A Week of Celebrating One Year - Visiting Character, Miss Anna Pelt
This week UNWRAPPING ROMANCE will celebrate one year of life in blogger world. The actual anniversary date is Wednesday, September 26th but the celebrations will go on all week and yes, it will be quite a celebration. To start off the festivities, I've asked a dear acquaintance of mine to host today's fun. She's a bit shy but I hope you will give a warm welcome to Miss Anna Pelt.
Having just traveled from 1799 Virginia, the tall, slim woman enters the room and dips in a proper curtsy. She is quite pretty despite the stern hairstyle and drab brown dress. Her skin is pale and perfect, her eyes are a sparkling gray that shimmer like silver when she smiles. Taking a seat, she sits with the grace and poise of a well-bred lady but I regret to tell you that she is simply a governess, my dears. Please don't judge her too harshly for she has lived a life of unfortunate circumstances. She has no father's name and has always felt like an outsider even in a home where she has always been welcome. But because the family that took her and her mother in cared for her so, her employer made sure she was educated and always welcome in his home. Anna is kind, generous and very much in love with her charges and their brother, Joshua Embry.
Anna: Greetings everyone. Mrs. Valentini has asked me to host a celebration of her blog's first anniversary. I'm cannot proclaim to know what a blog is but I believe there is a prize to be given away. I shall get to those details shortly but before I do, I wonder if I might impose upon you for some advice. Mrs. Valentini assures me that you are all persons of discretion and quite informed on the ways of romance.
She glances about as if worried she might be overheard.
Anna: I seem to have found myself in a rather unusual predicament, good friends. You see, I am in love with a dear friend, Joshua Embry. He is my employer's son. He has most recently returned from an apprenticeship with his uncle in England.
She closes her eyes for a moment, her dark lashes fluttering on her flushed cheeks. When she opens them, a single tear slides down one cheek. She gracefully wipes it away then continues.
Anna: He's brought a woman and her brother with him. Dear friends, he is to marry this woman. It was an arrangement his parents made when he was just a lad but --
She takes a deep breath as her body trembles and her fists clench the arms of her chair. She releases that breath and attempts to relax.
Anna: I thought he loved me, you see. Before he went away, he made me promise to wait for him. I did. [shrugging her shoulders]
I waited even as I knew of this arranged marriage. You see, his father who is also my employer, Mr. Jason Embry, informed me of the contract just after Joshua, er ... Mr. Embry ... sailed for England. I assumed he told me of this so that I might not hold out hope of Mr. Emby, [sigh] Joshua, returning to me.
She sighs and wipes away another tear that has fallen from her glistening eyes.
Anna: I suppose in a way I did lose hope - for when Joshua wrote to me, I failed to write him back. I feared what I would say. What I feared he would say. Soon his letters stopped altogether. So now he's returned with a future bride who is beautiful, I admit, but very nasty. She's rude, this Miss Elizabeth Bradford, and demanding and I don't think Joshua likes her much. I know his father is quite disappointed and he has as much told me that if Joshua chooses me instead he will certainly approve the match.
She smiles happily but then glances about her before leaning forward as if to impart a confidence.
Anna: I have recently come into some money of my own and mayhap be worth more than Miss Bradford, if the harpy has funds of her own. Excuse my language, please. I've heard Joshua refer to her as thus and frankly, it fits.
Anna: [motioning you closer] I have most recently discovered something immensely destructive to her good name.
She leans closer and lowers her voice.
Anna: I witnessed Miss Bradford in a disgustingly compromising circumstance with a man.
She glances about nervously, placing her delicate pale hand to her throat. She continues, her voice a mere whisper.
Anna: The man was her own brother.
She slaps her hand over her mouth and leans back in her chair. After taking a deep breath to calm herself, she drops her hand to her lap.
Anna: You see the quandary I face.
Her perfect brow furrows with worry.
Anna: Mr. Bradford threatened me once before when I caught him in a similar circumstance with a servant girl and --
She suddenly blinks and gasps.
Anna: Oh my, I hadn't realized it till now but that dark-haired girl on her knees must have been --
Her gray eyes wide with disbelief.
