What do you do when you have one gorgeous hero happily married? Why, give him an equally gorgeous son, of course!
When I finished writing Forbidden Jewel of India, which was set entirely in
in 1788, I couldn’t help wondering what the future would hold for my hero and
heroine – Nicholas Herriard and Anusha Laurens. The answer was to skip forward
to 1816 and find out. This had the added bonus of giving me their delicious son
to play with! India
Anusha was the daughter of a princess of the Indian court of Kalatwah and an English nabob in the East India Company. With grey eyes, mahogany brown hair and golden skin, Anusha married to tall, blond, green-eyed Nick was destined to have very attractive children. I was delighted to discover that her son, George Ashbourne Talish Herriard had inherited his father’s eyes and height in combination with his mother’s dark hair and golden skin. Wearing his hair shoulder-length and occasionally sporting an ear stud, I found him quite irresistible and could only hope my heroine was going to be equally taken with him.
Ashe was very happy acting as aide to his great uncle the rajah in his Rajasthan court and was not pleased to be uprooted to travel back to an England he had never seen when his father inherited the title of Marquess of Eldonstone. But he knows his duty – support his parents in this major upheaval, keep his beautiful sister out of the grasp of lecherous English rakes – and find himself an eligible English bride.
But of course, the lady he falls for, Phyllida Hurst, is highly ineligible and she knows it as well as he does. Not only has she been born on the wrong side of a aristocratic blanket, but she earns her own living as a dealer in objets d’art. But somehow they can’t keep away from each other and when he discovers she is going into a rough part of the docks to look at a consignment of porcelain, he insists on coming with her. Dressed as an English gentleman he is attractive enough to disturb her equilibrium, but wearing traditional Indian dress he takes her breath away.
‘What on earth are you doing looking like that?’
He was wearing a high-necked coat of dull black brocade, tailored in at the waist with skirts to the knee all round. Beneath were tight, dark red trousers tucked into boots of soft black leather and a sash of the same dark red circled his waist. He had not shaved and his morning beard, darker than his hair, made his skin seem darker too. And the final touch of exoticism was his hair, freed from its tie and touching his shoulders. As he moved his head she caught the glint of a gold ear stud in his right lobe.
‘Don’t you like it?’ One eyebrow rose. Phyllida could have sworn he had done something to make his lashes even sootier. She wished she dared ask what, it looked a useful trick.
‘You look magnificent and you know it,’ she snapped. Over her dead body was she going to let him see that he was the personification of every daydream of the exotic Orient. ‘Do not fish for compliments, Lord Clere. That is hardly the outfit for where we are going.’
‘But I look like a dealer from the East. Someone who knows about Chinese ceramics.’
‘We will see who gets the better deals,’ Phyllida said. ‘Are we acquainted with one another?’
‘I do not think so. I will get the driver to drop me off around the corner and I will go in first.’
‘Why?’ Phyllida picked up her reticule and dropped in the front door key.
‘In case there is any danger of course.’ Ashe followed her out and pulled the door to. Phyllida told the driver where to go and they climbed into the hackney.
‘You will deal with that by throttling assailants with your sash?’
‘You are more exhausting than my sister,’ Ashe complained. ‘No, I will stab them with one of the three knives I have about my person.’ He settled back against the battered squabs and crossed long legs.
Knives? Gentlemen did not stroll around
armed to the teeth with knives, not
these days. He was teasing her, he had to be. Phyllida resisted the temptation
to look for betraying bulges in case he thought she was studying his body. London
Their relationship is haunted by ghosts from both their pasts, but I never had any doubt that Ashe and Phyllida were going to get their hearts’ desire in the end.
Tarnished Amongst the Ton is out this month with Harlequin and Mills & Boon.
Find out more about Louise’s writing world at www.louiseallenregency.co.uk or drop in at her blog http://janeaustenslondon.com. You’ll also find her on Twitter @LouiseRegency