She had never forgotten him…
Miss Octavia Pierce is witty, well off, and shockingly unwed. Still, she is far too successful in society to remain on the shelf forever, and her family has hopes that Octavia will finally make the perfect match. What they do not know is that years earlier Octavia was scandalously tempted by the one man capable of sweeping her off her feet—the man now known as the Marquess of Doreé.
A third son, never meant to inherit, Lord Ben Doreé has abandoned his past and grown accustomed to his illustrious new position of wealth and power. But he has never forgotten Octavia, and now she desperately needs his help in a most dangerous, clandestine matter. Although she claims she has put the memories of the passion they shared behind her, Ben is determined to once again have her in his arms—and in his bed.
Excerpt from IN THE ARMS OF A MARQUESS
Ben pushed to his feet in the gin-soaked pub. His clogged head spun.
Styles laid a hand on his shoulder. “I’ll take you to Hauterive’s. Why you came in here when the company there would welcome you, I haven’t the slightest.”
“No. I’m for home.” He started toward the door.
“You disappeared from Lady Ashford’s party so swiftly I hadn’t an idea of it until you were gone. If I’d have known you were heading here I would have dissuaded you.”
“Couldn’t have.” Ben pushed through the lollers at the tavern’s entry and headed toward the mews down the alley with bleary eyes but hound-like precision. If he hadn’t trekked this path hundreds of times in his university days, he would be lost now. Lost in London’s hells and lost in confounded memories, neither of which locations he particularly wished to be.
“Who was that girl you were dancing with, the one that looked like an Irish Athena, all sublime figure and eyes of soft steel?”
Ben blinked to shut out the image of Octavia’s body wrapped in the shimmering gown, her soft lips, pinkened cheeks, and the sensation of her trembling fingers within his. But behind his lids the image was even stronger, and his hand still felt hot where hers had lain.
“Good God, Walker,” he grunted, “you and Constance would make a perfect pair, both of you curious as a couple of magpies.”
“Lady Constance asked about the girl too? Is she jealous?”
“Only of your paramours.”
“Then the lady at Ashford’s is a paramour?”
Ben shook his head, his stomach rolling. “Not mine.” Not any longer.
He moved across the street in unsteady strides.
But why not? No one controlled his destiny now. His life was his own. Why not seduce a beautiful, deceitful woman, a woman whose flavor yet remained upon his tongue? Why not take pleasure where he wished?
Because he could not then and still could not believe in her deceit, although he had tried to convince himself of it again and again. To absolve himself of guilt.
He stumbled into the stable and pressed his face into his horse’s satiny neck. Taking to the bottle tonight had been a mistake. He needed clarity. A pitcher of icy water over his head would do it, just as her smile had earlier, so brief it seemed she didn’t even know she smiled, washing his vision clear for an instant as it always had…
Today, I am thrilled to welcome historical romance author Katharine Ashe to the back to the blog! (Be sure to click the link at the end of her post if you missed Katharine’s first visit for more fun interview questions). I got the chance to hang out with Katharine this summer at RWA’s conference in New York, and I can tell you that not only is she a fabulously talented author, but smart, savvy and wickedly funny! Please visit her at www.katharineashe.com
So let’s get to know Katharine better!
The American Library Association’s Booklist named Katharine Ashe among its “New Stars of Historical Romance” and her debut, Swept Away by a Kiss, was a 2010 nominee for Best First Historical Romance in the Reviewers’ Choice Best Book Awards. Katharine lives in the wonderfully warm Southeast with her husband, son, two dogs, and a garden she likes to call romantic rather than unkempt.
And now, for the Get Lost Interview!
Heather: How often do you get lost in a story?
Katharine: Always. I adore deep, powerful romances that hurl me up and down through bliss and torture then joy and torment and back to complete happiness in the end. The more roller coaster-y the romance, and the more it makes me feel deeply, laughing and crying on the same page — as long as the conclusion is deliciously satisfying — the more likely I am to get lost in it. Lost In A Story is my middle name: Katharine Lost In A Story Ashe. Honest. Check my driver’s license.
I also get really lost in the story when I write. (see below!)
Heather: What sound do you love?
Katharine: Favorite: The sound of one person saying to another, “I love you.” Second favorite: The ocean breaking on the shore with gull cries above.
Heather: Do you write while listening to music? If so what kind?
Katharine: While writing I prefer silence (or the sound of my dogs snoring, which is, um, kind of inevitable). I do make a playlist for each book, and I listen to it all the rest of the time — in the car, walking the dogs, running, grocery shopping, gardening, rotating my tires. I have a tough time stepping away from a story while I’m writing it. I adore every moment of the lovers’ tangled journey toward their happily ever after. Listening to the playlist is my way of staying in their emotions even when I must be somewhere else.
Heather: If you couldn’t be a writer anymore, what profession would you take up?
Katharine: Writer. (I can’t believe you asked that question.) Actually, I’m also a professor of history. But I’d like to be a gardener. Or a dog walker. Or a meteorologist. Or a Shakespearian actor. Or a test driver for Mustang convertibles. Or a professional champagne taster.
Heather: What’s the first thing you do when you finish writing a book?
