Today I’ve got a lovely treat. Wild Rose Press sistahs and author SANDRA MASTERS is visiting with one of the wonderful characters from her recent release, ONE NIGHT WITH A DUKE. Sandra and His Grace, Raven, Tenth Duke of Ravensmere sat down for this little tete-a-tete recently and both agreed to let me ( and you!) listen in. Sit back and enjoy and stick around because Sandra is giving us all a present: An excerpt from ONE NIGHT WITH A DUKE.
Setting: Regency England 1817, the industrial revolution, and returning soldiers with no employment set the scene for political turmoil.
His Grace, Raven, Tenth Duke of Ravensmere, reclusive, politically powerful, denies love after the tragic deaths of his duchess and baby son. Bound by a deathbed promise made ten years prior, he has vowed never to allow love to enter his heart again.
He meets Lady Samantha Winston, a young widow, who permits him to seek refuge in her carriage in a time of need, and what started out as a kiss in the name of safety, became pleasurable and not safe at all. In spite of every caution, his interest escalates into unexpected but welcomed desire.
Author: What is your main fear, Your Grace?
Answer: Being a mature and politically savvy peer, I feared to fall in love again passionately as I did with my late wife. The loss of her and our son paralyzed my every thought. To assuage the remorse, I delved more into all political events and devoted my efforts to my constituency and the tenants on my estate. England won the war against France but bankrupted the country. My goal was to propel my country back into the forefront of the financial world. My loveless life continued. And then by accident, I met Samantha Winston.
Author: Can you tell me about the incident?
Answer: You were the one who concocted the scene, but I’ll relive the events for our readers. After a meeting with the Prince Regent at his Carleton Townhouse, I chose to walk to the Townsend Ball a few blocks away. However, I encountered anarchists intent on doing me bodily harm simply because I was an aristocrat. The night darkened, and I cat-walked against walls, turned into an alley, and somehow avoided direct contact. Seven to one are not great odds for success. I saw a waiting carriage on the street with lit lanterns and raced to the door, pulled it open, expecting it to be empty. Instead, a lady sat on a seat, alarmed at my intrusion. The mob was now around us. The coachman bellowed for them to leave, but one lout climbed to peer through the window. Before I could speak to her, I went to her side and took her to me. All the thug could see was two presumed lovers in an ardent embrace and kissing. It must have amused him because he jumped down and chuckled moved the group down the street.
Author: Lady Winston allowed you, a stranger, to kiss her?
Answer: There was little time to speak, only to act. The lady kicked me in the shins, clouted me with her reticule until I uttered a sentence.
Author: Rather curious, Your Grace. What was the sentence?
Answer: Damnation, Madam. I asked her assistance since I was in dire straits…that I would explain and then I kissed her. It was when I said, “Please,” that she consented.
Author: Odd, that a duke of the realm would resort to such a word.
Answer: In dangerous times, a man would resort to any unusual actions. Now stop your falderal and let me continue.
Author: One kiss or two?
Answer: One long and pleasurable kiss. I remember thinking that a kiss in the name of safety was not safe at all. In the lantern light, I memorized her young face, but it was her verdant eyes that begged further inspection, not to mention her copper colored hair.
Author: And then what happened?
Answer: I apologized for my rash actions, made my explanation, and introduced myself. Other women would have fallen apart. Instead, she said, “It seems peculiar, Your Grace, to have introductions after our scandalous kisses. Perhaps it should have been the other way around?” Most of all, her sense of humor appealed to me. Her pleasant demeanor impressed and she chatted informally with me as if we were old friends. I offered to stay and wait for her relatives to explain my presence, but she asked for propriety’s sake that I leave.
Author: Did you?
Answer: Yes, after all, it was her request. I thanked her for her assistance. And that’s when she leaned forward and said, “Au revoir.” She whispered, “Until we meet again,” and touched my arm.
Author: Did you meet soon after?
Answer: You certainly know the entire story, but I avoided two dangers. One was the anarchists attempt to harm me. The second was the danger of a beautiful, high-spirited woman intent on flirtation or seduction. The latter intrigued me no end and represented a risk I would face with infinite pleasure. I determined that at another time, another place, I would find her again and demonstrate all the other things my lips and manly parts would do.
Author: Your Grace, I’m shocked that you would speak so.
Answer: I beg to differ with you, Mistress Masters. I can’t believe I did and said many of the things you wrote. You took great liberties with my persona in our book. You brought me out of the darkness of my personal life and gave me the desire to live and love again. There were those who never would believe me capable of such passionate utterings. They used to speak of me, under their breaths, as cold as ice with an even colder heart. The truth of the matter was that my heart needed resuscitation and my lady did an adequate job. Admittedly, you took a circuitous route, caused me great angst, pain, and suffering, but then I might not have appreciated Lady Samantha’s firebrand wit and courage. So I forgive you.
Author: For our readers’ sake, I’d like to say that you did reunite in Chapter Two. However, Lady Samantha Winston appeared to push all your ‘hot’ buttons much to your chagrin.
Answer: Yes, she did. I got the distinct impression you enjoyed every moment of my distress. We did meet at the ball later that evening, and I knew that my life would change forever because I saw the spitfire side of the lady and wanted to tame her indomitable spirit. I’ve always loved a challenge. Now, I suggest you go on to the next book because I want to savor the publication of our story. Feel free to join my lady and me in the library for a libation. I remember that you favor gin over brandy.
