Title: Some Rise by Sin
Author: Courtney J. Hall
Genre: Historical Fiction
When Cade Badgley returns from a diplomatic mission in Rome to discover that his estranged father is dying, he has no choice but to accept an unwanted earldom, a crumbling estate and empty coffers. A kindly neighbor offers aid in return for an escort that will take his daughter to London to find a husband. Though the girl is a tempestuous artist with no marriageable skills, she quickly becomes sought-after by a man Cade has every reason not to trust. As Queen Mary Tudor lays dying, threatening the security of the realm, Cade finds himself in a battle involving his conscience, his heart, and his very life – and that of the woman he’s come to love.
“Don’t,” he said again. “You don’t know how lovely you are, do you?” He stepped toward her, close enough to cup her smooth golden cheeks in his hands. The hem of his breeches dripped water on his bare feet.
He saw too late the danger in her green eyes. Before he could react, her hand reached out and administered a stinging slap to his cheek.
Astounded, he could only drop his hands and stare at her. “You say you will be Earl of Easton in a few days, my lord?” Her voice dripped venom. “Then your father is dying, and I am sorry. However, you would do well to take a page from his book. I’ve met your father, and from what I recall, he was a true gentleman.” She spat the word like it tasted bad.
While Cade could only stare at the girl in shock, she thrust her arms into the dress, successfully this time, and pulled it back down to cover her. She squeezed the water from her dripping curls—he could see now that they were a blazing shade of red—stepped into a pair of boots he hadn’t noticed until then, and without another word took off running away from him and through the trees in the direction of Brentford’s lands—like Artemis, only equipped with sharp words instead of silver arrows. He stared after her until the last branches closed over her fleeing figure.
Cade shook his head. Had he dreamed what had just happened? Certainly he had exchanged barbs with females before—to some of the women at court, it was akin to foreplay—but that peasant wench had put him in his spot quite neatly. He might have felt admiration for her, or at least amusement, if she hadn’t angered him so damnably well. His father a gentleman indeed! What did she even know of his father? As if he believed for a moment she’d ever laid eyes on the old man. Not only was she prudish and prideful when she had no right to be, but she was a liar as well.
He glanced at the ground before him, where the tall lake grass still struggled to rise from the weight her feet put on them. Something brown caught his eye. He knelt and picked it up. It was a small portfolio, made of leather, and when he opened it he was astounded to see black-and-white sketches.
“What on earth?” he mumbled to himself as he flipped through them. Did the drawings belong to the girl? But what female—peasant or otherwise—had the time or the inclination to be interested in art? It was a man’s pursuit. Women didn’t, or shouldn’t, engage in such activities.
Unless Brentford had taken it upon himself to educate the girl alongside his legitimate daughters, which would be strange enough in itself.
He scanned a drawing of a horse in mid-leap, followed by an older woman embroidering. A bowl of brambleberries sat upon a wooden table and a rosebush bent in the breeze.
She might be prideful. She might be prudish and dishonest. But she was very, very talented.
And one of the most beautiful females he’d ever seen.
Christ’s bones. He never should have come back here.
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Born in Philadelphia, Courtney J. Hall’s writing career began when she figured out how much fun it was to make words rhyme. She has since gone on to publish embarrassingly bad poetry, melodramatic short stories and has written beginnings to at least a half-dozen novels.
Courtney lives with her husband and a stolen cat in suburban Philadelphia and recently published her first novel, Some Rise by Sin, historical fiction that takes place at the tumultuous end of Mary Tudor’s reign. Some Rise by Sin was published through Five Directions Press in March 2015.
Courtney is currently simultaneously trying to research the companion to Some Rise by Sin, to be titled Some by Virtue Fall, and writing the first in a series of five contemporary holiday romances. She doesn’t like it when things come too easy.
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