April 1 seems a strange day for launching my new release, The Husband Campaign. I keep expecting my publisher to shout, “April Fool’s!”
But it’s no joke. The Husband Campaign hits bookstore shelves and online retailers everywhere today. This is the finale of my Master Matchmakers series, where servants play a key role in helping their masters find that perfect mate. In this case, brassy maid Dorcus Turner is on loan from Rotherford Grange to help Lady Amelia become accustomed to her new role as mistress of Hollyoak Farm. You see, Amelia caused a quiet scandal when she spent the night in Lord Hascot’s abandoned stable, and her parents insisted that she had no recourse but to marry the stern horse breeder. Yet Amelia cannot help noticing there is more to John than his rough exterior implies. How can she break through his hardened shell to the tender heart she is certain lurks inside?
Here’s some of Turner’s advice on how to win your husband:
“If you ask me,” she said as she helped Amelia into her nightgown, “a gentleman shouldn’t spend two nights in a stable, especially after being wed less than a fortnight.”
“Lord Hascot has a sick horse,” Amelia explained.
“He has a sick wife, too,” Turner replied, “sick of being alone, I warrant.”
“That will do, Turner,” Amelia said.
The maid’s lips compressed. She said nothing more until she had Amelia settled in bed. Then she stepped back.
“You ought to show him what’s what, your ladyship,” she insisted. “Just like you did with the butler and cook today.”
“Turner,” Amelia warned.
The maid drew herself up. “I warned you I can’t hold my tongue, your ladyship. Not when I see something amiss, and there’s plenty amiss with this house. You can send me back to the Grange tomorrow for saying so, but that man needs you. Everyone in the dale knows he’s lonely.”
Amelia frowned as she leaned back against the pillow. “Lonely?”
Turner took a step closer. “Yes, ma’am. How couldn’t he be, no one but horses and horse-mad folk to talk to?”
She made it sound as if John’s servants and buyers were somehow crazy. Or he was. “He seems content to me. I think he simply doesn’t like change.”
“He’s stuck in his ways, you mean.” Turner snapped a nod of agreement. “You could help him, your ladyship. Draw him out, make him smile.” She grinned. “I warrant he could be a handsome fellow if he smiled.”
Amelia had thought the same thing when she’d seen one of his rare smiles. “Thank you for your advice, Turner,” she said, unable to still a grin of her own. “That will be all this evening.”
With a curtsey, the maid left her.
But Turner’s words lingered. Was John as lonely as Amelia? Would he accept her companionship? Or would he even care? How was she to make a marriage when the other half of that marriage had no time or interest?
How indeed. You can discover how Amelia won the day in The Husband Campaign at fine retailers near you or your keyboard: