Thu
Jun 7 2012 2:00pm

Three Romance Blogs Get Busy…Morning, Noon, and Night!

All Afternoon with a Scandalous Marquess by Alexandra Hawkins Three top romance blogs, one big idea! Heroes and Heartbreakers, Romance@Random, and USAToday’s Happy Ever After join together to offer exclusive content and giveaways. Watch for our logo to signal the latest round robin—you’ll want to visit us all to read and win. Hugs from R@R, HEA, and H&H!

June’s Round Robin Theme: We’re Getting Busy, Morning, Noon and Night!

Kick start your day with a little gossip about “the morning after” at USA Today’s Happy Ever After which asks romance authors about their favorite morning-after/one-night-stand movies and books.
Fatal Attraction, anyone? While you’re there, be sure to enter for a chance to win a prize pack including a copy of the first book in Alexandra Hawkins’s Lords of Vice series, All Night with a Rogue, plus a free Net Galley preview of Ruthie Knox’s new contemporary romance novel, About Last Night.

Sneak away at noon and visit HeroesandHeartbreakers.com, which features an exclusive free excerpt of Alexandra Hawkins’s latest oh-so-delicious (wicked rake alert!) Lords of Vice historical romance novel,
All Afternoon with a Scandalous Marquess! (On sale July 31st) Don’t forget to enter for a chance to win one of five prize packs including a copy of the second book in the Alexandra Hawkins’s Lords of Vice series, Till Dawn with the Devil, plus a copy of Molly O’Keefe’s debut, Can’t Buy Me Love.

Make your night one to remember at Romanceatrandom.com, which celebrates author Ruthie Knox as she releases her second romance story,
About Last Night, on sale 6/11/2012 – sexy, steamy with emotion that will bring you back for more – stop by R@R for a chance to win one of five prize packs including a copy of the third book in Alexandra Hawkins’s Lords of Vice series, After Dark with a Scoundrel, plus a FREE excerpt + 5 book Net Galley preview!!
 
Giveaways ends June 16th, 2012. Be sure to stop by each site for the best
chance at winning free books.

Sneak a peek at Alexandra Hawkins’s All Afternoon with a Scandalous Marquess (available July 31, 2012) with an excerpt of Chapter 2. And be sure to leave a comment to enter for a chance to win two great books!* Rules below.

Chapter 2
June 22, 1817, London

“This is a brothel?” said Christopher Courtland, Earl of Vanewright, awed by the opulent interior of the Golden Pearl.

“Well, it isn’t the theater. You, Frost, and Dare saw to it that we are not welcome until the damages have been settled,” Simon Wyndham Jefferes, Mar­quess of Sainthill—known as Saint—replied drily. In truth, he was silently impressed with the brothel as well. One did not readily apply the words taste­ful and resplendent to a nanny-house.

The estab­lishment had been open for three days, and details about the exclusive palace of sin and its mysterious proprietress were being discussed in clubs, gaming hells, and card rooms. Every male in London was demanding admittance. Rumor had it, His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales, had been granted a private tour before the Golden Pearl’s massive oak doors had been officially opened, and had pro­nounced the experience worthy of his royal patron­age. It mattered little if the tale was true. Once a few well-known gentlemen had been turned away, everyone wanted to walk through those front doors.

“Reminds me of a miniature palace,” said Ga­briel Housely, Earl of Rainecourt, his gaze shifting from the marble statues lining the front hall to the flesh-and-blood goddesses who were flirting with the guests while liveried footmen circulated through the rooms with silver trays laden with glasses of champagne and porter.

“Did Sin and Frost buy our admittance?” Lord Hugh, who preferred to be called Dare, wondered aloud.

All of them had acquired nicknames in their youth, both individually and collectively. Most were shortened versions of their surnames. Other names, such as Frost’s, Reign’s, and Sin’s, were more a reflection of their true natures. The seven of them—Sin, Reign, Dare, Vane, Hunter, Frost, and himself—had been friends since they were boys, and they had honed their somewhat notorious reputations together. At some point, someone had dubbed them the Lords of Vice, and the sobriquet had stuck. In truth, they took pride in what had been delivered as an insult, and felt it was their duty to disrupt the tranquility of the wealthy and privileged world they’d had the good fortune to be born into.

