Máire Claremont’s Five Fun Facts behind …

‘The Dark Affair’

mc tda

Chris HemsworthFact 1: The very sexy Viscount Powers is real to me. Shhhhh. Don’t tell Mr. Claremont. Helk ffts snarks and raises a disdainful brow in our conversations to hide his pain. He can’t fool me! I see that that gorgeous man needs an awesome HEA.

Fact 2: My very favorite heroes are wounded with exceptionally dry senses of humor, In fact, James Mallory from Johanna Lindsay’s Gentle Rogue and  the Duke of Jerveaux from Laura Kinsale’s Flowers From the Storm are my favorite heroes after Viscount Powers, of course!

Romola GaraiFact 3: Even though I am Irish, I was nervous having an Irish heroine! I wanted to get her “right”.  She’s a handful and she insisted she was a match for James. Luckily,jl gr I listened. No one else could have survived that man let alone fallen in love with him. She needs his passion like he needs her good sense.

Fact 4: Anorexia  was prevalent in the Victorian period but not for the reason one might think. A woman who had a “healthy” appetite was a woman who likely had sexual passion and to Victorian prudish upper middle class and proper high society this was a very bad thing. Women would starve themselves to ensure those around them thought they were pure.

Fact 5: I listened to Go Ask Alice soo many times whilst writing the Mad Passions books its a miracle I didn’t fall down a rabbit hole or start talking to door knobs!

 

 

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BOOK BLURB: Lady Margaret Cassidy left a life of nobility behind in Ireland, forsaking her grieving homeland to aid war-ravaged men in England. Still, she never expected a cruel turn of fate to lock her into an unwanted betrothal with one of her English patients—much less one as broken and dangerous as Viscount Powers.

Wrecked by his tragic past, Powers’ opiate-addled sanity hangs precariously in the balance, leaving him poised to destroy anyone who dares to utter the names of the wife and child he still so deeply mourns. So when he is forced to marry Margaret in exchange for freedom, he is shocked by the desire to earn her trust, her body, and—most alarming of all—her heart….

EXCERPT: here.

Buy Links: Amazon / B&N

 GIVEAWAY: 1 e or print copy/1 Winner

Maire ClaremontAUTHOR BIO: 2011 Golden Heart winner Máire Claremont first fell in love with Mr. Rochester, not Mr. Darcy. Drawn to his dark snark, she longed to find a tortured hero of her own… until she realized the ramifications of Mr. Rochester locking his first wife up in his attic.

Discovering the errors of her ways, Máire now looks for a real-life Darcy and creates deliciously dark heroes on the page. Oh, and she wants everyone to know her name is pronounced Moira. Her parents just had to give her an Irish Gaelic name.

Social Media Links: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest / Blog

 

 

‘The Dark Affair’ by Máire Claremont

mc tdaSTORY: Lady Margaret Cassidy left a life of nobility behind in Ireland, forsaking her grieving homeland to aid war-ravaged men in England. Still, she never expected a cruel turn of fate to lock her into an unwanted betrothal with one of her English patients—much less one as broken and dangerous as Viscount Powers.

Wrecked by his tragic past, Powers’ opiate-addled sanity hangs precariously in the balance, leaving him poised to destroy anyone who dares to utter the names of the wife and child he still so deeply mourns. So when he is forced to marry Margaret in exchange for freedom, he is shocked by the desire to earn her trust, her body, and—most alarming of all—her heart….

REVIEW: In this third novel of Ms. Claremont’s Mad Passions series we reconnect with James Stanhope, Viscount Powers who came to aid of Lady Mary in ‘Lady in Red’. Have no fear, you don’t have to read that story in order to follow this one, although come to think of it, maybe you should. Lady Mary has a significant part to play in James’s story as much as he did in hers. The relationship they built is very strong and the scenes between James and Mary are heartbreakingly tender because of their intimate knowledge of what the other is going through.

