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Election Day Tomorrow! Escape the chaos and vote for your favorite Rose Gordon Hero–

Election Day is tomorrow! Escape the chaos and vote for your favorite Rose Gordon Hero–

Online of course, not really on your ballot.

So in the spirit of “I cannot handle anymore political turmoil and arguing”, I will be hosting my own list of measures to vote on up on Facebook tomorrow. I am not holding a totally fair vote because I don’t plan to post all the questions here tonight–you’ll have to visit my Facebook Page to vote on all the measures. (And of course there will be plenty of prizes to go around.)

The big question, however, is…Who at the end of the night will be crowned the most beloved Rose Gordon. This hero will get special privileges (don’t they all already??) for the next four years and of course be crowned the King of Rose Gordon’s Heroes at the end of the night.

Now of course with so many candidates, it’s only right to hold a small debate so without further ado, I have brought them all here to give a short speech about why THEY deserve such an honor…

[I should warn you that much like the other debates we’ve all witnessed this year, most of the candidates do NOT stay on topic and interrupt each other often…Be warned.]

Gentlemen, in three sentences, or less, could you please tell us why YOU should hold the coveted spot of Most Beloved Rose Gordon Hero for the next four years. We shall go in order of appearance, Andrew Black, Earl of Townson, we shall begin with you.

BENJAMIN COLLINS, DUKE OF GATEWAY: Pardon me, Rose, but actually I appeared before Townson. *grins wildly and folds his arms across his puffed out chest* And in his own book no less…

That will be enough of that.

ANDREW: Yes, we all remember that profound moment, you made the book start with a bang…or should I say a slap heard around the world?

Enough! You two are starting to remind me of real life too much and I do wield the power to remove you both from the running. Now, we shall begin—in the order of heroes. Andrew, you’re your first.

ANDREW—HERO FROM INTENTIONS OF THE EARL: As Rose’s first hero, I should think the honor belongs to me. Not only as the first am I the one she obviously used up her best traits and dialogue with, but I am also the one whose book has been read most, therefore I am most well known.

GATEWAY: *snorts*

shoots a sharp look at Gateway

GATEWAY: *throws hands up into the air* I’m entitled to my own opinion on that. His book might have been downloaded more, but have you seen those reviews?

No and I don’t care to. Paul, your turn.

PAUL—HERO FROM LIBERTY FOR PAUL: I was saddled with Liberty, need I say more?

*sighs* If you didn’t fall madly in love with her by the end, I’d say the honor is yours by default, but…

PAUL: *grins* All right, I think I should be the favorite because A. I got Liberty to stop reading—and quoting—books on propriety; B. I also beat her at her own game; and C. I had my clothes stolen while in the tub, D. beans—that were supposed to be my head—stabbed to an oblivion AND E. am ninety percent sure that my mother-in-law glimpsed me naked. Franky, I’m a damn shoo-in.

Ahem, well, I’m not sure what to say to that. Next?

GATEWAY—HERO FROM TO WIN HIS WAYWARD WIFE: No, Paul, I’m the shoo-in. I’ve been Rose’s most loved hero from the start.

ANDREW: Yes, I recall everyone rooting for you all during my romance with Brooke. NOT!


GATEWAY: As I said, I’ve always been the favorite. Have any of you ever peeked in Rose’s inbox? No? It’s me the young girls write about and tell tales of their swooning and say if Arid Alex over there could fashion a time machine, they’d travel–

SIR WALLACE BENEDICT: I believe you’ve spoken more than three sentences.

*all eyes swing to Wallace who is adjusting his cravat*

GATEWAY: Sorry, chap, I was trying to stop at a prime number.

And I have a feeling you aren’t done yet… Nonetheless, you are for now. Alex?

ALEX BANKS—HERO FROM HER SUDDEN GROOM: If I was playing the pity card like Paul, I’d remind everyone I have the nickname of Arid Alex and was once betrothed to Lady Olivia. *shudders* However, I shall instead remind you all of my intellectual pursuits of a regular subscription to Prominent and Avant-Garde Horticulture, being an avid student of chess, having been entrusted to be the guardian of several young ladies…and as Gateway so nicely pointed out, if anyone was capable of creating a time machine, I’m your hero. Therefore, most beloved hero…again, I’m your hero.

GATEWAY: Are we supposed to applaud now?

ANDREW:I don’t know, but his speech is more worthy of applause than yours.

I won’t warn you two again. One more outburst and you’ll be excused from the room.

GATEWAY: Are you threatening voter fraud?

No! You’ll still be in the running, I can’t delete you from the ballot at this late date, but I will banish you from the room so you won’t be able to have another word. Now, let’s hear from Marcus.

MARCUS, LORD SINCLAIR—HERO FROM HER RELUCTANT GROOM: Hands down, I think everyone would agree I am the most honorable of all of your heroes. Even the ones who are given such an honor in their book title— *casts his grey eyes to where Sebastian, Giles and Simon, the three heroes from the Gentlemen of Honor Series, are seated* —I had a lovely young woman staying in my house unchaperoned for quite a while and not a whisper of scandal befell either of us. Nor was she in any way unmarriagable when she left.

PATRICK—HERO FROM HER SECONDHAND GROOM: *snorts* Sir Wallace might disagree with that. She wasn’t very interested in marrying him after you’d given her a lesson in male anatomy and base desires courtesy of a little book in your library.

MARCUS: I’d say all four of our wives— *gestures to Alex, Patrick, Sir Wallace and himself* —benefited in some way from Lady Bird’s Ladybird Memoir.

SIR WALLACE: *clearing his throat, and whispering* I can’t complain too much about that book, Patrick.

MARCUS: *stretches legs out in front of himself, crosses ankles* See? Emma’s gift to Edwina was the perfect apology.

ALEX: Your wife gave that…that…filth to my sister?!

GATEWAY: *cackles* Sir Wallace, you rascal! *lets out a low whistle and shakes his head* I suppose it’s true what they say, it’s always the quiet ones who are the biggest scoundrels. *stands and claps Sir Wallace on the shoulder* Since Rose is gesturing for me to get my arse out, I will go, but Sir Wallace, I’d be honored if you’d take my seat over in the Scandalous Series section. I do believe you having a naughty book has entitled you to a seat with the other debauchers. *bows* I shall take my leave now, I had no idea I was in such depraved company.

ALEX: *Scrubs hands over his face.* The image that is now in my head isn’t going away.

