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Thursday, 23 March 2017

My First Regency

So, I have been a bit out of touch, having moved house again. It had to be done; when autumn arrived, so did the mouses. Hundreds and hundred of mouses. I took the tea cosy off the teapot one morning and there was a little Mickey sitting on the lid waving at me! Well, I'm not scared of mice, but I don't want to share my limited space with them.

Now I have started a new Regency series. It is clean and wholesome, no sex, just the hint of some. It is called A Match of Honour and is available to buy at the reduced price of $2.99 for the first week. The paperback will be along soon, but it seems Amazon don't like the English spelling of 'honour' on the cover, although they don't have a problem with it on the kindle version!

Like all my books, it is available to read for free via the Kindle Unlimited program, for which you can still get a month's free trial. 

So, here is the tale:

Christopher Hartleigh is the 21 year old heir to his father’s brother, the Duke of Somersham. Because the present Duke has no sons, only three daughters, and their mother is determined that the estate stay with her own bloodline, the Duke tells Christopher that he should marry his cousin, Susan, the eldest of those daughters.

Christopher initially finds the idea amusing. Susan has been like a sister to him all his life and he tells his uncle he has no intention of marrying her.

However, wanting to discuss the matter with Susan, and perhaps enjoy a joke with her about the suggestion, he seeks her out. When he sees her going into the woods, dressed in peasant’s garb, he follows her to the cottage of an old wise woman, the local herbalist and seer, and his curiosity is piqued.

He waits outside the cottage for Susan to emerge and there he discovers a secret to make his amusement turn quite sour.

And here is a teaser from the first chapter.

The Only Suitable Match

Christopher laughed out loud. He could not quite take this conversation seriously, could not believe his father was even suggesting it.
“It is no jest, Christopher,” George said. “I am but passing on the suggestion your Uncle has made, as I promised him I would. If the idea does not appeal to you, if you are firmly set against such a plan, then that will be the end of it.”
“Will it?” Christopher turned to face his mother, who sat quietly with her hands clasped loosely in her lap. She wore an enigmatic smile and he would have given a year’s allowance to know what she was thinking. “Mother? What is your opinion of this ridiculous suggestion?”
He thought she would reject the idea out of hand, but she surprised him by not answering straight away. When she did find her voice, it was to utter words he would never have expected.
“I think it would be a good match,” she said quietly.
Her husband turned to look at her sharply and raised his eyebrows.
“Jane? That is not what you said when I first mentioned it.”
Jane stared at her husband, George, Lord Hartleigh, brother of the Duke of Somersham and father of her sons, Christopher and Mason. The elder of those sons was the heir and would inherited the title when the Duke died, which everyone expected to be very soon.
Finally, Jane replied.
“No, but I have had time to consider.” She turned to her son. “If you, as the future Duke, do not marry Susan, who will you marry? You will be an important and wealthy man. Something should have been arranged years ago.”
“Then why was it not?” Christopher demanded.
“Because,” George replied, “it would have been disrespectful to your Uncle. Not knowing if he would one day have a son meant that we could not in all conscience find the right bride for you.”
“Well, Mother, you probably know that I would prefer to find my own bride. The days of arranged marriages are long gone, I hope.”
“Yes, they are, but even so you must choose from among maidens of your own class. We have neglected our duty by doing nothing to introduce you to such girls. That being the case, your cousin would be the most suitable match.”
Christopher shook his head and got to his feet. He still wore a little grin, still found the situation amusing. Marry Susan, indeed! He had nothing against her, except the slight resemblance to her mother’s superior attitude that he found hard to tolerate. She was a nice enough maid, and, as the eldest daughter of the present Duke, certainly of the correct status to wed the future Duke. But this was not something he had ever expected.
She was his cousin, a childhood playmate of his own age. He had thought about a marriage over the years, of course he had, but if he had considered anything it was that he might go to London, perhaps to court and meet some young lady there. Lord knew there were enough of them paraded before suitable young men every season and Christopher was certainly suitable. He was an excellent catch for all the mothers desperate to have their daughters well married. Indeed, he was one of the most eligible bachelors in the country and would be more so when his uncle passed away.
It was rumoured that the Prince Regent kept a jovial court and quite informal. Christopher would not be averse to spending time there, to discovering for himself whether the rumours were true.
“Give it some thought,” George said as his son moved toward the door.
Christopher turned back with his hand resting on the doorknob, still wearing that amused smile.
“I will, Father,” he said. “But do not hold out too much hope. I trust you have made no promises to His Grace.”
“Of course not. I would like to see his mind at rest though. That I cannot deny.”
Christopher was still grinning when he saddled his horse and went for a ride about the estate. It was something he liked to do when he had things to think about and this was certainly something to think about.

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