Well, being as my second novel is due to come out in just a little over a month I thought it was high time I started to introduce you properly to some of my characters. I know I’ve put excerpts up here before, but the truth is, characters are peculiar things to an author and you get to know them rather well for fictional beings, so proper introductions seem necessary…
Therefore, today I am introducing from my second historical romance, The Unexpected Earl, a most Unexpected Hero:
Unexpected? But the hero is always expected is he not? Well, by you the reader, perhaps, but I hasten to add that he is, at least in The Unexpected Earl, most unexpected by the heroine.
Now do you see how the title works? Clever isn’t it?
Enough silliness! Clearly I am far too excited about this novel coming out. Let’s get back to the matter at hand, I wish to introduce my hero, Earl Lucius Wolversley, to you.
Wolverlsey is a tall, dark-haired man commanding a fine set of grey eyes. His parents died when he and his sister were young and so being past the age of twenty-one, he has attained his majority. Though he spends much of his time in the country managing his estates, a task at which he is most proficient, at the opening of The Unexpected Earl he is lately come to Town.
Wolversley is a man perhaps best described, not as serious, but reserved. Life has taught him to watch and measure before making judgements, but he is by no means without a sense of humour. On closer acquaintance, one might attribute the description ‘dry’ to his sense of humour, and indeed he is most amused by other’s folly, something which is not in short supply in The Unexpected Earl.
With a man reserved and appraising, friendships are hard to come by, but when they do they are enduring, and in this excerpt we find him with his good friend Courtenay:
“A coming-out ball, you said?” Wolversley called, descending the carriage steps. He glanced up at the house, not waiting to listen to Courtenay’s response. He was too intent on stifling the unpleasant memories that his friend had dredged up. As he caught sight of the building, however, a sickly feeling began to invade his body. He glanced up and down the street, trying to ascertain if they were in fact standing where he suspected—and feared—they might be.
“It is indeed, and in honor of a beautiful young girl I’m told.” Courtenay slapped a hand on the Earl’s athletic shoulders, ignoring the unsettled look that had painted itself across his face. “I am jolly glad you’re back in Town. It’s been dashed dull without you, believe it or not. Despite your moods, you do make a man much better company than these jumped-up young scamps running about the clubs and balls these days.”
Wolversley neither felt umbrage at the insult nor gratitude at the compliment. It was all quite lost on him as he kept looking up at the house, determined to believe he was anywhere other than where his mind told him he must be.
“Where are we exactly?” he managed at last.
“I say!” exclaimed Courtenay, looking around uncomfortably. “Bad form, old man.”
Fortunately, there were no ladies in earshot, but two young bucks who had just alighted from a nearby carriage ceased their jocular conversation to raise eyebrows at Wolversley’s uncouth remark. One of them looked the Earl up and down and snorted unfavorably.
The Earl, who took no pleasure in being so brazenly measured, felt a stab of annoyance as the young man’s appraising gaze fell fearfully short of impressed. It was not just the crude language the Earl had used that caused his disdain; it was the Earl’s jacket. Wolversley could feel the young man’s eyes on his shoulders and lapels as his lips curled up in scorn.
Wolversley had been in the country too long. His jacket was outdated—he had known that when he had put it on this evening, having already seen several gentlemen walking the streets of Town in far more modish creations. He enjoyed a well-cut jacket, though he would not claim the careful eye of a dandy where his appearance was concerned, but his extended trip to the country had left him no opportunity to ensure that his wardrobe was full of the current fashions, nor to cut his hair for that matter. The luxuriously dark lengths were tickling his collar, unlike Courtenay’s sandy locks which were swept up into a form of the Brutus, a style far too ostentatious to be attractive. Wolversley looked back to the young men. Those scrutinizing eyes that would not forgive his outdated clothing were one reason he disliked Society gatherings so much, and yet, thanks to the cajoling—and chicanery—of a particular friend, he was back.
The Earl glared at the young buck who did not approve of him, but it seemed that he had already forgotten the Earl’s existence as he turned to go up the stairs to the house. Wolversley looked back at his friend. His jacket was a very minor problem compared to the one presented by his location.
He knew exactly where he was. He knew exactly whose house this was. And if his exacting knowledge was correct, he was in quite a deal of hot water.
Oh my! I wrote the thing and still, I find myself rather excited by that cliff-hanger…
Do tune in next week and meet my heroine.