Search Results for: Beverley Eikli

VIRTUAL TOUR: Wicked Wager by Beverley Eikli

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A dissolute rake, a virtuous lady, a ruthless society beauty, and a missing plantation owner with secrets – just another day in Georgian England…

1780

Wealthy Jamaican plantation owner, Harry Carstairs has disappeared – and everyone wants to know where he is…

Celeste Rosington knows her place in society, and while she may not be overjoyed at her upcoming wedding to her detached cousin, Raphael, she nonetheless hopes the marriage will be successful. When Raphael asks her for her help to save Harry, she agrees. But her decision costs her more than she knows…

Celeste’s clandestine visit to Harry’s home is witnessed, and her connection to Harry misconstrued. Harry’s secrets put Celeste into more danger than even Raphael understands, and throws her into the path of the ruthless, cunning, beautiful Lady Busselton and the dissolute, dangerous Lord Peregrine.

Raphael is invested in keeping Harry alive. Lady Busselton is invested in keeping him quiet. Lord Peregrine is invested in anything that staves off boredom. And Celeste is becoming increasingly invested in Lord Peregrine.

After all, what resistance does an innocent young woman have against something so deliciously wicked?

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Publisher and Release Date: Escape Publishing, October, 2015

RHR Classifications:
Time and Setting: 1780, London, England
Genre: Historical mystery with a romance
Heat Level: 1.5
Reviewer Rating: 3.5 stars

Review by Maria Almaguer

BookCover_WickedWagerWicked Wager is the sixth historical romance by Beverley Eikli, a new-to-me author. She writes very well, with skill and elegance, and good pacing, but I really feel this is more of an historical mystery than a true romance. However, complex themes of revenge, the issue of slavery, and the illegality of homosexuality give the story rich substance.

There are hints of Choderlos de Laclos’ Dangerous Liaisons in this historical spiced with intrigue, but it’s not nearly as intense and serious as that masterful novel. In fact, at moments, it’s a little tongue in cheek and over the top.

Lord Peregrine (Perry) is your typical bored aristocrat. He has lusted after Xenia, Lady Busselton, a spiteful and wily widow, for ten long years and through two husbands. But before he can finally have her in his bed, she wants him to seduce the beautiful Lady Celeste Rosington, a young woman considered to be the cause of Perry’s sister Charlotte’s ruined engagement to one Harry Carstairs.

But when Perry meets Celeste, he falls head over heels in love with her – almost at first sight and a little too quickly – and his desire for Xenia cools drastically. He only wants Celeste and he doesn’t really think she is the cunning girl who destroyed his sister’s happiness. His transformation from supposed hardened rake to attentive lover is a bit abrupt but, in Ms Eikli’s skilled prose, it is handled smoothly.

Of course, this makes Xenia furious and this part of the story seems a bit much in its over-dramatization and histrionics. But it’s not badly written at all; in fact, it’s almost gothic in its portrayal. Rather like Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey.

Celeste is engaged to her cousin, Raphael, a weak man with his own secrets. His friend and fellow Jamaican plantation owner, Harry Carstairs, has gone missing and he wants Celeste’s help in finding him. She tried before, without success, and she feels compelled to bow to his wishes, as was usual of women of the time.

But theirs will be a loveless marriage, as Raphael has found another. Celeste wants to know love for herself and wants out of the betrothal but he will not concede and so she feels helpless.

The love story between Perry and Celeste is more sweet than sexy. There are hints of sexual tension toward the beginning of the novel when Perry pursues her, but then it kind of gives way to the mystery of who exactly is trying to bring about Celeste’s downfall. There is no true love scene.

There is a lot of vivid detail and description that places this novel firmly in the Georgian era: powdered and queued hairstyles, ornate decor and gilt furniture, the use of a rabbit’s foot to apply makeup, and elaborate lace on men’s sleeves.

The prose is somewhat tinged with the purple, especially in the latter half of the book: “the poisonous sludge in her veins flowered”– by the way, this phrase is used twice in the same chapter – and there is a modern usage of an idiom; for example, Celeste uses the phrase “called the shots”,which is first noted in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1967.

For sweet romance readers who enjoy a good historical mystery.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

beverly eikliBeverley Eikli wrote her first romance when she was seventeen but discovered that killing her heroine on the last page was death to her burgeoning romance writing career.

