Author of the Courtesan Court Trilogy
Serendipity: an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident.
I’m a big believer in serendipity. It’s happened to me way too many times to ignore. I’ll be going along writing about something completely random, and many days/months/years/words later, that random thing proves to be just the key to a locked door.
That’s how my Courtesan Court series came to be. On one page my unlikely-mistress heroine wondered what the other women on Jane Street were doing, and I discovered I could tell her in two more books. And since I wanted the titles to be similar, I had Mistress by Mistake and Mistress by Midnight. Ah, for the third one? I said somewhere Mistress by Menopause just didn’t have the same cachet. So Marriage it was.
I had a title, but no plot. How could you become your own husband’s mistress, especially when your husband was ice-cold Edward Christie and you were warm-blooded Caroline Christie, about to be scandalously and expensively divorced? (Not an easy feat in regency England) And how serendipitous to discover another Caroline about to be given the boot by her husband the King at the exact same time I set the book? One can’t argue with serendipity.
Too late for cold feet
Baron Edward Christie prided himself on his reputation for even temperament and reserve. That was before he met Caroline Parker. Wedding a scandalous beauty by special license days after they met did not inspire respect for his sangfroid. Moving her to a notorious lovebirds’ nest as punishment for her flighty nature was perhaps also a blow. And of course talk has gotten out of his irresistible clandestine visits. Christie must put his wife aside—if only he can get her out of his blood first.
Too hot to refuse
Caroline Parker was prepared to hear the worst: that her husband had determined to divorce her, spare them both the torture of passion they can neither tame nor escape. But his plan is wickeder than any she’s ever heard. Life as his wife is suffocating. But she cannot resist becoming her own husband’s mistress…
“Hell and damnation!” Edward tossed the missive into the farthest corner of his study and set his eyeglasses on their tray. According to a friend in high places who knew the secret machinations of their monarch, it seemed he would now be condemned to stay in Town all summer to haggle over the marital situation of his king and his unlucky wife. A Bill of Pain and Penalties was being prepared, a completely apt name as far as Edward was concerned. There would be untold pain and penalties for him. He could of course send the children to the country for their planned holiday with his sister, but he was doomed to sit in the heat and misery to discuss the cold and miserable state of George IV’s marriage. Queen Caroline was already parading all over London, and every peer, bishop and judge would be required to attend the trial, which could go on indefinitely. Interminably.
Odd that two Carolines were the key to his discomfort. In the few days he’d returned to Caro’s bed, he had been unable to wean himself from wanting her with an intensity that was somewhat frightening. He’d looked forward to escaping to Christie Park to contemplate his newly single state. Now his days would be tied up in the stuffy confines of an annex to the House of Lords, and his nights---
Caro would know his plans had changed. The whole of England was privy to the Queen Consort’s and George’s difficulty, and this latest step of the king’s to remove the boil that was his wife from his backside was sure to attract the interest of all his subjects. Everyone knew they had been mismatched and unfaithful to each other for years, yet even after the ‘Delicate Investigation’ fifteen years ago, George had been unsuccessful in untethering himself from his German cousin.
Now there was this new movement afoot to be rid of Caroline of Brunswick once and for all. Once she returned from abroad, the fragile deal that had been forged splintered apart. Edward supposed he should consider himself lucky. His Caroline had never been quite as indiscreet as George’s unwanted wife, nor as demanding.
Would Caro still expect him to provide her with a new schedule once she learned he wasn’t going to leave for the country after all? Could he even stick to a schedule, when every conscious minute of the day included thoughts of her? Resuming his marital rights had only reminded him how empty and dull his life had been without Caro in it. He had been well and truly hoisted on his own petard.
And how ironic that all his future days were to be tied up in the dissolution of a marriage not his own. What this would do to advance his own plight he had no idea. If the government was to rehash the scandal about Queen Caroline and her Italian secretary for the foreseeable future ---shades of Mary Queen of Scots!---there might not be opportunity to shoehorn in his own petition. Edward let out an uncharacteristic growl.
There’s nothing like bringing a composed, uncompromising, perfectly proper man like Baron Edward Christie to his knees. Once he falls, he rips society’s shackles off and does some surprising things indeed.
Do you believe in serendipity? Have you ever had a lucky conjunction in your life when all things fell into place? Tell me for a chance to win a signed copy of Mistress by Marriage!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Maggie Robinson is a former teacher, library clerk and mother of four who woke up in the middle of the night, absolutely compelled to create the perfect man and use as many adverbs as possible doing so. A transplanted New Yorker, she lives with her not-quite perfect husband in Maine, where the cold winters are ideal for staying inside and writing hot historical romances. For more info on the book visit: http://www.maggierobinson.net/books/mistress-by-marriage/