I’ve always been a fan of the Three Musketeers. If they make a movie about it, chances are, I’ve seen it. Something about a the royal bodyguard thing just works for me. So I decided to write about such an organization and thus created my Brotherhood of the Sword, an elite and covert organization dedicated to protecting the Crown of England. In just a couple of weeks, the first book in that series, UNDERCOVER WITH THE EARL releases and I’m so excited! Here’s a little teaser to introduce you. Let me know what you think…
“Now then, I don’t know if you’ve already deduced what you’ll be doing for us, but I cannot stress enough the importance of your discretion. No one is to know, not your family, your friends, no one.”
His was formidable, there was no denying that, but she felt no fear in his presence. Instead, she found herself fascinated with the lines of his face, the square angle of his jawline, and the dimple that settled deep into his chin. He was ridiculously handsome, but his expression seemed permanently locked in a scowl. She wondered what a wealthy, handsome earl had to be so angry about.
He leveled his blue eyes on her. “Understood?”
He stood and walked around to her. He picked up a stray curl that rested near her ear, the strand curled around his finger as a cat’s tail wound around your leg when they begged for attention. She shivered against his touch. What had her cousin gotten her into?
“Have people ever told you that you resemble someone?” Earl Somersby asked.
His question nearly disappointed her, though she knew not what she’d expected. She frowned. “Once or twice I suppose.”
His brows rose. “Who have they said you look like?” He moved away from her then, sat in the chair adjacent to her.
“Well, one fellow in the market said that I was the spitting image of his Aunt Gertrude, but for the most part people say I favor Her Majesty, Queen Victoria.” Evie shook her head. She was loathe to admit that as she didn’t want him to laugh, so she quickly added. “Personally I don’t see it. Then again, I’ve never actually seen her, only portraits.”
“You and Her Majesty are about the same age,” he said.
“I am older, by two years I believe.”
He nodded, leaned forward, and braced his elbows on his knees. “Miss Marrington, I need to know that I can trust your discretion.”
“Yes, of course.”
“I work for the Crown, as your cousin told you. I will not detail how precisely, but suffice it to say, you have been chosen to assist on a very important task. We need you to pose as Her Majesty at an upcoming event.”
Had she heard him correctly? Certainly not. Charading as the monarch must be an act of treason. “I’m sorry, I thought you said that you want me to pose as the queen.”
In my new book HOW TO MARRY A DOCTOR (July 2015 Harlequin Special Edition) Dr. Jake Lenox and his life-long best friend, Anna Adams, make a bet that that they can find each other’s soul mates within five dates.
Jake said, “…Let’s agree that the first one who succeeds in making a match for the other wins.”
Anna wrinkled her nose. “Knowing you, you’ll let a good woman go just to win the challenge. You’re so competitive.”
“But if you think about it,” he said, “who will be the real winner? One will win the bet, but the other will win love.”
Little do they know, their soul mates have been right in front of them all along.
Friends-to-lovers story is one of my favorite kinds to write. I love the idea of a man and a woman building a relationship on a foundation of friendship. There’s something so solid about it since they’ve gotten to know each other from the inside out.
In celebration of Jake and Anna’s five dates to “true love,” here are five behind-the-scenes facts about the story:
1. Kate Walsh and Jake Gyllenhaal were the inspiration for Anna and Jake.
2. In the story, Anna drives a yellow VW Beetle. That was my first car – and it didn’t have air conditioning.
3. Dr. Jake Lennox makes a brief appearance in my bachelor auction book, CELEBRATION’S FAMILY.
4. I make a Pinterest board for each book I write and pin pictures of my characters, their clothing, the book’s setting and anything else that might serve as a visual for the story. Before the book is published, Harlequin authors have to complete an “art fact sheet” for the art department to use when they’re designing the cover. I usually send them links to the pictures I pin during the course of the book.
5. Before Jake and Anna discover that they’re each other’s perfect match, they had to go on some bad blind dates. I may or may not have drawn on personal experience for a couple of the dates poor Jake and Anna endured. Haha! Hey, you have to kiss a few frogs before you find your prince, right?
