Saturday, February 11, 2017

FREE FOR A LIMITED TIME! A DANGEROUS DECEPTION Book One The Spies of Mayfair

Amazon:

London, 1816. A handsome baron. A faux betrothal. And Horatia's plan to join the London literary set takes a dangerous turn.

Baron Guy Fortescue arrives in England to claim his inheritance, abandoned over thirty years ago when his father fled to France after killing a man in a duel. He is set upon by footpads in London, and on his way to his country estate, robbers attack him again. Guy escapes only to knock himself out on a tree branch.

Aspiring poet, Horatia Cavendish has taken to riding her father's stallion, "The General," around the countryside of Digswell dressed as a groom. When she discovers Guy lying unconscious on the road, the two are forced to take shelter for the night in a hunting lodge.

Someone wants Guy dead. Is it his relative, Eustace Fennimore? He has been ensconced in Rosecroft Hall during the family's exile and will become the heir should Guy die. Guy proposes a faux betrothal to give him more time to discover the truth.

Horatia is determined to keep alive her handsome fiance, who has proven more than willing to play the part of her lover even as he resists her attempts to save him.
Find Book Two and Book Three on Amazon.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Breathless In the Bush: Favourite Aussie Romance Reads of 2016

Breathless In the Bush: Favourite Aussie Romance Reads of 2016: By the Breathless Bloggers So great to have our favourite reads get the thumbs up from Keith Urban (courtesy of giphy.com)! It has...

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Why I set my spy novels in the Regency era by Maggi Andersen







The Regency era offers so much for a writer to draw on, any number of possibilities for exciting tales of espionage. That brief period in English history came about when King George III, was struck down by porphyria, an illness which rendered him insane. In 1811, his eldest son, George, an aesthete and a spend-thrift, ruled as Regent in his stead, until his father’s death in 1820 when George IV took the throne.

The beau monde, or ton, met during the London Season, which took place during the months when Parliament sat. They danced and flirted, discussing politics and gossip and the latest ondits. The Regency era was a mannered society with strict rules of etiquette. One could be ostracized if seen to break them. Scandal and gossip was rife. Affairs were the norm and many duels were fought over a lady love. 


Young debutantes entered Society during a Season to find a husband. Such marriages were often arranged to provide heirs and preserve the titles and estates of hereditary peers.

While the Victorian era favored the darkly Gothic after Queen Victoria was widowed, Regency London was glamorous, like a glittering, beautiful fan held up to hide unpleasantness.  However, beneath this glossy exterior, crime was endemic; there was no established police force until Sir Robert Peel in 1829 set up the Metropolitan Police Force at Scotland Yard.

Throughout the turbulent years of England’s war with France, the Duke of Wellington’s spies supplied him with vital information and came from all walks of life.
“The French armies have no communications and one army has no knowledge of the position or of the circumstances in which the others are placed, whereas I have knowledge of all that passes on all sides.” – Sir Arthur Wellesley (Esdaile, 2004)

After Napoleon had been imprisoned on Saint Helena at the end of the war, Liverpool’s government struggled to steer England safely through years when the country’s resources were badly depleted. The English countryside could no longer feed the people. Where once the populace could live off the land, new by-laws fenced off the land, and drove them to the towns and cities to work in the grim factories.
The government feared the poison of the French Revolution would seep into English society with a similar bloody result. Plots festered among the disadvantaged, and illegal pamphlets continued to be written. In Yorkshire, the Luddites smashed machinery, the Blanketeers marched on London, there was the ill-fated Cato conspiracy to murder all the cabinet ministers, the Spa Fields Riots, and the Peterloo Massacre, a protest against the Corn Laws, which was so badly handled that a tide of dissent swelled against the government.

The British intelligence came of age in the 19th century when it was developed as a key weapon against French power in both politics and war. One such man was part diplomat and part spy, Charles Stuart de Rothesay, later 1st Baron Stuart de Rothesay 1779-1845. He was no ordinary diplomat. He’s been called the first 007.

My series, THE SPIES OF MAYFAIR draws on some of these events which follow after the Napoleonic Wars. Three spies work for the Crown to keep Britain safe. Each with their own story.


Meet my spies and the women who love them:




Review: Horatia, riding in the woods, dressed as a boy, discovers a man knocked out after an attack. She drags him to a cabin to help him. He thinks she's a boy, and she's afraid to reveal herself, though she's attracted to this handsome stranger. They both turn out to be not who the other thinks. Ms. Andersen weaves danger and romance together with realistic characters and an authentic setting. I found this a compelling read.

Baron Guy Fortescue arrives in England to claim his inheritance, abandoned over thirty years ago when his father fled to France after killing a man in a duel. He is set upon by footpads in London, and on his way to his country estate, robbers attack him again. Guy escapes only to knock himself out on a tree branch.

