Hi Elizabeth and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Duke of Sin!
Please summarize the book for the readers here:
Duke of Sin is the tenth book in my Maiden Lane series. The hero—and I use the term loosely—is Valentine Napier, the Duke of Montgomery, a man of dubious morals who enjoys intrigue and holding power over other people. Banished from England, he’s intent on blackmailing the king into restoring his place in society. The heroine, Bridget Crumb, is his housekeeper and the bastard of an aristocrat. She’s on a mission to find the material he’s been using to blackmail her birth mother. But when Val discovers Bridget searching his bedroom they begin a cat and mouse game of perilous desire.
Please share the opening lines of this book:
There are few worse places for a housekeeper of impeccable credentials to be caught than kneeling on her employer’s bed. But two factors conspired to make this situation particularly fraught, Bridget Crumb reflected. One, that the employer in question was His Grace the Duke of Montgomery, widely regarded as the most wicked man in London.
Please share a few Fun facts about this book…
- Duke of Sin is my 20th novel.
- The hero is partially based on Tom Hiddleston’s version of Loki (and Tom Hiddleston himself.)
- This is my darkest, most complex hero to date.
Please tell us a little about the characters in your book. As you wrote your protagonist was there anything about them that surprised you?
I always find out more about my characters as I write them. In Duke of Sin, Val is a villain, but he also has a very seductive side (otherwise we wouldn’t fall in love with him) and part of that is his library. He has a magnificent library—both the room itself and the books within it. The surprise was how their love of reading—and how reading can open up different worlds—is part of what Bridget and Val find in common.
If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would you use for the audition of the main characters and why?
Probably the first scene since it’s pretty pivotal:
“I once knew a Greek lass who swore she could read a man’s life story from the lines on his hands.” The duke dropped Bridget’s left hand to trace the lines on her right palm with a forefinger.
His touch sent a frisson along her nerves and Bridget couldn’t hold back a shudder.
The duke’s dimple deepened beside his mouth as he examined her palm. “What have we here? Calluses, earned, no doubt, in my service.” He tapped the thickened skin at the top of her palm. “A life of good, honest labor for a Scottish lass. And this”—the duke stroked the mound beneath her thumb—“do you know what this is called?”
Bridget cleared her throat, but her voice emerged a bit rusty nonetheless. “I could not say, Your Grace.”
“The Mount of Venus.” He arched his eyebrows at her. Devastatingly beautiful. Lethally charming. “My Greek girl told me that this foretells how passionate a woman may be. You, Mrs. Crumb, must have untold depths of sensual need within you.”
She narrowed her eyes at him.
He bent and bit the base of her thumb.
What do you want people to take away from reading this book?
That love can redeem.
What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned for 2016?
In late July I have an enovella coming out, Once Upon a Moonlit Night, which takes place immediately following the events of Duke of Sin. I’m working on Alf’s book right now, Duke of Pleasure, which will be out late winter 2016.
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
Giveaway: 2 Print copies of Duke of Sin (Maiden Lane) by Elizabeth Hoyt
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Excerpt from Duke of Sin:
Val threw down his knife and fork with a clatter. “Explain it to me, this thing, love. Why would a perfectly intelligent girl want to marry a man so beneath her? She could take him as a lover if she wanted—I certainly wouldn’t care. Why marry the fellow?”
Mrs. Crumb carefully placed her fork and knife upon her plate and folded her hands in her lap. She turned to face him. “Love is the best of all human emotion. It separates us from the beasts and brings us closer to God and to heaven. There is no greater gift than love between a man and a woman.”
He looked at her a moment, studying her earnest expression, and then grinned. “You’ve never loved a man, have you?”
She pursed her lips, looking not a little irritated. “No.”
He took up his knife and fork again, feeling more cheerful. “A woman?”
“Pardon, Your Grace?”
He waved his knife, a bit of the beef skewered on the end. “Have you ever loved a woman?”
She pursed her lips and for a moment he thought they’d have another round of tedious prevarication. Then she sighed—audibly this time. “I was fond of my mother but I doubt that is what you mean. I’ve never loved another woman romantically.”
He smiled and ate the bite of beef. She came from the country. Yet she was rather more sophisticated than he’d first thought her.
“Then…” She stared at him very seriously, almost shyly. “You’ve never loved another?”
“Good God, no.”
“Not even your intended fiancée?”
He threw back his head and laughed at the very thought. “No. Oh, no. I think that one must have some essential part to love.”
She knit her black brows again, quite severely, and the resemblance to some stern saint was very strong. “What part?”
He shrugged, twirling his fork in the air as he thought. “I don’t know? A belief in goodness and God? Or maybe godliness? Perhaps innocence?” He smiled and looked at her. “In any case, whatever that essential thing is, I don’t have it in me. I never had it.”
Her brows were level. Her dark eyes intent on him. He might be the only man in the world to her right now. Oh, heady, erotic thought. “Never? Not even when you were a child?”
He shook his head slowly, aware of the soul-deep blackness that had seeped into his skin, been driven through his muscles, and embedded in his very bones. “Not even in the womb.”
He rarely told the truth—why bother? It was so dull—but when he did, most mistook it for jest.
She did not.
She looked at him soberly, and despite her martyr’s eyes, she seemed to make no judgment of him, which, if nothing else, was refreshing.
He leaned a little forward and took her chin, her skin soft and warm under his fingers. Alive. Human. Womanly.
Her dark eyes widened.
“Now, you, Mrs. Crumb, you aren’t like me at all. You have that part, whatever it is. You can love, which raises the question: Why haven’t you?”
She made a movement, like a mare trying to shake a bridle, but he held her, squeezing her face tightly. Perhaps he even left bruises.
He enjoyed that thought, imprinting his fingertips on her face for all to see.
“Why, my gentle housekeeper?”
Her nostrils flared and she stilled, glaring at him. “I like my job. I like doing as I please. Falling in love with a man would inconvenience me, Your Grace.”
He caught his breath in admiration. “How very practical of you, Mrs. Crumb.”
He drew her forward, making her half rise, his gaze fixed on that wet, reddened mouth and her angry dark eyes, his cock beating, bold and insistent, against the placket of his breeches. Perhaps he’d mark her further. Perhaps he’d see to what depths a saint could fall.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
A MAN OF SIN
Devastatingly handsome. Vain. Unscrupulous. Valentine Napier, the Duke of Montgomery, is the man London whispers about in boudoirs and back alleys. A notorious rake and blackmailer, Montgomery has returned from exile, intent on seeking revenge on those who have wronged him. But what he finds in his own bedroom may lay waste to all his plans.
A WOMAN OF HONOR
Born a bastard, housekeeper Bridget Crumb is clever, bold, and fiercely loyal. When her aristocratic mother becomes the target of extortion, Bridget joins the Duke of Montgomery’s household to search for the incriminating evidence-and uncovers something far more dangerous.
A SECRET THAT THREATENS TO DESTROY THEM BOTH
Astonished by the deceptively prim-and surprisingly witty-domestic spy in his chambers, Montgomery is intrigued. And try as she might, Bridget can’t resist the slyly charming duke. Now as the two begin their treacherous game of cat and mouse, they soon realize that they both have secrets-and neither may be as nefarious-or as innocent-as they appear . . .
Meet the Author:
Elizabeth Hoyt is the New York Times bestselling author of over seventeen lush historical romances including the Maiden Lane series. Publishers Weekly has called her writing “mesmerizing.” She also pens deliciously fun contemporary romances under the name Julia Harper. Elizabeth lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with three untrained dogs, a garden in constant need of weeding, and the long-suffering Mr. Hoyt.