I am very excited because I have a pretty special post for you all, my friend and awesome Historical Romance author Virginia Heath dropped by Chicks Rogues and Scandals to celebrate her upcoming newest release of “A Warriner to Rescue Her” which is book 2 in the Wild Warriners Series and she brought with her some incredible goodies, an exclusive to Chicks Rogues and Scandals excerpt and an amazing Gift Set that we will be giving away to one very lucky winner. I did want to keep the gift for myself but I promise I will let the prize go to a good home – it is seriously amazing though 😉.
To celebrate the up and coming release of “A Warriner to Rescue Her” we are going to be chatting Beatrix Potter, The Warriners and Acorns?…So to get our little celebration going with an exclusive post from the lady her self; here’s Virginia Heath…
From Little Acorns…
Just over a year ago, my first book came out. Like most debut authors, I found it all exciting yet a strangely daunting process. There was so much to learn and so much to do, and everyone told me that top of that list was to get some reviews because without them my book would fade into obscurity. Eagerly, I sent out my precious book to all and sundry, terrified they would all hate my work but knowing I had to do it or else nobody else would read it, hoping that from little acorns an oak tree would grow.
However, there was a problem. The reviewers weren’t interested. Why would they be? Why would they waste their valuable time on a new, unknown author when they already had a huge To Be Read pile filled with well-established and brilliant authors? It seemed my debut book was doomed and so was I.
That’s when I came across Frankie on Twitter. She had just started up her own blogging site Chicks, Rogues and Scandals. She was new and so was I, so I asked her if she would review That Despicable Rogue and to my delight and utter relief she said yes.
It was my first review, and a very nice one. Thanks to that review, other reviewers picked up my book and gave me a go. Since then, it’s all snowballed and I truly have had the most phenomenal first year. I’m building a name for myself and a solid following of readers. I was even nominated for a RONA award (Romantic Novel of the Year) for my third book The Discerning Gentleman’s Guide- I didn’t win but to have been shortlisted felt like I did. The big sites now regularly review my books, and by and large those reviews have all been excellent. The response to my first ever series- The Wild Warriners- has been awesome and I can already feel it building momentum after the success of the first book A Warriner to Protect Her.
I’m not an oak tree yet, more a sapling, and I will be forever grateful to Frankie for her part in that. That’s why I decided to celebrate the launch of the second Warriner book with a giveaway and excerpt exclusively on Chicks, Rogues and Scandals rather than on my own website. A little thank-you for being the first person to take a chance on me. I hope you all enjoy A Warriner to Rescue Her…
Exclusive Excerpt of A Warriner to Rescue Her.
Their butler crept in stealthily and coughed subtly. Every time Jamie saw him it gave him a start. Six months ago they had not even had a maid—now, thanks to Letty, there was a veritable army running Markham Manor, all transplanted from her opulent mansion in Mayfair.
‘You have a caller, my lady.’
A rarity indeed. Nobody called on the Warriners unless they were baying for blood or demanding immediate payment.
‘A young lady. A Miss Reeves. She is enquiring as to whether Captain Warriner is at home.’
Jamie could feel the beginnings of nerves in the pit of his stomach, warning of further impending humiliation, but tried to appear impassive.
‘Captain Warriner?’ Letty was staring at him with barely contained delight. ‘How very dashing that sounds.’
‘Tell her I am not at home, Chivers.’
‘Tell her no such thing! Have her shown in immediately, Chivers. And arrange for some tea.’ His sister-in-law tossed aside her already forgotten sewing and sat eagerly forward in her chair. ‘Why is a young lady calling for you, Jamie?’
He considered lying, but as the real reason for Miss Reeves’s unwelcome visit was doubtless about to be unveiled there seemed little point. ‘I tried to rescue her from a tree yesterday.’
‘Yes. And failed. Miserably.’
Further explanation was prevented by the arrival of his embarrassment. Just as it had yesterday, those red-gold curls refused to be tamed by her hairpins. Several very becoming silky tendrils poked out of her sensible bonnet and framed her pretty face. Her lovely chestnut eyes were wary as they darted between him and Letty.