Aspiring poet, Horatia Cavendish has taken to riding her father's stallion, "The General," around the countryside of Digswell dressed as a groom. When she discovers Guy lying unconscious on the road, the two are forced to take shelter for the night in a hunting lodge.

Someone wants Guy dead. Is it his relative, Eustace Fennimore? He has been ensconced in Rosecroft Hall during the family's exile and will become the heir should Guy die. Guy proposes a faux betrothal to give him more time to discover the truth.

Horatia is determined to keep alive her handsome fiance, who has proven more than willing to play the part of her lover even as he resists her attempts to save him.



Review: Another engaging book by Maggi Andersen. Well plotted and enjoyable, with lots of dimensional characters, and a gripping plot which is refreshing for a historical romance.
Highly recommend

John Haldane, Earl of Strathairn, is on an urgent mission to find the killer of his fellow spy. Has the treasonous Frenchman, Count Forney, returned to England to wreak havoc? Or has someone new landed on English shores to stir up rebellion in the Midlands? After visiting the young widow of one of his agents, Strathairn strengthens his resolve never to wed. And most certainly not to Lady Sibella Winborne, with her romantic ideas of love and marriage. Unable to give Sibella up entirely, he has kept her close as a friend. And then weak fool that he is he kissed her...

Lady Sibella Winborne has refused several offers of marriage since her first Season years ago -- when she first set eyes on the handsome Earl of Strathairn. Sibella's many siblings always rush to her aid to discourage an ardent suitor, but not this time. Her elder brother, Chaloner, Marquess of Brandreth, is insisting she marry. Sibella yearns to set up her own household. She is known to be the sensible member of the family. But she doesn't feel at all sensible about Lord Strathairn. If only she could forget that kiss...


Review: Amazon review of A Secret Affair “A wonderful, wonderful book! The H and h both had had problems in the past to overcome but neither played the victim. There was a mystery, murders, espionage and romance. The ending was sublime! I plan to look for other books by this author.”

A widow resigned to her fate... When Lady Althea Brookwood comes up against a dangerous foe, she is forced to marry a man of influence. But her former life with her cruel husband has made her distrust men. She will grace her husband's drawing room and his bedchamber, but her heart will remain uninvolved.

Leaving his sad past behind in Ireland ... Irishman, Flynn, Viscount Montsimon has become a renowned diplomat and close confidant of the Prince Regent. A handsome rake many women of the ton wish to take to their beds, Flynn treats women lightly. Until he meets a lady who seems impervious to his charms. She appears to want to get to the heart of who he is. But what does she really want?

Embroiled in a dangerous game of intrigue ... Flynn cannot afford to lose his focus, for there is not just his heart at stake...

Cheers,

Maggi

Twitter: @maggiandersen

 SOURCE: Franklin, Robert. Private & Secret: The Clandestine Activities of a Nineteenth Century Diplomat. Book Guild, 2005.
Other books of interest:
Deacon, R. (1970). A history of the British secret service. New York: Taplinger Pub. Co.
McGrigor, M. (2005). Wellington’s Spies. Barnsley: Pen & Sword Books Ltd.


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Excerpt of TWINED New Release Romantic Suspense.

Enjoy an excerpt!

