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Tag Archives: The Diamonds of Welbourne Manor

Happy Sunday, everyone! I am soooo excited to be launching my new book, The Shy Duchess, because it’s a return to the Welbourne Manor family. After working on The Diamonds of Welbourne Manor anthology with Diane and our friend Deb Marlowe (whose own Welbourne book, How to Marry a Rake, is out in May!), I felt like these characters had become my friends. I wanted to know what happened to them, if they were happy, if they were having more adventures. With The Shy Duchess, I got to do that! I had so much fun catching up with them all, and getting to know Lady Emily Carroll, who was a very special heroine to me after my own childhood battles with deep shyness…

“McCabe knows her time period, the mores and expectations of her characters…her stories have made her a fan favorite and she does not disappoint” –RT BookReviews

Our hero is Nicholas, the eldest (legitimate!) son of the rambunctious family, and now the Duke of Manning. The heavy responsibilities of being duke and taking care of his family have been weighing on Nicholas, making him take life much more seriously. He’s also burdened with a tragic secret in his past–a secret, youthful marriage that ended after less than a year when his beloved wife died in childbirth. He mourned her alone, not even telling his siblings what happened, and he’s determined never to hurt a woman like that again. Never to give her the “cursed” title of Duchess of Manning.

But of course he can’t quit thinking about our heroine, Lady Emily Carroll, can’t quit wanting to make the too-serious young lady smile. Even though she seems all wrong for him…

Emily was born with the gift of great beauty–and the curse of paralyzing shyness. She freezes whenever she tries to talk to a man, stumbles when she tries to dance, and ends up hiding in the corner at every ball. The only time she feels comfortable is when she is doing her secret charity work with “fallen women” trying to make new lives for themselves! Her silence has earned her the nickname The Ice Princess–and no offers of marriage. She knows her penurious parents are counting on her to marry well, but all she can do is long for Nicholas from afar.

Until a masked ball at Vauxhall reveals an explosive passion, which leads to a scandal and a forced betrothal, which leads to a Welbourne honeymoon–and Nicholas begins to thaw his ice princess’s heart as well as heal his own.

If they can get past a blackmailer, Nicholas’s protective family, and Emily’s mother’s terrifying pre-marital advice…

“Come sit by me for a moment, Emily dearest. I want to speak with you about something very important.”

Emily’s stomach clenched. Whenever her mother had that tone in her voice, Emily knew she wouldn’t like what she heard. “Oh, Mama, I am very tired, and tomorrow is such a busy day. Can it not wait?”

“No, it cannot,” her mother said sternly. “This is very important. Now, come sit by me on the bed and listen to me carefully.”

Emily went with her in silence, letting her mother hold onto her hand. Her fingers were very tight, pressing the heavy emerald engagement ring into Emily’s skin. “Now, my dear, a wife has many duties, especially a wife who is a duchess,” her mother said. “I have taught you to run a house properly, to dress fashionably and to remember to be charitable and kind. But there is one last, most important duty I must tell you about, as my mother did for me the night before my wedding.”

Emily very much feared she knew what was coming next. “Oh, no, Mama.”

“Yes.” Her mother’s lips pressed together grimly. “You will have your duty in the bedchamber. Now, Emily, I warn you it will not be pleasant. It will hurt, and be rather messy. You must lie back and do as your husband tells you, and it will soon be over.”

“Mama!” Emily groaned. “I don’t really need to know…”

“Let me finish. There are ways to make it easier. I used to close my eyes and plan a party.”

Emily stared at mother numbly. “A party?”

“Yes. I would choose the china and the silver, and design flower arrangements and guest lists. Then I would devise a menu and decide on my gown. By the time I knew what to serve for dessert, it was all over and I scarcely felt a thing! As a duchess, you could plan very elaborate parties indeed.”

Emily closed her eyes, trying not to shudder. She knew the rudiments of anatomy, of course; she often visited galleries full of classical nude statues. And she knew the basics of the marriage act, what went where and so forth. But… “Mama, what exactly happens that I must fear?”

“Oh, my dear, you needn’t fear! It is our natural duty and we must bear it. The duke will show you what to do, and I am sure he will not demand anything–extra of you.”

“Extra?” Emily choked out.

“Yes. You must not touch things, or move about too much. That just makes it last longer. You are his wife, not a hired mistress. All will be well, Emily dearest, and in the end you will have beautiful babies, as I did. That will make everything worthwhile.”

