Yesterday, marked my 6 year scandal-versary as my friend called it. It was six years yesterday that Intentions of the Earl debuted! In honor of this, I put my first series–Scandalous Sisters Series, which includes Intentions of the Earl, Liberty for Paul and To Win His Wayward Wife on sale for .99 for the complete boxed set through Sunday!
Due to how large the file is, Amazon is the only store that can support it right now. I’m still working on trying to get B&N to post it, too. *fingers crossed*
Intentions of the Earl—Andrew Black a penniless earl makes a pact to ruin Brooke Banks, an American hoyden, never suspecting for a moment he’ll lose his heart along the way…
Liberty for Paul—Liberty Banks, an American vicar’s daughter, loves propriety almost as much as she hates Paul Grimes, the man her father is mentoring, and will go to any length she sees fit to see the improper man out the door and out of her life. But when she’s forced to marry him, she’ll learn there’s a lot more to life, love and this man than she originally thought.
To Win His Wayward Wife—A gentleman who’s spent the last five years pining for the love of his life will get his second chance: marriage to the beautiful, witty, but rather withdrawn Madison Banks. The only problem? She has no interest in him.
And…I wasn’t going to share this because I am sure you are all tired of me changing these particular covers, but the ebook covers for my Fort Gibson Officers Series have changed for the last time. I think she did a fantastic job. I really enjoyed the previous covers as they were done by someone I know locally, however, I was having a hard time getting these books to move, so to speak, and I took someone on board to do the marketing of them and this was a change they wanted to make. Nothing inside of the book has changed.
And here they are! (Paperback updates will come shortly.)
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!
I’d written yesterday’s post in the morning, then went on an errand and remembered a few more things to add, but promptly forgot until after I’d read over it one last time and posted it. (Because nothing is ever simple with me.) So, I’ll post a few other facts about Intentions of the Earl and give a few other updates.
When I was done writing it and ready for someone else to read it, I printed out a copy for my husband to read while we went on vacation in the summer of 2010–which he did. However, in all the chaos to print the book, I’d someone printed a full and partial copy. I put the full copy in a binder for my husband and let my kids draw/write on the other pages (they were 3 and 4, no big deal). Bob was reading it by the fire one night while we were camping and suddenly he flips the page, then the next then flips it back and jumps up, saying, “Where’s the missing page?!” Apparently, when I’d put the book in the binder, I’d somehow got one page separated. As luck would have it, it was the page that stopped mid-sentence when John rushes into the library confront Andrew after they’ve been caught in the bushes. I think he got as far as, “You’re nothing but a no-good–” then the page turned but the rest of the sentence wasn’t there! I then had to go to the car and search the floor to see if I could find a copy of the missing page. Fortunately, I found it!
My oldest son wrote a note to a little girl in his Kindergarten class on the back of one of my print out copies during the scene of the ruination. Blessedly, I was able to avoid any uncomfortable telephone calls from other parents because I found it in his backpack before he got to school. And that marked the end of me allowing my kids to write, color, draw or do origami with my recycled papers.
As you’ve probably noticed, I have an abbreviated name for each of my books, this one we just call Earl. Around our house for a while we talked about Earl (and sometimes Brooke) so much that I got a call from my son’s teacher to ask if we had a relative named Earl. Apparently, my kids talked about Earl, too.
This is my only book that doesn’t have an epilogue, but not for lack of trying. Originally, I started to write one. It was to be a simple two-scene affair: Andrew walking Brooke and Madison back to Watson Townhouse where he dropped Madison off and informed John and Carolina he was reclaiming his wife and there was naught they could do about it. Simple, right? Not at all. There wasn’t a lot I could say in the epilogue because the burning question was: what were Gateway’s motives. I wasn’t ready to reveal that yet, but neither did I want the characters to start digging into it so I decided the less said the better and ended the book. Also, because of spoilers involving the next books in the series, I wasn’t keen on flashing forward any amount of time, so just left it. I do have a file on my computer titled “Epilogue for Intentions of the Earl” where I’ve made three different attempts to write one, but it always comes down to: I just can’t.
