Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Showcase: The Designs of Lord Randolph Cavanaugh

I'm excited to be spotlighting Stephanie Laurens latest historical novel, The Designs of Lord Randolph Cavanaugh, the first in her new Cavanaugh's series. Read an excerpt and I'm sure you'll want to dig into this as much as I do.
ISBN-13: 9780778368816
Publisher: Mira
Release Date: 4-24-2018
Length: 384pp
Buy It: Amazon/ B&N/ Kobo/ IndieBound/ Audible


#1 New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens returns with a new series that captures the simmering desires and intrigues of early Victorians as only she can. Ryder Cavanaugh’s stepsiblings are determined to make their own marks in London society. Seeking fortune and passion, THE CAVANAUGHS will delight readers with their bold exploits.

An independent nobleman
Lord Randolph Cavanaugh is loyal and devoted—but only to family. To the rest of the world, he’s aloof and untouchable, a respected and driven entrepreneur. But Rand yearns for more in life, and when he travels to Buckinghamshire to review a recent investment, he discovers a passionate woman who will challenge his rigid self-control
A determined lady
Felicia Throgmorton intends to keep her family afloat. For decades, her father was consumed by his inventions and now, months after his death, with their finances in ruins, her brother insists on continuing their father’s tinkering. Felicia is desperate to hold together what’s left of the estate. Then she discovers she must help persuade their latest investor that her father’s follies are a risk worth taking… Together—the perfect team
Rand arrives at Throgmorton Hall to discover the invention on which he’s staked his reputation has exploded, the inventor is not who he expected and a fiercely intelligent woman now holds the key to his future success. But unflinching courage in the face of dismaying hurdles is a trait they share, and Rand and Felicia are forced to act together against ruthless foes to protect everything they hold dear.

Read an excerpt:


June 1843London
I’m prepared to pay off all your debts provided that you complete a particular task for me.”
The pale-faced, neatly dressed gentleman elegantly seated in one of the Antium Club’s armchairs blinked, then stared through the fug of the smoking room at the older gentleman in the armchair opposite—his uncle. “What—all of them?” His tone suggested he was hav­ing difficulty believing his ears.
His uncle nodded portentously. “Indeed. And yes, I comprehend that’s a significant sum. I also understand that you owe most if not all of that amount to… Shall we say a somewhat notorious lender-of-last-resort?” The older gentleman paused, then continued, “I assume you appealed to me because you’re desperate, and you know your brother and brothers-in-law won’t lend you a sou re­gardless of any threats to your continuing good health.”
The younger gentleman’s lips tightened. “Just so.” He hesitated, then asked, “What task do you need attended to?”
What could possibly be worth that much to you? The unvoiced question hung in the smoky air between them.
The older man’s expression eased, and he waved a manicured hand. “Nothing too onerous.” He paused as if ordering his thoughts, then went on, “You’re aware that I invest in various projects, that I lead syndicates who fund enterprises such as railways and gas companies and the like. All very much above board. Unfortunately, these days, there’s a welter of upstart inventors pushing wild ideas and making a lot of noise.” He frowned. “Steering investors away from such ideas—ideas that will never amount to anything—isn’t always easy. Men with money but little sense often behave like children—they get ex­cited over the latest new thing. At present, there’s a great deal of talk about improvements to steam engines, the sort that might make steam-powered horseless carriages into a commercial reality. All balderdash, of course, but it’s making my life much harder.” His frown darkened to a scowl.
After several moments of, apparently, dwelling on the iniquities of any situation that dared to make his life more difficult, his voice lowering, the older man said, “There’s one particular invention that I’ve heard is near­ing completion. It’s due to be unveiled at the exhibition to be held in Birmingham on the twenty-second of July.”
The older man’s eyes, their expression shrewd and hard, cut to his nephew’s face. “I need to be assured that that invention will fail—or at the very least, that it will not be successfully demonstrated at the exhibition, which will be attended by Prince Albert. I need to be able to hold that failure up to my investors as an example of the dangers of putting their money into such ill-envisioned, poorly designed projects. Projects that are not simply speculative but which have next to no chance of success.”
The younger gentleman steepled his fingers before his face. He studied his uncle for several long moments, then murmured, “I assume you’re asking me to interfere with—to sabotage—this invention.” When his uncle’s jaw set, and he returned the younger man’s gaze levelly, the younger man asked with patently sincere curiosity, “How do you imagine I might do that?”
His uncle sat back and fussily straightened his trou­ser legs. “As to that… I can tell you where the inventor lives. His workshop is at his house. As to how you gain access or exactly how to…thrust a spoke in the inven­tion’s wheels, I will leave that to you to decide.” The older gentleman met the younger man’s eyes. “You are, appar­ently, a creative person—I’m sure you’ll think of a way.”
Despite his current situation, the younger gentleman was no fool. The sum of money his uncle was offering was substantial. To pay so much for tampering with a piece of machinery seemed a poor deal. Yet his uncle was known as a shrewd, ostentatiously rigid business­man, one who held on to his coin with a tight grip, and although he was a childless widower, he’d never previ­ously shown any mellowness or warmth toward the mem­bers of his wider family.
The younger man leaned forward, his gaze on his un­cle’s face. “What is it about this particular invention that makes it so”—threatening—“undesirable?”
His uncle’s face hardened. Anger flared, readily dis­cernible in his brown eyes, yet it was not directed at his nephew but, apparently, at the invention in question. “It’s…a travesty of an investment project. It shouldn’t be allowed—not as a syndicated investment. We don’t need bally horseless carriages—we have perfectly good horses, and there’s nothing wrong with the carriages they pull. These machines—these newfangled engines—are full of not just cogs and gears but valves and tubing and gauges and pistons. How they work is incomprehensi­ble—for my money, deliberately so.”
He drew in a breath. “Steam locomotives were one thing. Even steam-powered looms were straightforward enough. But this latest round of contraptions!” He flung up his hands in a gesture of either incomprehension or defeat—or perhaps both. Although he kept his voice low, he was all but ranting as he continued, “How am I sup­posed to deal with my investors? They rattle on about pressures and inclines, and because I can’t explain why it’s wrong, they won’t listen to my advice that we—all of society—don’t need these things, and they shouldn’t invest in them.”
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Meet Stephanie:
#1 New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens began writing as an escape from the dry world of professional science, a hobby that quickly became a career. Her novels set in Regency England have captivated readers around the globe, making her one of the romance world's most beloved and popular authors.