Politeness dictated he should stand in the presence of a lady, but if he stood she would see more damning evidence of his infirmity and his pride was already bruised and battered quite enough. Letty, of course, sprang to her feet in an instant and gushingly greeted their guest.
‘Miss Reeves! I am delighted to make your acquaintance. I am Letty Warriner- technically the Countess of Markham, although my husband is reticent about using his title. Do take a seat. I hope you will join us for tea?’
It was all a little over the top, in Jamie’s opinion. Yes, a visitor was something of a rarity here, but the way Letty was behaving was a little too effusive. Especially as he was already counting the seconds until Miss Reeves left him in humiliated solitary peace.
‘Tea would be lovely,’ she said, flicking her eyes towards his briefly as she arranged her bottom on a chair. Jamie could still remember the feel of it in his hands. Firm. Rounded. Womanly. Which of course made him think about the incongruous garters again. ‘I came to check on Captain Warriner’s recovery. Because of my own lack of judgement, he was injured yesterday.’
Jamie stared straight ahead, but could feel Letty’s eyes boring into him. ‘Really? Jamie made no mention of an injury. Come to mention it, he also made no mention of the accident which must have led to the injury. All I know is what I have just been told. You were apparently stuck in a tree, Miss Reeves, and my brother-in-law tried and failed to get you down.’
She put unnecessary emphasis on the words brother-in-law, clearly making a point to their guest. A point which made Jamie uncomfortable.
He is single, in case you were wondering, Miss Reeves, and desperately in want of a wife. Try to ignore the fact he is lame, futureless and has the potential to kill if the mood takes him.
Miss Reeves blushed like a beetroot, a beetroot with distracting freckles on her dainty button of a nose, and wore a pained expression. ‘Captain Warriner climbed the apple tree to save me, but I fidgeted too much and the branch snapped. I am afraid we both fell to the ground. The poor captain absorbed the brunt of the impact.’
An understatement. His ribs had damn near snapped in half.
Letty was grinning like an idiot. ‘You fell on top of him? In the orchard?’ And like a nodcock he just happened to be painting the same blasted orchard and things looked so much more beautiful through his stupid eyes.
Miss Reeves nodded. ‘I feel awful about it.’
For his own sake, now was the opportune time to intervene, before Letty started to matchmake in earnest. ‘As you can see, I am in fine fettle, Miss Reeves. You needn’t have troubled yourself by coming all this way to see the evidence for yourself.’ His sister-in-law shot him a pointed glance for his rudeness, but Jamie was unrepentant. The last thing he needed was Letty reading more into his choice of painting than he was comfortable with her knowing. Miss Reeves’s fine eyes swivelled towards his leg, raised as always on a supportive footstool, and he inwardly cringed.
‘But I can see your leg is still injured, Captain Warriner, and that is completely my fault.’
She thought his infirmity was a temporary affliction, and as tempting as it was to go along with the fantasy, his innate sense of futility kicked in. ‘This is Napoleon’s fault, Miss Reeves. Not yours.’
Now, please go away, woman!
‘Indirectly. It was his guns which fired the musket balls.’
Her voice came out a little high-pitched and he simply nodded. He had no intention of telling her how they had had to dig three of the blighters out of his thigh while he was still conscious and he’d very nearly lost the whole leg, as well as his life, to infection afterwards. She blinked rapidly and Jamie could see her imagination filling in the blanks, those long lashes fluttering like butterflies as she did so.
Somehow that made it worse. Pretty and pity made him feel less of a man than he usually did. However, under the circumstances, it was probably best to divulge the horrible truth and suffer her pity rather than give Letty false hope that this delightful armful of woman might enter into a romance with a dangerous invalid. ‘They left me crippled, Miss Reeves.’ And cripples were not attractive. Especially not to freckle-faced fertility goddesses with positively sinful hair and saucy garters.