I didn’t know who’d gone to visit Andrew in disguise until book three. All FOUR of those Banks ladies were possibilities (yes, even Brooke) at first. But, Brooke wouldn’t have been so calm, or kept her identity hidden after they’d spoken and she knew he loved her, so that threw her out after only a few moments of thinking. Madison made sense because she really didn’t want to see her sister leave–she also knew what it was like to lose happiness and didn’t want her sister hurt. Liberty was a possibility, because well, yeah, Liberty likes to live by the rules, but she also likes to break them whenever it suits her (see the second chapter of her book). But, I just didn’t see that as a compelling option. Which left Carolina. Now, that I could see. She wanted to see her daughter happy. So for a while, I was torn: was it Carolina or Madison. I did know that this favor would be “called in” in book three and with Carolina not able to be an active part of the book at the time to use it to plead for her daughter’s freedom, it became apparent that it had to be Madison. Honestly, it’s ridiculous that I didn’t have that settled right at first, because everything about that visit screamed Madison: she could be quiet and reserved, yet be very forthcoming about what she wanted; she was also timid, yet brave when needed. A stranger who dressed in disguise to go see a gentleman in the dead of night needed to have all of those qualities.
Now for the updates!
Keeping in line with my beating all of you over the head with facts from Intentions of the Earl I should post a fun update about the book! A while back I had the front cover updated and now…
In other updates…
Traveler has had no change since yesterday, but the untitled book I’m working on (and praying I don’t write all three in the series before coming up with a title) is moving along very well. Thursday, I hit the 2/3rds mark of my approximate word count and since I started the book back in 2011, at this pace, I should finish in late 2014! Only teasing. I’m hoping to be done by mid-December! Which means I’d better start thinking of a name right quick!
Have a wonderful rest of the weekend and tomorrow I’ll post another scene!
Below is a list of just random and fun facts about the book as well as answers to questions I’ve received directly or indirectly.
I came up with the names Brooke and Liberty because they were names I’d considered naming my daughters, were I ever to have one. I kind of liked the link they had to their homeland of America, and used that as a criteria in my search for Madison’s name–which wasn’t too difficult to find when I started thinking about important people in the country at the time of her birth.
Andrew was one of the names I wanted to give one of my sons, my husband didn’t like it.
Carolina followed the same theme as her daughter’s names: looking for something patriotic, which was actually a popular way to name children at the time. I didn’t want to go with the regular of Georgia or Virginia and went with Carolina to be different. Different certainly suits that woman!
John Banks was originally given the name Aaron and I changed it for two reasons: 1. I’d just introduced Alex and I thought two men with names that started with an “A” was okay, but not three. So I had to decide which needed to be changed, leading to Aaron being changed to John because… 2. I know I SHOULD know how to type correctly and hit the shift key with my right pinky when capitalizing a letter on the left side of the keyboard, but I just can’t. I have more dexterity in my left hand for some reason so I ALWYAS use the left shift key, and it was resulting in: AAron, which was really annoying to fix.Undeniably, this was my first book. Ever. In fact, it was the longest thing I’d ever written. Before this, I’d only done essays in school–which included a term paper that topped out at 5,000 words, practically nothing compared the to 98,000 word beast this book became.
My absolute favorite line I thought up very early on (like in chapter one) but couldn’t be used until the last quarter: “That, was the marital act.” Coming in a very close second was: “That was my intention, yes.” Said of course by the earl himself.
I did not name Gateway after a computer I was writing on… I actually used an Acer to write the book on. I was trying to think of names I’d never read before so I started thinking of subdivision names or names of streets or places. As my mind wandered, I remembered a mall near where I grew up: Gateway. Immediately it clicked and worked because in essence, Gateway was Andrew’s “gateway” to getting his property back.
According to a certain family member of mine, Andrew was modeled after my husband. This is only mildly accurate. Bob and Andrew are both taller than most. Bob and Andrew both have broken noses. Bob and Andrew both wear their long hair tied back (now, Bob didn’t have long hair when I wrote this.) That’s it.
My similarities to Brooke, however, are many, particularly in physical appearance (except I’m not quite so thin any longer…). Even in personality, I have many similarities to Brooke. You should all start speaking prayers of thanksgiving that we’ve never met in person.
