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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Our first historical series!

When I heard that the lovely folks at Guys Love Romance Too were devoting September to M/M historical fiction, I was really happy. Compared to other genres, there doesn’t seem to be as much historical romance to choose from, and although I enjoy a good regency as much the next person, there’s even less from other eras.

I have always loved the Tudor period with the vibrant characters and places of the time. When I came to write my historical romance series, it was a no brainer that I would set them in Elizabethan England. Also, I’m a massive fan of Shakespeare’s comedies, so add that to my historical bias, and it’s no wonder that I’ve written two fun romps filled will courtly love, cross-dressing and misunderstandings.

In The Actor and the Earl, Sebastian Hewel, the actor, finds himself in the impossible position of having to pretend to play his twin sister to avoid disgrace and financial ruin. Unfortunately, Anthony Crofton, the earl, sees through the ruse but insists it goes ahead anyway. And Sebastian is stuck playing Lady Crofton, a role that could cost him his head. It doesn’t help that he begins falls for Anthony, who has a reputation at court for having many, varied lovers.

Extract from The Actor in the Earl:
Sebastian watched as Anthony examined him closely, his eyes taking in his appearance from head to toe. “What now? You know what we planned to do.”
“I think the plan has merits,” Anthony replied with a sly grin. “And I think that we can come to an arrangement that will prevent me from having to sully the once-great Hewel name.”
Sebastian didn’t like the sound of that, the words too close to blackmail for his comfort. “Meaning what, exactly?”
“If you are willing to keep up this charade, continue to play Bronwyn, then I in turn would take up the mantle of devoted husband.”
“Your greatest performance, Sebastian. Fool the court and polite society in an extravagant wedding, then retire to my country house to be my beloved wife for perhaps a year or two, after which time my young, but sickly, wife will succumb to a fever, and you will return to your life as Sebastian Hewel.”
For a moment Sebastian was unable to reply, Anthony’s shocking proposal robbing him of words. “But why would you want this?”
Anthony’s smile was predatory. “I have my reasons.”
“No buts, Sebastian. Do you have your answer? A life of luxury and your honor, or your family’s disgrace?”
Sebastian’s heart raced in his chest, but as he stared into Anthony’s expectant face, he really had little choice. “I accept.”

In Duty to the Crown, the second in the series, Sebastian and Anthony have different type of challenge to their relationship. Queen Elizabeth instructs Anthony to seduce a young French noblewoman, Marie Valois, to find out the whereabouts of her father. While Anthony is able to act the part, matters are further complicated when Marie develops a crust on Sebastian. But when her brother Nicholas arrives, concerned for Marie, he falls for Sebastian when he is dressed as Lady Crofton, and Sebastian has both sibling to contend with – and Anthony’s jealousy.

Extract from Duty to the Crown:
“What? One minute you request I do my duty to the Queen and try to lead Nicholas into thinking I’m interested, the next you act the jealous husband and demand I should ignore him. Make up your mind, Anthony. What is it to be?”
Anthony sighed and sat down heavily on the bed. “I know I am being irrational, Sebastian. But it doesn’t make it any easier.”
Sebastian knelt down in front of him and took his hand. “You know it’s just an act. It is no different from what I endured when you were attempting to woo Marie.”
“Valois is an attractive man. A man capable of turning many heads.”
“And I am not interested,” said Sebastian earnestly. “And you must remember it is Bronwyn, not Sebastian, who Nicholas is pursuing. As far as I know, there are no whispers that he welcomes men into his bed.”
“I know. But—”
“No buts, Anthony. If he gets under my skirts, we’ve more to worry about than you feeling jealous.”
“If I catch him with his hands under your skirts, I will chop them off!” growled Anthony.

The third novel in the series, Forever Hold His Peace, is in the last rounds of drafting before I submit it to the folks at Dreamspinner Press. If it’s accepted, then hopefully next year the final installment of Anthony and Sebastian’s story will be released into the world.

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Author Bio:
Rebecca Cohen is a Brit abroad. Having swapped the Thames for the Rhine, she has left London behind and now lives with her husband and baby son in Basel, Switzerland. She can often be found with a pen in one hand and a cup of Darjeeling in the other.

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