* * * * *
Anna Randol, author of the newly released novella, A MOST NAKED SOLUTION, and I are here at the tavern owned by Mr. and Mrs. Haws in the village of Weltford in England, the year is 1816. The tavern is well-kept and clean. Oak paneling. Roaring fire in the hearth. We’re tucked away in a quiet corner with a good view of the town out of the window.
A handsome, well-dressed lord and blond, almost ethereal lady enter and go straight to the bar to speak with Mr. Haws, the owner of the establishment.
Haws: (shifts behind the bar, the rag in his hand slowing) Lord Grey. Lady Harding. It’s a surprise to see you both again. (pauses) So soon.
Lord Grey: I’ve come to ask again if you remember any strangers from around the time of Lord Harding’s murder. Lady Harding has come along to tell you how grateful she’ll be for any help.
Lady Harding: (hesitates) Of course.
Haws: (lowers his eyes to the top of the bar) Well, er …
Mrs. Haws explodes out of the kitchen. A look passes between her and Lady Harding.
Lord Grey: (watches the two women and sets his jaw before returning his attention to Haws) I know two men were here after the murder. Two men from London.
Lady Harding pales. She and Lord Grey whisper back and forth. Despite Anna and my best attempts, we cannot overhear what they say. However, we do hear Lord Grey’s growl. Sophia quickly backs away, her face wary.
Amy: (lowers her voice so only Anna can hear) Do you think we should—
Mrs. Haws throws a mug of ale in the man's face before we have a chance to act. Anna and I stare at each other wide-eyed as he mops up the mess, and we’re definitely disappointed when the pair leave a few moments later.
Mrs. Haws comes over to our table, the steaming meat pie we ordered in her hands. The crust is golden and flaky and just a touch of rich, brown gravy is bubbling out from under the crust.
Considering her treatment of Lord Grey, we are a trifle hesitant to take the pie.
Mrs. Haws: (winks) I’m not normally in the habit of throwing things at my customers.
Anna: (eyes her warily but then takes the pie) What was going on over there?
Mrs. Haws: (frowns) Lord Grey may be justice of the peace, but I won’t have him scaring women in my tavern. Especially not Lady Harding. The poor chick’s been through enough.
Amy: What precisely has she been through?
Mrs. Haws: (sighs) What with the death of her beast of a husband, then Lord Grey suspecting she had something to do with it. The man finally pries himself away from his mathematics and it’s to investigate the murder.
Anna: (eyes wide) Did she have something to do with it?
Mrs. Haws: (glares) If you think that, then you’re as blind as his lordship. She’s a sweet, dear lady, and if she wants me to keep quiet about the two men that were in the tavern at the time of her husband’s death, I’ll do it.
Anna and Amy glance at each other.
Amy: (lowers voice) She asked you to keep quiet about something?
Anna: (glances at Amy) That seems rather suspicious.
Mrs. Haws: (scowls) Now look what you have gone and made me say. Now eat your pie before I have to take my rolling pin to both your backsides.
We quickly grab our forks and plates and scoop a hearty portion for ourselves.
Amy: (calls out as Mrs. Haws walks away) Is there something between the two of them? They couldn’t seem to keep their eyes off each other.
Mrs. Haws: (a smile crosses her face) She did love him as a girl, you know. She wrote him the only letter he received while he was in the army. (Her smile turns to a grimace.) Of course, he never wrote her back.
Anna: (frowns) How very sad. (suddenly smiles) But then perhaps now that they’re together again—
Mrs. Haws: (winks, smiles, and lowers her voice) Hush now, don’t jinx it.
* * * * *
Sometimes the best solution is found in bed . . .
Lady Sophia Harding: beautiful, blond, and . . .capable of murder? That's what Lord Camden Grey intends to find out. It is Camden's duty to uphold the laws of the land. His neighbor's pale beauty and winsome grace don't make her the most likely suspect, but is the innocent and altogether beguiling look in her eyes the truth, or is she secretly a scheming seductress?
Lord Camden Grey is entirely too distracting and too smart. Sophia knows that to keep her family's secrets, she must avoid any entanglements with the powerful and brutally handsome man. But the pull of their mutual desire is all-consuming. Can Sophia trust Camden with the truth when she knows it might kill the love that has grown between them?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Anna Randal writes sultry, adventurous Regency romances for Avon. Her first novel, A Secret In Her Kiss, earned a starred review and Top Pick in Romance from Publisher’s Weekly, who called it a “...masterful debut…[that] spins a tale replete with mystery, espionage, and memorable romance.” When she’s not plotting fun, sexy storylines, Anna’s usually eating dark chocolate, having wild dance parties with her kids in the living room, or remodeling her house one ill-planned project at a time.
Our trip to the past was brief but we've learned that Lady Sophia Harding has friends who love and care about her. Mrs. Haws is even hopeful for a lasting romance between Sophia and Lord Grey even if she did throw ale in his face.
I'd like very much to thank Anna for traveling with me and creating such a delightfully fun post for our Wacky Wednesday (I did help a little by giving her the idea.) It's obvious that her creative talents know no bounds. Thank you, Miss Anna and know that you are always so very welcome here at UNWRAPPING ROMANCE. xoxo
Now, Anna and I would like to ask if you could travel to the past, what event would YOU like to eavesdrop on?
One lucky commenter will win an ecopy of A MOST NAKED SOLUTION from Anna to celebrate the release of this most excellent novella.
Please leave a comment & a valid EMAIL ADDRESS for as I've said before, if I can't contact you, you cannot win.
This Giveaway is OPEN TO EVERYONE and will run until 11:30PM EDT Friday, June 29, 2012 and the winner will be announced on Saturday after being notified by email. (See why that email address is important?)
Happy Reading Everyone and Good Luck!!
A MOST NAKED SOLUTION, a novella by Anna Randol, Avon Impulse, now available in ebook format.