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See me over at Historical Harlots for some Matchmaking Fun

Historical harlotsI’d love you to visit Historical Harlots on July 6 for some fun and games … and prizes to win. Yes, it’ll be party-time for the release of The Honourable Fortune Hunter!

In the meantime, here’s an excerpt from when my lovely Lizzy is rescued from a carriage accident that plunged her into the river, by my honourable hero, Theo, who now doesn’t know what to do with her. In this scene, they’re in a donkey cart and Theo has just learned there are no rooms available at the local inn. Now he’s trying to find out where else he can deposit her.

EXCERPT FROM THE HONOURABLE FORTUNE HUNTER


Lizzy sighed. “I wish I’d not told you my real name. At the third Ladies Seminary I was sent to, I started to call myself Miss Marzipan, that being something that I’m quite partial to, but was never allowed because Mrs Hodge refused me anything beyond porridge. I could only imagine what most sweetmeats tasted like since Mrs Hodge, who looks after me, refused me every pleasure in life.”


“Indeed?” Theo said, unmoved. “And did she lock you up in the attic, tied to a chair, and feed you only bread and water every three days, too?”
“Near enough. But Mabel risked her life to smuggle in the victuals necessary to sustain mine, didn’t you, Mabel?” Miss Scott turned her head to address Mabel cheerfully.


“Now, miss, I didn’t quite risk me life, but—” the maid began doubtfully, earning a grumble from her mistress as the girl turned back to Theo.
“Mabel has loyalty and good sense in abundance, but she has no sense of occasion.”


“But a proper sense of occasion is rather necessary, given the seriousness of this one, don’t you think?” Theo enquired. While he found her chatter momentarily diverting, his concerns over the next few hours prevented him from entering into conversation that was a little more lighthearted. “We need to get you somewhere safe and respectable.”


“But you have already decided you can’t do that tonight, surely? It’s too dark to go anywhere,” she pointed out. She clutched the blanket to her and shivered theatrically. “Unless I am warmed in front of a blazing fire very soon, I shall catch my death of cold—and it will be at your door, Mr McAlister.”

She could have no idea of the chill her supposedly lighthearted words sent through him. Theo stared woodenly ahead and tried to ignore the cacophony of images—newsprint pages and parodies involving him and a young woman, now dead—that had all but destroyed his life.
“What would Mrs Hodge say?” he managed, instead. Lame words but the only safe, innocuous words he could manage.


“She won’t know, and we don’t need to tell her. She’s a bitter, sour old puss, and I’m the opposite of her; as sweet as marzipan. Surely I’d be a nice addition to your evening?” She stretched her arms, adding, “You can send me on my way tomorrow. But for now, I shan’t be any bother, I promise.” The way her mouth turned up did nothing to improve his humour.


The book is available at a discount right now: mybook.to/FortuneHunter

 

Fair Cyprians – The Complete Boxset is now available!

Fair Cyprians Boxset 1-5Yesterday was a day of portentous endings for our family. Virgin Australia’s new owner was announced and so was the cessation of its international fleet of Airbuses and Boeing 777s – and I finished The Honourable Fortune Hunter and sent it to my editor.

We can’t do anything about the former but I’ve done my best with the latter. The Honourable Fortune Hunter is a humorous, fast-paced Regency romance about two people who must make the best of a bad situation – but when all is said and done, their love for one another is too strong and compromise is no longer an option.

Immediately after sending Fortune Hunger away for the final line-check, I put together the complete box set for the 5 books in my Fair Cyprians of London series.

Read for free or buy on Amazon

 

Love, passion, honour and redemption. 5 full-length Victorian romances filled with mystery and intrigue.

Meet the women who work at Madame Chambon’s notorious high-class London House of Assignation.

 The ruined governess, the ambitious artist’s muse, the betrayed housemaid and the abandoned vicar’s daughter all have one thing in common: the determination to triumph over misfortune and to find love and their heart’s desire.

SAVING GRACE

Grace Fortune trusts no one after she was betrayed by the man she once loved.

Now, she’s the most popular ‘Cyprian’ at Madame Chambon’s high-class London House of Assignation, consort of aristocrats and princes.

