RWA/NYC Celebrates Historical Romance.
Medieval Times. Regency. Victorian. WW II. Jazz Age, 50s, etc.
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By Sylvia Halliday
SUMMARY: The year is 1725. Lady Gloriana Baniard is a beautiful fish out of water. Brought up on the mean streets of London, she is barely literate, coarse, unschooled. But thanks to a brief marriage to an aristocrat, she is forced to live with his noble family and endure the humiliating process of learning to be a lady. Rebelling, she runs away to Yorkshire, where she intends to be a blacksmith, a skill at which she excels. She knows she’ll need a manservant to front for her. When John Thorne appears, she hires him, stirred as much by his irresistible attraction as by his strength.
John Haviland, Duke of Thorneleigh, is an arrogant, indolent gambler and womanizer. Having seen Gloriana just once, he yearns to make her his own. When he learns she has run away from her family, he makes a wild bet with his wastrel companions---he will find the lady and bed her. Disguised as a humble servant, he becomes her assistant, learning the blacksmith trade. The clash of wills between these two proud people creates more sparks than a blacksmith’s anvil, as Gloriana learns to be a lady, Thorne learns humility---and desire deepens to love. But what will happen to their growing passion if Gloriana learns of Thorne’s thoughtless wager?
“Gads! This pantomime is tedious. And it’s stifling in here.”
John Havilland, Duke of Thorneleigh, scowled at the players on the stage. He brushed impatiently at the sleeve of his brocaded coat and turned to his companion. “Let’s go get a drink, Felix. Someplace common and vulgar, so I can take off this damn periwig.”
Lord Felix DeWitt inhaled a pinch of snuff, sneezed delicately and shook his head. “There’s no pleasing you these days, friend Thorne. What’s happened to you?”
Thorne shrugged, unwilling to probe the festering sore inside of him that was growing more difficult to ignore. “God knows. I find life boring, that’s all. The same old pleasures, the artificial women, the carousing that produces nothing but a headache the next morning. Even my gambling gives me no joy. I always win.”
DeWitt’s laughter held the edge of envy. “Yes, damn you. You’ve got a bloody fortune, even without your winnings, while I just scrape by.”
“Faugh! You’re comfortably fixed. You’re just tightfisted. I pity the woman who marries you, forced to come begging for every petticoat and ribbon.”
Just then, the actor on the stage turned his back, bent over, lifted the skirts of his coat and pretended to pass wind. The audience roared.
Thorne felt his stomach lurch with disgust. How had he come to this—a rakehell existence, a life without meaning or direction? Shallow friends, empty days and nights, a mad pursuit of pleasure that left him increasingly dissatisfied. But what else was there for a man of his station and social class? He couldn’t very well disgrace the family honor by going off to be a ditch-digger! Besides, he’d never worked a day in his privileged life; he wouldn’t even know how to begin.
“Damn it, let’s go,” he muttered.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sylvia Halliday has been writing historical romances for many years, with 14 published books to her credit.. Her past books have won nominations and awards from RWA and Romantic Times. Her past novels have recently been sold to Audio Realms, Samhain Publishing, (e-books) and currently, Diversion books, which has re-released seven of her books in e-book format. The last of these, SUMMER DARKNESS, WINTER LIGHT, is a prequel to MY LADY GLORIANA, a new book that will be release by Diversion in November as an e-book as well as a paperback book. Follow and friend Sylvia on Facebook (SylviaHallidayAuthor) and Twitter (@Sylvia_Halliday); and check out her personal blog: Life Lessons From An Old Bitch.
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