into the biggest smile he’d ever seen.
“Doesn’t everyone?” he countered, returning her grin.
“I suppose so,” she agreed. “But that does not tell me how your name found a permanent home on the handle of the pink mallet.”
His face grew warm—hot even. “The rules of the game say you have to hit the ball with the mallet and send it through all the hoops in the least amount of strokes. While the rest of my family can pass through all ten of the iron hoops with scores between forty and fifty strokes each, I usually average about a hundred.” Heedless to his face burning in a way that might suggest it was being licked by flames, he stared at Caroline. She clapped a petite hand over her mouth, failing miserably to keep her laughter silent. He shrugged. In for a penny, in for a pound. “As it is, due to my lack of talent at the game, one of my brothers—I’ve still not determined which—decided because I play like a member of the fairer sex, I should have to play with a mallet painted a color suited for a lady. Since Weenie had a fondness for the red one, that only left the pink one available for them to carve my name into.”
Caroline was no longer able to stifle her laughter with her hand and peals of that happy noise filled the air.
He shook his head. “And yes, everyone has insisted I play with it every time Mother drags us out here to play. And yes, I’ve been asked by many guests who’ve come to house parties as to how my name ended up etched into that mallet.”
“Oh, Alex,” she gasped between bursts of laughter. “I’m sorry to laugh at you. It’s just hard to picture all that. Well, not really since you’re such a nice man. I’d already realized you’d do anything for those you loved. Even play with a pink mallet if they insisted on it. It’s just a humorous story, that’s all.”
And just then, in the span of one second, all the embarrassment surrounding that ridiculous pink mallet and all the emasculating innuendo that went along with it dissolved. She was right. He’d only played with that ridiculous thing to humor his family. They would have never carved his name into it just to be cruel. But only his family knew that. Everyone else who’d seen the mallet had openly questioned his masculinity, but not Caroline. No, she’d seen what the others couldn’t. And for some reason, knowing she could see that unsettled him.
“All right,” he said raggedly. “Are we going to play or admire the game pieces?”
“Let’s play.” She put the pink mallet back on the rack. “I know you said you always play with the pink one, but if you could pick a color, which would it be?”
“Green,” he said without delay, reaching out to snatch the green mallet from the rack.
“How shocking,” she muttered as he picked up the green ball. “I’ll take blue.”
He handed her the blue mallet. Then with the end of his green mallet, he rolled the blue ball off the rack for her. “All right, now as I said, the object is to hit your ball through all the iron hoops with the least amount of strokes.”
He scoffed. “It’s not as easy as it sounds.”
“All right. Who goes first?”
“You can.” He looked around to locate the first hoop. When he found it, he pointed to a patch of grass near a giant tree. “Let’s go over there. That’s where we’ll start.”
“Brilliant. Perhaps while we play we can discuss your experiment. I don’t think this game takes as much thinking as chess does,” she said.
He groaned. “Caroline, let’s not.”
“Why not?” She abruptly stopped her steps.
“I thought we would just have a good time together,” he said hastily.
“And not speak of science at all?” Her eyes were huge.
He chuckled. “I’m going to make an honest attempt at trying to make it through an hour without doing so, yes.”
“Good gracious, people really can change,” she muttered. “All right, fine. But after we’re done with this game, we’re talking about that experiment.”
His jaw clenched. He hated it when she brought up his made-up experiment almost as much as he hated playing pall mall. Every time she referred to his experiment, panic seized him. What if she put the pieces together? What if he accidentally slipped up and said something he shouldn’t? He couldn’t let her continue to talk about his experiment. “Fine. After the game we’ll talk about our campaign.”
“Campaign?” she repeated. “I thought it was an experiment.”
“It’s not. You should know that,” he replied.
She shrugged. “I know. But Marcus told you to think of it as an experiment. And I must say, I rather like thinking of it that way, too.”
