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Monday, March 3, 2014

Spotlight on Confessions of a Royal Bridegroom


Have you met Vanessa Kelly's Renegade Royals?  Kelly kicked things off in November with the superb prequel novella, Lost in a Royal Kiss.  That was followed by the first full-length book in the series, Secrets for Seducing a Royal Bodyguard (read my review here).  Next up is Confessions of a Royal Bridegroom, scheduled to be released on April 1st.  Today, we are delighted to not only bring you a sneak-peek excerpt of Confessions but are also giving away an ARC of the book!  





ONLY ONE WOMAN IS WORTHY OF HIS SECRETS...

Some men are born into scandal. Others pursue it with a passion. Griffin Steele, secret son of the Duke of Cumberland, is guilty on both counts. Yet somehow London’s most notorious scoundrel has been saddled with an abandoned baby boy—and with the unflappable, intriguing spinster summoned to nurse him…

Justine Brightmore may be a viscount’s niece, but she’s also a spy’s daughter, determined to safeguard the infant when his suspected royal parentage makes him a target. Yet how to protect herself from the rakish Griffin? Marriage might shield her reputation, but it can only imperil her heart, especially with a groom intent on delicious seduction…





SNEAK PEEK EXCERPT

First meet between Griffin Steele and Justine Brightmore, in Griffin’s London townhouse:

As Mr. Steele strolled leisurely forward, Justine tried not to stare.  She failed miserably, but since the man was eyeing her without the least attempt to veil his curiosity, she decided she might as well return the favor.

Although not as tall or as broad as Dominic, Steele conveyed a sense of presence that dominated the room—and considering the riot of colors and textures in the drawing room that was quite a remarkable feat.  He was dressed in black breeches, highly polished boots, and a black coat and waistcoat.  The dark garb was relieved only by the white linen of his shirt.  Justine’s pulses jumped when she realized he wasn’t wearing a proper cravat, only a white cloth tied casually around his throat.  She couldn’t recall the last time she’d seen a gentleman without proper neckwear, not even on her uncle’s estate in the country, where she often spent the summer months.   

His features were aristocratic and arrogantly handsome, with an expressive, well-shaped mouth, high cheekbones, and a sharply cut, determined jaw.  For all those sharp angles, however, there was something rather sleek about him.  In fact, he moved with a lithe grace that put her in mind of a cat.  A black and rather feral cat, quite evidently up to no good.

But it was his hair, gleaming blue-black like a raven’s wing, which made her blink.  Swept back from a widow’s peak, it was long, flowing down to his back, and pulled into a semblance of order by a narrow leather band.  With his black garb and leather boots it gave him the appearance of a buccaneer from another century.  That impression was enhanced by a thin, faint scar running down from his left temple to below his cheekbone.  

Griffin Steele looked altogether exotic and disreputable, and he set her teeth on edge the closer he got to her.  One would have to be blind not to perceive the sense of danger inherent in the man, and Justine was far from blind.

Steele was judging her, too.  From the surprised lift of his eyebrows and the slight, sneering curl of his mouth, he was as little impressed with her as she was with him.

Dominic came to his feet with what Justine could swear was a slightly taunting smile.  “Ah, Griffin, there you are.  Allow me to introduce Miss Justine Brightmore.  She’ll be looking after Stephen for the next while.  I’m sure the two of you will get along splendidly.”

Oh, yes.  Her godparent was definitely taunting Steele. 

She filed that knowledge away and dipped into a respectful curtsy.  Her host might be a reprobate and a rake, but that was no excuse for poor manners.  “Good morning, sir.  It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

His dark brows arched with an elegant disdain she suspected was the habitual response to situations not to his liking.

 “Permit me to express my doubt on that score, Miss Brightmore,” he drawled.  “Not that I can entirely blame you, given the circumstances.”      

Even as she struggled not to bristle, she couldn’t help noting that although his voice hinted at the roughness of a street brawler, he spoke in cultured tones.  That first element didn’t surprise her, but the last did.  It warned her to beware of making quick assumptions about him.

Before she could make any kind of appropriate response, Steele turned his disgust on Dominic.  “Good God, what have you done?  You’ve brought me a lady, one barely out of the schoolroom.  Have you gone mad?”

