‘The Admiral’s Heart’ by Danelle Harmon

TAH DHSTORY: England, 1774. Ten years have elapsed since Lady Philippa Ponsonby Hatfield made a painful sacrifice in giving up the dashing Royal Navy captain with whom she was desperately in love.

In the years since, Sir Elliott Lord has gone on to become a famous admiral and hero of England, and now, fate throws them together once more at a glittering ball hosted by none other than Lucien de Montforte, the mighty duke of Blackheath …

REVIEW: I’m always willing to take a trip with one of Danelle Harmon’s books, and in this story. The Admiral’s Heart, she takes me on a short journey of what once Pippa and Elliot had but lost; young, sweet and innocent love. By pure coincidence [or is it? You can never be sure when Lucien is around], they are presented with a second chance…

Will Pippa find the courage to face Elliot and finally give him an explanation behind her withdrawal of her affections all those years ago?

Is Elliot willing to listen, forgive and embrace the second chance with the woman he always loved and could never forget?

This is a short story a bit shy of 13,000 words and as such I knew that the author was limited in her telling, but if you’re Danelle Harmon, you don’t let that stop you. And while the story is way too short for my taste, the author made sure I was entertained and vested in Pippa and Elliot’s happily ever after.

I enjoyed their interaction as they reunite and awkwardly try to reacquaint themselves with each other, while each is itching to give in temptation.

Oh, and that love scene at the end….just thought to warn you…it’s a scorcher!

EXCERPT: 

“He saw a flash of blue ahead as she rounded a corner, and broke into a run. He would not lose her. Even if he had to chase her from here to London.

And he’d be damned to hell and back if he’d allow Sir Geoffrey, or any of his subordinates to know that he felt dismasted, in irons, as stricken as a brig that had just been smashed beneath a salvo of chain shot, and he damn well didn’t need the young Captain Merrick, whose arm had been so conveniently placed beneath Pippa’s hand when he’d come upon the little group, trying to make himself useful. Elliott was on the distant side of thirty. The far distant side. He had enough aches and pains when he got up in the morning these days, and though his sandy blond hair was still thick and rich and showed no sign of either thinning or gray, the lines that bracketed the corners of his eyes, carved there by sun and salt and the passing of years, were an all too blatant reminder that he was no dashing young buck like the handsome Captain Merrick or even that pink-cheeked pup, Oliver Heathmore.

Pippa. Of all people to encounter here. Of all people to run up against when it had taken him ten years to forget her.

Of all people.

There, ahead, a door, ajar. He pushed it open.

Nothing.

He kept going, moving faster now.

Another door. Closed.

He shoved it open and there she was, standing by a window with one hand anchoring herself on its sill. A candle in a glass globe stood on a small table nearby, striking gold into her beautiful face.

‘Elliott,’ she said weakly.

He stopped in his tracks, one hand still on the door, just looking at her.

She was beautiful. Heartbreakingly so. Certainly, the years had treated her kinder than they had him. But then, the one doing the jilting wasn’t usually the one who did the suffering. And by the looks of her, she hadn’t suffered one bit. Skin that was still clear and smooth. Full, pink lips, now parted in surprise or shock, making him ache to kiss them, and a mouth that used to be able to quirk up just a fraction on one side, as though she found life perpetually amusing and expected others to, as well. Kind, gentle, blue eyes, heavily lashed and slightly down-turned at the corners like those of her de Montforte cousins, and a tiny, nipped waist that just begged him to span it with his hands. She wore a beautiful gown of shimmering cobalt silk, the skirts overlaid with white lace and the fitted bodice embroidered with gold thread that caught the light of the candle.

Blue and white and gold.

Naval colors.

Surely it was a coincidence.

Somewhere off over his shoulder, and coming down the hall toward them, he heard voices. Without a second thought, Elliott kicked the door shut behind him with one foot. The abrupt sound it made as it slammed was immensely satisfying.”

