I'm delighted to host Maggie Robinson today! I've known Maggie for a long time - since before she published her first novel - and I'm always excited when she has a new release. I know when I pick up one of her books that I'm going to be thoroughly entertained.
Maggie is a former teacher and library clerk who didn't begin writing until she was, as she puts it, a "woman of a certain age." Check her website for the full story of what inspired her to write (hint: annoyed with husband, middle of the night, and quest for the perfect man all play a part). Her books have earned her two Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice nominations, an Amazon Editors' Best Book of the Month selection and have been translated into multiple foreign languages. Maggie is happily married to the same man who inspired her to write and is a proud mother and grandmother. You can read more about her at her website and connect online with her at Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.
Welcome back, Maggie!
It wouldn’t be a new book without a visit to the Romance Dish! Thank you, P.J. for the opportunity to invite you all to the Puddling-on-the-Wold world. The fictional “celebrity rehab” center, the setting for Schooling the Viscount, was founded in 1806. Rumor has it that in exchange for an unknown sum, the Puddlingites agreed to be the repository for the rebellious sons and daughters of Great Britain’s finest families. Like a spa without yucky mineral water, deep-tissue massages, or mysterious crystals, rich young men and women are forced under house-arrest to eat healthy food, work, and give up their excesses. A quiet month in the country is the prescription, a resort of last resort.
The tiny village I envisioned was inspired by a stay in the Cotswolds a few years ago. If four weeks in a cozy cottage was good for me, imagine how soothing it would be for the unhappy 19th century folks who faced Bedlam or attics (I’m looking at you, Mrs. Rochester) if they didn’t conform to society’s rules. So Puddling became an open-air sort of hospital in which to refresh, reform and rusticate. Much more humane than cold baths or electric shock or laudanum!
My first “inmate” in the Cotswold Confidential series is Captain Lord Henry Challoner, a young veteran of the first Boer War wounded in body and spirit. He’s been sent to Puddling to mend the errors of his ways—women, whiskey, and wild times. But when he claps eyes on schoolteacher Rachel Everett, he begins to see a different path. And stars. Or bullets.
Here’s an exclusive excerpt of Henry’s and Rachel’s first kiss:
Henry had not been a coward when it counted, but he felt like a coward now in supposed peacetime. The armistice was signed just last month, too late to do him any good. How could he pretend everything was all right?
Well, of course it was all right this very minute. He had a fresh-scented young woman in his lap, whose skin, what he could feel of it, was satin-soft. She was kissing him open-mouthed, her tongue tangling with his. He really had absolutely no complaints. This Puddling place was improving by the lick.
Until the slap. Henry’s head snapped back against the stone wall with a sickening thunk, and for a moment he saw stars. Or perhaps swirling bullets—it was hard to tell. Then he saw the young woman’s dismayed face.
Lord, he didn’t even know her name, but she looked concerned, and so she should. He hadn’t been walloped like that since his school days. She might have even done him permanent damage, cracked his skull or some such. He was already physically impaired. Damn if he was going to wind up shuffling about not even knowing his own name.
“Oh! I’m so sorry!” Miss Whosis tried to scramble off his lap, but Henry held her fast. “Are you hurt? Bleeding? I didn’t mean for you to hit your head.”
Was he bleeding? Henry didn’t care for the sight of blood. He’d seen far too much of it recently in Africa. He refrained from trying to touch the back of his throbbing head—he’d have to release Miss Whosis to do so, and he had no intention whatsoever of doing that. She fit so nicely into his lap. Was so warm and cuddly and pretty. He felt…complete.
Henry stared into the cloudless heavens. The sky was bright blue, and he fancied it matched his eyes. Would she make the comparison herself? He batted his eyelashes.
“Who—who are you? Where am I?” he groaned.
Was he laying it on too thick? Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Henry eventually works his way into Rachel’s heart, battling both sets of parents, the Puddling Rehabilitation Foundation, the parson, and Rachel’s pugnacious dog Rufus. I’m thrilled that the Amazon Editors called the book “hilarious” and selected it as a best book of the month in romance!
Throughout the book, Henry is forced to eat nutritious and bland food, part of the Puddling Program, until Rachel sneaks him some more interesting fare.
If you were going to break your diet, what would your most delicious meal be? I plump for Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings!
One commenter gets an e-copy of Schooling the Viscount, or any book from my backlist!
Schooling the Viscount
By Maggie Robinson
Cotswold Confidential - Book 1
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Release Date: January 31, 2017
After a harrowing tour of duty abroad, Captain Lord Henry Challoner fought to keep his memories at bay with two of his preferred vices: liquor and ladies. But the gin did more harm than good--as did Henry's romantic entanglements, since he was supposed to be finding a suitable bride. Next stop: The tiny village in Gloucestershire, where Henry can finally sober up without distraction or temptation. Or so he thinks...
A simple country schoolteacher, Rachel Everett was never meant to cross paths with a gentleman such as Henry. What could such a worldly man ever see in her? As it turns out, everything. Beautiful, fiercely intelligent Rachel is Henry's dream woman--and wife. Such a match would be scandalous for his family of course, and Rachel has no business meddling with a resident at the famed, rather draconian, Puddling Rehabilitation Foundation. All the better, for two lost souls with nothing to lose--and oh so very much to gain.