Monday, July 1, 2013

Blond-Haired Devil!




Good Morning, readers!  PJ here.  It's my pleasure to welcome one of my favorite people today.  A visit from Anna Campbell is always a special treat and this month we're blessed with her presence not once, but twice!  Today, Anna joins us to talk about two of my favorite topics:  heroes (we do love them, don't we?) and a new Anna Campbell story (always cause for celebration in my house!)  Anna's new historical novella, "Days of Rakes and Roses"  will be released tomorrow.

You can find more information about Anna and her books at her website and read an excerpt from "Days of Rakes and Roses" here.   Anna can also be found regularly blogging at Romance Bandits and, of course, is here at the Romance Dish the 24th of every month with her Second Helping reviews.  



BLOND-HAIRED DEVIL
By Anna Campbell 

(I use that title with apologies to Lisa Kleypas - but I read her BLUE-EYED DEVIL this week and wow, what a great book!)

Hi Dishes! Thank you for having me as your guest today. It's great to be here with my non-reviewer hat on. As many of you know, I'm a regular on this blog on the 24th of every month with a column called Second Helping, all about books I've enjoyed, often older publications, that you may have missed. Last month, I did Jennifer Crusie's wonderful MAYBE THIS TIME. 

But today I want to talk about a subject dear to my heart - heroes!

When I started out writing historical romance, I was tall, dark and handsome all the way. I liked them saturnine and devilish and black-haired! The Duke of Kylemore, the Marquess of Sheene, the Earl of Erith, Sir Gideon Trevithick, the Earl of Ashcroft, dusky to a man!

And then with my sixth book, MIDNIGHT'S WILD PASSION, something changed.

I went over to the...light side!

The wicked Marquess of Ranelaw in that book had golden hair. Then I went back true to form with Jonas SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE'S BED. He was dark both inside and out, at least at the start!
Merrick from



Since then, I've done two blond heroes! Shock! Sir Richard Harmsworth, the hero of A RAKE'S MIDNIGHT KISS (out from Grand Central Forever on 27th August) is blond. So is Simon Metcalf, the rakish hero of my e-novella DAYS OF RAKES AND ROSES which is out tomorrow. That makes three of my last four heroes blondies! What is the world coming to?

I don't think it's coincidental (although this theory doesn't hold water for Ranelaw) that both Simon and Richard are slightly lighter heroes in all senses than my usual beastly fare. One of the things I really enjoyed about writing this novella is it gave me a chance to tell a story that, while it hopefully had plenty of emotional depth, explored characters and conflicts that I'd have had to stretch past tolerance for a full-length novel.

Both Simon and his heroine, the Duke of Sedgemoor's sister, have baggage to deal with and problems to solve, not to mention that Simon returns from the Continent to find his childhood sweetheart Lydia about to marry someone else! But I don't think either Simon or Lydia counts as tortured - at least tortured in terms of the Anna Campbell universe!





It was also fun giving readers another glimpse of some of the other characters in the Sons of Sin world. Because this story is set before the events in SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE'S BED, Jonas gets a mere mention and Sidonie doesn't make an appearance - after all, she's not part of the glamorous world of Regency London when she meets her true love. But I had a lovely time with Sir Richard being nonchalant and witty and the Duke of Sedgemoor being Mr. Perfect. I hope readers will be champing at the bit to see both those guys get their comeuppance when they fall in love with completely unsuitable women!

Oh, and let me mention one other way this story is light - it's light on the pocket too! 99 cents strikes me as a bargain! I'd pay 99 cents just to see that beautiful pink cover!







So let's talk that really profound subject - hero hair color! Do you like your romance guys to be tall, dark and handsome like Cary Grant? Or blond and beautiful like Brad Pitt or Robert Redford? Do you have a favorite blond heart throb in a book or a movie or a TV show? Do you think hair color matters?

When you comment, please identify where you're from - for a very good reason, PRIZES! 

I've got a download of DAYS OF RAKES AND ROSES for someone from North America who comments today. For various complicated reasons, this new e-novella isn't available in other regions, but I've got a download of my e-novella THE WINTER WIFE for one international commenter. Good luck!



