Berkley Sensation
ISBN: 0425246981
After four disastrous engagements, Penelope Rastmoor wants nothing but to travel to Egypt. To escape her brother's plan to marry her off, she's determined to find herself such an improper fiancé that he would do anything rather than let her wed. Enter the notoriously unscrupulous Lord Harris Chesterton...

Whispers and scandalized murmurs breezed through the ballroom crowd around her but Penelope could not hear enough to get the gist of things. She could, however, begin to pick out a few words here and there from the loud male voice shouting over the hushed din. Indeed, things were getting more than interesting. She ducked under Lady Davenforth’s enormous bosom and pressed past Sir Douglas MacClinty’s portly abdomen. No one noticed her, so she kept on, moving slowly toward the front of the room. Mamma would surely have a fit, but Mamma hadn’t seen her so far. She could gawk as blatantly as she liked.

“It just isn’t seemly, sir!” the blustering male voice was saying.

“Yes, it seemed a bit unusual to me, too,” another male voice said.

This was a deep voice, a voice with tone and texture that Penelope was certain she’d recognize if she ever heard it again. It was a good voice, warm and amused and certain. She could picture the man it belonged to as smiling while he spoke. She could imagine he had a glint of mischief in his eye.

She could also tell he was more than a little bit drunk.

“But for shame, sir! You had your hand on my wife’s, er . . . arm!” the first voice stormed.

“No sir,” the second man corrected. “I had my hand on your wife’s, er, bosom.”

The crowd gasped. Someone—most likely the blustering gentleman—choked. The man with the warm, amused voice said nothing, despite all the tumult around him. Penelope decided she simply must get a look at this person.

There was a chair against the nearby wall, so she scooted herself to it and hoisted up her skirt. Surely with all the fuss these gentlemen were causing no one would so much as notice a woman with strawberry ringlets standing atop a chair, would they? Of course not. Up she went, steadying herself by grasping onto the nearby fern propped securely—she hoped—on a plaster column.

Ah, now she could see the men. She easily recognized her host, Lord Burlington, and he appeared much as he usually did; red-faced, jowly and, well, blustering. The other man was a different story. She drew in a surprised breath.

For all his cultured tones and textured warmth, the man appeared very unlike his voice. She expected someone dashing and rakish, someone who lived by his wit and reveled in the stimulation of intelligent conversation, among other things. Someone who appreciated fine spirits and looked down his nose at lesser men. A dandy even, who was sought after and used to being admired. That was how he had sounded, at least.

What she saw when her eyes fell upon him was something quite different.

By heavens, but the man was a hermit! He was unkempt, with dirt in his hair and whiskers on his face several days old. His clothes were a disaster. If he had been dressed for mucking a stable or plowing a field, he would have been only slightly overdone. The man was a positive horror!

And now he noticed her. She clutched the fern for support when his eyes locked onto hers. When he smiled she thought she felt the chair shift beneath her feet.

“If you’d let me explain, Burlington,” he said to the blustering man, although his eyes remained fixed on Penelope. “I was trying to tell you that you have reached a hasty conclusion where your wife is concerned. I was walking into the room as she was walking out of the room and we merely collided. There was nothing more than that.”

“But you were alone with her. Your hand was on her . . . Well, don’t think I haven’t heard of your reputation, sir.”

“Yes, yes. I daresay everyone has heard of my reputation and this is hardly going to rectify that, is it? Oh well. I assure you, in this instance, at least, I am innocent.”

“I ought to call you out!” the first man blustered on bravely.

“Well, I suppose I could shoot you on a field of honor if you insist, but I really would so much rather not. My head is going to be bloody ringing enough in the morning, as it is.”

Susan Gee Heino was one of those kids always writing stories and forcing her
parents—and her sisters, teachers, friends, neighbors, and the family dog—to read them. Her stories were about everything from animals and Star Wars to worms and haunted school buses. One thing was constant, though: there was always a happy ending.

Eventually, she took this love of happy endings and coupled it with her love of the English Regency time period. In 2008 she won RWA’s Golden Heart ® Award in the
Regency Historical category and has become a national bestseller. Today she resides in rural Ohio with a menagerie of creatures, her very supportive husband, and her two adorable (and frighteningly creative) children. They are all addicted to happy endings, and that seems to be working out just fine.

ANGI: How often to you get lost in a story?
SUSAN: As often as I can! It think it's important therapy for our brains. All of us, not just writers, need time to let our minds wander to happy places and "experiences" we wouldn't otherwise have. I think it makes us smarter, more compassionate, and better problem-solvers. 

