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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Attending a Ball...with Julie Anne Long and Giveaway

Attending a Ball on Christmas Eve - Julie Anne Long

Julie Anne Long originally set out to be a rock star when she grew up, and she has the guitars and the questionable wardrobe stuffed in the back of her closet t prove it. When playing to indifferent crowds at midnight in dank clubs lost its, ahem, charm, she realized she could incorporate all of the best things about being in a band—namely, drama, passion and men with unruly hair—into novels, while at the same time indulging her love of history and research. So she made the move from guitar to keyboard (the computer variety) and embarked on a considerably more civilized, if not much more peaceful, career as a novelist.

Julie lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with a fat orange cat. (Little known fact: they issue you a cat the minute you become a romance novelist.)

Place to find Julie:

Readers often write to me to ask about the supporting cast of characters who've appeared in the Pennyroyal Greens series books, which is delightful, because if you're wondering about character back stories and what goes on behind the scenes in Sussex, then I've accomplished what I hoped to do as a writer. :) I do know their stories, and I've always maintained that any character who appears is eligible to star in a book, if only a novella.

I also know readers are dying to know what becomes of Lyon Redmond and Olivia Eversea.

In I KISSED AN EARL, a spy for Lyon Redmond (disguised as a clumsy French waitress) delivers a message to his sister Violet—and this spy is one of the characters readers ask about most often My theme is a ball on Christmas Eve, and this brief little scene, starring that spy and Lyon Redmond (and Olivia, in a way), may become part of a novella. (It may help to read I KISSED AN EARL for context, if you haven't yet.)

I hope you enjoy it!! Thank you so much for including me in your fabulous event, Danielle, and Merry Christmas, darlings!

P.S. The next Pennyroyal Green series novel is BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND IAN EVERSEA, out in April 2014.!


It wasn't quite midnight, and the rest of the crew was snoring in their bunks, but some instinct told Daisy she'd find the captain on deck. And so he was. He was leaning against the rail, outlined in shadow and moonlight.

Her breath hitched. It always did when she stumbled across him unawares.

She couldn't remember how she used to breathe before she'd met the captain.

Daisy would never forget that morning. She'd heard he was hiring crew; she needed money and a way out of Cadiz. But he was an elusive man. She'd been surreptitiously following him and his men on a busy street in Cadiz, ducking between street vendors, merging with clusters of walkers and peddlers, always keeping him in sight while remaining just out of sight. Or so she thought.

She stifled a shriek when he'd swiveled with terrifying speed, hand on his sword, and stepped in front of her.

She'd had time for just one bemused thought: “Ah. So this is how I'm going to die.”

When he got his first good look at her, his hand froze on the hilt of his sword. And the men flanking him did precisely the same thing, as if they were mirrors.

He frowned swiftly, swept her with a the sort that could peel paint from a wall before his expression settled into cold, unblinking inscrutability.

Which suited her just fine. She wasn't interested in hiding anything from him.

Up close, he was the most alarmingly beautiful man she'd ever seen. It shocked the breath from her as surely as if he slapped her.

“I'd warrant you've slaughtered more women with those blue eyes of yours than you have with that sword.”

He might have a sword, but she was well-nigh fearless. Her mouth had gotten her into and out of an equal number of scrapes.

He didn't blink, but she thought she detected a glint in those eyes. Amusement? Murderous intent?

“You've been trailing me for a quarter of an hour. What do you want?”

“A job.”

He flicked another swift glance over her, snorted cynically, and turned as swiftly as he'd stopped, with a gesture to his men to folow.

She raised her voice. “I should have thought a man like you would have more imagination. That's not the sort of job I had in mind...captain. Though I lack no talent in that regard, either.”

She'd known his gaze had taken in her feminine merits, which were not inconsiderable.

He stopped and turned again. He studied her in silence.

“A 'man like me', is it? He drawled ironically. “And what do you know of 'men like me'?”

It seemed he'd decided to indulge her. Or toy with her.

“I spoke out of turn, sir. Surely there are no other men like you.”

It was part flirtation, part sincerity, and all risk.

