Tell us about your current release and what inspired it.
I love to read and write Christmas stories. They put me in the mood for the holiday. Last year I wrote a short story, The Holly & The Thistle, which readers seemed to enjoy. This year I decided to do another story but make it a bit longer, and The Twelfth Night Wager comes in at half the length of one of my novels. As for inspiration, I was doing some research and discovered that men in the Regency loved to wager—and they wrote their wagers down in “the book”! Some of their wagers were quite outlandish, so I came up with one of my own, a scandalous one involving a rake and a virtuous widow.
What is your favorite social media hangout?
I love Facebook because it’s so interactive—and there are pictures! (I’m visual…) I get comments on the things I post and many of my “friends” on Facebook share my posts as I do theirs. It’s a wonderful way to be involved in each others’ lives in just a short amount of time. Of course, I also share my new releases in the hopes my readers are watching for them.
Do you have a view in your writing space? What does your space look like?
I do have a view! Of the beautiful Pacific Ocean. I live on a hill, house sharing with friends, and my office looks west. It’s my “den’ where I write. I have a large table with no drawers (I’d be worried I’d forget what is there!) with stacks of research, supplies and promotional material along with my Mac and my printer. And I have a bookcase with my books for research segregated by the book I’m writing or will be writing soon. It’s a wonderful workspace any author would love. I don’t often stare out the window, but when I do, I’m inspired. Hmmm...I think I'd daydream a lot with a view of the Pacific out my window!
Tell us about your hero and heroine. Give us a strength and a weakness for each.
My hero, Christopher St. Ives, Viscount Eustace is a rake in his 30’s who rebelled against his father to go into politics and now lives a fast life, admired for his successes in the bed chamber as much as in Parliament. His strength is he’s honorable deep down and his weakness is he can’t pass up a challenge, or a beautiful woman.
My heroine, Grace Lady Leisterfield, is a young widow with a dark secret. Her strength is she is unselfishly caring and her weakness is she doesn’t often assert herself as much as she should.
A scandalous wager brings them together…
What do you have planned for the future?
The third in my trilogy, Wind Raven, a pirate Regency set in 1817, will be released in early 2014. I’m very excited about that one. As for my writing, you may not believe it but I’m finishing a medieval, The Red Wolf’s Prize. I started it after my first novel. I have a passion for the time when William the Conqueror invaded England and the dramatic change he brought to the lives of the Saxons. The research is very challenging, as you might imagine. After that, I’m going to write the prequel to my trilogy, To Tame the Wind. It’s set in 1783 in France and England—and on ships!—and involves privateers and pirates! I love that you hop around different periods, so much fun!
London, January 5, 1819 Twelfth Night
It never would have happened if he hadn’t been so terribly bored that night at White’s. Staring into the crackling fire in the parlour on this frosty night and reflecting back on the last several months, Christopher St. Ives, Viscount Eustace, recalled the evening well; the deep leather chair he sat in, the lit cheroot dangling from one hand and a brandy in the other. He had only been half listening as Hugh Redgrave, the very married Marquess of Ormond, droned on about the virtues of the leg-shackled state. Happily married men could be so tiresome. Looking back on it now, it seemed years not months since they’d traded quips in the conversation that led to the wager:
“I say, Ormond, just where are you going with this praise for the wedded state? You know me too well to believe I’m convinced.”
“You might at least consider taking a wife, Eustace. There’s much to be said for the change it would bring about in your otherwise tawdry existence of late. After all, thirty-five is past the age where dissipation wears well, don’t you think?” Tawdry existence? Dissipation? “Surely you cannot mean those words, Ormond. I’m just after a bit of fun.”
“You go after women like you go after the fox. It’s all in the chase for you.”
“And that is wrong? Just because you have your heir and a spare at thirty-two does not mean I wish to accumulate the same baggage.” At the frown that appeared on Ormond’s face, Christopher, Lord Eustace, hastened to add, “No offense meant toward the beautiful Lady Ormond, whom I admire above all women, but I am not ready for such a change, as my recent indulgences confirm. Besides, I like women and have my own way of handling them, which suits me quite well. I see no reason for change.”
“As far as I can see, your way of ‘handling’ them is not to have one at all.”
