Meryton Press has a new book that releases on April 2nd, and today we are going to reveal the cover. The novel, An Accomplished Woman, is by Suzan Lauder, and is the first in the series of Regency romances, Cecilia’s Mismatches. This novel has hints of Northanger Abbey and an extremely swoon-worthy hero. To learn more, let’s check out the back cover copy.
Audra Hales is a lady of many perfect accomplishments—at least she believes so. It is no wonder: she has mirrored her great friend Cecilia, the newly minted Lady Hoxley, so how could her talents not be worthy of the highest praise? A self-described matchmaker, Cecilia has brought Audra to Bath—where balls and excursions abound—with the intention of matching her with the gregarious Lord Garner Tremaine. Though he seems an affable and talented gentleman, his brother, the marquess, is quite the opposite.
As head of his family, Everett Tremaine, the Marquess of Vernon acts on behalf of his father, the duke, who remains secluded from Lady Hoxley’s guests. With his obligations, Everett has no time for foolish temptations such as Miss Hales…so why does he constantly find her thrown into his path?
Meanwhile, Audra has conjured all sorts of wild imaginings concerning the frustrating marquess, and every time she encounters him, he leaves her breathless rather than answering her questions! After all, what is ailing the mysterious duke? Could the marquess be a villain masquerading as the savior of his family? And most importantly: should she marry Lord Garner, the safe suitor, or follow her heart?
Book One of the Cecilia’s Mismatches series is a stand-alone novel.
What are your thoughts? Do you want to read more? You are in luck. Suzan has more to share with you, but we will look at the cover first!
Isn’t this a beautiful painting by Soulacroix? We looked at many paintings and finally settled on three (for the series) that went well together. As soon as Suzan saw this one, she knew it had to be Audra. She could see her in it. That’s awesome. She did the same with the other two paintings for the next two books in the series.
Ready to see the back cover?
Let’s move on to Suzan’s thoughts and the excerpt!
In a way, the gorgeous cover to An Accomplished Woman was one of the easiest I’ve had to deal with when working with Janet B. Taylor. I just told her that I wanted a Regency lady with lots of fabric in her skirts, and she sent me dozens of candidates. We easily settled on this Frédéric Soulacroix art piece along with two others for the next books in the Cecilia’s Mismatches series. This young lady has the right naïveté to be Audra, and Janet made it suit even better with the back cover picture many of you will recognize as Bath.
The excerpt that follows shows a little of Audra’s youthful inexperience since she has recently arrived in Bath to the house that Cecilia, Lady Hoxley, has let for a summer party. Audra is now about to refresh herself in her room before she goes down to the drawing room to meet the other guests.
As she made her way to the table with the basin and ewer, a few letters on a nearby desk caught her eye. Their pink ribbon had been untied and the top one unfolded as if someone had been reading it. Why had Watson untied her letters? Did she suppose they contained information in them as to how Audra wished her to unpack? No, that was too preposterous. Was the opened missive from Lexie or from Cassie?
“Hmm.” Audra picked up the letter. She fiddled in her reticule for her eyeglasses. Where were they? This would take too long. She stretched out her arm. There! Now she could read the handwriting. The epistle was written in a flourished yet firm lady’s hand—without a doubt not that of either of her sisters. How odd.
“My dearest Trem,” started the salutation, and the close was signed, “With greatest affection, Zinia.” This was not her letter. The missive was a love letter!
A door opened, and her head jerked up. Watson’s cheerful, round visage should have been the one entering to greet her, but instead, a man of a large scale set foot into her bedchamber! Had he forgotten to knock? He wore a dressing gown and wiped his face with a cloth. His piercing blue eyes widened when they lit upon Audra, who was frozen in place like a statue.
“Why in heaven’s name are you reading those letters?” his haughty, noble voice drawled. This was a gentleman, and not a servant…a frowning gentleman with dark hair hanging in wet strands around his forehead.
Her mouth opened and closed twice before her voice worked. “They are my letters.” Except they were not. They were addressed to someone else. “Well, I thought they were mine. Are they yours?” She replaced the letter atop the others and patted it into place. Why could she not think of one word to say? Her gaze flitted between his neck, his legs, and his feet that peeked from under a dark brown, buta-patterned, silk dressing gown. She gulped and swayed in her spot. He must be naked underneath!