She became a journalist, occupied for many years with life’s newsworthy – but often, unhappy – events until romance finally trumped after she met a handsome Norwegian bush pilot around a camp fire in Botswana’s beautiful Okavango Delta where she was running a safari lodge for a couple of months.

Unhappily, Beverley was due to return home the following day to marry her Australian boyfriend.

Happily, though, that fell through and after a whirlwind eight-month courtship based on regular 18-page letters between Botswana and South Australia, Beverley returned to live with her handsome Norwegian bush pilot in a thatched cottage in the middle of a mopane forest beside a flood plain of lurking wild animals, marrying her handsome bush pilot in Norway shortly afterwards.

Twenty happy years—and 12 countries later—Beverley is now back in Australia living a more conventional life with her husband, two daughters and a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy the size of a pony in a pretty country town an hour north of Melbourne.

She writes traditional Regency romance as Beverley Eikli and sensual historical romance as Beverley Oakley.

You can connect with Beverley at: www.beverleyeikli.com * ~ * ~ * her blog * ~ * ~ * Twitter * ~ * ~ * Facebook.

Other reviews of books by this author: Maid of Milan * ~ * ~ * A Little Deception * ~ * ~ * Dangerous Gentlemen

SATURDAY SPOTLIGHT: Maid of Milan by Beverley Eikli

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After three years of marriage, Adelaide has fallen in love with the handsome, honourable husband who nurtured her through her darkest hours. Now Adelaide’s former lover, the passionate poet from whose arms she was torn by her family during their illicit liaison in Milan four years previously has returned, a celebrity due to the success of his book The Maid of Milan. High society is as desperate to discover the identity of his ‘muse’ as Adelaide is to protect her newfound love and her husband’s political career.

Author Beverley Eikli talks a little about her inspiration and the concept behind Maid of Milan

Thank you so much for letting me talk a little about my book, The Maid of Milan. I was very interested in exploring the concept of forgiveness. My heroine was once the archetypal ‘Regency party-girl’ but after making a terrible error of judgement she’s a very different person when she’s pressured by her mother into a respectable marriage. The decent, honourable man who marries her has no idea of the secret his young wife has been forced to keep; he’d no doubt have forgiven her if she’d been allowed to confess, as she’d wished, but the intense manipulation she endures means she compounds her first lie with even more lies.

And so begins a web of deceit with very unexpected consequences. In terms of striving for an atmosphere of distrust and subtle manipulation I was influenced by the 1950’s black and white movie, Gaslight, starring Ingrid Bergman, as well as personal experience. But at the heart of this book is the question: ‘How far does forgiveness stretch? And do we have different cut-off points?’

You can read our review HERE

EXCERPT

It was not the name by which she knew him. Since inheriting the title, he’d won celebrity as a poet and become the darling of the gossip columnists. Adelaide’s mother couldn’t keep those snippets of the real world from her, though she tried.

James. Fifth Viscount Dewhurst. Adelaide closed her eyes against the afternoon sun and tried to block her last memory of him: desperate, pleading. Not the James she knew – the irrepressible charmer who knew no woman could resist him, least of all Adelaide.

Tristan must have misinterpreted her shocked silence for memory failure, for he squeezed her hand and repeated, ‘Lord Dewhurst. I’m talking about my old friend, James.’ Very gently he added, ‘He and his wife were very good to you, if you remember.’

If you remember… Her husband’s reference to her previous life was almost more painful than the reference to James, though panic quickly succeeded shock at his next remark. ‘James is coming to visit us? Here?’ She gripped Tristan’s arm tighter and concentrated on the path. One foot in front
of the other, head down so she didn’t stumble on the stones that bordered the hydrangeas from the neat gravel walkway.

Tristan continued to talk in the measured, comforting tone he used when her equilibrium was unsettled. In the past he’d sought her reassurances that she was comfortable with his plans; that there was nothing he’d neglected to facilitate her comfort. Always Tristan put Adelaide’s feelings first. Not today. Tristan was too excited at the prospect of seeing his boyhood friend to recognise her horror, assuming Adelaide would be delighted to play hostess since she’d foolishly voiced the desire just last week to entertain more often.