Cassie had no idea how to respond to such a statement. Part of her was sorry he had suffered, another part of her was hugely relieved not to have been the cause of his injury and a bigger part of her kept remembering how very big, solid and manly his body had been sprawled beneath hers. Just thinking about it made her feel all warm and those deliciously sinful sapphire eyes were not helping. Once again those exuberant passions she was trying her hardest to suppress jumped to the fore. Fortunately, the arrival of the tea tray meant she did not have to respond and had a perfectly reasonable excuse for removing her bonnet before she began to perspire from her wayward, wicked thoughts.
‘Do you take sugar, Miss Reeves?’
‘Just one, please, Mrs…er…my lady.’
The pretty blonde woman giggled. ‘To be honest, it confuses me, too. Perhaps we should simply dispense with the formalities. Why don’t you call me Letty?’
‘In that case, please feel free to call me Cassie.’ She risked peeking at Captain Galahad, but he made no move to invite her to call him anything familiar. In fact, he looked quite irritated at her continued presence. His gorgeous eyes were distinctly narrowed, which made her babble. ‘I am new to the area. My father has recently been appointed the vicar of this parish. We live at the vicarage.’ A completely ridiculous clarification only an idiot would make. It would probably be sensible to stop babbling nonsense and wait to be asked a question. Unfortunately, once her nerves got the better of her, Cassie’s mouth had a habit of running away with itself. ‘I couldn’t help noticing you are going to have a baby.’ Was it polite to mention such things?
Whether it was or it wasn’t, her hostess smiled and Cassie watched in wonder as the young woman’s hand automatically went to her protruding stomach lovingly. ‘Yes, indeed. But not until the autumn. I appear to have got very fat very quickly.’ She handed Cassie her tea. ‘Are you engaged to be married, Miss Reeves, or is there an ardent suitor on the cusp of proposing to you in the near future?’
A very sore point.
Cassie’s odd personality, off-putting exuberance, unfortunate freckles combined with her father’s ferocious temperament had all proved to be highly effective deterrents to the male sex. ‘No to both questions, I’m afraid.’
I am doomed to sit on the shelf and gather dust; I only hope it is sturdy enough and wide enough to bear my weight.
‘Well, I am sure it won’t be long before some lucky gentleman snaps you up—you are uncommonly pretty, Miss Reeves. Isn’t that right, Jamie?’
Captain Galahad grunted and appeared very bored. Clearly he disagreed. He was sipping his tea and practically glaring at her over the rim of the ridiculously delicate cup in his large, manly hand. Or perhaps he was glaring at his sister-in-law for asking him such an impertinent question? It was quite difficult to tell.
A Warriner to Rescue Her cam be Pre-ordered at Amazon
As you would have guessed from the Amazing Excerpt “A Warriner to Rescue Her” follows second brother; war hero Jamie as he tries to get on with his life after being severely wounded in battle. Jamie is an accomplished artist and it is through his art that he really comes into his own. On meeting Cassie, the new vicar’s daughter who like Jamie comes into her own through her stories, they come together to create a book, in a very Beatrix Potter way. Cassie writes the story about talking animals, no less and Jamie creates the glorious pictures and soon through their shared love of this venture they begin to heal each other. Which leads nicely into the next part of our Celebration The lady, who is the inspiration to Cassie and Jamie’s book; Beatrix Potter….
A Lady who Inspired….
Beatrix Potter was a childhood heroine of mine, she inspired children, young girls especially, to go out there and pursue their dreams, just like she did. Beatrix was a kind-hearted, intelligent and wonderful woman who could see the beauty in the most ordinary, everyday things. Her gift for creating these lovable tales is extraordinary but that isn’t all she achieved, her legacy will be her love and respect for the wild and all its creatures.
Beatrix wrote and illustrated 28 children’s books that to this day are loved by children all over the world, they have been translated into over 35 languages.
She was originally from Kensington, London born 28th July 1866 to a Rupert and Helen Potter, but her heart was and always would be in the country; such as Scotland and the Lake District. She was the eldest of two, her little brother Bertram were very close and they shared a love of animals and nature. As Bertram was really the only childhood friend she had while growing up, once he was sent off to school Beatrix was very lonely and it was at these times that her artistic talents and astonishing imagination really took root and started her off down the path she took and why and how she became the inspiring woman she became.