And this time the corner of his mouth quirked—he wanted to smile, she was certain— and he shook his head slowly to and fro.

Her heart began to pound. She'd begun to interest him. Just a little. The men flanking him shifted like restive horses. Would likely welcome an opportunity to shoot her or throw her into the bay, just to relieve their boredom.

“You speak truth,” he said finally, not without humor. “Your accent is English and I'd warrant you had something of an education. Who are you and from where do you hail?”

“Has my interview begun then?”

“If you would be so kind as to answer me, please.”

The tone was calm, but she understood immediately that he had decided to apportion her a particle of his attention and patience, no more.

“Delphinia Digby. Dorset.”

If any of this surprised him, not a single twitch of a brow betrayed it.

As it so happened, it was true. Her friends and an erstwhile lover or two had called her Daisy, but she suspected the more syllables the better when it came to this man.

“Very well, then, Delphinia Digby. Why do you think I should employ you?”

She was prepared. “I speak three languages and can convincingly fake a few others. I am more than fair actress. I'm unafraid of hard work of any kind. I can follow orders and mind my own business. I can cook, cobble a shoe, and shoot a pistol. I'm resourceful and a quick learner. And I was trailing you for three quarters of an hour, not one.”

At last. Real humor lit those eyes, and the smile, though fleeing, was real.

He hesitated a moment.

“Come to my ship at three o'clock today and tell the men on duty you've a meeting with the captain. We'll continue our interview then.”

She'd been sails waiting to be filled with the winds of purpose. A young woman orphaned and rudderless, quick to anger, slow to trust, bold and cynical and capable of dazzling—after all, God hadn't given her a magnificent bosom and big sherry-colored eyes and all that curly hair and expect her not to use them— but in truth all too embarrassingly eager to be loyal to someone who deserved it.

And once you knew him, really saw him at work and knew what he was about, it was nearly impossible not to swear fealty to the man. She would do anything for him.

“You've the look of a man who could use a little comfort tonight, captain.”

She could hear the smile in his voice when he spoke, but he didn't turn. “Who couldn't use a little comfort now and again? It's cold out here,
Digby. You should be inside.”

He'd always called her Digby. As if she were some gruff staff sergeant in the army, and now a woman of marked curves and charm. It was a way to impose a necessary professional distance, and she supposed it worked. But it also made her all the more determined to find a way beyond that wall.

“My bunk is warm. And comfortable.”

They had a tacit agreement that their relationship was all banter. She would say such things, he would laugh.

Sometimes this made her want to throw herself overboard.

And usually he could flirt and field her volleys with the skill of a seasoned roue. It was both invigorating good fun and torture.

Tonight he was silent, instead. He seemed weighted and distracted.

“So who is she, captain?”

“What do you mean?”

“You've the look of a man who's pining after a woman.”

“Know the look, do you?”

“I'm a woman with a past, captain. I've doubtless sent a man or two into a reverie just like that.”

She placed a slight emphasis on the word “woman.” Just in case he needed a reminder.

Alas, he didn't seem to notice.

And he said nothing for a good long while.

“Christmas Eve.” He said it aloud, musingly.

“Aye, Captain. That it is.”

His voice was soft and steady. “I danced with her the first time on Christmas Eve, Digby. At a ball. And I kissed her for the first time on 12th night. She was wearing white. A dozen other girls were, too. But she had...” his hand went up to his head. “Some sort of sparkling thing was in her hair. And I think she wore a necklace. All I could see were her eyes. Jewels would have been redundant. And we...” he stop and gave a short laugh. “...we argued.”

He caressed the word “argued.” He might as well have said “made love.”

“So you kissed her to make her stop talking?”

He didn't laugh. “I kissed her because I couldn't bear not to. Because I was dazzled. Because everything was better with her. Better and newer. Things I'd seen and done hundreds of times before. Silences, laughter, dancing, arguing, breathing, just being. I was grateful and angry and overwhelmed and...It was all too big to contain. So kissing her seemed the only thing left to me in that moment. Words would never do..”

