Labor Day Giveaway!

My guest today is my fellow Sourcebooks author, Shana Galen. She was a mild-mannered English teacher, but now writes full time.  Her newest release, LORD AND LADY SPY, was a Publishers Weekly Top Ten Pick for Fall. I know you’re going to enjoy getting to know her and be sure to leave a comment for a chance to win a free read from Shana or one of my backlist!

Shana Galen’s Romance Novel Challenge

A few months ago, I was watching a Food Network Challenge, wherein the chefs had to design cakes to reflect a romance novel. You probably saw it too. If you missed it, no worries. You didn’t miss much.

Midway through the show, I was struck with panic when one judge chided a contestant for having a married couple in her romance novel. Apparently married couples can’t be the hero and heroine of a romance novel.

I was in big trouble because the hero and heroine of my new release, Lord and Lady Spy, are not only married, they’ve been married five years. But it’s a marriage in name only. Adrian and Sophia, Lord and Lady Smythe, are elite spies whose identities are kept secret even from one another. When Napoleon is captured and the Smythes are out of work, their biggest competition for reinstatement is one another.

So how does an author write steamy scenes between a couple who’s been married five years? Take a look…

Lord and Lady Spy Excerpt:

Lord and Lady Spya

Click image to order!

Her eyes darted to the booby trap by the door—a simple string and pulley a child could rig.

“Simple but effective,” a man’s voice said from behind her.

Sophia whirled and watched Adrian rise from where he’d been reclining on her bed. The moonlight filtering through her curtains illuminated his face, which, to her annoyance was free of ink. “Obviously not effective enough, my lord.” Another glance at the trap confirmed the ink that should have sprayed all over any intruder was still intact and untouched.

Damn it!

Adrian spread his hands. He had already changed into a clean shirt and breeches. How had he made it back so quickly? “It’s a bit amateurish. Easy to circumnavigate.”

“Apparently.” Her hands were still at her throat, and she realized now they were clutching her mantle close to her skin. She did not think it wise to remove the outer garment with Adrian in her bedroom, so near to her bed, but she could see he was watching her—his eyes trained to detect any sign of weakness. If she continued to clutch the mantle to her throat, he was going to find what he sought.

She forced her stiff fingers to tug the mantle’s cords again then allowed the garment to slip from her shoulders. She would have turned away from him, but she didn’t trust him enough. As the heavy garment slid off, revealing her evening gown, she realized how seductive the gesture probably appeared.

She hadn’t meant it to be so, but she watched Adrian’s eyes grow dark. “It’s been a long time since I’ve been in this room,” he said, voice low and husky. Her throat went dry, and she tried to ignore the blood pounding through her veins. Suddenly, she was too warm, scorched by Adrian’s hot gaze.

“A long time,” she agreed, fumbling with the mantle. “Um, eleven months, two weeks, and four days.” She dropped the mantle. “Or something like that,” she added, knowing it was too late, knowing she had given herself away.

Adrian tensed then moved closer. “I had no idea you were counting.”

What do you think about married couples as romance hero and heroine? Two people who comment will be chosen to win copies of Lord and Lady Spy (sorry, U.S. and Canadian residents only).

55 thoughts on “Labor Day Giveaway!

  1. Shana Galen says:

    Thanks, Anne. I know my first year being married was an eye-opener. But it can be fun to see the different sides of your husband.

    Jeanne, no problem that you’re late. As you see, I’m still around! And I want to congratulate you on 41 years. That is truly an achievement.

    Deb, I completely agree. It’s hard to call a book a romance if there’s infidelity. Thanks for the congrats.

  2. Deb says:

    I don’t mind a couple being married in a story, especially if it is a marriage of convenience or friends-to-lovers. However, I do not want to read a story about infidelity or how there is hatrid on one or the other’s part.
    Congrats on your release, Shana!

    1. Deb says:

      oops, hatred

  3. Jeanne Miro says:

    Shana and Mia –
    Sorry that I’m a day late but I didn’t have a chance to get on the computer yesterday for a good reason – GRANDCHILDREN!

    Shana – Congratulations on your release, I can’t wait to read Lord and Lady Spy. Having been married for 41 years I love having a married hero and heroine. I loved the excerpt and from just that short piece of the story know that I’m going to have a “rolicking” good time reading Sophia and Adrian’s story.

