Get Lost in This Story…
A Proper Governess Should Never. . .
- Assist a handsome stranger, alone on an unfamiliar road . . . unless the rake happens to be her new employer.
-Take a position in a crumbling manor . . . especially if the household staff has been replaced by unruly former soldiers.
- Allow her young charge entre to her heart . . . for once done, it will be impossible to maintain proper distance.
- Permit her charge's uncle a breathtaking kiss under a star-lit sky . . . henceforth she will most certainly lose composure whenever he is near.
- And above all, she should never, ever fall completely, irreversibly in love with her employer . . . for nothing good can possibly come of it.
And here’s an excerpt to whet your appetite – Enjoy the first meeting between our Hero and Heroine
The horseman saw Mercy a moment too late and his horse reared, throwing him into the muddy road.
Somehow, Mercy managed to stay on her feet, but gave a startled cry. As soon as the massive horse had ambled away, she collected herself and called out to him. “Are you injured, sir?”
He sat up gingerly, and when he shoved his hat off his face where it had slumped, Mercy noticed his scars. One side of his face had been injured – probably burned. A thick webbing of damaged skin marred the peak of his cheek and his brow, and clouded the eye in between. Likely he had not seen her in the road.
Mercy could not imagine what cruel fate had marred such a striking face. His nose was nicely shaped, his jaw square and strong, and slightly cleft, indicating a more potent masculinity than she’d encountered in any other man. His lips were neither too thin nor too full, but were stretched into a solemn line that indicated a fair degree of irritation.
Fortunately, he did not look at her, but scowled and reached for his ankle through his highly polished Hessians. And as he did so, Mercy wondered if her conscience would allow her to slip away without further congress. Without offering her assistance.
“Aye,” he muttered. “Injured.” His tone was wry, as though such a simple mishap could hardly be called an injury. He gave an incredulous shake of his head, then tried to rotate his foot, but grimaced with discomfort.
She took a step toward him. “Sir…”
He glanced up and caught her eye. Mercy stopped in her tracks and held her tongue, doubtful that he was a man who would willingly accept assistance.
“A mild sprain, I think.”
A muscle in his jaw tensed. “You’ll have to help me take off my boot.”
“I beg your pardon?”
His voice was stern and his words carried the tone of command. “The boot must come off now, else the swelling will prevent it coming off later. Come here.”
He glared at her with his good eye, its clear gray color going as dark with annoyance as the murky storm clouds above. “Do you plan to stand gaping at me all afternoon? I am quite certain I cannot be the only one who hopes to get out of the weather sooner rather than later.”
Mercy gave herself a mental shake. She had no business ruminating upon his beautiful, scarred face or allowing the rumble of his deep, masculine voice to resonate through her, clear to her bones. He was an overbearing boor, in spite of his pleasing features, and the sooner she was done with him, the sooner she could be on her way.
“You would not be in this position had you taken more care around that curve.” Mercy nearly clapped her hand over her mouth at her rude retort. But he was not her father.
She raised her chin a notch and mentally dared him to reprimand her.
“You’re an expert at riding, then?” He did not bother to hide his sarcasm.
Mercy let out her breath when he did not retort as her father would have done. “Hardly.”
She glanced about for an optimum spot for her bags and set them down. Swallowing her misgivings, she approach the man once again. “But I know the difference between good common sense and foolhardiness.”
He made a rude noise. “Like stepping into the road in front of a galloping horse?”
“I did not hear you coming after that last bunch of ruffians rode past.”
He waved off her words. “I haven’t got all day.” He raised his foot in her direction.
“I’m afraid you’ll have to manage on your own, sir. It is hardly proper—”
“What are you, a priggy society miss?” he said roughly, giving her the once-over with a critical gaze. “Give the boot a good heave and be quick about it.”
“I am no prig, sir.” But even as she denied it, she wondered if it were true. Was she a prig?
No. She was a well-bred lady who knew better than to dally with a handsome rogue on an isolated stretch of road.
“Then kindly give me a moment’s assistance,” he said impatiently, “and I will depart your precious piece of road.”
Mercy had never felt so awkward in her life, though she found it oddly invigorating to speak her mind for a change. After years of responding so carefully to her father and every other member of the parish, Mercy’s tongue felt surprisingly loose with this stranger.
She placed her gloved hands on the boot and pulled, ignoring the ignominious position in which she found herself.
“You’ll never get it that way. Turn around,” he ordered.
