Spotlight & Giveaway: When the Earl Desired Me by Lydia Lloyd

Posted May 15th, 2024 by in Blog, Spotlight / 14 comments

Today it is my pleasure to Welcome author Lydia Lloyd to HJ!
Spotlight&Giveaway

Hi Lydia and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, When the Earl Desired Me!

 

To start off, can you please tell us a little bit about this book?:

When the Earl Desired Me is a high heat, second chance Regency romance between Lord Augustus Carrington, the Earl of Montaigne, and Oliva Watson, the one woman he has never been able to forget. When they are both twenty years old, Montaigne and Olivia begin a very sweet and very hot affair and fall in love—but then everything falls apart and she moves to France. When the book opens, she has just returned to London for the first time in thirteen years and he spots at her at the opera. He promptly loses his mind and tries to talk to her, but she isn’t having it. He knows he has to do everything he can to get back in her orbit and understand what went wrong—because, even after all of this time, Montaigne is still in love with her.

And she still has a lot of feelings for him too! But he really hurt her in the past and so he has a lot to do to win her trust. When they’re on page together—which is most of the book!—their connection is just so electric. They can’t stop looking at each other and speaking to one another, even when they shouldn’t be. It was so fun to write them finding their HEA.
 

Please share your favorite lines or quote(s) from this book:

Montaigne is obsessed with his lady and my favorite quotes tend to involve how he feels about her. Olivia is a plus-size heroine and he just LOVES the way she looks:

He hadn’t been able to understand how she wasn’t besieged by offers to dance at Almack’s. Yes, many of the debutantes were quite pretty, and Miss Mapperton, who had made a conquest of anyone in that crowd with any susceptibility or taste, was captivating. But Olivia.
Olivia. Olivia. Olivia.
She had the form that, while he acknowledged was not fashionable, he personally would be willing to die for. The soft swell of her bosom in her evening dress beckoned him to confirm the lascivious nature of which the scandal sheets accused him.
He woke at night, poised somewhere between memory and fantasy, his breathing hard and his cock harder, thinking only of her.

 

What inspired this book?

This book is the third in this series, The Rake Chronicles; Montaigne appears in the other two books as a charming rogue with a terrible reputation. My main inspiration for this book was trying to provide a satisfying extension of his character from the relatively superficial portrayal in the first two books to the deep POV we see here. I wanted to surprise readers who had read the other two books, too, and give them a story that they might not be expecting from what they knew about him. I hope I succeeded!

 

How did you ‘get to know’ your main characters? Did they ever surprise you?

One of the things that readers of book one and book two will know about Montaigne is that he is known for sleeping with servants. He is a rake and he is known in the society pages to have had (allegedly) a lot of affairs with working-class women. By the time I got to this book, I knew that I wanted to subvert that expectation, but I didn’t discover exactly how until I was writing it. Montaigne surprised me with the sensitivity and sweetness of his character. At first, it isn’t clear how he and Olivia match up or why, but, by the end, I think you really see how they fit together so well. And that really happens because of the greater understanding of Montaigne’s character that both Olivia and the reader (and me, as the writer!) discover over the course of the book.

 

What was your favorite scene to write?

“Augustus. Are you alright?”
He kissed her.
And it was so much at once. She was in his arms, her soft curves pressing into him, causing his senses to riot. At the same time, her lips opened for him, letting him taste her, admitting him to the sweet flavor there and allowing him to sup from it. He heard his own groan, unable to control his reaction, not even attempting it. She must feel, he thought, wildly, how hard he was against her. He was a beast, he knew it, but he couldn’t help it.
He kept kissing her. Of course he did. He found, in fact, that he couldn’t stop. As he did, he couldn’t believe, that after so many years of yearning, she was solid in his arms. That she was real.
He wanted to stay here, kissing her in this little clearing, forever. Some part of him did not even want their encounter to progress, for her to address the insistent hardness in his breeches, that was willing him towards a conclusion. He wanted no conclusions. No endings. Just this moment. Olivia. Forever.