“Does it matter?” Saint countered. “Knowing Sin, all that was required was for him to charm his way through the front doors.”

Hunter laughed, drawing everyone’s attention. At the imposing height of six feet, two inches, the handsome amber-eyed duke had already been ap­proached by several women. “It took more than charm. I’d wager, our reputation has reached the proprietress’s ears. Entertaining the Lords of Vice will only enhance the Golden Pearl’s notoriety.”

“As long as we don’t have to thank Frost for this evening’s diversion, I don’t care about the details of our good fortune,” Saint said, waving away the footman with a tray of champagne. His throat was dry, but he craved something stronger than spar­kling wine.

Vane placed a companionable arm around him. The youngest of their group—though if one felt like quibbling, he was seventeen days older than Hunter—the twenty-two-year-old had not outgrown his youthful exuberance and annoying propensity to whine. “Agreed. We’ll never hear the end of it, and I’d prefer to spend my evening with that pretty blonde near the staircase rather than listen to Frost gloating about his cleverness.”

“Present him with the blonde you’ve been eye­ing,” Saint suggested, earning a few concurring murmurs from Hunter and Reign. “He’ll put his clever tongue to other uses.” With the intention of finding some brandy, he walked away from his friends.

Behind him, the conversation continued.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if Frost and Sin have picked the best of the stable,” grumbled Vane.

“Neither one of them is selfish,” Reign said soothingly, leaving Saint to casually wonder if there was anything that could shake the earl’s calm de­meanor.

“Christ, that’s the truth! I recall one evening when...”

Dare’s voice faded away as Saint ascended the grand staircase. It was as magnificent as the plaster-work, marble statues, and tapestries that surrounded him. Overhead, the central relief of Adam and Eve’s fall from paradise was a reminder that innocence had no place at the Golden Pearl. He nodded to sev­eral gentlemen while he slowed to admire the stat­ues and paintings. No expense had been spared, and he silently congratulated the proprietress’s astute­ness to create a place that would appeal to the haughtiest aristocrat. The brothel could have passed for a nobleman’s town house, and even he had to admit that he felt quite comfortable as he explored the establishment.

Once he reached the second landing, he noticed to the left that two extraordinarily large footmen stood on either side of what he assumed was a large gallery or ballroom. One of the footmen glanced in his direction, and then immediately dismissed him. These men were too large for their position. From their looks, Saint surmised they were pugilists hired to ensure that all troublesome guests were handled in a discreet and ruthlessly efficient manner. Over the years, he and the other members of the Lords of Vice had honed their fighting skills, but Saint had not joined his friends this evening to dally with a couple of ugly brutes. First, he wanted his brandy. Once he sampled the Golden Pearl’s fine spirits, he would decide which of the numerous lovely females strolling about would give him a private tour up­stairs.

It was then that he saw her.

The proprietress of the Golden Pearl. There were half a dozen rumors circulating about the mysteri­ous woman, but everyone agreed that she was something of an original, who wore dresses and jewels that would gain the envy of most duchesses. However, it was the dark blue half-mask that con­firmed her identity. It was said that the woman favored concealing the upper portion of her face with some sort of mask, and gentlemen were al­ready placing wagers in the betting books on who would coax her to remove it.

Suddenly Saint wanted to be that lucky gent.

The woman was fashioned for sin. At five feet, six inches, she wore a white muslin dress with tiny bouquets embroidered into the fabric. The skirt was so sheer that at certain angles, he could see enticing glimpses of the dark blue bows that secured her stockings. Her breasts were high and firm, and a diamond-and-gold brooch was pinned between them to draw a gentleman’s eye. She had a dark blue cashmere shawl draped over one of her shoul­ders to add color to her costume rather than mod­esty. Long white kid gloves sheathed her arms. As for her hair, golden blond tresses formed enchant­ing ringlets around her face. The back was braided and entwined with gold ribbons and pearls.

