Rakes Rogues and Romance

Historical Romance-Because Passion Lives Forever


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Lady Rises! The Second in Renee Bernard’s BLack Rose Trilogy is Out

 

 

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“Marvelously daring, welcome to a sensual world that will test not only your mind but your heart.” – Delilah Marvelle, Award Winning Author

 

               “Delicious! A fabulous story that draws you in from the very first word and stays with you long after the finish. -“Máire Claremont, Award Winning Author

 

LADY RISES serves up the next relentless installment in the Black Rose Trilogy and leaves no doubt that Hell hath no fury like a woman wronged but when that woman is Raven Wells—the Devil himself would rather keep out of her way.

 

From the ashes of LADY FALLS, Raven Wells is transformed into Lady Serena Wellcott. Now with wealth and power all her own, she is the founder of the Black Rose—a secret society dedicated to securing justice for women who have been abused or wronged in the private corridors of Victorian society. She has dedicated her life to revenge, honing her skills at the bequest of others but biding her time until she has the two men she loathes most in this world in her sights.

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Sir Phillip Warrick has scars of his own from their fateful encounter years before and his heart has never healed from the loss of his beautiful Raven and the irrevocable mistake of brutally ending their affair. But when he found no trace of her, he let himself believe that she was dead. Except Phillip isn’t that lucky. When he is introduced to Lady Serena Wellcott at his cousin’s country home, his world begins to implode. Because once again he has a tigress by the tail, except this time, it’s a dangerous mix of passion and poison when it becomes clear that what the lady wants most is his head on a platter. If only he didn’t still love her with every fiber of his being…

 

In a dance of desire, Serena has her own struggles reconciling the man she once loved with the irresistible rake she has vowed to hate. Vengeance is its own mistress and it’s a race to the finish as the Black Rose takes on a quest to carve out justice and find mercy even where it’s been forgotten. Love may rule but Lady Serena Wellcott doesn’t believe in playing fairly and she also doesn’t believe in surrender.

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From acclaimed USA Today bestselling author, Renee Bernard, comes a new trilogy of gothic power and twisted sensuality. Here’s a slice of historical romance not generally found in the mainstream—so pull up a chair, settle in for a good read and hang on!

 

 

 

 

 

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Renee Bernard is an award winning and USA Today bestselling author of historical romance and recently, contemporary romantic comedy. She won RT’s Reviewer’s Choice award for “Best Debut Historical” in 2006 and never slowed down (she missed the memo). By the end of 2014, she will have fifteen books out there in the world. She has published with Simon & Schuster and Berkley as well as branching out into independent publishing, audio books and comic books. For over four years she has been the host of “The Romance Bookmark” (formerly “Canned Laughter and Coffee”), a weekly internet radio show with between 80-100K registered listeners via Readers Entertainment. From wine wrangling to stand-up comedy and public speaking, there’s nothing off the table. (No really. Nothing. Except anything involving a pole. She’s past that now.)

Renee lives in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains with her husband and daughters, and an adequate number of cats to qualify as a romance writer.

 


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Please Welcome Merry Farmer with her newest release, “Someone To Love”

I’m thrilled to have Merry Farmer here today. Merry writes historical romances set in America. Today she joins us to discuss her latest release, which is sure to gain her quite the buzz, as it is an historical Male/Male romance.

 

Tell us about your Montana Romance series.

 

On the surface, the Montana Romance series looks like any other historical western series, but actually, with this series I set out to tell stories that you don’t usually see in the western genre. To begin with, it’s set in the late 1890s, much later than most historical westerns. The frontier was pretty much settled at this point in history, the Native Americans had been forced onto reservations, the open range had ended, western cities were as sophisticated as ones back east, and life was beginning to look more like what we would consider modern.

 

I have always been fascinated with this time period because it teetered on the brink of the 20th century while still being part of the 19th. The other thing that makes Montana Romance different is the characters I portray. I’ve only got one cowboy (Ethan, the hero of Fool for Love). The other characters are shopkeepers, bankers, teachers, hoteliers, and even an ex-actress—in other words, the everyday citizens of an average town. I love the lives of ordinary people. They’re so rich in detail and so similar to our own. That’s what I wanted to convey with this series.

 

When you started it did you envision a Male Male romance?

 

Honestly, I knew that Phin would have a romance right from the very beginning. He was one of the first three characters I conceptualized in the series (along with Michael and Charlie). But I was hesitant to actually write his romance at first. I didn’t know how an m/m romance in the middle of a conventional would be received. It’s certainly not something that a traditional publisher would do. But in the end I knew I had to write Phin and Elliott’s story. I also knew that I had to brand it as just another book in the Montana Romance series. I think the world is ready for that!

 

Were you concerned about receiving any backlash about writing a MM romance?