“What are you doing in my chambers?”
The nerve of him! With a gasp, she placed her fists firmly on her hips. Her reticule swayed and whacked at her bottom due to the quick movement. “This is my chamber! How dare you attempt to pinch it!”
He covered his eyes with his hand and blew out a sigh, and not the kind of sigh that meant he was contented or any sort of emotion in that realm of feeling. “Incidents of this nature happen too often. I do not understand why.” He held his hands open as if to plead with her. “You must leave right away. It would not do for me to be caught in the parson’s mousetrap.”
Her jaw dropped wide open. What a cruel accusation! Before she offered a loud, angry retort, Audra checked herself. “Are you implying…I mean to say, you are not the kind of man I would wish to trap. That is, if I was disposed to the idea of trapping men, which I am not. Oh, bother!” Her hands flew to cover her face. She must collect her wits! Oh, how could he be in her room yet placing her at fault? She peeked at the man again. His face was now favoured with a hint of a smile, his arms crossed over his chest. Was his intent to discompose her? Well, she would not have it. “Pray, take your leave at once. I cannot abide naked men within my chambers.”
The grin widened, and the man’s shoulders began to shake. He tipped his head back and released a tremendous shout of laughter. Somewhat handsome when unsettled, he was indubitably so when he laughed. Whatever had amused him? This situation grew more strange and awkward by the minute. But with the mirth brightening his comely visage, she could not help but allow her lips to turn up at the edges as well. Her arms fell to her sides.
“You do not comprehend very much if you do not wish me to be naked within your chambers, young lady. I happen to be in demand in the beds of ladies who are in the know. Not that I spend all my hours in ladies’ beds.”
She laughed. “I do not believe you! You erred and took my bedchamber, and you now attempt to embarrass me into leaving. Well, I shall not let you do so.” She marched over to the bed and plopped her bottom down upon it. “You are free to leave. I shall await my maid here. Her carriage must be late.”
He held one finger up. “Wait! You are not Lady Hoxley’s little friend from school, are you?”
“I am not a ‘little friend,’ I am Miss Audra Eugenia Hales of Fanshaugh Manor in Kent. My father was a gentleman.”
I absolutely adore this scene! What about you? It is priceless and sets the stage for the rest of this lovely story.
The blog tour will start on April 10th, but Suzan has lots going on even before the blog tour and after.
April 3-7 Lady Catherine’s Salon; Suzan Lauder guest hosts this Facebook group
April 4 Celtic Lady’s Reviews; Kathleen Kelly will be spotlighting An Accomplished Woman and Suzan.
April 7 Delighted Reader Facebook page; Sophia Rose will be spotlighting the book and author.
Blog Tour Schedule
April 10 Musings from an Addicted Reader
April 11 The Book Connection
April 12 Elza Reads
April 13 From Pemberley to Milton
April 14 My Vices & Weaknesses
April 17 So little time…
After the blog tour, Meredith will host Suzan and her book. Be sure to visit all of this blogs and their hostesses.
April 27 Austenesque Reviews
Cecilia’s Mismatches Blurb
Before we move on to the giveaway, take a look at the blurb for the series, Cecilia’s Mismatches.
Who is Cecilia? She’s Lady Hoxley, a recently married young lady whose husband is old enough to be her father. Theirs is a love match. She loves his money and title, and he loves her youth and vivacity. Cecilia is so gratified with her own match that she is determined to match her friends with worthy gentlemen—but what happens when all her grand schemes seem to go awry?
Does this sound like anyone you may know or have heard about before? Hmm… 🙂
Universal Buy Link
Would you like a chance to have your own eBook of An Accomplished Woman? Meryton Press is giving away two eBooks to two lucky readers. Leave us a comment below. We love to hear from you. The giveaway will end April 4th at midnight and is worldwide. Good luck!
Other books by Suzan Lauder
These books are available at Amazon in eBook, paperback, audiobook, and Kindle Unlimited: Alias Thomas Bennet, Letter From Ramsgate, A Most Handsome Gentleman, The Mist of Her Memory, Schemes of Felicity, The Barrister’s Bride.