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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!

character interview, Characters, Just for Fun, Liberty for Paul, Scandalous Sisters Series

REPOST: An Interview with Paul Grimes, Hero of Liberty for Paul

This originally posted March 2011–and is “set” before the book, Liberty for Paul.

Good afternoon, Paul. Thank you for agreeing to talk to me (like you had a choice).

No problem. It’s my pleasure and…er…duty.

Oh, stop that scowling. Just saying the word duty isn’t going to lead to talks of propriety. At least not from me.

Good.

Good. Tell us, how would you describe yourself?

Physically?

Yes, and your personality traits if you will.

Hmm, well, I’m slightly above average height, I have green eyes, blondish hair, wear spectacles. I don’t know what else you want me to say.

Do you have any distinguishing marks or scars on your body?

(Coughs) Yes…er…a scar. Next.

By the way you’re blushing, Mr. Grimes, I daresay you have something to hide.

No, nothing to hide.

So you do have something. interesting. And where, pray tell, is it?

That information is unnecessary. Next question, please.

Fine. I’ll let the matter drop. For now.

Thank you.

You’re welcome. All right, what are your feelings about Liberty Banks?

(No immediate answer)

Sir, unclamp your jaw, please and answer the question.

Liberty and I have an unusual relationship.

That’s an understatement. Now, would you be so kind as to explain your relationship with Miss Banks?

It’s a love-hate relationship really. See, we both love to hate each other. Kind of. Well, actually no. It’s more like she has a passionate hatred that seems to consume her soul toward me and I just merely find her annoying. Unfortunately, her undisputable hatred for me has led to several…shall we say, uncomfortable moments for me.

Such as?

Where to start… Let’s see, she’s openly called me a coward and questioned my manhood, she’s “inadvertently” elbowed me in the groin and she’s hurled a book at my head that knocked me unconscious and left a bump the size of an egg on my forehead for a week.

Hmm, that doesn’t sound very endearing.

No. It doesn’t.

So is it safe to say you wouldn’t enjoy being married to her?

Now, that, Ms. Gordon is an understatement. I have no desire to be in a room with her, let alone married to her.

All right, calm down. We won’t speak of her anymore. Let’s talk instead about you.

What would you like to know?

Who is Lucy Whitaker to you?

I didn’t see that one coming. She’s a woman I once admired.

Admired?

All right. I proposed to her. But it was a long time ago and I don’t wish to discus her, her son, her wretched aunt or anything that has to do with that family.

Understood. Let’s talk about your relationship with John Banks. How exactly did you and Liberty’s father become acquainted?

He agreed to act as my mentor last spring when I approached him about a sticky situation that was going on in my church.

A sticky situation, you say? Care to divulge?

Not really.

Mr. Grimes, I’d have never thought you’d be so difficult to interview. You’ve a mark upon your person you don’t wish to discuss, a former love interest you’re not inclined to talk about and now you hint at secrets you will not share. You seem to be far more interesting than the bore we met in Intentions of the Earl. Do you have anything further to say for yourself?

No. I don’t think so. Oh, wait. Something about the way you’re looking at me just now makes me think I’m going to marry, fall in love with and share all my secrets–including my scar, former proposal, and unpleasant church situation–with that hoyden Liberty Banks.

You’re a smart man, Mr. Grimes. All those things and so much more will be happening to you very soon!

Liberty for Paul, Scandalous Sisters Series, Wicked Wednesday

Wicked Wednesday!

Back by popular demand…or perhaps because of a threatening email…today I’m posting the follow up from last week.

 

To back up…

Rounding the screen, Paul swiftly walked to the end of the tub and leaned down to retrieve his clothes.

“Looking for something?”

Paul’s hands instinctively flew to his privates and his head snapped up so fast he was left with a dizzy feeling—or maybe the dizzy feeling was caused by the sight in front of him, he wasn’t sure.

Not three feet away, standing by the fireplace was his nemesis, Liberty Banks; and she was holding his clothes—directly over the roaring fire.

