Excerpt: The Reluctant Countess by Wendy Vella

Thanks to Random House, I have an excerpt from Wendy Vella’s The Reluctant Countess to share. If you enjoy it, there’s a link to purchase after the excerpt.

The Reluctant Countess by Wendy Vella (Excerpt)

About the book:

From rising romance star Wendy Vella comes a Cinderella story of whirlwind passion between a dashing earl and a beautiful countess—and the secret that threatens to tear them apart.

Regal, poised, and elegant, Sophie, Countess of Monmouth, is everything that a highborn lady should be. But Sophie is hiding a past that is far from royal. When Patrick, Earl of Coulter, realizes that her story doesn’t add up, he resolves to find out the truth of what Sophie and her sister-in-law are concealing. Although Sophie has every reason to avoid him, the handsome and charismatic Patrick awakens something wicked deep within her soul . . . a powerful need that Sophie must stifle in order to protect her place in society.

Despite Sophie’s humble background, the raven-haired beauty has won Patrick’s heart. But what Sophie needs now is an ally. Viscount Myles Dumbly, the disgruntled former heir of Monmouth, is determined to expose Sophie as a fraud to recapture his lost inheritance. Soon Patrick is drawn into a fight for both their lives. Somehow he must find a way not only to rescue Sophie from poverty once and for all, but to keep her in his arms forever.

If you enjoyed the excerpt, you can purchase The Reluctant Countess from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the link below:


Cover Shot! A Bride By Moonlight by Liz Carlyle

Cover Shot! is a regular feature here at the Café. I love discovering new covers, and when I find them, I like to share. More than anything else, I am consumed with the mystery that each new discovery represents. There is an allure to a beautiful cover. Will the story contained under the pages live up to promise of the gorgeous cover art?

Wow, this is such a pretty cover.  I love that frothy dress and the glimpse of the night sky, and how colors work together to grab my attention.  So pretty!

In stores February 2013


Not available

Interview with Susanna Fraser, Author of An Infamous Marriage and Giveaway!

Susanna Fraser dropped by the virtual offices today to chat about her new book, The Infamous Marriage.   Comment for a chance to win a digital copy of The Infamous Marriage and a gift certificate after reading the interview!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Susanna Fraser] Total history geek. Love books, cooking, singing (alto), baseball (Mariners), football (Auburn), Nathan Fillion, and the Duke of Wellington.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about An Infamous Marriage?

[Susanna Fraser] Gladly! It’s the story of a couple who on the surface seem terribly ill-suited–a plain young woman who’s barely traveled 50 miles from her birthplace in her 25 years of life and a dashing, handsome womanizer of an army officer who loves his varied, world-roving profession. And yet they get married the week they meet, because she’s his best friend’s impoverished widow, desperately in need of a home, while he’s equally in need of a caretaker for his ailing mother during his long absences serving king and country. Then, when he comes home in 1815 after a 5-year separation, they have to figure out how to make the best of each other.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Susanna Fraser] As we all know from multiple real-life examples, powerful men often make horrible husbands. Specifically, Regency England’s greatest military and naval figures, Wellington and Nelson, both made their wives miserable. Despite how much I admire the gentlemen, I can’t help but pity Lady Nelson and the Duchess of Wellington. So I decided to take the vicarious revenge of creating a high-ranking officer–Jack starts the story as a lieutenant-colonel and ends as a major-general–marrying him to an outwardly meek and plain woman, and making him discover her hidden depths.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Elizabeth?

[Susanna Fraser] Loyal, persistent, and strong. Though, note that “persistent” can also mean “stubborn,” while “strong” can become “unyielding.”

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Jack had a theme song, what would it be?

