In which it is Theresa’s turn

For the month of December–with bonus posts on November 30 and January 1!–I am delighted to welcome a wonderful assortment of guest bloggers to take over the helm. Please enjoy their generous contributions to the blog this month. My own bloggery will resume January 2. I wish you and yours happiness and health this holiday season. Please note: comments are disabled until my return.

The World through Their Eyes

 

Deanna, thank you for allowing me to join your holiday bash!

Since it’s just a few days before Christmas, some of you might be packing for travel. Or maybe you’re already on the road or in the air, or you’re welcoming relatives into your home.

Today we don’t think anything of driving a hundred miles or flying a thousand. But during the Regency, nothing moved faster than a galloping horse could carry it. Many people lived their entire lives in one village or city—or even within the streets of a single neighborhood. The world was familiar.

But in the viewpoint of Jane—the heroine of my holiday historical romance, SEASON FOR SCANDAL—her world is too small. The poor country cousin of a nobleman, she has observed society from the fringes, but she’s never truly been part of it. Jane wants two things from life: 1) to see more of the world, and 2) Edmund, Baron Kirkpatrick.

You guys knew that was coming, right? This is a romance, after all. And when debt drives Jane and Edmund into a marriage of convenience, Jane thinks all her dreams are coming true.

Wrong. (You knew that was coming too, didn’t you?) Edmund is trapped in London by a figure from the past, by family secrets and scandals he can never share. He thinks the world of Jane, and he hopes he can make her happy without sharing those secrets or his heart.

Here’s an excerpt from early in their marriage, a few weeks before Christmas. Jane and Edmund are shopping for books at Hatchards:

*          *          *

She extended the opened volume to him. “This plate shows a street in Bombay.”

The aquatinted drawing spreading over the page contained a crowd of neat white buildings with red-brown roofs. A clutter of people walked between them down a narrow street, separated by the occasional carriage or cart pulled by a tiny figure in a broad-brimmed hat.

The scene could almost have been from London. In some ways, a city was a city, no matter where in the world it was found. Yet in the wide-hipped roofs and stretching awnings, there was a suggestion of something unfamiliar. Things are a little different here.

Was it because of the heat? The brightness? How did it change a person’s heart, to trust in the sun?

Only when Jane tugged the book away did Edmund realize he had been staring at the image for a long time. He blinked, trying to clear his head. He seemed to have traveled away from the second story of Hatchards, and his mind fought the return to his body.

“You like it, too, don’t you?” Jane’s fingers hovered over the picture.

His throat felt dry. “Is there something about India in particular that you like?” He swallowed. Coughed. “Because of…of Bellamy?”

Not that Bellamy—Turnerhad a damn thing to do with India, in truth. His stories were nothing but false tales from his fevered imagination.

“Not only India. Anywhere. Everywhere.” Her fingers trailed over the illustration. “I just want to know more. I don’t want to have a small life.”

Oh.

It wasn’t Bellamy, or India, or disappointment in Edmund. It was her own wish, untainted and sincere. And how could he argue with a wish like that?

His face must have changed, for she closed the atlas. “I’ll put it back. It’s rather expensive.”

He took the volume from her, but instead of returning it to the shelf, he handed it to a nearby clerk. “Please charge this to Lord Kirkpatrick’s account and have it wrapped up. We shall take it with us.”

When he turned back to Jane, he took her hand and gave it a quick squeeze. “I wish I could give you more than a book.”

“A book is enough.” God bless the woman; she even met his eyes when she said it.

Now that he’d found a way to please her, his body unknotted. A ridge of tension between his shoulder blades began to relax; the constant twisting feeling of his stomach began to ebb. This was…good. This was marriage as he’d never seen it: friendly and comfortable. As long as there was amity, they could rub along well enough without love.

*          *          *

Edmund is wrong, of course. He underestimates Jane’s determination—and his own.

SEASON FOR SCANDAL is the story of how a husband and wife learn about each other’s faults and flaws as well as their beautiful bits, and how they come to love one another…just in time for Christmas. In the end, they even plan travel together, to a place that will allow them to heal past wounds and step into a new future.

Since it’s almost Christmas, we’ve got to do a giveaway! Come on over to my blog (http://theresaromain.com/blog/) and tell me what you like (or don’t) about travel, or where you went on your last trip. I’ll give a copy of SEASON FOR SCANDAL to one random commenter.