Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Today's Special - - Christina Brooke


It's a pleasure to welcome one of my favorite authors - and people - back to the Romance Dish.  I first "met" her at the Romance Bandits blog, fell in love with her writing through her books written as Christine Wells and now through the books she writes as Christina Brooke.  Her Ministry of Marriage trilogy sits on my keeper shelf soon to be joined by the stories of the Westruther men.  

Leaving the legal profession behind for a full-time writing career, Christina is the first Australian to win the prestigious Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart® award for unpublished manuscripts as well as being a two-time RITA® finalist for published books. She's a busy wife and mom who is already hard at work on her next book, a fact that makes loyal readers like me very, very happy!

Find out more about Christina at her website, visit with her at Romance Bandits and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.   



Welcome back, Christina!  Congratulations on today’s release of LONDON'S LAST TRUE SCOUNDREL.  It’s been getting great pre-publication buzz including a 4.5 star Top Pick from RT Book Reviews.  Please tell our readers what they can expect from this book.

PJ, it’s so wonderful to be back here with you and Andrea. We’ve been friends for a long time now, haven’t we? Thank you for the warm welcome and congratulations. I’m proud of the Top Pick at RT.  What can readers expect? Well, in a word, buttocks. There is much talk about my hero’s “spectacular hindquarters” in this book! Which is odd, really, as my heroine Hilary is struggling hard to overcome her crude and vulgar ancestry and really does *not* want to think about bottoms. She’s from the deVere family, which, as anyone who reads my books will know, is the ramshackle, unprincipled, no-good clan in my Ministry of Marriage series. Meanwhile, Jonathon, Earl of Davenport, is doing his best to ensure that Hilary and her good intentions part company as soon as possible!  This was such a fun book to write. I hope readers have as great a time with it as I did.

Well, I certainly had a great time!  Hilary and Jonathon are so much fun together.  The sparks between the two of them practically leap from the pages.  What would you like readers to understand about each of these characters?

Thank you! Hilary is the only one Jonathon can’t fool with his rakish insouciance. She sees through his ploys to get her into bed, but on closer acquaintance she sees the good in him, too. With Jonathon, Hilary can let down her guard and eventually, he grows to love and appreciate the imperfect woman behind the prim façade. Ultimately, this is a book about belonging and by the end, Hilary and Jonathon find home and family together.

There are so many great scenes in this book.  Without giving away spoilers, what’s the one scene you would never cut from the story?

Haha, PJ, you’ve probably guessed my favourite scene already. The one where the ceiling falls in on Davenport when he’s in bed and Hilary rushes in to find him standing naked amongst the rubble like some ancient statue amid the sacking of Rome. I remember reading that out to my crit partners, Anna Campbell and Denise Rossetti and we laughed so hard we were crying. It’s nice to get a reaction like that!

Love that scene!  Speaking of critique partners, you recently spent the weekend brainstorming with the two ladies mentioned above.  Discounting the wine, the fabulous meals and the awesome chocolate mousse that had me drooling all over my keyboard, what are the benefits of a critique group for a writer? 

Oh, the chocolate mousse was divine! You know, these days, Anna Campbell, Denise Rossetti and I are more there to support one another than anything else. Getting together to plot has become such a pleasure for us.  We’ve learned to do our brainstorming *before* wine and food, though. Otherwise things degenerate fast! It is getting harder to critique each other’s manuscripts these days as our deadlines so often clash but I read for Denise and Anna when I can and they read for me.  When you have a skilled crit partner you trust implicitly, critiquing is a wonderful thing.

Before this book begins, circumstances require Jonathon to disappear, letting everyone believe he has died.  Without taking it quite that far, if you could take a break from your everyday life for, say, a month, where would you go and what would you do?

Oh, what a great question, PJ! I think I’d go to England and do some in-depth research on stately homes. I know, it would be a busman’s holiday but I’d love it.

While we’re gearing up for lazy days reading by the pool, you’re heading into winter.  Where’s your favorite place to curl up with a good book on cold, winter days?  Have you read anything lately that you’d recommend?