In a relationship sense, Bob and I mimic these two with a very short courtship, if you even want to call it that, we went on a handful of dates over a three month period when we were 18, then one day he proposed and two days later we got married. We’re still defying logic (and our generation) by creeping up on almost a decade of marriage.
The orangery scene is my husband’s all-time favorite scene from any of my books. (Of course. His second favorite comes a few books later.)
I was in the middle of someone else’s book (both the book and the person shall remain nameless) when I got the hankering to write this story. The reason was two-fold: 1. I just wasn’t enjoying the book, likely because the plot was the same as the half dozen others I’d read by her and I wanted something different, but… 2. I was dirt poor. I would buy my books off the damaged rack at used bookstore where they were priced for only a dollar. I’d buy a hodgepodge of books that were on the verge of literally falling apart, never having a full series. I read and reread the same ones again and again until I practically could recite them. But no matter how many “new ones” I read, the themes were always similar and the plot always unfolded the same way, so I thought, “What if…” What if he wasn’t so gentlemanly or his motives weren’t so true? What if his goal wasn’t to marry the heiress, but to gain his fortune some other way… But for a while it just stayed a “What if” until I decided that particular day that it might keep me better entertained to write my own story. Even if nobody ever read it, it’d be fun to do. And thus the Banks family was born!
The afternoon I started this book, I wrote 14 pages of single space, 12 point font within the first three hours. It took me a total of three months to finally finish, though.
Brooke stuffs her bodice because well…those two needed to slow things down a little! As my fingers were flying across the keyboard to write the picnic scene where Andrew almost exposes Brooke’s breasts, my mind was yelling at me to put a stop to this craziness! If she allowed him to expose her breasts so easily, in theory, her character wouldn’t put up such a fight about his trying to ruin her–which I know from the beginning wouldn’t happen. So I needed something to happen to stop everything, but not something that would lead to her ruination like someone finding them. The solution: bound breasts! As soon as it was on the paper and Brooke was shaken from her fog, I knew immediately that it wasn’t that she bound them because she was so large and had to restrain them. Rather, it was her insecurity. Up to then, I hadn’t been able to figure out just what flaw this young lady could possibly have. Sure she flouted the rules, but she didn’t care. She had an unshakeable confidence–or so it seemed. Under it all, she did have a vulnerability, which worked very well for the rest of the book.
Lady O was just supposed to be frail and prone to sickness, but had a sweet demeanor. (She clearly missed the memo.) She was also supposed to be the voice behind the articles in Alex’s magazine and together the two were supposed to have a subplot romance. Then she entered the scene and BAM! venom spewed from her mouth–scaring the blazes out of me. That put an immediate end to any possible romance between Lady O and Alex. He was far too good for that. Besides, someone who is that nasty couldn’t possibly have enough knowledge to write those scientific journals.
In the same vain of thought, I wrote Paul in with the idea that he and Liberty were going to have some secret love for the other that they were afraid to tell her father about due to the vicious gossip about Paul. But then she rushed into Brooke’s room and declared for all and sundry that she hated the man. Once again, I was stunned and couldn’t move as I stared at the words. For a split second, I considered deleting them, but then a new idea formed!
When I finished writing this book, I printed it out and put it in a binder for editing. I did this many, many times. Each time, we lovingly called the binder the “Manny”, short for manuscript because I hadn’t titled the story yet.
I had not only had titles for the two follow up books before I came up with a title for this one, but I’d also written both follow ups!
Between all of my rounds of edits, at last count, I’ve read this book 27 times.
I knew by the end of the first chapter who was going to end up with who… *wink, wink*
All right, next week I’ll highlight Liberty for Paul–so if you have any question you want answered, feel free to let me know. Have a great weekend!
(PS. This morning I submitted Traveler on iBooks for preorder… Not sure when it’ll be available, though.).
[A NOTE OF CAUTION: Please skip today’s post if either A. we know each other in person, or B. kissing or other intimacies make you uncomfortable.]
