Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Welcome to Historical Author - Libby Ashworth

I’m delighted to welcome Libby Ashworth to the blog.

Libby Ashworth - Author

Hello Libby – Thank you for joining me on the Arabella’s Blog and Chit-Chat. But before we discover more about your latest release, The Cotton Spinner, here are a few questions which will hopefully give your readers and followers an insight into some of the things that matter to you.


Arabella: Authors can release books, making them available to readers in various ways…via an agent, or working directly with a traditional publisher, or they can even go the self-publishing route. Which method of publishing do you prefer, and why?
Libby: I’ve had experience of a variety of publishing routes. I’ve been a published short story for a long time and those stories were always sold directly to magazines. My first novel The de Lacy Inheritance was also sold directly to a small independent publisher, Myrmidon. After that I was taken on by an agent, but it didn’t work out so I decided to self publish some of my work. Then I was accepted by my current agent, Felicity Trew at the Caroline Sheldon Literary Agency and she is such a treasure! She negotiated a contract with Arrow (Penguin Random House) within weeks of me signing up with her and working with an enthusiastic agent and the editors at one of the major publishing houses has been an amazing experience. So, if I were to give any advice to other authors who are still seeking representation and a publishing contract I would say aim high and keep on trying, but don’t be afraid of using other routes as well.

Arabella: A slice of Chocolate Cake, a piece of Fruit, or Burger and Fries?
Libby: My hand is hovering over the chocolate cake but my blood sugar level is telling me to pick fruit!



Arabella: Who or what inspired you to write your latest release, The Cotton Spinner?
Libby: I had the idea for my latest book, The Cotton Spinner, when I was researching my family history. I could see from the census records that my ancestors had moved from the small village of Whalley into the town of Blackburn, about ten miles away, during the years of the Industrial Revolution. They had been working as hand spinners and hand loom weavers and it was clear that they had been forced to find work in the mills. It was whilst I was wondering how they had coped with such a huge change in their lifestyle that I decided to tell their story.

Arabella: If the person of your dreams, (husband/wife/partner/or superstar), were to take you out for the night, where would they take you and what would you do?
Libby: I’m not really a party person, but I do love the natural world. I’ve always wanted to see the northern lights – and it would be wonderful to see them with the person of my dreams. But if I were with the person of my dreams I think even a shooting star would be enough.

Northern Lights

Arabella: Currently, what is your most favourite T.V. programme, and why?
Libby: The trouble with watching drama on television when you’re a writer is the temptation to analyse it too closely and begin to edit it in your head! The best dramas are the ones that I become so involved in that I forget to do that. I don’t have a particular favourite at the moment, but amongst the ones I’ve enjoyed lately are The Split (and also I’ve caught up with The Hour on iplayer which I thought was excellent). I’ve also watched the new Star Trek series on Amazon Prime – Picard, which I enjoyed. I like Gardeners’ World too; it’s very soothing. I also have a soft spot for Inspector Montelbano, although I think I may be missing a lot by having to rely on subtitles

Star Trek - Picard

Arabella: When writing a book or chapter, which do you concentrate on first: plot, character, or setting?
Libby: It’s always a mixture. I think the character comes first, but where they live and what happens to them is what makes me want to tell their story.

Arabella: How do you research your novels and characters?
Libby: One of my mainstays for researching The Mill Town Lasses series is a book that originally belonged to my late father and is signed by the author George Miller. It’s called Blackburn – the Evolution of a Cotton Town and is filled with historical detail and extracts from local newspapers over the years. Little did I know when I saw it on the bookshelf when I was a child what use I would make of it!

Arabella: What advice would you give to someone who is starting out on their writing journey?
Libby: Be persistent. Believe in yourself and never give up. I was considering giving up a couple of years ago, but decided to have one last round of submissions to agents with The Cotton Spinner. If I had given up, the story would still be sitting on my computer rather than the shelves of the bookshops.

