Posted by Anna Campbell Jul 11 2014, 11:25 pm in A Rake's Midnight Kiss, Anna Campbell, Bandita Booty, British editions, Foreign Editions, historical romance, Mills and Boon, Regency romance, Sons of Sin
Thanks to everyone who swung by to wish my British edition of A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS well on its travels. And wow, I want to have afternoon tea with all of you! I’m delighted now to announce the winner of the personalized edition of Rake:
Congratulations, Jessica. Please email me on anna @ annacampbell.info with your snail mail details and I’ll get your book off to you. Happy reading!
Posted by Anna Campbell Jul 10 2014, 12:01 am in A Rake's Midnight Kiss, Anna Campbell, Bandita Booty, Harlequin Mills and Boon, historical romance, new releases, Regency romance, Sons of Sin, UK releases
Well, shiver me timbers!
Except that well bred young British gels don’t say such things.
Unless they’re celebrating a new release in the United Kingdom. My second Sons of Sin book, A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS, is out from Mills and Boon there this month.
I thought I’d celebrate in a truly British way with a wonderful afternoon tea! Not to mention giving a Bandita buddy the chance to win one of these lovely green monsters.
There’s a lovely new blurb too:
‘I’ll soften her up with a bit of flirtation, a few weeks of masculine attention, then leave her with a smile and the jewel in my pocket.’
Tired of rumours of his mother’s sin, of being the Harmsworth bastard, indolent rake Sir Richard Harmsworth decides to hunt down the jewel that will confirm his claim as the rightful heir. But the quest isn’t as easy as he expects…
The Harmsworth Jewel’s custodian is scholarly virgin Genevieve Barrett and the treasure is coveted by others as well as Sir Richard. Genevieve won’t part with the jewel easily – his only option is to seduce it from her.
Frustratingly, deceiving the innocent beauty is much tougher on his conscience than he ever imagined…
If you’re in the U.K., you can buy this gorgeous emerald beauty at all good booksellers, including:
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rakes-Midnight-Mills-Special-Releases-ebook/dp/B00JXN2TOA/ref=pd_sim_kinc_4?ie=UTF8&refRID=0P8V7W62BQ643QQPC43R
The Book Depository: http://www.bookdepository.com/Rakes-Midnight-Kiss-Anna-Campbell/9780263246537
W.H. Smith: http://www.whsmith.co.uk/products/a-rakes-midnight-kiss-mills-and-boon-special-releases-new-edition/product/9780263246537
You can read an excerpt here: http://annacampbell.info/rakeskiss.html
I hope you’ve noticed that I’ve baked and got out the good china for your visit! Only the best for my Banditas and Bandita Buddies. The white and gold set was my mother’s Royal Doulton. It’s a pattern called Richelieu and I love it to death (despite its complete lack of suitability for a dishwasher!). The blue and gold set was a present to me from my godfather who used to work for Doulton back in the early 1960s. Isn’t it spectacular? My mother was crazy about good English china and she passed the obsession on to me. These two sets are both very cherished possessions!
So let’s launch this green baby with a lovely English afternoon tea. What are your preferred afternoon tea treats? Share your fave sweet morsels and you’ll be in the draw to receive the U.K. edition of A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS (hmm, that sounds like a sweet morsel too!), international!
Posted by Anna Campbell Jul 7 2014, 12:03 am in Anna Campbell, Australian Authors, Breaking the Bro Code, contemporary romance, Debut authors, Entangled Publishing, Harlequin Mills and Boon, interviews, Kiss, Mills and Boon, Only the Brave Try Ballet, Stefanie London, The Rules According to Gracie
Oh, we do love a debut author in the lair!
I first met the delightful Stefanie London at a Melbourne Romance Writers Guild retreat in May 2013 on the coast just outside Melbourne. Annie West and I ran a half-day workshop on characterization. I was immediately impressed with Stef’s talent and professional approach to a writing career. At that stage, she’d received encouraging responses to her submissions to Harlequin Mills and Boon and I wasn’t at all surprised when shortly afterwards, Stef went public with the news that she’d had a book accepted in the KISS line.