As grace prepares for her next job as the special initiation ‘gift’ procured by a mother in fashionable Mayfair for her son’s twenty-first birthday, she plans her revenge.

But revenge delivers the last thing she expected.

FORSAKING HOPE

Honour? Or her heart’s desire?

Two years ago, Felix Lord Durham believed that Hope, the vicar’s beautiful daughter, had chosen to live in Germany as a governess rather than accept the marriage proposal he’d hinted at.

Why else would she have failed to appear for their final secret assignation? Why else would Felix be given snippets about her new life on the Continent from various sources?

Now the divine “Miss Hope” is in Felix’s bed – a surprise gift from his friends designed to lift his spirits and sourced from London’s most exclusive brothel, Madame Chambon’s.

Despite feeling betrayed, Felix can’t bear to lose her again, but Hope Merriweather is bound to her new life by a dark secret. Having sacrificed the man she loves once already, she must choose again: Honour or her heart’s desire?

KEEPING FAITH

Revenge is sweet until it breaks your heart.

Four years ago, Faith’s mysterious benefactress falsely accused her of stealing and deposited her in Madame Chambon’s exclusive brothel.

There, Faith was to learn how to entrance London’s noble gentlemen with her learning in philosophy, politics and art.

Her body was to be saved for the greatest enticement of all: revenge.

Faith doesn’t care what she has to do. She lives only to fulfil a bargain that will set her free.

But when Faith is recruited as the muse of a talented, sensitive painter whose victory in a prestigious art competition turns them both into celebrities overnight, she discovers the reasons behind her mission are very different from what she’d been led to believe.

Now she is complicit in something dark and dangerous while riches, adulation and freedom are hers for the taking.

But what value are these if her heart has become a slave to the man she is required to destroy?

 

WEDDING VIOLET

 

Abandoned at the altar, Max, Lord Belvedere believes he’s evaded family obligation in favour of a life of adventuring in Africa. But his ailing Aunt Euphemia has other ideas.

When Max finds himself in the delightfully diverting arms of Violet Lilywhite while visiting London’s most prestigious House of Assignation, he happens upon the perfect plan. A sham wedding to a ‘penniless shop girl’ should fulfil Aunt Euphemia’s romantic dreams without losing him his newfound liberty.

Violet agrees to the deception with no hesitation. Lord Belvedere is certainly the most charming and surprising of all her male consorts but she has no illusions about a shared future. She wants only to escape the clutches of infamous Madame Chambon.

The plan appears perfect until Max and Violet find themselves falling in love.

Can Max give up his plans for freedom in an exciting new land? Or is freedom to be found in the arms of the woman he loves?

 

CHRISTMAS CHARITY

 

Reluctant courtesan, Charity, has found true love with Hugo, her first and only client.

 

But when poet and artist, Hugo, is tricked into gambling away his impending inheritance, Charity finds herself at the mercy of Madam Chambon and her infamous house of ill-repute.

Can the two young lovers thwart the conspiracy between Hugo’s social-climbing father, and slippery cousin Cyril, so Hugo can make Charity his Christmas bride?

 

 

Filled with mystery and intrigue, these passionate Victorian romances with a twist will have you on the edge of your chair until the very last page.

 

Get this steamy 5-book series now!

Excerpt from The Honourable Fortune Hunter

The Honourable Fortune HunterThe next book in the Scandalous Miss Brightwells series is only a few weeks away.
It’s called The Honourable Fortune Hunter and here’s a teaser.

Lizzy, my heroine, has just been rescued by the hero who pulled her out of a sinking carriage. After reluctantly putting her up for the night, he’s now delivering her to the Brightwells so she can take part in their 5-day house party to which she was invited.
But to which Theo was explicity excluded – for very mysterious reasons.

Excerpt

“You didn’t attend to a word I said and it really was a most thrilling part,” Lizzy complained.

“I attended to every word,” Theo protested, opening his eyes.

“Then what did Louis say to Adeline after realising he’d fallen in love with her?”

Theo opened his mouth but no sound came out.