 

What was the most difficult scene to write?

For this book, the hardest scene to write was actually Olivia and Montaigne’s first kiss; it is a moment where they are drawn together because of their chemistry and lingering feelings, but they really don’t understand each other yet. The kiss has to do more than just express their attraction; it needed to come out of an evolving emotional understanding—he has just gone against her expectations and surprised her in a good way—and it also needed to push their intimacy further so that they can start being honest with each other. So, a lot has to happen in that scene! It took a few tries to get it right.

“Olivia, I have to tell you,” he said, gasping, “I don’t know how to explain and I know you have no reason to believe me but—what the scandal sheets say. It’s not true. What they say about me. It’s not what it seems.”
“What?” she said, marveling up at him. At first, she didn’t understand what he was saying. Once she did, she felt angry. Did he really think she would believe such a lie?
“I can explain more, later,” he said, looking down at her again. “It’s too much to explain here and—I need to kiss you again.”
She didn’t know if he was lying about the scandal sheets or why he would try. She didn’t know why he wanted her again, inexplicably. But she wasn’t strong enough to resist the ardor in his words and the pleading in his gaze.
He kissed her again, hot and fast this time. She knew, from the pressure he exerted, that she would feel the remainder of the kiss on her lips for hours afterward. She gave herself over to it, letting the waves of pleasure wash through her, giving into the reality that, yes, it was just as good as it had been all those years ago. Their passion was real, not a distorted memory. The heat between them, that lust that had always felt so close to love, still lived there. Even after all this time.

 

Would you say this book showcases your writing style or is it a departure for you?

I think it is pretty representative! That said, in comparison to my last two books, it is a bit of a slow burn. When the heat arrives, it is very hot, but it takes longer to appear than in my first books. These characters have a lot of trust issues with each other and so they don’t really rekindle their physical relationship (beyond a few kisses) until after the first third of the book.

 

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

As always, I want my readers to have fun! And given that this book is a second chance and the characters are a bit older than in my first two books—they’re both thirty-three—I think there is a bit of a message about what it takes to actualize real, mature love. When Olivia and Montaigne first meet, they have intense attraction and tenderness and they even develop love, but they don’t know how to make that love into a life. Here, over the course of When the Earl Desired Me, you really see them develop that love into a life.

 

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

I am working on two projects right now. The first project is the fourth book in this series; When the Marquess Needed Me will come out in 2025. It will be the last book in the series, which actually makes me kind of sad to think about! The second project hasn’t really gotten off the ground yet, but I’m starting to draft the beginning of what I hope will be a new historical romance series.

 

Thanks for blogging at HJ!

 

Giveaway: Winner will receive one ebook copy of WHEN THE EARL DESIRED ME plus one additional ebook of the winner’s choice from Tule Publishing.

 

To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: The main couple in this book is in their 30s—do you have a preferred age range for the characters that you like to read about? Or does it not matter to you? If you’ve been reading romance for a long time, have your preferences changed with you?

 
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Excerpt from When the Earl Desired Me:

Chapter One
Later that same evening

Bang. Bang. Bang.

From within semi-consciousness, Olivia was aware that the walls of the townhouse were shaking. Housebreakers have beset us, she thought, unable to move, her mind still viscous with sleep, the pounding seeming to be all around her.

How could a sound be everywhere at once? Was this an earthquake, the kind that Eloisa had experienced in the West Indies as a child, the type that brought down walls and disturbed the ocean?

Her eyes flew open. Suddenly, she was awake. Because she knew. She hoped that she was wrong, prayed that it was so, as she threw on her wrapper and headed for the door of her bedroom. But even still, she knew only one man who would be entitled enough to make such a racket. It was a wonder that she had been able to fall asleep at all, after what had happened at the opera.

Olivia took the stairs two at a time, her feet bare on the lush carpets. The painted walls shone with the hues that Eloisa had been guaranteed would be stylish in Mayfair that season. Indeed, the entire home had been buffed and manicured to a point of almost painful fashion. Eloisa would never allow herself or her daughter, Natasha, to appear desperate for the approval of society—only the house itself came close to showing the intensity of the hopes that had driven them from Paris to London.

Voices rose to meet Olivia as she descended. Even though she had known, in her bones, who it was, when she heard his voice, it chilled her blood.

“I only need to speak with her,” he said, his tone low and controlled, confident and ineffably aristocratic, “I am very sorry to disturb you, madam, but I cannot leave until I have seen her.”

“My lord, my lord,” protested Chassey, the butler and head footman (Eloisa might be rich, but she wasn’t above economy, especially in temporary lodgings), “the lady, much like the rest of the house, is—”

“I suppose you think by virtue of your rank,” Eloisa herself broke in, “that I will overlook you nearly breaking down my door at this unholy—”

Eloisa stopped speaking when she saw Olivia. If the situation had been different, Olivia might have laughed at her expression. Her lips had formed a perfect O of surprise and she almost looked chastened—a rarity for her friend and the woman who was still, technically, her employer.

She didn’t want to look at him. If she could have chosen, she would have kept her eyes trained on Eloisa. A beautiful woman of forty-five, her dark hair well-coifed despite the hour, her skin still gleaming from her nightly cosmetic ablutions, her chestnut eyes kind, Eloisa was a comforting, familiar sight. No, if she could choose, she would never let her gaze dart away from Eloisa, the woman who had given her safe harbor thirteen years ago after—well, him.

But Olivia had never been able to not look at Augustus Carrington, the Earl of Montaigne. Her eyes were drawn to him, even after such a long period, in the same way her face tilted towards the sun on a brisk autumn day. It was a reflex, it seemed, of her blood.

Her first glimpse of him proved a disappointment. Because where she had hoped for radical transformation, a softening of the features that had so hooked her back then, rendering her as defenseless as a fish hung and gutted at Billingsgate market, she saw that he was largely the same. His eyes, cast in a blue so light it seemed otherworldly, cut at her afresh. His mouth, both harsh and full, had not lost its slight pout. That mouth still seemed about to scowl at her. Once, she had been continually surprised to see it break into a smile of surprising sweetness instead.

Going by the intensity of his glare, she doubted that such an outcome was forthcoming at this present moment.

Not that she cared if he smiled at her or not. She wanted him gone. Posthaste.

“I demand an audience with you, Miss Watson. I think I am owed that.”

She flinched. He had no reason to expect such a favor. He had discarded her. She had been gone from London for nearly thirteen years, it was true, but he had made it very clear back then that he was done with her. He had dismissed her in the same way he had been trained to wave a dish away from himself at dinner. In the same way (if one believed the newspapers, which she did) he had moved on from the long string of women that he had been with since.

“You are owed nothing, as far as I can see, my lord.” She was surprised she could find the words so easily when her entire body thrummed with the shock of his nearness. “I will not grant such a request, or any request, from you. Please leave.”

“Really, Olivia.” He reached to take her wrist, as he had done at the opera, and she moved back.

“Don’t touch her,” Eloisa ground out. “I will have you removed, sir. Do not think I won’t do it.”

“I only want to speak with you. In private.” His voice was a scintilla softer now. “I don’t understand, Olivia. I don’t come here to trouble you. I merely want to understand.”

At the opera, she hadn’t seen him before he approached her. In truth, she hadn’t expected to see him. When Eloisa had persuaded her to return to England, she had, of course, dreaded the prospect of meeting him again. But the newspapers made clear that he was hardy a fixture at respectable entertainments. And he was too high-ranking to mix with the crowd of wealthy merchants and baronets that would form their milieu in London. Eloisa had convinced Olivia she had no reason to worry on that score. And Eloisa hadn’t said the obvious, although they had both been thinking it, she was sure—that a man who was a notorious rake, an inveterate bedder of women, of servants no less, could hardly still care about an ex-lover from thirteen years before. As women who had both worked in service—and Olivia technically still did—the Earl of Montaigne’s penchant for dependents could only have one cast in their eyes. It was lecherous, exploitative, abandoned. Disgusting.