 

Absolutely! It was one of my foremost concerns. I’ve seen some pretty sharp comments in reviews of m/m romance on Amazon, and those were for books that were clearly part of an m/m series. I’m also aware that at least a segment of romance readers comes from more conservative backgrounds. And because I knew from day one that I wanted to publish ALL of my books under the name Merry Farmer regardless of genre, I was concerned that readers who find me through my regular historical romance (or through the inspirational romances I’d love to publish in the future) would be turned off by an m/m romance. I had to do it though. I had to be true to my characters and their stories.

 

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Tell us about Somebody To Love

 

Somebody to Love is a classic old-and-water love story with an m/m twist. Phineas Bell is a gentleman, Cold Springs’s resident banker and all-around upstanding citizen. Everyone in town intrinsically knows there’s something different about him, but because he fits into their community, they don’t question it. (Incidentally, I did a lot of historical research about gay men in the late 19th century, and this “don’t ask, don’t tell” situation was astoundingly common.) Even Phin deliberately keeps his sexuality far, far in the back of his mind…until Elliott arrives in town.

 

Elliott is the new sheriff, a war hero who charged up San Juan Hill with Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders. He is brash and aggressive and decides it would be “fun” to seduce stuffy Phin the moment he sees him. But underneath all his bravado, Elliott is painfully insecure about his sexuality and will go to great lengths to hide it. He admires Phin’s ability to live openly, although not blatantly, but he also makes up his mind that Phin will get himself killed by being so open and he sets out to “protect” Phin by attempting to change his image with the town. Disaster ensues, but boy, once the initial barriers are breeched, the two men can’t keep their hands off of each other!

 

Did you face any different challenges writing this book versus the others in the series and if so what were they?

 

Yes. Pronouns! Ha ha. No, seriously, it’s a challenge to write long scenes of action (not just between the sheets) when both characters are men. Lots of “he”, “him”, and “his” that get incredibly confusing. I also had some reservations about being able to accurately portray the thoughts and emotions of men when I’m a woman. I still worry that if a man were to read this book he would think it was all wrong, but I’ve done my best. I love men, I love man parts, so actually it was a lot of fun to write!

 

What’s up next for you and your books?

 

Believe it or not, I’m switching gears into what I call Women’s Science Fiction for the rest of the year. I will be publishing the first four books in a series called Grace’s Moon, which is about survivors of a crash on a habitable moon far away from any contact with Earth who have to figure out how to establish a civilization from scratch. It actually isn’t all that far away from my historical novels. The story may take place a couple hundred years into the future, but there is very little technology, no aliens, and the focus is on the characters and their struggles against nature and each other. After that I have a three book inspirational historical romance series based on the true history of a series of events that happened to my church in the 1880s, a short Regency series that takes place on the high seas, and a pretty epic time-travel series. I have so many stories already mapped out that I will be busy writing for the next 132 years!

 

Do you think you will ever write another MM romance?

 

You know, I think I might! I really enjoyed writing Somebody to Love and I would absolutely consider writing more historical m/m romances. I did so much research about the lives of gay men in the 19th century, and everything I learned was so different from what I expected to learn. I would love to write more stories about some of those things, like the underground societies male and female homosexuals had, men who more or less lived two lives, and even about the fascinating open acceptance of gay couples in the early days of Australia when men outnumbered women by so much! There’s a lot of material out there.

Merry’s books are available on

Amazon

Barnes and Noble


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It’s the Two Dukes and a Scandal Blog Tour

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Two Dukes and a Scandal Tour:

It Takes a Scandal by Caroline Linden

How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days by Laura Lee Guhrke

Redemption of the Duke by Gayle Callen

 

            Scandal CoverThe second book in a deliciously sexy new series from USA Today bestselling and RITA award winning author Caroline Linden, in which an utterly shocking book–Fifty Shades of Grey for the Regency era– has all of London talking and gives more than one young miss a mind for scandal.

Sometimes it takes a scandal . . .

Abigail Weston has everything: beauty, wit, and one of the largest dowries in England. Her parents hope she’ll wed an earl. Abigail hopes for a man who wants her desperately and passionately. But the money seems to blind every man she meets-except one.

Sebastian Vane has nothing. He came home from war with a shattered leg to find his father mad and his inheritance gone. He’s not a fit suitor for anyone, let alone an heiress. But Abigail lights up his world like a comet, bright and beautiful and able to see him instead of his ruined reputation. And it might end happily ever after . . .

To reveal your heart’s desire

Until Benedict Lennox begins courting Abigail. Ben is everything Sebastian isn’t-wealthy, charming, heir to an earl. Sebastian won’t give up the only girl he’s ever loved without a fight, but Abigail must choose between the penniless gentleman who moves her heart, and the suitor who is everything her parents want.

