Saturday, June 09, 2012

The Duke's Reform

Available from Amazon Kindle
 Yesterday I published a brand new Regency on Amazon Kindle. This is an exciting experience for me.  Being able to release an unpublished book so easily is amazing. Of course there are expenses - but publication is free.
 I actually receive a higher percentage in royalties from my two publishers but believe I will sell more copies of The Duke's Reform with the price kept low. Editors etc. at the digital first houses are paid on sales - they haven't made a fortune from me. I know of one author, with the same house as me, who has sold only 20 copies of her book since last November. (I've already sold twice that of The Duke's Reform in 24 hours.) How is anyone going to make money from that? I think Kindle is going to become the place both established and new authors look at first.
Here is an extract - hope you enjoy it enough to buy the book. 

Chapter One

Grosvenor Square
Alex glared at his lawyer. How dare he have the temerity to interfere with his life? 'Dewberry, you forget yourself. When I take a wife is entirely my concern, kindly don't forget that.'
      'Forgive me, your grace, but I owe it to your father to speak plainly. Your dissolute lifestyle these past five years is a matter of grave concern. If you are determined to destroy your health in this way then could I ask you to find yourself a suitable wife and set up your nursery before matters overtake you?'
      'I have no wish to marry again, I have nothing to offer apart from my title and wealth. I cannot expect a young woman to accept me as I am.' Dewberry's look of astonishment almost made him laugh. 'The sort of woman who would be satisfied with just that is not someone I would wish to bear my children.'
      'There are dozens of eligible young ladies in the marriage mart this year who would think themselves fortunate to be selected by yourself. You are a handsome man, if you will forgive me for saying so, your grace, and in your prime.'      
'On the outside perhaps, but I no longer have it in me to be a caring partner. It would be a marriage of convenience; my wife would have to understand it will be a business arrangement. She to provide me with children and I, in return, to keep her in luxury for the rest of her life.'
He yawned, it had been a late night and he had not yet been to bed. The black crow was staring at him expectantly, he'd get no peace until he agreed.
      'I shall do as you suggest.'
      The elderly lawyer beamed. 'I should be happy to arrange for you to meet suitable young ladies, there are several debutantes who would be ideal.'
God's teeth! 'I shall do my own selecting, Dewberry.' He raised one eyebrow. 'I do not expect my search to become common gossip.'
      The man coloured. 'Of course not, your grace. Anything that is said in my chambers remains confidential. However, your appearance at Almacks …'
'Almacks? I'd rather have my teeth pulled them go there. I shall attend a few functions and see for myself what is on offer.'
      He strode from the office determined to get away from Town. Whatever Dewberry said matchmaking mamas would soon be on the lookout. He didn't want to go to Newcomb, he would go to Norfolk and do some shooting. Keep his head down until he was obliged to appear in public when the Season started in March. He'd find a few cronies to accompany him, there were always fellows willing to follow his lead as long as he picked up the bill.
Lady Isobel Drummond stormed out of the library. To be ignored by her parents unless they
required her assistance with her many younger siblings was one thing, to be told it was her duty to marry a wealthy man in order to save the family from ruin, was quite another.
      Gathering her dogs from the kitchens she snatched up her cloak and pushed her feet into the wooden clogs she used for gardening. She had to get out, get away from the house, give herself time to recover her composure. She paused, she would dearly love to run upstairs and change into her habit. A wild gallop across the Fens was exactly what she needed, but that would mean risking meeting her weeping mother and furious father. No, far better to walk.
      Othello and Ebony barked and raced around her in circles, as eager as she to be away from Drummond Hall. It was a blustery November day, a hint of snow on the wind whipped from the sea. Thank God she did not have to make a decision about going to London to join her aunt and uncle for the season until after Christmas.
      Deep in contemplation she failed to hear the rattle of a carriage approaching at speed. Ebony barked sharply and she looked round. Instinct made her throw herself prone, her bladder almost emptied as a team of horses, followed by the wheels of the carriage, thundered above her. For a moment she was unable to move, shock rendering her almost insensible. Then righteous indignation flooded through her and she pushed herself onto her knees. She came face-to-face with a veritable giant, and not a particularly friendly one at that.
      'God's teeth, woman, what the hell do you think you're doing wandering down the middle of highway? I could have killed you.'
      Spitting mud in his direction she glared back into his furious face. 'Are you insane, sir? This is not a toll road but a country lane. What would you have done if there had been a flock of sheep across your path?'
