Fated Hearts, the cover…
I’m excited to share with everyone the cover for my next release, Fated Hearts! This story is out for copy edits, and I’ll be putting it up soon for preorder for the December 29th release date. Here’s more about the story:
Fated Hearts, A Love After All Retelling of the Scottish Play
Fated Hearts is my story for the Tragic Characters in Classic Literature Project, wherein with complete artistic license and an abundance of hubris, a group of Regency romance authors are retelling some of the great stories of literature. We’re setting our stories in Georgian England, and giving each of these tragic heroes and heroines a happily-ever-after.
The Tragic Heroes for this project include Heathcliff, the Sheriff of Nottingham, Orpheus and Euridice, Frankenstein, and Colonel FitzWilliam of Pride and Prejudice. My hero, as you’ve probably figured out, is Macbeth, and of course, there’s a heroine, his lady, plus a young earl named Malcolm, Macbeth’s and Greer’s daughter, Lucie, and a villain.
Like the Bard himself, I’ve taken old stories and characters, set them into a time period of my choosing, and shaped them to meet the requirements of genre. No tragedy for me, thank you very much. There’s enough of that in the real world!
Here’s the blurb:
A Scottish Baron returning from two decades at war meets the wife he divorced and the daughter he disavowed, only to learn that everything he’d believed was a lie.
What he can’t deny is that she’s the only woman he’s ever loved. They’re not the young lovers they once were, but when passion flares, it burns more hotly than ever it did in their youth.
They soon discover, it wasn’t fate or superstition that drove them apart, but a jealous enemy, who played on his youthful arrogance and her vulnerability. Now that old enemy has resurfaced, more dangerous than ever.
Here’s an excerpt introducing Macbeth’s lady:
As the lights of London came into view, Greer Douglas smoothed the silk skirt of her evening gown and glanced out the coach window again. “I wondered if we should be quite safe traveling so late at night.” Chelsea seemed such a great distance from Mayfair, though at home in Scotland, she’d often traveled farther back and forth on market day.
Her companion grunted. “I had rather have stayed home and read the proposed Corn Law. Not to mention that it is Lent.”
Greer would have chuckled, had she not been so nervous. Malcolm Comyn, Earl of Menteith, was a sober young man, but not a pious one. “We are in England now, Malcolm, two fish out of water and we must learn to swim. As long as we don’t have to surrender my new earbobs to a highwayman.”
“Aunt Fiona read the tea leaves and felt the coachman and groom shall be adequate protection.” He patted her hand. “Do not ye worry, Cousin. I’m not wholly incapable of handling a dirk and a pistol. Though I had rather not.”
“Ye had rather not mingle, either.”
“So true. But Aunt Fiona insisted we must honor her friend by attending this affair, and so we are here.”
Lady Fiona Carlin, who’d been widowed longer than Greer’s thirty-eight years, had surprised them both at breakfast with this invitation to her friend’s small gathering. The elderly lady did not herself feel up to attending. Nor would Lady Fiona allow Greer’s daughter, Lucie, to attend until she had made her come-out.
When that would be, was anyone’s guess. Poor Lucie. At the age of almost twenty, she was anxious to experience more of London, especially the social events of the ton.
Greer feared that her daughter’s manners needed further refinement. Like her mother, Lucie was a country girl, unused to higher society. Life had smoothed out most of her own rough edges but Lucie was often too direct, too outspoken. And her temper…
Greer pressed a hand to her chest and tried to breathe through the bad memories. Lucie’s temper was a gift from the father who had never met her.
“I suppose that honoring her friend is the least we can do to repay your aunt’s hospitality,” she said.
Two weeks after Malcolm’s departure from Scotland, a letter had arrived for Greer from Lady Fiona inviting her and Lucie to join Malcolm as her guests for the London season. She’d even sent the means for hiring a chaise and post riders.
Greer had made up her mind to write back declining—Malcolm would not want his irksome relations piling in on him in London. But as she read on, Lady Fiona mentioned the upcoming celebrations of the end of two decades of war, and the latest gossip.
And among the items of gossip she’d included the tidbit that Major Finnley Macbeth had arrived in London.
The time would come when they would speak—and just let her have a piece of him. But not tonight. Tonight, she wanted to see how the great world of London would welcome a woman like herself.
When their carriage jerked to its final stop in front of the brightly lit townhouse, Malcolm handed her out, and escorted her through the receiving line where their elderly hostess, Lady Estelle Walby, looked her over with a gleam in her eye that matched Lady Fiona’s.
And then Malcolm abandoned her.
“I must step away to the gentleman’s,” he said, with his usual bluntness. “Where will I find ye?”
“Since I don’t know a soul, I’ll seek out Lady Estelle when she’s free.”
He shook his head. “Proceed to the middle of the room, and I’ll find ye there shortly.”
“Yes, my lord,” she teased.
Wandering deeper into the room, she scanned the groupings of people. Not one familiar face. Not one. At home, in the Highlands, she’d know every soul at a local assembly.
Oh, but the gowns were far more magnificent here. The candelabra gleamed off exquisite jewels and sparkled in mirrors arranged to brighten the room. Large urns filled with roses and gladioli stood on pillars, and along one wall, chaperones kept eagle eyes on girls Lucie’s age. Some of the young ladies looked as nervous as herself.
Across the room, she caught the curious gaze of three young bucks. One whispered to the other. She lifted her chin and turned fully around.
And for one desperate moment her heart stopped, and then started up again in a wild gallop.
A man stood watching her, a tall, broad chested man in a gold waistcoat and a fine dark coat, golden-eyed and handsome, with hair flaming in bright tones of red, hair pulled back into an old-fashioned queue, hair that used to fall to strong shoulders in wild tangled waves.
Finnley was here.
You can find another excerpt on this earlier post. I’ll share more about this new release and other stories in this bold project later!