Today is the USA release day of my new Regency, the Second Son. John, the second son in the Trewbridge family is riddled with guilt when he unexpectedly has to step into the shoes of a brother he has always despised. Marguerite Ninian, a stoic young woman with no pretensions to either birth or beauty teaches him that he will succeed, that he can fill his brother's shoes far better than his brother ever did. Most of all, she teaches him to forgive himself.
The Second Son can be purchased from Musa Publishing, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, All Romance Ebooks and Bookstrand. It is the second published book of the Trewbridge series, although chronologically it is the first. (The first was called COMING HOME and was published by Robert Hale Ltd as a hardback last year. It comes out in e-book form from Robert Hale on 31 January 2012).
I enjoyed writing The Second Son, because as with most of my books, the hero is wracked with guilt and self-doubt. I've always enjoyed reading and writing tortured heroes because their opportunity for character development is vast.
Links for purchase are:
Here's an extract:
When he came upon the scene of the accident, his heart caught in his throat. The farmhands had set flares around the over-turned phaeton, and in the blackness it looked like a scene from Hell as men heaved and tugged, trying to free Spencer who was trapped beneath the cross-struts.
It was a bad situation. Had Spencer been caught beneath a wheel, they could have lifted the high-perch phaeton off him. But he was caught fast beneath the centre structure. No wonder he screamed when they tried to shift him.
John swallowed hard and dismounted. He crouched down beside the phaeton.
"Spence? It’s me. John."
"Knew you’d come. Guilty conscience wouldn’t let you stay away." Spencer’s voice was slurred and fading, but there was an echo of the old vindictiveness still there.
"Guilty conscience?" John asked, wondering if his brother’s mind was wandering.
"Oh, yes. I’ve always known you wanted to be me." Spencer paused and fisted his hand for a moment. His other arm was trapped beneath the phaeton.
The pain must be excruciating. John tugged off his glove and held tight to Spencer’s free hand. "No, Spence. I envied you Trewbridge, not the title. Oh, and sometimes I envied your famous way with the ladies. But I didn’t want to be you." He noticed he was talking in the past tense and reined himself in. How callous could he be? "No. I’m too dull to enjoy racing around, trying to keep ahead of my conscience."
Spencer ignored the last comment. "Dull," he rasped. "I told her that would singe your whiskers."
"For a time it did," John murmured. "But I’ve found someone who needs me and doesn’t think I’m dull. And I have an estate that will not give me sleepless nights like the responsibility of Trewbridge would."
There was a long silence and John felt the world shrink down to just the two of them, in the dark, with the sounds of rescue far away. Then Spencer’s cracked voice whispered, "But you will have it all now, while I dance with demons."
"I don"t think so. We’ll get you out of here. More men are coming. We will lift this damned phaeton off you and—-"
"No!" Spencer’s voice rose again. "I do not want to be saved." He gave a slight huff that might have been a laugh. "Never did."
The erratic pulse fluttering against John’s fingers slowed, and in the fitful torchlight, John saw his brother slide away. Spencer’s last breath exhaled on a sigh and his face gradually slackened into pain-free oblivion. His cold hand lay flaccid in John’s warm one.
John bent his head and prayed for Spencer’s soul. He had never, never imagined that one day he would kneel on the edge of a roadway in the peaceful English countryside beside his dying brother. He choked back a sob. "A wasted life," he whispered.
You can see the cover on my website at http://www.vonniehughes.com/