MARCUS: You’ll get over it. I do recall spotting a copy of it in your library. Need I remind you that you are married to my cousin?

ALEX: Point taken. Patrick, I think it’s your turn.

PATRICK “DRAKE”, LORD DRAKELY—HERO FROM HER SECONDHAND GROOM: I willingly admit that I made a few mistakes with Juliet, my heroine, but I’d like to think I redeemed myself during our trip to London. Also, if it weren’t for me, poor Simon over there would have never had his happily-ever-after. So in a way, I’m a HERO FROM two books.

ANDREW to ALEX: I think he’s been spending too much with Gateway, he’s getting a swell head.

ALEX back to ANDREW: That or with his wife and now he thinks he’s as good of a matchmaker as all those of her sex think they are.

PATRICK: I hate to tell you two weasels this, but Brooke and Caroline both think they’re some sort of skilled matchmakers, too.

All right, fellas, let’s stay on course. Sir Wallace?

SIR WALLACE BENEDICT—HERO FROM HER IMPERFECT GROOM: 1. Contrary to my book title, I am undeniably a perfectionist. 2. Unlike some of the others in this room, when scandal knocked on my door, I was ready to do the right thing. 3. Despite my love for being impeccably dressed and as proper as a straight pin as Rose put it, when love was on the line, I put my own wants aside and chased her down at all costs.

ALEX: Chased her down? No you scaled the side of my house and broke into her room.

SEBASTIAN—HERO FROM SECRETS OF A VISCOUNT: There is nothing wrong with that.

ALEX: There is when she didn’t invite him to do so.

SEBASTIAN: *face flushing, shrugs* Again, I don’t find anything wrong with it if he gets the girl in the end.

SIR WALLACE: I did. *pushes chest out* And an enlightening little treatise to boot.

ALEX: Agggghhhh.

Let’s move on to the heroes of the Brides Series. Edward?

EDWARD BANKS, LORD WATSON—HERO FROM HER CONTRACT BRIDE-: Oh? I get to enter the running, do I? I wasn’t sure if I’d get that honor since I’m the only one Rose killed off! I think that means I should forever be memorialized as the most beloved. Oh, is that too morbid? All right, I think ultimately I should be the most beloved hero because I’m the one responsible for building the stargazing gazebo that brought about at least two happily-ever-afters. If it weren’t for me being friends with the late Lord Sinclair, Alex wouldn’t have met Caroline—

ALEX: Or have been engaged to Lady Olivia.

EDWARD: Yes, as I mentioned before, I was lost in celebration that night. Believe me, there was a lot of celebrating. Joseph was finally free from having to visit Bea’s bed and the wine just kept flowing… *waves a hand through the air* Not to mention, I fixed things between Alex and Caro by reminding her that he’s a man. If it weren’t for me and Regina, Alex, Elijah, Henry and Edwina wouldn’t be here and I would have never been born and John wouldn’t have gone to America to meet his wife. And…finally, if it weren’t for me, Andrew wouldn’t have inherited such a beautiful painting.

ANDREW: Thank you. I’m still cherishing it.

JOHN BANKS—HERO FROM HIS YANKEE BRIDE: All right, Edward, we get that you’re making up for lost time of not getting any scenes in three of your four children’s books, but enough is enough. Besides, I know the true identity of that “artist”. Not to mention, you allowed your heroine to sink the Gallant

EDWARD: She looked so fetching as the boat went down, I’d have allowed her to sink a whole armada had I had one.

All right, gentlemen, we have a lot more to hear from–

EDWARD: No we don’t, I’m the most beloved. *grins* They need not even speak.

JOHN: Now who has been spending too much time with Gateway?

John, it’s you’re turn.

JOHN: As hero to Carolina I have faithfully done my duty and played countless games of charades. I stood up to her beastly parents and rescued her closest confidant. I endured being sewn into a bundling bag, being watched shamelessly on while bathing in the pond, had to bear witness to a dirty, old merkin lying in the street while eloping, and in the end, swept my girl away from her parent’s evil clutches and eventually brought her and my three daughters to London where all of Rose’s stories began.

EDWARD: You’re rather smug, aren’t you, Trouble?

JOHN: *shrugs* The boot fits.

All right you two, nearly two hundred and fifty years later and you two are squabbling like little boys.

EDWARD: We’re brother’s, that’s what we’re supposed to do.

And now, for another set of Banks Brothers—Elijah?

ELIJAH BANKS—HERO FROM HIS JILTED BRIDE: *squares shoulders and slowly looks around the room* Fellas, you can all go home. This victory is mine. You all might think you rescued your heroines, but I—*points at chest*–I did. I not only saved her from being married to a scheming, lying, reprobate who likely would have done unmentionable things to her person, but I did it by shimmying her through a church window in her wedding gown, no less. *chuckles* And no more, either.

HENRY BANKS—ELIJAH’S TWIN AND HERO FROM HIS BROTHER’S BRIDE: What Elijah neglected to mention was said man hadn’t even shown up yet. So how exactly he spared her such a life… *shakes head* Can anyone truly be certain?

ELIJAH: Right you are, Henry. I was also rescuing her from the humiliation of being jilted. I thought that was implied by the title. And just because he hadn’t shown up yet that day, didn’t mean he didn’t still have plans for her.

HENRY: That’s true, however, had you not married her and just brought her to safety, you’d have been able to fulfill an earlier promise you’d made.

ELIJAH: Oh, you mean I’d have married Laura—YOUR wife? *cocks head to the side* If what I spied in the garden is any indication, I think you ought to be thanking me.

HENRY: Indeed.

ELIJAH: My thanks?

HENRY: *stares at him* I’ll refrain from singing carols at Michaelmas this year.

ELIJAH: That’s even better.

Throws hand up. Henry, it’s your turn.

HENRY: *rubs chin* As I just mentioned I did marry the young lady Elijah had promised marriage to. And I don’t regret it. I did first try to find her another suitable husband because what else can you do when a woman you barely knows shows up on your front door stoop and demands marriage? If rescuing heroines is the key to winning, I should say that I rescued mine from herself when she was spitting out phrases in French that she didn’t know the meaning of. And finally, I do believe, I exercised perfect self-control in the carriage while taking my—not my brother’s *scowls*—bride to Scotland.

ELIJAH: And on the way back?

HENRY: Is none of your damn business.

EDWARD: That’s my boy.

JOHN: Only you would be proud.

