Tag Archive | Maggi Andersen

SATURDAY SPOTLIGHT: Lady Faith Takes a Leap by Maggi Andersen

lady faith

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Dutiful daughter Faith Baxendale just wants to please. Faith isn’t as adventurous as her younger sister, Hope, gadding about the Continent with their aunt, nor as rebellious as her elder sister, Honor, who planned to become a card sharp. And Faith couldn’t lose herself in her art like sixteen-year-old, Charity. Even Mercy, at ourteen, shows more backbone!

After Faith’s first Season ends, her father urges her to marry the man of his choice. But when Lord Vaughn Winborne, a neighbor Faith had a crush on while still in the schoolroom, arrives home for the Brandreth’s hunt ball, surprising even to herself, Faith is drawn again towards a man her father would never consider.

The youngest Brandreth male, Vaughn, is the black sheep of the family. His elder brother, Chaloner, Marquess of Brandreth, still looks upon him as a reckless youth, and Vaughn is determined to prove him wrong.

A chance comes in the form of a scandal not of Vaughn’s making, and he must learn to trust Faith, who, when all’s said and done, has always known her own mind.

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EXCERPT

Lord Vaughn appeared before her.

“I believe you promised me a dance, Lady Faith.”

Faith felt that tingling in the pit of her stomach again as his bold gaze roamed over her. “I did, my lord.”

Behind Vaughn’s shoulder, Lord Fitzgibbon stood holding the glass of lemonade, his mouth open. Well, Fitzgibbon did not have any right to her yet, and as her father was not present to object, she took Vaughn’s arm and they joined the dancers on the floor.

Vaughn gazed down at her. “You’re not going to marry that mincing milksop, are you?”

“That’s hardly your affair, my lord.” Faith wasn’t sure what upset her most, Vaughn’s brazenness or his description of Fitzgibbon. Lord Fitzgibbon did not mince, but she did wish he might cut the apron strings. Perhaps once married….

“That’s showing some spirit,” Vaughn said approvingly. His vibrant green eyes grabbed her gaze and held it. “But you know I’m right.”

She raised her chin. “I certainly do not. Who would you suggest I marry then, anyone here tonight?”

Vaughn glanced around the floor. “Lord Brocklehurst?”

Faith choked. “He is close to fifty.”

“Mm. Sir William Forest?”

She firmed her lips, fighting a grin. “Hardly.”

“Perhaps not. Forest is hard on wives. He’s just buried his third. Dear me. Not much to choose from, is there?” aughn said regretfully. He placed his Arm around her waist and took her hand as the musicians struck up. “Perhaps you’d better have me.”

He laughed at the ridiculous pronouncement, but Faith still drew in a breath, fearing she would miss a step. “I believe my father would prefer me to marry Sir William.”

“Ah, a cruel thrust, Lady Faith. You don’t spare a man’s feelings.”

“I believe your shoulders are strong enough to bear it.” Faith instantly regretted her words, as her hand rested on his shoulder and she could feel the strength and warmth of him through her glove.

“I remember what a thin, feisty child you were,” Vaughn said with a glint of humor warming his eyes. “You used to climb a tree like a monkey.”

Her face heated. “I was never thin, and it’s extremely bad manners to suggest it.”

“You’d prefer I uttered flowery compliments?” He cocked a brow. “I’m sure you get enough of those.”

Faith did, but she was happy to receive more, and from him especially. “And I would prefer not to be reminded of my past misdemeanors.”

“I quite agree.” He bowed his head with a rueful and very charming smile. “I apologize.”

Vaughn was an accomplished dancer. She was aware of the female gazes following them as they turned on the floor. She’d caught that wicked gleam in his eyes and didn’t believe his apology for a minute. He was outrageous.

Why did he refuse to bow to society’s conventions?

“I could list your misdemeanors, my lord,” Faith said, “but I’m afraid the dance won’t be long enough.”

Vaughn chuckled. “What would you know of such things, Lady Faith?”

“You have been the subject of village gossip for some time.”

His eyes gleamed beneath a fringe of thick, dark lashes. “Indeed? What has been said about me?”

She shook her head. He was incorrigible. “Nothing that would please you, sir.”

“Ah, my luck in life, I fear.” He did not look particularly put out. “My brothers have all been exemplary, never put a foot wrong. It behooved me to add some color to the family.”

“You’ve made a remarkably good job of it,” Faith said, unable to keep the laughter from her voice.

“You have a lovely laugh, like water bubbling over rocks in a brook.”

“My goodness! You are waxing lyrical, my lord.” She enjoyed the gleam of interest in his eyes that she’d never found in Fitzgibbon’s anxious gaze.

“I am not inclined to reciting poetry, I confess, but should you wish it, I seem to remember something of the poetry drummed into us at Eton. Now…what about this?

Come away, come, sweet love!
The golden morning wastes,
While the sun from his sphere
His fiery arrows casts,
Making all the shadows fly…

I can’t remember the rest, and I’ve no idea who penned the poem.”

Faith fought to hide her disappointment. It was far too brief; she could have listened to his husky tones for hours.

“I declare you make a mockery of flirting, sir.” Many men had flirted with her, but oddly, even though Vaughn
had his tongue firmly in his cheek, the moment somehow eclipsed any of the others.

“What would you have me say? That your nose is perfection? It is.”

Faith had to laugh. “My nose is far from classical; it tips up at the end.”

“I find classical beauty rather cold and boring.”

“I wonder if that’s true. Beauty is fascinating. The Ancient Greeks certainly thought so.”

“I doubt statues ever stirred a man’s lust like a flesh and blood woman, even an Ancient Greek’s.”

Faith widened her eyes. “My lord! You should not say such things.” She looked around hastily at the dancers nearby. No one seemed to have heard. “I fear women are seldom satisfied with their appearance. Mercy has a perfectly straight nose, and yet she wishes for a tip-tilted one. She has devised a strap with wires attached that hook onto her ears. She believes it will be effective if she uses it every night until her come out.”

Vaughn laughed.

“Oh please don’t mention it to her,” Faith said, aghast that she’d told him. She found trustworthiness in Vaughn’s handsome eyes, which, annoyingly, drew her into indiscretion.

He grinned. “I promise but shall watch the development of Mercy’s nose with interest.”

The music ended, and Faith became aware of where they were, surrounded by couples preparing to promenade from the floor. She’d felt as if they were the only two people in the room.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

mAGGIMaggi Andersen began her writing career almost 20 years ago, after gaining her Master of Arts in Creative Writing. Since then, her novels have been on the Amazon Regency 100 Bestsellers lists many times. Maggi writes historical romance, contemporary romantic suspense and young adult novels. She and her husband, a retired lawyer, reside in a
quaint historical town in the Southern Highlands of Australia where they feed the assorted wildlife. They support the RSPCA and IFAW. You’ll find animals often feature in her books.

Lady Honor’s Debt (novella) by Maggi Andersen

lady honors debt

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Freedom. That’s all Lady Honor Baxendale wants—for her sisters and for herself. Honor has a bold plan to become financially independent, using a skill she learned at her father’s knee. She seeks the help of a solicitor and is pleased with her choice…as long as she can resist the solicitor himself.
Lord Edward Winborne has been happy to come to the aid of his four sisters in the past. But when a neighbor’s daughter, Lady Honor Baxendale, requests his help for a dangerous scheme she has in mind, he feels it his duty to dissuade her. When that fails, he wants to protect her, and then somehow finds he wants to do more. Much more.

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Publisher and Release Date: Maggi Andersen, January 2015

RHR Classifications:
Time and setting: Regency England
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 1
Reviewer rating: 4 Stars

Review by Vikki

Lady Honor’s Debt is a fast, delightful read. Edward is an endearing hero, honorable, loyal and true and such a refreshing change from the usual alpha-males, who most of the time are rakes. Not that there is anything wrong with a rake – after all who doesn’t want to see a good woman reform him? But Edward is not one, and for me, he stole the show in this sweet love story.

Lady Honor is on a quest. She desperately wants to save her sister from an arranged marriage and gain freedom for herself at the same time. Her step-father has different plans for her. He wants her to marry a much older man of consequence. If she wants him to give her sister Faith a season in London, she must convince him that she will consider the duke’s proposal while stalling for time.

When Lady Honor shows up at his office requesting his help with her daring plan, Lord Edward Winbourne dares not turn her away. After all she is in need of protection, most of all from herself. As a solicitor and her neighbor, he feels duty-bound to offer her his assistance. The fact that he is attracted to her certainly complicates matters. While his mother may want him to set up his nursery, as the third son of a Marquess, he had not planned to concern himself with a family until he has his career well established. His need to protect Honor is why I fell in love with Edward’s character.

Following an incident which causes the duke to withdraw his suit, Edward realizes he is in love with Lady Honor. Will he win her affections and protect her from harm, or will Honor’s stubborn independence keep her from allowing him into her heart and lead her into more trouble than she ever imagined?

I enjoyed reading Lady Honor’s Debt and was rooting for them to find their HEA throughout the entire light-hearted tale. Edward is the perfect man for Honor and I love how he goes about winning her love. Oh, and I must mention, the book cover is stunning!

It took me a bit of time to warm up to Honor’s character, and I’m afraid I never felt as if I ever truly understood her. I would have liked a little more depth, to have been able to get inside her head and find out what she was thinking and feeling.

Nonetheless, this story is an enjoyable read. I can easily recommend Lady Honor’s Debt if you are looking for an engaging love story with a very nice ending. I look forward to reading the next book in this series, since I enjoyed meeting Faith – Honor’s sister – a great deal.

VIRTUAL TOUR: What a Rake Wants by Maggi Andersen

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King George sends his private investigator, an Irishman, Kieran Flynn, Lord Montsimon, on a mission, the reason for which is unclear. Is it a plot against the Crown? Or something entirely unrelated? Flynn’s inquiries lead him to the widow, Lady Althea Brookwood. Known amongst the ton as a rake, Flynn is rarely turned down by a lady, and when Althea refuses not just him but many other men, he becomes intrigued. After her neighbor, Sir Harold Crowthorne informs Althea that he means to take her country property, Owltree Cottage, by fair means or foul, she must search for help. The first man she turns to is promptly murdered and the second lies to her. That leaves Flynn, Lord Montsimon, a man she has been studiously avoiding. But Montsimon is decidedly unhelpful, and more than a little mysterious. Her only option is to seduce him. Althea has little confidence that she will succeed, especially as before her husband was killed in a duel, he often told her she was quite hopeless at intimacy. When a spy is murdered, Flynn wonders just what Althea knows and what her involvement might be with the man the king wants Flynn to investigate.

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Publisher and Release Date: Knox Robinson Publishing, September 2014

RHR Classifications:
Time and Setting: England and Ireland, 1820
Genre: Historical Romance
Heat Level: 2
Reviewer Rating:4 stars

Review by Lady Blue

Kieran Flynn, Viscount Montsimon, has now inherited the family estate in Ireland after his father’s death. The place holds no happy memories for him, so he decides to rent the place out and continue in his work as an agent to King George. He also intends to continue living his rakish lifestyle while doing so.