She remained silent as she walked at his side, contemplating her own strategy if this visit was a fait accompli. She just needed to know when, so she could prepare.

‘At the end of the week!’ She repeated Tristan’s calmly delivered answer to her question in the tone Black Jack, the South American parrot she’d owned in Vienna, used to mimic the death throes of a man at the end of the gallows.

A good thing her husband considered Adelaide an invalid, that he’d misconstrue the flare in her eyes, the gasp as she pressed against the pain in her side – her heart?

‘Adelaide, you are discomposed. Perhaps I should not have invited James without consulting you, but I thought since…’ Concern clouded his kind blue eyes as he trailed off.

‘He was very good to me.’ She whispered the old litany. It’s what Tristan liked to believe.

‘He was. Shall we go back to the house?’ He stooped to cup her face in his hands, as tender with her as if she were another of his rare hothouse blooms. As if she might wilt at the suggestion of anything beyond the ordinary, the mindnumbingly mundane.

And yet today she more than wilted as she stumbled on the smooth, carefully raked gravel path. Her heart was in danger of tearing in half. James. Here, at Deer Park …?

She pushed away the fear, straightening of her own accord. Adelaide could be a good deal stronger than Tristan believed her. Than her mother painted her.

‘So silly of me,’ she murmured, smiling as she tucked her hand once more into the crook of her husband’s arm, firming her step, indicating with a nod that they continue their usual morning walk. Minutely managed and predictable. Around the path that bordered the maze, over the little bridge and across the lawn, skirting the deer park beyond the iron gated border to the dower house where her mother would be waiting. Keeping up the pretence of recovery in response to his troubled gaze, she added, ‘Really, I’m perfectly fine.’
How many times had she made similar reassurances? Of course, she hadn’t been fine when Tristan had made her mistress of Deer Park three years before; a marriage offer she’d only accepted because she believed she’d be dead of grief within the twelvemonth. And if not dead, then at least free of her mother. Neither had happened.

‘So James has left Milan.’ She forced herself to say his name. It came out as a faint thread of sound.

James. He needed to stay far across sea and land if she were to have any peace in this life.

‘James’s father died three months ago so of course he must return from the Continent and take up his responsibilities at Dingley Hall.’ Tristan stopped and put his hands on her shoulders to study her more closely. ‘Darling, you’re very pale. Perhaps we should call Dr Stanhope—’

‘No!’ She truncated the hysteria in her response, adding with commendable calm, ‘Please, let us carry on.’

Tristan was clearly not convinced by her assurances, but he returned to his commentary as they walked sedately through Deer Park’s beautiful gardens. ‘James’s standing has changed with his father’s death, and now that his book has become a sensation so have his fortunes. He’ll be able to put to rights all that his father almost destroyed through his love of gaming.’ He gave a half laugh. ‘I’m told my old friend is nearly as famous as those fellows up in the Lakes. I daresay I should read The Maid of Milan before he arrives. Perhaps you’d enjoy it, Addy.’

The Maid of Milan. Dear God! An image of herself and James, naked limbs entwined upon a vast expanse of white linen tablecloth in the Villa Cosi after the guests had gone, seared her brain.

No, she was getting beyond herself. James had continued living in Milan with Hortense, the wife he despised. Of course there’d have been other women after Adelaide had been dragged, screaming, from James’s arms. Adelaide could not be James’s Maid of Milan. Not after the terrible finale to their affair. In three years Adelaide had heard nothing from him. Nothing, except that one terrible, terrible letter …

TO WIN A COPY OF MAID OF MILAN, ANSWER THE QUESTION IN COMMENTS AND ENTER AT RAFFLECOPTER:

In the book, what is the first name of the Poet who wrote ‘The Maid of Milan’?

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About the Author

beverly eikliBeverley Eikli is the award-winning author of eight historical romances, laced with mystery and intrigue. She has worked as a journalist, magazine editor, a safari lodge manager in Botswana’s Okavango Delta, and an airborne geophysical survey operator on contracts around the world. Beverley loves exploring complex issues such as the consequences faced by characters who make errors of judgement in a punitive society. Her own experiences have provided rich fodder for her books, the highlight of her tumultuous past being the handsome Norwegian bush pilot she met around a camp fire in Botswana and married after a whirlwind romance, twenty years ago. Beverley teaches in the Department of Professional Writing & Editing at Victoria University. She lives with her husband, two daughters and their Rhodesian Ridgeback, in a pretty country town near Melbourne, Australia.

