He owns three shipping companies, a diamond mine, and his own castle.
He knows Portuguese, Hindu, Mandarin and Morse code.
His assets net thirteen million.
Lord Preston wants the one thing money can’t buy…
(Imagine that intro in James Earl Jones’ voice.)
I’m proud to present The King of Threadneedle Street, my newest historical (set in 1871 England) from Astraea Press. It might be my pièce de résistance, a tale of star-crossed lovers who take on the world.
Andrew Tilmore is a mad genius of sorts, who figured out at a young age how to make a killing in the stock market. (Did you know Threadneedle Street is the British equivalent to Wall Street?) He returns home after two years’ absence to find uproar. His sister is about to marry a lecherous duke, Andrew’s mother keeps trying to marry him off too, and worse, his childhood sweetheart is being sent away to start a career as a courtesan. He has tenants, investors, and family all counting on him to do his “duty,” but he can’t let Alysia go.
Alysia came to live at Ashton Park as a young girl with her mother, the infamous courtesan Violet Villier. When she died, Andrew was all Alysia had left. His parents fear his “dangerous attachment” to a courtesan’s daughter and will go to any measure to keep them apart. Andrew’s father is Alysia’s legal guardian and controls her inheritance. She makes a lonely living as a painter, but every time Andrew comes back into her life, it’s more and more difficult to turn him away.
Andrew knows he must choose either a life of wealth and fame, or a life with Alysia. Will he give it all away for the woman he loves?
Here’s an excerpt:
|Freedom. A dear luxury. Cloud-filtered sunshine and a leather-bound volume of Shakespeare, so worn the pages lay open — simple pleasures. Alysia Villier lounged in the grass before the lake, sketching in charcoal.A long shadow blocked the sun, accompanied by broad footsteps trampling the grass.
“What have we here, a unicorn caught sunbathing? Prime hunting,” came an almost familiar voice. A sonorous chocolatey bass, somehow deeper and throatier than when she had last heard it, and his Lancashire accent replaced by a genteel inflection she found jarring.
“Not at all,” she replied without opening her eyes, rattled by the jolt in her pulse. “Such plodding footsteps could only belong to a troll. Easily outrun by a unicorn. But trolls are really quite harmless, if you keep them fed.”
“On unicorn meat?”
“No. Pomeranians.” An old joke stemming from their mutual love of mastiffs and disdain for yapping small dogs.
The sound of his laughter was perfectly familiar. She distrusted the easy, boyish, tone tempting her to believe all would be well now that he was here. She winked open one eye, unsurprised to find their years of separation had rendered him not at all like a troll. Over six feet of Gallic demi-god sharing the same body with the most bookish man she ever met. Andrew Tilmore, Lord Preston, heir to the illustrious Marquess of Courtenay. Drew, to her, or when he deserved it, Troll.
“Lisa,” he said in a tone he should reserve for a hot bath or rare cognac, and sat beside her on the grass. “As lazy as ever, I see.” Adolescent teasing which meant, So you managed to sneak away. Bravo.
“You were not expected until Friday next, Drew. Unfortunate timing you will no doubt regret.”
“Why? Is something amiss?”
“Only the apocalypse.”
Andrew snorted, waiting for her to explain. She would not. Lady Courtenay trying to run her household for the first time — while pretending to arrange a ducal wedding, which Alysia was truthfully in charge of — would not mix well with the problem Andrew’s presence would bring. Specifically, his being in the vicinity with Alysia.
She pushed herself up on her elbows, mindful of the buttons she had loosed on her bodice. He wasn’t looking, but fastening them would draw his attention. She sat up and wrapped her arms around her bent knees.
Andrew leaned in to catch her gaze, and she suppressed a shock. Of anxiety or lust-related, she couldn’t say, but in the seconds it took to trade glances, it became apparent that what his parents had tried to douse between them had not yet faded. He cradled her chin between his thumb and forefinger then stroked the edge of her jaw, which in times past heralded a kiss.
Two years ago, he would have mock-whispered, See, I am making eyes at you, Lisa. Wet your lips, I will lean closer, and as soon as you close your eyes, the violins will start. When you see firecrackers, say so. Then he would overly pucker his lips, smacking them together like a fish while she dodged, squealing. But sometimes his manner was quite serious, and those memories were best left buried in the back of her mind.
He was serious now. She knew that expression he wore, as plainly as though she heard his thoughts. Still it made her stomach drop and her lips tingle with longing. Alysia pulled away, not trusting herself to look him in the eye. If she had any hope of surviving two weeks under the same roof with Andrew, she had best set the precedent now for their behavior.