*Book provided by the author.

‘Captain of My Heart’ by Danelle Harmon

I am seriously so excited to write this review of Captain of My Heart by Danelle Harmon.  Let me preface this by saying that I have gone through a little reading slump this year and find it very hard to “fall madly in love” with many books.  I promise you, that I did not have that problem with this book. Actually it was quite the opposite.  I fell hard and fast and probably now all of the other books I read this year will not compare at all!

With Captain of my Heart I found so many old feelings rushing back while I was reading!  Those feelings of angst and being unable to put a book down in the middle of the chapter, or thinking about ALL day at work about getting back to the last place you left off.  That warm, achy feeling you get during a really tender kiss or love scene that just makes you find the romantic in you and give them a big old hug.  Does any of this sound familiar?  Do I sound crazy?! I certainly hope so.  That’s the only way to be about a book that brings so many emotions to the forefront and at the same time introduces you to a heart stopping h/h like Mira and Brendan.  not to mention their quirky secondary cast of characters.  I can’t remember how long it has been since I have been so in love with a group of characters!

Everything about Captain of My Heart just works!  It’s a guiltless pleasure of a read with an absolutely fantastic plot full of action, romance, intrigue, the open seas, treachery- it all worked together to simply keep me entranced!  The writing is great, the characters both believable and completely over the top and the romance….. the romance is one that grows from page to page until all of a sudden it’s this wonderful living, breathing entity taking my breath away.

I loved this entire cast of characters.  I mean really, there isn’t just one that I love they are all up there on the list.  But really no single character in any of the books that I have EVER read has made me have the kind of reactions that I had to Mira.  She’s absolutely hysterical.  She is crass, vulgar, brazen, she has no tact whatsoever, not a drop of refinement to her and yet I completely LOVED her.  More than once I simply threw my head back and laughed at something that she said or did.  She is not afraid of a single person and her lack of boundaries makes basically every decision she makes questionable and yet I was rooting for her the entire time.  She’s magnificent and completely deserving of a man like Brendan Merrick.  Never have I liked a female character more.

Brendan is for all intents and purposes a refined gentleman, loved by many, revered by his shipmates.  He’s a golden boy with a heart that beats for the sea and his beautiful ships.  There isn’t a woman alive who can take the place of his first love….not any normal woman anyways. Brendan finds himself entranced by Mira from the very first time he sees her and his entrancement grows right along with ours.

Honestly, I cannot say enough good things about this book.  This is one of those warm and ooey-gooey stories that stays with a person for a long time.  I could go on and on and on about all of the things I love about Captain of My Heart or you can just read it for yourselves and see what all this fuss is about!  Go forth and buy it and read it immediately and be happy!  You will definitely not be sorry!

Krissie for b2b

Fan2Author Interview with…Danelle Harmon!

I am a brand new fan of this author and I am on the hunt! For the past week I’ve been tracking Danelle Harmon’s back llist because I fell in love with her story telling.

Recently I read five of her brand new back list releases as my review assignment for RCJR eZine and my blog. To Christine Morehouse I say, THANK YOU for introducing me to such a great author and her awesome series. Please help me welcome an author that I hope will become, if she already isn’t, your favorite as well.

b2bMelanie: Hello Danelle! Are you enjoying your summer so far?

Danelle Harmon:  I’m having a great summer, Melanie!  I hope you and your loved ones are, as well!

b2b: Actually, it has been a mixed bag, but the weather is getting to a point of tolerance now that we’re out of the 100 degree’s!

How exited are you with ‘Wicked at Heart’ coming out?

DH: I’m thrilled, especially as it has a beautiful new cover and one that I actually love!  I really fell in love with the hero of this story, and I hope readers will enjoy his journey as much as I did.

b2b: I definitely did! Loved the story!

It’s no news to my readers how much I enjoy reading the ‘behind the story’ notes of any book, so tell me more about your research and ‘behind the story’ of ‘WaH’.

