Due out sometime early summer, Into the Lion’s Heart will open the new series The Wild Rose Press is debuting called Love Letters. Authors were invited to participate and my story will launch the series, so I’m doubly honored. The premise behind this theme is that a letter must be the cause of bringing–or throwing–the hero and heroine together. At 20,000 to 25,000 words the stories will be an easy but satisfying read. However, I did as much research for Into The Lion’s Heart as I would a full novel.
The connection I feel to the past and those who’ve gone before me, especially after doing a lot of research into family genealogy, are the ongoing inspiration behind my work. I come from a lot of well documented English/Scots-Irish people, with a smidgen of French in the meld (a Norman knight who sailed with William the Conqueror). One line of the family goes directly back to Geoffrey Chaucer, all fascinating and compelling to me. In my first English historical, I more deeply explored my British ancestry.
Into the Lion’s Heart opens with the hero, Captain Dalton Evans–fought in the American Revolution–journeying to Dover to meet the ship carrying a distant cousin, Mademoiselle Sophia Devereux, who’s fleeing the French Revolution. Only he resents the French, partly because of their aid to the Americans during the war and some of the Frenchmen he fought during that lost cause, plus he thinks French aristocrats are arrogant. The young woman he rescues from the sinking ship is nothing like he expects and rocks his world.
Wry, witty, war-hardened Dalton isn’t looking for love, just trying to survive on his newly inherited estate in Cornwall and provide for his eccentric aunt, part of his inheritance, while doing a little rum smuggling on the side. Losing the American colonies was a bitter pill and he’s wistful to return to active military service, but the unique young woman he recovers from the ship turns everything he thinks he wants on its head. Used to comprising battle strategies and planning campaigns, he’s challenged to the extreme by the unexpected, overwhelming emotions he has for Sophia, whom he suspects isn’t who she claims to be. Deeply masculine, gruff on the exterior, he doesn’t realize the depths of feeling he’s capable of.
As the French Revolution rages, the English nobility offer sanctuary to many a refugee. Captain Dalton Evans arrives in Dover to meet a distant cousin, expecting to see a spoiled aristocrat. Instead, he’s conquered by the simplicity of his new charge. And his best friend Thomas Archer isn’t immune to her artless charm, either.
Cecile Beaumont didn’t choose to travel across the Channel. And she certainly didn’t expect that impersonating her own mistress would introduce her to a most mesmerizing man. Now she must play out the masquerade, or risk life, freedom – and her heart.~
Choking on the brine, she thrashed to right herself. Dalton spat saltwater from his mouth and fought to regain his seat while pulling her up with him. Not his most dignified effort. She was the devil to get hold of—kept slipping away. He grabbed her again, only to be knocked back down and rolled with her in the swill on the bottom of the boat.
Damn and blast! Tom and another man hoisted them upright in the prow.
“Thanks,” Dalton grunted, biting his tongue in the presence of a lady. “All right?” he shouted at her, and shifted her securely onto the seat beside him.
“Oui!” she sputtered when she’d recovered her breath.
She shook all over—must be chilled to the bone. They’d be fortunate if she didn’t catch her death, probably bruised too from tossing about in the skiff. The sooner she was safely housed indoors by a toasty hearth, the better.
Keeping an arm around the sodden woman, he peered into a striking pair of charcoal-gray eyes set above a pert nose and framed by fine dark brows.
She parted trembling, bluish lips. “Merci Monsieur—Que Dieu vous bénis—Les saints bénis nous en préservent,” she stammered, thanking, blessing him, and calling on the saints.
Dalton was tempted to call on them himself, but her outpouring took him by surprise.
Not content with acknowledging his aid, she turned to Tom, crouched on her other side, and blurted similar gratitude—nearly incoherent in the tumult raging around them. Tom gave a nod through gritted teeth then bent his head over the boat and heaved the contents of his volatile stomach.
She tilted her head at Dalton, eyes crinkled in sympathy. “Mal de mer,” she said, using the French for seasick.~
Stay tuned for the release date. 🙂