Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Release Date for Regency Novel Love Among the Spices



The sequel to my co-authored Regency Romance novel Rules for Engagements will be available in eBook format as of September 28th. This fun and adventurous follow-up finds Flora little sister all grown-up with a romantic quandary of her own. 

Spirited, rebellious young Marianne Stuart adores studying insects, roaming the woods, and dreaming of far-off, exotic places. The etiquette of London society is stifling; the art of dancing and playing instruments tedious compared to the freedom of climbing trees and exploring untamed lands.

So when she meets a young man whose passion for science and nature matches her own, there's an instant connection. But there's more than one obstacle to stand in the way of their burgeoning friendship--including the entrance of a dashing and handsome young officer.

With two admirers--and a father and aunt eager to see her well-married--Marianne faces an impossible matter of the heart. Will she find a true love that lets her keep an adventurous spirit? Or will society's rules leave her heartbroken? 



Excerpt from Love Among the Spices



     Her net's end dangled in the water as she knelt there, fingers stained with mud as they encircled a bug gliding along the surface. Cupping it in her palm, she inspected it intently for a moment. Its wings glinted in the sunlight, transparent like panes of glass etched with pink and green. Its thread-like legs scampered across her skin as it scuttled forth, as if instinctively knowing the water lay below her hand.
    "I've never seen a girl holding a water-fly." The sound of a man's voice startled her.
    She turned to see a young man surveying her from a few feet away.  Sleeves rolled up to reveal tanned arms which were thin and scratched from briars, lank hair cut short beneath a farmer's hat. A countenance not handsome behind a pair of glasses, but decidedly young and under development.
    "Do you like them?" she asked, equally frank in her tone. As she spoke, the insect slipped forwards to the water. The boy grinned in reply.
    "I do," he answered. She noticed his rod and fishing creel -- not filled with fish, but with the branch of a plant on which a large cocoon was woven in a thick, white wad around the smaller twigs.
    "What sort of nest is that?" she inquired, a smile beginning to grow on her own face as she rose. His eyes were fixed upon her face as she approached; he did not seem to notice the dampness of her skirts or muddy boots, turning his attention after a moment to the object in question.
    "Oh, this? It is but a common cocoon," he answered. "No doubt a common caterpillar within -- although I won't know for certain until I look at it more closely, with one of my books at hand."
    "Then you are a naturalist?" said Marianne, eagerly. "Of sorts, anyway -- do you study botany? Or -- or is it insects, perhaps?"
    He laughed, a sound which wavered with the uncertain tones of youth. "A little of each, I daresay," he answered, moving closer as he shifted his creel upon his shoulder. Within its open top, she could see other specimens -- a jar of water with sediment floating on top, a caterpillar crawling on a twig, magnified behind the curve of glass.
    "I come here often; but I have never seen a young lady here before -- " with a glance at her net as he spoke, "-- especially one armed for scientific exploration."
    Marianne stiffened. "I have as much right to visit this place as any other person," she answered.
    "Did I say you didn't?" He shifted his creel onto the ground as he crouched down at the water's edge.
    "Do you see this movement at the bottom? That's the shell of a wasp -- half-eaten by the fishes so that only a bit of the outer husk and wings remain. Under this stone is probably one of the culprits who would prefer a drowned insect, a young tadpole cluster or a freshwater crustacean of sorts."
    "Really?" Marianne leaned forward, curious. "Do you -- do you study them? Do you take them home as well?"
    "Sometimes," he answered. "But I do not care for water life as much as wings and wasps and other things in flight. And of plants as well -- for there's always something to be learned from dissecting one."
    "Then you dissect them also?" Marianne's interest was growing by the minute.
    "I keep notes upon all this, yes," he answered. "And sketches -- although I should spend my time worrying about sums and Latin from Eton's lessons, as my father would say."
    He pushed the rock in place again and reached for Marianne's hand. Placing something in her palm, a small, wet object.
    "Look," he said. She drew it closer, seeing the shape of a small snail shell, spiraling outwards in a mottled brown like sandstone.
    "It's beautiful," she said. "So small and delicate. How can something so small be alive -- and live in something like this?"
    "Smaller things live among us, miss," he answered. "As anyone who peers through a microscope knows."
    "I have never seen anything beneath a microscope's lens," she answered. "It is not proper for a young lady, I suppose."
    "I would let you," he said. "If you wanted to see, I should be glad to show you."
    She gazed at him in surprise as a faint flush appeared on her cheeks. "I -- I don't know," she answered. "That is, I should be glad to. Sometime."

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