Hi, readers! I am beyond pleased to announce a very special post today on ILRB. We’re doing something a little different. This is our twenty-third official author interview on this romance blog! I know in the past, we did character interviews then switched over to the author’s take on it, but this approach is a bit unusual.
We have a real treat for you, readers. Today we get to speak one-on-one with a talented author. Please join me in welcoming Erica Taylor to ILRB! 😀
Marie Lavender: Hello, Erica. Please have a seat.
Author Erica Taylor: Hi, Marie!
Marie: Hey, such a pleasure to have you here!
I’m going to throw in some standard questions first.
Obviously, we know your occupation as an author, but some writers have other jobs as well. Do you have another occupation? Do you believe you’re any good at it? Do you like what you do?
I know I’m overloading you with questions, but we’re really interested in finding out more about you…
Erica: I write like it’s my full-time job, but it doesn’t pay anywhere near it! My main occupation is Mom and Sports Shuttle Driver.
So, tell us…what is your family like?
Erica: My husband is active duty military, and we have two teen/tweens.
Let’s try something else, okay?
If it doesn’t bother you at all, can you let us know what your childhood home looked like?
Erica: I grew up in the mountains in Colorado, so my childhood home was in the middle of nowhere! It was a 30-minute drive to my high school.
Do you have any hobbies, Erica? What do you enjoy doing?
Erica: I enjoy reading, though I don’t get nearly enough time for it. I love to travel.
Marie: Oh, I hear ya! 😀
So, what is your greatest dream?
Erica: To be able to keep writing. I’m always afraid I won’t be able to write the next one, either for time, idea, financially, and it’s always a relief when the book is done and I can relax for half a second before charging along to the next.
Marie: I know, right?
Let’s try another question.
What kind of person do you wish you could be? What is stopping you?
Erica: Organized and diligent. I wish I could be one of those people who get up and make their beds and get ready for the day, then welcome their family home with a warm meal and a story before bed, with a smile and a kind word. Instead our mornings are rushed, I work in leggings and hoodies, we run from one sport field to the other and it’s a good day if there is something in the crock pot when we get home.
Marie: (Laughs.) I don’t think life is mega perfect for anyone! We’re all trying, though, that’s what matters.
So…we’re curious, since you write romance. Who was your first love?
Erica: My husband. We were high school sweethearts.
Marie: Aww! ♥♥♥
(Sighs.) I love romance.
With the next question, I hope I’m not prying too much.
What’s the most terrible thing that ever happened to you?
Erica: While I didn’t realize it at the time, I would say 9/11. My dad is a pilot for United, and I didn’t understand how those events would turn everything upside down. Lots of stress and unease at home, worrying about family stability. Then my boyfriend (at the time) joined the military, and that completely shaped the rest of my life, because I married him. So not necessarily the most terrible thing, but something that had far reaching effects on my life.
Marie: I see.
Let’s move on to another topic, shall we?
What was your dream growing up? Did you achieve that dream? If so, in what ways was it not what you expected? If you never achieved the dream, why not?
Erica: My dream was to be an author. I didn’t think it would ever happen so I went down some other paths for a while — psychology, history, before finally landing where I’d wanted to be all along.
Marie: Well, I’m sure those experiences shaped you as well! Sometimes I think such studies don’t hurt for a writer either, since it’s our job to get into a character’s head. And, of course, your history background must’ve helped you write about the topic at hand. 😉
So, who is your role model, Erica?
Erica: I don’t really have any. I admire J.K. Rowling and Julia Quinn.
Let’s try another tactic.
Is there someone you pretend to like but really dislike?
Erica: I don’t dislike her or her work, but I’ve never read any Jane Austen novels. For a Regency author, that seems sacrilegious!
Marie: (Has an expression of mock dismay.)
True! I like the books, as well as the films based on Austen’s work, but I have to admit I haven’t read all of her novels.
And what is your deepest desire?
Erica: Professionally, to hit a best seller list. Personally, to be fully confident in every aspect of my life. I’m great with words, but in person I’m an awkward, introverted mess.
Marie: (Nods.) Oh, I’m sure a lot of writers are! 😉
Let’s go for a different approach now.
Just curious here, but what is your greatest fear?
Erica: Failure. With all things.
Marie: 😕 I think it’s second nature to feel that way with any endeavor. But then, you have to think about what you do have, what you’ve accomplished.