“Well, think of it however you wish, but it’s not an experiment. It’s a campaign, and I’d prefer if you called it that.”
She turned to look at him and he glanced away. He was such a cad. Not only was he treating his courtship with her as an experiment, but now he was taking her fun away because he was afraid of accidentally exposing himself.
“Fine. A campaign it is,” she said dully.
“Thank you. I promise before you go home this afternoon we’ll spend at least half an hour speaking of nothing but that.”
“I’m going to hold you to it,” she said.
“I bet you will.”
They walked over to the grass he’d pointed to and she carelessly dropped her ball to the ground. Standing next to her ball, she swung the mallet back so far she almost knocked herself in the head with the heavy chunk of wood on the end. Then she brought it forward with a swing that would have been more appropriate for a links course. The mallet hit the underside of the ball and sent it straight up into the air.
Caroline shrieked and brought her arms up to cover her face as the ball flew back down to earth only ten inches from where it was originally placed.
“Congratulations, Caroline,” Alex said smartly. “You’re ten inches closer to the hoop!”
She made a face at him and he chuckled.
Alex dropped his ball to the ground in the same place she’d started and brought his mallet back only about ten inches or so. Lightly swinging the mallet forward, he tapped the ball and sent it rolling straight ahead. His ball rolled smack into hers, but because it hadn’t been a hard hit, his ball stopped and rolled back about two inches.
“Oh congratulations, Alex,” Caroline said sarcastically. “Your ball is a whole eight inches closer to the hoop.”
“It would have gone further had yours not been in the way,” he returned with a teasing grin.
“Excuses, excuses.” She walked up to their balls with him. “Who goes now?”
“You do,” he said. “We always go in the same order, even if there’s a gap.”
“Oh.” She blinked at the balls that were no more than two inches apart.
He bit back a smile. The head of the mallet was about four inches long, the only way she’d be able to hit that ball was if she either hit it to the side, knocking it off course, or turned her mallet to the side and hit it with the side of the mallet, which would probably only make it roll a half inch away. “Your turn,” he prompted.
She sighed and leaned down to pick up her ball.
“Don’t,” he commanded more harshly than he meant, stepping backward. “It’s against the rules to move your ball.” Not to mention that when she’d leaned down, her shoulder had unintentionally, but still seductively, brushed the fall of his pants.
“What should I do?”
“Put your stick between the two balls and give it a flick with your wrist,” he suggested, feeling grateful nobody else was here to hear him say those words. There were too many ways that sentence could be misconstrued.
She angled her mallet sideways between their balls and hit hers just far enough to get it out of the direct path of his.
“Good work,” he said approvingly as he strode up to his ball. He swung and hit it, sending it about eighteen inches in front of him.
“Nice shot,” she said with a look on her face he couldn’t interpret.
“Thank you,” he said tentatively. “It’s your turn.”
She walked up to her ball and got in position to club it again. “What are you doing?” she squealed as his hands descended on her.
“Helping you,” he murmured in her ear. Covering her hands with his, he stood as close to her as he dared.
“Where did your mother go?”
He froze. “She probably went to check on my father. She’ll be back shortly. Don’t worry, I won’t do anything I oughtn’t.”
“I know,” she said with a swallow.
“Now, the problem is you’re trying to hit it for all it’s worth. That won’t work with pall mall. It’s more about tapping the ball. Just bring it back this far—” he pulled their arms back together until the mallet was only about a foot from the ball— “then, smoothly bring the mallet forward. All right, let’s try it for real this time.”
She nodded and let him help her move her arms back, then swung forward. The ball rolled about three feet. “Did you see that, Alex?” she squealed, his arms still wrapped around her.
“Yes. I might wear spectacles, but I can see,” he teased, fruitlessly willing himself to let go of her.
“Your turn.” She twisted in his arms, presumably to get free.
He let her go. “Right,” he clipped. He walked to his ball and knocked it a good twelve inches.