“I knew it!” Lizzy sounded triumphant. “You haven’t attended to a word and yet Romance of the Forest is the most thrilling and exciting of all Mrs Radcliffe’s novels.” She exhaled in frustration, then focussed on the page in front of her and quoted: ‘I should esteem myself most happy, if I could be of service to you.’ ” Raising her head, she looked over the top of the book and narrowed her eyes. “That’s what Louis – who is Madame and Pierre’s son whom Adeline met in the forest after he comes searching for his parents – says to Adeline. And it’s a very apt sentence, too, because those are my own sentiments, Mr McAlister. Only, I wish you’d invite me to call you by your Christian name. I wouldn’t dream of doing so, otherwise, but in view of all we’ve been through together—”

“Don’t say anything of that!” He dropped his hand, which he’d raised, like his voice, in sudden alarm, immediately adding, “I’m sorry, Lizzy, I didn’t mean to shout. I just…” He sighed again. “I don’t want you to be harmed by your association with me. People will talk. I’ve been considering whether we should part company in the village so that you arrive at Quamby house, alone.”

“And you’d follow, later?”

“No, I’d make my own way home.”

“But…that wasn’t at all the plan we discussed this morning.” She sounded distressed. “Why, this morning, I was going to be your salvation. I was going to be the means by which you’d be once again embraced by society for they’d have no choice but to offer you to stay once they heard about how heroic you’d been.”

“I wasn’t heroic in the slightest, and you know it.” Despite himself, Theo smiled. “I simply did what any bystander would do and extended you an arm to drag you out of the water.”

“No, you did so much more—!”

“Look, Lizzy,” he cut her off, “I know it fits in with your notions of romance to be the heroine who ensures I’m redeemed. But you don’t know all the sordid facts. You don’t know what occurred all those months ago that had people pegging me as the most unconscionable of villains. I’m just surprised you haven’t heard of me.” He rolled his eyes and studied the faded leatherwork of the carriage ceiling, adding, “But you’ll have no shortage of offers from the guests at Quamby House telling you of my supposed crimes.”

“Then why don’t you tell me of them, in your own words? You seem such a … placid fellow… they can’t be that bad.”

“Placid fellow!” If she’d called him a dangerous rakehell or a villainous ruffian she couldn’t have offended him more. “Placid fellow? You think I’m a placid fellow?” Theo was leaning forward now, realising his tone had been much too harsh, and that he was much too close as his eyes bored into hers and he saw the dark pupils of her lovely eyes widen just a few inches from his.

He threw himself back against the squabs as she defended her opinion, saying with a frown, “Well, you have a rather defeated air about you, if you want the truth. When you ran down the river bank and pulled me out of the water, I was very impressed, for you were very energetic and heroic. But then—” She put her head on one side as if to contemplate the matter, adding – “it was as if everything was too much trouble, after that. And now it seems as if it’s too much trouble to even try to get yourself an invitation and therefore a chance to set the record straight so that people will be forced to know the truth, and not what the rumours would have you guilty of.”

Theodore took a moment to formulate a response. He certainly didn’t want to admit that her words couldn’t be more on the money; that he was so afraid of being publicly shamed – again – that he’d rather not take the chance of trying to clear his name.

Lizzy continued to stare at him, waiting patiently, not smiling; just curious. He’d told her nothing and yet she seemed to have formulated a quiet confidence that he could not possibly be guilty of the crimes others would lay at his door.

Carefully, he asked, “Have you ever done something to help someone … but the evidence paints you as a wrongdoer… and there’s not a thing you can do about it?”

“I’d have to think about that, Mr McAlister—”

“You can call me Theo.”

“Oh, thank you!” Her smile lit up her whole face. “Now I feel like you’re at last letting your guard down and I promise you I shall repay the compliment – and your bravery – and do what I can to rectify this terrible situation that’s obviously giving you sleepless nights.”

“They’ll tell you I’m a philanderer who kidnapped a young lady on her way to her wedding.” Theo had his head sunk in his hands so he couldn’t see the horror in her eyes.

He glanced up when he heard her gasp but to his surprise her expression was rapt with wonder. “How romantic!”