Have you kissed (or simply dated) any frogs? Tell me about your worst or best date and I’ll give two people who post a copy of HOW TO MARRY A DOCTOR (e-book or print, your choice) so you can read about my –er– Jake’s and Anna’s bad dates.
Who loves those dashing Scottish Highlanders? *Vanessa raises both hands*
Yep, I do, especially when his name is Jamie Fraser. I too have been bitten by the Jamie bug, eagerly awaiting each episode of Outlander to get my fix. Jamie pretty much defines the perfect book or TV boyfriend–strong, handsome, kind, heroic, sexy…and he’s a Highlander, too. Can you say brogue?
But I have to admit that Jamie wasn’t my first Scottish love. Many moons ago and before he went barmy, my heart belonged to Mel Gibson as Braveheart. I could do without the blue face paint, but the rest was sure nice to look at–kilt or no kilt. And heroic? Well, they didn’t call him Braveheart for nothing.
Then there was Rob Roy, aka Liam Neeson. I actually didn’t know much about this particular Scotsman until I saw the movie, I’m ashamed to admit, but I was subsequently inspired to do the research.
Yes, there’s Liam with that well-known Scottish actress, Jessica Lange. Oh, wait…
Anyway, as you can see, my love of Highlanders is obviously deep and of long-standing, which is why I’m so thrilled to see the release tomorrow of my very own Highland historical romance. HOW TO MARRY A ROYAL HIGHLANDER is book 4 in my Renegade Royals Series, and it’s the first historical romance I’ve written that’s partly set in the Scottish Highlands. It’s got a hunky Highlander hero and even a castle!
Here’s the blurb:
Illegitimate yet thoroughly irresistible, the Renegade Royals are leaving behind their careers as daring spies for the greatest adventure of all…
At sixteen, Alasdair Gilbride, heir to a Scottish earldom, fled the Highlands and an arranged betrothal. Ten years later, Alasdair must travel home to face his responsibilities. It’s a task that would be much easier without the distracting presence of the most enticing woman he’s ever met…
After one escapade too many, Eden Whitney has been snubbed by the ton. The solution: rusticating in the Scottish wilderness, miles from all temptation. Except, of course, for brawny, charming Alasdair. The man is so exasperating she’d likely kill him before they reach the border—if someone else weren’t trying to do just that. Now Eden and Alasdair are plunging into a scandalous affair with his life and her reputation at stake—and their hearts already irreparably lost…
I have to admit that this book was a whole lot of fun to write. I loved the setting of the Scottish Highlands, and I really enjoyed pairing my dashing Scots hero with my sassy Sassenach. And then there were all those pictures of Jamie Fraser I had to study for my research. What can I say–I love research!
There’s more info about the book on my website, including an excerpt and a bonus chapter I wrote just a few weeks ago. You can find ROYAL HIGHLANDER at Amazon, B & N, and iBooks, or wherever books are sold.
To celebrate tomorrow’s release of ROYAL HIGHLANDER, I’ll give away a $10 Amazon gift card. Just tell me if you’re a fan of Highlanders, and who might be your favorite!
Jaunty P. Quills: Hello, Readers! Today I’m pleased to introduce author Shana Galen to the blog. Shana writes historical romances. Kirkus calls her books—
Shana: Jaunty, everyone knows who I am. I blog here every month. I’ve been blogging here since 2004.
Jaunty: Yes, Shana, but it’s polite to introduce a guest.
Shana: I’m not a guest. I’m a regular.
Jaunty: Fine. If you don’t want an introduction, you won’t get one. I’ll just introduce your new book.
Shana: No! No, no, no. I know what you’re going to do. You always introduce my books and put yourself in them, like Lord and Lady Porcupine or The Making of a Porcupine. This book is While You Were Spying. It has nothing to do with porcupines.
Jaunty: Shana, Shana, Shana…I never said it did. Of course, there’s no porcupine in the title (and you wonder why you’re not my favorite!). But I know what happens while your hero is spying. What’s his name? Jaunty?
Shana: Ethan. He’s a marquess and a spy. He’s protecting the heroine, Francesca, and trying to uncover the leader of a spy ring.