Noting his steady regard, the proprietress excused herself from her group of admirers and headed toward him. With her head held high, and a hint of a smile teasing her lips, the woman who had en­snared his attention was no shy wallflower who would wait patiently for him to approach her.

She came to him and inclined her head as she curtsied.

Her manners were as refined as the silk she wore. “Good evening, monsieur,” she said in a distinctly accented voice that settled in his belly like warmed brandy.

The woman was not French; nor did she speak with an accent he had come to expect from an En­glish noblewoman. From her lips, her voice was ex­otic and seductive. He held himself still, waiting for her to speak again.

She did not disappoint him. “I am Madame Venna. I saw you admiring my Golden Pearl. You are pleased with my humble efforts, oui?”

Saint could not recall a time when a female had tangled his tongue and thoughts so thoroughly. Even with the half-mask concealing the upper por­tion of her face, her beauty was evident. Pale flaw­less skin was smoothed over delicate bones that might have marked her as a noblewoman if not for her profession. Her lips were full and the hint of scarlet was designed to draw a man’s eye to her mouth, which was quirked in amusement since he had not replied to her question.

He bowed. “Forgive me. I was being rude. I am Simon Jefferes, Marquess of Sainthill. And yes, I am very pleased with what the Golden Pearl has to offer.”

Madame Venna smiled, her eyes sparkling with delight. “Merci. You are too kind.”

She glanced over his shoulder and raised her gloved hand. Before Saint could turn, one of the footmen was at his side with a glass of brandy.

This was a woman who could anticipate his de­sires before he uttered them. A man could fall in love with such a beautiful and insightful creature.

“How did you know?”

“It is my business to anticipate my patrons’ needs,” she said simply. “What ever you require, the Golden Pearl will attempt to grant it.”

Saint stepped closer. “And if my fondest desire is you?” he asked, feeling emboldened by her frank perusal.

A gent sensed when he had captured a woman’s interest, and he suspected that the woman before him rarely denied her own carnal appetites.

Madame Venna’s smile dimmed. “I must regret­fully decline. The Golden Pearl places many de­mands on me. It would be foolish of me to place my needs above those of my patrons, no?”

“What if I was willing to generously compen­sate you?”

She sighed and shook her head. “You tempt me, monsieur le marquis. Still, I must decline. Now if you will excuse me, there are other tasks that need my attention.” She curtsied. “With your permis­sion, I will send several of my best girls to amuse you.”

Without thinking, Saint caught Madame Venna by the elbow to prevent her from dismissing him.

Immediately he felt the narrowed gazes of the two burly footmen who were probably striding toward them with the intention of breaking his fingers for touching their mistress. He abruptly released her and stepped back. Over the years, the Lords of Vice had been tossed out of several respectable establish­ments for brawling. It would be a pity if they had to add a brothel, albeit a fancy one, to the list.

He bowed his head. “The brandy will suffice, Madame Venna. I can find my own amusements.”

“Of this, I have little doubt.” She hesitated and offered him an endearingly coy smile. “Enjoy your evening, Marquis de Sainthill.”

Saint watched as Madame Venna approached her guards and assured them that all was well. One of fake footmen glared at him, but he returned to his post with his companion.

The heavy clap of a palm against his upper back managed to startle him out of his stupor. His mouth flattened into a grim line as he turned to confront his unwelcome companion.

It was Sin.

The gent’s cravat appeared to be hastily tied, and his black hair was slightly disheveled. “Where the devil have you been? Frost procured several of the private rooms and managed to invite half of the brothel’s occupants. It’s quite a crush. Are you join­ing us or did you happen to settle on a wench?”

Saint glanced about the ballroom and saw no sign of the mysterious proprietress of the Golden Pearl. Oh, he had found the woman he wanted, and whether or not she was willing to admit it, the at­traction was mutual. He was confident that in time he would coax her into his bed, but this evening he accepted his defeat.

Not one to sulk, he said, “Half the brothel, you say?”

Sin tipped back his head and laughed. The young marquess’s eyes were full of mirth and mis­chief. “And most of them female. It will be an eve­ning you shall not forget.”