And, yet, when he had come up behind her at the opera, as the crowds were dispersing towards their carriages, and the crush was at its height, he had taken her wrist and said her name and she hadn’t felt repulsion. She had felt weak. No, not weak. But something close to it. She had felt desire. That same old surge of it, the way it had been back then. It sopped through her instantly with a force that she hadn’t thought possible. Or, at least, not anymore. Not since thirteen years ago.

Olivia still wanted him. Even after all this time.

Now, he stood in the dim candlelight, the graceful lines of his body evident through his evening clothes, his otherworldly stare as destructive to her self-control as ever.

“No.” She closed her eyes to make the refusal easier. “Leave.”

“The lady has made herself clear, my lord,” Chassey interjected, picking up the honorific, the good butler even at such a moment as this one.

“Yes, sir,” Eloisa repeated, refusing to use the courtesy the way Chassey had, still resisting the acquaintance. “Your presence is unwanted.”

Eloisa knew all about her and Augustus, of course. Olivia had been broken when she had first come into Eloisa’s employ. Eloisa had been broken, too, having recently lost her husband. Eloisa and her husband had returned to London in the hopes that doctors here would have a treatment for his disease, but the attempt had failed. Eloisa needed a maid for the return journey to France and had hired Olivia. The strictures of employee and employer had broken down quickly when they realized that they were both reeling, albeit in different ways.

“Olivia, I just want to understand,” Augustus repeated, “I have not come to hurt you. I thought, at the opera—I must have startled you.”

“And to make up for such a violation you decided to wake me and my entire household in the middle of the night?”

“I am sorry for the disturbance I have caused.” He turned to Eloisa and gave a little bow. It was awkward. And, on him, with his handsome self-possession, nearly endearing.

No. It was not. He was a letch, an exploiter of women, practically a monster. She had been fooled once—had she learned nothing?

“But I had to see you, Olivia. I have looked for you, wondered what happened to you, for years. Once I found you, once I was able to ascertain your address, I had to speak with you immediately. I was terrified you would alight again before I ever got the chance.”

Olivia froze at his words. They didn’t make sense. Not at all. He had gotten rid of her. He had discarded her with nothing more than a note and ten guineas. The dismal note had broken her heart, but the ten guineas had seemed orchestrated to rob her of her spirit. He hadn’t needed to give her the money to get rid of her. The note alone would have been enough. Then the papers had started calling him the Ten Guinea Lord. It was what he gave every maid that crossed his path, allegedly. After he ruined her. For her troubles.

When Olivia had read that, her humiliation compounded.

She had merely been the first.

Her gaze fell on Eloisa, whose expression now looked a trifle perplexed. He was not quite behaving like the man they had read about for years in the papers. Yes, even in Paris, they read the London scandal sheets. Even when one factored in the mean-spirited hyperbole of those writers, the truth about Lord Montaigne was plain. After all, didn’t she know it for her own self?

No, she wouldn’t let him sweet talk her out of her own reason. She had no idea why he was at her door hours past midnight—nor what he wanted. But it didn’t matter.

She leveled him with her gaze.

In his eyes, she saw a strange pleading look, as if his emotions were stronger even than his language. But she couldn’t abide by such nonsense. She wasn’t a lady from his world, the kind who could afford the luxury of erotic drama. She never had been.

“I am sorry for whatever confusion you have suffered, my lord. But I must decline your request. It would be fatal to my reputation if I were to grant a private audience to the Downstairs Menace. After all, as a humble companion, I am little above a servant myself.”

