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Soon tension brews: Richard's aunt lays a wager against Hetty, his elusive young ward refuses to become a pawn, mysteries from the past lurk, and Hetty's most powerful, spurned suitor has an agenda of his own...it takes a mighty thunderstorm to clear the air before Lord Eaglebeak learns his lesson and his lady learns hers...
Betrothed for the sake of convenience, Richard Darby thinks he has one year to win Lady Hetty's heart. She thinks she has one year to discourage him -- and lays a wager upon it.
Hetty has vowed never to marry, but her Papa leaves her no choice. She accepts the prearranged betrothal...after all, at the end of a year, she may cry off. Meanwhile, she'll do her best to discourage her new fiance, the man she dubs Lord Eaglebeak.
Love can turn a coward into a hero and a wise man into a moron? Richard Darby groans at such prospects. He'd rather stay in control. Soldiering against Napoleon's armies, he has cherished a vision of love, but can such a dream become reality?
The Earl of Stanton has a dilemma: he must appease his second wife by marrying off his unruly daughter, Hetty, but how? To Stanton, Richard is a god-send. He already entrusted the young man with a rather sordid secret. Now he entrusts Richard with his daughter's fate as well.
The sun shone brightly. Few clouds dotted the azure sky. Birdsong filled the air, yet a burden weighed upon Hetty’s heart. She walked along the country lane, Richard Darby at her side. Accepting her invitation to accompany her on a call at the Goodwins’ home, he had surprised her.
She had asked him with some ambivalence, had tried to discourage him by declining his offer to drive her. On one hand, she would have preferred to bid Frank’s parents farewell on her own; on the other, she wanted to introduce Richard Darby to them, to watch their reaction to him.
“I always walk, Your Grace.” Hetty had pointed out, her tone forbidding, for the moment she had uttered her invitation, she had questioned her wisdom. “You, however, must be used to riding or driving. I should not wish to tax you.”
“Don’t trouble yourself, my lady,” he had replied. “I’ve marched forty miles beneath the hot sun in Portugal, all in one day. A stroll through the English countryside with you will do no more than whet my appetites. Besides, I am not accustomed to being idle.”
“If I am the cause of your enforced idleness, by all means change that!” she had snapped, annoyed by his smile as much by his innuendo. Indeed, she had been so irritated she had failed to take him up on his words. She ought to have quizzed him about the war and about his rôle in it! It was a subject he had so far painstakingly avoided. Moreover, just what had he meant? What appetites had he referred to?
Still, he had donned soft Hessian boots, and a fine walking costume of yellow leather breeches and brown coat. He had not fudged either, for he showed no fatigue as he strode along beside her. Thus she was able to console herself. After all, her purpose was sound, and she much preferred his company to that of her abigail.
Suddenly struck by her escort’s prolonged silence, Hetty cast him a brief glance. She must credit him for his reticence. He had not even questioned her motive.
Now that she took note of it, she must admit he had not made a nuisance of himself during these past days. He had behaved with great circumspection. She had caught his eye upon her quite frequently, but he had never attached himself to her elbow. Considering he had professed to his particular aversion, she must appreciate his ever remaining at a discreet distance from her, yet available to her, and therefore—idle.
“I ought to apologize to you,” she said on impulse, careful to keep her tone light. When he gave a start, as though she had pulled him out of a deep rêverie, she smiled.
“Really?” He eyed her skeptically. “Is it not a trifle late, this nice thought of yours? What, may I ask, prompted you to voice it?”
Such disbelieving tone! Such disrespectful question! Fast forgetting his merits, Hetty bit her lip and swallowed back the rejoinder that sprang to her tongue. She would not allow him to bait her.
She took a moment to adjust the folds of her shawl before she replied. “You may ask, of course, but it is unfortunate that you did. Doubtless my answer will disillusion you. You see, you may think it a nice thought. I do not, nor do I claim it as my own. My father demanded I offer you an apology, and I merely deemed it proper to mention it because—”
“Because you are ever the dutiful daughter?”
This ill-mannered interruption, accompanied by unwarranted laughter, cut Hetty to the quick. She forced herself to finish calmly, “... because I was curious.”