Emily was utterly stunned. Pain, and–and mess? It sounded utterly appalling. She could hardly reconcile it to the pleasure she felt when Nicholas kissed her. “Is that all, Mama?” It was surely quite enough…

Please visit my website for more excerpts, plus a Behind the Book glimpse at the history of Vauxhall Gardens! You can also see more about the book on eharlequin. I will be giving away an autographed copy of The Shy Duchess (so you can see for yourself what actually does happen on the wedding night!) to one commenter on today’s post.

And who else is excited to watch the Oscars tonight????

When Nora Roberts gives a speech or a workshop and entertains questions at the end, one of her friends always pipes up, “Where do you get your ideas?” She groans and nods her head in that way she does, and gives some witty response.

Because this is the unanswerable question, isn’t it? We writers have no idea where our story ideas come from.

Last Monday I turned in Book 3 of the Soldiers Series and so this is idea time for me. I may have said this before, but I don’t have lots of story ideas like some writers. Mine come one book at a time and never easily. I need to come up with a story idea for the next book, though, the book connected to The Diamonds of Welbourne Manor, Leo’s story. Leo is the youngest son of the Fitzmanning miscellany and all I knew of him from the anthology was that he loved horses. I’d always kinda figured I’d make him own a horse farm.

But Deb’s Diamonds hero also is involved with horses, so my editor thought one book with horses was enough. Now what do I do?

If he has to lose his horse farm, I’ll make him lose it in some horrible, dramatic way at the beginning of the story (glimmer of an idea…..)

Some time ago, I watched the old, Depression era movie My Man Godfrey which is about a down-and-out vagrant who becomes a wealthy family’s butler, but he really was once a wealthy society man himself. Great movie. Maybe a Regency version of the movie could become Leo’s story!

No. Not with his loving siblings, but maybe I could make Leo down-and-out, a dissipated rake, tortured after the loss of his farm. (Leo’s starting to come to life, but I don’t have a heroine…)


Then the other night I after watching my current favorite TV show, Say Yes To The Dress, a new show came on. Left At The Altar. This show tells the real life stories of men and women who were literally left at the altar, their spouse to be runs out at the last moment.

How devastating!
How perfect!

I’ll make Leo leave his bride at the altar. (But I still don’t know who she is….)

Of course, I need a “hook.” I talked about hooks in last week’s Diane’s Blog, those classic romance plots we see over and over again. Leo’s story certainly is shaping up to be Reunion Story, but I’m toying with making it a Woman In Jeopardy story, too. Leo has to save the bride he once jilted….

Problem is…I still don’t know who the heroine is or why she was jilted.

But I’m getting there! The idea is taking shape. And the answer to the question, “Where do you get your ideas?” is here, there, and everywhere! (and way too many from TV)

Sooooo, do you have any ideas for who my heroine should be???

Chivalrous Captain, Rebel Mistress may appear on your bookstore shelves this week. I wonder who will have the first sighting?

Join me on Thursday at Diane’s Blog when I’ll take you to a Tank Museum! And stop by Pink Heart Society today for Male on Monday with Michelle Willingham and me.

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One of my bestest writing friends, Melissa James, who hails from Australia but is now living in Switzerland, came to visit me and attend the Washington (DC) Romance Writers Spring Reteat. Melissa writes for Harlequin Romance and can pack emotion in her writing better than anyone I know. We’ve been great online friends and, once in a while, I’m lucky enough to see Melissa in person.

She arrived a couple of days before the Retreat, so we took advantage of beautiful weather and went to tour the Hillwood Museum. The museum is actually the house that Majorie Merriweather Post, heiress to the Post cereal fortune, built in DC as a place she could display her huge collection of art.

I’ve visited Hillwood several times and it always reminds me of an English country house, especially one built in the 1700s. In truth, it was built in modern times and inside there is art from all time periods, but, to me, it feels like a country house.

Here is the dining room:

And the drawing room.

Post’s bedroom is a replica of a Robert Adam room, but they didn’t have a postcard showing it (my inside photos are photos of postcards I purchased, because they didn’t allow photography inside the house).

Marjorie Merriweather Post had marvelous collections of porcelain, among so many things, like pre-communist Russian religious vestments and icons.

And 18th century art, like this painting, L’Enfant Cheri by Marguerite Gerard.

Outside the house are beautifully kept gardens, in glorious bloom on this lovely spring day.

I never tire of visiting this place.

What about you? Do you have a favorite historic house or museum you could visit over and over again?

Wednesday on Diane’s Blog, I’ll tell you about Melissa’s and my experiences at the WRW Retreat. My prize for that day will be a signed copy of The Diamonds of Welbourne Manor, which, of course, has Amanda’s and Deb Marlowe’s RITA finalist novellas…and my novella, too.
Blogging at DianeGaston.com

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