For me there’s something magical about the 19th Century. Blame it on Fitzwilliam Darcy, but I’ve been obsessed with the time period since I was 12 years old and first read Pride and Prejudice. I think a lot of us feel that way, or at least I hear from a lot of people who say they do. Since that time, I’ve immersed myself in all things Regency. So when I decided to embark on a series set in my favorite time period, I wanted to tweak it a bit and make it truly magical.
The world I created for the Westfield Brothers contains all the glamour and elegance of Regency, England – elaborate balls, beautiful gowns, and stately manors. However I added a paranormal twist to my version. A bit of magic, if you will. Heroes who grow fur, sprout tails, and howl at the full moon and heroines (some of them anyway) who cast spells, mix potions, and keep their inner witch a secret from society. After all, it wasn’t that long ago – if one lived in the Regency Era – where witches were hunted and killed. Keeping a secret of this nature is a necessity of survival.
And that brings me to the most important element in my world – Secrecy. From the outside, my Regency landscape looks the same as it does many other novels, and even to secondary characters who are none the wiser about what happens in the estate next door or the adjacent opera box. My werewolves know exactly what they are, but have to keep it a secret from society or risk their own peril. So they do what is expected of them. They attend balls, the theatre, horse races, and hunting parties except when the moon is full, to keep their most inner selves safe from the rest of society. They wear Hessian boots, waistcoats, cravats, and wolfish smiles; but only their true love will be entrusted to keep their secret safe.
In my debut trilogy, I introduce you to my world and to the Brothers Westfield – Simon, the Duke of Blackmoor, in A Certain Wolfish Charm; Lord Benjamin in Tall, Dark and Wolfish; and Lord William in The Wolf Next Door. The three of them are vastly different from each other in personality (I think birth order is mainly to blame for that); though all have their own niche in Regency society. Two things band these brothers together – familial bonds and their shared secret that cannot be trusted to just anyone. To give you taste, here’s an excerpt for Tall, Dark and Wolfish where we learn that Benjamin has a bit of problem that no other werewolf he knows of has ever had. Under the guise of a typical social club for the gentlemen high society, these werewolves are able to meet and keep track of the goings-on in their world:
Rain poured over the brim of Lord Benjamin Westfield’s beaver hat. He stepped out of the darkness and crossed the threshold of Canis House, the exclusive social club to which he belonged. He handed his drenched greatcoat and ruined hat to the awaiting footman and walked into the warm light of the drawing room.
Ben glanced around at the other members, searching the faces for his older brothers. They weren’t there. Thank God! He didn’t think he could put on a cheerful face tonight, and they would most certainly see through his dark mood.
“Is the Duke of Blackmoor here this evening?” he asked the footman just to be certain.
The man shook his head. “I have not seen His Grace. However, Lord William was here, my lord.”
Ben looked around the room once more. He didn’t see Will. If he was quick, he could leave before his brother ever knew he was here. “And Major Forster?”
The footman gestured toward the back of the drawing room. “At his usual table, my lord.”
Ben took the first relieved breath he’d had in days, hopeful the major could help him. He thanked the footman and then crossed the room to where his father’s oldest friend sat in a dark corner, sipping whisky. “Am I interrupting?”
Major Desmond Forster’s dark eyes twinkled as he looked up from his drink. “Ah, Benjamin. It’s been an age. Please, please.” He gestured toward an empty chair at his table. “To what do I owe this honor?”
Ben swallowed. It wasn’t something he could just blurt out. In fact, now that he was here, he didn’t know what to say to Forster at all. “I, uh, could use your counsel, sir.”
“My counsel?” The old man leaned back in his seat and grinned. “I am flattered. I thought you generally sought out Blackmoor.”
Usually he did. But this wasn’t something he could discuss with his brother, neither of them. In fact, keeping Simon and Will from learning his secret was of the utmost importance. Ben took a deep breath and leaned in close over the table. “I’m in trouble, Major.”
The man’s smile vanished instantly. “What sort of trouble, Benjamin?”
He held tightly to the table and willed the words out of his mouth. “I didn’t change.”
“You didn’t change?” the officer echoed.
“With the full moon last night,” he explained. “I. Didn’t. Change.”
For the first time in his life as a Lycan man, Benjamin Westfield hadn’t sprouted a tail, long snout, or paws. He’d sought the moon the same way he always did, this time in a clearing in the woods, for his transformation. But last night, nothing happened. A moonbeam touched him, but the change that was so much a part of him didn’t come and he’d stood there for an eternity waiting and wondering why he was broken.
Major Forster’s face drained of its color and his mouth fell open. “You didn’t change?” he repeated, this
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