Spotlight & Giveaway: How the Duke Was Won by Lenora Bell

Posted May 10th, 2016 by in Blog, Spotlight / 65 comments

Today it is my pleasure to Welcome debut author Lenora Bell to HJ!

Hi Lenora and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, How the Duke Was Won!

Hi Harlequin Junkie! I love your tagline. I’m a loud and proud romance addict! No shame here, either 😊

Please summarize the book for the readers here:

How the Duke Was WonI pitched my debut novel as “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory meets the Bachelor in the Regency era.”

Please share the opening lines of this book:

She will do.
James aimed at her gold-kissed curls and serene smile and launched his dagger. Right on target. Dead center between her placid blue eyes.


Please share a few Fun facts about this book…

  • It won the 2014 RWA Golden Heart® Award for Unpublished Historical Romance.
  • The working title was Charlene and the Duchess Factory but that wasn’t quite sexy enough 😉
  • I wrote the book while living in Bolivia. I was able to travel to Peru and visit an amazing chocolate history museum. I also had to “test” tons of chocolate while I was writing. For research purposes, of course 😉


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

James, the scandalously uncivilized Duke of Harland, is obsessed with creating the finest drinking chocolate in the world and making it affordable for the masses. He’d far rather be cultivating perfect cocoa beans in the West Indies than searching for duchess candidates in stuffy, restrictive London. But he needs a respectable wife to rehabilitate his reputation, so he invites four society ladies to his house to compete for him, Bachelor-style.

When I was writing James I knew he had to be tall, dark, handsome…and bearded (he got to keep the beard for at least a chapter). But I really began to fall in love with him when I realized that he loves his daughter so much and wants her to have a better life.

Charlene Beckett, illegitimate daughter of the Earl of Desmond, has had a rough life. All she wants is the money to pay off her family’s debts, protect her little sister, and turn her mother’s bawdy house into a respectable boarding house for vulnerable young women. When she’s offered a small fortune to impersonate her half-sister, Lady Dorothea, and win a proposal from a duke, she knows that this is her golden opportunity to achieve those dreams.

When I was writing Charlene she constantly surprised me. First of all, when she told me that she knew martial arts I was like, “What? You can’t know that. How do you know that? You grew up in London, girl.” So then I had to find a way to make that happen. She has a mind of her own, that Charlene. And she certainly never takes no for an answer.


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

Ooh what a fun question! I think I’d have to use the scene where the h/h meet for the first time. James is being arrogant of course (he’s disguised as a footman) and Charlene isn’t having any of it. She learned some basic martial arts to protect herself from the clientele at the bawdy house so when James gets a bit frisky, let’s just say she puts him in his place.

He was so huge, so male. She collected herself and straightened to her full height, which only brought her in eye contact with his angular jaw.
Charlene adopted the clipped, autocratic tones of the countess. “This is unacceptable. The duke will hear of this outrage. Now leave this instant.”
“Ordering me about on my own estate?”
His estate? Now that was one liberty too far.
Charlene flexed on the balls of her heels, tensing for what came next. “If you don’t leave this instant, I’ll make you sorry.”
He raised one brow. “And how would you do that? Step on my toes? Rap my knuckles?”
That’s it. This footman needs a lesson. Charlene angled toward him and tilted her head, smiling coyly. “I have my ways. All that is required is a bit of this.” She lifted onto her tiptoes and leaned forward.
He blinked. The men who tried to kiss her always did.
“And some of this.” She ran a finger along the edge of his starched collar and found a strong grip.
“And then this.” She turned her right hip into his thighs and stepped in, catching him off balance with a sweeping throw. Harai Goshi. The easiest way to incapacitate someone much bigger and stronger than oneself.
When they landed together on the carpet, she swiftly wrapped her arms around his neck, applying a basic collar choke, with enough pressure to reduce his air supply without cutting it off, crushing his face against her chest.
Unfortunately, he’d made quite a lot of noise crashing to the floor.
The countess appeared in the doorway, followed by Manon, who squeaked and clasped her hands to her heart.
The balding steward rushed into the room and dropped to his knees. “Speak to me! Are you injured, Your Grace?”
Had he just said…?
“Your Grace?” Charlene echoed.
“Guilty as charged,” came the booming response, muffled by a mouthful of bosom and lace.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

