The Mysterious Merriana
My latest Regency-era novel, The Mysterious Merriana, is also one of my longest. Coming in at close to 100,000 words, this book was described as “meaty” by an Amazon reviewer, who gave it five stars. It’s really a rollicking adventure story featuring spies and pirates and, of course, romance. Following is a brief summary of The Mysterious Merriana.
On his way to France to extract an English agent, Justin Foster, Earl of Cardleigh, stops overnight at his favorite country inn, only to discover a mysterious female in the kitchen. This gorgeous woman claims to be the daughter of an English farmer, but she cooks like a French chef and sings French songs like a native of that land. When Justin learns that the agent who was supposed to travel with him has been mysteriously disabled, he insists the female accompany him to France and serve as his guide.
Having recently arrived in England on a smuggler’s boat, Merriana de Mérchan has no desire to return to France, but the distrustful Earl of Cardleigh, who assumes she is a French agent, gives her no choice. Although aware that she presents a suspicious image, she dare not attempt to tell him the full truth for fear of an unknown enemy who seemingly wants her dead.
As Justin and Merriana struggle toward opposing goals, the attraction they feel keeps drawing them closer. The question becomes, can they trust each other long enough for love to triumph?
A Simple Lady
Before it was published, the manuscript for this Regency-set novel was a finalist in the Romance Writer of America’s Golden Heart contest. After its publication in 2015, the novel won a 2016 Maggie Award for Excellence, a prestigious award sponsored by the Georgia Romance Writers. Following is a plot summary for A Simple Lady.
When her parents, the Earl and Countess of Ravingate, inform Elizabeth that her father has made arrangements for her to marry the embittered Marquess of Kenrick, she knows she must try to explain to the marquess that she is not the person her father has portrayed her to be. In other words, she is not simpleminded. But unforeseen events not only prevent her from enlightening the marquess but also conspire to convince him that she is, indeed, a simpleton.
Following a horrendous betrayal by his late wife, the Marquess of Kenrick has vowed never to wed again. And he would not have done so had his father not reached back from the grave to force his hand. Facing a deadline not of his choosing, he agrees to marry and provide for the Earl of Ravingate’s simpleminded daughter after being assured that she will never make any demands on his time.
To Kenrick’s disgust, his new wife turns out to be anything but a simpleton, leaving him with no alternative but to assume she’s a liar and a manipulator. Furious, he installs her in a small cottage in the country and tells her he never wants to see her again. To his chagrin, his mother has other ideas.
Forced to spend time in each other’s company, Kenrick and Elizabeth discover a growing regard for each other. However, misadventures, misunderstandings, and the machinations of Kenrick’s cousin and heir presumptive threaten the tenuous trust that has been building between them. Can their fledging love survive when each is asked to believe the very worst about the other?
In 2007, Compromising Situations, which was published by a small press, won the National Readers’ Choice Award for the Regency category. Seven years later when the publishing rights reverted to me, I revised the work slightly and republished it. It is now on sale on Amazon as both an ebook and a print book.
Beatrice Crowell is perfectly content living in the country with her parents and her beautiful, brilliant twin sister. But when the twins’ godmother offers to sponsor Beatrice and Chloe for a Season, Beatrice realizes a refusal would break their invalid mother’s heart.
So off Beatrice and Chloe go to London, where Beatrice meets her godmother’s son, the handsome and arrogant Marquess of Thayne. Misunderstandings and willful prejudices cause immediate sparks, and Thayne would love nothing more than to dispatch the twins straight back to the country. However, he soon discovers their presence in London is essential to the dangerous assignment he shares with their disreputable brother. He’s forced to do everything in his power to make amends, including engineering a reconciliation between Chloe and the man who broke her heart.
Intrigue, misunderstandings, misjudgments, and betrayals land both Beatrice and Chloe in compromising situations with the men they love, but neither is willing to accept the proposals that would salvage their reputations, certain they were made for everything but the right reasons.
So how can two Regency gentlemen convince the stubborn young ladies they adore that they want to marry them for love rather than for honor?
The Secret Christmas Ciphers
In May 2012, my Regency era novella, The Secret Christmas Ciphers, went on sale on Amazon. It was selected as an Award of Merit winner in the novella category of the 2013 HOLT (Honoring Outstanding Literary Talent) Medallion Awards. Following is a brief summary.
Abigail can’t explain, even to herself, why she married Derek after he’d asked her to wait for him and then became engaged to someone else. If his poor fiancée had not died, he would now be wed to her instead of Abigail. But then Abigail begins uncovering some of the secrets that are a part of her husband’s life and wonders if perhaps there is hope for their marriage after all.
Derek, Lord Westdale, wasn’t sure why Abigail married him; she obviously despised him. On the other hand, he knew exactly why he was marrying her: she was the only woman he would ever love, despite his having offered marriage to another. Unfortunately, he can’t seem to convince Abigail that he never really betrayed her after all.
Can their decoding of a secret Christmas cipher bring an end to their misunderstandings and help them create their own special Christmas tradition?
My Elusive Countess
My Regency novel entitled My Elusive Countess, originally published in 2012, was re-released with minor changes in 2016. A brief summary follows:
Although Amanda was born into the merchant class, she married into the aristocracy, a fact she would regret were it not for the son she bore to the Earl of Willowvale. Now widowed for two years, Amanda is attempting to protect her son from exposure to the vices of the nobility when her plans are overset by the unexpected appearance of a guardian for her son. She immediately realizes that the Marquess of Blackbourne is a danger to her plans, her peace of mind, and, quite possibly, to her resolution to avoid entanglement with another nobleman.
The Marquess of Blackbourne is convinced that when he finally locates the Countess of Willowvale, she will be the crass and manipulative harridan her late husband had described. Unknown to the countess, Blackbourne is guardian to her young son, and he intends to see that the boy is raised as befits his station, even if that means taking him away from his mother. But Blackbourne’s plans change the second he sets eyes on the beautiful countess. He immediately realizes that he must have her, no matter what her background and her character flaws may be. The countess, however, proves elusive in more ways than one, and she leads Blackbourne on a merry chase that eventually teaches him that love is in a class all by itself.