A huge thanks to Sharon for suggesting I have a “Wicked Wednesday!” feature, so here it goes…
I have two excerpts, today. The first is a favorite of my husband’s, for obvious reasons. In fact, from time to time I’ll ask what his favorite scene in all of my books is and he ALWAYS says this one. When Darah read this book looking for scenes to post, she specifically mentioned this one, but said it might be a bit risqué and might be unsuitable. Immediately, the challenge bells in my head went off along with the words: Wanna bet?
So, here it is, the infamous orangery scene!
“Would you like to see the orangery?”
“Yes,” Brooke said uneasily. They had barely walked down one row in the conservatory and he was already rushing her off somewhere else. How was she supposed to work her magic?
At the end of the row was a door. When they walked through it, they entered the orangery. “I hadn’t realized we were so close to the orangery,” she murmured.
“Yes, they are connected, quite unusual really. The orangery was not always here. About five years ago Alex decided he would like to raise orange and citrus trees, but there was no space. His father wouldn’t allow a new building to be erected. Alex talked him into a compromise. The conservatory was to be split in half. A wall was put in to divide it. That way Alex could use one of the sides to grow his citrus trees.”
A bench was positioned on the opposite side of the orangery, and without a word, Brooke started to walk over to it. Her hand was still on Andrew’s forearm, forcing him to walk toward the bench along with her. “I should like to sit a few minutes,” she said when they arrived at the bench.
Andrew waited while Brooke took a seat on the bench first. When she was seated and rearranged her skirts around her, he sat down and left only a few short inches between them.
Brooke pretended not to notice how close they were already and swung her right leg, even if it were considered unladylike to do so, slowly brushing his calf with her bright blue skirts with each swing.
Andrew didn’t move away. He just looked at her. Then slowly, ever so slowly, he moved his leg closer to hers. He kept moving closer until with one of her swings, she made direct contact with his leg. Well, as direct as one can get through a massive amount of fabric fashioned into a skirt.
Her leg stilled. Heat radiated from his leg all the way through her skirt, petticoats, and stocking. It felt as hot as the iron Mrs. McNaught had used to steam the wrinkles out of their gowns back in Bath. For a moment, they both just looked at each other.
Andrew’s eyes changed. They were growing darker and more intense. Desire made them become a new shade of blue. A shade she had only seen once before, in the museum when they were alone in the empty room.
He leaned closer, so close that his face was less than two inches from hers. His eyes seared into hers and his lips were so close she could almost feel them.
Brooke’s mind barely registered what was going to happen. The realization he was about to kiss her made her snap out of her lusty trance. This was her chance. She had to be strong. She had to resist. If she didn’t, her plan would come to naught and she would be even more heartbroken than before.
With shaky legs, Brooke abruptly stood and moved a few feet away to an orange tree that had several ripe oranges hanging on it. “Do you…umm…think that uh…Alex would mind terribly if we…er…I were to eat one of his oranges?” she stammered.
Andrew was by her side before she even finished her question. One of his bare hands plucked down an orange while the other dug into his pocket. A few seconds later he pulled out a penknife. Wordlessly, he peeled the orange with his knife. In a minute, the rind was gone from the orange and he was breaking it into sections.
Brooke peeked at his eyes. The look was not gone. He still had the deep look of desire in his eyes. Brooke smiled to herself. It was working. He was going to find her, and only her, irresistible by the end of the day. She would make sure of it, even if it drove her crazy in the process.
Once Andrew had the orange completely separated, Brooke reached for one of the pieces. Andrew was quicker though and pulled them back. “It would be a pity for you to ruin your gloves by touching the orange,” he said, looking down at her gloves. “I think the better solution is to let me help you eat this. Come, let’s sit back down.”
They walked back to the bench they had both vacated in haste just a few moments before and regained their seats, sitting just as close as before.
“Are you ready?” Andrew asked hoarsely.
“Yes,” Brooke whispered. Reason told her to put him off a little longer, but her body was screaming something else entirely.
Andrew took one of the orange slices and gently ran it over her lips—just enough to let the juice from the wedge moisten her lips.
Brooke’s lips parted a little further and her tongue came out to lick up the juice the orange had left in its trail. Andrew swallowed visibly then shifted on the bench.