ANGI: What’s the first book you remember reading?
SUSAN: The first full-length book I read was a children's biography of Helen Keller. I was in 1st grade and enthralled with the subject--imagine not having your sight or your hearing and still being a woman to make such a difference in the world! It was a real struggle when I started the book. I didn't read that well yet and was sure it would take me years to actually finish it. But once I got lost in that story, my skills increased and I finished in record time. 

ANGI: What’s your favorite “love” word?
SUSAN: Cherish. Gosh, what a beautiful word. If we could all just do that, cherish every day the things we truly hold dear, what a world this would be! 

ANGI: Can you tell us about a real-life hero you’ve met?
SUSAN: My husband. Is that too cheesy to say? But I really believe he is a hero. He's not had things come easily in his life, but he never gives up and he just keeps on doing what he knows is right. He is a minister and a law-enforcement chaplain. He's been on hand for suicides, stand-offs, plane crashes, car wrecks, and all manner of death notifications. None of these are things he wants to do, but he goes when he gets the call and he does his duty with compassion and, believe it or not, a sense of humor. 

ANGI: What’s your favorite fairy tale?
SUSAN: King Thrushbeard. Gosh, I've loved that story since I was a kid. It's basically "Taming of the Shrew", with a snotty, selfish Princess for the heroine and a sneaky, scheming Prince for the hero. And yes, it has a very happy ending. 

ANGI: What’s your favorite cartoon character?
SUSAN: I'm kind of into Phineas and Ferb right now. I mean, seriously, who can not love a platypus spy and "Squirrels in my Pants"?

ANGI: What sound or noise do you love?
SUSAN: I love all the crazy sounds my pets make! Is that weird? I've got a lot of pets, so you can imagine it's pretty noisy around here: cats, dogs, goats, chickens, budgies, rabbits, and even a hedgehog. The goldfish and guppies are pretty quiet, but their tanks bubble. I love it!

ANGI: What was the first story you remember writing?
SUSAN: Even when I was little, I wrote A LOT. As soon as I learned my alphabet, I would sit at the table while Mom cooked dinner and force her to spell out words for me so I could write "books". One of my early attempts was a story called "The Worm Family" and it chronicled a family's struggle to reform the drugged-out hippy next door. Yes, I drew pictures to accompany the story and, yes, they were actual worms. Wearing clothes. I like to think I was edgy.  

ANGI: Be honest, when reading...do you put yourself in the heroine’s role?
SUSAN: Um, not all the time. I think very often I put myself in the hero's role, for some reason. Maybe it's just that I read a lot of heroines who are way more organized and up-tight than I am. Guess I relate better to the bad-boy hero in those cases! Also, it's fun to do a little role playing every now and then, you know? LOL 

ANGI: What’s something you’d like to tell your fans?
SUSAN: I want to hear from them! Really, I hope people who read my books enjoy them. Nothing makes my day more than opening up my email or Facebook and finding a note from someone who says my words made them laugh, or sigh, or decide to write their own romance novel. 

ANGI’S GOTTA ASK: Hi Susan. I often wonder what attracts us to the Regency period over others in history. Can you share what you like most and how you capture that aspect in your books?
SUSAN’S GOTTA ANSWER: Good question, Angi. We do see statistically that the Regency period tends to outsell others in historical romance, but no one really knows why. The Regency only covers ten years, but was a decade of dramatic social and political change, with wars, civil unrest, economic turmoil and the infancy of Industrial Revolution. Personally, I know exactly what I love about the Regency. The clothes!

I just love those pretty dresses, and we don't have to deal with hoop skirts or powdered wigs. And of course there are those tight gentlemen's breeches. Yum yum! But more than just that, there is the whole social order element. Regency romances generally focus on the well-to-do and the nobility. I love getting to play fancy dress up in my mind, hob-nobbing with dashing dukes and ladies of quality. And of course Regencies are famous for clever dialog. I swoon over witty banter! When you add to the mix how difficult travel was then (hot-blooded couples are forever being forced to take shelter in an abandoned cottage along the road) and there was no mass communication (a desperate heroine can pull off all manner of deception when the truth of her identity is so easy to hide) you do end up with a broad and colorful backdrop for a plethora of passionate stories.

Contact   Website   Facebook   Twitter   Susan’s Blog  


SUSAN will be awarding a copy of her newest release, PASSION AND PRETENSE. Just leave a comment and you’ll be entered in a drawing. Remember to check back to see if you won! Winner will be posted here on Thursday.  

