Let’s give a warm welcome to Katy Madison.  Katy was new to me when I read AWAKENING HIS DUCHESS (review @ the end), a deliciously dark & gothic read.  She’s giving one (1) lucky person a chance at an early ecopy of her latest due mid-November.  Good luck y’all!

katy madisonHi! My name is Katy and I have multiple personalities. Let me explain. Convention wisdom is that readers don’t cross genres. I do. I’ll read just about any kind of book. Admittedly my favorite genre is romance, but I’m not picky about which flavor of romance. I read historicals of all stripes, contemporaries, suspense, and paranormal romances. The late, great, editor Kate Duffy used to say you’re either a Bronte girl or an Austen girl and I love them both. Sometimes I need a little humor, sometimes I want angst or suspense. Or sometimes I want a horror story, a science fiction adventure, or a literary book. Not to mention nonfiction or cereal boxes.

That bleeds over into what I write. I have started to refer to my books as coming from the dark side of Katy or the light side of Katy. My last two books very much show that dichotomy. Awakening His Duchess is a dark gothic historical and An Inconvenient Wife is a light contemporary romantic comedy.

awakening his duchessWhen writing Awakening His Duchess, I wondered what it would be like if a spoiled rich boy had his world turned upside down and he’s forced to live as a slave. Then what happens when he finally returns to his rightful place and discovers that the women he thought tried to kill him is living as his widow? Of course the last thing he wants is that woman as his wife, but then he learns they have a son.

an inconvenient wifeWith An Inconvenient Wife, I wanted to do a modern marriage of convenience story. I paired a stoic Russian skater with a bubbly California girl who decide to marry so they can compete for the same country—sort of The Proposal meets Ice Castle, without the blindness.

My next release I’m back to the dark side with a gothic Victorian romance in coming in mid-November.

Here’s the blurb:

lords scandalous offerLord Coleraine’s Scandalous Offer

In order to protect an innocent, Brody Gilvaroy, the Earl of Coleraine, is willing to hang for a murder he didn’t commit. He hopes to find the real killer before it’s too late, but time is running out. Before his date with the gallows, he is determined to do one final good deed by helping his enchanting neighbor escape her dire situation, even though she wants nothing to do with him. If only she would accept his plan for them.

Years ago, Tessa Hall put her trust in the wrong man. Ever since, she has struggled to regain her good name. She lives on sufferance with her distant cousin as a despised poor relation. Her chances for a respectable marriage are destroyed when her benefactor decides she should earn her keep as his mistress. Rescue comes from Lord Coleraine who is a worse pariah than she is. Her only option may be to put her trust in a man everyone else believes is a cold-blooded murderer. His scandalous offer could save them both, if only for the moment…

And a short excerpt:

As the darkness ticked around her, Tessa huffed in frustration.  She might as well go down to the kitchen and get a cup of hot tea.  Perhaps that would soothe her restlessness enough she could sleep.  She slipped her arms in a wrapper, a castoff of her cousin’s and cracked open her door.

The sitting room was dark except for a slight orange glow from the coal fire and she didn’t see him sitting in either of the chairs or on the sofa.  She took two steps into the room before she realized her mistake.  Coleraine’s bare feet were perched on the ottoman in front of the chair with the back to her door, although his head wasn’t above the back.

She stopped in her tracks.

“Change your mind?” he asked on a low note.

“Of course not.”  Her words were loud in the quiet of the night.

“Shhh.” His hand shot out and he patted the air.  After a second he added in a whisper, “Every time I lay John in his cradle he wakes up.  However he seems perfectly content to sleep on me.”

She tiptoed forward.  Coleraine was slouched low in the chair, which was why she hadn’t immediately seen him.  The baby was curled across the broad chest, his little head on Coleraine’s shoulder.  He supported the baby with one hand while the other rubbed the boy’s back.

Softness flowed through her turning her wanton needs into a yearning for more than just the physical act, but a desire for the rest, too.  A baby, a family, a husband.  But Coleraine had made it clear that wouldn’t happen.  She’d only have a poor substitute that could end at any minute.

“You should try it sometime.”

“Try what?” she whispered pulling the wrapper tighter around her.