EDWARD: Had your wife produced a boy, you’d understand. As it is your girls—

JOHN: Are the most scandalous sisters to ever step foot in London, yes, I know.

EDWARD: I was going ot say saints, but your definition works, too.

All right, we need to–

GATEWAY: *pokes his head in the room* Are you hens still clucking? You all know I won this competition before it even started.

ANDREW: Only if you’ve been out there rigging the votes… *arches eyebrow*

MARCUS: Besides, I think you’d do well to spend a little more time around Alex and allow him to explain to you the difference between hens and roosters.

GATEWAY: I can borrow Sir Wallace’s naughty book for that, I’m sure.

Gateway, come join us again. Apparently, without you making inane and unsolicited comments everyone else feels they need to.

GATEWAY–*lumbers in and falls into a vacant chair* Ah, to be the scapegoat.

Now, let’s switch gears and hear from our American heroes—Wes, are you ready?

CAPTAIN WES TUCKER—HERO FROM THE OFFICER AND THE BOSTONER: About as ready as I was for a spirited and slightly angry young lady to come parading into my life, throwing rocks and making impossible demands.


CAPTAIN GRAY—HERO FROM THE OFFICER AND THE TRAVELER: Which you certainly weren’t doing when she came. I do believe you went around whistling a merry little tune as you packed your things and strutted up to your new bedchamber in the married officers wing of the barracks.

WES: Indeed I was. But keep in mind, I managed to keep Allison safe from harm of the other men and from herself with a sewing needle. I used her excellent throw to all of our advantage and taught her how to swing a bat—she can now best even the best in rounders.

JACK: Yes, that all sounds so exciting, lest we forget your book isn’t a shoot’em up.

GRAY: No, that was saved for your book. Would you care to share with everyone just exactly what went on at the shooting range that day?

JACK: That was a private moment between Ella and me.

*laughter from around the room.*

EDWARD: Good for you, young man.

Jack, why should you be most beloved hero?

JACK: I certainly went through some of the worst—sent off for a mail-order bride and received a young lady who was angry with me from the start. *face reddens* For which I do take full responsibility. Nearly lost my heroine to a spider. Had to ride a horse with a man who wore little more than an eyepatch over his…unmentionables, sat in the tent of a naked and half-crazed medicine man—and that was only the first half of my tale. As Gray mentioned, I taught my girl how to shoot…*face turns crimson and coughing ensues* and gave her another sort of education as well.

GRAY: *voice dripping with sarcasm* And now, I’ll never be able to shoot at the range again without that thought. Thank you.

JACK: *grins* You’re welcome.

GATEWAY: Would you like me to ruin a few places in England for you?


GATEWAY: *chuckles* Pray continue.

Gray, you’re turn.

GRAY: I do believe I am the most beloved. I had a rekindled romance with a woman I was once forbidden to talk to and because I kissed her–

JACK: Should you remind everyone why you were kissing her?

GRAY: *ignoring Jack, continues*–we were married and I inherited a dragon for a father-in-law.

JACK: *snorts* I have the same father-in-law!

WES: Yes, and thanks to the two of you, he’s now the general at our fort.

JACK: It’s not my fault. I didn’t know Ella’s father was a grumpy old general when I started writing to her. Hell, even Gray didn’t recognize Ella when she first came.

GRAY: And if I had, would you have sent her back?

JACK: Well, no.

GRAY: Then it seems you should stop your complaining about the old dragon.

WES: And you should, too. You both chose to be connected to him. I did not.

GRAY: As I said, if Jack had known any more about Ella’s identity it could have been avoided.

WES: Yes, but then you wouldn’t have had your wife.

GRAY: No, I wouldn’t have–*eyes crinkle and a broad grin takes his lips* and dealing with her cantankerous father is a small price to pay to have her.

Gray, is that all you have to say?

GRAY: No, I have plenty to say if these two would shut up for two minutes. I married a woman who had no reservations in her dislike for me. As has been mentioned, her father didn’t like me either. But even so, she managed to win me over and I daresay, I won both of them over, too.

JACK: That’s the best you could come up with?

GRAY: Yep, I’m Michaela’s all-time favorite hero. I don’t need to be anyone else’s.

*silence fills the room…until broken by none other than GATEWAY* Ah, spoken like a men letting his privates doing the thinking for him—and not the hundred men you command.

GRAY: *shrugs* Her opinion is the only one I value.

That’s very sweet, so then should we stop this competition now and let you all get back to your respective heroines?

SEBASTIAN GENTRY, LORD BELGRAVE—HERO FROM SECRETS OF A VISCOUNT: Hell no. I did not break into the wrong sister’s bedroom and hie my worst nightmare off to Scotland, marry her, lie to her, diligently try to find her another husband while secretly longing for her and praying she wouldn’t wind up with Stoic Simon just to give up now. I love Belle more than life itself, but by golly, I’m the most beloved hero—I’ve even won an award.

Your book isn’t the only one to be nominated for an award, Sebastian, (gracious this man needs to be taken down a peg), Patrick, Edward and John have been finalists, too.

SEBASTIAN: Ah, but they all came in second. I won. And a reader’s choice, nomination style entry no less.

EDWARD: Not true. I won some something or other once, too.

SEBASTIAN: Nobody seems to remember that. Not even the contest officials when it was time to publicly reveal the winners. But me? Oh, they made up this huge poster of my book. The thing was so big, Rose couldn’t get it back home from the conference. A local friend—and saint—kept it at her house for almost two and a half years until a mutual friend happened to be driving across the US and brought it to Rose. See, it’s right here!

Exhibit A

GATEWAY: I think I’ve found my match for most conceited.

SEBASTIAN: Exactly, the Gateway Era is over and the Sebastian Era has begun.

SIMON APPLETON—HERO FROM PASSIONS OF A GENTLEMAN: I still can’t believe Isabelle chose this for herself.

HENRY: Ha, if awards were given out for which hero made Rose bang her head against the desk most while writing their book, Elijah would win handidly.

SEBASTIAN: And Simon would win for most re-starts.

JACK: Gray would be a close second for that one.

Hey now! Stop airing MY dirty laundry. Giles, are you ready?

GILES GODDARD—HERO FROM DESIRES OF A BARON: I don’t need this award. I married Lucy a woman who loves me no matter what I say and do. With Lucy came Seth. The boy asks me uncomfortable questions about the origins of babies, when unsightly hair will appear, and now calls me Papa. I already have my reward.

