A Touch of Scandal: Book 1 of the Realm Series
Regency romance; romantic suspense; historical fiction; series
The men of the REALM have served their country, while ignoring their responsibilities to home and love, but now with Bonaparte defeated, they each mean to claim their portion of a new and prosperous England. However, their long-time enemy Shaheed Mir has other plans. The Persian warlord believes one of the Realm has stolen a fist-sized emerald, and the Baloch intends to have its return or his revenge. JAMES KERRINGTON, the future Earl of Linworth, left his title and his infant son behind after the death of his beloved Elizabeth, but he has returned to England to tend his ailing father and to establish his roots. With Daniel as his heir, Kerrington has no need to marry, but when Eleanor Fowler stumbles and falls into his arms, Kerrington’s world is turned upon its head. He will do anything to claim her. LADY ELEANOR FOWLER has hidden from Society, knowing her father’s notorious reputation for debauchery has tainted any hopes she might have of a happy marriage. And yet, despite her fears, her brother’s closest friend, James Kerrington, has rekindled her hopes, but when Sir Louis Levering appears with proof of Eleanor’s participation in her father’s wickedness, she is drawn into a world of depravity, and only Kerrington’s love can save her. The first fully original series from Austen pastiche author Jeffers is a knockout. – Publishers Weekly Jeffers’s characters stay in the reader’s heart and mind long after the last page has been turned. – Favored Elegance
“Bran,” she choked out his name as she buried her face in his chest, clutching desperately at his lapels, requiring his assurances of her safety. “Are you injured?” Her brother gently brushed her hair from her face. Ella shook her head in the negative, but she kept her head tilted to the side so the growing crowd could not see her clearly. Reaching the scene at last, Velvet unceremoniously slid from her horse and raced to her cousins. Fowler simply opened his arms and took her into his care. The three of them had always seen each other through the worst, and as much as she still required them for her support, a part of her cried out for Lord Worthing’s closeness. Fowler kissed her cheek and then released Ella to Velvet’s care. “Permit me to speak with your rescuer, and then we will see you home.” Ella kept her back to their unwelcome audience and accepted Velvet’s assistance in righting her disheveled appearance. The horror of the last few minutes still played in her head. She had seen it all, a shadowy drama: Lord Worthing had risked his life to save her. She knew subconsciously he had ridden off after their attacker, but she held a desperate need to know his fate, to demonstrate to him how she cared for him. Earlier, he had professed his affections, but she had given him no return other than an acknowledgment of enjoying his company. Now, she recognized the folly of such milk-and-water replies. She could have lost him without his lordship knowing the depth of her regard. So resolved, Ella opened her eyes to a new future, but a past nightmare loomed over her shoulder. “Are you well, miss?” the stranger stood with hat in hand. Ella heard Bran’s shaky voice respond, “My sister and I owe you our gratitude, sir.” “My reward is your sister’s safety.” The gentleman offered a bow of respect. “I am Thornhill,” her brother returned. “Thornhill?” The stranger’s voice rose in surprise. “The Duke of Thornhill?” Now her brother sounded suspicious. “I fear you have me at a disadvantage, sir.” “Forgive me, Your Grace. I am Levering. I did not realize you had assumed your father’s position. My parents were great friends of the former duke.” Ella heard her brother’s conversation as if in a dream. It could not be—not now. Gulping for air, she attempted to swallow her fear. “Sir Louis?” Her cousin politely renewed the acquaintance. “Lady Eleanor and I did not know you were in London. Look, Ella, your rescuer is Sir Louis Levering. How many years has it been since we last saw you?” “Before my Grand Tour, Miss Aldridge, nearly six years prior.” Ella finally turned to offer her own thanks. “Sir Louis, how do I express my appreciation? You came at just the right moment.” The name Levering had ricocheted through Ella, but she fought to push away her doubts, praying the baronet’s reappearance would not destroy the happiness she had known of late. “I am certain His Grace would have done as well. Your brother was only seconds behind.” The man’s face showed nothing but concern for Eleanor’s safety; yet, she heard the familiar tone of deception hidden within. “You must allow us, Levering, to offer you our hospitality at Briar House.” Ella’s shoulders stiffened with her brother’s invitation. Yet, before Levering could accept, Lord Worthing rode up. Dusty and bleeding from behind his ear, he slipped from the saddle and caught Ella up in his arms, and she allowed herself to breathe. The viscount was safe, and now he offered his protection. “Thank God, His Grace reached you in time.” His genuine concern for her spoke of hope. He smelled of leather and of sweat and of maleness and of safety, and for a brief moment Ella allowed herself to cling to him—the dream renewed. “Actually,” she told him, a flush of color covering her countenance, “Sir Louis reached me before His Grace.” His lordship turned his head to see the other man standing beside Fowler. “As I am certain Thornhill has done, I offer my thanks