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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Daring a Duke...with Theresa Romain and Giveaway


Daring a Duke on Christmas Eve - Theresa Romain

Historical romance author Theresa Romain pursued an impractical education that allowed her to read everything she could get her hands on. She then worked for universities and libraries, where she got to read even more. Eventually she started writing, too. She lives with her family in the Midwest, where she is working on her next book.

Find Theresa at:
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The second book of my Matchmaker trilogy, To Charm a Naughty Countess, is a rake and bluestocking romance. But the heroine is the rake, and the hero’s the bluestocking! Social butterfly Caroline has never met a man she couldn’t control…except for blunt-spoken, brilliant Michael, the Duke of Wyverne. To Charm a Naughty Countess tells the tale of Michael and Caroline’s romance. These seeming opposites find much more to treasure in each other than they ever expected—and love follows (as you knew it would!).

This little scene takes place a few months after the events of To Charm a Naughty Countess, on their first Christmas Eve as a married couple.

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“All right, I choose ‘truth.’”

Again. He always chose truth.

“Michael.” Caroline trailed around the edge of her husband’s desk, tracing the nicks and scars in its battered leather top. “You must pick dare sometimes. Otherwise it’s not a game.”

“You asked me if I chose to give you a truth or accept a dare. I chose truth. It’s easier.” The dark-haired Duke of Wyverne flipped a page, squinting at the diagram, then flipped it back. “That can’t be right. Trevithick has overstated the capacity of this boiler by at least fifteen percent.”

Caroline grinned. A few months into her marriage, she was still daily delighted by Michael’s devotion to his tenants. His determination to improve the fallow, impoverished lands of his Lancashire holdings. No one worked harder, or with more imagination, more focus.

Still, there were limits to how hard one must work on Christmas Eve. And as she’d often thought during their courtship, the best thing about a man who worked so hard was teaching him to play. For to him, every moment of play was a wonder.

She laced her fingers through his short-cropped hair. “I should have known better than to speak to you the day a new set of plans arrived from your favorite engineer. You study prints the way other men look at bawdy etchings from France.”

This caught his attention. As straight-backed as his enormous, ancient wooden chair, he looked up at her. His eyes were pools of shadow in the lamplit room, but she caught a hint of mischief in their depths. “The same way? Are you quite sure of that?”

She laughed. “All right, maybe not quite the same way. I suppose you ought to look at a few bawdy etchings to be certain.” Moving behind his high-backed chair, she rubbed lightly at his temples. “Or you could sit here with me and tell me the truth. Are you not tired? Tomorrow you shall attend services and compliment the vicar and feast with your tenants and give them Christmas gifts. The Duke of Wyverne will be much needed. But tonight, you could be…Michael.”

Her fingertips must have drawn some of the tension from his brow, for he took her hand into his. “The Duchess of Wyverne will be busy tomorrow as well, and her tenants will be delighted by her charm and spirit.”

“Perhaps I ought merely to be Caroline while I have the chance, then.” The slow, deliberate way he stroked her fingers made her feel a little fluttery.

“There is nothing mere about it.” He trailed his fingers up her forearm. How glad she was that she’d worn a short-sleeved gown. Not even a Lancashire winter could chill her love of fashion—besides which, one’s husband could be counted upon to keep one warm, if one asked in the proper way.

“If tomorrow I shall belong to my tenants,” he mused, “to whom do I belong today?”

“To yourself, of course.” Her feet began to wiggle in their slippers.

“Are you certain of that?”

Her mouth curved. “Indeed, yes. You chose truth.”

“But I asked the question; not you. So we are not bound by the rules of your game at present.”

Inexorable logic. “All right. I shall ask you a question.” She tugged free from his clasp with a sweet shiver, then made her way to the study’s fireplace to stand before it. The flame would trace the outline of her body if she stood just here—yes. “What must I do to get you away from this desk?”

Michael set aside his papers, regarding her with an intensity as rich and intoxicating as a Christmas pudding. “Dare me.”

