Over the years I wore a variety of hats: daughter, student, military brat, wife, mother, grandmother, tax preparer, waitress, assistant to a booking agent, teacher, theatre director, choreographer, professional dancer, media literacy consultant, volunteer EMT, and author.
As an author, I write Austen-inspired novels, as well as Regency and contemporary romances. Heck, I even have a “western” novel in the works. My Austenesque books are a mixture of retellings, sequels, holiday/inspirational, paranormal, vagaries, and cozy mysteries. This week, however, I am a Regency romance writer. Why? you may ask. The answer is simple: I have a new Regency release. The conclusion to my highly successful Realm series will make its appearance. Of the series, Publishers Weekly said, “The first fully original series by Austen pastiche author Jeffers is a knockout.”
For those of you unfamiliar with the series, the Realm are a group of seven men who serve as covert operatives for the Home Office during the Napoleonic Wars. Each man has “demons” he must master, situations which drove him from his home. At length, each returns to England to claim his title and hopefully a bit of elusive happiness. Yet, even though the war ends, England is not safe from “invaders.” Moreover, a Baloch warlord marks the Realm for revenge: Shaheed Mir claims one of the Realm stole a fist-size emerald, and he means to have it back. The series includes…
The Scandal of Lady Eleanor: Book 1 of the Realm Series (aka A Touch of Scandal) [James Kerrington, the future Earl of Linworth, and Lady Eleanor Fowler’s story] 2012 Finalist for the Write Touch Award
A Touch of Velvet: Book 2 of the Realm Series [Brantley Fowler, the Duke of Thornhill, and Miss Velvet Aldridge’s story]
A Touch of Cashémere: Book 3 of the Realm Series [Marcus Wellston, the Earl of Berwick, and Miss Cashémere Aldridge’s story]
A Touch of Grace: Book 4 of the Realm Series [Gabriel Crowden, the Marquis of Godown, and Miss Grace Nelson’s story] SOLA’s Dixie Kane Award Award for Historical Romance
A Touch of Mercy: Book 5 of the Realm Series [Aidan Kimbolt, Viscount Lexford, and Miss Mercy Nelson’s story] New Rom Award for Historical Fiction
A Touch of Love: Book 6 of the Realm Series [Sir Carter Lowery and Mrs. Lucinda Warren’s story
His American Heartsong: A Companion Novel to the Realm Series [Lawrence Lowery, Lord Hellsman, and Miss Arabella Tilney’s story]
Note! Although each book centers in on the lives of two characters, our hero and heroine, the other members of the Realm make appropriate appearances. From beginning to end, the stories span some sixteen years. [Disclaimer: These are Regency romances. Therefore sexual overtones exist, but the books are character driven.]
It took me more than three years to write these books, and, in truth, I dislike the idea of leaving these characters behind. They are very much a part of me. As any author can tell you, some characters take over the story while others are just not right for the situation. For example, A Touch of Velvet was to be book 1 of the series, but as I was writing it, James Kerrington and Lady Eleanor kept screaming at me, saying their story should be first. Moreover, I originally planned for Aidan Kimbolt to match up with another of the Aldridge sisters. However, as I wrote her, I did not think Satiné Aldridge was good enough for Aidan. [Yes, I do realize I presented Satiné with the qualities I came to despise, but Aidan suffered too much not to find a woman who would hold a stout allegiance to the man.]
Beginning Monday, 24 August, I have a “Kids Are Back to School” SALE going on. Seventeen of my eBook titles will be available, each $2.50 or less, including all the books of the Realm, 5 Austen titles, and three others. The sale will last 2 weeks, ending on the U. S. holiday, Labor Day, 6 September, 2015
Four crazy Balochs. An Indian maiden. A cave with a maze of passages. A hero, not yet tested. A Gypsy band. And a missing emerald.
For nearly two decades, the Realm thwarted the efforts of all Shaheed Mire sent their way, but now the Baloch warlord is in England, and the tribal leader means to reclaim the fist-sized emerald he believes one of the Realm stole during their rescue of a girl upon whom Mir turned his men. Mir means to take his revenge on the Realm and the Indian girl’s child, Lady Sonalí Fowler.
Daniel Kerrington, Viscount Worthing, has loved Lady Sonalí since they were but children. Yet, when his father, the Earl of Linworth, objects to Sonalí’s bloodlines, Worthing thinks never to claim her. However, when danger arrives in the form of the Realm’s old enemy, Kerrington ignores all caution for the woman he loves.