for Lady Eleanor’s protection.” “Sir Louis is the son of one of our Kent neighbors,” Velvet chattily explained. “I believe it was a little over three years since you inherited with your dear father’s passing.” “It was, Miss Aldridge. You are a purveyor of the latest news in our little section of the world.” Ella heard the same derisively sarcastic tone she remembered as characteristic of Sir Louis’s attitude. She noticed how her brother’s and the viscount’s bearings shifted as they too recognized Levering’s impertinence. “Lord Worthing,” her brother bristled as he made the introductions, “may I present Sir Louis Levering.” Bran, had apparently, judged Levering—his first impression less than stellar, and he had placed Sir Louis, a mere baronet, on the social ladder. Her brother reminded the baronet the man spoke to a duke, as well as a future earl. From what Ella knew of the Leverings, Sir Louis would take offense. She noted how Levering bit back a retort. Instead, he said, “If you will pardon my leaving, Your Grace, now I have appointments to which to attend.” Her brother nodded his dismissal. “Certainly, Sir Louis.” Ella wondered what Bran really wanted to say to the popinjay. Levering caught Velvet’s hand and brought it to his lips for the traditional air kiss, and then he turned his full attention on Ella. Instead of a kiss several inches above her knuckles, Sir Louis brought Ella’s gloved hand to his mouth and held it there for several seconds before releasing it. “Lady Eleanor, may I call some time in the next few days to assure myself you did not suffer from this episode?” Ella cringed with the possibility. Sir Louis’s acquaintance was not one she wished to renew. “Certainly, Sir Louis.” Ella discreetly withdrew her hand. She prayed she had not betrayed her anxiety to either her brother or Worthing. Both Bran and his lordship would not permit the offense of the Leverings to pass without retribution. Looking about him and bidding the group a collective farewell, Levering strode to his horse, mounted, and rode away. It was a weight lifted from her shoulders, but for how long?
Buy Links (including Goodreads and BookBub):
Kindle https://www.amazon.com/Touch-Scandal-Book-Realm-ebook/dp/B00JBOA9PW/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8 Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Touch-Scandal-Book-Realm/dp/1496180941/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr= Kindle Unlimited https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/hz/subscribe/ku?passThroughAsin=B00JBOA9PW&_encoding=UTF8&shoppingPortalEnabled=true BookBub https://www.bookbub.com/books/a-touch-of-scandal-book-1-of-the-realm-series-by-regina-jeffers A Touch of Scandal: Book 1 of the Realm Series (originally titled The Scandal of Lady Eleanor) 2011 Write Touch Readers’ Award, Historical Romance
What makes your featured book a must-read?
The story of Lady Eleanor Fowler was originally to be the second book in the series, but while I was writing her brother Brantley’s tale, Eleanor’s story became the more compelling one for the first book. Moreover, despite the desolation she experiences while finding her own way, Lady Eleanor transforms into the “stabilizing” force for all the other stories in the series. She becomes a “mother” to James Kerrington’s young son, the image of the type of woman all the other men in the Realm wish to discover for themselves, the voice of reason when reason cannot be found, and a woman to be admired for standing strong in the most dire of circumstances. All the stories lead back to her in some manner, and the reader is glad to return to her again and again as he/she delves into the other tales.
There is a basic theme in all the books: Revenge on multiple levels. The stories in the series are about people attempting to carve out a bit of happiness under the most difficult of circumstances. Certainly there is the missing emerald for which to account, but there are more common complications - the type any of could encounter, as well as more sinister tasks, to solve first. Each book resolves its own “obstacles,” while the seeds for the next book’s romance are planted.
Books in the “Realm” series include:
A Touch of Scandal: Book 1 of the Realm Series
A Touch of Velvet: Book 2 of the Realm Series
A Touch of Cashmére: Book 3 of the Realm Series
A Touch of Grace: Book 4 of the Realm Series
A Touch of Mercy: Book 5 of the Realm Series
A Touch of Love: Book 6 of the Realm Series
A Touch of Honor: Book 7 of the Realm Series
A Touch of Emerald: The Conclusion of the Realm Series
His American Heartsong: A Companion Novel to the Realm Series
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With 50+ books to her credit, Regina Jeffers is an award-winning author of historical cozy mysteries, Austenesque sequels and retellings, as well as Regency era-based romantic suspense and historical romances. A teacher for thirty-nine years, Jeffers often serves as a consultant for Language Arts and Media Literacy programs. With multiple degrees, Regina has been a Time Warner Star Teacher, Columbus (OH) Teacher of the Year, and a Martha Holden Jennings Scholar, as well as a Smithsonian presenter. Her stories have been acknowledged by the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense, the Frank Yerby Award for Fiction, the coveted Derby Award for Fiction, the International Digital Awards, and the Chanticleer International Book Award, among her many accolades.
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