Shannon here: Louise M. Gouge shares an excerpt from her Love Inspired Historical Classic, The Captain’s Lady. Comment or answer the question in this post to enter the drawing for a copy of the anthology, including Louise’s title paired with The Duke’s Redemption by Carla Capshaw. U.S. only. Deadline: January 18th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Louise:
Following up on my post here from last July, I’m excited to announce my second Love Inspired Classic. This historical romance is a sequel to July’s classic Love Thine Enemy, which was paired with Laurie Kingery’s The Outlaw’s Lady.
As I said in my previous post, I have always loved the history of the American Revolution. Imagine those ordinary people risking life, limb, and fortune to stand together and break their colonies away from the tyrannical English king who cared nothing for their hardships. In The Captain’s Lady, I continue the story of the “everyman” American Patriot Templeton family and the aristocratic British Loyalist Moberly family.
I love that my book is paired with Carla Capshaw’s The Duke’s Redemption, because both books are about spying during the Revolutionary war. The Duke’s Redemption is set in British-held South Carolina, while The Captain’s Lady takes readers to England for a taste of life among the aristocrats who were determined to keep the American colonies in King George III’s possession.
I hope you’ll get a taste for this adventure through reading an excerpt from the first chapter of The Captain’s Lady:
I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine. Song of Solomon 6:3
March 1776 – London, England
Lady Marianne peered down through the peephole into the drawing room while her heart raced. Against her back, the heavy woolen tapestry extolling one of her ancestors’ mighty deeds pushed her into the wall of her father’s bedchamber, nearly choking her with its ancient dust. Yet she would endure anything to observe the entrance of Papa’s guest.
Often in childhood she and her closest brother had evaded the notice of Greyson, Papa’s valet, and crept in here to spy on their parents’ guests, even catching a glimpse of the Prime Minister once when he deigned to call upon Papa, his trusted friend, the earl of Bennington. But no exalted politician captured Marianne’s interest this day.
Her breath caught. Captain James Templeton–Jamie–entered the room with Papa, and warmth filled her heart and flowed up to her cheeks.
The two men spoke with the enthusiasm of friends reunited after many months of separation and eager to share their news. Unable to hear their words, Marianne forced herself to breathe. Jamie, the Loyalist American captain of a merchant ship. How handsome he was, taller than Papa by several inches. His bronzed complexion and light brown hair—now sun-kissed with golden streaks and pulled back in a queue—gave evidence of long exposure to the sun on his voyages across the Atlantic Ocean. In contrast to Papa’s blue silk jacket and white satin breeches, Jamie wore a plain brown jacket and black breeches. Yet to Marianne, Jamie, with his stately bearing, appeared as elegant and noble as Papa.
Hidden high above the drawing room, Marianne could not clearly see the blue eyes whose intense gaze had pierced her soul and claimed her heart less than a year ago. Jamie, always honest, always forthright. No wonder Papa took an interest in him, even to the extent of calling him his protégé, despite his utter lack of social position and being an American.
Marianne suspected part of Papa’s interest stemmed from wanting to secure the captain’s loyalty now that thirteen of England’s American colonies had rebelled against the Crown. But last year she had seen that the old dear truly liked Jamie, perhaps even more than his own four sons, a fact that stung both her heart and Mama’s. Yet, despite that affection, the earl’s patronage might not extend to accepting a merchant for a son-in-law.
How she and Jamie would overcome this prejudice, Marianne did not know. At this moment, all she knew was that her own affection for Jamie was unchanged. Last summer, against the better judgment of both of them, their friendship had intensified through shared interests, from reading Shakespeare and Aristotle to spending hours sailing on the Thames. On a short excursion with Papa aboard Jamie’s large sloop, Fair Winds, Marianne and Jamie had whispered their confessions of undying love. Then Jamie had placed the sweetest, purest kiss on her lips, sealing her heart to his forever. Now her pulse pounded at the sight of him, and her heart felt a settled assurance that no other man could ever win her love.
Wriggling out of her hiding place between tapestry and wall, Marianne brushed dust from her pink day dress and hastened to the door. No doubt Greyson was below stairs, for at this time of day, Papa seldom required his services. Marianne escaped the bedchamber undetected and hurried down the hallway to her own quarters.