They weren’t actually on fire. Yet. He considered that fortunate, indeed. “Would you kindly give me back my clothes?” Paul asked irritably, glancing down at his hands to make sure he was covered properly. She might have the illusion that he owed her the privilege of viewing his body because he’d seen hers. Unfortunately for her, he wasn’t in the mood to become a source of virgin entertainment.

Liberty laughed. “You don’t need to cover up. I already saw your…” She trailed off and sent a pointed look to where his hands were doing their best to shield at least part of his body from her view. She smiled up at him with a crooked smile. Her dull brown hair was coming loose from the hideous bun she always wore on the top of her head and a lock was falling into her face, partially covering one of her hazel eyes.

“Nonetheless,” he said stiffly, twisting his body to offer more protection from her gaze. “Your game is up. And unless you want to see it again, you’ll give me my clothes back.”

“Are you threatening me, Mr. Grimes?” Liberty asked archly, lowering her hand an inch and bringing his clothes that much closer to the flames. “It seems to me that I hold all the cards, or clothes, as the case may be.”

“Indeed.” Did she want to see him naked? A chill ran down his spine. There was only one way to find out. Turning back to face her, he said, “Well, if you’ve already seen it, and you’re still holding my clothes, then I guess you didn’t get a good enough look. Do you want another peek?” He took delight as her eyes widened when he moved one of his hands away, still leaving him somewhat covered.

Under normal circumstances, he’d never be so bold as to issue such a challenge or follow through with it, but his irritation with her, coupled with his strong desire to have his clothes back and be on his way, was impacting his brain and turning him into someone he didn’t recognize.

Outstretching his free hand, Paul asked, “May I please have my clothes back now, or do I need to remove my other hand and get them myself?”

“Why should I give you your clothes back?”

“Because now we’re even,” Paul snapped.

“We’re not even,” she responded sharply, her gaze at his waist, absorbing what was exposed to her curious eyes.

“No? Would you like to bathe me, is that it?” he countered, slowly reaching for the clothes she held hostage above the fire.

“No,” she snapped, her eyes flying to his. She took the small bundle of his clothes and brought them to her chest, wrapping both arms around them and clutching them tightly to her chest.

“All right; then give me back my clothes.” He reached out farther, attempting to grab them from her arms, but she was holding them with all her might and he knew that in order for him to get them back, he’d have to use both hands.

Liberty smiled at him again. If he weren’t so infuriated with her at the moment, he’d almost think she looked pretty. Of course nobody else, including Liberty, he’d bet, actually thought she was. She had plain brown hair combined with hazel eyes and a long nose. Her mouth was wide with slightly crooked teeth and she was nearly as thin as a scarecrow. Her looks would be considered plain at best, not pretty or ugly really, just plain. But when she smiled, it lit up her face and transformed it in a way that he found rather attractive. The trouble was, she barely ever smiled, and never specifically at him—until just now.

“You’ll get your clothes back when I’m satisfied I’ll never have to clap eyes on you again,” Liberty said tartly, still smiling.

“I agree,” Paul said heartily, more than happy to oblige her. “Give me my clothes and I’ll be gone in less than ten minutes.”
Liberty shook her head. “No, that’s not good enough. I need insurance. I need to know you’ll not be coming back into this house, or my presence, ever again.”

“And taking my clothes is going to accomplish that?” Paul could feel his irritation growing again. Why didn’t she just give them back to him already?

“Don’t worry, you’ll get them back—eventually,” Liberty said, scooting along the wall away from the fireplace and to the shadowed corner.

“Listen here,” Paul hissed. “If you think that you’re going to continue to hold my clothes while I stand here naked, you’re greatly mistaken. I’ll get my clothes back one way or the other; and if you don’t give them back of your own accord, you’ll wish you had.”

“How so?” she queried from the dark corner.

Paul slowly walked closer to her. He could hear the rustle of fabric and knew she was about to do something with his clothes. He just didn’t know what. “I’m not keeping myself covered because of my own modesty.”