He was in his nightclothes too.  A plush dressing gown only partially hid the stripped nightshirt he wore.  And of course the bare feet, which did strange things to her insides.

Coleraine tilted his head.  “Sleeping on me.”

“I didn’t think “sleeping” was what you had in mind.”  She closed her eyes at the boldness of the statement.

“Well, after.”

His offhand teasing had her flushing.  She should leave before she melted in front of him.  To turn around and go back into her room seemed silly, but spending time with him in the middle of the night with neither of them dressed was foolish.

My thanks to Miss Ivy for inviting me to blog.

For one lucky commenter, I’ll send an advance e-copy of Lord Coleraine’s Scandalous Offer.  

Visit me on the web at: Katy Madison    FB      Twitter       Amazon

My thoughts on AWAKENING HIS DUCHESS

3.75 STARS

For the past nine years Lord Beaumont Havendish’s family has believed him to be dead.  Drugged by a Vodou boker Beau has spent six years as a slave on a sugar cane plantation in Saint-Domingue.  After the slave rebellion that freed him he’s spent the past three years attempting, with his friend Mazi, to get home.  When he finally arrives it’s to find the woman he believes responsible for his enslavement, the woman he’s hated for nine years, living at his family’s home.  Yvette, the woman he married the night before his “death”.  

AWAKENING HIS DUCHESS begins in 1785 with Beau, our hero being buried alive in Port-au-Prince, Saint-Domingue and proceeds quickly to the slave rebellion six years later in 1791. 

Beau is not the thoughtless, privileged boy who left the family estate nine years ago.  His lungs have been affected by the cane and his right side has suffered since his initial drugging and burial.  Beau is a man who has been honed in the fires of hell, burning away the boy and leaving a strong, compassionate man with a keen sense of justice and equality.  Having lived both sides of the equation gives him a unique perspective.

The boker took pleasure in telling Beau daily just how Yvette had betrayed him.  Finally returning home to England only to find her at his family estate with a son Beau is stunned.  There’s no denying Etienne is his son, he’s a mini Beau. He does doubt Yvette and her motives.  He trusted her once and it cost him heavily, he won’t make that mistake again.

 Yvette was young, temperamental and impetuous.  Beau was a beautiful, dashing Englishman.  She wanted to experience love and passion before her forced marriage to Henri.  When Beau presents himself at her home the morning after their marriage and wedding night then suddenly collapses and dies right before her eyes all her girlish dreams die with him.   

Yvette believes him dead, as does his man Danvers.  Yvette marries Henri as planned and Danvers returns to England to inform Beau’s family of his death.  With only memories of their one night, what if’s, and Etienne to sustain her Yvette endures her marriage to Henri.

After the massacre Yvette discovers who Beau actually was. For Etienne’s sake she makes the journey to England.  Uncertain about the legality of her marriage to Beau she simply wants shelter and food while she tries to secure the funds Henri placed in France.

Etienne is welcomed with open arms by Beau’s family.  They believe all their sons have died leaving Etienne the sole heir.  This wasn’t what Yvette had envisioned nor did she ever dream that Beau was alive.  When he returns believing her responsible for his enslavement and hating her Yvette is devastated.  How will she ever prove to him that she’s always loved him and would never betray him?  Yvette refuses to be a “duty” to Beau.  

AWAKENING HIS DUCHESS is a dark read no doubt.  However, all the darkness emanates from and is caused by one person.  It’s absolutely chilling the depths and lengths this character has gone to and how long they’ve plotted to attain their twisted goals.  Sadistic barely scratches the surface.

That being said the trials Yvette and Beau went through were the making of them. They came out the other side as characters you could care and root for.  Not certain I would have liked them as much if they’d stayed as they were initially. 

Beau and Yvette have a lot to overcome.  Beau has to let go of the hate, doubt and fear while Yvette has to break down the barriers she’s erected to keep her heart safe.  They both need to let go in order to learn to trust and love again.  As they take the first timid steps the past reaches out from the grave to take everything away again.

Beau and Yvette’s story is dark, harrowing, suspenseful and ultimately very rewarding.

Generally I can do without epilogues but I really appreciated the big red bow this one tied on the package.

For those who enjoy their history a little darker, a little edgier, AWAKENING HIS DUCHESS is sure to please.

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