Like all girls growing up during the Victorian era, Beatrix was restricted in her activities, she rarely spent much time with her parents and other than her brother her main source of companionship was various governesses who were brought in to educate young Beatrix, because of her extraordinary talent she was encouraged to pursue her love of art. She created astonishingly accurate drawings of fungi and insects and her beloved pet rabbit Benjamin Bouncer.
Throughout her twenties, after years of observation and studies she developed into a keen and talented naturalist and she wrote her first paper called “On the Germination of the Spores of Agaricineae” all about how fungi spores reproduced but was rejected by William Thiselton-Dyer, director of the Royal Botanical Gardens. She refused to give up and carried on with her research and a year later George Massee, a fungi expert who worked at the Kew gardens, agreed to present her paper to the Linnean Society of London as women weren’t allowed to at the time.
Way before becoming the published author we know her to be, Beatrix created illustrated post cards depicting scenes from her favourite stories such as Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland for the publisher Hildesheimer & Faulkner. Many more illustrations and verses followed, this cemented her desire to Publish her own stories.
In 1901 after being rejected by many publishers Beatrix decided to print and Publish The Tale of Peter Rabbit herself, she initially printed 250 copies and sent them to friends and family. The book was an instant success and the publishers Frederick Warne & Co., who had previously turned it down, reconsidered and offered to publish as long as Beatrix illustrated in colour. On publishing in October 1902 the book was an instant hit.
But she wasn’t just a one hit wonder she created many more books that were instant successes, she started exploring more creative pursuits, she created her own Peter Rabbit doll and in 1903 she registered it at the patent office making Peter Rabbit the world’s oldest licensed literary character. Beatrix dabbled in other merchandise such as tea sets. Slippers, she invented The Peter Rabbit board game in 1904. She also published Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddle Duck painting books.
She met her soul mate in her editor, Norman Warne but unfortunately after a long courtship Norman died of Leukaemia just a month after his proposal of marriage. To recover from his passing Beatrix took to the Lake District, which was her sanctuary a place she could grieve and be herself in peace and it was a place where she spent the majority of the rest of her life.
She loved the area and the people and just the way of life so much she bought fifteen farms and took a very hands on approach to caring for them. She was known to helping with the haymaking, wading through mud to unblock drains or dressed in tweed searching the hills for lost sheep. She was at her utmost happiest when she was tending to her animals.
Beatrix became the first woman elected President of the Herdwick Sheep Breeders Association in 1943 and in the same year Beatrix sadly passed away, leaving her fifteen farms and over four thousand acres to The National Trust.
For me Beatrix was an astonishing woman, she pushed the boundaries of what women could do in the time and she never gave in. She was a force to be reckoned with and she brought so much joy and happiness into the world, her legacy is of her love of nature and these wonderful stories that are still loved to this day. She had her heart breaks and it was in those times that she showed again and again just how much strength she had.
I promised at the beginning of the post that we have a doozy of a giveaway and here it is. Virginia has generously put together a Warriner/Beatrix Potter Gift set which includes…
• A signed copy of A Warriner to Rescue her.
• Virginia Heath Bookmarks.
• Beatrix Potter Adult Colouring Book.
• Horses Adult Colouring Book.
• A Pack of Fancy Steadler Norris Colouring Pencils.
So, to be in for a chance of winning this incredible Gift set then all you have to do is tell me : Who is your favourite Beatrix Potter Character? That’s it simple!
Revised Giveaway Entrant Rules : I have had a it pointed out to me that those who don’t have a wordpress account are having difficulties commenting, so I have adjusted how you all can enter – You can either comment below, or you can leave your answer on the original Giveaway Post on the Chick’s Rogues and Scandals Facebook page. Link – HERE
The Giveaway is open Internationally. The closing date is Tuesday 27th June at 6pm GMT. The winner will be drawn at random after the closing date and will be notified shortly after.