So it’s Freaky Friday! It’s also HAPPY HAPPY RELEASE DAY for me!
Groom of Convenience (Scandalous Whispers of the Remmington Realm) released today from Dreamspinner Press!
I am soooo excited! And the CAH-RAY-ZEE thing is that IT’S ALREADY A BESTSELLER ON ARe!!!! Oh my Godiva! You guys are too good to me! (Do you like my new saying? “Oh my Godiva” I’m thinking about putting them on some T-shirts or something, not sure if I can. I’ll have to look into that)
Since it is Freaky Friday I thought I’d share with you all a deleted scene from Groom of Convenience.
Deleted Scene Excerpt:
The air was muggy and the street was practically deserted as Lady Lucien Hawthorn alighted from his sister Charlotte’s borrowed carriage.
“Luce, you must promise me that you will be safe,” Charlotte whispered harshly.
Lucien looked over his shoulder, shoving the infernal fabric of gown his maldy had forced him to wear to the latest ball thrown by the Viscount and Viscountess of Bolton deep into the cushioned carriage seat. He gave Charlotte a reassuring smile and reached out to touch her gloved hand with his own. He loved that his sister was so concerned about him. To be sure, his reputation could in fact be severely damaged by his appearance at such a lecture, but how could he stay away? Jeremy Bentham was giving a lecture on the abolition of the slave trade and Lucien was determined to listen to it. Especially since Lucien had heard there were going to be men in attendance who could help him in his study of the Tswahili language.
“I give you my word, Char,” he said, using his nickname for her. “I will do my utmost to be ever on my guard. Protecting not only my reputation but my virtue from those who would see it come to ruin.”
Charlotte rolled her eyes. “I care not about your virtue, you ninny. Maldy and Mother have locked away your virginity in the safe at Hawthorn. I am only concerned about you, a gentle-bred young lady, only son of the Earl of Yorkshire, being seen at a lecture of intellectuals. They shall think that you are a bluestocking.”
Lucien snorted and leaned close to whisper into his sister’s ear. “That’s because I am.”
Charlotte laughed. “Oh! Go on then. Rourke and I shall be ’round to fetch you in exactly one hour, Lucien. Be sure to be ready. If you are not, I shall send my great big Tscottish husband inside to fetch you.”
Lucien shivered as he thought of his brother-in-law storming inside, red hair swirling around his shoulders, green eyes flashing, as he tossed Lucien over his shoulder and carried him out. It would completely shame Lucien, horrify the men in the room, and ruin his family’s name. He mentally shook his head. No, he would be ready.
“I assure you. I will be ready.”
With a nod and a final kiss to his sister’s cheek, Lucien ducked out of the carriage and hurried across the cobbled road to the barely lit townhouse where the lecture was being held. Opening the door as quietly as possible, he stood at the back of the room, not caring if he got a seat and listened with anticipation as Jeremy Bentham was introduced. He tried not to clap too enthusiastically, going for a more sedate applause, as the elder, white-haired gentleman approached the front of the room and began speaking. Lucien listened in awe wishing that he’d thought to bring his journal with him so that he could document Mr. Bentham’s powerful words.
A slight movement occurred in the corner and he turned his head and observed the sight of a long leg resting next to a cane, wide, blunt-tipped fingers wrapped around the handle. As his gaze continued to travel up the body attached to those legs all he saw was the back of the man’s head, thick, black hair that he, for some unexplainable reason, wanted to run his fingers through. Swallowing nervously, Lucien turned his attention back to the lecture and away from the tempting, unidentified, faceless, stranger.
“This offering to liberty ought to be determined by lot. Choice, under the pretext of honouring the most worthy, would be a source of cabals: it would cause more discontent and jealousy than happiness. The lot is impartial; it gives all an equal chance of happiness; it spreads the charm of hope among those whom it does not favour; and the dread of being deprived of this chance, on account of any crime committed, would be another bond to the fidelity of the slaves.”