She stood frozen. Humbled and shattered by the bald honesty and emotion, delivered in such a steady voice, as if he was delivering a verdict. He'd never seemed more remote to her; it was though he'd visited a land she had not and turned forever changed and that was she could never possibly understand him. And suddenly her own limited understanding of such things—ballrooms, kisses, raw love— felt like an airless box. She, for all her bounding from one experience to another, escaping from some, running to others, and had never lighted anywhere long enough to feel anything quite this deep and true for a man. Or to allow anyone else to feel this way about her.

Until, irony of ironies, the captain.

She flailed for something to say.

“What happened to her?” Her voice was a rusty whisper.

He hesitated. “She came to despise me.”

He said it with a peculiar tonelessness.

“Surely that's impossible.”

He gave a laugh, and shook his head at what a card she was. “A lot you know, Digby.”

And continued staring out at the ocean.

They listened to the now familiar sounds of the docked ship creaking and sighing, rocked now by a gentle see.

“I've never been to a ball,” she was still whispering for some reason.

He straightened to his long height and studied her. Surprised by her sudden small voice, perhaps. Or just remembering she was there.

And then he moved away from the rail and strode slowly toward her, and stood looking down at her, and a faint frown creased his brow, as if he was seeing her for the first time.

Kiss me. Kiss me. Kiss me.

And suddenly she was afraid he actually would.

Perhaps she ought to say something. About Christmas and mistletoe and kissing and ...

She gave a start when instead he bowed, low and slow.

She gawked at him like a green girl when he was upright again.

“Well? Aren't you going to curtsy, Digby?”

“Oh! Very well! Right, then!” She managed a curtsy as slow and elegant as his bow. She was an actress after all.

“Now, then. Pretend the stars above are the candles in sconces, and the moon is the chandelier, and the creaking of the rigging and the slap of the ocean are music.”

“Would it be insubordination to ask why?”

“Consider this your first ball.”

And just like that, he settled one hand on her waist, and took the other in his, as if he did this every day, a thousand times a day, the way he raked his hair out of his eyes or tugged at rigging or all the things she'd seen him doing. His bare hand folded over hers, and though she knew it didn't cause his heart to accelerate at all, she suspected he could feel her pulse. No doubt he wouldn't notice the difference. She was certain the heart of every women he touched took up a staccato beating.

He eased her into the rhythm of a waltz. One, two, three. One, two, three. One, two, three. As lulling as a lullaby, the dance. She could hear him breathing softly. She could smell the starch of his shirts and his soap. She was lost in his eyes. She suspected he didn't quite see her.

And after a moment he hummed, faintly, a tune she didn't know. She sensed he was somewhere in his memories again, and if he was pretending she was another woman altogether, she decided her silence would be her gift to him. She felt very noble and martyred about it, but that was what one did for those one loved.

The deck of the docked ship moved like a great beast breathing softly. And around and around they went. And she decided rotating in the captain's arms was a bit like sailing over the sea. She once thougth she could will him into loving her with the sheer force of her personality. She knew a moment of torment when she admitted to herself that she would likely she would never conquer or fully come to know his depths. But damned if she wouldn't try.

And damned if she wouldn't savor every moment of the journey.

She might look like an angel...

The moment orphaned American heiress Titania “Tansy” Danforth arrives on English shores she cuts a swath through Sussex, enslaving hearts and stealing beaux. She knows she's destined for a spectacular titled marriage—but the only man who fascinates her couldn't be more infamous...or less interested.

...but it takes a devil to know one...

A hardened veteran of war, inveterate rogue Ian Eversea keeps women enthralled, his heart guarded and his options open: why should he succumb to the shackles of marriage when devastating good looks and Eversea charm make seduction so easy?

...and Heaven has never been hotter.

When Ian is forced to call her on her game, he never dreams the unmasked Tansy—vulnerable, brave, achingly sensual—will tempt him beyond endurance. And fight as he will, this notorious bachelor who stood down enemies on a battlefield might finally surrender his heart...and be brought to his knees by love.

Pre-order: | Amazon | Kindle | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository |

Check out the Pennyroyal series:
Click for info.

