Monday, 13 January 2014

Marriage By Arrangement - Jan 14











A MARRIAGE COVENANT

Why does a handsome, powerful noble of the highest rank in England stoop to marry a mere Lady of Lowland Scotland?
                
A GREAT SECRET

Are the whispered stories about him true? With his shadowy past and strange behavior, what awful secret does he hide? Each change of clothes transforms him into a different man.

AN IMPOSSIBLE CHOICE


Can Lady Cailin keep her vow to make her marriage happy and successful, unlike that of her parents, or must she arrange for the Duke's accidental death?






Castle Drummond near the Village of Kirkmichael in Lowland Scotland -– April 19, 1746
                 
“I won’t run.” A shudder skipped down Lady Cailin MacMurry’s spine, and she stared at her younger sister. “I’m committed.”

“It’s not too late. I heard another scandalous rumor about Duke Avondale.” Lady Megan MacMurry grasped Cailin’s arm.
                 
“I won’t listen to gossip.” Cailin pulled away from her sister and lifted her wedding bouquet to inhale the white rose fragrance. If only the sweet scent could overcome Megan’s words, and her own misgivings. Though most arranged marriages turned out badly, surely God would give her a loving one. After all, since her earliest years, she’d prayed for a happy-ever-after love.
                 
“Ask yourself why such a grand noble would stoop to marry a Scottish lass with but the title Lady? Why did he not choose an English Duchess or Marchioness or even a Countess?” Megan tilted her head and lifted elegant brows.
                 
Why indeed? Cailin clutched her enormous diamond engagement necklace. The thing felt heavy with responsibility. 

“The man’s an English duke. He owns palaces all over England.” Megan planted her hands on her slender, mossy-green silk covered hips. “Every noble lass in the land should be offering to give her right arm to be in your shoes. And yet they are not.”

New knots formed in the nape of her neck. She held her finger to her lips. “Too late to turn back now. The wedding chorus has begun.” She forced her feet to take the first step and then began the slow glide from the stone castle’s rear archway through the garden toward the rose arbor.

With a jerk, Megan lifted and straightened Cailin’s cumbersome satin train. “In truth, beyond his wealth and titles, our family knows little about the English Duke.” She gathered up her own long skirts, then ran ahead to lead Cailin down the flower-strewn path. Seven bridesmaids stopped giggling and chatting and moved to their places in front of Megan to head the procession.
                 
Beneath her veil, Cailin smoothed her frown. Papa had chosen to take this path in light of the violent upheaval following England’s latest battle with the Highlanders. Her marriage to the Duke would shelter her family with his great cloak of protection. Neither the English nor the Scots would dare invade a castle guarded by the powerful Duke’s Coat of Arms.
                 
More goosebump fingers shivered her spine. Surely jealousy fueled the flagrant tittle-tattle. She pulled in a deep breath, straightened her shoulders, and took measured steps in time to the music toward the loch gleaming in the late afternoon sunlight. She would not let whispers spoil her wedding. She laid her hand lightly on her father’s offered arm.
                 
Their procession passed the scores of guests assembled on both sides of the flowered path. Ahead her groom stood beneath the rose bower, sunlight from the loch gleaming on him, the pastor, and his groomsman.
                 
Her heart fluttered. The Duke looked the perfect picture of manhood. He towered above his shorter groomsman and the pastor. Sun glinting off his iceberg blue satin coat, heavily laced with gold, almost blinded her. His chocolate eyes gazed past the dazzling crowd of guests and focused on her. Beneath those beckoning eyes, the straight bridge of his nose above softly smiling lips formed the most handsome face she’d ever seen. Her pulse quickened. Butterflies flitted from her stomach to her heart and back. 

As she reached her groom and the chamber music died, her high-heeled slippers sunk into the grassy moor, but her foreboding dissolved like fog before the sunshine.   

The rose bower in the garden where she and the Duke stood together and promised their fidelity was pure romance with its lush greenery, heavy scent of roses, and panorama of softly rolling, newly green glen. Though she didn’t know the man she wed, she repeated with all her heart to love, honor, and obey him as long as she should live.

