The Kingdom of Emrilion

I got carried away. It was one of those days I have dedicated to writing. I woke up and instead of picking up a keyboard or lined paper, I picked up a sketch-pad and pencils. I’ve always enjoyed a bit of doodling and sketching. In fact, you might be interested to know that the faces of the characters from both my historical romance and fantasy books are residing between the leaves of several sketch books.

It’s a funny thing when authors draw out their characters as I imagine they don’t always line up precisely with what you have in your head when you’re reading. Anyway, I’m getting off track, because it wasn’t people I was drawing at all, you see. I spent my whole writing day trying my hand at fantasy cartography.

Fantasy cartography

Yes, it’s a thing. I had no idea until I started googling fantasy maps. I wanted some inspiration and not just that, some visual know-how for how to draw hills, mountains, lakes all those sorts of things. How did I draw them and get them to look the right way in for a map? It was all a bit trial and error, quickly sketching a practice hill on one piece of paper and then drawing it properly on the map I started.

People actually do this for a living. I guess artists, illustrators or designers, or a bit of all three. What a cool job. I wonder if they have to read the books to know where everything is? Well, for me I already had the equivalent of a stick-figure map from when I had been writing The Edict. It was in my edits that I couldn’t remember whether the characters should have been travelling west or east to get somewhere. I realised I needed a map.

It’s an old habit

Drawing that basic one (and laminating it, because I’m a geek), took me right back to when I was a kid. I used to LOVE drawing maps. I drew them all the time, usually of made up places, not even related to stories. I don’t know why I love it so much but I did, and suddenly as a grown woman I was like, ‘yeah, that’s right, I’m using my part-time author job to draw a map’. It was sweet, as you can imagine.

So, there I was drawing it all and, although I wouldn’t say it’s a master-piece, it’s legible. And it really added that last bit of something I was missing from the book. Every fantasy book I’ve enjoyed has had a map, the sort that makes you turn the book sideways and upside down to read all the names and figure out where your characters are or are travelling to. And it was as if the final piece of creativity for this writing project was finally completed 10 years after it started.

The Kingdom of Emrilion

Stretching from the Northern Moors south to the Tao Desert the Kingdom of Emrilion is made up of many races ruled by the conquering Reluwyn. Bordered by it’s neighbour Castir to the east and the Western Sea to the west Emrilion is home to forests, moors, plains, deserts and mountains and of course to characters you’re going to meet…

Map of Emrilion - The Edict - The She Trilogy

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First Copy of The Edict!

It arrived a few weeks ago but I couldn’t share it until now because of loads of other things needing to be done! Self-publishing really is a busy business! Anyway, it arrived so quickly when I ordered the first copy.

So nervous

It came like any other book ordered online in an inconspicious brown box and I held it so excitedly…and nervously. What if I opened it and all the cover and text were half running off the page? What if I’d missed out half the book? What if it just looked downright awful?

Procrastinating

I was so nervous in fact that I proceeded to procrastinate. Ah, the friend of the faint-hearted! I had arrived home from work and found the parcel, so now I told myself I should probably tidy the kitchen before sitting down to open it. And gosh, I was gasping for a cup of tea, so I put the kettle on. And didn’t those sofa cushions need plumping. And perhaps I should just check my emails?

Then my husband arrived home and he eyed the package saying, ‘is that your book?’ I replied in the affirmative and explained I had not wanted to open it yet and for some pathetic reason I felt I could if he was there. I grabbed it with both hands and hesitated only briefly to say, ‘I hope it’s not rubbish’ or words to that effect, and then tore it open.

Finally opening

What came out into my hands was, well, beautiful:

I was so happy with this and although this was for final proofs, and not the final, final, final copy (my exhausted author brain was crying at the thought), it’s everything I wanted it to be. I have to apologise for the dodgey photo-taking. I’m not the most artistic photographer at the best of times and the glee at seeing it wasn’t a pile of illegible print meant I didn’t use any of those fancy-filters or…err… focusing…

I have now finished the proofs and final bits and piece (with much gnashing of teeth – just look at my Twitter), and have the final, final, final copy arrived LITERALLY (very punny) today…

The Edict Paperback | Fantasy Novel | The She Trilogy | P. J. Keyworth

 