After Paul left, Angie tidied the kitchen. When the Chinese cleaner arrived, who knew very little English, Angie chatted to her in her language, then ran upstairs to change. Slipping a shirt over the top of her white bikini, she grabbed a towel. The sun burned the top of her head as she walked carefully across the grass, instinctively remembering to tread lightly to avoid stepping on a bindi-eye, the sharp-needled burrs one’s foot always seemed to find in Australian grass. A pair of sun lounges with brightly colored sun umbrellas sat on sandstone paving beside the swimming pool. Angie removed her shirt and arranged her towel over a lounge. Too lazy to return to the house for a hat, she struggled to open one of the yellow-and-white floral umbrellas. The catch was tight and she broke a nail, pinching her skin in the process. She swore and shook her hand.
“Such language. My ears are burning. May I be of help?”
Startled, Angie swiveled. A man in a grey suit had walked up behind her, the grass smothering his approach. Annoyed, she eyed him. He might have alerted her to his presence before this. She examined his detective badge with some relief. “That was not meant for your ears,” she said hotly. “If you creep up on a person, you deserve what you get.”
“I didn’t mean to startle you.”
Still slightly unnerved, she was caught by his blue eyes. Her gaze dropped to his riotously colored tie, which seemed inappropriate for a cop.
He reached across her and opened the umbrella with a flick of his long fingers.
“Uh, thanks.”
An inappropriate glimmer brightened his eyes. “Great view from here.”
Unsure if he referred to the panoramic vista, which took in a sweep of Pacific Ocean, or to her, she grabbed her towel and self-consciously looped it around her body. “As you’re obviously not the pool guy,” she said coolly, “I wonder why you’re here.”
He grinned, creating an attractive array of lines in the tanned skin around his eyes. “There was a bit of a language problem with your cleaner. I expected to find Mr. Schofield….” He studied her. “You can’t be Mrs. Schofield. I’m told she’s still in hospital.”
“I’m her sister, Angie Martin.”
He held out his hand. “Detective Inspector Alexander.”
“Nice to meet you, Ms. Martin. It is Ms.?”
She nodded, wondering if she had single tattooed on her forehead. As she shook his big warm hand, her towel slipped. She flushed and grabbed at it. Her bikini wasn’t that brief, but his roving glance made her feel naked.
Perhaps, sensing her modesty, DI Alexander politely turned away as she readjusted the towel. “When is Mrs. Schofield leaving hospital? I’d like to talk to her about the accident.”
“Not for a few days.”
“Then I’d best visit her there.”
She wished he wouldn’t. Dany seemed so fragile. “Can’t it wait until she comes home?”
“That water looks inviting.” He smiled. “Enjoy your swim.” She admired the breadth of his shoulders as he turned away, then gathered her wits. “Detective Inspector?”
His alert blue eyes met hers. “Yes, Ms. Martin?”
“Who was the poor man who died in the crash?”
“So far, no one has come forward reporting a missing person fitting his description. Has your sister remembered anything more?”
“No. What about the thug who drove her off the road?”
His dark brows rose. “You’re assuming it was a man, Ms. Martin?”
She shrugged. “Figure of speech. They might have been drunk, but that doesn’t excuse them any for not stopping. Who else would do such a thing?”
“Who indeed?” he said refusing to be drawn. He pulled aside his coat revealing a broad chest, slim waist and a gun in a holster. Digging into his pocket, he held out a business card. “In case you need to contact me. You’ll get me on my mobile, or ring the station.”
She watched him stride away over the grass, then glanced at the card in her hand. Nicklaus Alexander. Not a trace of an accent and he didn’t look like the Greeks she’d met. He was tall, his brown hair sun-streaked. Stripped of that suit, he’d blend in with the bronzed lifesavers patrolling the beach.
Alarmed at the direction her thoughts took, she ran to the poolside and dived in, coming up with a gasp of shock at the cold water.

AMAZON 

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Smashwords


FINALIST in the EMERALD PRO AWARD

After ten years living in Hong Kong and working for a magazine, food writer and photographer, Angeline Martin is brought back to Australia. Her twin sister Dany has been hurt in a car accident. A man has been killed. The problems which split the sisters apart all those years ago are still in evidence.
An artist whose career is on the rise, Dany is evasive and she and her husband, Paul, seem to be drifting apart. The town has changed beyond recognition. Feeling out of place, Angie begins to fear her sister is mixed up in something dangerous. The car accident in which Dany was almost incinerated appears not to have been an accident. The detective sent to investigate, Nick Alexander, is suspicious. He and Angie spark off each other, while Angel, as her sister calls her, finds herself caught between her sister and the attractive cop she can’t seem to ignore.
Bestselling romance writer, Maggi Andersen teams with journalist Adam Frost in this story of murder and deception.

Friday, December 23, 2016

RELEASED! THE SCANDALOUS LADY MERCY - THE BAXENDALE SISTERS BOOK FIVE


THE SCANDALOUS LADY MERCY

Book Five

The Baxendale Sisters Series

Available for 0.99 for a limited time

All Baxendale sisters books are on sale for Christmas!


AMAZON

AMAZON UK

AMAZON AU

SMASHWORDS

After her four sisters married for love, Mercy Baxendale, in her first London Season, wants the same for herself. Her requirements are simple. The man she marries must be madly in love with her, and he must also be prepared to support her business venture.
When an incident lands Lady Mercy Baxendale and Grant Viscount Northcliffe in the scandal sheets and has everyone in London talking, they are forced into a marriage of convenience. Although Northcliffe is quite the most handsome man she’s met, he does not fill her criterion for a husband. Not only does he appear to be a man with secrets, he has a very public mistress.
Grant foresees no rush to marry and produce an heir. His grandfather, the Duke of Rotherham, and Grant’s father are still above ground. And squiring a fiancée around London for the Season is difficult with the dangerous work he’s undertaken for the Crown.
While he accepts that circumstances have thrust marriage upon him, he wishes his reluctant fiancée would be warmer. There’s a decidedly chilly expression in her beautiful blue eyes when she looks at him.
Will they find it possible to overcome their differences and love one another, or will his secrets destroy their chance of happiness?




Excerpt:



Highland Manor, Tunbridge Wells, 1825 Spring.

