Monthly Archives: December 2013

Meet Regan Walker, author of The Twelfth Night Wager

Looking for a little holiday fun?

Check out Regan Walker’s new book, The Twelfth Night Wager

“Love sought is good, but giv’n unsought is better.”ReganCover

William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

Chapter 1

London, January 5, 1819

Twelfth Night

 

It never would have happened if he hadn’t been so terribly bored that night at  White’s, Staring into the crackling fire in the parlour on this frosty night and reflecting back on the last several months, Christopher St. Ives, Viscount Eustace, recalled the evening well; the deep leather chair he sat in, the lit cheroot dangling from one hand and a brandy in the other. He had only been half listening as Hugh Redgrave, the very married Marquess of Ormond, droned on about the virtues of the leg-shackled state. Happily married men could be so tiresome. Looking back on it now, it seemed years not months since they’d traded quips in the conversation that led to the wager:

 

“I say, Ormond, just where are you going with this praise for the wedded state? You know me too well to believe I’m convinced.”

“You might at least consider taking a wife, Eustace. There’s much to be said for the change it would bring about in your otherwise tawdry existence of late. After all, thirty-five is past the age where dissipation wears well, don’t you think?”

Tawdry existence? Dissipation? “Surely you cannot mean those words, Ormond. I’m just after a bit of fun.”

“You go after women like you go after the fox. It’s all in the chase for you.”

“And that is wrong? Just because you have your heir and a spare at thirty-two does not mean I wish to accumulate the same baggage.” At the frown that appeared on Ormond’s face, Christopher, Lord Eustace, hastened to add, “No offense meant toward the beautiful Lady Ormond, whom I admire above all women, but I am not ready for such a change, as my recent indulgences confirm. Besides, I like women and have my own way of handling them, which suits me quite well. I see no reason for change.”

“As far as I can see, your way of ‘handling’ them is not to have one at all.”

Ho, now that ain’t so, and well you know it! Though, being a gentleman, I’ll not disclose the number ‘had’ even if I could recall. My method, I assure you, works perfectly for me.”

“You have a method?” Ormond asked, incredulous.

“Well, perhaps not a method as you would count it. I seduce ’em, bed ’em and—

“Leave them. Yes, I know. But not always smiling, I’ve heard.”

Christopher looked up at the chandelier above and back to his friend as he let out a sigh. “Perhaps not, but none complain till the end is in sight. Then, wellI admit things have on occasion become a bit sticky. But they are all willing players in the game.”

“Your way of handling women cannot work with all. You must have failed with some.”

“Quite the contrary, my good man. I’ve succeeded with every lady I’ve gone after.” Christopher held back a grin. He did not lack confidence when it came to his success with women. And a worthy adversary made every game more exciting.

“I would wager there is one you cannot seduce.”

“Ho! Wager? Do I hear a challenge being laid down?” Snuffing out his cheroot, Christopher leaned forward. “Who might this unassailable paragon be?”

Ormond glanced about the sparsely populated club room filled with tables and chairs. Christopher’s eyes followed, noting the small group of men at a round table engaged in muted conversation some distance away. None appeared to be eavesdropping.

Leaning forward, Ormond whispered, “Grace, the Lady Leisterfield.”

Christopher leaned back in his chair and took a sip of brandy. In his mind’s eye he saw a slim blonde in a rather modest gray gown standing next to the elderly Lady Claremont. “Yes, I recall her from the last ball of the Season. The young widow lives like a nun, or so I’ve heard.”

Ormond grinned. “That, old man, is the challenge.”

“She’s in mourning, is she not?”

“Just coming out. And a worthy contender to test yourmethod.”

“I see.” But did he? Was there more to this than a wager? It was clear Ormond had something in mind, and the marquess could be exceedingly cryptic at times. Still, whatever was behind the challenge, and whatever the stakes, Christopher was drawn by the opportunity, even more by the encouragement, to entice the lovely Lady Leisterfield to his bed.

“I’ve been very impressed with the lady,” his friend continued, “and I would love to see you fail miserably trying to scale her castle walls. I would consider it sweet justice for the fairer sex.” Ormond winked.

Christopher was tempted to decline, still miffed at Ormond’s comment about his tawdryexistence. Yet the memory of the beautiful Lady Leisterfield permeated his thoughts. “Perhaps I shall accept your delightful challenge.”

Ormond grinned, then his expression turned serious. “One thing. If you do this, Eustace, you must promise to preserve the lady’s reputation no matter the outcome. That must be part of the challenge, as I would not see a good woman ruined at the end of it.”

“Well, I know of no woman who has suffered overmuch from being associated with me, but I assure you I will be discreet.”

“All right—and so we are clear,” said Ormond. “You must seduce, bed and walk away from the baroness, else I will have won.”

Christopher nodded, wondering all the while if he’d missed something. Ormond always seemed to have an agenda not fully disclosed. With him, much was hidden beneath the surface.

The marquess suggested with a pointed look, “Ninety days should be sufficient; do you agree?”

“We are indeed agreed. And let me add, it will be my pleasure.”

It wasn’t just the thought of bedding the lovely widow that put a grin on Christopher’s face; he was thrilled with the prospect of a real challenge with a virtuous woman. It was a wholly different sport than he normally engaged in, but Lady Leisterfield was a worthy quarry. A challenge indeed. One for which he felt himself uniquely qualified.