“No!” He shook his head. “It wasn’t romantic at all! It was terrible. What I mean to say is… it all went so terribly wrong!”

Discounted for a short time, on all platforms here.

 

The next book in the Scandalous Miss Brightwells is here!

The Honourable Fortune HunterI’m very excited to tell you about The Honourable Fortune Hunter which I’ve been feverishly writing during this lockdown.

It actually started out as quite another book – Five Golden Flings – which is my inclusion in our fabulous Christmas Box Set I’m doing with 11 other well-known historical romance authors.

However, I just couldn’t get the ‘five flings’ thing to work. My heroine Lizzy was having none of it. No, she had two fortune hunters dangling after her; so I just decided to keep writing to see where the story went.

When I reached the second to last chapter, I still couldn’t decide how this story was going to resolve itself. If you’ve read my other work, I like to have an unexpected twist at the end, and I’ve discovered that the best way to make this work so as not to appear contrived, is to go back to the beginning of my story, and edit.

This enables me to get to know my characters better. For example, in this story, Lizzy’s awful benefactress, Mrs Hodge, is selling Lizzy off to a fortune Hunter in exchange for some of Lizzy’s fortune. But why would she do this?

And my lovely hero could marry Lizzy. Except, if he’s to retain the ‘honourable’ moniker, he can’t.

I just didn’t know why not, though, because Theo wasn’t revealing his secrets.

Now I’m a third of the way through editing and very confident I can pull off an ending that works.

Ah, but it’s the unexpected plot twists and surprise in an intrigue-filled, humorous Regency romance like this one that really makes me a happy writer.

And who cares that I’m not allowed to leave my house and see other people during this lock-down?

I have my wonderful Theor McAlister and vibrant Lizzy Scott to lead me down rabbit holes and keep me entertained!

I hope you are all staying well and not suffering too much during these strange and difficult times.

And if you want to check out the blurb or get pre-order The Honourable Fortune Hunter, which will be released on July 7, you can do here at a discount, since the price will go up after July 7.

Get it here!

Once Upon a Christmas Wedding Box set is Live!

Once Upon a Christmas Wedding Box Set FREE in Kindle Unlimited – viewbook.at/ChristmasWedding

 

Do you love a Christmas romance? And weddings?

Grab the mistletoe and the confetti! You’re in for such a treat.

Twenty-seven lovely historical romance authors have come together to create a collection you won’t want to miss.

And… to celebrate the launch of our gorgeous festive collection of historical romances, we have $25 of book money to whizz out to one lucky reader. Just click through to enter => http://www.lovebooksdaily.com/featured-read

 

Price – FREE with Kindle Unlimited

or $2.99 (rising to $4.99 from 1st November) – yes that’s less than $0.11 per story!

The authors will be releasing their romances at $2.99+ each when the set retires in mid-January, so this is a HUGE bargain.

‘Tis the season… for wedding bells!

But, the path of true love never did run smooth… as our brides and grooms soon discover.

From the snowbound Highlands to candlelit ballrooms, follow our fearless heroines as they scorn etiquette and defy danger in pursuit of their heart’s desire.

Twenty-seven heart-warming historical romances, all set during the festive season.