Here’s the blurb for her first book, ONLY THE BRAVE TRY BALLET:
Step up, Grant Farley…not your typical ballet student!
Football pro Grant Farley is nursing an injury and needs to get back into shape—fast. Ballet wouldn’t be his first or even his last choice, but he’s desperate. Enter tantalizingly prim teacher Jasmine Bell—one disapproving arch of her eyebrow and Grant knows he’ll enjoy getting her tutu in a flutter!
But it’s not only Grant’s flexibility that Jasmine’s pushing to the limit! He knows she feels the heat between them, so why won’t she give in to it? Time to convince Jasmine that if she’s brave enough to dance en pointe she can certainly handle a fling with him!
ONLY THE BRAVE TRY BALLET is a July release in North America, the United Kingdom and Australia.
You can find out more about Stefanie and her sparkling romances at her website: http://stefanie-london.com/
Stef, welcome to the lair! Firstly, can you please tell us about your debut for Harlequin Mills and Boon, ONLY THE BRAVE TRY BALLET?
ONLY THE BRAVE TRY BALLET is a story about two people who’ve worked hard at their dream, only to have it crumble around them. Jasmine Bell is a former professional ballerina who can no longer dance en pointe and Grant Farley is an AFL player trying to shake off his wild-child past. On the surface they seem like complete opposites, but deep down they’re both passionate, hard-working people who find it difficult to trust. They have to learn what it means to be brave in order to regain passion in their lives.
Sounds yummy! What were the inspirations behind this book?
Well, I always wanted to be a ballerina when I was growing up and I studied it for over ten years. But the idea actually sparked when I read an article about football players who took ballet lessons to improve flexibility and prevent injuries. I wondered how they would feel (as professional athletes used to being at the top of their game) being plunged into a completely foreign activity. Would they fight against it? Would they grow from the experience and learn to appreciate what an art ballet is? Our hero, Grant, experiences the frustrations of many new ballet students: sore calves, steps that seem impossible, a lack of balance. Luckily for Grant, his ballet teacher is right there to help him every step of the way.
What is coming up for Stefanie London?
In October my second book with Harlequin Mills & Boon will be out. BREAKING THE BRO CODE is linked to my debut. This time it’s Elise Johnson, the owner of the ballet studio, who’s mixing business and pleasure.
I’m also making an exciting personal move. My husband and I are setting off to live in Canada, which is a long way from home in Melbourne! But we’re very excited at the prospect of being able to travel and explore what looks to be an absolutely beautiful country.
Good luck with the move! By the way, Stef is centre front in the picture from the retreat to the left. Stef, we love call stories in the lair. Can you please give us yours?
Absolutely! ONLY THE BRAVE TRY BALLET is the first book I’ve ever written, so I really had no idea how to submit a manuscript or get published. Luckily, I found a competition online which was being run by the wonderful editors of Harlequin KISS. They wanted entrants to pitch their story in a single paragraph, no easy task!
While my pitch wasn’t selected as a winner, the editors were interested in the premise and wanted to see my manuscript. I was so excited that I accidentally deleted the email and had to trawl through my trash file to find it again! I sent my manuscript off, not thinking it would go anywhere, and after three rounds of revisions (and about eight months) I got a call from the Mills & Boon office in London with an offer of a two book contract. I actually cried when I got off the phone, I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited in my whole life.
Congratulations! Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
There’s so many wonderful pieces of advice that I’ve come across, but these are my top three:
- Get a support network – writing is tough, it takes a lot of time and sometimes it makes you crazy. You need people around you who will help when things aren’t going well and who will cheer when you do something great.
– Read, read, read – it seems obvious, but it’s so true. Read far and wide, devour your genre like you’ve discovered it for the first time, read outside your genre, read non-fiction. Reading helps to refill the ‘creative well’ and I always write better when I’m reading regularly.