SIMON: And don’t forget a brother.

GILES: How could I? You’re the reason I was questioned about the appearance of body hair.

SIMON: And the reason you met Lucy.

GILES: Yes, it was because of you we met, but you certainly didn’t have any intentions of backing down.

SIMON: I’d met her first.

GILES: And it was obvious that she didn’t return your interest. At least it was obvious when I read the book—living it was a different matter.

All right—again, more bickering brothers! Simon, you’ll have your turn in a bit–

SIMON: Of course I will. I already had to wait two years to get my book, why not wait longer to have my turn to speak.

In order of heroes, I think Gareth is next.

GARETH, LORD WORTHE—HERO FROM THE PERFECT LADY WORTHE: As many of the others have said, I already feel like I’ve won because I was blessed to have such a wonderful heroine to spend the rest of this life with. But…since Rose is twisting our arms for these speeches, I will say that I am indeed gentlemanly and clever. I was the HERO FROM her first novella who apparently knows exactly how much is in my bank account and takes abbreviated naps throughout the day. Not to mention, I married my best friend’s younger sister against his wishes, that’s pretty damn brazen and heroic, if you ask me.

GATEWAY: Twisted your arm? Hmmph.

Aaron, your turn.

AARON LENTZ, HERO FROM MISTLETOE & MICHAELMAS: I had to endure a Christmastide stay with the straightforward Duke of Danby. The man is so obsessed with matchmaking, I went to his house as part of my duty as a vicar and less than a fortnight later I was in need of one myself. Also, for the record, it should be mentioned, my name wasn’t always Aaron. I was given that name the afternoon the book was submitted because another story in the anthology had a hero with the same name. How is that for enduring?

JOHN: I wondered how you ended up with what was originally my name.

I confess, I confess! Aaron is telling the truth. His name was different when I wrote the book and I had to change it. John is also correct—his name originally was Aaron. But when I was typing Aaron, my fingers were moving so fast I’d capitalize both As. Plus, Intentions of the Earl didn’t need anyone else with an “A” name. Now, let’s move onto our next hero: Joel.

JOEL CUNNINGHAM—HERO FROM JESSE: BRIDE OF SOUTH CAROLINA: What can I say? I was commissioned to bring the girl I’d once loved more than life itself one hundred miles in my wagon to a train depot so she could go off to the wilds of Montana and marry Mr. Perfect—which couldn’t have been too perfect or he wouldn’t have submitted an ad for a mail-order bride. I kept my hands to myself—most of the time, my trousers buttoned up—a blasted hard thing to do at times and reined in my sarcasm–

No you did not!

JOEL: And no you did not have this book done by Oct. 26, 2015 like you were supposed and yet you still told everyone you had. If I remember right you were only 1,000 words in.

What has that to do with anything?

JOEL: Nothing, other than I was the perfect hero to write about. If I hadn’t been so easy to write about you wouldn’t have gotten this book done in under a week.

GATEWAY: Dang! Here I thought my book was the fastest at ten days.

JOEL: No, mine took less time but after meeting you today, I see why yours took so long. You’re a fountain of fodder.

GATEWAY: Thank you. I enjoy being complimented.

JOEL: Yes, and so does my wife. Who, I’ll have you all know I managed to win over on that trip despite fear of her father catching us, being robbed, having to sleep outside, meeting a deranged man who loves his junk more than Andrew and Gateway hate each other and more sarcastic remarks than have been shared here today.

You are correct, Joel. On all scores. James?

JAMES NORTH, EARL OF WYNN—HERO FROM THE WOOING GAME: I daresay this award is in the bag for me. Charlotte and I had a nasty first start. Blooming humiliating all the way around if I dare say. However, I managed to win her—even woo her—and all by sending her anonymous letters of admiration, a feat not even the notorious Banks men—or heroes of the Banks women–could pull off.

GARETH: The first missive you sent her, wasn’t so anonymous….or charming.

JAMES: Shhh! I made a mistake. You’ve made one I’m sure.

GARETH: Never.

SIMON: Is it my turn yet? Have I waited long enough?

Yes, Simon, you can go now.

SEBASTIAN: I don’t know why you’re bothering to, I’m sure everyone has already decided.

GATEWAY: Yes, they only needed to hear the first three.

ANDREW: Nope. Just the first one.

SIMON: Well, aren’t you both rather cocksure? Haven’t you ever heard of “saving the best for last”? My book was “in the works” for two blasted YEARS. Rose received emails inquiring when it was coming out. People asking why they couldn’t find it. She even received a very nasty email about tying her to a chair and making her write it. I daresay, if the emails are to be believed, I would consider this contest already over. Name me the winner and hand me my crown.

SEBASTIAN: Just because they asked about you and demanded she write your book doesn’t mean they liked it. Heck, if sales reports are any indication, I’d honestly say your book is the least read book Rose has written!

SIMON: That’s because everyone read your book and hated you so much they didn’t want to risk reading the others in the series for fear of encountering you again.

SEBASTIAN: Again, may I point your direction to Exhibit A?


All righty then, I think we’re done.

GATEWAY: No closing remarks?

No, you’ve all said more than enough already. All right ladies, you’ve heard what they have to say and tomorrow—on National Election Day—you can cast your vote for your favorite Rose Gordon Hero on Facebook. Please read over this as many times as you feel are necessary and share with your friends who might like to vote.

From just outside the window of my living room where everyone had gathered…GABRIEL ELLIS—FUTURE HERO FROM HIS PENNILESS BRIDE: Damn. She’s been receiving emails about the whereabouts of my story for four years—that’s before more than half of these fellas were heroes—I now have another four years to get my story, read all of their books to dig up the most gossip and I’ll be an easy win next go-around.

Ah, Gabriel, you forget…since your story hasn’t yet been written, you could be the most scandalous of them all!

GABRIEL: Marjorie! Let’s run away. Now!

Books, Groom Series, Her Imperfect Groom, Her Reluctant Groom, Her Secondhand Groom, Her Sudden Groom, Sale

SALE on entire Grooms Series!

From now until the end of the month my entire Groom Series (Her Sudden/Reluctant/Secondhand/Imperfect Groom) will be on SALE for 99 cents each!

Groom sale grid

These are available at all major eBook retailers.






This is the perfect time to stock up for yourself on books you haven’t yet read, get your friends hooked on the Banks family OR if you’ve promised someone a rose garden…well this is close enough, right?!