HELL’S WEDDING BELLS
by Annabelle Anders

TWO LADY SCOUNDRELS AND A DUKE
by Tessa Candle

A WICKED WEDDING
by Laura Trentham

THE RUSSIAN BETROTHAL
by Elsa Holland

THE MISTLETOE MISTRESS
by Maddison Michaels

DEEDS NOT WORDS
by Ashe Barker

HOLLY AND THE BEAST
by Annabel Joseph

THE WINTER BRIDE
by Emma V Leech

MISTLETOE KISSES
by Elise Marion

THE CHRISTMAS COUNTESS
by K.J. Jackson

MISCHIEF AND MISTLETOE
by Stacy Reid

KIDNAPPED WITH THE KNIGHT
by Emily Murdoch

THE RUSSIAN PRINCE’S BRIDE
by Mariah Stone

CHRISTMAS CHARITY
by Beverley Oakley

THE ANGEL OF AN ASTRONOMER
by Linda Rae Sande

WASSAIL, WAGERS AND WEDDINGS
by S. Cinders

HIGHLAND YULE
by Sky Purington

MARRYING MISS BRIGHT
by Dayna Quince

THE LADY’S GUIDE TO MISTLETOE AND MAYHEM
by Emmanuelle de Maupassant

BEAUTIFULLY RECKLESS
by Virginia Taylor

KISS ME, MACRAE
by Amy Sandas

HOLLY AND OLD LACE
by Vanessa Brooks

HOME FOR CHRISTMAS
by Celeste Jones

A SPINSTER AT THE HIGHLAND COURT
by Celeste Barclay

THE HOLIDAY HUSSY
by Merry Farmer

DECEMBER DEBAUCHERY
by Em Brown

WEDDED IN WINTER
by Scarlett Scott

Once Upon a Christmas Wedding Historical Romance Box Set

It’s been a while since I posted and it’s difficult to know where to start when it comes to exciting news. I’ve been doing a lot of flying – Hong Kong, around the state of Victoria where I live, and another trip into South Australia where my family lives.

Once upon a Christmas Wedding Box Set

In terms of gala reveals, I think nothing beats our amazing Once Upon a Christmas Wedding Box set that I’m thrilled to be part of. With a lineup of 27 best-selling international authors, we’ve been quietly and secretly putting together our offering which will be available a little later this month. For the first couple of weeks it’ll be on Amazon at a discounted rate – and free in Kindle Unlimited – after which the price will rise. And then after Christmas, it will be no more. So you’ll have to grab it when it’s here.

But don’t worry, I’ll let you know as soon as it’s released – since it won’t be on pre-order.

What is my book in the collection about?

I thought you’d never ask! It’s called Christmas Charity and it’s part of my Fair Cyprians of London series. Christmas Charity will be Book 5 in the series which features a group of spirited, enterprising young women who find themselves working for notorious brothel-keeper Madam Chambon, the owner of London’s most high class House of Assignation.

Charity is the daughter of a governess who’d had her out of wedlock having been seduced – then abandoned – by a handsome visitor to the household where she’d worked. When her mother had died, Charity had had to fend for herself, but the kind woman she’d met on the coach hadn’t directed her to where she could find work as a servant, she’d directed her to Madame Chambon, procuress for her high class House of Assignation.

Fortunately for Charity, her very first client is her soul mate. Hugo is a virgin, sent to Madame Chambon’s by his tyrannical father to lean to ‘be a man’. He’s also kind, sensitive and a talented painter.

But Hugo’s social-climbing father is determined that, with his newly acquired (though trade-tainted) fortune, his son is going to marry into the aristocracy.

And so his steely ambition to see his family rise in the world is pitted against Hugo’s gentle determination to marry the girl he loves.

Of course, you’ll want the blurb for Christmas Charity, which goes like this:

Reluctant courtesan, Charity, has found true love with Hugo, her first and only client. But when poet and artist, Hugo, is tricked into gambling away his impending inheritance, Charity finds herself at the mercy of Madam Chambon and her infamous house of ill-repute.

Can the two young lovers thwart the conspiracy between Hugo’s social-climbing father, and slippery cousin Cyril, so Hugo can make Charity his Christmas bride?

Stay tuned until the next snippet reveal. There are 27 fabulous stories in this wonderful box set so you’re in for a treat!

Historical costumes

1912 Titanic dressAs you might know – or have guessed if you’ve read any of my FB posts or guest blogs – I love historical costuming.

So this is a short post with a few pictures of my projects – completed and future – and my ideas around them.

On Friday afternoon, the house experienced the chaos before the calm as we prepared for our daughter’s 18th birthday party, which was Titanic-themed.

So, of course, she needed a dress and I made her this 1912 recreation. She also needed a corset, so I drafted this from an earlier era – the 1880s, actually, but that’s what she thought she’d get most use out of as she wanted something to draw in her waist rather than the more elongated corset of the 1912 era.

