Ahem, as I believe I’ve mentioned, spies are sexy. But as we know, they are not all like James Bond. We forgive the fact that Bond never changes from one movie to the next. Characters between the covers of a book need to grow and in a romance, fall in love.
The spy who influenced my character, Flynn, Lord Montsimon in What a Rake Wants – the third book in my Spies of Mayfair series, was Lord Stuart de Rothesay. Headstrong, daring and never lacking courage, Charles was no ordinary diplomat. His story is the story of how the British intelligence service evolved. Spying became a keen weapon in both politics and war in the 19th Century and Charles Stuart was part-diplomat and part-spy using his powerful foreign postings to arrange dispatches of intelligence information to be sent back to England for the eyes of the Duke of Wellington. He was also George IV’s private investigator.
Further inspiration for my sexy Irish diplomat, Flynn, Lord Montsimon, came from Errol Flynn movies. Errol had charm, good looks and athleticism in spades. It’s said that despite his somewhat shady reputation, Errol Flynn was a courteous and cultured man.
Meanwhile enjoy an excerpt from What a Rake Wants
The ground was bathed in deep shadows. Too far to jump. It was difficult to keep her balance when her evening shoes slipped on the damp frosty bark. “I can do this!” Althea muttered. She had climbed much taller trees whilst growing up in the country, but not in shoes like these. Despairing of her silk stockings, she kicked off her slippers. They fell with two soft thuds to the ground.
While she hugged the trunk and searched for a new foothold, a low-pitched, melodic voice addressed her from out of the darkness.
“Lady Brookwood. May I be of assistance?”
Shocked, Althea almost fell. She knew that voice. The branch beside her creaked and bowed and the whole tree shook unnervingly. A breath tickled her ear, while a hand snaked around her waist. She was swung into midair and lowered to the ground.
As she gained her feet, Lord Montsimon dropped down beside her.
Althea swiveled to face him, glad of the shadows, her face burning despite the cold. “What are you doing here?” Annoyed by the tiny flip of her heart her whisper sounded waspish. She busied herself searching for her shoes.
“I was about to ask you the same thing,” he said in a cool tone, while removing her reticule and both slippers from the pockets of his great coat. “But we can hardly discuss it here.” He watched as she slipped her damp, chilled feet into her shoes. “I saw no carriage awaiting you in the square. I expect I shall have to see you home.”
How uncivil! She was in no mood to deal with the mercurial Lord Montsimon. She reached in her pocket and took out her gloves, pulling them on with a nonchalant shrug. “I plan to hail a hackney.”
“You seem inadequately dressed for such a purpose. May I offer you my coat?”
“No, thank you.” Her blood was turning to ice and she would have loved to wear it, but she refused to give him the satisfaction.
“As it happens, I have a hackney on hand.” His gloved fingers took a firm hold of her arm.
I planned this to be the final book in the series, but I may not stop at three if another spy calls to me to write his story. Never, say never.
What do you look for in a series?
ROMANTIC PURSUIT QUESTION:
What did Lord Montsimon remove from his pockets? Be sure to post your answer on the form on the home page!