EXCERPT

This time he stopped so suddenly, she ran into him. Instinctively she clutched at his shoulder, and his arm went around her waist to catch her. Abigail’s eyes grew wide as she stared up at him. His eyes were no longer hard and angry, but dark with raw longing. “As if I want you?” he asked, not making any effort to release her. “I do. I came into the woods today because I wanted to see you, even though I said I wouldn’t—even though I know I shouldn’t. I want you in every wicked way a man can want a woman. And if I had you, I could show you many, many more than fifty ways to sin.”

Her eyes had grown wide at his first words, but she froze in shock at the last bit. “What?” she squeaked.

“You know what I mean,” he murmured. His hand moved up her back, his fingers spread wide to hold her to him. “The pamphlet you bought in Mrs. Driscoll’s shop.”

“You read it?”

He nodded.

Abigail made a silent vow to murder her sister for this. She’d known it would land her in trouble somehow. “But—but—why did you buy it?” She really wished she could look away, but her wits—and her will—seemed to have gone missing.

“Because you bewitched me, and I wanted to know you, even if just what you read.” He wound a stray wisp of hair around his finger before smoothing it back from her temple. “Why did you buy it?”

Abigail’s heart was beating a tocsin against her breastbone. It was tempting to blame it on her sister, but she’d found that issue so arousing … “Curiosity,” she finally whispered.

 

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Takes-Scandal-Caroline-Linden-ebook/dp/B00FJ350FS/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=&qid=

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/it-takes-a-scandal-caroline-linden/1116864936?ean=9780062244901

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/it-takes-a-scandal/id718587203?mt=11

 

 

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From USA Today bestselling author Laura Lee Guhrke comes the story of a bargain, a marriage of convenience…and the chance for love to last a lifetime

They had a deal…

From the moment she met the devil-may-care Duke of Margrave, Edie knew he could change her life. And when he agreed to her outrageous proposal of a marriage of convenience, she was transformed from ruined American heiress to English duchess. Five years later, she’s delighted with their arrangement, especially since her husband is living on another continent.

But deals are made to be broken…

By marrying an heiress, Stuart was able to pay his family’s enormous debts, and Edie’s terms that he leave England forever seemed a small price to pay. But when a brush with death impels him home, he decides it’s time for a real marriage with his luscious American bride, and he proposes a bold new bargain: ten days to win her willing kiss. But is ten days enough to win her heart?

 

EXCERPT

Stuart took a deep breath and rubbed his hands over his face, working to govern the violence inside himself. Rage would be of no help right now. He reached for his walking stick, took up his shoes, and returned to his own room. He dressed for dinner, and somehow, putting on a starched bib shirt, white waistcoat, black trousers, and black dinner jacket helped him tamp down the rage inside. As he tied his white silk tie into a proper bow, as he fastened shirt studs and cufflinks, as he tucked a white pocket square into place, he was able to set aside the part of his soul that was raging beast and regain the part that was civilized man. Then, and only then, he went in search of his wife. He found her by the Roman Garden, or as she called it, the Secret Garden. She was sitting on the bench where they’d sat the day before, but as she caught sight of him emerging from between the tall clumps of fennel and mullein, she jumped to her feet. “What do you want?”

He stopped, studying her across the courtyard, considering how to proceed without causing her more pain or making things worse. He’d come out here to comfort her, but looking at her now, he suspected she would welcome comfort about as much as she might welcome having a tooth drawn.

He took a deep breath. “It wasn’t just your heart he broke, was it?”

Her face twisted, and it was like a knife going into his chest. “He…” Stuart paused, working to force the words out. “He violated you.”

She made no sound, she shed no tears. She didn’t move or speak. She just looked at him, and no answer to his question was necessary. Her pain hung in the sultry summer air between them, and Stuart’s rage drove even deeper, spread even wider. From the beginning, he’d sensed her pain; he just hadn’t seen the true reason for it. Or maybe he just hadn’t wanted to see? This wasn’t a broken heart or a virgin’s fear; this wasn’t something simple. Still, he knew the truth now, and as horrific as it was, there was no going back, so what was he supposed to do with the knowledge? God, in a situation like this, what was any man supposed to do?

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/How-Lose-Duke-Ten-Days-ebook/dp/B00G97C51K/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1395632581&sr=1-1&keywords=how+to+lose+a+duke+in+ten+days

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/how-to-lose-a-duke-in-ten-days-laura-lee-guhrke/1116864918?ean=9780062118196

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/how-to-lose-a-duke-in-ten-days/id734493048?mt=11

 

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USA Today bestselling author Gayle Callen concludes her new series with a tale of generosity, passion, and the true kindness of the heart.

A duke who needs to be tamed…a lady who refuses to be rescued.