Clearly, you married the love of your life, and you have two beautiful kids. ♥ Top top that off, you’re pursuing your dream, and you are steadfast in your goals, or you wouldn’t have published five historical romances already. Believe me…that’s impressive. It is not easy to write one book, let alone five full-length historical novels. (I’ve written three.)
In any case, I think you’re awesome! 🙂
So, let’s switch gears for a second.
If you were trapped on a deserted island, what five essentials would you need with you? They don’t have to be practical.
Erica: Something to play music, like an unlimited battery iPhone and Bluetooth speaker.
Lots of music. Endless supply of cold water. At the moment, being trapped alone on a deserted island sounds like a vacation, so I don’t even wish for a way to get off the island!
Marie: (Chuckles.) 😀
Okay, readers, let’s get the author’s perspective on one of her characters.
We’ve heard rumors about the hero of your story – Luke Macalister, Earl of Kenswick. Quite an interesting character. Can you tell us a little about him?
Erica: Luke suffered tragedy at a critical time in his life, and as a result he doesn’t fully understand who he is. He leapt from one adventure to the next, afraid to stop and see what his life could be without the drama.
Marie: 😥 Oh, no, sorry to hear that!
And what are Luke’s greatest strengths?
Erica: Luke is loyal, to a fault. He loves deeply, but also carries a lot of heavy emotions and feels like he needs to carry everyone else’s. He is a clown, always joking, always wanting everyone around him to feel happy and at ease, but inside he’s not always that light.
Marie: All right.
Any weaknesses of which we should be aware?
Erica: He is terrible at asking for help, and he doesn’t trust people easily. He also assumes people won’t be willing to help or take him seriously, so he doesn’t try much to prove them wrong.
Marie: (Nods.) It is tough to be that vulnerable with someone.
Let’s try something fun, shall we?
What are Luke’s favorite foods?
Erica: If he were here in 2020, he’d live for donuts, the crazier the better.
Marie: (Laughs.) Nice!
How about another question?
What’s a positive quality that your character is unaware that he or she has?
Erica: Luke is a bright light; charming, funny, always happy and supportive and wants to make everyone around him feel loved. I’d say Luke is very aware of this quality, but not how much it means to people.
Marie: How admirable!
Will readers like or dislike this character, and why?
Erica: I hope they will like him. He is charm personified, but there was a fine line to make him too arrogant and I hope I pulled him back enough to keep him likable.
Marie: I’m sure you did. 😉
Now that we have a real taste of Luke, we have a few questions for you as well as the author, about the writing process of your book.
What first gave you the idea for The Spy’s Convenient Bride?
Erica: I knew there was something up with Luke when I was writing the first story in this series, but I didn’t know exactly what it was until I got to the third book. Luckily at that time I was editing the first book for publication so I could make some tweaks to fit the new narrative. Luke’s story was always going to be the “spy” story, I just didn’t really know how it was going to unfold. I legitimately watched two weeks’ worth of spy movies, probably twenty total, to get the sense of how the story lines worked. A lot of this story I pulled from spy movie plots.
I don’t want to give away too much, but Vivian’s role in the books changed from when I started writing to when I got to the end, which surprised me. I had a huge Ah-ha! moment, and then wanted to smack myself for not coming up with it sooner. So her character surprised me for sure.
Marie: Oh, I’ve had those moments too. It’s fascinating how the muse works, hmm? 🙂
Let’s try something else.
What is your writing style like, Erica? Are you a pantster or a plotter?
Erica: I am both and neither, and all of the above. Each story has been different. This one, I felt I needed to prepare more because it leans into a genre I don’t read and didn’t know the first thing about. So I had a pretty solid outline for this one, and I veered only when needed. I knew I needed to have a tight “spy” plot in addition to the “romance” plot, and I couldn’t wing it.
This is the first story where I’ve really felt the characters start to take over. For better or worse, they couldn’t keep their hands off each other. I had a running joke where, in my head, the two would walk into a scene, look around and say, “Oh, can we do it here??” Even when I went back to adjust things my editor suggested the characters were still like, “Oh, so here? Can we make out here? What about–” and I had to pull away from the keyboard or I’d write an unnecessary love scene, just because my characters were a bit randy.
Marie: (Giggles.) Too funny!
And I think there is a natural ‘honeymoon phase’ to any romantic relationship.
So, I’m throwing this one in for our aspiring writers. Did you come across any specific challenges in writing The Spy’s Convenient Bride or publishing it? What would you do differently the next time?
