Amber: Welcome back to "Seasons of Humility," MaryLu! What’s one summer-themed song you would love to hear at an “end-of-summer” party?
MaryLu: Tough question!! I can’t think of a single summer-themed song that I’m familiar with. Hmm. Well I suppose anything by the Beach Boys would suffice. Their music always makes me think of lazy summer days playing in the surf and sand when I was a kid growing up in Florida.
Amber: Let's go with "Surfin' U.S.A."! Everybody can sing and dance along, if you'd like!
So, MaryLu, if the heroine of Veil of Pearls was planning an “end-of-summer” party, what might it look like?
MaryLu: Being a runaway slave who looks white and who has managed to slip into Charleston High society, I believe Adalia Winston would love to throw a huge party at her fiancé’s plantation house, complete with a full banquet of sweet tea, lemonade, fried fish, some of that famous Charleston rice, and fresh fruit and cake. There would also be a full orchestra playing and tables and chairs set up on the back lawn beneath huge umbrellas decorated with festoons of flowers. But the real surprise would be that she would invite all the slaves to attend the party, not the plantation owners or task masters!
Amber: Great idea - I love it! Adalia has a big heart. =)
Now for the hero of Veil of Pearls… What would he look forward to most about autumn?
MaryLu: Morgan Rutledge detests being at his family’s Charleston plantation where he must endure his father’s constant chastisement and belittlement. Besides, what is there to do at the plantation when they have slaves for every little task? But during the hot summer months, Morgan, like most of the spoiled offspring of the landed gentry, head for the cooler temperatures of the plantation rather than endure the sweltering heat of downtown Charleston. So, when the heat lessens and the temperatures begin to dip, Morgan cannot leave home fast enough to dash into town where he can cavort with his friends and attend society’s functions. And see a certain lady who his father has forbidden him to see, but one who has stolen his heart. ;-)
Amber: Oh, yes - that sneaky, love-sick man!
This scene is found early in the book when Morgan is pursuing Adalia and she continues to snub him. =) Morgan has just displayed his intense affection for his little sister, Elizabeth...
~ Excerpt from Veil of Pearls ~
“I adore her. She’s the only bright spot in my otherwise dismal life.” He faced her and she saw emotion misting his eyes.
But his statement had already shattered any possible effect. “Ah, yes, poor rich boy. All that wealth, all those parties.” Adalia turned to leave.
He slipped beside her, keeping her pace. “I know you must think me some foppish primcock, but you know nothing of my life.”
She wanted to respond curtly that of course she didn’t, how could she? But the sorrow in his tone stopped her. She turned to face him. The usual devilish twinkle in his eyes dissolved beneath a hollow melancholy. She shrugged off the sympathy it caused. No doubt it was but another one of his tricks to enslave an innocent woman’s heart.
It wouldn’t work with her. She thrust out her chin, glancing over the massive columns of St. Michael’s, desperately wanting to change the topic to something. . .anything that would bring the priggishness back to his eyes and the shield back around her heart. “I haven’t seen you at church before.”
“I don’t normally attend St. Michael’s, though now that I know where to find you, I’m sensing a call to deeper spirituality.” He grinned and acknowledged the greeting of a passing gentleman.
She narrowed her eyes. “The only thing you are sensing is your own carnal nature.”
“Ouch. Milady wounds me deeply.” He pressed a hand over his heart.
“Is everything a joke to you?”
“No.” He sobered. “I find no humor in receiving no response to my many calls to your home.”
“No doubt you expect me to dash to your side every time you drop off your calling card?”
His green eyes flashed. A breeze loosened a strand of hair from his queue, leaving it dangling over his impervious jaw. She noted the way the sunlight glinted specks of gold in the dark whiskers on his chin. “Yes, now that you mention it, I do,” he said with a grin.
She’d wager that most women did precisely that. Frowning, she eyed the parishioners exiting the church. Still no sign of Doctor Willaby. Surely it would be safe enough to walk home alone in the daylight. Anything to rid herself of this rogue and the odd feelings he invoked.
The clip-clop of horses’ hooves and the grate of wheels grew louder as a landau passed. “If you’ll excuse me, Mr. Rutledge.” Turning, she started to leave.
He leapt beside her and offered her his arm. “May I escort you home?”
“You may not.” She forged ahead.
“Why do you hate me so?” A pinch of sorrow spiced the shock in his voice.
She must remind herself that it was only the sound of his injured pride, not any true feelings he held for her. “I don’t hate you, Sir. I merely know your kind.”
“And what kind is that?”
She stopped and eyed him. The social season had begun in Charleston, and much like the season in London, it was a time when the affluent and powerful forsook their plantations to converge on the city for balls, plays, concerts, and general frivolous amusements. That was all she was to him—an amusement.
“The kind who have more wealth than they can ever spend, who fritter away their time in idle and often immoral amusements, and who think they are better than everyone else simply by nature of their birth and fortune.”
~ End of Excerpt ~
Amber: Thank you for chatting with us today, MaryLu! I look forward to your next release, Forsaken Dreams!
Readers, MaryLu is giving away a copy of Veil of Pearls to one of you! For a chance to win, just leave a comment for MaryLu, including your name and e-mail address. All "End of Summer Bash" winners will be announced on Saturday, September 8th.
*This giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only.*
Tomorrow's guest is a super-talented fantasy author. Her books are amazing, and they move me to tears! I can't wait to share more with you - including a chance to win one of her books!
(Music video found on YouTube.)