Paying him and his poor playing no mind, Caroline took her turn and without his help, hit her blue ball so well he had to take a second glance to make sure it had in fact gone through the hoop. Hell’s afire, she truly was a natural.
In less than twenty minutes, Alex crossed through the first hoop and Caroline’s ball sailed through the fifth. They’d gotten in a habit of yelling to the other when they’d finished with their turn so the other could go. More than once, Alex had contemplated picking up his ball and throwing it further ahead when she wasn’t looking. But he’d never cheated at a game before and he wasn’t going to start with pall mall!
Alex stood with his mallet poised behind his ball, waiting for Caroline to scream it was his turn. Instead, her words came out sounding a bit different. Usually she said, “Your turn.” But this time she said, “Wait a second, Alex. I’m going to help you.”
His lips twisted into a snarl. There was only one thing worse than cheating: getting help. He swallowed and swung his mallet back. He didn’t care if he hit the ball in a way that would send it backward. He just wanted to hurry and hit it before she got here to “help” him. Staring down at the ball, he brought his mallet forward to hit his ball when suddenly a purple slipper came into view and settled on his ball.
“What are you doing?” she demanded, hands on her hips.
“Taking my turn. Now, if you’d remove your dainty slipper, I’ll get on with it.”
“Not so fast.” She grabbed him by the lapels. “I said I was going to help you. Didn’t you hear me?”
“Yes. But I don’t want your help, so I ignored you.”
She rolled her eyes. “Too bad. Now stand still.” She came around to stand behind him, wrapped her arms around him, and put her hands on his.
Never in his life had he been torn between feeling two vastly different emotions. On one hand, he was rather embarrassed she was helping him. On the other, lust and desire coursed through him at an astonishing rate as her soft breasts rested against his back. “Perhaps we should back up,” he rasped. With how responsive his body was to hers, when they swung that mallet, her hands were going to feel something else that was long and hard if she didn’t allow him some space.
“Nonsense,” she said, pressing closer to him. “The problem is you’re stiff.”
Yes, I know. But how did you? “Excuse me?” he asked raggedly.
She brought her hands to his shoulders and kneaded his muscles. “You’re body is too tense. Relax.”
He wanted to groan in vexation. As long as she stood pressed up against him like this, his body would not relax.
He let her help him swing, and the ball went about as far as it had when he’d done it alone.
She shook her head. “You’re too rigid, Alex. If you’d soften up and relax, your game would improve.”
“I’ll keep that in mind,” he said dryly. “Now go take your turn.”
This week’s book is my USA Today Bestseller: Her Sudden Groom.
I’m using the prologue on this one because I think it sets everything up so well for what to expect of Alex and his father, and just why an unusual sort such as Arid Alex is suddenly in want of a wife.
Alex Banks sat paralyzed as the cold fingers of death closed around his neck, choking the life right out of him. Gasping for breath, he reached one tanned hand up and slipped two fingers under the cravat-turned-noose that hung around his neck, then jerked, loosening its suffocating hold. Who knew that little scrap of fabric he normally wore only to appease the females in his life could transform into such a deadly weapon?
Well, it hadn’t really, but it might as well have become a hangman’s noose for all it mattered to Alex. He’d just been given a death sentence, as far as he was concerned.
“Are you certain?” he rasped when he’d loosened the garment enough to catch his breath.
“Quite certain,” his father told him apologetically.
Alex took his spectacles off and rubbed his eyes, pressing them so hard bright shapes burst in front of him.
Edward Banks, Baron Watson, put his glass of water on the nightstand beside him. Readjusting himself in his bed, he blinked then reached for the stack of papers on the bed next to him. “Here.” He handed the papers to Alex.
Alex jerked the papers from his father’s limp grasp with far more effort than necessary. “Sorry,” he murmured as he thumbed through the life-altering—nay, life-shattering—documents.
