on November 6, 2018
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This masked lord... Lord Jasper, younger son of a duke, suffered horrible burns fighting in the Napoleonic Wars. He wears a mask to hide his face from the stares and screams and finds comfort in the shadows. Jasper is an exceptional bounty hunter, so when a woman summons him to her deathbed and asks him to find her runaway daughter before she passes away, he doesn't refuse. Jasper is close to his quarry when he's knifed by an assailant. Imagine his surprise when he regains consciousness in the arms of the woman he seeks. Except she's not at all what he expected.
Is not the only one with scars. On a remote cliff on the sea, Olivia Carlisle calls her five-year-old son in from an approaching storm. But the little boy is more interested in the man he's found on the trail to their hidden cottage. Olivia fears men and wants nothing more than to leave the injured man where she found him. But his knife wound is severe, and with the approaching storm, she knows leaving him will condemn him to death. As Jasper begins to heal, Olivia acknowledges her attraction to him, even though such emotions terrify her almost as much as returning to London. Jasper must convince her that her only chance at safety is to challenge the man who pursues her. They must travel into the lion's den—he to face his vulnerability and she to face her worst fears.
Kids in Books
By Shana Galen
As a general rule, I don’t like kids in my romance novels. I have enough interaction with kids in real life, and reading time is kid-free time. Plus, I always feel like the kids are too cute or behave in ways no kid that age would really behave. Now, if you enjoy kids in romance books, I have no problem with that. You do you. But for me, it’s a negative.
So it might be surprising that I’ve written two books recently that feature children. The first was No Earls Allowed, and it took place in an orphanage with a dozen orphaned boys. The second was my novella from Mrs. Brodie’s Academy for Exceptional Young Ladies, although the boy in that story really had a very small part. Writing those books gave me some insight into how kids can serve not just as cute subplots but as integral to the main plot and the characters’ love story.
My new book, Unmask Me If You Can, features a five-year-old boy who has a pretty significant role. Richard is the five-year-old son of the heroine. Lord Jasper, the hero, has been hired to find Olivia, the heroine, and is close when he’s wounded. Richard finds Jasper and Olivia brings him back to her remote cottage just as a rainstorm begins. Jasper is forced to stay with them for several days, but his shirt was damaged when he was wounded.
In this scene, you can see how Richard actually makes the awkward and sexually charged interactions between Olivia and Jasper even more so.
She heard Richard and Lord Jasper splashing in the water just outside the door, and then the two of them came in with a burst of the cool morning air. She served them apples and tea and then took her own seat. Since Lord Jasper had seated himself beside Richard, she was across from both of them. She made the mistake of looking up and staring directly at Lord Jasper’s chest. After that, she stared at the food on her plate, her appetite seemingly forgotten.
“Why don’t you wear clothes?” Richard asked suddenly, and Olivia, who had just put a bite of apple in her mouth almost spit it out. She would have chastised her son, but her mouth was too full.
“I am wearing clothes,” Lord Jasper said.
“But only on your bottom half. Your top half is naked.”
Olivia swallowed around the lump of embarrassment in her throat and felt her face burn. “Richard,” she began.
“The most important part of me is covered,” Lord Jasper said.
Richard wrinkled his nose, something he did when he didn’t understand. “Mama says we have to cover our top and our bottom.”
Lord Jasper’s eyes met hers, and Olivia flushed harder. She might as well explode at this rate.
“That’s true,” Lord Jasper said slowly, seeming to choose his words carefully. “But my shirt and coat were ruined, and since I’m a man it’s not wholly indecent of me to go about shirtless.”
“Uh…” Lord Jasper looked at her and she merely raised her brows in expectation.
“And why does it matter for men and not women?”
Lord Jasper made a show of chewing his food and slowly swallowing, but Richard kept his attention focused. “My lord?” he prodded before Lord Jasper could put more food into his mouth.
“Because…because men and women are different, of course.” His mouth twisted triumphantly.
“How?” Richard asked. “How are men and women different?”
Lord Jasper seemed to realize he’d blundered into yet another ambush. His eyes pleaded with her, but she merely placed a small slice of apple into her mouth and chewed thoughtfully.
“I’ll let your mother explain that to you,” Lord Jasper said, rising and taking his empty plate with him.
“Traitor,” she hissed.
Lord Jasper stacked his plate where she usually put the dishes needing to be washed. “I think I’ll step outside and get more fresh air.”
What about you?
Is there a place for children in romance novels?
Do you have any favorite kid characters?
One person who comments will win copies (print or digital; winner’s choice)
of the first three books in the Survivors series,
Third Son’s a Charm, No Earl’s Allowed, and An Affair with a Spare.
**Must be able to read digital copies on Kindle, Nook, Google Play, or iBooks.