If you’re a fan of ‘tortured hero’ trope, please don’t pass this one up. I can’t tell you how much I loved it. Everything about this hero touched my heart. I was pulling for him from the first page and the satisfaction I got as I watched his courage emerge out of despair, was elating.

Maggie was the only woman for James. Without her tenaciousness, her determination and strong spirit, this man would still be lost. She may have appeared to be cold, calculating and without warm emotions, but once you start to know her, to see behind all this front veneer, you start to understand this amazing woman.

This is without a doubt a character driven, fast-paced and emotionally draining story that I thoroughly enjoyed from start to finish.

I can’t praise it enough! If you haven’t read this series yet, you’re missing out on a wonderful prose, solid plots and a pace that will give you an adrenaline rush you won’t soon forget.

Melanie for b2b.

Complimentary copy from the publisher.

 

Closing out 2013 with …

My 2013 Debut Authors are:

As the year ends I look back at the books I’ve read, some new ‘to me’  and some début authors I’ve enjoyed and today I’m giving you heads up on these because I think they’re the ones to watch out for in the years to come.

Please note that they come in no particular order. All are equally good and worthy of my esteem.

TP KWKate Worth and ‘The Promise’

BOOK BLURB: When pastry chef Jane Gray tries to sell her daughter’s locket, she becomes the unlikely subject of a massive police hunt and fodder for London’s tabloid press. Secrets unravel, lies are exposed, and the Duke of Rutledge demands custody of his niece.

Charming and handsome, the duke’s brother Finn spends his leisure time between the sheets of London’s most beautiful, wanton women. The seasoned rake is perplexed by his attraction to demure, virtuous Jane… definitely not his usual type. It soon becomes evident there is more to Jane than meets the eye and Finn longs to possess the passionate woman hidden beneath her modest facade.

When the publicity draws the attention of a madman from Jane’s past and Finn is forced to enter London’s dangerous underworld in a heart-stopping race to save her.

REVIEW: here.

AMAR EPEvelyn Pryce and ‘A Man Above Reproach’

BOOK BLURB: In 1830s London, scandalized whispers surround the pub known as The Sleeping Dove. A hidden bordello, the rumors say, catering to straying nobles eager to shed the trappings of their stations.

Josephine Grant knows the rumors are true–she plays piano at the Dove, known only as “The Bawdy Bluestocking” to the pub’s faithful. Tales swirl as to her real origin: some patrons claim that she was an orphan prodigy, others go so far as to name her concubine to the King.

The society ladies call the reluctant Duke of Lennox “The Uncatchable,” not that he cares for them or their nicknames. Elias Addison’s estate was thrust upon him when his father died and it has been little else but a burden. He spends his days mired in responsibilities and his nights pursued at endless balls by fortune-hunting debutantes. He is morose, serious, and tense.

When a friend brings him to the Sleeping Dove in an attempt to lighten his mood, the consequences of those good intentions are far greater. When the Duke of Lennox finds himself at the Bawdy Bluestocking’s piano, they begin to play a dangerous melody. Though Elias cannot resist courting Josie, she has a past to protect, a shaky future, and no time for frivolous nobility with soft hands. When the Duke uncovers the truth, will he wish he had never begun the tune?

REVIEW: here.

U ACAnna Cowen and ‘Untamed’

BOOK BLURB: Outspoken and opinionated, Katherine Sutherland is ill at ease amongst the fine ladies of Regency London. She is more familiar with farmers and her blunt opinions and rough manners offend polite society. Yet when she hears the scandalous rumours involving her sister and the seductive Duke of Darlington, the fiercely loyal Katherine vows to save her sister’s marriage – whatever the cost.