Katharine: Weep and laugh with joy for my hero and heroine. Dance around the living room. Crack open the bubbly. Not necessarily in that order.
Heather: What do you do to unwind and relax?
Katharine: I build model nuclear submarines and solve calculus equations. No. (Ye-ah.) I walk my pups, hang out with my son, watch romantic comedies, sit on my deck listening to cicadas in the treetops or basketball players in the nearby park.
Heather: What soundtrack or playlist do you recommend for your current release?
Katharine: Here are a few songs from my playlist for IN THE ARMS OF A MARQUESS:
“You’ll Ask for Me” – Tyler Hilton
“Moonlight Serenade” – Klaus Badelt (from POTC: Curse of the Black Pearl)
“Replace You” – Samantha Moore
“Vulnerable” – Secondhand Serenade
“Animals on Fire” – Kate Walsh (The beat of this song is like a heartbeat. It’s amazing.)
“Fear” – Sarah McLachlan
“Am I the Only One?” – Barenaked Ladies
“I Shall Believe” – Sheryl Crow
“New Divide” – Linkin Park
“Here with Me” – Dido
“Come What May” – Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman (from Moulin Rouge)
“You and Me” – Lifehouse
“Shine” – Rosi Golan
Heather: Tea or Coffee? And how do you take it?
Katharine: Coffee for breakfast, decaf (because when I drink caffeine I start thinking I should become the captain of a tall ship and have perilous seafaring adventures, but that just wouldn’t be practical at this time in my life, you see), with heated milk. I became accustomed to this while living in Rome, taken with a plumcake, a little breakfast treat that, having mentioned it, I am now of course craving. (*opening my browser to search for a store that will mail plumcakes from Italy*)
Tea late at night when all are abed save me and my laptop. Tea when I am in the British Isles where the misty rain at dawn and the lush green hills of Wales and the winding stone walls of Scotland and the clattering streets of London require such elemental comfort. Tea when the sniffles threaten. Tea when a friend comes over to chat. Cream Tea when True Snacking is a must.
Heather: What does it mean to love someone?
Katharine: To give your heart without reservation. To protect the beloved’s heart, body, and precious uniqueness from danger. To inspire the beloved to become the best person possible.
Heather: Have you ever written a character who wasn’t meant to be a hero/heroine but he/she wouldn’t go away?
Katharine: Octavia Pierce, the heroine of IN THE ARMS OF A MARQUESS. She was the little sister of a heroine I was writing at the time, on the verge of sixteen, a straightforward, shockingly honest miss with an adventuresome spirit. A very minor character.
At first Octavia didn’t actually tell me she must have her own story. Ben did. Her hero. He saw her (from a distance, when I wasn’t paying attention) and he told me quite clearly that he wanted her for his heroine. Since I barely knew him at the time, frankly I didn’t have any reason to trust him — not even twenty and full of confident, tall, dark and handsome lordliness. But he wouldn’t leave me alone about it. He was very certain. And you know, when a mysterious and powerful lord insists on something like this, it’s kind of hard not to buckle under. So I said he’d have to wait until she became a lady, about three years, and then, well, he’d have to lose her after that… for a while. Another seven years. (Remember that torture-bliss thing I mentioned above?) He glowered. I cowered, but I held fast. Come to think of it, when I promised him the billiards table scene, his glower relaxed a little.
And so I wrote their story.
(BTW, nobody actually plays billiards in the book.)
Heather’s GOTTA ASK – Katharine’s GOTTA ANSWER
Heather: So, Katharine, we know from your last visit that you are a professor of European history. I see that you've lived in both France and Italy. Can you tell us what you loved, or didn't, about living abroad?
Katharine: I loved walking the paths that people I’ve read about walked hundreds of years ago. I loved the food (plumcakes!), speaking in other languages, and the people. I loved all the new scents and living a different texture of life.
It was tough not having an ample supply of English-language novels. They’re expensive in Rome (where I spent most of my time abroad) and I was a (very) poor graduate student. When I discovered a little English bookshop that sold Penguin Classics for $1.99, I was in alt. I read every Jane Austen novel first.
GOT A QUESTION YOU’D LIKE TO ASK YOUR FANS?
Katharine: What do you neglect/ignore/forget/accidentally-misplace-in-your-sock-drawer when you’re lost in a great story?
WILL YOU HAVE A DRAWING FROM THOSE LEAVING COMMENTS?
Katharine: I'll be happy to give away a set of Romance Trading Cards and a gorgeous "Fight Like a Girl" ocean-glass and silver pendant made for September's Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, related to Avon's KISS and Teal campaign (of which I'm a spokesperson).
Thanks so much for being with us today, Katharine! Where can your fans learn more about you?
Website Facebook Twitter
Want to know even more about Katharine? Take a look at her first GET LOST appearance.
Get Lost Interview
**Note: Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed to North American addresses only. If an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) is available, the author may utilize that option for International participants. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants.
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USA Today Bestseller Angi Morgan is an 11th generation Texan who plots ways to engage her readers with complex story lines, in actual Texas locations. She shares her research and photos on her daily blog: A Picture A Day.
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