“Hardly just out of the schoolroom,” Dominic replied, resuming his seat.  “Justine is entirely capable of doing what is required here.”  He nodded at her.  “Is that not correct, my dear?”

She also sat, smoothing her gloved hands down over the skirts of her mustard-colored pelisse.  “I must believe so, Uncle Dominic, or you would not have asked me.”  She couldn’t refrain from giving Steele a challenging look.  “And for your information, sir, I am four and twenty.  Well past the age of the schoolroom, to be sure.”

He stared back at her, sucking in an audible hiss of air.  “Dominic, you brought you own niece to do this?”  He looked genuinely horrified, but then a puzzled frown marked his brow.  “I didn’t even know you had a niece, or any surviving family, for that matter.”

Dominic watched Steele with calculating interest.  He obviously had some deep plan, one that eluded her at the moment but which obviously involved Steele and possibly her, too.  Dominic had told Justine that he hadn’t been able to find anyone else to care for the infant—at least not anyone he could trust.  The few female agents that could take on this sort of task were all unavailable.  Not that Justine was one of his agents—anything but.  Still, Dominic knew he could trust her, and from what he’d told her about the situation, trust and discretion were of primary importance.

 But her instincts, finely honed after years of living with her father, pricked themselves to alert.  Dominic was up to something, and Justine needed to factor that into her dealings with both him and Steele.

“Justine is not my niece.  She is my godchild,” Dominic replied.  “Her father was Edward Brightmore.”

 Steele’s dark gaze flickered back to her as he took the matching armchair next to Dominic’s.  He subsided with a negligent but elegant sprawl of limbs as he continued to study her.

“Ned Brightmore?  He died a few years ago at Salamanca, did he not?”

When Justine nodded, she thought she detected sympathy in his gaze.

“My condolences, Miss Brightmore.  He seemed to be a good man.  Certainly better than most of the men of his class who walk through my doors.”

“You knew my father?” she asked with an eagerness that surprised her.  She usually avoided talking about Papa.  It was still too raw a wound to probe.

“You’ll find that Griffin knows most everyone in London,” Dominic responded.

“Yes, and most of them have been more than willing to allow me to fleece them, for which I am profoundly grateful,” Steele said in an acid tone.

Justine was trying to decide whether to be horrified or not at the idea that her father had sampled the dubious delights of Steele’s gaming clubs and brothels when the arrival of the tea tray spared her the choice.  As far as she knew, Papa had never gambled.  And if he had visited the brothel next door, she did not want to hear about it.


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Do you like sneak peeks?  Do they ramp up the excitement level for you or are you one of those people who doesn't want to read any part of the story until you have the entire book in hand? 

Are you anticipating Griffin's story as much as I am?

One randomly chosen person leaving a comment on today's blog will receive a print advance reader copy of Confessions of a Royal Bridegroom.  Deadline for comments is 11:59 PM (EST), Tuesday, March 4th.  (U.S. / Canadian addresses only)



Vanessa Kelly is a best-selling author who was named by Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association, as one of the "New Stars of Historical Romance." Her sensual, Regency-set historical romances have been nominated for awards in a number of contests, and her second book, Sex and The Single Earl, won the prestigious Maggie Medallion for Best Historical Romance. Secrets for Seducing a Royal Bodyguard, the first book in her new Renegade Royals series, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and spent several weeks on BookScan’s romance bestseller list.


95 comments:

  1. I'm loving the new series and can't wait to read Griffin's story. I do like sneak peeks. They definitely do whet the appetite.

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    1. Thanks, Jane! I must admit that I'm very fond of Griffin, and can't wait for his book to come out!

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  2. I love sneak peeks as long as they're not too long. I've seen some authors post the first two chapters of their book and I won't read that much. I want there to still be some anticipation left. LOL I'm really looking forward to Griffin's story and Justine sounds fabulous.

    Marcy Shuler

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    1. Marcy, a wall of words can be a little off-putting, I agree. And I have to say that I really enjoyed bringing Justine to life - she's one of my favorite heroines.