Intrigued by Katherine’s interference in his affairs, the manipulative Duke is soon fascinated. He engages in a daring deception and follows her back to her country home. Here, their intense connection shocks them both. But the Duke’s games have dangerous consequences, and the potential to throw both their lives into chaos…

REVIEW: here.

perf5.000x8.000.inddSandra Owens and ‘The Letter’

BOOK BLURB: THE LETTER is a story of a betrayal that wasn’t. Even so, it still tore two lovers apart for eleven years. Michael Jeffres, Earl of Daventry, found his betrothed, the woman who meant as much to him as the air he breathed, in bed with his cousin on the eve of their wedding.

Diana, the daughter of a marquess, remembers nothing of that night. All she knows is she was forced to marry Michael’s cousin, Leo, and then spent the next eleven years in hell.
When the two lovers are brought back together by a letter from Leo a year after his death, they must struggle through all the lies and secrets before they can find a love that far surpasses that of their youth.

REVIEW: here.

TSOLP EQElla Quinn and ‘The Seduction of Lady Phoebe’

BOOK BLURB: Polite society has its rules for marriage. But for Ella Quinn’s eligible bachelors, their brides will show them that rules are for the weak of heart…

Phoebe Stanhope is not a typical Lady. As feisty as she is quick witted, no one can catch her, especially when she is driving her dashing phaeton with its perfectly matched horses. And unlike her peers, experience has guarded her against a growing list of would-be suitors. But when she encounters Marcus Finley, what she fears most burns deep within his blue-eyed gaze…

For Lord Marcus, the spark of recognition is but a moment in the love he has held these many years. Now that he’s returned to England, all the happiness he desires rests on Lady Phoebe never finding out that he was the one who turned her heart so cold and distant. He must work fast to gain the advantage—to convince her what she wants is exactly what she denies—but in order to seduce her into his arms, he must be willing to give up more than he can control…

REVIEW: here.

TDL MCMáire Claremont and ‘The Dark Lady’

BOOK BLURB: Lord Ian Blake has returned from India a broken man. Years ago, he pledged to Lady Eva Carin—his childhood companion and first love—that he would bring her husband back alive. His failure haunts him. But even his jaded soul can’t anticipate the shocking sight of beautiful, independent Eva confined in a madhouse.

Locked in an asylum, forgotten by society, Eva is adrift in both body and mind. For Ian to break her free, they must cross a powerful enemy—and prove her sanity to England’s unforgiving aristocracy. But the biggest danger of all may come when the secrets of Eva’s tragic past are finally unlocked.

REVIEW: here.

The Illicit Love of a CourtesanJane Lark and ‘The Illicit Love of a Courtesan’

BOOK BLURB: Trapped under the reign of a cruel keeper, Ellen Harding longs to be free. Under his oppression, her soul and conscience have died while her body lives on, fulfilling his dissolute desires. She is empty––a vessel––deaf to the voice of morality and blind to shame.

When her eyes are drawn to a beautiful man for no other reason than his looks, she imagines what it would be like to escape her chains for a night by giving her body to him.

But Edward Marlow is kind and gentle when he touches her, and her subconscious whispers, this man could be her salvation. Yet how can he help her when she has secrets which prevent her freedom?

Edward is restless, lonely, and a little angry with his lot in life—it is his only excuse for being drawn to another man’s mistress.  The woman’s dark hair and pale eyes are striking, and he cannot take his gaze off her while she watches him over the top of a fan with an illicit intent in her eyes.

Once he’s known her, he cannot forget her, and once he’s seen the evidence of her supposed benefactor’s brutality, he wants to help her. But how can he when she will not run any more than she will speak of her past?

When a desperate Ellen finally relents and shocks Edward from his sleep, he doesn’t hesitate, he helps her flee He just doesn’t know he’s running headlong into the secrets of her past.

REVIEW: here.

ADI EMErica Monroe  and ‘A Dangerous Invitation’

BOOK BLURB: One fatal mistake cost Daniel O’Reilly the woman he loved, spiraling him toward drunken self-destruction. Now sober, he’ll have to prove he’s innocent of the murder he was accused of two years ago. But pistol-wielding Kate Morgan hasn’t forgiven his sins.