AN OWL HOOTED in the large oak near the corner of the house. As Mercy Baxendale crept along the drive to the parlor window, her dog, Wolf, gave a sharp bark. “Shush,” she whispered. She’d be in all sorts of trouble if Mama heard her. But she couldn’t finish writing a chapter of her book on beauty treatments until she’d checked on her latest formula for curing pimples. She’d rejected those she’d discovered in journals, which used a pound of boar’s cheek boiled up with pippins and a slice of veal, or advised bathing the face in urine. And she would never suggest the use of Gowland’s Lotion, which contained mercuric chloride—a corrosive and toxic acid. Instead, she employed a wash of warm water and oatmeal, followed by a lotion with oil of sweet almonds as a base, to which she added a mixture of nutmeg, black pepper, sandalwood, and honey.
But she knew no one who might endure testing it. The notion had come when she’d seen Mr. Timms, her father’s man of business, with a pimple on his nose. As she stared at it closely, she deliberated whether to ask him to try her formula, but decided against it when he recoiled like a startled horse and flushed crimson.
The book would have to be put aside again, plus her next venture, which was to make her own cosmetics, as the family was to go to London for her Come Out. Unlike her sister, Charity, who’d refused a London Season, Mercy eagerly looked forward to hers. She delighted in the pretty gowns, spencers, pelisses, dancing slippers and hats which filled her wardrobe, and shopping in London’s fashionable stores for additional accouterments.
Scattering gravel, Wolf skidded over the drive to sniff beneath a hedge. After a squirrel scampered up into a tree, the dog returned to her side. “Good dog,” she murmured.
So much rested on a successful Season. While the prospect was exciting, it also made her nervous. Father had outlaid a considerable amount of money on this endeavor. What if she became a wallflower? At least two gentlemen had promised to dance with her. Robin’s friend, Lord Bellamy, and the Scottish baron, Lord Gunn. Neither would suit Father though, as Bellamy was a second son and Gunn had been a suitor of Charity’s.
Mercy turned the corner onto the sweep of circular drive. Candlelight shone down from the upper stories. Mama was still awake.
With a beating heart, Mercy raised the window and put a knee on the sill, trying not to soil the embroidered muslin she’d worn to the assembly earlier in the evening. She fell onto the floor of the parlor, with Wolf vaulting the sill easily and landing beside her.
The door opened, throwing light into the room from the hall sconces. “Mercy?” A lamp flickered into life, and her mother’s face appeared with a pained expression. “The last of my daughters to see off, and I declare I shall not survive to witness it. Where have you been?”
“I’ve been to my laboratory. I needed to check on an experiment.”
“All the way to the barn?”
“I took Wolf with me.”
Mama smiled wearily. “Send Wolf downstairs and come to your bedchamber before your father sees you.”
Having relegated Wolf to his bed in the servant’s hall, Mercy followed her mother up to her bedchamber.
Mama gave a heavy sigh and sank onto the bed. “I do wish you could be counted on to behave as one would expect of a young debutante. Your father would be very angry if he learned of this.”
Mercy shrugged off her spencer and darted over to her. “Mama, please don’t tell him!”
Mama sighed. “It would serve no purpose to upset him further. He’s annoyed that young Geoffrey Linden swung you right off your feet during the reel at the assembly this evening! A good thing that didn’t happen in London. If it had you would be considered fast and may not get a voucher for Almack’s.”
“Geoffrey meant no harm. He is only sixteen.”
“Nevertheless, he should be better schooled in etiquette. I should speak to his mother. You cannot allow gentlemen to stretch the limits of respectability. All eyes will be upon you. But at least you won’t be able to vanish from Portland Square as easily as you do here.”
She rose and began to undo the hooks on Mercy’s gown. “Are you aware of how dangerous the streets of London can be? Town is not at all like Tunbridge Wells.”
“I doubt I’d have reason to leave the Mayfair house unescorted, Mama.”
“I suspect you might, Mercy,” her mother said ambiguously. “Now get some sleep. You of all people must know the first rule of beauty care is to be well rested.”
* * *



Review:
I have had the privilege of reading Maggi Andersen’s latest delightful novel which focuses on another of the Baxendale sisters. Mercy is the tomboy of the family who matures into a thoughtful and considerate girl who has no wish to rock the family respectability so when scandal threatens, she does what is expected of her and marries Grant, Viscount Northcliffe.
Mercy might be strong willed and capable, with an eye to starting her own business, but she longs to be loved by the husband she has grown to adore. However, Grant’s his secret work for the Crown prevents him sharing a large part of his life with his new wife, while Mercy worries that he is also continuing his liaison with his mistress.
This is a lovely story where pride and misunderstandings stand in the way of a couple’s happiness, until Mercy’s life is put in danger and all secrets must be revealed.
I shall be sorry when Ms Andersen runs out of Baxendale girls, but as most of them have children perhaps she will introduce us to the next generation.
Anita Davison.