Regency Masquerades Ball ~ Lucy in Disguise and Giveaway

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Meet the hero and heroine of Lucy in Disguise by Lynn Kerstan, Book #2 in Regency Masquerades, six sparkling Regency romances in one ebook–currently 99 cents!

lucyindisguiseIn Lucy in Disguise, Christoper “Kit” Etheridge, a charming aristocrat in trouble is rescued by a young woman, Lucy Preston, who is disguised as a Lancashire Witch. Love comes swiftly, but she’ll only agree to wed if they protect her friend, a fearful heiress, from a greedy and dangerous family.

“Lynn Kerstan’s talents continue to reach new heights as she explores all aspects of the human heart: the good, the evil, and the passionate.” – Romantic Times

In this scene, Lucy and Kit go to a ball, posing as an engaged couple in order to investigate the shady character who wishes to marry Lucy’s friend Diana.

Excerpt from Lucy in Disguise

“The cotillion is forming, I see. Would you care to dance?”

Her cheeks drained of color. “No, please. I am quite sure I’ve already forgot the steps.”

“Then we shall make a grand circuit, arm in arm. You will gaze insipidly at me while I look down my nose at everyone else.” He threaded her arm through his, feeling her tension, keenly attuned to her mood and to the warmth of her body and the faint fragrance of lavender that hovered about her. Ordering his unruly body to behave itself, he led her in procession along the edge of the dance floor, smiling coolly at the people he knew without approaching them and ostentatiously ignoring the others.

Lucy despised the role she was playing this night, he knew, but he was even less at ease. In other circumstances, he’d have greeted old acquaintances instead of shunning them, danced with the prettiest girls and with the wallflowers, too, and flirted with all the dowagers. He was unused to walking high in the instep, as he was doing now, and found it devilish unpleasant.

Kit turned his attention to the other guests, recognizing several wealthy landowners and a few notable parvenus. Not one of Westmoreland’s aristocratic families was represented, although they must have received invitations. If Crawley was so bold as to send a card to the Earl of Kendal, he’d not have overlooked peers of lesser distinction.

“I do believe,” Kit remarked to Lucy, “that I quite outrank everyone here. And considering how frightfully low on the order of precedence we younger sons of earls are to be found, that is something of an accomplishment.”

“How pleased you must be. But is that of any significance?”

Trust her to come directly to the point. “It is to our advantage, I believe. No one with a speck of good breeding will approach us, which I am sure you are delighted to hear. But more consequential is the pronounced smell of ambition in the air. I surmise that Sir Basil has a fancy to climb the social ladder, and a wife of impeccable birth and breeding would give him a great boost up.”

“Yes, indeed.” Her brow furrowed. “That would explain a good deal, wouldn’t it? I wish we knew more about his origins. Diana said only that he used to live in Manchester and that he was granted a knighthood on recommendation of the Prince Regent.”

“Then we may assume he purchased it, at least indirectly. Prinny is in debt up to his several chins. When my brother has sniffed out how Sir Basil came by his money, I’ll be very much surprised if he acquired it honestly.”

“Where do you suppose he is? I see no one matching the description Diana provided me.”

“Nor do I. Not precisely a cordial host, our dear Sir Basil. But perhaps he is disappointed at the turnout and considers the few guests that did show up to be unworthy of his attention.”

“Which would make him nearly as toplofty as the highest ranking gentleman in the room,” she observed with a sly smile. “We came here only to meet him, Kit. There can be no reason to stay if he’s already toddled off to bed.”

“Nice try, moonbeam, but we’ll keep our anchor in the water a bit longer. The cotillion is forming, I see. Would you care to dance?”

Her cheeks drained of color. “No, please. I am quite sure I’ve already forgot the steps.”

