What a Lady Demands
The Eton Boys Trilogy # 2
By: Ashlyn Macnamara
Releasing November 4th, 2014
Readers of Julia Quinn, Eloisa James, and Sabrina Jeffries will love Ashlyn Macnamara’s novel about a smoldering new love that is threatened by past betrayals.
Viscount Lindenhurst cannot seem to find a governess who meets his impossible standards—until Cecelia Sanford becomes the first woman to interrupt the widower’s brooding in years. Lind had returned home from the Napoleonic wars, broken in body and soul and longing for his wife’s embrace, only to find her changed. Before they could reconcile, an accident struck their son and claimed her life. Now enter Cecelia, with her soft curves and sharp tongue—a tempting distraction, it is true, but not a welcome one.
Past the usual marrying age and haunted by a scandal of her own, Cecelia soon finds herself caring for both the child and the man. The viscount is brittle and even abrupt at times, yet she cannot deny the attraction that stirs her body in his presence. Moved by the deep sense of abandonment that tortures his soul, Cecelia aches to fully awaken Lind’s heart from its rancorous slumber—if she can just keep their pasts from destroying a second chance at love.
Ashlyn Macnamara is the author of What a Lady Craves, A Most Devilish Rogue, and A Most Scandalous Proposal. She lives in the wilds of suburbia outside of Montreal with her husband and two teenage daughters. When not writing, she looks for other excuses to neglect the housework, among them knitting, reading, and wasting time on the Internet in the guise of doing research.
Where do you get your inspiration for your books?
First of all, thank you for hosting me today. I’m very happy to be here. As for inspiration, it comes from listening to the voices in my head, mostly. Best part of being a writer is being paid to do that. I never really know where it’s going to come from or where it will come from next. One of my story ideas came from listening to an obscure Led Zeppelin song.
How do you decide physical features, names, etc. for your characters?
My heroes are easy. I just pick an actor I think is hot. Lind, the hero of What a Lady Craves, bears a striking resemblance to Richard Armitage. It just so happens I glommed the entire BBC Robin Hood series while I was thinking about this book, so that’s likely where that comes from. I was really pleased that my cover art actually could be a beefed-up Richard Armitage.
The names, for the most part, kind of just comes to me. Often a character will walk into my head and tell me his or her name. Other times, they make me work for it.
Do you find yourself identifying with some of your characters? If so, which character?
I don’t know if it’s so much identifying with as wanting to become this character when I’m of the proper age, but there’s an old lady who crops up in my books. She had a fairly significant role in What a Lady Craves. Her name is Lady Epperley, and she likes you to think she’s a cantankerous old coot, but she mostly does what she does because she enjoys getting a rise out of people. Due to her age and social position, she can get away with it. I think she’s a great deal of fun—to write, at least. I’m not so sure about people who have to deal with her on a regular basis.
Who is your favorite author? What book by that author is your favorite?
All-time, I have to say J. R. R. Tolkien and Lord of the Rings. I’m actually a fantasy geek at heart. Within historical romance, I have too many favorites to just pick one, but I tend to love writers who give my lush prose like Courtney Milan and Sherry Thomas.
Did this author influence your writing? In what way?
JRRT, not so much in the romance novel department. If I ever write epic fantasy, I can only dream of inventing a world as detailed and complex as his. With authors like Sherry and Courtney, I can only read and drool and be jealous. Well, and try harder.
What do you feel would be your greatest accomplishment as a writer?
This is one of those things they forget to tell aspiring writers: The goalposts keep moving. When you start, you just want to land an agent and a contract. Then you want to make a bestseller list, or you want to be nominated for some big award. I’m assuming the next step after that would be making number one on the bestseller list and actually winning the award. I’m sure it goes on and on. At the moment, I’d be really pleased to be nominated for something. Anything. Doesn’t matter what.
Excerpt (from Chapter One)
“It seems I have no prospects, my lord. You must know the circumstances under which my brother returned from India were less than favorable. He’d hoped to restore our family’s fortune. Instead, I find myself with no dowry. I prefer not to remain a burden. Thus I seek employment.” She sought the place where the young girl she’d once been resided and widened her eyes as far as they could go. The more innocent she could make herself appear, the better. “I had hoped, since you are already acquainted with my family, you might not make matters difficult for me.”
He stood, planted his palms on the dark walnut hulk that passed for his desk, and leaned over. “If there is anything I require of my associates, much less those in my employment, it’s God’s honest truth. Enough have lied to me during my life that I will not stand for it.”
“Yes, my lord.” She tightened her grip on her hands. Normally when she talked, they tended to flutter like little birds following the rhythm of her speech, but this occasion seemed a good time to curb that particular habit. She must appear serious, dutiful, and hardworking if she wished to carry this off. “When you say enough, do you mean to imply that my brother is one of those people?”
“So far, he is not, but perhaps that’s because he’s spent so much time on the other side of the world. But that is of no import here. I require three things from my staff—unquestioning obedience, staunch loyalty, and impeccable morals. Do I make myself clear?”
She had to swallow before she could reply. “Yes, my lord.”
She could do this, though. Whenever scandal came looking, she’d ducked out of its path. After so many years of practice, the charade would maintain itself, and he need never find out her secret. Indeed, why would he have occasion to? An image, nearly a decade old, rose in her mind. Once again, Lind emerged from the pond, water droplets clinging to his chest, dripping along smooth skin, down and down. She suppressed the thought. So she’d nursed an infatuation for a while when she was young and innocent. He’d never discovered that little secret, and there was no reason he ought to learn of it now.
“Does that mean you’ll hire me?” she added.
“Shouldn’t you like to meet your charge first to see if the two of you suit? I’ve had the worst luck finding and keeping a qualified governess.”
“Oh, that is the least of my worries. I got on well enough with my brother’s daughters.” That was, as long as she wasn’t leading them straight into the arms of kidnappers. “Surely I can occupy the days of a small boy well enough.”
Well enough to ensure her position here. Well enough to ensure her room and board. Her upkeep. Her life. For she could not go back to her brother after what she’d done. She refused to endure his censure any longer, even if the abduction was not entirely her fault. He’d never warned her she needed to keep his girls close to the manor. In any case, the situation had ended happily enough.
“I require rather more than simple entertainment. The child is five. It is high time he began his proper schooling.”
Cecelia smoothed the worn muslin of her skirt. “I assure you, I ought to be able to teach him his letters and how to write his name.”
“I expect more than that. He must learn to read, and write with a proper hand, and do his figures.” He looked past her for a moment. “I don’t suppose you know the rudiments of Latin.”
“I am not aware of any who deem that an appropriate feminine accomplishment.” She stopped herself before she suggested he look for a qualified tutor.
“There will be time enough for that when he’s a bit older.” He faced her again. “Reading, writing, figures, a bit of history if you can manage. He’ll have to take over this estate one day.”
“Good heavens, you’ve just told me he’s all of five.”
Lindenhurst gave a curt nod. “Be that as it may, the others failed in carrying out my desires. I trust you will not?”
She swallowed past a knot that had formed and lodged in her throat when he’d uttered the word desires. “I’ll do my best, my lord.”
Lindenhurst eyed her until she felt he was stripping more than the very clothes from her body. His gaze pierced skin and bone clear through to her pounding heart. At last he pushed away from his desk to tug at a bellpull. “In that case, I shall turn you over to the housekeeper, and she will see to getting you settled in your quarters.”
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