United By Books is pleased to let Sabrina Darby take over the blog to day .......
Thank you for having me! I’m so excited that by midnight tonight my Regency novella, The Short and Fascinating Tale of Angelina Whitcombe, will finally be out in the world. It was actually the hero’s mother who first entered my head and it all started with a blog post(http://www.theballroomblog.com/2011/09/advice-desired-most-urgent) before I’d ever intended to write this story.
She wants so desperately to have grandchildren and marry off her reclusive, war-scarred son that she’ll go to any length...including hiring him a mistress to make certain he is ready to enter the world of courtship. Of course, such a matter must be approached delicately and so Mrs. Martin decides to post an advertisement in a London newspaper.
Matrimonial advertisements were not at all uncommon in the Regency period. Here’s a true life example of 19th century gentleman’s singles advertisement:Vegetarian, a young man who does not use flesh as a food; a Roman catholic, humble, well-educated, and connected. A lover of temperance, truth, literature, fruit, flowers, and economy, income about £80 a year, wishes for a wife with similar tastes, principles, and income, or as nearly so as possible.––The address with Editor.
These were the Regency equivalent of eHarmony and Match.com. I’m not certain how often there were ever posts for mistresses, but, naturally, that’s what makes Mrs. Martin’s actions that much more scandalous!
The question really becomes, who will answer suchan outlandish request? What type of “lady” would not only consider such an option, but also be successful in her work. And can a woman such as my heroine, Angelina Whitcombe, find her happily ever after?
We all take chances in life, whether it’s on the boy next door or on the rakish bad boy. To what extremes have you ever gone to search for love?
A beautiful young woman—preferably one with no connections, who won't ask too many questions—to spend two weeks in the North of England with an obstinate, aloof, and utterly handsome man.
Must love dogs, fixing up crumbling castles, and gorgeous and complicated war heroes who may or may not be hiding hearts of gold under their gruff exteriors.
Must not, under any circumstances, fall in love . . .
Simpering misses need not apply.
He was bare to the chest, and magnificent. Strong, with muscles as defined as if a sculptor had chiseled them from marble, skin glistening from whatever physical effort in which he had been engaged. The clothed parts of him were wonderful too. Her gaze slid down the lines of his hips and thighs, before the place where the superfluous fabric of the trousers obscured what were surely equally fine calves. How could they not be? This man in front of her was some god of male perfection.
“Madam.” There was a hardened edge to that voice, and reluctantly, Angelina lifted her gaze to meet his. Which was obdurate, and yet he smirked at her. As if he were both angry and amused.
“I’m very sorry to disturb you,” she said at last, lifting her hand toward him for assistance once more. She punctuated her words with the smile that had charmed audiences across England. “I’d been told there was a ruined castle to see. I thought it abandoned until I heard that fracas. Help me up, will you?”
He stepped forward out of the shadows and she gasped at the sight of the jagged scar that cut from cheek to chin, twisting his lips up on one side. There wasn’t anything amused about this man looming over her. Now she’d made the situation worse by staring.
At least that shocking feature confirmed without a doubt that this man, who looked the antithesis of shy and sickly, was the very man she intended to seduce. The way he fairly radiated masculinity, this wouldn’t be hard at all. In fact, it would be her pleasure.
“This is a private residence,” he said, even as he reached his hand out. His large, strong, bare hand that made her wish she wasn’t wearing gloves. She placed her fingers on his palm and used her ballet training to rise to her feet as gracefully as possible.
He had a very warm hand.
When she was standing, looking up into that scowling, smirking face, she didn’t let go.
“Yes,” she purred. “I see. Do you live here … alone?”
He snatched his hand away, stepping back. Looked pointedly toward the front door.
Of course, she couldn’t leave. And now that she’d seen him, she didn’t really want to. What she wanted to do was run her hands over his naked skin, lick the small nipples that dotted the fine smattering of hair down his chest. While sexual relations had mostly been an economic transaction for her, while this, at the heart of it all, would be too, she rather thought she’d want to taste this man even if she weren’t being paid.
Which was stupid. Was the way women like her went from being beloved mistresses of
marquesses and earls to roadside whores.
No. She had a job to do.
“I’m in Yorkshire to draw the Dales,” she said into the charged silence. “I’ve stopped at the Golden Lion in the village and they assured me Castle Auldale is as ruined and picturesque as old abandoned castles come. ’Tis a pity I only draw landscapes. You are equally picturesque.”
His eyebrows rose and he crossed his arms, but still he didn’t speak. Just watched her with that expression, which was confused by the perpetual twist of his lips.
“What? Surely you have women fainting in your path wherever you go? You cannot be ignorant of your physical appeal?”
His arms fell back to his sides. He looked deliciously nonplussed. Which meant she had the upper hand. Which meant––he was just where she needed him. Intrigued.
“Who are you?” he said, the words hissing through the air.
“Angelina Whitcombe, and as I said, I’m traveling for the scenery.”
A prickle of awareness awakened the skin at the back of her neck.
“Yes, in fact, I am.”
His gaze ran down her body, slowly, purposefully, as if he wanted to make certain that she knew exactly what he was looking at.
“A lady never travels alone.”
The best lies were half-truths, so she smiled brilliantly at him.
“Darling, I don’t have much of a reputation left to lose.”
Sabrina Darby has been reading romance since the age of seven and learned her best vocabulary (dulcet, diaphanous, and turgid) from them.Her debut book with Avon Red, On These Silken Sheets, was a Favourite Erotic Romance finalist in the Australian Romance Readers Awards and a Best First Book finalist in the National Readers’ Choice Awards. Her new Regency novella, The Short and Fascinating Tale of Angelina Whitcombe, releases July 31st from Avon Impulse. She can be found online at TheBallroomBlog.com, SabrinaDarby.com and Twitter.com/SabrinaDarby.
One lucky commenter will be able to win an eARC of The Short and Fascinating of Angelina Whitcombe. Just fill out the rafflecopter below to be entered
a Rafflecopter giveaway