Sunday, April 17, 2011

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SPRING IS BUSTIN' OUT ALL OVER: MAGGI ANDERSEN


Blurb: Viola has broken all the rules of conduct. Members of the Ton, including the Prince of Wales, circle like wolves. If she is to become a mistress, will it be to the man she loves, the Duke of Vale, after he marries another?
Here is an excerpt from Rules of Conduct, a Regency novel coming to print in April/May.
Chapter One
Oxfordshire 1819
The 3rd Duke of Vale, Hugh Beauchamp, propped his
polished brown Hessians on the seat opposite, just as the
coach hit a deep rut in the road and lurched on its springs.
Cursing, he closed his eyes and tilted his hat down over his face. He made a very poor passenger. He much preferred to have his hands on the reins, in control of his destiny.
Hugh was returning to his countryseat in Oxfordshire from a season in London where he'd danced with Felicity twice at Almacks. As one would expect, this caused a flurry of
excitement among the dowagers. Hugh saw no harm in it. It was as inevitable as night follows day that he and Felicity would marry. Already an adept flirt, Felicity's playful, brown eyes had sparkled up at him from behind her fan. London Society was new to her and seeing how she relished the
scene, he suspected she would always prefer town-life to the country. She expressed a desire to have her favorite horses brought to Vale House after they were married. She planned
to ride every day in Regent Park. An agreeable life awaited them both, but somehow this trip left Hugh restless and dissatisfied.
At the urging of concerned friends, Hugh had attempted to smooth over his disagreement with the Prince of Wales. The meeting was a dismal failure, as neither he nor the Prince Regent would budge an inch. Prinny had turned his back on Hugh in the end.
We are a spoiled and arrogant pair, Hugh admitted to himself as he stormed out of the Prince’s apartments. Leaving St James’ Palace in The Mall, he instructed his coachman to depart London by the Oxford Road. If the rain held off they would reach home before nightfall.
Now, as he listened to the perfect rhythm of his horses as they raced towards Vale Park, he was determined to put the whole episode with the Prince behind him. Country life seemed far less complicated.
He gave up trying to sleep. Leaning out the window, he filled his lungs with fresh air. Leafy woods of oak, ash and beech swept by, giving way to fields of russet earth enclosed by thorn hedges, plowed and planted with spring crops. And London, with its depressing smells of decay, coal fires, and the rotten stink rising from the Thames at low tide, slipped from his thoughts.
The towering roofs and chimneys of High Ridge Manor appeared through the trees, the home of his boy-hood friend, Harry Carstairs. Years had passed since he and Harry rode fearlessly over those green fields, their horses clearing the fences like Pegasus in full flight. At the thought, Hugh felt like a boy again and quickly removed his feet from the seat as if Nanny was about to rebuke him. He grinned, admitting even now at seven and twenty, the devil seized him and made him jump a gate or two. He wondered if Harry still suffered from a similar impulse, although he doubted it. Harry was now a serious Member of Parliament and committed father of two.
A shout roused Hugh from his reverie as the coachman hauled the horses to a stop in the narrow laneway. His manservant, Peter, jumped down.
“What is it?” Hugh threw open the carriage door and leapt out, pistol in hand. He looked around. Surely, highwaymen wouldn’t attempt to rob him again. They’d come off the worse last time, with one man dead and the other wounded in his escape.
At dusk, it was shadowy and dim beneath the thick canopy of leaves. There were no highwaymen to be seen, but when Hugh moved forward, he saw a body lying on the road, perilously close to the plunging hooves of the horses.

Rules of Conduct is published by Awe-Struck Publishing. http://tiny.cc/g11o4
Maggi Andersen

http://www.maggiandersenauthor.com

2 comments:

Connie said...

I love your: Spring is busting out all over! I remember many years of waiting for the first bulb to come up or the first buttercup to show its beautiful head. That's when I too would break into song about spring! It's a time of year when we take a deep breath for having made it through the winter and feel so much excitement at the thought of warm weather and new leaves and flowers coming along. Ahhh...that's springtime!

Connie Fischer
conniecape@aol.com

Maggi Andersen said...

Hi Connie, there's a real buzz with spring isn't there. Thanks for the comment. Pop over to The Long And Short of It if you have a moment. The prizes on offer are great.