Everything Old is New Again

Yesterday, I shared a post about Esmeralda Ballantyne’s visit to my office last winter. She persuaded me to begin a project, which I’ll talk more about today.

About fifteen years ago, in 2006, I was looking for a new publisher for my historical romances. Then, as now, Regency romances sold better than medieval romances, so my agent suggested I come up with a Regency romance trilogy. I did. It was called The Ladies’ Academy and I really liked it. A mysterious lady named Olivia Mickelthorpe arrived in London and proceeded to secretly offer instruction to respectable ladies and wives in the amorous arts. She mingled in society disguised as an older woman called Mrs. Oliver, who was grumpy and outspoken (no filter there) and just too much fun. There was a dark and dangerous duke, Lucien deVries, determined to put an end to Olivia’s scandalous efforts. Their enemies-to-lovers romance arched over the trilogy, with the final book being their story.

There was one editor interested in the proposal and I did some revisions for her but we didn’t come to an agreement. In hindsight, I suspect this was because there was a paranormal element in the original version: Olivia found new clients via her younger sister’s psychic gifts. The sister dreamed of women in need of her older sister’s advice, which is admittedly a bit thin. Paranormal historical romances always perform less well than non-paranormal ones, so that might have been the proverbial kiss of death.

Still, I liked Olivia and Mrs. Oliver and kept all of my printed files of the various versions. (This is good because Word can’t open any of them anymore.)

Esmeralda Ballantyne dug out this old file when she took up residency in my office late last year. Broken-hearted after the marriage of Sebastian Montgomery in A Most Inconvenient Earl and in need of a new distraction, Esmeralda loved the notion of teaching respectable ladies what no one else would. I still liked elements of the story, too, so played around with it to create a new series which will launch this month. No surprise that there are no paranormal elements in this one!

The Ladies’ Essential Guide to the Art of Seduction is the new series and also the name of the book Esmeralda is writing in that series. (In The Ladies Academy, Olivia held classes in secret, which would be a much more complicated matter to arrange.) Like many books-in-progress, passages from Esmeralda’s growing volume are circulated among ladies in the know. There are excerpts from the book in each story in this new series. Just as in The Ladies’ Academy, Esmeralda disguises herself as Mrs. Oliver, and also, there is a dark and dangerous duke determined to put a stop to the whole thing. He is now Damien de Vries, Duke of Haynesdale, which links him to two of my medieval romance series. (Haynesdale is Bartholomew’s home estate in The Crusader’s Kiss, while The Wolf & the Witch is Maximilian de Vries’ book.) To eliminate the paranormal element, new clients or patrons are discovered by word-of-mouth, beginning with Eurydice, who did get a book from Esmeralda in A Most Inconvenient Earl.

The series begins with The Christmas Conquest, in which Eurydice tries to help an acquaintance, with Esmeralda’s assistance. I’m enjoying how surprised Rhys is by his formerly-innocent wife’s newfound knowledge, and also how enticing he finds the change. These books are proving to be a lot of fun to write. They’re also shorter, so I’ll be able to publish them more frequently. They will be in wide distribution, not KU.

The pre-order for The Christmas Conquest is available now.

The Christmas Conquest, a Regency romance novella by Claire Delacroix

Love was not part of the plan when this marriage was arranged…

Rhys Bettencourt, Baron Trevelaine, had every intention of avoiding his family’s curse. An arranged marriage to a plain bluestocking of fortune should have ensured her survival in childbirth and the provision of at least one heir. But practical Catherine undermined her betrothed’s scheme by unexpectedly capturing his heart. The sole way for Rhys to protect her is to deny them both physical satisfaction—until he learns of her plan to leave him and knows he has to act.

Two years into her arranged marriage, Catherine despairs of ever bearing a child. She flees to Rockmorton Manor for Christmas, only to find Rhys waiting for her, determined to convince her to stay with him. Does he want Catherine or her fortune? Confused and uncertain, Catherine discovers pages of sensual advice left in her chamber, which provide hope that her marriage might be saved.

