Here we are, the day, when Fool Me Twice sees the public light of day. No longer is it just my story, it’s one which can be shared with others.
Here’s the blurb for those of you who’ve not seen it yet:
“Good evening,” she replied, cursing the inconvenience of his appearance. “I trust you are not intoxicated yet?”“Alas, no, I have yet to succumb to the dizzying heights of inebriation this evening. I trust you have not undressed in the library yet?”
In the gaming obsessed 18th century, orphan Caro Worth is leading a double life. Acting the respectable Caro Worth by day – she plays the fictional illegitimate daughter of her deceased father, infamous gamester Angelica, by night. Caro, having been abandoned by her brother, plays Angelica in order to finance her respectable pursuit of a titled and wealthy husband to secure her future.All is going according to her carefully laid plans until the arrival of the haphazard, younger and totally ineligible son of Admiral Viscount Felton – Mr Tobias Felton. The persistent gentleman is far too interested in her life. To her horror, at the same time a sadistic Marquis whom she was considering for marriage suddenly starts to target her alter-ego Angelica, driven by anger and lust. Soon the life she has built in the ashes of her past begins to crumble.Whilst Caro tries to maintain the line between her dual identities, the re-appearance of her estranged brother, the growing threat of the Marquis of Ravensbough and the delving and mischievous Mr Felton make it increasingly impossible.Between confectioners shops, card parties, the British Museum, London’s most fashionable balls and the capital’s most infamous hells, Caro is taught the worth of a reputation and that no matter your plans, life and love have a habit of falling quite spectacularly out of control!
‘In spite of his graceless entrance and obvious inebriation, the man’s eyes were exceedingly quick. As he righted himself, they made contact with a heeled shoe, a pleasingly long leg beneath the flimsiest of materials, and a gathering of skirts. His eyes continued their journey upwards, over her bodice, her neck, and then they stilled at those indefinable blue eyes.
In the odd pause that followed, a cat-like smile slowly unfurled across the young man’s face. Angelica threw down her skirts and stepped back.
“I say…” was all the gentleman offered. He half-raised the tankard as if in salute, and Angelica could only be thankful that he had knocked the door set during his imbalance. Or was she thankful? She took another step back, hitting the paneling of the wall.
She did not recognise the man, but he was undeniably handsome. Aware that she was looking him over, his boyish face gained a mischievousness. His green eyes twinkled merrily at her, lingering – to her utter infuriation – on her lips. He stumbled towards a book-lined wall and rested an unsteady elbow upon one of the shelves, leaning jauntily on one leg and most clearly making himself at home.
“I say…” he repeated himself, but did not move towards her as Angelica feared.
Her wits finally returning, she put some ice into her stare.”You say what, sir?”
She was buying time. She was not yet sure how to work the situation to her advantage. Should she play upon his intoxication and hope a little flirtation would gain her access to the door? Or should she give him a set-down and storm out, risking that he might attempt to stop her? If it had been someone she knew she might have been able to guess which would be the best course of action.
As it was, she could not rely on John’s appearance – he always waited downstairs for her with the carriage.
“I say,” the man responded affably, as if they were acquaintances encountering each other during a promenade through Town, “that is a rather clever trick you have there.” He gestured to the compartment recently concealed in her skits.
“I don’t know what you mean,” she replied too quickly, her heart still fluttering.
The gentleman merely smiled and shrugged his shoulders. As though he had not just learnt a valuable secret. As though he did not intend to rob her. As though…well, as though he cared not a whit for the precarious positioning in which he had found her. Apparently he was not going to take advantage of it – but neither was he planning to ignore it.
Angelica was momentarily stumped. But then, choosing the course of action that had worked most successfully in the past, she took two small steps forward. She raised her head so that her neck was shown to the best advantage, relaxed her full lips so that they pouted attractively, and brought a hand up to play with the cravat encircling the man’s neck. Teasing the folds, she noted that although she had at first guessed his age to be just above twenty, a closer inspection showed him to be nearer thirty.
“And just whom do I have the pleasure of addressing?” Her tone dripped with honey, though her eyes still searched his face shrewdly for any sign as to his intentions.
For a moment he looked dashing. She found herself looking no longer at his eyes but at his lips as they curved in a pleasing smile. Her stomach fluttered.
“Is that what you feel?” he was leaning closer now, sending the smell of cloves and ale wafting toward her.
The spellbound moment end rather abruptly. The gentleman’s elbow which up until now had been wedged between two rows of false books, slipped. The jolt of movement turned his enticing lean into a headlong plunge towards Angelica’s bosom.
Angelica immediately assumed he was attempting to steal her winnings – or worse.
“Oh…oh, I am sorry!” he managed, pulling himself out of her décolletage and into balance.
But even his boyish green eyes could not save him.
Angelica delivered a resounding slap across his face. Gathering her skirts, she marched from the room without a backwards glance. If she had looked behind her, she would have seen a gentleman utterly bemused, his mouth hanging open like a catfish while he stared after the angel who had departed so suddenly.