 

Here’s the dress that was the initial inspiration (with its tiny waist), but of course finding the right quality fabric when one doesn’t live in the city and has time constraints presents certain challenges. And I really like to feel the texture of the fabric before I buy.

 Although clothing looked far less structured, there is still boning in the bodice and it does require a corset. However, the gauzy fabric gives a more floaty impression while the decoration of beads and metallic trimmings weighted the fabric so it didn’t fly away.

Next post I’ll show you the two 1880s original dress patterns I’ve bought as well as the original fashion plates from one of my favourite eras.

Rafflecopter Contest

CONGRATULATIONS, JOY!

I’ve just emailed to ask you where I should send your copy of Wicked Wager. Thank you so much for entering the Rafflecopter contest!

Win a Paperback or Large Print copy of Wicked Wager Plus a bag of Caramello Koalas

Wicked Wager

“It wasn’t what I expected in a romance, but then sometimes the unexpected is the best experience. Definitely worth reading! The author is a new favorite for me.” ~ Amazon Reader

“At first the book reminded me of Dangerous Liaisons because of Xenia, the creepy, bored, and meddling seductress, the wager, and the rake, Perry, preying on the innocent Celeste. It was sort of like Deja Vue all over again, but it’s actually quite different! There is much much more story to this fascinating book!” ~ Amazon Reader

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wedding Violet Extract (New pre-order)

Wedding VioletA few days ago I returned from South Australia after a week of painting and plastering our three cottages there. I’m about to post some pictures on Facebook but suffice to say it was great fun, though tiring! Especially the ten-hour drive home which I did on my own as my husband had to fly to Hong Kong.

So, now I’m back into the thick of work and writing my next story – Wedding Violet. Here’s a taster with the first chapter for you to read. I’m crazily getting it finished during the next few days so my editor can read it before she goes on her cruise.

I hope you enjoy it!

Wedding Violet

Abandoned at the altar, Max, Lord Belvedere believes he’s evaded family obligation in favour of a life of adventuring in Africa. But his ailing Aunt Euphemia has other ideas.

When Max finds himself in the delightfully diverting arms of Violet Lilywhite while visiting London’s most prestigious House of Assignation, he happens upon the perfect plan. A sham wedding to a ‘penniless shop girl’ should fulfil Aunt Euphemia’s romantic dreams without losing him his newfound liberty.

Violet agrees to the deception with no hesitation. Lord Belvedere is certainly the most charming and surprising of all her male consorts but she has no illusions about a shared future. She wants only to escape the clutches of infamous Madame Chambon.

The plan appears perfect until Max and Violet find themselves falling in love.

Just as it seems Aunt Euphemia will have her romantic finale, a shock discovery threatens the foundation of Max and Violet’s relationship, challenging their belief in love, their trust and their hopes for a future together.

What Readers Say About the Series:

“Writer was able to get a 7-course meal into a sandwich sized novel. It was exciting and emotional. Sexy and romantic.”

“This is one of the most interesting stories on why a girl might become an escort.. The twists and turns are breathtaking…I couldn’t put this down.”

“Oh my! This story just makes you fall in love! It’s exciting. It never lags. And what a most satisfying ending!”

Heat Level: Hot (though certainly not at the expense of the story)!

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon AUS

All other retailers here.

Read an Extract

 

What’s in a Name – Solomon Islands Reflections

Today I was telling my daughter I was in the midst of a naming crisis. I didn’t know what I call Book 5 of my Fair Cyprians of London series when, so far, I have the following:

Saving Grace

Forsaking Hope

Keeping Faith

Picking Violet

She didn’t give me any suggestions however she told me she’d recently stumbled upon an old blog I’d written in June 2011 in which I’d talked about that very thing.

“What’s in a Name?” I’d called it.

It was like reading my diary from an interesting and somewhat turbulent time in my life. So, for fun, I’ll reblog it here.

What’s in a Name?

Rose, Mauwisa, Sophie and Bevie
Rose, Mauwisa, Sophie and Bevie

Choosing a heroine’s name is a tricky business. It must reflect her personality but as you and she will be spending a lot of time together, you want to love it, too.

