Spotlight & Giveaway: Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare

Posted February 3rd, 2014 by in Blog, Spotlight / 58 comments

Today it is my pleasure to spotlight the release of Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare


RTDAs the daughter of a famed author, Isolde Ophelia Goodnight grew up on tales of brave knights and fair maidens. She never doubted romance would be in her future, too. The storybooks offered endless possibilities.

And as she grew older, Izzy crossed them off. One by one by one.

Ugly duckling turned swan?
Abducted by handsome highwayman?
Rescued from drudgery by charming prince?
No, no, and . . . Heh.

Now Izzy’s given up yearning for romance. She’ll settle for a roof over her head. What fairy tales are left over for an impoverished twenty-six year-old woman who’s never even been kissed?

This one.

Here’s an Excerpt from Romancing the Duke

Chapter One

The name Isolde Ophelia Goodnight did rather spell a life of tragedy. Izzy could look at her situation and see just that. Motherless at a young age. Fatherless now, as well. Penniless. Friendless.
But she’d never been hopeless.
Not yet.
Not quite.
Because the name Isolde Ophelia Goodnight also suggested romance. Swooning, star-crossed, legendary romance. And for as long as she could remember, Izzy had been waiting—with dwindling faith and increasing impatience—for that part of her life to begin.
Once she’d grown old enough to understand her mother’s death, Izzy had consoled herself with the idea that this was all part of her epic tale. The heroines in fairy stories were always motherless.
When Papa overspent their income, and the maid was dismissed, she told herself the drudgery would pay off someday. Everyone knew that Cinderella had to scrub the floors before she could win the handsome prince.
By time she turned fifteen, their finances had improved, thanks to Papa’s writing success. Still no prince, but there was time. Izzy told herself he’d grow into her largish nose and that her frizzled hair would eventually tame itself.
She hadn’t, and it didn’t. No ugly-duckling-turned-swan here, either.
Her seventeenth birthday passed without any pricking of fingers.
At twenty-one, life forced a difficult truth on her somewhere on the road between Maidstone and Rochester. Real highwayman were neither devilishly charming nor roguishly handsome. They wanted money, and they wanted it quickly, and Izzy ought to be very glad they weren’t interested in her.
One by one, she’d let go of all those girlish dreams.
Then last year, Papa had died, and all the stories dried up completely. The money was gone soon after that. For the first time in her life, Izzy verged on true desperation.
Her cravings for romance were gone. Now she’d settle for bread. What fairy tales were left over for a plain, impoverished, twenty-six- year-old woman who’d never even been kissed?
This one.
She clutched the letter in her hand. There it was, in black ink on white paper. Her very last hope. She forced herself not to hold it too tightly, for fear it might crumble to dust.
Dear Miss Goodnight,
It is my duty as executor to inform you that the Earl of Lynforth has died. In his will, he left you—and each of his goddaughters—a bequest. Please meet me at Gostley Castle, near Woolington in the county of Northumberland, on this twenty-first of June to settle the particulars of your inheritance.
Frederick Trent, Lord Archer
A bequest. Perhaps it would be as much as a hundred pounds. Even twenty would be a windfall. She was down to shillings and pence.
When Gostley Castle came into view, Izzy gulped.
From a distance, it could have looked romantic. A collection of mismatched turrets and ranging, crenellated walls, studded amid rolling green fields. But the surrounding park had grown so wild and dense from neglect that by the time the castle came into view, she was already cowering in its shadow.
This castle didn’t welcome or enchant.
It loomed.
It menaced.
She almost worried it might pounce.
“Here we are, miss.” The driver didn’t seem to like it any better than Izzy did. He pulled his team to a halt well outside the barbican, a stone gatehouse set some distance from the castle itself. After helping her down from the carriage, he turned up the collar of his coat and unloaded her baggage—a single, battered valise. He carried it to the stone steps of the ancient gatehouse, strode briskly back, jammed his hands in his pockets, and cleared his throat. Waiting.
Izzy knew what he was after. She’d paid the man in Woolington—he wouldn’t agree to transport her without payment in advance—but now he wanted an additional expression of thanks. She fished a sixpence from her purse. So few coins remained, the purse didn’t even rattle.
The driver pocketed her offering and touched his cap. “What was yer name again, miss?”
“Goodnight. Miss Izzy Goodnight.”
She waited to see if he would recognize it. Most of the literate people in England would, and a great many of their domestic servants, besides.
The driver only grunted. “Jes’ wanted to know it, in case someone comes around asking. If you’re never heard from again.”
Izzy laughed. She waited for him to laugh, too.
He didn’t.
Soon driver, team, and carriage were nothing more than the fading crunch of wheels on the road.
Izzy picked up her valise and walked through the barbican. A stone bridge carried her over what once had been a moat but now was only a slimy green trickle.
She’d done a bit of research in advance of her journey. There wasn’t much to read. Only that Gostley Castle had once been the seat of the Rothbury dukedom, in Norman times.
