Hi, I’m Samantha Grace, one of the newer voices in Regency historical romance. It’s great to be here at Reading Between the Wines talking about my second book in my Beau Monde Bachelor series, “Lady Amelia’s Mess and a Half”.
He has no idea what he’s getting into…Widowed philanthropist Lady Amelia Audley would like nothing more than to forget wealthy bachelor Jake Hillary, but it’s blasted difficult when he is seated next to her at a dinner hosted by his mother. It’s even harder to forgive him for kissing her senseless a year earlier then disappearing without a word. Yet, Amelia must endure Jake’s company if she wishes to benefit from his mother’s connections and win support for a project dear to her heart, the renovation of the foundling hospital.Jake Hillary has known nothing but heartbreak since he met Amelia. First, she chose his closest friend instead of him then she dismissed his love letters and took up with a rake while he tended to urgent family matters. When his debauched brother sets out to seduce her, Jake risks his heart once more and begins to court Amelia. Soon he and Amelia discover an abiding affection for one another, a love that has survived despite the efforts of others to keep them apart. Happiness seems within their reach at last until the past resurfaces and threatens to destroy their love forever.
I had a great time writing this book, and part of the reason I enjoyed it so much was because of the secondary characters. Supporting characters have it so much easier than our poor heroes and heroines. There are fewer limits placed on them, for one thing, so they can do a lot of things that would never fly for a hero or heroine. They are allowed to misbehave a bit more, and one certain character in “Lady Amelia’s Mess and a Half” takes full advantage of her position as a widow and secondary character to behave as badly as she wishes.
Lady Bianca Kennell—Bibi to her dearest friend, Amelia Audley—was a blast to write. She said whatever she wanted, dressed however she liked, and pretty much said whatever came to mind. Who wouldn’t envy her freedom? But Bibi is much more than a free spirit unleashed upon London Society, she is unfailingly loyal to the one person she loves, Amelia.
Yet, even when we care deeply for someone, our efforts to protect them can sometimes be misguided. Bibi doesn’t believe in romantic love after her unhappy marriage to an older man, and she fears Amelia will suffer the same fate if she continues to hold on to ridiculous notions of everlasting love. Bibi’s misguided attempts to save Amelia from heartache results in a little trouble for the hero and heroine at first, but eventually she is faced with a truth she can’t deny. Love is real and she may be in danger of becoming one of those silly romantic fools herself.
Another secondary character I loved writing was Jasper Hainsworth, Earl of Norwick. He is the antithesis of a hero. He’s a tad overweight and a little too much under his sister’s thumb in the beginning of the story. He cannot believe his luck when Bibi becomes interested in him. She is beautiful, a goddess really. How could she see anything she likes in him? Unfortunately, she is also delicate and looks breakable. He’s scared to death of flattening her like a French crepe, but he just can’t say no when the opportunity comes to take her home from the opera.
I was so happy I wasn’t asked to cut the secondary love story between Bibi and Jasper, because I feel it plays into the main romance between Jake and Amelia. Their love scene, however, had to go. So what happened behind closed doors when Jasper took Bibi home from the opera? Well, here is a peek at the never before seen scene.
Deleted love scene from “Lady Amelia’s Mess and a Half”:
Bibi wasted no time once the carriage stopped inside the gates enclosing her town house. Taking Norwick’s hand in hers, she pulled him inside and straight up the stairs.
Once in her chambers, she closed the door and turned the lock.
Her gentleman visitor slid a finger between his neck and cravat and loosened it before removing his jacket. “Wouldn’t you like a drink first?” His voice sounded high pitched and tight.
Her heart swelled with tenderness. Poor Jasper was nervous, and completely adorable. Such an unnecessary burden he bore.
Sauntering over to where he stood, she captured his face between her hands as she’d done that evening at Amelia’s house. “I would prefer another kiss.” Bibi rose up on her toes and placed a light peck against his lips. “And then I want you to kiss me some more.”
She pressed her mouth to his and flicked her tongue along the crease of his lips. His arms circled her waist and supported her weight as he kissed her soundly. Eventually, she drew back, her gaze traveling over his pleasing face. A dark lock of hair had fallen onto his forehead and she twirled it around her finger. “I had hoped to have you in my bed soon, but after the reception you gave me at the opera—”
“Come here.” He pulled her flush against him, stealing her breath with his decisiveness. This was a much better reception than he’d given her earlier.
