About Duke of My Heart
Captain Maximus Harcourt, the unconventional tenth Duke of Alderidge, can deal with tropical storms, raging seas, and the fiercest of pirates. But he’s returned home from his latest voyage to find a naked earl – quite inconveniently deceased – tied to his missing sister’s bed. And he has only one place to turn. Now he’s at the mercy of the captivating Miss Ivory Moore of Chegarre & Associates, known throughout London for smoothing over the most dire of scandals.
Miss Moore treats the crisis as though it were no more serious than a cup of spilt tea on an expensive rug. As though this sort of thing happened on the job every day. Max has never in all his life met a woman with such nerve. Her dark eyes are too wide, her mouth is too full, her cheekbones too sharp. Yet together, she’s somehow…flawless. It’s just like his love for her, imperfect, unexpected – yet absolutely true.
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Her heart seemed to be crashing in her chest louder than it should, and her stomach felt as it would have on heaving seas. Her control was slipping, and taking with it her judgment and her wits. “Do you think differently of me? Now that you know who I am? The things I’ve done?” The questions
slipped out of their own volition.
“The things you’ve done?” His forehead creased.
“I sold myself, Max.” There. She’d said it. “Before I had enough power to control my own destiny.”
He stared at her. “I know who you are. You are Ivory Moore. You are the woman who redressed a corpse to save my sister. The woman who kissed me to saveme from myself. You are the only one who understands why I can never be put in a prison that was built for me by fate and circumstance.”
She swallowed, emotion clogging her throat.
“You are the woman I trust.” He pushed himself away from her abruptly, and the chair came back down on four legs with a thud. He stood and set the bottle back on the table with great care. Reaching down, he caught her hands in his and pulled her to her feet. He studied her hands before bringing them to his lips. “The woman I want more than anything.”
Desire streaked through her and settled somewhere deep in her belly. Time seemed to have slowed. His lips grazed the insides of her wrists.
“Max.” It came out like a plea, when she had meant it as a protest.
“I lied,” he said. He pressed his mouth to the flesh of her palm, and her knees nearly buckled.
“What?” It was hard to follow the thread of conversation, what with the feel of his lips on her skin.
“I said I wasn’t sure of anything anymore,” he said quietly.
“But that’s not true. I am sure of you.”
Ivory searched his eyes, seeing only a raw vulnerability in those clear grey depths.
“You’ve more courage than anyone I’ve ever met,” he whispered, pulling her closer to him, their hands still joined.
“Not nearly enough. But I wish I was.”
“If I were drunk, it might excuse what I’m about to do.”
Ivory didn’t have time to even respond before he kissed her.
- What would readers be surprised to find out about you?
I can drive a front end loader. (Useful, I know, for a writer J )
- Tell us about your writing process. Do you start with an idea or a character? Do you know what’s going to happen from the beginning or do you figure it out as you write?
I generally have an idea of what the beginning and the end will look like and a number of key scenes that will happen along the way before I start a new story. But the parts and pieces that link those scenes together are often inspired as I go!
- Who gave you the one piece of writing advice that sticks with you to this day?
Honestly, the best bit of writing advice that I ever received was a quote from Stephen King that I read. He said “Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.” That really resonated with me – on the days that I’m struggling , there is no quitting and hoping that it will fix itself. I use his example and try to push through – sometimes you have to write the wrong thing in order to figure out what the right thing is.
- Is there one thing you have to have when writing?
A window. I can’t stand to work without a little natural light.
- How did you choose the names of your characters?
I try to choose names that suit the character. For example, my heroine in Duke of My Heart was a performer in the past, so I tried to give her something with a little flair. My hero is a rather solitary soldier at first, so I tried to give him something strong and straightforward. But at the same time, I try to make sure the names are historically possible!
- How has music played a role in your life and in your writing?
I love music – any type of music, depending on the mood, but the titles of artists and songs that I could actually name could probably be counted on my fingers. I don’t usually have music on while I’m writing, but I always have it on when I’m driving, doing housework, running, or painting.
