I love military heroes—in fact, my husband is in the military—so I jumped at the chance to join the Secret Cravings Publishing “Christmas is a Time for Giving” Wounded Warriors Blog Hop. Like all the other participating authors, I was more than happy to donate $30 to the US veteran’s charity, the Wounded Warrior’s Project . Just click on the (previous) link if you’d also like to donate to this worthy cause in support of injured US service members.
I’m also offering a GIVEAWAY—one e-copy of LADY BEAUCHAMP’S PROPOSAL, my Regency romance with Secret Cravings Publishing, will be gifted to a random commentator on this post—during the blog hop. You’ll find the details just after the excerpt…
All of the heroes in my historical novels (that I’ve written so far) are military men. Lord Rothsburgh, the hero in LADY BEAUCHAMP’S PROPOSAL served under the Duke of Wellington at the Battle of Waterloo. He was wounded during the battle and suffers from a degree of post traumatic stress disorder; he has frequent nightmares and drinks a little too much to help deaden the pain. The heroine in my story also has a connection to the Battle of Waterloo. Her not-very-nice, pox ridden husband, Hugh, Lord Beauchamp also served under Wellington. Elizabeth was also a patroness of the (fictitious) charity, The Widows of Waterloo Trust.
Wellington at Waterloo by Hillingford
Following is the blurb from LADY BEAUCHAMP’S PROPOSAL and a snippet of the story.
A runaway countess finds love when she least expects it…but she can’t hide from her past forever.
Elizabeth, Lady Beauchamp, fears for her life. When she discovers her dissolute and long-estranged husband has syphilis—and he wants to beget an heir no matter the cost—she flees to a remote part of Scotland to begin a new life as the widowed governess, Mrs. Beth Eliott at Eilean Tor Castle.
When Mrs. Eliott unexpectedly arrives on his doorstep, the reclusive and recently widowed Marquess of Rothsburgh is both irritated and intrigued. No longer in need of a governess—his young daughter now resides with his sister’s family in Edinburgh—he proposes the beautiful widow fill a position of a different kind…
Torn between staying true to her marriage vows and her wanton attraction to the devilishly handsome marquess, Elizabeth struggles against the temptation to become his mistress. But living a lie is not easy when you have fallen in love. And secrets always have a way of coming out…
Set up: Elizabeth—posing as the widowed governess Mrs. Beth Eliott—has just arrived at the very remote Eilean Tor Castle off the coast of Aberdeenshire. She has endured a long journey, and after being shown to Lord Rothsburgh’s library, she realizes she feels decidedly unwell. However, she decides to push on with her interview with the enigmatic marquess anyway…
“I can see you have made friends with Rosencrantz.”
Elizabeth opened her eyes and looked down. The deerhound that had been resting his head on her knee earlier was now lying at her feet, his head on her boots. She smiled then glanced over to where Lord Rothsburgh sat in a leather wing chair opposite her.
“Guildenstern, I take it, obviously prefers your company, my lord.” The other deerhound had moved over to his master’s side, his head on the marquess’s lap.
“More fool him,” replied Lord Rothsburgh, his dark gaze roaming over her.
Elizabeth felt her already feverish cheeks grow hotter, and she glanced toward the dog at her feet. A misanthrope she could deal with, but a darkly handsome voluptuary? She had not anticipated the marquess would be such a man; which was quite short-sighted really—men of his class often lived a hedonistic lifestyle.
She should know considering she was married to one of the worst offenders.
But perhaps Lord Rothsburgh was only testing her mettle, to see if she was made of sterner stuff than her predecessors. Despite her throbbing head and raw throat, she would just have to show the marquess that she was not some withering violet.
She looked up to find that the marquess was still watching her. He had stretched back in his chair; his long muscular legs, encased in form-fitting breeches were extended out before him, his booted lower legs crossed at the ankle. He was the personification of the arrogant, indolently graceful aristocrat. In one long fingered hand he held a glass of amber-colored liquor—whisky perhaps.