      In answer he reached out and hauled her to her feet, then dropping to his knees, with firm hands brushed off the worst of the debris from her person. At every touch she flinched, unused to any gentleman taking such liberties. For some reason her anger dissipated to be replaced by a strange internal heat that followed the path of his fingers. She found herself gazing down at his dark hair which curled intriguingly over the collar of his many caped coat.
      Enough was enough. 'Desist at once, sir, I have no wish to be manhandled by you. I am quite capable of removing the dirt for myself. You had best look to your team, your carriage is in imminent danger of tipping into the ditch.'
His head shot up; his eyes were a peculiar shade halfway between blue and black, his nose patrician and his lips mobile. Warmth spread across her breasts and into her face. She could not tear her glance away; she was pinned like a butterfly on a board by the glitter in his eyes. Then it was gone and he was towering above her.
      'Dammit! Out of the way, madam, haven't you done enough damage already this morning?'
      The spirited team stamped and tossed their heads in impatience and the rear wheel of the vehicle began to slide inexorably backwards. Without thinking, she raced to the lead horse and snatched the bit. The gentleman shouted from behind the carriage.
      'Good girl, move them forwards as rapidly as you can.'
Ignoring his instructions, she was well able to handle his horses without his highhanded
intervention, she urged the chestnut sideways, following her instincts. Going this way would move the wheel away from danger far more efficiently. The team threw their weight into the traces and the carriage shot forward removing the wheel from danger. Unfortunately the irascible gentleman fell headlong into the ditch instead.
      The air was blue, she thought it wise to absent herself as hastily as possible. Quickly checking the brake was on and the reins securely tied around the pole, she prepared to creep away. Although it wasn't her fault he'd fallen, no doubt he would blame her for his foolhardiness as he had done before.
      She prepared to make a run for it. Too late! A dripping figure emerged from behind the horses and strode towards her. She couldn't help herself; her scream echoed down the lane. Suddenly two black shapes hurtled past and for the second time the unfortunate gentleman was tipped backwards into the noxious water.
      Not waiting to see him emerge and seek revenge on the person who was responsible for dumping him twice into the ditch, she raced full pelt down the lane. She scrambled over a five barred gate and tore across the meadow scattering cows in all directions in her head long flight. Her dogs were beside her, tongues lolling out, obviously delighted with the game.
Alexander shook his head, sending foul water in all directions. He scraped the muck from his eyes and watched his quarry vanish down the lane. Who the devil was she? Dressed like a servant but quite obviously gently born. She was a conundrum. He stepped out of the ditch and propped himself against the carriage wheel in order to remove his boots and tip out the water.  It was fortunate they no longer fitted him as snugly as they'd used to.
      He tossed his sodden cape on to the box and stared gloomily at his ruined topcoat. The blue superfine jacket had cost him a pretty penny and it, like the rest of his garments, was quite beyond salvage. The young woman was right to castigate him, he had been driving far too fast. He shrugged, he seldom drove any other way, caring little if he came to grief. However, he had no wish to take anyone else with him if he went, and certainly not the lovely young termagant he'd just encountered.
      He checked his horses were none the worse their experience and then leaped into his carriage and recovered the reins. His breeches were so wet he slid from side to side as the curricle gathered speed. He had no option, unless he wished to nosedive over the edge he must return to his hunting box at a walk.
      His mouth curved as he recalled the shapely young woman with abundant russet curls and sparkling green eyes. His groin tightened as he relived the delightful few moments when he'd been removing the debris from her person. Perhaps that old fool Dewberry was right; now was the time to put his house in order and find himself another wife.
      For the first time in many years his pulse quickened. He would discover who the young woman was - perhaps she would do? He frowned. What was he thinking of? The last person he required as his wife was a spirited girl who would make demands on him that he would be unable to fulfil. He had his mistress to take care of his bodily needs. What he wanted was a meek submissive girl, of impeccable pedigree, who would be prepared to remain in the country and provide him with the necessary heir. 

best wishes


Christina Courtenay said...

Sounds great, Fenella! Look forward to hearing how this new venture goes.

Fenella J Miller said...

Christina - I haven't been so excited about a project for years. The books' doing so well -but then it is free today and tomorrow.