Leafing through the papers, his panic didn’t ease like he’d hoped; instead it escalated with each page he scanned. There had to be a way out of this mess. He exhaled a deep, shaky breath and patted the ends of the papers against the tabletop to straighten them back into a neat, even stack.
Placing the papers on his father’s bedside table, he slouched in his chair and ran a hand through his unkempt hair, giving it a hard, painful tug to make sure he wasn’t in a nightmare. No such luck. The nightmare was a reality, and he was only at the start of it. He glanced to his father, who was having yet another nasty sounding coughing fit.
“There might be a loophole,” Father said when he was done hacking. His voice was weak and uneven.
Alex’s ears perked up, and he impaled his father with his eyes, waiting for him to divulge anything that would allow him to escape the equivalent of an innocent’s lifetime sentence in the Tower of London.
Father patted his aching chest and tried his best to swallow a gulp of water before looking at Alex. “You could marry another.”
Alex looked at his father, dumbfounded. He could have sworn he’d just read a betrothal agreement that linked his name to Lady Olivia Sinclair. How could he possibly marry another without: one, creating a scandal; two, being termed a cad; or three, being called out by her brother?
Father coughed again. “You only scanned the agreement. You missed the contingency part.”
“Thank goodness,” Alex muttered. “What page is that on?” He thumbed back through the papers.
“It’s on the final page,” Father said with a harsh cough. “This whole fiasco is all contingent on your being single on the date of your thirtieth birthday.”
Alex frowned. “Why?” He moved his eyes slowly over each word on the last page, making sure not to miss a single word.
His father at least had the good manners to look somewhat guilty. As guilty as one can possibly feign when one is on one’s sickbed, that is. “Well, you see, son.” He flickered a glance at the wall just past Alex’s left shoulder before meeting Alex’s eyes again. “Joseph, the former Lord Sinclair, and I were good friends. We went to Eton and Cambridge together and remained close ever since. We thought it would be ideal to have our children marry.”
“Without their consent,” Alex muttered, irritation bubbling inside him.
His father frowned. “Marriages oftentimes are arranged. Mine was.”
“I know.” Alex had always had sympathy for the plights of his mother and father. Neither of them had even had a chance to find a spouse of their choosing. Apparently, he was about to endure the same fate. How fortunate for them, his parents had received a much better bargain than he was destined to have.
“Anyway,” Father said, breaking into Alex’s thoughts, “when Lady Olivia was born, I joined Sinclair at his house to celebrate, and in a drunken state, we marveled at the irony that she was born on the same day as you. Well, eight years later, of course.”
“Of course.” Alex vaguely remembered the night of his eighth birthday. That was the night he’d snuck out to see his first mare and witnessed his father coming home foxed, singing the Hallelujah Chorus, and claiming to have some excellent news.
Hell’s afire. The “excellent news” Father was exclaiming about had been this confounded betrothal contract, binding him to Lady Olivia for life. Lady Olivia. Nobody could be a worse match for him than Lady Olivia. He swallowed hard, trying to return the bile rising in his throat back to his stomach.
Father coughed. “Sinclair and I thought it would be a brilliant arrangement. My son. His daughter. Our grandchildren. However, none of us knew just how shrewish Lady Olivia would grow up to become.”
A shudder wracked father and son simultaneously. “No one could have known,” Alex grumbled. Looks were one thing; personality was another. Alex considered himself mature enough to see past her always-tangled, fire-orange hair, rotund figure, horrid teeth, and absurd fashion choices. Her physical appearance, however, paled in comparison to her personality, which was enough to test the patience of a martyred saint. She was whiny, clingy, hateful, and suffered more ailments than he was aware even existed. Everything she did was completely self-serving in one manner or another. If anybody believed otherwise, they were a fool.
Clearing his throat, Father said, “That’s of no account now, son. Either you’ll have to marry her, or go ask her brother if he’ll honor the last page of the agreement.”
Alex’s eyes flew to his father. “Why wouldn’t he?” It was right here, combined with all those other suicide-inducing papers. There was no reason for him not to.