Jaunty: But while he’s doing his special agent thing, a porcupine sneaks up on him, shoots quills in his backside, and steals the girl!
Shana: No. That doesn’t happen. The porcupine doesn’t get the girl at the end.
Jaunty: But you said this heroine likes animals!
Shana: She does. She also likes gingerbread and long walks and the hero of the book.
Jaunty: At least tell me there are pine nuts in the chocolate tarts!
Shana: Jaunty, go away! Readers, quick before he comes back, if you want to win a copy of While You Were Spying (print or digital), just let me know some of your favorite things.
**Winner randomly chosen and announced Sunday on the blog.
While You Were Spying is available tomorrow for only $3.99 in eBook. Hurry! The price goes up soon!
Francesca Dashing would like to forget that Ethan Caxton, the Marquess of Winterbourne, exists. He humiliated her in front of all of London Society—and he doesn’t even remember it! But when Ethan shows up in her sleepy Hampshire town, he’s hard to overlook, and his presence stirs up long-buried feelings. Francesca tries to keep her distance…until her life is threatened and the mysterious and handsome marquess comes to her rescue, in more ways than she ever thought possible.
Winterbourne has traveled to Hampshire on orders from the Foreign Office—he’s investigating an arms smuggling ring and is determined to find its leader. Miss Dashing stumbles into his way—literally—and derails both Ethan’s assignment and his ordered country life. Ethan knows he needs to ignore the distraction, but when Francesca is the victim of a vicious attack, he’s compelled to put aside his mission to protect her. Guarding the viscount’s daughter is work, nothing more, and Ethan has no plans to let down his guard…until Francesca’s chocolate-brown eyes and endless compassion melt the ice in his heart and lay siege to his defenses.
Thanks for having me back to JQ, Nancy! It’s such fun to be here. <<NRT: Happy to have you, Michelle!>> Living in Colorado during the winter that might never end, you hear lots of ski terms bandied about–first tracks, back bowls, fresh powder, bluebird days. Friends use these phrases to caption Facebook photos where they are smiling from the top of some mountain resort. These people are about to launch themselves down an icy, snow-covered slope with oversized popsicle sticks strapped to their feet and…they are grinning. It sort of makes me want to push them.
I don’t have time to smile when I ski because I’m too busy praying to make it down the mountain in one piece. Yep, I ski. Despite the constant trembling in my knees, the stomachache that starts as soon as I put on my (never flattering) ski pants and an internal monologue that involves lots of cursing, every few weekends we pile the kids into the car and hit the slopes. Why? For the same reason moms do most things we don’t want to – for the kids.
This season my daughter broke through her fear (unlike me) and now we’re taking lifts to the more advanced blue runs. My son is busy detouring into the trees and looking for jumps as we hurtle toward the bottom. I can barely keep up and I love it! Because it means soon I’ll achieve my ultimate ski dream—to be the mom camped out in the corner of the toasty warm lodge surrounded by coats and gear, sipping hot cocoa and wearing boots I can walk in without feeling like I’m going to fall over. I have happy visions of a full Saturday spent alternating between my laptop and Kindle while I smile at the cold, wet, red-faced suckers who take a break from risking life limb on the mountain. I’m going to be the best lodge mom ever.
Among friends my views on skiing put me in the minority, and I sometimes wonder if I’m a total wimp. I probably am a total wimp, and I’m okay with that. But I’m also curious how people outside of ski-crazy Colorado feel about it.
Would you be carving the slopes or hanging in the lodge? Either way, I’ll have the hot cocoa waiting.
I’ll be drawing two winners from the comments for a copy of my March release, A Second Chance At Crimson Ranch. The heroine, Olivia Wilder, has come to Crimson, Colorado to find place she can feel at home. Lucky for her, there’s a new (and a few years younger) contractor in town that might be the perfect guy to help her. I’m excited to invite readers back to Crimson because it’s a town filled with wonderful people and lots of opportunities for falling in love (yes, there is a ski mountain but I haven’t forced any my characters onto it…yet).