Periodically during 2017, I’m going feature authors from my home state, New Hampshire. We may be a small state, but we are BIG on talent. Please share and follow along with #GraniteStateAuthors, and join me in celebrating these wonderful…
Author: Clair Brett
Dragon keeper and historical romance author, Clair Brett lives in NH with her hard working husband, and two teenaged daughters. Her office staff during the day consists of Cinta, a black cat and the matriarch of the fur babies, Mojo, a yellow kitten who spends his day holding Clair down in her seat to get her word count in, a boxer/beagle mix puppy named Willow, who sleeps next to her chair to make it hard to do an Oreo run without doing a pee run as well, a hermit crab who keeps to himself, and a bearded dragon, who is kind of upper management.
A former middle and high school English teacher, Clair has had a lifetime love affair with reading. Once she read Pride and Prejudice as an extra read in high school, she was hooked. Clair began pursuit of publication when she was a new mother in need of a hobby. Her oldest daughter will be graduating in 2017, so you do the math. Clair is a firm believer that a reader finds a piece of who they are or learns something about the world with every book they read. She wants her readers to be empowered and to have a refreshed belief in the goodness of people and the power of love after reading her work.
Visit Clair on the web
Twitter at: http://twitter.com/@clairbrett
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2fhSrm4
Newsletter signup: http://eepurl.com/caio1v
How long have you lived in New Hampshire?
I was born in Ct., but brought to New Hampshire at 3 days old and have lived in NH ever since.
Does living here in NH provide inspiration for your writing?
I live in Northern NH and even lived in the Northern Most town in NH (Pittsburg) for 15 years, so up here we are a very hardy lot, and for many people subsistence living is still a reality, so when I write my historicals, I can actually relate to how a person would have lived before central heat, or how they would pick berries, fish, hunt, etc. to survive, so yes I get inspiration from there, but I am not a winter person, so I have yet to write a story that takes place in the winter. Brrr.
Do you use New Hampshire and/or New England as a setting in any of your books?
I do not, because I write regency historical romance, so they all take place in England and Scotland, but I have several friends who are NH authors who have NH as a setting.
What is your favorite time of year in NH and why?
Spring and summer are favorite times of the year in NH. As I said I am not a winter person, so even though the colors of fall are pretty, I know what is coming next. I love spring and summer because it feels like a renewal to me, and the green of the leaves, with the birds chirping are a comfort. I spend most of my work days on my porch in the sun during the summer. Still wish the water at Hampton Beach was a tad warmer in the summer. =)
Dealing with the Viscount
Release Date: January 31, 2017
Genre: Regency Historical Romance
After making a wager of marriage to settle her father’s gambling debts, Ella Bowen-Thorn Renwick escaped the husband she foolishly began to fall for and disappeared into the Scottish countryside carrying a secret. Four years later, and the owner of her own bakery, she is still not free of the demands of men when a violent and anonymous blackmailer threatens her, her livelihood…and her daughter. And then, there is him…
Viscount Renwick still mourns the wife he began to love before her untimely death–that is until he discovers her alive and well living in Scotland. Now, Devon’s face to face with the wife he thought he’d buried and the daughter he never knew existed. He’d like nothing more than to welcome Ella back into his arms, but mysterious and troubling incidents and a history with an unloving father have Ella trusting no one.
But, if Renwick convinces his wife he’s the husband she always dreamed of and the father their daughter deserves, will the scandalous secret the blackmailer is holding threaten their future together once more?
Three nights passed without a word from Devon. Ella’s nerves began to fray. Every time the bell rang heralding a customer, she all but dropped whatever it was she had. Part of her feared it was another blackmail letter, and part feared it was Devon again. More unsettling was the part, still small but gaining strength, of her disappointment each time it was not Devon. She was almost ready to commit herself into Bedlam. She would be surprised if she had the concentration to work on her books at the moment.
She had no time for such foolhardy ideas as passion. And, what did she know of passion? One night in the bed of her husband would not constitute any sort of expertise in the realm of the bedroom. She knew what was expected of a wife of the Ton. As a Viscountess, she would be expected to comport herself in a certain way. Her life was just the way she wanted it.
Well, not exactly. If it were exactly as she wanted, she would not be in the middle of The Buckshead Tavern pouring ale, and listening to a group of men talk about everything from their crops and livestock, to their wives and others’ wives. Men, no matter their station, seemed to speak the same language.
Mr. Bryant had been more than happy to give her work. A very nice, almost fatherly man, he happened to be in need of more help since his daughter had taken ill, so the arrangement worked well. Ella even heard Mr. Bryant telling one of the men that she was helping out until his daughter was back on her feet, which meant Ella no longer needed to come up with a reason for being there.