A fantasy world

I’m looking forward to sharing with you the world in which The Edict takes place soon. You see, because it’s a fantasy, it’s not like historical romances where the world existed and you just have to get to know it through research (I use the word ‘just’ in humour, research is jolly hard work!), with fantasy you have to create your world. It grows in your imagination into this living, breathing thing where your characters live and learn to be a part of different cultures, places and races. Soon I can share some more of that world with you…

The Edict Cover Release

I am so excited to finally be sharing more with you on the run up to the release of The Edict in December! The cover of The Edict starts with an old friend. Venetia and I go way back. We’ve been friends for several years now and she’s easily one of those people I describe as lovely inside and out.

When I first met her I said, ‘One of my favourite authors called Georgette Heyer wrote a book called Venetia.’ She promptly replied that the very same volume was one of her mother’s favourites and her namesake! I mean – it was like a meet-cute for friends.

When I started my journey towards becoming a hybrid author (both published through a publishing house and self-published) I came to Venetia to talk cover design. We’d chatted years earlier about the idea of it when we worked in a shoe shop together in between aggy customers and trying on shoes under the counter. I knew she was a graphic designer and had been working with an independent publishing house so it was perfect. Just a few years in the making.

First design meeting

When I started planning out The Edict (read the blurb here) project and had my manuscript sent away to the editor I asked to meet with Venetia to finally talk about that fabled cover. We met in Costa and talked about the project over hot chocolate and coffee (or something of that variety). She was so enthusiastic from the outset, she let me rabbit on about the story, the project timelines, what I envisioned for the cover. All the time she listened and actually told me it was so much more helpful talking 1:1 with the author about the work and I really think this collaboration is why the cover became such a clear embodiment of the book.

Talking styles

We talked colours, styles, themes, elements and while she let me talk she also dropped ideas in here and there which I would never have thought of and which really started to tie the whole thing together into a fully fledged concept. We worked out the timeline and payment arrangements and parted ways with her promising an initial design.

She started working on individual elements first and then came up with the full front cover. The best part was, when I asked to meet to discuss the initial designs, Venetia came with a gift! I was asking her how she managed to create the seal on the front cover, she said, ‘it’s funny you should ask that…’ and proceeded to pull an unassuming little cardboard box from her bag.

The seal

She handed it to me saying it was a gift for me and when I opened it lo and behold, Venetia had not only imagined a wildcat from the world of The She Trilogy she had commissioned a real seal to be made and it came complete with sealing wax, candles and teeny wax pouring spoon!

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It was AMAZING! Here in my hand was a seal like those I imagined they used in my book. The wildcat is a creature specifically from Emrilion, the kingdom in which the story takes place, and Venetia had listened to my descriptions and created it! The seal is a really important part of the book. In The Edict believe it or not, there is an edict, a few actually, a type of law and they are sealed with the royal seal, the one you see appearing on the cover of the book. It’s one of these edicts that forever changes the life of my heroine Kiara so you can see why it’s a central aspect of the cover. Keep an eye out for up-coming giveaways on the run up to The Edict’s release, because you might just be receiving a copy of The Edict sign, sealed and delivered!

The initial designs

I’d told Venetia about the richness of the Reluwyn people in the The Edict. They’re originally nomadic tribal peoples who have become a settled nation and risen up to rule an empire. They enjoy feasting and fighting and it’s this lavish lifestyle which is brought out by the deep reds, jade and almost golden yellows. It’s the colours of the cover which make it so exciting.

The finished cover

After tweaking and amends and getting it just so, we ended up with a cover that Venetia did an awesome job of making and which I’m so chuffed with. You can see it here:

The Edict - Fantasy Book - P. J. Keyworth

The Edict - Fantasy Book - P. J. Keyworth

 

Venetia Jackson

If you’re looking for a designer for your covers whether they’re fantasy or another genre, I can highly recommend Venetia. She’s friendly, professional and enthusiastic. She’s just as keen as you are to give your book the cover it deserves. You can find her on Facebook & Instagram.

Next?

