La Contessa and The Marquis has to be one of the most interesting and unique regency cozy mysteries I’ve ever written. Normally, I will come up with the book title and storyline then add in the characters as needed.
With this book it didn’t quite work that way. One day last spring (2014) I was at the drive-up at my local Starbucks and noticed the barista’s name-Bianca. As I’m always looking for interesting names for the characters in my books I thought it would make an interesting name for my heroine. The only problem, it was Italian so how could I fit it into a regency book. Not to mention I had no idea for a storyline or even a title.
For the next month or so I sat on the name while I mulled over story ideas in my mind, which can be a challenge being a man. I was also writing a regency suspense at this time also. As that book came to a close I was able to devote more energy to this one.
I wanted the heroine to be the wife of an Italian peer so I needed to research that and decide on what rank she’d have. Finally settling on contessa I then need a reason for her to be in England, or was it a return after several years.
Being a cozy mystery, as you know the murder never takes place on the page but in the background, I needed to decide who died. Not to mention, ‘who done it’ and why.
With those problems resolved I then needed to come up with the hero. I went with the eldest son of a duke who you never meet. I wanted him to be a rakehell, thus the series name Rogues and Rakehells Mystery. To make him more interesting his godmother was not only a Grand Dame but was so fierce she could make Prinny quake in fear if they met.
With three of my characters defined, as much as a panster can do, I dived headlong into writing the book. A little over two months later I submitted it to my dear friend Opal at TouchPoint Romance, an imprint of TouchPoint Publisher. Within three weeks I was contracted for this book.
La Contessa and The Marquis is only available on all the Amazon sites and is in their Select program.
About the Author
I’ve been an avid reader ever since I was old enough to hold a red leather bound first edition copy of Sir Walter Scott’s The Lady of the Lake in my lap.
So it only seemed natural at some point in my life I take up pen and paper to start writing. Over time my skills slightly improved which I attribute to my English teachers.
My breakthrough came about in the mid 1970’s when I read a historical romance written by Sergeanne Golon, Angelique. This French husband and wife team opened my eyes to the real world of fiction. Stories about romance, beautiful damsels, handsome heroes and plots which kept me hooked. Of course, being a man, I had to keep my reading hidden from others as that wasn’t appropriate reading for men.
With this new found appreciation of the written word I took up other books and devoured them as a starving person would a plate of food. I them attempted to write again. I still wasn’t satisfied so I put it aside for years as other events entered my life.
Finally, in the early years of the new millennium I tried again to write and once again met with limited success. At least now I was able to get past the first page or two. Then, in 2006 a life changing event brought me back to my love, I took a job as a security officer. This allowed me plenty of time to read different genres.
My favourite was regency. As I poured through everyone I could get my hands on I knew this could be something I wanted to attempt.
Since 2012 when my debut regency romantic suspense released I was hooked and have, except for a few contemporaries, focused on this genre.
Since 2012 I’ve lived in central Texas. I’m also a member of Romance Writers of America and their local chapter.
Where you can find me-
Lindsay Downs-Romance Author- http://lindsaydowns-romanceauthor.weebly.com/
About the Book
When Bianca Maria Ledford Goretti, La Contessa de Massa, flees back to her homeland and the safety of her godmother, The Duchess of Gorham, little does she realize who’s arms she lands in.
Lord Rainer Cross, Marquis of Hathaway, is a well-known and dangerous rakehell within the ton. Little does he suspect his godmother has set him up to halt his skirt chasing days.
Over time the reason for Bianca’s return comes to light which has Rainer deeply concerned. Not sure who he can trust Rainer turns to has several of his more interesting staff. He has them use their talents to ferret out the truth.
Everything get more complicated when they learn a friend might not be who he claims to be. Not sure who to trust, except Rainer and the duchess, Bianca learns several startling facts which could protect her from harm.
Once everything is revealed the duchess steps in with a surprise, something neither could have ever seen coming.
Rainer Cross, Marquis of Hathaway, settled his shoulder against a pillar where he’d ensconced himself so he could overlook the ballroom. A warning glare to several want to be rakes was all that was needed to send them scurrying back to their mommas.
With a renewed resolve, to search down one particular individual, his piercing blue eyes studied the throng of ladies. Some too old but searching for a lover, even if for a brief tryst. Others on the hunt for a husband of which he had no interest, at least with them, as he already had his sights set on one person in particular.
Granted, he’d not seen her, except from a distance, but if the reports were to be believed she was, without a doubt the most beautiful lady, the truest diamond, to ever grace the ton.
Then, as if Venus rising from the ocean, she appeared at the top of the grand ballroom vestibule. He could feel the air rush from his lungs, something he’d never experienced before, as he fixed his gaze on her.
Seeing her in the flesh, as it were, he knew all the whispers circulating about had been true. Without a doubt she was the most beautifully, enchanting and mysterious woman he ever set his eyes upon.
He was pleased to see she was conversing animatedly with an elderly, heavily bejewelled woman. From where he was standing and the angle of the matron, Rainer wasn’t able to see her face.
“As long as she’s not my godmother, then I most assuredly will gain an introduction to the Contessa,” he mumbled to himself.
Due to the loud voices, so everyone could be heard over the musicians, he didn’t hear their presentation. His only concern was the woman accompanying the contessa as he already knew her name- Bianca Maria Ledford Goretti, La Contessa de Massa. Levering himself off the pillar he started toward them, still unable to see who her chaperone was when a friend, another fellow rake, stopped him.
“Rain, I do hope you’re not going after that delicate morsel, as I’ve it on excellent authority she’s eaten up and spit out several lords,” Tony, or more precisely Anthony Fuller, Earl of Wyatt, his friend from their days at Eton then university, informed him.
“My dear friend if she does, then I’ll die a happy man for la Contessa is a gem whom I wish to possess.”
“Ah, and that’s the rub. After she dismisses you she’ll then tread over your heart leaving nothing but a shell of a man. Trust me on this for I’m sure you’ve heard the rumour her first husband died mysteriously.”
“Tony, the only lady I fear is my godmother. If you’ll excuse me I’m going to attempt an introduction,” Rainer told him. With a pat on Tony’s shoulder he stepped around his friend and started for the divan where both ladies had settled.
As he made his way forward he wasn’t surprised to see both women had already collected a small group of young ladies around them. What he found amusing were several swains on the outskirts, all trying to be noticed by either lady.
Upon seeing a frontal assault was out of the question Rainer selected to attack from the rear. Stepping into an adjourning, but linked, alcove he easily approached them and came to a halt within feet of his object.
“Damn. I thought she wasn’t in town,” he mumbled on spying his nemesis, best known as his godmother, The Duchess of Gorham.
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Written content of this post copyright © Lindsay Downs, 2015.