Friday Feature: Guest Author Christy English
She’s the Hellion of Hyde Park…
A foolproof plan to avoid marriage:
1. Always carry at least three blades.
2. Ride circles around any man.
3. Never get caught in a handsome duke’s arms.
Wild Highlander Mary Elizabeth Waters is living on borrowed time. She’s managed to dodge the marriage banns up to now, but even Englishmen can only be put off for so long…and there’s one in particular who has her in his sights.
Harold Percy, Duke of Northumberland, is enchanted by the beautiful hellion who outrides every man on his estate and dances Scottish reels while the ton looks on in horror. The more he sees Mary, the more he knows he has to have her, tradition and good sense be damned. But what’s a powerful man to do when the Highland spitfire of his dreams has no desire to be tamed…
1) What made you sit down to write your first book?
The character showed up and would not let me go. I found I absolutely had to spend every waking moment with her, writing down her story. Now that novella never saw the light of day, but it was a wonderful experience for me to fully immerse myself in my work for the first time. It was an amazingly beautiful experience.
2) What do you love about the holidays?
I love the decorations, the food and getting together with family. I always feel my blessings and my good fortune when Christmas is here.
3) Do you have a favorite type of storyline? Please tell us about it and why it appeals to you so much.
I adore romances in which the couple discovers things about themselves as they fall in love. That sense of adventure, that sense of discovery, is part of what makes real life dynamic and exciting, and I think it does the same thing on the page. I love to watch my characters fall in love, not just with their lovers, but with their own lives.
Mary Elizabeth thought to find her mother’s tiresome friend among those who greeted them. Instead her gaze fell on a boy from the stables, a boy with ice-blue eyes and large, competent hands.
He was not a boy, of course, though for some reason the English called their stable hands boys long into their dotage. This fair-haired stable boy was tall—taller than all her brothers save for Ian—and his shoulders were wide, as if he might carry the burden of the world on them and not notice the weight.
Atlas did not shrug as he greeted her. Indeed, he did not greet her at all. Nor did he start to unhitch the horses from their traces. Instead, he simply stared at her, as she stared at him.
“Hello,” she said at last, remembering that he was English and, as such, had no manners to speak of.
“Hello.” He answered her in the posh tones of the English gentry, and she wondered why the duchess would allow such a man to work with her horses. The English were usually mad about class distinction and would not even allow their stable hands to read, if the boys were ever so inclined. But this stable hand seemed not to care a fig for any of his so-called betters, including her, and that made her smile.
“Here,” she said, handing him her favorite bag in all the world.
He accepted the soft leather satchel that held her tartan and fishing lures, as well as her throwing knives. Her best-used knives were on her person, but these were the pearl-handled knives her father had given her before she was sent away. The bag held all that was dear to her in the world, save her home and family.
“If it’s not too much trouble,” she said, “would you see to it that this bag goes into whatever room I’m bound for? If I know the duchess—and I do know her, as I know my own mother—I’ll be shuttled off to tea without time to turn around twice. She’ll want to chat about London and look me over as she might a bit of good horseflesh, and there’ll be no time for me to put this bag away.”
Atlas’s blue eyes lit up, as if he somehow understood her trust in him and honored her for it. He bowed almost like a gentleman and would have spoken had Mrs. Prudence, Mary Elizabeth’s companion and almost-governess, not intervened.
“Now, Mary, this fine man must see to the horses.” Mrs. Prudence plucked the leather satchel from Atlas’s hands and passed it to a waiting footman, who kept a poker face like any true Englishman and did not even blink.
“But why?” Mary Elizabeth asked. She could feel herself digging in, even though she knew she was wasting valuable breath. The English had their system, and they would not change it for the likes of her. “Why should the groom not handle my favorite bag? I like the look of him. Isn’t that reason enough?”
“No,” Mrs. Prudence answered. “This is the duchess’s household, and we must respect her wishes.”
Mary Elizabeth met the eyes of Atlas, feeling her embarrassment rise from the ground as if to strangle her. She wished for the hundredth time that day that her family would mind their own affairs and leave her in peace. She felt humiliation threaten, but then she saw the gleam of humor in Atlas’s eyes and knew, the way she understood the minds of horses and kittens, that he was not laughing at her.
Connect with Christy English and Her Books
Would you like to get in the drawing* for a free ebook of Christy English’s How to Train Your Highlander?
Answer this question in the comment section below:
In the “Quick Questions” segment, Christy shared, “I love to watch my characters fall in love, not just with their lovers, but with their own lives.”
Now you share, what is one thing you love about your life?
*random drawing for an ebook copy of How to Train Your Highlander at noon ET 12/5/16.