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  4. I love Vanessa's books and sneak peaks make me anticipate reading the book. I am also looking forward to Griffin's story. Thanks for the giveaway!

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  5. I love sneak peeks, but not too much. Make sure to build up the anticipation, leaving people guessing is always the key. Especially with me because I'm the type to figure it all out way too quickly, lol.

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    1. Amy, I think peek is the operative word, isn't it?

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  6. I love sneak peeks.... they just add to the anticipation of the book being released.

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  7. I like sneak peeks!
    Love this series!

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    1. I'm so glad you're enjoying the series, Susan!

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  8. I do not read excerpts from books. I like a short synopsis. Thanks for the giveaway!

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    1. I think a good blurb is really important too, Brenda!

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  9. Good Morning, Vanessa! Thank you for sharing a peek into Griffin's story with us today. I'm enjoying this series so much!

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    1. Thanks to you sweet ladies for hosting me - always happy to be here!

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  10. I can't wait to read it!

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  11. Oh, I absolutely love sneak peaks, and I'm so pleased that Griffin's story is here. I discovered him when I was reading Vanessa's book , "Secrets to Seducing A Royal bodyguard". I can't wait to read this, and have added this to my wish list.

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  12. love the cover & am looking forward to Griffin's story. thanks for the sneak peak :)

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    1. It's a gorgeous cover, isn't it, gamistress?

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  13. Love the sneak peek! Can't wait to read the entire book.

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  14. I don't like to get a sneak peak-it's too hard to wait for the entire book,at least for me

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  15. I loved the first book and can't wait for this one! I can already tell I'm going to love Griffin! Thanks so much for sharing!

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    1. Xia, I'm so happy you liked Secrets! And I have to tell you that Griffin is my favorite hero that I've ever written. He's such a bad boy!

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  16. I think sneak peeks are bad for me. Impatience raises my blood pressure, and sneak peeks of anticipated books make me more impatient to read them. :) Seriously, this sounds as if it may be the best of a series that has proved itself enthralling reading already.

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    1. Janga, thank you so much for your kindness - I'm so happy you've been enjoying my Royal Renegades!

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  17. I hesitate reading "sneak peeks" as I really want to enjoy the whole book. Small blurbs are better in my estimation, longer than the back of the book, but not a full chapter. I was looking forward to this series ever since reading the novella. While I just finished the first book in the series and am looking forward to the second, Dominic's story resonates the most with me. He is intriguing, loyal and most of all interesting.

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    1. njoireading, I love Dominic - I hope I can do justice to his story!!

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  18. oh I so want to read this book!!!!
    Thanks for the Sneak peek...I wanted to the book and Now I Really Want to Read it!!!

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  19. Oh, I really enjoyed Secrets for Seducing a Royal Bodyguard and look forward to the next in the series. I try to shy away from too many excerpts or sneak peeks because I want that book in front of me lol.

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    1. Catslady, I'm the same way. A short excerpt is good but more than that and I don't want to stop. I want the entire book! :)

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    2. I'm so glad you enjoyed the first book in the series, catslady!

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  20. I like sneak peaks and "excerpts" b/c it gives me a taste of the writing. In my old age, I get pickier and pickier and while a synopsis sounds great, I hate getting disappointed by writing style. But one author I'm not worried about is Vanessa and I'm so excited for this new series!! I read the "prequel" and it was fantastic :) Thanks for sharing!!!

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    1. Erin, I agree that the prequel was great. Have you read the first full-length book yet? So very good!

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    2. Erin, what a wonderful compliment - thank you! And you too, PJ!

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    3. lol... no not yet :( But I've been good and a guilty pleasure splurge is in my future :)

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  21. I must confess... I have two of your recent books on my shelf, but haven't read them yet. but I promise to read them sooooonn along with this new one. ;)

    And yes, I do like 'sneak peek', sometimes I got so bad as to sneak a peek at the ending first. I know.. I know... :P

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    1. I got so bad as to sneak a peek at the ending first.

      Ah, you're one of those people! lol

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    2. I hope you enjoy the books, dotland!!

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  22. I loved 'Secrets for Seducing a Royal Bodyguard' so am looking forward to the rest of the series - just hard to wait between them!