Libby – It was great having you on Arabella’s Blog and Chit-Chat and I hope your readers enjoyed discovering some of your writing secrets. A trip to see the Northern Lights to view the aurora borealis sounds amazing.
Best wishes for your release, The Cotton Spinner
Arabella
www.arabellasheen.co.uk


About Libby: Ashworth

Libby Ashworth - Author

Libby Ashworth was born and raised in Lancashire, where she can trace her family back to the Middle Ages. It was while researching her family history that she realised there were so many stories about ordinary working people that she wanted to tell. She has previously written historical novels - The de Lacy Inheritance and By Loyalty Bound – as well as local history books. The Cotton Spinner is her first saga novel. Libby currently lives in Lancashire with her son.

Social Media Links:
Facebook: Libby Ashworth @elizabethashworth
Twitter: @elizashworth
Instagram: libbyashworthauthor


Book Blurb:  The Cotton Spinner



Lancashire, 1826
When Jennet and Titus Eastwood are forced to move from their idyllic cottage into the centre of Blackburn to find work in the cotton mills, their lives are changed in ways they could never have imagined and their new home on Paradise Lane is anything but . . .
Then Titus is arrested and sent to prison for attending a Reform meeting. Jennet is left to fend for herself and things go from bad to worse as she finds herself pregnant and alone – with another man’s child . . .

The Mill Town Lasses is a saga series. The Cotton Spinner is the first book, out 16th April, to be followed by A Lancashire Lass in August and a third book in February 2021.

Buy Links:

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Friday, 24 April 2020

Castell's Passion by Arabella Sheen - EXCERPT 1



Castell’s Passion

Arabella Sheen

A night in his arms, but it comes at a price. Will her heart survive?

Billionaire Marc Castell, owner of the Castell Hotel Group, isn’t looking for love. His jet-set lifestyle means he’s a ‘love them and leave them’ type of guy…that is, until Kate McKenna walks into his life.
Kate is on the warpath. Her underage sister is planning to spend a weekend in Paris with Marc’s nephew, and she’s determined to put a stop to the affair before it begins.
Marc has a plan of his own. He promises to save Kate’s sister from his nephew, but there’s a condition attached. Kate has to travel to Cannes with him and play the part of his girlfriend―including spending the night in his bed. Marc hopes this will solve the problem of the unwanted advances he’s been receiving from his friend’s wife. But whenever Marc takes Kate in his arms his world is turned upside down, and he discovers he wants more from her than a casual weekend fling.
Kate has no time for sexy, powerful playboys. She’s too busy building her career and expanding her catering business. But when she gets to know the man behind the façade, she wonders if she can resist the sensual attraction growing between them. Will she be seduced by his charm and sacrifice everything she believes in for one night of passion in his arms?

Marc has a battle on his hands as he strives to win Kate’s love…and her heart.