Torn from her privileged existence by her father’s death, Kate Morgan has carved out a new independent life in the Ratcliffe rookery as a fence for stolen goods. Daniel’s invitation to assist him jeopardizes her structured existence. Yet Kate can’t resist his touch, or the wicked desires he stirs within her.

As their renewed passions grow reckless, their investigation takes them through the darkest and most depraved areas of the City. To catch a killer, they’ll have to put secrets behind them and trust only their hearts.

REVIEW: here.

Those are some of the authors that have debuted this year, but I’ve discovered this year ‘new to me’ authors that have been around and they are: Victoria Vane; Sherry Thomas; Julianne Lee, Tracy Grant, Susan King, Elizabeth Chadwick…

There are so many more on my Kindle and still on my TBR so I need to get to them all…eventually.

How was your reading year and have you any recommendations for me?

Melanie

Featuring Illustrator of Romance Novels…

Jon Paul

JPF

It is no secret that I adore every cover ever illustrated by this talented man. I dare you to watch this video and not come up with at least one of these books.

I don’t have all of them, but I bet that most of my Keeper Shelf books are Jon Paul covers. These are not your ordinary pictures…these works of art never fail to amaze me. They make me gasp and leave me breathless, as much as the stories depicted by these covers.

My thanks go to Mr. Mario Sorcinelli for putting this vid together. It’s amazing!

ENJOY!

 

Can you name some of the titles featured in the video?

The person with the most titles named will get one of the books with Jon Paul cover!

*[US only]

Jon Paul FerraraARTIST BIO: Jon Paul is one of the most talented artist/photographers in the Romance Novel Cover Art industry. The covers of Jon Paul appear regularly in books issued by the leading romance novel publishing houses. In the mid-80′s, Jon Paul was one of sixteen art students chosen worldwide to participate in a nine-month program at the prestigious New York Academy of Fine Arts. He also attended the National Academy of Design under Nelson Shank, the official portrait painter of the late Princess Diana. Jon Paul has received more than thirty awards for excellence from the Romance Writers of America, often placing in two or more of the top ten positions. His work has appeared on the cover of Zink (September 2004), one of the leading fashion industry magazines.

Jon Paul also painted an advertisement for Chopard , a world famous jewelers who designs jewelry for celebrities. In 2005 Jon’s work was showcased on a True Romance gaming machine which was distributed in casinos worldwide. In 2006 he completed an advertising campaign for Oral-B which included portraits of celebrities like Fabio. His portrait of Fabio appeared on Valentine’s Day 2006 on the NASDAQ Billboard in Time Square NYC. Jon Paul was commissioned to design the artwork for the tombstone of Anna Nicole Smith and was unveiled on what would have been her 41st birthday. Ever vigilant to expand his horizons, Jon Paul pursues his fine art along with his commercial ventures, both are enjoyed by millions of fans that visit his site every year.

Social Media: Website /  Facebook /

Máire Claremont stops by b2b….

Dearest readers of bookworm2bookworm,

I’m so thrilled to take part in the anniversary celebrations and shenanigans of this wonderful blog. I always love getting to visit or see my books reviewed here!

The tale I wish to share with you today is one of passion, darkness, madness and of course a Happily Ever After. I hope you jump into Mary and Edward’s world, loving those two tortured souls as much as I do!

Certainly, few deserve a happy ending more. Good luck!

LIR MC‘Lady in Red’

BOOK BLURB: Lady Mary Darrel should be the envy of London. Instead, all society believes her dead. For Mary holds a secret so dangerous, her father chose to keep her locked away…and have a grave made for her near her mother’s. Driven to the edge of desperation, Mary manages to escape the asylum, only to find that her fate yet again rests in the hands of a man…

Edward Barrons, Duke of Fairleigh, longs for some way to escape the torment of his father’s crimes. In Mary’s warrior spirit and haunted gaze—which so mirrors his own—he finally sees his path to redemption. He will stop at nothing to keep her safe, even as she seeks revenge. But will the passion they discover in each other be enough to save them from their demons?