"Days of Rakes and Roses"
Grand Central Forever Yours
July 2, 2013


Lady Lydia Rothermere has spent the past decade trying to make up for a single, youthful moment of passion. Now the image of propriety, Lydia knows her future rests on never straying outside society's rigid rules; but hiding away the desire that runs through her is harder than she could have ever dreamed. Now as Lydia prepares for a marriage that will suit her family, but not her heart, Lydia must decide what's more important: propriety or passion?

Simon Metcalf is a rake and adventurer. But for all his experience, nothing can compare to the kiss he stole from the captivating Lydia Rothermere ten years ago. Simon can scarcely believe he's about to lose the one woman he's never forgotten. The attraction between them is irresistible, yet Lydia refuses to forsake her engagement. With his heart on the line, will Simon prove that love is a risk worth taking?

Download "Days of Rakes and Roses" from Amazon here and from Barnes & Noble here.  



A Rake's Midnight Kiss
Grand Central
August 27, 2013


It Takes a Lady
Brilliant scholar Genevieve Barrett knows how to keep a secret. Her identity as the author of her father's academic articles has always been her greatest deception-until a charming housebreaker tries to steal the mysterious Harmsworth Jewel from her. She doesn't reveal that she recognizes her father's devastatingly handsome new student as the thief himself. For Genevieve, this will be the most seductive secret of all...

To Catch a Thief
Sir Richard Harmsworth has been living a lie, maintaining a rakish facade to show society that he doesn't care about his status as a bastard. Yet long haunted by his unknown father's identity, Richard believes the Harmsworth Jewel will confirm his claim as the rightful heir. But when Richard sets out to seduce the bookworm who possesses the stone, he instead falls for its beautiful owner. But even as she steals Richard's heart, Genevieve will be in greater danger than her coveted treasure...

Pre-order A Rake's Midnight Kiss from Amazon here and from Barnes & Noble here.  


76 comments:

  1. I like both types of heros, dark hair and light hair. I am not much on red heads though for some reason. I am from Ky. and I love your books.

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    1. Thanks so much, Quilt Lady! It's interesting how the gingers get so little love, isn't it? My best friend (a girl) at primary school had this rich red hair that was almost the color of rubies so I think red hair can be very pretty.

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    2. Hi Quilt Lady!

      I'm not sure why they get such a bum rap but, have to admit, I'm not overly fond of red heads either.

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  2. I love tall, dark and handsome hero's, but my twist on that is I prefer them with piercing blue eyes.
    Thanks for the heads up on Days of Rakes and Roses being released tomorrow - I thought my next Anna Campbell fix wouldn't be until the release of "A Rake's Midnight Kiss"!
    Enjoy the release tomorrow Anna :-)

    Lucy from the Land Down Under
    (Australia)

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    1. Hi Lucy! Sadly, there's been a hiccup with getting this novella released in Australia. We're working on it! Simon has piercing blue eyes so clearly, he's a man you need to read about it! Looking forward to my release! Snort - there are people I know who would add 'from the lunatic asylum' to that last sentence! But clearly they would be misguided. LOL!

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    2. Hi Anna,

      Oops!!! I can now see how it can be misinterpreted!!!!
      Yes, it does sound like Simon will need investigating - this also could be misconstrued... ;-)

      Enjoy tomorrow :-)

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    3. Ooh, piercing blue eyes. Love me some of those! :)

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    4. Lucy, Simon says he's perfectly happy to be 'investigated'!

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  3. How delicious Anna! So excited for the 99 cents of "Days of Rakes and Roses"~!!! I also find myself attracted to tall, dark, and mysterious gentlemen. They're just so....ravishing! But now that you mention it, I barely have any heroes' who are blondes! Most of the books I've read have black to brown hair. But then the first hero that came to mind that I love is the Marquis of Blakeney from Miranda Neville's Burgundy Club series. He is truly a gorgeous man! Ah and he has a tortured soul and a huge secret!