Note: Offer void where prohibited. Prizes will be mailed to North America addresses only unless specifically mentioned in the post. Odds of winning vary due to the number of entrants. Winners of drawings are responsible for checking this site in a timely manner. If prizes are not claimed in a timely manner, the author may not have a prize available. Get Lost In A Story cannot be responsible for an author's failure to mail the listed prize. GLIAS does not automatically pass email addresses to guest authors unless the commenter publicly posts their email address.

DON’T FORGET to FOLLOW us on Twitter (#GetLostStories) or LIKE us on Facebook to keep up with all our guest authors and their prizes. Join me next week when I host RITA finalist Jessica Andersen. And come back tomorrow when Donnell hosts Judith Arnold. ~Angi

ARE YOU PASSIONATE about Regency romances, how did you fall in love with that time period and what elements do you love most?


  1. Glad to see Penelope's story is now available. I have the earlier 3 books, and they were a lot of fun.
    Cute hedgehog. Since there none where I live, may I ask what a hedgehog sounds like?

  2. HI SUSAN Love your dresses:). Love it when the hero and heroine bantering against each other in a love story:), aretha zhen, arethazhenATrocketmailDOTCOM

  3. Hi Susan. I love that your real life hero is your husband. He's a lucky man (ps: where can I find another 1 of his kind?).

    My fav romance genre is Historical. I love the elegance of the period!

    Thanks for the opportunity to win

  4. Another fan here... looking forward to your latest.. I also love your dresses!! Please thank your hubby for his commitment and service to the community!

  5. It's so sweet that your husband is your real life hero. :)

    I think I fall in love with Regency because of the romance.... The dresses, the balls, the dance and the HEA... That's rare nowadays!

  6. Good Morning Susan and welcome to GLIAS. Hope you have fun "getting lost" today.

    I'm lost in a new story of my own...definitely not a Regency although the hero is quite the "bad boy" on the good ol' Texas ranch. I've always loved the Regency time period...haven't a clue why. Perhaps it was all the Harlequins growing up.


  7. Hi Susan! I love historicals but I am not particilar about the time period. I honestly cannot tell the difference in the stories. Maybe I need to start paying attention more! :)

  8. I am big into historicals. Love them set during the civil war and also the westerns. Not real picky on the time period. I have read Mistress by Mistake and really enjoyed it.

  9. Susan, welcome to Get Lost in a Story. Love Regency books. And if it's cheesy to think your husband is great, well then I'm am member of cheesy cheering & proud. Great blog and here's to major success! Thanks, Angi!

  10. I love lots of time periods, but there's just something about Regency romances. Mostly it's the clothes, the parties, and the dashing gentlemen that I love, but also the fact that there are lots of Regency romances written for me to read. :D

    Barbed1951 at aol dot com

  11. There are a lot of romances set during the Regency period and I do enjoy them. I know it's a combination of the excitement of the balls with the gowns and jewels and also the times of change.
    mce1011 AT aol DOT com

  12. Hi Susan. I just discovered your books today and I have to say the covers are beautiful. When I read I have placed myself in both the heroine and hero's role. It makes for an interesting read. What appeals to me about the Regency period is the customs. A lot of things seems to come to life, from rules and fashions.


  13. I like historicals. I don't have a favourite time period.
    chey127 at hotmail dot com

  14. Great excerpt and interview! I like Regencies because of the lifestyle and customs.


  15. Thanks so much for having me, Angi! I'm thrilled to be able to send out a copy to the lucky winner soon. I do love Penelope's story. I suppose I'd better tell my husband we were talking about him yesterday! LOL

    As for Winnie P's question about what hedgehogs sound like, they are mostly silent. Until they get grumpy. Then they puff up and "huff". It's not quite like a hissing noise, and not quite like growling. It sounds kind of like "F-F-F-F-F" and our little guy is convinced it makes him sound very fierce.

  16. Hi Susan! I love your books and can't wait to read this one!

  17. Since a situation beyond her control kept Susan from responding on Wednesday, I'm going to leave the drawing open through Sunday.


  18. Thanks, Angi! I love the suspense... can't wait to get the book in the mail once some lucky name gets drawn on Sunday.

  19. Congratulations to Barbara E.
    She's won a copy of Susan's PASSION & PRETENSE.

    Thanks to everyone who stopped by to help Susan "get lost".

    Stop back soon,