We are excited to be part of the blog tour for Kerrigan Byrne’s new release of HOW TO LOVE A DUKE IN TEN DAYS! Check out the excerpt, the Q&A and THE BOOKISH SWEET TOOTH’S review for this hauntingly beautiful story!
These men are dark, bold, and brave. And there is only one woman who can bring them to their knees…
Famed and brilliant, Lady Alexandra Lane has always known how to look out for to herself. But nobody would ever expect that she has darkness in her past—one that she pays a blackmailer to keep buried. Now, with her family nearing bankruptcy, Alexandra strikes upon a solution: Get married to one of the empire’s most wealthy eligible bachelors. Even if he does have the reputation of a devil.
LOVE TAKES NO PRISONERS
Piers Gedrick Atherton, the Duke of Redmayne, is seeking revenge and the first step is securing a bride. Winning a lady’s hand is not so easy, however, for a man known as the Terror of Torcliff. Then, Alexandra enters his life like a bolt of lightning. When she proposes marriage, Piers knows that, like him, trouble haunts her footsteps. But her gentleness, sharp wit, independent nature, and incredible beauty awakens every fierce desire within him. He will do whatever it takes to keep her safe in his arms.
Maynemouth, Devonshire, 1890 Ten years later
From How to Love a Duke in Ten Days. Copyright © 2019 by Kerrigan Byrne and reprinted with permission from St. Martin’s Paperbacks.
Whether she’s writing about Celtic Druids, Victorian bad boys, or brash Irish FBI Agents, USA Today bestseller Kerrigan Byrne uses her borderline-obsessive passion for history, her extensive Celtic ancestry, and her love of Shakespeare in every book. She lives at the base of the Rocky Mountains with her handsome husband and three lovely teenage girls, but dreams of settling on the Pacific Coast. Her Victorian Rebels novels include The Highwayman and The Highlander.
CONNECT WITH KERRIGAN
Q: What inspired you to write How to Love a Duke in Ten Days?
A: I’ve always been one of those women who have enjoyed fierce female friendships. I think that soulmates, even for heterosexual women, can be just as necessary with other women as with men, and a real hero must not just love and respect you, but also your tribe. I wanted to write a series where historical heroines could truly have it all, education, dreams, businesses, wealth, genius, revenge, hot sex, AND true love. Where the sacrifices were made on their behalf instead by them, and where their heroes learn to lift them up in all ways, heal their pains, calm their fears, become their best friends, and protect them with what I hope is a great balance between alpha hotness and progressive sensitivity.
Q: Is there one thing you would like readers to take away from this story?
A: That’s tough because I packed a lot in there! I would say the one thing from this book, specifically, is that happiness is attainable against the odds, even when overcoming the worst that people can do to one another. Even though I’m a grown up and a cynic, I still like to write books that remind me that true love conquers all, because that love can come from so many people.
Q: Can you describe your typical day writing this book?
A: This book was especially difficult for me to write, so I spent a great deal of time in my bathrobe. I would get up, my fantastic husband would make me coffee, I’d call my critique partner and we’d do a bit of brainstorming, and I’d write and rewrite for hours, stress, cry, throw things, walk the dog, eat, snack, eat some more, facebook way too much, and then finish under word count, binge a tv show or a book until I stared at the ceiling into the wee hours. Oh, and there was drinking in there at regular intervals.
Glamorous, I know!
Q: Describe the hero and heroine of How to Love a Duke in Ten Days in three words each.
A: The Duke of Redmayne: Wary. Wounded. Wicked.
Lady Alexandra Lane: Brave. Brilliant. Beautiful.
Q: What is the one thing that the heroine, Alexandra, can’t live without?
A: She cannot live without her two dearest friends in the entire world, Miss Cecelia Teague, and Lady Francesca Cavendish. They literally buried a body for her, and would defend her to the death.
Q: What was your hardest scene to write in How to Love a Duke in Ten Days? Your favorite?
A: As with many (most) of my novels, the prologues are the hardest to write, and read, I suspect. Usually I take the characters to the very edge of their breaking point, often times pushing them over so they have what seems like insurmountable conflicts to overcome both internally and externally. So, for this book, Alexandra’s assault was the most difficult thing to get through, and boy did I enjoy being able to help Piers put her back together, because he was just the perfect hero for her. Tender, empathetic, a good sense of humor, and a large dose of protective alphaness.
Q: Why do you write historical romance?
A: I’ve always romanticized the past. I can’t help it. I love the pace and the aesthetic, the gowns and the suits and the manners and the manors. I love to do historical research and it’s so fun to see how much we are influenced by the past and how, even though so much has changed through the centuries, people really haven’t. Also, it’s fun to play with language, mystery, and sex in a time when a scandal was still possible. *wink.
Q: Is there another particular author that inspires you or that you enjoy reading?
A: There is a LIST! I would say in historical romance, though, it’s always always Lisa Kleypas. She has a grasp on the characterization of historical folks that I can never hope to attain. I’m just in awe of her every word.
Q: Where do you go or what resources do you use to make sure your novels are historically correct?
A: I love to find books about a time period at B&N or my local bookshops. I go to Harper’s Bazaar for fashion, and a slew of Victorian references for the time period. I do read blogs and sometimes consult with historians and experts.
Q: Did you learn anything surprising while researching for this novel?