DH:  I wrote Wicked At Heart while I was still living in England, so I took a lot of inspiration from my setting.  Oxford was only six miles away, and of course, the English countryside, which figured in a good part of Wicked At Heart (I set part of the book in the Cotswolds, one of my favorite areas of England).  It was wonderful to be surrounded by so many resources, and such beauty and history!

b2b: Cotswolds is now officially added to my Bucket List.

Just if someone out there hasn’t read any of your books, would you tell us a bit about them and what’s coming up for you in the future? Will you be releasing more of your backlist or will you concentrate on the future books?

DH: My career as an “Avon Lady” included ten books published by them; to date, five of them have been released as e-books, and I’m currently working on the sixth, Captain Of My Heart, which will, I hope, be available sometime in late August or early September.  I plan to revise and update all of my backlist, and when they are all available, with their beautiful new covers, I’ll finish the story that so many people have asked me for: that of Perry, Lord Brookhampton and the youngest de Montforte sibling, Lady Nerissa.

b2b: Let me tell you! I am really looking forward to all of them, especially Nerissa’s story. I truly thought that she needed her own book.

Which one of your books was the hardest and which the easiest to write and which couple did you like the best?

DH:  Without question, the hardest was The Beloved One.  Actors have to “inhabit” a role when they play it, and I believe that is true for authors, too. I get very wrapped up in my characters when I’m writing about them, and Lord Charles’s (the hero of The Beloved One) heartbreaking plight took a lot out of me, emotionally. Because of that, it got to the point that I was having trouble making myself sit down and spend time with him, so one winter weekend, I packed up my laptop and checked in to a local beach hotel and there, wrote a good part of the book.  I’ve never had to do that with any of my other books, and maybe that’s one reason that Lord Charles is my favorite of all the dashing, aristocratic de Montforte men… we really wrestled that story, the two of us, and I felt his pain right along with him.  As for couples, I don’t think I could pick any one set of characters … there are things I like and admire about all of them, I think.

b2b: You know, after five books that I’ve read, I think that ‘The Beloved One’ is my favorite!

Do you have a hard time writing the intimate scenes?

DH:  Yes; but to be honest, I can’t think of a romance writer who doesn’t!

b2b: LOL! Do you let someone read your work during your writing process? Who and why? Or do you wait ‘till it’s finished, then you let someone read it…and who?

DH: Nobody reads my work during the writing process, and I don’t belong to a critique group… in fact, I’ve never belonged to one.  Occasionally I’ll bounce ideas off my husband or a friend, but for the most part, I fly solo.

b2b: Now that’s interesting! Tell me about the cover art of your books. I can see that you have new Kindle covers for your backlist and I just love them. Who came up with it? What about the older ones?

DH:  Awww, thank you!  I just love my new covers!  Unlike with the older (paperback) versions, where I had zero control over the covers (and cried many a tear when I’d get my first look at them … the old covers for Wicked At Heart and The Beloved One were ghastly and looked NOTHING like my characters!) I had very specific ideas about what I wanted on the cover of each e-book.  Much to my delight and excitement, designer Kim Killion of Hot Damn Designs was able to bring those ideas to fruition… I love her work, and can’t thank her enough for these beautiful new covers!

b2b: She did an outstanding job in creating these covers. They are amazing!

Let’s talk titles…How hard is it to ‘name’ your ‘baby’?

DH:  My very first book was originally called “Forever A Free Prince” (my working title), but Avon, with an eye toward marketing, changed it to Pirate In My Arms.  The titles of the nine books that followed were all mine; I don’t seem to have any trouble naming books.

b2b: You are lucky, then. Some authors agonize over it.

We all have favorite books, authors… How about you? Are you willing to fess-up?

DH:  I read very, very little when it comes to romance, so I really don’t have any favorites within the genre.  I do like historical fiction, though, and occasionally will pick up something by Dean Koontz or Tess Gerritsen.  I loved the Joshua books by Joseph Girzone.

b2b: You know, I hear that a lot and it makes a lot of sense.

