Courting Danger with Mr. Dyer
Book #3 in the Scandal and Disgrace series.
By Georgie Lee
4 Stars from RT Book Reviews!
A stolen kiss from a spy! Working undercover for the government, Bartholomew Dyer must expose a nefarious plot to make Napoleon the ruler of England! He needs access to the highest echelons of Society to find those involved, so he's forced to enlist the help of the woman who jilted him five years ago—Moira, Lady Rexford. Moira's widowed yet still as captivating as ever, and Bart's determined not to succumb to her charms a second time. But, as they race against time, Bart suspects it's not their lives at greatest risk—it's their hearts…
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Conspiracy and Intrigue in Regency England, Oh My!
Courting Danger with Mr. Dyer is about Lady Moira Rexford, and spymaster Bartholomew Dyer rediscovering their love while in a race against time to stop a plot to place Napoleon on the British throne. To understand how spying worked in the past, and to create historically appropriate intruige for this story, I drew on a number of past conspircies against the British government, and especially how they were foiled. The two main conspiracies I researched were The Gunpowder Plot and the Cato Street Conspiracy.
The 1605 Gunpowder Plot is one of the most well known plots against the throne and has led to the tradition of Bonfire Night when people gather on November 5th to light bonfires and burn Guy Fawkes in effigy. Remember, remember the 5th of November! The plot saw Guy Fawkes and his cohorts attempt to blow up Parliament in order to kill protestant King James I and place his catholic daughter on the throne. The plot was uncovered when an anonymous letter was sent to a member of Parliament warning him not to attend. The letter raised the alarm and an investigation was launched, the stores of gunpowder under the Houses of Parliament were found, and the conspirators were caught, tried and executed. While researching this plot, I learned that gunpowder, especially historic mixtures, could decay over time with the saltpeter, sulfer and charcoal separating and making the gunpowder useless. After the gunpowder was discovered under Parliament, it was revealed that a lot of it had decayed. This has led many to question how successful the plot would have been if the conspirators had never been caught. We will never know, but learning a great deal about historic gunpowder helped me craft some of the Courting Danger with Mr. Dyer scenes.
A lesser known plot that I researched for Courting Danger with Mr. Dyer is the Cato Street Conspiracy. This took place in 1820 when a number of radicals who met in a house in Cato Street hatched a plan to assasinate the entire cabinet while the cabinet dined at Lord Harrowby’s. The radicals hoped the murder of the cabinet would throw the government into chaos and lead to uprisings and revolts. The plot was foiled, and the conspirators were either executed or transported to Australia. Although this conspiracy takes place later than when Courting Danger with Mr. Dyer is set, and it doesn’t invole Napoleon, I drew on some of the elements of the plot to craft my story. As to which elements those are, you will have to read Courting Danger with Mr. Dyer to find out.
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Thank you for stopping by the blog today. I hope you enjoyed this brief look at some historical conspiracies and how they inspired my Regency spy story. Below is an exceprt from Courting Danger with Mr. Dyer to further intrigue you. Leave a comment below telling me who is your favorite fictional spy from Bond to Johnny English. One lucky commentor will win an ebook copy of Rescued from Ruin, book #1 in the Scandal and Disgrace series.
Read an Excerpt from Courting Danger with Mr. Dyer
‘You must do it.’ Bartholomew Dyer banged Frederick Chambers, Fifth Earl of Fallworth, hard against the wall, trying to knock the fight back into him. The unprovoked swing the Earl had taken at Bart gave him hope it could be done. ‘We need you.’
‘I can’t, don’t you understand?’ Freddy growled, fingers biting into Bart’s forearms. ‘I’ve given enough. I won’t give any more.’
‘Let go of him.’ The lady behind him punctuated her command by cocking a pistol hammer.
Damn. Bart cursed under his breath. She’d just made the weapon more dangerous. If she wasn’t competent with it, the ball would tear through him and the Earl under his elbow.
Bart took his arm off Lord Fallworth’s chest and stepped back.
‘Moira, it’s not what you think.’ Lord Fallworth choked as he leaned away from the wall and tried to wave his sister off.
Bart ground his teeth at the mention of Lady Rexford and the way it made his neck, and something much lower down, tense. A maid or the elderly aunt would have been preferable to Lord Fallworth’s sister, and his one-time fiancée, having stumbled in on them. The young Dowager Countess of Rexford was as stunning as she was a complication Bart didn’t need.
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Bart bent into a bow. ‘Good evening, Lady Rexford. It’s a pleasure to see you again.’
‘I can’t say the same, Mr Dyer. If you weren’t one of the most celebrated barristers in England with as many magistrates in awe of you as the public, I’d put a ball through you and end your scourge on this house.’
He opened his arms to increase the size of her target. ‘Why not take the chance?’
She frowned at his defiance, the disapproving yet intriguing downturn of her mouth tempered by the still-raised weapon. ‘Since I have no desire to be hanged for murder, I demand you leave at once and never return.’
Any other day her order would have been charming. This morning it was merely irritating. ‘Your aunt used to make the same request and it didn’t work.’
‘I’d like to think I’m a touch more persuasive.’ She nodded at the still-raised pistol.
He admired her desire to protect her brother, even if it was woefully misguided. However, what had brought him here in defiance of her widowed aunt’s dictates was far more important than his or anyone else’s life.
‘Moira, it’s all right. Leave us be, we have business to discuss.’ Lord Fallworth took up his drink and drained it.
‘What business? Which gaming hell to visit?’ she challenged. ‘Don’t think Aunt Agatha didn’t write to me about what you got up to with Mr Dyer when you were in London two years ago. I won’t have you ruining yourself again a mere week after we’ve returned to town.’
Bart suppressed a growl of irritation. If Lady Rexford knew the real motives behind those nights out, she’d lower the pistol, throw her arms around his neck and thank him for his service to their country.
‘Freddy, I won’t leave you to the influences of a man like this.’ Lady Rexford waved her free hand at Bart. ‘Not with you already so vulnerable since Helena’s—’
‘You needn’t say it.’ Lord Fallworth snatched up the brandy decanter and refilled his glass.
Bart opened his mouth to tell Lady Rexford to step out of things she didn’t understand, then closed it again. With her brother slipping into a liquor-induced fog, his suitability for this mission waned while Lady Rexford’s possible involvement played on him like a hunch. She stood straight, one foot in front of the other to make her gown drape across her shapely thigh. The firm set of her full lips beneath eyes as focused as a fox’s made him take more notice of her than the pistol or her reluctant brother. No one would suspect a woman. Bart knew better.
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