Fun Fact Friday, Groom Series, Her Reluctant Groom

Fun Fact Friday ~ Her Reluctant Groom

  • I wrote half of this book in January 2011, then stopped to publish and promote my first series, then came back and wrote the other half in June, 2011.
  • I knew before I even introduced Emma in Sudden that she and Marcus would end up together.
  • I didn’t know until Marcus told Emma exactly what happened to Olivia. I knew after what she did to Caroline’s wedding dress that she needed to vanish, but I didn’t realize she’d gotten herself knocked up until Marcus informed Emma of her fate.
  • I’m TERRIBLE at music, so writing the music lessons and the impromptu musicale was a lot of fun for me. All I had to do was recollect my own musical abilities and I had the sounds crisp and clear in my mind.
  • I’ve been asked to write a story about Louise, but frankly, I think she deserves to be miserably married to the womanizer she married.
  • I completely made up Lady Bird’s Ladybird Memoir. That said, I get Google searches or emails inquiring about the book and where they can find a copy.
  • A little more than two years ago, I did a tell-all session over this book where I invited questions and answered them. A reader who had read all of my books up to then, but had recently contacted me submitted the question of: What was on the note that Marcus pinned to Emma’s backside during the musicale? To which, I brazenly replied on my blog: “I believe it read something like this, That’s not just the trumpet you’re hearing, we had broccoli at lunch.”
  • I did NOT plan for he initial E.S. to be Emma Sinclair (the name attached to the articles that Alex loved so much from his popular science circular–this first appeared in my first book and just continued). It was just purely by coincidence that those initials lined up with the love of Marcus’ life and when I was writing the epilogue for Reluctant, it occurred to me that they lined up and I decided to capitalize on it as if I’d known it all along.
  • This is the only book (so far) that I has led to me receiving hate mail. I have received a few emails since publication where the author of the email was furious that I didn’t give Marcus and Emma a miracle baby. The reason I didn’t was because, to be frank, life isn’t fair. There are couples who aren’t able to have children, no matter how much they want them or what they try. I wrote this book for those ladies. I hate reading books where the hero (or heroine) has had some sort of accident or condition that makes them sterile then they have a miracle baby in the epilogue.
  • This book has inspired some of my most emotional (in a good way) emails. For every email I get where people are unhappy that there wasn’t a miracle baby, I’ve received double that number from women who were unable to have children who were so glad that I didn’t give them a miracle baby because it made it more real and easy to relate.
  • This was my biggest jump in an epilogue. Most were the next day or a few months later. This one jumps 50 years just to prove that the two of them could be satisfied together as a family.
  • This series was only supposed to have three books, but as soon as I wrote Wallace on the page, I was in love. I really wanted him to get a happily-ever-after, BUT I didn’t think the world would respond the same way. So when a few beta readers asked what his story was, I got the idea and that very night, I paced the floor until 3am divining his story.
  • The original cover for this book was actually the one that ended up on Secondhand. The cover artist asked for some basic information about the ladies in the series. I mentioned that Emma had green eyes and I think she gave her the green dress to match the green eyes. I, however, knew instantly that wasn’t how it was meant to be and had her switch them.
  • Here is what the new wrap around for this book will look like:
    Reluctant wrap sample
Her Reluctant Groom, Wicked Wednesday

Wicked Wednesday ~ Her Reluctant Groom

First and foremost, Merry Christmas (and of course Happy Hanukah if that is your belief). I hope you are all doing well and have a wonderful holiday, no matter which one you choose to celebrate.

Because it IS Wednesday I have an obligation to my readers, yet it is Christmas, so perhaps this might be uncouth… So, as you might guess,  I had much to debate last night and I mean this as absolutely no sacrilege, but because I do have a number of readers who love these posts more than any of the others. I’d considered posting the scene where Marcus and Emma play draughts, since it is by far the most fitting for the title of Wicked Wednesday, but in the spirit if Christmas, I did tone it down a little and instead will post with the most memorable aspect of this book: Lady Bird’s Ladybird Memoir.

Emma hadn’t paid much attention to where Marcus had gotten the book he’d shown her, but she’d been paying attention when he put it back. She was seven-and-twenty, well past the blushing debutante age, and she was curious. So why not satisfy her curiosity? She knew if anyone, especially Marcus, were to ever know what she was doing; they’d be shocked to the core. But nobody would find out. She’d just flip through the book to see the pictures, then put it back.

She took her first tentative step and winced. Her leg hurt. Badly. She widened her stance and took another step, taking care not to let her legs rub together as she padded over to the box he’d put that naughty book in, then frowned. He’d locked it! Her eyes quickly scanned the shelves and the vanity for the key. She didn’t see it anywhere. She sighed and reached up to her hair. She’d used a hairpin to pick a lock before; she just have to do it again. Pulling out a pin from the top so as not to compromise her entire coiffure, she bent the pin to make it straight and jabbed the end into the keyhole. She jiggled the pin for a second and smiled when the click of the lock broke the silence.

For good measure, she threw a glance over her shoulder before opening the lid. “Lady Bird’s Ladybird Memoir,” she read aloud. She hadn’t caught the title earlier. The shock over Marcus even owning a book with naked pictures was too much for her to care about such a trivial matter as that. Then Emma knit her brows. There wasn’t a single mention of a LadyBirdin all of Debrett’s. And she’d know—she’d memorized the entire dratted thing, after all. Not to mention the fact that she’d spent countless Seasons in London without ever encountering a single mention of such a person. Who was this Lady Bird?

No matter. She carried her treasure back to the bed. Careful to climb in so she wouldn’t bump that extremely painful cut on her leg; she adjusted the covers and ran her fingers over the lettering on the front. Nervous excitement raced through her. Taking a breath, she opened the cover and used the tip of her index finger to flip past the first few pages. She got to the table of contents page and blinked. “’Chapter One, The Differences Between a Lord and Lady’. I’d sure hope she’d know the difference,” Emma muttered, dropping her eyes down to the title for Chapter Four. “Hmm, ‘A Man Versus a “Gentle”man’. Interesting.”

Impatiently, she flipped the page to chapter one and thought her eyes might pop out as she started reading. The author of this book had written real stories about her lovers, using enough hints for just about anyone to recognize who she was talking about.

