Hi, I'm Regency Paranomal Romance Author, Brooklyn Ann.
My books feature unconventional heroines finding unconventional romance with peers who have fangs. I figured today I'd share why that works so well for me.
Vampires were perfectly suited for the British Aristocracy, which was a major reason why I put them in Regency ballrooms in my Scandals with Bite series. Here are the reasons why that works out so well:
They're night owls.
Most of the balls and operas and festivities in the regency went from dusk till dawn. A vampire's nocturnal behavior would be unnoticed in this environment.
The Window Tax
Seriously, there was a tax on how many windows one had on their home. People often boarded up their windows to avoid the tax. This was beneficial to vampires in that no one thought it amiss if they did so to protect themselves from the sun
An Age of Enlightment
In an age of reason, vampires are regarded as mere folklore. This disbelief is advantageous. However in the face of scientific advances, discovery is all too possible. Which is why drinking a mortal's blood to the point where they die has been forbidden since the mid Eighteen century.
Disappearance of poor people would still be unaccounted for.
Thousands of potential meals languish in alleys and gutters all over London's East End. A vampire would never starve in this populous city. Also, they have a house full of servants in case of emergency, though normally it is considered a faux pas to feed from one's servants.
People drank a LOT at Balls and Musicales.
It's easy to steal a drink from an unsuspecting mortal when the majority of one’s peers are deep in their cups. Sometimes it's hardly even necessary to mesmerize them and banish their memory of a feeding after the claret really flows. There were also many secluded alcoves inside a British Manor and on the grounds.
All the better to secure a meal.
Respect and authority for rank.
One rarely dares question the behavior of a nobleman. If he has odd behavior, he is merely written off as "Eccentric."
So if you're interested in checking out my series, books 1, (BITE ME, YOUR GRACE) and Book 2 (ONE BITE PER NIGHT) are available everywhere where books are sold.
Book 3, BITE AT FIRST SIGHT will be out in a little over a month, on April 7th!
Pre-order links are here and I included an excerpt below:
“If one desires a task to be accomplished correctly, one must do it herself.” Cassandra Burton, dowager Countess of Rosslyn repeated the litany as she pulled the rickety little wagon through the moonlit aisle of tombstones.
She shivered under her velvet cloak. Her fingers had long since gone numb with the effort of navigating the dratted conveyance over uneven ground and across slippery, damp grass. Shovels and pry bars clanked across the wagon’s worn pine boards. The winch rattled on its frame.
Something flickered across the corner of her vision.
Cassandra jumped. She stopped and rubbed her gloved hands together for warmth, surveying the graveyard. The area was still and silent as …well, a tomb. Yet the chill in her spine refused to abate. A scornful frown turned her lips at such irrational behavior. Ghosts were an illogical figment of uneducated imaginations and no one could possibly have business out here at this hour …except herself.
“Worthless curs,” Cassandra whispered in as haughty a tone she could manage.
If only the men to whom she’d offered a more than generous sum to perform this troublesome task had done their duty rather than disappearing. She shook her head, further lamenting the inconvenience they’d left her with. If not for their unreasonable negligence, I would now be comfortably ensconced in my laboratory unraveling the secrets of the human body … not out in this cold, dreary place, jumping at shadows.
Surveying the newest graves, she read the dates to discern which would be the best specimen. Her mind nagged her as to the mysterious disappearances of her hired hands. Could a murderer be on the loose? She shook her head and pulled the folds of her cloak tighter, shielding her body from the crisp autumn air. No, the authorities would have found their bodies by now and the news would be sensationalized in The Times.
“They were cowards,” she asserted aloud, fighting back a shiver as the wind whispered through the grass and dead leaves. “But I am not.”
To prove her lack of irrational fear, Cassandra fetched a shovel from the wagon. Her hands trembled as she grasped the wooden handle. “I am only nervous.”
And she had every reason to be. Removing the dead from their graves was illegal. If a constable caught her, she’d be sent directly to Fleet prison. Halting her wagon and taking a shovel, a fresh surge of trepidation curled in her belly.
For some inexplicable reason, exhuming a corpse, rather than having one ready on her operating table was quite a different matter. The prospect of removing the body from its carefully arranged resting place and the chore of winching it out of the ground and loading it onto her cart made the situation seem more gruesome than objective. However, gruesome or not, Cassandra needed her specimen for her work to continue. And she would acquire it no matter how much her nerves protested.
