Today we welcome best-selling author Patricia Rice to the Lair as we celebrate the release of The Devilish Montague, the second in her Rebellious Sons series. The first book, The Wicked Wyckerly, was a 2011 RITA nominee.
Welcome, Patricia! What is the Rebellious Sons series?
I thought it would be fun to write about the younger sons of society, the “spare” heirs expected to marry well if they want to continue a life of ease. What would a hero do if he had no money and society frowned upon his earning a living?
Please tell us a little about Blake and Jocelyn. I understand a parrot has something to do with their meeting?
Blake has an encyclopedic mind and a restless soul. He’s an absolute whiz at solving puzzles and is convinced he can break the new French encryption machine code if only he had more than one example to work on. To obtain more battle field codes, he needs to go to war. Unfortunately, as a younger son, he has little money of his own to buy his officer’s colors. And somehow, cynical Blake has ticked off a few too many people in power to garner much sympathy for his plight. So marriage it is, if he can find a woman who wants a husband on another continent.
Although Blake calls her a “flibbertiwidget,” Jocelyn knows she’s the perfect match for him. First off, Blake will receive her family’s old estate should he marry. Secondly, since she plans on moving in with her highly eccentric family and their pets, a husband a thousand miles away is the only kind who will tolerate her!
Besides, he's compromised her by confronting her in a barn at dawn, after she’s stolen a parrot and ruined his duel. Obviously, they’re made for each other.
Your website refers to an "inconvenient marriage." What's that about?
Blake is not precisely a patient or domesticated man, as he frequently mentions. He wants to go to war, not marry. He risks his life in duels, lives in a bachelor’s quarters with books stacked to the ceiling, and spends his evenings at his club. He doesn’t have time for families, even his own. In his experience, families are far too intrusive, and he resents being molly-coddled just because his mother is superstitious enough to believe he’ll die because of a white streak in his hair! He’s far more likely to shoot Jocelyn’s birds than feed them. Marriage is not a state to which he aspires—except Jocelyn has just inherited a lot of money that can buy his colors.
Jocelyn has had the painful experience of being thrown out of every home she’s ever lived in. She’s not real high on tying herself to another man now that she has the wherewithal to be independent. But her socially incompetent younger brother, her eccentric mother, and their collection of pets have spelled disaster anywhere else she’s lived. Now that Blake's family owns their old family estate, she can’t possibly afford to house pets and family in London, even with her new inheritance. And she adores the ton that Blake scorns. It would break her heart to live in rural environs.
And then Blake ruins everything by confronting her in a barn at dawn. Once she shoots his toe and brings the entire house party running, what else is a girl to do except marry the man for his home?
What are their biggest emotional obstacles?
Blake really has to realize that no man stands alone, no matter how smart and independent. He might not want to be coddled by his wife, but despite Jocelyn’s flighty manner, she’s extremely perceptive and capable of getting him what he wants. Jocelyn, on the other hand, believes she must take care of everyone in her path and has some difficulty believing Blake doesn’t need her help, too. Or that he can actually relieve her burdens. Besides that, she doesn’t want to do anything to create babies so she has even more family to fret over, especially if he's planning on going to war to get killed! Which creates a bit of a sticky wicket since Blake figures there’s only one point in marriage.
How they resolve their differences, learn to respect and enjoy working together while catching spies with parrots requires reading the book because it takes much too long to explain!
Can we see an excerpt?
Sure. Here we go:
“Methinks he thinks too much,” Jocelyn crooned to the parrot, stroking it. The parrot batted its head against her soothing finger, then settled into sleep.
Shivering in her wet cloak, Jo tried not to think too hard about Blake Montague. Tonight, aiming a pistol in her direction, he had looked the part of dangerous rogue.
Montague was a lethal weapon. His cynical wit had a cutting edge she couldn’t hope to match. And for all his education, he didn’t seem to like anyone very much. She’d seen scorn in his eyes each time he looked at her. Men disliked rejection.
She’d learned the value of stealth and a good diversion very early in life, while avoiding Harold’s rages. Spreading her thick cloak, Jocelyn settled in a rear stall where a barn cat fed her newborns.
“I know you’re in here,” a husky baritone called from the entrance. “You have disappointed me. I had hoped to have to hunt you down.”
Jocelyn wanted to ask what he intended to do about it, shoot her? But she saw no reason to disturb the kittens.
She suffered a nervous chill at the thought of being alone with an enraged man, but for all his brooding gloom, Mr. Montague was widely reported to be an honorable gentleman. He might scald her with the acid of his scorn, but a gentleman would never lay a hand on a woman. Behind him, dawn was lightening the sky, silhouetting his square shoulders. She wished she didn’t admire his strength so much.
She’d stationed herself so she could see the length of the barn and knew when he approached.
Good soldier that he was, he spotted her instantly. She could almost swear he growled as he limped forward. She held a finger to her lips to indicate quiet. He quirked a menacing dark eyebrow at her.
“Quit posturing and admit the bird is better off free,” she whispered.
If he’d worn a hat, she thought he might have stomped on it. He really was a quite dashingly dangerous figure of a man—not at all suitable for her purposes, unfortunately. But then, no man she’d met these last six months had a care for her purposes—only her money. Picking up a kitten, she returned his glare. “What else could be done with such a rude creature?”
“You did not let a tropical bird loose in chilly England. You may be nicked in the nob, but no one ever said you were stupid.”
She slanted her eyes thoughtfully. “Actually, Harold said it quite often. And my brothers-in-law had occasion to mention it once or twice. Lord Bernard certainly said it over these past days. I think I prefer nicked in the nob. What, precisely, does that mean?”
He ignored her diversion. “The bird belongs to the duke. You cannot keep it. It’s theft. Just tell me where you’ve hidden it, and I’ll see it’s returned without question.” He crossed his arms over his soaked waistcoat and glowered.
Jocelyn beamed at him in return. “Nature cannot be owned, sir.”
What's next for you?
A contemporary paranormal romance! Not the dark kind, but a perfectly normal couple—well, sort of normal. The heroine was a teenage singing sensation who disappeared off the map and doesn’t want to be found because…well, her voice kills. But she’s the only key our intrepid hero has to finding his kidnapped son, so he’s not about to allow her to hide much longer. THE LURE OF SONG AND MAGIC will be out in January 2012.
Thank you for letting me visit with the bandits. I'll leave Nancy in charge of choosing a winner to a commenter, but I have a shiny new copy of THE DEVILISH MONTAGUE ready to go!
For more about Patricia and her work, visit her website. You can also find her on Facebook.
So tell us, everyone, what's your favorite book about a second son or a non-titled hero? Or tell us about a heroine you loved to see give the hero trouble.
The winner will be posted just before midnight tonight, along with the winner of a copy of Evil Genius from Patricia's last visit.