Erica: I didn’t think about joining any writer groups until after I’d signed my first publishing contract. I honestly didn’t know the world of Romancelandia and writing support existed. The first time I went to something, there was a talk on conflict and during the whole thing I was panicking, thinking, “Did I just sign a contract for a book that has NO conflict, OMG!” I went back through my manuscript and realized, yes, there was conflict, I just didn’t know I was doing it at the time. I had no idea about plot pacing or character goal, motivation, and conflict, or avoiding info dumps, or how to write dialogue, or what a trope was or any of it. I was just trying to emulate the books I’d read. I had a steep learning curve to get caught up on, but I honestly think I am a much better writer knowing those things, and I wish I’d thought to look all that up earlier. So, joining a writing group, or a local chapter of RWA, for a newbie writer is extremely valuable, and I highly suggest it. Plus, it’s great to be able to talk writing and have people understand what you’re talking about and be able to learn from them.
Well, it was a total pleasure having you here on the I Love Romance Blog! And how apropos is that, considering what a great story The Spy’s Convenient Bride appears to be… ♥
Let’s learn more about this book.
Title: The Spy’s Convenient Bride (book five of The Macalisters Series)
Genre: Historical Romance, Regency Romance, Spy Thriller
Publication date: February 4, 2020
Congrats on your new release! 😀
Here is the blurb:
No longer an agent of the Crown, Luke Macalister doesn’t know who he is outside the clandestine world he spent the better part of a decade in. When he is awarded an earldom for something he didn’t do, he sees only a future of boredom and responsibility as the new Earl of Kenswick, a future he’s desperate to escape.
The daughter of the late Baron Kenswick, Miss Vivian Burke despises everything about the new earl she’s never met. That he turns out to be handsome and charming, and incapable of taking anything seriously, does not elevate him in her opinion. Until he offers her a deal—he will hand over the deed to her childhood home in exchange for a six-month marriage of convenience. To save herself and her mother, she has no choice but to say yes.
Their plans of a boring six months in London are soon derailed as Luke’s life as a spy catches up to him and he’s left with no choice but to trust his new wife.
Armed with only a diary and a signet ring, Luke and Vivian race against treasonous forces to save a life, to save England, and if they’re lucky enough, they just might save each other and find love along the way.
Erica is giving us a peek at the story…
Miss Vivian Burke lived in such a remote corner of England when someone passed by on the road, one stopped and took notice.
It wasn’t that Kenswick Abbey was terribly far from anything, merely a long day’s drive to Bath. Wales was literally a stone’s throw away.
Their little hamlet was often forgotten by just about everyone. The Abbey sat perfectly between two smaller-sized villages, and both towns’ folk were too polite to claim the Abbey as their own nor did they want the responsibility. The main road was set so far from the main house that there was hardly any horse traffic or noisy carriages. You could hear clearly if someone approached, and when such a thing occurred, the person was usually lost. No one came to Kenswick Abbey on purpose, at least, not in a very long time.
The thumping of hoofs alerted them to a visitor, and Vivian paused in planting the vegetable seedling she held in her hand. She sat back on her heels and watched as the rider appeared in view across the meadow.
“Rider,” her mother called, pausing in her planting to watch. She wiped the perspiration from her brow, a streak of dirt left in the wake of her dirty glove.
Vivian glanced at her mother and grinned at the sight. Margaret Burke, Baroness Kenswick, was Vivian’s favorite person in the world.
The two watched as the rider rode at breakneck speed from one end of the valley to the other before he disappeared behind a crop of trees.
“He’s likely gone to the Abbey.”
Vivian nodded, brushing the dirt from her hands. No one took that road if they were familiar with the area, which also meant—
There was a yelp from beyond the trees; the disturbance sent a flock of blackbirds sweeping up into the bright blue sky.
Her mother nodded towards the tree line. “Best go and see to him.”
Vivian blanched. “What if the rider is injured, what use would I be?”
“He is likely fine,” her mother replied, looking back to her work in the soil. “It’s not enough mud to kill someone.”
“And yet just enough to inconvenience me,” Vivian grumbled, but she was already trying to brush more dirt from her hands and skirts, an attempt to be presentable. “And what am I to do with him?”
Her mother gave a wave of her hand in the direction of the drive that lead down the hill. “Go and sort him out. Unless it’s the earl, they’ve really no business here.”