- When was the moment that you knew you had to be a writer?
The desire to be a writer came later in life for me. After the birth of my first child, I found myself with a little more time on my hands to read (granted, usually at 2 in the morning), and the more I read, the more ideas for a story of my own started to rattle around in my head. I jotted down a few notes just for fun. And then the longer I stared at that paper, the more I wanted to write it. So I did. And it was horrible. But by then, I was hooked. So I wrote a few more books. And then I wrote my first series. And I’ve loved every second of it!
- What can you tell us about your couple, that we won’t find in the book?
They do eventually get married, but keep that information on a need-to-know basis!
- Do you have any favorite book boyfriends of your own?
Jamie Lost in Kris Kennedy’s Defiant. Jamie Fraser in the Outlander. Hmmm. Maybe it’s a Jamie thing?
- What are five books on your night stand/bookshelf?
Ha! Five. That’s funny. I have multiples of five. But here are the ones on top at the moment: The Rogue Not Taken by Sarah MacLean, A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley, That Summer by Lauren Willing, Sweetest Scoundrel by Elizabeth Hoyt, and The Millionaire Rogue by Jessica Peterson.
- What’s your favorite quote or scene from your book?
One of my favorite scenes comes when my hero goes charging off on his own in an ill-considered attempt to track down information from a woman who is not at all what she seems. It is the first time that my hero realizes that it is in his best interests to work with my heroine and not around her.
“I asked you to leave, Captain.” The woman’s expression was cold and detached now, as if she was idly contemplating what color his blood might be when it splattered all over her neat, whitewashed walls.
“For the love of God, Gilda, don’t shoot him.”
Max closed his eyes.
Gilda’s gaze slid past Max, and her eyes crinkled at the corners, her mouth turning up in renewed amusement. “Well, if it isn’t the duchess.” She paused, her eyes coming back to rest on him. “Why can’t I shoot him?”
“Because he’s my client.”
A red brow arched. “My condolences.”
- If your couple’s relationship had a theme song, what would it be?
At the beginning, something from the Fight Club soundtrack. In the middle, something from Pirates of the Caribbean, and by the end, something from The Italian Job. (A good example of my total lack of music knowledge here…)
- Tell us about the cover process. Is this what you had in mind?
The cover for this book blew me away. I was asked to provide a description of the heroine, and the art department utterly and completely captured my heroine in the model they chose. Add in an extravagant gown that hints at her past career and stage and a scene from the book itself, some glorious colors, and you end up with a truly incredible cover.
- If your book was being made into a movie, who would you include in your dream cast?
Stephen Amell as my hero (He pulled off remote and forbidding in the Vampire Diaries and in early episodes of Arrow. And then there’s the abs, of course…) Emma Stone as my heroine (she strikes me as clever and quick on her feet). There is also space in this one for Kit Harrington, Ian Somerhalder, Johnny Depp, Lily James, and Jennifer Lawrence. I hope there isn’t a salary cap on this question…
- Where do you find inspiration for you writing? Do you use real people/places as a foundation?
Inspiration comes from everywhere. Books, TV, movies, news, real life, history. I suspect it’s why most authors can often be seen scribbling madly on scraps of paper or notebooks at odd times. You never know when inspiration will strike!
- Do you have any hobbies or activities that you enjoy outside of writing?
I play and coach volleyball, I own a horse (that despises my attempts at polo with her, but tolerates working cattle), I love to dive & snorkel (whenever I get a chance on a holiday), I paint for fun (watercolors, oils, and acrylics), and of course, I read as much as I can!
- Would the 10 year-old version of yourself kick your butt or praise you for what you’ve accomplished in life?
My 10 year old self wanted to be a vet, a zookeeper, or an archeologist. In a roundabout way, I’ve managed to achieve all three (degrees and a career in vet physiology, a houseful of critters and kids both big and small, and the ability to bring history back to life). I think the 10 year old version would be pretty happy with my life (the 40 year old version is!) I love how my path to this moment has been unexpected, wonderful, and filled with amazing opportunities!