 Check out what's up for grabs.

Up For Grabs:
  • 1 copy of Pennyroyal Book of Choice

To Enter: 
  • Please leave a comment or question for Julie.
  • Please fill out the Rafflecopter form.

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

Good Luck! 

Special thanks to Julie Anne Long for sponsoring this giveaway.
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  1. Oh Julie! Lyon is just torture!!!! I've waited like forever for his story and this is just amazing!!! But I feel so sad for Daisy..... I want her to have a HEA too~ She better find a great man!! And I can't wait for Ian!!!!!

    1. So happy you enjoyed it! :) I'd love to write an HEA for Daisy!! Sometimes disappointment in love helps you love better, and recognize the right person for you. SHe's learning a lot about herself by being around him all the time. You never know...Lyon may return her affection. too...;)

    2. That last line Julie!!!! Not cool, not cool!!!!!! You're killing me !!! ;)

  2. Love this story, i enjoyed it. Wanna read more, really curious what Captain doing with Digby.
    Thanks for sharing :)

    1. So glad you loved it! Thanks for telling me! :) I think it would be fun to write an entire story for Daisy.

  3. Loved this story as I love the rest of your work. I've been saving the Pennyroyal Green series to read when I have them all...but now you're up to book many in all will be in the series?

    1. I'm so glad you loved it, Karen! You should start reading them!! :) I'm not positive how many stories will be in the series, and i have a few novellas planned, too. I would hate for you to miss out and I'd love to know what you think!

  4. This is an amazing series. I'm still catching up. Like Karen I usually wait till I have the books in a series to read them but I couldn't hold out with the Pennyroyal series. Happy Holidays everyone.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

  5. I just loved this story. So bittersweet. I hope Daisy will deserve a happily every after of her own—perhaps in a novella of her own?

    Thank you for the lovely Christmas present of this story. Cheers, EE

    (I don't need to be entered into the drawing. You know I already have EVERY Pennyroyal Green book on my keeper shelf!)

    1. Thanks, Liz! I'm so glad you loved it! Daisy feels very vivid to me, so I'd like to write her story (and a number of readers are interested in it, too!). I think she learns a lot about life and herself from Lyon, which will ultimately make her even better at loving, I bet. :)

  6. So glad that I followed one of my book blog's recommendations and tried one of your books- I was instantly hooked!

    1. Wonderful to hear- thanks for telling me!! And bless the book bloggers of the world—I so appreciate them!!

  7. OK, that was a tease! Heartbreak with no HEA!

    1. Hee! Ah, but it's all part of a larger story. If you know about Lyon Redmond, you know where his heart is...and I'd love to write a whole story for Daisy. I wonder if Lyon will return her affection....hmmm....;)

  8. I so want Lyon and Daisy to have a full story

  9. I love this series, and I'm so looking forward to finally reading Lyon and Olivia's story at some point, as well as see Ian get his comeuppance by the right woman.

    1. I'm so so glad you love the series, Barbara—thank you! And you won't have long to wait for Ian's story...;) I'll keep you all posted about when to expect a story for Lyon and Olivia. There's a big development for Olivia in BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND IAN EVERSEA, I"ll say that much. :)

  10. Oh my goodness, Julie, I dearly loved this short story about the Captain and Digby and hope we get to hear more about them in a complete story. I have also loved every book I've read of your Pennyroyal series immensely. Thanks so much for this post.

    1. Yay! So glad you loved the story - and I'd love to write a whole story for Daisy, so stay tuned! :) And I'm so glad you've loved he Pennyroyal Green series - thank you for telling me! :)

  11. I loved your short story, Julie! Your Pennyroyal series is one of my favorite series I've read. Love the Everseas and the Redmonds. I love the passion that you give your characters. Have a wonderful Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year!

    1. Thank you, Sandra - I'm so glad you enjoy the series, and you're a peach to tell me!! A wonderful Christmas to you and yours, too. :)

  12. What a bittersweet story -- poor Daisy! I really hope Lyon is just hiding his feelings for her! Even more I hope you turn this into a full length novel!!