Vivian’s brow furrowed at the trees and displeasure settled over her. “I highly doubt that today, of all days, the earl would decide to grace us with his presence.”
Any mention of that earl bothered her, for reasons Vivian didn’t understand. Their new landlord, the Earl of Kenswick, had been expected for months now. He apparently had no interest in visiting their hamlet in the country, not that they had much to offer. He was someone else who’d forgotten them; pretended they did not exist.
“You never know.” Mother shrugged, not looking up from where her hands were buried in the soil.
Vivian’s brows pinched together in a deep frown. “The Season is starting soon. He’ll likely need to be in London for ton events. He has no time to worry over us.”
As much as Vivian tried to hide it, her mother heard the worry in her statement, and they shared a heavy glance. They hoped the earl had no reason to come and evict them out of their home. Best they remain forgotten for a little longer.
But how much longer? How much longer could they survive on their own?
“Go and deal with the rider,” Mother said to her again, looking back at the dirt she had dug her fingers into. With any luck, come summer their efforts would yield them results in the means of food. Vegetables meant something in which they could trade. Trade meant they could survive a bit longer.
Tears pricked at the corners of Vivian’s eyes, watching the person who meant the world to her. Her sweet and elegant mother, the lady of the manor, resolved to plant her own vegetables lest they starve. She’d once hosted grand balls, attended the royal court and seen the best life had to offer. Her lovely face was now marred with the scars of what began their downfall. Now, their last few vestiges of civility were frayed, their meals scarce and their hearths cold. Even their home was a pile of ashes. Her father would have been disappointed in how Vivian had managed without him.
Vivian couldn’t even properly care for her mother, who did everything selflessly for others. All Vivian had to do was marry better than their circumstances, which could have been anyone at this point, but she couldn’t even accomplish that. She’d had a disastrous Season in London which ended in a failed attempt to find a husband and better their circumstances. It seemed no one was interested in the impoverished daughter of a dead baron, with nothing to offer a husband except her pedigree.
And now, because of Vivian’s failures, their life was in ruins- their livelihood at the mercy of an absentee landlord, his title practically stolen from her own father.
Vivian straightened her spine. That was a problem for tomorrow.
It was an unseasonably bright spring day, over a week into April. The weather wasn’t terribly warm just yet, but the bite of sunlight against her skin held the promise of a warm and fruitful summer. A glimmer of hope.
It took her all of ten minutes to reach the bottom of the drive, where the juncture of the two roads met in an unfortunately large pitted part of the road. Some years earlier a torrential downpour had washed part of the hillside down to obscure part of the road and created an unfortunate gap in the road that had turned into somewhat of a large, muddy bog.
The scene at the intersection wasn’t surprising, but that didn’t make it any less amusing. The rider had misjudged the breadth of the pond and the horse had corrected, leaving the beige bay picking at the grass along the edge of the lane, and the rider bum-deep in thick, muddy muck.
By the look and sound of it, the rider was not pleased with his current predicament and was making a good show at cursing many different people to illustrate his displeasure.
Vivian watched him for a long moment as he attempted to clear himself from the mud, but he was simply making it worse for himself. His clothing, though caked with mud, was a far higher quality than anyone in the nearest town would wear, though even the local gentry wouldn’t have ventured out to the Abbey. His dark hair had a lovely curl, and parts of it had clumps of muck soaked through. There was mud on his face, his arms, his legs— really the only part of him remotely free from black sticky mire was his chest swathed in a bright green velvety jacket.
He managed to stand, though not steadily, and shook the mud from his hands. He was taller than Vivian had expected, and younger. His frame was long and lanky, but beneath the muck, there wasn’t much else she could tell about him.
“I say, are you a fairy?”
Vivian jumped, too engrossed in her perusal of his form to have noticed he was peering at her peculiarly. She hadn’t seen him notice her arrival.
“I’ve just had the most interesting fall, and I can’t be certain I can trust my senses just yet,” he continued, rambling in his deep tenor, laced with humor. He had the type of voice that sounded as if he laughed a lot, and often. He swiped his muddied hand through his dark hair, adding more sludge to his curled locks. With a glance at his hand, and then to his hair, his brow furrowed, as if surprised he had done something so foolish.
His eyes snapped to her again and his brows rose. “So, you are a fairy?”
“That’s a strange question. Did you injure your head in your fall?”
“I don’t think so. I’m in no more pain than simple embarrassment.”
“Then why would you think I was a fairy?”
