LIZZIE'S RAKE, my new Regency Romance, coming soon.
I have just completed the final edits for my new Regency Romance, Lizzie's Rake, which will be available shortly from The Wild Rose Press. It is my first release with this publisher and I am looking forward to a long and happy association.
Here is a brief blurb:
Can a rake reform his ways and truly love?Lizzie's head tells her one thing, her heart another.
Infamous rake and Corinthian, Maxim Beaufort, Earl of St. Ive, finding himself in possession of a property in Yorkshire, is unprepared for the changes it will bring into his life.Irresistibly drawn to Elizabeth Granger, the former owner’s daughter, he attempts to help the family, finding himself filling the role of benefactor. When the house is razed to the ground, he arranges for temporary accommodation for Elizabeth and her siblings on his estate.
When Elizabeth rejects his proposal of marriage, he is nonetheless determined to win her over.However, events and his reputation conspire to thwart his efforts and his course is one fraught with dangers.
Trust does not come easily and determined to protect her heart, Elizabeth struggles to resist her own longings.
At times, their difficulties appear insurmountable but the earl is widely known as ‘The Indomitable’ and the name was not lightly earned.
Here is as excerpt:
Toward , the storm intensified and the rain came in torrents, gushing from the tiles and spouts as the earl, holding aloft the lantern to avoid where the cobbles flooded, hurried across the dark stable yard. Hearing the thunder growling in the distance, he thought Yorkshire a most inhospitable county and wondered at the sense of setting out for Harrogate on the morrow. However, he wished not to disappoint Peter and felt himself committed.
Hastily pushing open the door to the stables he went inside and set the lantern on the windowsill, its yellow light spreading over the occupants of the stalls, casting their shadows in sharp relief against the whitewashed walls. The air was warm with the horses’ breath and filled with the sweet smell of the hay freshly forked into the racks and straw laid as bedding.
Taking off his cloak, he shook the water from it and spread it on the bales of straw stacked against the wall and pushing his wet hair from his brow, he went to inspect his driving team. Being assured of their soundness, he moved on to inspect the other horses, running his hands over their legs and talking to each one in turn. As he left the final stall, the door to the stables came quickly open and a cloaked figure stepped hurriedly inside.
Placing her lantern on the opposite side of the sill, Elizabeth threw back her hood, laughing as the droplets of rain trickled down her cheeks.
“What think you of our Yorkshire weather, sir?” she laughed.
“Appalling,” he responded, grimacing. “I wonder you suffer the climate.”
“Then you should see it when it is truly winter and the drifts are six foot deep. The winds come from the open moors and we are often trapped in the house.”
“Why the deuce do you remain,” he said, joining her.
“’Tis our home,” she replied simply. “Where else would we go?”
“I came to check on the team,” he offered in explanation of his presence in the stable at so late an hour.
“And I to check on Badger,” she replied. “He likes not the thunder. I looked in on him in his loosebox, but he appeared quite calm, and then I saw the lantern through the window and I wondered who it might be.”
“You should have returned to the house. It’s cold and damp. You will catch a chill.”
“Pho! I’m not so poor spirited,” she laughingly scorned. “I’m far more resilient than that. I have had need to be.”
“Indeed you have, my dear,” he said earnestly, and she raised her eyes quickly to his face. He moved away as if the look discomfited him and there existed a silence between them, only the stamping of the horses’ hooves as they moved restlessly in the stalls invading the moment.
Suddenly turning and coming to stand before her, St. Ive asked quietly, “Do you still think of me as an intruder, Elizabeth? Am I still not welcome in your home?”
“Maxim…” she began, and would have turned away, but immediately his arm detained her, drawing her back to face him.
For a long moment his searching gaze devoured her face until, tilting back her chin with his free hand, he bowed his head and kissed her. As the gentle kiss turned more demanding and he drew her tightly to his chest, he became aware that her soft lips remained frozen beneath his and she held her delicate frame rigid within his embrace. The fear in her eyes cut through him and immediately he released her from his arms.
“Why?” she demanded, the instant she was set free, bewilderment heavy in her voice.
“Why?” he repeated softly, almost as if he spoke to himself, a slight smile on his lips, and after the briefest hesitation he said flippantly, “Because you have rain on your face, my dear.”
“Odious, detestable man,” she cried angrily, running out into the night, not even pausing to take up her lantern.
He stood watching as the dark downpour devoured her. Briefly, a lone flash of lightening lit her way across the cobbles, momentarily silhouetting her against the large black bulk that was Briarfield, before she disappeared completely from his sight.
He had no answer to her question. Without conscious thought, his body had acted of its own volition and he knew only his desire for the embrace. He was not prepared to examine his motives or indeed his emotions, fearful of what they might reveal.
Donning his cloak and collecting both lanterns, St. Ive left the comfort of the stables, but despite the downpour, with head bowed, he hurried not. His steps appeared measured and, deep in thought, he stood briefly outside the house before finally entering.