That was the good news. The bad news was that she had yet to hear anything she thought would aid her. At the very least, she was hoping in conversation to find out if The Buckshead was being blackmailed as well, but either Mr. Bryant was being very close-lipped, or he had not received any threats.
Tonight, the patrons were many of the same as the previous night. Men coming in to drink ale and visit. There were, however, a few men from farther afield on this night. The roads were repaired and the busy route had picked back up.
Scottish men, Ella decided, were much larger than English men were, for she had yet to be able to see anything but barrel chests and large elbows. Her petite stature made traversing the tight taproom difficult empty handed, but with tankards and pitchers full of ale, she smelled more like the tankards she carried than a gently bred woman.
“Here, lass, ye take much longer and weel be dyin’ o’ thirst!” A large man hollered from the corner near the fire, which on this night was unlit to Ella’s relief. Several of the men with him chuckled and nodded in agreement. They were not men she recognized, but their demeanor had been nothing, if not jovial all night.
“Sorry, sir, it’s difficult finding one’s way through so many. I did bring two pitchers in case I am unable to get back as you might like,” she said as she set out the pitchers with a kind smile, hoping the bribe of an extra pitcher would hold them off.
“Hey, Ian, I think she likes ye’,” a young redhead joked while elbowing the larger man to whom Ella was speaking.
“I thinks ye might have the right of it,” the larger man barked. Without any warning, his large meaty arm snaked around her waist and dragged her down upon his lap.
Quelling the fear rising in her, Ella surveyed the area. She had no way of getting the attention of Mr. Bryant on the other side of the room; that was certain. Even if she were able, this man could be outside with her before Mr. Bryant could come to the rescue. None of the other men seemed to notice. She decided talking was her only choice.
“Well, sir, that is very flattering, but I must get back to my duties. There are many men here tonight and I believe they are all just as thirsty…” She patted his arm and made to rise. It didn’t work.
“Well, mayhap just as thirsty, but I doubt any are as hungry.” She turned to see his eyes sparkle. She didn’t think it was with humor. The other men with him roared with laughter at his comment. Not sure what he meant, she was certain she would not like it.
“Now, sir, I am trying to be civil. However, I must insist you release me this instant.” She started wriggling and prying at his hand trying to loosen his grip. The man’s response was to chuckle and nuzzle her neck, at which, she yelped with surprise.
“Sit still, lass, ye are makin’ me spill me ale.”
“If you will just let me go–”
“I don’t think so, I think I like ye where ye are.”
Ella opened her mouth with a smart retort, but it was not her voice that was heard over the crowd.
“I believe the lady has asked to be released,” a deep voice came from behind her captor.
No, no, no, no. She would have taken ten smelly, grabby, men to the one man with that voice.
“Ye be on your way, Brit. I don’t think tis any of your concern.” The man didn’t even turn to see the hard plains of Devon’s face. Ella turned away from the scene and squeezed her eyes shut as tightly as possible. This couldn’t end any other way but badly for her, no matter how it ended.
“I will ask one more time for you to unhand the wench. I am sure you are a reasonable man and will understand that there is but one serving woman, and many men who are waiting for their drink. I am not one to get in the way of two lovers, but could you possibly do your fondling after we have been served.”
The man holding Ella threw back his head and laughed, at the same time releasing her, but not without slapping her on the backside hard enough to knock her into several men on the other side of the fireplace. Gaining her composure, she smoothed her dress and wended her way through the crowd to the bar with as much haste as the crowd allowed. Wench? Wench? Lovers? The irony of it might have struck her as funny had she not been the one the men were discussing. She had just allowed Devon to call her a wench and she could do nothing about it.
The deep breathing she did only helped her gain her composure a smidge, but she was able to grab two more pitchers of ale and again attempt to squeeze her way through the crowd. This time, she was attempting to avoid Devon. He had better luck finding the only serving ‘wench’ in the crowd, however, than she did avoiding one of many men in the group. About halfway through the room, she was stopped short by a broad, well-tailored chest.
“Good eve, Ella.” She could all but feel her name vibrate from his body.
“I am terribly busy, as I am sure you can see, my Lord. I am sure if you ask Mr. Bryant, he can arrange a private parlor for you.” She stepped to the side knowing she would not be allowed to pass.
“I think we need to talk.” His voice was calm. Too calm. She looked up into his face. His eyes were not as hard as she expected, which caused her pause. “I realize this is not the place for such a conversation. However, we will talk soon.”
“Fine, but please, don’t ruin this.” With pleading eyes, she willed him to play along. He studied her face until she thought he might pick her up and carry her out over his shoulder.
I hope you enjoyed learning more about this #GraniteStateAuthor. Please check back to learn more about the authors from New Hampshire.