You can visit her website at: www.beverleyeikli.com and her blog at: http//:www.beverleyeikli.blogspot.com.au or follow her on Twitter: @BeverleyOakley

Virtual Tour: Maid of Milan by Beverley Eikl

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After three years of marriage, Adelaide has fallen in love with the handsome, honourable husband who nurtured her through her darkest hours.

Now Adelaide’s former lover, the passionate poet from whose arms she was torn by her family during their illicit liaison in Milan six years previously has returned, a celebrity due to the success of his book The Maid of Milan.

High society is as desperate to discover the identity of his ‘muse’ as Adelaide is to protect her newfound love and her husband’s political career.

Excerpt

Cover_MaidOfMilan

Mrs Henley knocked and they entered as Tristan rose, his forced smile replaced by one of pleasure when he saw Adelaide. He took a step forward, extending his hand for hers, the flare in his eyes as intense as the day she consented to be his wife, and Adelaide felt an unexpected jolt somewhere in the region of her heart, her determination bolstered to bridge the distance between them, despite the oppressive presence of her mother, always a footfall away, it seemed.

‘Tristan, I—’

She stopped, pulling back as a warm, fragrant breeze stirred the papers on his desk.

The French doors from the garden had been thrown open, and the heavy tread of Hessian boots upon the wooden floor pulled their attention towards the muslin curtains which swirled in eddies, silhouetting the shape of a man: a slender man of middle height – the only ordinary thing about him – dressed in a black cutaway coat and buff breeches, who materialised before them like a young demigod, smouldering with an enthusiasm he did nothing to inhibit, for good manners were always in abeyance to the passion that ruled James’s life.

‘Tristan!’ Tossing his low-crowned beaver upon the ottoman, James strode forward, arms outstretched, his voice taut with emotion.

Nearly four years, it had been, and from first impressions it was as if nothing had changed. Inky curls framed his delicately boned face and his eyes were like coals burning the fire within. No, nothing had changed, she could see, for James was still like a coiled spring, eager for love, eager for life, as ready to give as he was to take … without discernment.

Adelaide froze with nowhere to go, tense with premonition while shafts of sensation, painful and familiar, tore through her.

Could this really be happening? Unwillingly, her gaze was fixed upon James’s profile, dusted with dark stubble, tapering up to angular cheekbones delineated with the slivers of sideburns sported by the fashionable Corinthians of the day.

In four years he could not be so unchanged whereas she …

She touched her face, her heart. She was a mere husk of what she’d once been. Tristan knew nothing of the passions that burned within her when her heart was engaged – and she didn’t know if he ever would, for suddenly she felt reduced to nothingness by the force of James’s personality. She’d been his equal once – a woman of fire and vitality – and she’d loved him with a savagery that her mother claimed bordered on insanity. She’d been a child, thrust into adulthood by this charismatic older man. Married older man. But as she looked between the two men before her it was Tristan who made her heart beat faster, as much with longing as with fear of what he would think of her if he knew the truth.

Our Review

Publisher and Release Date: Choc Lit, March 2014

Time and Setting: Regency England
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Rating: 1.5
Reviewer Rating: 3 stars

Review by Caz

At the age of seventeen, Adelaide Henley – beautiful, vivacious and determined to sample all the delights life had to offer – had an affair with an older, unhappily married man while living in Milan with her mother and diplomat father.

When Adelaide and her lover were discovered, they were swiftly parted and she was taken back to England utterly distraught, often to the detriment of her physical health. In order to explain Adelaide’s lack of virginity to a potential suitor, her overbearing mother concocted a story. On their voyage back to England, their ship had been set upon by pirates and brigands and Adelaide had been raped, a fact which not only explained Adelaide’s “impure” state, but also accounted for her wariness of men, and the fragile state of her emotions and her health.