“I’ve already told you that you could move your hands, I already saw your thing,” she said nonchalantly, a ripping noise following her words.

Paul didn’t believe her the first time she’d told him she’d seen his tool, and he certainly didn’t believe it when he moved his first hand and her eyes were drawn to his waist like a moth to a flame. But he’d had enough, and if he had to wrestle her to the ground naked in order to get his clothes back, so be it. Removing his other hand from his privates, he raced to the corner, bent on grabbing his clothes from her evil clutches.

Liberty squealed and ran in the opposite direction, causing him to nearly collide with the wall. Throwing caution—and pride—to the wind, Paul ran after her. He chased her around the furniture, going over the bed, around the wardrobe, behind the screen, around the tub, to the vanity, and back to the tub, knocking over the screen with a loud crash as they zipped by. Paul reached out and stopped her by taking hold of the loosened ribbon on the back of her gown.

“I’ve got you now,” he breathed in her ear, after he’d tugged her back to rest against his chest.

“No, you don’t,” she said, moving in such a way that made the ribbon he held slide through the loops, freeing her from his hold. She immediately scurried to resume her former position by the fireplace.

Paul looked down at his hand where the ribbon that had once been a bow on the back of her gown now lay across his palm in a wrinkled mess. Looking back up, he saw Liberty over by the fireplace with her gown in complete disarray. Most of the buttons going down the front were undone, showing the tops of her breasts and about three inches of her corset. There was a tear in her gown along the stitching of her sleeve and the skirts were crumpled beyond repair. Her hair, for the most part, had fallen down and looked to be in an awful tangle. There was no way she could look like that after briefly running around the room, could she?

Throwing the ribbon down to the floor in disgust, Paul stared at her. She had a blank expression on her face and her gaze was leveled on his waist. But he didn’t even care. He was beyond caring. “See something you like?” he teased, hoping to distract her, so he could grab his clothes.

Her face turned crimson and she pulled her eyes up to his face, not quite meeting his eyes. “Actually, no, I didn’t. I think I would’ve liked what I saw much better if that scar,” she pointed to a jagged scar he had on his left hip that ran from his hipbone to half an inch from another part of his anatomy, “went just a little farther over.”

“You’re a bloodthirsty one, aren’t you,” Paul said easily. Leave it to her to want him emasculated, as if this whole situation weren’t bad enough already.

“I’m not bloodthirsty,” she said hotly. “It’s just a shame, that’s all.”

“A shame I was not unmanned?” he asked in disbelief. “I think that part of my anatomy has suffered at your hands enough already, thank you.” What had he ever done to her to make her harbor this hatred for him?

“How did it happen?” she asked quietly, ignoring his remark.

Paul was in awe. Her voice had been so quiet it was hard to be certain, but he could have sworn her tone had held a hint of sympathy. “When I was twelve, my brother Sam and I found my uncle’s old fencing rapiers. Never having had a fencing lesson, we started wildly swinging them around at each other. Neither of us realized the protective tip wasn’t securely attached to Sam’s until, in one undisciplined swing, Sam’s tip flew off and his rapier cut me.” Paul saw her wince and added ruefully, “Although you’ve expressed disappointment that his rapier did not travel farther, I’m rather glad it stopped where it did.”

“I’m sorry for my earlier remark, it was most unkind of me,” Liberty said softly, still looking at his scar.

“It’s all right,” he assured her. Compared to all the other things she’d said or done, that was nothing. “May I have my clothes now?”

His words pulled Liberty out of her trance. Looking down at the clothes in her arms and her own gown, she bit her lip before she looked up and met his eyes again. “I…I…”

It didn’t matter what she was going to say or do next, because just then the door to his bedchamber swung open and was followed by a shriek of surprise.

Though Paul had his back to the door, he deduced who it was; and for further confirmation, he knew with certainty he’d guessed correctly when Liberty turned as white as chalk.