She folded her arms. “Dear Michael, I dare you to get up from that desk.”

The curve of his mouth decided to become a full smile. “You can think of something more enticing than that, surely?”

“Do you require additional enticement?” She waggled her shoulders, sending the bodice of her gown in a dangerous direction.

“Ah, ah, my dear duchess. Dare. Not truth.”

“Now you seize the purpose of the game,” she muttered.

He arched a brow.

“All right, all right. A dare.” She moistened her lips. “I dare you to entice me to join you in that chair, then, if you will not leave it.”

“Entice you to join me in this chair? Why ever should you want that?” He looked blank for a moment, then looked at the chair—as though he didn’t see it every day of his life. “It has few charms to recommend it.”

“I wouldn’t say that.” Upholstered in velvet worn smooth from time and much use, it was as large and heedless and practical as its owner. “The occupant of the chair is to my liking.”

He seemed not to hear. “I should have caught up a book of poems from the library. You will never be seduced to join me by a reading of plans for a boiler.”

Now it was her turn to smile, slow and secret. “Do your utmost, duke. You have been dared.”

For a moment he went still. And then, with a sleek unconcern that could only have been feigned, he turned up the flame of his lamp, then flipped a page of plans. “Most interesting, these plans. They deal with the passage of fluid heat through pipes. Long, thick pipes. I beg your pardon; did you speak?”

“No.” A chortle wasn’t speaking. “Do tell me more, please.”

“Yes, certainly. Anything for the curious.” He wasn’t looking at the paper anymore; he caught her gaze, then held it, as his fingertips traced lazy circles over the plans. No—not lazy circles. Precise and lovely circles. “Water must be brought to a boil. Through the application of heat, obviously. The slow building of heat by flame and the application of pressure. Not too much; just the right amount to cause a flare of heat to grow and tingle—”

“Tingle?”

“I beg your pardon.” He looked down the length of his nose, mouth quirking. “I am the one describing the plans, madam. Yes. The boiler…tingles.” He coughed, or so it would have seemed to someone who did not know the sound of Michael trying not to laugh. “It is a common engineering phenomenon.”

“And what powers the…tingles…of this boiler?”

She should have known the effect of such a question. In an instant, he drew the plans beneath the lamp and skimmed their workings. “Coal would be best, of course. But in a pinch, peat might suffice.”

“Oh, Michael.” Laughing, she flung herself around the desk and over the great arm of the enormous chair. “You do know how to entice your duchess.”

Readily, he wrapped his arms around her and drew her into his lap, though he looked puzzled. “I have won the dare? How did I manage it? Surely it was not the talk of peat. Unless it was? Do you have a fondness for peat? I had not previously considered, but it would be a potentially sound investment if one—”

With a kiss, she stopped his sentence. “You enticed me,” she said, “by being yourself. That’s all I want. Christmas Eve, Christmas Day. Every day.”

“Then you shall have it, my love,” he said. And proceeded to demonstrate that a large and worn velvet chair was a seat quite large enough, and pleasurable enough, for two.



CAN A RECLUSIVE DUKE…

Brilliant but rumored mad, Michael Layward, the impoverished Duke of Wyverne, has no success courting heiresses until widowed Lady Stratton takes up his cause–after first refusing his suit.

WIN LONDON’S MOST POWERFUL COUNTESS?

Caroline Graves, the popular Countess of Stratton, sits alone at the pinnacle of London society and has vowed never to remarry. When Michael–her counterpart in an old scandal–returns to town after a long absence, she finds herself as enthralled with him as ever. As she guides the anxiety-ridden duke through the trials of society, Caroline realizes that she’s lost her heart . But if she gives herself to the only man she’s ever loved, she’ll lose the hard-won independence she prizes above all.

Purchase: | Amazon | Kindle | B&N |

Check out the Matchmaker Trilogy:
 

Check out an excerpt for Theresa's upcoming January release of Secret's of a Scandalous Heiress. http://theresaromain.com/books/scandalous-heiress/ 


 Check out what's up for grabs.