Within a few minutes, Daniel found himself cooling his heels in the drawing room at Huntingborne Abbey. The party awaited Sir Carter’s return. The baronet’s superiors summoned Sir Carter to London yesterday to oversee one of the Realm’s many investigations, but Lady Lowery expected him within the hour. Lowery sent two of his assistants ahead, and now Daniel looked on as Sir Michael Rowan and Lord Vincent Tapper kept company with Sonalí and Miss Gwendolyn.
“Sonalí does not care for either man,” Daniel’s mother whispered from her place upon the settee they shared.
Baby Hugh Swenton slept upon Ella’s lap, a small fist rising periodically to accent his soft snores. Children always fascinated Daniel. The day his Aunt Georgina gave birth to his cousin Lenore, he and Linworth sneaked into the nursery to look upon Thomas Whittington’s first child. It was a special moment in Daniel’s memory for his father spoke earnestly of the contentment Linworth knew in looking upon Daniel’s countenance.
“You were the most perfect child of God’s creation.”
The words remained etched in Daniel’s heart. Since that time, Daniel always welcomed the moments he spent with his younger brothers and sister.
“I should say I have no idea of your meaning,” Daniel said softly as the conversations swelled around them.
His stepmother squeezed the back of his hand.
“Yet, you will not disabuse me with falsehoods.”
Daniel intertwined their fingers.
He glanced to Sonalí, who was laughing at something Lord Tapper said.
“Then do not turn your dudgeon internally,” the countess warned. “You should not give Sir Michael a second thought. Thornhill would never give his daughter permission to marry a mere baronet. Such an action would lower Brantley’s consequence. My brother, the duke, listens to Society in such matters.”
Ella’s tone was light, but Daniel recognized the truth of his stepmother’s taunt.
“Lord Tapper will eventually be an earl,” Daniel pronounced in reasonable protest.
“As will you,” his mother countered.
“But I am the familiar. The childhood friend.”
Irony crossed his expression.
The countess chuckled.
“Men know so little of a woman’s mind.”
Daniel shrugged his annoyance rather than to rebuke the one person he most trusted.
“Then enlighten me.”
“Women desire a man whom they can trust always to hold their best interest at heart. They wish to feel cherished and shielded from harm, but they do not wish to be smothered to the point of losing their identities. It is a fine line a man must walk to please his lady, and it all begins with friendship. Think upon it: Many marriages of convenience work because the couples become friends. Become partners in life. Love and desire are second to trust.”
Daniel frowned in doubt.
“I thought a woman only looked upon the figure a man cuts and upon his countenance.”
Baby Hugh shifted his position, and Ella adjusted her seat to permit the child his comfort.
“Believe it or not, your father long held my heart before I realized how fine his features were. It was the way he held me when I stumbled into his arms and how he draped his body over mine to protect me from one of Sir Louis Levering’s minions. I gave up all my hopes of independence when I met Linworth.”
Daniel smiled easily.
“I enjoy your tales of father’s courtship. Although the events are the same, they differ from his.”
The countess stroked the child’s cheek with her fingertip.
“As I said earlier: women view the world through a more narrow lens.”
“Lord Worthing,” Sonalí called across the room. “Did you hear? Sir Michael and Lord Tapper agreed to join our theatrical.”
Daniel bit back his true retort.
“That should make the performance more inviting. I could not imagine your playing Hero to Luis Crowden’s Claudio.”
Sonalí laughed with a tinkling sound.
“I am to be Beatrice. Gwendolyn will be Hero.”
Lord Tapper’s appearance announced his smugness.
“I hope to be Benedick.”
“I wish you well,” Daniel repeated through tight lips.
Sonalí teasingly shook her finger at Tapper.
“You must read for the role first, my lord. My dearest Gwen and I shall wish to hear you before deciding.”
As the young lord continued to flirt with Sonalí, the countess whispered, “Sonalí wishes to make you jealous. You did not volunteer to read for a role, and my niece wishes you to know if you tarry, you could lose.”
Daniel eyed his mother suspiciously.
“You came to such a conclusion from that brief conversation.”
“Absolutely. Lady Sonalí wished you to know that others desire her when you do not. It is a maneuver often practiced by a girl infatuated with a gentleman.”
Now, for the giveaway!!! Leave a comment below to be eligible to win one of two eBook copies available of A Touch of Emerald: The Conclusion of the Realm Series. The giveaway will end at midnight EDST on Friday, August 21, 2015.