My new Regency historical romance, A Marriage of Inconvenience, releases this coming Monday, April 11. It's something of a Cinderella story--Lucy Jones, an orphaned poor relation of a baronet's family, meets the wealthy, powerful James Wright-Gordon, Viscount Selsley, and they're drawn together despite their differences in rank and fortune, and despite the fact each one firmly believes they're in love with someone else.
Here's a brief excerpt I hope will whet your appetite. Comment for a chance to win the book--I'll give one copy to a randomly selected commenter. Deadline: midnight, Sunday night, Pacific Time.
She shook her head, then reached up to brush back one of the loose ringlets of hair that had fallen across her face. “My aunt’s abigail wanted to cut my hair before I came here, because short hair is so fashionable.”
“But you refused,” he said, rejoicing that she had.
“Yes. It’s ridiculous, absurd, but I cannot bear the thought of having it cut. It—it makes me think of when it was shaved.”
James knew it was very wrong of him, when Miss Jones had just confided in him, confessing the great secret of her childhood ordeal. But he could not stop his hand from reaching up, stroking lightly over the braided coronet, then twisting one of those loose ringlets around his fingers. “Don’t ever cut it,” he said, startled at how husky his voice sounded, shocked at how much he wanted to see her hair down, how vividly he imagined it spread across a pillow.
Though it was deep twilight, there was enough light that James could see her eyes widen, and he heard her sharp intake of breath. What was he doing? She was so innocent, barely out in society, and he had only met her that morning. He dropped his hand as though the lock of hair burned him.
“I must get back before anyone misses me,” she said, sounding confused.
Indeed she must. If anyone found them here alone in near darkness…
He stood and extended a hand to help her rise. “Come, I’ll show you a door into a different part of the castle,” he said. “If anyone notices how long you were gone, you can simply say you became lost trying to find your way back from the ladies’ retiring room.”
She laughed softly. “I almost couldn’t find my room after visiting the library earlier today. This castle is a perfect maze.”
“It’s often so in houses that have been added on to and improved upon over the centuries,” he said as he led her toward the door. “Orchard Park is very nearly as large, but since my father had it built all at once, it’s much more difficult to lose one’s way. Here.” He tested the door to make sure it was unlocked. “I believe this leads into the library. Can you find your way from here?”
“I can. Thank you, Lord Selsley. You’re—you are very kind.”
He shook his head. “If I may offer you a final piece of advice, Miss Jones?”
He squeezed her hand lightly, then released it. “The next time a man you’ve known for less than a day touches your hair, you really ought to slap him for his troubles.”
She gave him a startled stare. “Oh! Well, I hardly expect it to be a common occurrence.”
“One never knows. You have lovely hair.”
Again she reached up and twisted a ringlet around her fingers. Without speaking again, she released it and fled into the library.
For more information, including a longer excerpt and buy links, please visit my website.