Hiding a secret

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I don’t keep many secrets, especially from my husband.  When I do keep a secret, it’s never anything too serious, certainly not the stuff of soap operas–no kleptomania, no trysts with other men, no hidden babies. To confess my primary dishonesty right here, it usually involves tucking a new pair of shoes or a sweater away in the back of my closet rather than advertising that I’ve indulged yet again in a little retail therapy. I’m not even sure why I try to keep these occasional indulgences under wraps, since my husband has never once objected if I buy something for myself.  It’s more my problem than his, and my feeling that my rewards may be outstripping my family contribution–in other words, I’ve been doing something like playing Ruzzle on my iPhone even though I’m well aware the laundry is piling up. When my husband eventually learns about the new purchase, he doesn’t mind at all.

But what if someone was keeping the kind of secret they knew would make a difference? What if that person had spent years determined to keep the secret hidden, built his whole life around making sure no one ever found out? What if there was every chance that secret would change the way people looked at him–even destroy the love of the woman he married?

That’s the premise behind Lord of Secrets, my new romance from Carina Press. It’s a good old-fashioned regency in the sense that there are no secret brotherhoods or dukes who spy (not that there’s anything wrong with those!), just two very different people who have to make a marriage of convenience work. Aristocratic David, Marquess of Deal, is purposely distant and aloof, while the earnest young woman he marries, Rosalie, believes that with enough effort, she can make herself so indispensable to David, they’re bound to be happy together.

Lord of Secrets cover, David, the Marquess of Deal

Somewhere on the North Atlantic, 1820

Rosalie Whitwell has spent most of her life sailing the globe with her adventurous father, dreaming of the day she can settle in one place long enough to have a home and family of her own. When her father suffers a fatal heart attack in the middle of the North Atlantic, Rosalie turns in her panic to a fellow passenger–the cool, reclusive Lord Deal.

For years David Linney, Marquess of Deal, has avoided the society of others. Even so, he’s drawn to his lovely shipmate, like him the victim of family tragedy.

As the voyage nears its end, Lord Deal is compelled to propose. But on their wedding night, Rosalie gets an unwelcome surprise: her handsome husband is strangely reluctant to consummate the marriage. Does she fall short of her groom’s expectations? Or is he hiding a secret past that only she can unlock?

Lord of Secrets was inspired by classic what-is-he-hiding gothics like Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca and even, in a smaller way, by TV series like Dexter. It’s a story we can all identify with at some level because we’ve all kept secrets, and we all know that those secrets have a cost as well as a pay-off.  You can buy Lord of Secrets here.

Are you, too, guilty of hiding a shopping bag or a UPS box now and then? Here’s your chance to confess that or any other peccadillo. Leave a comment, and I’ll use random.org to select the winner of a $20 Amazon gift certificate one week from today (April 3) so you can indulge your retail itch. I’ll need the winner’s e-mail address to send the prize, so you can either include it in your comment or check back here on the 3rd and be prepared to contact me with it if you’re the winner. I’ll post the winner’s name in the comments here and on my website on Wednesday morning 4/3 after 8:00 a.m. Eastern, which is also the cut-off time for entering.

Alyssa Everett


Lord of Secrets is Alyssa Everett’s second regency romance. Her first, Ruined by Rumor, is also available from Carina Press.  Look for her next regency, A Tryst With Trouble, in September of this year. She hopes you’ll visit her website and follow her on Twitter and Facebook, where she promises not to spam you relentlessly.

The Friend Zone, Regency Style

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One of my favorite party questions (and I’m terrible at parties; I can never keep names and faces straight) is asking people how they ended up with their significant others.  Sometimes as they tell the story, they’ll mention the mistakes they made along the way:  falling for the Narcissist who never called, the Peter Pan who refused to grow up, the bad boy who couldn’t be faithful, the commitment-phobe who kept them dangling for years.  My own near-miss inspired my new regency romance, Ruined by Rumor:  I wanted a nice guy, but when he finally showed up, I put him in the Friend Zone.

I was still in college at the time, and one of my roommates was dating a classmate from a large rooming group.  Over the course of a few days I met his roommates, about a dozen of them, and we all became friends.  They were brash, funny, gregarious guys—all except one.  He was cute but quiet.  He mostly hung back and didn’t join in the teasing, the trash talking, and the noisy conversation.  I mentally categorized him as a math major or a computer geek, someone a bit antisocial.  I certainly didn’t see him as potential date material.

Fast forward three years, and I’d learned the quiet roommate wasn’t really that quiet, just on the shy side.  He wasn’t even a math major or a computer geek.  In fact, I’d had everything about him wrong.  The man I’d ruled out as potential date material turned out to be excellent husband material—witty, principled, charming, and thoughtful.  We got married two years after graduation, and he’s a great husband and father, a handsome doctor, frankly the best thing that ever happened to me.  The point is, it took me far too long to realize just how unfair I’d been to him, discounting his romantic possibilities.  It’s easy to be dazzled by men with quick smiles and smooth lines—the Wickhams and Willoughbys of Jane Austen’s novels—but it’s a man’s character that really counts in the long run.

The sheltered heroine of Ruined by Rumor, Roxana Langley, has to learn that same lesson.  She’s young and inexperienced, since the only man she’s ever loved has been off fighting the French.

Ruined by Rumor cover, Alex and Roxana, the hero and heroine

After waiting five years for her fiancé to return from the war and marry her, Roxana Langley has been jilted! She may have longed for excitement, but this was not what she had in mind…

Who could possibly throw over a woman as beautiful and vivacious as Roxana? Certainly not Alex Winslow, the Earl of Ayersley, who has spent years trying in vain to forget his unrequited love. When he learns she’s been abandoned by her cad of a fiancé, he finds himself offering a shoulder for her to cry on. Comfort soon turns into a passionate kiss—and scandal when they are caught in an embrace.

Only one thing will save Roxana from certain ruination: marriage to the earl. The match may save her reputation, but responsible, tongue-tied Ayersley is a far cry from her dashing former fiancé. She’s convinced Ayersley is merely doing his duty…while he’s sure Roxana is still in love with another man. Are they trading one disaster for another?

Ruined by Rumor received four stars from RT Book Reviews, which called it “…delightful, absorbing…a truly entertaining vacation to the past.” You can buy Ruined by Rumor here.

Nowadays we’re not likely to enter a marriage of convenience before we find Mr. Right, but everyone’s path to romance is special.  How did you meet the love of your life?  Did you sense right away that he (or she) could be The One, or did it take something more to open your eyes? Leave a comment, and I’ll use Random.org to select the winner of a $25 Sephora gift certificate. (Edited to add: I’ll need the winner’s e-mail address to send the prize, so you can either include it in your comment or check back here tomorrow and be prepared to contact me with it if you’re the winner. I’ll post the winner’s name on Wednesday morning 5/23 after 8:00 a.m. Eastern, which is also the cut-off time for entering.)

Alyssa Everett grew up in Florida, where from an early age her favorite books typically had dukes in them. She met her future husband at Harvard University. They currently live with their three children in small-town Pennsylvania. Ruined by Rumor is her debut romance.  Expect her next regency from Carina Press in early 2013.

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Ruined by Rumor