Regan Walker's Best of the Regency: Diane Dario

It's a brand new year and I've got a brand new feature on Get Lost in a Story: Regency Romances.

My guest today is Diane Dario, a brand new author of Regency romance. Diane says she has been reading romance novels since she was fourteen and Regency romances were her favorites (“…grand ballrooms, dinner parties while sitting next to a duke or a war hero just returned from fighting against Napoleon. Hey, I girl can dream, can’t she?”).
Writing has always been a great passion for her, “a long road of many ups and downs (and lots of online writing classes)”, and the years it took to get the craft right. Finally, she says, all her time and effort paid off. “It just goes to prove dreams can come true as long as you do not give up.”
When she is not reading or writing her own Regencies, Diane enjoys the joyful moments with her growing family, the ballet and romantic movies.
The Interview:
1.     What is your favorite part of writing?
The research and having the opportunity to let my imagination run away with me as I go into another place and time while creating romantic stories.
2.     What do you use as inspiration for your characters?
I am a big fan on Pinterest and love creating boards for my romances – visit me there and see what my characters look like and the background for my stories.

3.     Your upcoming release, The Rake’s Redemption, takes a slightly different spin on the “left at the alter” storyline. Where did you get the idea for your unique spin on this familiar theme?
I always enjoyed reading about second chances in romance novels and thought I could do this. The hard part was trying to come up with a plot that wasn’t used before. I do hope you like Caroline and Pierce as they found the love they once shared wasn’t lost forever.

4.     This story also has elements of the difficulties soldiers face when they return home. Who or what was your inspiration for this secondary theme?
It was the anniversary of Waterloo. I wondered what must it have felt like to be in battle, seeing your fellow soldiers and friends die right before your eyes.
5.     Is The Rake’s Redemption part of a series?
No. The Rake’s Redemption is a stand-alone book.

6.     What’s coming next?
This month, I will release a Christmas Regency novella, The Earl’s Christmas Embrace. It’s the first of a series of stories about war heroes coming home and searching for their missing friend. This one is about matchmaking gone astray.

