Hi Anna and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, An Inconvenient Duke!
Please summarize the book for the readers here:
When Marcus Braddock’s sister Elise died, he was a genera away at war. But now that he’s returned as a duke, he’s discovered some troubling information that leads him to believe that her death wasn’t an accident. He goes on the hunt to find the person responsible, enlisting the reluctant help of Danielle Williams, his sister’s best friend who has been secretly running a network which helps women in need. As they work together to learn the truth, clues lead them to suspect that Elise was murdered by a criminal organization called Scepter—an organization that now wants to silence both of them. Marcus will do anything he can to keep Dani safe, but Dani refuses to give up her work with the network, even if it means risking her life the same way Elise risked hers.
Please share your favorite quote from the book:
“Only a damn fool wants a submissive woman.”
Please share a few Fun facts about this book…
- The series is loosely based on Marvel comic book characters—their personalities, not their superpowers. Marcus Braddock is based on Captain America, Brandon Pearce is Thor, and Merritt Rivers is Spiderman (my favorite!)
- The evil organization in the series is Scepter, which was a simple letter inversion of an evil group fought by Marvel comic book heroes called Specter.
- Marcus follows Dani to a tavern on the Strand called the Golden Bell—a tavern that really existed in 1815 and is still in business today, making it one of the oldest taverns in London.
Tell us about the book with this fun little challenge using the title of the book:
D is for…a duke who is determined to find answers
U is for…a couple who is uncompromising in their convictions to help others and uncover the truth
K is for…the keepsake music box Marcus gives to Dani in memory of his late sister
E is for…ever after, of course!
If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would you use for the audition of the main characters and why?
The society party! Picture it — in the midst of a ball, the dashing war hero turned duke is determined to learn the truth about his sister’s death and so interrogates her best friend, who is just as determined to keep her own secrets while also harboring a long-time affection for him, and all of it happening…while waltzing! The actors have to dig deep emotionally to set up the complicated tug-o-war between their distrust and their affection for each other, and they have to make it all believable while whirling about the dance floor. I’d pay good money to see Chris Pine and Jennifer Lawrence try to do that!
And here’s the snippet:
Dancing with Marcus proved just as wonderful as Dani had always suspected it would be during all those evenings as a young miss when she’d watched him partner with other women beneath the glittering chandeliers at so many otherwise forgotten parties. Although nervous suspicion still lingered inside her, so did pleasure, helped along by the hard muscles in his legs that she tried unsuccessfully not to notice every time they accidentally brushed against hers in the tight turns they were forced to make on the crowded dance floor. She couldn’t help but follow yieldingly in his arms, couldn’t help but ignore the rest of the world spinning around them.
When his lips curled faintly into a smile, a jolt of raw attraction sparked inside her so unexpectedly that it shocked the daylights out of her.
“You seem surprised,” he said, amusement coloring his voice. “You didn’t think I could waltz?”
He’d misunderstood her stunned bewilderment. Thank God, because she couldn’t have borne the humiliation if he realized how her body tingled in response to his.
“I thought you’d be rusty in your steps,” she dodged. “I didn’t think you’d have had much opportunity to practice during the past few years.”
“Not often, that’s true. And my horse made for a damnably clumsy partner.”
She laughed despite the fluttering butterflies in her belly. “Four left hooves?”
He grimaced. “The rascal kept wanting to lead.”
What do you want people to take away from reading this book?
I want everyone to a rollicking good time! This is a fast-paced book with plenty of action but also elements of traditional romance, trips into London’s seedy criminal underworld but also waltzing at a ball, lots of tearful revelations but also lots of humor…one I hope that readers can’t put down. Of course, there’s information about how women were treated during the Regency, but the whole series was inspired by all those heart-thumping, action-packed comic book hero movies that have been coming out recently—good vs. evil, all a bit larger than life, and just great fun.
If you could have given your characters one piece of advice before the opening pages of the book, what would it be and why?
“Trust each other! You both want the same things; you just need to trust in the other to help you achieve them.” When the book opens, they’re not enemies and it’s not a second chance at love—but they don’t trust each other, with both keeping secrets that could come back to haunt them. They’re both fiercely independent, strong, and headstrong people, and neither of them wants to admit that they need help and that they need each other until their lives are in danger.
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
Giveaway: A paperback copy of An Inconvenient Duke by Anna Harrington
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Excerpt from An Inconvenient Duke:
Marcus twirled Danielle through a circle so unexpectedly that she glanced up at him, startled by the movement.
“Elise was too good of a horsewoman to be thrown from her mare. Certainly not on a morning trot through the park. Especially when the groom said she didn’t go out on horseback at all that morning.” His gaze fixed on hers with a hardness that told her he’d brook no dissembling. “So let’s start over with the truth, shall we?”
“I did tell you the truth! I told you everything that the guards…” As her voice faded, the confusion on her beautiful face melted into anguish.
Her reaction pierced him. She certainly wasn’t pretending the emotions behind that. Not even an actress at the Theatre Royal would have been good enough to fake such raw pain and sorrow.
Fresh guilt assaulted him. Good God, did she truly not know? Had it never occurred to her that Elise’s death hadn’t happened at all the way she’d claimed?
He searched her face for answers. “You didn’t know that she’d left Charlton Place at night, alone, to meet a man?”
