Tag Archives: Miranda Neville

Teaser Tuesday Exclusive Excerpt: The Duke of Dark Desires by Miranda Neville

You guys!!! Today we have the always fabulous Miranda Neville visiting with us today! She’s got a super exciting new book coming out on December 30th (yes, only a week away) – and The Duke of Dark Desires has gotten a lot of good buzz. And even the guy(s) at NPR are reading it! No shit!

See? Ok so it’s from an article about [a burger] from Shake Shack … but doesn’t that kinda make it more awesome?

Ok, so you know, the book information now – which is why you’re all here. 😉

The Duke of Dark DesiresWanted: Governess able to keep all hours . . .

Rebellious Julian Fortescue never expected to inherit a dukedom, nor to find himself guardian to three young half-sisters. Now in the market for a governess, he lays eyes on Jane Grey and knows immediately she is qualified—to become his mistress. Yet the alluring woman appears impervious to him. Somehow Julian must find a way to make her succumb to temptation . . . without losing his heart and revealing the haunting mistakes of his past.

Desired: Duke skilled in the seductive art of conversation . . .

Lady Jeanne de Falleron didn’t seek a position as a governess simply to fall into bed with the Duke of Denford. Under the alias of Jane Grey, she must learn which of the duke’s relatives is responsible for the death of her family—and take her revenge. She certainly can’t afford the distraction of her darkly irresistible employer, or the smoldering desire he ignites within her .

But as Jane discovers more clues about the villain she seeks, she’s faced with a possibility more disturbing than her growing feelings for Julian: What will she do if the man she loves is also the man she’s sworn to kill?

Jane found Oliver Bream thoroughly amusing. She couldn’t take his declaration of passion seriously, and wondered how good an artist he was. The duke didn’t strike her as a man who would accept inferior performance in anyone he hired. Then she thought of the way he’d engaged her as governess with the slimmest of qualifications. On second thought Bream might be a complete incompetent.

“Does the duke buy your pictures?” she asked.

“Oh no! Julian would never do that.”

“What happened to the pictures in here?” She pointed at six dark rectangles in the paint where art had been removed. “There are similar marks all over the house.”

“One of the dukes was a patron of Hogarth. If that’s what hung there it is a tragedy. Julian’s taste in painting is execrable.”

“Maligning me again, Oliver?”

The sight of him in the doorway, color heightened by exercise and his black hair so disheveled she itched to sweep it off his forehead, made the slight, fair-haired artist fade from her consciousness. Denford grinned at Bream with an unveiled affection that presented a new facet of the dark duke, and a most appealing one. Not that she needed a new reason to find him attractive.

“Julian!” Bream said. “I’ve been making the acquaintance of Miss Grey. She is a goddess, an Aphrodite or Artemis.” He showed no embarrassment at speaking in such extravagant terms, and the duke merely cast his eyes heavenward. Jane would have done the same but she didn’t want to hurt Bream’s feelings. He was quite harmless, she was sure, and she wasn’t a woman to object to being addressed like this. She knew men, Denford included, found her beddable; she also knew that she wasn’t a great beauty.

“What is your name, Miss Grey? I cannot think of you like that. It’s such a barren name. I’m sure your Christian name reflects your matchless beauty.”

“I am afraid it is Jane.”

“Never mind. You need no adornment. From this day forth, Jane is the finest of names and shall belong only to you.”

“There may be a few thousand ladies who will object.” She stole a look at Denford to share her appreciation of the nonsense.

Their glance of amusement turned hot and dark. She wrenched her eyes away and sipped her cooling tea.

“Are you in love again, Oliver?” the duke said.

“I have never been in love before, never! Jane has made me forget every other woman.”

“Doubtless true, until the next one comes along. I don’t wish to make light of your charms, Miss Grey, but I think I should mention that Oliver finds a new object of his adoration on average once a week. If his passion for you lasts a month you can claim to have inspired an exceptional degree of devotion. Héloïse and Abélard, Romeo and Juliet, Beatrice and Dante, Oliver and Jane. You will join the list of the world’s most celebrated lovers.”

Jane couldn’t help it. She started to laugh. Fortunately Bream seemed undisturbed, merely continuing to gaze at her as though moonstruck. “I am honored to have inspired you, Mr. Bream,” she said, shooting a duke a warning look. “I shouldn’t laugh but His Grace is quite droll in his way. Please believe that I do not mean to mock you.”

“Don’t worry, Jane. I’m quite used to Julian and never take the least notice of him.”

“True enough,” the duke said.

“Your Grace,” Jane said. “I have a request if you can spare me a few minutes.”

“I do hope it’s one I’ll enjoy fulfilling. If so, I’ll agree to anything.”

“I doubt this matter will affect your pleasure either way.”

“You disappoint me again. Oliver, just this once do what I ask and leave. Go up to the Blue Saloon to prepare for your pupils. I need to speak to Miss Grey.”

“My request is not a private one.”

“You’ve made that perfectly clear, alas. Go, Oliver.”

“You will be coming, Jane, won’t you?”

“Of course, Mr. Bream. I won’t be long. The young ladies will be down soon with their drawing materials.”

She watched him go with some trepidation, leaving her alone with Denford. He took a place at the table and, as though he had all the time in the world, poured himself some coffee. She ought to be safe from her unruly desires at nine o’clock in the morning with the humdrum accouterments of breakfast spread on the table; nevertheless she averted her eyes from his lips on the rim of the china cup.

“Oliver doesn’t always show such good taste,” he remarked. “The array of women he has loved in the five or six years I’ve known him is positively dizzying. They have only one trait in common: that of being unattainable. Women always seem able to resist him.”

“What makes you think I could? Mr. Bream is a very agreeable young man. For all you know he could be the kind of man I prefer.”

“No, he isn’t.”

“What kind of man do you think I prefer?”

She peeked at him from lowered eyelids and found him staring at her with a wolfish smile. “The matter is still under investigation but I am making progress. You are flirting with me.”

“I am not!” But she was, of course. Dalliance should be the last thing on her mind, especially with a member of the Fortescue family. She stiffened her spine and tried to think like a governess. “Last night,” she began, “I was up late.”

“Do go on. Your bedtime habits interest me greatly.”

“I found Laura crying in bed.”


“She was well, thank you for your concern, merely missing her mother. But had she been ill no one would have known. Miss Bride was, as usual, in a drunken stupor.”

“Is this your request, that I dismiss Bridey? I won’t do it. For your information, Miss Grey, Bridey suffers badly from rheumatism. If she were a fine lady maybe she’d dose herself with laudanum. It happens she prefers a nip of whiskey to make the aches and pains of age easier to bear at night.”

“Not just at night, but that’s not the point. I wouldn’t presume to recommend you dismiss one of your servants. I was going to suggest, rather, that I sleep up in the nursery, where I can keep an eye on your sisters’ well-being.” She didn’t mention that this morning she’d been woken on Laura’s bed by the sound of Fenella trying to sneak out. She didn’t want to get the girl in trouble again. “They need more attention than Nurse Bride can give them.”

“You can give them attention when they aren’t asleep.”

His patent indifference raised her hackles. “They are your sisters,” she said, striving for calm. “They would appreciate more attention from you too.”

“I promised to take them to the theater, didn’t I? Under certain circumstances.”

“Your Grace,” she said, as politely as she could. “I am asking you for permission to move to the nursery floor. It’s more suitable than the room you gave me.”

“You don’t like your quarters?”

“Of course I like them. Who would not?”

“Then keep them. I’ll hire a maid for the nursery to watch the girls at night. Better still, you choose someone. You’ll have to work with her. Pick someone alert.”

“The rooms you gave me should belong to your duchess, not to a governess.”

“Since I have no duchess, it pleases me to have you use them.”

“I’ll be honest, Your Grace. I do not feel at ease in the rooms adjacent to yours. The door between the dressing rooms is locked, but I don’t have the key. I presume you do.”

“I thought I’d made myself clear last night,” Denford said with a look that made her think it better not to arouse his enmity, “but apparently it bears repeating in daylight. You have nothing to fear from me. I am not interested in unwilling women and you may sleep in peace, knowing that I have no intention of using that door.”

“Good,” Jane said. There wasn’t much more she could say or do, apart from speaking to herself very firmly about wishing the door to remain closed. “Now I must go. It’s time for the lesson, and I shouldn’t leave the young ladies alone with Mr. Bream.”

“Heaven forbid,” the duke said, pouring more coffee. “He’s a danger to all womankind.” She turned her back smartly, but he called to her when she was halfway to the door.

“One more thing, Jane. Should you decide to knock on my door, I will welcome you in.”

Yeah? What’d you think?

Make sure you check out Miranda’s super sleek sexy awesome site while you’re at it. Especially since you can read another excerpt here, in case you weren’t convinced yet. We’ll wait. … Ok done? Now go buy a copy. 😀

Guest Author & A Giveaway: Miranda Neville

I absolutely cannot handle the fact that we’re into December. No. Unfortunately, it is what it is. (Which is a phrase I kinda hate but … it’s true, and fitting, and not a “passing the buck” when it comes to time. … Unless you’re Hermione. Or a Time Lord. Which is a Doctor Who thing, right?) Anyway. Today we have the fabulous Miranda Neville guesting with us!!! She has a book out at the end of the month so I decided to pounce on her early. You’re welcome. 😉

She also opted for a [non]traditional ALBTALBS author interview, because why not right? We only have 12 of these a year. If that.

