Historical Hookups

Barbara Vey -- October 8th, 2013

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My deepest apologies to Author Anne Barton, Jessica Bromberg and Grand Central Books.  I was supposed to run this piece yesterday and totally got caught up in my birthday.  No excuse.  And to make up for it, let’s have 2 winners today of terrific historicals.  Just post, “I love historicals!”

So, here now, is what was supposed to be the kick-off story.  Here’s Grand Central’s  description of the event:

We are doing a fun historical challenge we’re calling “historical hookups” where 5 of our historical authors (with books out Sept and Oct) each write a 300-500 word piece based on the same general description of a character (ex: raven haired beauty, childless, cast out from her family). These “criteria” for the pieces are actually being chosen by FANS and will showcase how each author’s style is so vastly different even with the same starting pieces of information.
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Miss Sarah Gray’s hands were surprisingly steady—considering she was on the brink of committing a felony.

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But her heart hammered as she crouched in a dimly lit corridor of The Albany, jiggling a silver gilt hair pin in the door lock of the Marquess of Westbury’s bachelor apartment. She glanced over her shoulder and swept a chestnut curl away from her face, then inserted the pin at a different angle.

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This was only the second lock she’d attempted to pick—the first had been her own, for practice, a few hours ago. That had gone swimmingly. But this lock was newer, the key hole was smaller, and—
Click. Thank God. She was two for two.

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The brass handle turned easily, the door swung open, and Sarah almost tumbled into the apartment. Or the dragon’s lair, as she preferred to think of it. She’d never met the marquess, but on the few occasions she’d seen him from afar, his face was a thundercloud. A knee-meltingly handsome thundercloud, to be sure—but a thundercloud nonetheless.

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And if he should happen to discover her here…well, she refused to dwell on the possibility. She was on a mission, and she simply had to succeed.

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She quickly shut the door, then breathed in the scents of leather, brandy and books as her eyes adjusted to the dark. She found a candle on a small table in the entryway and lit it. A swift survey of the room revealed no risqué paintings, no lewd sculptures, nor any other obvious signs of debauchery. A bit disappointing, that. She’d hoped her first time in a bachelor’s apartment would prove at least a little enlightening.

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But curiosity about the marquess mustn’t deter her from her goal. She had it on good authority cover34972-smallthat he dined at his club every Thursday evening and—after enjoying a few drinks, no doubt—generally returned home at about half past ten.
Which left her less than thirty minutes to locate the watch.

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Now, where would he keep the gold-plated piece that he’d heartlessly swindled from her dear papa? Did dark-tempered, titled gentlemen have trophy cases for such things? The sitting room had a full wall of open shelves, but few drawers or cabinets for personal affects.

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No, the best hiding spots were, undoubtedly, in Lord Westbury’s bedchamber.

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An open door revealed a massive bedpost and a glimpse of rumpled sheets. She hesitated, but the sooner she located the watch, the sooner she could depart, so she crossed the threshold and went directly to the bureau sitting against the far wall. The surface was bare, save for a small portrait of two boys—brothers perhaps?—and a pair of gloves. Very large gloves.

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Feeling rather warm, she set the candle down, grasped the handles of the top drawer, and bit her lip. Part of her balked at rifling through a stranger’s private things, but to retrieve Mama’s precious gift to Papa, Sarah would have done worse.

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Tamping down her guilt, she slid open the drawer and sifted through mounds of white and buff linen searching for the gold case engraved with her father’s initials. Stashed amid the neckcloths, handkerchiefs, and gloves she found calling cards, cufflinks—even a beach stone. Good heavens. One would think Lord Westbury couldn’t afford a valet.

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Then, in a back corner, something glinted in the flickering light. She grabbed a fist full of linen with one hand and reached—

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Ouch.

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A hand clamped around her wrist and spun her around. “Who are you?” The marquess jerked her closer. “And what the hell are you doing in my bedchamber?”

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Blast. She considered kicking him in the leg and attempting to run for the door, but his broad shoulders, long legs, and stormy countenance told her escape was nigh impossible. So, with a confidence she didn’t possess, she shrugged off her hood and raised her chin. “Miss Sarah Gray.”
   The marquess narrowed his cold, dark eyes. “Why does your name sound familiar?”

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She blinked fast, feigning surprise. “I cannot imagine…oh, wait. Perhaps you recall my name from the two letters that I recently sent you”—she leaned forward till their chests were a mere inch apart—“letters which you ignored.”

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“I don’t correspond with people I don’t know, Miss Gray.”

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She clenched her teeth. “Now that introductions are out of the way, I have a question for you. Why did you steal my father’s watch?”

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His grip on her wrist tightened. “I didn’t. He wagered it. I won it.”

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“I want to purchase it back from you.”

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Amusement flickered across his face. “Do you?”

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“I possess a considerable fortune, Lord Westbury. Name your price.”

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He pulled her hand between them and eyed her fist, still clutching a wad of linen. “Well, Miss Gray,” he said smoothly, “you might start by giving me back my drawers.”

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I love that the readers got to pick the criteria.  Be sure to follow the rest of the series with Eileen Dreyer (10/8 on Dear Author) Lily Dalton (10/9 on USA Today), Jennifer Delamere (10/10 on Library Journal) and Elizabeth Hoyt (10/11 on Heroes and Heartbreakers.

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Bottom Line:  “Never ruin an apology with an excuse.” ― Benjamin Franklin

BTW, New Releases will be in tomorrow’s blog.

 

 

28 thoughts on “Historical Hookups

  1. Vicki

    I love historically! And this sounds like a very interesting one! Oh, an a belated Happy Birthday to you! Yesterday was my husband’s birthday as well. ;-)

  2. ColleenC. :)

    “I love historicals!” I really really do… this genre got me hooked on reading romances years ago… have not been without a book nearby since! :D

  3. Erica

    I love historicals! So many of my go-to authors are historical romance authors, and I am always excited to discover new favorites in the genre!

    1. Anne Barton

      Hi Jayne,

      And thanks! I’m so glad you like the historical hookup scene! It’s actually just a short piece that I wrote based on reader-selected criteria. (Readers voted for a mysterious brunette heiress and a titled, scowling gentleman who’d never met before–and the scene had to take place in a bedroom!)

      But you can read excerpts of my first book, WHEN SHE WAS WICKED, and my novella, TO ALL THE RAKES I’VE LOVED BEFORE on Amazon, B&N, and other bookseller sites. I should have an excerpt from ONCE SHE WAS TEMPTED up shortly too!

      Happy reading,
      Anne

  4. Anne Barton

    Barbara,

    Thanks so much for having me here and kicking off Forever’s historical hookup! And thanks to everyone for dropping by! It’s nice to see all these historical romance lovers! <3

    Anne

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