CHAPTER  ONE


“Mr. Castell, there’s a Ms. Kate McKenna to see you, sir.”
The door to Castell’s office was ajar, and from across the spacious foyer Kate could hear the receptionist asking him if he would see an unexpected visitor.
Kate heard his firm response. It was a loud, clear, and decisive “No.”
Before Kate had time for second thoughts, she sprung from her chair, grabbed her handbag, and made a beeline across the hall toward the lion’s den. She was like a torpedo on a self-destruct mission. Nothing was stopping her. Not even the defenseless receptionist guarding the door to the inner sanctum of Castell’s office.
Barging into the room, Kate stood her ground. At last she was facing Castell—the man she’d come to see—and she wasn’t moving...at least not until she’d said what she’d come to say.
The enemy was before her, and with an impatient, defiant toss of her head she waited undaunted for his reaction. None came. There was no backlash of anger and no verbal assault of harsh, insensitive words. The man remained silent.
A stony quietness filled the room, and without commentary, he observed her as if making a cold, calculating assessment of her. Sitting at his desk, he leaned backward, relaxing into the backrest of his swivel chair, and with dark, mysterious eyes he examined Kate from the top of her head to her feet, and he wasn’t missing a thing.
Kate was dressed in a pair of faded jeans that was a size too small, and a skimpy cotton top which was a little too short. Some people might think her outfit looked casual and too sexy for such opulent surroundings, but today she didn’t care what she looked like. She was in no mood to worry one iota what others thought.
She wasn’t there to impress. She was there, at Castell House in Grosvenor Square, the headquarters of the Castell Hotel Group in London, to deliver her message and get her point across. She was going to make it crystal clear to Mr. “Casanova” Castell that he was to keep his hands off her sister Nikki.
Adrenaline was pumping through her veins, and she was ready to do battle. Even though her heart was hammering fiercely in her chest, she was holding her nerve.
She guessed Castell must be in his early thirties. Power and authority was oozing from him, and against her will, she found herself physically drawn toward him. There was an instant attraction, a compelling pull. And she didn’t know if her anger was fueling her emotions or if it was his magnetism.
Now she understood why Nikki was attracted to him. She could see and feel the chemistry he radiated for herself. Castell was an impressive figure of a man and one look from those dark, piercing eyes left her enthralled.
Jet-black hair touched the collar of his crisp, white shirt. He was clean-shaven, bronzed, and an uber-smart dresser. At a guess she’d say he was wearing a hand-made Savile Row suit, but she could be wrong. His suit jacket was draped around the back of his chair, but it didn’t really matter, because she knew that whatever Castell wore he would look like the high-powered finance magnet he was.
Standing in front of his desk, she was aware of his penetrating gaze. There was no mistaking the attraction in his eyes. He was assessing her, weighing her up, and Kate could tell by the slow, seductive smile showing on Castell’s face that he was interested.
It had taken a lot of effort and nerve on her part to get past the barrage of security personnel protecting him. But she’d done it. And she was sure that was something very few people had managed to achieve.
In the stillness of the room Kate felt something stir deep within her, and for a brief moment she thought she saw a flicker of the same desire mirrored on his face.
Castell was the most magnificent looking man she’d ever seen, and as he shuffled the papers he’d been reading, she wondered what it would be like to feel those strong, masculine hands on her body. She could only imagine the heated torture they would inflict, but it was a heated torture she was certain any woman would be willing to endure.
He was sex on legs, and with his potent looks she could understand why, and how, any woman, including her sister, would feel sexually drawn to him. She sensed it would be so easy to succumb to his wishes and bend to his will.
“That will be all, Clair,” Castell said to the receptionist in his deeply emphasized French accent.
Tingles ran up and down Kate’s spine at the sound of his voice. That sexy voice was enough to make any woman go weak at the knees.
Clair left the room, and as the door closed behind her Castell pointed to a sofa at the far end of the room, indicating for Kate to sit down.
“Take a seat. I shan’t be long,” he said. Then, ignoring her as if she were no longer present in the room, he returned to the pile of paperwork in front of him.
Looking at the man working behind the desk, Kate realized he wasn’t at all what she’d expected. She’d thought Eduardo Castell would be nearer Nikki’s age. This man wasn’t, and it made the situation worse than she’d originally thought it was. Castell was no young adolescent. He was a mature adult who was, at a guess, at least twice her sister’s age.
“I need to talk to you about Nikki,” she said with resolution in her voice. She wasn’t going to be brushed off or dismissed out of hand. She was going to make herself heard.
“And I said sit.” He didn’t even look up.
Kate opened her mouth to protest, but then thought better of it. On trembling legs she went to the far side of the room, tossed her handbag carelessly onto one of the sofas, and taking a seat, waited for the overbearing, obnoxious Mr. Castell to finish what he was doing.

Castell’s Passion
Copyright © 2016, Arabella Sheen
ISBN: 9781944270384
Publisher: Beachwalk Press, Inc.
Electronic Publication: August 2016
Editor: Pamela Tyner
Cover: Fantasia Frog Designs

eBooks are not transferable. No part of this book may be used or reproduced without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations in articles and reviews.

This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The characters are productions of the author’s imagination and used fictitiously.



About Arabella Sheen


Arabella Sheen

Arabella Sheen is a British author of contemporary romance and likes nothing more than the challenge of starting a new novel with fresh ideas and inspiring characters.
One of the many things Arabella loves to do is to read. And when she’s not researching or writing about romance, she is either on her allotment sowing and planting with the seasons or she is curled on the sofa with a book, while pandering to the demands of her attention-seeking cat.
Having lived and worked in the Netherlands as a theatre nurse for nearly twenty years, she now lives in the south-west of England with her family.
Arabella hopes her readers have as much pleasure from her romance stories as she has in writing them.

