I’m happy to announce, as of January 2018, that my first Regency novel is completed and is in query mode. I’ll keep you updated on the publishing date. I am currently working on its sequel.
In the meantime, here is a snippet from chapter 3.
Eleanor, returning from her morning ride, found the manor livelier than the previous night. She spotted three carriages unloading passengers in front of the circular stone staircase and paused to watch the ensuing bustle. A gentleman, encased in a padded coat in jaundiced yellow, called out in stringent accents, “You there! Take Lady Keyes’s portmanteau. You’ll need to remove these two trunks first. Take care what you’re about, man!”
Hiding a smile, Eleanor turned and rode toward the stables and allowed the groom to assist her in dismounting before the entryway. On the far end, his back to her, the rather shabbily dressed earl teased a gentleman whose spine was as stiff as his collar. Everything, from his hairstyle à la Brutus down to his spotless Hessians, spoke a gentleman of means. “I see you still don’t trust anyone but your own groom—”
“Or myself—” the earl’s friend inserted.
“—or yourself, which is a ridiculous notion. Are you still racing Thunder?”
“He’s retired from the lists. Shame. He brought me a fair profit. I had high hopes for Salamander—you ain’t seen her yet—but she’s foaling and won’t be racing again.” The gentleman flicked his riding crop against the stall and turned when Eleanor’s horse blocked the light pouring into the stable. He threw a surprised look at the earl.
Lord Worthing moved forward when he saw his groom trailing Eleanor. “Jesse, Mr. Harrison will be returning to Salisbury after our meeting, and you’ll need to have the carriage ready any time from six o’clock.” Jesse gave a nod and led the horse into the first stall on his left.
Flicking a glance her way, the earl said, “Mr. Amesbury, allow me to present Miss Daventry. She was my uncle’s ward and is here to attend the meeting with the solicitor. Miss Daventry, this is Mr. Amesbury.” She sank into what she hoped was a graceful curtsy as he executed a correct bow.
“It’s a pleasure.” The fashionable gentleman spoke in a bored voice but his eyes missed nothing as the groom rubbed down Eleanor’s mount. “She’s short in the hind legs, you know.”
“I know,” said Lord Worthing. “She was my uncle’s.”
Well, no wonder she was such a slug, thought Eleanor. A small pause ensued before the earl said, “Jesse will care for the horse. We sit down to lunch at one o’clock.”
Dismissed, Eleanor nodded and turned on her heel, heat infusing her cheeks. Perhaps they knew about her past and that’s why they were so unfriendly. Or maybe that’s just the way gentlemen of fashion were. She had no experience in the matter. But enough of these doubts! She couldn’t live her life this way, always wondering what people thought. Skirting the groom, she picked her way across the stable floor and exited into the sunshine.
“Little dab of a thing, isn’t she?” —words she knew she was not meant to hear.
She stopped in her tracks.
Yes, Mr. Amesbury, she thought, resuming her march toward the house. I know I’m a dab of a thing. Not at all to your liking. It’s fortunate I’m not out to catch a husband or I would be quite out. She took in a lungful of fresh air and blinked against the sting in her eyes.