Spotlight & Giveaway: A Lady’s Code of Misconduct by Meredith Duran

Posted February 28th, 2017 by in Blog, Spotlight / 39 comments

Today it is my pleasure to Welcome author Meredith Duran to HJ!
Spotlight&Giveaway

 

Hi Meredith and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, A Lady’s Code of Misconduct!

 

Please summarize the book for the readers here:

Actually, I’m very pleased that I got to write the copy for the back of this book, so let me share that!

Trapped in the countryside, facing an unwanted marriage and the theft of her fortune, Jane Mason is done behaving nicely. To win her freedom, she’ll strike a deal with the most dangerous man she knows—a rising star in politics, whose dark good looks mask an even darker heart.

The bitter past has taught Crispin Burke to trust no one. He’ll gladly help a lovely young heiress, provided she pays a price. Yet when a single mistake shatters his life, it is Jane who holds the key to his salvation. And in a world that no longer makes sense, Crispin slowly realizes that she may be the only thing worth fighting for…
 

Please share the opening lines of this book:

Ah, that’s going to be a little confusing! Our hero is waking up from a coma with quite a grand case of amnesia.

“The first sensation was light. Red, the color of hellfire. Then . . . weight. Weight compressing and lifting.”

 

Please share a few Fun facts about this book…

  • I’ve always loved the narrative arc of a villain who turns into a hero. Television shows have a lot of fun with this trope: Angel in Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a classic example. In A LADY’S CODE OF MISCONDUCT, Crispin starts out as a formidable villain—the bane of the heroine’s existence, in fact. It’s quite a dramatic path he takes to earning her love!
  • This book is set in 1860, twenty-odd years earlier than my last novel. Those who have read my debut, THE DUKE OF SHADOWS, will recognize some of the characters. DoS took place in 1857 and 1861; this book takes place in 1860. A lot of readers have asked me about a secondary character in DoS, and I think they’ll be pleased by how this novel concludes.

 

Please tell us a little about the characters in your book. As you wrote your protagonist was there anything about them that surprised you?

As I mentioned, Crispin is a career politician. The good news: idealistic, politically-driven men are quite sexy. The bad news: the Crispin whom we first meet is a corrupt blackguard, and that aspect of politics feels all too familiar to the modern reader!
 

What, in your mind, distinguishes this book from other books out there in the same genre?

Many historical romances feature heroes who hold seats in the House of Lords, but we rarely see the day-to-day workings of political life in nineteenth-century England. Crispin is a politician to the bone, so I couldn’t keep politics offstage!
 

The First kiss… 

The first kiss between Crispin and Jane is less a kiss than an intimidation tactic. But Jane is a formidable and self-possessed young woman (otherwise Crispin would steamroll right over her), so rest assured, she gives as good as she gets.
 

Did any scene have you blushing, crying or laughing while writing it? And Why?

I love a good, hot confrontation in which everything spills out: the fears and hopes and truths that you’ve been fighting to hide even from yourself, much less from your lover. There’s a scene like that midway though the book. Jane believes she has caught Crispin in a compromising situation with an old mistress, and instead of confronting him, she turns on her heel and stalks away. She has sound reasons for believing she has no right to chastise him, but he does not yet know those reasons—and he’s infuriated. He is innocent of wrongdoing, but he also knows that what Jane saw would lead anyone to the wrong conclusions, and he’s furious that she doesn’t demand better treatment from him.
He chases after her and confronts her, telling her that she needs to commit to their marriage in every way—or else they should end it, here and now.

“I am telling you—for the first time and the last—that if this won’t serve, you should walk away,” Crispin said. “By God, do it. Do it now. Take all the money; to hell with the deal we struck. Or else an annulment—I will grant you one. And if it’s your uncle you fear, I’ll see you safely onto a ship, and give you half my accounts to see you safe. Yes,” he said with a black smile when she failed to hide her surprise. “I’ve seen you poring over the shipping schedules. You wish to go? I’ll book the ticket, carry your trunks to the quay myself.
“But if our connection means anything to you.” He pushed out a ragged breath. “If you meant those tears you shed when I told you of Jonathan. If your laughter was real, and your smiles. If you feel, as I do, that you could wish for no better partner—in politics, as much as in life. If all of that is true, and not simply an act, a mask to cover your indifference—then tell me so now. Because I am finished with this stalemate. I will not endure a wife who tells me to go back to a mistress. I will not have a wife who refuses to demand explanations.”
The moment felt crystalline. Even the music had stopped. The glass beading that trimmed the sconces, which had been shivering from the stomps of the dancers, had fallen still.
He cursed. “So go,” he said flatly, and turned away.
Jane watched her hand leap out to catch his arm. Quick as a striking snake, his own covered hers. His grip tightened to a degree shy of painful. But he did not look at her.
“Think carefully.” His voice was threadbare. “After this, I am done with questions.”
“Yes,” she breathed. “Yes, I will stay.”
He pulled free of her. Leaving! Confusion, panic, gripped her as he walked to the door.
He turned the key in the lock. When he turned back, his expression was calm and focused, his gaze intent.
The revelation felt like a flush of heat. No, he was not leaving.
Far from it.
He came straight into her, crowded her against the wall as he took her face in his hands and his mouth came down onto hers.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
 

If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would you use for the audition of the main characters and why?