Adam Chamberlin was the third son of a duke, known for gambling binges and drunken nights. No one expected anything of him …until tragedy strikes. Now Adam is the new Duke of Rothford, determined to right the wrongs he’s done. Except a secret in his past means helping the one woman who doesn’t want his help at all…

It’s not every day that a duke introduces himself to a woman sitting by herself in Hyde Park. Faith Cooper is even more surprised when Adam offers her a position as a lady’s companion to his elderly aunt. Faith refuses to be beholden to a man again-certainly not this man, who both infuriates and attracts her. But with the simmering passion between them, will Faith surrender to forbidden desire?

EXCERPT

Setup: The duke manipulated Faith Cooper into being his aunt’s companion, intending to help her, since he feels guilty about the death of her brother. Now they’re living in the same house.)

Faith moved forward as if in a dream, inhaling the rich scent of damp earth, then the sweet scents of exotic flowers. When she stepped across the threshold, the air grew moist and warm, and trees rose up above her as if to touch the sky through the panes of glass in their cast-iron frames. Gas-lamp globes seemed to hover in line along curving gravel pathways. Ferns swayed as they passed. Straight ahead rose a fountain that gently splashed like music, its basin a tiled pool with golden carp swimming amid conch shells.

As they stood there in peaceful silence, she felt strange being shoulder-to-shoulder with such a man, a duke. Yet he never made her feel inferior to him. She wondered if this, too, had to do with his military service, his grief at his mistakes, or if perhaps as a younger son, he’d never acquired the “airs of an heir.” Thinking that almost made her laugh, and he glanced at her from beneath his light brown wavy hair, which seemed burnished in the low light.

“What is it?” he asked.

“Nothing, really, it’s just…I would not have imagined myself like this just a few short weeks ago.”

“Like what? Nothing much has changed for you. You still insist upon working, when I could—” He broke off.

“I assume you realized how that sounded and stopped yourself,” she said coolly.

“Yes, though I did not mean as my mistress.”

The word seemed to hover between them. She knew he thought her an innocent; and she shivered to wonder how he might treat her if he knew all her secrets.

Buy Links

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Redemption-Duke-Brides-Gayle-Callen-ebook/dp/B00FJ376TQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1395632622&sr=1-1&keywords=redemption+of+the+duke

B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/redemption-of-the-duke-gayle-callen/1116864944?ean=9780062267962

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/redemption-of-the-duke/id718592591?mt=11

 

Rafflecopter Giveaway (Three Gift Packs from Avon Romance including a Piece of Custom Jewelry and Copies of Release from All Three Authors)

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Link to Follow Tour: http://tastybooktours.blogspot.com/2014/03/now-booking-two-dukes-and-scandal-blog.html

 

Author Bio’s

Caroline Linden was born a reader, not a writer. She earned a math degree from Harvard University and wrote computer software before turning to writing fiction. Ten years, twelve books, two Red Sox championships, and one dog later, she has never been happier with her decision. Her books have won the NEC Reader’s Choice Beanpot Award, the Daphne du Maurier Award, and RWA’s RITA Award. Since she never won any prizes in math, she takes this as a sign that her decision was also a smart one. Visit her online at http://www.carolinelinden.com

 

Laura Lee Guhrke spent seven years in advertising, had a successful catering business, and managed a construction company before she decided writing novels was more fun. A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Laura has penned over twenty historical romances. Her books have received many award nominations, and she is the recipient of romance fiction’s highest honor: the Romance Writers of America RITA Award. She lives in the Northwest with her husband (or, as she calls him, her very own romance hero), along with two diva cats and a Golden Retriever happy to be their slave. Laura loves hearing from readers, and you can contact her via her website: http://www.lauraleeguhrke.com.

 

After a detour through fitness instructing and computer programming, Gayle Callen found the life she’d always dreamed of as a romance writer. This USA Today bestselling author has written more than eighteen historical romances for Avon Books, and her novels have won the Holt Medallion and the Laurel Wreath Award.

Gayle lives in Central New York with her three children, her dog, Apollo, and her husband, Jim the Romance Hero.

Visit her website at http://www.gaylecallen.com.

 

 


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Please join me in welcoming award winning author Shana Galen talking about the latest release- Sapphires are an Earl’s Best Friend

I’m so happy to welcome one of my favorite authors and people in the writing world, Shana Galen. Shana writes historical romance full of intrigue, mystery, handsome men and intelligent women.

Today she is here to discuss her wonderful new release, Sapphires are an Earl’s Best Friend, the last in her Jewels of the Ton series.

Let’s talk to Shana and see what she’s up to.

When you began this series, Jewels of the Ton, did you know how the intrigue would flow from book to book? I guess what I’m asking is did you plot out each story as a whole, and weave the cohesive storyline into each book?

Thanks so much for hosting me, Nancy.

Honestly, I don’t even plot out one book, much less a series. I did know I needed to keep my villain, Lucifer, alive and a threat until book 3, but that was s much thinking ahead as I could do. Plotting was further complicated because I was writing the Jewels of the Ton books in-between the Lord and Lady Spy series books. So I would write a Jewels book then switch to the Lord and Lady Spy series then switch back again. I was happy just to keep the characters straight! But really, it’s a lot of fun to make a series come together. It’s like a puzzle.

Which of the three books in the series was the most difficult to write and why?

I would have to say the first one, When You Give a Duke a Diamond. I think it’s because when you start a new series there is so much to set up in terms of laying a foundation for the other books, but you can’t seem like you’re setting it all up because that’s boring to read. So I had to introduce the other characters but make them integral to the plot too and tell Will and Juliette’s story well. The other pressure when writing the first book in a series is that readers will decide if they want to read the other books in the series based on how much they like the first one. So if the first one isn’t really great, you’ve doomed books you haven’t even written yet!

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Tell us please about the new release, Sapphires are an Earl’s Best Friend.

This is the third and final book in the Jewels of the Ton series, but all of the books stand alone (and if you read my answer to #1 you see why). Sapphires is the story of Lily and Andrew. Lily is the last of the Three Diamonds, three glamorous courtesans known as the Duchess of Dalliance, the Marchioness of Mystery, and the Countess of Charm. Lily is the Countess of Charm. She has a secret, which is she’s actually not a courtesan but a spy for the Crown. The role of courtesan provides a good cover for her. She has another secret too! She’s been in love with Andrew, the Earl of Darlington for years. He’s always been in love with her best friend. Things get interesting when Lily is assigned to investigate Andrew’s father, the lecherous Duke of Ravenscroft. Andrew and Lily are thrown together, and Andrew begins to see Lily in a different light.

What’s up next for you-I see you are researching ships. How much research goes into your novels, and what are your favorite research tools?

I do have a pirate book coming up. It’s called The Pirate Takes a Bride, and it will be out in May. It’s the last book in the Misadventures in Matrimony series I started years ago, and my readers have been asking and asking for it.

I don’t like research. When I’m writing a book, I want to write the book, not read research. I’m lucky that I’ve written so many Regency-set books that I know the period pretty well. I just have to look up details now. But when I write something that’s new to me—like a book set on a ship—that’s a whole other story. I did have to do a lot of research for that, and my dad was nice enough to help me.

My favorite book is English Women’s Clothing in the Nineteenth Century by C. Willett Cunnington. I have anew favorite website too. It’s pascalbonefant.com . It has lots of cant phrases from the period, and they’re so much fun. I printed the whole website to reference.

Thanks for having me. Readers, When you read historical romance do you identify with the heroine or do you read it for the hero?

 

Giveaway: Print copies of When You Give a Duke a Diamond and If You Give a Rake a Ruby. (U.S./Canada only)

Sapphires Are an Earl’s Best Friend

Careful, gentlemen—there’s more to this courtesan than meets the eye

What better disguise for a secret agent than that of a courtesan? Lily Dawson, dubbed the Countess of Charm, is a spy working for the Crown to uncover a traitor. Andrew Booth-Payne, Earl of Darlington, wants to hate Lily for taking up with his father, but something about Lily intrigues him. When he discovers there is more to her flirtation than greed, he knows he must help her uncover a traitor. Even if that traitor is his own father…

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1kP1OVy

BN: http://bit.ly/1dUvLyM

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/sapphires-are-earls-best-friend/id716843466?mt=11

Color Shana Galen H-R-2118

Author Bio: Shana Galen is the bestselling author of fast-paced adventurous Regency historicals, including the RT Reviewers’ Choice The Making of a Gentleman. Booklist says, “Galen expertly entwines espionage-flavored intrigue with sizzling passion,” and RT Bookreviews calls her “a grand mistress of the action/adventure subgenre.” She taught English at the middle and high school level off and on for eleven years. Most of those years were spent working in Houston’s inner city. Now she writes full time. She’s happily married and has a daughter who is most definitely a romance heroine in the making.


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Deal Breakers and Redemption

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I’ve been reading discussions on several different sites about what is a deal breaker for everyone in a romance novel. since it is the ninety billionth day of freezing cold and ice here in the Northeast, my brain cells have frozen and I am piggy backing on that idea. It must also be the reason I haven’t been able to write a decent sentence in over a week.

Back in the seventies and eighties, many romance novels featured heroes who, for want of a better word, were quite brutal in their courtship of a woman. Many novels were filled with scenes of the tearful heroine succumbing to the hero unwillingly at first, then of course, she fell in love with him and he with her.

Redemption? Not so much.

I think now a days we would call that rape. After all, no means no, and I don’t think any writer of a romance nowadays would have a heroine accepting that behavior. Even in an historical romance, more likely than not, the heroine would deck the hero.

