Monday, May 11, 2015

Interview with Fara Bellamont, Marie Lavender's Heroine in UPON YOUR RETURN, Book One of the Heiresses in Love Series

Character interviews are becoming more popular all the time. Readers want to get to know their authors AND the people they create, even more in depth than in their books. We get to know characters well enough from reading about them in our favorite books and they become real to us, but do we know what their childhood home looked like, what books they like to read, or what kind of person they wish they could be? Marie's heroine, Fara Bellamont, speaks up here and answers some soul-searching questions. Enjoy meeting Fara!

Fara, describe yourself in one word.
What is your family like?
I don’t have much of a family left now. I live with my uncle in a country estate in La Rochelle, France. He is a strict guardian, a businessman and a gentleman. I have no one else but him.
What did your childhood home look like?
It was a light pink brick mansion on the outskirts of Marseilles. It had white trim, two turrets on both ends and a blue hipped roof. The house was situated not too far away from a private lake, and I loved playing on the grounds around it. Later, when my uncle took over as my guardian, I moved to his home.
What kind of books do you love to read? Why?
I often find myself browsing my uncle’s library, and I am drawn to fantastic tales such as those about King Arthur or some of the romances I discovered. I am fascinated by the books that involve great adventures.
Who is your role model?
My role model is my mother. She was the kindest, most beautiful woman I ever met. She had a certain grace about her and yet, there was a strength one couldn’t overlook. Her love has carried me this far, I think.
Do you have any hobbies? What do you enjoy doing?
I read, of course, when I have a moment. I also play the pianoforte and I knit.
What kind of person do you wish you could be? What is stopping you?
Oh, I want to be fearless, a girl who will risk everything for true love. The demands of society must be met, however.
What is your favorite food?
Our cook makes an excellent chocolate soufflé, which I enjoy.
If a fairy grants you one wish and one wish only, what would it be? Why?
Sometimes I wish to throw off the limits of propriety, to be impulsive and find a new life. So, if I had a choice, I would wish that these chains wouldn’t bind me. As it is, I will be forced to marry a stranger.
Tell me something that makes you sad.
I become sad when I think of my parents, and how they were lost at sea.  I miss both of them terribly.
What is the most adventurous thing you’ve ever done?
(Ducks her head.) Oh, I may have gone without an escort a time or two.
What is your greatest dream?
My greatest dream is to have a great adventure, but to also find love, to have a family somehow. My dream is to be happy.

About Upon Your Return, book one of the Heiresses in Love Series:

Fara Bellamont has been back in society for a year after leaving Cluny Abbey, where her uncle sent her long ago. When he chooses a suitor for her for marriage, she fears that she will be forced to marry a stranger and live a miserable life.

But Fara finds herself thrust into an adventure of a lifetime when unforeseen circumstances cause her to place her trust in a strange man for protection. His intervention not only saves her, but puts her in an even more compromising position.

Grant Hill, a trading captain, is enchanted by the young heiress not only because of her beauty, but because she is hardly conventional. Underneath her ladylike exterior lies a tigress. Grant cannot help but offer his protection as she is in need and he is far from immune from her charms.

Fara just never bargained on the passion that she feels for Grant Hill. As events unfold, she must decide whether her desires and the dictates of her heart should trump the rules of society…

