Thanks for visiting again, Jill. The blog is yours. Take it away.
Thank you, Margery, for inviting me to your blog.
I write historical romance. Most of my stories are set in the medieval time period, but today Iâ€™m going to talk about my one and only sweet American historical, Sass Meets Class, in which an English aristocrat, Alexander, finds himself unexpectedly drawn to Susan, an unsophisticated American girl, in 1880s Arizona Territory. (One reviewer called it â€œMr. Darcy in the Wild West.) The story was partly inspired by a visit my husband and I made to southern Arizona, to a very real town called Portal, and a neighboring, defunct mining town called Paradise. In the book, I decided to change the names because my timeline didnâ€™t quite fit the facts of the towns.
Alexander and Susan develop an unlikely friendship â€” to his snooty motherâ€™s horror â€” as he initiates her in the world of literature and she introduces him to working-class America. We meet Susanâ€™s inquisitive father and pretty sister, as well as an old coot who takes up residence on the front porch of their general store. Despite the growing affection, Alexander is compelled to stick to his plan to return to England. Susan is broken-hearted and angry, and is not afraid to tell him so in this excerpt.
BEGINNING OF EXCERPT
“Hang your chivalry!” Susan shouted in his face. “Hang it until it turns purple and its eyes bulge out. Chivalry and all your other rules are just an excuse, an excuse to treat women like they can’t think for themselves, like they can’t sort out their own feelings and see the truth. I see the truth.” Susan scrambled to her feet to tower over him. “You want me. You said it in your oh-so-uppity way and you meant it. You meant it from here.” She poked her chest. “You’ve never said you want Furnivall with a spark in your eyes like when you look at me. I’ll bet you never sat around the dinner table there and laughed as hard as you did when Pa told us about meeting up with that skunk. How can you choose a life centered on what you should do instead of what makes you come alive?”
He leaped to his feet too. “That you make me feel vital and invincible is irrelevant. I cannot have you.”
She stepped forward to stand toe-to-toe with him. “I am telling you that you can. But you aren’t choosing me. The only salve I’ll have on my soul is that when you are married to a woman as cold and flat-faced as your marble floors then you’ll know it is because you didn’t believe enough in either of us to choose me.” A fierce wind blew down the valley. Her hair streamed around her face, battering them both with whipping strands.
He grabbed it harshly, collecting the locks and wrapping the rope around his hand until her head tilted back on her
neck. “Curse this hair.” His eyes fixed on her mouth. “Curse it.” He covered her lips with his own, the wet heat clinging and taunting until she clutched his shirt to keep standing. He slid his free hand to the small of her back, pulling her tight against him. She couldn’t breathe, she didn’t want to breathe, she had to breathe as her heart threatened to burst from her chest. This was a life-changing event! Here and now, he’d finally accepted the two of them as they should be. Together.
When he pulled away, his eyes seared into hers. But then, slowly, in a nightmare from which she could not awaken, they frosted to ice blue, flat, frozen and harder than she’d ever seen them, harder than any stone floor could ever be. “Goodbye, Susan,” he said as he turned resolutely away, leaving her alone at the cypress tree.
END OF EXCERPT
As you can see, conversation gets pricklier than a cactus and desert temperatures are bound to rise in Sass Meets Class. Never fear. Time and distance and secrets cannot end a friendship that is meant to be love.
You can find Sass Meets Class at the following links:
AMAZON (Kindle and print) http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0089NLLBC
CREATESPACE (print) https://tsw.createspace.com/title/3817394
The most interesting fact about Jill Hughey is that she can sing really, really high. As in opera-singer high. But she only does that when she is not writing, working part time as a business administrator, running her two teenaged sons around, and enjoying the support of her wonderful husband. Her ideal afternoon is spent sitting on her front porch with an iced coffee as she moves the characters in her head into her laptop.