When she spoke the moniker, the Downstairs Menace, the one they used in the papers, he stepped back. She saw something behind his eyes shutter. A vulnerability that had been there blew out like a candle. She couldn’t help feeling a pang of sorrow at the sight. He had seemed sincere, truly. But she had to remember that he wasn’t. That he couldn’t be.

And besides she was a different person now. She wasn’t a maid in his house any longer, a thousand ranks below him and a thousand times more naïve. She was a woman of three-and-thirty nearly engaged to another man.

His expression returned to a neutral cast. This surprised her. She had thought he would bang out of the house and that would be that.

“I see that the scandal sheets have given you a strange impression of me, Miss Watson. Many people have odd notions of me, so I am not unused to being misjudged. Although I thought we knew each other better.” He turned to Eloisa. “I am sorry to have disturbed you, ma’am. You’re right, of course. It was quite savage of me.”

His gaze fell back on Olivia. His eyes felt intimate, probing, as if he was calling all that had passed between them once into the present. Her body heated under her wrapper. Her flannel night clothes that had felt utterly appropriate for the season now seemed far too warm.

“But rest assured, Miss Watson, this isn’t over.”

“Leave,” Olivia repeated, even though he had already turned his back. “And don’t come back.”

Her voice broke on the last word.

She hoped that only she could hear the sob threatening in her throat.

But he turned.

And, inexplicably, unaccountably, the man winked.

Then he walked out the door.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
 
 

Book Info:

He thought he’d lost her forever…

Lord Augustus Carrington, the Earl of Montaigne, is rumored to be the most abandoned rake in England. But the ton would be shocked if they knew the truth. Almost twelve years ago, he fell deeply in love with Olivia Watson, a maid in his family’s house, and experienced a passion that changed him body and soul. When she disappeared, he was destroyed—and completely unable to forget her.

After her devastating affair with the Earl of Montaigne, Olivia Watson promised herself she would never go back to Mayfair. But when her employer decides to return to London, Olivia has no choice but to follow. Almost immediately, she finds herself face-to-face with the man who crushed her heart. Unfortunately, she still nurses an unbearable attraction to him and, even worse, he has the audacity to demand an explanation for her flight.

When Montaigne tries to win Olivia back, the truth of their history quickly begins to reveal itself. Will their different stations in life keep them apart forever? Or will he convince her that this time they can have their happily ever after?

Book Links: Amazon | B&N | iTunes | Kobo | Google |
 
 

Meet the Author:

Lydia Lloyd is a writer of steamy historical romances set during the Regency period. She likes to write complex heroines with strong desires, heroes who are both roguish and emotionally intelligent, and plots driven by high-quality conflict. In her other life, Lydia holds a PhD in nineteenth-century British literature and works as an academic and teacher.

 

 

 

14 Responses to “Spotlight & Giveaway: When the Earl Desired Me by Lydia Lloyd”

  1. Leeza Stetson

    As they say, age doesn’t matter, not in life and not in fiction. I love reading about all ages.

  2. erahime

    I don’t really have a preference in age range, so long as the story grabs my attention. I have become picky in my romance reading preferences, and will steer clear from certain books since they don’t grab my attention.

  3. psu1493

    Age doesn’t really matter as long as it makes sense to the story. I’ll read any age range.

  4. Penney Wilfort

    Age doesn’t matter for characters I enjoy reading them all. This sounds very good. Love the review thank you

  5. Amy R

    The main couple in this book is in their 30s—do you have a preferred age range for the characters that you like to read about? Mature characters
    Or does it not matter to you? But I’ll read stories with all ages
    If you’ve been reading romance for a long time, have your preferences changed with you? Yes

  6. Patrica Barraclough

    My preferences have remained pretty much the same. The age doesn’t matter so much except when there is a large age difference. The quality of the story is what is important.

  7. Terrill R.

    I think my preferences have changed the longer I’ve read romances. 30s and above are more desirable, but late 20’s is okay. I don’t enjoy college-age romances that much anymore. Strangely, I’ll still read some YA romances.

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