Waking Up with a Rake

Claim your Rake now!

My newsletter has been upgraded and subscribers were asked to confirm their desire to receive periodic notes from me. Thank you to all who renewed! Now I get to share the 10 winners of Waking Up with a Rake, Book 1 in the Royal Rakes series.

Congratulations to …

Well, now I have a conundrum because I didn’t get permission to post anyone’s email and unfortunately, that’s all I have of my subscribers at present. However, rest assured that 10 of you are going to receive an email from me, asking you to confirm your name and mailing address so I can ship your Rake to you. I’ll also be asking for permission to share your first name and town for a future blog post.

In the meantime, it’s nearly time for One Night with a Rake, Book 2 in the Royal Rakes series. This story is already getting rave reviews!

from ImagineAWorld~My Rating: 5/5

“Lovely! One Night with a Rake is a wonderful historical romance, a perfect addition to the Royal Rakes series!”

“Georgette is a wonderful heroine. She’s strong and clever and extremely determined. Which tends to get her into trouble, not the least of which is going to the seediest areas of London to rescue a prostitute without any way to protect herself. I like that she’s so intent on helping others-even if she does get herself into trouble while trying to help. Regardless, she is a lovely character.”

One Night with a Rake

Click to pre-order!

“Nate is brilliant. He’s an honorable man at heart and it’s very clear that he doesn’t want to have to ruin Georgette. I love that he is such a noble gentleman, even in this most odd of situations. He is a perfect hero-sweet, strong, protective, honorable. I adore him.”

“The romance between Georgette and Nate is so sweet. Despite the obstacles in their way, they are clearly a perfect couple from the start. And there is a nice helping of spice to go along with them.”

“The plot is well-paced and I was hooked throughout the entire book. There are thrills to be had-mostly because of Georgette’s impulsiveness. And the ending is wonderful. I can’t wait to find out what happens with the third royal rake, Jonah, in the next book-Between a Rake and a Hard Place.”

“One Night with a Rake is a top notch historical romance. Romance lovers, you have to read this book!”

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I’ve already heard from several readers who pre-ordered One Night with a Rake and they’ve received their books already. I hope you’ll pop over and claim yours today!

And make sure you don’t miss out on the next giveaway exclusively for my newsletter subscribers! Sign up today to stay connected.

 

Romance ScrapbookI just returned from the Romantic Times Convention in Kansas City. It was a fun, frenetic week of workshops, parties, and best of all, connecting with readers. I was so tickled to see Waking Up with a Rake in this reader’s scrapbook. Believe me, the readers who come to RT know their romance. They follow their favorites and are always on the hunt for new ones.

Dressing the HeroSo one of the ways I reached out to readers was to join with Shana Galen, Monica Burns, and Heather Snow to do an UNDRESSING THE HERO workshop. Now, we weren’t really able to undress our cover model volunteer, but we did play a fun game. Readers had to tape the name of the article of clothing onto the appropriate place on Scott (a cover model who’s a firefighter for his day job.) He was a great sport about it and also played each of our heroes by acting out a scene from our books that revealed our hero’s vulnerable underbelly.

The scene I chose was the wedding scene from Waking up with a Rake because Rhys admits all the things he can’t offer Olivia. I read the Blacksmith’s part and we had a volunteer from the audience to play the heroine. Here’s the scene in script form:

Blacksmith: “This anvil has wrought many needful things for the making of a prosperous home. So may this marriage provide needful things for the happy couple— enough so they know no want, yet not so much that they forget to share. And may they never forget the most needful thing is love. And that’s the end of me speechifying. Now make yer vows.” 

Rhys: “Aren’t you going to lead us?”

Blacksmith: “How should I know what ye intend to promise the lady? I’m no’ a real priest, ye ken. Speak but the words in yer heart, man, and I’ll pronounce ye marrit when the pair o’ ye reach an end of yer jawin’.”

Rhys: “Are you sure this is legal?”

Blacksmith: “Oh, aye. Folk been marryin’ this way in these parts since the Flood. Once ye leave the presence o’ the anvil, ye’ll be marrit before God and man.”

