Last Night with the Duke BLOG TOUR!!

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Last Night with the Duke will be released this Tuesday (tomorrow, March 7th) and to celebrate I am participating in a Blog Tour for the book! If you haven’t already seen it, you can find my review of the book here. See below for more information about the book, an excerpt, a short author bio, and author Q&A! This was a good read, I would recommend checking it out! It was a quick, light read and exactly what I needed to read right now. 

SUMMARY

Could finding love be his greatest scandal of all?
The Duke of Griffin has never lived down his reputation as one of the Rakes of St. James. Now rumors are swirling around London that his twin sisters may bear the brunt of his past follies. Hiring a competent chaperone is the only thing Griffin has on his mind–until he meets the lovely and intriguing Miss Esmeralda Swift. In ways he could never have expected, she arouses more than just his curiosity.
Esmeralda Swift considered herself too sensible to ever fall for a scoundrel, but that was before she met the irresistibly seductive Duke of Griffin. His employment offer proves too tempting for her to resist. She can’t afford to be distracted by his devilish charms because the stakes are so high for his sisters’ debut Season. . .unless one of London’s most notorious rakes has had a change of heart and is ready to make Esmeralda his bride in Last Night with the Duke, the first novel in the brand-new Regency Rakes of St. James series by New York Times bestselling author Amelia Grey.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

©2013GulfReflectionsStudioIncNew York Times and USA Today bestselling author Amelia Grey read her first romance book when she was thirteen and she’s been a devoted reader of love stories ever since. Her awards include the Booksellers Best, Aspen Gold, and the Golden Quill. Writing as Gloria Dale Skinner, she won the coveted Romantic Times Award for Love and Laughter and the prestigious Maggie Award. Her books have sold to many countries in Europe, Indonesia, Turkey, Russia, and most recently to Japan. Several of her books have also been featured in Doubleday and Rhapsody Book Clubs. Amelia is the author of twenty-five books. She’s been happily married to her high school sweetheart for over thirty-five years and she lives on the beautiful gulf coast of Northwest Florida. Her first book with St. Martin’s was The Duke in My Bed.

AUTHOR Q&A

Welcome Amelia, thank you so much for joining me in this Q&A session.

Thank you for having me at your blog, Rebecca.  I’m happy to be with you today.

  1. Do you have any special rituals that you find yourself following when you’re writing? OR Take us through your typical work day.

I start every morning by putting on make-up, either straightening or curling my hair, and dressing nice.  No bathrobes or gym clothes for me.  I have an office in my home and my husband’s office building.  I can and do work at both places.  I usually start my day at the computer about 9:30 by checking emails, snail mail, and any family or friends stuff that needs to be done.   I don’t actually get to my writing until about 10:30 or 11:00.

When writing, I have books on furniture, clothing, and terminology on my desk, and I always have Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary handy so I can look up the dates to words.  I’m a sunshine kind of girl and I need lots of light.  I have a comfortable chair at my desk and a cozy chair where I will sit and read over what I have written after I print it out.  I take a very short lunch break and then usually work until about five in the afternoon when it’s time to start family stuff again.

  1. What (if any) research did you have to do for this novel? What was your favorite piece of research you did for this novel?

LAST NIGHT WITH THE DUKE is my fifteenth Regency set historical romance so I didn’t have to do a lot of in depth research for this one.  I researched dogs to see what breed I wanted Napoleon to be.  I needed him to have long hair instead of short fur so I went with a Skye terrier.  In this book I have a gardener who is growing a flower for the Royal Horticulture Society so I needed to know what flowers would be blooming for the Mayfair Floral Show.  I decided on a Persian Iris.

  1. Are there any books or authors that have really influenced you and made you want to write? What about those authors inspired or influenced you?

Every author I have read has influenced me on some level.  But I do have favorite authors that I have read for years and continue to read.  My first thirteen books were American set historicals but after I read several Amanda Quick books, I wanted to change to writing in England.  I also liked her style of dialogue.  She was a huge influence as to the way I write Regencies and it’s very different from the way I wrote American historicals.

  1. What do you like to do in your spare time?

I like to read, watch movies, and polish my nails.  I love girly stuff.  My husband and I travel a lot so we plan trips together.  I enjoy having friends over for dinner and setting a beautiful table.  I’m not a great cook but my husband enjoys helping me in the kitchen.  It’s the friends I enjoy not the cooking.  I love the arts and have season tickets to all the culture events that come to our city.