Some authors write at certain times of day or week. What’s your typical writing schedule and what gets your creative juices flowing? If you have any tips to help other aspiring new authors out there, feel free to share!

DH:  I wish I had a “schedule,” but, I’m also a mom, and as anyone with children knows, when it comes to kids, the old adage “the best laid plans…” certainly holds true.  Our daughter is home from summer camp now, so my writing time is very late at night.  I cannot work with interruptions, and in a house with my family and four dogs up and about, my best … perhaps my only … work gets done after they all go to bed.

b2b: LOL! So I see that it doesn’t differ from most mom’s out there. They all do the bulk of their chores after the household ‘settles down’.

I honestly enjoyed every aspect of this book. What inspired it and who did you envision as Damon?

DH:  Damon is a very wounded hero, and in adulthood, he’s paying the price for having an abusive mother who never showed him any love.  As a result, he’s prone to panic attacks, anxiety, and has an impossible time seeing the beauty in the world about him.  He’s angry, without knowing why, but he yearns for so much more.  I know people like Damon, loved ones who suffer panic attacks and anxiety disorders, and I must confess that my empathy toward them inspired me to write Damon’s character.  I wrote the paperback version of Wicked At Heart in the mid-1990s, and the young, intense, gorgeous and still relatively unknown Ralph Fiennes was the person I envisioned as Damon.

b2b: I am not surprised. He would definitely do justice to the role of Damon with his intensity and voice.

What do you like to read and what’s on your TBR right now?

DH:  I’m currently reading With Fire And Sword:  The Battle of Bunker Hill and the Beginning of the American Revolution by James Nelson, who’s actually quite well-known for his great fiction.  It’s a great read, and I’m enjoying his portrayal of Dr. Joseph Warren, the young, handsome, and sadly forgotten patriot without whom, I think, we probably wouldn’t have had a revolution.  Dr. Warren is one of my very favorite historical personages, right up there with British Admiral Lord Nelson.

b2b: Cool. I’ll make sure to look it up.

Now, that ends up our ‘professional’ portion of this interview.

…Let’s get Personal:

So, tell us a bit about yourself, something personal that you’d like us to know…anything that makes you comfortable…or not…like how many times did you fall in love? Flannel or Silk? Cats or Dogs? Champagne or Beer?  Rock or Classical? Movies or TV?

DH:  I can’t remember how many times I’ve fallen in love, but I’ve been happily married to my husband Chris since we tied the knot back in Abingdon, England, in 1995!  As for your other questions:  Flannel (it gets cold here during a Massachusetts winter!) … Dogs (I have four German Shorthaired Pointers ranging in age from one to fifteen years), though I do love kitties, too (my allergies don’t!), and Sam Adams Cherry Wheat beer, please!  My iTunes library is pretty eclectic, but I’m a big fan of the British band Oasis (which was HUGE when we were living in England); I also love Madonna, Lady Gaga, the Bee Gees’ older stuff (before the disco era), and anything with great energy to it.  I don’t watch TV (every time I get hooked on a show it gets canceled, so I don’t bother anymore!).  I’m a huge and devoted fan of Jesus Christ Superstar — the movie, the soundtrack, the live production — and have seen it on stage more times than I can count.  I even have a photo of myself with Ted Neeley, who’s holding a copy of The Wild One!

b2b: Danelle, you’re one fun lady! You’ve been very gracious to stop by and play, and I thank you so much. I am sure that our readers will be thrilled to learn that you’ve offered FIVE lucky winners   (one book per winner/title of their choice) ALL FIVE of your books as a giveaway, and all they have to tell us is this: how much of sensuality do you like to read about? No sexual contact whatsoever, sexual contact all over, or are you somewhere in between?

You can reach Danelle on Facebook, Tweeter and her website. To buy her novels right now, just click on the cover.