When Bella Holsworthy returns to England after fifteen years roaming the globe with her husband, an elderly diplomat, she quickly finds herself in a place more perilous than any in her travels—the Court of King George IV. As the newly elevated Earl and Countess settle into an unfamiliar life in London, this shy, not-so-young lady faces wicked agendas, society's censure, and the realities of a woman soon to be alone in England.
Unaccustomed to the ways of the beau monde, she is disarmed and deceived by a dissolute duke and a noble French émigré with a silver tongue. Hindered by the meddling of her dying husband, not to mention the King himself, Bella must decide whether to choose one of her fascinating new suitors or the quiet country life she has searched the world to find.
I also found, as I wrote, that I was reaching for a Happy Ever After for everyone, including the villains. Not all of the characters in the book grasp the joy there for the taking, but everyone has an equal shot at it. This probably explains why, in many ways, the hero and villain are frighteningly similar, their primary differences only intent.
While extensive world travel has never been a primary goal for me, somehow, at least one character in every book I write either experiences or wishes to experience a trip around the world. In the case of Royal Regard, the tendency is more pronounced than usual, seen in both Lord and Lady Huntleigh, ambassadors to “the heathens of the world,” as well as the Duke of Wellbridge, who spent much of his youth chasing adventures outside England.
While respecting the nomads in the cast, though, the book didn’t entirely come together until the villain made himself plain, a man who has never traveled farther than the distance across the English Channel. I frequently joke about my nasty habit of falling madly in love with my villains, then rooting for my heroes to kill them, but in this case, I was hard pressed to write the comeuppance for Monsieur le Duc. He stole my heart with his evil ways, in part because when he appeared, the excitement level, both for me and the manuscript, shot through the roof. Suddenly, the book contained a love triangle, a jealous husband, a long-lost lover, and two reprehensible rogues fighting over the heroine. Once the second duke took the stage, Lady Huntleigh never stood a chance.
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About the Author
Mari Christie is a professional writer, editor, and graphic designer in Denver, Colorado, whose creative work includes three mainstream historical fiction novels, one Regency romance, and innumerable poems. In the early 90s, she was responsible for the first weekly poetry slams in Denver and Charleston, South Carolina, and held positions at a wide variety of local and regional newspapers and magazines, including The Denver Post, Focus on Denver, Charleston’s Free Time, and New ReView Magazine. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Writing, summa cum laude and With Distinction, from the University of Colorado Denver. She has acted as an advocate for poetry and creative expression her entire adult life. Visit her website http://marichristie.wordpress.com/ and find her on Twitter @mchristieauthor