– Look for opportunities – I owe my success to a writing competition, these are a great way to get your work discovered. Getting a request from an editor means skipping the slush pile. Also, look out for editors on Twitter and Facebook, they often write about the things they’re looking for in submission.
That’s great advice, Stef. Do you have a question for the Bandits and Bandita Buddies to get conversation rolling?
Part of writing ONLY THE BRAVE TRY BALLET was fulfilling my childhood dream of being a ballerina. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
Stef has very generously offered a print copy of ONLY THE BRAVE TRY BALLET (international) for a commenter today. So good luck, people!
Posted by Anna Campbell Jul 3 2014, 12:02 am in Anna Campbell, contemporary romance, Cosmo Hot Reads, Harlequin, Harlequin Presents, interviews, Maybe This Christmas, O'Neil Brothers, Sarah Morgan, Sleigh Bells in the Snow, Suddenly Last Summer, writer's life
I’m delighted to welcome back to the lair multi-award winning (including two RITAs!) and bestselling author Sarah Morgan who is here to tell us about SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER, the next book in her wonderful O’Neil Brothers series.
SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER recently received a Top Pick review from RT Book Reviews, who said, “Morgan’s romantic page-turner will thrill readers…The chemistry between the misunderstood hero and the victimized heroine is combustible. Morgan’s handling of social and environmental issues impresses, her storytelling rocks and her lovemaking sizzles. Brava!”
Here’s the blurb:
Fiery French chef Élise Philippe is having a seriously bad day. Not only have the opening day plans for her beloved café fallen apart, but Sean O’Neil is back in town, and looking more delectable than ever. Last summer, they shared an electrifying night together…and the memories have Élise really struggling to stick to her one-night-only rule! Her head knows that eventually Sean will be leaving, so all she can do is try to ignore her heart before she spontaneously combusts with lust.
Being back in Vermont—even temporarily—is surgeon Sean O’Neil’s worst nightmare. For Sean, returning home to the Snow Crystal Resort means being forced to confront the guilt he feels about rejecting his family’s rural lifestyle years ago. But discovering that Élise has settled in Vermont and still sets his blood racing is a very welcome distraction! Thinking he can persuade her into a replay of last summer is tempting, but remembering how good they are together is going to make walking away more difficult than he could imagine….
You can find out more about Sarah and her fantabulous books on her website: http://sarahmorgan.com/
Sarah, I absolutely loved your 2013 Christmas book, SLEIGH BELLS IN THE SNOW. And now we’ve got the sequel to delight us, SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER. Can you tell us about this story?
SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER is Sean O’Neil’s story. Sean is a talented surgeon, totally committed to his career. He is forging his own path and much as he loves his family, he doesn’t want to be involved in the family business at Snow Crystal, Vermont. But events conspire to bring him back home for a short time and he’s forced to confront his feelings about the place, as well as his feelings for Élise, the fiery French chef with whom he spent one steamy night the previous summer.
Sean and Élise are both strong, passionate people. They have great chemistry, but neither of them is looking for a relationship and they think they have their feelings under control. They are so wrong! These two were meant to be together, but it takes a whirlwind ride of passion and emotion before they realize it themselves. I had so much fun with this book!
Ooh, sounds delicious! What were the inspirations behind this book?
I always enjoy writing about characters who have an intense relationship history. In Sean and Élise’s case it was brief, but it left a lasting impact on both of them. I wanted to explore how two guarded, very independent people manage to lower their barriers enough to embark on a relationship, but I also wanted to look at how family pressure had impacted on Sean.
The resort of Snow Crystal has been in the family for four generations and there has been a huge amount of pressure on all three brothers to play a role in the business. Sean in particular carries a lot of guilt about rejecting the family lifestyle. I wanted to explore how someone with a different life goal, in Sean’s case to be a surgeon, might respond to that pressure and how he eventually reconciles his loyalty to his family with his own needs and ambitions.