The Importance of Being WickedEvery single book release you have from here on out will hit #1 on the NYT and USA Today best seller lists. The catch is you can only eat pizza for the rest of your life. You can have regular pizza, and dessert pizza… but it has to be pizza. Do you take that deal? [And what type of pizza would be your “go to”?]
Are you kidding? Of course! My favorite pizzas have vegetables, hold the sausage and pepperoni. I love basil, goat’s cheese and sun-dried tomatoes on a thin crust.

What would your street [nick]name be? why? 😀
Posh Spice. Wait, that’s been taken. Can I be Champagne Neville? I’m not really a motorcycle gang girl. I aspire to bubbly and limos rather than beer and bikes.

You have the opportunity to be part of any TV show for one episode. (One that is on or off the air.) Which one do you pick, and what is your role?
I’ve just glommed the entire two seasons of Alpha House, Gary Trudeau’s Washington sitcom. Janel Moloney (Donna from The West Wing) plays a Tea Party senator in a crazy over-the-top way that looks like she’s having a blast. I’ll be Psycho for a Day.

What’s the most unique/strange silly skill you possess?
I’m very good at lighting bonfires. My friends call me One-Match. Come to think of it, that could be my street name. One-Match Neville.

The Ruin of a RogueWhat is one question you always wish as an author people would ask but nobody ever does?
Why are you so brilliant?

Your next life you come back as a dog. What breed do you come back as and why?
A bichon frise, because they always seem happy and everyone loves them. But I wouldn’t want the poofed up grooming; keep the fur short, please.

Which celebrity is your “spirit animal?” Why?
Emma Thompson. Because my daughter says so. (I’d never heard of a spirit animal and had to ask her.)

If you were a serial killer, who would be your target? And what would be your MO? [“Calling card,” what memento would you take?] Target = old men, young men, school children, college aged women, etc.
People who weep on reality TV shows. Death by flying object. My calling card would be a photograph of Heidi Klum.

Hostile alien invasion, or zombie apocalypse? Which one do you think is more likely to happen? Which one is scarier?
Alien invasion is more likely but zombies are scarier.

Lady Windermere's LoverWhat’s the most interesting thing you’ve ever done for research? what’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned while doing research? In general, or for this book?
May I look into the future? I intend to take a balloon ride in preparation for a book about a Regency balloon race. I can’t really pick one interesting thing, but I can reveal that the Pantheon Opera House, built in London in the 1780s, had mahogany toilet seats in the ladies’ water closet. This fact does not appear in The Duke of Dark Desires.

Which do you choose – walk in pantry, walk in closet, or extra garage space?
Walk in closet.

Can you name at least three US Supreme Court Justices without looking?
Ginsberg, Sotormayor, Kagan, Scalia, Thomas, Roberts, Kennedy…. OK now I need to go check.

How did you come up with your author name?
Neville is a family name. I picked Miranda because I like it.

What was your favorite book as a child?
It changed from year to year with my age. Anne of Green Gables was a perennial favorite.

What is the super power you would most like to have? and least like to have?
Most: Invisibility. Least: X-Ray vision. I’d like to be able to eavesdrop but not to see people naked.

Man I should’ve asked Miranda the spammer question, don’t you think? I bet she would’ve given a super entertaining answer. 😀 So now, it’s up to you. What outrageous and silly question do you have for Ms. Neville? Or you can definitely ask her about her writing and her books. Speaking of, this is the book that will be out on December 30th.

The Duke of Dark DesiresBook Four of The Wild Quartet
Wanted: Governess able to keep all hours . . .

Rebellious Julian Fortescue never expected to inherit a dukedom, nor to find himself guardian to three young half-sisters. Now in the market for a governess, he lays eyes on Jane Grey and knows immediately she is qualified–to become his mistress. Yet the alluring woman appears impervious to him. Somehow Julian must find a way to make her succumb to temptation . . . without losing his heart and revealing the haunting mistakes of his past.

Lady Jeanne de Falleron didn’t seek a position as a governess simply to fall into bed with the Duke of Denford. Under the alias of Jane Grey, she must learn which of the duke’s relatives is responsible for the death of her family–and take her revenge. She certainly can’t afford the distraction of her darkly irresistible employer, or the smoldering desire he ignites within her.

