Jude Knight’s upcoming release on August 5th, ‘A Baron for Becky’, is featured in Amy Rose’s Parlour today. Jude has also generously offered to gift an e-copy of her book to one random commentator. Read on to find out more about the baron in question, Lord Overton. At the end of the post there’s also a wonderful short excerpt!
Hugh, Baron Overton searches his soul.
Hugh, Baron Overton sat cradling a tankard of ale. The man from the newspaper had asked a lot of personal questions. Hugh had refused to answer, of course. One didn’t talk about such personal things. And one certainly didn’t talk to the newspapers, even if they followed one all the way from London to rural Lancashire.
Of course, they really wanted to talk about the latest escapades in London. He and Aldridge had not hit the headlines, precisely. At least, not by name. The power of the Duke of Haverford was too strong for that. But everyone knew who Baron O. and the M.M. were.
Still, it wasn’t the questions about their amorous adventures that echoed in his head. Instead, he found himself formulating answers to questions that struck far closer to the bone.
- What impression do you make on people when they first meet you?
They see my scars and they don’t look beyond them. I’ve seen them stare. I’ve heard what the women say… I can’t deny I’ve had some success in the bedroom in the last few years, but even then, I think it’s the novelty value. Beauty and the Beast, and I’m the beast.
- Do you wish to marry? If so, what is your idea of a good marriage? Do you think that will happen in your life?
I’ll never marry again. It was a mistake last time. If she had only been honest with me… if she had told me that she was disgusted by my scars; that she didn’t want to marry me… But she needed to marry, and I was the only man who offered. It was a mistake that I won’t repeat.
- What are you most ashamed of in your life?
I didn’t work hard enough to save my marriage. I should have made her talk to me; made her explain. Instead—when she wouldn’t receive me except in the dark, when she refused her bed to me at all after that first year—I ran. I was working for the family, I told myself; rebuilding our fortune from the mess my uncle left it in. And I did have to travel. But not as much as I did, and I could have taken her with me. She died, and the baby with her, and it’s my fault.
- Tell me about your best friend. How did you meet? What do you like about this person? What do they like about you?
The Marquess of Aldridge has been my best friend since we were two lonely boys getting into mischief together at Eton. People don’t understand Aldridge. He’s more than just a rake; much more. He’s a faithful friend, a good steward of his father’s duchy, and a kind and generous man. I think he likes that I don’t suck up to him. I might be the only person in his world, apart from his parents and his brothers, who doesn’t. Well, my title might be less elevated than his, but it’s older. And we were boys together, as I say.
- What would you like it to say on your tombstone?
I’d like it to say: Here lies Hugh Baron Overton, who lived and died doing his duty.
- What is your greatest fear?
I’m afraid of failing those who depend on me. And fail them I must. I cannot perform the most basic duty of all peers. It can’t be helped. I’ve tried, as God is my witness. I won’t fail them in any other way: my daughters, my tenants, my friends. I couldn’t live with myself if I let anyone else down.
‘A Baron for Becky’ is currently available for pre-order and is due for release on the 5th August. Please read on and enjoy a short excerpt. And don’t forget to leave a comment to be in the running for an e-copy of ‘A Baron for Becky’.
Aldridge was early. She crossed to the sideboard where she kept his favourite brandy, and was pouring him a glass by the time she heard his steps in the hall. Two sets of steps? Who did Aldridge have with him?
The other man was as tall as Aldridge, but dark to his fair. He must once have been stunningly handsome, and one side of his face was still carved by a master; subtle curves and strong planes combining in a harmonious whole that spoke of strength and, in the almost invisible network of lines at the corners of his eyes, suffering.
On the other side, dozens of scars pitted and ridged the skin, as if it had been torn and chewed by an animal; an animal with jaws of flame by the tell-tale burn puckers. Thankfully, whatever it was had spared his eye, which, she suddenly realised, was glaring at her.
“Well,” he demanded, and she was shaken anew by his voice, rich and mellow. She had been staring. How rude. But for some reason, she didn’t apologise as she should, but instead blurted, “I was just feeling glad that what injured you spared your eye.”
He looked startled, and suddenly a lot friendlier. “Thank you. I am glad too.”
That voice! He could read a linen inventory and she would listen for hours.
“An unusual approach to an introduction,” Aldridge observed. Becky collected herself and smiled at her protector. “No one is more important than the man who keeps you,” a mentor had once told her. “When he is present, you notice no one else except as it reflects well on him.”
And Becky had never before had her attention so focused on a guest that she had been unaware of presenting her cheek to Aldridge for his kiss, giving him the expected squeal in return for his squeeze, and returning the kiss.
“An introduction would be polite, Aldridge,” she said.
“My dear, you have heard me speak of my friend, Baron Overton.”
She was a fallen woman when she met them. How can they help her fall on her feet?
Becky is the envy of the courtesans of the demi-monde – the indulged mistress of the wealthy and charismatic Marquis of Aldridge. But she dreams of a normal life; one in which her daughter can have a future that does not depend on beauty, sex, and the whims of a man.
Finding herself with child, she hesitates to tell Aldridge. Will he cast her off, send her away, or keep her and condemn another child to this uncertain shadow world?
The devil-may-care face Hugh shows to the world hides a desperate sorrow; a sorrow he tries to drown with drink and riotous living. His years at war haunt him, but even more, he doesn’t want to think about the illness that robbed him of the ability to father a son. When he dies, his barony will die with him. His title will fall into abeyance, and his estate will be scooped up by the Crown.
When Aldridge surprises them both with a daring proposition, they do not expect love to be part of the bargain.
Buy Links. Available for pre-order now.
Jude’s Other Books (on Amazon)
Candle’s Christmas Chair (free novella)
Farewell to Kindness (Book One, the Golden Redepennings)