“No. Or I would have stopped her.”
Looking at her now, hearing the resolve in her voice, that he very much believed. “And John Porter?”
“I don’t know who he is.”
A bitter taste rose on his tongue. “Was he her lover?”
“No! Elise would never…”
Her cheeks flushed, and she glanced away in embarrassment. Danielle might have blossomed into a woman while he’d been away, but her reluctance to put to words that his sister had taken a lover assured him that she was still innocent. He had no idea why he should care, but he thanked God that some things hadn’t changed.
“Why else would a widow meet up alone with a man at night?”
“Not for that.” Irritation sparked in her eyes that he would assume that of his sister. Despite himself, a warmth blossomed in his chest at her defense of Elise’s reputation. “Not her.”
His fingers tightened around hers as he continued to waltz her around the room. “Are you certain she wasn’t planning to elope?”
She gaped at him, thunderstruck. “What on earth makes you think that?”
“In his note, Porter wrote that everything was set for their vanishing that night.”
She blanched and missed a step. If his arms weren’t around her, she would have stumbled again. She rasped out hoarsely as she hurried back into step with him, “A vanishing?”
The way she repeated that, her haunted expression—Good God. Instantly, his blood froze. “You know more than you’re telling.”
She gave a fierce shake of her head. “I didn’t know about any of this!”
“Did she die on the way to meet him or coming back?” His gaze narrowed, watching her closely as he dared to finally put voice to his fears. “Or did he murder her?”
She gasped, the strangled sound so pained that he flinched. “Murder?” The word came as barely any sound at all on her lips, and she began to tremble, so hard that she nearly shuddered in his arms. “Oh, God…Elise…”
“So I’ll ask again.” He twirled her through a tight circle, one meant to keep her off-balance. “Who is John Porter?”
“I don’t know.”
“What did he mean by their vanishing?”
She fiercely shook her head. “I don’t—”
At that, she halted right there in his arms, smack in the middle of the dance floor, bringing him to a stop with her. For one fleeting heartbeat, he saw fear grip her face, the same fear he’d seen on every man under his command the first time they’d charged into battle.
Then it was gone, and in its place came anger.
“How dare you?” Outrage filled her voice. “This is why you asked me to waltz? Not as an old friend of the family, not even to commiserate together in our grief—this dance was nothing but the battle strategy of a war-hardened general, to keep me from fleeing while you interrogated me!”
“My sister was murdered, and I’m damned well going to find out why.” His own anger flared in response, yet he was aware of the crowded dance floor around them and kept his face carefully inscrutable. “John Porter warned Elise to stay away from Scepter.” He searched her face for answers. “Tell me what you know about them. What is it? Where can I find the people running it?”
“I don’t know.” The icy look she gave him was one of absolute obstinacy. “And for your sake, General,” she said, her eyes practically glowing, “I wouldn’t tell you even if I did.”
He clenched his jaw. “I need to know what you’re hiding about—”
“Stop!” she ordered hoarsely, pushing herself free of his arms. “Please. Just stop.”
As the other couples continued to dance on around them, the attention of the room fell upon them, and everyone craned their necks to see what was wrong. But Marcus didn’t care that whispers went up at the scene they were making or that Claudia now stood in the doorway, watching them curiously. Danielle Williams knew more than she was admitting. Far more. He wouldn’t stop pressing until he had the entire truth and brought to justice the man responsible.
The waltz ended, and the last notes died with a flourish. When she stepped back, he had no choice except to let her go.
But this conversation was far from over.
Aware of the attention of the crowd still upon them and clearly wanting to lessen the spectacle they were making of themselves, she held out her hand and dropped into a curtsy as if nothing were wrong.
“Your sister was a good woman who dedicated her life to helping those in need,” she said between deep inhalations as she gathered herself enough to put a smile onto her face for the crowd around them. “Keep that memory, and let the rest go. I beg you.”
He took her hand and bowed over it, attempting to appear as if they were simply finishing the waltz. He murmured against her fingers, “I have no intention of letting this go.”
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
All’s fair in war…and in love…
Marcus Braddock, former general and newly appointed Duke of Hampton, is back from war. Now, not only is he surrounded by the utterly unbearable ton, he’s mourning the death of his beloved sister, Elise. Marcus believes his sister’s death wasn’t an accident, and he’s determined to learn the truth—starting with Danielle Williams, his sister’s beautiful best friend.
Danielle is keeping deadly secrets of her own. She has dedicated her life to a charity that helps abused women—the same charity Elise was working for the night she died. When Danielle’s work puts her life in danger, Marcus comes to her rescue. But Danielle may not be the one in need of rescuing…
Meet the Author:
Anna Harrington is an award-winning author of Regency romance. She writes spicy historicals with alpha heroes and independent heroines, layers of emotion, and lots of sizzle. Anna was nominated for a RITA in 2017 for her title How I Married a Marquess, and her debut, Dukes Are Forever, won the 2016 Maggie Award for Best Historical Romance. All About Romance named her Best Debut Historical Romance Author for her first series, The Secret Life of Scoundrels. A lover of all things chocolate and coffee, when she’s not hard at work writing her next book or planning her next series, Anna loves to fly airplanes, go ballroom dancing, or tend her roses. She is an English professor in Chattanooga, Tennessee. www.AnnaHarringtonBooks.com