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

Fun Fact Friday ~ His Contract Bride

  • I’d never actually intended to write this book until I got somewhere in the middle of Her Sudden Groom and realized that I REALLY loved Edward (and Regina) and wanted to see him as a hero.
  • I was supposed to be writing the first Fort Gibson Officer’s Series book when I just couldn’t take it any longer and had to stop writing Wes and Allison’s story and write this one.
  • At about the halfway through this book I’d boxed myself into a hole. A deep one surrounded by thorn bushes. To fix it, I divided up all the scenes I had so far so each one was in a different “document”, and juggled them around and repasted them back into the official document to make them work so that I could go forward. I then read everything I had to make sure I didn’t expose something too soon. I loved how much better things worked out like this, but just to make sure I was on the right track, I asked my friend Jane Charles if I could send her what I had (around 38,000 words)  and get some feedback. In the few days she had it while reading it over and thinking of feedback, I wrote the entire rest of the book.
  • This was the first book I had made into audio. It was also my first book to win an award.
  • I’ll admit it, I giggled while imagining Bea, the old Lady Sinclair (Marcus and Olivia’s mother) and her hairstyle that had to be so exact that her maid would measure the circumference of each of her curls and the distance between them.
  • I never actually intended to write Bea to be a super sourpuss, priss-pot, she kind of wrote herself and since she was Lady O’s mother, I just shrugged and went with it. As they say, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree (and neither does the nut job…).
  • I got the idea for the canoe scene after taking a family canoe trip where my, then five year-old, son jumped up suddenly and demanded he needed to pee. NOW! Though just a young lad, his insistence, complete with squirming sure rocked that boat.
  • I wrote the taxidermy animals as a passive-aggressive response to a complaint I received from a self-proclaimed historian about mounted game in Intentions of the Earl. I have to say that while it started out for that reason, I ended up being so glad for the entire chain of events that lead to this decision happened because I think it played very well for showing Edward’s love for Regina not only in this book, but in His Yankee Bride as well.
  • I secretly long for a nightrail like what Regina wore…
  • While I can pick out certain aspects of my relationship with Bob in every single one of my books, it was after this one a friend I made through my books who I know almost exclusively through Facebook emailed me and said she thought this book most closely resembled mine and Bob’s relationship.
  • New cover!
    contract wrap

 

SPOILER:

  • If you haven’t read this one and need a reason to do so besides seeing what scandalous thing Edward does next and getting to see the schemer John Banks as a young lad stirring up trouble, it is in this book we learn just who is responsible for the horrid decorations at the Watson Townhouse and just how they came to be.

 

Banks Brothers' Brides Series, His Contract Bride, Wicked Wednesday

Wicked Wednesday ~ His Contract Bride

For as naughty as Edward is in his son’s book–Her Sudden Groom–he hasn’t quite developed his full sense of impropriety in his own. Don’t get me wrong, he has his moments, but that’s not what I’m going to post. Instead, I think I’m going to post what just might be one of his most tortured moments…

After their guests were gone, she excused herself to go wait in her room. Today was Wednesday, the night Edward normally sought entry to her room.

Ever the observant lady’s maid, Georgie helped her into the appropriate nightgown and left Regina alone to wait for her husband. Would he come? She dismissed the thought immediately. Of course he would. He wasn’t the one who’d had his heart broken today. He wasn’t in love with her, nor had he ever been. For him, nothing had changed today. There was no reason for him not to come.

Just as the clock struck eleven came the soft knock at the adjacent door and with it fear’s icy grip settled around Regina’s heart. What if now that she knew the truth, he’d cease the charade and would no longer be the gentle lover he’d been in the past; but instead be aggressive and demanding? Her blood turned to ice in an instant.

He’d never seemed the sort who’d purposely hurt her for doing something to his disliking, but now that all was exposed…

She sucked in a sharp breath and opened the connecting door.

Regina.”

Y-yes?”

The room was as dark as it always was when he came to visit and all she could see of him was the outline of his form and the side of his face. Without a word of warning, his hands settled on her arms just above the elbows like they always did when he came to visit her at night.

But this time, it felt different when his hands touched her.

Before, they’d felt warm and loving, and now they just felt hard and cold, devoid of any real sense of love and affection―similar to the way her father tried to be affectionate when circumstances dictated.

She jerked at the thought. “Forgive me,” she murmured as his fingers tightened a fraction on her upper arm, helping her keep her balance. The firmness of his grasp was different, too. He’d never held her so tight. Was he angry with her for jerking at his touch? Her lower lip quivered on its own accord and she dug her teeth into its tender flesh to hold it steady.

