A Lady’s Revenge is officially launched. Hot diggity dog!
I feel like dancing. How about you? Come on, don’t be shy. I’ve invited a fabulous instructor from the Greek island of Mypos to lead us through the dance. His name is Balki. Balki Bartokomous. And he’s going to introduce you to The Dance of Joy. You don’t need a partner, although the last dance step can be a bit tricky without one. Here we go…stand up, everyone!
What fun! Did you enjoy yourself? I certainly did. Don’t you love those moments when you’re watching something joyful play out and, before you know it, you have a big silly grin on your face? Watching Balki and Larry kick up their heels does that for me. There’s something about observing people live life to the fullest that makes me happy. And then there are those more subtle moments that are precious in their simplicity. Moments that might make you smile or cry.
If ever anyone needed to smile, it was Cora deBeau, my heroine in A Lady’s Revenge. For weeks, she endured pain and humiliation at the hands of the French. Her imprisonment left her scarred, both physically and emotionally. When Cora peered into her future, she saw nothing more than layers upon layers of grey. Happiness did not figure into the equation at all—or so she thought.
It’s amazing how the love of the right man and the innocence of a furred creature can transform one’s grey existence into sparkling rays of light. Read on to see how Cora found her smile amidst the darkness of despair.
Cora removed the irritating sling and made for the kitchen. Her appetite had returned in full force, and she longed for something more solid than her current diet of watery soup and clotted-cream porridge. But as her appetite increased, her sleep had fallen victim to nightmares of the past once she had stopped taking the laudanum. As much as she hated the opiate, she longed for a full night’s rest.
She rubbed her exhausted head and trudged through the sun-brightened house, experimentally flexing her hand and rotating her wrist. Needles of pain shot up her arm and, after so many days of idleness, her muscles felt leaden and useless.
She performed the exercise a few more times, shrugging off the discomfort. Regaining strength in her arm was just one more obstacle to overcome. She had lost count of how many of those she had encountered since her first introduction to Valère.
As she headed for food that she could actually cut with her teeth, she passed the library door and heard a muffled expletive. Retracing her steps, Cora peered into the room. At first she thought the room empty, until her gaze lowered and was greeted by a man’s well-shaped bottom clad in fawn-colored wool.
“Come out from under there you insufferable fur ball.” Guy made a quick grab for something beneath the burgundy chaise longue. “Dammit.”
Cora raised an eyebrow, amused to see the Earl of Helsford in such an undignified position. “Why don’t you try using some of your legendary charm to coax your friend out?”
He jerked up, smacking his head on the chaise. “Ow!” Rubbing his head, he sat back on his heels and sent her a you’ll-pay-for-that look, an expression she hadn’t seen in a very long time—and one she keenly missed.
“Do not scowl at me,” she admonished, ignoring the ache in her heart. “I had nothing to do with your current affliction.”
“Sneaking up on me doesn’t count for culpability?”
Cora stepped closer to investigate. What would tempt Guy to get down on his hands and knees? As she bent forward, a delicate grey face with large green eyes peeked out to investigate .
She shifted her attention to Guy. “How on earth did the little creature get in here?”
“How should I know,” he grumbled. “But it’s going back to wherever it came from.”
She watched the poor kitten inch closer. “Don’t be silly. If I can’t find its mother, I’ll care for it.”
“The fur ball’s not staying in this house.”
“Are you afraid the kitten will bother your aunt’s birds?” During one of her exploratory circuits, Cora had found a large brass-wired cage sitting atop a pedestal in the far corner of Aunt Phoebe’s rose-colored drawing room. Inside, a pair of small yellow birds flapped about their enclosure, tipping their little heads from side to side at her approach. When they realized she wished them no harm, they had extended their feathered throats and began to sing to her… at least that’s how Cora interpreted their action.
Guy’s jaw firmed. “No, I’m not worried about the birds. If anything, I might let the kitten loose inside the cage just to shut them up.”
“You’ll do no such thing.” She watched the kitten edge closer to Guy’s boot. “What’s your aversion, then? We harbored many barnyard cats in the past.”
His eyes narrowed. “It’s a damned ankle-biter.”
“You heard me,” he said. “The little baggage thinks it’s great fun to attack my ankles while I’m sitting here. I now have some very decorative claw and fang marks on my new boots.”
Cora waved her hand in the direction of Guy’s black Hessians. “Let me see.”
Hiking his foot up on the chaise, he pointed to the offending marks around the ankle area. “There.”
Sure enough, little gouge marks punctured the expensive soft leather.
She pointed to the top of his high boot. “I suspect your tassel is more temptation than the little one could bear.” Her lips twitched.
“You find this amusing, my dear?” He dropped his foot to the floor.
“Not at all.” She couldn’t remember the last time she had felt unfeigned amusement. But the gouge marks, the kitten, and Guy’s expression—
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When was the last time you caught yourself with a big silly grin on your face? Please let me know in the comment section below by 10:00 pm (Central). One commenter will win the lovely A LADY'S REVENGE gift set above (U.S. and Canada only, please).
Don’t forget! No matter how big or how small your achievement, be sure to celebrate. If you ever need a partner for Balki’s Dance of Joy, give me a holler. I'll catch you.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Tracey Devlyn writes historical romantic thrillers (translation: a slightly more grievous journey toward the heroine's happy ending).
Tracey's a co-founder of Romance University, a group blog dedicated to readers and writers of romance, and Lady Jane’s Salon-Naperville, Chicagoland’s exciting new reading salon devoted to romantic fiction.
An Illinois native, Tracey spends her evenings harassing her once-in-a-lifetime husband and her weekends torturing her characters. For more information on Tracey, including her Internet haunts, contest updates, and details on her upcoming novels, please visit her website at: