Life has been hard for Chloe Hardwick, the heroine in my newest release, Unbuttoning Miss Hardwick. She’s looking for a little stability and security in her life, and she’s found that she’s more likely to get it when she hides behind a mask.
Not a literal mask, but one made of a calm demeanor, incredible efficiency, a uniform of heavy, unattractive clothing and a line of shining gold buttons. As assistant to Lord Marland, the Marauding Marquess, her disguise allows her to hide safely away while molding herself into becoming what her position demands and what her employer needs. She excels at her work. It’s not until she realizes that she’s coming to have feelings for her employer that she begins to rethink her choices. For how can she expect Lord Marland to return her feelings when he has no idea who she is? When she has no idea who she is? She finds she has to leave in order to discover the answers to those questions.
Now, I don’t believe that I’ve ever hidden myself away as thoroughly as Chloe does, but I have some sympathy for her, as I have reached certain points in my life at which I’ve had to make hard decisions. Decisions not only about which path to follow—leaving a mainstream career behind for mommy and writer-hood, for example—but also decisions about the kind of person I want to be.
I’ll share a hard one with you all. When I was a young adult, I found I had to take a long look at a person of importance and influence in my life. This person was often distant and detached, but also extremely witty and sarcastic. I found I could find favor by adopting a cynical, cutting and sarcastic manner myself. I grew to be good at it, too. And every approving chuckle felt like a validation.
Until I realized that was not the sort of validation that I really wanted. Until I discovered that I didn’t like myself that way. Until I realized that being hard and cynical is a lot of work when it is not your natural state. I wasn’t comfortable behind that mask. So I made the conscious decision to abandon the sarcasm and be true to myself. I’m much happier being open, looking for the best in a situation. I’d rather be hopeful than guarded. In truth, I think we are both better off.
So I’ll ask you: Have you ever hidden yourself behind a mask or a disguise? Have you made a conscious choice to change something about yourself? Are you cynical? Or an optimist? One randomly chosen commenter will win an autographed copy of Unbuttoning Miss Hardwick.
About the Author:
Clearly she was destined to write Regency Historical Romance. A member of RWA, the Heart of Carolina RWA and the Beau Monde for nearly 15 years, she’s won the Royal Ascot and the Golden Heart and has been nominated for a Rita.
She sold her first book to Harlequin Historicals in 2006 and her newest, Unbuttoning Miss Hardwick releases in June 2012. She is a director of the Raleigh/Durham satellite of Lady Jane’s Salon. She lives in North Carolina where she spends her days with the people in her head and her evenings with her wonderful husband, her two charming, active and hungry boys and one spoiled cat.
Efficient Spinster or Desirable Woman?
Adopting the guise of a buttoned up spinster is nothing new for Chloe Hardwick. But under the watchful eye of her unnervingly handsome employer, the Marquess of Marland, for the first time Chloe yearns to be unbuttoned! Yet he sees her only as his assistant, the efficient Hardwick-not as Chloe the woman.
Determined to escape Braedon's cold detachment, Chloe leaves. And when he pursues her to London, determined to entice her back, Braedon is utterly unprepared for what he finds there--the real Chloe Hardwick. . .