Book Promo: "Verity’s Lie" by Grace Elliot


Charles Huntley, Lord Ryevale, infamous rogue…and government agent.
In unsettled times, with England at war with France, Ryevale is assigned to covertly protect a politician’s daughter, Miss Verity Verrinder. To keep Verity under his watchful eye, Ryevale plots a campaign of seduction that no woman can resist– except it seems, Miss Verrinder. In order to gain her trust Ryevale enters Verity’s world of charity meetings and bookshops…where the unexpected happens and he falls in love with his charge.
When Lord Ryevale turns his bone-melting charms on her, Verity questions his lordship’s motivation. But with her controlling father abroad, Verity wishes to explore London and reluctantly accepts Ryevale’s companionship. As the compelling attraction between them strengthens, Verity is shattered to learn her instincts are correct after all – and Ryevale is not what he seems. If Lord Ryevale can lie, then so can she…but with disastrous consequences.

But as Verity circled the exhibit, she began to think her father was right after all. Was it not sad to see these dignified animals consigned to collect dust, in the name of entertainment? She turned to Miss Mowlam to make this remark, only to find her companion shifting from foot to foot and clutching her belly.
“Miss Mowlam? Are you unwell?”
Her chaperone frowned. “Excuse me, Miss Verrinder, but I must find a place of easement and quickly.”
“Shall I come with you?”
Such was Miss Mowlam’s haste that she answered with a flap of the hand and was gone. Verity was torn; it was irregular to be without a chaperone, but Miss Mowlam would not welcome a witness to her discomfort. As her ample derriere had already disappeared back the way they came, it seemed to stay put was the best option, so that Miss Mowlam could find her again.
The elephant’s sad eye made her uncomfortable, so Verity investigated the cabinets. But as she turned, a figure caught her eye. Even with his back turned and leaning forward to inspect an exhibit, there was no mistaking the powerful shoulders and graceful elegance of Lord Ryevale. The hall suddenly shrank in size and her heart catapulted against her ribs. She swallowed hard. What if he saw her, what should she do? Without a chaperone she felt exposed. This panic felt most peculiar; a jumble of excitement and caution.
Verity drifted to one of the cabinets to better study him covertly. No one else filled a jacket quite so well as Lord Ryevale. A curl of dark hair contrasted with his white stock, and the detail thrilled her. Even the arrogant tilt of his head befuddled her thoughts—such a handsome profile; the jut of his chin, the curve of his lips and the hollowed cheeks that evoked an insistent beat in her chest.
To her horror, Ryevale glanced towards her, then turned away. Her fingers curled into her palms in an agony of embarrassment. Had he seen her looking? Clumsily, she feigned interest in a stuffed puffin. She held her breath, but when no one approached she let it out again. She frowned. Instinctively, she knew he was ignoring her. After a minute, the seconds measured by her racing pulse, she permitted herself another glance. He had moved onto the next cabinet.
Verity froze. Her skin still sang from where his eyes had grazed it; beyond a doubt he had seen her, which meant he had deliberately cut her. How dare he! This man who seduced a married woman in her father’s library refused to acknowledge a respectable lady! If anyone was to cut the other it would be her.
Without pausing to consider the wisdom of her actions, Verity stalked across the hall and tapped him on the shoulder.
“Lord Ryevale, why did you pretend not to see me?”
With suave nonchalance, Ryevale bowed. “Ah, Miss Verrinder, delightful as ever.”
“Why did you ignore me?”
“I did no such thing.”
“I don’t believe you.”
One corner of his mouth twitched into a teasing smile. “Perhaps I was thinking of your reputation. After all, being seen in the company of a rogue is not the done thing.”
Of course he was right, which only irritated Verity more because it hadn’t occurred to her. Stubbornly, she pressed on. “Miss Mowlam is escorting me…and will return any second.”
“Glad to hear it.” He pursed his mouth, which made Verity unexpectedly hot between the breasts. “Why did she leave you alone?” Was it her imagination or did he seem concerned?
“A call of nature.”
“Ah. And you didn’t think to go with her?”
Verity spluttered. “I am an adult. I can take care of myself.”
“I did not imply differently—merely that you never know which unsavory character you may bump into.” He raised an ironical brow.
“Touché. So what are you doing here?”
Ryevale hesitated. “Have you considered that I might have an assignation with a young lady?”
His eyes were such a rich deep brown—darker than cocoa and deeper than sherry—that made her quiver inside, and at that moment she hated him very much indeed.
“Miss Verrinder, if you recall, you approached me.”
“Humph.” Infuriating man, now he implied she couldn’t keep away.
“But now you have sought me out, and it seems my friend has forsaken me, perhaps we could call a truce and examine the exhibits together.”
“That’s not a good idea.” A voice nagged in her head, saying that Ryevale’s company was not appropriate, especially as he addled her judgment so.
“Come now, I am a family friend, and your father would not be happy if I left you without an escort. I promise to go when your chaperone returns.”
It seemed churlish to refuse. “Very well.”
“Besides, I enjoy your company.”
Remembering how she despised women who were easily flattered, Verity fought off the urge to blush.
“You are allowed to enjoy yourself, Miss Verrinder. I have a theory that you don’t get much opportunity for smiling.”
What else had he guessed? This man was dangerous. “Let’s walk.” Verity said, “People are looking.”
“Are you surprised?” his velvet tone teased. “I have something of a reputation, don’t you know?”