“Because that was an addendum added some eight years later. It was the only page not originally part of the agreement, and it isn’t signed by a third party,” Father explained after a brutal coughing fit. “The originals—” he grabbed the stack of papers and pointed to the bottom of each page as he flipped through— “were all signed by Sinclair, me, and Richard Barnes. Barnes is a mutual friend who was there celebrating with us, and who happens to be a solicitor. As you can see, the last page has only my and Sinclair’s signatures on it.”
“If he signed it, it’s legal,” Alex argued flippantly.
“Not exactly,” his father rasped. “It could be contested, and it might not stand. Now that Joseph is dead and Marcus has taken his place, it would be my word, which won’t mean anything in a few weeks, I’d wager, versus a court.”
Alex gulped. He hated to think that in a matter of weeks, or even days, his father might be gone. Six months ago, Father had become ill, and since then his health had been declining rapidly. After several fruitless attempts to cure him, the physician concluded his condition was internal and medicine wasn’t going to help. Father took the news in stride and continued to read, talk about science, go down to dinner, and even ride his horse. It wasn’t until the past week he’d taken to spending most of the day in his bed, too frail and exhausted to do much more than read and go down for dinner. Watching Father’s illness progress in the past months had been terribly painful for Alex. “All right,” Alex said softly. “I’ll see what can be done for it now.”
Father pulled the covers up to his chin. “Son, I’m sorry I made that agreement. But if you can get Marcus to honor the contingency, you’re halfway there.”
“Yes, then I just have to find a lady to agree to marry me in a month’s time.”
“Considering that you’ll have to marry Lady Olivia if you don’t, I think you’ll find a way.” His father flashed him his best attempt at a smile.
“That’s all the motivation one needs,” Alex said, twisting his lips. He removed his spectacles and rubbed his nose. “Why was I never told of this before?” His voice was flat and dry, almost disinterested, belying the nervous excitement coursing through him.
Father shrugged. “I always assumed you’d find a bride on your own, thus voiding the agreement per the conditions on the last page. With that assumption, I didn’t tell you when you were younger because I didn’t want to heap this upon your head then. As you both got older, I saw what kind of a girl Lady Olivia had become, and I assumed her father would let you out of the agreement altogether. However, since he passed away last year, I’m not sure you can count on that possibility. Her period of mourning ended less than two weeks ago and I received a letter from the solicitor yesterday. That makes me think the agreement has not been forgotten.”
Alex sighed. He couldn’t fault his father for not telling him this. The poor man must have been living in a delusion thinking Alex would somehow find a young lady who would actually want to marry him. When in reality, some would think marrying Lady Olivia was the only fathomable solution to marriage for a gentleman who had somehow acquired the nickname Arid Alex.
Smoothing the covers and rearranging the pillows, Alex did what he could to make his frail father comfortable before leaving his sickroom.
Dorset it was, then. He needed to go see Marcus post haste.
If you’ve already read this one and haven’t dashed off to go re-read it OR you haven’t read this one and haven’t yet dashed off yet to go get your copy, you might wish to go get a sneak peek at the new covers for my upcoming Regency Series: Gentlemen of Honor. The cover for the first book, Secrets of a Viscount, is being revealed today at Tifferz & Her Sisterz Book Reviewz.
This won’t mean a lot to anyone who already reads my books, BUT I am really excited and can’t contain it any longer and now that the digital ink is dry on the contract I can spill the beans!
Her Sudden Groom will be translated into German and available within the early part of next year!
As I said, not overly exciting for anyone but me at this point. That said, I’m super thrilled. I’ve had companies express interest in buying translation rights before, but none that were ever reputable. This one is. Just like this was my first book to make the USA Today, this is also my first book to be translated into a foreign language. Who knew Alex and Caro would be such a hit! (Personally, I’m betting Edward had something to do with it…)
Thanks for letting me share, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!