Regina,” Edward whispered, leaning his head closer. His lips landed awkwardly against hers. He pulled back. “Is something the matter?”

N-no.” She forced her teeth to relinquish her lip and cleared her throat. “No. Perhaps we should…” She took a hard swallow. “The bed,” she whispered.

All right.”

Regina twisted out of his grasp and padded across the room to her bed. There was a sense of safety, albeit a small one, in being in her bed where she could dig her fingers into the sheets and hold on until it was over, as her aunt had instructed. For now that she was about to share intimacies with a man who didn’t love her, her aunt’s advice just might be helpful.

Nervous, she tripped slightly when her foot got caught in the length of that billowing nightgown she was now thankful for and clumsily climbed into her bed, tangling the fabric around her feet.

Instinctively, she kicked her leg to work out the heavy tangle and set herself free.

Are you all right?” Edward asked.

She stilled. Did he sense her discomfort? She nearly sighed. Only a fool wouldn’t be able to see how overwrought she was. “I’m all right,” she lied. She licked her lips and waited for him.

Slowly, he approached the bed and shed his dressing gown. Though it was dark with only the low glow of the moon offering any amount of light, Regina lowered her lashes, unable to force herself to look at him. During his previous visits, she’d let all of her shame vanish and would watch him remove his robe, hoping to catch a glimpse of him. But not now. Now it seemed inappropriate somehow. Indecent.

The mattress dipped under his weight as he joined her. His hand found her hip and she jumped, startled.

Forgive me,” she whispered.

He moved his hand from her hip to the side of her stomach then let it drift down to her side again. “There’s nothing to forgive,” he murmured against her ear.

Regina fisted her hands into the counterpane. She could do this. All the other ladies in England did this and so could she. It was Edward. She’d shared intimacies with him many times before; it was no different this time.

But, yes, it was. This time there was no illusion of deceit that he loved her. Her hands clenched tighter. This time his touch wasn’t the same. He was touching her in all the same places and with the same movements, but for some reason, they didn’t excite her body as they had in the past. Instead, they felt practiced as if everything he’d done all along had been insincere. And perhaps everything had been, to keep up the pretense that he had married her for love.

Her heart slammed in her chest and her body jerked on its own accord. Whether because of her unnerving thoughts or Edward’s unnerving touch, she’d never know.

Regina,” he said, brushing his lips across her cheek.

Only yesterday, the gesture would have melted her on the spot, but not tonight. Instead of relaxing against him or moving her face to grant him better access to her cheek, she squeezed her eyes shut and said a silent prayer that he’d be done soon.

Tears filled her eyes. Everything her aunt said had come true. As much as she’d never believed herself capable of finding Edward’s touch repulsive, that is exactly what it was. And because of what? Because he didn’t love her. That wasn’t anything new. She squeezed her eyes shut tighter to hold in the tears. Nobody in her life had ever loved her. Not her father, nor her brother, and now not even her husband.

Edward’s lips moved dangerously close to hers, eliciting an uncontrollable tremble.

Immediately, Edward’s hand stilled and his face pulled away from hers. “Is something the matter?”

No.”

At her hip, one of his fingers idly tapped. “Have I done something you dislike?”

No.” It wasn’t really a lie. It wasn’t necessarily his kisses and caresses that she hadn’t liked, but the fact that he’d lied to her. And she didn’t even dislike that. She loathed it. “Pray continue.”

His finger stopped its tapping and he heaved a deep sigh. Dropping his head into the pillow, he pulled Regina against his warm body.

What was he doing? Sure, he’d held her many times before—but only after they’d finished being intimate, never before.

She peeked at his face through her eyelashes. His eyes were shut. Did he intend to fall asleep without…without…?

The following minutes stretched into what felt like hours, and finally, deep breathing and soft snoring filled the air.

~*~*~

Obviously, this scene came after Regina learned the truth of their marriage, but what’s most important about this scene was that it was here that Edward realized just how deeply hurt Regina was by it all.

[Oh, and did you notice that their “day” was on Wednesday…just like Wicked Wednesday…. I can honestly tell you that by the end of the book, it wouldn’t have mattered what night of the week it was for these two, formality disintegrated in the flames of their passion. But I did find it humorous today when I went to post this that their ‘day’ happened to be Wicked Wednesday–I’m sure that was definitely an Edward thing.]

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

Sample Sunday ~ His Contract Bride

This week’s book is His Contract Bride. If you haven’t yet read this one, but read (and enjoyed) Her Sudden Groom, this book follows Edward and Regina–Alex’s parents.

Red Beauty

 

For today’s sample, I asked a reader who has probably read the book more than I have, which scene I should use and this was one of her favorites. (Thank, Jessica!)