“Ho, now that ain’t so, and well you know it! Though, being a gentleman, I’ll not disclose the number ‘had’ even if I could recall. My method, I assure you, works perfectly for me.”
“You have a method?” Ormond asked, incredulous.
“Well, perhaps not a method as you would count it. I seduce ’em, bed ’em and—”
“Leave them. Yes, I know. But not always smiling, I’ve heard.”
Christopher looked up at the chandelier above and back to his friend as he let out a sigh. “Perhaps not, but none complain till the end is in sight. Then, well…I admit things have on occasion become a bit sticky. But they are all willing players in the game.”
“Your way of handling women cannot work with all. You must have failed with some.”
“Quite the contrary, my good man. I’ve succeeded with every lady I’ve gone after.” Christopher held back a grin. He did not lack confidence when it came to his success with women. And a worthy adversary made every game more exciting.
“I would wager there is one you cannot seduce.”
“Ho! Wager? Do I hear a challenge being laid down?” Snuffing out his cheroot, Christopher leaned forward. “Who might this unassailable paragon be?”
Ormond glanced about the sparsely populated club room filled with tables and chairs. Christopher’s eyes followed, noting the small group of men at a round table engaged in muted conversation some distance away. None appeared to be eavesdropping.
Leaning forward, Ormond whispered, “Grace, the Lady Leisterfield.”
Christopher leaned back in his chair and took a sip of brandy. In his mind’s eye he saw a slim blonde in a rather modest gray gown standing next to the elderly Lady Claremont. “Yes, I recall her from the last ball of the Season. The young widow lives like a nun, or so I’ve heard.”
Ormond grinned. “That, old man, is the challenge.”
“She’s in mourning, is she not?”
“Just coming out. And a worthy contender to test your…method.”
“I see.” But did he? Was there more to this than a wager? It was clear Ormond had something in mind, and the marquess could be exceedingly cryptic at times. Still, whatever was behind the challenge, and whatever the stakes, Christopher was drawn by the opportunity, even more by the encouragement, to entice the lovely Lady Leisterfield to his bed.
“I’ve been very impressed with the lady,” his friend continued, “and I would love to see you fail miserably trying to scale her castle walls. I would consider it sweet justice for the fairer sex.” Ormond winked.
Christopher was tempted to decline, still miffed at Ormond’s comment about his tawdry existence. Yet the memory of the beautiful Lady Leisterfield permeated his thoughts. “Perhaps I shall accept your delightful challenge.”
Ormond grinned, then his expression turned serious. “One thing. If you do this, Eustace, you must promise to preserve the lady’s reputation no matter the outcome. That must be part of the challenge, as I would not see a good woman ruined at the end of it.”
“Well, I know of no woman who has suffered overmuch from being associated with me, but I assure you I will be discreet.”
“All right—and so we are clear,” said Ormond. “You must seduce, bed and walk away from the baroness, else I will have won.”
Christopher nodded, wondering all the while if he’d missed something. Ormond always seemed to have an agenda not fully disclosed. With him, much was hidden beneath the surface.
The marquess suggested with a pointed look, “Ninety days should be sufficient; do you agree?”
“We are indeed agreed. And let me add, it will be my pleasure.”
It wasn’t just the thought of bedding the lovely widow that put a grin on Christopher’s face; he was thrilled with the prospect of a real challenge with a virtuous woman. It was a wholly different sport than he normally engaged in, but Lady Leisterfield was a worthy quarry. A challenge indeed. One for which he felt himself uniquely qualified.
“Shall we reduce the wager to the book?” Ormond inquired with a wry smile. “Say, one thousand pounds to make it interesting?”
“Done.” Casting his reservations aside, Christopher set down his empty glass, reached for Ormond’s extended hand and gave it a hearty shake.
And so, that night, Christopher entered the following into White’s book:
LD EUSTACE HAS WAGERED LD ORMOND 1000 POUNDS THAT BY TWELFTH NIGHT HE CAN SEDUCE, BED AND WALK AWAY FROM A CERTAIN LADY UNDERSTOOD BETWEEN THEM.
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Author website: http://www.reganwalkerauthor.
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Thanks Regan for stopping by today, I wish everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving!