The Viscount's Promise
The Twice Shy Series Book 2
by Christina Britton
Genre: Historical Romance Pub Date: 10/30/18
Lady Emily Masters has harbored a secret infatuation for the dashing Malcolm Arborn, Viscount Morley since a childhood accident claimed the life of her twin brother and left her own face scarred. But when fate brings them together again for her brother’s wedding, she is dismayed to find instead of the brave gentleman who sheltered her after the tragedy, a surly rogue quick to quip and slow to trust.
To the cosmopolitan and haughty Malcolm, few engagements could possibly be more punishing than attending his friend’s country wedding―until the groom requests he watch over his timid sister during the weeks leading up to the ceremony. Fearful of her scar making her the center of attention to the visiting lords and ladies, Emily proves to be a difficult charge for the irascible bachelor.
Her diffidence an insult to his sensibilities, he finds a new purpose within his role: to bring out the bold woman within. But how can such a gentle creature as Emily abide his own coarseness? At odds with their natures, will these two willful souls be able to look beyond their past hurt to build a promising tomorrow?
“I would love to hear you play if you have the time for one more song.”
She shot him a quick, disbelieving glance, and immediately regretted it. They were close, closer even than they had been during the dance. Her mouth went dry. “You want me to play for you?”
“You have heard me play before,” she reminded him.
“Yes, but that was different.”
She frowned. “How?”
He looked flummoxed for a moment, as if he hadn’t expected the question and didn’t have the least idea how to answer it. Finally, he shrugged. “There was something more to your playing this morning. I cannot explain it.”
His eyes were fervent and wondering as he looked down at her. Had he truly heard the emotions she had poured into her music, the bit of her soul she had bared in her playing? It touched her deeply that he sensed it, for he had been the one to inspire it in the first place. Something warm unfurled in her chest. In that moment she would not have denied him anything. “Very well,” she whispered.
On shaky legs she returned to her place at the pianoforte. He sat halfway across the length of the room, as if he were trying to maintain some space between them. And yet Emily could feel his gaze on her like a physical touch. Taking a deep breath, she laid her fingers on the keys and, closing her eyes, began to play. She could have chosen a piece of incredible difficulty to lay every bit of her skill out in front of him. Instead her fingers glided over the keys, finding and weaving through a soft, plaintive melody. It was slow and deep, reflecting her heart and what Malcolm was pulling from it. For he was dragging emotions from her she never thought to feel.
Every strike of the hammers on the strings vibrated through her, from her fingertips to her very core. Tears pressed against her closed lids. Did he hear it? Could he feel what she was putting into the song? All too soon the last note died away. The echo of it was slower to leave her, flowing through her body, swirling about her heart. She was almost bereft when that, too, died away. But with the loss of it, she became aware of something else missing as well.
There was not a sound in the room. Had he left? With great will she opened her eyes, quickly blinking away her tears, and looked in the direction he had been sitting. He was there still, his dark eyes intent on her, his expression rapt. That look was like a spark to dry tinder; suddenly it was as if the music had started up again, the magic of it touching her very soul.
“Thank you,” he said, his voice hushed and fervent. He smiled, and a bit of the scar that had grown, protective and tough, around Emily’s heart fell away. As she watched him go, she clutched her arms about her waist, more frightened than she had ever been.
With Love in Sight
The Twice Shy Series Book 1
From Romance Writers of America’s® 2017 Golden Heart® winner comes a story of passion that is much more than meets the eye.
An aging spinster at twenty-six, all Imogen Duncan sees ahead of her is a life of servitude to her overbearing mother. Her London Season has passed and her desperate shyness and reserved demeanor have destroyed any chance for a match. As her younger sister Mariah begins her own Season with a selection of suitors, Imogen believes her chances for excitement are well and truly lost…Until a case of mistaken identity and an accidental kiss brings her adventure.
Burying his guilt from a decade-old tragedy beneath a life of debauchery, Caleb Masters, Marquess of Willbridge, is content enough to meet willing widows in dark gardens to numb the pain. But he is wholly unprepared when an innocent miss stumbles into him, turning his superficial world on its head.
Drawn to the rogue that mistakenly stole her first kiss, Imogen finds not a suitor, but a friend. Free to be herself for the first time, she begins to see a new beauty in the world around her…and see a strength in herself she never knew she possessed. But when friendship turns to passion, Imogen will accept nothing less than Caleb’s heart. Can a healing of the past lead to the promise of a future together?
Christina Britton developed a passion for writing romance novels shortly after buying her first at the tender age of thirteen. Though for several years she turned to art and put brush instead of pen to paper, she has returned to her first love and is now writing full time. She spends her days dreaming of corsets and cravats and noblemen with tortured souls.
She lives with her husband and two children in the San Francisco Bay Area. A member of Romance Writers of America, she also belongs to her local chapter, Silicon Valley RWA, and is a 2017 RWA® Golden Heart® winner. Her debut novel, With Love in Sight, was released by Diversion Books in early 2018.
1. If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
Harry Potter! I swear, every time I read through those books I am absolutely captivated, transported to this magical, fictional place. And those books are so beloved. To be able to write something that touches people to that degree would be amazing.
2. What makes this particular genre you are involved in so special?
The Regency era has an elegance and refinement to it, but also a fun naughtiness. It’s so unlike the modern world, yet can carry many modern sensibilities. I’ve been drawn to it for so many years, I can’t even imagine writing anything else.
3. How important is research to you when writing a book?
Incredibly important, though it can be daunting to get every single detail absolutely spot on. There’s a balance in historical romance, between the fantasy of it all and the realism. It’s that balance, giving a little in each direction, that makes the genre so captivating. But you still have to respect the time period, and especially the readers who love it.
4. What works best for you: Typewriters, fountain pen, dictate, computer or longhand?
I start my books by fleshing them out with gel pens and spiral notebooks. Once I get my main characters and the central conflict fleshed out, I move to computer. Most of the actual writing is done straight to computer, though when I hit a roadblock in the story I work it out long hand.
5. When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to be a writer?/What inspires you to write?
I knew I wanted to write not long after I bought my first romance novel when I was just thirteen years old. I remember that trip to Waldenbooks vividly, and I still have the book. I was so transported, so inspired, I had to try my hand at it. I don’t remember ever thinking I could do it better. I just wanted to do it, too. It was a dream for so many years, one of those things you see as unattainable but still like to turn over in your head every now and then. It wasn’t until my youngest started school, though, that I actually became serious about it. I was selling my paintings at the time, and was at a cross roads: either work toward becoming a children’s book illustrator, or write. I came across a letter from my late grandfather just then, in which he had written he couldn’t wait for me to become a published author. That set my course then and there.
6. Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
I love reading. The ones I gravitate toward are other historical romance authors, such as Julia Quinn, Tessa Dare, and Sarah MacLean, among (many) others. When I’m actively writing I have to read in my subgenre, otherwise the flavor of my writing is off. I just can’t get the right historical feel. When I’m editing I’ll read contemporaries, especially Adriana Anders. I also adore anything by Courtney Milan or Alyssa Cole, both in contemporary and historical romance.
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