  1. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

You have to start by completing that first book and once you do—never give up your dream to publish it.  I have a tip sheet that I always look at before starting a new book.  I’m happy to email it to anyone who would like a copy.  My email address is ameliagrey@comcast.net.

  1. Is there anything else about you that you’d like your readers to know?

I write what I love and I love what I write.  If I don’t love the story, no one else will.  I write because I enjoy reading and historical romances are my favorite books to read.

EXCERPT

51kTVBj0gSLHis praise pleased her. She smiled and remained quiet. “Most of our guests would end up being so flustered by seeing double that they wouldn’t try to get their names

right. They would just say ‘my lady.’ ” “Unfortunately, I wasn’t given that option.”

“After you’ve been around for a few more days, you’ll be able to tell them apart no matter how they are dressed.”

“It’s already getting easier.”

“Good. They may look exactly alike at times, but they have different natures. Vera’s nature is more forceful and cantankerous. Sara’s sweeter.”

Esmeralda started to say she agreed completely, but then thought better of it, and simply replied, “But both are lovely.”

The duke faced her. “Did Miss Fortescue teach you how to be so diplomatic?”

“No,” she answered with a teasing smirk. “It’s my nature.”

His smile was natural as he said, “And a temperamen- tal nature it is at times.”

She frowned. “I’ll ignore that comment.”

“But you know it’s true. I’m glad you suggested bring- ing the girls to the park and so is my aunt. And I see you brought Josephine and Napoleon along too.

“You don’t mind, do you? I supposed I should have cleared it with you first.”

“I don’t mind. I can see you aren’t neglecting Sara and Vera. They are enjoying the show too.”

“I think so. Vera showed Josephine how to play throw and fetch with a stick. Napoleon was already quite famil- iar with what to do, so his former owners must have taught him. And the twins were very accommodating to him on our walk over here. They didn’t get upset when Napoleon wanted to check out every doorway, hitching post, and tree along the way.”

He chuckled. “Living a protected life at Griffin for so many years, Sara and Vera have had few occasions to en- joy friendships or relatives their own age. It will be good for them to have you as their chaperone. Except for me, my aunt, and the servants, they’ve had only each other to get to know. It’s made them close, but it also, regrettably, causes a fierce competitiveness from time to time.”

Including the pianoforte and Lord Henry, Esmeralda wanted to say but decided that Griffin didn’t need to know about the earl’s son.

“I’m rather glad they have someone else in the house to interact with now other than each other.”

“And that will change after they meet young ladies at the various parties.”

“Which reminds me,” he added. “I looked into your suggestion of finding out which young ladies who were a part of the wager hadn’t married and also had brothers, uncles, or fathers.”

“Who did you come up with?” she asked anxiously. “Only two names.”

“But didn’t Sir Welby think there were more than two at White’s?”

He nodded. “He did but admitted he couldn’t be sure of anything other than the comments that perhaps the way to get back at me was through my sisters. If you listen carefully enough in a taproom, you can overhear a lot of conversations.”

“But you’re saying we have two young men to watch carefully, right?”

“Yes. For now, anyway. Sir Charles  Redding  and Mr. Albert Trent are the only gentlemen who have sisters who received a secret admirer letter but never married.”

Esmeralda repeated the names in her mind. They weren’t on any of Lady Evelyn’s lists. And they wouldn’t be. She wouldn’t consider either of them high enough in the heel to offer for the twins.

Why did Esmeralda keep forgetting all she’d been taught when she was living in her uncle’s home? She knew all about the snobbery of Polite Society. She just hadn’t been a part of it for a long time. And now she was on the other side of it.

“I will keep a steady eye on the two should they get near Lady Sara or Lady Vera even for a dance.”

The duke’s eyes swept up and down her face. Fluttering began in Esmeralda’s chest. It was madness that when- ever he looked at her with that intimate intensity radiating from him, she wanted him to pull her into his strong arms, nestle her to him, and kiss her eager lips. She knew he was attracted to her. He had admitted that. But surely she was more aware of his every breath than he was of hers.

“Did you know that out in the sunlight your eyes lose all their brown coloring and are golden?”

With that question, Esmeralda felt the atmosphere change. The noise of the crowd faded away, the cool breeze stilled, and the sun heated her face. It was as if she and the duke were the only two people in the park.

“How could I possibly know that? I have never seen my eyes outside a house.”

“I thought perhaps someone might have told you—your parents, possibly a beau?”