***   ***   ***

EXCERPT I:

          For the first time as long as Edward could recall, he was at a loss for words. One did not usually find frightened, naked young women in Madame Yvonne’s room. Especially frightened, half-starved young women who glared with defiance etched upon every feature.

“Go.” Her pale lips parted, exposing white teeth.

“If that is what you wish.” Yet he found his boots unable to move and do her bidding. It was as if she were a snake charmer upon the dusty street playing her tune to keep him mesmerized. A strange stirring he hadn’t felt in an age kindled inside him. Not desire, but. . . interest.

“Go,” she snapped again, breaking the thrall of her gaze.

In one shaking sweep of motion, her hands tightened on the copper tub and she pulled herself from the water. She didn’t even try to cover herself but stood fiercely, her defined and lean muscles tense. She was most definitely accustomed to being naked before men. But from the anger and apprehension crackling from her, she despised every moment of it.

He should have left. Immediately. He was not one to force his company on women, especially vulnerable ones.

But nothing could make him leave, not even if the building were burning to ash around him, not when he had to know who she was and why she was here. And he did need to know. The very demand echoed in his bones.

Water sluiced her small frame and he winced at the austerity of her body. Damnation, but she hadn’t been eating enough. Delicate was one thing. . . This was emaciation and then there was the chartreuse, telltale signs of healing bruises on her forearms and ribs.

The sight filled him with anger so intense he had to close his eyes briefly and force the fury to still so that he wouldn’t frighten her.

She vaulted out of the tub and darted towards the fire.

It took him only moments to realize she was going for the poker. But before she could reach it, her bare, wet feet slipped on the marble before the grate and she plummeted forward, arms flailing as she desperately tried to catch herself.

Edward sprang across the room. His arms circled her just as her head narrowly missed the iron grating that would no doubt have left her severely unconscious or dead.

The warm water soaking her body dampened his shirt, and he could barely get a good hold on her sleek skin. He held her carefully with his hands pressed into her back, taking all her weight though her toes still skimmed the ground. She kept her hands folded protectively over her chest, not daring to touch him.

Her violet eyes widened, wounded and old for a woman of her years. “Are you going to hurt me?”

Her pulse thudded wildly, tangible beneath his fingertips. The very essence of her face that of a doe right before the hunters moved in for the final kill.

The muscles along her neck strained as she attempted to keep her head up. Before she could protest, he slid one of his hands up to her nape and cupped it carefully.

Two warring emotions brewed riotously within him. Sadness that her life had been so bleak and a sudden spark of hope. . . Perhaps she was the one who could shake him from his darkness. The one who could finally see justice done.

“No,” he whispered, his voice rough to his own ears. “No harm will come to you by me. By anyone. Not now, not ever again.”

***   ***   ***

EXCERPT II:

The books towered all around her. Hundreds of them. Mary stared in awe at the beautifully leather bound copies of more novels than she could ever have imagined stacked carefully on the mahogany shelves. This was twice the size of her father’s library.

Several titles jumped out at her, Pride and Prejudice, Les Miserable, Tom Jones, Wuthering Heights, Villette. . .

How long had it been since she had slipped a book into her hands and vanished into a story? Years. So many years and stories lost. Hesitating, her fingers curled into her palms, aching to touch them, but unsure if she should.

She’d almost not left her room, but after being locked away for so long, her new relative freedom couldn’t be denied. Slipping down Edward’s wide stairs had been thrilling and the first room she’d found had been this one.

A sanctuary.

She took a step forward, her slippers sliding over the deep red and cream Turkish carpet. The long hem of Edward’s dark navy dressing gown trailed behind her.