For me, there have been books that have been squirm worthy and it isn’t about the sex scenes. you all know my by now, and an erotic scene doesn’t bother me in the least. But her are some things that do bother me.

When the hero is much older than the heroine, especially if she is in her teens. Now, not in a medieval romance, because that was the norm back then, but in historical and contemporary romances, I don’t want to read about a sixteen year old woman with a twenty eight or thirty year old man.

Incest. I read a historical romance once which for the life of me I can’t remember the title of and the brother was in love with the sister. Thankfully there was no consummation. That would have had me throwing the book against the wall, which did happen with a very popular writer of woman’s fiction. Her series featured a brother and sister engaged in an incestuous relationship. As soon as I reached that part, I shut the book and never came back to the series. Not going there.

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I’ve already mentioned rape. there are many romances where rape is an integral part of the storyline. But the deal breaker is if the hero rapes the heroine. Could you accept a redemption of a hero after such an act? For those of you who watched soap operas back in the 1980’s remember General Hospital and Luke’s rape of Laura? She not only forgave him, she married him.

And then there is the cheating/infidelity. Can a hero or a heroine achieve redemption if they have cheated. Does it matter to you if they have just started their relationship, are in a committed relationship or are married?

Can the character ever be redeemed?

I’d love to know what you think

I will pick two winners at random and they will have a choice of a print book, contemporary or historical form Avon, courtesy of the Avon Addicts program.


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I’m thrilled to introduce you to the fabulous author Christi Caldwell with her new release “Forever Betrothed, Never the Bride”

Forever Betrothed, Never the Bride: January 2014
 
Hopeless romantic Lady Emmaline Fitzhugh is tired of sitting with the wallflowers, waiting for her betrothed to come to his senses and marry her. When Emmaline reads one too many reports of his scandalous liaisons in the gossip rags, she takes matters into her own hands.
War-torn veteran Lord Drake devotes himself to forgetting his days on the Peninsula through an endless round of meaningless associations. He no longer wants to feel anything, but Lady Emmaline is making it hard to maintain a state of numbness. With her zest for life, she awakens his passion and desire for love.
The one woman Drake has spent the better part of his life avoiding is now the only woman he needs, but he is no longer a man worthy of his Emmaline. It is up to her to show him the healing power of love.

Biography

Christi Caldwell blames Judith McNaught’s “Whitney, My Love!” for luring her into the world of historical romance. While sitting in her graduate school apartment at the University of Connecticut, Christi decided to set aside her notes and pick up her laptop to try her hand at romance. She believes the most perfect heroes and heroines have imperfections, and she rather enjoys torturing them before crafting them a well deserved happily ever after!Christi makes her home in southern Connecticut where she spends her time writing her own enchanting historical romances, teaching history, and being a full-time wife and mother!
She is the author of “Winning a Lady’s Heart”, “A Season of Hope”, and Book 1 in her Scandalous Seasons series, “Forever Betrothed, Never the Bride”.

You can find her at:

Twitter: @ChristiCaldwell

The Excerpt: (After years spent avoiding his betrothed, Lady Emmaline, Lord Drake encounters her on the streets of London. In search of more information about the woman he’s been betrothed to since he was a young boy, he seeks out his friend, Lord Sinclair)…

