Frankie says hello!
Well, An Unusual Courtship is doing well, especially considering the glut of Regencies on the market at the moment, so I'm pleased about that.
Writing is my solace and my joy, and through all my recent problems, I had an idea. Unfortunately it's not the kind of book Dragonblade is looking for, so I'm going to write this one, then look for a publisher for it. Dragonblade doesn't take Georgian romance (I know, Regency is part of the Georgian era!) and it insists that the romance is upfront and centre.
My current project is mid-Georgian set, and has a heavy dective/procedural thread. I've wanted to write it for years, so with everything else going on in my life, I've decided to indulge my passion for the era and for the events of the time.
Not that I don't love writing Regencies, but I fell in love with the 1750s, and never fell out of love.
But for those of you who love my Regency romances, never fear! I'm not abandoning them. They'll be another string to my bow, a refresher. The new project may come to nothing, but I'm writing it anyway.
And here's the promised excerpt. Sorry to keep you for so long!
An Unusual Courtship
A diplomat Earl and a scandal-ridden adventuress aren’t the perfect match—except in passion.
When Juliet Burrell meets Valerian, Earl of Langston, their attraction is immediate, but their path to happiness is littered with obstacles it will take all their strength to overcome. Val is a diplomat, looking for a well-connected, scandal-free bride to help further his career. Juliet is surrounded by constant scandal, even though none of it is of her making. And Val is engaged to be married to Juliet’s best friend.
But when Val discovers that his future bride is in love with someone else, he and Juliet join forces to help them and end up in a betrothal themselves. As Juliet gets to know Val better, she tumbles further into love with him, but she’s acutely aware that she is the exact opposite of what he needs. She cares for him too much to let him sacrifice everything for her and refuses to accept that their betrothal will result in marriage, even though their attraction has blossomed into passion.
Val wants Juliet, though he knows he might have to give up his treasured diplomatic career to have her. For years he’s engaged in the dark world of espionage, secrets, and lies, and he has done his job well and kept people safe. But he has always viewed his future in terms of the diplomatic work he is suited to, work that may not be possible with Juliet at his side.
It’s not long before trouble and tragedy plunge the Burrells into the mire once again, and Val may be the only one who can rescue Juliet from a situation that goes beyond scandal and into treason.
Is love worth the sacrifice he may have to make?
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Here’s your extract. I do hope you enjoy it, and you want to read more!
Juliet caught her breath. Did he really mean to marry her? Or no, perhaps he only intended to use her while he needed a partner. Either way, she could not take Maria’s place. Could she? “Why do you need it?” she asked him. “Ambassadors don’t need to have wives.”
“This one does,” he said firmly. “Lords Liverpool and Castlereagh strongly prefer it. And the Tsar has expressed his preference for dealing with married men. I am not the only candidate for the position of Ambassador to Russia, and the others under consideration are married. If I arrive at that dinner without a betrothed in tow, I will not be considered for the post.”
“And you want it.”
“I do,” he confirmed. “But that’s not the only thing I want.” Bending his head, he tightened his arm around her waist and brought her hard against his chest. When her mouth dropped open in shock, he took advantage of it, and kissed her.
Cupping his cheek seemed natural, at least that was where her hand went, as if it knew what she wanted. And she responded, oh how she responded to his kiss. He gave no quarter, and she loved it, reveled in his passion. He touched her lips with his tongue, caressed the soft flesh and pushed inside.
Valerian kissed like an angel, or a devil—she didn’t know which, and at the moment she didn’t care. She slid her other hand around his waist, more to hold on and stop herself falling to the floor. That brought his lower body closer to her and his hard rod pressing against her stomach like a hot brand, one that marked, but caused no pain, only desire and passion.
He touched her tongue with the tip of his, teased it, played with her until she reacted, shyly at first, then with more confidence, especially when he gave a low groan. The sound vibrated deep within her, right through her and she shivered.
Immediately he finished the kiss and loosened his hold on her. When she did not move away, but instead moved closer, he slid his arm around her again, and pressed a kiss to her forehead. They stood together, the only sound in the room the quiet tick of the clock and their breathing. Carriages rolled past outside, and the sound of distant voices reached her ears, such a commonplace thing she seldom noticed it.
His shoulder was right there, so she rested her head on it.
“So is that a yes?” he asked.
“When you put it like that, I can hardly say no.”
He kissed her again.