Althea Brookwood is happily widowed. She had been very unhappily married, and now only wants to live in peace and solitude in her beloved Owltree Cottage. Her Aunt Catherine has persuaded her to come to town though, and tries to convince her that she should remarry. That’s the last thing Catherine wants. Kieran has seen Althea before, and finds her very attractive. He’d like to entice her into a dalliance, but she’s not interested.

A neighbor of Althea’s has made her an offer for her cottage. When she refuses, he becomes very adamant and threatening. It appears that he is determined to have her cottage, no matter what. But why? In order to buy some time she tells him she is considering his offer, and contacts a friend of her late husband’s for help. After doing so, that gentleman ends up dead. It now appears that these events are tied in with Flynn’s current assignment, an undefined conspiracy against the king. This throws Flynn and Althea into each other’s company, though initially she doesn’t know he is an agent.

As Flynn and Althea spend time together, we get to see a different side to Flynn. Although he has an unhappy past, he’s still caring and protective of Althea. He starts to care for her, and in turn, she sees that all men are not like her late husband. Amidst the chaos, they begin to fall in love. Maggi Andersen has written a light and charming story with some humorous moments, and plenty of adventure.

EXCERPT


WARW2
(Lord Montsimon and Lady Althea Brookwood are forced to share a bed for the night.)

The attic room had a low, sloping ceiling. A green hook rug covered the floor and a jug, basin, and towels had been placed on the tall dresser. A straight-backed chair sat in the corner and the bed against the far wall. Mrs. Fletcher’s description of the bed had been accurate: the small wooden bedstead was covered in a bright quilt and not designed for two. Althea stared at it, her throat tight with dismay, as Montsimon shut the door. His nearness in the small space was overwhelming.

Seemingly unaffected, Montsimon peeled off his coat and sat on the feather-filled mattress, which sank visibly under his weight. He looked annoyingly at home. He tugged at his cravat then undid the buttons on his shirt to reveal a strong throat and a glimpse of dark chest hair. She took in the male strength, the cleanliness and beauty of him and turned away to fuss with her cloak before hanging it over the chair.

“Would you help me off with my boots?”

“I’m hardly a valet,” she said, sounding peevish.

“Not as strong, but we shall manage,” he said with a grin. His waistcoat joined his coat on the chair. How much was he going to remove? She wished her breath would slow.

Althea took hold of the mud-splashed, black leather Hessian boot and pulled. It didn’t budge.

“Perhaps a bit harder?”

Annoyed by his manner, she gave a violent yank. The boot slid down Montsimon’s well-defined calf so fast she fell onto her derriere on the hard plank floor.

“Are you all right?” Montsimon’s grin widened as he leapt up.

“Perfectly.” She waved his hand away and climbed to her feet, resisting a rub of the damaged area. “Your other foot if you please.”

“If you’re sure?” he asked with a burst of laughter.

With a dismissive scowl, she planted her feet and taking a firm hold of the boot, eased it down more gradually. It slid off his leg without further mishap. There was something disturbingly intimate about his broad chest encased in white linen, the form-fitting grey trousers and his big stockinged feet. Had she ever seen Brookwood this way? He always came to her chamber dressed in his banyan and slippers. And she had dreaded the sight of him.

Montsimon stood, ducking his head under a beam. “You’ll never manage that dress on your own.”

She crossed her arms. “I’m keeping it on.”

“Such a pretty gown was meant for a drawing room, not for sleeping in.”

“Nevertheless, I shall sleep in it.” She perched on the chair and took off her shoes.

He frowned. “Give me a look at those.”

“Why?” She handed them to him.

He turned a shoe over in his big hands. The sole of one had worn through. “These are about to fall apart. I had no idea you wore such flimsy shoes.”

“They are meant for drawing rooms, my lord. As is my dress.”

“That gown will look like a rag in the morning. As you have nothing else to change into, you will have to bear it until we return to London.”

Why did he so often make sense? She brushed down her skirts, which were already dreadfully crushed, and was forced to agree. She wasn’t a shy, green girl; she just didn’t want to inflame Flynn’s passions. It would take very little, she suspected. But her underwear covered her and was perfectly modest. “The bed is too small. A gentleman would sleep in the chair.”

His eyebrows flew up. “It’s made of wood.”

“Obviously.”

He flapped a hand in dismissal. “I intend to sleep in that bed, my lady. Where you choose to sleep is entirely up to you. I’m going downstairs to wash at the pump. While I’m away, you can undress and hide beneath the covers.” He paused, one hand on the doorknob. “Again, do you require help to undo those impossible little buttons at your back?”

“Odd that this problem didn’t occur to me when I chose to wear it.” Her lips puckered in annoyance. While they were arguing, what remained of the night was passing. She turned her back. “If you will.” If he treated her like a servant, she would do likewise.

Her hair had begun to escape the topknot, and she swept it up out of the way, scattering pins. She tingled under the gentle touch of his fingers as they moved down her back. Her gown fell away. “What are you doing?”

“Unlacing your stays. You can’t sleep in this uncomfortable garment!”

“I had intended to,” she said, pulling away as he tugged at the laces. Too late, she felt them give.

“You have lovely hair, Althea,” he said softly.

His use of her name was very seductive. Her pulse skittered alarmingly. She spun around, clutching the bodice of her dress to her chest as her stays slipped to the floor.

Montsimon looked her up and down, warm approval in his gaze.

She backed away from him, longing for the shelter of darkness. “Once I’m in bed, shall I blow out the candle?”

“If you wish.” Montsimon closed the door behind him.

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Maggi will be awarding a $40 Amazon gift card plus an e-book copy of one of her earlier books to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

mAGGIMaggi Andersen and her lawyer husband live in a quaint old town in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales, Australia. She enjoys her garden and hand feeds six kookaburras and a variety of birdlife.