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Amazon - Kobo - Nook - Apple - etc. https://books2read.com/u/3yvzpV



Arabella Sheen http://www.arabellasheen.co.uk/ 




Wednesday, 22 April 2020

Welcome to Historical Author - Victoria Cornwall

I’m delighted to welcome historical author – Victoria Cornwall to my blog.

Victoria Cornwall - Author


Hello Victoria – I’m so thrilled to have you on Arabella’s Blog and Chit-Chat today. I can recall so clearly the occasion we first met. Having been shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association – New Writers’ Scheme – Joan Hessayon Award, we had gathered at The Royal Over-Seas League building in London with fellow NWS members. We were there to celebrate the release of our romance books into the big wide world of publishing. What a fun evening it was, and what wonderful writing adventures we’ve had since then.
But before we learn about your latest release, Daniel’s Daughter, here are a few questions which will hopefully give your readers an insight into some of the things that matter to you.


Arabella: How did you manage to get your first historical novel published and what did you learn from the experience?
Victoria: My first historical novel was self-published. It was not the route I wanted to take, but at the time I was finding it difficult to secure an agent. I initially self-published two books (one of which was short-listed for the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romantic Fiction).

I decided to submit my third novel directly to a traditional independent publisher and was finally successful. They asked to look at my previous self-published novels, loved them and went on to publish those too. This year they are publishing my sixth historical novel so I’m glad I did not give up after those initial rejection letters from agents. Receiving those rejection letters almost crushed my motivation to keep submitting. Since then I have learnt my experience is not uncommon. The path to publication is often littered with rejections and it is the same journey that the majority of writers have had to walk.

Arabella: If you could choose, which would it be: A stroll in the woods, a walk along a beachfront to dip your toes in the sea, or a day shopping for clothes?
Victoria: I love a good ramble through the woods, but my favourite walk is along the coast. I have walked a third of the coastal path surrounding Cornwall and intend to complete it over the next few years. The scenery is stunning, the terrain varied and each new phase has a tale to tell, whether it’s Cornwall’s smuggling past, mining, the growth in tourism or the decline of the quaint fishing villages. However my walking shoes will stay firmly on my feet as the sea is a bit too cold for me!



  
Arabella: Who or what inspired you to write your latest historical release, Daniel’s Daughter?
Victoria: Daniel’s Daughter is a stand-alone novel, however the heroine is the daughter of the hero in one of my previous novels, The Captain’s Daughter. Although I have written several books between the two, I always wondered if baby Grace would ever discover the horrifying family secret. In Daniel’s Daughter Grace has become an adult and does exactly that! The revelation shocks her to the core and it is how she reacts to the discovery that initiates the main plot of the story. So in a way, Daniel’s Daughter came about as I wanted to find out what Grace would be like as an adult. However is should point out that you can read Daniel’s Daughter without having read The Captain’s Daughter.

Arabella: Who is your preferred romance author, and what draws you to their books and genre?
Victoria: In the past I have made no secret that I enjoy Winston Graham’s Poldark series, however, I do enjoy a Gloria Cook romance too. I like her style of writing and her books keep me turning the pages.

Arabella: Some authors write at first light, others need a mug of coffee or a glass of wine before putting pen to paper. When writing, are there any “essentials” you need to help the words flow?
Victoria: I need to be alone, with no interruptions. I usually have a mug of coffee by my side and my notes scattered all around me. I have written many of my books sitting on a bed, with lots of comfy pillows behind me. The most essential thing I need is time, I am not one of those writers who can snatch snippets of time and write. I need several hours, as I need to remind myself where I am in the plot and get my mind tuned into the era in order for my creativity to start flowing. Sometimes I write pages, other times only a paragraph emerges, so I never set myself a word goal. It is quality that counts, not quantity.



  
Arabella: You’re halfway through the work-in-progress, you’re about to kill off the hero and there is going to be no happy-ever-after. In other words, you’re stuck! If you had to contact an “author/publisher/editor friend” for guidance, who would it be?
Victoria: I would contact Morton S.Gray. We met through the Romantic Novelists Association and are in regular contact about all things to do with writing. I find talking things through (or having a rant) can often throw up the solution and it’s great to have someone who replies to my frantic message so quickly. However, as I am a plotter, I don’t envisage ever finding myself about to kill off the hero, but plot holes are a very real possibility that I have to watch for as my stories do have certain twists and revelations.