“Oh. Pardon me.” Richard’s lips still twitched with amusement. “I spoke in haste and in poor taste. You must think me the veriest simpleton for so mistaking your intentions.”
“Quite,” said Hetty drily, which earned her a quick glance filled with astonishment from His Grace. Did he think she would crumble beneath the onslaught of his clever words? He was not so poorly witted as all that. Was he?
Unwilling to give him time to conquer his astonishment, Hetty furthered her advantage. “Hmm, indeed. I was curious how you would receive such an apology, and I must confess I don’t mind obliging Papa just a little.”
The corners of his mouth drooping, his brow wrinkled, His Grace gave the impression of one having received quite a set-down. He acknowledged Hetty’s explanation with a light bow of his head. “Pray don’t allow me to discourage you from indulging in such immensely laudable fit of filial devotion ... or shall we say from indulging in such a pleasurable task?”
“Not at all, Your Grace,” Hetty protested rather too quickly. “I should not worry about discouraging me if I were you. It takes a greater wit, greater determination, than yours to—”
Erased by Richard’s fingertips, the words died upon her trembling lips. He had lifted his hand to her mouth and, in a twinkling, stilled not only the flow of her words but that of her thoughts as well. She came to a halt and stood at his mercy.
The soft leather of his glove teased Hetty’s senses. His touch made her tingle. He traced the curves of her upper lip, then stroked across the full swell of her lower so lightly, she barely felt the pressure. Yet it wrought havoc throughout her whole form. Dazed, she lifted her gaze and met his eyes, and could only wonder...
He withdrew his hand abruptly and resumed his long-strided walk, leaving her at a loss.
Oddly forlorn, Hetty blinked, then hurried to fall in step beside him. He offered her no more than his profile. With his beautifully curling hair, his high forehead, his prominent nose, with his finely shaped lips and his strong chin, he might have posed for a Roman emperor’s likeness. Compared to him, she must appear inadequate, young and powerless.
Nonsense! The man might be her superior in years and experience, but she need not permit him to unsettle her with a simple touch, an impertinent laugh, or a show of hauteur. How could she have thought him capable of consideration? The plague upon him!
“Well, my lady.” He spoke up suddenly, as though he had never trespassed upon her very person. “What of your good intentions? Will you apologize or have I discouraged you after all?”
He cast her a sharp glance, his triumph all-too-apparent in the devilish gleam of his eyes.
Hetty lifted her chin, regarded him coldly, then pointedly focussed her attention on the buttercups dotting the leafy lane. “If you meant to discourage me by distraction, you succeeded for but a moment. I apologize for having offended you. I ought not to have called you Lord Eaglebeak. It was unkind of me.”
She uttered her words proudly, except for the last sentence. To her own dismay, she mumbled that.
“I had thought the matter settled between us,” Richard said, his tone ponderous.
His remark did not fool her. She knew he would take her up on her idiotic statement, knew he would deliver a lecture. Suddenly she saw the humor in this. She bit her tongue and averted her face to keep her grin secret.
He did not disappoint her.
“Unkind, eh?” He barely paused before he launched into his speech. “Well, perhaps one must regard it so, for your use of nicknames does not stem from a need to establish familiarity with the person on whom you bestow a title. Ordinarily, one refers to those one loves or respects with such forms of endearments. We express a certain affection in this way, perhaps unconsciously hoping to pull these revered creatures down a bit ... down from their lofty heights to more attainable levels—”
He interrupted himself; Hetty giggled.
When he said no more, she turned to cast him a glance filled with mirth. “You misdirected your God-given talents when you joined the army,” she told him, her lips still curving in a barely subdued grin.
“I did? How so?” He questioned her earnestly.
His bewildered expression fed Hetty’s enjoyment. Laughing, she replied with an effort. “Y-you ought to be a vicar!”
“A vicar!” For a long moment he studied her. Then, unabashed, he said, “You may have hit upon something there. Tell me, do you not agree with me? Your use of ‘titles’ is rather suspect.”
