Anything for You, my Lady now has a cover!
I decided to try my hand at making my own cover and was swiftly overwhelmed by the chasm between professional cover designers and myself, but I am still pleased, overall, with the results. I put the design up in a Facebook group, thinking I would get 3 or 4 ideas of how to improve it, and instead I got around 30 comments and MANY things that ought to be fixed! I fixed some of the most pressing, and for now, with my deadline rapidly encroaching and with more edits left to make, I am happy with it, and grateful that it will be self-published. That way, when I manage to fix the cover and get it *precisely* the way I want it, I will be able to upload a new cover.
Without further ado, here is the cover!
And without further ado, here's a little teaser to introduce the antagonist! As one (male) beta reader put it, "Harbottle is wonderfully creepy. His lines are exceptionally well-written. Do guys like him actually exist?"
“Mr. Thomas Harbottle.”
“Yes, of course. Mr. Harbottle. I do hope you are enjoying the party this evening.”
“Indeed I am,” he said. His cheeks were flushed and his forehead shimmered in the overly warm, humid room. “Delightful way to spend an evening.”
Virginia gave a tight smile. It was a terrible way to spend an evening, in her opinion. But she remained as pleasant as she could. “Thank you very much for coming,” she said. “I hope that you enjoy yourself.” She curtsied again and began to walk away, only to hear him mutter something under his breath.
“Too high in the instep to do the pretty for a guest.”
Her cheeks flushed and she turned back toward him, stung by his words. “Did you need something, sir? Can I help you find some suitable entertainment?”
He lifted his chin. “I had hoped that you might provide me with a bit of entertainment, as you are easily the prettiest young lady in the room.”
She blinked a couple of times at his bald request. “I am no court jester, sir.”
He laughed aloud. “Go on,” he said. “Don’t you ever like to get yourself into a bit of trouble now and then?”
She almost smiled at how accurate his assessment was, though clearly not for the reasons he seemed to think. “Trouble? No,” she said. “But I do precisely as I please.” Her heart pounded at this little falsehood, but her bold rendezvous with Mr. Clifton that morning had granted her more courage than she usually felt.
“Oh, the mouse has grown some claws, has she?” the dandy said with a smirk.
She took an involuntary step backward and made contact with someone’s shoulder in the crowded room. “I do beg your pardon!” she told the lady, before stepping to the side to maintain her distance from the impertinent Mr. Harbottle.
“Mr. Harbottle, I am not certain what you are attempting to goad me into doing, but it will not work, whatever it is,” she said.
Far from seeming put out, the fire in his eyes only seemed to glow brighter. “Such spirit,” he said. “I do like a young lady who puts up a bit of resistance. Makes the reward at the end of the chase that much more delightful.”
Virginia could not hide her grimace. “I beg your pardon, sir. I am afraid I must be elsewhere.”
She turned and hurried away, looking about for her mother. He would never dare provoke her in such a manner with her mother in hearing distance.
“Oh, there you are, Virginia,” her mother said. “I see you were talking with young Mr. Harbottle over there. I am very pleased! I have just been speaking with his mother, Mrs. Harbottle.”
An older blonde woman wearing bright pink silk bobbed a polite greeting to Virginia and Virginia responded with a curtsy and a tight-lipped smile.
“We were just speaking of arranging a visit together,” Mrs. Harbottle said. “Perhaps for a walk near the water, if you would like? I am sure my son would love to provide an escort for you.”
Virginia’s smile stiffened further. “How very . . . lovely,” she said.
Excited for this book to be released NEXT WEEK, and again--it will be available to read for free! I hope you enjoy reading it!