Armed with information and with little to lose, Catherine embarks upon a campaign of seduction that Rhys finds himself powerless to resist—even as he fears for Catherine’s fate if he succumbs. Caught between love and the wretched curse, can Rhys find a way to keep his cherished wife safely by his side?

Coming July 26, 2022

Pre-Order for The Scot & the Sorceress

Book four of the Blood Brothers series of medieval Scottish romances is Murdoch and Nyssa’s story and the series finale. This is a story of redemption and healing – and the pre-order is up!

The Scot & the Sorceress, book two of the Blood Brothers trilogy of medieval Scottish romances by Claire Delacroix

The Scot & the Sorceress

Embittered by his losses and thwarted in his pursuit of vengeance, Murdoch is sworn to avenge his father. The sole means of striking a blow against his enemy, the Silver Wolf, is to seize that man’s beloved wife, Alys—but Murdoch cannot bring himself to injure a woman he has known all his life. When the wise woman of the woods offers herself in exchange for Alys’ freedom, Murdoch cannot resist temptation. The mysterious beauty lights a fire in his blood, a need for more than vengeance, and Murdoch finds himself enchanted. He never expects Nyssa, his apparent opposite, to burn with a similar desire for vengeance—but once she asks for his assistance, Murdoch swears gladly to do her will.

Nyssa is a healer and a wise woman, blessed with visions of the future to come. When her dreams fill with horrors for her kin in the distant north, she knows she must return to aid in their defense, no matter how long the odds against her. She strikes a bargain with Murdoch, a man with fearsome fighting skills, to aid in her quest, never guessing that her need to heal his hidden wounds will be so overwhelmingly powerful. Her visions warn that she has made an unholy alliance and that Murdoch’s anger will destroy her utterly—yet Nyssa cannot resist his fiery touch or the gift of watching him heal.

Bound together by passion and fury, Murdoch and Nyssa journey north, where they find her family snared in a battle that pits brother against brother. When Nyssa’s father surrenders her to his enemies for the sake of peace, Murdoch realizes that he must defend justice everywhere, beginning with the rescue of his beloved—no matter the cost to himself.

Series finale coming April 18, 2023

Pre-order available at some portals:

The Dragon & the Damsel Pre-order

The Dragon & the Damsel, book three of the Blood Brothers trilogy of medieval Scottish romances by Claire Delacroix

A mercenary convinced that each man must see to his own survival first, Rafael has learned to savor the moment and its pleasures. He is interested solely in conquest and coin, not any promise of the future—until an alluring maiden challenges him, defying him to stake a claim. Rafael cannot resist Ceara with her flame-red hair and keen wits, but their cat-and-mouse game takes a dangerous turn when Ceara is stolen by her kin. Rafael cannot stand aside when the damsel’s survival is at risk—though if she has stolen his shielded heart, she must never know of his weakness…

Ceara fled an arranged marriage, determined to wed for love or not at all. A horsewoman and huntress herself, she has encountered no man worthy of her affection—until she matches wits with Rafael, with his flashing eyes and seductive touch. She knows the handsome warrior seeks only one prize from her, but hopes to steal his heart. When she is captured and compelled to return to her betrothed, she is thrilled that Rafael lends chase. When he claims her as his own bride, Ceara dares to hope for more than a marriage of convenience.

But Rafael appears to be interested solely in conquest and passion, and their match becomes a battle of wills. Will Ceara be cast aside when her newfound spouse is offered the prize he desires above all else? Warrior and damsel, can these two wounded souls learn to surrender the truth of their hearts—before their union is shattered forever?

Coming September 20, 2022


Pre-order available at some portals:

The Hunter & the Heiress Coming Soon

The next book in my Blood Brothers series of medieval romances will be coming in January and the pre-order is up now. The copy is, as usual, a work in progress that will be finalized by the publication date but I expect to have a lot of fun with Amaury and Elizabeth’s book. No doubt they each have a surprise or two for me.