But as Jane discovers more clues about the villain she seeks, she’s faced with a possibility more disturbing than her growing feelings for Julian: What will she do if the man she loves is also the man she’s sworn to kill?

You can order a copy of The Duke of Dark Desires here. And of course, some lucky commenter is going to win her choice of any of Miranda Neville’s backlist. In print or in electronic book form! Whee!

Double Trouble: Guests Isobel Carr and Miranda Neville

You guys!!! Today we have awesome authors Isobel Carr and Miranda Neville visiting with us! Both of them write historical romances, and they’re awesome, and a lot of fun. Isobel has been here before, but Miranda is a first time guest!
If you’ve ever wanted to know a little bit more about the genre, or get some background, today might provide some insight. I hope you enjoy!

Miranda Neville: It’s always a pleasure to chat with Isobel. We’ve shared many a good discussion about the historical basis for our books. Today I’ve been thinking about how historical reality sometimes clashes with reader ideas of acceptable behavior.

For example, Caro, the heroine of The Importance of Being Wicked, is not good with money. She’s the period equivalent of the girl who gets herself in a hole with her credit cards. She’s trying to dig her way out, but it’s not easy. Some readers have found this troubling, especially since many of the people Caro owes money to are merchants. Not Citibank or Capital One, but ordinary people trying to make a living. Caro’s attitude to money is typical of the upper classes of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. They spent money like water, regardless of cash flow, and ran up staggering debts. The records are full of unpaid bills for clothing, household expenses, even those socking great houses. (Read about how hard it was for Vanbrugh to get paid for the work at Blenheim Palace.) Of course you had to have means – or expectations – to be allowed credit. I strongly suspect that London merchants catering to the haut ton jacked up their prices like crazy, figuring those who settled their bills would cover the losses on the non-payers (kind of like modern American hospitals!)

Isobel Carr: Modern expectations and mores can be tricky when you’re writing historical characters. Since I mostly choose to write about the wilder aspects of the ton (like the Devonshire House set and the New Female Coterie) the behavior of my characters–while perfectly period–doesn’t always hit the right note with people who cut their historical teeth on Georgette Heyer or sweeter Regencies where a kiss meant marriage (I happen to think those mores are more late Victorian/Edwardian anyway, but that’s me).
I also find the gaming aspect of the English culture fascinating. The betting book at White’s is filled with some amazing and odd bets. Everything from when a hurried marriage would produce an heir or which rain drop would reach the bottom of the pane first! Roland, the hero of Ripe for Seduction, is the jokester of his circle, and true to their time and culture, they all love a good bet (the bet that sets the ball rolling was inspired by a book called Round Ireland with a Fridge by Tony Hawk [no, not the skater] that I highly recommend). And once the bet has been made, withdrawing would be as bad as failing to pay a debt of honor.

Miranda Neville: The huge sums that changed hands boggle the mind and make five dollar slots look like chicken feed. The fact that a man would leave his family penniless out of some notion of honor is something this twenty-first-century reader finds hard to take. I don’t think it’s an accident that usually a pusillanimous relative (Caro’s first husband in The Importance of Being Wicked) loses the family fortune. Writing a hero like that would be tough. That said, the inciting incident of the third book in my Wild Quartet series is a youthful gaming loss.

Still, I believe the concept of honor, duty to a higher calling than self-interest, is one of the great appeals of historical romance. The reform of a bad boy hero requires an acceptance of an honorable life as well as the love of the heroine.

Isobel Carr: I can easily see the reform of a gambler working too though. He’d really have something to repent of, and he’d have the added battle of what could well be an addiction (and the additional struggle to resist the pull of the social order, where gambling was very, very common). A drunken, youthful folly or way of life that go out of control would be great back story.

That was sort of what I was playing with in Ripe for Seduction. A bet that gets out of hand. The original idea for the bet itself was a real life indecent proposal that a young and dissolute peer made to a starchy widow. She was the daughter of a duke, and had made a very bad marriage. There was abandonment, imprisonment, refusal of marital rights, and eventually litigation and legal separation. After her husband died young and unlamented (at least by her), a noted rake had the temerity to send her a missive suggesting she become his mistress. Furious, the young widow went directly to his parents and announced herself as their future daughter-in-law, daring the offending young man to contradict her and thus force her to show his parents the letter he’d sent her. She eventually relented and broke off the engagement, but I always loved that she routed him so thoroughly and so effectively, and it was such a delicious set-up for a novel.

I had a great deal of fun writing a happy ending for that sad widow (who didn’t get much of one in real life) and for the abused bigamous wife from my last novel (I couldn’t leave poor Lady Olivia without an HEA, believe me, I got letters!). I love taking real stories and spinning them out into happy endings. It’s like resetting the world for good.

