neck021I’ve been conspicuously (or maybe not, since I haven’t been here) absent from the Riskies, my most recent explanation being that I am writing my first Avon (!) book (November 25, 2014) titled The Duke’s Guide to Correct Behavior. The book is part of the Dukes Behaving Badly series, so yes, I’ll be writing another duke hero. I’m including the first few paragraphs of the book:

Marcus felt his lip curl as he surveyed the signs of debauchery in his ballroom. Which was not, he knew full well, used for parties, balls, or social events of any kind.

Empty brandy bottles lingered to the sides of the chairs at random angles around the room; various articles of women’s clothing were scattered around, including one cleverly-placed corset on a statue of one of his very male ancestors; a few plates of half-eaten food were on the tables, one of the cats that refused to leave (or more correctly that he didn’t have the heart to make go) nibbling delicately on them while a second cat twined about his ankles.

“So you were saying how difficult it is to be a duke?” Smithfield’s tone was as dry as–well, as Marcus’s throat.

He could fix that. He drained his glass, then attempted to scowl at Smithfield, one of his two new boon companions. The other, Collins, was currently fast asleep on one of the sofas, the results of imbibing a substantial amount of the brandy one of Collins’s ships had brought in. Marcus himself had fallen asleep earlier, so he wasn’t entirely exhausted. Not entirely, at least.

“It sounds ridiculous,” he said, then felt himself smile as Smithfield looked at him pointedly. “It is ridiculous. I am a duke, I have no no financial issues, I am unmarried, in prime health, and can do nearly whatever I want.”

“But?” Smithfield said as Marcus paused.

“But all that is required of a duke is that we wed properly and start fathering little dukes-to-be, and that particular scenario is enough to make me want to wrap that corset,” he said, gesturing to the statue, “around my throat and strangle myself. Bad enough I have to live a life I had never planned on; to do it at the side of a woman I would, in the best case, amicably dislike, in the worst case, utterly loathe, is not to be considered.”

“That is terrible,” Smithfield replied, still in that dry as Marcus’s throat used-to-be tone. “To have to marry and swan about being a duke when you could–well, what did you do six months ago, before you inherited? Or better yet, what would you rather be doing?”

Marcus finds something to do when his illegitimate child arrives at his door, and he needs to find a governess for her. Then things happen, as they do, and there’s a (SPOILER) Happy Ever After.

I don’t have the final cover yet, but I can say my name is in BLUE FOIL, and that is about the most exciting thing ever.

More later, but meanwhile–YAY!