[Susanna Fraser] “One Week” by Barenaked Ladies

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Susanna Fraser] I think “inspirations” is a better word than “influences,” but Jane Austen, Dorothy Sayers, Lois McMaster Bujold, Jacqueline Carey, Bernard Cornwell, and Patrick O’Brian. And in other media, Joss Whedon–though sometimes he drives me crazy with the most gratuitous character deaths this side of George RR Martin–and Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko of Avatar: The Last Airbender and Legend of Korra fame.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Susanna Fraser] A whiteboard, a notebook, and a computer.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Susanna Fraser] I’ve read a lot of good books this year, but one that especially stands out is Catching Jordan, by Miranda Kenneally. It’s a YA romance about a girl who happens to be the best high school quarterback in Tennessee, and it perfectly captures the football culture I grew up in. Seattle is my home now, and I’m a happy Pacific Northwest city girl, but I was born and raised in Alabama, and my inner Southerner shows up more during football season than any other time.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Susanna Fraser] King of the Wind, by Marguerite Henry. I was a horse-crazy child, and my edition of the book had the most beautiful illustrations.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Susanna Fraser] Cook, sing, go to Mariners games, and spend my fall Saturdays watching SEC football. (War Eagle!) Though the way Auburn is playing this year, I haven’t had the heart to tune in as much as normal.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Susanna Fraser] Website: http://www.susannafraser.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/susanna.fraser
Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/susannafraser/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/susannafraser

I’ll be giving one copy of An Infamous Marriage to a commenter on this post in your choice of e-book format, and at the end of the tour I’ll be giving away a grand prize of a $50 gift certificate to their choice of Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Powell’s Books to one commenter on the tour as a whole. You get one entry per blog tour stop you comment upon, so check out my blog for the whole schedule! If you wish to be entered in the drawing, include your email address formatted as yourname AT yourhost DOT com.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

You can see a list of all of the blogs participating in Susanna’s blog tour by visiting her website here.  Don’t forget to leave a comment below to be entered for a chance to win a copy of An Infamous Marriage!

You can order a copy of The Infamous Marriage from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the widget below.


About the book:

Northumberland, 1815

At long last, Britain is at peace, and General Jack Armstrong is coming home to the wife he barely knows. Wed for mutual convenience, their union unconsummated, the couple has exchanged only cold, dutiful letters. With no more wars to fight, Jack is ready to attempt a peace treaty of his own.

Elizabeth Armstrong is on the warpath. She never expected fidelity from the husband she knew for only a week, but his scandalous exploits have made her the object of pity for years. Now that he’s back, she has no intention of sharing her bed with him—or providing him with an heir—unless he can earn her forgiveness. No matter what feelings he ignites within her…

Jack is not expecting a spirited, confident woman in place of the meek girl he left behind. As his desire intensifies, he wants much more than a marriage in name only. But winning his wife’s love may be the greatest battle he’s faced yet.

You can learn more about Susanna by clicking here.

Interview with Christy English, Author of How to Tame a Willful Wife

Christy English is celebrating the release of How to Tame a Willful Wife, the first book in her Shakespeare’s in Love series.  She recently dropped by the virtual offices to answer a few questions.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Christy] Brave, resourceful, a Geek. I love to dance, to sing, to roller skate, to tell stories, to lose myself in the written word, to celebrate

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about How To Tame a Willful Wife?

[Christy] My latest book is basically a re-telling of The Taming of the Shrew…I might even say a re-writing of it. Because in my book, the so-called “shrew” is the one who tames her husband. I was never satisfied with the play. I always felt the need to focus on the chemistry between Kate and Petrucchio, and to take their connection farther. Instead of starving Caroline into submission, Anthony and his “shrew” find a middle ground, where they can live together as equals.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Christy] Anthony and Caroline came to me in a dream in 2007. The first chapter of the novel unrolled in the theatre of my mind, and when I woke up, I wrote it down. Originally, they were Italian, but Regency England suited the story much better, especially once I had fleshed it out and discovered that it was The Taming of the Shrew I was re-telling.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Caroline?

[Christy] Brave, beautiful, strong-willed…is that three words or four?

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three activities would Anthony never engage in?

[Christy] Macramé, bowling, dueling. He would never sit still for the first, the second would be too undignified, and the third would be pointless. If he wanted to kill someone, he would just shoot him between the eyes and be done with it.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Anthony had a theme song, what would it be?

[Christy] Bad to the Bone (LOL)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Caroline’s most prized possession?

