Monday, November 18, 2013

Fire & Ice Book Tour: Madame's Double Life by Keegan Lace

Please welcome Keegan Lace to Memories in a Box!

Tour Dates: 11/4/13 - 11/18/13

Genre: Historical Romance


Lady Victoria was born into high society and high standards in the the English country side. The dictates of Victorian society do not provide a good fit for a 17 year old free spirit. Lady Victoria is as wild as the lavender growing on the white cliffs of Dover. She is a dreamer when her life is thrown into turmoil with the arranged marriage to the much older Lord Hawthorne.

He is the Duke of Wellington, a womanizer looking for his next conquest. Lady Victoria is just the type of woman the Duke can love and leave.

Will Lady Victoria give in to the dashing Duke of Wellington and risk causing a scandal to her husband’s name? Or will the Duke of Wellington discover love for the first time.



 Chapter One:
It was late morning and Victoria was deep in slumber beneath piles of linen sheets and goose down puffs. Heavy emerald velvet covered enormous windows to shield out the early spring sunshine. The sun was a tease at this time of year. Boots were beginning to dry from the winter rains and the lawn was ready to explode with fresh sprouts. The staff at the Markham Estate was busy preparing the equipment for spring sports. The moment before the bloom, the deluge reared its head again. This Saturday was a bonus day. A peak at the summer that all of Dover would welcome.

“Good morning my Lady. There you are love. Come. It is time to reveal yourself. Tea, before we prepare for repast with the man and your brother and sisters? Your Mother is half-way to London by now. She will be with her sister at Persimmon house. She is already preparing for June social season. Your father is about and out on horse. You will want to be ready upon his return.”'

Lady Victoria was in her seventeenth year. She was hopeful. Her world was getting larger as time passed and she had dreams of finding love like all girls of her age. She was sandwiched between an older brother and two younger sisters. Peter was 19, his military plans delayed due to sickness. Elaine was the baby at 15 and Mary was 16 years of age. Her mother was quick to have her children but for unknown reasons she stopped producing after Elaine. It left The Countess with time on her hands at an early age.

Countess Tompkins travelled to London in the springtime to assist her sister. Lady Sterling was preparing Persimmon House for the social season beginning in June. Peter met an appropriate girl in London the year prior and the marriage between the two was to be officially finalized. They had shared a lengthy courtship. The Honorable Jane Marley was a worthy match for Peter. She was 18 years old and guaranteed a healthy virgin. Peter would eventually inherit the entire Markham Estate and Jane was well suited to fill it with children. Victoria noticed a change come over her cherished brother with the mention of Jane. A delicate love born of mutual respect had blossomed between them. It gave Victoria hope that a similar love would fill her world someday.

“Lady Victoria. I sense the daydream in which you are lost. Time does not allow for it at this moment. Rush, you father will be waiting.”

The Earl was a brutish sort to most who only briefly made his acquaintance. Victoria knew her father was a solitary man who loved his wife and children very much. He was actually a humorous gentleman, especially among his girls who were a constant source of amusement. He was like a cat in ways. Lady Victoria’s father retained a sense of mystery and aloofness, but when treated in distinct manner by those close to him he was embraceable.

“I will be ready Esther. I want to roam the grounds in comfort today. Presentable yes, but something which allows for free movement.”

Esther pulled out a light pink cotton dress with sky blue flowers and a velvet sash. It was high in the neck. She would go uncorseted. Her coltish figure did not require such impediments when not necessitated by custom. Victoria ran wild when allowed. With the Countess away in London and Father reading in his study, she would be free to do so. Esther had been with Lady Victoria since infancy. She was her maid, but so much more. Esther was a mother figure to Victoria, as her mother was busy with the younger girls. She shared and kept all of Victoria’s privacies as she bolted through adolescence into young womanhood. Esther knew that matters between Peter and Jane were to be finalized but she was also aware that Victoria’s betrothment was keen on her mother’s mind. There was certainly something at hand. Powerless, she hoped for the best.

Victoria emerged from the washroom ready to be dressed for the day. Her alabaster skin showed a natural peach glow. Her sapphire eyes showed a good night’s rest and a lack of years. She sat at the vanity to have her gossamer hair pulled back sensibly.

“My Lady, your golden locks look as though you have just emerged from a gale. I dare not imagine your dreams as you toss and turn so much. Your night cap is always discarded next to your bed by morning.” Esther tamed her hair with a pearl handled hairbrush.

“Esther. Please, gentle. My tender scalp.” Victoria fussed until Esther laid down the paddle. She stepped into her dress and fussed a bit more. A quick glance in the head to toe mirror tilted to welcome her presence and led to a nod. “Perfect as always Esther. I love you.”

Victoria ran down the long corridor, which led to the imposing mahogany staircase. Portraits of people who Victoria had never known frowned upon her through ornate frames. She vowed never to sit for such a depiction. What could cause such ominous scowls? She thought for a moment about slithering down the black bannister. It was something she did often as a young girl, but her 5’5” delicate frame was not suited for such folly.

“Good morning father.” Victoria gently bussed her father before taking her seat at the dining table. She sunk into the ivory upholstered chair, which had become accustomed to her form. Her place was designated between her two sisters who were first to arrive. Peter sat alone across the table and father took the head. Mother’s chair remained vacant due to her travels.

“Good Morning Victoria. You are late to arrive which has become the custom. Peter is about to lead prayer. You are just in time.”

Victoria smiled at young Elaine who was rarely at a loss for words. Elaine was at times a plaything to her older siblings but even Elaine herself knew it was heartfelt affection. She enjoyed the ribbing, as it gave her relevance among the Tompkins children.

“God bless all present and Dear Mother, may she be safe in her travels. Please make the food sustaining and palatable. Amen.”

“Clever Peter. You always have a way of getting to the significant part. Your brevity is appreciated, although the words are hardly prosaic.”

“Thank you Victoria.” Peter waited until Father and his sisters were served before he devoured his oysters and bacon.

“I am happy to see you all this morning. We have no callers today. With your Mother at Persimmon House, I thought it best we not receive today. I am certain you can all busy yourselves on a sunny day. I gave notice at the stables should any of you wish to ride the grounds. I may take a jaunt myself.

I would like to have tea with you Victoria, in my study at half past three”

“Yes father. I plan to stroll the hop gardens but I will plan tea. I promise to be timely. I will alert Esther of my engagements.”








Keegan Lace was born and raised in North Carolina, currently residing in the Charlotte area. She has always loved books, especially romance novels and wished that everyone would find love, romance and happiness.

When she is not writing, reading, or being a wonderful mother to her children; she can be found enjoying some of her favorite hobbies: yard sales, house hunting and traveling.



Bookista Profile!keegan-lace/c21gy
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