When the story opens, Adelaide has been married to Tristan, Lord Leeson for the past three years. A fairly young widower, he had fallen in love at first sight, and has been a kind, considerate and attentive husband, usually taking his cue from her mother as to the state of her health and determined not to press his physical attentions upon her any more than is necessary. It’s difficult for him, of course, for his wife is young and beautiful, but he exercises restraint during their weekly conjugal activities so as not to overtax her strength. Over the course of the past year or so, however, Adelaide has realised not only that she has fallen in love with her husband, but that she desires him and wants to be more of a wife to him – both in the bedroom and out of it. But Mrs Henley has convinced her that, should she give her husband the slightest hint as to her sinfully passionate nature, he will become suspicious and wonder at the difference between the meek, ailing girl he married and the suddenly enthusiastic sexual partner in his bed.

Adelaide allows her mother’s blandishments and fears to continue to influence her – until finally she decides it’s time for her to take back control of her life, and show her husband the truth of her feelings for him.

Adding to Adelaide’s confusion is the sudden reappearance of Lord James Dewhurst, her former lover, who is now a celebrated author. Although she is absolutely steadfast in her love for Tristan and wants nothing more to do with James, matters are complicated by the fact that James is one of Tristan’s oldest friends. Having decided that Adelaide is finally well enough for him to take his seat in the Lords and embark on the political career he wants, Tristan has removed to London for the Season, and asks James if he will mind escorting Adelaide to the odd function here and there, when Tristan is unable to attend. Although James is newly betrothed, he is still in love with Adelaide and is naturally only too eager to agree.

Adelaide becomes the toast of the town, and finally feels like herself again. Tristan is enchanted by her all over again, and their physical relationship only gets better as Adelaide proves herself to be an eager participant in their lovemaking. But in the meantime, Adelaide’s – or rather, her mother’s – lies begin to spin out of control, and when she receives an anonymous missive insisting “I know all”, it knocks her back completely. Adelaide suffers a relapse brought on by guilt and an excess of anxiety rather than, as her mother insists, too much gaiety and enthusiastic sex!

The novel is quite complex, with a number of different threads running alongside the story of Tristan and Adelaide’s troubled marriage; such as the relationship between James and his fiancée, the doubts sewn by Tristan’s meddlesome former mistress and the rivalry between James and another writer.

While there were elements I found rather frustrating – most notably Adelaide’s inability to stand up to her mother, and Tristan’s continual insistence on James squiring Addy around when he wasn’t available – I found myself really drawn into the story, which was quite the page-turner. I reviewed an earlier book by this author (A Little Deception) and remember a similar experience – the story was quite compelling even though I did have a few issues with certain areas of the plot and characterisation. I also remember that the villain in that story was an especially well-drawn and forceful character. In this book, there isn’t a villain in quite the same mode – Mrs Henley is selfish and self-righteous, and James is selfish and egotistical – but Mrs Henley’s machinations (both the ones stated explicitly and those I suspected) kept me on tenterhooks, wondering what on earth she was going to attempt next, and how poor Adelaide – and poor Tristan, who seemed to me as much of a victim in this as his wife – were going to be able to cope with the next setback or revelation.

Then, at about two-thirds of the way book, something happened which, I confess, I found very distasteful. It’s difficult to say too much without spoilers; suffice to say it’s something which I am sure that many readers will find unpalatable. In fact, I felt as though I’d been slapped in the face when I read it, and I’m afraid I found it impossible to recapture my earlier enthusiasm for the novel. Perhaps a metaphorical slap is what Ms Eikli intended. In fact, I think that Adelaide is acting more or less in character, and, given the circumstances into which she has been forced time and time again, what she does may not be all that unlikely. But that still didn’t make it easy to regain any sympathy for her, and in fact, it was another day or so before I could bring myself to finish the book.

The author does make it clear that Adelaide’s actions have devastating consequences and that she is almost destroyed by what happened. She knows she does not deserve Tristan’s love or his forgiveness and fully expects and intends to spend the rest of her life alone. But at its heart, The Maid of Milan is a romance, and Adelaide cannot be left to atone for her mistakes by losing the man she loves forever.

Because of the serious reservation I’ve expressed above about the plot, this proved a very difficult book to rate. I had confidently expected to be writing a 4 or 4.5 star review, but now find myself unable to rate it so highly. Reviewing is a very subjective thing, of course, and I have to admit that, had I not been reviewing this book for a blog tour (and had I not previously enjoyed another of Ms Eikli’s books) I may not have finished it.

