We are approaching holiday season and I find myself starting to be in the mood for holiday-themed romances like Lily Dalton's Never Desire a Duke, which just came out last week.
A secret from his past holds the key to their future...
A Marriage Beyond Hope
Lady Sophia has long been estranged from her husband, Lord Vane Barwick, the Marquess of Claxton, whose rumored list of amorous conquests includes almost every beautiful woman of the ton. Yet a shocking encounter with him in a crowded ballroom—and a single touch—are all it takes to reawaken her furious passion for him. But how can she trust the man who crushed her dreams and took away the one thing she wanted most?
A Love Beyond Reason
Lord Claxton has never forgiven himself for the youthful mistake that ruined his marriage to Lady Sophia. Now, after nearly a year abroad, the reformed rogue vows to win back the only woman he's ever truly loved. He'll do whatever it takes to prove he can be the honorable husband she deserves—and the passionate lover she desires. As the snowdrifts deepen outside their ancestral home, can they rekindle the flame that burned so bright and find a new path to forever?
Hello there! Thanks very much for having me.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Though in my mind, I sometimes live in a grand, ivy covered old pile in the beautiful English countryside…in reality, I’m fixed firmly in Texas. I’ve been married for nearly twenty years to the same wonderful man, and we have two great kids that I’m extremely proud of. During the day, I work full time, but at night, I escape into fiction. I’m interested in everything--but I’m an expert in nothing. My favorite course in college was American Oratory, but I’m a terrible public speaker. I love to cook/bake, and collect old dishes and linens. I’m addicted to The Walking Dead, Downton Abbey, Nashville and Hell on Wheels. Despite multiple attempts to learn, I can’t crochet or knit to save my life. I drink waaaaay too much caffeine. I’ve always loved reading, and hope readers enjoy my books.
We love the estranged couple/second-chance romance trope, which NEVER DESIRE A DUKE is--how did you get started in writing it?
When it comes to romances, I’m an angst junkie. Heartache!? Impossible love!? Longing!? Count me in! I’m there. It was my agent who actually proposed I write a Christmas book. Why I’d never considered it before, I don’t know, but once I had the idea in my head the initial premise came to me almost immediately. An estranged couple, reunited in a heart-stopping, across-a-crowded-ballroom type scenario that only sends them spiraling apart…then they become snowbound, with no hope of escaping each other, and they have no choice but to confront the hurts and betrayals in their past.
But there was more. Like many readers of historical romance, I’ve always been fascinated by the bad boys. The dark, tormented heroes. The rakes, libertines and rogues. I wanted to write a story about the consequences of being married to one. After the wedding, would he really just become the ideal husband? Would he easily transform from a lion into a lamb? Would life suddenly be all sunshine and rainbows? I’d think the transition would be a bit more complicated than that, and I wanted to explore that idea further.
Does Sophia and Vane have a celebrity doppelganger?
Vane, for me, was always based on Joe Manganiello. I know, I know. “Manganiello” doesn’t scream English Regency, but he does it for me, at least in photographs. Do you think they could get him onto Downton Abbey for a couple of episodes? Not only is he handsome, and…er, very physically fit, but he always has the most delightful, devilish mischief in his eyes. And if you do a Google search, there’s this picture where he’s looking at his fiancé, Audra Marie (now, no longer his fiancé) and the camera captures a look on his face that screams: SMITTEN. That’s the picture that got me, right in the heart, because Vane is smitten with Sophia. As for Sophia, appearance wise I see her as very similar to Jaime Alexander, of THOR fame, who always portrays herself as confident and self-assured.
NEVER DESIRE A DUKE has such a gorgeous cover. What was your reaction when you first saw it?
Thank you! I agree. My first reaction was: There they are! Vane and Sophia! Really, I was so happy with it. The colors are perfect for a snowbound Christmas romance, and the dress the model is wearing looks very similar to a period painting I’d pinned onto Pinterest for inspiration.
Please share with us your favorite scene in NEVER DESIRE A DUKE.
As you already know, in Duke, Sophia and Vane become snowbound. They stumble upon instructions for competitive scavenger hunt type game Vane’s mother left for him years before, when he and his younger brother were boys. In their effort to pass the time, but more importantly, to avoid the more difficult issues between them, they decide to play this game which requires them to fulfill a number of quests. One is that they have to bake some little cakes, and present them to housekeeper (who is now elderly and lives in the village) to be judged whose are the best. It’s a funny scene that includes eggs, flying bits of citron, old brandy and lots of kissing. And maybe…a little underhandedness that ends with a race through the snow to the village, where each hopes to be the one to claim the prize. The scene’s ending, that of course I won’t spoil by sharing, surprised even me and made me laugh out loud.
Thank you for stopping by our blog and answering our questions, Lily!
You are very welcome! Thanks you both for inviting me, and for loving books so much!