Apart from writing, reading and reviewing books, Maggi enjoys watching movies, Downton Abbey, going to the gym and swimming. You can connect with Maggi at: Her Website * ~ * ~ * Facebook * ~ * ~ * Twitter.

SATURDAY SPOTLIGHT: What a Rake Wants (Spies of Mayfair #3) by Maggi Andersen

WARW2

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King George sends his private investigator, an Irishman, Kieran Flynn, Lord Montsimon, on a mission, the reason for which is unclear. Is it a plot against the Crown? Or something entirely unrelated? Flynn’s inquiries lead him to the widow, Lady Althea Brookwood. Known amongst the ton as a rake, Flynn is rarely turned down by a lady, and when Althea refuses not just him but many other men, he becomes intrigued. After her neighbor, Sir Harold Crowthorne informs Althea that he means to take her country property, Owltree Cottage, by fair means or foul, she must search for help. The first man she turns to is promptly murdered and the second lies to her. That leaves Flynn, Lord Montsimon, a man she has been studiously avoiding. But Montsimon is decidedly unhelpful, and more than a little mysterious. Her only option is to seduce him. Althea has little confidence that she will succeed, especially as before her husband was killed in a duel, he often told her she was quite hopeless at intimacy. When a spy is murdered, Flynn wonders just what Althea knows and what her involvement might be with the man the king wants Flynn to investigate.

EXCERPT

Aunt Catherine motioned with her fan. “Have you noticed the way Montsimon looks at you? If you play your cards right, you’ll be the one to tame him, my dear. Well worth the effort, I’ll wager.”

“How do you suggest I do that?” she asked, surprised at her curiosity.

“You take him into your bed. Eventually. But first, you play him like a salmon on a hook. You never promise what you won’t deliver, mind. That would not be sporting.” Her aunt’s cheeks flushed, and she vigorously applied her fan. “At first let him get to know you. Let him begin to want more from you than merely someone to warm his bed. When he can’t live without you, then…”

Althea gasped. Perhaps she’d misjudged her relative. “Aunt…”

Her aunt laughed. “You’re surprised?”

“I knew you to be wise and somewhat shrewd, but I never suspected you capable of such…” Failing to find a polite word, she fell silent.

“Shrewd is the word you’re looking for my dear.” Snapping her fan shut, her aunt smiled like a cat caught eating the custard. No doubt pleased to have stunned her. “You are of my blood, and just as smart yourself. You just need practice.” She gazed over Althea’s shoulder and opened her fan to cover her mouth. “Here he comes to ask you to dance. I would advise you not to shun him.”

To refuse Montsimon was bad ton when she’d been seen to be dancing earlier. Could she keep a man such as him at bay? He had all the charm of the Irish in his soft burr and the looks to go with it, a kind of loose-limbed grace and elegance. Althea refused to turn and watch him approach. Only when a pair of darkly clad legs of supreme length and shape stood beside her did she look up. His unusual, smoky grey eyes held a spark of humor. She admitted to not being entirely resistant to his élan, which she suspected came as easily to him as breathing. Humor was attractive in a man. It was wise to avoid him.

But there was no avoiding him now. He bowed over her aunt’s hand and then hers. “Might I have the pleasure of this dance, Lady Brookwood?”

His eyes held a gleam, which defied her to refuse. She lifted the corners of her mouth in a polite but distant smile. “Yes, my lord.”

If he were surprised she had accepted him so readily, he had the grace not to show it. The last time she had pleaded a headache.

Leading her onto the floor, he clasped a hand at her waist as the musicians began to play. Althea marveled that, in spite of his long list of lovers, no serious scandal had attached itself to him. In the ladies’ withdrawing room, women did talk, but only praise and regret had reached her ears. Silver-tongued, he bewitched them. She needed to develop some kind of armor against him, for they met often during the Season. She’d become a challenge she suspected, for few women would refuse him and she quite deliberately had done so. To keep a grip on her emotions, she settled her gaze on the dancers around them, and imagined she danced with the king, who held no attraction for her. It proved to be difficult; Montsimon’s wide shoulder felt hard beneath her gloved hand. He was slim, but she’d guess his body would be sinewy and strong. Her eyes drifted downwards.

When she looked up again, the invitation in his grey eyes almost robbed her of breath. A smile lurked on his handsome mouth.

“You are silent this evening, Lady Brookwood.” He swept her expertly around the floor. “I am used to at least a spirited exchange from you. My dancing displeases you?”

“Not at all, my lord. I’m enjoying the music. You dance extremely well.” As she supposed he did most things.

“An accomplished partner makes a man look good.”

“You are too gracious.”

His hand holding her gloved one tightened, settling her closer. “Too gracious? Would you prefer me not to be? I am of a versatile nature. I can be whatever you wish.”

She glanced up through her lashes. “I am gratified, my lord, that you desire to please me.”

“You have only to tell me what it is you wish of me,” he said, his tone persuasive, while his eyes held a wicked twinkle.

The music ended and couples began to leave the floor. Unaccountably hot, she tucked her hand into his arm. “My wish is for you to return me to my aunt, my lord.” How smug he looked. She would love to take men like him down a peg or two. She could never embark on such a scheme as her aunt suggested. It was too devious, even though she liked few men, and as for rakes, they deserved all they got.

“Ah, Lady Brookwood, you disappoint me. Here I was thinking there was more to you than being content with the dull life you appear to lead.” He looked down at her as they joined the rest to leave the floor. “I sensed a desire for adventure, romance. I’m sure I glimpsed it in your lovely eyes.”