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

I’m a brand new author so it’s still just such a thrill to think that anyone at all is reading the book! I’m a voracious reader of romance. I own hundreds of historical romances, and the ones I keep coming back to are the books that make me laugh, sniffle a bit, and sigh with contentment when the happy ending is finally achieved. Making readers laugh, maybe even tear up a little bit, and then sigh with pleasure, is what motivates me to keep writing.


What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned for 2016?

The Disgraceful Dukes series is interconnected so Books 2 and 3 feature characters you’ll meet in HOW THE DUKE WAS WON.

IF I ONLY HAD A DUKE releases on August 30, 2016 (there’s already a cover!). This is Lady Dorothea and Dalton’s story and is loosely inspired by The Wizard of Oz.

Right now I’m having a blast writing Book 3 which is a twist on Alice in Wonderland and stars the quirky Miss Alice Tombs (so far she’s a reader favorite) and Nick, the Marquess of Hatherly, heir to the Mad Duke of Barrington.

Thanks for blogging at HJ!


Giveaway: Signed copy of HOW THE DUKE WAS WON + Fair Trade Divine Chocolate bar


To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: Name a few of your “keeper” authors. What keeps you coming back for more?

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Book Info:

The pleasure of your company is requested at Warbury Park. Four lovely ladies will arrive… but only one can become a duchess.

James, the scandalously uncivilized Duke of Harland, requires a bride with a spotless reputation for a strictly business arrangement. Lust is prohibited and love is out of the question.

Four ladies. Three days. What could go wrong?

She is not like the others…

Charlene Beckett, the unacknowledged daughter of an earl and a courtesan, has just been offered a life-altering fortune to pose as her half-sister, Lady Dorothea, and win the duke’s proposal. All she must do is:

* Be the perfect English rose [Ha!]

* Breathe, smile, and curtsy in impossibly tight gowns [blast Lady Dorothea’s sylph-like figure]

* Charm and seduce a wild duke [without appearing to try]

* Keep said duke far, far from her heart [no matter how tempting]

When secrets are revealed and passion overwhelms, James must decide if the last lady he should want is really everything he needs. And Charlene must decide if the promise of a new life is worth risking everything . . . including her heart.

Buy Links


Meet the Author:

Lenora BellLenora Bell grew up in smalltown Alaska and her hometown still has no traffic lights or fast food, but the public library is going strong! An English teacher with an MFA in Creative Writing, Lenora has traveled the globe using music to bring smiles to classrooms. She currently lives in Switzerland with her carpenter husband and two naughty tiger-striped kitties. In 2014 she won the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart® Award for Best Historical and she’s thrilled to be debuting with Avon Books in 2016!



65 Responses to “Spotlight & Giveaway: How the Duke Was Won by Lenora Bell”

  1. moosehog83

    vicki lewis thompson. carly phillips. lori wilde. jane porter. joanne rock. janelle denison

  2. Vicki

    Susan Mallery, Lori Foster, Linda Lael Miller, Robyn Carr and Laurie LeClair I just live the way they write

  3. Janie McGaugh

    Ilona Andrews, Nalini Singh, Grace Burrowes, Shana Galen. Great characters, character interactions, and plots are what keep me coming back.

  4. Crystal Cox

    Vanessa Kelly, Stephanie Laurens, C.L.Wilson, Christine Feehan, strong well developed characters and the ability to make reality fade away 🙂

  5. Mood Reader

    Lisa Kleypas, Sarah MacLean, Jill Shalvis, Kristan Higgins, Maya Banks, Kristen Ashley. The characters, the stories, the humor and the HOT! And the writing, of course. 🙂

  6. Patricia B.

    What a delightful excerpt. This will be a fun read. I think every book should have a bit of humor in it.
    Hard to say who my keeper authors are, I have way too many. Linda Broday (western historical), Elizabeth Hoyt (especially her Maiden Lane series), Karen Witemyer (inspirational historical westerns), Kat Martin, Nora Roberts, Janet, Chapman, Julie Garwood, Sabrina Jeffries, Mary Connealy, and many more.