 

Liberty for Paul

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

Reviving some old blog features–cast your vote!

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

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

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

 

Behind the Scenes, Bob, Characters, funny, I'm human too, Just for Fun, Liberty for Paul, Scandalous Sisters Series, things that make me laugh, Wicked Wednesday

Antique stores–not just for antiques anymore!

I live about 15-20 minutes away from a quaint older town that still has a historic downtown which consists of a main street with massive turn-of-the-century buildings that contain some items as old (or older) than the buildings.

The buildings are old. The floors creak and groan when you walk on them. Some (okay, almost all) of the stores have a…er…aroma when you walk in that seems to get stronger when you pass by specific areas.

I love it!

But what makes these stores interesting is that they’re not antiques all owned by the store owner, but rather the store is divided into sections or booths and it’s like an indoor, year-round flea market. And, what’s also neat is it’s not just limited to antiques. Sure, I’ve found some totally awesome antiques in some of these shops: vintage typewriter, candlestick phone, wall-mounted crank telephone (with guts), ice tongs, cotton scale, 50s style milk bottles–and the carrying crate; I’ve also found plenty of new items that are either made to look vintage or they’re just plain modern, but obviously people (including me…) are buying them or they wouldn’t be putting them in these booths any longer. Some of these include: bath salts, candles, salsa, custom made signs, CDs, tapes, records, DVDs, VHS tapes, greeting cards either handmade or a package of unwanted store-bought cards, soap, fancy mirrors, miscellaneous silver pieces, crayons, mis-matched plates, etc. You name it, it’s in there somewhere. I once half-jokingly told my husband Bob that it’s like some of these people are having a garage sale without the garage or the need to actually bother with running the drawer themselves. If/when it sells, it sells and if it doesn’t, they just go collect it all when they’re ready to stop renting space.

It’s truly a wonder (and I bet you all have at least one of these little treasure troves near you).

About once a month, I go troll through the row of stores. Yesterday was my January “run”. Some months I just go and look and try to keep my jaw hinged. Other times I buy something in each store. I don’t plan it that way, but it happens. I go in. Something calls my name and I have to take it home. I actually save up each month for these trips.

Yesterday only one thing called to me, and oh, did it scream! Now, it’s probably not what anyone else I know would have walked out with, but it had my name written all over it and shows you that I, too, can be just as scandalous as any of the Banks sisters…specifically Liberty. 😉

IMG_3197

So of course, I had to hang it above the door to my laundry room although I doubt anyone will…

IMG_3198

 

(Oh, hey, look as an added bonus, this falls on a Wicked Wednesday!)

Fun Fact Friday, Scandalous Sisters Series, To Win His Wayward Wife

Fun Fact Friday ~ To Win His Wayward Wife

[As mentioned on Wednesday, if you haven’t yet read this book–you need to stop reading this post and go read the book! Spoilers throughout.]