The Hunter & the Heiress, book two of the Blood Brothers series of medieval Scottish romances by Claire Delacroix

Nothing could be further from Amaury de Vries’ expectations than being compelled to join a company of mercenaries in the wilds of Scotland, much less one led by his notorious half-brother. He chafes to return to his former life of privilege and knows a wealthy bride will allow him to regain his stolen legacy. Elizabeth is a prize unexpected—beautiful and an heiress—and when she is abducted by barbarians, Amaury’s path is clear. He may not be the sole contender for the lady’s hand, but he knows himself to be the best one—and he will use whatever means necessary to seal his triumphant claim.

All Elizabeth D’Acron desires is to wed for love, but her inheritance has made her both a pawn and a prize. Caught between warring chieftains, her defiance blossoms—she chooses instead to flee with Amaury and make a marriage of convenience, hoping her trust in the gallant knight is not misplaced. She does not expect the beguiling fire awakened by Amaury’s touch, much less his unexpected conquest of her heart, and she dares to hope that true love has found a way.

But Elizabeth’s legacy is not so readily claimed—when Amaury’s plan is revealed, she is shattered to learn that her chivalrous husband is no different from other men. Recognizing that the true prize is his lady wife, Amaury rejoins the company of mercenaries and leads the battl to ensure Elizabeth’s freedom, whatever the cost to himself. Can these two lovers overcome the wounds of the past to build a future together? Or will the secret behind Elizabeth’s inheritance destroy any such hope forever?

Coming in January 2022!


Pre-order available at some portals:


The Hunter & the Heiress, book two of the Blood Brothers series of medieval romances by Claire Delacroix, audio edition

The Hunter & the Heiress will also be available in an audio edition, narrated by Tim Campbell.

First Knights Today!

First Knights, a digital bundle of four medieval romance series starters by Claire Delacroix

First Knights includes four medieval romance series starters from the Queen of Medieval Romance, Claire Delacroix. Be swept away to a realm of pageantry and chivalry, where each knight competes for his lady’s favor, each lady knows her heart’s desire—and love conquers all. Included in this digital bundle are four first-in-series medieval romances: One Knight Enchanted, The Princess, The Beauty Bride and The Crusader’s Bride.

In One Knight Enchanted—book #1 of the Rogues & Angels series—Annelise seeks refuge at a keep when she is separated from her party and pursued by hungry wolves. The price of admission is marriage to its mysterious lord, and she agrees—only to find herself in a luxurious palace, and seduced by her secretive spouse. Her new husband believes he is doomed, but Annelise knows that love can conquer all. Can she save her husband from the curse placed upon him, or will breaking her promise to him cost any chance to win his wary heart?

In The Princess—book #1 of the Bride Quest series—Brianna is obliged to choose one of three brothers as her husband. Instead, she challenges them, vowing to wed the one who brings her a gift that makes her laugh. She has no intention of laughing at all, but one brother, Luc, declines to follow her whim. Sparks fly between the willful princess and the disillusioned knight after his brothers depart, and from this battle of wills, an unexpected love dawns. When the other knights return, will Luc take up his sword again to defend the maiden who has claimed his heart, or will Brianna be compelled to wed another?

First Knights, a digital bundle of four medieval romance series starters by Claire Delacroix

In The Beauty Bride—book #1 of the Jewels of Kinfairlie series—Madeline flees her arranged marriage to the notorious outlaw Rhys FitzHenry, only to be pursued and seduced by her stubborn betrothed. Is she just a possession to this man who wants a son above all else, or can she capture his love for her own? Why does Rhys tell her so many stories, and what do they reveal about her enigmatic husband’s hidden heart?

In The Crusader’s Bride—book #1 of the Champions of St. Euphemia series—the widow Ysmaine makes a marriage of convenience, accepting the offer of a Templar knight in Jerusalem who is leaving the order to return to France. When their party is attacked, Ysmaine learns that Gaston carries a secret treasure in trust for the Templars, Ysmaine knows that her new husband’s survival may depend upon her assistance—and that this man of honor has stolen her heart. Can she persuade him of the merit of love and trust before it’s too late?

The First Knights digital boxed set includes four thrilling series starters by Claire Delacroix, bursting with medieval romance, adventure, suspense, and love everlasting. Be swept away to Claire’s medieval world in this introduction to four of her medieval romance series today!

Available Today!