I’m thrilled to announce that today is release day for my new book – my eighth full-length novel.
When I finished the Heart of the Corsairs series I pitched a new series idea to my publisher.
Kathryn came back to me and asked if I would do a series extension.
Because Shadow of the Corsairs (Book 3 Heart of the Corsairs) was a prequel to the first, I couldn’t continue with Kit Hardacre and his friends.
So it was suggested to find another way to ensure the Hardacre name lived on.
The Hardacre family expands
Well, inspired by watching an early version of Jamaica Inn and Doctor Syn, I wanted to examine the world of smugglers. And that had to be prior to the time Heart of the Corsairs was set because by that stage the Napoleonic Wars were over and Parliament had reduced the taxes which had made smuggling such a lucrative occupation.
The only solution was to give Kit Hardacre a father but to get the timeline working right, he had to be a young dad.
And so Adam Hardacre was born.
Since all my heroes are at their heart honourable men, I had to work out why Adam wasn’t in Kit’s life. None of my heroes abandon their responsibilities. What happened to Kit’s mother?
By the time I considered all of that, I had half a plot for Live And Let Spy!
The return of an old favourite
Another reason why I’m thrilled is that I get to bring back another couple who are no strangers to intrigue – Lady Abigail and Sir Daniel Ridgeway, the hero and heroine of Moonstone Conspiracy.
As some of you might know, I was bitterly disappointed by the treatment that story received at the hands of my previous publisher, so when I got the rights back for it at the beginning of the year, I couldn’t be more delighted.
Now I have a continuity universe which stretches from the early days of the French Revolution right through to the end of the Napoleonic Wars.
And I couldn’t resist having father and son reunion, which I wrote as Father’s Day – A Christmas Story for the Dragonblade Anthology, A Night of Angels.
While all of these stories can be read as stand-alones (I hate cliffhangers!), they are chronologically out of order.
So for fun, I’ve created a gallery that shows all the stories in a time line:
In addition to the three books in The King’s Rogues series, I have big plans for this extended universe and I hope to be able to share some news early in 2019.
I hope you enjoy Live And Let Spy.
Check out the book trailer!
Below is an exclusive excerpt:
Olivia shuddered but nodded her head to let Adam know she understood.
“I fear what will happen if Mr. Fitzgerald comes here,” she said. “As soon as he sees me, he may suspect I overheard his conversation. And he’ll certainly reveal how… close you and I are. ”
Adam held out his hand and gave hers a squeeze, but he didn’t draw any closer.
“I suspect Fitzgerald prefers to keep himself at arm’s length. The man is not a true believer, not like Wilkinson. What was he promised? Gold?”
Olivia shrugged. “I don’t know. It was payment at any rate.”
“I asked for a thousand pounds in gold,” Adam added with a wink before bringing his attention back to the stove to check on the heating kettle.
She smiled at his attempt to lighten the mood, but she suspected Adam’s confidence was chiefly for her benefit.
“The new moon is in three days time, unless our friends do something soon, you’ll be on the Channel at the turn of the tide. You can’t let them take you to France,” she said.
“I won’t,” he said, his back still to her. “Besides, I don’t speak the bloody language.”
Adam turned back with a large steaming kettle in his hand and filled the teapot. “I need to talk to Harold, but they’ll have him locked away. If I convince him I’m not a traitor, we might have half a chance of breaking out of here.”
Olivia let her disquiet settle. Adam would never abandon his friend, but he thought of the Lieutenant more kindly than she could.
Harold’s brash and self-confident nature was amusing at first but she was never quite sure whether he was mocking her. His insistence in overriding her wish to head straight to the Angler’s Arms was another thing she didn’t appreciate. And now after the shock of his foolhardy actions had ebbed, Olivia wondered whether it was not done on purpose.
A man burst through the door without warning. Olivia started but managed to keep her tea cup upright.
“Dunbar, you have the grace of an ox,” said Adam with an exaggerated put-upon sigh.
“Watch yer mouth, you—”
“Uh-uh, mind your language in front of the lady.”
This Dunbar man looked familiar, but she didn’t look at him for long. Better not to make eye contact with him.
“Wilkinson wants to see you and the lady.”
Wilkinson was not a man who looked like a traitor, Olivia thought. But then, neither did Peter Fitzgerald. Wilkinson looked like what he was, a retired military man; he had that air of authority. The major sat alone at the end of the table.
“Miss Collins, once again I wish to apologize for the inconvenience of keeping you here for a few days, and I will do my best to ensure your stay is comfortable under the circumstances,” he said.
“Thank you, sir.” She said the words but didn’t mean them. Gratitude was the last thing she felt. She ought to denounce him as a traitor and call him to shame. But she did not. She took her cue from Adam. There was something to be said for being not deemed a threat to threatening people. Let Wilkinson believe she would be meekly compliant.
Behind her, Adam asked, “What happened to Bickmore?”
“I’m afraid he’s not been very co-operative. We’ve got him tied up and locked upstairs in one of attic rooms.”
“I believe the room I’m in is Miss Collins’ old room. She can have it back until we’re ready to move on,” said Adam. “How about she waits in the study while I move out of there. She can select a book or two to read – with your permission, that is.”
Wilkinson shook his head. “Very chivalrous of you, Hardacre, but one of the others will escort the woman to her quarters later. Just take her to the study and lock her in. You have work to do. Our signal station has to be ready by tomorrow evening and I don’t care if you have to work all night tonight to do it.”
One touch of Adam’s hand to her elbow was enough to communicate his tension. She allowed him to lead her to the study without protest. She looked about at the place where she had spent hours poring over records of Kenstec House. Now that memory would be forever changed.
Adam leaned in and whispered in her ear.
“When it’s safe, get the house master key – the one you used when we first explored the tower room. If it’s there, take it. I’ll knock on your door tonight. We’ll free Harold. We can buy him some time to go and get help.”
Olivia nodded. “Be safe, my love.”
She watched his face soften.