But I recognise that not everyone has my tastes, and that to base my entire review on one particular plot point is not completely fair, because the book has much to recommend it. The storyline itself is quite compelling in the early stages, as the reader witnesses Adelaide’s gradual re-awakening and her struggles to break free of her mother’s lies and schemes. Then there is Tristan, who is an absolute sweetie and only wants to do the best for his wife. There are numerous secondary characters and plotlines which make the whole thing very intriguing as misunderstandings and plot twists pile on top of one another, making the reader wonder how on earth these two people who really do love each other are ever going to make a life together.

As a consequence, I can’t help feeling that the incident to which I’ve alluded was unnecessary. Tristan and Adelaide already have so many problems to surmount; so many secrets and lies to untangle that this event felt like death-knell to their relationship. I didn’t see how they could recover from it, and also felt that Tristan blamed himself far too much for the turn of events, so that when he eventually asks for forgiveness from Adelaide, I wanted to howl that she should be the one doing the grovelling.

In conclusion, all I can say is that The Maid of Milan is certainly not your run-of-the-mill historical romance, and that if you’re looking for something different, it may well be the book for you. The story is quite gripping and well written, and I thought the author did an excellent job in showing the emotional consequences of keeping so many secrets. But on a purely personal level, I was unable to get past that one particular plot point I’ve mentioned, and am sorry to say that it did spoil my enjoyment of the book overall.

VIRTUAL TOUR- A LITTLE DECEPTION by Beverly Eikli

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BLURB:

A one-night charade to save the family sugar plantation wins loyal and determined Rose Chesterfield more than she bargained for – marriage to the deliciously notorious rake, Viscount Rampton. “A love match!” proclaims London’s catch of the season who happily admits he has been hoist on his own petard.

But when his new wife is implicated in the theft of several diamond necklaces he wonders if her deception goes beyond trapping him into marriage. Is she the innocent she claims, or a scheming fortune hunter with a penchant for money, mischief and men?

Cover_A Little Deception

EXCERPT: (The following scene takes place as Lord Rampton cynically contemplates Rose’s inevitable demands after the two of them have been discovered in a compromising situation in his bedchamber by Rose’s brother.) 

‘MISS CHESTERFIELD.’ Miss Chesterfield. The name should have provoked rage; instead, Rampton was dismayed by a surge of feeling that was so far from rage as to render him no better than a drooling schoolboy when confronted with the object of his adolescent obsession.

‘Show her in,’ he said, struggling for the self-possession that had always been second nature to him and tossing aside the reading matter which had failed to engage his attention for the past hour.

So, she had come to state her terms.

Having been caught well and truly in flagrante delicto, he accepted he had no one but himself to blame. Experience with women had tuned his antennae finely when it came to sensing all manner of ruses calculated to inveigle him into matrimony. But Lady Chesterfield – Miss Chesterfield, as it turned out – had slipped entirely under his guard.

Stonily he faced the door while he waited for her to enter, the events of the past week flashing through his mind. For twenty-four hours after she’d been hauled off by her brother, Rampton had paced his study like a caged lion, fuelling his anger with the multiple lies and untruths she’d fed him as he tried to relive exactly the moment at which he should have become aware of her deception. Any half-intelligent man would have sensed that not all was as it seemed at the very outset, he told himself.

Cynically, he had waited for Miss Chesterfield to call and negotiate the terms of his matrimonial incarceration. He had practiced all manner of snide and ironic responses, while his anticipation at seeing her again had grown steadily more unbearable.

He wanted only to tell her what he thought of her.

So he assumed.

But she had not come, and that had been worse.

After three days he’d snapped. Arriving unannounced, he had confronted a pale and patently uncomfortable Sir Charles in his study and stonily dictated the terms of a marriage contract. He was a man of honour and he had compromised a lady. She was the clear victor in their final round; she had more than just pinked him. Now he must pay the price.

Rampton had been prepared for a rambling defence from Sir Charles of his sister’s behaviour. And, if Sir Charles were in a robust mood, perhaps a healthy lashing of recrimination for Rampton.

But when the young baronet said only that his sister did not wish to marry him Rampton was at last moved to anger.