It didn’t look inhabited now. There was no glass in many of the windows. No lights in them, either. There should have been a portcullis that dropped to bar the entrance—but there was nothing there. No door, no gate.
She walked through the archway and into the central, open courtyard.
“Lord Archer?” Her voice died in the air. She tried again. “Lord Archer, are you here?” This time, her call got a respectable echo off the flagstones. But no answer.
She was alone.
Dizzied from her strange surroundings and weak with hunger, Izzy closed her eyes. She coerced air into her lungs.
You cannot faint. Only ninnies and consumptive ladies swoon, and you are neither.
It started to rain. Fat, heavy drops of summer rain—the kind that always struck her as vaguely lewd and debauched. Little potbellied drunkards, those summer raindrops, chortling on their way to earth and crashing open with glee.
She was getting wet, but the alternative—seeking shelter inside one of the darkened arches—was less appealing by far.
A rustling sound made her jump and wheel. Just a raven taking wing. She watched it fly over the castle wall and away.
She laughed a little. Really. It was too much. A vast, uninhabited castle, rain, and now ravens, too? Someone was playing her a cruel trick.
Then she glimpsed a man across the courtyard, standing in a darkened archway.
And if he was a trick, he wasn’t a cruel one.
There were things in nature that took their beauty from delicate structure and intricate symmetry. Flowers. Seashells. Butterfly wings. And then there were things that were beautiful for their wild power and their refusal to be tamed. Snowcapped mountains. Churning thunderclouds. Shaggy, sharp-toothed lions.
This man silhouetted before her? He belonged, quite solidly, in the latter category.
So did the wolf sitting at his heel.
It couldn’t be a wolf, she told herself. It had to be some sort of dog. Wolves had long been hunted to extinction. The last one in England died ages ago.
But then . . . she would have thought they’d stopped making men like this, too.
He shifted his weight, and a slant of weak light revealed the bottom half of his face. She glimpsed a wide, sensual slash of a mouth. A squared jaw, dark with whiskers. Overlong hair brushed his collar. Or it would have, if he had a collar. He wore only an open-necked linen shirt beneath his coat. Buckskin breeches hugged him from slim hips to muscled thighs . . . and from there, his legs disappeared into a pair of weathered, dusty Hessians.
Oh, dear. She did have such a weakness for a pair of well-traveled boots. They made her desperate to know everywhere they’d been.
Her heart beat faster. This didn’t help with her lightheadedness problem.
“Are you Lord Archer?” she asked.
“No.” The word was low, unforgiving.
The beast at his heel growled.
“Oh. I-is Lord Archer here?”
“Are you the caretaker?” she asked. “Are you expecting him soon?”
“No. And no.”
Was that amusement in his voice?
She swallowed hard. “I received a letter. From Lord Archer. He asked me to meet him here on this date regarding some business with the late Earl of Lynforth’s estate. Apparently he left me some sort of bequest.” She extended the letter with a shaking hand. “Here. Would you care to read it for yourself?”
That wide mouth quirked at one corner. “No.”
Izzy retracted the letter as calmly as she could manage and replaced it in her pocket.
He leaned one shoulder against the archway. “Aren’t we going to continue?”
“Continue what?”
“This game.” His voice was so low it seemed to crawl to her over the flagstones, then shiver up through the soles of her feet. “Am I a Russian prince? No. Is my favorite color yellow? No. Would I object if you were to come inside and remove every stitch of your damp clothing?” His voice did the impossible. It sank lower. “No.”
He was just making sport of her now.
Izzy clutched her valise to her chest. She didn’t want Snowdrop getting wet. “Do you treat all your visitors this way?”
Idiot. She cursed herself and braced for another low, mocking “no.”
He said, “Only the pretty ones.”
Oh, Lord. She ought to have guessed it earlier. The fatigue and hunger had done something to her brain. She could almost believe the castle, the ravens, the sudden appearance of a tall, dark, handsome man. But now he was flirting with her?
She had to be hallucinating.
The rain beat down, impatient to get from the clouds to the earth. Izzy watched drops pinging off the flagstones. Each one seemed to chisel a bit more strength from her knees.
The castle walls began to spin. Her vision went dark at the edges.
“I . . . Forgive me, I . . .”
Her valise dropped to the ground.
The beast snarled at it.
The man moved out from the shadows.
And Izzy fainted dead away.


To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and post a comment to this Q: What did you think of the excerpt? Tell me why you should win a copy of this book 🙂

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58 Responses to “Spotlight & Giveaway: Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare”

  1. Janice Unger

    I love Tessa Dare. Her Spindle Cove series is one of my all time favorite historical romances. I would love to win this book, because I know this series will not disappoint.

  2. Linda

    Because I love Tessa’s books & I so want to read this one. The excerpt is making me even more anxious to read it. Pls pick me!

  3. DebraG

    I loved the excerpt. I have not read one of Tessa’s books in a bit and I should do that.

  4. Lindsey V.

    This book sounds great! I’d love to read of Isolde getting her fairytale.