Emma devoured the first page, and then the second, followed by the third and fourth. Before she knew it, she was sprawled out face-down on the bed, face flushed, heart racing, nearing the end of the fifth chapter. When she’d first started, she’d occasionally glanced at the clock that hung just above Marcus’ vanity to make sure it wasn’t nearing dinner and she wasn’t about to be interrupted. Now she was too enthralled to care.

Taking a quick break, she put her finger in the book to mark her page and flipped through the rest to see how much further she had. She sighed. There was too much there to read in an hour’s time. She’d have to get as far as she could today and sneak it back out again later.

Keeping her place marked, she went to that page Marcus had shown her earlier. The night Gregory had decided to show up naked in her bed was not the first time she’d seen him naked. Thankfully, it was the last. As a double reason to rejoice, she hadn’t actually seen that specific part of him that night. It was either covered by the sheets or his hands after she kneed him. However, she hadn’t been so lucky a few months back when his robe “accidentally” came untied just as he entered her room to ask if she’d like him to stoke the fire. She cringed. For years she’d had to endure his subtle hints and uncomfortable innuendo. It wasn’t until about five months ago he’d become more bold with his advances.

Pushing the image of Gregory and his unattractive body out of her mind, she looked down at the drawing of the man in the back of the book. Perhaps Marcus had been right. From the five chapters she’d read, “Lady Bird”, who Emma was convinced now more than before was a fictional name, had described in detail many male members. Some long, some short, some thin, some wide, all different. She blushed. These were not thoughts for proper young ladies. Then again, neither was reading such a scandalous book. She sighed. She was an old spinster governess now. She’d never have a chance to be with a man anyway, so what was the harm in reading the book? Nobody would know, and after she finished, she’d just put it back and pretend to be the naive girl everyone thought her to be.

Curiosity urged her to flip back a few pages and look at all the pictures. She’d read enough stories to have an idea of what she’d find. Just as her finger grabbed hold of the paper and had it nearly flipped back, two sharp knocks sounded at the door.

Don’t come in!” She didn’t know how long she could keep her guest outside and dared not take a chance walking across the room to return the book. Instead, she crawled up to the head of the bed, shoved the book behind the mountain of pillows, then turned around and sat with her back leaning against the pillows. “All right, you may come in now.”

The door opened and a frowning Marcus walked in. “What were you doing in here that I had to wait in the hall?”

Getting dressed,” she said airily.

He blinked. “You seem to be wearing the same thing you had on when I left.”

Emma grabbed the edges of the robe and held them closed, trying in vain to scowl at him. “Not that it’s your concern, but I had my robe off,” she lied.

Nodding, Marcus took a seat in an empty chair. His face looked slightly pink and every time he looked in her direction, he’d shift and jerk his eyes away.

Did you come in here for a reason?” she asked after he fidgeted in his chair for a few minutes.

I wanted to talk to you about earlier. Emma, I was only trying to take care of you. I didn’t mean to—”

I know,” she cut in. “It’s of no account. I was embarrassed then, but I’m not now.”

Her Reluctant Groom

Story Sample ~ Her Reluctant Groom

This week, I’ll feature the second book in the Groom Series, Her Reluctant Groom.

Reluctant_1400x2100 USA copy

The hero in this one is Marcus, Caroline’s cousin and the heroine is the neighbor, Emma Green.

Emma has found herself in a bad way. In the prologue, her brother-in-law tried to force himself on her and when she refused, she was thrown out of her sister’s house with nothing more than the nightrail she was wearing and her reticule. She went to stay with her friend Caroline who had sent her to Marcus’ house under the guise of delivering a box of random junk that belonged to Olivia. While she’s there, Marcus talks her into staying for tea and even mentions he knows of someone who might have a job for her. While they’re waiting to hear back about the job, Marcus invites her to dinner where a little betting takes place…


Standing, Marcus offered her his arm. “May I escort you down?”

Always.” Emma lightly placed her fingertips in the crook of his proffered arm. “It smells good,” she commented as they neared the dining room.

He inhaled. “Yes, it does. Although, after our tea this afternoon, I’ll be cautious about what I drink tonight.”

How could she possibly ruin lemonade?”

Trust me, she could.”

Do you know this from experience?”

Yes. As the bitter tea we had this afternoon can attest, she’s fairly new to the trade of cooking. I don’t think her former employer asked her to do much besides make biscuits, roasted chicken, kippers, and coddled eggs. I’d wager our dinner will have all four of those dishes. Oh, and custard with a strawberry on top for dessert.”

She eyed him askance. “That’s not what you ordered, is it?”

No. But I ordered her to make the best meal she could. And since those are the only dishes she can make that are decent, I wager that’s what we’ll be eating.”

All right, my lord, I’ll take your wager,” she said cheekily. “I honestly doubt she’ll be serving biscuits and coddled eggs at dinner.”

Marcus stopped walking. “And what shall we wager?”

What can you stand to lose?” she asked, grinning.

What do you want?”

She twisted her lips and tapped a long, slender finger against her cheek. “I don’t know,” she admitted at last.

Would you like a new gown?”

Her green eyes went wide like he knew they would. “No! Nothing so valuable.”

Why not?”

I have nothing nearly as valuable to offer you,” she explained, breaking eye contact.

He placed his free hand under her chin and tipped it up toward him. “Does that matter? You seem confident you’re not going to lose, so wager anything you wouldn’t mind giving me.”

I don’t have anything,” she said with a hard swallow.

In her eyes, he read the truth. Something terrible had happened between her and Louise, and she truly had no real possessions. None of the tangible variety, anyway. That must be why she was so willing to accept a gown from him, even if it was the furthest thing from proper for an unmarried lady to accept such a gift from a man who wasn’t her father, brother, or protector.

What of a kiss?” he asked suddenly, the tips of his ears burning as unease settled over him. She’d never be willing to kiss him. He was a fool to have asked. “Never mind,” he mumbled, trying to hide his slip. “Just forget the whole thing. I forfeit. Tomorrow, I’ll send for the village seamstress.”

No,” she said adamantly, shaking her head. “I accept your wager, Lord Sinclair. If you lose, I’ll have a pretty new gown, and if I lose, you’ll get your kiss.”

He stared at her. Unable to respond. Unable to move. Unable to think. She was willing to kiss him if—no, whenshe lost. “That’s quite a bargain, Miss Green.”

Shall we?” she asked, gesturing to the open dining room that was less than four strides away.

He nodded. “Of course.”