Despite being barred from official education as a physician because of her sex, Cassandra was determined to learn the skills to become a doctor. She needed to learn everything she could about human anatomy. For that, she required cadavers.
Returning to the graves, she made her selection. Alfred Lumley, born September first, 1801, died September seventeenth, 1823. Three days ago Alfred had been a living twenty-two year old man, three years younger than herself. Whether or not he’d been healthy, she would soon determine. A pang of sorrow struck her heart. His soul is in heaven, she reminded herself. A mere shell remains. A shell which will help me to aid the living.
She raised the shovel, ready to plunge it into the soft soil. “I am not afraid. I am not.”
“You should be.” A sinister, accented voice pierced her consciousness.
The shovel fell from nerveless fingers, thudding against the cold ground.
Cassandra knew that voice, it was the same rich, dark cadence which had haunted her dreams since the night she’d first met him. She spun around, the hood of her cloak falling to her shoulders.
Rafael Villar stepped out from behind a mausoleum. The shadows embraced his bronze skin, obscuring the scars on the left side of his face while moonlight highlighted his exotic, Spanish features on the right.
Known as “The Spaniard,” Villar had been an infamous pugilist in Cheapside despite having only one functioning arm. The eccentric and wealthy duke of Burnrath was his sponsor. Cassandra had often encountered him at Burnrath House when attending the duchess’s literary circles. Right away she’d suspected that there was more to the relationship between Rafael and Their Graces. And she’d been utterly and completely fascinated by him.
When the Duke and Duchess departed for the continent to travel, Villar leased Burnrath House. By all accounts he was rich as a nabob. For the remainder of the Season Mr. Villar was all the ton could gossip about. But when months passed without the Spaniard making the slightest attempt to join Society, he was forgotten. Cassandra would have forgotten him as well, if it weren’t for those damned dreams. Now here he stood before her in the most unexpected place and at the most inconvenient time.
Good Lord, will he turn me in to the authorities?
She opened her mouth to inquire as to the reason for his presence. The words caught in her throat as she saw that his amber eyes were glowing like a funeral pyre. His sensuous lips— lips she’d unreasonably dreamed of kissing— drew back to reveal white, even teeth …with two gleaming fangs for incisors.
Before she could scream or flee, Mr. Villar’s fiery gaze widened, then narrowed in recognition. “You! You’ve been the one disturbing my people?”
“Y-your people?” Cassandra stammered dumbly, staring raptly at those sharp fangs. She’d certainly never seen those during their previous encounters. Her heart leapt into her throat in dawning horror. This man was not human. What is he?
His lips curled back in a sneer, puckering the scars on the left side of his face. “Don’t play coy with me, Countess.” The word was spat in acidic contempt. “Some of my subordinates reported hunters disturbing their lairs.” He gestured at the mausoleum behind him. “It is hard to fathom that you’re behind this, though I should have guessed. Is that why you befriended the Duchess of Burnrath?”
“I haven’t the slightest idea what you are going on about. I came here to... well it is no concern of yours.” A wave of indignation bolstered her courage. How dare he speak of her most treasured friendship in such a manner? How dare he accuse her of duplicity when he stood before her, sporting unnatural teeth and luminescent eyes? And of what exactly was he accusing her? “What does Her Grace have to do with this?” Cassandra took a shaky step back. “…And, in the name of heaven, what are you?”
In a blink of an eye, Rafael stood inches from her. With the same impossible speed, he grasped her shoulder, pulling her close against him. Dizziness swarmed her mind at the feel of his firm heat and his intoxicating scent of forbidden spices. His crippled left arm moved lightly around her waist, his fingers delicately brushing across her lower back. The heady combination between rough and gentle made her tremble.
His eyes blazed amber fire as they locked on hers. “I will show you, Countess.”
Then his mouth was on her neck, firm lips caressing the sensitive flesh, somehow more intimate than anything she’d experienced in her ill-fated marriage. Cassandra melted against him, tangling her fingers in his silken waist-length hair.
Sharp pain exploded in her throat as his fangs broke her skin. Cassandra cried out and tried to push him away, but his iron-like right arm mercilessly held her immobile. The pain took flight, and drugging pleasure fluttered within her belly on heated wings. A low moan escaped her throat as she pulled him closer. Liquid desire pulsed between her thighs. Whatever this was, she needed more, craved it with mindless longing.