I've always wanted to write a Regency romance, and mixing it with shifters (a favourite of mine!) has been so much fun! It follows fox shifters and childhood friends, Victoria and Edmund, as they make a rather inappropriate wager to see which of them will secure an engagement first...so obviously, it's a childhood friends to lovers situation. Read on for an excerpt! This is a standalone within the Shifter Season series (each book follows a different couple - but the heroines do cross paths!)
Copyright 2021 Laura Greenwood
I scan the edge of the room to try and pick out Denise, finding her hidden in an alcove with her nose in her book. An affectionate smile spreads over my face, and I let out a small chuckle.
"Do you care to share your amusement, Miss Foxe?" a semi-familiar voice says from beside me.
I spin around, my eyes widening as I take in the striking figure in front of me. "Ed-My Lord, I didn't realise you were in London." I bow my head.
Viscount Renarton returns my bow. "As it seems, I am. And apparently making you forget your propriety."
A small blush rushes to my cheeks. It's bad enough that I almost called him by his name instead of his title, now he's calling me out on it.
"Perhaps I'm unable to forget the memories of you running around our orchard as a child."
"Your orchard has perfect trees for climbing, if I recall."
"I recall you falling out of one."
"Only because you made me a wager I couldn't refuse. You offered me all of your sweets if I could climb to the highest part of the tree and retrieve you a leaf."
I laugh lightly. "And then you shifted halfway down and shredded your best jacket."
"Ah, yes. Mother was not happy with me. But what was she to expect when she sent me to play with the neighbour's twins."
"That we would sit quietly and practise our needlework while simpering over you."
"Weren't we all barely seven?"
"We were." And it's as easy to talk to him now as it was then.
"Then it's really her own fault. She should have known better than to expect me to behave."
"I wager you're still finding ways to make trouble." I set my glass down and turn to face him properly. As childhood friends, we don't need introducing to one another, and with so many witnesses, there's no need to worry about it being improper to talk to him.
Though we may need to be more careful with our talk of shifting while there are so many humans around.
"I have been known to," he admits. "Mostly with inappropriate wagers."
"Some things don't change."
"Where's the fun in that?" The corners of his lips quirk into a smile.
"What brings you to London?" I ask.
"Much the same as you, I imagine. I wish to attend as many diversions as possible and find myself a wife to settle down with."
I raise an eyebrow. "You've never struck me as the marrying type."
"Mother impressed on me the importance of having an heir for my title, especially in the absence of any siblings."
"Ah, the classic problem for rakes."
"I'm not a rake, Miss Foxe."
"Which is precisely the kind of thing a rake would say," I point out.
"Indeed, you may have a point."
"I often do. The art of the witty remark is one that many at these events applaud."
"And if a witty remark is all it takes to catch a husband, you'll have a proposal by the end of the evening."
The current dance ends, causing a small rush of people to leave the floor and head in our direction.
"I believe this is our cue to vacate our spot," the Viscount says. "Do you perchance have this dance free?"
"In which case, it will be my honour to escort you to the floor." He holds out his hand.
I place my gloved one in his and he draws me towards the line of fellow dancers. "I hope your sense of balance has improved over the years."
"I can assure you that it has. I even know all the steps to the dance."
"You don't even know which we're going to be doing yet." The Master of Ceremonies has not announced the dance yet, probably because he hasn't asked the couple at the top of the set.
"Perhaps I have mastered them all."
"At the same time as running a viscounty and looking after your mother?"
"I'm a gentleman of many talents."
Paranormal Regency Romance
The Shifter Season is a paranormal shifter romance series set in Regency London. It is set in the Obscure World.
Heat Level: Low - Relationship Type: m/f - Build: Slow - Point of View Character: Single first person POV, changes between books - Cliffhangers: No - Tense: Present