As promised, I am here again to introduce you to my heroine. I know, I’m as surprised as you, my blogging habits are shockingly irregular normally, but this perhaps shows you of my anticipation surrounding The Unexpected Earl coming out on the 20th of September.
So, who is the impetuous heroine who I’ve been going on about these past months?
Well, it is, Miss Julia Rotherham. What can I say about this heroine? I’ve gone on about her impetuosity, which leads to much comedy-gone-wrong in the novel, but what else? Well, in the words of Jane Austen on her heroine Emma Woodhouse, I must say that I’m not quite sure everyone will like Miss Julia Rotherham quite as much as I.
Truth be told, the reason I find her so diverting a character is probably because she and I share quite a few of the same traits. Miss Rotherham is headstrong, tempestuous and worryingly impetuous! Now for those who know me, you might say I am rather boringly predictable sometimes, however, for those who know me a little better, you might well agree with the tempestuous description of my character. NOT a trait I readily revel in, trust me.
I’m a nought to a hundred sort of person. I’m cruising along quite happily on the river of relaxation and casualness when suddenly BAM! Something annoys me, a switch is flipped and the waters begin to boil as I proceed to get my knickers thoroughly in a twist! This is, I’ve been told by my husband, sometimes very amusing. It can also get me into quite a lot of trouble – the tales of which I will be keeping to myself under lock and key 😉
Now you may see why I like my heroine so much in The Unexpected Earl. You see, as I wrote her and the many events that take place in the story, my heart increasingly went out to her. Her temper just gets her into one scrape after another and, in between giggling and smiling I think, ‘Oh, that is exactly what I would do.’ I feel like she’s quite real, making mistakes, having to apologise and, hopefully, learning along the way.
I’m hoping, that if you’re anything like me and you make countless mistakes in life and get yourself into a tangle, that you will like Julia Rotherham, and just to give you an example of what she’s like, here’s an excerpt from The Unexpected Earl:
Julia’s green eyes flashed dangerously. Her face contorted into a scowl before she unfurled her fan and looked about her. Wolversley could see that an excuse was on the tip of her tongue and she was about to disappear into the crowds.
He cut in before she had the chance. “I simply wish to dance with you.”
He did wish it. He had not seen her in six years. Six long years. Now she was here before him, and even her temper was not dampening his wish to dance with her. She was perplexing—and intriguing. The suddenness of their re-acquaintance had taken him by surprise, and evidently her as well.
“And I simply say, no! Do not lie to me, my lord. You have clearly succumbed to propriety’s demand for you to partner me—your host’s spinster daughter. In light of that, excuse me for not finding the offer flattering or leaping to accept it.”
“You see straight through my manners.” His mouth curved up on the right side into a half smile of admiration for her wit. He had forgotten just how quick her wit could be. Despite the unladylike rebuff, he bowed in acknowledgment and then attempted to present what he thought was another olive branch. “We have not spoken for these six years—may I at least procure a little conversation from you?” Let her speak, just a little. How much in this moment he wished to hear her talk!
When he saw the look in her eyes, he knew he was flogging a dead horse. She had no intention of remaining in his company an instant longer than she must.
His own intentions were a little less clear to him. Why was he seeking her out? Was it guilt, or surprise at seeing her again? Or was it merely a curiosity—after so much self-discipline in avoiding her—to see for himself the woman she had turned into?
“You showed no such desire when you abruptly severed our acquaintance six years ago, my lord. It therefore seems odd that you should seek conversation now. What reason could you possibly have?” Her voice was less flustered, instead of the wildly changing pitch there was a warning edge to it.
Wolversley set his jaw. It appeared her rudeness knew no bounds. He had assumed from her silence at the door that she could barely remember him and was embarrassed when he took her hand. Clearly, that was not the case. The more he tried to talk with her, the more he beheld the lack of manners and quick temper that had plagued her youth—and played a merry role in their many adventures together. Where time had clouded the extent of both these attributes in his mind, the present was rapidly bringing back the memory in full, rich color.
Her parents’ supervision had, when she was younger, kept her lack of manners somewhat in check. He was sure that even now, her father and mother’s absence had a part to play in her cutting conversation. Her unpleasant allusion to their past had brought a shadow over his face, but the exhibition of her temper and rudeness was producing a smile he could not help.
If his courtliness was so repugnant to her, perhaps touching upon their past, as she seemed so keen to do, would lay flat her hackles. “I simply wish to converse with an old friend”—he finally let the smile transform his face–“and beautiful woman.” He could not help that last part—it slipped out unbidden. But he should have known that the honeyed compliment would be too far a step….
“My lord.” She turned to face him. Her eyes held a resolve he could not remember seeing before. Her stance took on one of importance and quite suddenly she was no longer just the impetuous schoolroom miss he had seen when last they met. “Do me both the honor and the courtesy of ceasing these adulations with which you are smothering me. I am no great beauty. Even in my bloom I was merely pretty, as well you will remember. Nor have I ever, in these years apart, claimed your friendship.”
Her fan snapped shut. “Enjoy the ball. There are plenty of beautiful women who may indeed wish to converse with you and could even be persuaded to accompany you onto the dance floor.” She let the corners of her mouth pull upwards in something akin to a satisfied smile, but he perceived her eyes held nothing of mirth. “I have no expectation that our paths will cross again.”
Oooooooo! The tension, the unresolved emotions!!! So delicious. And next week you will find out just who Wolversley turns to for advice in this situation.