Read The Dragon's Bride Online

Authors: Jo Beverley

Tags: #Romance, #Historical, #Fantasy, #Adult, #Regency

The Dragon's Bride (29 page)

BOOK: The Dragon's Bride
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Author’s Note

I usually set my books in a correct geographical location, with only the homes of the principal characters invented, but with this book, it’s pretty well all made up. The coast of Devon is as I describe it, which I confirmed during a visit there. Exeter and Honiton are real places. However, you’ll never find the villages of Church Wyvern and Dragon’s Cove, no matter how carefully you look, or a house like Crag Wyvern. The reason is that this community came to my imagination full-blown.

To step back a pace, I did originally plan for Con Somerford’s lady to be Lady Anne Peckworth. However, when I tried to write it, it didn’t go well. Lady Anne complained that he was cold, and he thought of her as a good deed. Even throwing them into an adventure didn’t make them get on any better. I’d always wondered what would happen if my hero and heroine didn’t fall in love, and now I knew. The book didn’t work.

I fought them for a while and then opened my mind to other possibilities. All of a sudden I was off with Con to this strange house in Devon where lurked a secret of his youth. And the rest is the story called
The Dragon’s Bride.

The smuggling parts are based on truth, however. Smuggling was the major industry all around the coast of England in this period, but especially on the south coast, so temptingly close to the continent. During the long war, smugglers had conveyed spies, messages, and gold in both directions. With peace, matters did become much more difficult, but it would be another generation or so before the government brought about change by lowering taxes instead of throwing more and more money at trying to stop the smugglers.

It is also true that there were good gangs and bad ones. Some were thorough thugs, feared and despised by all. Others, however, were led by clever businessmen who built cooperation and trust in an area and minimized violence.

The situation of the riding officers was often very difficult. In the past, Preventive men had often been local, but that led to obvious problems, so it became the rule that a riding officer be sent to a place far from his home. Friendless and unpopular, they did not have an easy life because few people anywhere in England thought there was anything wrong with dodging a bit of tax. Even a parson reported paying his smuggler twenty-one shillings for a gallon of brandy in his diary.

I’ve been jokingly calling this series “Three guys called George,” and I can remember idly playing around in my mind with three very different men linked by geography and long friendship. I imagined them all together in the army and at Waterloo, but then I realized that their very different natures would, over ten years, send them in vastly different directions.

And, of course, produce very different stories.

With
The Dragon’s Bride,
these stories begin to weave into my Company of Rogues series. There’s no need to have read the Rogues books to enjoy these and subsequent ones, but the original Rogues books are being reissued. The series goes:
An Arranged Marriage, An Unwilling Bride, Christmas Angel, Forbidden,
and
Dangerous Joy.

As you’ve doubtless guessed, in the next book,
The Devil’s Heiress,
Hawk Hawkinville discovers that love can strike the most resistant heart. It starts out, however, strictly as business. His despicable father has mortgaged the family home in Hawk in the Vale to pursue an inheritance from his own family. He’s succeeded in claiming the title of Lord Deveril, but found that the late viscount’s money has all been left to a Miss Clarissa Greystone, whom Lord Deveril had planned to marry.

Squire Hawkinville wants Hawk to get the money by marrying it, just as he married for Hawkinville Manor. Hawk rejects that, but he sets out to prove that the will is a forgery, and that Miss Clarissa Greystone was involved in Lord Deveril’s murder.

The trouble is, he’s right!

The next trouble is, he falls in love with Clarissa.

This tangle is soon a thorough knot, and Con, Van, and some of the Rogues will be needed to help straighten it out. Look for it in August of this year.

If you missed Van’s story, it is the novella “The Demon’s Mistress,” in the collection
In Praise of Younger Men.
It was published by Signet in March 2001, and so should still be available. If not, your bookstore can order it for you at no extra charge.

And what about Race de Vere? There’s a story there. Perhaps I’ll send him to try his luck with Lady Anne.

There’s a list of all my books on my Web page:
http://www.poboxes.com/jobev
.

There are links from there to my e-mail chat list.

I enjoy hearing from readers. You can e-mail me at
[email protected]
.

To contact me by post, send a letter to me in care of Meg Ruley, The Jane Rotrosen Agency, 318 East 51st Street, New York, NY 10022. A SASE is appreciated.

Copyright Information

SIGNET

Published by New American Library, a division of

Penguin Putnam Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A.

Penguin Books Ltd, 27 Wrights Lane, London W8 5TZ, England

Penguin Books Australia Ltd, Ringwood, Victoria, Australia

Penguin Books Canada Ltd, 10 Alcorn Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4V 3B2

Penguin Books (N.Z.) Ltd, 182-190 Wairau Road, Auckland 10, New Zealand

Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: Harmondsworth, Middlesex, England

First published by Signet, an imprint of New American Library, a division of Penguin Putnam Inc.

First Printing, May 2001 10987654

Copyright Š Jo Beverley Publications, Inc., 2001 All rights reserved

REGISTERED TRADEMARK—MARCA REGISTRADA

Printed in the United States of America

Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.

PUBLISHER’S NOTE

This is a work of fiction Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

BOOKS ARE AVAILABLE AT QUANTITY DISCOUNTS WHEN USED TO PROMOTE PRODUCTS OR SERVICES. FOR INFORMATION PLEASE WRITE TO PREMIUM MARKETING DIVISION, PENGUIN PUTNAM INC., 175 HUDSON STREET, NEW YORK, NEW YORK 10014.

If you purchased this book without a cover you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as “unsold and destroyed” to the publisher and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this “stripped book.”

BOOK: The Dragon's Bride
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