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Archive for July 28th, 2011

“To Match a Thief” by Maggie Robinson

Ex-pickpocket Sir Simon Keith can now afford the best of everything. But London’s most-desired courtesan is his lost love Lucy. Now Simon will need his wits and his considerably large…wiles to win his way back into her bed—and into her heart.

“Hair Trigger Palace” by Diane Whiteside

He rules Colorado’s most glittering gambling palace. Justin Talbot never does something for nothing. If daring Boston aristocrat Charlotte Morland needs his protection from a dangerous enemy, he’ll make her business his pleasure…

“A Knack for Trouble” by Mia Marlowe

Lord Aidan Stonemere didn’t go from prison to a title by playing by society’s rules. If he wants something, he takes it. Rosalinde Burke didn’t object to being taken. Once. To keep her from marrying a proper viscount, Aidan will do whatever it takes to remind her how deliciously good being improper feels…

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It’s lovely to be back at Novel Thoughts, thinking about novels and talking about my novella “To Match a Thief” in the Brava anthology Improper Gentlemen (July 26, 2011). You’ll see me again next month, because I have two back-to-back releases, so I’ve been thinking of nothing else but novels and novellas, LOL.

There’s been a lot of talk in Romancelandia lately about creating romance heroes and heroines who are not born with silver spoons in their mouths or strawberry leaves on their coronets. If you read historical romances, you’d think every other guy in England was a duke. 😀 In short, there’s a dearth of ‘regular’ people. I’ve noticed a trend to get a little more grit into books—Meredith Duran’s recent A Lady’s Lesson in Scandal features a cigar factory girl. Granted, she’s a long lost heiress, but she sure is rough around the edges.

I didn’t deliberately set out to follow the trend to write a novella about “normal” people last year. In fact, I had a very abnormal heroine, a girl who’d been mentioned by characters in my two previous Courtesan Court books. Lucy was a rich man’s mistress, and a suspected thief. But was she really?

“To Match a Thief” is all about self-improvement, by hook or by crook. Lucy is a hatmaker who wants to better herself. Her hero Simon begins as an illiterate street thief and rises to knighthood. All their layers of pasted-on civilization cannot cover their humble beginnings or their enduring love for each other. They’ve both been poor, so it’s an equal-opportunity Cinderella story. Publishers Weekly says: “Robinson’s witty multidimensional characters are vividly entertaining in “To Match a Thief,” in which Lucy Dellamar pretends to be the mistress of broke Lord Ferguson until he sells her home to Sir Simon Keith, her first love.”

Would you like more books that are dukeless? Are you enjoying maid Anna and valet Bates’s tender romance in Downton Abbey? Are you a sucker for a Cinderella story like I am? There’s a signed copy of Improper Gentlemen for one commenter!

To Match a Thief excerpt

By God, she had nerve. To think he’d keep a roof over her head without her getting under him. Or above him—he wasn’t particular at this point. He shifted so she wouldn’t see his discomfort. That kiss had been nothing like the hurried assaults they’d made on each other when they were kids.

Simon doubted seriously she meant to turn him in—the warrants out for his arrest must be tattered scraps by now. Surely the authorities had more to worry about than a skinny seventeen-year-old boy who stole to feed himself and his old gran over a dozen years ago.

He’d worked back then, too—anything he could get his hands on. Mended bridles at  stables, hauled barrels of ale, ran errands for the local moneylender. One such ‘errand’ had been his undoing. He’d kept a little extra from the toff he’d had to persuade—not much, but enough to make his employer turn him in to the corrupt magistrate. And it hadn’t helped when he’d had to tie a sweet little old lady to a chair on his last job.

Simon became expendable. His bad judgment meant he was running from both the law and his boss, even if the sweet little old lady hadn’t pressed charges. He’d only been back to Scotland once—to find Lucy  for all the good it did him. England was his home now.

He was a new man—it was a new age with a new king, a time filled with the promise of industry, machinery, investment, invention. He had a different name, a different appearance. No one would connect the knighted, rich Sir Simon Keith with the impoverished boy he used to be.

 

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