Crispin has amnesia through a good deal of this book. I think the scene in which he recovers his memory would make a fine casting exercise. To show Crispin’s transformation, from blank slate back into the skin of a villain—a villain profoundly transformed—would be difficult but crucial.

His hand ached from gripping the rail too tightly. He squeezed harder yet, until the bones in his hands threatened to break. It felt like a drug in his system, a drug and he the recovered addict, this black cast into which his thoughts might so easily slip again. He understood his coldness now. He knew why he had forced the kiss on her on that night in the countryside. He remembered his own manufactured indifference to his family, who had misjudged him once too often, abandoned him for the final time. No atonement will ever be possible. You will always be the villain to them. So be it. Accept the verdict, he had thought. And also: they think you useless. Prove the opposite.
But that cold, dark cast had been blinding. These past weeks proved it. Half dead, he had woken into his family’s arms. And into the care of a woman who might so easily have spat in his face and walked away. This marriage . . . he felt deeply confused. How had it happened? And afterward, with his memory gone . . . wives had walked away before. Nothing would have stopped her. But she had chosen to stay.
For her father’s money. Of course. That was what she’d been waiting for. The signature from her uncle.
He pivoted toward the bedroom, feeling gutshot.
What had happened in there tonight. The rapport between them. Their laughter. Their triumph. None of that had been feigned. And tonight . . . . She had taken his hand and followed him to that bed. She had pulled the clothes from his body of her own will, and put her mouth to him.
To the man he had been. To the other Crispin, scrubbed clean of the sins of his past.
He ran a hand up his face. His throat felt raw, as though he’d been screaming.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
 

What do you want people to take away from reading this book?

No one is always and perfectly worthy of love. What makes love enduring and powerful, rather than fragile and fleeting, is the ability to acknowledge fault, forgive, and move forward.

 

What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned for 2017?

I have a short story coming out in an anthology that asked five romance writers to write something that falls outside their particular subgenre. I can’t tell you what my story is about, because the conceit of the anthology is that none of us will attach our names to our stories—authorship will be revealed a few months after the volume is published. It was definitely fun to try something new!

As for my 2018 historical, anyone who finishes ALCOM will know what’s coming next. 🙂
 

Thanks for blogging at HJ!

 

Giveaway: Reckless Reward: Autographed copies of the Reckless series: Fool Me Twice, Lady Be Good, and Luck Be A Lady

 

To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: Who’s your favorite villain in the pop culture canon? Why?

 
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Book Info:

A DEAL WITH THE DEVIL…
Trapped in the countryside, facing an unwanted marriage and the theft of her fortune, Jane Mason is done behaving nicely. To win her freedom, she’ll strike a deal with the most dangerous man she knows—a rising star in politics, whose dark good looks mask an even darker heart.

…NEVER GOES TO PLAN.
The bitter past has taught Crispin Burke to trust no one. He’ll gladly help a lovely young heiress, provided she pays a price. Yet when a single mistake shatters his life, it is Jane who holds the key to his salvation. And in a world that no longer makes sense, Crispin slowly realizes that she may be the only thing worth fighting for…
 
 

Meet the Author:

MEREDITH DURAN is the author of ten previous novels, including The Duke of Shadows (winner of the Gather.com First Chapters Romance Writing Competition), Wicked Becomes You (included on the Woman’s World list of Best Beach Reads for Summer 2010), and the USA Today bestseller and RITA Award–winning Fool Me Twice. She blames Anne Boleyn for sparking her lifelong obsession with British history, and for convincing her that princely love is no prize if it doesn’t come with a happily-ever-after. She enjoys collecting old etiquette manuals, guidebooks to nineteenth-century London, and travelogues by intrepid Victorian women. Visit her at MeredithDuran.com, on Twitter @meredithduran and Facebook AuthorMeredithDuran.

 
 
 

39 Responses to “Spotlight & Giveaway: A Lady’s Code of Misconduct by Meredith Duran”

  1. Cheryl C.

    Current favorite is Christopher Argent in Kerrigan Byrne’s The Hunter. He is a villain turned heroic villain by love.

  2. Melissa Keith

    Brady Hartsfield in Stephen King’s ‘The Bill Hodges Trilogy’. This is the third and final book in the series. Brady is an SOB. But in this last book he’s going to be causing so much trouble with his new abilities as the series turned from thriller to paranormal thriller.

  3. Kari Angeles

    Harley Quinn! She’s bat-shit crazy but has very logical points in her arguments.

  4. BookLady

    Darth Vader is my favorite villain. Even though he went over to the dark side, he still possesses some goodness in his heart.

  5. laurieg72

    Jim Phelps Ethan Hunt’s boss in Mission Impossible Betrayal by a friend and boss is inexcusable!

  6. smcmahon19

    Joker played by Heath Ledger and Valdemort from Harry Potter. In Twilight… The Italian vampires were awesome villains! The Penguin from the TV Series Gotham…☘

  7. Patricia B.

    Prof. Snape in Harry Potter. He comes across as the villain but at the end we discover all was not what it seemed.

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