He glanced about. “This is Wales. They’ve fairies in Wales, you know.”
Vivian wondered if this man’s brain was addled. “That’s ridiculous. And this isn’t Wales. You are still in England.”
“Are you certain? When I looked at the map, it looked awfully close to Wales.”
“I am certain what country I reside in.”
“Fairies can travel. They’ve wings, you know. Have you wings, fairy girl?”
Vivian wasn’t sure how this ridiculous conversation had even begun. “I am no more a fairy than you are, sir.”
“You can’t know that,” he said, and tried shifting his weight.
“Don’t!” Vivian warned him, but he began to sink further into the mud. “You mustn’t shift the weight, or you’ll displace the mud.”
“Then how am I to get out of this madness?” he asked, wiggling about further as he sank deeper.
“You must keep calm. Move one leg—slowly! — until it’s completely free, then do the other.”
The rider, nearly sunk down to his hips, shook his head. “I don’t believe I can pull it free.” He glanced up at her, and a flicker of panic danced across his face.
“Then lie back,” she advised. “Like you’re swimming across the top of the lake. Make yourself float on top of the mud.”
He looked pained for a moment before muttering another curse. With a mouth like that, Vivian doubted he was any sort of gentlemen.
“The lot of it is ruined, I suppose,” he said to himself and did as she suggested, leaning back into the mud.
“There you go. Push with your feet if you can, and walk yourself back to where the mud meets the dry dirt. Once you are there, roll onto your stomach and pull yourself out.”
“This is highly unpleasant.”
Vivian watched, barely containing her laughter, as he slogged his way through the muddy bog on his back until he reached the bank where his horse had stopped to have a snack. He rolled onto the grass, covered in thick mud.
“I thank you for not laughing,” he said as he rose, looking from his legs to his hands.
“That would be rude of me to laugh when you are clearly indisposed.”
“Is it as bad as it feels?”
“It’s likely worse,” Vivian admitted, fighting the smile that threatened to tear across her face.
His lips quirked into an easy smile. “I suppose I am quite a sight. I thank you for your rescue, fairy-girl.”
“I am Miss Vivian Burke. And I didn’t rescue you.”
“You gave me the secret to leaving the bog,” he replied and swiped at the mud from his legs. Vivian took a few steps back from him as he came to stand beside her. It wasn’t the mud she was wary of, as she was covered in dirt from working in the garden. It was his height, and just his… presence. Even covered in mud, she was wary of him.
“You would have figured it out on your own. I merely came to point you in the right direction.”
His brows quirked above his peculiarly blue eyes. Upon closer inspection, they were such a bright shade of grey-blue they were almost lavender.
“How would you know which direction I need?”
“You are likely in search of Kenswick, or Kenswick Abbey. Both, I am sad to say, are gone.”
He glanced around. “And the Abbey would be?”
Vivian nodded in the direction opposite from which she’d come. “But no one lives there.”
“Is it empty then?”
“It’s inhabitable. Is that why you’ve come then? To assess the Abbey?”
“Ah, yes, though technically—”
“Come along then.” She turned towards the path she’d come down. With his mud-soaked threads and the fever he was bound to catch if he wasn’t dry soon, she’d best get him cleaned up before bringing him to the Abbey.
“You can wash the mud from your person and your clothing at the caretaker’s house. Then I will show you the Abbey, and you can see for yourself it is nothing but a relic.”
He gathered the reins of his horse before he fell into step beside her. “Are you familiar with Kenswick Abbey?”
“I was born there. My father was Kenswick before he passed, some years ago.”
“My condolences,” he muttered, but didn’t glance towards her.
“My father was but a baron, but there is an Earl of Kenswick now. He hasn’t been here since he stole the title.”
“He stole the title?” His brows quirked again, his tone scandalized. “How does one do such a thing?”
“They say the Prince Regent gave it to him for gallantry, though that seems unlikely,” Vivian replied, her frustrations bobbing up. She’d never met the man, but she was certain she would not like the absentee earl who’d been given her father’s title. How could she when he’d ignored them for almost a year?
He seemed surprised. “You think him unlikely of gallantry?”
Vivian shrugged. “It pays to have friends in the right places, pays being the operative word.”
“You think he bought himself an earldom?”
“I’ve yet to gather any other reason someone could acquire such a lofty title nearly out of the blue.”
“Maybe it truly was a reward?”
Vivian laughed. “The only action that would warrant such a reward would be thwarting espionage, or treason, or uncovering some deadly plot against the king. Something like that would have been in the papers.”
