Sunday, 14 October 2012

Lord Roworth's Reward

 Adventure, romance, danger, war, murder, high finance, and a leavening of humour--
Now out, my Rothschild trilogy will be reprinted in the UK.
Also available as e-book for Nook, Kindle and others.

Lord Roworth's Reward is the second book of the Rothschild Trilogy, after Miss Jacobson's Journey and followed by Captain Ingram's Inheritance.

1815: Felix Roworth accepts a job from the Rothschilds, to follow Society to Brussels and send immediate word to London of the outcome of the inevitable battle between Bonaparte, escaped from Elba, and the Duke of Wellington. The son of a bankrupt peer, Felix shares lodgings in Brussels with a penniless artillery officer and his pretty sister, Frank and Fanny Ingram, as the French approach and citizens and visitors panic. When Frank is badly wounded in the Battle of Waterloo, Felix helps Fanny get him to safety. But he needs a well-born, wealthy match, for his family's sake. It's his duty to forget the attraction he feels for Fanny.

Chapter 1

The parlour door-latch clicked. Felix glanced up, on the verge of embarrassment at being discovered on his hands and knees on the worn brown drugget carpet, but of course it was only Fanny.
His little rider slid off his back and ran to her, black ringlets flying. "Tía, have you buyed me a great big sugar plum?"
"Bought," Fanny corrected automatically, setting down her basket on the table. As Felix sprang to his feet and dusted the knees of his buckskin breeches, he saw that she was hot and tired, her brown curls limp under the jaunty straw hat with its single sagging plume. Though it was still May, Brussels sweltered under a cloudless sky.
"Did you bought me one?" Anita repeated obediently.
Fanny's round face dimpled in a smile at Felix. "Yes," she assured the child, "you shall have a sugar plum but you must eat your bread and milk first. Did you thank Tío Felix for giving you a ride?"
"Not yet." Spreading her skirts with two tiny hands, Anita wobbled a curtsy, the tip of her tongue protruding from the corner of her mouth in her concentration. "There," she said with a beam of triumph. "Thank you, Tío Felix, my lord. You are a good horse."
Laughing, Felix swept her up in his arms and kissed her soft cheek. "And you are a good rider."
"She should be. She started on a Spanish mule before she was two." Fanny took off her hat, crossed to the tarnished looking-glass over the mantel, and did her best with deft fingers to set her curls in order. "Thank you for taking care of her, my lord," she said over one slim shoulder. "The marketing took longer than I expected, I'm afraid. There are more and more soldiers in the streets every day, which I daresay we should be glad of."
"Certainly, since sooner or later it is bound to come to a battle. According to all reports, Boney is still drawing troops to his Eagles."
"But half of ours are raw recruits, or Belgian farm lads of doubtful allegiance. Many of them are mere boys, and of the Brunswickers, too, however impressive they look in their black with those horrid skulls and crossbones on their shakos! Still, today you will see the flower of the British Army. I trust I have not made you late for your appointment with Lady Sophia--or is it Madame Lisle you are taking to the Review?" she added with a quizzing look.
"Lady Sophia," Felix answered curtly. Miss Fanny Ingram should not even be aware of his Belgian chère-amie, let alone mention her. But then, one could not expect the delicacy of a well-bred, sheltered young lady, the exquisite sensibilities of a Lady Sophia, in a female who had followed the drum from birth.
Now what had she said to make him poker up? Fanny wondered. Lord Roworth usually took her teasing in good part. Of course: she ought not to have mentioned his mistress. Mama would have been equally shocked at her daughter's frankness, but Mama was buried somewhere in the Spanish mountains south of Coruña. After six years, it was difficult to remember all her lessons.
Still, if Fanny should not have spoken so, Lord Roworth ought not to have set up a mistress when he was assiduously courting a noble beauty. Frank had told her about Katrina Lisle, and they had shaken their heads together over the peculiar ways of the nobility.
Felix Roworth was handsome enough to keep any number of females happy, with his dark-gold locks, ruffled now by Anita's clasp, his brilliant blue eyes, his tall, broad-shouldered form. But Fanny had no intention of being numbered among those languishing females. Nor had she any intention of letting his disapproval abash her.
"Then you had best be on your way, sir," she said tranquilly.
He grinned, his momentary stiffness vanished. "Lady Sophia does not care for tardiness in her suitors, true, but I'm not late. Wellington is not to arrive until two, I understand."
"Well, you should know, intimate with Old Hookey as you are. Poor Frank and Captain Mercer have been out there with their guns since early this morning. They have to see that the men polish the barrels, as well as their buttons, buckles and boots. Though the Duke never has a good word for the Artillery, Colonel Frazer insists that today they shine as brightly as the rest of the Cavalry."
"Shall you go?"
"Not I. Twenty miles, in this heat, to see our fellows dressed up in their fancy coats?" She spoke lightly, with scorn, to hide her wistful desire to see the Review. Her brother's Horse Artillery battery was seldom on parade.
Though usually less than perceptive, Lord Roworth saw through her pretense of indifference. "I wish I might offer to take you, but Lady Sophia is expecting my escort and I've borrowed a curricle which will only hold two, with her groom up behind."
Even if he had a spacious barouche, Lady Sophia would hardly appreciate the presence of a dowdy stranger and a small child on her excursion, Fanny thought sardonically. Just as well it was impossible, but it was a kind notion, typical of his good nature. Whatever his faults, he was a dear.
"Never mind," she said, turning to practical matters, "I really must finish Anita's new dress. She grows shockingly fast."
"My new dress is blue and it has scarlet ribbons," Anita announced with pride. "That's the same colours like Tío Frank's best coat."
"As Tío Frank's coat. Come, Anita, we must take the basket to Henriette in the kitchen."
"I'll carry it," Felix offered, picking it up. "It's heavy! What a deuced nuisance that Henriette will not go to market."
"She is far too busy, not to mention too fat. Madame Vilvoorde used to go herself, I collect, but now she is a landlady and above such things."
"Landlady! She lets out a few shabby rooms at an exorbitant rent!" he snorted. "You ought not to have to shop for provisions."
"I don't mind. Believe me, it is easy compared to foraging in the Peninsula!"


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See an excerpt of the first in the trilogy here:

 Amazon UK
Kindle ebook
Nook ebook
Also available in other e-formats


Lindsay Townsend said...

Congratulations, Carola, on your latest release! I've tweeted this blog post.

Carola Dunn said...

Thank you, Lindsay. I'm really thrilled that they're being released in the UK and hope the publisher will go on to do more of my Regencies, long out of print though available as ebooks. Still lots of readers who prefer paper!