About the Author
The hallmarks of New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Kasey Michaels' writing are humor, romance and happy endings. The importance of upbeat, entertaining fiction was brought home to Kasey when her eldest son became very ill. During the long months while he was in the hospital after his kidneys failed, she noticed that the nurses who cared for the sick children and the mothers who spent long hours at their bedsides often had a romance novel in their back pockets. She began carrying her own romances to the hospital in a small suitcase, reading and then sharing and trading them with the other moms.
"We were living in a world too real in that hospital," Kasey says today. "We all functioned at the highest levelthere was no choice but to function, to persevereand we all occasionally escaped that world into the hope and happy endings of romance novels."
Kasey had actually written her first book just before her son's illness. She penned her second book during those long months in the hospital, and it became The Tenacious Miss Tamerlane.
Since then, Kasey has gone on to write about 100 more books, and to receive a trio of coveted Starred Reviews from Publishers Weekly. The third was for her first HQN title, The Butler Did It, which was also a 2005 nominee for the Romance Writers of America's (RWA) highest award, the RITA Award and Publishers Weekly's Quills Award. She is already a recipient of the RITA Award, a Waldenbooks and BookRak Bestseller Award, and many awards from Romantic Times magazine, including a Career Achievement Award for her Regency-era historical romances.
Kasey has also appeared on the Today Show, and was the subject of the Lifetime Cable-TV show A Better Way, in conjunction with Good Housekeeping magazine, a program devoted to women and how they have achieved career success in the midst of motherhood (short version: "with great difficulty").
Kasey has written Regency romances, Regency historicals, category books including novellas and continuities and a few series "launch" books, and single-title contemporaries. Hers is also the twisted mind behind her ongoing Maggie Kelly mystery series that stars a former romance writer turned historical mystery writer. She is also the author of the highly praised nonfiction book, written as Kathryn Seidick, Or You Can Let Him Go, which details the story of Kasey and her family during the time of her eldest son's first kidney transplant.
Kasey and her husband of more than 40 years live in Pennsylvania with their two neurotic Persians, Princess and Peaches. They are proud parents of four and grandparents of two. Each summer the entire family volunteers to help out with the golf tournament her grown son founded to benefit the Gift of Life Donor Program of Philadelphia. Monies raised contribute to the costs of transporting the youngest members of Team Philadelphia to the annual Transplant Olympics.
Read an Excerpt
The Toplofty Lord Thorpe
By Kasey Michaels
Thorndike PressCopyright © 2004 Kasey Michaels
All right reserved.
Chapter OneMy dearest Jennie, and Kit too, of course, It seems an age since last we saw each other, and had a long, comfortable coze, which of course it is not, considering that I stood as godmother to your darling Christopher not two months past. I am back in London now as you can see from the postmark, although Papa is not with me (as usual) and Aunt Rachel has been once more set to bear-lead me (again, as usual).
You know, dearest Jennie, that this will be my fourth Season since I first made my curtsy at St. James's. Papa says any chit with a whit of sense would have long since given it up and donned her caps, but he has agreed to finance one more foray, hoping against hope I shall at least catch myself a rich cit; but as I told Papa, what with Lady Cynthia's mama passing away so shortly into the Season last year, and with Lord Thorpe having so inconveniently retired to his estates as soon as was decent after the funeral, my latest Hunting Season was rendered unusually short.
Lady C. is at last out of black gloves (so far this marriage of hers has been delayed by no less than three expiring relatives), and she and Lord Thorpe are once more in town, with the wedding date again set. I know you both believe me to be some sort of Don Quixote, forever tilting at windmills, but I dobelieve it is Fate, not Lady Cynthia's wilting relatives, that have delayed the nuptials until such time as I can convince Lord Thorpe he would be making a Dreadful Mistake.
I am the better woman for him, I know I am, so you - and especially you, Kit - may draw comfort from the knowledge that my intentions, if not my actions, are only of the purest. Lady Cynthia may bleed undiluted blue when she is pinked, but she is not only rude beyond conceiving, but a dead bore into the bargain. Julian - that is to say, Lord Thorpe - must be Saved from Her at All Costs. Of course, my loves, the fact that I am Absolutely Mad for the man barely enters into this At All.