Oh, I envy you the heat! I try to find a sunny spot on my deck and sit there soaking up the sunshine. Reading in bed with a cup of coffee is good, too. I know that makes me sound so lazy! As for recommendations, I do a lot of reading by audiobook at the moment. I loved THE ASHFORD AFFAIR by Lauren Willig and GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn. In romance, I can’t speak highly enough of my dear Anna Campbell’s DAYS OF RAKES AND ROSES. I’ve also been on a Kristan Higgins glom-fest so that was awesome, too. Love Julie Anne Long also and I recently caught up on one or two of her series I’d missed somehow.

I am so looking forward to reading Anna's "Days of Rakes and Roses."  It downloaded to my Kindle this morning and is waiting for me along with Julie Ann Long's new book, IT HAPPENED ONE MIDNIGHT.  I adore her Pennyroyal Green series! 

What’s next from the Ministry of Marriage?



Strictly speaking, the Ministry of Marriage series finished with Cecily’s story in A DUCHESS TO REMEMBER. I’m concentrating on the male Westruthers in this ‘spin-off’ series.  Next in line is the Earl of Beckenham’s story in THE GREATEST LOVER EVER (out in December). Seriously, Beckenham does *not* think of himself as some sort of Regency Casanova—you’ll have to read the book to see what the title is all about! But I have a deep and abiding love for Beckenham as an honorable, dependable (and also hot) alpha male. He is a little set in his ways, however, and needed a woman who would drive him crazy. I think I’ve achieved that with his former fiancée Georgie Black! There’s a teaser for this book at the back of LONDON’S LAST TRUE SCOUNDREL.

Ah yes, that teaser, as well as the amazing cover you recently unveiled, has me counting the days for THE GREATEST LOVER EVER!  





Thanks so much for visiting with us today, Christina.  Any final thoughts?  Would you like to ask our readers a question? 

Thank you a thousand times for having me, PJ, and for asking such great questions.

OK, dear dishy readers! I’m going to steal PJ’s great question above. What about you? If you could take a break from everyday life and money (and reality) were no object, what would you do? 

One lucky commenter will win a signed copy of LONDON’S LAST TRUE SCOUNDREL.

83 comments:

  1. Happy Release Day, Christina. I would love to get away by taking a Mediterranean cruise with stops in Venice, Mykonos and Corsica and take in the sights.

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    1. Hello ladies! Hi PJ and Andrea, sorry I'm late to the party -- I had a late evening last night and it's 5am here so forgive me if I'm a bit bleary-eyed:)

      Jane, thanks so much for the good wishes. That cruise sounds divine! I've never been to Greece before. Lovely!

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    2. No worries, Christina. Hope the late night was due to something fun!

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  2. Congratulations on your newest release!

    To be honest, if I could get away to a cabin with no telephone signal for a few days, I'll be happy. I'm actually planning on a trip like that now that my exams are over.

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    1. Thanks Antonia. Oh, I know the feeling, believe me! I'd take some writer friends with me, though, who know when to chat and when to work. Hope your exams went well!

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    2. I think a getaway to a remote cabin sounds delightful!

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  3. Congratulations on your release of LONDON'S LAST TRUE SCOUNDREL.

    I would travel, in style, throughout Great Britain for a year.

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    1. Hi Mary! Thank you! Ah, a lady after my own heart. I think I would do the same.

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    2. That sounds like fun, Mary. Visiting the UK is on my bucket list.

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  4. Congratulations to Christina on her new book! If I could take a break and do anything I would travel through Europe.

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    1. Thanks, Maureen:) Oh, I'm jealous of all of these adventures and they're only imaginary! I want to go to Europe, too! One of those cruises on the Danube would be lovely.

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    2. I would love to tour Europe! I've been there but there are so many countries yet to be explored. :)

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  5. If I could break away and take a break, I would go with you on that tour of the stately homes of England. It is something that I have wanted to do for such a long time. When I read a historical romance novel, I LOVE it when an author takes the time to add lots of descriptions of the home(s) involved. It allows me, the reader, to indulge my fantasy of actually being there. So, if you go on that tour, I would be happy to carry your bags and help you take notes! ;-)

    Congratulations on your upcoming release of “London’s Last True Scoundrel.” I am so looking forward to reading it and have put it on my Wish List.

