Today on The Maze I am pleased to introduce the hero of Lady Elinor's Escape, Stephen Chaplin, as interviewed by author Linda McLaughlin!
Lady Elinor's Escape
by Linda McLaughlin
Sweet Regency Romance
Lady Elinor Ashworth always longed for adventure, but when she runs away from her abusive aunt, she finds more than she bargained for. Elinor fears her aunt who is irrational and dangerous, threatening Elinor and anyone she associates with. When she encounters an inquisitive gentleman, she accepts his help, but fearing for his safety, hides her identity by pretending to be a seamstress. She resists his every attempt to draw her out, all the while fighting her attraction to him
There are too many women in barrister Stephen Chaplin's life, but he has never been able to turn his back on a damsel in distress. The younger son of a baronet is a rescuer of troubled females, an unusual vocation fueled by guilt over his failure to save the woman he loved from her brutal husband. He cannot help falling in love with his secretive seamstress, but to his dismay, the truth of her background reveals Stephen as the ineligible party.
Linda McLaughlin recently visited barrister Stephen Chaplin, Esquire at his offices in London’s Lincoln’s Inn to interview him.
LM: Mr. Chaplin, thank you so much for agreeing to meet with me. Can you tell me a bit about yourself? For instance, are you originally from the London area?
SC: No, my family is from Lincolnshire. I grew up on a small estate with my elder brother and my younger sister, Olivia.
LM: Where did you attend university?
SC: Cambridge, of course. The men of my family have done so for several generations. Then I came to Lincoln’s Inn to read for the law.
LM: Did you always want to be a barrister?
SC: Not as a child, of course. Boys always have dreams of being brave warriors or finding one’s fortune at sea. But Father said I wasn’t cut out for the military--not obedient enough--though he thought I would do well in Parliament, since I seemed to enjoy arguing.
LM: You do think for yourself. What do you like most about the legal profession?
SC: I find it most gratifying when the law and justice align, which doesn’t always occur. Many of our laws are unnecessarily harsh, and I’d like to do something about that one day. In the meantime, I do what I can to help those in need of protection.
LM: What are your reading tastes?
SC: The Times, of course; all the London newspapers, for that matter. I rarely have time to read for pleasure, unlike my sister, Olivia, who devours every Gothic novel she can get her hands on, no matter how ridiculous. She even has hopes of publishing her own romantic scribblings one day. I’ve told her in no uncertain terms that she may not use my life experiences as fodder for her novel, or she will be very sorry!
LM: Hmm. What is the oddest thing that’s ever happened to you?
SC, with a smile: That would have to be the day I met the mysterious Mrs. Brown, a.k.a. Lady Elinor Ashworth, now Mrs. Chaplin. I was in the West Country, having a peaceful breakfast when a madwoman in widow’s weeks came bursting through the door, demanding immediate passage to London. She appeared to be in need, so naturally I volunteered to assist, not knowing she would disrupt my life, destroy my peace of mind and make me fall madly in love with her.
If you want to know exactly how Lady Elinor turned Mr. Chaplin’s life upside down, the answers are in Lady Elinor’s Escape.
The Horse and Cart Inn bustled with business when Stephen Chaplin entered the common room. The scent of frying bacon soon had his stomach growling. A fire burned brightly in the smoke-blackened fireplace, dispelling the morning chill.
He had no sooner taken a seat at a small table than a young blonde woman with a rounded belly and a beaming smile on her freckled face approached him. “Good morning, sir, did ye sleep well?”
“That I did, Nancy. Are you glad to be home?”
“Yes, sir.” Her pale blue eyes stared at him earnestly. “I can’t be thanking ye enough fer what ye done for me. I don’t know how I’d have managed, with a babe on the way and all.”
“Yes, well, the next time a charming rogue comes along, perhaps you’ll think twice before going off with him.”
“Oh, I’ve learned me lesson.” A blush suffused her face. “Now, will ye be havin’ tea or coffee with yer breakfast?”
“Coffee, please, and toast.”
Nancy fisted her hands on her hips. “Now that isn’t enough breakfast for the long trip to London. I’ll bring ye some of our fine Wiltshire bacon, too.”
Stephen laughed. Ever since he’d arrived, one Wainwright or another had been pressing food and drink on him. “Very well, Nancy. Toast and bacon.”
She turned and walked away, weaving between the crowded tables. She seemed like a different girl than the half-starved waif his housekeeper had taken in two months ago. He frowned, remembering her tale of being lured to London by a smooth-talking stranger only to be abandoned as soon as she had conceived. What kind of cad deserted a woman in a delicate condition? The only thing worse was a man who used his fists on a female, like that blackguard Northam.
Stephen closed his mind to that line of thought. Deborah had been gone for six years now, and if not forgotten, at least the pain of her death had faded. At her funeral Stephen had vowed never again to walk away from a woman in need, which was how he found himself at an inn in Wiltshire during the Season.
When Nancy returned with his breakfast, he applied himself to the large slab of bacon and toast dripping with butter, and then washed it all down with strong black coffee.
Rescuing damsels in distress was hungry work.
Linda McLaughlin grew up with a love of books and history, so it's only natural she prefers writing historical romance. She loves transporting her readers into the past where her characters learn that, in the journey of life, love is the sweetest reward. Linda also writes steamy to erotic romance under the name Lyndi Lamont, and is one half of the writing team of Lyn O'Farrell.
You can find her online at http://lindalyndi.com
Twitter: @Lyndi Lamont https://twitter.com/LyndiLamont
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