Marrying a man one had barely met happened more often than not to daughters of Lords. So why were her knees shaking? Her attractive groom, with his mahogany hair, wide shoulders, and square jaw, held her hand gently in his warm, strong grasp. Rumors were just rumors, and, truth be told, if he were not perfect, neither was she.

A breeze loosened strands of brown hair from the gold band that tied the thick mass neatly behind his muscular neck to dance around his face. She was glad he had not powdered his hair. Her throat tightened. Loving him would be easy. Oh God, please let him love me. She would love him so greatly, with everything inside her heart, surely he would love her in return. She would work hard to make certain her marriage turned out differently from Mums. There would be no coldness nor violent arguments between her and her grand Duke. No sleeping in separate parts of the castle. No making their daughters’ lives miserable with the dislike they bore one another.

As the magnificent sunset painted him gold, the Duke’s chestnut eyes stared into hers with promise, his inviting lips tipped upwards at the corners, and his demeanor was affectionate and approving. Joy burst through her chest, and she gave him a brilliant smile. Yes, her marriage would be happy. A storybook marriage like Cinderella’s.

The English parson the Duke had brought with him raised a hand in blessing. “I now pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss the bride.”

She handed her heavy bouquet of roses and lilies to Megan and tipped her chin up. The tall, lithe, young Duke stepped forward and lifted her expensive Brussels veil. She was so very fortunate he was not old. She closed her eyes.

He touched his lips to hers.

Oh! Her eyes flew open. The bridal kiss had been so short…and disappointing. The pledge in his gaze had led her to expect so much more. She frowned. Their first kiss was like melding lips with someone on stage, acting a part. 

He dropped his arms and moved back.

A terrifying thought swirled through her brain like a ghost. Since Papa had betrothed Megan to a cruel man, what type of man had he selected for her? Were safety and titles and lands more important to Papa than both his daughters’ happiness?

She shivered.



Anne will award a digital copy of Masquerade Marriage – book one in the series, to a randomly drawn commenter at each stop during the tour, and a Grand Prize of a 20.00 GC to the Pelican Book Group website to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.
Leave a comment for a chance to win!Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning. The tour dates can be found here: 






An Interview with the Author:

Welcome to a question and answer session I call Romancing the Novelist. Great to have you here today, Anne. First question is what draws you as a reader to the romance genre? 

I love a happy ending. I love seeing people overcome the most difficult circumstances and find an amazing love along the journey. Readers know when they pick up a romance that the hero and heroine will end up in love. So that’s no surprise. The joy comes when the journey is difficult, almost impossible, and yet these two people overcome and gain lasting love in the end. 

What is the most difficult part of writing a love story? 

I love the back and forth, give and take of discovering if love is real. My characters generally don’t like each other or they have some very difficult obstacles to overcome before they can fall in love. The slow discovery that one loves the other remains new and exciting for each story. I think my biggest difficulty is not being too emotional. I love for my readers to experience each sensation of the hero and heroine as they encounter unexpected love at a most inopportune time of their life. In my story, Marriage By Arrangement, love happens in unexpected ways and just in the nick of time to avoid unpleasant circumstances.

Is creating a book title easy for you? Tell us about the process. 

Actually creating a book title is the easiest part of the writing process for me. I write historical romance and romantic suspense. I’m a seat of the pants writer, but I have a general idea of where a book is heading before I write the first word. Coming up with a compelling title keeps my focus on the book’s theme. So I envision the title early on in the process. I’m attracted to suspense even in my historical books, so there is often an element of suspense in my title. For instance, in Masquerade Marriage I knew there would be many elements of masquerading throughout the book, putting the masquerade on many levels. So that was an easy title pick. Marriage by Arrangement brings to mind so many varied possibilities of the how and why a marriage might be arranged, as well as what happens when someone else chooses your mate. That was also an easy choice. I seldom change a title once I begin. A Texas Christmas Mystery says it all. 

Do your characters love the direction you take for them or do they have other ideas? 