In Élise’s case, she has history that has made her very wary of romantic relationships. She doesn’t trust her feelings and Sean has to work hard to help her overcome her understandable reluctance to expose her heart.
What’s coming up next for the O’Neil brothers?
The final book in the series, MAYBE THIS CHRISTMAS, will be out in October. Right from the start of this series I was excited about writing Tyler’s story, probably because he’s the bad boy and we all love a reformed bad boy. Since the injury that ended his career as a medal winning downhill skier, Tyler has been helping with the family business. He’s also a single father, raising his teenage daughter Jess, a situation that brings its own challenges for a man used to putting himself first. He’s had plenty of relationships but only one friendship, and that’s with Brenna who he has known since childhood. Brenna’s feelings go way beyond friendship but she doesn’t think Tyler sees her that way.
Tyler’s story is a romance, but it also explores love in its widest sense and what it means to be a father, a son, a brother, a lover and a friend. I can’t wait to see this story on the shelves!
Hurry up, October! What were the challenges and/or pleasures of writing a trilogy of three single-title length romances? Do you know anything now that you wish you’d known before you started?
I’d wanted to write a single title contemporary romance series for a long time so being given that opportunity was very exciting for me. The pleasure was in having the extra space to enable me to explore the characters in greater depth. When I’m writing Harlequin Presents the focus is very much on the hero and heroine. It’s like taking a close up shot with a camera. You focus on the couple and no one else. With single title you have a wide-angle view, so you see the couple in the context of the world around them. You see how they relate not only to each other, but to other people. I enjoyed exploring those extra layers of complexity.
One of the main challenges was to remember that I had the space of three books to tell the overall story and didn’t need to cram it all into the first chapter! I wanted the focus to be three brothers, but I also wanted to explore the complexity of being part of a big, loving family.
As you know, I’m a huge fan of your Harlequin Mills and Boon Presents stories. Do you have any plans to write more?
I do! In fact I’m working on one at the moment. It’s set in Greece and will be loosely linked to my next single title series, which will be out in 2015. I’m very excited about it. I love the emotional intensity of Presents, and of course it’s always fun to add in the glamour and sophistication that is part of that line.
You’ve written a couple of Cosmo Red-Hot Reads (RIPPED and BURNED). Was it a challenge writing short and super hot? Any plans to write more?
Last year I had the opportunity to write single titles that were 100,000 words and novellas of 30,000 and I really enjoyed the challenge presented by the different length of story. The Cosmo Red Hot reads are a very intense, short read and, yes, they are super hot! My books are always quite sexy so I simply stepped it up a notch!
I don’t have plans to write more at the moment, but I wouldn’t rule it out because I had so much fun writing them. My next big focus is my new contemporary series for HQN. I’ll be revealing more about that over the summer. I do enjoy variety and I find it good for creativity to move between projects of different lengths. Learning to write short and tight is a good skill for any writer.
You’re so prolific and your books are of such a consistently high quality. Interested parties (well, me!) want to know your secrets. Do you have any time management techniques that really work for you?
I put the writing first. There are so many distractions in this job. A writer could spend all day on different social networking sites. I do use Facebook and Twitter and I find them excellent ways of communicating with readers and also making professional connections, but I try and limit the time I spend. All writers struggle with the balance between promotion and writing, but I always try and remember that without the book I won’t have anything to promote so I make writing the book a priority. I do tend to write every day. If I take time off away from the story it’s harder to get back into the flow.
Sarah, thanks for such a great interview. Do you have a question for the Banditas and Bandita Buddies to get the conversation going?
SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER is set in the beautiful lakes and mountains of Vermont. Where is your ideal summer destination?
I love mountains and water and my ideal summer destination would involve both those things, so Vermont would definitely be right at the top of my list. Last summer we had a family holiday in Crete, which is very mountainous and also has fabulous beaches. I have two sons and our happiest vacations involve plenty of outdoor activity because boys need to be kept busy!
