Hi Liana LeFey and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, The Devil’s Own!
Hi, there! Glad you dropped in to check out The Devil’s Own!
Please summarize the book a la Twitter style for the readers here:
An innocent woman infatuated with the village vicar unknowingly falls for his rakehell twin after the men are forced to temporarily switch places. Mayhem ensues—especially when he begins to return her misplaced affection.
Please share the opening lines of this book:
It was perfectly acceptable to stare at the man she’d selected to become her husband. After all, wasn’t she supposed to pay attention when the vicar spoke? Close attention, according to her mother. But, though Reverend Wayward spoke with his usual calm authority on matters moral this morning, the words failed to register with Mary. She heard nothing of his praise of self-discipline or his admonishment to resist temptation.
Please share a few Fun facts about this book…
- The hero (and his twin) were inspired by a (very handsome) actor who plays a wayward angel on a television show.
- The heroine, Mary, is named after a dear friend of mine I met via joining that show’s fandom community.
- Writing linked, concurrent stories about twins was so much fun…and also something I may never again attempt! Change a detail in one’s story, even something as minor as a calendar date, and you have to remember to change it in the twin’s, as well!
- The saying “the road to hell is paved with good intentions” inspired the beginning of this story. The hero means well, so of course it all has to backfire!
- A priest in my family once revealed how difficult it was at times to avoid being the target of inconvenient infatuation. His stories about this were hilarious and sometimes quite hair-raising. They stuck with me and influenced the way I wrote my twins in The Devil’s Own.
What first attracts your Hero to the Heroine and vice versa?
Devlin admires Mary’s forthright manner, and Mary is drawn to his sincere compassion for others.
Using just 5 words, how would you describe Hero and Heroine’s love affair?
A deliciously complex slow burn.
The First Kiss…
More. Instinct demanded there be no such barrier between them. Reaching under his sweater, she pulled up
the linen shirt tucked into his trousers and at last made gratifying contact with hot, bare skin. Her palms skimmed across his back, exploring its smooth texture and the underlying contours.
So different. Another thrill shot through her. His body was so unlike hers. Where she was soft and pliant, he was hard and unyielding. Pulling back a little, she felt the flesh over his abdomen and found it was the same. Muscle rippled beneath her roving fingertips. Traveling up, her hands searched out the broadness of his chest, learning it. Beneath her feather-light touch, a nipple contracted.
A deep moan rumbled in his throat, further fueling her curiosity. Deliberately, she did it again, smiling against his mouth.
Without revealing too much, what is your favorite scene in the book?
I really enjoyed writing Devlin’s and Mary’s more humorous interactions. Here’s a small part of one scene that made me laugh out loud while writing it:
She stared at him, wide-eyed, for a long moment before abruptly extending the large covered basket.
Reaching out, he took it from her and received a sharp reminder from his burn blisters. Whatever she had in there, it was heavy. “Thank you. I’ll return your basket tomorrow—or, if you need it back now, I can empty it. It won’t take a moment.”
“I’ve no immediate need for it,” she said quickly. “Keep it here, and I’ll use it next Sunday.”
“Very well,” he agreed. Awkward silence fell for a few heartbeats. ~Say something, dolt!~ “Thank you, Miss Tomblin. Your generosity is much appreciated.”
“It’s my pleasure,” she answered faintly, her eyes now trained on the ground.
He was saved from further discomfort by her friend. “Come, Mary,” said Miss Benfield. “We must be off.”
“Until Sunday, then,” Devlin said, bowing automatically. His crutch clattered to the floor, forcing him to grip the doorjamb for support, and the hastily secured sash at his waist came loose. A blast of icy air hit his bare legs and traveled in an instant all the way up to his nethers. Straightening, he clutched the basket tight against his navel to stop the robe opening any farther, and winced as his blisters again pained him.
Miss Tomblin’s gaze jerked up to fix on a point somewhere above his head. Her cheeks were aflame, and her mouth worked soundlessly for a moment before she at last choked out, “Y-yes—until Sunday, then! Good day!” Tugging her open-mouthed friend’s arm, she fled.
Shutting the door, Devlin let out a long stream of invective. “What idiot masquerading as a bloody vicar answers the damned door in naught but a robe?” he asked the empty room. Disgusted with himself, he went back over to the fire to warm up again. At least he’d managed to prevent complete exposure—and humiliation. Frigid air was no man’s friend.
On second thought, he blessed the cold, north wind that had reached inside the robe’s opening to shrivel him. Had it been warm out, his nethers might have reacted quite differently to Miss Tomblin’s presence. Her reaction to -that- didn’t bear imagining.
If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would be absolutely crucial to include?
Devlin gave himself over to laughter, tilting his head back to lean against the trunk of the tree in which they’d made their second home as boys. Now he wished he’d attended church this morning instead of claiming a headache to get out of it. “You really think she was about to make a declaration?”