Arabella: Your next historical WIP (work in progress) is on schedule, and it’s time to take a break and relax. Which film, T.V. drama, book, or theatre performance would you choose to watch or read (again J) ?
1) Persuasion - Austen
2) Macbeth - Shakespeare
3) A Christmas Carol – Dickens
4) Other…
Victoria: Other: I would happily watch the 1995 series of Pride & Prejudice, starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. It is one of the best historical adaptations, as large amounts of the dialogue are taken directly from the book, the costumes are accurate and exquisite, and the acting brilliant. I loved it and have watched it many times over the years. I think if a classic novel is adapted to screen, it should stay close to the original book, because it is the book the fans love. I just don’t understand why many modern adaptations have to add things, remove things or add new characters to spice things up. It disappoints loyal book fans as the books have become classics for the simple reason that they are brilliant in their own right. Should my books ever be adapted into film, I would want them close to the original novel.

Pride and Prejudice


Arabella: Do you have any great writing, publishing, or marketing tips you’d like to share to “want-to-be” historical authors starting out on their writing journey?
Victoria: Don’t lose the reader’s interest, because once you have lost them, it is hard to get them back. I try to do this in the following ways:-

Ensure the main characters are worthy of the reader’s time. Is there a reason for the reader to care about them? Like them? Respect them? Empathise with them?

Ensure each chapter has a purpose and end the chapter with a thought, a hook or perhaps even place a question in the reader’s mind so they want to turn the page to find out what happens next.

Ensure there is some sort of closure, so at the end of the book the reader feels a sense of satisfaction. This is why my Cornish Tales series are stand-alone tales with a beginning, middle and an end, despite them all being linked by family. A romance reader deserves a satisfying end as they have spent hours of their precious time reading in order for the heroine and hero to reach their goal.

Don’t reveal everything at once. A reader wants to feel that they are discovering new things along the way, whether it’s about the characters, about the setting, about the ultimate goal or the historical period.

Keep the reader on their toes to keep their interest by adding a plot twist, or a sudden change of direction (which must make sense). A reader wants a satisfying end, but the journey there should be anything but laborious. The journey should evoke a range of emotions and provide varying levels of tension, just like the roller coast ride of falling in love.



Victoria, thank you for sharing a little bit about yourself and your writing experiences with your readers.
I love the point you made about never setting word goals, and that it is quality that counts, and not quantity.
And as for your writing tips…I think I’ll pinch them. J
Best wishes for your latest release - Daniel’s Daughter
Arabella Sheen



About Victoria Cornwall

Victoria Cornwall - Author


Victoria Cornwall grew up on a farm in Cornwall. She can trace her Cornish roots as far back as the 18th century and it is this background and heritage which is the inspiration for her Cornish based novels. Following a fulfilling twenty-five year career as a nurse, a change in profession finally allowed her the time to write.

Victoria’s writing has been shortlisted for the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romantic Fiction and twice nominated for the RONÉ “Best Indie or Small Published book” Award. In 2017, her debut novel, The Thief’s Daughter, was published by award winning independent publisher, Choc Lit, and was a finalist for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Joan Hessayon Award.

Victoria is married and has two grown up children. She likes to read and write historical fiction with a strong background story, but at its heart is the unmistakable emotion, even pain, of loving someone.


Website and Social Media Links:
Twitter: @VickieCornwall
Pinterest: uk.pinterest.com/vickiecornwall






Book Blurb:  Daniel’s Daughter

Sometimes the truth is not easy to say and even harder to hear …

Cornwall, 1895
Grace Kellow is a young woman with a strong sense of who she is and where she comes from. As the daughter of a well-respected Cornish dairy owner Daniel Kellow, her existence in the village of Trehale is comfortable and peaceful.

But then handsome Talek Danning comes striding over Hel Tor, and soon after his arrival Grace is hit with a revelation that leaves her questioning her identity and her place in the Trehale community.

