Welcome to my weekly feature where authors share about the hobbies, careers, or passions of their characters.
I’m pleased to introduce today’s guest, Alina K. Field…
A Passion for Honor
Malcolm Comyn, the hero of The Comtesse of Midnight, my contribution to Storm & Shelter, A Bluestocking Belles and Friends Collection, has had little time to pursue hobbies or distractions. His duties as the Earl of Menteith running his Scottish estate have occupied most of his time since the death of his father a year earlier. He’s barely had time to pursue the ladies—until now, when he’s in pursuit of a very particular lady, The Comtesse de Fontenay.
Weeks earlier, an anonymous threatening letter led him to London, and a search for both the author of the letter and the truth of his birth. For if he isn’t the true Earl of Menteith, by all honor, the title should go to his cousin, Finnley Macbeth.
Though he can’t uncover the source of the threats, he does find evidence that the woman who gave birth to him was not the last Countess of Menteith, but a French émigré, wife of the Comte de Fontenay, his late father’s mistress.
Honor demands he uncover the truth, whatever it might be. His quest leads him through Sussex and Kent and finally into Suffolk where in the midst of a terrible storm, he goes to the aid of a lady smuggler, helping her save the last of her cargo. With the roads impassable, they find their way to the isolated town of Fenwick on Sea. When the lady refuses to share her name, he senses that she is also running from scandal. With the inn completely filled with refugees from the storm, he and his anonymous new companion agree to wait out the storm together in the parlor of the dilapidated Elizabethan wing of the Queen’s Barque Inn.
Malcolm has no quarrel with the lady’s free trading of spirits, nor any need to uncover the secret she’s running from. But, when he wakes to find her going through his belongings, he presses her for her name. What he learns brings him to the end of his quest, an old enemy, and a promise of a future he never expected.
A Scottish Earl on a quest for the elusive Comtesse de Fontenay, rescues a French lady smuggler during a devastating storm, taking shelter with her. As the stormy night drags on, he suspects she knows the lady he’s seeking, the lady who holds the secret to his identity. When she admits she herself is the Comtesse Fontenay, she dashes all his hopes—and promises him new ones.
Blurb for the Collection:
When a storm blows off the North Sea and slams into the village of Fenwick on Sea, the villagers prepare for the inevitable: shipwreck, flood, land slips, and stranded travelers. The Queen’s Barque Inn quickly fills with the injured, the devious, and the lonely—lords, ladies, and simple folk; spies, pirates, and smugglers all trapped together. Intrigue crackles through the village, and passion lights up the hotel.
One storm, eight authors, eight heartwarming novellas.
Pre-order now for 99 cents:
The Scotsman, however, was dead on his feet. She could almost feel sorry for him. He was far from home, and had been traveling for several days. His neckcloth was limp, his cuffs soiled, his coat wrinkled. His boots, well and carefully crafted, if not by Hoby then by some equally fashionable bootmaker in Edinburgh, had not been properly polished in the last few days.
He’d shaved though, probably very early that morning, because a delicious dark stubble had sprouted along his strong jaws.
Did he have a razor in his interesting valise? She wouldn’t molest him, unless he thought to do the same to her. If it came to that, and she prayed that it wouldn’t, she would use her own blade and not some unfamiliar shaving instrument.
“Is this one of your imports?” he asked, swirling the amber liquid. “It’s very good.”
His words stirred her out of her imaginings about handsome young men, and she realized she must manage the conversation else she’d slip into sleep, or perhaps something more inconvenient, without thinking.
The Comte had always succumbed to sleep when they’d conversed, no matter the topic. She must soothe this fine-looking and very fatigued man the same way.
Outside, the thunderstorm had moved on, and the rain pounded in a comforting downpour. With the warm fire, and the heavy blankets, and the sleeping dog, it was quite cozy.
But what to talk about? Most certainly not the free trade. It would be far too diverting to put him to sleep, and besides she had no idea what he would do with the knowledge.
The countryside? She might slip and drop a hint about her home at Bloodmoor Hill.
She thought back to her time on the fringes of a London society that she’d found unbearably dull.
“I am glad you are enjoying the brandy,” she said. “But I daresay you are not liking this weather. It is quite the worst storm in many seasons, people are saying. Normally at this time of year the sea has quietened.” A lie, of course, but how would he know?
He sipped his drink, eyeing her over the glass.
Oh. Given that it might remind him of her activities that evening and spark questions, the sea was an inappropriate topic, whether or not one was fudging a weather report. “Winters, however are generally mild.”
He yawned, and she went on, discussing the number of rainstorms in March and going back to February, and then January, and making up the story as she went along, until his eyes drooped and the empty glass fell into his lap and lodged itself next to his fall.
Warmth uncurled in her. His trousers were tight in the usual fashion for gentlemen, outlining masculine endowments that sparked her interest far too much. Retrieving the fallen tumbler was out of the question.
She set down her own glass and fought the urge to join him in slumber.
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3kgRmLG
Apple Books: https://apple.co/3lZYHja
Award-winning and USA Today bestselling author Alina K. Field earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and German literature, but she prefers the much happier world of romance fiction. Though her roots are in the Midwestern U.S., after six very, very, very cold years in Chicago, she moved to Southern California where she shares a midcentury home with her husband and a golden-eyed terrier, and is hard at work on her next historical romance.
Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Alina-K.-Field/e/B00DZHWOKY
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