“I fail to see the humor in this situation,” bit out Daniel, flushing scarlet to the roots of his hair. “I told a falsehood to spare the poor girl any embarrassment, but now I must find a way to gently yet unequivocally let her know her affections are misplaced.” His hands raked through his hair, leaving it standing on end in places. He looked a complete madman.
“I could do it for you.”
His brother’s head snapped up. “What?”
He grinned. “We used to do it all the time, remember? And we still can—Diana and Evangeline could not tell us apart, and they see you every week. ” But his brother was already shaking his head in denial. “Oh, go on! Think about it! Your Miss Tomblin is merely infatuated. I’ll set her straight, and next Sunday all will be back to normal.”
“She’s not ‘my’ Miss Tomblin, and the answer is—”
“I can ensure that she’s once and for all disabused of the idea,” Devlin tempted, giving his best “trust me” smile. “Once I’m done, she’ll never even look at y—”
“Devlin…” His brother’s voice had lowered ominously.
“I’d do it gently. She’ll never know the difference. You remember how good I was at it.”
“We are not children anymore,” said Daniel, all tolerance vanishing in favor of the stern demeanor he usually reserved for delivering moral admonishments. “This is my problem to deal with, and deal with it, I shall. In my own way.” His frown deepened. “Besides, even if I were to allow such a deceit, there’s no way anyone would ever believe you are me. Not anymore. You’re a man of the world, saturated with its carnality and steeped in its avarice. You use your God-given gifts for your own personal gain and consort with gamblers and…others utterly lacking in morals. You would not fool a child, much less the people of this parish, who know me well. You’d be found out in an instant, and then I would be called upon to answer for the deception. No. Absolutely not.”
Raising his hands, Devlin conceded. “Fine. Fine. I understand. I was only offering to help.” Letting out a long-suffering sigh, he shoved off from the tree’s support and dusted bits of bark off his rump. “You coming?”
Daniel didn’t move. “Actually, I think I might stay out here a while longer. Alone,” he added. “I need to think about things. Pray for guidance. Tell the others I’ll be a few hours.”
A few hours? He was going to pray for a few hours? A wicked idea began to form in Devlin’s mind. It was pure mischief—which of course meant it was completely irresistible. Making a sour face, he wiggled his fingers in farewell. “Have fun with that, then. I’ll see you at dinner.”
Turning, he strode down the orchard path with purpose.
Readers should read this book …
…if they enjoy a wild ride! The Devil’s Own has plenty of emotional tension, but it’s also loaded with fun and shenanigans.
What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned?
One Night of Sin is the next book in the series. It tells the tale of the other twin, Rev. Daniel Wayward, and his trip down the primrose path to forbidden love.
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Excerpt from The Devil’s Own:
In spite of the stinging cold, Mary’s face burned as if it would never again cool down. All her daydreams had manifested the moment Reverend Wayward had opened the door. His hair had been tousled, his blue eyes sleep-befuddled, and his state of undress…well.
The sight of him wearing naught but a robe had stolen every drop of moisture from her mouth. She hadn’t been able to stop herself from looking. Her eyes had feasted upon the strong column of his throat, the hollow between his collar bones, and the sprinkling of dark curls peppering his chest, thickening as they continued down to where the two halves of his robe were joined by the sash at his waist.
And the feast hadn’t stopped there. She’d looked down to avoid being caught staring like a lustful trollop at his bare flesh—but then he’d bowed and his sash had come free. He’d clutched her basket close to keep from exposing his manly bits, but below it, the robe had parted to reveal a strong, muscled calf and knee dusted by the same dark hair as that on his chest.
Add to that his stubbly, unshaven face and slumber-roughened voice, and one had a recipe for a whole new round of nocturnal torments. She’d never see him as anything but a strong, virile man again.
“Good Lord, Mary,” whispered a red-cheeked Augie, still clutching her arm as they hurried away down the street. “I think I understand now why you’ve set your cap for him. I would never have imagined a clergyman to look like that beneath his crow’s weeds.”
At first, Mary said nothing, afraid of what might pop out. Finally, having regained some composure, she addressed her friend. “Augie, promise me you’ll say nothing of what just happened. To anyone. Ever.”
“You have my word,” her friend answered without hesitation. “But Mary, what will you do?”
“Do?” Mary stared at her in consternation. “Must something be done?”
“You’ve seen him practically naked.” It was spoken as if the answer were plain.
“So have you.”
Augie’s face paled. “So I have.”
“So what will you do?”
“Well, I…” Her friend’s brow furrowed, and she closed her mouth with a soft pop. “I suppose there is nothing to be done, really. Except, perhaps, pray?” She swallowed audibly. “Oh, Lord—I shan’t be able to look our vicar in the eye next Sunday.”
They both burst out laughing, and laughed until they were out of breath and leaning against each other for support.
Mary clutched her side with one hand and swiped at her streaming eyes with the other. “Oh, Augie! My side hurts. I think I may have strained something.”
