Today, I welcome Caroline Warfield to the blog. Caroline is a fellow Bluestocking Belle, and author of Dangerous Works and Dangerous Secrets, both of which I love. And today, she is sharing with us the cover of her next book in the series. Caroline, the stage is yours.
I am delighted to reveal the cover of Dangerous Weakness from Soul Mate Publishing, which will be available for preorder in September. I hoped also to tell you more about the hero, Richard Hayden, the Marquess of Glenaire and heir to the Duke of Sudbury, but characters can be elusive. They often have depths they show only reluctantly, even to their authors. Richard is particularly private about his life. I had to enlist the help of the interview fairies.
We managed to corner him in a reflective mood one afternoon in Saint James Park. When we took a place next to him on the bench and assured him nothing he said would be published until the distant future, he opened up, at least a bit.
- What are you most proud of about your life?
“Pride?” he sputters. “I come from a family that has raised it to an art form. My father wraps himself in it like a coronation robe and my mother? My mother floats into any room she enters on a river of pride. No one in the kingdom, she believes, has more consequence than a Hayden, except perhaps the royal dukes, and she isn’t sure about them. Is that what you wanted to know?”
His tone is bitter, as if that kind of pride blights his life. When we suggest that is not precisely what we asked, he looks weary and appears to give the question more thought.
“A job well done gives me satisfaction,” he muses. “You might call that pride. I always put England first. I oversaw intelligence gathering during the Peninsular Campaign. I’ve managed the czar and his entourage, kept the Ottomans from provoking revolution, and helped negotiate the Treaty of Paris. I know my duty and I do it, even at personal cost.” A faraway look comes over him. “Even at cost,” he repeats.
He brightens somewhat. “I always do my best for my friends. I’m proud of that. I gathered information that brought Will, the Earl of Chadbourn, and the lady now his wife together. I managed to smooth my sister’s path to marriage with Andrew, though I may have erred earlier in their relationship. I am supporting Jamie, Baron Ross, who has inherited a tainted title and bankrupt estate, although Jamie has made himself scarce lately. The foolish man needs someone to keep him out of trouble. Is that what you had in mind?”
We nod and move on.
- What are you most ashamed of in your life?
“Sometimes duty to friends suffers when duty to country demands it. I sent my best friend, Andrew, the brother of my heart, on a dreadful mission knowing he might fall into French hands. He found the vital intelligence but was captured and tortured. By the time we got him out he bore horrific scars, some visible on his person, some deeper.”
We suggest that incident sounded like the cost of duty. Is there nothing else? He looks ashamed for a moment.
“I’ve always treated women with care—with discretion at least. I have never been tempted beyond control until lately. I ruined an innocent. I’m ashamed of that. When I attempted to make it right, the woman threw my proposal in my face. It leaves a scar on my honor.”
Assured this interview will not see the light of day until long into the future he added, “It leaves a scar on my heart as well. I don’t understand it.”
In response to a raised eyebrow he went on reluctantly, “I may have been a touch managing about the matter. I offered to make her a marchioness. Does she need romance too?”
- What impression do you make on people when they first meet you?
“They call me “the Marble Marquess,” in drawing rooms and gentlemen’s clubs. I must strike people as a cold fish. I can’t think why.”
- Do you think you have turned out the way your parents expected?
“I’ve given my parents no reason to criticize. I do my duty by the estate, meeting monthly with His Grace and his man of business to stay abreast of affairs. I create no scandal. I never challenge either of them overtly. When I disagree, I do it discretely and they pretend not to know.”
We suggest that is an odd answer and ask for an example.
My sister, Georgiana, defied them openly and created what they consider a scandal when she published Poetry by the Female Authors of Ancient Greece, and allowed her authorship to be made public. She compounded that by marrying beneath her in their opinion. She ceased to exist as far as Her Grace is concerned. They don’t acknowledge her.”
“I offered to support her, but she refused my help. She married my friend Andrew Mallet and the two of them do very well. I see them often. My parents pretend not to know.”
- What is the worst thing that has happened in your life? What did you learn from it?
“I might have said there was no such thing a year ago. Perhaps I would have believed it. Every privilege and deference has been given to me since birth. My family name smoothed the way for me in school, society, and even government. (Although I pride myself in having risen on my own merits.) In an odd way the lack of catastrophe is itself the worst thing. Rank can be a gilded cage. While my friends fought for king and country, I had to play my part behind a desk.”
“Worse, they all married for love, something I was raised to call maudlin. Seeing them now I’m not so certain. Women see me as a title to be coveted, wealth to be acquired, an ornament to be displayed. I can’t help what I am, but I can wish to be desired for myself rather than my prospects. Only one woman I ever met saw beyond those things, and she won’t have me. Lily Thorton’s rejection may be the worst thing. I’m still trying to learn what to do about it. Why can’t women be as easily managed as the affairs of state?”
- How do you feel about your life right now? What, if anything, would you like to change?
In recent months I almost allowed myself to be drawn into my parents’ machinations regarding marriage. My mother wants a protégée and my father wants more land, more money, and more prestige—as if he didn’t already have more than he needs. They pressured me about it over dinner last night, each in their own way.”
“It came to me then: I don’t want a future duchess. I want a wife. I want family. I want what my friends have found. I have to try with Lily one more time. If she won’t have me, I have to find another woman who will see me for what I am. I refuse to live my parents’ life.”
Alas poor Richard was unaware at the time of this interview that his efforts to protect her had failed and Lily had already disappeared. If he wants to try again, he will have to pursue her.
To find out what happens, you will have to wait for Dangerous Weakness.
For Georgiana and Andrew’s story, read Dangerous Works.
For Baron Ross’s story, read Dangerous Secrets.
The Earl of Chadbourn’s story will be in “A Dangerous Nativity,” in Mistletoe, Marriage, and Mayhem available for preorder in October.
And here it is, folks: the cover!
If women were as easily managed as the affairs of state—or the recalcitrant Ottoman Empire—Richard Hayden, Marquess of Glenaire, would be a happier man. As it was the creatures—one woman in particular—made hash of his well-laid plans and bedeviled him on all sides.
Lily Thornton came home from Saint Petersburg in pursuit of marriage. She wants a husband and a partner, not an overbearing, managing man. She may be “the least likely candidate to be Marchioness of Glenaire,” but her problems are her own to fix, even if those problems include both a Russian villain and an interfering Ottoman official.
Given enough facts, Richard can fix anything. But protecting that impossible woman is proving almost as hard as protecting his heart, especially when Lily’s problems bring her dangerously close to an Ottoman revolution. As Lily’s personal problems entangle with Richard’s professional ones, and she pits her will against his, he chases her across the pirate-infested Mediterranean. Will she discover surrender isn’t defeat? It might even have its own sweet reward.
Meet Caroline Warfield
Caroline Warfield has at various times been an army brat, a librarian, a poet, a raiser of children, a nun, a bird watcher, an Internet and Web services manager, a conference speaker, an indexer, a tech writer, a genealogist, and, of course, a romantic. She has sailed through the English channel while it was still mined from WWII, stood on the walls of Troy, searched Scotland for the location of an entirely fictional castle (and found it), climbed the steps to the Parthenon, floated down the Thames from the Tower to Greenwich, shopped in the Ginza, lost herself in the Louvre, gone on a night safari at the Singapore zoo, walked in the Black Forest, and explored the underground cistern of Istanbul. By far the biggest adventure has been life-long marriage to a prince among men.
She sits in front of a keyboard at a desk surrounded by windows, looks out at the trees and imagines. Her greatest joy is when one of those imaginings comes to life on the page and in the imagination of her readers.
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