    From US

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    1. Oh, Kipha, when you mention Miranda Neville's books, it is music to my ear. I love her writing. Blakeney is indeed a big lump of delicious blondness! Yeah, 99 cents is something shout about, isn't it?

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    2. Kipha, just when I decide I'm all about the tall, dark heroes along comes a sexy blond to knock my socks off. :)

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  4. I prefer tall dark and handsome. However, when I married it was to light hair!

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    1. Betty, how interesting! Actually I've got a couple of fave light-haired heroes. Francis Crawford from Dorothy Dunnett's Lymond series is a blondie and they nearly always make the Scarlet Pimpernel a blond. Or at least they did in the old 1930s film with Leslie Howard and the delicious newer version with delicious Anthony Andrews.

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    2. I prefer tall dark and handsome. However, when I married it was to light hair!

      I did the same! Isn't that funny?

      Anna, I adored Anthony Andrews in The Scarlet Pimpernel!

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    3. PJ, AA was a bit of a model for Sir Richard Harmsworth in A RAKE'S MIDNIGHT KISS. Kept hearing that sexy drawl!

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  5. PJ, thank you for that gorgeous intro! Love being here! xxx

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    1. We always love having you here, Anna!

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  6. I like dark and handsome hero's, but I Guess if the hero was handsome enough it don't matter what color there hair is. I live in the Taylor, Michigan in the USA

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    1. Hi Tonya! Actually it's kind of fun to see where everyone's from, even without the prize question, isn't it? Yeah, I'm with you - I'm hair colorblind if the hero is yummy enough! ;-)

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    2. Welcome, Tonya! I grew up on the western side of Michigan. Beautiful state!

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  7. I prefer dark heroes (coloring not personality) but I'm not too fussy either way really. The character & the story is more important.

    I'm an international reader.

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    1. Hi Linda! I got quite a shock when I realized I'd done three out of the last four heroes as blond. I wonder what that says about my deep psychological urges! Good luck!

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    2. The character & the story is more important.

      I agree, Linda.

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  8. I like tall, dark and handsome! With a scruffy beard and to me , blondes just don't do scruffy well! I'm from Mississippi.

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    1. I don't know, Martha. I thought Robert Redford (as Sundance) did scruffy rather well. ;-)

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    2. Good point, PJ. Actually neither of those guys was dark and they were perfectly acceptable in my pantheon of heroes! ;-)

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  9. Martha, actually dark does look better with that stubble thing going, I agree. Good luck!

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  10. Hi Anna,
    i'm preferring Dark haired heroes over blond ones, just like i always do with chocolate ice cream over any other flavors. My favorite dark haired, blue eyed hero would be our man of steel, Henry Cavill. And Richard Madden from Game of Throne. I was and still am upset with Mr. RR. Martin for murdering him in the red wedding episode. And of course i prefer all Austen heroes to be tall n dark haired as Mr. Darcy, Mr. Rochester, Mr. Bertram n Mr. Edward Ferrar. They just seem more "manly" than any blond heroes. Well, at least Orlando Bloom definitely most handsome as a blond fairy in Lord Of The Ring.
    Good luck with the launching of Days Of Rakes And Roses Anna.
    Here is my address :
    Dewi Ariani
    ICU RSUD. H. Damanhuri Barabai
    Jalan murakata no.4
    Barabai, Kalimantan Selatan
    Indonesia.

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    1. Hi Dewi! Thanks for joining the discussion. Good luck with the giveaway!

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  11. Hi Dewi! Lovely to see you here! Laughing at you and the chocolate comment - yeah, there's that to be said for dark-haired heroes. Have to say I don't like white chocolate at all! I must watch Game of Thrones - everybody raves about it. And yeah, Orlando B made a LOVELY elf!

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  12. Anna

    I am happy with both dark and light I can fall for a hero in most of the books I read LOL and I am so sweating on this novella being released here in OZ I couldn't cope missing out on an Anna Campbell read :)

    Have Fun
    Helen

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    1. LOL! I am so with you Helen. I've read six books over the past couple weeks and I've fallen in love with every single hero, regardless of hair color! :)

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    2. Helen, we're trying! You'll definitely hear!