Lucien wanted to applaud. He really did. But he did not. Instead he nodded just like the men in the room. He kept his head lowered, hoping they did not notice that he was a lady among them. Though there were other ladies among them, he did not have the same liberties they did. His maldy would skin him alive were she to find out that he had been consorting among philosophers, discussing slavery and abolition, even though she favored the latter and abhored the former.
When Mr. Bentham concluded his speech, Lucien clapped and made his way quickly to Lord Bryce Cullingham, Marquess of Balmouth, whom he knew was well-versed in Tswahili. They conversed for a moment on the language and Lucien accepted the notes the man had brought with him on the complicated vowels and consanants.
When the door to the townhouse slammed open, he groaned, already knowing who it was. Bloody hell. His time was up.
“Please excuse me, my lord. It seems that I have overstayed my welcome. I must go.” He executed a perfect curtsey. He ignored the gasps around him and hurried towards the hall just as Rourke roared his name.
“I am looking for me brother-in-law! He is the son of Lord York-” Rourke stopped when he saw Lucien appear in the hallway and grinned. He gestured out towards the street. “Ah, there ye are lass. Shall we go?”
Lucien nodded, his face flaming hot. He bowed his head and rushed towards the awaiting carriage.
“I shall send me man ’round to pay for the damage to your door, old chap. Sorry about the bother,” Rourke apologized behind him.
Lucien opened the carriage and scrambled in, sitting across from Charlotte, folding his arms across his chest. She smiled sweetly at him. The carriage rocked as Rourke climbed in beside her and wrapped his arm around her shoulders.
“Did you learn a great deal, Luce?” she asked.
Lucien glared at her and turned his head to stare out the side of the carriage as it pulled away. Rourke chuckled.
“I was,” he mumbled.
“Cheer up, Lucien. It wasn’t as bad as all that,” she said.
He snorted and refused to look at either of them. He knew he was pouting but he refused to care.
“But did you have a good time? That’s what is important,” Rourke asked cheekily.
Lucien turned to look at him, his mouth hanging open. He squeaked indignantly before bursting into laughter. Charlotte and Rourke joined him seconds later. He sat up and began to tell them all about the lecture, his hands gesturing excitedly.
He was animated as he told them everything, describing everyone in attendance.
Well almost everyone.
He kept the black-haired man holding the cane a secret, though he did not know why.
Excerpt (From Groom of Convenience):
“Here we are,” Rosemary announced, her voice louder than normal, with a false cheeriness to it. Lucien’s eyebrows rose at his mother’s behavior, and he stopped her in front of the closed doors, which once again let Lucien know something or someone was behind those doors that his parents didn’t want him to know about until they’d had a chance to explain it to him.
“Mother, what is going on?” Lucien asked her.
Rosemary looked at Lucien and shook her head. “Why, Luce, absolutely nothing. Why would you ask me something like that?”
Lucien was really concerned, as neither of his parents used his nickname. Ever. He said nothing to her, just staring, unmoving.
Rosemary removed her hand from Lucien’s elbow and raised it to the pearls hanging at her neck to play with them a moment. Lucien was very aware of that gesture; it meant Rosemary was nervous and trying to figure out just what to reveal. He waited expectantly, confident she would let him know what was going on before he had to face his maldy, but when Rosemary shook her head and squared her shoulders, Lucien knew his ploy of silence wouldn’t work this time.
“All you need to know, Lucien, is that everything we do, we do as your parents and because we love you,” Rosemary told him. She raised a hand to his cheek and stroked the skin gently, lovingly. “We were so happy when I gave birth to you and discovered you were a girl. We had been surprised by the pregnancy, as the doctors told me I was past my conceiving years, but you were a delightful surprise. We always wanted a son, and we were finally given one.” She dropped her hand from Lucien’s cheek and lifted it to her face to wipe away the tears that had gathered in her eyes. “We do this because we care about you and only want the best for you.”
Rosemary turned back to the double doors of the red rose room and pushed on the handles to open them. She grabbed the skirt of her morning gown in one hand and glided into the room. Lucien stood in shock for only a moment before he followed her.
“Close the doors, Son.” His maldy’s husky voice came from the direction of one of the chairs next to the fireplace.