“I am most concerned for your sight, Lord Montsimon. Perhaps a physician?” she said crisply, stung by his assumption that her life was dull. It would appear dull to such as him, she supposed, but that was how she preferred it.

He chuckled as he deposited her with her aunt. Without further ado, he bowed and left them.

“Well?” Aunt Catherine leaned forward.

“Well, what?”

“Did you arrange an assignation?”

Althea took up her fan and waved it in front of her hot face. “Of course I didn’t. It would have been most improper.”

“Silly girl. Do stop that action with your fan. You look as if you’re swatting at insects. You have missed an opportunity.”

“I declare you wish to live vicariously through me, Aunt.”

TO WIN A COPY OF EITHER Book One of the Spies of Mayfair series – A Baron in Her Bed OR Book Two, Taming a Gentleman Spy, ANSWER THIS QUESTION IN COMMENTS AND ENTER AT RAFFLECOPTER. PLEASE STATE WHICH IS YOUR PREFERRED TITLE IN YOUR COMMENT.

Question: What does Althea suggest Lord Montsimon do about his sight?

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About the Author

mAGGIMaggi Andersen fell in love with the Georgian and Regency worlds after reading the books of Georgette Heyer. Victoria Holt’s Gothic Victorian novels were also great favorites. She has raised three children and gained a BA and an MA in Creative Writing. After husband David retired from the law, they moved to the beautiful Southern Highlands of Australia.

Maggi’s free time is spent enjoying her garden and the local wildlife, reading, movies and the theatre. She has recently taken up Bridge and keeps fit swimming and visiting the gym.

Maggi is a best-selling, multi-published author, and writes mysteries and young adult novels as well as her Georgian, Regency and Victorian romances.

SPOTLIGHT: Taming a Gentleman Spy (Spies of Mayfair #2) by Maggi Andersen

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John Haldane, Earl of Strathairn, is on an urgent mission to find the killer of his fellow spy. Has the treasonous Frenchman, Count Forney, returned to England to wreak havoc? Or has someone new landed on English shores to stir up rebellion in the Midlands? After visiting the young widow of one of his agents, Strathairn strengthens his resolve. A spy should never marry. And most certainly not to Lady Sibella Winborne, with her romantic ideas of love and marriage. Unable to give Sibella up entirely, he has kept her close as a friend. And then weak fool that he is he kissed her…

Lady Sibella Winborne has refused several offers of marriage since her first Season years ago – when she first set eyes on the handsome Earl of Strathairn. Sibella’s many siblings always rush to her aid to discourage an ardent suitor, but not this time. Her elder brother, Chaloner, Marquess of Brandreth, has approved Lord Coombe’s suit. Sibella yearns to set up her own household. She is known to be the sensible member of the family. But she doesn’t feel at all sensible about Lord Strathairn. If only she could forget that kiss…

Excerpt

Once the family returned to Brandreth Court, their townhouse in Eaton Place, Sibella faced another dizzying round of social events. She and Maria took an afternoon off from social calls to view the Parthenon sculptures at the British museum.

They were returning home in a hackney cab when Maria grabbed her arm. “Look, there’s Lord Strathairn.”
“Strathairn?” Sibella said. Her heart raced as the tall fair-haired man crossed the road just as their cab drew up behind a town coach.

Maria pulled down the window. “Lord Strathairn!”

“Maria!” Sibella hissed as her cheeks began to burn. He turned his head and changed direction, coming to their carriage where they’d stopped in traffic.

Strathairn removed his hat and bowed. “Visiting Regent Street, ladies?”

“Really, Lord Strathairn, do you think shopping is all we ladies do?” Maria asked in a teasing voice.

His smiling gaze sought Sibella’s. “Not at all. I have two sisters who have made me fully aware of the importance of shopping.”

Maria laughed. “We have been to the museum to view the Elgin Marbles.”

“Aah. Then I apologize. What say you, Lady Sibella? Did you enjoy the museum?”

Strangely divorced from the conversation, Sibella’s mind still dwelled on their last encounter. Startled, she whipped her gaze away when she discovered herself staring at his mouth, recalling the salty-sweet taste of his kiss. “It was quite edifying. Such antiquities are awe inspiring.”

“Indeed. I confess I haven’t yet seen them.”

“Then you are as negligent as we are, my lord,” Maria said. “Elgin brought them from Greece three years ago.”
He laughed. “I have not seen you riding of late, Lady Sibella. Your brother Vaughn told me you were down at Brandreth Park.”

“Mama came back for the opera.” Sibella placed a hand to her cheek. It felt warm even through her kid glove and she hoped he could not see what his presence did to her. “And my mare has developed shin splints and must rest.”
The traffic cleared ahead and their carriage jerked forward. “I trust we’ll see you again soon, my lord?” Maria cast a quick glance at her. “Although we are off to the country again next week. Mama intends to visit our brother Bartholomew in York.”

“I’m traveling north myself,” Strathairn said. “We might meet at the York assembly.”

“We plan to be there. I do hope you come. It’s a remarkably dull affair.” Maria stared at Sibella. “Don’t you agree, Sib?”
“Yes, it certainly can be,” Sibella said.

He bowed again. “Then I look forward to seeing you there.” At a shout from a drayman, he dodged a wagon and ran to the pavement.

Maria turned to her. “Well!”

Sibella wrinkled her nose, trying to adopt a casual pose. “Well, what?”

“You are in a brown study. I’m sure Strathairn was enthralled by your scintillating conversation.”

“Oh, do stop, Maria.”

“What on earth is the matter with you? You two generally talk for ages. Had you nothing to say to him?”

“He kissed me.”