  • I wrote this book in 10 days, yes, only 10 days!
  • I would have named one of my boys Benjamin, but alas, my husband didn’t like it.
  • I knew very early on (like chapter two) of the first book that these two would get together.
  • I did not know, however, their backstory. I just thought they’d be found in a scandalous situation together and be forced to marry. It wasn’t until the beginning of chapter two when we’re in Benjamin’s POV at the wedding that it was revealed even to me that they’d known each other before. As the words and backstory came together, I just sat back and let it happen.
  • Of all of my books this one seems to always be considered a favorite–apparently because of the hero. And I don’t mind at all.
  • This book was a true “pantser” story. I only knew that the two would get married. Everything else was up to them. I had no idea that Benjamin was so smitten with her already or that they’d go swimming or that he’d kidnap her. Nothing. This one was definitely character driven.
  • I cannot paint at all, therefore, I wanted a heroine who could and Madison amazed me when she magically had the skill.
  • The Indian Legend about the second toe being longer than the first being directly correlated to one’s intelligence, is actually something I was told WAS an Indian Legend. I have no idea if it’s a true legend or not, but I thought it’d be fun to include.
  • I didn’t plan from the start of the series to have Robbie Swift show up, but when it happened in the epilogue of Liberty for Paul (not by my design), I thought that was the perfect way to have Benjamin and Madison end up in  a scandal!
  • I kind of had an idea of Madison’s past in America and what all it had entailed, but even at the end that was a shocking twist for me.
  • One of my favorite emails regarding this book came from an author friend of mine who was reading it and just made it to start of chapter two and stopped reading to write me a very simple message: “No FREAKING way, Gateway?!” And that’s when I knew I did my job right.
  • There are a number of clues in the previous books that lead up to Benjamin being the hero of this book. Here are a few:
    ~He never really gave Andrew a reason for hiring him to ruin Brooke, nor could Brooke and Andrew come to a sensible conclusion as to why he’d have done that.
    ~ In Intentions, they were at a house part dinner, talking about the girls’ unusual names (mainly Brooke and Liberty since they were the ones present) and it was Benjamin who inquired about Madison’s name.
    ~In book two, he already has a ring, that he not only trusts Liberty to hold onto for him, but also says the woman he plans to give it to won’t mind.
    ~ He keeps the ring in his over-stuffed pockets and in the epilogue, he’s standing in the corner with his hands in his over-stuffed pockets. Oh, and he’d just so happened to mention to Liberty that he was headed to London to find a wife.
  • Every time someone contacts me and refers to Benjamin as Ben, a naughty thought pops into my head. If you’ll notice in the book, Madison only calls him Ben when one of them are in  distress (his nightmare or the end when she’s recounting her story to him), but most of the time she calls him that is when they’re…er…in the throes of passion. Every other time, she calls him Benjamin. So when someone comments that they love Ben, I always blush a little.
  • Be warned this might be a little TMI. When I was having trouble finding a good cover for this book, my husband and I jokingly came to the conclusion we’d put feet on the cover. Feet in a creek, to be specific. To be more specific, we joked it’d be a picture of ours together in a creek since essentially, I described ours in the book when Madison was drawing the feet. Thankfully, we found something more appropriate.
  •  My father read this book early and found a typo in the bath scene. Instead of Madison’s knee brushing Benjamin’s hardness, apparently she brushed his harness. I was mortified not only that I’d made such a mistake, but that it was my father who’d found it!
  • While writing this book, I refused to tell my husband who Madison married and at night, I’d tease him, saying that it was Alex because I needed to bring some closure to his character (at the time, I had no idea I’d write books beyond these first three). When I’d finally convinced him she married Alex, he promptly informed me that he wouldn’t be reading it then. It was like twisting his arm to get him to finally relent and I had to chuckle at the surprise on his face when he reached chapter two.
  • I’m also having a new wrap around cover done for this book (all of them, actually) and here is what it should look like when we’re done:
    Wife wrap 4

Next week, in lieu of featuring Sudden and in preparation of releasing The Officer and the Traveler, I’ll be featuring Traveler (not necessarily with the same format, but with excerpts, a giveaway, comments from Bob and a few other things).

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Covers, Liberty for Paul, Scandalous Sisters Series