Noticing the direction of her gaze, he raised the glass and took a sizeable sip. “Would you like some?” he asked, arching a black-winged eyebrow. His voice was low and soft, like velvet.
She swallowed. “No thank buyamoxil-amoxicillin.com you, my lord.” Her voice emerged as a husky croak. She took another quick sip of tea, then placed the cup and saucer on the table. They rattled faintly against each other. She was shivering again and she could feel a sheen of cold perspiration on her brow. Banter was all well and good, but she needed to get down to business to secure her position as governess.
She reached for her reference and offered it to the marquess. “P-perhaps we could speak about the governess’s p-post, Lord Rothsburgh,” she said, although she inwardly cursed her chattering teeth. It made her sound nervous. “This is my letter of reference from the C-Countess of B-Beauchamp.”
Lord Rothsburgh leant forward and took the letter from her, frowning. “Are you sure you are all right, Mrs. Eliott? You look a little flushed.”
She shrugged. “I think I must have caught a chill, my lord. I will be f-fine.”
He sat back, his dark eyes lingering on her a moment more before he turned over the envelope and broke the wax seal. “This is from Lady Beauchamp, you say.”
“Yes. She is one of the p-patronesses of the Widows of Waterloo Trust, my lord. It is a charity that aims to f-find paid, decent work for wives who have lost their husbands at Waterloo and n-no longer have a source of income.”
Lord Rothsburgh sought her gaze. His eyes were somber. “Then I’m sorry for your loss, Mrs. Eliott.”
Elizabeth inclined her head in acknowledgement of the condolence, yet felt herself flushing a little more—if that was at all physically possible. Although she had uttered the lie about her situation with relative ease, once spoken it was as if a bitter taste still lingered in her mouth.
The marquess returned to perusing her reference. “You come highly recommended,” he said thoughtfully when he had finished reading it. He put the letter aside and fixed his gaze on her again. “Although I do hope that Lady Beauchamp isn’t tied to that first-class bounder, the Earl of Beauchamp, Hugh Harcourt. Her recommendation isn’t worth much if she is. Only a fool would have married a prat like that.”
Elizabeth gasped. He knew Hugh, but he obviously didn’t know her. She quickly scanned her mind for any memory of having met Lord Rothsburgh before, but she could not find one. Her real identity was safe.
But even though what he had just said about Hugh was accurate, his comments about her true self—Lady Beauchamp—still stung. That meant her reference was worthless. Lord Rothsburgh had dismissed her well-chosen words outright. And it was not as if what she had stated about Mrs. Beth Eliott was an entire fabrication; she did truly possess the personal qualities and attainments delineated within the letter that made her more than suitable governess material. And she did really want and need the work.
She sat dumbfounded, searching for something to say that would convince this mercurial man she was the right person to teach his daughter. But nothing came to mind.
She raised a shaking hand to her fevered brow and pushed a damp lock of hair out of her eyes. “I…I don’t know what to say, Lord Rothsburgh.” There was a hard lump in her throat and her eyes were suddenly misty. She bit her lip and willed herself not to cry. It had been a mistake to come here. Perhaps she was the fool the marquess thought she was.
She couldn’t stay. Perhaps the tide was still low enough for her to return to Torhaven. She could beg Mr. Geddes for a room—she would pay of course. “It’s probably best if I go then, my lord.” She stood abruptly and the room swayed before her eyes.
Her name was the last thing she heard before blackness descended.
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Just tell me who is your all-time favorite historical romance hero (or any kind of romance hero) and why to be in the running for an e-copy of my book LADY BEAUCHAMP’S PROPOSAL. I’ll choose one winner (at random) after the blog tour ends on the 7th December! The winner will be announced in the comments.
Thanks for visiting my blog and I wish you a very Merry Christmas! You’ll find all the other blog stops here… SECRET CRAVINGS PUBLISHING BLOG SPOT … If you drop on by, there’s a Rafflecopter giveaway as part of the blog hop – a $50 Amazon gift card is up for grabs!