Maria’s eyes went from owlish to accusatory. “Why didn’t you tell me? And when was this?”

“I’m sorry, dearest. It was of no consequence. At Lady Gladwin’s ball. You remained at home that night with a sore throat, remember?”

Maria stared at her. “Of no consequence? Are you mad? Where? Surely not in the ballroom.”

“It was in the garden. We went for a walk.”

Maria sniggered. “Well indeed! I suspected his feelings for you ran far deeper than he confessed.”

Sibella shook her head, heat rushing to every part of her body. “That’s just it. He made light of it afterwards. An impulse which meant nothing to him.”

“Oh. The wretch!”

She gave a choked, desperate laugh. “He doesn’t wish to marry, Maria.”

“Many men think they do not. They must be persuaded.”

“And did you have to persuade Harry?”

Maria stroked her throat with a dreamy smile. “No.”

“Exactly. I shan’t spend my time yearning after a man who doesn’t want me.”

Maria sighed. “Oh, Sib. I pray you will find true love like Harry and me. I do believe you will in time.”

Sibella gazed out the window barely aware of the vehicles and pedestrians in the busy street, fighting against her feelings, her throat tight, tears threatening. Annoyed, she said firmly, “A woman could fall in love more than once, I imagine.”

“I don’t believe I could.”

“Mama has her eye on Lord Coombe,” Sibella said.

“Mama has her eye on any titled unmarried male under the age of forty-five,” Maria said.

Sibella faced her sister. “Coombe appears respectable enough.”

Maria rubbed her brow. “Perhaps you might fall in love with him? When you get to know him.”

“Perhaps.” If only she could forget Strathairn’s kiss. As the prospect of seeing him again soon lightened her heart, she grew cross with herself at the uselessness of it.

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About the Author

Maggi Andersen fell in love with the Georgian and Regency worlds after reading the books of Georgette Heyer. Victoria Holt’s Gothic Victorian novels were also great favorites. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

She has raised three children and gained a BA and an MA in Creative Writing. After husband David retired from the law, they moved to the beautiful Southern Highlands of Australia.

Maggi’s free time is spent enjoying her garden and the local wildlife, reading, movies and the theatre. She keeps fit swimming and visiting the gym.

Maggi is a multi-published author, and writes mysteries and young adult novels as well as her Georgian, Regency and Victorian romances.

The Folly at Falconbridge Hall by Maggi Andersen

UK Release Date – December 2012/ US release MAy 2013
Publisher – Knox Robinson Publishing Ltd.

BLURB:

Vanessa Ashley felt herself qualified for a position as governess, until offered the position at Falconbridge Hall. Left penniless after the deaths of her artist father and suffragette mother, Vanessa Ashley draws on her knowledge of art, politics, and history to gain employment as a governess. She discovers that Julian, Lord Falconbridge, requires a governess for his ten-year-old daughter Blyth at Falconbridge Hall, in the countryside outside London. Lord Falconbridge is a scientist and dedicated lepidopterist who is about to embark on an extended expedition to the Amazon. An enigmatic man, he takes a keen interest in his daughter’s education. As she prepares her young charge, Vanessa finds the girl detached and aloof. As Vanessa learns more about Falconbridge Hall, more questions arise. Why doesn’t Blythe feel safe in her own home? Why is the death of her mother, once famed society beauty Clara, never spoken of? And why did the former governess leave so suddenly without giving notice?

RFHL CLassifications:

Romantic Mystery/Suspense
Victorian Period
Heat Rating – 2
3.5 Stars

REVIEW BY SABRINA

Vanessa Ashley has lost her parents, her home and is at the mercy of her estranged Uncle. Feeling unwanted in his home she seeks a governess job and luckily finds a position quickly. Her charge is a 10 year old little girl name Blythe. It is here the story opens and we are welcomed to Falconbridge Hall, Clapham, England.

Vanessa is very optimistic regarding the success of her position and determines to be a good role model to Blythe. The bond between the two is immediate. The trust and friendship is unmistakable and adds a sweet balance to the rest of the story.

As Vanessa comes to love Blythe, she is also taking notice of Lord Falconbridge – Blythe’s father. While very busy studying and arranging for his departure, Vanessa learns he is also a doting father, who takes much interest in his daughter’s teachings. Vanessa feels drawn to him and as she tries to come to terms with the feelings he provokes in her she asks herself – am I attracted to him?

Throughout this story there is an underlying uneasiness surrounding the estate. A comment here an action there; all created to maintain an illusion to mystery. Is there something going on at Falconbridge Hall or is Vanessa at fault for letting her thoughts get the better of her? I enjoyed the slow buildup of suspense that was hinted at throughout the book. At various points, I thought I knew what was to happen only to be surprised at the turn in direction.

The Folly at Falconbridge Hall is a charming, quick read that entertains readers with a love story and a mystery.

LOVE AND WAR by MAGGI ANDERSEN

BLURB:

Selena couldn’t accuse him of paying her Spanish coin! Gyles Devereux made it clear he had no wish to marry at all but was constrained by his circumstances. She could not be expected to keep refusing Lord Devereux, she thought crossly. She was only flesh and blood after all. What woman on earth could resist the pleas of a man such as Devereux?

RHFL Classifications:

Historical Romance (Novella)

Era: Regency/Napoleonic

Heat Level:2

Review rating: 4 Stars

REVIEW BY EMERY:

As a fellow writer of historical romance novellas, I always have a mixed reaction when people say they wish one of my stories had been longer, but now I understand because that’s precisely how I felt with this one.  Although there is much more story here than one would expect, given the length, I still couldn’t help wanting more of it!