The dining room at Ridge Water was gigantic by anyone’s standards. When Marcus ate alone, he’d sit on the end seat. It felt like it was a mile between him and the chair across from him at the other end. He hated it. He hated the solitude and loneliness that came with it. He’d attempted to rejoin Society several times since his accident. But every time he tried, he was met with either queer looks and disparaging remarks, or snide and mocking comments about how he’d ruined his entire life when he was barely eighteen. Thus, he continued to live as a recluse and hadn’t ventured to London for anything other than urgent business for more than five years.

Before Caroline married and Olivia left, the three of them would take their meals at one end of the table. He’d sit on the end and they’d sit on either side of him. Occasionally Emma would stay for meals and would sit next to Caroline.

Tonight there would be a bit of a different seating arrangement. He’d ordered the footman who’d laid out the table to put the two place settings right across from each other. He just hoped the man understood he meant across the table widthwise and not lengthwise. If not, they would both be eating their meal in solitude or have to shout to be heard by the other. He grimaced. Neither of those options sounded particularly appealing.

Blessedly the footman had understood Marcus’ directive, and two settings were across from each other near the end of the table closest to the door. “Let me get your chair,” Marcus murmured, shooing the slightly shocked footman away.

Emma sat down and waited while Marcus took his seat and nodded for the footman to serve up the first course.

John, the recovering footman, stepped out from the corner and brought over to them a small platter with a big, shiny silver dome on top. He held it out between them and slowly lifted the top to reveal a warm plate of biscuits.

Marcus shot Emma a triumphant smile and swiped a biscuit.

Emma stared at the plate of offending biscuits.

Go on, take one,” Marcus encouraged, grinning.

I just can’t believe it,” she muttered, picking up the one closest to her.

John put the serving plate back on the sideboard and brought over two little dishes. One dish was filled with butter; the other contained strawberry jam.

Rolling her eyes and mumbling under her breath, Emma picked up her knife and slathered some strawberry jam on the top of her biscuit.

Three bites later, Marcus motioned for the serving of the second course.

John walked back over to them. This time with a much larger dome-topped platter. He removed the lid to reveal two bowls filled with what looked to be salad.

Emma smiled sweetly as she took her bowl and set it down in front of her.

Marcus slipped his off the tray and peeked at Emma as she stared blankly at her salad. He tried to keep his grin in check as he picked up his salad fork and speared a piece of slimy, brownish lettuce. A minute later, she pushed the bowl away. “I believe I’ll wait for something a bit more nourishing.” She glanced at the remaining five covered dishes.

Next, John brought coddled eggs, followed by turtle soup, then kippers, which was chased by broiled duck breast.

Hmm, what do you suppose is under the last dome?” Marcus asked an impatient-looking Emma.

She shifted in her seat. “Roasted chicken,” she said flatly.

He frowned. Did she find the thought of kissing him to be that repulsive? “Do you want to cry off?”

No.” She exhaled. “But what about a double or quits?”

I’m listening.” He put his elbows on the table and leaned forward.

She wet her lips. “No matter what that last dish is, if I’m able to drink this entire glass of lemonade I’ll get two gowns, and if I can’t—” she shrugged— “I’ll give you two kisses.” She held up two fingers and shook them for emphasis.

Marcus glanced at their lemonade. Neither of them had so much as touched their glasses. Judging by how bad the tea was earlier, coupled with how terrible every other dish served tonight was, neither of them had wanted to hazard a sip of their lemonade. And a hazard is what it would be, he was certain. More than three times in the past week alone, he’d snuck down to the kitchen to make his own lemonade.

Sounds interesting,” he mused, pushing his glass closer to her. “But if this is to be a true double or quits, then everything is to be doubled and you should have to drink both glasses.”

I accept,” she said with a gulp. She looked at the glasses of lemonade, then to the last course that was still under the dome. “Do you mind if I drink this now? I’d like to use the roasted chicken to get the taste out of my mouth afterward.”

He crossed his arms and chuckled. “Whenever you’re ready, Miss Green.”

She picked up the first glass and brought it to her parted lips. She paused for a second, then tipped her head back and guzzled the liquid torture in the most unladylike fashion he’d ever witnessed. She brought the empty glass down with a hardthwack and glanced at the other while she wiped her sourly twisted mouth with the edge of her napkin. She glanced up at him and smiled weakly, blinking back the tears that had formed in her eyes from the sour lemonade. Without looking away, Emma picked up the second glass and proceeded to drink every drop in another long, continuous, guzzling gulp.

You win,” he conceded with a dim smile, motioning for John to bring over the chicken.

Emma put her glass down and allowed John to serve her some of the chicken breast. “I’ll not cost you too much,” she said quietly.

He put his fork down. “I’m not concerned about the cost of the gowns. You may have any type of gowns you’d like.”

Thank you for your generosity,” she said solemnly, stabbing a piece of her chicken.

Marcus nodded and ate his chicken. There weren’t many dishes his temporary cook could make, but roasted chicken was certainly one of them.

After dinner, Daniel, the footman Marcus had sent to Patrick’s, still hadn’t returned. Marcus pulled out his pocket watch. “We have at least half an hour before the messenger will be back. Shall we discuss those new gowns?”

Emma shook her head. “Marcus, you don’t have to—”

Nonsense,” he said, cutting her off. “You won that wager. You’re getting the gowns.”

She frowned. “That’s not what I was going to say. I know I won that wager, and I’d hold your nose and force you to drink two glasses of that awful lemonade if you so much as thought of reneging on buying me those gowns. But what I was going to say was that you don’t have to make small talk with me while we wait. I know you’re probably itching to get off that stiff chair and prop your leg up on the ottoman you keep stored under your desk.”

You’re right. I’ll just be on my way.” He scooted his chair backward and stood up. He’d been building castles in the clouds, thinking she’d want to talk to him while they waited.

Wait, Marcus.” She gained her feet and came to stand in front of him.

He looked down at her. She wasn’t tall, but she wasn’t short, either. Right at six foot, he was what most would consider above average. Next to him, the top of her head barely reached his chin. “Yes?”

She blinked at him then an unusual, almost nervous smile spread across her lips. She cleared her throat. Then again. “Marcus,” she began, her voice terribly uneven for having cleared her throat twice before speaking. “I just wanted you to know the reason I drank all that dratted lemonade wasn’t because I didn’t want to kiss you, but because I need those gowns.” She came up on her toes and softly pressed her supple lips against his rough cheek.