Anna: Oh my heavens, that's is truly disgusting. Isn't it, good friends?
She wrings her hands in her lap.
Anna: This is where I need your advice. Joshua is an honorable man but I don't wish to see him trapped and cuckolded by this vicious and evil woman. If I tell him what I saw, it is only my word against this fine couple's word. It is the day of the ball planned by Jason Embry to announce his son's betrothal to the woman and I am only attending as chaperone to my young charges, Angeline and Emily Embry but I plan to leave this place first thing in the morning.
She takes several deep breaths as if she's in need of breath after a long run. No longer wringing her hands they once more clench the arms of the chair.
Anna: I love Joshua and he has given me reason to believe he may still love me.
Her eyes suddenly gaze into the distance as if remembering a wonderful event, a happy smile teasing at her lips. Abruptly, she clears her throat and continues.
Anna: Pardon my wool gathering, I was just remembering - oh well, never mind that - I need your advice on the situation. Should I tell Joshua what I witnessed and risk him not believing me as well as retribution from Mr. Bradford or should I just pack my meager belongings and quit this place this very day?
Anna: I suppose it all comes down to whether or not I truly trust Joshua to do the honorable thing. That is, believe me to tell the truth about Miss Bradford and that I honored his request of me to wait for him even though he never made his intentions known absolute. What say you, my dear friends? Mrs. Valentini informs me you are quite wise in the ways of romance. So please, should I tell what I saw or keep quiet? It really was quite despicable what they were doing. They are brother and sister, after all!
She relaxes in her chair and exhales.
Anna: I feel much better now that I am not the only one to know. Thank you for hearing my predicament. Mrs. Valentini wanted me to present a simple question for you to answer so that you might have an opportunity to win a prize. So I think I will kill two birds with one stone, so to speak, by asking your advice. If you will please advise me on what to do.
So should I tell what I saw or keep silent and leave while I can? Your advice to me will enter you in this contest and one lucky friend will win a prize.
She glances to the small table beside her. On it lies a book which she picks up. Her eyes peruse the cover. With a happy smile, she turns the book forward.
Anna: The prize is quite appropriate, I think. Enter this contest and you will have a chance to win a print copy of NINE RULES TO BREAK WHEN ROMANCING A RAKE by Miss Sarah MacLean. Hmm ... perhaps she has some advice for me.
She begins thumbing through the pages.
Anna: Hmmm ... perhaps I'll read a bit while I await your expert advice. Oh, Mrs. Valentini says there is more information about the contest, the prize, and the rules to follow. Thank you again for allowing me to share my plight with you and I look forward to hearing your expert advice. Oh, yes, and good luck in the contest. [her eyes drop to the page opened to her] This is very interesting reading. Miss MacLean says rule one is kiss someone --- passionately.
She sighs then giggles as a flush rises on her cheeks. With a bright smile, she looks up.
Anna: I've done that.
She gives a sly devilish wink.
Anna: Happy Reading Everyone!
THE PRIZE: One print copy of NINE RULES TO BREAK WHEN ROMANCING A RAKE by Sarah MacLean (btw, this was her debut novel)
Blurb for NINE RULES TO BREAK WHEN ROMANCING A RAKE:
A lady does not smoke cheroot. She does not ride astride. She does not fence or attend duels. She does not fire a pistol, and she never gambles at a gentlemen's club.
Lady Calpurnia Hartwell has always followed the rules, rules that have left her unmarried—and more than a little unsatisfied. And so she's vowed to break the rules and live the life of pleasure she's been missing.
But to dance every dance, to steal a midnight kiss—to do those things, Callie will need a willing partner. Someone who knows everything about rule-breaking. Someone like Gabriel St. John, the Marquess of Ralston—charming and devastatingly handsome, his wicked reputation matched only by his sinful smile.
If she's not careful, she'll break the most important rule of all—the one that says that pleasure-seekers should never fall hopelessly, desperately in love . . .
This Giveaway is open to US Residents only.
In order to be entered, you MUST LEAVE A VALID EMAIL ADDRESS.
NINE RULES TO BREAK WHEN ROMANCING A RAKE by Sarah MacLean, Avon Romance, available now in print and ebook formats.