Rhys: “Olivia, I have nothing you could want. No fortune compared to the one you’re leaving in your father’s house. No title. Come to think of it, I can’t even offer you a good name because I’ve soiled mine rather badly up to this point. So all I can offer you is myself and hope it’s enough. I’ll try mightily not to shame you with bad behavior, though you know as well as I, I’ve had little practice with good. I’ll provide for your comfort as best I can and protect you as long as I have a beating heart. I’ll stand by you, in sickness or in health. I’ll love you with my body and honor you with all that is in me. And if by some miracle we reach old age together, I’ll sit beside you as the shadows fall and hold your hand, until we are dust. These things I vow. Am I enough?”

Olivia: “Oh, yes, Rhys. You’re enough.”

Blacksmith: “Weel, then, that’s grand, isn’t it? I now pronounce— ”

Rhys: “Wait a moment. Isn’t she supposed to make a vow to me?”

Blacksmith: “The lass consented to marry ye, did she no’? After that list of what ye dinna have, I’m thinkin’ a canny man might be wantin’ me to hurry things along lest she change her mind. If ye’re still desirous of a promise from her, I’ll help ye, but let’s make it quick before she has a bit of a think about things. Tell me, lass. According to the laws of God and man, will ye be a good and faithful wife to this undeserving wretch of a man?”

Rhys: “That’s helping?”

Blacksmith: “Whist, man. Let the lass answer.”

Olivia: “Yes, I’ll be his good and faithful wife.” 

Blacksmith: “Then the necessaries having been satisfied— trust me, man. Her vow, simple as it is, will stand ye in good stead. Women have more sense about the doing part of being marrit than men do. She’ll do ye proud, I’ll be bound. Where was I? Oh, aye, I now pronounce ye man and wife. Now ye can kiss yer bride. (At this point, Scott dipped our volunteer into a romantic kiss!) Easy, man. Save a trifling for the weddin’ night.”

Waking Up with a Rake

One Night with a RakeThe readers seemed to really enjoy this workshop and one came up to me later and said she remembered my scene from when she read Waking Up with a Rake when it came out last January. Sarah from Arizona made my day.

Writing something that sticks with a reader after the last page is turned is always my goal. It’s very gratifying when I manage to do it.

What book has stuck with you long after “the end?”

 

A hero doesn’t do unheroic things. That’s a given in the romance world. However, my co-author Connie Mason and I decided to walk a razor-thin line in order to bring our Royal Rakes series to life. In WAKING UP WITH A RAKE, Lord Rhys Warrington agrees to seduce and ruin Olivia Symon, an heiress who’s captured the attention of the Duke of Clarence.

Setting out to steal a maidenhead in such a mercenary fashion is despicable. Certainly not heroic. But Rhys agrees to such a plan for a compelling reason. Enter the villain, the Honorable Fortescue Alcock, a member of parliament who’s intent on thwarting the royal duke’s plan to wed and then father the child who will one day wear the crown. Alcock threatens Rhys with an iron-clad scandal that will ruin his family if he doesn’t step in and seduce Olivia out from under the duke’s royal nose.

So to protect those he loves, Rhys reluctantly agrees to do Alcock’s bidding, but he’s deeply conflicted by the whole situation. When someone makes an attempt on Olivia’s life, he becomes determined to protect her. In fact, once he gets to know and admire Olivia, he’s so confused, even his usually rakish body won’t obey his heart’s demands.

Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 19 of WAKING UP WITH A RAKE:

“Rhys, what’s wrong?”

He didn’t answer. Instead he strode across the room and retrieved his discarded trousers. Keeping his back to her, he stepped into them and tugged them up.

Olivia climbed out of bed, letting the hem of her nightrail billow to the floor. Her shaking fingers fumbling with the buttons, she did up the front of her shift as she followed after him. She might not have much sensual experience, but even she knew something had gone horribly wrong.

“What just happened?” she asked in bewilderment. One moment he was making the sweetest love to her and the next he was flying across the room trying to put as much distance as possible between them.