    • Lenora Bell

      Thanks so much, Patricia!! I heart Elizabeth Hoyt and lots of the other authors you mentioned – but I haven’t read any Linda Broday. Thanks for the recommendation! xx LB

  7. Linda

    Grace Draven, Anne Gracie, Carla Kelly, Courtney Milan, Shelly Thacker just to name a few. I love their writing style & the characters and stories they create

  8. debby236

    I like Brenda Jackson, Donna Grant, Charlene Sands, Paula Graves. There are so many. I like their style of writing.

  9. Michele Hayes

    I love “meeting” new authors, but my go to authors are Julia Quinn, Nora Roberts and Stephanie Laurens.

  10. Krysten M

    Can’t wait to read this one! Some of my must buy/keepers are: Jill Shalvis, Nalini Singh, Sarah MacLean, and Julie James. Just love their stories!

  11. dfosterbooks2015

    Oh so many, Christi Caldwell, Collette Cameron, Stephanie Laurens, Lorraine Heath, Julia Quinn, Regan Walker, Julie Johnstone, Katherine Bone and the list goes on.

  12. orchid7

    I really don’t keep a book after I read it. I have FAR too many books on my bookshelves vying for space, so after they are read, I pass them along to the next person. I do have many books in my kindle cloud, but since they’re not taking up any physical space, they can stay there. I do try to share those too, whenever I can.

    I love that excerpt! It sounds cute. I like a heroine who isn’t a doormat- there are way too many simpering heroines out there. Bravo!

  13. Joanne B

    Diana Palmer, Kristen Ashley, Jill Shalvis, Susan Mallery, Linda Lael Miller, Thea Harrison, Nalini Singh, and Grace Burrowes are just a few of my go-to authors. I enjoys their stories and the way they write.

  14. Amy Rickman

    Kristen Ashley, Lauren Dane, Penny Reid, Elyssa Patrick are some of my keeper authors because I love their writing style and the stories they create.

  15. conniefischer

    So many authors – where do I start without leaving anyone out? Kate Noble, Valerie Bowman, Karen Ranney, Amelia Grey, Caroline Linden, Julie Klassen, Sophie Barnes, Jennifer Haymore, Ella Quinn, and the list goes on and on. I keep coming back for more simply because I enjoy their books so very much.

    I’ve had my eye on “How The Duke Was Won” and cannot wait to read and review it.

    Thanks so much for the fun and generous giveaway. Fingers crossed!

  16. CelineB

    Lisa Kleypas, Courtney Milan, and Julie James to name a few. I love snappy dialogue and well-developed characters.

  17. Joye

    I don’t have a lot of room to keep books I have read but if I did these are the authors I would keep.

    Sandra Brown,Maya Banks,Paige Tyler,Bertrice Small. Stephanie Laurens

  18. kim hansen

    Robin Carr story line. Amanda Flowers the mysteries are so good. THere are dozens more just can’t think of them off the top of my head.

  19. Colleen C.

    Nora Roberts/ JD Robb, Vivian Arend, Brenda Novak, Sandra Brown, Adrienne Giordano, Krystal Shannan, and many many more! The worlds, stories and characters draw me in and keeps my interest…

  20. Marsha

    I love all the authors,You all have great book,i can go any where in the world and never leave home.

  21. Nancy Luebke

    Debbie McComber is one, of many. I like a little humor. I really enjoyed the excerpt. Want to really read this. Thanks for this opportunity.

