I have a short story in the Mammoth Book of Regency Romance, which is available in the UK from Constable and Robinson on June 24, and in the US from Running Press on July 27. Other authors contributing stories include Elizabeth Boyle, Anna Campbell, Lorraine Heath, and many more.
I’m also be at the Romance Writers of America Conference in Orlando, Florida from July 27 to July 31. If you are planning to come to the huge booksigning on Wednesday, please drop by.
Here’s a brief excerpt of my story, entitled ‘Gretna Green’, from the Mammoth Book of Regency Romance…
He had caught gangs of murderers in the stews off Whitechapel High Street. Arrested opium dealers in seedy brothels near the Wapping docks. But in all the years he had worked for Bow Street as a Runner, Trevelyan Foxton had never been required to investigate in a more foreign and intimidating place.
He watched the shop from across the street, drawing smoke from his cheroot. Each time the door opened, the silver bell tinkled delicately, and he caught the faint scents of rose and lavender. Ladies flowed in and out continuously. Ladies of every age and every description—slender, giggling girls with shining eyes, and their mamas, the formidable matrons of the ton. And from within, all he could hear was incessant feminine chatter.
Trevelyan glanced up at the name above the shop, proudly displayed on a large sign, painted in burgundy and ivory, glimmering with gilt.
No longer was she plain Sally Thomas. She was now Estelle Desjardins. He’d caught a glimpse of her when the door opened. She wore severe black and had pins stuck in her mouth. She had been pointing at a thin, sallow girl who looked miserable in an ivory dress. And, at the same time, she was lecturing the mother, a bosomy, gray-haired woman he recognized as the Duchess of St. Ives.
Now that was the Sally he remembered.
She’d been the toughest, hardest, and fiercest of their gang. All of the lads—the pickpockets, the mudlarks, the thieves—had been afraid of her. Except for him. He knew the one thing that frightened Sally. When he wanted her to shut her mouth, all he had to do was kiss her. Or show her he cared about her.
That had been a long time ago. Back in the days when he never would have dreamed he’d end up on the good side of the law as a Bow Street Runner. Back then he never would have pictured Sally in anything but a ragged dress, with her fists doubled and her point of a chin stuck out. Never would have pictured her looking down her nose at grand ladies.
Trevelyan tossed away his cheroot and ground it into the cobblestones of the street.
Sally had done well for herself.
It was a shame he was going to have to destroy her.
From “Gretna Green” in the Mammoth Book of Regency Romance, ©2010 Sharon Page