Please welcome Gina Danna back to the blog. Today she is promoting her latest book, Great and Unfortunate Desires! Gina has graciously agreed to give away a copy to one of you who leaves a comment saying you want it.
As always we’ll start with the cover!
Now the blurb.
Victorian England c. 1870
Operating as a British spy, Tristan St.James, the new Marquis of Wrenworth, barely escapes Afghanistan with his life in the spring of 1869. He plans to seek vengeance against the traitor who exposed him and for the agent he’s forced to kill. Returning to England, as a lord, he must marry. Haunted by guilt from the horrors of war, he avoids love at all costs, but finds himself drawn to the only woman who is disinterested in him.
Lady Evelyn Hurstine has waited over two years for the return of her love, a man who left for war in the East. But during that time, she suffered a brutal assault, resulting in a child and fear of any man touching her except for the man she once knew. The pursuit by the marquis scares her but her excuses against his proposal dwindle.
Their marriage strengthens into love until she discovers her husband isn’t the safety she believed but the one who killed the man she once loved. Caught in a world of intrigue and mayhem, Tristan must prove his love to her before the traitor destroys them both.
And finally an excerpt.
After all the years he’d spent in India and Afghanistan, nothing much surprised Tristan other than English ideas on manners and morals. Relaxing in a leather cushioned chair at Brooks, trying to forget Livingston’s cautionary dismissal, Tristan sipped his brandy while other patrons debated the recent bets placed in the club’s infamous ledger. With the Season in full session, matchmaking wagers almost outnumbered the vulturous mothers of the debutantes. Tristan’s stomach roiled because he knew his name was now listed in the book.
Harry sat to Tristan’s right watching Tristan as he toyed with an unlit cigar. Finally Harry laughed.
“I fail to see the humor in this,” Tristan griped.
Harry slid to the edge of his chair. “Aren’t you curious who you’re linked with?”
“That is what is so funny. The fact that you say that, yet you sit there, smoke pouring from your ears…”
“That is simply my cigar.”
Harry’s grin spread further. Both knew the cigar wasn’t burning. “Right. Well, in case you are wondering…”
“And I’m not,” Tristan stated flatly.
“I placed money on you and the Hurstine chit.” He sat back, arms crossed, and waited for a response.
Tristan’s gaze narrowed. There was something about her, beyond her beauty, which called to him. His body registered her presence, albeit in memory only, stirring his loins to attention and inflaming his desire for her. She was fire and ice, a mystery. “Why her?”
Laughter again from Harry. “Good lord, man, haven’t you queried Debrett’s about her? Or that lovely Lady Sarah you’ve been escorting around?”
The barren environment and simple lifestyle of the East was looking better and better to Tristan. Olive-skinned women with kohl-shadowed eyes and veiled faces were far more interesting than those of his own country. Frankly, he’d prayed he would be exempt from all this, but, as Harry so annoyingly pointed out, he wasn’t. Except for the ice queen and her pretty friend, few Englishwomen attracted him. But he feared if he looked in the book, he’d discover some bettors had associated him with several others.
“All right Harry. You’ve peeked. Tell me of these ladies.”
Harry chuckled. “I truly think you should take a gander yourself, but” he leaned in, “the Winston line is long and well established, with money but no title. In the Hurstine family, though, the father is a baron and one with money. Many believe he’s gone into trade to increase his wealth.”
Tristan caught his friend’s sneer at the end of the sentence. His gaze narrowed. “Trade? What a shame. Eliminates her immediately. Oh, the audacity!”
Harry frowned, Tristan’s sarcasm lost on him. “You know your solicitors could rule out such a match as inappropriate because of that.”
Tristan laughed. “Harry, my dear boy, trade may be the only thing that’ll help the snobby nobility. Land isn’t the means to an end anymore, my boy. Not when grain from the Americas is cheaper than home grown. No, no.” But Harry still had a look about him that made Tristan push. “What else about her?”
Harry’s brow furrowed. “There is a story, rumor, but you know how they go in these areas…”
“About what?” Tristan’s voice rose, aggravated. His stomach tightened. What on God’s green earth was he rambling about? If there was something else about her supposed unsuitability, he needed to know what it was.
His friend swallowed loudly and cleared his throat. “There was an episode, or so it’s been said, that she has a bastard. Or cares for one at any rate.” He shrugged.
Tristan frowned. The Ice Queen? A child? Her? She looked half-scared, half-frozen—too much so to allow intimacy. Thoughts of another man being close to her, touching her, made his skin prickle. A feeling of possessiveness overcame him, one he fought mightily to ignore.
“That is one of the most ridiculous accusations I’ve ever heard,” he spouted. It couldn’t be true, could it?
Buy links: Unfortunately, the book is not yet up on Amazon or the other sites as this blog goes live.
I’ve had two loves since childhood – horses and history. I read everything I could to learn about horses, all The Black Stallion series by Walter Farley and collected every Breyer horse model I could buy. As to history, I devoured everything I could about the historic sites my parents took me to and fell in love with John Jakes North & South series. Later, that turned to historic romances and I was lost.
But I had to grow up, choose a major and career. One of my loves set the path – History. Got my BA & MA in European History and US from the University of Missouri and did PhD work through St. Louis University. Those degrees got me into the museum field, making history my career.
All those years of academic research abilities have helped me in writing historical romance. But heroes and heroines are more than monarchs, presidents, despots, and war machines. They’re real people, living in a time many romanticize about without understanding the complexities. These people love, hate, worry, celebrate and live like we do. How? Research, research, and more research. Diaries, census records, wills, deeds, church sermons, letters, laws, and so much more. Years of being a Civil War Reenactor helped me go beyond academia to get to the backbone of these people – who they were. The past is a fascinating adventure, real and alive, with discoveries at every corner. These people loved and fought just like we do today.
With my son off to college, I have the freedom to now research and write what I’ve longed to write – not for academia, not for formal education but from my heart. As a member of RWA, MORWA, HHRW, and The Beau Monde, I get to experience the new adventure of the love in the past. That is, as long as I still pay attention to my supervisors – my two black labs, my three cats and yes, my Arabian gelding, named Shetan, after The Black Stallion. Both my childhood loves together at last.