Message From The Author

Author's Message

"Honorable debts are always overlooked, or so says the nonsensical Cousin Felicity in my first book for Avon, NO MARRIAGE OF CONVENIENCE, an offbeat Regency homage to my favorite filmsthe screwball comedies of the 30s.

Consider the premise: Oxford professor Mason St. Clair (think Jimmy Stewarts bumbling good intentions inside Cary Grants suave exterior) inherits the family title only to find the estate bankrupt. And despite Cousin Felicitys assertions to the contrary, no one is overlooking the mountain of Ashlin debts.

Mason has also inherited from his free-spending and mistress-happy brother, the housing, feeding, and dressmaking bills of their addle-pated cousin whose penchant for shopping is only adding to the steady stream of bill collectors camped on their doorstep. Add into this tangle three unmarried nieces, who resemble a pack of rabid badgers more than a trio of innocent misses awaiting their social debut.

Burdened by these unwanted obligations, Mason wants nothing more than to return to his teaching post at Oxford, especially after Cousin Felicity confides that shes promised the girls he will find them excellent matches in the upcoming Season.

So it is up to my principled and honorable hero to put the Ashlin earldom and family to rights. To his dismay it appears his only solution may be a dreaded marriage of convenience to the nearest heiress. But like any fan of the screwball comedy knows, the road to love and happiness is never easy, and for Mason it turns out to be full of contradictions and curves

Especially those belonging to Madame Riley Fontaine, Londons most scandalous actress and the coveted object of desire of every living and breathing male in town. (Think Mae West meets Carole Lombard.) Masons brother loaned Riley an unseemly amount of money to finance her new play and the note has come due. Leave it to Cousin Felicity to come up with an inconceivable solution to their problems. Her proposition? Have Riley tutor the girls so they can perhaps gain a little of her infamous savoir-faire and wont send any potential suitors running for the nearest transport to Botany Bay.

Rileys arrival leaves the entire residence in upheavalespecially when her lessons in temptation start testing Masons vow to keep the family name free of scandal and ruin.

Did I also happen to mention that someone is trying to murder our plucky heroine? It wouldnt be one of my books without just a bit of mayhem and intrigue, and luckily for Riley, Masons noble instincts wont let him leave a lady in mortal dangeror miss an opportunity to steal a most passionate kiss. (Remember, I did say he had a dash of Cary Grant in him!)

A screwball comedy is nothing without a cast of zany characters and I threw some real scene-stealers into this book. Cousin Felicity for one. No one is quite sure how shes related to the St. Clairs, but she keeps everyone on their toes with her daily bouts of tears, matchmaking, and of course, shopping. Add into this, Rileys business partner, Aggie, an aging roue with an eye to make his own marriage of convenienceto none other than Felicity.

If youd like a sneak peak at NO MARRIAGE OF CONVENIENCE, please stop by my recently debuted website, Youll also find excerpts from my BRAZEN trilogy, my monthly Top Ten great finds, and news about upcoming appearances such as my planned trip to the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention. Jaclyn Reding and I are planning on hosting a tea party in the Readers Hospitality Suite Saturday morning, so please stop by and say hello and enjoy a cup of hot brew with us!

To celebrate my first book with Avon, I had mousepads made featuring the gorgeous cover. You could be one of the 100 lucky RT readers to win one by doing nothing more than entering this exclusive drawing. Just get your entry to me before October 15, 2000 by either visiting or sending a postcard or letter with your name and address to RT Drawing, P.O. Box 47252, Seattle, WA 98146.

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