“I’m sure you’ve had countless ladies tell you that your eyes are as blue as a summer sky.”

He ignored her comment and said, “You skillfully de- flected my question, but I’m not going to let you get by with that.”

She evaded him again by saying, “Did you ask one? I thought you were making a statement.”

He gave her an amused smile. “It’s always a challenge with you, Esmeralda. I like that.”

She gasped. “You can’t call me by my given name.”

“I can and will when we are alone and no one around to hear but you. Now, here is a direct question for you, Es- meralda. Have you ever been kissed?”

Her immediate instinct should have been to shy away from such intimate conversation once more and insist he call her Miss Swift at all times. It was on the tip of her tongue to tell him she was outraged he’d ask her some- thing so personal, but staring into his striking gaze as it

brushed down her face to her mouth, she knew she didn’t want to resist him in that way or any way.

Maybe she wanted him to call her Esmeralda and to know that her lips had never been touched by another’s. Maybe she wanted him to know she’d welcome his kiss.

Still, her practical, survival nature came to her rescue and she resisted what her heart desired and said, “I’ve not had time nor opportunity for such things as hugs and kisses.”

“Twenty-five and never been kissed.” His voice was low, and soft. “I find that very intriguing.”

His hold over her intensified. There was something about his unobtrusive interest in her that stirred her wom- anly passions to an anticipation she couldn’t have known existed.

Her throat ached with an increasing need that was al- ways denied—to feel his lips caress hers. Perhaps he found it intriguing she’d never been kissed, but she found it dis- couraging that she’d never had the opportunity to know what it felt like to be kissed. She wanted to know.

Putting all her sensible, inner declarations aside, and willing her voice not to quiver, she asked, “Are you offer- ing to change that, Your Grace?”

Copyright © 2017 by Amelia Grey and reprinted by permission of St. Martin’s Press.

2017 Book # 15 – Last Night with the Duke by Amelia Grey

51kTVBj0gSLTitle: Last Night with the Duke
Author: Amelia Grey
Date finished: 3/5/17
Genre: Historical romance
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Publication Date: March 7, 2017
Pages in book: 304
Stand alone or series: #1 in the Rakes of St. James series
Where I got the book from: NetGalley NOTE: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.

Blurb from the cover:

Could finding love be his greatest scandal of all?
The Duke of Griffin has never lived down his reputation as one of the Rakes of St. James. Now rumors are swirling around London that his twin sisters may bear the brunt of his past follies. Hiring a competent chaperone is the only thing Griffin has on his mind–until he meets the lovely and intriguing Miss Esmeralda Swift. In ways he could never have expected, she arouses more than just his curiosity.
Esmeralda Swift considered herself too sensible to ever fall for a scoundrel, but that was before she met the irresistibly seductive Duke of Griffin. His employment offer proves too tempting for her to resist. She can’t afford to be distracted by his devilish charms because the stakes are so high for his sisters’ debut Season. . .unless one of London’s most notorious rakes has had a change of heart and is ready to make Esmeralda his bride in Last Night with the Duke, the first novel in the brand-new Regency Rakes of St. James series by New York Times bestselling author Amelia Grey.

My rating:  3.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. And make sure to check out my BLOG TOUR post on this book here! This book tells the story of Esmeralda Swift, the grand daughter of a viscount who was cut off from their family after he mother eloped with an Irish poet. After her mother dies, Esmeralda becomes a governess to support herself and her younger sister, Josephine. And then she takes over the administration of Miss Fortescue’s agency, struggling to make ends meet after being taken advantage of by Miss Fortescue’s son. So when the Duke of Griffin walks through her door looking for a chaperone for his twin sisters, the last thing Esmeralda expects is that she’ll be the one chaperoning them. Especially given how attractive she finds the Duke, she knows she should stay far away from this particular Rake. But as circumstances throw these two together again and again, Esmeralda sees beyond the Duke’s title to the compassionate man beneath. And when Griffin finds out that Esmeralda is not in fact a commoner but the grand daughter of a viscount, he can’t stop himself from wanting to make her a more permanent fixture in his life.
Overall I liked this book ok. The story line was interesting and had all the makings of a great historical romance novel. There was a good amount of tension between the main characters, and I liked all the supporting characters.But while there was a lot of potential, there were some pieces of the story that I didn’t love. Griffin was a little flat as a character for me. I didn’t feel like the reader learned enough of his real thoughts and feelings to get into his head and connect to him as a character. And the ending for me didn’t make a ton of sense. The Duke acts like an ass and then he shows up, they do it, and then Esmeralda decides she wants to talk about the fight after. And then after that they were just married and that was it. There were a lot of pieces of the ending I thought were missing, like a confrontation with Miss Fortescue’s nephew and her cousin the current Viscount and anyone else who was a jerk to Esmeralda. And I didn’t think the person responsible for the intrigue with Griffin’s sister made sense, why did he even get involved? What was the motivation there? Anyways other than those things it was a quick and easy read and I enjoyed it but not a lot to the plot I guess.