The heroine, Selena, is secretly in love with Gyles Devereux, a man whose offer of marriage she has refused several times because she knows her feelings are unrequited.  Lord Devereux has returned from Wellington’s army for fear his line will die out if he falls in battle, and is in dire need of money to repair his ruined estates. He confesses his reasons for marriage upfront in a most unromantic fashion and also professes to Selena that he will undoubtedly make a poor husband, yet Selena weighs his renewed offer with the fact that she is tired of living with her sister’s family, and at least will have a home of her own and a title to boot if she accepts him. She also harbors a secret hope that in time he may return her feelings.  She decides to accept his offer, the banns are called and the wedding proceeds with all the traditional ritual, with the bride and groom then departing for a London honeymoon.

**SPOILER ALERT**

On their way from bath to London, they stop overnight at an Inn. While in her chamber Selena awaits her new husband with excitement and trepidation about their wedding night…. but she falls asleep only to learn that Gyles has disappeared without a word. Furious about her abandonment but refusing to return to her sister, Selena commands the coachman to take her to Lord Devereux’s estate where she finds all in a shambles of neglect. From this point Selena and Devereux’s lives intersect between prolonged intervals, with their marriage remaining unconsummated while the sexual tension continues to coil. I hate plot spoilers of which I am already guilty, so I won’t say more about precisely what kept them apart, but suffice to say from the moment he disappeared I was well and truly hooked. **END OF SPOILER**

I thoroughly enjoyed this novella with its mixture of romance and intrigue. I just wish it had been longer so that I could know more about the characters’ history which could only be alluded to, given the abbreviated format. I wanted to know more about Selena and Devereux to better understand how she actually fell in love with him before their marriage  as I have a hard time believing it wasn’t just infatuation given how he treated her. I also love espionage stories and would love to have seen this aspect further developed with more detail of Devereux’s cover activities. Nevertheless, this was a highly engaging story and a recommended read.

Best of all it’s only $.99 on Amazon!
post-script: I am eagerly looking forward to Ms. Anderson’s US release of A BARON IN HER BED!

(Available now in the UK)

A BARON IN HER BED by Maggi Andersen

(Available now in the UK. )

PUBLISHER’S BLURB

London, 1816. A handsome baron. A faux betrothal. And Horatia’s plan to join the London literary set takes a dangerous turn. Now that the war with France has ended, Baron Guy Fortescue arrives in England to claim his inheritance, abandoned over thirty years ago when his father fled to France after killing a man in a duel. When Guy is set upon by footpads in London, a stranger, Lord Strathairn, rescues and befriends him. But while travelling to his country estate, Guy is again attacked. He escapes only to knock himself out on a tree branch. Aspiring poet Horatia Cavendish has taken to riding her father’s stallion, “The General”, around the countryside of Digswell dressed as a groom.

RHL Classifications:

Historical Romantic Suspense

Heat Level 3

Review rating: 4.5 Stars

REVIEW BY ANITA

Horatia is a typical Regency young lady brought up to a genteel but uneventful life in the country where her small rebellion is to go riding alone in men’s clothes on her father’s horse, The General.  One day she happens to find a handsome, unconscious man on the roadside and helps him back to the nearest shelter, a hunting lodge in the woods.  Trapped there for the night, Horatia has to continue her masquerade as a groom.

Things seem to work well and the next day, she discovers Baron Guy Fortescue is in fact the heir to the neighbouring estate where her godfather, Eustace lives. However, Guy is half French and no one is going to fool him into believing the soft faced, gently curved Horatia is a boy, and before long he confronts her with her deceit, and inveigles her into a mock engagement.  Guy is a more complicated character than one might imagine, he has been attacked by would be assassins, twice and whoever wants him dead isn’t about to give up now.

Befriended by Lord Strathairn, he isn’t entirely alone in his quest both to stay alive and prove his ancestry so he can lay claim to his estate. Guy suspects his relative, Eustace Fennimore is behind the attacks on his life, and has been ensconced in Rosecroft Hall during the family’s exile and becomes its heir should Guy die.

Now that Horatia is engaged, her father is happy to allow her to have a season in London with his sister, Emily, who is immediately taken with Guy, and although Horatia keeps telling herself their betrothal is only a ruse, her feelings for him deepen until she is desperate to help him find out who is trying to kill him.

This story has all the elements of a perfect Regency romance, a handsome Frenchman in fear of his life from unknown quarters, a beautiful girl trying not to fall in love with him and a mysterious Lord who becomes his friend but seems to know a lot more about him than a stranger should.

As a fan of Maggi Anderson, she has done it again with ‘A Baron In Her Bed’, with a mystery encompassed within a love story that has to be solved, and races along to a satisfying conclusion.

Anita Davison is a Historical Fiction Author whose latest release, ‘Royalist Rebel’ a biographical novel set in 17th Century England, is being released by Claymore Books in early 2013 under the name Anita Seymour.

A sneak peek from Maggi Andersen

CLICK IMAGE TO RETURN TO HOP

Hi Everyone,

Here is a taste of my new release, the first of my books in my Regency spy series.

Cheers,

Maggi

 

 

 

 

A BARON IN HER BED ~ The Spies of Mayfair, Book One.

By Maggi Andersen

Released Amazon UK 6th September 2012:

Blurb:

London, 1816. A handsome baron. A faux betrothal. And Horatia’s plan to join the London literary set takes a dangerous turn. Now that the war with France has ended, Baron Guy Fortescue arrives in England to claim his inheritance, abandoned over thirty years ago when his father fled to France after killing a man in a duel. When Guy is set upon by footpads in London, a stranger, Lord Strathairn, rescues and befriends him. But while travelling to his country estate, Guy is again attacked. He escapes only to knock himself out on a tree branch.

