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by Maggie Robinson
By and large, I agree with that, though sometimes I think I get slightly possessed by these page people just the same. When I wrote Mistress by Marriage (Kensington Brava, September 2011), I needed my heroine Caroline to have had an unhappy love affair in her past, something for which she felt tremendous guilt. Up popped Andrew Rossiter, an amoral, all-purpose gigolo. His first appearance on the page begins thus:
Andrew Rossiter was stealth itself. He slipped from the bed in the darkened room, glancing back at Sir George and Lady Everdeen, both sated, both snoring. There would be a cuckoo in the Everdeens’ nest if he’d been successful tonight, not that he cared. They paid him enough just for his pleasure. To be a sort of conduit, a job he’d had much experience with, the only job he’d really ever had. When he took up with Caroline and Nicky Parker, they’d put him on his crooked path, although that had not been their intention. But he had discovered his dual nature in pleasing them both. Why limit oneself to only half of the population? Andrew looked like an angel with gold curls and October sky eyes, but knew he was the devil himself.
The end, right? Nope. Andrew had good reason for being as damaged as he was, and he haunted me even from afar. Sure enough, here’s what I wrote in Edward and Caroline’s last chapter:
Edward looked up, straight into Caroline’s eyes. “This is from Andrew Rossiter.”
Caroline felt the pleasant air suck out of the room.
“He writes to tell me that he is dead, and wishes me to facilitate the transfer of his bank funds so I can purchase him a house on some Scottish island. Oh, and I’m to hire him an Italian- speaking governess.”
“Andrew is d-dead?”
“Not in the strictest sense. It seems he got into a spot of trouble and needs to go underground. But for all intents and purposes, the man we knew as Andrew Rossiter has gone on to his reward, wherever that might be.”
Caroline felt momentary relief. A tiny part of her heart would always belong to Andrew, but Edward had staked a larger, truer claim. “But why is he writing to you?”
“Because he saved your life.”
“He did not! You did! Actually,” Caroline said, reflecting, “I saved it myself.”
So the Courtesan Court Trilogy wound up being the Courtesan Court Quartet with its last book, Master of Sin, which releases March 27, 2012. I can’t wait to see if readers think I’ve succeeded in redeeming Andrew and giving him his own happy ever after.
A man like Andrew needs a special heroine, and here’s his:
He tiptoed down the hallway as quietly as he ever had eluding a suspicious wife or husband, coming at last to the kitchen. A raggedy serving girl dressed in what appeared to be stray Tartans and tablecloths was bent over an empty fireplace, a pitiful pile of sticks on the hearth. At the sound of his footstep on the bare slate floor she turned and shrieked.
Some of Andrew’s childhood Gaelic had come back to him the further north he’d come. Immersion with the village women earlier had helped a bit. “Gabh mo leithsceal.” Excuse me.
“Does bloody anyone in this bloody place speak any bloody English?” the girl muttered.
She looked like a street urchin. Her brown hair was a nest, her pointed, unfashionably brown face was smudged and her brown skirts muddied. She was so very brown. Surely she couldn’t be—
“Miss Peartree?” Andrew asked, praying not.
The little wren’s mouth hung open like a baby bird waiting to be fed. Then she looked like she tasted the worm. “Oh, good lord. Mr. Rossiter?” She curtseyed, nearly tripping on twigs.
Oh, yeah. This grubby little elf is going to change Andrew’s life forever.
Who’s your favorite fictional bad boy? One commenter will win Andrew's book, my very last paperback ARC of Master of Sin!
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