It’s a great pleasure to have Justine at my blog today. We could write a book on our shared tastes, and one of the greatest is our mutual love of British history and the stately castles, houses and homes that have harboured so much power-play, intrigue and passion over the centuries. Justine’s latest novel, Master of the House, is set in just such a place. Here she is to talk about it. Welcome, Justine!
Master of the House – but which house?
Hello, and let me say how lovely it is to be here with Demelza in her gracious online abode. The hospitality is first class, as befits such a stately home.
And speaking of stately homes… I’ll admit, pretty much everything I wrote last year had a stately home setting. I’m not at all sure why. Was it the unconscious influence of Downton Abbey? I don’t think so, since I’ve always been a National Trust-bothering old fogey before my time. Perhaps it’s just in my decidedly non-blue blood.
In the case of Master of the House, my latest release, the house in question is Willingham Hall, a handsome pile standing in the lush Vale of Tylney and belonging for generations to the Lethbridge family.
The latest Lord of this manor, Joss Lethbridge, has a proposition for Lucy – the daughter of his cleaner.
I’ve always loved class-crossing romances and now I’ve written one. But there’s a little bit of a difference with mine – the privileged Lord is facing financial ruin, and his cleaner’s daughter holds all the cards. Will she help him remain master of his house?
Here’s an excerpt:
Don’t you remember how good we were together? The words rattled in my head all the way through the editorial meeting, winding round and round the strands of council meetings and hosepipe bans and air displays and smothering them until I had no idea what had been said at all.
Of course I remembered. How could I forget?
We had spent the whole summer in bed, or if we weren’t in bed we were out in the grounds, on the lake or in a summerhouse, just for a change of scene.
He was inventive, passionate and outrageously horny all the time.
Luckily enough, I was the same.
What happened to me?
I thought of Károly’s parting words for me.
‘It doesn’t feel like losing you. I never felt I had you. You never gave yourself to me.’
He was right, I didn’t. I couldn’t. Not after Joss. After Joss, I had played everything safe, and safety meant keeping my heart to myself. So, when Károly had cheated on me, it hadn’t really touched me, except as a blow to my pride and confirmation that I was quite right not to bother with love.
Now that the initial shock of our meeting was wearing off, I thought more about Joss and how things were with him. The alcohol thing was sobering – so to speak – as was his general air of dejection and defeat. If he wasn’t careful, he might find that it was the tip of a steep decline. Within a few years, the beautiful young man with the world at his feet I had known and loved might be a puffy-faced and red-eyed waster.
I shouldn’t care, but I did.
I spent half a minute doodling on my notepad before I realised that the meeting was over.
‘Oh,’ I said, standing up to find only me and the editor still in the stuffy little room. ‘Right. Better get on then.’
‘Yes,’ she said, giving me a crooked look. ‘Sorry, Lucy, but…do you know what you’re covering today? You seem a bit…distant.’
‘It’s the heat,’ I told her. ‘Goes to my head sometimes. Would you mind…?’
‘Open day at the fire station,’ she said, a tad wearily. ‘Look, I know it’s not international politics here, but…’
‘It’s not that, I promise. I’m happy here. I love working for the Voice.’
‘Good. OK. Well, say hi to those hunky firefighters for me, won’t you? Everyone wanted this job. Don’t say I never do anything for you.’
She winked and I smiled back.
If only the hunky firefighters had the power to lure my mind away from Joss and his absurd proposition.
I watched them go down their poles and wield their hoses with dull, mechanical attention, whilst in the forefront of my mind phrases like collared submissive and we were good together tormented me like an out-of-control earworm.
I filed my copy then I went home and Googled ‘dominance and submission’ until the sun went down and my eyelids needed propping up.
What about reading on? Well, you can! The book is available right here and now: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Master-House-Justine-Elyot-ebook/dp/B00I2GZRV6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1401880954&sr=8-1&keywords=justine+elyot+master+of+the+house
Thank you for reading!