In an increasingly crowded marketplace it’s tough thinking up original concepts for books. It’s even more challenging if, like me, you’ve already written a few and exhausted your best ideas. God forbid that I should churn out variations on the same theme! Annoyingly there’s nothing under the sun that hasn’t been done before, probably far better than I ever could. So I need that elusive angle, a magic twist if you like, that makes old themes seem fresh and exciting.
With Regency romance it can’t have escaped your notice that we have millions of dukes, marquises, earls and assorted other rich landed gentry littering the literary landscape. A prime example of too many chiefs and not enough Indians if ever I came across one but I guess that’s okay because we’re all fascinated by the exotic lives of the indolent rich, aren’t we?
With A Scandalous Proposition, my latest Regency due to be released by Carina Press today, I had a good long think about hero material before putting fingers to keyboard. What particular type of guy from the period makes my heart beat just that little bit faster? Sean Bean as Richard Sharpe sprang immediately to mind. What is it about men in uniform? Do they do it for you as well? From that one lustful thought Major Lord Adam Fitzroy was born. See, I couldn’t resist making him a lord, heir to a duke in fact. How predictable is that?
Anyway, just because he has influential connections I wasn’t about to give him an easy time of it. When the book opens he’s on his way home to Portsmouth on furlough. He stops at an inn and impulsively rescues a beautiful woman from a difficult situation. That’s when things start to get interesting. He subsequently discovers that the woman, who introduces herself as Mrs Simon Smith, is actually Florentina Grantley, a Spanish émigré employed as companion to his mother, the dowager duchess. Bizarrely she also has connections to the local brothel. Adam, as a man of honour, ought to denounce her at once but where’s the fun in that? Anyway, she fascinates him and so his price for keeping her guilty secret is one wicked night in her company.
As if all that weren’t enough, whilst Adam was away fighting for king and country, his brother the duke upped and married Adam’s intended. Philippa, the lady in question, seems to think she and Adam can simply pick up where they left off. What a nerve! Oh, and she’s also pregnant but Adam has grave doubts about his ailing brother’s ability to father a child. Poor Adam, if I were him I’d leg it back to the Peninsula. Sounds to me as though he’d have a quieter life in the midst of a raging battle.
Anyway, here’s how he propositions Florentina.
“I beg your pardon?”
“And so we return to the question of our first meeting at that inn, where you were being pursued by a very determined man.”
Damnation, she’d hoped he would become too preoccupied with maintaining his position on the moral high ground to remember that.
“That was a misunderstanding” was all she could think of to say.
“Not that I blame him for his determination.” He spoke over her pathetic explanation and raked her body insolently with his eyes again. “In view of my subsequent discoveries about your occupation, it’s not difficult to conjecture your true purpose in visiting the capital.”
Florentina nibbled her index finger. Put like that she supposed he had a point. But she had no intention of embarking upon a discussion about Reynolds for fear of where it might lead. To divert him she recklessly broached the matter foremost in her mind.
“What do you plan to do with your knowledge? Shall you inform Her Grace?”
“That rather depends.”
“I don’t see how.”
“Then permit me to enlighten you. My actions are dependent upon your willingness to entertain me.”
“Don’t look so outraged, Mrs. Smith. You are a courtesan of some sophistication and must know precisely what I have in mind. Nevertheless I shall articulate my terms, since it’s obvious that you wish to hear them spoken aloud. I require you to meet me in the summerhouse this evening.” He waved toward the structure in question, as though she didn’t already know its location perfectly well. “Once my mother has retired for the night, naturally. You’re already skilled at leaving the house when she’s abed, so that shouldn’t prove an impediment.”
He was serious. He actually wanted her to go through with this. Florentina felt her heart bang painfully against her ribs as she considered the awkwardness of her position. She’d been neatly outmanoeuvred and had little choice but to acquiesce. She knew that but reacted instinctively and her next words slipped past her lips before she could do anything to prevent them.
“Dios mío, that’s a scandalous proposition!”
Thanks for stopping by and if you get to read A Scandalous Proposition I do hope you enjoy it.
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A Scandalous Proposition. Buy now from Carina Press