Chapter 2
Drake weaved in and out of the tables at White’s. He didn’t return the waves or greetings thrown his way. His gaze was trained on one particular spot in the far corner.
He drew to a halt in front of Lord Sinclair.
“What do you know about Lord Whitmore?” Drake said in the same commanding voice that had served him well during his time in the military.
Lord Sinclair glanced up. He had the distinction of being the one person Drake considered a friend. “Well, good to see you, too. I’ve only been waiting here an hour for your always agreeable company.”
Without preamble, Drake tugged out a chair and sat. Reaching across the table for the opened bottle, he poured himself a glass of whiskey, and took a long sip. He relished the trail the hot liquid burned down his throat.
“Whitmore,” Drake repeated. “What do you know of him?”
Sinclair raised a brow. “My, what a foul mood you’re in.”
“Sinclair?”
“Very well. Other than the fact that he dresses like an ass?”
Drake drummed his fingers along the tabletop. “Don’t state the obvious.”
Sin’s brow furrowed. “Overly fond of the gaming tables and rumored to have a hot temper. Also known as something of a mother’s boy. Why?”
Drake stared into the contents of his drink. “What do you know about Lady Emmaline Fitzhugh?” He looked up when Sin remained silent.
Sin blinked. “Uh-I, do you mean your betrothed?”
Drake waved his hand. “Is there another Lady Emmaline Fitzhugh?”
“Not that I’m aware of,” Sin answered with a tad too much humor.
Drake kicked him under the table.
“Ouch,” Sin muttered. His lips pulled in a tight grimace. “What is that God awful smell?”
“My boots.”
“Why do—”
“Enough about my boots, Sin. What do you know of her?”
“Rather unremarkable. She’s never been considered a diamond of the first waters. She’d hardly an inch beyond five feet and is remarkably un-curved in all the areas a lady should be curved.”
Drake opened his mouth to protest but Sin continued. “Her plain, dull brown coloring has never attracted any notice. Her lips are too full for…”
“Enough,” Drake snapped. He fought back an overwhelming urge to drag his friend across the table and plant him a facer.
Sin frowned. “But I thought you wanted to know about her.”
“I know what she bloody well looks like.” Drake heard the frosty bite to his own tone but couldn’t stifle it. Christ, how could Sin and Society be so very wrong about Emmaline? Her brown hair put him in mind of deep chocolate.  And she had the most interesting dusting of freckles along the tip of her nose. His lips twitched. He’d never known anyone with dark hair to suffer from the blemishes and found it, well, rather endearing. And her lips, too full for fashion’s dictates put Drake in mind of wicked thoughts.
Sin picked up his drink and downed a long, slow swallow. “So then what would you like to know?” He reached for the bottle, poured himself another, and swirled the contents of the glass. “I’m afraid I’m going to have to know more.”
Drake forced himself to take a casual sip. He thought about his chance encounter with Lady Emmaline. Since he’d returned from the Peninsula three years ago, hailed in the papers as some kind of war hero, he’d gone out of his way to avoid his betrothed. He’d been tied to Lady Emmaline for more than half of his life, and yet knew next to nothing about her. As much as he wanted to find out more about the intriguing creature, he was loathe to show any outward interest, even to his friend. Oh, the fun Sin would have at his expense. “I happened to come upon Lady Emmaline this afternoon.”
Sinclair arched a dark brow. “Oh?”
Since the moment Drake had witnessed Emmaline place herself between the old peddler woman and a gentleman’s riding crop, aside from concern for her well-being, he’d been unable to think of anything but his betrothed. Before that moment, if you’d asked him if a lady of Quality would ever risk her own safety for a common woman on the street, he’d have scoffed at the ludicrousness of such a notion. Now, the image of Lady Emmaline, like some kind of warrior princess defending her keep, would be  an image forever emblazoned on his mind.
Drake shifted uncomfortably. “For the last time, what do you know about the lady?”
Sin shrugged. “I don’t know much about her.”
 “Not much? You know next to everything about everyone.”
“I know she’s a wallflower.”
Drake sat back in his chair, flummoxed. “Impossible.” A woman whose eyes could blaze with such life while challenging two men could never be a wallflower. Wallflowers were content to be dull creatures seated on the sidelines, escaping any notice. They were not clever young ladies with cheeky retorts.
Sinclair leaned forward in his chair. “Oh?”
Drake’s skin heated. Good God, he couldn’t be embarrassed. He tugged uncomfortably at his cravat. No, surely it was just that his cravat was too tight. “I had an encounter with Lady Emmaline a short while ago.”
When Sinclair’s brows shot up to his hairline, Drake realized his words could be mistaken for something more lascivious in nature.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” he snapped.
Like a babe looking for a story from his nursemaid, Sin propped his arms on the table and stared at Drake with impatient eyes.
Drake sighed, and then proceeded to recount the events he’d witnessed. When he concluded his story, Sin sat back heavily in his chair, with arms folded across his chest. “Humph.”
“That’s it? Just ‘humph’?”
Sinclair raised one brow. “What would you have me say? Sounds like a rather dangerous thing for the lady to do.”
Discounting the fact that Drake had the very same reaction with Lady Emmaline, he took a long swallow of whiskey. “You are missing the point, Sin.”
“Oh? And what is the point?”
Drake dragged a hand through his hair. Was the point that his betrothed had bewildered him? Or was the point that he hadn’t been able to stop thinking about her since the moment he’d seen her challenging Whitmore and his crony?
The irony wasn’t lost on him. For the past three years, he’d forced thoughts of Lady Emmaline from his mind. He’d ignored the contract between them. If he’d returned from the Peninsula as the same man, fulfilling his duty to her would have been somewhat easier. Not palatable but an obligation he would have fulfilled, nonetheless.
“If you admire her, perhaps you should claim her.”
Drake grunted.
Sin raised his tumbler in mock salute. “I imagine marriage based on mutual admiration is a good deal more than most unions are built from.”
Drake thought about his feisty intended, her eyes sparkling with flashes of defiance and courage, her rose hued lips made for sinning, pursed tight with fury. He silently tacked desire to Sin’s components of a successful marriage.
Drake picked up his glass and drained the remaining contents. At this rate, he’d be drunk before supper. “There is no mutual admiration.”
His friend scoffed. “No? Are you really so modest to believe she couldn’t admire you?”
Drake set his tumbler down hard enough to rattle the table.  “For what? I’m…”
A madman. A monster. A beastIf he were less of a coward he’d come right out and share the truth with Sinclair. Consumed by restive energy, his gaze skimmed the club. Some gentlemen laughed uproariously while others chatted with friends and acquaintances. Once upon a lifetime ago, he’d been at ease around other people, too.
Sin didn’t press his line of questioning, and for that Drake was grateful. Instead, his friend reached for the bottle of whiskey and poured himself another glass. Then, he leaned over and filled Drake’s glass. “I’m assuming it was quite a sight seeing Lady Emmaline challenge a gentleman.” He paused. “As much as one can consider Whitmore a gentleman.”
Drake smiled and toyed with the rim of his glass. “I thought I could no longer be surprised by a woman. I learned otherwise, today.”
“Sounds like marriage to the lady might not be the worst of fates.”
Drake made an impatient sound. “Marriage to me isn’t in her best interest.”
“You are the most honorable man I know,” Sin said.
There it was again. That word he loathed with every fiber of his honorable being. Emmaline had described his actions as honorable, had looked at him as some kind of hero. He managed a half grin for his friend. “That isn’t saying much about the men you know.
Sin shook his head but didn’t press the point. “Sooner or later, you are going to have to do right by the young lady.”
Great. First his father, now his best friend.
But that was the rub of it all. Sin merely spoke the truth. Fact: a betrothal contract had been signed between his family and Emmaline’s. Fact: the young lady was past her twentieth year and required a husband. Fact: Drake just couldn’t bring himself to commit to a wife. He could not subject any woman to the madness that plagued him.
He picked up his glass and rolled it between his fingers, studying the shimmering gold of the brew. The shade reminded him of the glint in her eyes when—he shook his head forcefully. “I need a mistress.”
Sinclair snorted. “You need a wife.”
Drake ignored him. He needed a woman who was safe, a woman who wouldn’t look at him with any kind of adoration, and wouldn’t desire anything from him, other than his prowess in the bedroom. These were the kind of entanglements that were safe, devoid of any emotional connection.
Yet why did the thought of setting up a mistress seem like a chore?
Buy Links:
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 Forever Betrothed Official Cover


