Guest: Deb Marlowe

Boys to Men

I grew up with sisters and surrounded by aunts and mostly female cousins. I have lots of experience with female-centered groups and politics. But when my husband and I had children and ended up with only boys, I was a little concerned about my lack of boy-raising experience.

When mine were still small, a friend told me: “Boys are born believing that they are the center of the universe. It’s our job to beat it out of them.” I was shocked. I’m not a cynic by nature to begin with, but surely my boys wouldn’t have such an attitude. Surely I wouldn’t ever have to beat anything out of them! Well, in the way of such things, we were both right. But without going into boring detail, I do have to say that it is a great joy and relief to see moments when your kids show themselves to be thoughtful and caring young people, with an eye to the importance of the people and the world around them. What could make a mother more proud?

I admit to having similarly proud feelings about Lord Stephen Manning, the hero of my new Regency romance, How to Marry a Rake. We first met Stephen in The Diamonds of Welbourne Manor, the anthology which first introduced us to the scandalous Fitzmanning Miscellany. In those three stories we see Stephen grow from a high-spirited prankster to a rakish young man about Town. But in HTMAR, a few years have passed. Stephen has been knocked about a bit and introduced to some ugly truths. He’s definitely learned that he is not the center of the universe. He’s inherited his mother’s run-down estate and he’s spent the last years building a racetrack on it. But now he’s in the racing town of Newmarket, determined to reverse the fortunes of his destitute tenants by bringing the track to the attention of the racing world

Stephen doesn’t know that his old friend Mae Halford is in Newmarket too, having spent the last years abroad, mending her heart and broadening her horizons after his rejection devastated her. Her father has brought her back to England, and he’s determined to find a stud for both his prized brood mare and his daughter. Mae’s ready to launch a Marriage Campaign in an effort to have a say in what sort of husband she ends up with. The last man on earth she wishes to see is Stephen—which makes it a certainty that he is the first one she bumps into!

But when Stephen’s plans begin to unravel, he’s willing to do anything to put them back on track, even make a bargain with the determined girl who used to embarrass him with her adolescent crush. Together they set out to find both a missing Thoroughbred and a husband for Mae—but they just might find that the only race worth running is the one for true love.

How about you guys? Do you have a kid or a character who has made you proud? Do you know someone who still believes that they are the center of the universe? Tell us your proud moments or funny stories and one randomly selected commenter will win a copy of How to Marry a Rake!

The contest is open to everyone who shares their funny story or proud moment AND leaves their email address in their comment.  The winner will be chosen on Sunday, May 29th.

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Deb Marlowe grew up in Pennsylvania with her nose in a book. Luckily, she’d read enough romances to recognize the true modern hero she met at a college Halloween party—even though he wore a tuxedo t-shirt instead of breeches and tall boots. They married, settled in North Carolina and produced two handsome, intelligent and genuinely amusing boys. Though she spends much of her time with her nose in her laptop, for the sake of her family she does occasionally abandon her inner world for the domestic adventure of laundry, dinner and carpool. Despite her sacrifice, not one of the men in her family is yet willing to don breeches or tall boots. She’s working on it.

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