Wearing his clothing hadn’t bothered her as she thought it would. Surprisingly, the lustrous feel of the velvet and silk traced over her skin easily, as carefully as his own touch had done. She hugged it a little closer and glanced to the tall windows.

Though the drapes were all pulled back, exposing London’s dark night, lantern light spilled in over the carpets dancing with the candles flickering from the many candelabras interspersed throughout the library. The lights surrounded her in a soft glow giving the room an ethereal feel of magic and hope.

In this room, she felt so warm, so at ease. . . Well, more at ease. She was still unsure of her position and what Edward truly thought of her and what he might think if he found out the truth.

“Do you enjoy reading?”

She jumped then whipped towards that deep voice.

Edward stood in the door, his shoulder pressed against the frame. His white linen shirt was open slightly at the neck, a careless posture.

It was all so strange. Being free and being here with him. She should have been terrified. But she wasn’t. Not at all. “I do,” she folded her hands tightly before her. “If the book is good.”

He pushed away from the door and took two steps forward, close, but still far away enough to allow her space. She appreciated his effort. She imagined everything he did was rather calculated, even the decision to take only two steps.

***   ***   ***

EXCERPT III:

She’d never been to the grave. Now, standing only feet from her mother’s remains, she once again wished tears would come or some rending pain would finally pull her apart. But nothing happened. There was no overpowering, soul-searing moment, only the sound of the wind whistling through the trees.

Edward stared at the crypt for several moments. Then his piercing gaze turned toward her. “I don’t understand.”

“Don’t you?” She had known he wouldn’t find precisely what he was looking for. There was more, so much more.

He let his attention wander from her to the crypt. “No.”

“Read the names,” she said tightly.

He scanned the words. There was a single beat of silence, before he said, “Mary.”

“Lady Mary Elizabeth, yes.” Her eyes locked on the crypt until they burned.

Only the slightest exhale revealed his shock. “You’re the Duke of Duncliffe’s daughter.”

“I am,” she confirmed flatly.

“I. . . came to your funeral.”

“Did you? How kind.”

He turned to her, his shoulders squared and his gaze snapping with a hundred unspoken questions. “I don’t– I don’t know what to say.”

A mocking smile forced her mouth wide. Even though she knew it was a grimace, the way her lips pulled against her lips, she couldn’t help herself. How she wished they could go back to his townhouse and sit and read. But Edward seemed consumed by the need to know what had nearly destroyed her, as if that might help her somehow. “Imagine my position, then. . . if you don’t know where to begin.”

He shook his dark head, disbelief paling his sun-kissed skin. “What happened?”

“I died.”

 ***   ***   ***

EXCERPT IV:

One could never fall if one felt such ecstasy. Mary slipped her hands into his hair, savoring the hot taste of his mouth and the careful touch of his lips. Was this the pleasure of freely giving oneself? With no condition or expectation?

She would never plummet to the hard earth with this feeling of wonder. She would glide free and alive in this kiss. . . In his glorious touch. Mary opened her mouth in a gasp of delight and immediately tasted crushed mint and the hint of red wine.

Without thinking, she pushed herself against him, as if she might climb inside his strong fortress of a body. The full bells of her skirt batted at her legs, the hoop dancing out, but she gave no notice. If anything, she longed to be divested of her garments and feel him.

Freedom was in his touch. The freedom of knowing that she was giving herself because she wished it, not because she had to or had anything to gain but the pleasure of the moment.

Carefully, she lowered a hand to his chest, just over his heart and its solid beat. Gently, she pushed.

He broke the kiss, his breath ragged. “Forgive me.”

Her own breath came at a rapid pace as she let her hand hover over the thin linen covering his hot skin and hard muscle. “As you are always telling me, there is nothing to forgive.”

A slight smile touched his lips and he began to step away, but she grabbed him, her fingers holding tightly to the linen shirt covering his warm body. “There is something. . . I would like to do.”

Stilling under her touch, his dark eyes flashed with desire as they searched carefully over her face. “Whatever you wish.”