    All the best!

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    1. Hi Connie, can I come in your suitcase, please? Usually if I set a book in a country estate I base it on a real one, so that I have a clear picture of it in my mind's eye. I love that kind of detail, too. Thanks so much for your congrats, hope you enjoy my Scoundrel!

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    2. I think we should have a reader-author tour of England and Scotland. That's my idea of a dream vacation!

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  6. I read "Mad About the Earl" and Heiress In Love"... LOVE 'em both. Travel.. Travel.. and Travel some more, that's what I would do, and of course, since I haven't been to the 'Down Under' yet, so that would be one of my itineraries as well. ;)

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    1. Hi Dotland, if you ever come to Australia, you should look me up! I hope you do make it out here one day. It's worth it, I promise, if only for the Tim Tams!

      Lovely to hear you've read my books, thank you so much!

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    2. Dotland, you definitely should give London's Last True Scoundrel a try. It's wonderful!

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  7. Happy release day! We have been waiting for this one.
    I would fulfill a bucket list item and head for the British Isles. I want to see them all, hope for a chance to see a Scotsman in full kilt.

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    1. Thank you so much, lovely to see you here, Dianna! LOL on the man in the kilt! There was a clan reunion where I live where I could have done that but I'd rather see him in his natural habitat!

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    2. Dianna, I've seen a Scotsman in full kit but never in his home country. It's a dream of mine too.

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  8. Welcome back, Christina, and congrats on your latest release! The cover is gorgeous and I laughed out loud when I read your "buttocks" remark! Ha! Will you be at RWA in Atlanta in a couple weeks?

    Like the others, I would travel. I would love to visit all the places I'd love to see in the United States. We have so many monuments, memorials, and beautiful National Parks that my family and I would be in heaven!

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    1. Hi Andrea, thank you so much for the lovely welcome and for having me on the Dish! I know, I was a bit cheeky about the buttocks in this book. In fact, when my editor asked for a physical description of the hero, I included "great butt" and look what she gave me!

      Yes, I'd love to see a lot more of the United States than I have from just going to conferences. Sadly I won't be in Atlanta this year. Too busy writing a book! I'll miss you! Hope you have fun:)

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  9. Congrats on your book! :)

    Hmm.. travel around the world for sure. :) Love travelling and shopping!

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    1. Thanks, May. Ooh, I like a woman with big ideas:) Definitely around the world would be amazing.

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    2. Traveling and shopping - two of my favorite activities, especially when done together!

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  10. easy relax & work on conquering my tbr pile & wish list ;) Congrats on the latest release & great reviews

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    1. I'm afraid it's going to take years to conquer my tbr stash! lol

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  11. Christina, congrats on your new release. It sounds so good; I love the title....a scoundrel who is going to fall hard for the heroine, I think.

    I would like to return to Denmark and take more time visiting my grandfather's childhood home. But, I also would like to travel to either England or New Zealand. Both have beauty and history that intrigue me.

    You know what? I would also like to take time to show my daughter some of the beautiful places that are right here in our state of Iowa.

    Looking forward to reading LLTS!

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    1. Thanks, Deb! My editor can take full credit for the title. That's an interesting collection of places to visit. I've always wanted to go to Denmark, since seeing a great travel show on the country. Hope you get to go there.

      Hope you enjoy LLTS!

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    2. Deb, I've visited your state and you do have many lovely places.

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  12. I would like to see Italy

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  13. If I could do anything, money no object, then I would hie myself off to a castle in Cornwall. I'd love to wonder room to room, touching things, and seeing in my mind all that had happened over the years. It would also be the icing on the cake to be near a famous "smugglers cove".

    Thank you for this opportunity to win "London's Last True Scoundrel", and congratulations to Christina on her new release.

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    1. Hi Diane, I'd love to do that, too. I've set two books in Cornwall. You might enjoy Rye, too, a very atmospheric smugglers' port!

