Friday Features

Today’s Friday Feature is a visit with regency, historical romance author:

V A N E S S A   R I L E Y 


VanessaRileyHead (1)The Regency and early Victorian eras have always been a magnetizing draw for Vanessa Riley. Even as she worked to complete her doctorate in Mechanical Engineering , she made time for renaissance fairs and any novel or cinematographic work depicting these genteel societies of old.

Perhaps, the attraction arises from the kinship she feels with the period being brought up in the restrictive Southern Bible Belt with its stringent definitions of decent behavior and life expectations. Perhaps the common dominator to this appeal is her own thirty day Christian courtship or even the arranged marriages of her uncles; each is emblematic of the nuptials of those earlier times.

Vanessa holds a doctorate in mechanical engineering and a masters in industrial engineering and engineering management from Stanford University. She also earned BS and MS in mechanical engineering from Penn State University. She has been a radio anchorwoman and church announcer. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers Association, Romance Writers of America, and Specialty RWA Chapters: The Beaumonde, Faith, and the Georgia Chapter.

Today, Vanessa juggles mothering a ten year old, her nineteenth wedding anniversary, engineering, writing and speaking at women’s events. She is known for her humorous delivery of poignant truths. 


About The Bittersweet Bride and an Excerpt

Theodosia blinked her long silky lashes. “I’m glad you’re not dead. Maybe you can go live the life your father approves of and leave me be.”

“Well, I am,” Ewan said. “You’re in my latest play. I hope I’ve captured your appeal, your exotic heady beauty, your underhanded dealings—”

TheBittersweetBride_FINAL“Why must I be exotic? Because I’m not pale or white as a sheet? Mathew Cecil thought me pretty.”

“Well, you do clean up nicely in such fashionable trimmings. But what rich man’s fetish wouldn’t? I suppose you saw an opportunity and seized it. Business-minded to a fault.”

“Do you want to hear that I grieved you? I did. Your father said you were dead, before he ran me off. They… He said you were killed in honor, something a wench like me could never understand. But you are not dead. Probably not even a scratch and you are mad at me for continuing to live. You should be relieved that you didn’t have to return to these fields to wed the ignorant flower seller. Can you imagine figurin

g out how to feed mouths while still waiting for your father’s approval?”

He came alongside her, took her free palm, and flattened the fidgeting thing against his chest, sneaking it under his waistcoat to the smooth linen of his shirt, making sure her fingers covered the raised scars on his chest. “Do you feel those scratches? The physicians call them scars.”

Her hand stilled a moment and a world of emotions twirled in her eyes, across her trembling countenance. She shrank backward. “I’m sorry, Ewan.”

Her face became streaked in silent tears, and though Ewan wanted to provoke her, he didn’t want her to cry. He coughed, clearing the knot of humanity that lodged in his throat. “I didn’t come here for pity. I took a mortal wound but managed to live. Knowing you became a hot little piece for a rich man, that about killed me all over again. Didn’t know you’d chosen my cousin.”

She wiped at her face, then steadied her shoulders. “So after six years, you’ve come back to haunt me about things that can’t be changed?”

He sat on the high part of the chaise’s arm, still marveling at h

ow much she had and had not changed. Still beautiful. Still determined, but with a new sense of calm or reservation that gave him pause. He smoothed his cravat back into place. “Father was right about so many things, including the military. I was good at it. I served in the West Indies until these past three months. I came back because I am a Fitzwilliam. Part of me missed family.”

She folded her arms and turned toward the fireplace. “Family is important.”

“And I was helping my brother, the viscount, with an errand at Burlington Arcade. I had no idea I would see you today.”

She stormed to the patio door, opening it wide. “Well, now that you have, leave me alone. Go live your life, Ewan Fitzwilliam. Be that successful playwright you dreamed of becoming.”

“I intend to, but not your way. Success won’t be had by scheming, lying, or selling myself.”

Theo stopped biting her lip and pointed outside with both hands. “I may not be happy with my choices, but I own them. No one else. I did what I needed to do to survive. I have no luxury of a father to blame or surname to tarnish, for that matter. Now, leave. Don’t sneak back here. And if you see me in passing while staying at Daddy’s, call me Mrs. Cecil. That is my name. One I love.”

He stood up and walked toward her. He wasn’t in the habit of staying, if a lady requested him to leave, but Theo was no lady. She was a usurper intent to harm the Fitzwilliam family.“I will, if you stop threatening us.”

She squinted at him as if he’d said lunacy. “What are you talking about?”

“I know you are threatening our farms by cutting off the water to our plantings. Relent and I’ll do you a favor. I’ll take your name out of my latest play.”

“You’ve written a new play?” The hope in her voice suddenly dropped to nothing. “And you’ve put me in it?”

“Yes. This one centers on a woman who uses her womanly wiles to seduce and gain riches until all her schemes become announced to the world. Then, she’s left with nothing.”

Her frown deepened. She slunk backward until she clutched the doorknob, her beautiful tawny fingers pressing so hard against the brass, they almost blended. “And you’ve named this villain after me?”

“Yes, Theo the Flower Seller. I told you, I wrote you in every scene. How do you think you’ll fare when that name is circulated?”

Her chest rose, up and down, as if she struggled to breathe. “Ewan.” Her voice became airy and choppy. “My name, laughed at in London… You w-wouldn’t be so cruel.”

He rounded back, took her cold palm, and pressed his lips to them. “Ghosts are supposed to be cruel.”


Get to Know Vanessa Riley at her

Website, and Connect with her on

Facebook, Twitter and Purchase copies of all her books at her Online Store, 

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