His powerful hands slid over her bottom, covering all of her, his fingers kneading her flesh as he possessed her mouth. He slid his hands up her back and with surprising nimbleness, worked loose the diminutive fastenings down of her silk gown without breaking their heated kiss. With her gown unfastened, he gathered handfuls of her skirts in his fists before dragging the garment up over her hips, skimming her torso, and then yanking it over her shoulders and head. The sound of a ripping seam rent the air.
“I’ll buy you another,” he said then he was plundering her mouth again before she had a moment to think.
Jasper was unlike anything she had ever experienced. Awkward and bumbling socially, he exuded confidence in the bedchamber, now that they had moved beyond his initial apprehension. His hands spanned her waist and lifted her off her feet. Bibi wrapped her legs around him, holding tight. Her nipples pebbled and brushed against the rougher fabric of his waistcoat, sending a jolt all the way down to her toes.
“Do you plan to shag me this way?” she asked, curious as to how many ways a man could shag a woman. Her past partners had been less than creative, usually opting for man on top.
“Maybe later.” Jasper carried her to the bed and placed her on the edge. He snagged the slippers from her feet and tossed them over his shoulders one by one. Each shoe made successive thuds against the thick carpet.
“I could get used to undressing you, Bianca. It’s more thrilling than opening a gift at Christmas.”
His long fingers tickled her inner thigh as he rolled her stockings down, and she giggled like a blasted innocent.
He paused, his gaze intense as he searched her face.
Her smile faded, fearing she might have shaken his confidence with her ridiculous laughter. “Please, don’t stop.”
A wide grin spread across his lips as he reached for the hem of her shift and eased it over her head. Laying her out on the rich coverlet, he discarded her drawers in a flash. He jerked back, his eyes widening for a second before they clouded over.
Bibi swallowed against her nerves. “Is-is everything all right?”
“Everything is fine, my sweet.” A distinct furrow formed between his brows and he blew out a hassled breath.
Her hands instinctively covered her breasts as her stomach tangled itself into knots. “Are you disappointed?”
Jasper blinked, shocked by Bianca’s assumption. “Disappointed? Are you mad? You are most spectacular sight I’ve ever seen.”
A rose flush colored the flawless skin across her chest and infused her pale cheeks. Bianca Kennell was exquisite. If anything disappointed him, it was her delicate perfection. He couldn’t bear the thought of harming her, unintentional though it would be.
Damnation. What had he been thinking to leave the theatre with her? He couldn’t possibly shag her now. Yet, he couldn’t very well leave until she was satisfied either. It would be ungentlemanly.
Jasper suppressed a sigh of frustration and set to the task of making himself at least a little more comfortable. He pealed off his waistcoat, tossed his cravat toward a chair, and then climbed on the bed. His weight made a dent in the mattress, and her fragile body rolled toward him. He caught her in his arms, his heart racing upon contact with her silky skin. Caressing her hip and moving his hand leisurely over her perfect bum, he kissed her again. She was as sweet as a ratafia cake on his lips and twice as enticing.
She snuggled against his chest and tossed her bare leg over his thigh. When her fingers stole into the front of his trousers and caressed him, he groaned and pressed against her soft palm. She seemed encouraged and closed her fingers around him, stroking with the perfect amount of pressure. He sucked in a sharp breath and savored her touch, for it would be short-lived.
Withdrawing her hand, she began to wrestle with the fastenings at his waist. “I want to see you.”
Jasper caught her wrists and eased her onto her back. “I’m not finished with you yet, my dear. Now do lie back and give me no trouble.”
Her wide smile made his heart lurch. How awful that he would never know what it would be like to slide into her, to have her body hugging him tightly. He shoved aside his selfishness and resolved himself to focus his attention on her pleasure alone.
If you would like to read the entire deleted scene and an excerpt from “Lady Amelia’s Mess and a Half” with Jake and Amelia, you can visit my website at www.samanthagraceauthor.com.
Are there any secondary characters from one of your favorite romance novels that stand out in your memory?
Bio: Samantha Grace made her debut earlier this year with “Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel”, the first book in her Beau Monde Bachelor series. “Miss Hillary Schools a Scoundrel” received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly and was named one of the Top Ten Picks for Spring, 2012. Her work has been described as “smartly written, splendidly sensual Regency romance” (Booklist) with “many surprises, twists and turns on the path to the proverbial happy ending” (Historical Novel Review).
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