“How am I to—”
“You’ll have to take my foot under your arm and—”
She dropped said foot and he grimaced in pain. “I’ll do no such thing.”
“You’ll barely have to touch me, I promise you.” Mercy detected a hint of amusement in his tone. He was actually enjoying this. “I’ve done this many times before. Go ahead. Turn around.”
She huffed out a harsh breath and did as she was told, gingerly taking his foot in hand once again.
She jerked the boot away while he leaned back and pulled in the opposite direction.
“You have a very fetching backside,” he said, just as the boot came off. Mercy lost her balance and took a few quick steps forward, landing in a deep puddle in her path, destroying her shoe.
Today, historical author Margo Maguire joins us. Please join me in welcoming her! Her most recent release Seducing the Governess is a Romantic Times Top Pick! Here’s a bit about Margo in her own words, followed by the Get Lost In a Story Interview!!!
Margo: I spent a lot of years as a critical care nurse, and I think that’s why I found myself looking to get lost in a story – almost any story would do – because it had to be better than the things I saw in the unit every day. My hospital was a big-city trauma center, and we took care of all kinds of critically ill patients. Reading was a great escape from the harsh realities I faced at work.
When my kids were really young, I worked the afternoon shift, which simplified childcare. I only had to have a sitter for a couple of hours before my husband came home from work, but it meant I was up late on the nights that I worked (and up early with the munchkins of course). And it wasn’t exactly easy to fall asleep right after a tense shift in the unit. That’s when I started writing. I only did it to unwind, and it turned out I was pretty good at it! I sold my first submission to Harlequin Historicals in 1998, and moved over to Avon Books in 2005. I’ve had at least one (and sometimes three) books out every year since my first release, The Bride of Windermere in 1999.
Heather: What’s your favorite movie of all time?
Margo: This will probably seem weird for a romance writer, but I love Independence Day. I’ve always been a sucker for good SciFi, and ID has it all. So do Alien, and a bunch of others, but Independence Day is my favorite, one of the few movies I can watch more than once.
Heather: What’s the first book you remember reading?
Margo: I can’t remember any of the books I must have read as a child, which is weird because my mom was an English teacher, and my siblings and I read all the time. I think the first book I picked up for my own enjoyment (without it being recommended by my mother or being assigned to read it for school) was The Moonspinners, by Mary Stewart. My first romance. J
Heather: What’s your favorite fairy tale?
Margo: I love Beauty and the Beast – it’s always been my favorite fairy tale. I’ve actually incorporated its theme into some of my books, including Seducing the Governess. The hero, Nash Farris, comes home from Waterloo with scars along one side of his face. Mercy Franklin is the young lady hired as his niece’s governess, and she doesn’t seem to notice the scars. Her reaction (or lack of reaction) makes a difference to Nash. A huge difference.
Heather: What turns you off like nothing else?
Margo: People who can’t see any point of view but their own really bother me. They are so certain they’re right, they just can’t see any other way. To me, they’re just small-minded. Nothing wrong with having strong opinions, but sometimes I think we should look at those opinions and see if they’re really what we believe. Or were we conditioned to think a certain way, but those beliefs just don’t apply any more…
Heather: Where do you read and how often?
Margo: I read at least one, sometimes two or three books a week. It helps that I read while I ride my stationary bike every morning for a half hour. Plus, I’m a fast reader. In the winter, my favorite place to read is in bed. It’s so warm and cozy in there… But usually, by the time I get into bed, my eyeballs are too tired from looking at a computer screen to focus on a book. So I try to get to it earlier. When I do, I sit in a nice, overstuffed chair in my living room with a roaring fire going. In the summer, I like reading outside, usually in a cool, shady spot.
Heather: Do you write while listening to music? If so what kind?
Margo: I listen to my iPod while I write. The music has to be purely instrumental, with no lyrics, or I get too distracted and find myself singing along instead of writing! J I like classical music. My favorite “genre” is baroque, especially Vivaldi and JS Bach, but I’m also into soundtracks for writing. I’ve got numerous playlists with individual cuts from all kinds of movies, some of which I haven’t even seen. I enjoy Hans Zimmer’s music (he did Pirates of the Caribbean and lots of others) and John Powell (How to Train Your Dragon). I’ve got soundtracks from Tron, Pride and Prejudice, and Finding Neverland. I listen to the Batman themes and Transformers, too. Kind of an eclectic taste in music, I guess.
Heather: What was the first story you remember writing?
Margo: I’m not one of those people who thought she wanted to be a writer from first grade on. Actually, I’d planned to be an artist, but somehow found myself getting into science and then nursing. Anyway, I do recall writing (and illustrating) a story in 8th grade about an alien female who came to Earth. I don’t remember anything more about it, though. But the illustration is still pretty strong in my memory.
Heather: Who’s your favorite villain?
Margo: My favorite villains are the b*tchy “other” women like Mr. Bingley’s sister in Pride and Prejudice, or Blanche in Jane Eyre. These characters bring out depths of the hero and heroine’s personalities that wouldn’t come out otherwise, and they make you just want to stand up and yell ‘Hey! Can’t you see what they’re doing?!!” Of course, I also love the truly bad guys like the villain in Dickens’s Little Dorrit. Rigaud is a murder and conniver, a terrible man all around. I’ve loosely patterned my villain in Brazen (my December 2011 book) after him because I needed a really bad guy who was capable of anything.
Heather: What’s the first thing you do when you finish writing a book?
Margo: I clean my office and catch up on all the stuff I’ve put off while immersed in the wip (work-in-progress). Like filing important papers and receipts. Or washing curtains. Bathing the dogs. Having the rugs cleaned, lol. Sometimes, when we’re lucky, my husband’s and my schedules coincide and we take a trip together. And then I forget all about filing and curtain-washing.
Heather: Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?
Margo: I avoid reading reviews of anyone’s work – but especially my own, good or bad. Reviews put me in a weird frame of mind. The good ones make me think: Oh, I should do more of this or that. The bad ones make me think I can’t write anything at all. And yet they’re both wrong. I should just do what I do and ignore what they say. Because my readers are the ones who count, anyway. And as long as I get emails from them, saying they love my books, that’s enough for me. My current book, Seducing the Governess is a Top Pick from Romantic Times magazine. But I’m not letting it go to my head. J
Heather: What soundtrack or playlist do you recommend for your current release?
Margo: The soundtrack from the Kiera Knightly version of Pride and Prejudice is the soundtrack for Seducing the Governess. The story takes place in England’s Lake District, so it’s very pastoral. The hero is the new earl who returns home to a ruined estate and he has to build up his sheep herd and make repairs to his rundown house. His only option is to marry money, but … well, there’s the new governess he’s hired for his little niece. And even though he’s got a wealthy neighbor with a beautiful, marriageable daughter… it’s the governess that he wants.
Heather: Have you ever written a character who wasn’t meant to be a hero/heroine but he/she wouldn’t go away?
Margo: The hero of my second book, Dryden’s Bride, wasn’t meant to have his own story. He was tortured and seriously injured in The Bride of Windermere, and not expected to live. But he did live on to become betrothed to a gorgeous woman he did not love. Instead, he fell for one of her ladies – and they had to make it work, somehow. (Another Beauty and the Beast-type story!) I introduced a character in Wild (my “Tarzan” book) who was a quiet – maybe troubled - widower. I didn’t really know what made him so quiet, but he convinced me to give him his own book, Taken by the Laird. Then I found out. J
Heather: What would you do if you had a time machine?
Margo: Be afraid. Be very afraid. Because we know what happens to people who travel through time, right?
Heather’s GOTTA ASK – Margo’s GOTTA ANSWER J
Heather: So, I noticed on your website that you went back to college after a career in nursing to study history. What is the one historical place/event that you would LOVE to write about if there were a romance market for it?
Margo: Medieval England, without a doubt. When I was studying history, it occurred to me that medieval times were stranger than fiction. So many fascinating events occurred during those dark ages, and the mindset was completely different from our own. Plus, I loved Julie Garwood’s The Prize, and I’ll always wish I’d written something just as entertaining.
GOT A QUESTION YOU’D LIKE TO ASK YOUR FANS?
Margo: Seducing the Governess is the first of two books about the lost twin granddaughters of the Duke of Windermere. The second book of the series is called Brazen, and will be out in December. My question is this: Do you like connected books? What are some of your favorites? How many are too many in a series?
WILL YOU HAVE A DRAWING FROM THOSE LEAVING COMMENTS?**
Margo: Definitely – We can draw a name or two from all who comment, and I’ll send the winners each a copy of The Rogue Prince.
Thanks so much for being with us today, Margo! Where can your fans learn more about you on the web?
Follow margomaguire on http://twitter.com/margomaguire
**Note: Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed to North American addresses only. If an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) is available, the author may utilize that option for International participants. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.
Come back again tomorrow, when Angi hosts Winnie Griggs!