[Christy] Her throwing knives. Until Anthony gives her the pearl, anyway. I would say Hercules, her stallion, but she does not see her horse as something she owns as much as a friend who has her back no matter what.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Christy] Mary Renault and her novels about ancient Greece. She is truly a genius.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Christy] Coca Cola, a computer that works, and a table and chair…wait, that’s four things again.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Christy] WHEN YOU GIVE A DUKE A DIAMOND by Shana Galen. It was the first time I had read her work, and I adored it. Very clever and charming. A great read.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Christy] GONE WITH THE WIND when I was in the seventh grade. I had been a reader before then, but that was the first time I committed to a novel that long and involved. In spite of the historical inaccuracies and the racism, that novel brought Scarlett O’Hara to life. I learned a lot from reading it before I ever knew that I was going to be a real writer. A real writer, by the way, is anyone who commits to their characters and stays in the chair.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Christy] I love to read, eat out with friends, go to the theatre, act in the theatre, roller skate, dance.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Christy] People can find me on my blog http://www.ChristyEnglish.com

on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/ShakespeareInLoveSeries

and on Twitter https://twitter.com/ChristyEnglish

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

You can order How to Tame a Willful Wife from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the links below:


More about the book:

How To Tame A Willful Wife:

1. Forbid her from riding astride
2. Hide her dueling sword
3. Burn all her breeches and buy her silk drawers
4. Frisk her for hidden daggers
5. Don’t get distracted while frisking her for hidden daggers…

Anthony Carrington, Earl of Ravensbrook, expects a biddable bride. A man of fiery passion tempered by the rigors of war into steely self-control, he demands obedience from his troops and his future wife. Regardless of how fetching she looks in breeches.

Promised to the Earl of Plump Pockets by her impoverished father, Caroline Montague is no simpering miss. She rides a war stallion named Hercules, fights with a blade, and can best most men with both bow and rifle. She finds Anthony autocratic, domineering, and…ridiculously gorgeous.

It’s a duel of wit and wills in this charming retelling of The Taming of the Shrew. But the question is…who’s taming whom?

Feed Your Kindle – Cheap Historical Romance Reads!

After a flood of zombie books, I am in the mood for something a lot lighter and more upbeat.  Check out these historical romances, each less than a buck!


 A Tale of Two Lovers by Maya Rodale – .99

He is notorious.

Lord Simon Roxbury is a godsend to gossip columnists everywhere. This notorious rake has recently been caught in an extremely compromising position by none other than The London Weekly‘s Lady of Distinction. Rumor also has it that Lord R received an ultimatum: be wed or be penniless.

She is scandalous.

As A Lady of Distinction, Lady Julianna Somerset typically reports on other people’s scandals, but soon she finds herself embroiled in a very public battle with an irate Lord Roxbury—one that leaves her reputation in tatters and her position at The Weekly on the line.

Together they’re… respectable?

With no other choice available, these two enemies unite in a marriage of convenience to rescue both their reputations and secure his fortune. With their rivals intent on revealing the charade, Lady Julianna and Lord Simon inevitably surrender to temptation. It may just be a love match after all . . .



Confessions at Midnight (Mayhem in Mayfair) by Jacquie D’Alessandro -  .99

Carolyn Turner, Viscountess Wingate, is absolutely shocked by the Ladies Literary Society of London’s latest selection. Memoirs of a Mistress is scandalously explicit and downright wicked . . . and it’s stirring feelings within Carolyn that she hasn’t felt . . . well, ever! She’s sure that this steamy read is the only reason she’s succumbing to the charms of notorious rogue Daniel Sutton, Lord Surbrooke. She couldn’t possibly be falling for the rascal and his illicit caresses . . . or could she?

The last thing Daniel wanted was to be shackled by marriage vows. He lusted after Carolyn, sure, but he never imagined that once he lured her to his bed he’d never want to let her go. Yet only when a murderer targets his beloved will he be spurred to confess his true love . . . and claim Carolyn as his bride.



 Midnight’s Wild Passion by Anna Campbell – .99

London’s most notorious seducer, Nicholas Challoner lives solely for revenge . . .

The dashing, licentious Marquess of Ranelaw can never forgive Godfrey Demarest for ruining his sister—now the time has come to repay the villain in the same coin. But one formidably intriguing impediment stands in the way of Nicholas’s vengeance: Miss Antonia Smith, companion to his foe’s unsuspecting daughter.