To set the scene:

Regina has learned that her “love match” was actually an arranged marriage and her overly-scientific husband is trying to think of ways to make it up to her. She’s actually rather beautiful; she’s agreeable (for the most part); and well, things were going REALLY well for them before she found out. So he wants to find some sort of common ground between them in hopes they can have a friendship of sorts, if nothing else. So in his pursuit of finding her interests, he takes her on a series of outings. One of which was to a different kind of museum…

What is this place?” Regina asked when the Watson carriage rolled to a stop in front of a grey stone building that was in desperate need of repair.

The museum,” he said simply.

From its appearance, this building looks as if it should be in a museum.”

Edward laughed.

Well, it does.”

He descended the carriage then helped her do the same. “I wasn’t laughing at your suggestion, exactly, just the truth of it.”

She eyed him askance, and he ducked to elude her scrutinizing gaze.

Shall we go inside and see it before it falls down about our ears?” he suggested.

Regina nodded. “I’ll be careful not to touch anything. I wouldn’t wish to help the demolition along.”

Another bark of laugher passed his lips. Then, when he caught sight of her, he cleared his throat. “Actually, unlike most museums, there are many things in here that you are encouraged to touch.”

Excellent,” she chirped. “My aunt always did complain about my inability to keep my hands to myself.”

Truly?” Edward had been watching her every second he could and had hardly seen her touch anything—even him. He’d vaguely noticed her featherlight touches previously when he’d escorted her somewhere and she had to take his arm, but now he couldn’t help but notice them.

Truly.” They began walking and she continued, “As a child, she’d rap the back of my hands with a fan every time I touched something that wasn’t mine.”

Edward’s heart lurched at those cruel words and the broken tone that delivered them, and he came to an abrupt stop that would have made her fall to the ground if not for his quick reaction. “Regina,” he began, his voice hoarse. “Everything I own—” including me— “is yours to touch and inspect as much as you’d like. There is no reason to fear my reaction if you do.”

Regina’s brown eyes grew glossy. She blinked rapidly then nodded. “Thank you.”

He had no idea what she was thanking him for but nodded once. “You’re welcome. Now, let’s go inside.”

Hullo, Lord Watson,” Loretta Bray, the owner’s daughter, greeted as Edward and Regina stepped inside.

Miss Bray,” he replied by way of greeting. “Where is your papa today?”

He’ll be back in a few minutes. Run to the butcher, he did.” She twisted her face in a most unflattering way.

Has Mr. Moore been causing trouble again?” Edward guessed.

Yes and Papa’s gwine make sure he gets what’s coming to him.”

Right, well, Miss Bray, I’d like you to meet my wife, Lady Watson.” He turned toward Regina then gestured to Miss Bray. “Regina, this is Loretta Bray. Her father owns the shop.”

Hello, milady,” Miss Bray said, demonstrating a sloppy curtsy. “It’s very nice to meet you.”

It’s nice making your acquaintance, too,” Regina murmured; her curtsy flawless in comparison.

Edward’s chest swelled with pride. Regina, being a woman of nobility now, had no call to curtsy to Miss Bray. And, were she any other lady Edward was acquainted with, namely his mother or Lady Sinclair, she would have become waspish toward Miss Bray for her mistake. But not Regina. He put a possessive hand on the small of her back then just as quickly pulled it away when she flinched. “We’ll just look around, then.”

Aye. There are new automatons in the back,” she called as they walked away. “Oh, and we rearranged some of the sculptures.”

Edward lifted his free hand to indicate he’d heard. “Have you ever been to a curiosity shop?”

N-no.”

He gestured to the left hall. “Good. I’ll get to witness your first experience at seeing—.”

What on earth is that?” she exclaimed, terror filling her voice. She recoiled and jumped backward, her back slamming against his chest.

He wrapped his arms around her to steady her. He’d expected some sort of reaction, but this wasn’t it. “It’s a wax sculpture.”

A what?” Her body was still tense as she stared at the wax image of a man wearing nothing but a brown piece of “leather” that hung loose in front of his bauble and whirligigs, held on only by a thin piece of “rope” that wrapped around his waist. His right arm was lifted into the air with his hand closed around a long spear with a sharp, bloodied tip on the end. His eyes were narrowed, his nostrils flared, and his teeth were bared as if he were running into war.

Edward loosened his hold enough to still keep her up but not make her uneasy by his touch. “It’s like a statue. But instead of being made of marble or stone, it’s made from wax.”

My compliments to the sculptor. He did a fine job of making it very lifelike.”

He did, didn’t he?”

