Guest Author: Jane Ashford – The Bride Insists

Posted March 25, 2014 by Shari in Book Tour, Excerpt, Guest Post / 10 Comments

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One of my favorite scenes in my new book, The Bride Insists, introduces twins Tamsyn and Tegan and their dog, Randolph. It’s also the heroine’s first look at the country home of her brand new husband.

Excerpt
A full hour later, Clare climbed stiffly down from the carriage and gazed up at the massive gray pile that was now her home. The long stone façade, with two wings thrusting forward on either side to form a courtyard, looked like something out of a fairytale. There were steep slate gables and arched windows and crenellations. The scudding clouds on this chilly afternoon added to the impression. She knew that Lord… Jamie. He’d said that his friends called him Jamie, and that she should do so. It still felt awkward, which brought up uncomfortable thoughts such as—was she his friend? She was undoubtedly his wife. The ring on her finger was a constant reminder. But that did not necessarily equate with friendship.

Clare rotated her tight shoulders and looked up the sprawling house. There seemed to be no one about to welcome her. She knew that Jamie’s grandfather had built this place on the site of a ruined castle, using the fallen stones, so it dated only from 1770. It stood on a sheer cliff above a cove formed by a small Cornish river. There was a fishing village below, she remembered. Jamie had said that his grandfather designed the house, too. With only limited success, Clare had to say, surveying the mishmash of styles that ran into one another along the frontage. His obsession with construction had nearly bankrupted the estate. That was why the place looked unkempt and shabby. It was, in a way, the reason she was here. Standing in the gravel courtyard, in the cold, alone. Where was Jamie?

“Well,” said Selina, who had stepped down beside her. “Where is Lord Trehearth? Where are the servants? This is outrageous. To ride off like that with scarcely a word, and now no sign of a…”

The great wooden front door opened, and two small figures scurried out—boys of ten or so in white shirts and buckskin breeches above thick woolen hose. Or… Clare took in the long tangled black hair, big dark eyes and delicate features. They weren’t boys; they were girls, twins obviously. Why were they so oddly dressed? She took a step forward to greet them. Something moved in the dim doorway, and then shot out between the children and hurtled toward her.

In the next instant, Clare was flattened by a gigantic dog. It stood over her, feet planted on either side of her torso, and began to lick her face with a slavering red tongue. She pushed at its chest; it was immoveable.

For a moment, Selina stood frozen, terrified by the largest canine she’d ever seen. Then she recovered and rushed over; she spied a collar around the creature’s neck, and grasped it. But her tugging had no effect. She might have been trying to shift a horse. The two scandalously dressed children had come closer. “Is this your dog?” Selina panted. “Remove him immediately.”

“He likes you,” said one, gazing down at Clare as she continued to try to fend off the beast’s attentions. Her hands were now dripping with saliva.

“His name is Randolph,” added the other.

“He’s half wolfhound and half mastiff.”

“The vicar’s dog got into Mr. Fox’s kennel.”

“He was hopping mad,” said the other twin, with sparkling eyes.

“Randolph was the only puppy in the litter. Mr. Fox was going to drown him!” Their dialogue was sending Selina’s head back and forth like a pendulum.

“But we came to the rescue.”

“We don’t care if he’s a mongol.”

“Mongrel,” corrected the other twin.

“Call him off!” Selina commanded.

The doorway erupted. Jamie ran out, followed by an older couple, the woman’s hands flapping in dismay. Pushing Selina side, Jamie grabbed the dog’s collar and yanked him off. “Take him away,” he told the twins as he helped Clare to her feet.

Her face was dripping stickily. Her clothes were marked with muddy paw prints. She had no doubt that her bonnet was ruined. May I present the new mistress of your household, she said silently, wondering whether to laugh or break down in hysterics.

The twins made no move to control the dog, who frisked about the group as if he’d done just as he ought. They were observing the scene like a scientific experiment.

“These are my sisters,” Jamie said.

Startled, Clare met his dark eyes. “Sisters?”

Except for the capering dog, the scene froze as it became obvious to all present that this piece of information was wholly new to her. Faces exhibited a range of reactions, from Selina’s astonished disapproval to the older couple’s quickly stifled worry to the twins’ resigned grimaces. Jamie had the grace to look shame-faced.

“I’m Tamsyn,” said one twin then.

“I’m Tegan,” chimed in the other. “It means ‘pretty little thing’ in Cornish.” The girl smirked up at the adults.

