No Longer a Gentleman, Lost Lords #4, is about to hit bookstores. (April 24th is the official release date.)
There are references to him earlier in the series. First, just oblique allusions to a lost and much mourned friend. Gradually it’s revealed that he was in France when the Peace of Amiens ended.
And Paris is where the party was. Hordes of well-born Britons poured into the city—including my hero, Grey. One of the first class of students at the Westerfield Academy for “boys of good birth and bad behavior,” he was the golden lad who was equally adept at getting into mischief and charming his way out of the consequences.
Grey’s father, the Earl of Costain, sent his heir to Westerfield in the hope that the formidable headmistress, Lady Agnes, would be immune to Grey’s charm. While not immune, she did call him on his behavior, but it wasn’t enough to teach him good sense.
Which is why consequences finally caught up with Grey in Paris in May 1803, just as the Peace of Amiens ended. Every British male in France between the ages of 16 and 60 was interned, and most weren’t freed to return home until 1814, after Napoleon abdicated.
In the chaos of renewed war, Grey vanished. Friends such as Lord Kirkland, even then a budding spymaster, had warned him to return home before war was renewed, but Grey, who’d never been in real danger, lingered until it was too late.
But he wasn’t interned, which is why friends and family back in England didn’t know if he was alive or dead. Caught in the bed of a French official’s wife, he’d been condemned to solitary confinement in the private dungeon of the lady’s husband.
And there Grey stayed for ten long, harrowing years. What happens to an extrovert deprived of human company? To a golden haired charmer whom even close friends doubt has the will and grit to survive a harsh captivity?
Cassie Fox is a half French, half English spy who appeared in Nowhere Near Respectable. A tough and guarded woman, she lost her whole family to revolutionary violence. She has spent the last dozen years as one of Kirkland’s most capable operatives, and never expected to survive the war.
It is Cassie whom Kirkland sends to check out information that an English lordling has been held captive in Castle Durand for ten years. It is Cassie who frees Grey and must get a crazed, semi-feral man back to England. And it is Cassie who becomes the one person who can touch Grey’s anguished soul and make him feel safe.
So—not only a dead hero, but a tortured one. I loved Grey! Cassie is also fairly tortured, but Grey’s taut courage and vulnerability begin to crack the barriers around her frozen heart. This is a romance, so you know that one way or another they’ll work things out, but as always, the journey is the fun—and Grey and Cassie have a lot of journeying before they reach their happy ending.
Here’s a brief excerpt of when Cassie, disguised as an old woman, rescues Grey:
He scrambled to his feet, feasting his eyes on the sight of another human being. Better yet, a clean, normal woman. He impulsively wrapped his arms around her and crushed her warm body into an embrace, his heart pounding.
She swore and shoved at him.
"Please," he said, his voice shaking. "I've been so…so hungry for touch. Only a moment. Please!"
She relaxed and let him hold her. Dear God, she felt good! A warm, breathing woman with a sweet old-lady scent of lavender that made him think of his grandmother. He never wanted to let her go.
Here’s another excerpt that shows what happened just before this snippet.
In an extra bit of fun, Kensington did a mini-site for No Longer a Gentleman. There’s a map with the four key locations of the story. Go to the site and click on each star, and you'll get an image, a description, and a bit of music. Very cool!
I’ve been really delighted by the reviews NLAG has received. A sampling:
“Romance and wartime espionage mix delightfully in the fourth Lost Lords Regency…The unusually balanced and sensitively depicted romantic duo, suspenseful adventure, and well-researched historical background make this a must for Regency fans.”
Starred review, Publishers Weekly
“The incomparable Putney returns with a Lost Lords novel that touches readers’ hearts. No ballrooms or marriage marts appear, but spies and danger, passion and adventure and love and redemption keep readers glued to the pages and immersed in another unforgettable tale.”
Romantic Times BookClub, Kathe Robin. 4½ star Top Pick. Romantic Times BookClub KISS designation: “Mary Jo Putney’s Lord Wyndham is No Longer a Gentleman, but he’s all sexy, courageous hero.”
“With sensitivity and inimitable skill, Putney rescues another lost lord; gives him a brave, resourceful heroine who helps him heal; complicates things with foiling villains, readjusting to society, and falling in love; and weaves it all together in another beautifully written, unforgettable romance.”
Starred Review, Library Journal, reviewed by John Charles
Considering how I slogged my way through the writing, this is vastly gratifying!
I’m now working on Lost Lords #5, which is scheduled for September 2013. There will be at least a couple more books beyond that, but I really can’t say how many. These interesting, tortured fellows just keep turning up….
In the meantime, I’ll give a copy of NLAG to someone who comments between now and Tuesday midnight. (It will probably be an ARC since I don’t have author’s copies yet.)