As seen in the February issue of Uncaged Book Reviews.
Linda Rae Sande was a Feature Author in the October 2016 issue of Uncaged Book Reviews. We catch up with her this month to see what she’s been up to since we last chatted.
Uncaged: You were a Featured Author in Uncaged Book Reviews in October 2016. How was your experience being in the magazine?
We had a great experience! So many readers contacted us with comments about the article as well as the excellent reviews you posted on the three books that make up “The Sisters of the Aristocracy”. That series has since been released as a book bundle and has a completely new audience.
Uncaged: You’ve been very busy this past year! You’ve had five books release in 2017, is that correct?
Usually, we write three full-length novels and release a book bundle of one of the series. That’s our regular schedule with Twisted Teacup Publishing.
Scarsdale Publishing released THE ENIGMA OF A SPY in ebook on Amazon and TTP released THE ENIGMA OF A WIDOW in paperback as well as THE PRIDE OF A GENTLEMAN, THE SECRETS OF A VISCOUNT, THE CHRISTMAS OF A COUNTESS and THE SISTERS OF THE ARISTOCRACY: BOXED SET.
Uncaged: The Dream of a Duchess released on January 19, 2018, also in your Aristocracy family. What else is coming up in 2018?
We’re currently writing THE VISION OF A VISCOUNT for release in May (hopefully in time for RT Convention) and will follow it up with another in The Widowers of the Aristocracy series. We love writing the books that feature men as the main characters—they’re so interesting to research. And interviewing live men is always entertaining. We don’t mean to embarrass them—truly—so it helps to get a couple of drinks into them before asking for their takes on what happens between the sheets.
Speaking of books featuring men, the book bundle THE BROTHERS OF THE ARISTOCRACY is now available at most online retailers and will release on Amazon February 23. The first book in that series, THE LOVE OF A RAKE, is only 99¢ and is a favorite with my male readers.
Uncaged: You will be attending some in-person events this year including Wild Deadwood Reads – can you tell readers where they can meet you this year?
We’ll be at RT in Reno, Deadwood for Wild Deadwood Reads, and the Novelist, Inc. convention, NINC, in Florida and possibly InD’Scribe in Burbank.
The Dream of a Duchess
Linda Rae Sande
When Lady Isabella witnesses the murder of her mother—by her father, the Earl of Craythorne—she rides off to London in search of the man her mother, Arabella, instructed she contact lest anything befall her.
Directions send Isabella to the doors of The Elegant Courtesan, a high-end brothel owned by David Fitzwillim, Earl of Norwick, to whom she relates her gruesome tale. Stunned and heartbroken at hearing the fate of Arabella, David vows to ensure Isabella’s safety from Craythorne, and he enlists the aid of Octavius, Duke of Huntington, to provide protection and a home in the country, where she won’t be found. He would do it himself, but he’s due to marry the girl’s aunt, Lady Clarinda, and has some courting to do— his twin brother seems determined to make her his own wife.
Still suffering from the loss of his wife in childbirth, Octavius has long since given up the joy he took in his race horses—choosing to ignore his stables and country estate and live in London, immersed in reading and attending sessions of Parliament.
Not particularly pleased with having a ward, Octavius soon discovers Isabella’s passion for horses goes far beyond just riding them. With a new generation of racehorses in his stables, and his country estate suddenly in pristine condition, he may just experience some horse sense himself in “The Dream of a Duchess”.
Octavius continued to listen to the quiet in the front hall of Huntinghurst, wondering where the servants might be. He didn’t bother trying to soften the sound of his boot heels as he finally made his way down the hall that led to the courtyard. Perhaps everyone was outside, or in the village. He nearly stopped in his tracks when he remembered it was market day. Allowing a rather loud sigh of annoyance, he decided to make his way to the stables. He was already out the door and on the crushed granite path before he realized there was someone in the parterre garden.
And something with her.
Pausing, he angled his head to one side and watched as Isabella walked through the paths between the boxwood hedges. Wearing an apple green muslin gown and short gloves, her hair gathered into a bun atop her head, she looked as if she could be any one of a dozen chits he might pass in Jermyn Street whilst shopping, except instead of holding onto the handles of a hat box or shopping bag, she held onto a rope that encircled the neck of a colt.
Isabella had nearly reached the end of one row and was coaxing the colt to turn onto the next row in the pattern when she suddenly glanced in his direction.
