The inspiration for His Reluctant Lady came while I was writing A Most Unsuitable Earl. Agatha Lyons (Lady Richfield) was introduced as Ethan (Lord Edon)’s partner in crime (so to speak) who helped Ethan become known as a rake.
I knew she and Christopher Robinson would be a good match because deep down, these two have a desire to break the Ton’s rules, except Agatha is smarter about it because she keeps her activities under cover.
Christopher: Excuse me? I’ve also learned to keep my tendency to misbehave under cover as well. Ever since Lord Ironfist made me muck out stalls and empty chamber pots, I’ve made sure my guardian, Lord Lackluster, thinks I’m 100% as boring and dull as he is.
Ruth: Lords Ironfist and Lackluster. For clarity, you are referring to Lords Roderick and Clement.
Christopher: Whatever. You can call them what you will. Quite frankly, I’m still miffed they put me through all that torture in The Earl’s Inconvenient Wife. I’m waiting for them to have to do something equally horrendous before you finish His Reluctant Lady. Maybe have Lord Roderick go bald and lose all his teeth. I was thinking Lord Clement can spend the rest of his life holed away in a library somewhere, never to bother me again.
Ruth: I hate to tell you this, but revenge on Roderick and Clement is not why I’m writing this book.
Christopher: But it’s in there, right?
Ruth: Nope. I’m afraid Roderick retains all his hair and teeth, and Clement remains in London.
Christopher: What a rip off. If those two don’t get what’s coming to them, then what’s the point of this book?
Agatha: Does the word “romance” mean nothing to you? This isn’t a book about revenge. It’s a romance. The idea is for you to fall helplessly in love with me.
Christopher: Or is it for you to fall helplessly in love with me while bad things happen to Ironfist and Lackluster?
Agatha: No, I don’t think so. I’m not some misguided, naive virgin. I’ve been married before.
Christopher: Yeah but your first husband died in a horse riding accident the day after your wedding. I don’t know if that qualifies for an actual marriage.
Agatha: I had to suffer through the wedding night, so yes, it was an actual marriage. I’m just sorry I was brought into this book to marry again. Being a widow with lots of money in the Regency era had it’s advantages, freedom being one of them. I don’t suppose you’ll take any horse rides during this book?
Christopher: I’ll have you know that you’ll be falling all over yourself just to be with me.
Ruth: Well, not exactly, Christopher. I mean, you might be lovable, but she’s not the kind of lady who falls at anyone’s feet in adoration. So if you think she’s going to make it easy for you, then you have a rude awakening coming to you.
Christopher: Is she going to make me muck out stalls or empty chamber pots?
Christopher: Then I can deal with whatever comes my way. *pauses* I don’t suppose she’d be willing to shave off all of Ironfist’s and Lackluster’s hair and tattoo their heads so they’ll be the laugh of the Ton?
Agatha: Ruth, please tell me he’s not going to whine and groan through the whole book about cleaning out stalls and emptying chamber pots. That would get super annoying really fast.
Ruth: He does bring it up from time to time. But that is not why I was inspired to write this book. I thought Christopher had a fun side to him and you had a cynical side that needed someone like him to show you that love can be a beautiful thing.
Christopher: I don’t know. When you put it that way, it sounds boring.
Ruth: Does it help to know that you have to figure a way to outwit her?
Christopher: Yeah, I guess. I do like a good challenge.
Agatha: You don’t make me some weak heroine, do you? I despise weak heroines. I won’t have any gentleman reducing me to a pathetic mass of drool.
Christopher: “Pathetic mass of drool?” I hope you don’t use lines like that in your book, Ruth. That is just awful.
Ruth: Everyone’s a critic. *sighs* So anyway, I thought a lady who has a could of secrets would appeal most to someone who bores anyone who strictly adhere to what’s proper. That means you and Agatha are a perfect match.
Agatha: Yeah, well, we’ll see.
Christopher: Love doesn’t seem like enough incentive to be in this book. Are you sure we can’t make this a horror novel with some romantic undertones? I hear there’s this estate just south of London that’s supposedly haunted and think Ironfist and Lackluster might get stranded out there when the carriage breaks down and-
Ruth: Try to show more enthusiasm, Agatha. And Christopher, this is not a horror novel. The worst that happens in this book is that Perry doesn’t get married (again).
Perry: What? I don’t? Why not?
Christopher: Because you’re boring. You put ladies to sleep.
Agatha: That’s not true.
Christopher: It might as well be. They yawn when he talks to them.
Perry: They do not! It’s something else. Ruth, is it because I have to use a cane to help me walk?
Christopher: It’s because you never have any fun. You spend all your time reading or playing chess. I mean, I see you and Lord Roderick chuckling over chess maneuvers and talking about politics. Everyone at White’s think you two are dull. Why would the ladies think otherwise?
Perry: Gambling, insisting on a duel, getting expelled from school, ending up in fights that nearly get you killed…. You think that’s fun and exciting? That ladies want that? Because that’s how you are. You think it’s been easy being your guardian all these years? I can’t count the number of times I’ve had to rescue you before someone put a bullet in your head.
Christopher: That was all in the past. I don’t do that anymore.
Perry: Because “Ironfist” had the good sense to knock some sense into you by making you clean stalls and empty chamber pots. I didn’t have the heart to do it, but I’m glad he did.
Ruth: Yeah, Perry’s a softie. Just the kind of gentleman who’ll help a lady out in a time of need. Don’t worry, Perry. Your book is next. It’s called The Earl’s Scandalous Wife, and I already have the cover made.
Christopher: I don’t know if he can handle a scandal. That kind of excitement could give him a heart attack.
Perry: I’ll be glad when you get married. I can’t handle the stress of wondering what mischief you’re getting into that I don’t know about.
Christopher: See? You better change the title to The Earl’s Very Bored Wife. It only needs to be one page long because nothing ever happens.
Ruth: Break it up, guys. I need to end this post. And The Earl’s Scandalous Wife stands.