Hi Jayne and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, How to Rescue a Rake!
Tell us about the book with this fun little challenge using the word ‘rake.’
R is for Redemption
Captain Nathaniel Sherringham is a former rake working hard to turn his life around and win Diana’s approval. Diana Makepiece also realizes that she has some changes and improvements to make in her own life, in order to make amends for past mistakes.
A is for Acceptance
Both Nate and Diana learn to accept each other’s faults and mistakes, as they move on from the past to create their future together.
K is for Kiss
There is a kiss in their past that neither has been able to forget, despite a clumsy and tersely rejected marriage proposal.
E is for Ever After
Every love story must have one. Diana and Nate finally find theirs when they are reunited for a second chance at love.
Please share your favorite quote from the book:
“Let Miss Makepiece be duly warned that she is about to be severely, thoroughly, and painstakingly wooed. As she never has been. As the lady deserves.”
Please share a few Fun facts about this book…
- The story follows the Book Club Belles as they read Jane Austen’s “Persuasion” and Diana, the eldest member of the book society, soon finds her own life taking a similar turn to Anne Elliot’s.
- Nate and Diana’s romance has taken a background spot in the other two books in this series, so finally readers will get to see what happens!
- Diana’s favorite piece of music mentioned in the book happens to be mine too!
If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would you use for the audition of the main characters and why?
In this scene, Nate has rescued a reluctant Diana from a rainstorm and is taking her home on his horse. He has been away for three years— ever since she rejected his hasty marriage proposal. Now Diana doesn’t want him to see that she has any regrets. She still wants to believe that she did the right thing in listening to her mother and rejecting Nathaniel, but her heart is not behaving as it should. At the same time, Nate is determined to be cool, calm and collected, but he finds that his feelings for her are just as strong as they ever were.
I chose this scene because the chemistry between the two leads should be palpable.
“This is just like one of those romances you like so much, is it not?” he shouted wryly above the clattering hooves as they finally hit the stone road.
“No, it is not,” she replied, her voice as stern as possible through chattering teeth. “The gentlemen in Miss Austen’s novels would never capture a lady against her will.”
“Then it’s no wonder her books are so long—if everyone tiptoes around, quibbling and fussing before they reach a conclusion. A good, sound kidnapping, and possibly a spanking, would bring smart resolution to the heroine’s fate.”
From what he could see of her face it was pinched and tense, any sign of humor hidden. “You will kindly put me down as soon as we get to the bridge, Captain. The rain is easing already.”
“Indeed I shall not. Kindness would mean delivering you to your gate, madam. I cannot leave you to walk that distance in this weather. As a gentleman, it is my duty to—”
“As a gentleman, you would put me down.”
“Stop squirming or you might fall.”
“Look, it is little more than a drizzle now.”
That was true. The heaviest rain had passed quickly and remained now as nothing more than a damp mist with hazy, diffident sunlight slipping through the clouds.
Nathaniel warned her, “Those clouds could darken and split open again at any moment. Such are the joys of an English spring and summer. Have some caution, madam.”
“Caution?” she sputtered. “You talk to me of caution? I did not think you knew the word.”
Struggling to keep her balance, she had placed one hand on his buckskin-clad thigh. Almost at once she took it off again, curling her fingers into a fist in her own lap. But the touch had ignited a spark of flame inside him, and despite the wet weather, that bright, hot, quivering light grew and stretched.
Before he even knew the thought was in him, he said, “If you give me a kiss, Miss Makepiece, I will do as you ask and set you down before we are in sight of your mama’s house. There, see? I am being reasonable.”
He felt her stiffen against his body as if she held her breath. But then the words came out of her in a rush. “My mama was right. You have not changed at all, Captain.” She shook her head. A lock of black hair had fallen loose from her pins and it tickled his cheek, catching on his stubble.
“Some things about me have changed. Some never will. No matter how I might wish they would. It seems I am destined to be the villain in your story, Miss Makepiece. You bring out the wicked in me,” he muttered, bewildered and not knowing why he still felt this way for a woman who had rejected him so heartlessly.
If you could have given your characters one piece of advice before the opening pages of the book, what – would it be and why?