“Oh yes, even here in Herefordshire we still receive the London papers.”
“Glad to know the stories from London-town can still have an impact this far from their reach.” His tone was almost sardonic.
“You’re from London, aren’t you?” she asked, eyeing him.
He shook his head. “I’m from Kent. I grew up in an apple orchard. But I’ve spent some time in London, among other places.”
“And now you assess properties?”
“If the earl means to sell the Abbey, he won’t get much for it,” Vivian stated, hoping to sway his impending assessment. If she could convince him the Abbey wasn’t worth anything, perhaps the earl would have no reason to sell it. “As I said, it’s in ruins.”
He glanced at her quickly. “What would you suggest be done with it?”
“Leave it alone.” Leave us alone.
“And if that is not an option?”
Emotion the weight of a rock slammed into her stomach. The Abbey was as much a part of her as it had been her father, her brothers. Her family. Her people. The Abbey was who she was. If the earl ripped that way from her…
“If the repairs are done, then it could be let out. Or used as a summer home. We have lovely warm summers here in our corner of the country. And a lovely valley that blankets with flowers in the late spring.”
They’d reached the top of the hill, and the caretaker’s cottage came into view. Her mother rose from working in the ground as they approached.
“This is my mother, Margaret Burke, Baroness Kenswick,” Vivian said to the gentleman, realizing she hadn’t asked his name. “And I apologize, but I never inquired your name?”
“It is a pleasure to meet you both. I am Luke Macalister.”
Vivian’s brows pinched together as the surname resonated with her. “I’ve met a Lady Norah Macalester in London.” She had a fleeting memory of meeting Norah during her one disastrous Season in London. A black hole in her memory she did not want to think about.
“Ah, you’ve met my sister then,” he said with a bright smile. “Challenging sprite that one.”
Lady Norah Macalister was the sister of the Duke of Bradstone and would have Lord Luke Macalister as a brother.
“So, you are Lord Luke then,” Vivian corrected.
“Vivian!” her mother scolded, but Vivian ignored her.
“Ah, actually, no,” he replied.
“I apologize for her impertinence, my lord,” Mother said, dipping into a curtsy. “And for our state. We’d not expected you today.”
“Yes, sorry it’s taken me so long,” Luke said.
Vivian’s brow furrowed. “I don’t understand.”
“I was, in fact, Lord Luke Macalister,” he said. “And now I am the new Earl of Kenswick.”
EXCERPT, END CHAPTER TWO
The interior of Kenswick Abbey brought tears to her eyes. The hallowed stone halls, holding priceless antiques and artifacts, bits of England’s history, were darkened and lined with soot. Broken things littered the floor with dirt and leaves. They had not lived in the Abbey since the day after the fire, only returning for things they needed. The broken vases and artwork were useless now.
He came to stop finally in a drawing room. Aside from the gaping hole in the side of the wall, the room was practically untouched. Sunlight filled the room, illuminating the existing yellow and rose coloring. The paper on the wall had yellowed and peeled, the burned chair frames were dirtied and covered with leaves, damp still from the winter’s snowfall.
“When did this happen?”
Vivian wanted to lie and tell him it was recent. That his negligence had led to this disaster, and their discomfort after. He appeared to fear she would say something along those lines, judging by the pained way he glanced about the room.
Vivian sighed. She couldn’t lie to him about this.
“Two and a half years ago,” she replied. “Before you inherited.”
“I didn’t inherit your father’s title.”
“Same difference,” she said with a wave of her hand.
“When did your father die?”
Vivian paused, the pain of the truth squeezing her heart.
“He died that night, didn’t he?” Kenswick asked carefully.
Vivian nodded. Images from that night swam back to her, her throat tightening at the memory of the smoke filling her lungs, her inability to breathe or move to save her own life.
“I take it the Abbey is important to you?”
Vivian nodded again, unable to make her voice work properly.
He turned, his eyes roaming over the rubble of the room. After a long moment, he stepped towards a window, the glass missing, sunlight boring happily down to his handsome face.
“You mentioned an uncle and an aunt,” he stated not turning towards her. “Are they able to offer you assistance?”
“I mean no offense, but your conditions here are less than ideal.”
Vivian bit back a smart remark. “My aunt is a tiresome woman who is tolerable only in short doses. My uncle, while doting, has a young family of his own. My mother and I get along just fine without any assistance. We do not require their charity. Nor yours.”