      Thanks so much for the congrats!

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  14. Woot! Congratulations, Christina! I downloaded this book this morning and know I will love it.

    If I could take a break, with money no object, I would explore Hawaii for a month and swim with dolphins. Or else go to London for a month, use a luxury hotel as my base, and have Centre Court box seats for the 2nd week of Wimbledon.

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    1. Oh, Nancy, how lovely of you. Thank you! And congratulations on your release day!!!

      Oh, you are all making me want to fly away so badly! Hawaii would be heavenly right now when I'm shivering down here in Australia:) Thanks so much for popping in, Nancy!

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    2. I just returned from Hawaii, Nancy and highly recommend it. I'd love to go back for more than a week and visit all the islands.

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  15. Have to say what great covers! There are so many choices from traveling to building a home with its own library to building an animal sanctuary and my list could go on and on lol.

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    1. Hi Catslady, thank you. I'm pretty keen on these covers, too! LOL Ahhh, just the thought of a home with a library makes my mouth water. And what a beautiful idea to think of building an animal sanctuary.

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  16. Congratulations on the new book.

    I'd book a place near the ocean and walk on the beach and go sightseeing.

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    1. Thanks, Kim. That sounds like bliss to me!

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  17. Hi Christina! So happy to have you with us today. I've read London's Last True Scoundrel and it's wonderful! I love, love, love this couple. They're just so much fun! :)

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    1. Hi PJ, thank you so much for having me here today. Wonderful to hear you enjoyed LLTS. I'm so pleased you loved the couple. I had a lot of fun with them.

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  18. If London's Last True Scoundrel weren't already on my Kindle, I'd rush to buy it on the basis of your "rakish insouciance" description alone, Christina.

    If time and money were no object, I'd spend a month cruising the Greek Isles and soaking up history, atmosphere, and inspiration.

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    1. LOL, Janga. Thank you so much for buying my Scoundrel, hope you enjoy!

      Oh, another Greek island fan. Greece was probably my favourite of the ancient civilizations. I'd be right there with you, Janga!

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  19. Hi PJ! Hi Christina! What lovely people to find in one place. Christina, thank you for the plug for Roses - and don't we have fun when we have our girlie weekends? Even when the weather's bad, as it was this last time, it's still an uproarious get-together.

    Oh, man, London's Last True Scoundrel! What a read. I was laughing like a loon at Jonathon's attempts to seduce Hilary - she really had his number, didn't she? Love that interaction of smart hero and heroine knowing exactly what the score is but somehow being irresistibly drawn to do what they shouldn't anyway. Sigh. And what a gorgeous ending! Loved it!

    Hey, can I come on the English trip with you? Although I suspect we'd need more than a month! And we definitely need to have high tea at Chatsworth!

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    1. Hallloooo Anna!! We do indeed have a fabulous time on our girlie weekends. You know how visits to your place save my sanity. Or at least they raise my level of insanity to a sublime plane:)

      Oh, I'm so pleased you enjoyed Scoundrel. As you can tell, I had a ball with those characters.

      Definitely, I'd love to have you along on my English tour!

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  20. Hi Christina and PJ

    I have read this one and I so loved it this one will go down as one of my all time favourites that scene with Jonathon covered in ceiling plaster had me laughing so much I had tears running down my face I found it very hard to put this book down and am really looking forward to the next one :).

    For me I think I would do a few cruises to get away I have my kindle loaded with great books and lazing about reading on a cruise just the thing.

    Congrats on the release Christina and PJ great questions

    Have Fun
    Helen

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    1. Thank you so much, Helen, I really appreciate your kind words about LLTS. I was laughing as I wrote the ceiling scene. Really chuffed you liked it!

      Your programme of lazing about on a cruise with your Kindle is one I would definitely like to follow. Thank you for dropping in today!

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  21. *Waving madly!* Hi Christina! Hi PJ and Andrea!! So great to see my fellow Bandita over here! And for such and EXCELLENT reason! WOOT! His Lordship in Hot Brown Breeches is what I think of this book as, and you don't even want to know what I mentally designate The Greatest Lover Ever. Grins.