Having herself been deceived and disgraced by a rogue—banished by her privileged family as a result and forced to live a lie—Antonia vows to protect her charge from the same cruel fate. She recognizes Ranelaw for the shameless blackguard he is and will devote every ounce of her intelligence and resolve to thwarting him.

Yet Antonia has always had a fatal weakness for rakes . . .


 A Masquerade in the Moonlight by Kasey Michaels – .99

A Kasey Michaels Historical Regency Romance.

"A writing style, voice, and sense of humor perfectly suited to the era and genre." Publishers Weekly

In Masquerade in the Moonlight, Kasey brings a brash American to London just in time to meet debutante Marquerite Balfour; young, beautiful, and very much in his way. It would appear she has some mischief afoot, mischief that could ruin Thomas Joseph Donovan’s mission to arrange some "deliveries" to his country, hoping to avoid yet another war with England. Bring on a battle of wills, a battle of wits… and an attraction that can’t be denied.

Kasey Michaels has earned four coveted starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, along with many awards for her outstanding work. A Masquerade in the Moonlight is one example of the dozens of Regency historicals Kasey has written since 1992, with many more to follow in e-book format.


  Scandalous Virtue by Brenda Hiatt – .99  – Brenda Hiatt’s Taming Tessa is one of the biggest reasons that I own horses today.  Who knew that a Regency romance could be so influential?

First impressions can be most deceiving!

Under the tutelage of her strict father, then that of an equally strict husband twice her age, Nessa, Lady Haughton, has been trained all her life to be a model of English propriety and virtue. But beneath the inexperienced young widow’s oh-so-prim exterior, she craves a taste of the wickedness she has always been denied. Now that she is finally free, she intends to satisfy that craving!

Notorious rakehell and war hero Jack Ashecroft finds himself unexpectedly elevated to Marquis of Foxhaven. But to claim the fortune that goes with the title, Jack must renounce his wild ways and establish himself as a respectable member of Society. The surest, quickest path, he is certain, will be to find and wed a woman beyond reproach—if one will have him.

When Jack and Nessa meet, each thinks the other is exactly the ticket to the changes they are seeking. Sparks will fly when they discover each other’s true goals—especially if it’s already too late to turn back!

Interview with Anya Wylde, Author of The Wicked Wager


Anya Wylde, author of The Wicked Wager, dropped by the virtual offices for a chat.  Please give her a warm welcome.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Anya Wylde] I live in Ireland along with my husband and pet dog. I love dancing, reading, writing and cooking. I am scared of numbers … and spiders.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about The Wicked Wager?

[Anya Wylde] The Wicked Wager is a historical romance with a dash of mystery. It is a light hearted read in which a reformed rake, Lord Richard Hamilton, concocts a madcap scheme to speed up his wedding to Emma Grey. Unfortunately his plans start falling apart from the very beginning. Soon someone is murdered and his dreams of walking down the aisle turn into nightmares of dangling from the noose. 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Anya Wylde] I thought of the plot late one night as I was falling asleep. I started laughing hysterically much to my husband’s alarm. I wrote down whatever I could remember of the plot the next morning. Thereafter, I worked out the details of the characters that best suited the plot.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Emma?

[Anya Wylde] Rebellious, loyal and naughty.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Richard had a theme song, what would it be?

[Anya Wylde] It’s my life by Bon Jovi

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Richard’s bedroom?

[Anya Wylde] Hmm … I think Richard will no longer have any need for cheap tobacco, a false beard, or a spade.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Anya Wylde] I adore poetry. I often read Neruda or Rosetti for inspiration. Children’s books,  fantasy novels and classics inspire me as well.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Anya Wylde] Tea, a warm blanket, and a laptop.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Anya Wylde] Love amongst chickens by PG Woodhouse.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Anya Wylde] The Faraway tree by Enid Blyton.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Anya Wylde] Cuddling my dog and spending time with my husband or sometimes the other way around.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Anya Wylde] They can connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or Goodreads.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

You can order The Wicked Wager by clicking the widget below. There will be a special promotion on Amazon from November 1st – 5th, and ‘The Wicked Wager will be FREE to download.

Interview with Jane Goodger, Author of The Mad Lord’s Daughter and Giveaway!


