A ROSE AT MIDNIGHT

Bookbub day! (And why do I always type Boob when I type bookbub?) A Rose at Midnight, my first historical, is on sale for a mere pittance, $.99 for today only. I revised it, but the damned thing was almost perfect (she says modestly) and I got a spiffy new cover, just for it’s super-sale date.

I started out writing gothics – shorter, romantic suspense romances in a historical setting, and then I moved on to Regencies and category romances. This was the first time I’d written something longer than 80,000 words, and I remember panicking when I’d started it and having Stella Cameron and Jayne Ann Krentz (Amanda Quick) say “there there” when it was time to dive in.

At the time publishers kept asking me for a big romantic suspense book. Some of my best series romances were romantic suspense – Catspaw, Tangled Lies, Night of the Phantom, etc. – so I kept coming up with proposals that would make the rounds, be turned down reluctantly (“my respect for Anne Stuart is undimmed” which sounded like “despite this pile of crap you just sent me”). I sold them to Silhouette Intimate Moments, the best outlet for Rom/Suspense at the time, and they were both RITA finalists so they couldn’t be that bad.

And then I got the idea for A ROSE AT MIDNIGHT (you can blame Ellen Edwards for that title – I was calling it Black is the Color …). It wasn’t what anyone wanted, but I couldn’t let go of it, so I trusted my gut went for it. Not a wise thing to do, but then I’ve prided myself on never making “smart” business decisions. Lo and behold the book was snapped up.

I loved that book. In revising it I was quite surprised at what a badass my hero is, and how fierce my heroine (her first act is to poison the hero), and I forgot I used to have lovely supporting romances in my historicals. I wanted to smack the secondary hero half the time but he was still completely swoon-worthy.

It’s funny – when I revise an older book it’s like I’m reading someone else’s book that I’d read long ago and loved. My sense of ownership is mostly gone, but whoever wrote it in the first place knew exactly what I wanted to happen to my characters, so it was completely satisfying. There were a couple of typos, and just a few changes, none of which were strictly necessary, but revising it gave me the treat of discovering it again.

If you’ve already bought it from Amazon I’m pretty sure you can go in and download the newer version and the gorgeous new cover. If you haven’t, or want to contribute to my Get-a-used-truck fund it’s a treat to read and an excellent gift for everyone you know, including your postman and your tax accountant. I really need a truck.

And just for your delectation, here are a couple of scenes, one from the lighter, supporting couple, one from the darker, central couple:

Plus, links! Amazon https://amzn.to/2MjCnzP Barnes and Noble https://bit.ly/2sSl5BC KOBO https://bit.ly/2LJQ4XK

“You don’t suggest we spend the night here?” she questioned, both aghast and not a little excited at the sheer impropriety of the notion.
“I certainly don’t suggest we go back out into the storm and retrace our footsteps, then travel an extra half-mile in this hellish weather. It’s cozy enough for the moment. Well take things as they come.”
“Tony, there’s only one bed,” she felt forced to point out.
“That’s all right, love,” he said cheerfully. “I trust you.”
She had to laugh. “At least no one is going to know about this,” she said, unfastening her damp boots and kicking them toward the fire. “Even if they did, they wouldn’t believe it of two sober creatures like ourselves.”
He glanced over at her. “I don’t know that you’re at all sober, Ellen Fitzwater. As a matter of fact, I think you’ve had a sadly debilitating effect on my sober nature. Too much time spent in your company and I’m becoming quite alarmingly madcap. Have some brandy.”

“Where’s Mamzelle?” Tavvy appeared at the door of the smaller cabin, the one Nicholas resignedly assumed he’d end up sharing with his valet.
“In her cabin. I doubt we’ll hear more than a moan or two before we reach the continent,” he said negligently, pouring himself a glass of the brandy he’d brought aboard with him. Being of a democratic nature, he held the bottle out to Taverner, who shook his head.
“What I want to know is this,” Tavvy said, sitting down heavily opposite him. “What in God’s name were you thinking of, to carry her with us?”
An unpleasant smile curved Nicholas’s mouth. “I would think the answer to that must be obvious.”
“No, sir, it’s not,” Tavvy said flatly. “You had more than enough time to take your fill of her while I was off scouting the situation. It’s not as if she’s any great beauty, nor is she particularly versed in the art of love, if you take my meaning. That much is obvious.”
“Delicately put,” Nicholas agreed.
“So then, why? Why have we dragged her with us, all over England and Scotland? Why did we take this leaky old boat to Holland instead of the newer one to France? Why didn’t you leave her behind in Dunster? Your cousin and her man would have caught up with her and taken her back to England, and everything would be right and tight. It don’t make sense, that it don’t.”
Nicholas sighed. “I’m not sure, Tavvy that I owe you an explanation.”
“She’s not a tart, that’s clear. Sure and she tried to kill you, but knowing you, you’re not likely to hold that against her. Any number of women, and men as well, would like to kill you, and most of them with good cause. So why don’t you let the poor little mite go?”
Nicholas smiled at the man opposite him, and a lesser mortal than Tavvy would have quailed. Tavvy simply stared back. “Poor little mite?” he echoed. “I hadn’t realized she’d made quite such an impression on you, Tavvy. You realize we’re talking about the woman who knocked you over the head with a bucket and dumped you behind the shrubbery?”
“She’s a game little thing, there’s no denying that. I just don’t like to see the cards stacked against her.”
Nicholas set his glass down very carefully. “How long have you known me, Tavvy?”
“More’n ten years, sir.”
“Cut the ‘sir’ blather, Tavvy. You’re asking questions no servant would ask—we might as well face each other as equals. Why do you think I should let her go? Why this sudden rush of pity for your fellow man? Or woman, in this case?”
“I do feel sorry for her,” Tavvy said stoutly. “No matter what you do she keeps on fighting. Part of me would hate to see her beaten.”
“You’re a romantic, Tavvy. I never knew that about you,” he murmured. “As a matter of fact, I feel the same. Illogical, isn’t it?”
Tavvy nodded. “And it’s not just her I’m worried about. It’s you.”
Nicholas’s eyes flew open; he was no longer indolent. “You interest me enormously, Tavvy. You know me better than anyone ever has, including my own parents. Why are you worried about me?”
“She’ll destroy you.”

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