In her hour of need, Talek and his sister Amelia offer Grace sanctuary – but wherever Grace runs, her secret will follow …

Release Date:
Tuesday, 24th March, 2020



BUY LINKS:
Amazon UK

Amazon US

ibooks

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Friday, 17 April 2020

Westbury by Arabella Sheen - EXCERPT 7





Westbury

A Traditional Regency Romance

Arabella Sheen


Can Miss Georgina Morton surrender her independence and accept the Duke’s love?

Miss Georgina Morton, at the age of four-and-twenty, with a modest annual income of four hundred pounds, believes she has no need of a husband and can manage quite nicely without one. Yet within a matter of weeks, she’s betrothed to Giles Glentworth, the Sixth Duke of Westbury, and bound for Regency London.
Set in rural Wiltshire and elegant, fast-paced London...a runaway ward, a shooting at midnight, and a visit to fashionable Almack’s, are only a few of the adventures Georgina enjoys while falling for the Corinthian charms of the Duke.



Chapter Two     Excerpt 7   continued…


Some years ago, Georgina’s parents had hired a house in Claremont Square for the London Season. They had taken her to London with the intention of presenting her to society so that she might find a suitable man to make a match with and marry. Georgina had done all the things a debutante should do. She’d gone to balls, danced the night away, and she’d made lots of new friends.
It was whilst paying a morning visit to one of her friends―Clarissa Davenport―that Georgina first encountered “Cousin Giles.” He had been known as the Marquis of Glentworth, and her encounter with him was anything but pleasant.
At the time, Georgina hadn’t known who the Marquis of Glentworth was, and it was only later in the season when someone pointed him out as being none other than the next Duke of Westbury, that she discovered his true identity.
Having called upon Clarissa to indulge in a delightful tête-à-tête about a ball they attended the night before, Georgina left her friend’s house and was making her way back to Claremont Square on foot when the Marquis of Glentworth almost knocked her down with his phaeton.
He was considered London’s most eligible bachelor and thought of by the ladies of the ton as the undisputed dandy of the Season. But that didn’t matter to Georgina. All she remembered about the Marquis was that he was the most arrogant, high-handed man she’d ever met, and he’d behaved atrociously toward her.
Whether he’d seen her crossing the road or whether she’d stepped off the curb too quickly was irrelevant. It was the fact that he’d chosen to give her a dressing down in public that riled her.
There was no doubt the Marquis veered his horses away to the side of the road with great skill. And his competence in avoiding an accident was excellent. But she felt there was no need for him to have shouted her down in such an ungentlemanly fashion in front of passers-by. He’d been completely and utterly discourteous.
His displeasure with her was apparent, and people at the roadside, witnessing their altercation, had been thoroughly entertained by her discomfort. For her it was an excruciatingly painful and embarrassing event. And she’d been disconcertingly mortified.
“You there,” the Marquis had called out. “Where are you bound in such a hurry? I assume you know you have crossed the road with unseeming recklessness?”
The Marquis was a fine figure of a man. Handsome enough, with a crop of thick, raven-black hair swept back from his brow in the style known as a Brutus. His features, although not rugged, were strong and compelling. And his penetrating eyes, by startling contrast, were of a cool steely grey that was mesmerising. But his good looks and manly attractiveness did not sway her from the fact that his gentleman-like behaviour wasn’t up to scratch or that he was shouting, giving her a dressing down in public.
Flustered and on the point of apologising for her hasty action, Georgina remained silent. When she heard his angry words and the tone of voice in which he spoke, she pointedly ignored his outburst and concentrated solely on straightening her lopsided bonnet. But when his horses moved, restlessly shaking their manes for attention, her bonnet, which had by now fallen from her head and dangled by its ribbons down her back, was completely forgotten.
Drawing near to where the high-perch phaeton stood, and with total disregard for her safety, she’d gone to the front of the carriage, taken the horses’ bridles in her gloved hands, and tried to calm them. Stroking their forelocks, she’d spoken soothing words before fixing a steely glare of disdain upon their owner.
Never before had she been more thankful for all the hours she’d spent in her bedchamber as a young girl, standing in front of the mirror, practising and perfecting the art of delivering the harshest of stares imaginable. Any lesser man than the Marquis would have baulked at her glower, but her unflinching look seemed not to affect him.