Aspiring poet Horatia Cavendish has taken to riding her father’s stallion, “The General”, around the countryside of Digswell dressed as a groom. She has become bored of her country life and longs to escape to London to pursue her desire to become part of the London literary set. When she discovers Guy lying unconscious on the road, the two are forced to take shelter for the night in a hunting lodge. After Guy discovers her ruse, a friendship develops between them. Guy suspects his relative, Eustace Fennimore is behind the attacks on his life. He has been ensconced in Rosecroft Hall during the family’s exile and will become the heir should Guy die. Horatia refuses to believe her godfather, Eustace, is responsible. But when Guy proposes a faux betrothal to give him more time to discover the truth, she agrees. Secure in the knowledge that his daughter will finally wed, Horatia’s father allows her to visit her blue-stocking aunt in London. But Horatia’s time spent in London proves to be anything but a literary feast, for a dangerous foe plots Guy’s demise. She is determined to keep alive her handsome fiance, who has proven more than willing to play the part of her lover even as he resists her attempts to save him.

EXCERPT

At least two hours had passed before Horatia guided the horse back towards the road. Distracted by her thoughts, she had ridden farther than she intended. A glance at the skies told her the storm bank was almost upon them.

They would have to take their chances and return by the road. She urged The General into a gallop.

They came to the road that led to Malforth Manor but were still some miles away. She would be lucky to reach home before the storm hit. She eased the horse into a trot as they approached a sharp bend in the road, the way ahead hidden by a stand of oaks. Once round the corner, she gasped and pulled the horse up hard.

A body lay in the road.

Highwaymen tried this ruse she’d heard. She edged her horse closer.

With a quick search of the landscape, she saw a horse disappear over a hill with its reins trailing. She dismounted and approached the man with caution. Barely a leaf stirred. It was oddly still, and the air seemed hushed and quiet as death before the coming storm. It matched her mood as she stood wondering what to do about the problem before her.

The man sprawled on his side. Judging by his clothes, he was a gentleman. Beneath his multi-caped greatcoat his brown coat revealed the skill of the tailor. His cream double-breasted waistcoat was of very fine silk. Long legs were encased in tight-fitting buff-colored suede pantaloons. His mud-splattered top boots showed evidence of loving care.

He moaned.

Horatia knelt beside him and grasped his shoulder. “Are you all right?”

When he didn’t answer, she struggled to roll him onto his back. A nasty gash trickled blood over his forehead where a bruise would surely form.

The man’s dark hair was sticky with blood. “Can you hear me, sir?” His eyelids fluttered. She shouldn’t stare at him while he remained unconscious, but she couldn’t draw her eyes away. He had remarkable cheekbones. His dark looks reminded her of Lord Byron. More rugged perhaps, but an undeniably handsome face, his skin more swarthy than one usually saw in an English winter. There was a dimple in his chin and a hint of shadow darkened his strong jaw line. She gingerly picked up his wrist and peeled back the soft leather glove, glad to find his pulse strong. An expensive gold watch had fallen from his pocket. So, he hadn’t been robbed. It must have been an accident. She looked around for some sign of what had happened but could see nothing.

A gust of chill wind made her shiver, and she glanced up at the sky. Ashgrey snow clouds now hovered overhead. “I have to move you, sir.”

Horatia stood and looked around. The road ran along the boundary of the Fortescue estate. Over the hill among the trees was a tiny hunting lodge.

She’d passed it many times when she roamed the woods, although she hadn’t been there for years. Her godfather, Eustace, lived for a part of the year in the Fortescue mansion, but it was some distance away and the snow had begun to fall.

It was by far the closest shelter, but trying to get the motionless man onto a horse unaided would be impossible. She sighed. That was not an option.

Horatia looked back at him. He was large, tall, and broad shouldered.

How on earth could she move him? And what would she do with him if she did? She looked up and down the deserted road with the hope that someone–preferably someone with big, strong arms–would appear to help her, and yet, she dreaded to be found in this invidious position. This was a quiet back road; most folk preferred the more direct route, so she couldn’t expect to be rescued soon.

She wondered if she should drag him under a tree and ride for help. As she considered this, the snow grew heavier. It settled over the ground and the prone man and touched her face like icy fingers. She couldn’t leave him out in the open, prey to the elements while she went for help. In bad weather it would take ages to ride to Digswell village. By the time she located the apothecary and brought him here, the man would be near death. Somehow she had to move him off the road and under shelter, although in the dead of winter, there was little to be had.

Horatia bent down, wrapped his limp arm around her shoulders, and caught a whiff of expensive bergamot. She took hold of his firm waist and tried to pull him towards the trees, but he was too heavy. She eased him down again.

Horatia pulled off her coat and shuddered at the cold. She tucked it around him. The snow had begun to fall in earnest, and worse, the prospect of a blizzard loomed. The wind gathered force. It stirred the tops of the trees around them and whipped the snowflakes into chaotic spirals of white.

Panic forced her to act. She took hold of the man’s arms and tried again to drag him. In small spurts she edged him closer to the scant shelter of the nearest tree, an oak whose dead leaves remained, curled and brown. Forced to pause, she took several deep breaths. He was quite a weight. She broke into a sweat despite the absence of her coat and the frigid air.

Horatia was severely winded and gasping by the time she reached the tree. It was a victory of sorts but afforded very little protection. She propped him against the trunk.

His eyelids rose. Startling pale blue eyes stared uncomprehendingly into hers.

***

AUTHOR WEBPAGE: http://www.maggiandersenauthor.com

BLOG: http://www.maggiandersen.blogspot.com

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