Fun Fact Friday~Liberty for Paul

  • It took  me exactly 14 days to write this 97,500 word masterpiece. The editing took about that many weeks.
  • I took seven years of music lessons and the only thing I can somewhat passably play on the piano is Yankee Doodle, hence its appearance in the book.
  • My husband calls me Mrs. Gordon when others are around. No kidding. There was this kid who joined our  youth group about a year ago who always called me Mrs. Gordon and when my husband talked to this guy’s 50 year-old dad, he’d refer to me as Mrs. Gordon. It wasn’t until a few months back when we were both put on the school board that the poor guy finally found out my first name. It wasn’t kept from him intentionally, but it was totally hilarious when he was like, “Who’s Rose?”
  • The scene where Paul tries to annoy Liberty by talking in the third person, “Paul’s hungry. Paul had a good day. Paul went to blah, blah.” was actually written as a way to deal with the craziness in my own life at the time. My eldest son could only say about six words or so by his third birthday He’s not autistic and has no other reason for a speech delay, he just has one. Anyway, a few months after he turned three, he started talking more, which was great, unfortunately, it was in the third person! Eddie hungry. Eddie not tired. Eddie green (when choosing a pawn for a game). I was so excited he was speaking that at first, I let it go and started using pronouns more and making sure he knew I was using them. But after a few weeks, it didn’t stop. The speech therapist said it was normal and wouldn’t last much longer. It lasted nine months! Yes, nine months, he talked in third person. We tried everything to get him to stop, but the speech therapist was right, he stopped when he was ready.
  • I started writing this book out with a pen and paper while on a camping trip. The same trip where my husband was reading Intentions by firelight (even more irony, it was the night of the lost page). I was right next to him in a camp chair with a pen and a pad of paper I swiped from a hotel scribbling out the bathtub scene.
  • I detest the name Paul (my apologies to anyone out there with the name, named their child that, are married to a man with the name, have a relation to a Paul, etc). My hatred stems from my middle-school years when I experienced not only verbal but physical bullying at the hands of two kids–one named Paul and the other (oddly enough) named Jon (no H). I used the name because when I introduced him in Intentions I wanted to give both Paul and John biblical names. Plus, for the purposes of the title, it fit, so I did learn to like the name well enough and now when I hear it, I think of this sweetheart hero and not one of my childhood tormentors. Most people use the names of those they hate as the villains and enjoy torturing them, I did the opposite. I tried to make a positive memory attached to the name and it worked.
  • My original plan for Liberty and Mr. Daltry didn’t stop where it actually stopped in the book. I thought she’d actually sleep with him, then be physically sick with regret and worry and in her attempt to rush out of bed and the a chamber pot to cast up her accounts she’d uncover Paul’s scar. But that wasn’t very true to her character. I think she already knew she loved her husband and don’t think she’d have “cheated” on her husband with her husband. I also thought if she did that, it’d only create more of a trust issue between the two.
  • Never in a million years did I imagine that Alex’s comments about hedgehogs would become so popular! I just put that in there as a comical diversion, but for some glorious reasons, hedgehogs (and love muskets, I’m afraid) will forever be remembered by my readers affectionately.
  • I may or may not have been caught by my husband doing a Google search for fun/unique names for a man’s…love musket while trying to think up a fun name. I’d almost decide on wedding tackle, but then came up with love musket.
  • Halfway through reading my first book, my mom emailed me to ask if my middle name was Liberty due to my willfulness at times. A chapter or two later, she texted to say that Liberty needed a spanking! Ironically, the last time I checked, she said this was her favorite book.
  • This book also recently had a new wrap around cover done:
    Liberty Wrap sample
Liberty for Paul, Scandalous Sisters Series, Wicked Wednesday

Wicked Wednesday: Liberty for Paul

I have to admit this week’s selection was difficult because I had literally half a dozen scenes/excerpts that would work. But alas, I had to pick only one.

But I couldn’t so I’m putting up two shorter excerpts that seem to be favorites.

This first one isn’t quite so wicked, but it’s still fun. It picks up a few days after the excerpt I posted on Sunday. They’ve gone to a family dinner and the tension is still extremely high between the pair. After the meal, the men all go off to talk and immediately Paul is bombarded with questions and Alex steals this show with his rather bizarre observations:

Are things always this way between you two?” Andrew asked as soon as the door shut.

Paul smiled and leaned his shoulder against the window. “No.”

You know you two are very fascinating to watch,” Alex said, taking a seat behind his father’s desk. He started to shuffle through some papers on the desk and smiled brightly when he found what he’d been looking for. “Almost as fascinating as a pair of hedgehogs I’ve been watching mate down by the pasture.”

Excuse me,” Paul said, blinking.

