Hey everyone! Please help us welcome Bronwen Evans to herding cats & burning soup!
She's here today with a fabulous guest post and excerpt plus an awesome giveaway to celebrate To Challenge the Earl of Cravenswood!
Heroes and Heroines--they are different!
To live happily ever after...
Henry St. Giles, the Earl of Cravenswood, longs to find his soul mate. Now that his two best friends, both reformed rakes, are happily married, the need becomes an obsession. When they challenge him to find a wife by the end of the season or marry his neighbor, the innocently alluring Lady Amy Shipton, he can’t believe his luck. He wins, either way. But a darkened garden, a case of mistaken identity, a drunken kiss, and a dropped emerald earring, leads Henry on a Cinderella hunt. He knows the woman he held in his arms could be the one he's searched for all his life. He just has to find her.
Lady Amy Shipton is determined to marry for love instead of sharing her husband like her mother did. So why did she let her handsome neighbor and romantic fantasy, the Sinful Saint as he's called for his bedroom prowess, seduce her in his garden? And what can she do when in the middle of their passionate encounter; he whispers another woman's name. Now Henry is hunting the owner of the earring Amy left behind, and she's determined to retrieve it before her identity is revealed. She's not about to give her father the ammunition he desperately wants to force her down the aisle.
Have you noticed in romance novels that hero traits usually don’t differ across the genres? There is a certain type of man we all fall in love with. Sure, we usually write them as tall, gorgeous and charismatic, but we like them to have substance when they open their mouths.
We love our heroes to be compassionate, intelligent, humorous, selflessness, tough but tender, determined, and fearless when it comes to protecting the one he loves.
But what about heroines?
I find it fascinating that the heroes are usually always gorgeous; some of them are given scars or a disfigurement but most are still handsome men. However, often the heroine is the plain Jane. It’s because most romance novels are read by women. We like to fantasize about handsome men who’ll look twice at a plain Jane to what is underneath, in their hearts and souls.
In my latest Regency romance, To Challenge the Earl of Cravenswood, my heroine Amy Shipton is what I’d call pretty. She’s not a stand out ravishing beauty or my hero, Henry St. Giles, would have noticed her long before now. He lives next door!
What I love about Amy is her passion for life and her will to stand up for what she believes in. Her father the duke, wants to see her married off as quickly as possible so that he can move his ‘other family’ into his country estate. He has been in love with his mistress for years and with Amy’s mother dead, if Amy were married, he can flout convention.
Amy digs her heals in. She will not marry a man who is in love with another. She’ll not risk ending up in a marriage like her mother had to endure. So when she believes Henry St. Giles is in love with a woman called Millicent, she does everything to ensure her dead-of-night mistaken transgression with Henry in his garden is kept secret—even from Henry.
Henry’s chat with Marcus was delayed when, upon his return, he learned the hosts and their guests had driven to Reading for a day of shopping and museums.
It was nearing dusk and Henry was impatient for Marcus’s return. He lurked near the stables and was feeding Hercules a carrot when he heard feminine voices over the tall hedge at the side of the stables.
He sauntered nearer, boredom driving his ill-mannered eavesdropping. He couldn’t see into the garden as the hedge was well above his head, but to his surprise and good fortune, he recognized one of the voices—Amy. Although what he heard made his blood run cold.
“Lorraine, I can’t... I can’t risk it.”
“But he’s so incredibly handsome. I’d risk anything for a night in his arms. Any-thing!”
“That’s because you’re my ladies maid and as such you don’t have Society’s expectations on your shoulders. The consequences should I be caught would be very high. You know what will happen to my reputation. I couldn’t bear that.” Henry could almost feel her shudder from where he was hiding behind the hedge.
“But don’t you wish you could have one perfect night with the man you loved before you buckle under and do your duty? One night to cherish forever, before you sell yourself for duty and elevated social position.”
He heard Amy give a small sob. “I don’t think I can do my duty. The thought of a loveless life is too horrific to contemplate.” The silence spoke volumes, her distress palpable.
“Then why not go to him?”
“Because I can’t marry him,” Amy cried. “He loves another.”
“Then I’d stop drawing these indecent sketches. If anyone finds them they’ll think the worst anyway. He’s naked. Completely naked.”
Amy sighed. “That’s simply my imagination. I’ve only ever seen him with his shirt off.”
“Oh la la, you have a very vivid imagination. If anyone else sees these,” he heard paper rustle, “they won’t believe it’s your imagination, my girl.”
More shuffling of paper and the rustle of items being collected. He heard them as they began to move away toward the house.
“Then they shall remain hidden in my room, away from prying eyes. You can forget...”
Blast, he couldn’t hear more. Henry stumbled back, the hard stones of the stable wall merging with his body to form a fortress around his heart. Amy was in love—with Marcus. It could only be Marcus. ‘I can’t marry him.’ True Marcus was already married. ‘He’s in love with another.’
There was no doubt Marcus loved Sabine. Or did he? From what he’d seen last night Marcus wasn’t exactly discouraging Amy.
New Zealander Bronwen Evans grew up loving books. She’s always indulged her love for story-telling, and is constantly gobbling up movies, books and theatre. Her head is filled with characters and stories, particularly lovers in angst. Is it any wonder she’s a proud romance writer?
She writes both historical and contemporary sexy romances for the modern woman who likes intelligent, spirited heroines, and compassionate alpha heroes. Her debut Regency romance, Invitation to Ruin WON the RomCon 2012 Readers Crown Best Historical and was an RT Reviewers’ Choice Nominee Best First Historical 2011. To Dare the Duke of Dangerfield was a TOP 5 FINALIST in the Kindle Book Review Indie Romance Book of the Year 2012. Look out for her first Entangled Publishing Indulgence release in December 2012, The Reluctant Wife.
Bronwen loves hearing from avid romance readers at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Bronwen's got an awesome giveaway for yall today.
Just fill out the rafflecopter and answer Bronwen's question...
Who you think Amy is really talking about in the excerpt?
International. Ends 12/1/12
[And don't forget to check out our REVIEW for a chance to win a copy of To Challenge the Earl...]