“Had you been more attentive, sir, there would have been no need for you to have pulled so harshly on these reins. You might have ruined their sensitive mouths.”
“Let me tell you, young Miss, no one has ever dared question me on the treatment of my horses before. You are the first person to do so.”
Georgina was surprised by the incensed and irate reaction of the Marquis. She’d ruffled his feathers.
“Really? You astonish me, sir. Perhaps someone ought to have done so before.”
He adjusted his grip on the reins. “I pride myself on giving my thoroughbreds only the finest. Nothing is of more importance to me than my horses’ wellbeing. They always have the best of everything. The best stables, the best grooms, the best fodder, and I never leave them standing outside in the cold waiting on my pleasure. Never. How dare you say I might have ruined their mouths?”
Bravely ignoring his outburst, Georgina began gingerly inspecting the horses, searching for any damage that might have been caused. There was none. But that was of no account.
Although the Marquis had skilfully handled his animals as any Corinthian, it was of no consequence to her. Her hackles were raised, and she was on the warpath. Given half the chance, she was ready to accuse him of anything and everything because of the way he made her feel and because of the telling off he’d given her.
“Had I not been vigilant, madam, my greys could have floored you, and the world would be minus your beauty.”
Georgina thought she detected a hint of tightly control sarcasm about this man, but giving him the benefit of the doubt, she decided she might be wrong. There was such an air of condemnation about him that she doubted he would ever have the inclination or the ability to stoop so low in order that he might indulge himself in something as meaningless and trivial as cynicism.
“I’m realistic enough to know I’m not a beauty, sir. I agree I may have momentarily lost my wits when crossing this road and that I might have been quite inconsiderate to these magnificent horses, but I’m not so stupid as to believe you when you call me a beauty.” Georgina tilted her head proudly in the air. “I must inform you that on more than one occasion I’ve been told my looks are passable, but a beauty I’m not. And never shall be.”
Giles had regarded her with a measuring look and then he’d laughed in disbelief. “Never before have I paid a woman a compliment and had it thrown back at me. I’m intrigued to know what kind of modest, self-effacing woman I’m talking to.”
“I’m not self-effacing, sir. I’m only truthful.”
“Then if you tell me you are not a beauty and inform me that my judgement is to be questioned, I must insist on having a closer look―for my eyes must be deceiving me. Come, step up into the carriage and allow me to inspect you.”
Giles drew off his gloves and tossed them onto the seat beside him. He reached down a hand to help her up, but with a shake of her head, she refused.
“Sir, I will not,” she said, affronted. “And you cannot make me.”
“Don’t fly into high fidgets. If you will not come to me then I shall have to come to you.”
With great agility, the Marquis tossed the reins of his phaeton to his tiger, the small groom who rode behind the carriage, and springing down, approached.
Even though Georgina trembled at his unexpected nearness, she stood her ground. Squaring her shoulders, she faced him full on, unafraid.
“I stand corrected,” he said, containing his merriment. “Allow me to revise my assessment.” Placing his fingers beneath her chin, he had tilted her head first sideways then up and down as he inspected her features. “You’re quite right. And I must with great reluctance agree with you. You do indeed have indifferent eyes, and your nose―it is only just passable. But I shall stand by my first impression concerning your lips. They are truly beautiful. So beautiful, that I deem they must be kissed. But perhaps we must save that for another time. Instead, I shall…”
And before Georgina realised what was happening, the Marquis had captured her hand in his and had raised it to his lips.
There had been no chance for her to move away or resist.
Someone amid the crowd of onlookers let out a loud roar of approval, but Georgina, ignoring the shouts of encouragement, began to struggle against the Marquis’s determined grip.
Her heart beat furiously in her chest. “Unhand me, sir,” she’d said. But the Marquis had paid no heed to her protests.
Instead, his hold had tightened further, and lifting her into his arms and tossing her carelessly onto the high perch of his phaeton, he’d climbed the steps of the carriage and positioned himself beside her.
Once again taking control of the reins, he’d asked, “Where to?”
“I don’t know what you mean,” she’d said, quite vexed.
