My Dearest Brook,
I loved you the first time you walked onto the page in Flynn’s novella, Viscount of Vice. You’d been stabbed by a crime lord in the slums of Bath. I didn’t even know Bath had slums. You’ve taught me so much! I’ve gotten to know you even better over the course of your siblings’ novels. You watched them fall in love. Oh, very well. At times you certainly tried to prevent their falling in love, but when the worst seemed inevitable, you capitulated gracefully.
I was so excited to begin your book, I Kissed a Rogue. I couldn’t wait to write all the adventures of a man who works as an investigator, finding missing persons in London’s worst rookeries. I knew you’d be a hero who wasn’t afraid of anything and who could take on anyone. But when I sat down to write your story, I realized I had no idea who your heroine was.
She couldn’t be young or silly or frivolous. You’d never be attracted to a woman like that. You needed a woman who was strong and resilient and who would turn your life upside down—in a good way.
And then I realized you already knew Lila. You’d been in love with her before. That was the key. Suddenly, everything about you made sense. You, the son of an earl, had become an investigator because you were running away. You needed to escape from the pain of unrequited love. You almost did it too. You almost forgot the beautiful duke’s daughter.
Until I put her in jeopardy and made you rescue her. Don’t expect her to appreciate it, Brook. Don’t expect to walk away from her so easily this time. She’s changed, just like you have, and I don’t plan to make this romance easy for you. You’re up to the challenge, though. I know you are, and I’ve so enjoyed watching you best me at my own game.
I do hope when everyone meets you on March 1st they love you as much as I do. But then you’ve never cared for anyone’s approval or admiration. You are confident in the man you have become, and you will always be my hero.
I Kissed a Rogue Synopsis:
“A perfectly delightful love story. This magical read is a keeper.” —RT Book Reviews, Top Pick, 4 ½ stars for The Rogue You Know
Once she spurned the man…
When the Duke of Lennox hires Sir Brook Derring, England’s best investigator, to find his daughter, Brook intends only to rescue the lady and return to his solitary life. He deals with London’s roughest criminals every day of the week; surely he should be able to endure seeing his first love again—the perfect girl who broke his heart…
Now her life depends on him
Lady Lillian-Anne Lennox has always done her best to live up to her father’s standards of perfection—at the cost of following her heart. When she’s kidnapped and her perfect life is shattered, Lila has another chance. Together, Lila and Brook navigate not only the dark and deadly side of London, but the chasm of pride and prejudice that divides them.
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I Kissed a Rogue Excerpt:
The church was all but empty. Brook’s mother and her husband sat with his sister and Dorrington on one side, while the Duke of Lennox and the Earl of Granbury sat on the other. Behind them, one of the King’s attendants took a seat. Brook supposed he was there to ensure the King’s wishes were followed precisely.
There hadn’t been time for Dane and his wife to come in from the country. If his older brother had been present, Brook would have asked him to stand beside him. As it was, Lila had no attendants, so perhaps it was for the best Brook stood before the bishop alone as well.
The bishop, a jowly man with white hair and a ruddy face, cleared his throat and began. For the first time since her father had brought her in, Lila looked up at him. Her warm brown eyes looked too big against her pale skin, which was as white as the silk gown she wore. The gown had a leaf design in silver netting, and she had a small silver leaf ornamenting her hair. Pearls circled her throat and danced at her ears, and with her hair piled high in a coil of ebony, she looked every inch the duke’s daughter.
The bishop had droned on—something about God’s will and not entering into marriage unadvisedly; clearly the bishop did not know about the King’s will and advice—but now the officiate paused and cleared his throat again.
“Into this holy union Sir Brook Erasmus Derring and Lady Lillian-Anne Pevensy now come to be joined. If any of you can show just cause why they may not lawfully be married, speak now.”
The bishop paused at this, looking first at Lila then Brook.
“Or else forever hold your peace.”
Brook ground his teeth together and glared at Lila. She lowered her gaze again.
“I require and charge you both—” the bishop began.
“May I have one moment with my—er, betrothed?” Lila said.
She had spoken to the bishop, but her gaze was on Brook. He raised a brow.
“You can speak to him after the ceremony,” the duke said from the pew.
“Just for one moment, Father,” she said.
“My Lord,” the duke said to the bishop. “Please continue.”
“I am sorry, Your Grace, but I cannot. Lady Lillian-Anne must come to this union of her own free will.” He glanced at Lila. “If you need a moment, my lady, you may use the sacristy.”
She nodded and gave Brook an imploring look. With a shrug directed at his mother, whose face was the picture of disapproval, he followed Lila to the side chamber. The room was full of books and vestments, all in order, and in the middle were a small altar and a sacrarium, where the bishop washed his hands.
Lila stood before the altar, like a sacrificial lamb. Brook stood just inside the door, keeping it open for propriety.
“Delaying the inevitable?” he asked.
“I had to make certain you knew this was not my doing,” she said, her voice breathless. “I never told my father to go to the King. I did not want to force you into marriage.”
Brook leaned a shoulder against the doorjamb. “I must admit, your previous refusal was quite definitive and robust. This sudden change of heart surprised me.”
“Oh, stop speaking so formally! I am trying to tell you I have no more choice in this than you.”
“The bishop will ask for your consent in a few moments. All you need say is I won’t.”
“And then my father will disown me, and Vile Valencia will make certain I am shipped off to Cheapside to live with my mother’s great-aunt, who is so poor she can ill afford to feed herself much less me.”
“Beezle will find you inside a week there.”
She closed her eyes, seeming to summon patience. He couldn’t blame her. He was being an arse.
“You must be the one to say you won’t have me.”
“Oh, no.” He pushed away from the jamb. “And have the King throw me in the Tower? Not bloody likely.”
“He won’t throw you in the Tower.” She folded her arms under the square neck of the gown, pushing her breasts up until they swelled at the bodice.
“I’m not taking that chance.”
“Then we have no choice but to marry.”
“I assumed that was the reason we were both in the church at half eight in the morning—you in your bridal silk and me in this stiff-necked cravat Hunt tied far too tightly.”
“But you don’t want to marry me!”
“I want to be thrown into the Tower even less.”
©Shana Galen 2016, I Kissed a Rogue
Meet Shana Galen:
Shana Galen is the bestselling author of fast-paced adventurous Regency historicals, including the RT Reviewers’ Choice The Making of a Gentleman. Her books are published all over the world and have been featured in the Rhapsody and Doubleday Book Clubs. She taught English at the middle and high school level off and on for eleven years. Most of those years were spent working in Houston’s inner city. Now she writes full time. She’s happily married and has a daughter who is most definitely a romance heroine in the making.
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