It is my absolute pleasure to once again welcome Beverley Oakley to the Down Under Divas. Yes, I’m biased when it comes to Bev, but I love her work, and have for many, many years. She and I belong to the same incredible critique group, and she (and the group) have been my support and my rock for ten years now.

So when I have an opportunity to brag that Bev has a new book out, believe me, I am going to brag. And guess what?

BEV HAS A NEW BOOK OUT!!! A hot historical from Ellora’s Cave.

So, now you have a choice. You can ignore the rest of the post and get straight to EC and buy the book. (Just click this link.) Or you can read the post and then get to EC and buy the book. Either way…BUY THE BOOK!

😉

Jess

Welcome Bev….

Her Gilded Prison

By Beverley Oakley

Hi Sami, Jess, Lexxi and Rhian. Thanks so much for having me here to guest blog.

And hi everyone ‘out there’. I hope your Easter holiday plans are taking shape nicely. I’m gearing up for the trip of a lifetime immediately after the break to do a two-week camping/motorcycle trip through California with my husband before heading off to the Romantic Times Convention in Kansas City where I’m looking forward to meeting up with fellow erotic romance writers and old friends like Jess, Sami, Rhian and Lexxie.

In the meantime I have all the excitement of my first Ellora’s Cave erotic Regency Historical to nurture and promote. Her Gilded Prison was released on Friday.

Now, I’m a real devotee of BBC period dramas and could watch every Jane Austen remake a dozen times, as I have the Downton Abbey series this past year. I love these stories and they unashamedly inspire my own Regency and historical romances, except that my stories go beyond the bedroom door. Way beyond.

HerGildedPrison

Her Gilded Prison is an older woman, younger man story and as the story unfolded I was surprised by developments. I’d never considered writing an older woman younger man story. In fact, the heroine was supposed to be Araminta, the exquisite, self-centred daughter of Lady Sybil, my long-married new heroine. However Araminta was going through the worst phase of her fiery adolescence. She just did not deserve to be the heroine of her own book. When she’s grown up a bit she’s getting her own story in Book 3.

Her Gilded Prison begins as my hero Stephen Cranbourne, the gorgeous, randy twenty-four year old heir apparent of ageing Viscount Partington, starts his journey to take up his new position. En route he’s waylaid by an attractive, scheming fortune hunter… with consequences that return to haunt him.

Once ensconced on Lord Partington’s estate, The Grange, Stephen sets several feminine hearts aflutter and it’s hard to say no when the viscount’s vibrant, beautiful daughter, Araminta sets her cap at him.

But another contender for the viscountcy knocks Stephen from his perch.

Edgar, Viscount Partington’s cabbage-headed clodpoll of a nephew turns up from the battlefield, not having died a hero, but having disappeared a deserter.

This is when my real heroine steals the show. Always overlooked, lovely, loyal Lady Sybil, Viscount Partington’s neglected wife, realises that she must take bold measures to ensure the estate and title does not go to Edgar.

And for this she needs Stephen’s help.

Below is an extract from the first chapter.

HER GILDED PRISON

Chapter One

The three men were on their knees, heads craned forward, eyes fixed with prurient interest on the amorous adventure playing out on the gossamer web before them.

“He’s launching in, for God’s sake! Dipping his wick—if you could only see it! Look at him.” The young Earl of Barston’s breath was hot on Stephen’s arm, his gaze rapt as he asked in an excited whispered, “She’ll kill him for it?”

Stephen’s host, Sir Archie Ledger, laughed coarsely. “You say he knows his reward is death?” The young baronet jostled his companions for a better look and his eyes bulged with excitement.  He twisted his head to dart a glance at his wife who sat calmly embroidering at the far end of the drawing room, before adding under his breath, “The fuck of eternal damnation, eh? I reckon that’s what I got.”

It was no secret Sir Archie had been pressured into marriage following an indiscretion with the lovely but sharp-tongued Miss Julia Preston.

Lady Julia raised her head at the commotion and her voice cut like scissors into the schoolboy game Stephen was orchestrating. “I say, gentlemen, what’s more interesting than paying some attention to the ladies? Mr. Cranbourne, I want you to please take a seat by me and tell me all about your new benefactor.”

The three young men huddled closer, eyes still fixed on the spider’s web just below the escritoire. “Take cover, gentlemen, here she comes.” Sir Archie’s tone soured. “No, it’s no good. She’s found us. Story of my life. Fun’s over.”

Stephen, still on his knees, blinked to see first Lady Julia’s well-turned ankle and then, as she bent down, her lovely face. As her lively green eyes locked with his he wondered at Archie’s discontent. She was a diamond of the first water.