I’m looking forward to sharing with you the sneak peak of the VERY FIRST copy of The Edict, which is my proof copy. There’s nothing quite like holding your book in the format of a book (not on a computer or in A4 print-out versions), for the first time and this one was extra special because I had seen it from the first tiny idea I had when I was 17, right through to print…

New things, old things and free things

Some of you might have been wondering where I’ve been. An occasional glance at my blog may have made you think, ‘gosh, it’s a long time since she’s posted.’ You might have even been thinking, ‘she’s not really been on FB and Twitter much! She’s been really quite quiet online.’

Others of you might be thinking, ‘what on earth is she going on about? I haven’t noticed anything’. Well, to both of you I thought it was high time I came out of the woods of writing. You will all know that upon occasion I disappear into them. When I’m trying to finish a first draft, going through edits or working on proofs. Of course, the day job doesn’t help with this, I’m always rather tight on time! But this time it’s a bit different.

Yes, I have been doing all three – I’ve been in the woods of writing, editing and proofing. Yes, that’s right,

I’ve been working on a new book!

It’s all very exciting actually, and some of you may have picked up on it. The reason it’s different is two-fold, on the one hand the genre’s different to what I’ve published before, it’s a fantasy novel in the style of Lord of the Rings and Narnia (for adults, although I still LOVE Narnia, and as far as I’m aware I’m a grown up). On the second-hand I will be self-publishing this novel.

Fantasy, you say?

To my loyal readers, let me just quickly take the time to say that I am still writing historical romance! Have no fear on that count, that genre’s going no where from my writing loves and agenda, but you see, I’ve always enjoyed writing fantasy. In fact, I’ve written it since before I tried my hand at historical romance. The book I’ve been working on was first written when I was seventeen, a decade ago, and revisited over a year ago. It’s a story I loved writing the first time round and have truly enjoyed editing. It is called, The Edict (click here to read the blurb), and follows the story of a courageous heroine called Kiara, a brooding Prince, a damned race and conniving courtier…

And of course, there’s love, a great love story. So for those of you who read my books because you love the love stories then The Edict could be your next read.

Self-published, hmmm…

There might be a few of you who cringe at hearing that. Truth be told, I used to cringe at the thought of it. But a lot has changed over the last ten years and now some of the best authors I read and know are entirely self-published (also known as independently published). New York Times and USA Today bestsellers, winners of Readers Choice Awards, B.R.A.G.G. indie author medallions and book cover design competitions. The honest truth is, that there are so many quality authors out there, the traditional publishing houses can’t keep up with them, and the opportunity to publish quality books, with access to Print On Demand companies, free eBook Conversion tools, formatting guides and freelance cover designers & editors, is better than ever before.

I’ll be honest with you, I sent The Edict to every Literary Agent I could find listed in the Writer’s and Artists Yearbook and a number of publishers, but it was all to no avail. It’s making me cringe writing that (apparently I cringe a lot), but I think it’s worth being honest, because there’s a lot of you out there who have had to suffer through literary rejections and I’m sure that’s not my last. It’s funny, because in my arrogance I thought it would be easy if I already had a publisher with three books published, but it wasn’t. The fact is, I love the story, and I’d already had several friends read it who loved it and were so encouraging with their feedback, and it was a book, just sitting there in my draw, waiting to be shown the public light of day. It seemed silly to keep it there.

So, naturally, I was frustrated that no one wanted it from the traditional publishing world, but I had always thought to myself, if I can’t find an agent I’ll release it myself. It’s not like it’s easier, to be honest, it’s LOTS more work, more investment both in terms of time and money. But it’s one of those things I felt compelled to do. I just want to share the story with everyone. So that’s what I’m going to do.

When’s the next book out?

So, if you’ve read this thinking you want to find out when my next book The Edict will be coming out then watch this space. You’ll be hearing more from me on The Edict in the coming weeks and months…

What can you read now?

Fool Me Twice - Historical Romance - Philippa Jane Keyworth

Fool Me Twice – Free on Kindle

But for now, why not pick up Fool Me Twice for free on Kindle? That’s right, for FREE!!! Wohoo! Grab it while you can as the offer’s only on for a few days.

Reviews are my friends

And if you do read Fool Me Twice then you could support it by reviewing it on Amazon. Reviews are so important, not just because it’s great to hear when you’ve enjoyed the book, but because it gives credibility to the book in both readers’ and Amazon’s eyes! If you think it would be something others would enjoy then please review it!

