THE BATTLE WITH BLOGGER...
... appears to have been won. I finally downloaded Firefox and now I have everything back in place, although cutting and pasting is a bit of a hit and miss affair . Badly handled update, Blogger... Could do better.
Anyway, the good news is that I can now introduce you to LOUISE ALLEN, this week's guest in the great 50th book party. I first met Louise several years ago at a Mills & Boon Author lunch and it's a real pleasure to invite her along to share a glass of cyber bubbly and tell us about her great new Regency romp, The Shocking Lord Standon
Thank you so much for the invitation Liz! I’ll be celebrating my 25th book at Christmas and I’m totally in awe of your fantastic record of 50 titles, all packing so much emotional punch and delivering such consistent entertainment.
I’ve just finished writing the sixth and final book in my series for Harlequin Mills & Boon about a group of cousins - Those Scandalous Ravenhursts. (My dear husband refers to it as the Sexology). I thought a trio of linked family books might be fun – but I reckoned without the Ravenhursts and it grew to six before I knew what was happening.
I first met them when Lord Sebastian Ravenhurst invited himself into No Place For a Lady and made a spirited attempt to take over, the way heroes do. Unfortunately it wasn’t his book, so he had to be reined in with the promise of a love story of his own. (The Dangerous Mr Ryder and The Outrageous Lady Felsham came out earlier this year.)
Number three – The Shocking Lord Standon - is out in September. Gareth Morant, Lord Standon, is a respectable and highly eligible bachelor, who finds himself almost trapped into marriage with childhood friend Lady Maude Templeton (heroine of number 5, due out next year). Neither of them want the match, so Gareth sets about becoming considerably less respectable – every father’s nightmare match for his daughter in fact. He needs a mistress to conduct a scandalous and very public liaison with, a woman who will vanish discreetly the moment he and Maude are safe. But where to find one?
In this extract governess Jessica Gifford has been abducted and imprisoned in a brothel. Luckily she has read any number of romantic adventure stories and knows just what to do -
In sensation novels, the sort governesses are supposed never to read and in fact devour by the shelf full, the beleaguered yet valiant heroine can pick a dungeon lock in seconds as she escapes from the wicked duke’s evil clutches. Her hands shaking, cold sweat standing out all over her, Jessica could only conclude that either wicked dukes employed inferior locksmiths to brothel keepers or the authors of the Minerva Press were sadly misinformed.
After five minutes she stood up in an attempt to relieve her cramped knees. ‘Open, you beastly thing,’ she said, almost weeping with frustration, and fetched the lock a thump with her clenched fist. With a click it did just that.
Jessica was out into the corridor before she could think. Opposite her a shadowy figure moved. She gave a yelp of fear and realised that it was her own reflection in a full length mirror. And she was stark naked.
Behind her the door swung to, the catch snicked closed. She could not go back, that was where they would come for her. Clothes. That was the priority.
She opened the first door that she came to and peered round the edge. Inside was a big bed and on it a welter of naked flesh. Gasping, Jessica made out six legs, two pairs of buttocks, a glimpse of hairy chest… How many people? Doing what? She shut the door, flattening herself instinctively into the recess. The participants in the orgy had appeared totally preoccupied, but even so, she did not think she had the courage to sneak in and steal clothing while that was going on.
Jessica drew in a deep breath and forced herself to plan. To assume the worst was a self-fulfilling prophesy. Her fate was sealed if she panicked. Steadier, she surveyed the corridor in which she found herself. Opposite was the door she had just escaped through, behind her the room with the orgy in progress. On either side were two more doors and then in both directions, the passage turned.
Which way to go? Her sense of direction had quite deserted her in the hectic few minutes when she had been bundled out of the carriage and up the stairs. Then, as she hesitated, her arms wrapped around her chilly ribs, the decision was made for her by the sound of a door opening and loud voices from out of sight to her right. Without hesitation Jessica fled around the other corner.
It might have been better, she realised in the second she thudded into a solid wall of male muscle, if she had been looking where she was going and not wildly back over her shoulder.
Her nose was buried in a shirt front, the crisp upper edge of a tailored waistcoat stuck into her chin and her shivering body was pressed against warm superfine and knitted silk. The immovable object stood quite still as the voices behind her grew louder.
Jessica tilted back her head and found she was squinting up past a chin that was already shadowed by an evening beard into amused grey eyes. One dark eyebrow rose. ‘Help,’ she whispered, her voice fled along with her hope. ‘Please help me.’
The Shocking Lord Standon is out in September on both the UK (Mills & Boon Historical) and in North America (Harlequin Historical), with two different covers. The North American one has the blue border, the UK one the pink dress. To win a signed copy of The Shocking Lord Standon, just tell me which cover you prefer and why. Good luck!
To find out more about the Ravenhursts, visit my website