He cast Hetty an arch glance, and now she bit her tongue, this time to refrain from giving him a rash answer. He would not best her again, not even if he kissed her!
Richard, however, seemed not in the least inclined to kiss Hetty. He removed his calm gaze from her lips to fix it upon her eyes. With a light frown, he continued his discourse as though she had never interrupted him.
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Love this delightful author and her great sense of humor! Ms. Pounds, award winning author of "Theo's Ghost" draws on her obvious love and vast knowledge of history in this 'MUST READ' Regency Romance.
"LORD EAGLEBEAK," a love story so entertaining the readers will find themselves literally glued to their cozy chairs excitedly turning the pages of this book as swiftly as they can.
Ms. Pounds has done an excellent job with her vast love for and obvious knowledge of this (the Regency time period) -- Her characters are delightful and the dialogue is appropriate for this era, and the plot has just the right mix of suspense and romance, a combinaton that I find very appealing.
The reader can sum the entertainment level of this story up in the first line of 'LORD EAGLEBEAK's' BLURB -- 'Can love turn a coward into a hero and a wise man into a moron?'
An Excellent Read by a wonderful writer!
"LORD EAGLEBEAK" could very well be the next 'Box Office Smash Hit!'
Motion Pictures Inc.
A most unusual Lord and Lady
Counts, Earls, Ladies-the titles of nobility conjure up wealthy, decorous sorts, waltzing quietly through carefully patterned lives. Elegant, foreign to our informal world, and occasionally rather annoying, when brought back to life in the pages of one or another regency romance-unless, of course, the book treats that titled world with well-deserved irreverence and wit. Lord Eaglebeak, by R. D. Pounds, captures that intricate world of complicated social mores with dazzling command of language, bursts of sly wit, and the great attention to accuracy and detail commanded by a historical, regardless of its sub genre.
Pounds' characters capture readers immediately, creating the warm tapestry of a story not soon forgotten. Spirited Henrietta-Hetty-is vibrant, determined, and vulnerable, forced by the social rules of the day to wed, whether ready to do so or not. Hetty refuses the demands of the high-ranking Lord Ashton, her best friend's father, but jeopardizes her future and safety as a result. Faced with a young stepmother's manipulations, she finds herself forced to accept the offer of protection from Richard Darby, whose German title and beautiful German ward have drawn comment from less than charitable tongues.
Hetty routinely finds names of "affection" for those around her; she dubs her fiancé Lord Eaglebeak, much to his chagrin-the famous nose earning him his nickname is a family trait, shared by the eccentric Lady Pembroke, Richard's aunt. Vengeance is sweet, though, and his own reluctant betrothed becomes the prickly Lady Hedgehog. What more aristocratic-or mutually unsuitable-pair than Lord Eaglebeak and Lady Hedgehog?
Pounds' dialogue sparkles, while her characters engage readers, leading them towards unsuspected mystery and revelation. Lord Eaglebeak will captivate, entertain, and charm-not a bad list of accomplishments by any means. Brighten up your January reading with this foray into the world of aristocracy, social graces, and unfailing wit.
Leslie Garcia, author in Texas
Excerpt from Ms Klausner's Review
As with THEO'S GHOST, Regina Pounds interweaves much of the era into her story line turning LORD EAGLEBEAK into a rich, often amusing novel. The story line is filled with fun yet loaded with descriptive historical tidbits that enable the audience to believe they are witnessing events as they unfold. The lead characters are an engaging duo while the support cast provides misconceptions to a wonderful plot. Fans of Regency romances will enjoy Ms. Pounds' fabulous novel.
(#1 Reviewer at amazon.com)
Find the entire review at http://www.harrietklausner.com
Reviews for "Lord Eaglebeak"
|Reviewed by Leslie Garcia
|Lord Eaglebeak! I'm so glad to see it at home here on AD--I've reviewed the book previously, with great appreciation of its craft and wit. I always find books by Gina accurate, entertaining, and amusing--something sorely lacking in many texts today. Gina, good luck--you deserve much success for your consistently wonderful reads!|
|Reviewed by Regis Auffray
|Congratulation, Gina! Love, peace, and continued success,
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