You cannot change the past. Look ahead to the future and make the most of your fresh start.
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
Giveaway: Print copy of How to Rescue a Rake by Jayne Fresina
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Excerpt from How to Rescue a Rake:
In this scene Diana and Nate encounter each other unexpectedly on a bridge over a river. He has just returned to the village after three years away. At this time he thinks she is married to another man.
“Madam,” he snapped out in terse greeting. “Are you on your way to visit my sister?”
She tipped her head back slightly, and gentle sunlight reached under her bonnet to touch her face. His pulse had almost ceased to beat. For so long he had held her face in his memory, and now she was before him again. Yet changed.
One small word squeaked out of her. “No.” She looked as if she was not sure where she was going.
No smile warmed her expression. If anything, her countenance drained the sun of its heat, and when that word emerged from her lips, she looked perplexed. He stared down at those lips he’d once kissed. Their color was faded and they turned down at the corners, wobbling slightly.
He thought of riding on and saying nothing more, but found that to be quite impossible. “Pleasant weather,” he said. Damn her. He would make her be polite to him even though she thought him so unworthy.
She merely nodded.
Nathaniel rested one hand on his thigh. “You look”—He decided not to lie. After all, flattery had never got him anywhere with her—“very ill. Is something amiss, madam?”
“Amiss?” A sharp, humorless laugh escaped her as she looked away from him. “I’m afraid it’s simply the passage of time, Captain.”
“Ah. I suppose so. And time is seldom kind to women.”
Once, she’d accused him of being a boy, aimless, immature, and selfish. He’d waited more than three years to return the wounding thrust.
It did not feel quite as satisfying as he’d imagined. And he realized that rather than assuring her of his new maturity, he had just done the opposite.
Her gaze swept back to him but briefly, vexed. Then she looked down over the parapet again. Nathaniel waited, staring down at her, the horse restless under him.
“Shall I fetch it for you, madam?”
Her hands still grasped the stone behind her. “Fetch what?”
She’d forgotten it already. Clearly the muff meant nothing to her.
“The item you dropped, madam.” He paused and then added, “Unless, of course, you tossed it away deliberately.”
She was breathing rapidly now, a little color returning to her cheeks. “Why would I toss it away—?” Her brows lowered in a deep frown, and then he knew she understood his meaning.
Yes, he had recognized the muff he’d bought for her. He’d given it to her the last autumn he was there, while they stood under the sheltering golden leaves of the Bolt and he tried to dissuade her from marrying Shaw.
Warm your hands in this, Diana, until I can return again to warm them for you.
Nathaniel was quite sure she would never have dared tell her mother who’d bought her that muff. Indeed, he was shocked to see it was still in her possession for several years before being resigned to the murky, weed-laden depths of the stream.
“It is floating away, madam,” he pointed out.
“I–I can…” But her words floated away in the same manner as her muff and she did not move.
Nathaniel dismounted swiftly and looked over the other side of the bridge, where he spied the object caught in some reeds beside the supporting pillar. He would leave it there to rot. Serve her right.
When he turned back to look at Diana she was walking away hurriedly, apparently having made her decision to abandon it.
Fury ripped long talons through his attempt to remain detached.
The stones slipped under her feet as she took the downward slope of the bridge at a reckless pace. It was not like her at all to risk a twisted ankle, but this was an emergency.
Madam, he had called her in that deep voice. As if they were barely acquainted.
Madam. How cold it had sounded, and how stern his face had been when he looked down at her from his snorting horse.
Nathaniel had always had an easy smile and a mischievous gleam in his eye. That had changed, along with so many things. His blue eyes were cheerless today as they bore down upon her.
He looked older too, she thought, but more handsome than ever. How was such a thing possible? The injustice made her even more annoyed and lent speed to her pace until she turned to the right onto the grassy bank of the stream. Then she had to slow down to keep from tripping over the tussocks on that steep slope.
Now, where was her muff? Her darling, precious muff.
Nathaniel had rushed back down the other side of the bridge, removed his hat and coat, and looked around for a long stick—something with which to capture the muff. Having discovered the location of the fallen item before he ran down to the stream, he was soon wading into the weeds, makeshift fishing hook in hand. He didn’t care about his fine, costly new boots and breeches. What did they matter now?