Excerpt from The Rake’s Redemption:
Caroline stopped short at the dining room doors of her sister’s home, stunned by the sight of the painting before her. She’d observed Sir Thomas Lawrence’s work a hundred times before, but never had she appreciated the mastery it displayed. She edged closer to the painting to check the brushstrokes with her hand.  A deep voice barked a command, which echoed in the hall.
            “Open the door or get out of the way.”
            Spinning around to give the oaf a dressing down for the insult, she stepped back against the doorframe to ensure she remained upright.
“Pardon me, sir,” she began her retort. “I beg leave to…”
Her curt reply trailed into silence. She gazed in dismay at the handsome face that turned abruptly her way. In a daze, she watched as Pierce Mortimer strutted toward her. She struggled to snap out of his spell. Does he recognize me after all this time?
“Pierce!” she gasped. Her heart lurched at the sound of his name on her lips but she squared her shoulders and her jaw, then retorted, “I’m not yours to command.”
If memory served, Pierce’s strong squared jaw and wavy golden brown hair bore a remarkable resemblance to his father’s. However, his posture, his stride, and the way he held his head were all his own.
Caroline rolled back her shoulders as if she were facing an opponent in a prize ring. She did the unthinkable, and wiped her damp palms on the front of her skirt. Her stomach took a tumble at his approach. Her mouth dried, feeling rough and gritty. I need a sip of Madeira; some of the Dutch courage I am hoping for.
Five years ago he’d coaxed her into running off with him to Gretna Green, only to change his mind and return her to her aunt’s house unmarried and ruined. She’d decided then and there that she was quite over him. When they met again, if they met again, it would be on her terms, as acquaintances.
She pressed her teeth down onto her lip, trying to stop herself from asking why he had left her that night five years ago. Had he found her so undesirable he could not bear to marry her when they had arrived at Gretna Green?           
Her gaze roamed his tall, lean frame, hardened now from five years in the regiment. She felt her resolve, her desire to remain aloof, falter. She was quite over him, she reminded herself. If only that were true, but it wasn’t. He was her first love. Her only love.
            He still took her breath away. He was the most handsome man she had ever seen.  She couldn’t help herself; she raised her eyes in order to take in the perfection of his face. The face of an angel. The face of the man who’d broken her heart. She caught a drift of sandalwood when he stepped forward, a scent she always associated with him.
The stark black of his jacket emphasized the width of his shoulders, the muscled chest, and taut abdomen. His black tailored breeches showed off the elegance of his hips and thighs.
A lock of golden brown hair fell onto his forehead. She wanted to brush the lock of hair back into place, but stopped herself. There was a time when she would have thought nothing of doing just that.
When Caroline had first met Pierce, she’d wanted him to be her knight in shining armour. He had come to take her away to a faraway land. Instead, he went off to that far away land alone, leaving her behind to face a lonely life in England. There would be no fairytale ending for her.    
            A flicker of remorse crossed his face. “Hello, Caro. Please pardon my rudeness.” He cleared his throat. “You are correct. There are times I forget the regiment is no longer a part of my life.”
                        She jumped at the sound of his voice; her eyes clouded with visions of the past.
            Was this really happening or was he dreaming? Pierce was so shaken, he had to keep his gaze firmly on the vision before him. Yes, it was Caroline. He had imagined this moment for the last five years, and he had rehearsed in his head a thousand times how he was going to apologize. Now here she was, and he found himself infernally tongue-tied.
            Her hair shone liked polished onyx, and was artfully arranged in curls that reminded him of the tendrils of steam rising above a cup of strong American coffee. Her curves had grown more voluptuous over the years making her even more womanly, more desirable. He had not thought that possible. She had always managed to excite him without any provocation. But now she sent his heart racing with her mere presence.
            Five years ago, their reaction to one another had been volcanic. Caroline was a woman capable of incredible passion. And yet looking into her beautiful dark green eyes he saw only pain and wariness. She did not trust him as she had at nineteen. The realization struck him like a kick from a horse. Why was he so shocked by her reaction? He had behaved like an idiot.   
            As soon as she saw him, the color in her face fled. The sudden pallor of her skin accentuated the emerald green of her eyes. She was even more beautiful than she had been at nineteen and the night he had walked out of her life.
            He’d heard from his brother that she was not yet married. She should have had a family of her own by now. Were all the gentlemen of Derbyshire blind fools, as he had been, to let her go?
            “Pierce, I didn’t expect to see you here.” God forgive her for such a lie. She prayed that her legs, trembling under the cover of her skirts, wouldn’t buckle under the strain.
            “I am surprised neither your sister nor my brother saw fit to inform you of my dinner invitation. Aren’t you going to welcome me home?” he said steadily, his gaze on hers.
            “It is good to see you, Pierce. Welcome home.”
            He chuckled. “Liar! You wish I were anywhere else rather than England.” He resisted the urge to push back one persistent ebony curl that had fallen near her ear. The memory of burying his hands in her soft hair as he crushed her lips under his taunted him. Would her curves still melt against the hardness of his body?
The Rake's Redemption on Amazon. And Diane's Amazon Author page.
Diane wants to know, as a reader, what draws you to the Regency era (your likes/dislikes)? Comment to win her book, The Rake's Redemption!  (And don't forget to leave an email!)


  1. I do love reading books set during the Regency era. I think it's the rules of society and the etiquette mostly. The urgency to catch a husband is always fun to read too.


  2. Mary,

    I agree that's why I do enjoy reading and writing about the Regency era.

  3. I love the rules of society -- and the civility of manners.

  4. Yes a time of true ladies and gentlemen.

  5. like the fashion

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Since Diane was unable to reach the first name picked, the winner of her book will be Mary Preston. Congratulations, Mary!