The Widow’s Wager, book three of The Ladies’ Essential Guide to the Art of Seduction, is available today! The buy link is processing at GooglePlay right now and the book will be available there by tomorrow morning. The print book is available at Amazon, and will become available at other portals later this week.
She wed once for duty but will only wed again for love…
For as long as she can remember, Eliza North’s heart has been in the possession of her older brother’s friend, Nicholas Emerson. But Nicholas has always been oblivious to Eliza, and when he bought a commission and sailed to war, she wed sensibly instead. Returned to her brother’s house a widow, she meets Lieutenant Emerson again and realizes neither of their feelings have changed. She accepts his request to chaperone his younger sister, Helena, hoping she might win his attention yet, with the assistance of the mysterious Mrs. Oliver and her guide for seduction.
Nicholas Emerson could never aspire to wed the daughter of a duke, especially one so pragmatic as Eliza has always been. That she married for the whimsy love makes him wonder how well he knew Eliza after all. She is still the only woman who captures his attention, but he knows his injuries mean he can never marry. Still, he cannot resist the chance to request Eliza’s assistance with Helena’s second season, and the chance to share her company.
Neither of them anticipate Helena’s wild behavior or their necessary alliance to defend her reputation. Entrusted with the manuscript of Mrs. Oliver’s advice on the seductive arts, Eliza puts its counsel to use, much to Nicholas’ delighted astonishment. How can he refuse the woman he loves, even knowing that he can never ensure her happiness? Caught between honor and love, Nicholas must accept his legacy from the war for this pair to have a future—is Eliza the woman who can heal his wounds forever?
Many of you know how much I love maps, and while writing The Widow’s Wager, I began to chart the locations of all my fictional houses in my two Regency romance series.
Horwood’s Plan is a map of London from the Regency era. The full name of it is: Richard Horwood’s PLAN of the Cities of LONDON and WESTMINSTER the Borough of SOUTHWARK, and PARTS adjoining Shewing every HOUSE (1792-99).
It really does show individual buildings, which is pretty cool.
You can also access the map online. This is an interactive map, so you can scale it and scroll it to focus on whatever detail you wish to see. I can lose days with this tool!
The other fabulous thing about this map is that there are overlays available. You can, for example, choose the overlay for Harris’s List to Covent Garden Ladies, right here, to see the locations of the various ladies’ residences. Hovering over a pin will bring up the listing for that lady from the guide published in 1788.
There are more overlays as well, if you’re in the mood to explore.
In The Widow’s Wager, Miss Esmeralda Ballantyne introduces Eurydice and Catherine to a scandalous little volume and guide to the Cyprians of Regency London called Harris’s List of Covent Garden Ladies.
Harris’s List of Covent Garden Ladies was a real publication, printed in London from 1757 through 1795, being updated most years. It was a guide to prostitutes and courtesans, complete with their names—perhaps with one letter missing—and addresses, as well as notes upon appearance, specialities and prices. The excerpts that Catherine and Eurydice read in the prologue are from editions of the guide.
The volume was originally compiled by Samuel Derrick, a linen draper from Dublin who came to London to pursue his dream of becoming an actor, dramatist and famed poet. In London, Derrick frequented The Shakespear’s Head, a coffeehouse in Covent Garden, whose chief waiter, one John Harrison, called himself the Pimp-General of All England. Inspired by this procurer’s own notes on the local ladies, Derrick created and published his own volume when in desperate need of money. There was likely an agreement with Jack Harris for the use of his name—although he subsequently published a competing title, which was not a success — although Derrick used his own observations. Derrick’s contribution remained anonymous for decades. It was a very popular little volume and it was believed to have sold 8000 copies per year in the 1760s. After Derrick’s death in 1769, the book continued to be updated by others, until its publication was ceased in 1795.
Hallie Rubenhold has written about this book—Harris’s List of Covent Garden Ladies: Sex in the City in Georgian Britain—as well as 18th century courtesans like Charlotte Hayes in The Covent Garden Ladies.
Today’s the day for the huge multi-author promotion at Romance BookWorms. There are over 1000 books free for download, for one day only – today! You’ll find The Beauty Bride among the offerings and many more books, too.
The culprit was a story that I added into my schedule in January, mistakenly believing it would be a novella. Kiss of Enchantment is a full-length book and one that has to be nestled into the existing world of the Dragonfire Novels. It’s the first book in a new PNR series and hopped onto my schedule during my Kickstarter campaign. It also publishes in April. I was just too optimistic about getting the story done in a short period of time and, as a result, everything moved a little bit further along the conveyor belt.
On the upside, my next Kickstarter campaign will feature new print editions of The Bride Quest – not omnibus editions, but individual hard covers and mass market editions. That will launch in May or June, and I’ll tell you more as we get closer to that. You can also follow me on Kickstarter to be notified of all new campaigns.