Lucien nodded and, as he turned to close the doors, saw the Duke and Duchess of Cumbria sitting on the loveseat across from his maldy. He froze in shock for but a moment. Years of etiquette training wouldn’t allow him to just stand in front of the door, but he had never seen anyone in the red rose room who wasn’t family, and now here were two of the most prestigious peers of the realm, not only in their home but in their private family room. Lucien took a moment to compose himself. He smiled at both of them and bowed slightly before turning back to close the doors. After he released the handle, Lucien took a steadying breath and moved to face his parents.
“Well, have a seat, Lucien,” Annabelle directed him.
“Yes, Maldy,” Lucien answered automatically. His maldy was a stern woman. Lucien could only remember one instance where he had ever seen her be soft and loving, though he wasn’t supposed to have. He had woken up in the middle of the night when he was seven years old and had walked out of his room and down the family wing toward his parents’ room. He knew he was too old to actually sleep in the bed with them, but he had wanted comfort from a dreadful nightmare. Halfway down the hall, he’d stopped, frozen in place as he saw his mothers pressed together against the wall next to the bedchamber. They were dressed in evening attire, Rosemary in a gorgeous dress of blue velvet, one hand holding a white shawl, her black hair spilling down her back in a mass of curls. Annabelle was pressed close to Rosemary’s body, her thick blond hair pulled back into a harsh, unforgiving bun, her face pressed into the crook of Rosemary’s neck. Annabelle wore a slim dark green evening gown, embroidered in onyx gems under her small bust and around the hem.
As Lucien continued to watch them, he saw Rosemary lift her leg and circle it around Annabelle’s waist, while Annabelle dropped a hand beneath Rosemary’s skirts. Lucien’s eyes had widened, and he’d turned to leave, not in the least bit interested in watching his parents copulate in the middle of the corridor. It was something he only knew about because he’d overheard his sisters speak of it and because he’d sneaked into the servants’ quarters many times and seen the same thing occurring among the servants. Just as he started to turn away, he saw Annabelle lift the hand that had been pressed against the wall on the side of Rosemary’s head and tenderly stroke Rosemary’s cheek. She had leaned close and kissed Rosemary’s lips gently before lifting Rosemary’s leg higher. It was Rosemary’s gasp and harsh groan of Annabelle’s name that had spurred Lucien to turn and race down the hallway to his room.
So while one part of him was happy to know his maldy had a gentle side, the self-preservation side of him tried not to remember how he knew that.
Lucien settled himself on the edge of the chaise next to the loveseat where the duke and duchess sat.
“I believe you know the duke and duchess?” Annabelle said, smiling thinly up at Rosemary, who stood and began pouring tea for all of them. Lucien crossed one leg over the other, balanced his teacup and saucer on his knee, and sat straight up—something else he’d learned how to do in his etiquette class—and nodded.
“Yes, Maldy. So nice to see you again, Your Graces,” Lucien said with a smile at two of the highest-ranking members of society. The Duke of Cumbria was a harsh-looking man. His skin had a healthy tan from spending a great deal of time outside, no doubt riding his horse or hunting, like most titled members of the gentry. It was a luxury Lucien wished he would have once he married, but one he believed he would have to go without once that occasion happened upon him.
The duke’s black hair was brushed back from his face and pulled into a queue at the back of his neck; gray had seeped into the dark strands and colored his temples. His eyes were a mesmerizing shade of light gray, almost silver, his chin pointed, a dimple resting in the middle of it.
He had broad shoulders shrouded in a brown morning coat over a startling white dress shirt with a white cravat and a black vest. He wore black breeches, which could barely contain his large thighs, and black boots on his feet.
Next to him, the Duchess of Cumbria wore a morning gown of yellow that caused her pale skin to look sallow. Her red hair, cluttered with gray strands, was pulled back in a bun, tendrils escaping to curl around her rounded face.
Lucien admired the fact that the Duchess had not felt the need to buy a wig of blonde or black hair that would make her much more fashionable. She no doubt felt she didn’t have to, being a superior member of the gentry. Her bonnet rested on her lap, and Lucien wondered if perhaps she had just removed it moments before he’d entered. Where his mother Rosemary had foregone heels for slippers, the Duchess wore a beautiful pair of white heeled shoes with lace and embroidery over the front of them. Her eyes were a deep jade color, and she smiled brilliantly at Lucien when his eyes fell on her.