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    1. You won't have to wait much longer, Di!

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    2. LOL! I like eager readers, Di!

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  23. Congratulations on the new series. I'm the type of reader that often flips to the last page, so i like sneak peeks.

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  24. Yes, I do like sneak peeks. And I'm looking forward to reading more. Thanks for visiting today.

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    1. It's a terrific series, LSUReader. Hope you like it!

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    2. LSU Reader, I'll be doing an excerpt blog tour for Confessions, starting in a few weeks. More sneak peeks!

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  25. I love sneak peeks and was already looking forward to reading Confessions of a Royal Bridegroom because I love Vanessa's stories but now I wish I already had a copy! After reading the excerpt I only wish I didn't have to wait until April 4h for it's release!

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    1. I know how you feel, Jeanne! ;-)

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    2. Thanks for the lovely compliment, Jeanne!

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  26. Sounds like a wonderful read, would love to read this. I love sneak peeks.

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  27. Nice sneak peek; sometimes like them

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  28. I love sneak peeks, I have found lots of books that I would have passed over, if not for the sneak peeks! This one sounds awesome.

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    1. So many great books to discover, aren't there, Martha?

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  29. Hi Vanessa! Not too long a time no see! So glad I'll get to read the third story of the Renegade Royals ... soon! And I like sneak peeks too...whets the ol' appetite for what I know is coming when it's one of your books. :-) Thanks for the post! jdh2690@gmail.com

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  30. Vanessa, I can't wait to read this one!! I loooooooove the name Griffin!!

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    1. Hi, Andrea! *waves madly* Isn't Griffin just a fab name? I wish I could name all my heroes Griffin!

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  31. A little peek is good, so you get some of the story line & a glimpse of the personalities. I don't like to read too much, though. I would rather wait till I can read the whole book. This one sounds really good!

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  32. Yes I am! I'm enjoying and loving each of the sneak peak that you are having on this book. Although there are times that I hate it, I just can't hate it enough
    paaj(_)xyooj(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  33. I like sneak peeks, but what I don't like is reading the first chapter of a book ahead of time. What happens is, then I think I've already read the book. :D

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    1. I hear that from a number of people, Barb!

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  34. Sneak peeks always tempt me into getting deeper into the story.
    winnie968 -at- yahoo-dot-com

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  35. I'm loving the new series and I definitely love sneak peeks.

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    1. Madd, I'm really happy to hear you're enjoying my Royals!

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  36. Hi Vanessa, I'm really liking this series and already anticipating Griffin's story, so have no problem with a sneak peak to add to the anticipation. I like sneak peaks, and when they pull me in, I'll be sure to get that book sooner than later and get right into the story.

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    1. That's what authors like to here, Pam - thanks for your support!

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  37. I am looking forward to Griffin's story... I love sneak peeks, the anticipation can make me sit on the edge of my seat. Thanks for asking and for the giveaway. lisagk(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  38. I can't WAIT for this book to come out! I've been so excited for it, not to mention - it comes out on my birthday!! And I loved the sneak peek so much and I JUST CAN'T WAIT! :)

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    1. Happy birthday in advance, Nicole!!

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    2. Thank you so much Vanessa!! :)

      BTW - I just started reading your Secrets for Seducing a Royal Bodyguard, and I can't put it down!! I'm not very far yet, but I plan on fixing that tonight!

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  39. I love sneak peeks of books. They definitely make my anticipation level for the book rise and makes me happy! It makes me excited to see it's almost here :)

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  40. I'm both for and against sneak peeks. I like knowing some stuff about the upcoming book but I'm not much into reading excerpts because then I get irritated that I can't read more at the moment. I prefer reading the book and finding out stuff as I read it.

    Can't wait to read Griffin's story!!

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    1. LOL! Authors do like to tease their readers, Ada!

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  41. I like haveing the book in my hand

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    1. Nothing better than having the entire book in front of you, Peggy!

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  42. Thanks so much for the excerpt. I haven't made it to this series yet, but will have to read it. I like my stories with a strong sense of intrigue and mystery. It will be interesting finding out just who these people are and how the baby fits into all this. Not sure I'll be able to wait for the entire series to be out before reading this one.

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