Yes,” she said with a swallow, her eyes trained on the man’s chest. Her body relaxed significantly, but he refused to let her go so soon. It had been since their wedding night that he’d been able to touch her without guilt niggling in the back of his mind, and for some reason, he didn’t want the moment to end.

Are there more statues like this one?”

No.” He released her. “Last time I was here, this was the only one like this, and I thought it was at the end.”

That must be why Miss Bray was giggling,” Regina said.

Of course,” he offered her is arm. “Would you like to see the others?” When she bit her lip and glanced over his shoulder, he added, “I promise that none are as graphic as this.”

And if they are?”

Then I’ll give you a boon and do whatever it is you wish to do tomorrow,” he promised, saying a silent prayer that there would be another, more vulgar image than this one. That way she’d have no choice but to let him into her world that she’d held secret from him.

A boon,” she agreed. “But I get to claim it whenever and however I wish.”

He inwardly sighed. “All right, a boon of your choosing.”

Very well, show me more men with wax in their ears, if you please.”

Not just in,” he corrected. “If you want to see that, look no further than yours truly.”

Her face turned a pale pink. “I meant that as a jest, because—”

He placed a finger to her lips. “I know what you meant; and I found the humor in it.” He dropped his hand to his side. “Shall we?”

Daniel Bray, the owner of the museum, had somehow acquired just under one hundred wax sculptures, and Edward spent as much time as he could showing each of them to Regina before taking her into his favorite room.

I must warn you,” he said, his face heating a bit. “Other than your bedchamber, this has to be my favorite room in London.” He couldn’t help the grin that divided his face when Regina’s cheeks flushed crimson.

Edward,” she gasped.

Sorry, m’dear, I didn’t mean to scandalize you—” he shrugged— “but it’s the truth.”

That may be, but you needn’t announce it.”

He twisted his lips and made his eyes bulge; making a face that had always made his younger brothers laugh, then made a big show of looking in both directions over his shoulders then behind her. “I don’t see anyone who heard the announcement other than the one person I wanted to hear it.”

She lowered her lashes and her hands clasped together in front of her waist. “I think I understand now.”

Ignoring the way she’d suddenly clammed up again, he gestured to the room. “Shall I show you what a grown man would like to see in a nursery were he sent away from dinner and told to spend the rest of the evening there?”

Dare I hope everything in this room is clothed?”

Edward gasped and smacked a hand on either side of his face. “Regina Elinor Banks! I do believe I finally understand the meaning of the verb scandalized.”

She waved her hand through the air—almost like she meant to swat at his shoulder but stopped herself. “Do be serious. That is nowhere near as scandalous as what you said a moment ago. Besides—” she pointed a slender, pink-tipped finger at him and wagged it— “considering the sculptures you just exposed me to, my statement wasn’t too far-fetched.”

Edward took hold of her extended hand and wrapped his larger one around it. “I promise there is nothing offensive in this room.” Holding her hand, he led her into the room. “See, it’s like a giant toy room. This is the part of the museum where you’re allowed to touch whatever you wish.” He picked up a wooden carving that had a ball trapped inside of a rectangular box which was made up of only twelve wooden strips along the corners and handed it to her.

Regina turned it over in her hand, frowning. “How did they get the ball inside? It’s too big to fall out the side, yet there are no hinges or breaks in the wood where it pulls apart.”

It was originally all one piece of wood. The man who made this carved the rough outline of the box first and then carved the ball within, making sure not to take too much off of either the ball or the sides so the ball wouldn’t fall out.” He took it from her and set it back on the shelf, then picked up a heavy wooden plank that had six rows of small colored dots along the top, followed by a strip of green, then a large swath of brown. Along the left were two horses: one grey and one white. Holding firmly onto the side closest to him, he moved it closer to Regina.

How intricate,” she marveled, tracing the details of the horses with the tip of her finger. She frowned. “Are these horses attached to the wood with wire?”

Instead of telling her, he hooked his fingers into the wire circles on the underside of the wood, and pulled.

How extraordinary,” she exclaimed as the horses “raced” across the plank.

The smile on her face knocked the wind right out of Edward’s lungs. Of course he’d seen her smile before, but never beam. Not the way she was doing now. His chest constricted. Leave it to John and his eerie perceptiveness to see what Edward couldn’t.

Do they always move like that?”

No.” Edward used his left hand and moved them back to the start. “It’s meant to be a horse race. That’s what all these dots are—they’re the spectators.” He flipped the box over. “See, there are two different wires, one for each horse. Depending on which horse you want to win, you pull that string a little faster.” He turned the automaton back over and tugged the wires again, this time, pulling the top one just a little faster than the bottom.

