Extras: True Pretenses

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Tie-in short story

cover for "Do you know anything about canals?", a True Pretenses tie-in short story
Ash and Rafe run a con on Aaron Burr during his 1808–9 visit to England. (~3600 words)


The True Pretenses mini-stories are collected here. A list of what you’ll find:

  1. Little Rafe and Ash backstory fic. (More details would spoil the book.)
  2. Ash tries to explain the timing of Lent and Easter to little Rafe.
  3. Little Rafe and Ash celebrate Passover.
  4. Little Ash and Rafe celebrate Purim.
  5. Little Jamie and Serena have a playdate (a crossover with A Lily Among Thorns).
  6. Ash mysteriously disappears and teenaged Rafe is worried.
  7. Imogen Makepeace shopping for dresses.
  8. Rafe off-page during the action of True Pretenses.
  9. Jamie tries to explain to Rafe where the town’s name comes from.
  10. Jamie POV, Rafe has come to Wheatcroft for the sheep-shearing.
  11. Dot Wrenn and Abby Gower go to IKEA.
  12. Ash and Lydia get mysteriously transported to the present day.

Deleted scenes

Deleted Scene #1. One of Mr. Gilchrist’s scenes belonged to Mr. Jessop in the first draft.

Deleted Scene #2. [cw: mentions of child abuse] A very short one. Originally, when Lydia asked Ash if he believed in God, he answered her.

Deleted Scene #3. Ash sneaks through Lydia’s window in the dead of night. Rated NC-17. I am very fond of this scene, but it just took up too much space, and a friend convinced me that the country is much, much darker at night than I can imagine.

Deleted Scene #4. A follow-up to scene #3 from later in the book.


“A cover for non-devotional activity”—box pews. You may remember Lydia had some youthful fantasies about these.
Jewish peddlers
Town jails, including the one I based Kellisgywnhogh on. With some bonus stuff about a really meaty political feud.
Regency greenhouses
More on Regency greenhouses
Jamie’s cactuses
“Getting your money at the best”—Regency criminal slang, part 1 of 2
“Oliver is in town”—Regency criminal slang, part 2 of 2
Regency mourning jewelry
A Jewish member of the Carlton House set
“Never enough brandy”—Stir-up Sunday and Christmas puddings
The Great Synagogue, London
The original of one of Lydia’s family anecdotes
“Where they lived in an expensive manner”—Sarah Boxall, a real-life Regency con woman
“Low gamblers, ring droppers, sharpers and thieves of every description”—Regency con games

Pinterest boards

Reference images
Lively St. Lemeston

Blog tour

Smexy Books – Interview with Mandi about writing a shleppy hero, cross-class and cross-cultural romance, and more.
History Hoydens – Unveiling the academic cover for True Pretenses and taking requests from commenters.
Happy Ever After – Zoe Archer, Elizabeth Boyle, Louisa Edwards and I share our favorite con artist romances of page and screen.
Theresa Romain and I did a two-part chat/mutual interview in which we talk about everything from character casting to mall singers to “manflirting” as an aristocratic cultural marker – part 1 at her blog – part 2 at mine.
Romance at Random – the inspiration for True Pretenses and the difference between a romance and a tragedy.
Heroes & Heartbreakers – con artist myth vs. reality. SPOILER: You CAN con an honest man.
Angieville – Q&A – favorite fictional heroes, the word association game, and more.
Smitten by Books – my favorite marriage of convenience romances.
The Romance Dish – Q&A – conflict, time travel bodyswap, lucky New Year’s foods and more.
Risky Regencies – Q&A – research, TV, the etymology of “swindler” and more.
All About Romance – anti-Semitism and intermarriage in the Regency.
bookworm2bookworm – how romance novels model breaking out of entrenched emotional patterns.


I made in-character tumblrs for some of the characters and businesses from Lively St. Lemeston:

Nick Dymond: @childe-nicholas
Phoebe Sparks: @phoebesparks-authoress
Helen Knight: @fashion-saucer
The Honey Moon: @honeymoonconfectionery
The Intelligencer: @lstl-intelligencer
Ash and Lydia: @the-greatest-of-these


“When did you last led your heart decide?”, an Ash/Lydia playlist.


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