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    3. PJ, it's one of the lovely things about reading romance, isn't it? We fall in love with so many luscious men! It's lovely to write the stuff too - although my heroines get a bit possessive, sheesh!

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  13. Hi, Anna! Congrats on your new novella! I guess I don't have a preference for blond or dark-haired heroes. Just a side note, my own hero has brown hair and blue eyes. ;) When he was younger, he had beautiful chestnut colored hair. Many heroines have red hair, auburn tresses flowing....I am sure there are heroes out there that have also had red or auburn hair color, but that definitely isn't the norm, is it?
    One of my favorite heroes from tv is Tom Selleck; brown hair, dimples, engaging smile, and twinkling eyes. He was my fave way before I met my husband, but, my DH did look like Tom when he was younger.
    Congrats again!!!!

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    1. Oops, forgot to mention....Iowa/U.S.

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    2. Tom Selleck as Magnum? Be still my heart! ::sigh::



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    3. He's so adorable! I love Tom Selleck, esp in QUIGLEY DOWN UNDER.

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    4. Wow, Deb! You married a Tom Selleck lookalike? You lucky duck! Actually I've always thought it was the smile in his eyes that was really sexy. There's something about smile lines around a guy's eyes that always works for me regardless of hair color. Laughed at the red hair thing - Lydia is my first redhead! I love how they got the coloring right for both of them on the cover.

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  14. Hi Anna!

    Hair colour doesn't matter to me in books. :) It's only in real life that I have a preference! :) I think personality matters more...

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    1. The right personality is definitely important!

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    2. May, I think personality matters more in both books and real life. But it's fun to play with the fantasy!

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  15. I'm a sucker for dark hair--usually BLACK INKY SILKY hair. :) Thick and wavy, roguishly waving over his brow. So if I'm writing or looking for a hero, I usually go for the dark-haired one...

    BUT...

    When I was young-young-young, it was blond all the way. *LOL* I had a huge crush on Bo Duke (John Schneider) from Dukes of Hazard (youth is my reason for lack of taste in television quality and I like fast cars)--and I still kinda do. He's aged well. I'd still take a ride in his General Lee.

    So if it's the right blond...I'd do it.

    Same with a ginger hair. :) Kevin McKidd (isn't that his name?)--he's a hot ginger to me. :)

    You know what else I find dead sexy--the Bruce Willis look. He doesn't have a hair color because he doesn't have hair, but dang he's hot. I'd like to find one of these guys occasionally in a romance. :) Probably not necessarily historical...but hello contemporary...

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    1. Hellion, I was at boarding school when the Dukes of Hazard was on so I missed the glory! I missed a whole stack of essential 70s TV - Starsky and Hutch springs to mind. And I really think you need to see these things when they're hot. They look a bit sad thirty years later! You're right about Kevin McKidd - he has such amazing intensity on screen. There's a Mary Queen of Scots miniseries that's unrelentingly grim but he plays Bothwell and oh, my Lordy, Lordy, Lordy, the screen nearly ignites when he looks at her!

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  16. Doesn't really make a difference to me - it's the personality that draws me. Although it seems most I read are dark and sometimes I am surprised when reading when I hear they are light. I'm in Florida. :)

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    1. Hi Phyllis! I think there's really something to be said about that blond classic English gentleman look like Rupert Penry-Jones. Think he makes a wonderful Regency hero!

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  17. Hi, Anna! I expect to be reading Days of Rakes and Roses tomorrow since I pre-ordered it, along with Christina's Last True Scoundrel, Nancy's Guardian, and a few other July 2 releases. They should be on my Kindle shortly after midnight. :)

    When it comes to romance heroes, I'm an equal opportunity lover. Probably most of my favorite romance heroes are dark-haired, but that's because dark-haired heroes are a substantial majority. Blond heroes in historical romance whom I remember fondly include Comte d'Esmond (an Albanian with sapphire eyes!) in Loretta Chase's Captives of the Night, Octavius Fitzroger (who is gorgeously represented on the book cover) from Jo Beverley's A Most Unsuitable Man, Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent (one of the best redeemed heroes ever) from Lisa Kleypas's Devil in Winter, the Marquess of Vere (a smart hero who plays dumb, a trope I love) in Sherry Thomas's His at Night, Mark Turner (maybe the best virgin hero in romance fiction) in Courtney Milan's Unclaimed, and Lord Alec Deveril (a strong, vulnerable beta who totally stole my heart) in Manda Collins's How to Romance a Rake.