A: Many things! I learned how truly difficult it was to attain an education as a woman as little as a hundred years ago. It’s really incredible how far we’ve come in a century.
Q: What do you do when faced with writer’s block, if you ever are?
A: Oh man. I often am. I usually try to shake it loose with a brainstorming conversation with a few friends I have who always seem to be able to unstick me. I rely heavily on the creativity of others as well as my own.
Q: How did you feel the first time you realized one of your books was a big success?
A: I didn’t believe it. It seems surreal every time I truly realize that a story I wrote entertained another human. Let alone more than one. I’m like… they paid to read it? WHAT?
Q: What’s next for the Devil You Know series?
A: I’m especially excited for the next book ALL SCOT AND BOTHERED because it’s about Alexandra’s best friend the curvy vicar’s daughter, Cecelia Teague. She inherits London’s most infamous and successful brothel, and one imposing, surly Scottish enemy along with it. She and Lord Ramsay, the Lord Chief Justice with an axe to grind against her establishment, can’t be in a room together without the sparks flying. I can’t think about this book without smiling.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
A: I hope you enjoy this trio of roguish redheads as much as I enjoyed writing them!
HOW TO LOVE A DUKE IN TEN DAYS starts with a harrowing scene that had me chewing my nails, clutching my pearls, dropping my stomach and dreading the future of this brave, beautiful heroine. I was devastated for Alexandra from the very beginning of this book but this woman, this amazing, courageous, above-average intelligent woman was everything I hoped for. Alexandra never wanted to get married, or even be touched by another man but in order to keep her secrets and protect the two women she loved most in this world, she offered the man, called “The Terror of Torcliff” her hand in marriage. That’s the kind of loyalty that is unequaled and only grows through a special bond of trust and shared secrets. That’s, in a nutshell, Alexandra and her friends Cecilia and Francesca.
The man called this beastly name is Piers, a man who has had his share of heartbreak. While he was fighting death abroad his cousin stole his fiancee and married her, a woman Piers thought to be in love with. His mother was a harlot who couldn’t keep her skirts down. Piers is no stranger to betrayal so he finds Alexandra’s forwardness and honesty refreshing.
Could she be real? Did he hold in his arms the rarest of creatures? A woman of substance. Of integrity? One who tended more carefully to the capacity of her heart than to her coiffure? One who thrived on intellect and honor and genuine interaction rather than the empty endorsements of her peers?
When you see how this heroine makes a purring cat, a besotted fool out of this hero with her gentleness, her courage, her sweetness you get really angry when he behaves like a jerk. Thankfully, that never lasted very long. I loved this man – he was fiercely protective, wickedly sexy, brooding and bad-tempered but surprisingly full of humor. Yes, that’s totally a contradiction but you’ll see what I mean when you read this story. And I loved how he fought his feelings for Alexandra so hard, yet couldn’t help but fall head over heels.
“I sometimes forget…” he murmured as though to himself. Alexandra swallowed layers of nerves before she could speak.
“How beautiful you are.” He undid his cravat as he traveled the length of the sitting room. “Then I see you and realize that memory cannot compare to reality. I’m left as breathless as the first time we met.”
Their bond was special and while this is very insta I don’t care. Not even a little. And c’mon, check the title…HOW TO LOVE A DUKE IN TEN DAYS? Hello Captain Obvious.
Alexandra was a gentle soul with a steely will and I rooted so hard for her because of her pain. Piers made her feel worthy and became her champion, protector and lover. They made so much sense to me together that I was happy to see how these two people, who experienced so much trauma and heartbreak, found their due, a love so extraordinary and deep, a companion and friend for life. And above all, trust.
“I—I don’t know how to please you,” she confessed, suddenly daunted. He gazed up at her with a patience so tender, so genuine, it released a swell of emotion inside her.
“Don’t you know by now, Alexandra, that everything you do pleases me? To look at you pleases me. To touch and kiss you pleases me. The scent and taste and shape of you is the greatest pleasure I’ve ever known. Anything you do beyond that…”
This book got me out of a book funk I keep falling back into. I don’t know why it’s not going away but there are these special ones that seem to have the ability to put that slump to rest, at least or a while. I fell deeply in love with Alexandra and Piers but I also declare my love for all the side characters. I loved Cecilia and Francesca, they are the kind of friends who not only hand you the shovel if there is a body to bury but who literally help you bury it. I also found Piers’s half brother intriguing, enigmatic and charismatic and I can’t wait to see this man fall hard.
The suspense part is done really well and while I guessed one of the villains correctly I was totally taken back by the other. So brownie points for that!
Before I finish my review I want to remark on Kerrigan Byrne’s extraordinary gift. Her words, the way she builds sentences, the feelings her words evoke are nothing short of beautiful. HOW TO LOVE A DUKE IN TEN DAYS is a wonderful story with delicious angst, heartbreaking revelations packed in subtle and fine humor that doesn’t go unappreciated because of the nature of the topic. I can’t wait for spring 2020 when we get the next book in this series. If you’re a fan of HR and haven’t read Ms. Byrne’s stories yet this is a good time. This is the start of a new series so you have no excuse.
He knew, then and there, that he’d walk through hell for her. He’d slay dragons and face entire armies. He’d circumnavigate the globe to lay her foes at her feet.