Miranda Neville: I haven’t had a chance to read Ripe for Seduction (I’m writing this on release day) and now I cannot wait. I’m thrilled to know that it was based on a true life incident. One of the side benefits of aimless historical research is finding inspiration. Actual events often fall into “you can’t make this stuff up” territory. I felt that way when I read the 1796 dirty book that I quoted from, verbatim, in The Amorous Education of Celia Seaton (which, p.s. – the kindle edition is only 99¢!). I mean seriously, do you think I imagined a phrase like “deluge of spermy rapture?” Yet I think it came as a real surprise to some readers when they discovered in my author’s note that I’d been quoting from an eighteenth-century book.

Another area in which we have to adapt to modern sensibilities is social  attitudes towards ordinary people. These aristocrats we love treated servants and social “inferiors” in ways we would find totally unacceptable. By the standards of 1800, everyone’s a liberal these days. I wrote a hero who owned a coal mine and to show his progressive views I had him voluntarily stop employing children under the age of nine. It was the best I could do as a compromise between historical accuracy and twenty-first-century decency. The awful thing is, the parents of those kids probably missed the money.

Isobel Carr: Don’t get me started on the “maid as the heroine’s BFF” thing. It makes me stabby! Servants were often little more than furniture, or something to brag about if you had say the fastest footman (yes, they ran races like horses, sometimes naked, even in the parks in London; imagine your heroine encountering that!). And unlike our ideal of the old family retainer, most servants moved about quite freely and no woman who wanted to keep anything secret from her husband would trust her maid (firstly, the maid knew who paid her, and secondly, they were very often the main witness called in crim con trials).

The whole idea of privacy as we know it was absent as well. People didn’t live alone. They often didn’t sleep alone! It was not considered strange to bunk two male or female guests together during a house party and have them share a bed.

Miranda Neville: That could put a damper on some of those secret trysts – though handy if one writes menage.

Isobel Carr: Overall, the late Georgian/Regency period is both close enough to feel familiar and remote enough to be utterly alien depending on how you come at it. My motto is “the magic is in the improbable but possible” and I aim to make the people I write about both true to their period and accessible to a modern reader. In the end, people are people, then and now, with the same desires, drives, worries, and needs. Getting to play with history on top of all that is just an additional bit of fun.

Miranda Neville: Well said, Isobel. Now let’s ask our readers if there are any common historical tropes that bug them – either because they seem too modern, or too weird for the contemporary stomach. There are no wrong answers – only an enjoyable discussion. We’ll each pick a random commenters to win a copy of our latest books, The Importance of Being Wicked and Ripe for Seduction.

I’m really curious about what tropes have caught your attention as well. Or, if you have any questions about the genre, facts, general life, etc. I mean, hey, if we’ve got Isobel and Miranda, who are founts of knowledge, why not pump them for information? ;D And to add some incentive… these are the books up for grabs:

The rules of society don’t apply to Caro and her coterie of bold men and daring women. But when passions flare, even the strongest will surrender to the law of love . . .

Thomas, Duke of Castleton, has every intention of wedding a prim and proper heiress. That is, until he sets eyes on the heiress’s cousin, easily the least proper woman he’s ever met. His devotion to family duty is no defense against the red-headed vixen whose greatest asset seems to be a talent for trouble . . .

Caroline Townsend has no patience for the oh-so-suitable (and boring) men of the ton. So when the handsome but stuffy duke arrives at her doorstep, she decides to put him to the test. But her scandalous exploits awaken a desire in Thomas he never knew he had. Suddenly Caro finds herself falling for this most proper duke…while Thomas discovers there’s a great deal of fun in a little bit of wickedness.

The League of Second Sons
A secret society of younger sons, sworn to aid and abet each other, no matter the scandal or cost . . .

After the scandalous demise of her marriage, Lady Olivia Carlow knows the rakes of the ton will think her fair game. So when a letter arrives bearing an indecent offer from the incorrigible Roland Devere, she seizes the opportunity. Turning the tables on the notorious rogue, she blackmails him into playing her betrothed for the season. But no matter how broad his shoulders or chiseled his features, she will never fall prey to his suave charm.

When Roland boasted he’d be the first into Lady Olivia’s bed, he couldn’t have imagined that behind those brilliant blue eyes lurked a vixen with a scheme of her own. Still, Roland is not about to abandon his original wager. If anything, learning that the lovely Olivia is as bold as she is beautiful makes him more determined to seduce her into never saying “never” again.

So spill. What tropes bother you? Or what might you want to know more about in historical romances? Questions and answers welcome here!