Do all of these do the same thing?”

Edward put the racing horses down. “In a matter of speaking, yes. But they’re all different, as well.” He picked one up. “These are two fishermen having a competition.” He quirked a brow. “Care to place a wager on which one reels in his catch first?”

She laughed. “No. I don’t place bets when I know who controls the outcome.”

Wits and beauty, a perfect combination.” He set the fishermen down and sifted through a few vulgar ones of cock fights and a man being hanged until he found what he was looking for. “This one doesn’t have strings to pull, but dials to turn.” He took her hand again and led her to a little bench in the corner. After she’d made herself comfortable, he sat next to her and positioned the automaton so half was on each of their laps.

What are they doing?”

They’re about to fence.” He ran his fingers along the right side of the box. “Slide your hand along the wooden frame until you feel the ridges, then stop.”

All right,” she said, her brow puckering.

Very good. Now, when I tell you to, move your finger along those grooves and be sure to press hard or it won’t work.” He found his dial. “Are you ready?”

I think so.”

Go!”

At the same time, both of them spun their dials, and the men on the front of the plank moved their swords, either forward or back.

What fun,” she exclaimed, spinning her dial with more vigor than he’d imagined she’d have.

Be careful,” Edward said with an overdone frown. “You’re about to beat me.”

That made her laugh all the harder.

He threw both of his hands into the air. “You win! You win! Have mercy on me.”

Regina stopped. “Aha, the victor.”

Edward had the strangest urge to kiss her at that moment. The thought sobered him. She’d never allow him such a liberty outside of the bedchamber. “Congratulations, Regina,” he said. “You have managed to unman your husband. Your friends shall be proud indeed.” Particularly Lady Sinclair.

I didn’t unman you,” she corrected. “I bested you.”

Oh, thank you for the clarification.”

You’re welcome.”

He shook his head at her sarcastic tone and set the automaton down beside himself. Who’d have ever known that the quiet woman who spoke only when spoken to had this fire inside her?

Oh, look,” she said, reaching across him in a way that pushed her soft breast into his lap, dangerously close to something that wouldn’t be soft much longer if she didn’t sit back up. “Here’s another game.”

Let me see.” He coughed. “Pardon me.” Ignoring the heat crawling up his face, he fiddled with the automaton she’d picked up while she straightened into proper sitting position.

What are these fellows playing?”

Tennis,” he murmured.

Tennis?”

Have you never heard of it?”

No.”

Don’t worry, not too many care about it these days,” he said while he absentmindedly played with the dials. “It used to be a very popular game—the game of kings, in fact. But its popularity has been in rapid decline in recent years.”

That must be why I haven’t heard of it,” she said airily.

What the devil? The dials turned without problem, but there was no movement. “I think this one might be broken.”

Oh.”

Was he imagining things or was she truly disappointed? He set the automaton down. “What do you say if I take you to see a real tennis match on Thursday?”

But didn’t you mention at breakfast that you needed to get back to Watson Estate and check on your flowers.”

Hang the flowers,” he burst out, as stunned as she was at his words. He exhaled. “Do you wish to go with me to see a tennis match in real life or will I be going alone?”

I’d love to accompany you.”

Thank heavens, because he might do himself in if he were made to go to one of those dratted things alone. “Excellent, then.”

~*~*~

As you can see, the scene ends with him setting up another type of outing between them, but you’ll have to read the story to find out how their tennis date goes!

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?

 

His Contract Bride

Limited Time Sale on His Contract Bride

From now until Monday May 6th, His Contract Bride will be on sale at Amazon and Barnes & Noble for .99 with all royalties going to Tour de Cure a biking (bicycles, not motorcycles) fundraiser for diabetes.

This is a great time to buy it as a gift or stock up at a great price and to help a good cause.

Red Beauty

Edward Banks, Lord Watson has known most of his life that one day Regina Harris was to be his bride–but somebody forgot to inform her…

An avid academic and aspiring scientist, Edward is pleased to find that he won’t have to bother with the nonsense involved in courting a young lady.

Young and naive, it doesn’t take much for her social-climbing father to convince Regina the gentleman she’s to marry has requested her hand out of love, but devastates her when she learns the truth.

Now, it’s up to a gentleman who’s more comfortable in a conservatory than a drawing room to prove to Regina that she’s more than just the proverbial sacrificial lamb that helped gain her family their foot in Society’s door and that he–if no other gentleman–is trustworthy. But he just might be the one doing the learning as he’ll be forced to acknowledge that sometimes the most combustible elements aren’t the ones you control, but sometimes the ones you don’t.