Up For Grabs:
  • 1 copy of To Charm a Naughty Countess

To Enter: 
  • Please leave a comment or question for Theresa.
  • Choice of print or eBook copy.
  • Please fill out the Rafflecopter for entry.

**Don't forget to enter the grand prize giveaway!


Good Luck! 

Special thanks to Theresa Romain for sponsoring this giveaway.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

72 comments :

  1. Hi Theresa! It's so nice to visit Caroline and Michael again. Their story is one of my favorites. Enjoy the holidays.

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    1. Pollie, I'm so glad you liked Caroline and Michael's story. Hope you have a great holiday season too!

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  2. Love Michael and Caroline! Thanks for bringing them back today.

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    1. You're so welcome, Sheryl! Really, thanks should go to Danielle. When she offered me the topic of "Daring a Duke," I knew which character we'd need to catch up with.

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  3. I am married to an engineer so I can see how those geeky things can be a turn on! I love a smart mind!

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    1. Those smart guys are the best, aren't they, Sue?

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  4. Charming couple! I smiled and laughed over her trying to distract him from his plans and seriousness. Look forward to reading their story. Thanks for sharing, Theresa, and for the giveaway opportunity.

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    1. Sophia Rose, glad you enjoyed their story! It was fun to revisit these characters.

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  5. I love the story, and the cover. Looking forward to reading this book. Thanks for having the giveaway.

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  6. Love the excerpt, can't wait to read the book!

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    1. Thanks, Judy! If you want another peek at To Charm a Naughty Countess, Chapter 1 is up on my website: http://theresaromain.com/books/to-charm-a-naughty-countess/

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  7. I like the repartee between Michael and Caroline. Caroline sounds like a handful of trouble. Do you use people you know to mold your characters personalities?

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    1. Laurie, that's a great question. The short answer is "sort of." I've never based a character directly on someone I know, but sometimes I filch a trait from a real-life person. Usually by the time the character finishes developing, though, they've made the trait their own.

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  8. The excerpt is great-I so want to read the full story. Merry Christmas!

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    1. Hooray! So glad to hear it, Heidi. A merry Christmas to you too.

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  9. I love your historicals. Can't wait to read this one.

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    1. Thanks so much, Amary. Best of luck in the giveaway!

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  10. I adore historical romances and I loved the excerpt of this one. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Teja, thank you. Caroline and Michael are in for an interesting Christmas Eve. :)

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  11. Great excerpt! Thanks for the giveaway!

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    1. Thank you for stopping by today, Raquel! Isn't this a fun event? I love reading the stories every day.

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  12. hehehe... what a sweet story! Congrats to Theresa on her new release! Thanks for sharing!

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  13. I really enjoyed your excerpt, Theresa! Can't wait to read the book. Thanks for the giveaway! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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    1. Right back at you, Cathy--hope it's a great holiday season for you.

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  14. Definitely loved the snippet featured here...happy holidays to you and yours!

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    1. Thank you, jamaika! Glad you could stop by today.

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  15. I love catching up to Caroline and Michael I just love them :) Thank you for this sweet story.
    Happy Holidays.
    Caarol L
    Lucky4750 (t) aol (dot) com

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    1. Yay! I'm so glad to hear it, Carol. I had missed them. They're the most opposites-attract-y of all my couples, and I never quite know what they'll say or do until I start writing.

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  16. What a delightful story, I loved it. :D

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  17. These are all on my TBR list. Looking forward to reading them.

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    1. Marianne, I hope you enjoy! Caro and Michael's book is the second in a trilogy, but each story can stand on its own.

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  18. What fun! How nice to see them still having fun together!

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    1. They worked hard for their HEA, so I wanted to give them a little more fun. :)

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  19. I lover your books and Valerie's.

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    1. Valerie Bowman? I love her books too. That's great company to be in, LilMissMolly.