That’s all for now, I hope it gets you excited for my next book. More to follow…

 

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Things to do in 18th century Bath

It amazes me that sometimes, in my internet wanderings, when I am trying to find little nuggets of fact amidst the fog of the past that might embroider my novels with authentic detail, Google presents me with nothing exact. I mean, it’s rather obvious that Google and Wikipedia and all other random, non-authoratitive sources, might present one with unexpected ‘facts’. Sometimes they present one with outright lies, and this is often the cause of amusement.

Only today I was amazed to see someone on the internet declaring their casting off of pleasure driven pursuits such as drinking and eating bad food as they had decided to, ‘pursue a more hedonistic lifestyle’…I mean, there really is no answer for that except a pained inward groan. Then one allows oneself a little titter of amusement…until one makes a similar blunder and realises we all make mistakes and one ought to get down off one’s proverbial high horse.

Anyway, I am becoming distracted. What I am meaning to talk about is Bath. You see, I am in the throes of writing another book, which I have been enjoying immensely, and after taking a breaking because of, well, life, I have come back to it. I was getting frustrated because I had forgotten what I had already written, and felt as though I had lost the firm grasp on my characters I had. So I spent this morning re-reading what I had already written, remembering who I had created and where they dwelt, and thinking onwards onto what I wish to write next, and I was considering what activities my character might take up. They’re staying in Bath, you see, the first time one of my books has taken place in this beautiful watering hole of the 18th century, and so I did what any modern-day historical romance writer might do (but not admit to of course), I went to Le Google. I typed in the most pragmatic of phrases, ‘Things to do in 18th Century Bath’ and was greeted with, well, not much – nothing exact, you see.

You’ll be happy to know, those of you considering planning little trips away in 2017 already, that there are a plethora of guides on what to do in modern day Bath. But, believe it or not, in the onslaught of online information, no article matched my expectations. So I’ve written one. I do that with books too, if I can’t find what I want to read in a bookshop, I’ll go home and attempt to write what I am desiring instead. Sometimes it even works.

I did the same with my Things to do in 18th Century London post. I wanted to find activities that took place during the daytime that a man and woman might both attend. After all, despite what many historical romances might teach you (and I love them all), it wasn’t just about balls and gaming hells in London. And neither was Bath confined to taking the waters and the Assembly Rooms. 

It took me some time to piece together things from online articles sourced at reputable sites. You see, I don’t have easy access to my books and must sacrifice my intellectual self on the pire of the collective online brain. So, here is a wee list of things one might do in Bath to entertain oneself in the 18th Century:

1. Afternoon Tea in the Bath Assembly Rooms

That’s right, it wasn’t all about the nighttime Assembly’s in Bath with the dancing and light suppers presided over by Beau Nash, master of ceremonies. Oh, no, during the day one could enjoy an afternoon tea in respectable surroundings with relatives, friends or even potential lovers. Visit Bath is keen to establish that Jane Austen herself enjoyed afternoon tea at the Assembly Room’s, so there really is no arguing with that, is there? And for those hailing from countries where afternoon tea isn’t tradition, it usually consisted of tea, the drink, and light refreshments of both the savoury and sweet kinds.

The Assembly Rooms, Bath - National Trust

The Assembly Rooms, Bath – National Trust

2. Lover’s Lane in Bath

It wasn’t just Vauxhall and Ranelegh in London that could provide lovers with a useful tryst spot, Bath had a few spots of its own. Lover’s Lane, common parlance for the Gravel Walk (some of you might remember from the touching final get-together in Persuasion’s film adaptation), was a handy walk often used by those under cupid’s sway. And of course, Bath wasn’t short of gardens in which two young people, or older for that matter, might become lost. Sydney Gardens, situated behind Jane Austen’s Bath abode (though it must be stated she wasn’t fond of the city unlike myself), was a case in point.

Sydney Gardens, Bath

Sydney Gardens, Bath

Lots of these gardens not only had lovely little winding walks, but also bowling greens and lots of little things they could o.

3. Promenading along the Royal Crescent, Bath

The Hyde Park of Bath, this place was ideal for showing off one’s gladrags, perhaps obtained from Milsom Street, the popular shopping street in Bath, and overlooking the beautiful grey/yellow bath-stone city. For those unfamiliar with Bath, the Royal Crescent is a stunning panoramic crescent of matching Bath stone terraced houses in a palladian style overlooking the city. It’s aesthetics are beautiful for their uniformity, classical lines, and prominent position. 