Romance author Jane Goodger dropped by the virtual offices to chat about her new release, The Mad Lord’s Daughter.  And she brought along a copy of When A Duke Says I Do for one of you to win!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Jane Goodger] An incessantly cheerful, incurable romantic who loves the idea of creating a world where love is true and forever.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about The Mad Lord’s Daughter?

[Jane Goodger] The Mad Lord’s Daughter is about a forbidden love that isn’t really forbidden but must maintain the façade of being forbidden to protect the heroine. It’s not as complex as it seems! Merideth is the illegitimate adopted daughter of the Earl of Braddock’s reclusive brother. When the brother dies, the Earl goes to great lengths to protect his niece’s parentage so she can marry well—even though she is not related by blood to his family. He enlists the help of John, his loyal and trustworthy son, to help Merideth navigate her first season and find her a suitable husband. To maintain the façade that Merideth and John are first cousins, they, of course, cannot marry. Which is truly tragic, because the two fall madly in love with each other.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Jane Goodger] Through my research on illegitimacy, I found that society in the 1800s was extremely intolerant of illegitimacy—far more than most romance novels depict. Most of my stories begin with the hero, but this book started with my heroine. I thought, “What if a young woman had been completely isolated from society, and then was thrust into her first season totally unprepared?” Merideth at first was a fleeting thought in When A Duke Says I Do. She was simply a means to bring two characters from that first book in the series together, but then she became the focus of The Mad Lord’s Daughter. I’m so glad she did, because she is one of my favorite heroines!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Melissa?

[Jane Goodger] Naïve, kind, cheerful.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are three things Melissa would never have in her boudoir?

[Jane Goodger] A cat, mendacity, or a man other than John.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If John had a theme song, what would it be?

[Jane Goodger] “She’s Got a Way” by Billy Joel

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is John’s most prized possession?

[Jane Goodger] His relationship with his father.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Jane Goodger] That’s a tough one. I really don’t know where all this stuff comes from! Maybe genes passed on from my Mom?

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Jane Goodger] Time. Coffee. That’s it!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Jane Goodger] To Love a Thief by Julie Ann Long.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Jane Goodger] The Secret Garden was the book I read as a kid that introduced me to the excitement of the written word. I loved the idea of being transported to another world and another time. My mother found the book—an American first edition—left behind in a house she moved into as a little girl. She found it magical and shared it with me when I was old enough to read it. I thought it was just as magical.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Jane Goodger] I’m extremely busy. I have a part-time job and an editing business, plus three kids, a husband, a cat and a dog. If I can squeeze in a half hour for myself, I grab my Kindle Fire and read.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Jane Goodger] My website is best: www.janegoodger.com. I’m also on Face book, but don’t spend too much time there. I don’t know how people find the time for all that updating!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

You can order The Mad Lord’s Daughter from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the widget below.





Ready for your chance to win a copy of When A Duke Says I Do?  Just fill out the widget below.  Earn extra entries for following. US shipping addresses only, please.

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Excerpt: A Notorious Countess Confesses by Julie Anne Long

Julie Anne Long’s latest release, A Notorious Countess Confesses, will be in stores October 30. Avon is sharing this excerpt.  Enjoy!

A Notorious Countess Confesses

More about the book:

She rose to spectacular heights . . .

From Covent Garden to courtesan to countess, beautiful, fearless, shamelessly ambitious Evie Duggan has riveted London in every role she plays. But the ton never could forgive her scandalous—if shockingly short—marriage, and when her star plummets amid gleefully vicious gossip, the countess escapes to the only legacy left to her: a manor house in Pennyroyal Green.

He never expected to fall so hard . . .

He has the face of a fallen angel and a smolder the devil would envy, but Vicar Adam Sylvaine walks a precarious line: resisting temptation . . . and the wild Eversea blood in his veins. Adam’s strength is tested when scandal, aka the countess, moves to Sussex. But when a woman who fiercely guards her heart and a man entrusted with the souls of an entire town surrender to a forbidden desire, will the sweetest sin lead them to heaven . . . or make outcasts of them forever?

You can order The Notorious Countess Confesses from your favorite bookseller or by clicking below. Available in print and digital.