Coming in August and September, 2021
My next book, The Lord of Surprise, will be published in August, and its sequel, A Gentleman and a Rogue, will follow in September.
The Lord of Surprise
William St. John, the mischievous Earl of Meeham, intends to spend an entire delicious month creating havoc at Highmere Park, his best friend’s country estate, by posing as the new butler while Pink is away, but Pink’s dratted, competent, and all-too-lovely housekeeper has other ideas.
Miss Elizabeth Hendrix, housekeeper of Highmere Park, has no intention of allowing an inexperienced butler to ruin her pride and joy. For the past three years, Elizabeth has run the grand estate with no butler to get in her way. She loves the place fiercely. Everything at Highmere Park is perfect–except for the dratted new butler, who seems bent upon turning her perfect world upside down.
As the days pass, Will begins to feel a little remorse for the mischief he’s caused. The pretty housekeeper really does love the place, and she’s clearly distressed. And then Will recalls a visit to Highmere when he was but a boy–and a girl he’d espied swimming naked but un-shivering in the cold lake, and he begins to suspect that Miss Hendrix is connected to the estate in a way not even she understands.
A Gentleman and a Rogue
A cast of recurring characters populates my imaginary Regency world. Some of these characters play major supporting roles, while others are more like movie extras, but once in a while one of the extras steps out of the shadows and takes on a greater role. That’s what happened with Samuel “Pink” Peplim. He was so much fun to write that I just had to make him the hero of my next novel!
In The Lord of Surprise, Pink is the hero’s best friend. He’s a “pink o’ the ton,” a dandy, a fop, a peacock. Someone who lives for fashion and parties and gossip. And he’s also terribly shy around women. So when he whispered in my ear that he actually leads a double life, one I should write about, I was understandably intrigued.
It turns out that in the wilds of Cornwall, the mincing “Pink” Peplim turns into Jago “Jag” Lanyon, manly man! As the dashing Jag Lanyon, Pink robs from the rich and gives to the poor (at least the nearby villagers think he does). He’s a local hero. And he’s good at it. In fact, the Jag persona feels so natural to him that, as the book opens, he’s not really sure who he is anymore, Jag or Pink.
Enter our heroine, Rosie Greypool, who helps Pink figure himself out.
Clever and resourceful, Rosie has lived by her wits for as long as she can remember, and she’s tired of it. Left an orphan as a young girl, she had no choice but to become a thief and keep moving to avoid being caught. On the day our story opens, her luck runs out. She picks the wrong pocket and is almost caught, but at the last second, she’s saved by a Legend, none other than the notorious Jag Lanyon.
Jag puts her on his horse and sends it galloping off to his remote, farmhouse hideout whilst he deals with her pursuers. Once there, Rosie moves fast to steal Lanyon blind—but then she discovers evidence of Jag’s alter ego and realizes that Jag has something much more valuable to her than a few trinkets. As “Pink Peplim,” he can help her become the lady she was born to be. If he chooses to. And if he does not, there’s always blackmail…
These stories are both such fun! I’m having the best time writing them, and I can’t wait to share them with you.