    Merry Christmas!!!

    1. Lyon MAY have feelings for her, but his heart is spoken for. I wonder if Daisy can change his mind...;) would love to write her story.

  13. Wow. I'm not sure who stole my heart in this short story, Delphina or Lyon. While I'd hope they'd find each other it's obvious Lyon is meant for someone else. I'd still love to see Delphina find someone too.

    1. One of the best parts of writing romances is that I get to write happily ever afters. :) Lyon's heart was stolen quite a while ago, but Daisy may yet get her happy ending. Now she's curious about what it really feels like to love and be loved, the way the captain loves Olivia Eversea.

  14. I've only just started reading book blogs and love the snippets you shared. Can't wait to read the pennyroyal series now!

    1. I really hope you enjoy the series, Dana, if you do have a chance to read it. You'll have to let me know what you think! :)

  15. Loved the short story. I haven't read any books in the series but I'm definitely intrigued and will be picking it up soon.

  16. Thanks for the (upcoming) giveaway chance! The Rafflecopter form says the contest has not started yet?!

  17. Please, please don't change Lyon's affections from Olivia to Daisy. We've been waiting too long to see Lyon's and Olivia's story to have it changed. Besides, we're still waiting to see how their romance plays with his father's previous romance with Olivia's mother. That came out at the end of Colin's story and was never mentioned again.

  18. Don't worry—you can feel confident that it will work out the way readers want it to work out, Evelyn. :) I do get torrents of emails from readers wondering about all the characters in the series (Polly Hawthorne, Lord Harry, Wyndham, Samuel Heron, the Gypsy Boy, Lavay, Miss Marietta Endicott, to name just a few), including the parents, and the thread of their story (the mention of which is a bit of spoiler for people who haven't yet read the series, so let's not say too much!! :) in fact does run through the series (in comments and observations made by people like Miles Redmond, for instance, who's noticed how his father looks at Isolde Eversea) and is an undercurrent, because it echoes Lyon's and Olivia's story. Time and luck permitting, readers will hear from ALL of their favorite intriguing characters peripheral again!

  19. I love it! Love reading the little bits of Lyon and Olivia. Can't wait to read Lyon's story!

  20. charming (if a bit bittersweet) story. happy holidays :)

  21. I really enjoyed reading your post, Julie! I will have to get your books in the Pennyroyal series if that is any indication. Thanks for the giveaway!

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!

  22. Thank you for the wonderful read.

    Merry Christmas!!

  23. I really enjoyed the scene. I hope Daisy finds her HEA.

  24. Intriguing short story. Thank you for sharing it.
    Julie what is your favorite thing to do during the Christmas holiday?

  25. I love this series! I haven't read It Happened One Midnight - yet - but I have loved all the others. I think What I Did for a Duke is my favorite so far.

  26. I have not had the pleasure of reading this series, yet. It looks wonderful, though.

  27. So like Evelyn I too wanted Lyon and Olivia to be together but now you threw Daisy in there and I'm so contrary that I think that story might be even better in the end. Whatever you do will be great. You're one of my favorite authors and have both your books in print and on my kindle. Lols, never know when you want to reread a book. Keep looking for your books on audible, although finding the right the narrator is so tricky.

  28. Thank you, Amanda—you're a doll! I CAN promise that the right heroes will end up with the right heroines. :) And I have a all of my favorite books on Kindle and in paperback, too, so I consider that quite an honor :) I get so many emails from readers wanting the books in audio format, and I really hope one day it'll happen!! Merry Christmas!

  29. I've been hooked on this series since I read Like No Other Lover. I can't wait till Lyon and Olivia get a story! But, I'd definitely like to read a whole book with Daisy. Maybe she can go to Pennyroyal Green to see what's so great about Olivia. Then maybe if she can figure it out, she can get Lyon to love her instead. But love gets in the way and she finds someone better for her than Lyon could ever be. Then, Lyon and Olivia can finally be together ;)

  30. What a wonderful excerpt! I love that he calls her Digby. Like many fans, I am impatiently awaiting the Lyon/Olivia story. Of course, I'm loving the other novels along the way, too. Ian's story sounds like a lot of fun. I'm curious whether we'll get a glimpse of Alex and Genevieve in Ian's story. I admit to enjoying Ian's responses to Alex's "threatening" behavior. Merry Christmas.