Sarah is giving away a print copy of SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER (international) to one lucky commenter today. So get commenting, people. Good luck!
Posted by Anna Campbell Jul 1 2014, 12:01 am in Anna Campbell, Exclusive Excerpts, Grand Central Forever, historical romance, Regency romance, Sons of Sin, What a Duke Dares
I’ve just posted the first few pages of WHAT A DUKE DARES (26th August 2014, Grand Central Forever) in the Members Only section of the website.
Want an exclusive sneak peek at my next release? Swing by the Members Den.
Not a member? Why on earth not? It’s really easy to sign up. Just click the Members Den button on the toolbar above and follow the prompts.
It’s great to be a member. Not only do you get exclusive excerpts like this one from WHAT A DUKE DARES. You also get our fun monthly newsletter, access to exclusive interviews and other content, and a chance at special prizes.
Sign up or be square!
Posted by Anna Campbell Jul 1 2014, 12:00 am in Anna Campbell, historical romance, Sons of Sin, What a Duke Dares
Just for the Bandita Buddies, an exclusive peek at my 26th August release, WHAT A DUKE DARES! You can read another excerpt on my website here: http://annacampbell.info/dukedares.html
Houghton Park, Lincolnshire, May 1819
Every young lady dreamed of a proposal from the heir to a dukedom. Especially when the heir was rich, feted, in possession of his wits, and still young enough to have all his teeth.
Every young lady except, apparently, Penelope Thorne.
From the center of her father’s library, Camden Rothermere, Marquess of Pembridge, eyed the girl he’d known from the cradle and wondered where the hell he’d slipped up. He straightened and summoned a smile, struggling to bridge the awkward silence extending between them.
Damn it. He never felt awkward with Pen Thorne. Until now. Until he’d spoken the fatal words.
Until, instead of radiating delight at the prospect of marrying him, Pen’s black eyes sparked with the rebellious light that always boded trouble.
“Why?” It wasn’t the first time this afternoon that she’d asked him the question.
Stupidly he couldn’t summon an adequate answer. He’d blundered into this halfcocked. It was his own fault. Knowing Pen as he did, he should have prepared a comprehensive list of reasons for their marriage before broaching the subject.
Right now, he wished he’d never broached the subject at all. But it was too late to retreat, or too late if he hoped to salvage a shred of self-respect from this dashed uncomfortable encounter.
“Devil take you, Pen, I like you,” he said impatiently. Despite her inexplicable and irritating behavior today, it was true. There wasn’t a girl alive that he liked so much as the chit currently regarding him as if he’d crawled out of a hole in the ground.
He knew her better than any other girl too, even his sister Lydia. Through their childhood, he’d rescued Pen from a thousand scrapes. She’d been a hellion, riding the wildest horses in her father’s stables, climbing the tallest trees in the park, throwing herself into brawls to defend a friend or mistreated animal. Cam had long admired her spirit, loyalty, and courage.
Those were qualities he wanted in his duchess. And if she needed some guidance in deportment, he was perfectly prepared to teach her proper behavior. She was a Thorne and Thornes weren’t renowned for their prudence, but while Pen might be impulsive, she was intelligent. Once she’d become the Duchess of Sedgemoor, he was sure she’d settle down.
Or he had been, until her unenthusiastic response to his proposal.
“I like you too,” she said steadily, regarding him with unwavering attention.
Cam wondered why her admission didn’t reassure. Inhaling deeply, he strove for forbearance. “Well, there you have it, then.”
That bitter note in her laugh was unfamiliar. He could hardly believe it, but the possibility of failure hovered. Pen was clever, determined, headstrong—he’d get that out of her soon enough—and stubbornly inclined to take a positive view of events. Or at least so he’d believed until today.
He’d also believed that she’d leap at the chance to marry him.
Clearly he’d been wrong.