‘Doing it too brown, sir!’ he declared. ‘She engineered that little scene so that I’d have no choice but to suffer her joy as she leg-shackled me on her triumphant progress towards the altar!’

Sir Charles, looking white around the gills, concurred miserably, ‘I know, I know. But she’s made me tell you, expressly, my lord, that she has no intention of holding you to marriage. That, in fact, she does not desire it.’

‘Does not desire it?’

He could not believe it. It was all part of the charade. There was a trick involved somewhere, though he could not see it.

Not want to marry him?

Why, every unmarried female participating in the social whirligig was there because she wanted to get married and most of them saw waltzing off with him as the ultimate feather in their caps.

Not want to marry him? When she’d gone to such pains to ensure him?

The very notion was preposterous.

He would not believe it.

An Interview with author Beverly Eikli

Helena is such a deliciously dastardly villainess. Tell us a little about how she came into being. 

You’ve discovered my weak spot: villains. Or, in this case, villainesses. Sometimes I love them more than my heroines and yes, that’s fatal, I agree. When A Little Deception was first published I had to cut 15000 for my publisher, Robert Hale, which had me toning down Helena who was too dominant – certainly to the detriment of deserving Rose. That’s when I ventured into erotic Romance under my Beverley Oakley name where my heroines were more like the designing Helena who knew exactly what they wanted and how to get it.

Rose is very trusting, often to her own detriment. Did you ever worry that perhaps she was too gullible?

As I mentioned, A Little Deception comes in two versions and this one was rewritten extensively after I got my rights back from Robert Hale who published it in 2010. I added 15,000 words, worked hard to make Rose a deserving heroine and, in response to earlier reviews, tried to tone down Helena who some readers found more interesting than Rose. Clearly I failed. However, in the first version I actually killed Helena off. I felt I had no choice. She was completely taking over the story and my loyalties *had* to be with my heroine, Rose. In this second version, I simply couldn’t do that, so I devised a more fitting ending for poor old Helena. One that was more in keeping with her crimes. After all, if you’re incredibly beautiful and irresistible to men but married to a complete milksop, what would be the worst that could happen in retribution. No, not a clean bullet through the heart. Something much worse…

And Rose was much more a person like everyday me, but married to a delicious rake. She had a difficult path to tread.

I would have liked to have seen some more of Felix and Arabella’s relationship.  Have you any intention of writing their story at some point? 

If enough readers wanted me to elaborate on Arabella and Felix’s story, I’d certainly consider it. I’ve just been so busy lately with my erotic historical romance series for Ellora’s Cave – A Downtown Abbey-esque ‘Upstairs Downstairs’ with sex under my Beverley Oakley name – and winning UK Publisher Choc-Lit’s ‘Search for An Australian Star’ competition with three books to get ready for them. Definitely, 2012 has ended on a hugely high note for me and I can’t wait for the Romantic Times Convention in Kansas City in May to meet my two UK publishers – Choc-Lit and Total-e-Bound – and my US publisher, Ellora’s Cave.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Beverley Oakley wrote her first romance when she was seventeen. However, drowning the heroine on the last page (p550!) was, she discovered, not in the spirit of the genre so her romance-writing career ground to a halt and she became a journalist.After throwing in her secure job on South Australia’s metropolitan daily The Advertiser to manage a luxury safari lodge in the Okavango Delta, in Botswana, Beverley discovered a new world of romance and adventure in a thatched cottage in the middle of a mopane forest with the handsome Norwegian bush pilot she met around a camp fire.

Eighteen years later, after exploring the world in the back of Cessna 404s and CASA 212s as an airborne geophysical survey operator during low-level sorties over the French Guyanese jungle and Greenland’s ice cap, Beverley is back in Australia living a more conventional life with her husband and two daughters in a pretty country town an hour north of Melbourne. She writes Regency Historical Intrigue as Beverley Eikli and erotic historicals as Beverley Oakley.

Buy A Little Deception – http://www.amazon.com/A-Little-Deception-ebook/dp/B009HKKCKM/ref=tmm_kin_title_0

Website: http://www.beverleyoakley.com/Beverley_Oakley/Welcome.html

Amazon Profile: http://www.amazon.com/Beverley-Eikli/e/B0034Q44E0/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

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Twitter: @BeverleyOakley.com