Resuming his walk toward her, Octavius watched as Isabella had the colt turning onto a path that would allow her and the colt to exit the parterre and head in his direction. He met her just as the colt cleared the boxwood-lined path.
“Your Grace! What a pleasant surprise,” Isabella gushed as she pulled the colt to stand alongside her. She dipped a curtsy and, instead of offering her gloved hand, she stepped forward, wrapped her free hand around the back of his neck, and bestowed a kiss on his cheek. Next to her, the timid colt finally overcame its initial fear of the duke and showed a bit of curiosity by sniffing at his pockets.
A bit surprised by her greeting, Octavius managed to capture her free hand as she stepped back. He brushed his lips over the back of it. “For me, as well,” he replied, wondering at her affectionate greeting. Had she been taught a version of the French way to welcome an old friend? No one was about the grounds to see what she had done, though, so he decided not to admonish her. “Who do we have here?” he asked, rather stunned to see a colt so soon in the spring.
“This is Hermés. He’s proving to be as ornery a colt as his older namesake was.”
Octavius arched both eyebrows, rather surprised to hear the assessment given she had a lead around the colt’s neck. And the colt had seemed to follow her through the garden without trampling the plantings. “Yet he seems to be behaving right now.”
“It’s early,” she countered with a grin. “Pray tell, do you have something in your pocket?” she asked. “I’m afraid I’m all out of carrots, and he seems to think you have a treat,” she added as she noted how the colt was nosing his topcoat.
Remembering he carried the pasteboard box David had given him, he was about to pull it out of one pocket and hand it to her, but thought better of it. Instead, he reached into the other pocket and pulled out a small apple. He had intended it for his own mount, thinking he would go for a ride since he had spent the entire trip to Huntinghurst in the coach. He offered the apple to the overly curious colt.
Isabella rolled her eyes as the horse knickered and proudly downed the apple. Hermés was about to reach over and continue sniffing at the duke’s topcoat when Isabella said, “No, you’ve had quite enough,” as she pulled back on the lead.
Hermés’ stubbornness became apparent, though, and Isabella finally undid the lead from around his neck. “I’ve had enough of you today. Off to your mum,” she said as she placed a hand against the side of his head and gave a slight push. “It’s probably his dinner time anyway,” she added as she returned her attention to the duke.
Octavius watched as the colt, realizing it was free of the rope, hurried off to join Maia. The mare was tethered to a post just beyond the parterre garden.
“Other than the fact that she’s outside of the fence, why is Maia tied up?” Octavius wondered as he squinted in the direction of the brood mare. A descendent of several racing horses, she had the perfect lines and profile to be one herself, but he had never trained her for the track. He rather doubted she had ever had a saddle on her.
“She’s finally learning patience,” Isabella replied as she turned her attention back to the duke. “She manages to be the first at everything, you see.”
Octavius resumed his walk toward the stables, offering an arm to Isabella as he contemplated her mention of Maia being first at everything. Could she have been first at the finish line? he wondered. Well, it was too late given her age. She was well past six years, the top age for any of the races that took place in England. “For example?” he prompted, rather entertained by Isabella’s comment.
“She’s first at the hay, first out of the stables in the morning, first with the stud, first to foal…” She allowed the sentence to trail off as she placed her hand on his arm and walked alongside the duke.
“I must admit I didn’t expect to find any foals this early,” he said. “How many more will there be, do you suppose?” Ever since Jane’s death, he hadn’t given half a thought to the stables at Huntinghurst. Knowing Isabella took an interest and seemed amenable to spending time with the horses allowed him to continue his ambivalence.
“Just three,” Isabella replied with a sigh.
Uncaged Review: When Lady Isabella sees her father murder her mother, she runs away, jumping on her horse and going to the one place her mother told her to go if anything ever happened to her – the Earl of Norwick, David. David is determined to see to her safety, so he asks a Duke, to hide her away at his country estate.
Tucked away at the estate, Isabella finds a dream come true in Octavius’ stable of race horses. She’s given permission to work with his horses, and she spends most of her waking moments in the stables, as Octavius is in London most of the time with Parliament duties.
This is nice regency, with a bit of suspense and just the right touch of romance. I liked that this is an unconventional regency and that all the characters were flawed and had to grow beyond to reach their HEA. There is more than one story running in this book – and a couple of the supporting cast will be getting their own stories, which I am definitely looking forward to reading. And I definitely admit to reading the last chapter more than once. Reviewed by Cyrene
4 1/2 Stars