“I know I have,” gasped Augie, steadying herself against Mary. “Come, before we make a complete spectacle of ourselves.”
Mary followed her into the bakery, where they ordered hot scones and a pot of Mrs. Olson’s strongest tea to restore their addled wits and reestablish ladylike poise. But despite their benign conversation—they’d struck a tacit agreement to avoid further discussion of Reverend Wayward’s wayward wardrobe—Augie’s words stuck in Mary’s mind like a splinter that would not come out. Deeper and deeper, they dug.
She’d seen him practically naked. Part of her felt something should be done about it. The naughty, lustful part of her wanted to see what he’d been hiding behind the basket. If only he’d set it down before bowing! The morally upright, mortified part of her wanted to forget the entire incident or at least pretend it hadn’t happened.
That part lost.
As for looking him in the eye, she wouldn’t allow embarrassment to stop her from building on the foundation they’d laid yesterday. After all, there would be no shame in knowing what the good vicar looked like beneath his vestments once they were husband and wife.
“I think I know how you must feel,” whispered Augie, dragging her from her reverie.
Mary swallowed a pang of jealousy. Though it was hardly Augie’s fault, it was difficult not to resent her having seen the same glimpse of glory. “What do you mean?”
Her friend flushed deeply. “Well, I’ve a confession to make.”
Heaven help me, if she says she has feelings for him, I’ll—
“I’ve seen Mr. May in a similar state. Without—you know…” Augie lowered her voice until it was barely audible. “…without apparel.”
Mary’s mouth hung open for a long moment before she found her tongue again. “Augie, tell me you’ve not gone and—”
“Oh, heavens, no!” hissed her friend, brown eyes widening with horror. “I was walking the riverside path one day this summer when I heard voices down by the water—his and someone else’s. I thought perhaps he’d gone fishing or boating with his cousins who were visiting at the time. When I rounded the bend, however…I saw him.” Her cheeks were the color of ripe cherries. “He and his cousins were cooling themselves in the water.” She leaned closer, eyes wide. “Mr. May stood up in the shallows and turned to come back up the bank, and I saw everything.”
Mary clapped her hands to her mouth and half laughed, half moaned, “Oh, Augie! Did he see you?”
“No, thank the Lord—though I almost wish he had. It would have made things so much easier. He would have had no choice but to acknowledge me, and then we might have talked sooner. We might even be engaged by now. Instead, he’s only just begun courting me—and only because I nearly disgraced myself to encourage his interest.”
Mary refrained from smiling at the memory of Augie staging a twisted ankle while gathering fallen apples with Mr. May during an autumn picnic—to which she’d invited them both for just such a purpose.
Augie was wringing her hands. “I ought to have immediately left, but I could not make myself move or stop looking at him as he emerged from the water. And now I’m—I’m haunted by such thoughts of him as no decent lady should have.”
A thought occurred to Mary. A terrible thought. “You don’t feel you must marry him for that reason alone, do you?”
“Oh, no,” said Augie, her lashes sweeping down to brush her fiery cheeks. “I loved him for quite some time before that event. But I will say that I was somewhat, erm, well…somewhat spurred to encourage his advances by the experience. He was quite…impressive…without his clothes.” Reaching out, she grabbed Mary’s hands and clutched them between her own. “What I’m trying to say is, I understand how you must feel, because I’ve felt the same way. You’ve loved the vicar for months now, and seeing him in such a state can only have increased your tender sentiments.”
Mary stared at her, struggling to keep a straight face. Tender sentiments? No. Her “tender sentiments” were based on other qualities that had nothing to do with seeing him out of his cassock. Lust, on the other hand…
Excerpts. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Lord Devlin Wayward, gambler and dedicated rake, returns home for the first time in years only to land himself in deep trouble when he ends up with a broken leg. Unable to travel to London to seal an important deal that will make or break his fortune, Devlin persuades his identical twin, Daniel, who happens to be the parish vicar, to take his place in London while Devlin temporarily minds his flock.
Miss Mary Tomblin is taken with the handsome reverend, who represents everything she desires in a husband after narrowly evading a ruthless rake last Season. But the vicar rebuffs every advance—until he suddenly accepts her help with pastoral duties while his broken leg heals. Mary seizes the chance to show the good reverend what an excellent helpmeet she will be.
The devil takes on the role of village vicar and discovers it’s nowhere near as easy as he imagined—especially when he falls in love with an angel who mistakes him for a saint.
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Meet the Author:
Liana LeFey delights in crafting incendiary tales that capture the heart and the imagination, taking the reader out of the now and into another world. Between the pages of her sensual historical romances you’ll find deep emotional journeys and passionate romance! Liana lives in Texas with her own dashing hero/husband, their beautiful daughter, and one spoiled-rotten feline overlord. She adores chocolate and anything involving salted caramel. When her brain is too fried to weave stories, she reads (of course!), watches movies or television series, makes jewelry, sketches, composes music, and enjoys exchanging paper-and-ink correspondence with friends.
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