After running the orange around her mouth a second time, he slowly slipped it into her mouth.
The slice was a bit too large for one bite, and a little stream of juice came out around the corner of her mouth and dripped to her chin. Embarrassed she was making such a mess on her face while eating the orange, her hands flew up to wipe the juice from her chin. But Andrew was quicker. He grabbed her hands, bent closer to her, and whispered, “Allow me.”
Brooke relaxed her hands in his hold. His left hand came up and wiped the bit off her chin, then he brought his fingers to his mouth and sucked the juice off.
Brooke’s eyes widened. That was not what she had expected. She wasn’t sure what she had expected, but it wasn’t that.
All thoughts of holding him off vanished when he leaned a little closer. “It seems I missed a spot.” Then, within a blink of an eye, his lips were on the corner of her mouth.
He nipped the corner playfully before moving over to be dead center on the middle of her lips.
Brooke’s arms went around Andrew’s neck and her fingers sank into his hair. She twirled her fingers into his black curls, holding his head close to hers. His tongue ran along the seam of her lips. This was new to her, yet it felt so natural. Other men had just tried to shove their tongues inside, but this, this was much better. It felt so good, she gasped.
Andrew took advantage of her gasp and pushed his tongue past her lips. He ran his tongue along her perfect row of teeth before doing a full exploration of her mouth.
Brooke had never been one to only observe. Boldly, she slipped her tongue into his mouth and mirrored all his actions. She explored his mouth just as fully as he was exploring hers. She had never been so bold before. She enjoyed this kind of kissing with Andrew.
Brooke tightened her grip of his hair, and groaned, “Andrew.” It was the first time she’d called him by his name, and she hoped she hadn’t overstepped by doing so. But at present, she couldn’t care enough not to do it again.
Andrew said her name while running his fingers up to her soft brown hair. He grabbed one of the curls that were overflowing from her coiffure and wrapped it loosely around his finger before giving it a gentle tug then letting it go. Then he moved his hands, reached right into the back of her massive knot of hair, and caressed her scalp with his fingers.
Brooke had been aware that it was bad form not to wear a bonnet outside, and had thought to grab hers when Lady Olivia had donned hers, but Andrew had been in too much of a hurry. Now she was glad she hadn’t bothered. His fingers tenderly dug into her hair and massaged her scalp.
Suddenly there was a distinct clink, clink, clink. Breathing raggedly, both of them drew back and looked around the room to see if they had a visitor.
The second excerpt is more of a quote that I never really gave a lot of thought to until it was bandied about all over the Internet two years ago as one of the most unbelievable or strange or bizarre or worst (or something like that) quotes to ever be written in a romance. Apparently there is a website dedicated to this sort of thing and my book was fortunate enough to be featured! How wonderful! Anyway, at first, I was mortified as I imagine most people would be that someone had gone through enough trouble to try to publicly humiliate me this way and my knee-jerk reaction was initially to remove it ASAP, but the more I thought about it, the funnier it seemed to me for some reason! I cannot explain why, it just is and every now and then my husband ask me to recite it for him, after which we immediately dissolve into laugher!
Setting the scene: Brooke and Andrew have just gotten married and they’re about to consummate their marriage.
The quote: “Her eyes were fixed on that part of Andrew that had just been revealed like it was a novelty in a curiosity shop. “
There you have your first Wicked Wednesday. I’m sure you all probably think I’m a total nut now if you didn’t already think so before!
A few weeks back I had an open call for volunteers to help me find fun and memorable passages/quotes to use for memes and other such things. I’ve since decided to do weekly features on different books, going in the order they were written. This week, I’ll take a deep breath and start with my first book, Intentions of the Earl.
The second excerpt/sample I’m about to post was highlighted as a favorite by one of my regular commenters: Darah. Thank you, Darah! I did want to add a little background to help set the stage for what led to her favorite quote, which is the reason for the abbreviated first scene!
“You deserved it, you lecher,” Brooke Banks exclaimed, scrambling to get off the secluded bench where she had been kissing Benjamin Collins, Duke of Gateway.
“What was that for?” Gateway demanded, rubbing his cheek.