Banks Brothers' Brides Series, Groom Series, Her Imperfect Groom, Her Reluctant Groom, Her Secondhand Groom, Her Sudden Groom, His Brother's Bride, His Contract Bride, His Jilted Bride, His Yankee Bride, Intentions of the Earl, Liberty for Paul, Officer Series, Officer Series, Reader Questions, Scandalous Sisters Series, The Officer and the Bostoner, The Officer and the Southerner

Which Book is WHOSE???

Two years ago, I never really anticipated this, but being emailed every few days to inquire about a reading order, really isn’t a bad thing. However, I wanted to post this here for those who are wondering, so they don’t have to wait on my response.

First, I should mention that The Officer Series isn’t really connected to my other books so they can be read first or last, it doesn’t really matter.

Now, for the others, I’d strongly suggest to read them in the order I wrote and published them. Why? Because though two of them are prequels, I was able to write in events/activities that are described in the earlier books without any sort of explanation other than “that’s just the way it is/was.”

So if you’re new to me, I’d suggest you read them like this:


Intentions of the Earl

Liberty for Paul

To Win His Wayward Wife



Her Sudden Groom

Her Reluctant Groom

Her Secondhand Groom

Her Imperfect Groom



HIs Contract Bride

His Yankee Bride

His Jilted Bride

His Brother’s Bride


Now, if you are one who MUST read things in chronological order, I’d say to read them like this:



HIs Contract Bride

His Yankee Bride



Intentions of the Earl

Liberty for Paul

To Win His Wayward Wife



Her Sudden Groom

Her Reluctant Groom

Her Secondhand Groom

Her Imperfect Groom



His Jilted Bride

His Brother’s Bride


His Contract Bride and His Yankee Bride are prequels that are about the parents of the siblings/cousins in the other books.


I know just listing it out doesn’t really “help” everyone, so if you’re more of a visual person, I’ve attempted to make a family tree as best I could on here.


Edward & Regina—His Contract Bride

Alex & Caroline
Her Sudden Groom

Elijah & Amelia
His Jilted Bride

Henry & Laura

His Brother’s Bride

Edwina & Sir Wallace

Her Imperfect Groom

John & Carolina—His Yankee Bride

Brooke & Andrew

Intentions of the Earl

Madison & Benjamin

To Win His Wayward Wife

Liberty & Paul

Liberty for Paul

(Naturally born Banks family members are in bold. Also, I’d strongly suggest NOT reading them in this particular order, I write it out this way so you could see birth order.)

Two books that I’ve written that aren’t part of the Officer Series are NOT listed in this family tree–Her Reluctant Groom, which is about Alex’s friend Marcus. His parents, however, are witnessed in action in His Contract Bride. Also, Her Secondhand Groom is also not a “Banks book”. It’s about Marcus’ other friend–Patrick. When I first got the idea for the Groom Series, Marcus was to be the main “connection” between the heroes. They were both friends with him. But when I got Sudden and fell in love with Edward (and of course John threw a curveball at me when he mentioned that the circumstances surrounding his and Carolina’s marriage were not up for discussion), I decided I needed to write about them. This was also the case with the whacky Sir Wallace in Reluctant. I loved him INSTANTLY and knew almost immediately who would be the perfect heroine for this imperfect groom.

Clear as mud?


Her Reluctant Groom, Her Sudden Groom, His Jilted Bride, Officer Series, The Officer and the Bostoner, Updates


Here are a few updates on what’s going on:

1. The Officer and the Bostoner is currently with Proofreader #2.

This morning, it came back from the first proofreader and after I accepted her changes and cough, cough made a few modifications to two parts, I sent it off to Proofreader #2. This is crucial as I alway seem to create two typos when fixing one. At this point, when it comes back the only thing I plan to do is fix the formatting. Then I’ll be done touching it.

It’s been a LONG time since I’ve had a book done and ready to go so early, however, I still plan for a late June/early July release. My goal is to have the next one in the series completed by June 30th and into editing in July for a late August/early September release. So putting them out two months apart, rather than three. I’m on track so far with more than 21,000 words. Yesterday, I wrote 3,700 in the book and today 3,200 (so far). So I’m doing good to reach that goal.

2. I’ve picked up another project…

Two years ago, I realized that I was going to have a significant time gap between my first series and my second, so I thought I should write a standalone to go in between the two. I got about 6,000 words in and abandoned ship. It was moving along at first, then completely stalled out. I didn’t  really have time to worry about it since my #1 priority was to get the Groom Series done (there were still only three of them to be written at the time, but only two were done…). After I added Edwina and Wallace’s book, I briefly opened this other up and thought it would be where I picked up. But I wasn’t feeling it, so I decided to do an American book. This is where the Officer series idea came in. I started on it and as you all know, things got in the way, so somewhere in the 15-18,000 word range, I put it away and started on the Banks Brothers’ Brides. Those are now done and out and I finished The Officer and the Bostoner, so on a whim, I opened this other back up and am writing it at the same time as The Officer and the Southerner.

We’ll see how it goes. My daily goal is 2,500 words for each story each day. In the morning, I write about America and in the afternoon, I’m back in England. The first one is a bit further into the story so the writing comes a little easier as I have things pretty well figured out by now. The other one is a little slower. So far I’ve met or come close to my word count goals. If things stay on schedule, this book could be done the first week of July… I caution you though, I’ve tried to write two books at once before and have ended up tossing one over in favor of another. Be warned.

If I’m able to finish them both about the same time, I’m thinking I’ll release them alternately: American, Regency, American, Regency, etc.

This book was originally set to be a standalone, but I’ve found a way to make it into a series, so I’ll probably do that with it. And if not, I guess I can always get halfway and bury it under my bed again. So…until I know without doubt that it won’t go back into storage on my computer, I’ve shied away from a synopsis or cover (that might also be because I cannot decide on a title, but shhh don’t tell anyone).

3. Her Sudden Groom will be my next audiobook. 

There was one final change that will be done this afternoon, then it will be under inspection and made into an Audiobook soon. Jilted will be after that, then Reluctant.

4. Something scandalous is going on…

For those wishing to get their hands on an early copy of The Officer and The Bostoner (or any future books), you might want to consider joining my Scandalous Sisters Street Team on Facebook where you share books and links or do other missions and win prizes. This has been in the early test stages for a while to get it rolling, but we’re now opening it up to more people. If you’d like to join or wish to know more, send an email to