Royal Crescent, Bath

Royal Crescent, Bath

My favourite part of these buildings is the modern-day birds-eye view which shows the higgeldy-piggeldy backs of these houses where successive owners have made their own changes and extensions to the properties without harming the matching fronts.

4. Bathing in Bath

It wasn’t just the Romans who chose to bathe in the warm waters springing from the Somerset earth. Bathing in Bath was considered beneficial for health complaints including rheumatism and gout. It was something generally, though not exclusively, taken advantage of by the elderly in Bath, and took place in any of these three baths on offer: the Cross bath, the Hot bath and the Minerva baths. In fact, if you are a modern day visitor, you can always visit these at the Thermae Bath Spa who describe the city thus,

‘Bath and its waters have a long association with well-being and the word SPA is related to the Latin phrase ‘Salus Per Aquam’ or ‘health through water’.’

Thermae Bath Spa

Thermae Bath Spa give the best history of bathing and the medicinal qualities of the waters at Bath that I could find online on this page of their website. The key piece I found the most helpful/interesting I have quoted below:

‘Princess/Queen Anne visited Bath regularly to take the waters seeking a cure for her gout and dropsy, which prompted the renaming of the New Bath to the Queen’s Bath. These visits and aristocratic patronage set in motion a period of development in which Bath became ‘the premier resort of frivolity and fashion’ and led to the great rebuilding of the city to produce the 18th century layout and architecture of today’s UNESCO World Heritage Site.’

5. Taking those Bath waters like a pro

Funnily enough, 18th century people weren’t all that foolish as we might like to think in our modern state. They really were onto something with the water – containing 43 minerals, it certainly has a tangy taste (I’ve tried it) and some health benefits too. 

Taking the Waters in Bath

Taking the Waters in Bath

The Thermae Bath Spa list the highest proportions of what the water contains below:

Mineral Expressed as Concentration (Hetling Spring):

Sulphate mg/l 1015 

Calcium mg/l 358 

Chloride mg/l 340 

Sodium mg/l 195 

Bicarbonate mg/l 193 

Magnesium mg/l 57 

Silica mg/l 21 

Iron mg/l 0.5

Taken from the Thermae Bath Spa’s website.

6. Sham Castle – the Folly at Bedhampton

For those who have been to Bath, you might have remembered looking up above the city and seeing a medieval castle, a shell of bygone days, looking down on the predominantly Georgian city. Perhaps you even thought, ‘Oh, jolly good, I’ll get my medieval rocks of while I’m here and pop up to those ruins.’ Well, you’d be out of luck. The castle is a sham. Sham by name, sham by nature, this folly was constructed on local gentleman Ralph Allen’s estate to add some glam to the place, in fact, it was pretty common practice in the later eighteenth century to ornament your gardens with extra, more ‘picturesque’ bits and pieces like follys and rotundas (the latter sees a good example at Petworth House in Sussex). Some even went as far as getting in a hermit to live in their grounds and drag them in for a hot meal when conversation at dinner was a little slow…I kid you not.

Sham Castle, Bath

Sham Castle, Bath

So that’s a small list of what genteel people might do to pass the time while staying in Bath. I’m going to keep reading around the subject and I’m sure it’ll be easier to find out more when my books are to hand, in the mean time, my characters will make do with some of these activities. And of course a few of them will be riding out into the Somerset countryside too (I can never resist a good horse ride), in fact, it’s quite amazing just how dramatic and delightful a ride out can be with the right people…

Fool Me Twice has Launched!

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!

Buy Fool Me Twice on Amazon UK

Buy Fool Me Twice on Amazon US

This book is different from The Widow’s Redeemer and The Unexpected Earl in that it is set in the eighteenth century rather than the beginning of the nineteenth century. It focuses on a woman who has drawn herself up from obscurity to a position of relative independence and a man who’s irresponsibility is challenged by her. I’ll leave you with this excerpt and the wish that you enjoy reading this book as much as I enjoyed writing it:

‘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.

“Pleasure?”

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.

Oooo, exciting. Enjoy all!