on October 30th, 2018
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Lady Emily wants nothing more for her brother Caleb than a happy marriage. Soon to be wed to Miss Imogen Duncan, Lady Emily is overjoyed at the wonderful match. But with a wedding comes the one thing she cannot handle: people, and their stares. Her face left scarred by an accident that killed her twin, Emily would rather be alone forever than suffer the eyes of a crowded room.
Desperate to socialize his painfully timid sister, Caleb asks his dearest friend Lord Morley to shadow her closely as a companion. But his abrupt and surly nature only provoke the worst in her. Little by little, Morley chips away at her shy demeanor to the spitfire of a person within. Emily, taking little of Morley's crude remarks, finds the kind boy she worshipped years ago.
When their defenses are down, will they be able to resist what they can finally see?
1. If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
Harry Potter! I swear, every time I read through those books I am absolutely captivated, transported to this magical, fictional place. And those books are so beloved. To be able to write something that touches people to that degree would be amazing.
2. What makes this particular genre you are involved in so special?
The Regency era has an elegance and refinement to it, but also a fun naughtiness. It’s so unlike the modern world, yet can carry many modern sensibilities. I’ve been drawn to it for so many years, I can’t even imagine writing anything else.
3. How important is research to you when writing a book?
Incredibly important, though it can be daunting to get every single detail absolutely spot on. There’s a balance in historical romance, between the fantasy of it all and the realism. It’s that balance, giving a little in each direction, that makes the genre so captivating. But you still have to respect the time period, and especially the readers who love it.
4. What works best for you: Typewriters, fountain pen, dictate, computer or longhand?
I start my books by fleshing them out with gel pens and spiral notebooks. Once I get my main characters and the central conflict fleshed out, I move to computer. Most of the actual writing is done straight to computer, though when I hit a roadblock in the story I work it out long hand.
5. When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to be a writer?/What inspires you to write?
I knew I wanted to write not long after I bought my first romance novel when I was just thirteen years old. I remember that trip to Waldenbooks vividly, and I still have the book. I was so transported, so inspired, I had to try my hand at it. I don’t remember ever thinking I could do it better. I just wanted to do it, too. It was a dream for so many years, one of those things you see as unattainable but still like to turn over in your head every now and then. It wasn’t until my youngest started school, though, that I actually became serious about it. I was selling my paintings at the time, and was at a cross roads: either work toward becoming a children’s book illustrator, or write. I came across a letter from my late grandfather just then, in which he had written he couldn’t wait for me to become a published author. That set my course then and there.
6. Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?
I love reading. The ones I gravitate toward are other historical romance authors, such as Julia Quinn, Tessa Dare, and Sarah MacLean, among (many) others. When I’m actively writing I have to read in my subgenre, otherwise the flavor of my writing is off. I just can’t get the right historical feel. When I’m editing I’ll read contemporaries, especially Adriana Anders. I also adore anything by Courtney Milan or Alyssa Cole, both in contemporary and historical romance.
“I would love to hear you play if you have the time for one more song.”
She shot him a quick, disbelieving glance, and immediately regretted it. They were close, closer even than they had been during the dance. Her mouth went dry. “You want me to play for you?”
“You have heard me play before,” she reminded him.
“Yes, but that was different.”
She frowned. “How?”
He looked flummoxed for a moment, as if he hadn’t expected the question and didn’t have the least idea how to answer it. Finally, he shrugged. “There was something more to your playing this morning. I cannot explain it.”
His eyes were fervent and wondering as he looked down at her. Had he truly heard the emotions she had poured into her music, the bit of her soul she had bared in her playing? It touched her deeply that he sensed it, for he had been the one to inspire it in the first place. Something warm unfurled in her chest. In that moment she would not have denied him anything. “Very well,” she whispered.
On shaky legs she returned to her place at the pianoforte. He sat halfway across the length of the room, as if he were trying to maintain some space between them. And yet Emily could feel his gaze on her like a physical touch. Taking a deep breath, she laid her fingers on the keys and, closing her eyes, began to play. She could have chosen a piece of incredible difficulty to lay every bit of her skill out in front of him. Instead her fingers glided over the keys, finding and weaving through a soft, plaintive melody. It was slow and deep, reflecting her heart and what Malcolm was pulling from it. For he was dragging emotions from her she never thought to feel.
Every strike of the hammers on the strings vibrated through her, from her fingertips to her very core. Tears pressed against her closed lids. Did he hear it? Could he feel what she was putting into the song? All too soon the last note died away. The echo of it was slower to leave her, flowing through her body, swirling about her heart. She was almost bereft when that, too, died away. But with the loss of it, she became aware of something else missing as well.
There was not a sound in the room. Had he left? With great will she opened her eyes, quickly blinking away her tears, and looked in the direction he had been sitting. He was there still, his dark eyes intent on her, his expression rapt. That look was like a spark to dry tinder; suddenly it was as if the music had started up again, the magic of it touching her very soul.
“Thank you,” he said, his voice hushed and fervent. He smiled, and a bit of the scar that had grown, protective and tough, around Emily’s heart fell away. As she watched him go, she clutched her arms about her waist, more frightened than she had ever been.
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