He wasn’t used to being wrong. Confound her, he didn’t like it.
Her voice remained curiously flat. “I’m sorry, Cam. ‘There you have it, then’ won’t pass muster. You’ll need to do better than that.”
From where she stood before the high mullioned window, she studied him much like a schoolmistress surveyed an unpromising student. He only just resisted the urge to run a finger under his unaccountably tight neckcloth.
Good God, this was Pen. She wasn’t a female who put a man through hoops before she fell into harness. She’d never demand more than he could give. She’d never subject a fellow to emotional storms. She’d never lie and cheat and betray.
She was the absolute opposite of his late mother, in fact.
Cam was unaccustomed to feeling like a blockhead, especially with the fairer sex. By nature he wasn’t a vain man, but he’d anticipated a better reaction to his proposal. Pen’s father Lord Wilmott had been in alt to hear that his daughter would become a duchess.
Most definitely, Pen was not in alt.
And she bloody well should be. After all, she was a mere baron’s daughter—and a ramshackle baron at that—while Cam was heir to the nation’s richest dukedom.
The Thornes were an old family, but had always had a justified reputation for trouble. In times of political unrest, they backed the wrong side. If they managed to lay their hands on any money, they lost it, usually in some disreputable pursuit. “Wine, women and song” should be the family motto instead of the much more staid and highly inappropriate “steadfast and faithful.”
The previous generation had spawned a handful of eccentrics, including an uncle who had married his housekeeper. Bigamously as it had turned out. Lord Wilmott had squandered his wife’s dowry on a succession of greedy strumpets. Pen’s aunt ran with a dissolute crowd on the Continent. Peter, Cam’s friend and the current heir, was devoted to the gaming tables and disastrous investments. If Cam’s mother hadn’t been great friends with Lady Wilmott, the families would have had little contact.
What made Pen’s tepid response to Cam’s suit even harder to understand was that she’d always worshipped the ground he walked on. Was he a fool to presume on childhood adoration?
A horrible suspicion struck him. Was he presuming on far too much? Despite his parents’ scandalous behavior and the gossip about his legitimacy, the ton lionized Cam as the future Duke of Sedgemoor. Had endless flattery turned him into a self-satisfied ass?
If Pen thought him insufferably arrogant, no wonder his proposal hadn’t bowled her over. He sighed with self-disgust and impatiently ran his hand through his hair. “I’m making a dashed mess of this, aren’t I?”
Pen’s slender body lost its rigidity as a wry smile curved her lips. Lips, he reluctantly noticed, that were pink and full and lusciously kissable.
As shock shuddered through him, he wondered why he’d never noticed before. Pen had been such a constant in his life that he hadn’t taken the time to mark how she’d changed.
Still unwilling to admit that Pen wasn’t the girl he remembered, he looked more closely. To his dismay, the coltish adolescent hovered on the brink of becoming a true beauty. Even more dismaying, he felt the unwelcome, unmistakable prickle of desire.
“Yes, you are. But it’s not totally your fault.” With a grace he hadn’t seen in her before, she gestured toward the leather chairs ranged around the unlit hearth. “Sit down, for heaven’s sake, and stop looming over me.”
Actually he wasn’t looming, although with his height, he loomed over most people. Pen had always been a long Meg, closer to a boy than a girl in his mind. But in this discomfiting instant, when for the first time he saw more than his friend Peter’s occasionally annoying younger sister, there was nothing boyish about Miss Penelope Thorne.
Since he’d last seen her—and for the life of him, he couldn’t recall when that had been, such an ardent suitor he was—she’d grown up. The thin body had gained subtle but fascinating curves. The vivid, pointed face that had always seemed too small for her decisive features had refined into striking attraction. When had she tamed her tangled mane of hair into those gleaming ebony coils?
Apprehension tasted sour on his tongue. God help him, this new Penelope was a bloody disaster. He narrowed his eyes on the siren who had mysteriously supplanted a hoyden as daring as any of his male friends. And saw that she was blossoming into a woman who made men stupid.