Author Bio and Links 

Grace Elliot Grace Elliot leads a double life as a veterinarian by day and author of historical romance by night. Grace lives near London and is passionate about history, romance and cats! She is housekeeping staff to five cats, two sons, one husband and a bearded dragon (not necessarily listed in order of importance). “Verity’s Lie” is Grace’s fourth novel.

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Historical Tidbit: A Kerfuffle in the King’s Bedroom by Grace Elliot

The Tudor court was rife with politics and power-play – and never more so than in the bedroom. Being a gentleman of the King’s bedchamber, meant intimate contact with the monarch – and so only the most privileged and trusted were admitted to the position. This was a reflection of the closeness to the monarch’s ear and possible influence on government policy.

Keys to the bedchamber became a symbol of power. That most intimate of servants, The Groom of the Stool (the stool referred to is the Tudor equivalent of the toilet) wore as a badge of office ‘a gold key on a blue ribbon’ – and had to authority to demand that ‘no other keys for the bed-chamber be made or allowed.’ Even so the king had little privacy.

See his sheets be clean, then fold down his bed, and warm his night kerchief and see his house of office be clean, help off his clothes, and draw the curtains, make sure the fire and candles, avoid [throw out] the dogs, and shut the doors.

Henry VIII didn’t sleep with his wife unless he wanted intercourse, when he visited her chambers. However, there were always attendants in the room, either sleeping on a small wheeled bed pulled out from beneath the royal bed, or even favoured servants such as Thomas Culpepper ‘ordinarily shared [the King’s] bed’.

Henry VIII had a set of household rules about how to make up his bed. He slept on a pile of eight mattresses and each night he had a servant roll on the bed, to check for hidden enemies with daggers. After this the servant would kiss the places he had touched, sprinkle the sheets with holy water and make the sign of the cross over the bed.

But over time, even Henry became tired of this invasion of privacy. At Hampton Court he built so-called ‘secret lodgings’ with a new policy for bedchamber staff. Of his six Gentlemen of the Bedchamber, only one now had the automatic right to enter – the rest had to be invited. “The King’s express commandment is, that none other of the said six gentlemen, presume to enter of follow his Grace into the said bed chamber, or any other secret place, unless he shall be called.”

Henry I employed a ‘porter of the King’s bed’ – a man with a packhorse whose job it was to convey the king’s bed from castle to castle. A royal progress was a means by which the monarch exerted his authority over his nobles. Any aristocrat seeking to impress maintained a special bedroom for visiting sovereigns. This meant having a state-bed; a colossal constructions with a canopy fifteen foot high, hung with gorgeous and expensive tapestries. One example was the state bed at Woburn Abbey, commissioned appropriately enough by the Duke of Bedford – at a cost equivalent to today of half a million pounds.

Sumptuous as a state bed sounds, sometimes there is no substitute for comfort rather than show. Elizabeth I spent her last nights of life on a pile of cushions on the floor, rather than in her 11 foot ostrich-feather bed – proving size isn’t everything.

Grace Elliot
Grace Elliot leads a double life as a veterinarian by day and an author of historical romance by night. Grace is an avid reader and believes intelligent people need to read romance – as an antidote to the modern world. She works in a companion animal practice near London and is housekeeping staff to five demanding felines, two sons and a bearded dragon.

Learn more about Grace at her blog: Fall in Love with History