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Introducing the tropes of Dangerous Secrets
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Date Published: March 18, 2015
Genre: Historical Romance, Set in the Regency Era
Word Count: 73,000
When a little brown wren of an Englishwoman bursts into Jamie Heyworth’s private Hell and asks for help he mistakes her for the black crow of death. Why not? He fled to Rome and sits in despair with nothing left to sell and no reason to get up in the morning. Behind him lie disgrace, shame, and secrets he is desperate to keep.
Nora Haley comes to Rome at the bidding of her dying brother who has an unexpected legacy. Never in her sunniest dreams did Nora expect Robert to leave her a treasure, a tiny black-eyed niece with curly hair and warm hugs. Nora will do anything to keep her, even hire a shabby, drunken major as an interpreter.
Jamie can’t let Nora know the secrets he has hidden from everyone, even his closest friends. Nora can’t trust any man who drinks. She had enough of that in her marriage. Either one, however, will dare anything for the little imp that keeps them together, even enter a sham marriage to protect her.
Jhg-Jerk with a Heart of Gold
Th-Subtype Tragic Hero
Fh-Subtype Fallen Hero
Jamie Heyworth fought heroically under Wellington throughout the Peninsular War, a courageous, if reckless, cavalry officer. His personal life, however, sank into drink, poverty, and dependence on his friends. He hit bottom when he made one horrible mistake. He sits in self-imposed exile, drunk, depressed, and too ashamed to tell his friends what he has done. However, he just can’t resist an intrepid widow and her charming niece.
Nora Haley traveled to Rome over her father’s objections when her brother wrote asking for help. She braves a foreign country where she knows no one, doesn’t speak the language, and doesn’t understand the dangers in order to love and protect her brother’s child.
Ria-Refuge in Audacity
When outside forces attempt to take the child, Nora and Jamie embark on a sham marriage in an effort to fool a powerful Italian count and protect the little girl from threats.
A supportive Mother Superior sees the personal and political dangers even more clearly than Jamie. She suggests the Audacity and abets them in their efforts.
Imbedded among their associates is an unknown menace, a person who threatens to expose the audacious plan and physically threatens the little girl.
Behind the mole is the true instrument of evil, the one who threatens everyone, right down to the last shred of conflict.
Short excerpt (300 words):
He moved with deliberate slowness around the room, picking up clothing discarded the night before and searching his brain for promises discarded just as easily.
“You agreed to speak with the nuns, to interpret for me,” the woman said.
That was it. The wren needs an interpreter, needs one so badly that she let some excitable waiter drag her into a seedy tavern she had no business entering to meet an English “gentleman.” More fool she.
“I should not be surprised you don’t remember. You were much the worse for drink last night,” she complained.
She has me there.
“You’re acquainted with the effects of drink?” he asked. Intriguing.
“More than I wish. My husband—oh, do hurry up!” She stomped her foot and, much to his regret, let go of her skirts.
Husband? Pity, he thought. Inevitable though.
“Are you ready?” she demanded.
“You might wait until I’m finished with my trousers. Your husband will—”
“Do nothing!” She sounded furious.
“I beg your pardon?” He buttoned the fall of his trousers.
“My husband will do nothing. He died three years ago.”
“Ah, then there is no one to be concerned about your presence in a man’s room in a foreign city in which you speak not a word of the native language. What’s the hurry?”
“The hurry, Major,” she almost spat out his rank, “is that I am only permitted to visit Isabella during very strictly set hours.”
Of course. The niece.
“Do pay attention. Sister Amelia Maria will be at the hospital, but I am told the others will allow me a visit, only the briefest visit, in their common room,” she went on.
Ah. No tower. The niece is imprisoned in a—Good Lord!
“You are taking me to a convent?” he gasped.
“I must have been ‘much the worse for drink’ indeed, if I agreed to that.”
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Caroline Warfield has at various times been an army brat, a librarian, a poet, a raiser of children, a nun, a bird watcher, a network services manager, a conference speaker, a tech writer, a genealogist, and, of course, a romantic. She is ever a traveler, adventurer, and writer of historical romance, enamored of owls, books, history, and beautiful gardens (but not the act of gardening). She has before retired to the urban wilds of Eastern Pennsylvania to write and is married to a prince among men.
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