“Of this, I have no doubt,” Saint replied, delib­erately echoing Madame Venna’s words. Whatever was between him and the proprietress, it was only the beginning.

 

From one of the balconies, Madame Venna ob­served Lord Sainthill and his friend’s departure. Her interest in the marquess did not go unnoticed by her companion.

Anna Walters leaned forward, giving anyone who was glancing heavenward a revealing glimpse of her breasts. “Very handsome. Perhaps I should join their private celebration and introduce myself. Either one would suit me. Or both, if they prefer.”

Madame Venna’s stomach clenched at the thought of her friend offering herself to the mar­quess. It took her a second to adequately describe what she was feeling.

Jealousy.

Had she gone mad? Anna was one of her closest friends. No man had ever come between them, and she refused to start with the marquess. After all, she had barely spoken to the man. Appalled at her reaction, she acknowledged her friend’s comment with a monosyllable, “Hmm.”

“Abram tells me they are connected to a club called Nox. The fancy even have a name for these men. They are the Lords of Vice.”

Madame Venna shrugged, pretending the infor­mation meant little to her, even though she longed to hear more details about Sainthill and his friends. Since it was possible that someone might overhear their conversation, it would be reckless to drop her guard. “With such a sobriquet, they will be regular patrons of the Golden Pearl, no?” she said, her mind already considering the possibilities of forming some kind of business arrangement with the gentleman. Perhaps Nox had use of her girls, just as she had use of the Lords of Vice’s abundant wealth.

“What are you planning to do about Lord Sain­thill?”

So Anna knew the marquess’s name. The half-mask she was wearing managed to conceal her surprise. “Why, nothing at all,” she said coolly.

Anna shook her head in disappointment. Ma­dame Venna should have known her friend would see through such an obvious lie. “I saw how Sainthill was staring at you. If he could have gotten you alone, he would have done more than touched you on the arm. The man looked as if he wanted to de­vour you.” She grinned. “And for once, you wouldn’t have had to pretend to enjoy it.”

“You exaggerate,” Madame Venna said, her ac­cent thickening as her throat tightened at the thought of the marquess pushing her into the nearest alcove and thoroughly ravishing her.

The brief moment his hand had gripped her arm, she’d felt the heat and strength emanating from him. It shamed her to admit that if they had been alone, she would have encouraged him to caress other parts of her body.

“And I saw how you were looking at him, Cath­erine,” Anna said quietly.

Madame Venna bowed her head and closed her eyes. “It makes little difference. To indulge in an affair with Lord Sainthill or any patron invites scru­tiny, and I have invested too much into the Golden Pearl to toss it away to satisfy my—curiosity.” Her lips softened at her friend’s concerned expression. “Do not fret, Anna. Men like the marquess are only thinking of their next conquest. Make certain our girls keep him and his friends distracted. Sainthill will seek his amusements elsewhere.”

Even as she uttered the assurance, Madame Venna knew that she was lying to her friend.

Her instincts were warning her that Lord Sainthill was definitely going to be a problem.

 

Copyright © 2012 by Alexandra Hawkins

 

Leave a comment to enter for a chance to win one of the two-packs which include Alexandra Hawkin’s Till Dawn with the Devil and Molly O’Keefe’s debut, Can’t Buy Me Love.*

*NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A purchase does not improve your chances of winning. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia, who are 18 or older. To enter, fill out an entry at http://www.heroesandheartbreakers.com/blogs/2012/06/free-books-three-romance-blogs-get-busy-morning-noon-and-night beginning at 12:01 a.m. Eastern Time (ET) June 8, 2012. Sweepstakes ends at 11:59 p.m. ET on June 18, 2012 (the “Promotion Period”). Void outside of the 50 US and DC and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules at http://www.heroesandheartbreakers.com/page/official-rules-alexanda-hawkins-comment-sweepstakes. Sponsor: Macmillan, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.

 


Alexandra Hawkins is an unrepentant Anglophile who discovered romance novels as a teenager and knew that one day she would be writing her own. With her Lords of Vice series, she has combined her love of English history, mythology, and romance to create sensual character-driven stories that, she hopes, will touch readers’ hearts. Alexandra lives in Georgia with her husband and three children.