“I believe I have a solution to both our problems, then,” he said with a decisive nod, deciding something silently to himself.
Vivian’s throat tightened again, fearful of what he might do. “I wasn’t aware we both had problems needing to be solved.”
“Oh, indeed we do,” he replied, turning towards her. “You and this house are something of a conundrum. I dare not tear it down, for I feel destruction would cause more harm than good. Should I sell it, the new owner might do just that.”
“It needs repairs,” Vivian ventured to say, forcing the words to be spoken. “It deserves the chance to stand for another century or more.”
“I do not disagree.”
“Then what is this plan of yours that will solve my problem?”
A broad grin broke across Kenswick’s face, and Vivian sucked in a breath. She ached to return his smile with one of her own, but she would not be done in by his pretty face, and his pretty words. Not when he held her future in his hands.
“I think you should marry me.”
Love the tension! ♥♥♥ I can’t wait to find out what happens next. 😀
Universal Reader link: https://books2read.com/u/4j2gX2
Add it to Goodreads or BookBub: https://tinyurl.com/sjksfp7
What are people saying about The Letter Left?
“Fun, witty, and romantic. Taylor once again manages to grab my attention right from the start and capture my heart with such amazing characters. She brings in just the perfect mix of raw emotion, physical attraction, and intriguing situations. This is a series I highly recommend and hope everybody gives it a read.” – DT Books, Amazon
“Not Your Typical Regency, But in a Good Way! This was definitely different from the Regency I was expecting! But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I like it when writers surprise me. The cover looks like one that would be on any Regency, though perhaps they look a little more smiley and happy than is typical. But what we have inside is a Regency suspense, almost a thriller at times. It starts off as almost any other Regency, although perhaps a little more humorously as the newly minted earl is thrown from his horse into a bog and perhaps would have stayed mired there for some time without the heroine’s instruction for how to best emerge from the muck without sinking deeper. As often happens in these books, they feel a physical attraction nearly right away, but she cannot like him because of who he is and what he represents. She and her baroness mother have fallen on very hard times after the death of her father and her brothers as well as the fire that nearly destroyed their home. The earl proposes that they have a marriage of convenience to help them both out of tricky spots. They would only need to act as man and wife for 6 months, and he would give her an income and her family home free and clear. Even though she doesn’t like him, she decides to do so for her mother’s sake.
Things rapidly change on multiple fronts, the romance as well as the intrigue and danger. I liked the hero. He is definitely a good man who has been feeling at sixes and sevens because he is not ready to be retired from his career in espionage. Despite his job, he has retained a sense of humor well, giving the appearance of being far more shallow than he truly is. A very unusual Regency romance because of the level of suspense and intrigue, but a very well done one at that.” – Jamie BJ, Amazon
“From the very first page, I was enthralled and it only got better! To say the hero made an unexpected entrance is putting it mildly! Wow.. The author has an amazing gift for descriptions and making the characters and surroundings come alive. I truly could not stop one I started and it was a whirlwind with such a great storyline! Danger, intrigue, a very strong heroine and a humorous swoon-worthy hero who just needed to find his place outside of being an agent. A nonstop adventure that will leave you only wanting more from this author!” – Lori Dykes, Amazon
Looks fantastic! 😉
Wow, love the book covers for this series!
About Erica Taylor
Erica Taylor is a mother of two and a military wife married to her high school sweetheart. Raised in the mountains of Colorado, she holds a BA in History from the University of Colorado. Erica has been writing stories since she can remember, picked up her first romance novel while on a beach vacation as a teenager, and fell in love with falling in love, with sexy heroes and the feisty women who challenge their lives.
Erica loves anything Harry Potter, Doctor Who, or Star Wars, can spend hours in Home Goods with a Starbucks and truly believes a cat makes a home. Erica can often be found writing during baseball practice or piano lessons and is not afraid to let dinner burn if it means getting the story out of her head.
Erica is a member of Romance Writers of America and Hearts of Carolina Romance Writers.
And, if you want to know how to connect with the fascinating Erica Taylor, here are some author links…
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Erica-Taylor/e/B06XFK97CB/
Newsletter Sign-up: http://shoutout.wix.com/so/d0MoqWdsA#/main
Once again, I want to thank Erica Taylor, the brilliant author of this historical romance/spy thriller novel, for stopping by! It was a pleasure to have you here! Readers, check out her work! ♥