“And it is indeed a pleasure to see you again, young Lucien,” the Duchess, Jane, if Lucien remembered her Christian name correctly, said, her voice light and melodious.
“I am sure you are wondering why you were summoned to the family home when we did not have a scheduled meal,” Annabelle stated, and Lucien gave the Duchess a final smile before turning his attention to his maldy.
“The thought had crossed my mind, yes, Maldy,” Lucien admitted.
“Well, my dear, we have taken it upon ourselves to make a decision about your life that I am sure you will find not only agreeable but practically miraculous and fortuitous,” Annabelle stated with a pointed look.
That look Lucien knew quite well. Even if he didn’t find the decision “miraculous” or “fortuitous,” he was being ordered to pretend he did in front of the duke and duchess.
“Thank you, Maldy. I am sure that I will,” Lucien agreed. He wondered if he had been offered to be a companion to the Duchess. While it wasn’t at all a notion he would have chosen for himself, it was inherently better than what he thought he’d been summoned to the estate for.
“Your mother and I have decided to accept the suit offered by the Duke and Duchess of Cumbria,” Annabelle told him before calmly lifting her teacup to her lips and taking a sip.
“Suit?” Lucien questioned, looking back and forth between the two couples.
“Yes. You are to wed Heathcliff Eddington III, His Grace, the Duke of Pompinshire, Marquess of Manchester, Earl of Southerby, Viscount of Berkinstock, Baron of Hempstead, heir to the Dukedom of Cumbria, in six months’ time.”
Groom of Convenience
By: Vicktor Alexander
Scandalous Whispers of the Remmington Realm, #1
M/M Erotic, Historical, Scifi, Fantasy, Transgender/Intersex Romance
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: October 17, 2014
Length: Novel/290 pages
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In an alternate universe, in the country of Angland, 1814, the gentry live lives of culture and class. It is a time of courtships, marriages of convenience, and titles, where scandal can ruin an entire family. Gender lines are blurred, and making a good match is of utmost importance. Children are born to men and women, which has led to the acceptance of same-sex marriages.
Lady Lucien Timothy Hawthorne is shocked and angry when he is betrothed against his will to Lord Heathcliff Eddington, III, the Duke of Pompinshire. While drowning his frustration at a popular gentleman’s club, he meets “Robert,” a gorgeous older man whom he sleeps with as “Timmy,” regardless of the potential damage to his reputation.
After their liaison, Lucien corresponds with Robert via letters left at Remmington, and they decide to elope. Before they can get away, Lucien meets his betrothed, Heathcliff, who he is surprised to discover is also his beloved, Robert. Both men desire a marriage of the heart, but they find out that sometimes a marriage of convenience can turn into love under the right circumstances. But Lucien has a secret, and Tlondon isn’t as safe as they once thought.
About the Author:
Vicktor “Vic” Alexander wrote his first story at the age of ten and hasn’t stopped writing since. He loves reading about anything and everything and is a proud member of the little known U.N. group (Undercover Nerds) because while he lives, eats, breathes, and sleeps sports, he also breathes history and science fiction and grew up a Trekkie. But don’t ask him about Dungeons & Dragons, because he has no idea how to play that game. When it comes to writing he loves everything from paranormal to contemporary to fantasy to historical and is known not only for being the Epilogue King but also for writing stories that cross lines and boundaries that he doesn’t know are there. Vic is a proud father of two daughters one of whom watches over him from Heaven with his deceased partner Christopher. Vic is a proud trans* and gay man, and when he is not writing, he is hanging out with his friends, or being distracted by videos of John Barrowman, Scott Hoying, and Shemar Moore. Vicktor has published numerous bestselling novels and has a WIP list that makes him exhausted just thinking about. He knows that he will be still be writing about hot men falling in love with each other, long after he is living in an assisted living facility, flirting with the hot, male nurses.
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