Hi romance lovers, and historical romance lovers, waving from New Zealand. I’m excited to be part of Embracing Romance. I love talking about romance, especially Regency romances, and of course my books.
I write sensual, Regency romances, and I have a new series called the Disgraced Lords in the works. I’ve just released book #1, A KISS OF LIES. It’s always a little scary and also an exciting time for an author releasing book one in a new series.
The Disgraced Lords is a six book series about a group of Oxford dons, Lords, who are all, over a space of a year, forced to flee England for various reasons. The individual stories focus on their drive to clear their names and to earn the ton’s respect and their places back in English Society. There is laughter, tears, revenge and of course love along the way. There is an overarching villain who is out to destroy the reputations of six men—the Libertine Scholars—for something their fathers did. You learn more about the villain in each additional book.
A Kiss of Lies is a Regency romance that takes you on a trip from England to Canada, then onto Jamaica, and finally home to England. I wanted to be a bit different with this Regency story, and have my hero and heroine meet outside of England. I hope it works.
Before I go much further, let me introduce you to A Kiss of Lies…
A pair of damaged souls ignite each other’s deepest passions—even as they tempt fate by deceiving the world.
Desperate to escape her abusive past, Sarah Cooper disguises herself as a governess in the employ of Christian Trent, Earl of Markham, the man who, long ago, she fantasized about marrying. Despite the battle scars that mar his face, Sarah finds being near Christian rekindles her infatuation. A governess, however, has no business in the arms of an earl, and as she accompanies Christian on his voyage home, Sarah must resist her intense desires—or risk revealing her dangerous secrets.
One of the renowned Libertine Scholars, Christian Trent once enjoyed the company of any woman he chose. But that was before the horrors of Waterloo, his wrongful conviction of a hideous crime, and his forcible removal from England. Far from home and the resources he once had, Christian believes the life he knew—and any chance of happiness—is over . . . until his ward’s governess sparks his heart back to life, and makes him remember the man he used to be. Now Christian is determined to return to England, regain his honor, and win the heart of the woman he has come to love.
I started A Kiss of Lies a few years ago, while on a trip to see my father, who lives in Canada. An idea sprang into my head, as it usually does when I’m in a new place, or meeting new people, about a hero getting stranded in the dead of winter, in a country he didn’t know, with no money and no proof of identity. What a nightmare. It’s fun being an author because I can make up terrible situations for my characters. Aren’t I horrible?
When this plot popped into my head, Christian Trent, Earl of Markham came to call at the same time. I knew he was the perfect character for this story because he is a man who has endured loads of heartache. I was certain he would have the stomach to pick himself up and beat the odds. He’s already been badly burned at the battle of Waterloo. To survive such an injury is no small feat, given the high infection rates in the Regency era (no antibiotics). Christian didn’t thank me for putting him through the agony In fact, Christian made his dislike known. I was definitely person non grata.
Then, being the writer I am, I made his life more miserable. Not only is he scarred, I decided to have him accused of raping a young English debutante. Worse, could it be any worse? Yes it could. Turns out she’s the daughter of a duke. The duke and his son promptly shanghaied Christian to Canada. He arrives mid-winter with only the clothes on his back, no money and no way to prove he is the Earl of Markham. Can you imagine how much he hates me at this point?
Needless to say, it was obvious I best do something to dampen his displeasure, and quickly. Not that he’d ever hit a woman, but I actually love Christian to bits and wanted to make him happy. So I gave him what every man needs, an intelligent woman. I brought Mrs. Sarah Cooper into his life. By the end of the story, Christian was not only down on his knees thanking me, he was ready to name his first child after me—but I’m getting a little ahead of myself here…
So, you see, for an author it’s usual for my heroes to hate me at the beginning of the book. I make them face things about their lives, about themselves, they aren’t comfortable looking at. They feel exposed, vulnerable, and hate having to face emotions they would rather see remain hidden. However, as the story advances Christian begins to have a little faith in me and, of course, himself as this excerpt explains…
“I’m sorry if I startled you. I’ve come to apologize for my boorish behavior this evening. If it’s any consolation, I feel like an idiot.”
Sarah stepped back into her room, all senses wary of Christian’s sudden contrition.
“May I come in and explain?”
She was about to shake her head, but his eyes, reminding her of a lost puppy’s, tugged at her heart. Would it hurt her to listen?
“You may enter, but the door stays open.”
“Of course.” He entered her room and moved to the windows. He stood with his back to her, his hands moving nervously, his shoulders tense. Why didn’t he speak? What was he waiting for? Perhaps he was still trying to find an excuse?
“When I came back from town this afternoon, I was informed you were still down at the beach.”
Sarah barely managed to stop the “Oh, no!” from slipping out of her mouth. He’d seen her with Sebastian! Understanding dawned bright on her face. He turned at her muffled squeak of comprehension.
An elegant eyebrow rose. “Precisely! When I saw Sebastian walk naked—”
“Naked? He was never naked.” She felt heat flare in her face. “At least, not while I was present.”
“I didn’t know that. I—”
She finished for him. “Jumped to the wrong conclusion.” He nodded. “Your display of bad manners this evening was what, jealousy?” she asked incredulously.
Christian’s face flooded with color, and he looked sheepish. “I thought what we shared the other evening was special. When I thought you’d been with Sebastian I was shocked, hurt, and angry. I thought you did not feel the same about . . .”
Anger slid over her, hanging about her body for protection. “You obviously think very little of me if you thought I could share myself so readily with another man one night after allowing you into my bed.” The room reverberated with the harsh, accusatory tones of her voice. “Did you think my reluctance and terror at intimacy were all an act?”
He turned his face toward her and struggled to express himself. “Since my burns, no woman has willingly shared my bed. I have to pay them. Even then they usually have to fill themselves with alcohol in order to bear my touch. I could not—” He paused, and she could see his Adam’s apple moving. “I still cannot believe you welcomed me into your bed, especially given the circumstances.” His shoulders straightened and he stood tall. “I am telling you this to gain not your pity or forgiveness but your understanding.”
And just like that, he crushed her bitter anger into little pieces. She’d been focused on her hurt and her injuries, but it appeared his injuries ran just as deep. His scars hid deeper internal wounds that he kept hidden from the world. He was a proud man, and she realized what it had cost him to admit this to her.
I hope you grab a copy of A Kiss of Lies and follow the journey to their HEA.