Much to his surprise, as he rounded the first pillar of the bridge he saw not only the trapped muff bobbing among the reeds at its base, but also Diana, thrashing about in the water.
The stream was no deeper than three feet in that spot, but its weedy, thick tendrils wrapped around her as she tried to stand.
He had never heard Diana curse until that moment.
When she saw him, the woman shut her mouth and glared as if he were responsible for pushing her in. She was standing upright finally but soaked from head to toe, her bonnet flattened to her head and strands of dark hair hanging down the sides of her face.
It took every shred of his willpower not to laugh out loud. Oh, how far the haughty had fallen.
“What, pray tell, are you looking at?” she demanded, her shoulders back, spine straight, as dignified as any lady could be in these extraordinary circumstances.
Nathaniel pondered her prim face and weed-laden figure for a moment, his head cocked to one side. “I’m not entirely sure. I thought I knew it once. But I’ve never seen it quite so moist.”
He had not meant to joke, but his heart was gladdened to see her looking for the muff—to know that she thought it worth saving, after all. He’d never expected such stupid happiness over so small a thing, and the humor bubbled out of him before he could maintain a stern face.
“You’ll catch more fish if you bring a rod, madam.”
Did she just curse again under her breath?
“I am in no mood for frivolity,” she gasped, pulling a long weed from her sleeve.
“Quite. At our advanced age I don’t suppose we can afford it too often.”
In the shadows and dancing ripples of light that moved under the bridge, the color of her eyes had regained a startling brightness. Earlier he had thought them dull and darker than he remembered. But now her eyes were back to sparking and shimmering again. How he had missed that look! It stopped his pulse for a moment.
Nathaniel reached with his stick and hooked the muff, lifting it slowly and carefully from the reeds. It hung limply, dripping water. “Yours, I believe, madam.”
He had to take a few steps closer until she could grasp the recovered object and when she did so, it was with a quick motion, impatient, almost snapping his stick in two.
Reluctantly her lips moved. “I must thank you, Captain.”
“Must? Don’t do it because you must. Do it because you want to. Unless, of course, you don’t want to.”
She looked down, the shimmering green of her eyes hidden from his view. Drops of water fell from her crumpled bonnet brim to her cheek and looked like tears.
Nathaniel straightened up, tossing the stick into the water. “I would rather have a sincere thank-you from your heart.” He had said too much, no doubt, but he couldn’t help himself. Better than saying too little. Or nothing at all.
When she turned away, her skirt and coat swishing in the water, he added breathlessly, “God forbid, madam, that I add gratitude to the burden of your duties.”
She halted and he thought she might turn and berate him. Good. He welcomed it. He was ready to get a lot off his chest. He wanted to quarrel with her. Perhaps he would finally draw out her emotions.
Instead, she waded to the bank and did not look back at him.
“We’ll call it water under the bridge then, shall we?” he yelled. Ah, old habits. Still trying to make her smile, despite everything.
As she came out from the shadows, Diana was illuminated in bright sun for two beats of his heart, and then she was gone again.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Nathaniel Sherringham has returned to Hawcombe Prior a changed man. Gone is the reckless rake who went out on a limb to propose to Diana Makepiece three years ago. Now Nate’s mysterious new wealth has the town’s rumor mill spinning. To stir things up (and get Diana’s attention), Nate boldly announces his plans to marry “any suitable girl” under the age of 25.
Diana, now 27 and still single, is acutely aware of Nate’s return. When her mother suggests a trip to visit a cousin in Bath, Diana leaps at the chance to escape the heartbreak and regret she can’t help but feel in Nate’s presence…and avoid his irritating charade to find a bride.
But for Nate, Diana has always been the one. He might just have to follow her to Bath and once again lay his heart on the line to win her attention—and her heart.
Meet the Author:
Jayne Fresina sprouted up in England. Entertained by her father’s colorful tales of growing up in the countryside, and surrounded by opinionated sisters, she’s always had inspiration for her beleaguered heroes and unstoppable heroines. She lives in upstate New York. Learn more about the author at www.jaynefresinaromanceauthor.blogspot.com