  22. JenM

    The excerpt from the beginning of the book sounds adorable. I will definitely be adding this to my wish list. My keepers tend to be UF authors like Patricia Briggs and Ilona Andrews because I love their world building. In romance, I also love Jennifer Ashley, Jennifer Crusie, Julie James, Kylie Scott. Ruthie Knox, and Emma Chase.

  23. Carrie Evans

    I really enjoy books by: Eloisa James, Tessa Dare, Kristan Higgins, Jill Shalvis, Christie Ridgway, Melissa McClone, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, and many others! I really enjoy humor and good chemistry between the characters.

  24. rachael constant

    Hannah Howell, sarah maas, Rachel caine, Julia Quinn, Stephanie laurens, Teresa Medeiros, maria Snyder, mary balogh, jo Beverly, angie fox, patricia briggs, lynsay sands
    the list goes on. I always find their books enjoyable

  25. Glenda

    Thanks to ebooks, a keeper list can be so much longer! My list is huge and it includes: Grace Burrowes, Jill Shalvis, Jennifer McQuiston, Vanessa Kelly, Joanna Shupe, Anna Harrington, Shana Galen, Tessa Dare, . . . .

  26. diannekc

    My keeper authors are Mary Kay Andrews, Karen White and Jenn McKinley. I keep going back to their books because they are great stories and I can’t put them down after I start reading them.

  27. Cathy Phillips

    Suzan Tisdale, Lauren Smith, Tawny Weber, Erica Ridley, Grace Burrowes, Shana Galen, Nora Roberts, etc. I love their stories and the way they write them.

  28. Irma

    Elizabeth Hoyt, Julia Quinn, Julie Garwood, Gaelen Foley, Tillie Cole, Elle Kennedy, Penelope Douglas. It’s the amazing stories with wicked characters and great writings.

  29. Karina Angeles

    Victoria Alexander, Sara Bennett, Tessa Dare, Suzanne Enoch, Elizabeth Hout, Theresa Romain….I love series with a complicated happy ending for each character.

  30. laurieg72

    Susan Mallery, Jill Shalvis, Bella Andre, Karen Hawkins,Nora Roberts, Shannon Stacey, Susanne Enoch, Sabrina Jeffries, Debbie Macomber, Theresa Romain,Vicki Lewis Thompson, Charlene Sands, Linda Lael Miller, Johanna Lindsay, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Susan Wiggs, Alexandra Hawkins, Jillian Hunter, Madeline Hunter, Kate Angell, Marie Force, Lisa Kleypas……

    I feel an attachment/connection to their characters and I like their writing styles. I keep all my autographed books.

  31. BookLady

    Some of my “keeper” authors are Sherrilyn Kenyon, Christine Feehan, J.R. Ward, Jim Butcher, Deborah Harkness, and Suzanne Johnson.

  32. Connie Lee

    A few of my keeper authors are Jill Shalvis, Virginia Kantra, Ann Gabhart, and Debra Clopton. I really enjoy reading their books, very entertaining!

  33. LauraJJ

    Oh I really love Julia Quinn, Caroline Linden, Kate Nobel,…so many. What keeps me coming back to the same author is if I really like the book…then I continue to read more of theirs.

  34. barbed1951

    I love Eloisa James, Julia Quinn and Julie Anne Long’s historical stories because their writing makes me feel like I’m there, sharing the story with their characters. My favorites in other genres are Jennifer Estep, Ann Aguirre, Cherie Priest, Faith Hunter, Kevin Hearne and Gini Koch.

  35. Amanda Thompson

    Nora Roberts, Sarah MacLean, Stephanie Laurens, Maya Banks, Teresa Medeiros, and many others! I love the stories they write and the personalities they give their characters.

  36. tlrosado

    Penny Reid, Kristen Ashley, Kathryn Springer, Ruth Logan Herne, Julie Lessman, Colleen Hoover, Brittainy Cherry, Alice Clayton, R.S. Grey, Susan May Warren, Megan Squires, and Jennifer Crusie. Although, I wish Crusie would release something new soon! It’s been much too long.

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