Thank you for inviting me, Anna. Travel and art history are two of my passions. They have shaped my thoughts and ideas, and often find their way into my books. If I were living in eighteenth century England, there would have been no better way to incorporate those passions than to partake in the Grand Tour.
Beginning in the 17th century, young Englishmen (and sometimes women) of wealth would travel with their tutors to experience the splendor and culture of Europe. During their 2-4 year sojourn, they would often acquire paintings and sculptures that would be shipped back to England. These treasures were then displayed in their homes, a sign of wealth and prestige that was meant to impress.
I always enjoy imagining what treasures my characters might have on display in their English mansions. In Face to Face, the first book in the In His Arms series, the heroine ventures off to admire a painting of the waterfalls at Tivoli, a treasure that Lord Heston brought back from his Grand Tour.
From my own adventures, I have brought back books, art from local artisans, and yes, even touristy souvenirs. These modest treasures are a reminder of my journeys and adventures along the way.
Multi-published historical romance author Alanna Lucas grew up in Southern California, but always dreamed of distant lands and bygone eras. From an early age, she took an interest in history and travel, and is thrilled to incorporate those diversions into her writing. Alanna writes Regency and Western historical romance.
When she is not daydreaming of her next travel destination Alanna can be found researching, spending time with family, or going for long walks. She makes her home in California with her husband, children, one sweet dog, and hundreds of books. Just for the record, you can never have too many shoes, handbags, or books. And travel is a must. Find Alanna online at www.alannalucas.com
Connect with Alanna Facebook/Twitter @alannalucas27
One night. That’s all Miss Penelope Ashurst wants away from the strict decorum of Regency society. Donning a mask and attending a forbidden masquerade, she meets the man of her dreams. Then, before she discovers his identity, she is kidnapped.
From their first encounter, his goddess in a golden mask stirs a deep and different longing within Ranulph, the Earl of Monfort. When she disappears, he vows he will find her no matter the cost.
Soon it’s a race against time, and the kidnappers are just the start. Penelope and Ranulph’s very lives are in jeopardy. Before the end, everything will be stripped away, and Penelope and Ranulph will be more than just face-to-face. But this is true love, and nothing will stop it.
Penelope’s body swayed from side to side. She was shivering from the cold, her head was throbbing, and her stomach was churning from all the motion.
Penelope struggled against the binding on her wrists. “Why…” her words sounded strained and hoarse even to her own ears. “Why am I tied up?” she whispered into the dark carriage. The only response came from the wheels pounding the ground at a rapid pace.
Even though she could not see outside, Penelope knew the carriage was moving at a fast pace. The carriage began to lean to one side as the coachman made a turn. There was nothing she could do but roll with the movement off the seat and onto the floor. She landed hard against her bound wrists. Pain shot through her arms, but she resisted the urge to cry. Testing the rope, she tried to loosen the binds, but they would not give. She needed to find a more comfortable position and then perhaps figure out where she was. And why she was alone, bound and in a carriage headed Heaven knew where.
Positioning one shoulder against the seat, attempting to keep her feet firmly planted, she inched her way up as the carriage continued swaying from side to side in the process. Once settled in only a slightly more comfortable position, Penelope began to recount the events of the evening and how she ended up here—wherever here was. The last thing she remembered was walking down the hall at Heston House and then stopping to admire a painting of Tivoli.
As she tried to reason it out, her head started spinning. Black spots exploded before her. Penelope clamped her eyes shut, but the events of the evening spun out of control: searching for Ranulph, perfumed bodies, her father’s warnings, a firm hand, an odd scent… Her eyes flew open. She had been kidnapped.