Today we have a guest on the blog: Grace Elliot, author of A Dead Man’s Debt. She’s sharing where she gets her inspiration. Don’t forget to comment on this post for a chance to win a PDF copy of A Dead Man’s Debt!
Ask a writer what question they are most frequently asked – and most will answer, “Where do you get your ideas?”
Now, I’m a veterinarian by day and an author by night, and so it might seem odd that my thoughts turn to writing historical romance…but that’s why I love it…because it uses a different part of my brain. Dealing with the science of medicine and surgery in my working day, it’s a relief…a de-stress if you like, to let the creative side take over, and inspiration comes in many forms and some strange places.
It may sound bizarre but the idea behind ‘A Dead Man’s Debt’ sprang from seeing a portrait of Emma Hart (who became Lady Hamilton and then Nelson’s mistress.) The painting by George Romney shows an innocent yet lush young woman, scantily clad with a hint of bosom, brazenly staring out of the canvas with an allure that is quite hypnotic. It struck me as sensational for an 18th century work, that the sitter was not prim, proper, straight backed and starchy. It must have been utterly scandalous at the time! But who would be bold enough to commission such a portrait? (As it happened Emma Hart was ahead of her time and loved to flout convention…but that’s another story.)
What a delicious idea for a story! What if the woman in the painting wanted to shock? What if, years later, this rebellious streak threatened to disgrace her family? What if only the son she despises can save her reputation… but at the price of his secret love?
So, if you want to forget your worries for a little while, why not read ‘A Dead Man’s Debt’ (just $2.99)
FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A PDF COPY – PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT.
‘A Dead Man’s Debt’ by Grace Elliot
Celeste Armitage has a plan…and that plan doesn’t include marriage.
After deliberately humiliating a suitor, Celeste’s despairing parents exile her to the country. But once there she discovers a sketch book of daring nude studies and is shaken to find the artist is her hostess’s eldest son, Lord Ranulf Charing. This darkly cynical lord is exactly the sort of dissipated rogue she despises most…if only her blood didn’t heat at the thought of him…
Nothing is as it seems. Lord Ranulf’s life is a façade. Only he can save the Charing’s from disgrace as a blackmailer seeks to ruin his late brother’s reputation. But just as Ranulf dares to open his heart to Celeste, the fury of his nemesis is unleashed… facing him with the stark choice between true love and family duty. However when Celeste guesses the truth behind his rejection, Ranulf underestimates her resolve to clear his name and in so doing places the woman he loves in mortal danger….
Here’s an excerpt from “A Dead Man’s Debt”:
So be it. Ranulf gritted his teeth as he grasped the leading leg and pushed. It was like fighting against a brick wall, the calf barely moving. A lamb was difficult enough, how much more so a calf? Just as he was wondering if one man was strong enough, a shower of pebbles rattled down the bank. Concentrating on the calf, he barked.
“Don’t just stand there. Get down here!”
“I beg your pardon!” A woman’s voice answered.
With a flash of annoyance Ranulf glanced upward.
A wide eyed young woman in a straw bonnet peered down. “I say, is everything all right?”
“Does it look all right?” Muttering under his breath, all he needed was some sensitive Miss fainting on him. “Go! Fetch help from the house.”
He saw her hesitate, biting her top lip. “But you need help now.”
A contraction clamped around his arm as the cow’s tail switched across his face, stinging his eyes like a cat-o-nine-tails.
In a flurry of muslin and lace the Miss slid down the bank, landing with a thud in the ditch.
“Ouch.” She rubbed her ankle. Ranulf glared back, dark eyes flashing.
“You should have gone to the house.” Damn it all, she could make herself useful then. “Hold the tail aside.”
Pulling a face she limped over. Ranulf’s eye lingered for she merited a second glance. Of middle height with a tidy waist and curves where God intended them, she appeared quick witted and bright eyed. Without further ado, she stripped off her gloves throwing them onto a bramble bush. Long, sensitive fingers grasped the muddy tail. Practical, Ranulf thought, silently impressed.
“Why didn’t you go for help?”
“There wasn’t time.” Her bonnet slipped backwards, revealing a quirky face with a pointed chin, her lips finely drawn with an arched cupid’s bow. The sort of face an artist could lose himself in, all shades of the sea to be found in deep emerald eyes framed by a tangle of chestnut hair.
Ranulf tightened his grasp and pushed. Sweat beading his brow. The calf retreated an inch.
“What are you doing?” Her voice was gentle and calm, if somewhat deep for a woman. Ranulf guessed it would be husky in bed, whispering over a pillow after a night of passion. Her eyes were on him – deep green eyes, lively and entrancing. Suddenly he remembered that he was undressed to the waist, her curious gaze on his skin as he was gripped by the idea of those lily white hands gliding over his naked chest, her almond shaped nails digging into his skin. He shook away the thought, trying to remember her question.
All innocence and interest she watched, blushing faintly in a charming way and yet, he realized, no wilting flower. He shook his head. The woman had asked a question, damn it. He would answer.
“The calf is breech.” He grunted, “I need to push her back into the womb to turn her…” He wanted to shock this stranger, to test how bold she truly was. She stared back, biting her top lip, exaggerating her snub nose.
“Ah!” Her gaze met his.
“Think of the calf as a carriage in a narrow driveway. To turn it around you push it back into the stable yard…”
“What can I do to help?”
“Nothing.” He growled.
Throwing him an angry look, she anchored the tail with a log and scrambled round to the beast’s head. After a moment‟s thought, she placed her pelisse under the cow’s head stroking the broad nose and crooning words of comfort.
“She’s relaxing.” Ranulf’s arm was numb from the contractions. He fell forward, as the first leg finally slid back into the womb. “That helps.” His hair had come free from the ribbon, falling thickly about his shoulders. He glanced at the Miss. She was leaning forward, her bosom straining against a tight bodice, a satisfying cleavage between her breasts. He swallowed hard. She was odd looking, he decided, not exactly beautiful but eye catching none the less. Her face showed character, determination…and her complexion too healthy to be fashionable, rosy cheeked and peppered with freckles which with a hint of sunlight burst into a profusion.
The Miss was glaring at him now, her skin glowing bright pink. Had he been staring? His heart raced as he returned to the calving.
Here’s what reviewers have said:
“Historical romance at its best.” Once Upon A Chapter 5/5
“Totally engrossing…sensual and evocative writing.” Fiction Books. 5/5
“Breathtaking sensuality…page turning drama…a wonderful talent.” The Romance Reviews. 5/5
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“A Dead Man’s Debt” is available from:
About the Author:
Grace Elliot leads a double life as a veterinarian by day and author of historical romance by night. Grace lives near London and is addicted to cats, acting as housekeeping staff to five mischievous moggies.
Grace believes intelligent people need romantic fiction in their lives as an antidote to the modern world and as an avid reader of historicals she turned to writing as a release from the emotionally draining side of veterinary work. Her debut novel ‘A Dead Man’s Debt’ is a story of blackmail, duty and unexpected love.
Now available from most eBook stores including Amazon, price $2.99.