    Seriously, SO excited that the book is out and about in the world. I've been so looking forward to this and our fellow Bandit, Nancy Northcott's GUARDIAN which is also out today. Happy Book Birthdays, ladies!

    As to where I'd do a sneak-away-get-away? Ahhhh, Scotland. No doubt. Do some ancestor hunting, prowl around Edinburgh and Glasgow, see the Cairngorms...yeah. I'm so there.

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    1. Jeanne, you are hilarious!! I'm snorking madly about your alternative title. You can tell me in private what you're calling Beckenham's book:) Thanks so much for popping in today.

      Yes, it's wonderful to have a release day sister in Nancy! I'm about to head over to Romance Bandits for the party there.

      I've never been to Scotland even though my grandmother was a Stewart and there's a lot of history there. I'd love to go exploring with you, Jeanne!

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  22. European tour. Would like to go back to places I saw as a child. Would love to return to Scotland and Wales. I have never been to Italy or Ireland and would love to go to both. I would like to do the Jane Austen excursion in Bath.

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    1. Hi Regencygirl. Oh, I've been to Bath several times. You will love it! It's like Regency Wonderland. You really do feel like you've been transported in time. Italy and Ireland would be lovely contrasts--one is green and wet the other sun-baked. I hope you do these trips one day!

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  23. Congratulations on your new book and I just finished downloading it. PJ you gave me another author to love! I have no idea what I would do for my getaway but I am sure it would have one of two things, castles or sand...or both...

    Now, time to read your new books!

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  24. Hello, Hope and thank you very much for downloading my Scoundrel! Hope you enjoy:)

    Castles or sand or both (sandcastles?) sounds perfect to me! Thanks for your comment.

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  25. Hey PJ! Hey Christina! I so love these scoundrels and rakes you write about! Also love the glueteus maximus in the story and on the cover!! After seeing the new Superman movie, I'm thinking we could cast Henry Clavill as your newest hero!

    So, the question....what would I do...I'd fly up to NH to visit my errant critique partner, Sandy Blair. And after at least a week of hanging with her and her DH, I'd convince mine to take a tour of New England, visiting all the historical spots I can map out. (He indulges me with historical sites). Then I'd drive down the Appalachia highway and follow the changing colors (Oh, did I mention this would be fall?). A long visit in the Tennessee Blue Ridge to visit family then another week over in South Carolina visiting more family near the beach. Yep...haven't thought about this much. :-)

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    1. Thanks so much, Suz! I'm laughing at your diplomatic expression there. Also loving your description of your travels. I'm drooling at the thought of all that history and beauty. Hope you do this very soon!

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  26. Congrats Christina on the new release!!!! I've been reading such great buzz for it! Ummm... I'd go to some where tropical and beautiful beach and make my way through my TBR pile :)

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    1. Hi Erin, thanks very much for the congrats. Ahh, tropical sounds perfect and the TBR pile even better! Have fun, if only in our dreams, right?

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  27. Woooohooooo! Congrats Christina! *waves madly from the Bandit lair* What a day.

    And hello Dishers! You all host the best discussions.

    Christina, your books just keep getting better. I'm so excited about this one, especially since reading the bit about the ceiling falling in.

    Truth? I didn't actually realize this wasn't a continuation of the Ministry of Marriage series! I was so involved in them, and wanted to see more devious plans for matches between families. I've very glad you're connecting these books to the others with characters I already love. Apologies if it's been asked already, but do you have plans for Griffin's sister?

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    1. Hi Cassondra! *waving madly back* Thank you very much for your support. It means a lot! Actually, this is still the same series, but the MOM doesn't meddle, except for a little bit around the edges. My editor wanted to really focus on the heroes this time and get that intensity of the hero-centric series, so we went with that. We do see a lot of those characters, however, so it's not like an entirely new series.

      Jacks had her romance in MAD ABOUT THE EARL so I don't foresee a story solely about her but I'll be sure to think how I can bring her back in another book. So glad you liked her. She's one of my favourite secondary characters!