The bottom line: I liked this book ok. It was a quick and light read and was a perfect read timing wise for me right now. Some pieces of the story line fell a little flat for me but I’m interested to see where this series will go in the future. I would recommend it.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2017 Book #14 – The Hidden Man by David Ellis

41mczwmlkl-_sx329_bo1204203200_Title: The Hidden Man
Author: David Ellis
Date finished: 3/1/17
Genre: Fiction, crime/mystery
Publisher: Putnam Adult
Publication Date: September 3, 2009
Pages in book: 325
Stand alone or series: Series, Jason Kolarich #1
Where I got the book from: Terryville Public Library

Blurb from the cover:

Jason Kolarich is a midwestern Everyman with a lineman’s build and an easy smart-ass remark. He’s a young, intelligent maverick, but he’s also struggling with an overwhelming emotional burden—one that threatens to unravel his own life, and possibly the lives of those around him.
Twenty-seven years ago, two-year-old Audrey Cutler disappeared from her home in the middle of the night. She was never found. All the detectives had to go on were vague eyewitness accounts of a man running down the Cutlers’ street, apparently carrying someone. Without enough evidence to suggest otherwise, Griffin Perlini—a neighbor with prior offenses against minors—was arrested, but never convicted.
The case is long closed when Perlini is murdered nearly thirty years later. Now a man named Mr. Smith appears in Jason Kolarich’s office, saying only that he represents a third party who wants the man charged with murder off the hook and that Kolarich is perfect for the job. The new client: Audrey Cutler’s older brother, Sammy—Kolarich’s estranged childhood best friend—a man he hasn’t seen in nearly twenty years.
But when Kolarich starts receiving violent threats from Mr. Smith’s enigmatic employer, he figures out that the secrecy behind this nameless third party—and the key to winning Sammy’s case—is entangled with the mystery of Audrey’s disappearance. With his own life and Sammy’s in the balance, Kolarich has to put aside not only the mounting anxiety of the job but also a heart-wrenching personal tragedy in order to find out what really happened to Audrey all those years ago.

My rating:  3.5 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I read this book for the Terryville Library’s Fiction Lover’s Book Discussion group discussion for this month (February). This book tells the story of Jason Kolarich, a lawyer who is still reeling from a recent personal tragedy. In the previous few months, Jason had helped to win a high-profile case against the feds, making him somewhat of a local celebrity. But that’s not why a stranger named “Smith” shows up in his office one day demanding legal services. Turns out Jason’s best friend from childhood, Sammy Cutler, has been arrested for the murder of Griffin Perlini, the man suspected of abducting and killing Sammy’s baby sister, Audrey, 20 years ago. Jason doesn’t understand what Smith’s part in all this is but he owes a lot to Sammy, so he takes the case. But when Smith starts dictating how Jason needs to try the case, Jason wonders what the story is beneath the surface. And as Jason defies the rules and tries the case his own way, he learns there are consequences for disagreeing with the people he’s now working for. And when they start trying to use his brother as leverage, Jason decides its time to figure out what’s really going on, even if he has to do it on his own.
Overall I liked this book. The plot line was pretty engaging and I loved how kick ass the plot twists were. I ended up enjoying this one more than I expected to, I would probably even read another from the series if I had time. The ending was a little too neat and tidy for me, everything just kind of worked out ok and the bad guys didn’t fight back much in the end. I would have liked it a lot better if Jason had gone through with his threat to cut off a couple of Smith’s fingers, he definitely deserved it. But other than that, I thought the plot was pretty good. It was engaging and was set at a good pace with lots of plot twists, some of which I didn’t see coming at all. This was a good read and I would recommend it, especially if you like a good mystery novel!

The bottom line: I liked this book ok. It isn’t a book I would have picked up on my own but it was interesting. I would recommend it if you’re into crime/mystery novels.

Link to author website

Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page