“Shall we reduce the wager to the book?” Ormond inquired with a wry smile. “Say, one thousand pounds to make it interesting?”

“Done.” Casting his reservations aside, Christopher set down his empty glass, reached for Ormond’s extended hand and gave it a hearty shake.

And so, that night, Christopher entered the following into White’s book:

***

Ld Eustace has wagered Ld Ormond 1000 pounds

that by Twelfth Night he can seduce, bed and walk away from a certain lady understood between them.

 

Author bio:ReganPhoto

As a child Regan Walker loved to write stories, particularly about adventure-loving girls, but by the time she got to college more serious pursuits took priority. One of her professors encouraged her to pursue the profession of law, which she did. Years of serving clients in private practice and several stints in high levels of government gave her a love of international travel and a feel for the demands of the “Crown” on its subjects. Hence her romance novels often involve a demanding Prince Regent who thinks of his subjects as his private talent pool.

Regan lives in San Diego with her golden retriever, Link, whom she says inspires her every day to relax and smell the roses.

Author links:

Regan’s Romance Reviews bloghttp://reganromancereview.blogspot.com/
Twitter: @RegansReview (https://twitter.com/RegansReview)

 

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Check out my newest novel, Geek Games

Geek Games

by Margaret Fieland

Geek Games 300dpi

When fourteen-year-old Martin lets Tom, a charismatic bully, persuade him to bring down the spaceport computer network, he never considers someone will place a bomb resulting in the death of his friend’s father. Nothing will bring Captain Frey back, but if Martin can help locate the terrorists’ drug lab, perhaps he’ll be able to forgive himself.

https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/coming-soon/november-2013/geek-games-detail

 

 

And check out the other Aleyne novels,

and Broken Bonds

https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/new-releases/broken-bonds-detail

 

 

Relocated

This week only: Relocated FREE

https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/young-adult/ya-action-adventure/relocated-detail

 

 

Excerpt

“Are we able to wash up?” I asked after the all clear sounded. “I stink.”

“Come on,” Beram said. “I’ll show you the shower.”

“Come on, Alan, you too.”

Alan climbed down, and we followed Beram to the end of the corridor. A shower proved to be a popular idea, as the rest of the crew assembled behind us. Low laughter reached my ears, and I turned around.

“What do you bet they both run off?” Gamal asked in Aleyni.

Suresh threw an arm around Gamal’s shoulder and planted a big kiss on his mouth. A grin split his face as he glanced at me.

Some joke. Ha, ha. I was laughing my head off—not. Sure, he wanted to make me and Alan uncomfortable. Expected us to be uncomfortable. None of the Aleynis displayed either surprise or disgust, and my gut clenched. My father would have backhanded me if I’d kissed a man in his presence. I would have given every last credit I possessed, assuming I owned any, to make my father react the way the Aleynis did.

Gamal’s gaze bored into me, eyebrows raised, waiting for some kind of response, but the Aleyni word assembly line broke down, and my brain froze solid.

Here’s something weird. Or maybe not; I don’t know. When I spoke Aleyni, I needed to think in Aleyni, so sometimes my thoughts would stop because I couldn’t yet formulate the thought in the alien language.

Hoping to unstop the dam, I opened my mouth to tell him he could go ahead and kiss all the men he wanted, with or without me around. No go. Pathetic.

Gamal touched the door, and it retracted into the wall, revealing a synglass-coated chamber with shower heads suspended from the walls and ceiling and a spigot on one wall.

After a minute, the log jam eased up. Showers were a much safer topic than kissing guys. “How does it work?”

“You soap up, then steam to rinse off.” Beram grinned, his gaze traveling up and down first my body, and then Alan’s. “I’ll show you. The shower is big enough for three. In order to save water, we shower two or three at a time.”

Alan gulped and backed away from the door. “I’ll pass.” He ran down the corridor.

“How about you?” Beram asked.

Inside my head, the vidi of me and Beram naked together in the steamy shower played two or three times. I nodded. “Who goes first?”

Suresh grinned.“You two may have the honor of the first shower this time.”

Gamal crossed his arms and stared at me.

Remove my clothes here, with Gamal and Suresh eager to examine my every move? The air stuck in my throat. They’d have a clear view of my naked body’s reaction to Beram.

Gamal poked Suresh with his elbow and whispered something in his ear.

I’d probably been broadcasting my thoughts again. But lust overcame my fear, and Beram and I stripped and stepped into the shower. We soaped up, and I couldn’t help staring. Beram’s smooth skin showed no body hair at all.

“No Aleyni has body hair,” he said. “You didn’t realize?”

I shook my head. “How would I?” Did he find body hair repulsive? Mildly distasteful? Intriguing, the way I found his smooth skin?

Beram touched a control on the wall and blasts of steam washed us clean. While I hesitated, wondering what to do, Beram pulled my head toward him and kissed me. I kissed him back.

His warm lips pressed against mine, smooth and soft. I breathed in the fragrance of citrus soap and musk, Beram’s odor and mine. Our mouths were closed, and it lasted only a moment, but the universe tilted; and when it tilted back, everything changed.

No question remained: I loved men, always would. Period, end of sentence. The recognition started in my gut, in the center of my body, and radiated outwards.

I took a step back and grinned at Beram. He placed a hand on the side of my face, only for a moment. It was the most intimate thing I’d ever experienced .

Gamal and Suresh waited outside the shower, both leaning against the wall and grinning. Suresh poked Gamal, whispering something like, “Pay up.”