Categorically he didn’t want to marry a woman who made men stupid, the way his mother had made his father stupid.
Posted by Anna Campbell Jun 10 2014, 12:02 am in Anna Campbell, ARCs, Bandita Booty, Claiming the Courtesan, Dukes, Eloisa James, Georgette Heyer, historical romance, Judith McNaught, Laura Lee Guhrke, Regency romance, Sons of Sin, What a Duke Dares
I’m getting mighty excited. It’s only a bit over two months until the release of WHAT A DUKE DARES, my third Sons of Sin historical romance. Duke is out 26th August and I just can’t wait!
Asking an author to pick their favorite out of their books is like asking a parent to pick their favorite child. But I have to say that I just love Camden Rothermere, the Duke of Sedgemoor, and Penelope Thorne, his wayward bride. I hope you will too.
In fact, today someone gets the chance to win an advance look at Duke because I’m giving away an ARC (international). I think it’s worth winning for that beautiful red cover alone! Details of the giveaway are at the end of the post, but basically leave a comment and you’re in the draw.
This month on my website, I put up the excerpt from the book too. I never like that to go up too early because it can feel a bit stale to people who check back often.
You can find it at: http://annacampbell.info/dukedares.html
This excerpt is the lead-up to the first kiss. That’s always one of my favorite scenes in a romance novel, whether I’ve written it or not. By the time they sleep together,things are pretty much on the way. But the first kiss has that delicious uncertainty about it. And it’s the moment when the hero and heroine have to admit that their desire for one another outweighs any of their usually perfectly valid misgivings about getting involved with the other person. Sigh.
Dukes are da biz in historical romance. Did you know that? They’re the equivalent of the billionaire and the vampire king. Duke is the highest ranking English title under royalty. He’s the top of the tree, the king of the beasts (although Cam, unlike some of my heroes isn’t at all beastly). If you scan the shelves of the bookshops, you’ll see dukes to the left of them, dukes to the right of them.
People who want to be snide often point out that there were only ever a handful of dukes in the real world, fewer if you discount the children of the king who were often given a duke’s title as a courtesy. But this is historical romance and we want the top dog for our heroines. Not to mention that Julia Quinn world is different from Eloisa James world and from Anna Campbell world, so none of these dukes actually get to meet each other in the same room!
I’ve only written one duke before, the Duke of Kylemore in my debut CLAIMING THE COURTESAN. He was a much crankier fellow than Cam, although he was no less ducal! I counted up my guys and so far, I’ve had a knight, a baronet, a viscount, two earls and two marquesses in the novels, and two earls and a mere mister in the novellas. So earls are definitely way ahead in the Campbell stakes.
I’ve read a lot of dukes in my years of devouring historical romance. Laura Lee Guhrke has done a couple of humdingers (humdukers?) and so has our very own Bandita Christina Brooke. Don’t miss her THE DANGEROUS DUKE (in her Christine Wells persona) or A DUCHESS TO REMEMBER.
A couple of favorites from older reads are the Duke of Claymore from Judith McNaught’s classic WHITNEY, MY LOVE. It’s a long time since I read this one but I read it so often back in the day, I still remember it well.
And there’s no getting away from Georgette Heyer’s wonderful dukes. The two I’ve singled out today are the Duke of Avon from THESE OLD SHADES and the Duke of Salford in SYLVESTER. Both are undoubtedly alpha dogs and both find themselves turned completely upside down when they fall in love with the last woman they ever expected to capture their heart. It’s always fun when you write a duke to bring him down a peg or two!
So do you have a favorite duke in a historical romance? Have you read any of the books I’ve mentioned in today’s post? What did you think? Is there something that puts a duke in a class of his own when it comes to playing the hero in a romance?
As promised, I have an ARC of WHAT A DUKE DARES up for grabs today. Just leave a comment to be in the draw. Giveaway is international!