    I love the premise and what married couple doesn’t have those times that their spouse is NOT their favorite person in the world. The fun part is working it all out and I can’t wait to find out how Sophia and Adrian muddle thru it! Even after all those years I could still use a tip or two!

  4. Anne Brown-Speer says:

    I love the idea of an already married couple. Having been married just a short time myself, I know how the relationship changes and you have to rediscover that love in all the stress.

  5. Shana Galen says:

    Thanks, Sherie! So you saw that Cake Challenge too? Okay, good. It wasn’t just me saying, what? And was it just me or were none of those cakes very good?

  6. Shana Galen says:

    Thanks Mariee. I hope you get a chance to read the book. I’d love to know what you think.

  7. Shana Galen says:

    Hi Jennifer, the history of the married couple was actually a mixed blessing when writing this book. What do I reveal? What do I leave out? Five years is a lot of history. I hope I revealed enough and didn’t leave too much out.

  8. Sherie says:

    Hi Shana! I saw that episode of Cake Challenge and thought the same thing. I think married couples totally work as hero/heroine. If Mr & Mrs Smith could work I think your book will too!

  9. Mariee says:

    I haven’t read that many romance novels where the hero and heroine is a couple that’s been married for a while. Sounds like a great book. Loved the excerpt!

  10. Jennifer L says:

    I love married couples in romance novels because there’s so much history between them. The premise of your story sounds great. Thanks for the giveaway!

  11. Shana Galen says:

    Joanna, what drove them apart is the crux of this novel. It’s both of them and their individual issues as well as their jobs (sounds like modern times, huh?).

  12. Shana Galen says:

    Kelly, I agree! I think you can take the relationship much father with a married couple than you can with a couple that just met.

    1. Jaylyn says:

      I appreciate you taking to time to contrbtuie That’s very helpful.

  13. Shana Galen says:

    Robin D, I’ve read a few others too. I really liked SEDUCING THE DUCHESS by Ashley March.

  14. Johanna Jochum says:

    I love married couples in romance books. I want to know what drove them apart or how they stayed together for so long and reading about rediscovering their love for each other! This book sounds awesome! Thanks for sharing today!

  15. kelly says:

    I like novels where the main characters are married. It is fun to watch them grow as a couple throughout the book. I am really looking forward to reading this one.

  16. Robin D says:

    Wow, great excerpt, I think this is one exciting story! In this case, it’s great that the couple is married! I have read some other stories where the couple is married and it works!

  17. Shana Galen says:

    Diane, it was fun making these two very different people with very different approaches work together. I liked how they drove one another nuts but learned to respect one another in the end. That’s kind of like marriage, right?

  18. Shana Galen says:

    Rita, you are so sweet. My publisher won’t send to South Africa, so I’m sorry you’re excluded. Thank you for your comment anyway.

  19. Shana Galen says:

    Thank you, Carey. THE MAKING OF A GENTLEMAN ebook is only $1.99 right now!

  20. Shana Galen says:

    Hi Kim! Oh, I love those stories too, or where one person has been in love with the other for so long, and the other never knew it. I should write one of those one day.

  21. Shana Galen says:

    LOL, catslady. Five years seems like a long time to me!

  22. Shana Galen says:

    Thanks, QuiltLady. I hope mine have the chemistry. Good luck with the contest!

  23. Diane says:

    I love to see a couple work together. It’s differnt from the more usual pre-marrigae couple. Sounds great!

  24. Rita from South Africa says:

    Ok I’m not able to enter but want to comment ;o)

    Not true, think it is cool to have a couple who are married be hero & heroin. Enjoy the sparks that start on first page ;o)

    Rita from South Africa

  25. Carey Sturgeon says:

    I love Shana’s books! I just ordered Making of a Gentleman on my kindle!

  26. Kim Scott says:

    Love married couple stories & stories where the 2 have been friends forever & never realize they love each other or are forced to get married for whatever reason! love from Wisconsin on Facebook!