“Then we shall make a grand circuit, arm in arm. You will gaze insipidly at me while I look down my nose at everyone else.” He threaded her arm through his, feeling her tension, keenly attuned to her mood and to the warmth of her body and the faint fragrance of lavender that hovered about her. Ordering his unruly body to behave itself, he led her in procession along the edge of the dance floor, smiling coolly at the people he knew without approaching them and ostentatiously ignoring the others.

Lucy despised the role she was playing this night, he knew, but he was even less at ease. In other circumstances, he’d have greeted old acquaintances instead of shunning them, danced with the prettiest girls and with the wallflowers, too, and flirted with all the dowagers. He was unused to walking high in the instep, as he was doing now, and found it devilish unpleasant.

They were making the turn that would lead them in front of the orchestra’s stage when he glanced toward the ballroom door and saw five men enter. One, a large stocky man with spiky black hair, he recognized immediately. It was the man who had shot him.

“What’s wrong?” Lucy asked softly, following the question with a fatuous giggle.

Good girl! “Don’t be obvious about it, but steal a look at the men who just came into the room. Could any one of them be Crawley?”

“Yes,” she whispered after a moment. “He’s the tall man with the beaked nose. But we must leave here immediately. Bartholomew Pugg is with him.”

Kit seized a flute of champagne from a passing servant and turned to Lucy, shielding her with his body. “Who the devil is Bartholomew Pugg?”

“The Bow Street Runner. The one who came to the cottage. The one who is coming this way right now.”

“Damn.” Feigning a laugh, he held the glass to her lips. She sipped obediently, pretending to look into his eyes while she watched the Runner. A tiny shrug of her left shoulder told Kit when Pugg was close to them, and on which side. With a move designed to appear casual, he drifted a turn, keeping himself between Lucy and the spot where the Runner had halted. He felt the man’s sharp gaze pronging into his back.

“What are we to do?” Lucy mouthed silently.

“Nothing. Go on as you are. Touch my cheek and act besotted.”

Her fingers lifted to his face and curled around his jaw. For a moment he nearly forgot the Runner, and why they were there, and everything else on the planet.

Regency Masquerades

Read Lucy and Kit’s story in Lucy in Disguise, one of six sparkling Regencies in Regency Masquerades, an ebook set which also includes books by Brenda Hiatt, Allison Lane, Gail Eastwood, Alicia Rasley and Elena Greene. Regency Masquerades is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo Books. Buy now for just 99 cents!

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For updates and news on Regency Masquerades and the authors in the set, like us on Facebook.

And now for a giveaway!

rakespinster

The Rake and the Spinster (A Drewe Sisters novella)

Lady Magdalen Drewe has devoted her life to her orphaned sisters, fiercely determined to protect them from the attentions of predatory males like the too-charming Earl of Keverne. But it’s the spinster who has caught his eye, and when he carries her off to his estate by the sea, she knows he is every bit the scoundrel she had thought. But he also understands her as no one has ever done and shows her how to create a flourishing life of her own. Well, after she puts a bullet in him….

“Kerstan is a superbly talented writer.” Contra Costa Times

We hope you enjoyed this excerpt. Comment for a chance to win an e-copy of The Rake and the Spinster in the format of your choice! All winners will be announced tomorrow (Sunday).

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About Elena Greene

Elena Greene grew up reading anything she could lay her hands on, including her mother's Georgette Heyer novels. She also enjoyed writing but decided to pursue a more practical career in software engineering. Fate intervened when she was sent on a three year international assignment to England, where she was inspired to start writing romances set in the Regency. Her books have won the National Readers' Choice Award, the Desert Rose Golden Quill and the Colorado Romance Writers' Award of Excellence. Her Super Regency, LADY DEARING'S MASQUERADE, won RT Book Club's award for Best Regency Romance of 2005 and made the Kindle Top 100 list in 2011. When not writing, Elena enjoys swimming, cooking, meditation, playing the piano, volunteer work and craft projects. She lives in upstate New York with her two daughters and more yarn, wire and beads than she would like to admit.
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