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So, What’s Up Everybody?

I’m back from my vacation and may I say once again how much I love California? We saw seals and sea lions, sat in the sun and visited LaLa Land (L.A.) where, of course, we met people who only wanted to talk about NYC and Brooklyn.  Can’t get away from it.

I’m trying to persuade my husband to go to Australia this summer, but its a hard sell.

But I digress. What’s up for the New Year? I have no idea! Still writing, still reading for sure. I can’t stress how much this blog and all the wonderful people I’ve met have come to mean to me every day. I feel as if my day isn’t complete until I see posts and blogs from all of you.

As for me? I’m still writing and looking towards publication. I have my book before several agents now so hopefully something will happen. If not, then I will go another route. But the writing journey continues with several fun projects I have in my brain. I think you all will enjoy reading them.

And as for the reading, well, I haven’t been able to do as much. Being an Avon Addict has been such an amazing experience. Although my time is drawing to a close, the writers and readers I’ve met will stay with me always. We’ve met at Lady Jane’s Salons and have made plans to see one another outside of the reading /writing world. Avon authors happen to be some of my favorites (Lorraine Heath, Tessa Dare, Julia Quinn, Sarah MacLean to name just a few) so it has been the best of all possible worlds for me.

I will say that I have enjoyed reading more contemporary romances this year than last. I’ve discovered some wonderful new authors, like Laura Kaye, Cynthia Sax, and Candis Terry. I still enjoy my paranormals and continue my love affairs with J.R.Ward and Sara Humphreys.

I still love my historicals, I read my first Civil War romance from Cindy Nord, No Greater Glory and LOVED it. Can’t wait for the sequel. I also read Pamela Clare and thought her books were terrific. So I’ can honestly say I’m broadening my reading horizons.

I still love my Dukes though, so when it comes to writing, I don’t think I’ll be straying from 19th Century England any time soon.

Shocked as you may all be, I’ve even delved into erotic romance. Thanks to some of my chapter mates in my RWA-NYC chapter I’ve read some of their books and I’ve even read some M/M contemporary romance. I must say to my surprise, I enjoyed them. When you get down to it, it’s really all about the love story. If it’s well written and you connect with the characters, it doesn’t really matter if the story is about a man and a woman or two men. I have to admit, I haven’t yet read any F/F.

What about you all? Have you read anything outside your comfort zone, something you never thought you’d like but then you tried it and was surprised?

Next week I hope to find another Scandalous Couple..I may have to go back to the Georgian era or ahead to the Victorian. The Regency area is now looking pretty thin!

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