  27. catslady says:

    Five years is nothing lol. I think it’s very possible to portray a romance with a married couple. In fact, it makes for a nice variety. I’ve been hearing such good things about this book and I loved the excerpt! Once I like the characters, anything can happen.

  28. Quilt Lady says:

    Congrats on your new release! I have been seeing this book around and I really, really want it. It sounds so good.I think married couple can make good heros and heroines, if they got the chemistry any thing will work.

  29. Shana Galen says:

    Sue, I hope romance doesn’t end with marriage. I’ve been married 5 1/2 years.

  30. Shana Galen says:

    Thanks, May! I agree. Love and romance is great no matter the couple.

  31. Shana Galen says:

    Thanks, Michelle. I’ve seen more books featuring married couples lately, and I’m glad because I like that dynamic as well.

  32. Sue P. says:

    Does marriage automatically cancel out romance? Don’t think so. Besides with most romantic story there needs to be conflict that is over come because the couple chooses to fight for their love. All marriages have bad times; it’s what happens during those times that determines romance or not. Can’t wait for the book!

  33. May says:

    As long as there is love and romance, married couple is just as good. :) :) The excerpt sounds terific!

  34. Valerie says:

    As this excerpt shows, it doesn’t matter whether the couple is been married or not when the chemistry is THERE!!! What a great teaser!

  35. Michelle Harlan says:

    I love married couples as the hero/heroine, especially when they have GREAT chemistry. I loved the dialogue (which is always what draws me into a book). This excerpt was enough to make me want to read the book! It’s going on my TBR list now!

  36. Shana Galen says:

    Mia, thank you for having me here today. I’ll be back later to read more comments!

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      My pleasure, Shana! Glad to see so many out in cyberspace on this holiday Monday!

  37. Shana Galen says:

    Molly, that’s very, very true!

  38. Shana Galen says:

    Diane, the book is full of action and passion, like the movie, but there are some differences too. I hope you enjoy both the similarities and differences.

  39. Shana Galen says:

    Thanks, Barbara. I’ve actually received some really great reviews mentioning the dialogue, so I’m pleased you enjoyed it.

  40. Shana Galen says:

    Patricia, good luck! This was a really fun book to write and hopefully equally fun to read.

  41. Shana Galen says:

    Thanks, Sarah, and I adore Eloisa James too.

  42. Shana Galen says:

    Thanks, Sheila. I’m glad the excerpt was warm enough!

  43. Shana Galen says:

    Thank you, Eli for your comment. Sorry it’s not international. I’m so thrilled you’re excited about the book!

  44. Molly says:

    I love the idea of married couples in romance. I think there’s more conflict after marriage than before. ;)

  45. Diane P. Diamond says:

    Well, I loved the excerpt, and if the book is anything like the movie was then, please enter me into the contest. I love romance books with action, intrigue and danger.

    Thank you for this opportunity.

    dpd333 AT aol dot com

  46. Barbara Britton says:

    I really like this married couple, so I have no problems with books that have a hero and heroine who have tied the knot. The dialogue between them can be pull us in like a gossipping friend.

  47. Patricia Perez says:

    My goodness, this book sounds like one hat you will not want to put down.I love it when couples are married and live separate come back together and find the true love. Plus the hot sex gives it spice love it. I never win anything and I would love to be the one to win, but if not I will probably go out and buy it lol.

  48. Sarah says:

    Ooh – you definitely have the steam going in that scene! I love the idea of a married couple having to fall in love all over again, or even for the first time. There’s so much sexual/emotional tension in those relationships (Eloisa James has several books with that theme). Given all the fantastic things I keeping hearing about Lord & Lady Spy, I can’t wait to read it and see all the tension you’ve got going on there! :)

  49. Aurian says:

    I like married couples in historical romance, if they still have to fall in love, and get to know each other. So just keep writing them! Loving in Holland, so no contestant :(

  50. Sheila Mulholland says:

    I felt the heat between them in that excerpt, don’t know what happened between them at the beginning but I’d love to win this and find out!!

  51. eli yanti says:

    yay..i want this book so badly but it’s not international giveaway :-(
    okay,no matter,i like to comment that i love this story because similar with Mr & Mrs Smith movie,jolie & pitt are awesome so i don’t if hero / heroine had married and even they are a spy,wo..ho..

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