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    2. OMGosh...I must have missed one!

      I've been waiting for her story! I have no freaking idea how I did. I always grab your books as soon as they're released. I wonder if I downloaded it and lost it in the kindle?

      ***runs off to find book I missed***
      YAY!!!! An unexpected bonus!

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  28. Congrats on your new release! I think if I could take a break I would travel. I have always wanted to go to Hawaii, Ireland and Scotland.

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    1. Thanks, Quilt Lady! That's an eclectic mix of travel destinations. I've been to Ireland but I'd love to go to Scotland to see family places. Some sun and surf in Hawaii would be just what the doctor ordered right now!

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  29. I would love to take my family to Walt Disney World. We used to go every other year, but haven't been for 6 years due to money & job issues. My daughter is 13 & she doesn't remember much. My son is 21 & sadly, is probably beyond enjoying it, but you never know. PS Love your cover model!

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    1. Thanks, Sharlene. I love the cover model, too! His name is Paul Marron and he's done a lot of spectacular covers. Disney world is so much fun--I was there for an RWA conference. Don't think you can ever get too old for Mickey:) Hope you get there one day soon.

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    2. Oh, I thought that was Paul Marron. He gets a lot of work. I first noticed him on Samantha Grace's Lady Amelia's Mess and a Half. And as for Disney - I keep playing LOTTO! You never know!

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  30. Congrats on your new book! I would do something very simple but near and dear to my heart. I would visit my best friend that I haven't seen in 3 years. He was a life-line when I needed him most. Thank you for the interview and giveaway.

    Wanda Barefoot
    flghtlss1(at)yahoo(dot)com

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    1. Hi Wanda, what a lovely idea. Thanks for the congrats!

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  31. I would fly to Scotland and just make people talk to me *Wink*

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    1. Chelsea, I do love a Scottish accent. Thanks for commenting!

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  32. PJ and Christina, what a great interview! I've been looking forward to London's Last True Scoundrel for a dog's age, it seems. You can imagine, PJ, how many winky-nudgy teasers have been dropped around the Bandits' Lair. It's infuriating to watch Anna Campbell smirk like that! But I digress. Now we can ALL enjoy this wonderful book. I plan to have a Regency smorgasbord starting tonight!

    As for taking a break anywhere, I would take in the whole of the UK. I would start in Suffolk, where a friend of mine lives, then head to Norfolk where she has a sweets shop! After that, York and Yorkshire, the Lake District, etc. Eventually I would take in all of Scotland (including the obscure islands of the Hebrides, which all look amazing!). I would meander over to Ireland, where I would spend many weeks exploring the men...I mean, surroundings...then head back to England to do Cornwall, Wales and, finally, the Channel Islands. Oh, yeah, and London. :D

    I'm exhausted now! Time to head to my Kindle and see what's new over there. *smirk*

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    1. Hi Caren, lovely to see you here. Thanks so much for saying you're looking forward to LONDON'S LAST TRUE SCOUNDREL.

      Wow, what an amazing itinerary. I'm salivating at the thought and not just because of the sweets shop and the Irish men:) Thank you for dropping in!

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  33. Thank you so much for having me here today, PJ, Andrea and everyone. I had a blast!

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  34. Congrats on your new release, Christina! I have the Ministry of Marriage on my TBR pile, I can't wait to get started and add The Westruthers too. I'll have lots to read and catch up on.

    If I could do anything with money + reality not a problem, I would so travel around the world. There's so many places I want to visit, so much I want see in the great big world out there. That would truly be spectacular!

    Thanks for the chance to win in your giveaway! :)

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  35. Great interview! If I could take a break, I'd totally like to go visit the UK. I've always had a fondness for it but never been to visit. Plus, I'd love to find some idyllic spot and settle down for some good times with my TBR pile :P

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  36. I would love to travel and go to Hawaii and then take a trip to England & Scotland for one month. That is three places that I have always wanted to go.
    Great interview. This is a new author for me. I love the covers of these books.
    christinebails at yahoo dot com

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