An Excerpt from UPON YOUR RETURN

           A shiver slowly crept up her spine. It wasn't the implications of that thought which plagued her. It was the feel of something or someone close by. Were those footsteps she heard behind her or on another pier?
“Jean? Is that you?” She tried to slow her breathing, which came in rapid pants. “Jean?” She stiffened. “Jean Le Croíx, are you there? You'd better come out.” As she turned, her elbow brushed something and she recoiled, falling against a wall. No, not a wall. Terror ripped through her as she realized a pair of arms enclosed around her.
“Lovely lady. You're looking for someone, I presume? Well, Monsieur Le Croíx thought you'd be better off in our hands.”
Our hands? She tried to jerk away from him, but he was too strong. “Let me go, I-I demand it.”
Laughter erupted nearby and a figure loomed before her. Another man appeared and licked his lips lasciviously. “Oui, Monsieur Le Croíx believed us quite capable once he dished out the finances required. We may have gotten a poor bargain, Bernard. She could be worth far more.”
The man grunted in agreement.
Mon Dieu, she thought. Jean had hired them! For what exactly? To kill her? Her stomach rolled as she imagined all the things they might do to her.
“Please, I'll do anything. Not this…” She shook her head.
“The lady is smart, Bernard. We must watch her.”
“Please. My…m-my uncle,” she stammered.
“I'm terribly sorry, chère. Your uncle has nothing to do with our pleasure.”
“But…” She swallowed her fear. “Ransom…if you ask for a ransom, he'll give it to you. I promise. Anything.”
“No doubt your uncle is a wealthy man and you might fetch a fair price. But, what we're looking for you cannot buy.” He laughed. “In most circumstances.”
No, they couldn't buy it. But, they could take it. Her virginity. She could not fight them if they tried. Anger heated her face and a red haze filled her vision. She struggled harder. “Damn you! You'll pay for this!”
He laughed. “I suppose so. But, what else can you do? There is an alternative now, a position with dames de nuit…”
She clenched her fist. Now she was likened to a prostitute? No, it would not be done. She tried to play at her innocence. “Please…this can't be happening.”
“Oh, but it is, my lovely lady. It won't be so bad--”
“No!” She slammed the heel of her foot in her captor's shin and spun away.
“Bernard!” called one of the men.
She heard footsteps behind her and she turned, lashing out with her fingernails. She gasped as she saw him howl in pain, lowering his head to reveal red claw marks over the bridge of his nose. Then the man she'd first wounded came at her, tackling her.
The impact jarred her and she went down. “No!” Her escape was not to be.
She rolled to the ground in a maze of skirts and a heavy thigh was thrown across her knees, leaving her immobile. She squeezed her eyes tight. His touch on her face and breasts was repulsive. Tears threatened to overcome her and they ran like tracks into her hair. “Please,” she whispered.
“Ah, gentlemen, what have we here?” An unfamiliar voice sounded and Fara lifted her head weakly to see a new face, a different man. She wondered if he was an ordinary spectator. He didn't look ordinary. He was big, intimidating but not frighteningly so. There was something about him she wanted to trust. She thought it might be his eyes, thought she detected a hint of concern as he glanced at her briefly. But, of course, she might be wrong. She had been before.
The man who pinned her disengaged himself and got to his feet. He looked down at her uneasily. “To your feet, chère,” he ordered.
She dizzily stood in response and he clutched her to his side as if to claim her as his possession.
The stranger frowned. “She's quite a catch, gentlemen. Are you sure she's not off limits?”
The man at her side stiffened. “What do you mean?”
“She appears to be a lady.”
Hope sprang from inside her. The man was no innocent bystander. He was a man with a purpose, but deep down she knew he could not be with these rogues.
“And if she is, Monsieur?”
“Then I would be curious as to why a lady is here with the two of you.”
The one called Bernard replied derisively, “Perhaps we are just too irresistible.”
The man laughed. “Hardly.” He sighed as her captor chose to resume his place behind her and blocked all attempts of escape with an arm across her chest. “Release her, gentlemen. Let's settle this in a civilized manner, shall we?”
The man who held her grunted. “Why don't you go about your business, Monsieur? A simple matter like this shouldn't interest you.”
“A woman's reputation may be at stake. Of course I'm interested.”
“We could share her, Monsieur.”
His gaze swept over her body and she shivered. Why, surely he would not take them seriously...he couldn't take the offer. For God's sake, he was her only hope. Tears streamed down her cheeks and she cursed herself for her maiden's sensibilities. Where had her strength gone?
“You think I would participate in something so lewd? You mistake my character, gentlemen.” He pulled a rapier from its sheath. “The question is, what risks will you take? Let me see...two men against one. Of course, if you still want to keep the lady, it will take one of you to hold her. She looks fairly strong despite her size...why look at that mark on your face. She has fought you. She could be deadly, if given the chance. That makes one against one. Do you intend to fight me for her obvious favors?”
“Take out the girl, Bernard.”
The command came too quickly and before she could struggle away, a fist slammed against her jaw and she fell into blackness.
She lifted her head sometime later, unsure of how long she'd been unconscious. Her vision gradually returned, and the damp of the ground seeped through her dress. She shuddered with the chill of air upon her body. She heard the scrape of a footstep and a grunting sound above her. Still disoriented, Fara raised her head to see the man who had come to her rescue fighting off the two rogues.
He fought them with expert wrist and arm technique. He seemed to be in top physical shape as compared to Jean Le Croíx, who was soft for his obvious youth. She grimaced. Her wound caused her to be silly. So, he was attractive and strong...strong enough to fight these men off and break her neck all in the same moment.
Then the man thrust his rapier forward swiftly. When the one called Bernard, who had a white scar down the side of his face pulled away, he revealed a small but bloody wound on his arm. With a ragged breath, he looked at her rescuer as if weighing the consequences of his decision. He then turned on his heel and his accomplice soon followed him away from the docks.
Fara watched their retreat with a deep sigh. Her rescuer pivoted on his heel and approached her. He looked much larger than before. Trembling, she levered herself up on one elbow and waited for him to speak.
He kneeled and looked her over. “I guess they gave up the chase...”
Fara nodded, swallowing hard. “Oui, Monsieur.” He touched her cheek and she felt the warmth emanate from his hand. She was afraid, but she did not pull away from his touch. She found it strangely protective, even affectionate. Though she barely knew him, she wanted to believe he cared for her welfare. Her vision clouded with tears as rich longing swept through her. To be cared for completely, to be loved. But, he was a stranger. She could not forget that.

Universal Amazon Link for Discounted Countdown (May 11-15)

About Marie
Bestselling author of UPON YOUR RETURN and 19 other books. Poetry winner of the 2015 PnPAuthors Contest. Honorable Mention in the 2014 BTS Red Carpet Book Awards. Finalist and Runner-up in the 2014 MARSocial's Author of the Year Competition. Honorable mention in the January 2014 Reader's Choice Award. Liebster Blogger Award for 2013 and 2014. Top 50 Authors on Winner of the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors.

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for over twenty years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Since 2010, Marie has published twenty books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, fantasy, mystery/thriller, literary fiction and poetry. Lavender just released Second Nature, a paranormal romance/urban fantasy, in December of 2014. She released Magick & Moonlight, a romantic fantasy, back in March of 2014. Upon Your Honor, released in April of 2014, is her second historical romance. Her current series are The Heiresses in Love Series, The Magick Series and The Blood at First Sight Series. Feel free to visit her website at for further information about her books and her life. Marie is also on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.

A list of her books and pen names are as follows:

Marie Lavender: Upon Your Return; Magick & Moonlight; Upon Your Honor; Second Nature; "Lovers Like Us" (from the book anthology, Poets & Writers in Action)

Erica Sutherhome: Hard to Get; Memories; A Hint of Scandal; Without You; Strange Heat; Terror in the Night; Haunted; Pursuit; Perfect Game; A Touch of Dawn; Ransom; Leather and Lace

Kathryn Layne: A Misplaced Life

Heather Crouse: Express Café and Other Ramblings; Ramblings, Musings and Other Things; Soulful Ramblings and Other Worldly Things

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