“Lady Marianne.” Emma emerged from her closet, her hands clasped at her waist. “Why, my lady, your dress.” She took hold of Marianne’s skirt and shook dust from it, then glanced up. “Oh, my. Your hair.” Her youthful, cherubic face creased with concern.
“Yes, Emma, I am a fright.” With a giddy laugh, Marianne brushed past her lady’s maid to sit at her dressing table. “Make haste and mend the damage. Oh, dear, look at this.” She removed a silvery cobweb from her hair, pulling several long black strands from the upswept coiffeur Emma had created earlier. “Please redo this. And I shall need another of my pink gowns.” More than one dandy had told her pink brought a pretty blush to her cheeks, so she wore the color often.
Her appearance repaired and Emma’s approving smile received, Marianne clutched her prayer book and hurried from her room. With a deep breath to compose herself, she held her head high and glided down the steps to the front entry hall. A quick glance revealed Jamie and Papa seated before the blazing hearth deep in genial conversation.
Marianne opened the book and mouthed the words of the morning prayer as she entered the room, not looking their way. Last year, Jamie’s parting words had encouraged her to greater piety, and she must let him know she had followed his advice.
The rustle of movement caught her attention. She cast a sidelong glance toward the men, who now stood to greet her.
“Why, Papa, I didn’t realize—” She stopped before completing the lie, while heat rushed to her cheeks. “Forgive me. I see you have a guest. Will you excuse me?” She could not look at Jamie for fear that her face would reveal her heart.
“Come, daughter, permit me to present my guest.” Papa beckoned her with a gentle wave of his bony, wrinkled hand. “You may recall him from last summer. Lady Marianne, Captain James Templeton of the East Florida Colony.” His presentation was accompanied by a shallow cough, and he held a lacy linen handkerchief to his lips.
Gripping her emotions, Marianne permitted herself to look at Jamie. His furrowed brow and the firm clenching of his square jaw sent a pang of worry through her. Was he not pleased to see her? Worse still, his gaze did not meet hers. Rather, he seemed to stare just over her head. Surely this was a ploy to divert any suspicion from the mutual affection they had spoken of only in whispers during his last visit.
“Good morning, Lady Marianne.” His rigid bow bespoke his lower status, but his rich, deep voice sent a pleasant shiver down her spine. “I hope you are well.”
Offering no smile, Marianne lifted her chin. “Quite well, thank you.”
About Louise: Florida author Louise M. Gouge writes historical romance fiction. She received the prestigious IRCA in 2005, was a finalist in 2011, 2015, 2016, and 2017, and placed in the Laurel Wreath contest in 2012. Louise earned a BA in Creative Writing from University of Central Florida and a Master of Liberal Studied degree from Rollins College. She taught English and humanities at Valencia College for sixteen and a half years and has written 27 novels, fifteen of which were published under Harlequin’s Love Inspired Historical imprint. Learn more and connect:
About the Anthology:
With revolution comes danger…and romance
The Duke’s Redemption by Carla Capshaw
Drake Amberly, Duke of Hawk Haven, is determined to unmask the spy who killed his brother. Yet the more he sees of Elise Cooper, the more he’s drawn to her…never suspecting her secret. When his pursuit of “The Fox” brings him dangerously close to the truth, Elise will have to risk everything to prove that love and forgiveness are all they need.
The Captain’s Lady by Louise M. Gouge
Torn between love and duty, American Patriot James Templeton must deny his heart to help win his country’s freedom.
Captain James Templeton’s orders from General Washington are clear. His target: Lord Bennington, a member of George III’s Privy Council. The assignment: find Bennington’s war plans. The risks: the future of the East Florida Colony, Jamie’s life…and his heart. In spite of the dangers of their hopeless situation, he’s fallen in love with Lady Marianne Moberly, Lord Bennington’s daughter. Desperate to protect his country, Jamie carries out his orders with a heavy heart. But Marianne’s persistence is a challenge he never expected. With love and faith, they must navigate troubled waters to win their future together.
Question for Readers: Other than the obvious truth that the Americans won the war and established a brand-new county, the United States of America, what is an interesting detail you know about that war?
Come back Jan 14th for Lori Ramsey!