She’s the woman of his dreams. If only she didn’t despise him…
Everything has always come easily to Caleb James. Everything, that is, but Mary Walker. Her stunning beauty and independent nature enticed him from the start—and yet every romantic overture he made went so horribly awry that she can now barely tolerate him. But that’s all about to change. He has the perfect plan to redeem himself. When she arrives at his family estate, he’ll finally be able to win her heart. Too bad he’s not the only one there with the very same idea…
The last thing Mary wants is time alone with the insufferable Caleb. But since he’s one of her twin’s best friends, declining his invitation is out of the question. She’ll just have to do her best to ignore the charismatic, overly confident rogue. Only…he’s not acting like a rogue this time. Surely the little glimpses she catches of his softer, kinder side are an act…right?
Can Caleb and Mary overcome years’ worth of misunderstandings and missteps—not to mention a persistent rival for Mary’s affections—to find their very own happily ever after? Or, when all is said and done, will The Charming Rogue be left alone once again?
Targeted Age Group:: 20-55
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I was writing books based on Pride and Prejudice and had joined several Facebook groups to learn more about writing. There I read about the journey of a new author who also focused on Regency Era romances with a G-rating. She inspired me to try building my own world with my own characters. She suggested a series, and I really wanted the series to be tied together with one character who was absolutely perfect until he came into contact with the girl he’d been fawning over for years. Upon seeing her, he’d lose all his cool and become a fumbling idiot. I wanted his romance to be one where he kept trying to impress her and things kept going wrong. I thought it would be funny. Well, the first two books introduced this character, but I was super excited to release this book because it finally makes him the main lead.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
My favorite type of male character is the Byronic hero. But I’ve written so many books with this strong, silent, mysterious type. I wanted a different male lead. So I considered what characters I’ve read in other books I really liked. I thought of Gilbert Blyth from Anne of Green Gables. He’s a nice guy with a prankster streak who manages to anger Anne and has to pay for it after. I think that is where the idea for the title character came from.
Sitting at her pianoforte, Mary lifted her fingers from the ivory keys. The final notes of music lingered in the air as she released a breath and allowed herself to relax. A sense of accomplishment washed over her like a wave.
A soft clapping echoed across the room. It was their summer houseguest, Mr. Caleb James. Her heart fell, and with it, her smile evaporated. Soon, however, her parents and sibling joined in the applause. With effort, she forced herself to place the smile back on her face, stood from the bench, gave a small curtsy, and hurried to her seat.
“That was spectacular, Miss Walker. I did not know the piano could sound so lovely.”
Mary looked to their guest. What was he up to? She glanced at her parents. As expected, they were beaming at the man as if he was the most eloquent and polite person they had ever met. She quietly snorted before putting on her best smile and saying, “You are too kind.”
“James,” Anthony called from his seat. “Is it true that you play as well?”
The smile dropped from his face as Caleb turned to Anthony.
Is it possible? Is he actually turning red?
“What could make you think that?” he asked.
Anthony paused, lifting his chin as he searched his memory. “I think it was Ryland who mentioned it.”
Caleb’s eyebrows drew together, and his lips thinned into a line.
“I did not believe him at first,” Anthony continued, oblivious to his friend’s change in mood, “but he was insistent. He mentioned you provided the musical accompaniment for the freshman performance.”
Caleb’s hands balled into fists, and his eyes narrowed.
“How wonderful!” Mrs. Walker said. “Imagine, a young gentleman finding the time to attend music lessons.”
Caleb shook his head and turned to his hostess. “I assure you, Mrs. Walker, I play very poorly. It has been many years since I have taken any lessons.”
Anthony clapped him on the back. “Then you absolutely need to perform. I simply must see Caleb James struggle through something.”
Caleb looked across the room, his eyes met Mary’s. “No, I cannot. After the lovely performance we just enjoyed, my feeble attempts would ruin the evening.”
“Leave the boy be,” Mr. Walker chimed in.
Mary’s eyes sparkled. Three weeks she had been forced to endure this man. Twenty-one days she had watched and listened to his feats and accomplishments. She wanted to see him fail. “But, Papa, it is so seldom I have an opportunity to listen to others entertain. I have some easier pieces. Perhaps, Mr. James might want to look at those before coming to a decision about performing.”
“Now Mary,” her mother chided, “your father has…”
“Actually,” Caleb said softly. “I am among friends. If you will not begrudge me the assault on your ears, I would be honored to play for you.”
Mary smiled and hopped up. She rushed to the basket which held her sheet music, but before she had reached it, Mr. James had already taken his seat at the piano. “Do you not need music, Mr. James?” she asked.
“I am afraid it has been so long; I would be unable to remember how to read the notes,” he said with a smile. “I will attempt to play something by ear.” He turned toward the keys and stretched his fingers.
As his hands hovered over the keyboard, Mary and Anthony exchanged an amused look. But their smirks were quickly washed away when the room filled with breathtaking music. Mary’s face fell. The song continued, and the music grew more powerful. A wrong note or two were lost in the swell of emotion that filled the room. Mrs. Walker brought a handkerchief to the corner of her eye. Mary scowled.
She had been duped. She had worked on her piece, daily, for two-months. She had performed it without error. She had been proud of herself. Yet, Mr. James could not accept sharing even a fraction of time with another. Instead, he required the attention be firmly and squarely focused on him. He had hoped to be invited to play. She was sure of it. He must have known showing his interest in pianos would trigger her brother’s memory resulting in such an invitation. He feigned inexperience so his achievement would appear all the more impressive. And she had bought the entire act.
She practically demanded he once again demonstrate his superiority. Her anger mounted as the rhythm of the piece again shifted. His technique was flawless; his passion unbridled. The music took on a life of its own. She wanted to cry but not because of the aching sadness oozing from the piano. Quietly she tiptoed to her mother.
“Mama,” she whispered in her mother’s ear. “I suddenly have a splitting headache. Might I be excused?”
At first, her mother turned to her with surprise. Mary could practically read her thoughts. How could anyone pass by on the opportunity to watch such a perfect performance? But she had worn her best look of fatigue and pain, and no sooner had her mother looked at her, then her expression turned to concern. It only took a nod before Mary swept noiselessly from the room. She hurried to her bedchamber. Once inside, she locked the door, threw herself on her bed, and screamed into her pillow. Tears of frustration rolled down her cheeks. It was settled. She hated Caleb Ethan Edgar James.
Links to Purchase eBooks – Click links for book samples and reviews
Buy The Charming Rogue On Amazon
Have you read this book? Tell us what you thought! All information was provided by the author and not edited by us. This is so you get to know the author better.