Author: Raven, you’re such a rogue. If I were to drink with you, I might have to write you in another book. You were one of the first dukes I created, but you gave me such a hard time because you were complicated in every way imaginable. Most of all, I liked your charming arrogance. I have created you out of the figment of my imagination. I hope I brought you justice. So, goodbye for now…oops, perhaps I should have said, “Au revoir. Until we meet again.”
When a spirited woman disrupts the world of a duke who follows the rules, sparks fly, passions ignite and planets collide.
Reclusive, cold as ice, the politically powerful Raven, Duke of Ravensmere, denies love after the tragic deaths of his duchess and baby. He is bound by his vow never to allow love to enter his heart again. Samantha Winston permits him to seek refuge in her carriage in a time of need, and what started as a kiss in the name of safety, becomes something more pleasurable and not so safe after all. In spite of every caution, his interest escalates into unexpected desire.
Samantha, a young widow with a secret, irreverent and high-spirited, has constructed impenetrable walls against all men. When she and Raven meet again, strong wills clash. Political intrigues and a dreaded nemesis place his life at risk, and Samantha finds herself in a dire predicament. All the while, passion soars.
Can Samantha’s barriers fall with more kisses?
Can Raven be released from his deathbed vow?
“I do hope that none of the rakish kind will offer for my basket. Men do feel widows are fair game. I’m not sure how I would handle such rakes. I have insufficient experience, but I suppose I will have to learn.”
“My dear Samantha, do you expect me to believe that in these past three years, you haven’t encountered disreputable men?” He laughed, “I do believe you will have a sufficient amount of reputable young men who will bid on you and your picnic basket. After all, it’s for a good cause, isn’t it? But I do hope you will keep your conversation light, or you will suffer the young man to have indigestion or apoplexy.”
Impishly, she said, “I deserved that. I like your sense of humor. It’s also good to hear you laugh. We do battle well.” Perhaps he could be a man of consequence?
“Indeed, but I warn you, I have not started my retaliation. When one acquires an enemy, I don ‘t believe in keeping him or her closer; however, I might make an exception for you.”
“Oh, No, I’m not your enemy, Your Grace. Please don’t consider me as one.”
“Perhaps if you try hard, you can change my mind,” a small grin curled his lips.
“What would I have to do?” her large eyes implored.
“I leave that to your resourcefulness…and mine…under a starlit night with nothing but our naked imaginations.”
“Sweet heaven,” she muttered, cheeks crimson.
From a humble beginning in Newark, New Jersey, a short stay at a convent in Morristown, NJ at the age of fourteen, retiring from a fantastic career for a play broadcasting company in Carlsbad, California, to the rural foothills of the Sierras of Yosemite National Park, Sandra traded in the Board Rooms for the Ballrooms of the Regency period and never looked back.
Sandra wrote her first book at the age of fifteen. Romance is at best a gift and her passion is the Regency period. Admittedly, she would prefer to be the sister of a duke or an earl…perhaps even a princess? Or the other endless possibilities of a widow. Hmmm.
As a lonely only child, she used to read fairy tales and now she writes them. She admits freely she’s an unapologetic story-teller.
Her debut novel was Once Upon a Duke, which received wide acceptance. She followed with Book Two, My Divinely Decadent Duke, a marriage-of-convenience story turned inconvenient when love and sensuality entered the equation.
Her third book, THORN, SON OF A DUKE, the prequel to her fourth book, THE DUKE’S MAGNIFICENT BASTARD is a 15,000-word teaser. She delineates Thorn’s younger days as a half-breed subject to the malice of rock throwing native boys. At the age of seventeen, his mother extracts a death-bed promise for him to sail the ocean to visit his father, the Duke of Althorn, who never knew of his existence. On the island of Barbados, it wasn’t the best of lives, but it was the only one he knew. Now, he was to face British aristocracy as the bastard son of a powerful, wealthy duke.
Book Four she lovingly calls “My Bastard” is a multi-cultural romance story of a young couple defeating all odds to have their love accepted.The gossamer thread of sensuality is woven through the tapestried story of their spicy, steamy romance. At times, the obstacles are daunting.
With Book Five in this series, ONE NIGHT WITH A DUKE, she accomplished her life-long dream of publishing this story into a reality. What did it take? Cutting the too-long epic by 57,000 words was a prodigious task. She worked like a dervish so her Raven and Samantha could see the light of a publishing day. She gave them cameo appearances in each of her books so she wouldn’t forget that they begged to earn a place in the series. Seven years later, they made their long awaited debut.
For a new author, it’s been a whirlwind two years and it was nothing she expected, but everything she dreamed.
Book Six is a work-in-process and her writing takes a different path into a dark, brooding fantasy where supernatural powers assist in prolonging the adventures of The Blue-Eyed Black-Hearted Duke. What man could resist redemption from the beautiful ward of his, Miss Jaclyn? Possible release end of 2017.
Two months ago, Sandra broke her right dominant arm, so she is tested every day to manipulate fingers that used to fly across typewriter keys. Some days are good and others are not, but her grit and determination keep her going.
P.S. Sandra love bears of all sizes and shapes. However, she prefers to view the real life ones from afar.
You can find Sandra here:
Peggy here: Sandra and Your Grace, it was an honor and a pleasure to visit with you today. Happy writing and travels!