His Wicked Smile – A Hero’s Top 5 Priorities
By Heather Hiestand
I had so much fun revisiting old characters and bringing in new players for the third book in my Victorian Redcakes series, His Wicked Smile. Curious to know more about my hero, Gawain Redcake? Here’s what you need to know in his own words.
Gawain Redcake’s Top Five Priorities
- Being Top Bachelor in London: Since I’ve recently become the protector of the most notorious courtesan in town, I’ve all the creditability in the world with my peers.
- Being the Top Businessman in my family: My father, Sir Bartley Redcake, may have been knighted because his teashop makes Queen Victoria’s favorite dessert, but my importing business is making me so wealthy that I too will be recognized by the court in no time.
- Marrying Up: My twin sister Alys married a marquess, and what a shocking feat that was for a twenty-six-year-old career-minded spinster! My marital hopes rest upon Lady Elizabeth Shield, a beautiful blonde eighteen-year-old. With her at my side, my position in fashionable society will be set. Who needs love when you can have everything else?
- Perfect health: Battle during my army service in India may have given me a limp and blinding headaches, but I know I can be cured. One day, I’m going to find the right ancient Indian remedy, restore my vision, and make yet another fortune marketing the medicine.
- Families who stay together: My naughty sister Matilda had a child out of wedlock, but that would never happen to me. Children deserve the best start in life possible. If I ever found out I’d fathered a child, I’d give them, and their mother, my name. No matter what the cost.
As you can see, Gawain thinks he’s got life all figured out. But that perfect existence is about to fall apart when he’s not allowed to court his perfect bride, and then, to make matters worse, she runs away! Somewhere in the back streets of Leeds, at a provincial inn, one very exhausted Gawain is going to make a seemingly casual choice that changes everything…
His Wicked Smile by Heather Hiestand
May 1, 2014
ISBN 978-1-60183-113-2; ASIN B00GYLVVS4
Romantic Suspense, 87,000 words
Heat rating: hot
Some temptations are impossible to resist, even for a bakery heir…
Ann Haldene is the most beautiful woman Gawain Redcake has ever seen. A gifted healer who soothes his battle-scarred body like never before, the widow’s touch has a powerful effect on him. It’s no wonder the rugged Redcake heir forgets his quest for a society bride during one passionate night in Ann’s arms. But once he learns she is pregnant with his child, he searches for her, intent on giving her his name, if not his heart….
Ann is shocked by Gawain’s proposal, mostly because he has not uttered a word of love. For the sake of their baby, she accepts, even knowing that Gawain dreamed of marrying to secure a title and all she has is a severed royal Indian bloodline. Now the new bride faces her greatest challenge: showing her husband that their union is more powerful than pedigree—and love is the ultimate reward….
“A delightful, sexy glimpse into Victorian life and loving with two wonderfully non-traditional lovers.” –Jessa Slade, author of Dark Prince’s Desire and the Steel Born series
At Goodreads: This book was a very sweet and spicy romance. Sylvia, Netgalley reviewer.
His lips curved. “And how long should I continue my program with you?”
“What do you mean?” She put her back to the fire and faced him.
“How often should I ask you to marry me? How often should I demand you move to my family home? I have been looking for houses for us in Enfield.”
“You haven’t asked me today.” She thought about the few pounds she had left, the need to eat good food so that she could feed Noel. Clothes for a growing baby. Coal for the fire. The censure she would face back in Leeds for having an illegitimate child.
His gaze left the box she was holding and moved to her face. “You are correct. I have not been following my own program. Ann, will you marry me?”
She shivered. Could she tolerate a loveless marriage? Or to phrase it better, could she bring a husband who didn’t love her to love? Gawain had not yet had a chance to love her, but at least he had come looking for her. He had come twice, to Leeds and then to London. He loved Noel already. Thankfully, he had no doubts there. She was lucky the baby took after the Redcakes and not her family.
Going back to Leeds felt wrong. She had to move forward for Noel’s sake. Clasping her hands around her upper arms, she whispered, “Yes.”
“Yes?” he said doubtfully.
She swallowed hard and nodded. “Yes. It will be best for all of us. You caught me by surprise last week, but yes.”
He moved his head back and forth as if beating time. “Would you like a civil or religious marriage? We can be married a bit sooner with a civil marriage.”
The unromantic nature of the moment deflated her further. “Will you not kiss me to celebrate?” she asked. “And worry about details some other time?”
He let his cane drop to the ground next to the armchair. With a wolfish grin, he reached for her arm and pulled her down to him. He sighed and set his head against her shoulder. “I should not remember the feel of you, Ann, but I do.”
“My body is completely different since Noel. And I don’t even smell the same.”
“You smell like cake and wind now,” he said. “It’s not a bad thing. But there is still a spicy under-layer that will never leave you.”
She wriggled. “I am glad to hear it.”
He held her firm. “Don’t do that, not with Fern here.”
She allowed him to wrap his arms around her and kiss her neck. Closing her eyes, she wondered what he would think of her if he knew why she said yes.
ABOUT HEATHER HIESTAND
Heather Hiestand was born in Illinois, but her family migrated west before she started school. Since then she has claimed Washington State as home, except for a few years in California. She wrote her first story at age seven and went on to major in creative writing at the University of Washington. Her first published fiction was a mystery short story, but since then it has been all about the many flavors of romance. Heather’s first published romance short story was set in the Victorian period, and she continues to return, fascinated by the rapid changes of the nineteenth century. The author of many novels, novellas, and short stories, she has achieved best-seller status at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. With her husband and son, she makes her home in a small town and supposedly works out of her tiny office, though she mostly writes in her easy chair in the living room.
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