Meet Lissa Hazlett (Character Interview by Beverly Oakley): Daughters of Sin Series
Meet Lissa Hazlett
Character Interview by Beverly Oakley (Daughters of Sin Series)
May 12, 2016
Please tell us your name and a little about your background.
My name is Lissa Hazlett and I’m the illegitimate daughter of Viscount Partington. Recently I arrived in London to work as a governess and, unexpectedly, came into contact with my vain and beautiful, nobly born half-sister, Araminta. Let me tell you, she’s a piece of work! I try not to be jealous, because I’ve spent my whole life trying to be good. But oh, it is so hard when Araminta is feted for her beauty and is set to make a glittering match while I’m destined to remain an old maid on account of the stain on my birth.
Whom do you trust the most?
I would trust the gorgeous, handsome Mr. Ralph Tunley with my life. He’s rescued me from the most terrible situations. Even though he’s poor, he’s brave and enterprising. He’s also come up with the most ingenious plan as to how to hoist my nemesis – Araminta and the wicked Lord Debenham – on their own petards.
What obstacles stand in the way of your happiness?
The lack of money. Sadly, Ralph and I are both as poor as church mice. I have no dowry and am unacknowledged by my father, while the man I love is a seventh son. However I’ve just learned that his eldest brother is the very charming and marriageable Lord Ludbridge. My sister, Araminta, seems very taken with Lord Ludbridge, and I will admit, I am worried that a match between the two of them will make it all but impossible for me to marry Ralph. Araminta would do whatever she could to prevent it, I’m sure.
What is the worst thing you ever had to do and why did you feel compelled to do it?
Oh dear, I hate admitting this, but I was forced to sketch a couple in a very compromising situation. I agreed to do it, but was blackmailed when I tried to back out of the arrangement.
Do you believe in love at first sight?
Due to my illegitimate birth I was determined to live life as a hardworking, sensible girl, earning my life as a governess. So no, I didn’t believe in fairy tales like love at first sight until I met the wickedly irrepressible Ralph Tunley. He’s doing a good job of getting me out of all the trouble my vain and spoiled half-sister, Araminta, has dragged me into.
Beverley Oakley was seventeen when she bundled up her first her 500+ page romance and sent it to a publisher. But drowning her heroine on the last page was apparently not in line with the expectations of romance readers so Beverley became a journalist.
Since 2009 Beverley has written more than thirteen sizzling historical romances, mostly set in England during the Georgian, Regency and Victoria eras, filled with mystery and intrigue.
She lives near Melbourne opposite a picturesque nineteenth century insane asylum with the handsome Norwegian bush pilot she met in Botswana, two beautiful daughters and a rambunctious Rhodesian Ridgeback the size of a pony.
Two beautiful sisters – one illegitimate, the other nobly born – compete for love amidst the scandal and intrigue of a Regency London Season.
Lissa Hazlett lives life in the shadows. The beautiful, illegitimate daughter of Viscount Partington earns her living as an overworked governess while her vain and spoiled half sister, Araminta, enjoys London’s social whirl as its most feted debutante.
When Lissa’s rare talent as a portraitist brings her unexpectedly into the bosom of society – and into the midst of a scandal involving Araminta and suspected English traitor Lord Debenham – she finds an unlikely ally: charming and besotted Ralph Tunley, Lord Debenham’s underpaid, enterprising secretary. Ralph can’t afford to leave the employ of the villainous viscount much less keep a wife but he can help Lissa cleverly navigate a perilous web of lies that will ensure everyone gets what they deserve.
“A pleasure to meet you, Miss Hazlett,” he said, caging her hand on his arm as he led her to the pavement. “And I am Mr. Ralph Tunley, parliamentary secretary and confidante to all manner of rakes and rogues but, sadly, in my own right, a poor, struggling hopeful with not a feather to fly with. Which is why I am unable to offer you a carriage ride home, since it is quite beyond my means. Shall I accost the driver of this passing hackney and send you back to your chaperone, or dispatch a note to your family immediately to let them know what has happened?”
Lissa shook her head as she glanced at her lovely ball gown, nearly doubling up with dismay when she saw the damage inflicted upon it.
“I’m sure you have plenty more just as lovely,” he reassured her. “Not that a great beauty like you needs silk and diamonds to enhance what nature has so abundantly bestowed upon you. There, wasn’t that a pretty speech? I can practice such courtly sentiments without fear of censure since you will shortly be whisked out of my orbit and I will never see you again, though perhaps I shall hear news of your marriage to some great scion I could never hope to rival. Goodness, though, but I think that you are a beauty beneath the grime and blood.”
She saw he was grinning as he moved her a little closer to the illuminated glow cast by the nearby gas lamp. “You’re welcome to slap my face if you wish.”
Finally Lissa was able to utter something coherent. “I shall forgive your impertinence, for you rescued me,” she sniffed. “And this gown is not mine. It belongs to the daughter of my employer.” She thought she might burst into tears as she contemplated the repercussions of the damage it had suffered. Several bows had been torn off the trimming at the hem when she’d been pulled from the wreckage, though in the dim light she could discern only a few dirt smudges. “She doesn’t even know it’s gone,” she admitted. “I’m just a governess, and the family I work for thinks I’m in bed, asleep.” She balled her fists, trying not to cry. “If they find out what I’ve done, I’ll lose my job.”
Mr. Tunley look properly concerned for the first time, no doubt perceiving the enormity of losing one’s position when one had no financial backing. Then his mouth stretched wide into a warm smile.
“Just the governess? Why, isn’t this my lucky evening? I get to rescue the beautiful maiden and perhaps not lose her within a fortnight to some unworthy wastrel with more money and address than I have. Where do you live?” Then, when she told him, he added, “Allow me to escort you home, since we’re so close. I must satisfy myself that both you and the secret of your truancy remain safe, and I also will pledge that your gown gets the very best attention. The good woman I lodge with is a seamstress. She’ll know what to do.”