“What is so fascinating, gentlemen?” Her intimate murmur sounded as if it were just for him. Her gaze was certainly focused on him as her mouth curved in a secret, knowing smile.

Stephen sucked in a breath and found he was quite unable to answer. Since he’d come back from war he was unused to mixing in such elite company, though he remembered frequenting houses like this when he was a boy before his mother’s decline.

Just when he assumed she’d solicit her husband for information, she brushed his hand with hers, the smile that was just for him still in place.

Good God, he thought he’d imagined it before. Now, with Sir Archie still on his haunches to her right, reluctantly in the process of rising, Stephen was quite clearly being conveyed a secret message. Lady Julia admired him. He forced himself to breathe evenly as his cock sprang to attention. He could not rise now, for God’s sake. He must keep them watching at least a few seconds longer.

“She’s going to devour him.” The urgency in his voice that had nothing to do with the mating spiders.

“Nothing happening.” Archie sounded bored as he groaned and gripped the table leg to heave himself up. Stephen had wondered at a match between the spindly-legged, chinless baronet and the ravishing debutante conducted in such haste the season before. He’d not thought about the lovely Miss Julia again until news spread that the couple had been blessed with twin boys within a barely timely eight and a half months of their nuptials.

Now Lady Julia looked as dewy fresh and desirable as she had when Stephen had admired her in the ballroom as a young man experienced in battle but completely unprepared for London society. His mother had left him little of the vast fortune she’d frittered away through drink and gambling but enough to at least deport himself like the gentleman he’d been born.

He managed. Just.

“No, nothing happening,” muttered Barston, rising unsteadily. “I’ll wager a thousand monkeys you’re all hot air, Cranbourne.”

Lady Julia, who’d straightened, bent at the waist to peer again at the scene that had so excited the gentlemen. “Oh, my goodness, the spider jumped!” she squeaked, twisting round so suddenly she tripped over her husband’s arm and fell full length upon Stephen.

For a second he just lay beneath her, eyes wide with shock as her soft curves molded his hard—very hard—contours, not all of them his bones.

“Get up, Julia. Cranbourne, do you accept the wager?” Archie, who sounded as if these were everyday occurrences, took his wife’s elbow and hauled her to her feet. But not before Julia had slanted a knowing and very provocative look at Stephen.

“What? Er, yes,” Stephen mumbled, paying only half a mind. He rarely gambled these days. He had only to recall his wretched, fatherless youth and the antics of his feckless, beloved, wager-mad mama.

“Good fellow!” A hearty handshake followed as Stephen rose. He took refuge behind the back of the Egyptian sofa and forced a strained smile at his hosts.

“I do love an unusual wager.” Lady Julia adopted a pose of rare solidarity beside her husband. “So this big, bold, female spider—obviously a prime article in the arachnid world—has just suffered the amorous attentions of her tiny, boring, timid, ineffectual husband.” Her knowing smile broadened and her words were heavy with emphasis as she enunciated each one. It was impossible to miss her meaning and Stephen could only wonder that Archie didn’t bristle at the obvious allusion to their own marital situation. She stroked Archie’s arm while asking Stephen in silky tones, “You’re the celebrated man of science in the room, Mr. Cranbourne. Please explain in…explicit terms…the courting rituals of the spider world.”

Stephen flicked a glance at Archie. Fortunately he appeared to be his usual good-humored self—and just as keen for information as his wife.

He cleared his throat. “The male spider will court the female and…and then after he…”

“Impregnates her?” Lady Julia supplied with an inquiring smile.

“That’s correct, yes, the female will devour him.” Stephen let out his breath in a low whistle as his erection finally subsided. God, he hoped Archie hadn’t noticed. Lady Julia was a diamond of the first water but she was dangerous and Stephen wasn’t in a position to alienate the few advantageous connections he’d made since his unexpected elevation in the world.

“Nonsense!” Archie let out a guffaw. “The male of every species is infinitely superior in every respect and I’ll wager the insect world is no exception. Cranbourne, if this pretty boy spider is still safely in his love lair, gazing raptly at his lady love in two hours, then I’ve won the wager.”

END OF EXTRACT

That was a bit of fun. Gorgeous Stephen had better take care, hadn’t he?

You can buy Her Gilded Prison at Ellora’s Cave

and read more here:

www.beverleyoakley.com

www.facebook/AuthorBeverleyOakley

http://beverleyeikli.blogspot.com

https://twitter.com/#!/BeverleyOakley

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