    Thank you so much for the giveaway– fingers crossed. 🙂

  5. Betty Hamilton

    I love this author’s work, but it has been awhile since I have read one of her books. I would love to change that by winning and reading this book!

  6. Wendy Roberts

    Izzy sounds like she has some spirit, something that is lacking is some heroines. As well, who is the mysterious lurker in the shadows?

  7. Glenda M

    I loved the excerpt! The whole thing was great, but my favorite line is:

    She did have such a weakness for a pair of well-traveled boots. They made her desperate to know everywhere they’d been.

    Why should I win a copy? Because I haven’t read nearly as many of Tessa’s books as I would like to. My local library doesn’t get a wide range of books and rarely have hers.

  8. ndluebke

    What a cliffhanger, now Ill keep thinking about how this book ends. Thanks for a chance to win this.

  9. Wanda C.

    I am particularly picky about historical romances not usually my favorite genre. However, that being said I LOVED the excerpt. It has definitely peaked my interest and the title will be on my TBR list.

  10. jeannemiro

    I love historical romance but Tessa rises to the top of the list. I loved the excerpt and now after reading her previous book for years starting with The Wanton Diary Maid series, The Stud Club series and her wonderful Spindle Cover series (and don’t forget her stand alone book The Scandalous No-Good Mr. Wright (don’t you love that title?) is it any surprise that I found her Castles Ever After series all put down reads?

    It’s not just how she introduced me to her characters in the excerpt of Romancing the Duke that I love but also that the excerpt didn’t “give away” their story but instead wish I had picked it up as soon as it was released the end of January!

    Don’t you love that even with just an excerpt you has already drawn you into the story and made you wish you could just turn the page and find out what’s going to happen next?

  11. Gretchen H

    Wow, that’s a great opening! I can’t wait to read the rest. It would be great to win a copy of the book!

  12. Diane Sallans

    I think Izzy got dropped into her fairytale! I’ve always been drawn to stories with a Duke – I’d love to read Izzy’s story!

  13. Emma

    wonderful excerpt.I would love to read the book.Thank you for the opportunity to win.Have a wonderful week

  14. Liza Flor Dequilla

    Awesome excerpt. I would love to win this because I havent tried any historical romance like this yet and I would love to bury my nose under a print copy of this. 🙂

  15. Janice Hougland

    The excerpt was terrific, the meeting between hero and heroine with heart-stopping suspense.. Oh my, I believe this is a book I’m gonna have to have…asap! I love romantic mysteries. I devour them…with delight. Thanks so much for this post!

  16. Kim Perry

    Great excerpt! I really want to know what happens next! I love historicals and I would love to try one by Tessa Dare.

  17. Sue G.

    Oh, this sounds good. I liked the idea of a slight mystery. I enjoy Tessa Dare’s books and look forward to this one.

  18. Kai W.

    I love the excerpt. Don’t we all wish for a fairy tales to come true for us when we were going up. Some of us have find our Prince Charming and some of us are still waiting for our fairy tales to come true.

  19. Sharlene Wegner

    This sounds a little like Cinderella meets the Beast! The fainting, I am sure, will put him in protective mode.The cover is gorgeous!

  20. lisagk

    Loved the excerpt, the name drew me in the story kept me interested. I would love to win, to find out if they continue the game. Thanks for the post.

  21. Annwitch

    I love Tessa Dare’s Spindle Cove series. I have read them and am looking forward to this new series. The excerpt was just a tease, lol

  22. marcyshuler

    I love the excerpt and just the sound of this book! Especially since the heroine is the daughter of an author. LOL I’d be thrilled to win a copy of this book!

  23. Anita H.

    Oh I want to read so much more of it!! That was a great excerpt!! I love dark and mysterious (and grumpy!) men. I’d love to win so I can read about what makes him tick 🙂

  24. KateS

    I loved the 20 questions aspect of the excerpt. Tessa does such amazing dialoge.. Thanks for sharing and I hope I win it, because I love her writing!

  25. Jennifer Zorko-Legan

    I love Tessa Dare books. I have read almost everything that she has ever written. I love the excerpt and would love to add this to my collection. Thanks for the chance.

  26. Rebe

    I love Tessa Dare’s books! I’m hoping Izzy slaps the ever living daylights of that guy when she wakes up, lol.

  27. Tawnya Bentley

    The excerpt definitely left me wanting to read the entire book. Very well done. I can’t think of a reason why I should wing this book more than any of the other fans, other then that if I don’t win it I’m buying it.

  28. Diane P. Diamond

    I loved the excerpt. Tessa’s books are always a must read for me. I’d love to win because I’m a huge hopeless romance addict. 🙂

  29. Barbara S

    Historical romance are my genre. I visualize living there every book (altho I would not like doing without the modern conveniences…I just ignore that part).

  30. Christine L.

    Based on the comments, ROMANCING THE DUKE would be the perfect introduction to Tessa Dare’s work for someone who has not yet had the pleasure of reading any of her books. If you can believe it, I am among those sad souls. Haven’t the foggiest how such a huge oversight was made — I do like historicals and don’t live under a rock.

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