“Where are you living? For I’m sure, that if I were to leave you here, you would soon be knocked over again. Or worse. Next time you might manage to get yourself killed.”
“Thank you,” she’d said between gritted teeth as she tried to maintain her countenance. “But I believe I can find my way home without your assistance.”
Wriggling on the seat, she removed the gloves upon which she’d been sitting and offered them to him but he completely ignored her activities and comments. With an adroit, dexterous flick of the wrist, he whipped the reins on high and set the horses in motion. Georgina couldn’t help but admire his skill with the ribbons as he controlled the high-steppers. His hands, adorned only with an elaborately embellished sardonyx signet ring on his left hand, were set off to perfection by the brown, white and tan bands of the precious stone, but they looked too soft to have the ability to control such powerful animals. But he could handle them well, and he did―with great expertise.
“This is not about you being able to find your way, madam. It is about the fact that you’re on the streets of London, unaccompanied. I trust you realise that I might not be available to save your reputation on another occasion such as this.”
Georgina couldn’t help herself. She scoffed at his remarks.
“Guff, sir!” she’d said crossly. “That is flimflam and nonsense. You think walking these streets unaccompanied and without my maid has done me harm? Let me inform you that by taking me up in your phaeton, you’ve placed me in a far worse position. I’m here with you―alone. More than likely this jaunt will be the ruin of me.”
“On the contrary, madam. It’s not every day I permit a female to ride beside me, and I suspect being seen in my company is going to do you a great deal of good.”
And so it was, that in great style, and accompanied by the Marquis of Glentworth, who was indeed a complete stranger to her, Miss Georgina Morton was dropped unceremoniously at the door of the hired house her parents had leased in Claremont Square.
Throughout the remainder of her London Season, occasionally, and through no doing of her own, she caught fleeting glimpses of the Marquis. She also heard ample gossip linking his name to that of Charlotte Bambridge. There had been rumours of a wedding, but that was all it must have been―rumours—because Abigail had said that Charlotte Bambridge was now Lady Thornton.
And as for the Marquis of Glentworth, all Georgina knew from what her father once read aloud from the public declarations in his much-valued journals, was that the Fifth Duke of Westbury had died, and that his son, Glentworth, had inherited the title.
The Marquis of Glentworth was now the Sixth Duke of Westbury.
Could ‘Cousin Giles’ be the Sixth Duke of Westbury? And if so, Georgina believed the difficulty of finding Abigail’s next-of-kin might be solved.
Georgina was going to have to make a difficult choice: to betray Abigail’s trust and contact the Duke or to wait until Abigail was discovered by her relatives, as she must eventually be.
After great deliberation, a difficult decision was made, and having sent off a letter informing the Duke of his cousin’s stay at Rose Hill House, Georgina didn’t anticipate a reply for at least a se’nnight―if not longer. She knew titled people such as Dukes and Earls were notorious for being constantly away from their estates, and she assumed the present Duke of Westbury was no exception.
Georgina felt the only course of action open to her was to sit and wait and see what happened. But meanwhile, there was the urgent problem of how to engage and entertain the Duke’s ward so that Abigail willingly remained at Rose Hill until the Duke arrived.


Disclaimer, Copyrights and Publishing
Any names or characters have no existence outside the imagination of the
author or are used fictitiously, and actual events are purely coincidental.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, transmitted, copied,
stored in a retrieval system known or hereinafter invented, without
written permission of the publisher.


Copyright © 2019 by – Arabella Sheen
Published by priceplacebooks

All rights reserved.
ISBN 978-0-9575698-4-3


About Arabella Sheen


Arabella Sheen


Arabella Sheen is a British author of contemporary romance and likes nothing more than the challenge of starting a new novel with fresh ideas and inspiring characters.
One of the many things Arabella loves to do is to read. And when she’s not researching or writing about romance, she is either on her allotment sowing and planting with the seasons or she is curled on the sofa with a book, while pandering to the demands of her attention-seeking cat.
Having lived and worked in the Netherlands as a theatre nurse for nearly twenty years, she now lives in the south-west of England with her family.
Arabella hopes her readers have as much pleasure from her romance stories as she has in writing them.

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