I said, you two are quite fascinating.”

Yes, I heard that part, but what does that have to do with hedgehogs?”

Not hedgehogs in general. Just when they’re mating,” Alex said to clarify.

Paul stared at him. Why on earth was this man comparing the fight he’d had with his wife to hedgehog mating patterns?

See,” Alex started, excitedly. “When the male hedgehog wants to mate with the female he—”

That’s quite enough, son,” Alex’s father said. “I don’t believe it’s wise to continue this vein of conversation with the young lady’s father present.” He cast a pointed look at John.

Or me,” Andrew muttered.

Paul would have muttered the same thing if he’d been Andrew.

In that case, forget I said anything about Paul and Liberty,” Alex said thoughtfully. “Now about the hedgehogs down by the pasture—”

Alex,” Andrew said gently.

Yes?”

Stop talking.”

Alex groaned. “What’s the big deal? We’re all men here. It’s not like any of us aren’t familiar with the activity.”

That may be, but we’re not all interested in the mating habits of hedgehogs,” Andrew said flatly.

Alex blinked at him. “Why not? They’re very interesting creatures.”

Be that as it may, nobody has the desire to talk about their mating habits just now,” Andrew countered.

Last year, Alex had told Paul that he and Andrew had gone to Cambridge together and had been friends for the nearly ten years since. Only a true friend of Alex’s could get away with speaking to him that way. If anyone else had, it would have been perceived as cruel. That was one reason he admired Andrew, he didn’t care that Alex had some unusual tendencies, he just learned to work around them.

But that’s why we came to the study,” Alex pointed out. “To escape Aunt Carolina making us play charades and to talk about science.”

Exactly, we’re going to speak about science,” Andrew agreed. “chemistry to be exact, specifically the combustible elements of Paul and Liberty’s marriage, not the mating habits of hedgehogs.”

Well said,” the equally scientific-minded baron said.

I couldn’t agree more,” John said. “Now, son, tell me how things are progressing between you and Liberty.”

Not so well,” Paul admitted. Since when did men get together in small groups to discuss their relationship issues? This was uncomfortable. The only reason he’d even bothered to answer John’s question was because, even though they were talking about his daughter, he and John had become close and he respected him a great deal. Most of the time anyway. He still wasn’t sure he respected or admired how John manipulated him into marrying Liberty.

John, cover your ears,” the baron said, causing panic to rise in Paul’s chest. “How are things in the bedchamber?”

What was that you were saying about those hedgehogs, Alex?”

~*~*~*~*~

Now, in this next scene, Liberty and Paul have been tricked by her sister to attend a costume ball and thrown together. During their time together, Paul figures out who he’s with, but Liberty doesn’t have a clue. Paul uses this to his advantage to get her to reveal things about herself she wouldn’t have told him otherwise–some thing serious, some things fun. In this part, she’s just revealed to this costumed man that her husband is the biggest philanderer in the country and has sired 14 illegitimate children:

Tucking a tendril of stray hair behind her ear, he brushed the tears off her cheeks and waited for her to look at him. “You should look at the positive in this situation,” he said with a smile.

You mean I should be thankful he’s proven to be so virile,” she said blandly.

Sure; but that wasn’t what I was going to say,” he said. “I was—”

Good,” she said, cutting him off from finishing his previous sentence. “I have no desire to go to bed with him.”

His jaw clamped together, “Why not?” he asked, tightly. If he had it his way, he’d reveal his identity, explain about Sam and be hauling her off to the nearest bed in the next fifteen minutes.

Why?” she echoed. “You cannot seriously think after he’s been with so many women that I’d actually let him touch me with his…his…” she trailed off, waving her hand wildly.

Wedding tackle,” he supplied with a roguish grin.

What?” she asked with a shaky laugh.

Wedding tackle,” he repeated with a shrug. “It’s just one of the many names for a man’s privates.”

Men name their body parts?” she asked, perturbed.

