BLURB – Shipmate
The heavy hands and sharp tongues of Bella Smithson’s family have left her almost too timid to converse with a gentleman, much less conduct a husband hunt. Unfortunately, her overbearing aunt and managing cousin are determined to help her escape her black-hearted father and brothers.
Thanks to the Prince of Wales, retiring shipping magnate Myron Clewes has an ever-growing fortune, a fresh-minted peerage, a brand-new flagship, and an impossible set of requirements for a bride. Not least, she must be willing to leave England and everything she knows, possibly for good, in less than two months’ time.
Bella’s Happy-Ever-After in Royal Regard had its origins in a Happier-Than-She-Expected with her first husband, Baron Holsworthy, who gave her the confidence to steady her sea legs, take her life by the helm, and command her own voice, empowering a shy, young girl and unlikely adventurer to grow into one of King George IV’s trusted advisors.
EXCERPT – Shipmate
Effingale reined in his fuming temper, evidenced by his clipped words and a throbbing, blue vein in his temple. “Lord Holsworthy,” he began, “Sir Jasper Smithson, Bella’s father.”
Myron’s tea cup clattered into the saucer. This surprising introduction posed more questions than it answered; most notably, why her uncle had been negotiating Miss Smithson’s marriage settlement. When asked about her family, Bella had spoken only of the Firthleys and Effingales, all of whom had been present at both meetings with Bella. No one had, at any time, mentioned a father.
Both men nodded shortly, Sir Jasper with a malicious gleam that would have set Myron’s teeth on edge had he not already been grinding them, trying to keep from tossing the man against a wall for his ill treatment of Miss Smithson. Eyes like this in a sailor denoted personal storms that would wreak havoc on a ship; in gamblers, they indicated men who dealt from the bottom of the deck. He could not imagine leaving a dog in the care of such a man, to say nothing of a daughter. Myron would rather have no offspring at all than leave a child at the mercy of such a windowless soul.
“Pleased to make your acquaintance.”
“At your service, Sir.”
Mariana Gabrielle is a pen name for Mari Christie, who is not romantic–at all. Therefore, her starry-eyed alter ego lives vicariously through characters who believe in their own happy-ever-afters. And believe they must, as Mariana loves her heroes and heroines, but truly dotes on her villains, and almost all of her characters’ hearts have been bruised, broken, and scarred long before they reach the pages of her books.
She is a professional writer, editor, and designer with almost twenty-five years’ experience, and a member of the Bluestocking Belles, the Writing Wenches, and the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. She has written two Regency romances, Royal Regard and La Déesse Noire: The Black Goddess, and will soon release three Royal Regard prequel novellas and a mainstream historical, Blind Tribute.