But now that the couple in question is back in town, with poor Lord Thorpe lugging that sad, bland creature hither and thither, my opportunities shall again present themselves. Oh, Lord Thorpe may have already been situated in the city for a fortnight or so before his fiancie returned, but he spent his time at his various clubs, barely coming into society. It is strange, is it not, how men seem to enjoy such places, especially since one of my young gentlemen friends (nobody you'd know, Kit, as he didn't serve in the army) told me that the atmosphere in all these clubs is so dreadfully fusty - rather like being in some duke's residence, with the duke lying dead in his chambers upstairs.
Please forgive me if I ramble on - Aunt Rachel says it is my only forte - but you can see, can't you, how this is my last chance to make Julian aware of me? It is time I took the bull by the horns, as it were, for after all, I cannot continue to rely on Lady C.'s relatives to so obligingly keep cocking up their toes before each scheduled wedding date, now can I?
Kiss little Christopher hello - he is such a darling - and cross your fingers for me, just for luck you understand, for I am sure that this time I Cannot Fail to make Julian love me.
Your most affectionate cousin, Lucy
* * *
Kit Wilde, Earl of Bourne, put down the missive after reading it aloud to his wife as she cradled their sleeping son. "She cannot fail, she says," he repeated, shaking his head rather sadly. "I can only wonder at her optimism, kitten, seeing as how the poor girl has made such a sad hash of things so far."
"Oh, I don't know, Kit," Jennie replied, absently stroking her son's soft blond curls. "You'd be surprised to know to what lengths a woman might be willing to travel in the name of love. For what it's worth," she proclaimed, grinning saucily at her doubting husband, "my blunt's on Cousin Lucy!"
* * *
It was a truly lovely early-spring day, unseasonably fair and fine, especially when one considered the depressingly lengthy stretch of damp and drizzle that had so far this month curtailed outings in the park for all but the most dedicated or desperate promenaders, the former intent on exercising their horseflesh and the latter committed to the pursuit of elusive eligible bachelors, bits of juicy gossip, and cards of invitation to the most select social gatherings on offer.
Quite naturally this bright, sunshiny day found anybody and everybody converging on the park with a vengeance; the resultant crush of curricles, high-perch phaetons, ancient landaus, barouches, skittish, prancing saddle horses, and hopeful pedestrians quickly spilling over from the gravel paths to cut deep ruts into the soft turf and carelessly trample down the shrubberies.
Julian Rutherford, Earl of Thorpe, and his fiancie of long standing, Lady Cynthia Buxley, had been in the park upwards of an hour, having arrived with the notion that a lively canter for the length of the park and back atop their overly fresh mounts would make an enjoyable change from the inactivity the weather had enforced upon them.
To their combined chagrin, however, the only exertion either had thus far expended was by way of a constant tug-of-war with their high-spirited horses, who demonstrated their disappointment at the snail's pace necessarily set by their masters by alternately snorting, prancing, and tossing their heads in their eagerness to be off.
"This is perfectly beastly, Julian," Lady Cynthia complained in dreadful accents for perhaps the hundredth time. "How I abhor Sundays in the park, what with every upstart cit and ragged peasant given free access just as if they had a right to be here. I tell you, Julian, if we are not careful we will suffer the same dread fate as our fellow aristocrats in France. Stop it, Egyptian Dawn," she commanded firmly, breaking off her complaining to bring her mount back under control.
"Go easy on her mouth, Cynthia," Lord Thorpe cautioned as the woman hauled down sharply on the reins. "We'll be nearing a gate shortly, upon which time I suggest we disengage ourselves from this ridiculous parade and I escort you home. If it weren't for the multitude of acquaintances demanding our attention, holding our progress to an infuriating crawl, we should have been gone long since. It is only our popularity you have to blame, my dear, for our virtual imprisonment within this crush of humanity. Your friends have been too long without you, and feel the need of a few moments to renew their friendship."
Excerpted from The Toplofty Lord Thorpe by Kasey Michaels Copyright © 2004 by Kasey Michaels. Excerpted by permission.
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