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  20. What a cute story that really captured their personalities! N

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    1. Thanks, Glenda! I liked checking back in on Michael and Caro as a married couple.

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  21. loved the excerpt--print please

    Denise

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    1. Thanks, Denise. If you'd like to read more, Chapter 1 is up on my website: http://theresaromain.com/books/to-charm-a-naughty-countess/

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  22. Love your covers & thank you for the wonderful read.

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    1. Mary, thanks so much for stopping by. I totally agree about the covers--my publishers do beautiful work!

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  23. Enjoyed reading the excerpt and would really love to read the whole thing. Beautiful cover too.

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    1. So glad you enjoyed it, Karen! Michael and Caroline are such opposites (...or are they??) that they're a really fun couple to write.

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  24. Nice scene, Theresa. It's nice to catch up with Michael & Caroline. I see Michael still is having trouble picking up on social cues.

    Have a nice Christmas.

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    1. Kim, yep--that's his way. But his bluntness is one of the things Caroline loves about him. Lucky for him. :)

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  25. I haven't had the pleasure of reading your books before but after the excerpt I defiantly look forward to it. I like both print and ebooks. I have a kindle.

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    1. Thanks, Rhonda--I'm so glad you enjoyed the story. If you're interested in more of Michael and Caro, the first chapter of their book is up on my website.

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  26. You've written some wonderful historical romances - do you think you'll write a contemporary?

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    1. Di, thanks. :) That's a great question. Contemporary romance isn't in my writing lineup right now, but I might write one someday if the right idea strikes me.

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  27. Great story!
    Would love to read the book!

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  28. I know that as a writer you have be given information as to what we as readers would like to see in a story, via events, posts, blogs, etc. What is the most outrageous thing you have heard that you used in a story.

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    1. As far as a writing prompt for a story? The toughest one I ever got was from our wonderful hostess Dani last year: "Finding an Abandoned Baby on Christmas Eve." I wanted to make it sweet and romantic rather than tragic, so I worked hard to get the tone juuuust right. (You can read that story here if you like:http://theresaromain.com/extras/room-for-one-more/) That's not outrageous, I know! But I think the emotional moments can be more difficult to get right than an outrageous event. And in romance, those moments are what we enjoy so much.

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  29. Thank you for the excerpt. Will you be busy writing over the holidays or will you take the time to relax and enjoy?

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    1. A little of both, librarypat! Actually a lot of both. I've been going through coffee like nobody's business. But I've almost got all the Christmas shopping done; whew. How's your December going?

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  30. Loved the excerpt. I look forward to reading this. :-)

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    1. Thanks, Stacey! If you liked Michael and Caroline here, I think you'll enjoy their story. :)

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  31. Loved the excerpt! And you have my favourite book cover of all times <3

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    1. Irma, I love the covers of my books too. The artists do a beautiful job!

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  32. interesting book titles

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    1. Thanks! Or actually, I should say "Thanks on behalf of my editor," because she's chosen them for this trilogy.

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  33. Oh, Theresa, I do like the way Caroline and Michael entice each other with glances and touches and nuances and a suggestive game! :-) This kind of romance I like...it is sensual, not explicit, yet it says so much more. And you seem to be quite good at this kind of romance! Thank you so much for your participation in this Christmas-y book blog tour...and for your delicious short story. jdh2690@gmail.com

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    1. Janice, I'm so glad you liked the story. Caroline and Michael's novel has some steamier bits too, but they get a slow burn going first.

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  34. I am married to an engineer so I could slip us both right into this scene! Thanks for the fun!

    Mary M.

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    1. Mary, ha! Glad the tone of the characters seemed right to you. :)

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  35. Love the excerpt and cover though I'm not sure whether I want to just read the book or add you to the list of authors I'd like to lock in a cage and force to regale me with fine fiction.

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    1. Hmm, better make it the first choice. I still have far too many Christmas errands to finish before I could go into a cage. :) If you want to read more, I have chapters and bonus stories on my website at theresaromain.com - check the Books and Extras tabs.

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