That’s a great question. As a seat of the pants writer, I NEVER tell my characters what to do. I drop them into a situation and sit back and watch how they react and listen to what they say. The process is much like watching a movie. I never know what comes next. I love writing myself into a corner and seeing how my characters discover unique ways out of difficult situations. My characters surprise me and I love them for it. 

Any tips on writing that you’d like to share? 

For the first four or five years that I wrote, I worked alone. Then I discovered Romance Writers of America. I joined and learned a few things. Then ACFW began. I think I was one of their charter members. I went to conferences and joined critique groups. I learned so much more about the craft of writing. I met editors and agents. I entered contests. Through the ACFW writers’ group I found my agent and my publisher. So, I highly recommend joining a local writers group if there is one in your area. If not, join an on-line writers group. I teach writing on-line. You can visit my class at http://www.anneswritingupdates.blogspot.com . Also, don’t judge your writing against anyone else’s. Each person’s writing is unique. Develop your own voice. Then there is that persistence thing. Never give up. Never give up. Never give up.





ANNE GREENE delights in writing about wounded heroes and gutsy heroines. Her second novel, a Scottish historical, Masquerade Marriage, won the New England Reader Choice award, the Laurel Wreath Award, and the Heart of Excellence Award. The sequel Marriage By Arrangement released November, 2013.  A Texas Christmas Mystery also won awards. She makes her home in McKinney, Texas. Tim LaHaye led her to the Lord when she was twenty-one and Chuck Swindoll is her Pastor. View Anne’s travel pictures and art work at http://www.AnneGreeneAuthor.com. Anne’s highest hope is that her stories transport the reader to an awesome new world and touch hearts to seek a deeper spiritual relationship with the Lord Jesus. 

Buy Anne’s books at http://www.PelicanBookGroup.com. Or at http://www.Amazon.com. Visit http://www.anneswritingupdates.blogspot.com for information on writing an award-winning novel. Talk with Anne on twitter at @TheAnneGreene. Visit Anne’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/annewgreene?fref=ts



16 comments:

  1. Christine, thanks you so much for inviting me to participate on your absolutely beautiful blog. I'm so excited to be here. That you for being a gracious hostess.

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  2. Thanks for the invitation and the great giveaway.
    I love regency books and this sound up my alley.
    Great cover.

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  3. Hi Lynelle, If you win Marriage By Arrangement, I'm sure you will love it. It was delightful to write. I loved the research and especially travelling in Scotland. It's beautiful country and the people are wonderful. I fall in love with their accents. Nice to see you here.

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  4. Hi, Anne! I love arranged marriage stories (and write them!), so I was thrilled to hear about yours. Eager to read!

    Also, I grew up in Plano and Allen, so I'm familiar with your neck of the woods.

    :::waving from North Texas:::

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    1. DeAnna, thank you so much for your sweet words. I'm certain you will love Marriage By Arrangement. Yes, DeAnna, I think I met you years ago. Where do you live now?

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    2. I live a little bit north of Denton, but I get over to Frisco and Plano often. :)

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  5. Informative intetrview

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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    1. Thank you! Your name is in the hat for the drawing. Nice of you to visit with me!

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  6. I too am a fan of books that begin w/arranged marriages! They can be so very thought provoking and insightful if written well. From what I've just read, this book certainly fits the bill ;) I thoroughly enjoyed the excerpt and author bio. Thanks for sharing!

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  7. Hello Elise-Maria, It's nice to meet you. Yes, arranged marriages really make a person happy that doesn't happen so often today. Although in some less fortunate parts of the world, women are still auctioned off. I'm so happy you enjoyed learning about me. Nice of you to visit.

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  8. I think if you take the view of the country song that says 'love isn't something that you are in, it's something that you do' an arranged marriage can certainly work out.
    I would love to win a copy of Marriage by Arrangement!

    pattymh2000(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  9. Beautiful story, I was enthralled. Great job, Anne!

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  10. Hi LoRee, I'm so glad to see you here. Also glad you like the story. That was a wonderful, fun time to write about. Sometimes I think I was born into the wrong time period. How about you?

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  11. Thanks for visiting and leaving your comment everyone! Best of luck in the draws. :):)

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  12. And thank you again, Christine for inviting me. You are a gracious hostess.

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