    And I love red-haired heroes too. Most recently, I adored Phineas Burke in Juliana Gray's A Lady Never Lies.

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    1. Janga, hope you enjoy Simon and Lydia's story! It's very much a classic Regency. I've got Guardian on the TBR pile. I giggled the whole way through Christina's book - it's SOOOO funny and he's such a scoundrel. It's delicious!

      Great list of blond heroes! I'm not sure I can think of a redhaired hero apart from Jamie in Outlander which I haven't read. Oh, I had such a crush on the Comte d'Esmond. I really need to re-read that story.

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  18. Hair color? They're all good! I really don't have a favorite, though my own Hubby has brown hair. Thanks for visiting today--fun post. (US)

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    1. Thanks for saying you enjoyed the post! Always love to visit the Dishies and this month I get two bites at their cherry - hmm, that didn't come out quite right!

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  19. Hi, Anna! I have always had a weak-at-the-knees thing for men with blond hair and blue eyes. This is probably because there really aren’t that many of them as dark hair and dark eyes seems to dominate. I married a guy with dark hair and hazel and he’s my heart. So, go figure.

    I’m always delighted when I come across a novel with the blond haired hero. It seems everyone is so ready to go for the dark and mysterious man. So, I’m glad you chose to do something different. It makes life a lot more fun when you mix things up a bit.

    Congratulations on all you do, Anna. You have more energy in your little finger than I have in my whole body! :-) Maybe it’s something to do with the tea. I really DO need to come see you. *grinning*

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    1. Connie, I'm stockpiling tea and reading cookie recipes for your visit! ;-) Actually I had to laugh - it's early in the morning here in Australia (cold midwinter) and I'm rugged up like the Michelin Man with a cup of tea at my elbow. Always start the day with tea. So glad you like a blond hero. Not sure why I've had a sudden rush of them although when the hero pops into my mind, he's already got a 'look' and all these three had the blond look!

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    2. Tea, cookies and blond haired men. It just doesn’t get any better than that! :-)

      ((Hugs))

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  20. I will take the either way, as long as they are tall & handsome!

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    1. Sharlene, I've even read the occasional hero who was medium height. Shock! I remember a wonderful old M.M. Kaye romance called THE SHADOW OF THE MOON set during the Indian uprising in the 1850s and the hero of that was both blond and height challenged. Somehow I still fell in love with him! He was so gallant and brave!

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  21. Hi Anna! Hi PJ and Andrea, thanks for having Anna today on the Dish! I stayed up late last night reading DAYS OF RAKES AND ROSES! HUGE SIGH!!! As you say, Anna, it is a lighter book but it's still written in your wonderfully rich, deeply passionate style. I just fell into the book and rolled around in it like bed full of rose petals. Thank you for a lovely experience! And of course Simon is to die for!

    As for heroes--I tend to like them dark on the whole but there are some blonds who really stand out for me. And it's funny, there are some dark haired heroes whom I imagine as blond even when they're not. I haven't written a blond hero yet, strangely, but I have one coming up in the series I'm writing now. Looking forward to that one.

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    1. Wow, Christina! What a fabulous compliment. Thank you! I so love the rose petals line - can I steal it? I'm looking forward to your blond too. I'm picturing Rupert Penry-Jones in all his aristocratic bone structure! Simon was a RPJ type in my mind.