“You have to ask?” Brooke crossed her arms. “I came out here to see the gardens, not have you maul me in the shrubbery.” Why did he, like all men, assume her agreement to go into the gardens translated into permission for him to touch her person—specifically her chest?
“I wasn’t mauling you,” he spat. His face looked like it had been carved from marble with his mouth clamped so tightly that white lines had formed around the ridges and his eyes had transformed from warm, blue candle flames into hard, cold chips of ice.
“You’re correct; you didn’t maul me. Yet. I felt your hand drifting from my shoulder. Don’t think for one second that I didn’t know its intended destination.”
Gateway snorted. “And are you trying to tell me you didn’t want me to touch you?”
“You know I didn’t,” Brooke snapped. She clutched her skirt with both hands, twisting the fabric to refrain from striking him again.
“So you say, but your actions suggest differently,” he responded slyly.
“You didn’t protest my kisses,” he said smoothly.
Brooke flushed. He was right, she hadn’t protested his kisses. Not to say she enjoyed them, because she hadn’t. But she hadn’t stopped him, either, which he probably took as encouragement. “Once again, I’m sorry you mistook that as encouragement for your amorous urges.”
“I didn’t mistake anything. You, miss, are nothing but a tease.”
“And you, sir, are no gentleman,” she exclaimed, heedless to his sneer.
“I never claimed to be.” His eyes flashed fire.
*** (2/3rds of the book later)
The last gentleman she’d kissed prior to Andrew had been the Duke of Gateway. His kisses had been satisfactory, but paled in comparison to Andrew’s. He hadn’t tried to caress her before she ended their time together. However, that was the reason she’d ended things. She felt his hand straying from her shoulder, dropping lower. Just the idea of his hand on her breast made her cringe.
“Is that the face you always wear when thinking of Townson?” asked the object of her thoughts, coming to lean against her shade tree.
“No, not at all,” she replied primly. “It’s the one I wear when I think of you.”
Gateway smiled a bit. “I’m flattered that I’m the subject of your thoughts. I do feel bad for Townson though. I believe he may be heartbroken to know the woman he’s courting is entertaining thoughts of me.”
“Don’t flatter yourself, Your Grace. As you so kindly pointed out when you approached, they were not pleasant thoughts.”
“Indeed,” Gateway allowed. “But thoughts, all the same. Would you care to share those thoughts with me?”
“But if I’m part of them, then I think common courtesy would dictate you should share them with me.” Gateway gave her an encouraging smile.
“Fine, I’ll tell you, although they don’t do you any favors. I was thinking of what an awful kisser you are. Have I satisfied your curiosity, now?” she asked, taking a small measure of delight in seeing his smile vanish and his eyes widen. Either his face changed because he was shocked she was so blunt, or he was shocked she thought he was a bad kisser. She wasn’t sure which, and didn’t care enough to ask.
“I’m sorry you feel that way. Would you like to give it another go?” Gateway asked, his smile fully recovered.
“No. I have suffered that tragedy once already. I have no wish for a repeat performance.”
“Hmm, I’d think you’d like to kiss a man who’s known to be skilled in that department.” Gateway said easily.
Brooke snorted. “You’re not that skilled.”
“You would know,” he quipped with a sly smile.
(Reading that, you might think my heroine was a floozie, but I suppose she had to be a touch…er…scandalous otherwise her story wouldn’t have worked. Not to mention, Brooke was the one who started my entire Banks family saga!)
A few weeks back when I first started talking about changing the book covers for my first series (Intentions of the Earl, Liberty for Paul, To Win His Wayward Wife), some of you mentioned that if I did make changes to the book covers, you’d like to be given a chance to know this in advance so you could order paperbacks with original covers.
I was scheduled to be released from my print contract on November 15th and assumed it would take a few days past that for the books to be unavailable, but earlier today I received an email from the publisher that he’s already begun “retiring” my book titles and it shouldn’t take long for them to be gone.
I wanted to post this to let anyone here who had interest in ordering them know this. Also, I just looked on Amazon and the paperbacks were still for sale, but I don’t know for how long.
I do have a few on hand if they’re gone before you have a chance. Just let me know!