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67 comments
Barbara Elness
1. barbed1951
I loved the sneak peak at All Afternoon with a Scandalous Marquess. I'd love to win the prize pack, thanks for the chance.
Diane S
2. Diane S
What a wonderful idea though I can't think of a book with a morning after theme at this moment.
Trianna Hyde
4. fire_dragon31
i love this excerpt... such a great contest... win or not im gonna get this book
Diane S
5. Hootfish71
[i][b]2 of my favorite things.... giveaways and reading/books :)
Diane S
6. Sue K
Love the excerpt. And the contest. Thanks for the chance to win.
Diane S
7. Nahal Momin
Love the cover of the book. I havent read these two books thts in the contest yet but would love to win. thanks for the contest.
Diane S
9. Tanisha B
I have only read one Lords of the Vice book and loved it! Thanks for the sneak peek.
Diane S
11. CateS
Love the sneaky peek... thanks for the opportunity for a giveaway too! Love the covers of both books..
Diane S
12. Melysah
Oh, love the cover! I can only imagine what the book is like. ;)
Diane S
13. Johanna J
I love this series and can't wait for the lastest! Thanks for the chance to win!
Diane S
16. Brianna Lee
Ooh I love the covers! I would love to read these books! I would definitely like to win this sweepstakes! Thanks for the chance to win!
Diane S
17. Rissa
This book is already on my "to-get" list. ahhh can't wait and yes i have to admit ....LOVE the cover. :)
Diane S
18. erinf1
Thanks for the fabulous excerpt and giveaway! Definitely going to have to check out these authors :)
Diane S
19. catslady
I really enjoyed the excerpt - sounds like something I would really like to read - thanks for the contest too.
Diane S
20. Bzbell
Mmmm... They're all so yummy, I can't decide which is my favorite!
Diane S
21. klg3566
I love Alexander Hawkins! She's one of my favorite authors. Thanks for the contest.
Diane S
22. Maris
Great excerpt. Can't wait to read it.
Diane S
23. MilaG
Read the series twice and been anxiously waiting for Saint's story!!
Diane S
24. Lisa Baugh
I can't wait to read the entire book! Whoo--- :}
Diane S
25. etstella56
Nothing is better than a free book, unless of course you add free chocolate:)
Diane S
26. donna ann
interesting excerpt, looking forward to reading the rest :)
Diane S
27. Sarina Hermann
OH!!! I am so happy to hear this!!! And good lord have mercy... HELP!! I hate teasers, because I cannot read the rest of the book! I have got to read it now hehe!
Diane S
28. Lisa Hutson
Lovely cover! And great title. :-)
Jeanne Miro
29. jeannemiro
Great excerpt fromAlexandra Hawkins’s All Afternoon with a Scandalous Marquess!

