Sunday, March 2, 2014

The Maid of Milan - The grit beneath the Regency Glitter

 By Beverley Eikli

I've always been fascinated by how successful heroines in history wielded power when, legally, they had few rights and, financially, were generally dependant upon their closest male relative.

These are the women I write about. Women who find within themselves, either through subtle means or outright strength of personality, a way to forge a happiness very often denied their sisters who were pawns for achieving dynastic aims.

In my most recent Regency romantic intrigue, The Maid of Milan, my heroine, Adelaide, has spent four years paying a terrible price for an error of judgement made when she was a 17-year-old with the world at her fingertips.

Here's the blurb followed by an extract:

After three years of marriage, Adelaide has fallen in love with the handsome, honourable husband who nurtured her through her darkest hours.

Now Adelaide’s former lover, the passionate poet from whose arms she was torn by her family during their illicit liaison in Milan four years previously has returned, a celebrity due to the success of his book The Maid of Milan.

High society is as desperate to discover the identity of his ‘muse’ as Adelaide is to protect her newfound love and her husband’s political career.


The following scene takes place when Adelaide has discovered that not only is she in love with the husband she reluctantly consented to wed, but that she wants him to be in no doubt about her desire to take intimacy to a higher level. Adelaide’s mother has perpetuated a lie to hide her daughter’s sinful past, telling Tristan that Adelaide is an invalid who must be kept calm at all costs if she is not to succumb to hysteria.
Tossing aside the bed covers, Adelaide shifted to make room
for him, snuggling against his chest when he yielded
slightly, nevertheless terrified of his reaction. She was
blatantly seducing – no, trying to seduce – her husband for
the first time in her life and she had no idea whether he’d be
horrified or delighted. She just knew she had to convey to
him her receptiveness for taking intimacy to a higher level.
So far so good. He was breathing more rapidly, she
noticed, as he carefully removed his boots. She willed him
to hurry. She was on fire. She closed her eyes in anticipation,
her mind whirling with all the possibilities of what she
might say, but the words with which she’d intended to
unburden her heart were lost in the passion of his kiss.
Scorching. It shocked her, as did the speed with which he
moved now as he caged her body with his, his hands roaming
over her as he trailed hot kisses along her jawline, down her
neck, across her décolletage. Adelaide arched with impatience,
resisting the urge to be the one to unbutton his trousers.
‘God, Addy, I love you,’ he muttered as he gripped the
hem of her shift to raise it, nuzzling her neck. ‘I’ve never
loved any woman as I love you. Are you sure you want—?’
Her reassurance that she’d never wanted anything so
much was truncated by a sharp rap on the door and her
mother’s nasal whine on the other side. ‘Addy? I’ve brought
you something to help you sleep. Can I come in?’
Horrified, she and Tristan bolted upright as the door
knob turned.
‘Wait, mother!’ Addy pulled the covers up to her chin
as Tristan leapt to the floor, straightening his cravat and
pulling on his boots with lightning speed.
‘Why, Tristan …?’ Mrs Henley’s cloying smile didn’t fool
Adelaide. ‘I didn’t know you were here. I’m so sorry to
Adelaide felt like seizing the mug her mother carried with
such false solicitude and hurling it at the wall. Instead, she
hurled herself back down onto her bed with a sob as her
husband bowed before leaving the room.
Beverley Eikli is the author of eight historical romances.
She has worked as a journalist, magazine editor, a safari lodge manager in the Okavango, and an airborne geophysical survey operator on contracts around the world.
Beverley wrote her first romance at seventeen, but drowning her heroine on the last page was symptomatic of the problems she grappled with during her 23-year journey towards publication.
Recently she received her third nomination from Australian Romance Readers for Favourite Historical Romance with her suspenseful Napoleonic espionage Romance The Reluctant Bride.
Beverley teaches in the Department of Professional Writing & Editing at Victoria University, Melbourne. 
She writes under the name Beverley Oakley for more sensual stories.
You can buy The Maid of Milan at Amazon US | Amazon UK | iTunes |  Barnes & Noble

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