He chuckled at her naivety. “No, well, maybe, I don’t know.” He shook his head to clear the thought. “What I meant was, there is the scientific name and then there are…er…less than scientific names.”

Less than scientific?” she said dubiously.

Right,” he agreed. “Most men call it their rod, tool, pole, unit, piece, member or something along those lines,” he didn’t want to get too graphic with her, and wisely chose to leave off some of the coarser terms, “but some, myself included, use different terms when in mixed company.” He winked at her blushing face. “Wedding tackle, privates, package, equipment, pizzle, t—,”

Pizzle?” she repeated, a slight giggle bubbling from her lips.

Yes, pizzle,” he said in mock irritation. “It’s an older word with German origins.”

Oh, well, I’d never heard it before, that’s all.”

And do you typically spend time trying to learn slang terms for a man’s genitals?” he asked, trying not to laugh. He knew the answer to that as well as she did.

No,” she blustered. “Actually, I’ve heard more from you than anyone else.”

Even your husband?” he asked casually.

She looked up at him again with that sad, dull look in her eyes that ate at his heart. “Yes. The night before I married, my sister and mother tried to explain what would happen. And for as much as they fought over who would get the honor, neither of them were very informative. The only thing I learned was that he was going to touch me with it. They didn’t say exactly where, nor what the thing was called. The only term I’d ever heard for it was earlier that night when my other sister called it a ‘love musket’. When I asked my husband if he planned to touch me with his ‘love musket’, I thought he was going to die of laughter while I died of mortification.”

He tried not to laugh again. “I’m sure he didn’t mean to embarrass you,” he assured her unevenly, then turned his head to hide his grin.

Oh, you can laugh,” she said lightly, flashing him a smile. “But if you want a real laugh at my expense, I must tell you another story. But first, you must promise not to tell anyone. Ever. I’m serious. This is far worse than anything I’ve told you so far.”

All right,” he agreed, wrapping his arms around her and pulling her closer to his chest.

She looked up at him with questions in her eyes, but still didn’t make a move to get off of his lap. “When I first married, I joined a few charitable organizations. One of which was to help both children and adults learn to read. I thought it was odd that the meeting was located above the local tavern but didn’t let that stop me. Anyway, every Tuesday I went to the meeting, walking right by the sign, mind you. Every Tuesday, I’d stay later than everyone else because there was this little boy whose mother was always late to collect him, and we’d play all sorts of wild games while we waited for her.

Then, one day when she came to get him, she praised how nice it was that my husband allowed me to help the illegitimate learn to read. Thinking she had her terms confused, I tried to correct her and explain the difference between illegitimate and illiterate.

After five minutes of arguing with her, I ran down the stairs to grab the sign and show her. I swooned when I read that sign. The sign itself did indeed advertise for volunteers to help the illegitimate learn to read.”

Paul couldn’t stop his laughter as he thought what her face must have looked like when she reread that sign. “It seems you might not be as literate as you thought,” he teased when his laughter ceased.

Indeed not,” she agreed, with a wide smile.

Do you plan to go back?” he asked.

She shrugged. “I honestly don’t know. It will depend on how my husband handles it. I haven’t told him yet, and I don’t know if I’ll be able to screw up the courage to do so. It wouldn’t be very advantageous for his work if I continue,” she explained.

I see. Can I ask you something personal?”

Sir, we’ve discussed my husband’s affairs, names for men’s private parts and the fact that I was unknowingly tutoring illegitimate illiterates, what could possibly be more personal?” she said, resting her head against his heart.

His heart would have squeezed at her gesture if he hadn’t been so jealous of himself. She’d never talked so freely or acted so tenderly with him, but with a stranger, all restraints were down. 

Behind the Scenes, Intentions of the Earl, Scandalous Sisters Series, Updates

A few “Fun Facts” I missed, and more…

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…

Earl Wrap

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!

Behind the Scenes, Intentions of the Earl, Scandalous Sisters Series

Fun Fact Friday–Intentions of the Earl

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.).