“What do you think happened?” He sat in one of the wing chairs and struggled to pull on his boots. “I saved you from a very stupid mistake. Honestly Olivia, if you hope to be a queen one day, you really ought to use better judgment.”

She flinched as though he’d slapped her. He hadn’t meant any of it. The whole thing was some elaborate test, which she’d obviously failed. “But I thought—”

“That this was something other than a lesson from a libertine?” He pulled on his shirt and fastened it up at a blistering pace. “Where the devil did that button you tore off get to?”

She stared at him in disbelief. Her world was imploding and he was looking for a benighted button.

“Ah!” He found the lost button near the hearth and pocketed it. As he retied his cravat, he cast her a cynical look. “Close your mouth, Olivia. It makes you look like a cod. Surely you’re not that surprised.”

She couldn’t have been more so if he’d told her he planned to sprout wings and fly out her window. Everything had felt so real.

“Haven’t you any idea how close you were to ruin? You really are a silly little twit, aren’t you? I confess I thought you brighter than that.”

The way her stomach roiled, she feared she might be sick. But that would only mean further mortification before a man who’d seen her soul-naked, who’d used her for his own twisted purposes and now laughed at her. She couldn’t bear more. She swallowed back the rising bile and straightened to her full height.

“Get out of my room.”

“I would do so with pleasure, Miss Symon.” He retrieved his cufflinks from her vanity and reattached them at his wrists. “Nevertheless we have a small matter with which to contend. May I remind you there is still someone trying to do you harm?”

“More harm than you, you mean.”

“Yes, more harm than me,” he said testily, shrugging into his waistcoat and jacket.

“Since you think I’m a silly little twit, I have to wonder why should you care?” Nothing. What they shared in her bed meant nothing to him. She glared at him, taking refuge behind rage to avoid nausea. “With a reputation like yours, what’s another stain more or less?”

He clasped a mocking hand to his chest as though she’d sent a dart into it. “There’s a sting. Good. I was afraid you might turn into a weepy little puddle. But however you might feel about me at present, remember there is someone out there who seeks to do you ill. Until we discover who that person is, you’re stuck with me in your bedchamber by night.”

She whirled around and stomped back to the bed, trailing her dignity behind her like tattered wings. “Stay away from me, Rhys Warrington.”

“As you wish, milady,” he said with false amiability as he settled into one of the wing chairs and propped his long legs up on the other.

She climbed into bed and pulled the covers to her chin, biting back the sob that threatened to tear from her throat.

But that didn’t stop the tears from coursing silently down her cheeks. Her heart hurt, pounding erratically. She’d nearly been dashed to pieces in that ravine, but she hadn’t felt as close to death then as she did now, lying in the dark with her chest threatening to break open.

She replayed the interlude with Rhys in her mind, the intimate things he’d done with her, to her, the way she’d given herself over to him. How could he run so hot and then so cold? What had she done wrong?

Then she realized she hadn’t done anything. He was the one who failed to do something. Now that she thought about it, she realized in the final moments of their loving his glorious thing had suddenly become inexplicably much less glorious.

There’d been a stallion like that at Barrowdell once. Mr. Thatcher tried every trick he could to interest the horse in a mare that was in season, but for some unknown reason, the stallion wouldn’t mount. In the end, it was gelded and sold and as far as Olivia knew was still pulling a hackney cab around the cobbled streets of London.

An image of Rhys hauling around a cab with a bit between his teeth made her stop crying for a bit.

But men were not stallions. Rhys simply must not have wanted her after all and couldn’t pretend he did for another second.

Shame burned her cheeks, and she buried her face in her pillow.

END OF EXCERPT

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Hope you enjoyed the excerpt from WAKING UP WITH A RAKE. There have been other books where the hero did things that seemed unheroic at the time. I remember being horrified when, in Diana Gabaldon’s OUTLANDER, Jamie beat Claire. It seemed a violation of everything we expect in a hero and yet . . . Gabaldon made it work somehow.

Have you read any books that pushed the hero’s envelope? What absolute no-no would put a hero beyond the pale for you?