Jamie put his hands firmly on the second girl’s shoulders. “Tamsyn has a small mole on her neck,” he said, his jaw tight.

Clare saw the tiny mark that identified the child. They’d been trying a trick that their brother clearly recognized.

Jamie moved to his other maddening sister and set warning hands on her shoulders. “Tegan is just a hair shorter.”

Clare could see it if she looked carefully.

“It is quite easy to tell them apart,” Jamie finished. Except that they are both imps of Satan, he added to himself. He’d written them with news of the wedding. He’d commanded them to be on their best behavior when they welcomed a new sister-in-law to Trehearth. He’d hoped to present them in a proper state. Of course it had been a forlorn hope that they would put on suitable gowns, which they certainly possessed, and pretend, at least, to be civilized. Allow Clare to believe, however briefly, that they were not going to be a plague on her existence. But as always, they’d ignored him. Or, no. Devil take it—this was their best behavior. They had no more manners than a pair of feral cats.

© Jane Ashford, 2014

I like this scene because I think it’s fun. It also sets up several conflicts that Clare will face in her marriage, as well as old habits Jamie will need to address. And I’m a sucker for animal characters.

Thanks for having me on your blog today!

 

THE BRIDE INSISTS BY JANE ASHFORD – IN STORES MARCH 2014

 

Review The Bride Insists by Jane AshfordShe Thinks She’s Bought a Compliant Husband

Although Clare Greenough has inherited an unexpected fortune, her money is in the hands of a trustee until she marries—everyone knows a woman is incapable of managing funds. What she needs is an easygoing husband, right away…

They’re Both in for a Shock

She makes a deal with impetuous young James Boleigh, seventh Baron Trehearth: they will marry, Clare will get control of her money, and Jamie will get the funds he desperately needs to restore his lands. To stave off ruin, Jamie agrees, believing Clare will soon become a proper, submissive wife. But to expect a serene, passionless marriage was only their first mistake…

 

 

Praise for The Bride Insists

“Perfectly delightful Regency romance… Remarkably executed.” —Publishers Weekly

“Ashford captures the reader’s interest with her keen knowledge of the era and her deft writing. … a charming plot and just the right amount of sensuality.” —RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

JaneAshfordJane Ashford discovered Georgette Heyer in junior high school and was captivated by the glittering world and witty language of Regency England. That delight was part of what led her to study English literature and travel widely in Britain and Europe. She has written historical and contemporary romances, and her books have been published in Sweden, Italy, England, Denmark, France, Russia, Latvia, the Czech Republic, and Spain, as well as the U.S. Jane has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award by RT Book Reviews. Born in Ohio, she now lives in LA. For more information, please visit http://janeashford.com/.

 

To purchase The Bride Insists:

Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Books-a-Million | Chapters/Indigo | IndieBound | iBooks | Sourcebooks

Delighted Reader Giveaway

Comment below to be entered to win a paperback copy of The Bride Insists by Jane Ashford.

US/Canada only. Giveaway ends April 4, 2014 at 11:59 pm EDT. 

 

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Shari is the Delighted Reader. Married to her Prince Charming and mother to two Princesses and one Prince. When she is not slaving away as Cinderella she loves to get lost in the pages of a good book. Never without a reading device and a few good paperback books, because she never knows when she might get 5 minutes to read!

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Froggarita
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Froggarita

Thanks for the great giveaway!!
Froggy
froggarita@gmail.com

Anna@herding cats&burning soup
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LOL I think I’d definitely like the girls and their dog 🙂

Sophia Rose
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Total scene stealers!

Daniel M
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Daniel M

sounds fun really like the cover!

Brandi
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Brandi

I love that scene!! The girls sound like a fun handful lol! I so need to read this book now, because I need to know what happens! =)

Brandi
BLeigh1130 at yahoo dot com

Sophia Rose
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The girls just keep adding to the plot. Hope you get to read it all, Brandi!

Anita H.
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Anita H.

haha the twins sound like great fun! Can’t wait to read more of them!! Thanks for the chance to win!

thebigbluewall77 (at) gmail (dot) com

Sophia Rose
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They were two of the best secondary characters. Good luck, Anita!

Ada H
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Ada H

Fun excerpt, makes me want to find out what happens next! The twins and Randolph seem like quite the entertainment 🙂

ahui89 at hotmail dot com

Sophia Rose
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They were, Ada! And they have a few great scenes.