Hi, Susana! Thanks for hosting me on your lovely blog to talk about How to Plan a Wedding for a Royal Spy. This is the 3rd book in my Renegade Royals historical romance series, featuring the illegitimate sons of England’s royal dukes. Most Regency readers know who Prinny is, aka the Prince Regent, well-known rake and bon vivant. It’s thought that he had at least four illegitimate offspring and possibly more.
But the Prince Regent wasn’t the only bad boy in the family. Most of his brothers also produced children born on the wrong side of the blanket. The Duke of Kent, for instance, had at least ten with Mrs. Jordan. Trust me—those guys were busy! All told, there may have been as many as twenty-five illegitimate children with royal blood running through their veins. It’s fairly ironic, then, that there was such a scramble to produce a legitimate heir to the throne after the death of Princess Charlotte, the Prince Regent’s daughter, in 1817.
There’s not a lot of information about most of these children. After all, their births would surely have been scandalous and, in most cases, would not have been formally acknowledged. That, naturally, makes them perfect fodder for writers, since we can take quite a lot of license in creating characters that are actually well grounded in historical fact. That’s what I did with my Renegade Royals: I researched the royal dukes and their reputed offspring, worked up the appropriate timelines, and then came up with fictional heroes who would fit both the period and also my goals for the book.
Which, of course, is to write sexy, appealing, and dashing heroes that my heroines and readers will fall in love with!
How to Plan a Wedding for a Royal Spy introduces the next two heroes in the series—Captain Will Endicott and Captain Alasdair (Alec) Gilbride. Will is the son of the Duke of York, and Alasdair is the son of the Duke of Kent. They’re friends, cousins, and military spies who’ve worked many missions together.
Now, I have to admit that my inspiration for Will and Alec didn’t just come from history. While I was developing the proposal for this particular book, I also happened to be binge-watching the TV show Strike Back, an exciting thriller about two agents for the British Defense Intelligence Service. I won’t deny that some elements of that show, particularly the portrayal of the heroes, made their way into my story! It was huge fun to meld modern inspiration with historical background to create my take on a slice of Regency history.
How much history do you like in your historical romance? Do you prefer the emphasis on the history or the romance, or does it matter?
One person who comments will win a copy of Secrets for Seducing a Royal Bodyguard, book one in the series.
About How to Plan a Wedding for a Royal Spy
Whether as spies or lovers, the Renegade Royals—illegitimate sons of England’s Royal Princes—are bold, skillful, and a force to be reckoned with…
A war hero returned from Waterloo should be able to indulge in a bit of bad behavior. Instead, Captain William Endicott is summoned by his father, the Duke of York, to investigate an assassination plot. The unlikely suspect: William’s former sweetheart. Will can’t believe that innocent Evie Whitney could be mixed up in anything so nefarious. Then again, almost everything about Evie has changed—except for his body’s instinctive response to hers…
Just as Evie’s life is finally coming together, Will saunters back into it. Should she slap him—or seduce him? Even as she tries to decide, scandal pushes her toward marriage with a man she can neither trust nor resist—and into the heart of a deadly conspiracy…
Will pushed away from the column, scowling at the smirk on Alec’s face. “It’s about time you showed up. I’ve been trailing around after Beaumont and his friends for the last hour, trying not to look like a lunatic. The last time I dodged behind a potted palm our hostess looked ready to have me carted off to Bedlam.” He was joking, of course, since his skills at discreet surveillance were as good as they’d ever been—despite the distractions Evie posed.
Alec, resplendent in his regimentals, cast a quick glance around them.
“No one is listening,” Will said dryly. “You know I haven’t lost my touch.”
His cousin shrugged. “Can’t be too careful, not with the cannonball this bloody assignment is turning out to be.” His gaze fixed on Beaumont and Evie, just coming off the dance floor on the other side of the massive ballroom. “I spent some time with Beaumont last week. While you were capering about with Miss Evelyn, I was practically paying court to the fellow. God only knows what he must think of me.”
“That you’re an ardent philanthropist, no doubt. And, by the way, I was hardly capering with Evie. Except for that day in the ruins, she’s treated me like I’m a leper, bells and all.”
Alec folded his arms across his chest and smiled, conveying the appearance of a man engaged in casual conversation. He liked to give the impression that he was a genial and not very bright giant, but Will knew he had his eye on Beaumont, Evie, and probably twenty other people in the room at the same time. “I noticed that. What did you do to rattle the poor girl?”
“I’m not sure,” Will said with a casual shrug. It was a lie, but Alec didn’t need the gory details. “I suppose she hasn’t yet forgiven me for abandoning her, as she put it.”
“And yet you two seemed quite chummy in the carriage.”
“I know it’s difficult, but try not to be an idiot,” Will replied in a tone of false sympathy.
Alec’s laughing gray eyes flashed back at him. “Someone is certainly in a foul mood. You know what you need?”
“No, but I’m sure you’ll tell me.”
“A visit to a cozy little brothel. It’s been much too long since you’ve had a good shagging.”
“I think not, but feel free to carry on without me.”
His cousin let out a soft hoot. “That’s what I thought. You’re still keen on the girl, aren’t you?”
Will narrowed his eyes in warning. “I suggest we stick to business. We haven’t had much chance to speak the last few days, since you’ve been busy with other things.”
Before answering, Alec took the time to give a pair of pretty girls strolling by a flourishing bow. They both giggled, flirting behind their fans, before gliding away.
“I’m sorry, old son,” Alec finally said in a vague manner. “What were we talking about?”
…another thoroughly enjoyable Regency romp: 5/5 stars!
I can’t say enough about Ms. Kelly’s knack for characterization. The relationship between Evie and Edie, their parents (particularly their frequently misguided mother), and Will and his friend Alec (surely the next of the not-so-royal brood to be struck by Cupid’s arrow) give the story authenticity. Hovering over the courtship—if it can be called that—is a dangerous secret that threatens to wreak havoc on the security of England…and yet Ms. Kelly manages to weave it all together with a light touch of humor, leaving no doubts in the reader’s mind that Will and Evie’s romance will stand the test of time.
Highly recommended read!
About the Author
Vanessa Kelly is an award-winning author who was named by Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association, as one of the “New Stars of Historical Romance.” Her Regency-set historical romances have been nominated for awards in a number of contests, and her second book, Sex and The Single Earl, won the prestigious Maggie Medallion for Best Historical Romance. Her current series, The Renegade Royals, is a national bestseller. Vanessa also writes USA Today Bestselling contemporary romance with her husband under the pen name of V.K. Sykes.