I named my eldest daughter Sophie after the heroine of my first unpublished manuscript, written when I was seventeen. The book languished, unforgotten in a drawer but twenty years later Sophie got a new lease of life when my Norwegian husband and I chose it as a name that would work in both our homelands.

Names can sometimes appear like omens or talismans – or pegs on which to hang seemingly arbitrary life decisions.

When Sophie was two and we decamped to the Pacific where my husband Eivind was the new Chief Pilot of Solomon Airlines, many local girls turned up applying for the job of nanny and house girl. I’d recently started a new Regency Historical Romance featuring the lovely Rose Chesterfield so when one of the applicants told me her name was Rose it seemed a good omen. I hired her on the spot.
Me and Sophie on the Solomons
Me and Sophie on the Solomons

Rose was my heroine, both on paper and in real life. My earnest, hardworking Solomon Islands Rose from the island of Malaita took charge of the needs of house, husband and high octane toddler, enabling me to give my fictional Rose a life in the third dimension.

Nearly eight years later and with two books completed in the interim Rose Chesterfield in A Little Deception has had as many ups and downs as we’ve had in our married lives living in ten different countries. Barely recognisable as the original, A Little Deception tells the story of grand deceiver Rose Chesterfield who risks her reputation to save the family sugar plantation and winds up married to the deliciously notorious rake Viscount Rampton. Unfortunately what appears to be a happy ending is only the beginning of many trials and tribulations as a jealous adversary implicates Rose in a series of high profile jewel heists. When past secrets rear their ugly heads Rose must prove more than her innocence to regain the love of her once-smitten husband.
It was a lively, exhausting story which certainly underwent its own trials and tribulations. After winning the Strictly Single competition in was requested and ultimately rejected by Avon Senior Editor Erika Tsang, rewritten and finally sold to Robert Hale after I cut a further 15000 words from it.
Like my previous two books – Lady Sarah’s Redemption and Lady Farquhar’s Butterfly – the cover art was done by talented artist David Young. However when I look at the cover of A Little Deception I see more than just the beautiful ballroom scene. Instead I recall the sparkling vista of azure seas dotted with islands which I gazed upon from my verandah as I typed, sometimes in high spirits after a liquid lunch at the Honiara Hotel with friends from my multicultural mother’s group.
The expat community was small and vibrant. Barely a year had passed since the violent coup which brought down the government in 2000 and bullet holes still peppered some of the public buildings. RAMSI (Royal Australian Mission to Solomon Islands) was an initiative of the future, the roads were filled with potholes the size of craters and the evidence of a crumbling infrastructure was all around us. As we involved ourselves in volunteer work from providing water tanks and generators for the hospital to beautifying the capital to encourage business investment and tourism, we partied enthusiastically.
One of our favourite pastimes was descending into the unpleasant smelling basement of ‘XJ6’ every second Wednesday for the ‘ripping’ of the newly arrived bale of second hand clothing from Australia and New Zealand and to rummage through the flotsam and jetsam in search of the beautiful ‘seconds’ where everything cost the equivalent of one Australian dollar.
It was a competitive pastime and lots of fun appearing at the next embassy function kitted out in such affordable Lisa Ho, Perri Cutten or Alanah Hill designer wear. The foraging of two years in the Solomons has provided my attire for the Romance Writers of Australia’s conference dinners for the past eight years.
A Little Deception is due out in hardcover at the end of June and I have a number of library talks lined up throughout Melbourne. I like to think of my two heroines, deceiving debutante Rose Chesterfield and my own loyal Rose, enjoying a rosy future beyond the launch.

We were all casualties of a strife-torn political system. When our tenure on the island we considered our new home was cut unexpectedly short we could no longer provide Rose with a job as we no longer had one, ourselves. Rose went back to her subsistence existence on her island while we drifted, without a home base for many months, until a job came up and we established our footing on the next rung of the shaky ladder of life.

Rose Chesterfield was the panacea to my once nomadic existence while Malaitan Rose was my friend who learned English through our many conversations over the jugs of ‘bush lime’ for which she was famous.

A name is so much more than just a name and I miss both my Roses who are no longer such a large part of my life.

End of Blog