Summertime is finally here and what better way to start it then reading
Alexandra Hawkin’s Till Dawn with the Devil and Molly O'Keefe's Can't Buy Me Love. I love reading debut authors and am looking forward to finding out more about what Molly has planned for the futre!
Diane S
30. janet Lombardi
Love the cover and the can't wait for the book to come out.
Diane S
31. Pat Lieberman
Nice giveaway. Have been especially waiting for Molly's book.
natalia
32. rogue484
Oh I love all of the sneek peeks that we can get from these awesome books, I can't wait to read them.
Diane S
33. Diane D - Florida
I love Historical Romance books, and I really enjoyed this excerpt. There’s just something about this type of romance that really engages me. I love to follow the journey of the Hero and Heroine from the beginning of their story right upto their happy ever after. Sometimes the descriptions in books are so vivid, that I imagine that I’m actually there. I appreciate all the research that an author does to make her story more authentic. I also love finding new Authors, and would like the opportunity to read Molly's book, even though it is a contemporary. dpd333 (at) aol dot com
Diane S
35. Rachael Lynn415
omgosh. sounds amazing! I love the Lords of Vice series... sign me up!!
Diane S
36. sianfairy
Alexandra Hawkins is such an amazing author. I have read all the books in the Lords of Vice series and can't wait for the rest of them. It is torture waiting between each book. I would love to win, sign me up!!!
Diane S
37. TxDee
Whew! That's quite a teaser! Looks like fun. Thanks for the chance to win.
Joy Gifford
38. JoyG
I Love the Lords of Vice series.....The only thing I don't like is having to wait soooo long between books (pout).......Can't wait to read about Saint.....although I'm really looking forward to reading about Frost.....I hope he's headed for a great fall...into love of course! (wink)
Diane S
39. Selene
Ooh, what a triumvirate! Looking forward to the content from these three blogs!
Wendy Lewis
40. wsl0612
have to add an additional comment. I love Alexandra Hawkins' work and I love you guys here at heroesandheartbreakers, but I cannot work with the other 2 blogs mentioned as I don't have a facebook account and don't want one. It makes me sad that they exclude those of us who don't want to deal with facebook :-(
Diane S
41. Robin D
I love the excerpt! Thanks for the giveaway!
Diane S
42. Sheila M
Loved the excerpt...and the cover....wow!
Diane S
43. Casey B.
Love the excerpt! Thanks for the chance to win!!
Diane S
44. BrooklynShoeBabe
I've seen so many movies and read so many books that I had to do a google search in order to jar some memories of famous cinematic one night stands. lol. So, my choice is Sarah Connor and Reese in the original Terminator because the future of mankind depended on it. *smirk*
Diane S
45. LilMissMolly
I have several of Alexandra's books. I'd love to read this one, it sounds wonderful!
Brenda Hill
46. misskallie2000
Would love to win these books. Both are my kind of reads. Great covers. Thanks for the opportunity to enter.
Jen B.
47. jepeb@verizon.net
Thanks for the chance to win some books. I have never read anything from Alexandra Hawkins. I love to find new authors.
Diane S
48. Susan C
This sounds interesting. A woman who hides her identity has a great deal to loose including her heart. So what cn she be hiding? I guess will have to wait until it comes out in July.
Diane S
49. CocoRed
I Love this series!!!! I can't wait for this book to come out. :)
Jessie Llewellyn
50. jessiel62
Love Alexandra Hawkins & I will be reading this book. Thank you for the review/excerpt. Looking forward to this book hitting the shelf.
Diane S
51. Beth D.
-fans self- Woo. Nice cover. Very hot.
Diane S
52. Erica Paczesny
I would love to win one of the prize packs! Thanks so much for the generous offer! :)
Diane S
53. Sue T.
That was great an excerpt and will be adding to my TBR pile. Great cover. Thanks for the giveaway.
Diane S
55. StephanieG
What a great idea, and loved the preview! Thanks for the contest and the chance to win! :-)
Diane S
56. JoanO
Great excerpt, can't wait to read it and the cover is awesome too!
Diane S
58. Rom
An absolutely wonderful contest! All of the books are fun and entertaining. I can't wait to indulge myself!
Diane S
59. rrbcpa
How scrumptious! I cannot wait to see how Catherine and Anna fair with the Lords of Vice. How do you come up with these scenerios? I love this idea!
Susan Howard
61. susanhoward
I have read historical romances since before most of these ladies have been alive. I love the cover! There is just nothing like a really good historical romance to take me away from my every day life and put a smile on my face. I'd love to win your books they are just what I like to read! I've put them on my 'to be purchased' list. Congratulations on these two winners! we need more authors writing historical romances!
Diane S
62. diamond291979
Wow, great excerpt! I'm hooked on this series and can't wait for Saint's book. I must say, though, that I look forward to Frost's book the most. Oh how the mighty will fall...
Diane S
64. netha
OMG, I loved sneak peak All Afternoon with a Scandalous Marquess..can't wait to read the rest of it.

I truly madly deeply fallen in love with lords of vice series.

four thumbs up for Alexandra^_^
Laurie
66. bksrmyjoy
I would love to win these 2 bks. These are new authors to me! The excerpts I read got me interested in reading them!!
Susan Amo
67. poppy69
Can't wait for this book!! The only thing that bothers me* spoiler alert* what is Sin doing there?? He's happily married!! I hope he doesn't cheat on his wife.
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