Meet the hero and heroine of The Earl’s Revenge by Allison Lane, Book #3 in Regency Masquerades, six sparkling Regency romances in one ebook–currently 99 cents!
At the ballroom door…
Master of Ceremonies: Ah, the next guests are arriving. A tall, broad-shouldered gentleman, impeccably dressed, but without any hint of dandyism. I’m sure I know him, but his half-mask makes recognition difficult. Behind him is a lady in a green gown at least two years out of date. No jewelry at all. Her figure is good but her mask obscures so much of her face that I can’t tell if she is beautiful. A provincial unless my eye is completely out. And poor. I wonder who invited her. Obviously these two are not together. The gentleman’s eyes are already scanning the ladies in the ballroom.
Smiles at the guests. “Welcome to our masquerade. You are…”
Gentleman, aloofly: The Earl of Bridgeport.
Master of Ceremonies: “Ah, the famous Corinthian. Your latest bout against Jackson remains on every tongue – planting a facer on so skilled a pugilist is beyond wondrous. Estimates of the amount of money that changed hands that day have reached five figures.” Now I understand the scanning. Bridgeport is also a renowned rake who has probably bedded every bored matron in London under the age of forty and is likely seeking his next conquest – not that I can mention that aloud. The lady must already know his reputation, though. She flinched when he revealed his name.
Bridgeport, shrugging: “It was a good match. I trust you were not among the losers?”
Master of Ceremonies: “I’ve learned never to bet against you, my lord.” Time to move on. Bridgeport is also infamous for protecting his privacy. He dislikes talking about himself. “And you, madam?”
Lady: Elaine Thompson of Cornwall.
Master of Ceremonies: Definitely provincial. Even her accent screams country, and uncivilized country at that. So why is Bridgeport suddenly on the alert? Does he know the name and consider her a potential bedmate? She’s a stranger to me so I can’t tell if she is married or not. Her gloves cover any rings. But it’s not my place to pry, more’s the pity… “Welcome to our masquerade.”
Elaine: “Thank you.”
Bridgeport, holding out his arm: “Allow me.”
Elaine: Hesitates as if wanting to refuse, then accepts his escort with a small sigh.
Master of Ceremonies as they walk away: Odd. Very odd. Nothing in common that I can see, though he’s turning on the charm. She’s gauche at best – strides along like a man, ignoring his words. Or is she trying to escape him? If they remain until the unmasking, we might see some fireworks…
From behind a bank of flowers…
I’m Allison Lane, author of The Earl’s Revenge, and I know what these people are hiding and why the lady’s voice puzzles Bridgeport. He last heard it eight years ago just before she left him standing at the alter while she fled to Cornwall and changed her name to avoid the resulting scandal. She now supports herself illustrating children’s books under the male pseudonym M.E. Merriweather. But if anyone discovers that Merriweather is female, she can kiss her independence good-bye, for despite her very real talent, no female can command enough compensation to live on… Bridgeport is hiding his own secrets. Under various pseudonyms, he has published several books of poetry and contributes regularly to newspaper columns featuring political commentary, military analysis, and social satire. The latter could get him drummed out of society if his authorship became known for he’s pilloried everyone he knows at least once. He is currently furious at his publisher because the man only now got around to telling him that the renowned artist who was supposed to illustrate his upcoming volume of poetry died two months ago, to be replaced by an unknown named M.E. Merriweather…
“Ms. Lane is a formidable talent who hits her stride perfectly in this witty and intelligent diversion.” (Romantic Times)
The Earl’s Revenge is just one of six sparkling Regency romances in Regency Masquerades, an ebook set which also includes books by Brenda Hiatt, Lynn Kerstan, Gail Eastwood, Alicia Rasley, and Elena Greene. Now on a 99-cent special, Regency Masquerades is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes and Kobo Books. Buy now for just 99 cents!
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And now for a giveaway!
At first glance, Lord Grayson is everything a man should be – handsome, wealthy, heir to an earldom. Yet his elegant façade hides deep loneliness. Estranged from his father, his fortune tainted by trade, he is under society’s censure for supposedly defiling a high-born innocent, driving her to suicide. And Lady Luck has truly deserted him. Every day she inflicts a new accident or aims yet another voracious fortune hunter in his direction… Shy Mary Seabrook would rather study birds than frequent the Marriage Mart, but she must accompany her sister this Season. To escape boredom, she often slips away to sketch. But who could expect to meet the most notorious rake in the realm hiding behind a screen of palms. To her surprise, Gray shares her interest in birds. Too bad talking to him could get her ostracized… Gray vows to avoid the intriguing Mary, but fate has other ideas. Wherever he goes, she is there – uncovering his secrets, saving his life, and deflecting the most scheming miss yet. It is Mary who recognizes that his accidents are not accidental. Someone is trying to kill him, and Mary holds the key to the culprit’s identity. Can they unmask the villain before Gray suffers one accident too many? (Winner: Holt Medallion for Best Regency)
“Its innovative plot, vivid characters, and lovely, tender romance mark The Rake and the Wallflower as one of the outstanding Regencies of the year.” (The Romance Reader)
What sort of fireworks would you expect to go off when two secretive people discover they have to reveal their secrets and work together? Post a comment for the chance to win a digital copy of Allison Lane’s The Rake and the Wallflower for Nook, Kindle, and other devices. All winners will be announced on Sunday.