  31. Julie, is it possible to write any faster? The Pennyroyal series contains some of my most favorite romance plots.

    1. So happy you're enjoying the series!! :) I'm going to try to get a novella (or two) done before BETWEEN THE DEVIL AND IAN EVERSEA is released in April, so stay tuned. :)

  32. Awesome teaser..
    You have got my attention and I have never read a book by you.. :(

    Damn it I want to read a book by you!!!
    When will this one be out? Please make it soon.. pleaseeeeeeee..

  33. I am so excited for this story to be out. Thanks so much for the wonderful Christmas present.

  34. can't wait to read julie's books..i love HR :)
    thx u..happy holidays ..

  35. I am playing catch up with this series. Is the giveaway book going to be autographed? Thanks for the giveaway ladies and Happy Holidays!!

    1. Yes, the giveaway book will be signed! :) Happy Holidays!

  36. I actually downloaded the first book in the series, but I am saving it because I know when I read it I won't be able to stop. Loved the short

  37. How do you choose the time periods to write about? What is it about that time that attracts you?

  38. Thanks for the excerpt and a quick look into what Lyon is up to. Has Lyon been keeping tabs on what Olivia is up to? Merry Christmas.

  39. with a series I often wonder how important it is to read the books in order - is that suggested with this series?

    1. You can read them in any order you choose, Di (you won't be lost!), but I think it's more fun to read them in order, just to get to know the characters a little better and feel more immersed in their world! :)

  40. Really enjoyed small excerpt. Hope to get this soon and finish the story.

  41. Considering I haven't read the series yet I was confuse. I really need to skip all the way down on my list to this series because I keep running into posts about this series!

    1. I hope you do read it, Sandy, and let me know what you think when you do!! :)

  42. Thanks for having this contest. I would love to read this series by Julie Ann Long.

  43. Awesome contest! Can't wait for the next book.

  44. I love reading the teaser, now I'm really rooting for Daisy to get her own HEA!

  45. Gah, Daisy needs to have her own HEA! As much as I love Lyon and wish him happiness with Olivia (still waiting on that, Julie! >.<), I feel so much sympathy for Daisy. T.T I wonder who will be the one to love her...:)

    1. I have a GREAT idea for Daisy's story, so I'm going to try to finish one for her! :)

  46. Love all of your books! I've re - Read all of them, some more than once. You have become an auto buy and I pre-order whenever I can.

  47. Love these historical romance novels, hope to read this soon.

  48. I love that this is a stand alone but also part of a series. I've only read some of the books, so even if i start reading this one, it's not like i'm completely lost.

  49. I love this genre, hopefully i'll be able to catch up with the series soon. Great giveaway by the way.

  50. Thanks for the giveaway, can't wait to continue reading this series. It just keeps getting better, and it's impossible not to fall for the couples, you really know how to show romance.

  51. Oh wow, i really loved the short excerpt, hopefully i'll get to continue with it soon.

  52. I love the Pennyroyal series! I'm on pins and needles waiting for the next book to be released (April can't come soon enough!)

  53. Hi Julie Anne!

    I'm so excited that your next Pennyroyal Green series novel, Between the Devil and Ia Eversea, is coming out in April! Since my husband's birthday is in April I think that I should give him a copy, after all I end up buying all his history books as well a historical fiction for him so I think it's only fitting that this year he should give up one of his books so I can buy it!

    Now my only problem is how do I explain to him about my reasoning except to say it's my attempt to get him to read one of my favorite books so we can talk about it the way he makes me read his "favorites"! Any hints on how I can finally get him to read one of your books? (Maybe your husband can give me a hint if you can't come up with a reason!).

  54. Thanks for the giveaway! Thanks for the excerpt.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  55. Thanks for the chance to win!
    Happy Holidays!

  56. Can't wait to read the new book.
    Theresa N