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  22. while I've always like tall dark & handsome, light & charming works for me as well -- ok, I admit I love 'em all :) congrats on the new releases they both sound great (no surprise there) :) (us)

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    1. Hey, thanks, Gamistress! What a lovely thing to say. Yeah, I've got to say I'm pretty much an eclectic hero collector. If they're gorgeous, they can join my bookshelf. And by gorgeous, I don't necessarily mean on the outside. As you know, I have a real soft spot for a beast too!

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  23. This is an easy one for me. I like men that are tall, dark and handsome. Blue eyes are a definite plus. I always think of Tom Wopat in his younger days. I know a lot of you are wonder who that is. Luke Duke from The Dukes of Hazard. I'm getting old... sue me. LOL thank you for the giveaway!

    Oh, I'm from North Carolina TOO.

    Wanda Barefoot
    flghtlss1(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Hi Wanda! You know, I'd have said tall, dark and handsome too - my mum was a great Cary Grant fan so he was sort of imprinted on me as the ideal man. The Dukes of Hazzard are getting some love today!

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  24. Congrats Anna on the newest release! Ummm... I don't really have a preference for my book heroes :) But I do find that I prefer brunettes in real life.... :) (USA)

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    1. Erin, thanks for the congrats! Excited about this one and I LOVE that cover to death. I definitely think that the classic hero is tall, DARK and handsome!

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  25. Well, married to a redhead, whose gone grey... but I do like dark hair better than blonds... Love your books and they always have such amazing covers!!

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  26. Thanks, GGH! Isn't that cover a doozy? I still drool over it which probably means it's a good thing it's only available digitally. No way to transmit the spit (hmm, that needs to go on a T-shirt!).

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  27. Anna!!! Congrats on your new e-release! I hope they fly into everyone's e-readers!

    Personally, I like my heroes tall, dark, and handsome. I'm not sure why, but I just prefer dark-haired heroes. And I'll even admit that many times I have pictured blond heroes with dark hair while reading. BUT, with that being said, I will say that when I watched the new BBC version of Persuasion, I fell hard for Rupert Penry-Jones! Now, if I encounter a blond hero, they resemble him. *g*

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    1. Andrea, thanks so much for having me here today! As you know, I love visiting you guys! Fly, little novella, fly!!! ;-)

      I think Christina Brooke turned me onto the magnificence that is RPJ - he just looks like the perfect Regency hero to me. Something about that clean-cut bone structure and he's long and lean too - that's definitely a style of man I'm partial to!

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  28. Congratulations on the new release. It's strange how most female characters can get away with any hair color, but readers are particular about the hero's hair color. I think eye color is more important than hair color. For some reason, I like heroes with green or blue eyes.

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  29. Kim, I've done a stack of green and blue eyed heroes. I must admit to a penchant for gray eyes in a hero. I think it's all those steely-eyed Brits I read in gothics as I was growing up. Thanks for the congrats!

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  30. I like tall, dark and handsome!

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    1. Chey, so do I, but tall, blond and handsome will fit the bill too! ;-)

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  31. How funny you should bring up blond heroes. I think when Fabio ruled the World of Covers, there were more blond characters. I just re-read "The Prince of Midnight," a Laura Kinsale classic that I picked up at a garage sale in its original, Fabio-covered glory, and enjoyed imagining a blond man for the first time in ages. Then, at a used book store, I grabbed Merline Lovelace's "Countess in Buckskin." Another blond hero! Let me check the copyright date on that one. I've got it right here. It's 1998, so it seems to me like we are long overdue for a resurgence of the blond man.

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    1. Caro, perhaps I'm in the vanguard of fashion! Wouldn't that be great. I actually have that Fabio LK - it's the first book of hers I read, adored it and adored everything else she's written as a result of discovering that one in a UBS. Haven't read the Merline L - must check it out!

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  32. Wow, what a great day of blogging. Thanks so much for everyone who swung by and don't forget to swing back to see who won the prizes! Dishies, you're lovely as ever!

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  33. I prefer blue or brown eyes and dark brown wavy as well as brown skin. He gonna look exotic

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  34. Interesting, Juliana! I've always wanted to write a book featuring Akash from Captive of Sin. He falls into that category!

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