Every bit of her urged her to lower her gaze, but she would not be meek. She wanted this.

BUY LINKS: Amazon / B&N / Kobo / iBook

***   ***   ***

*One lucky Commenter will end up with ‘Lady in Red’ 

Giveaway: [eBook - International or print copy - US!

Won’t you join our celebration by:

1) Telling us which excerpt did you like best & why?

2) Subscribing to our Blog…

3) ‘LIKE’ -ing us on our Facebook!

All three is required for a TRIPLE chance to win in the Grand Giveaway!

If a follower & FB buddy, just COMMENT on the upcoming posts and you’ll be entered.

***   ***   ***

Maire ClaremontAUTHOR INFO:  2011 Golden Heart winner Máire Claremont first fell in love with Mr. Rochester, not Mr. Darcy. Drawn to his dark snark, she longed to find a tortured hero of her own… until she realized the ramifications of Mr. Rochester locking his first wife up in his attic.

Discovering the errors of her ways, Máire now looks for a real-life Darcy and creates deliciously dark heroes on the page. Oh, and she wants everyone to know her name is pronounced Moira. Her parents just had to give her an Irish Gaelic name.

Social Media Links: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest / Blog

Five Fun Facts with Máire Claremont!

LIR MC

1. I wrote most of ‘Lady in Red’ while I was living in Ireland in Costa Coffee shops. The joke over there is that Costa coffee costs a lot. :D

2. One of my favorite parts of this whole research process was looking at the fabulous poofy dresses from the period. House of Worth gowns make me swoon. I want a big princess dress!

3. Laudanum which is distilled opium mixed with alcohol was easily available at apothecaries. Ladies were often prescribed it when they were discontented in their lives and had “nerves”.

4. Apparently, uteruses migrated all over a woman’s body in the Victorian period. . . Wait, no, they didn’t.  Actually, in my research I found many accepted theories for women’s moods and unacceptable behavior. Doctors claimed that if a woman’s uterus moved around, she was mentally unstable. I will let you imagine how the lovely exam took place and how frequently to ascertain whether the lady’s uterus was in the proper place.

5. James Stanhope, the Earl of Powers is a secondary character who quite shocked me with his cheekiness. He kept trying to be the hero. I told him he had to wait his turn.

Maire ClaremontAUTHOR BIO: 2011 Golden Heart winner Máire Claremont first fell in love with Mr. Rochester, not Mr. Darcy. Drawn to his dark snark, she longed to find a tortured hero of her own… until she realized the ramifications of Mr. Rochester locking his first wife up in his attic.

Discovering the errors of her ways, Máire now looks for a real-life Darcy and creates deliciously dark heroes on the page. Oh, and she wants everyone to know her name is pronounced Moira. Her parents just had to give her an Irish Gaelic name.

Social Media Links: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest / Blog

MClaremont-blogtour200x400BOOK BLURB: The Victorian era was full of majestic beauty and scandalous secrets—a time when corsets were the least of a woman’s restrictions, and men could kill or be killed in the name of honor…

Lady Mary Darrel should be the envy of London. Instead, all society believes her dead. For Mary holds a secret so dangerous, her father chose to keep her locked away…and have a grave made for her near her mother’s. Driven to the edge of desperation, Mary manages to escape the asylum, only to find that her fate yet again rests in the hands of a man…

Edward Barrons, Duke of Fairleigh, longs for some way to escape the torment of his father’s crimes. In Mary’s warrior spirit and haunted gaze—which so mirrors his own—he finally sees his path to redemption. He will stop at nothing to keep her safe, even as she seeks revenge. But will the passion they discover in each other be enough to save them from their demons?

EXCERPT: here.

Buy Links: Amazon / B&N / iBooks / Books-A-Million / Book Depository

 

Giveaway: 1 commenter – $10 Amazon gift card. * International.

 CLICK the Banner for the tour schedule!

MClaremont-LadyinRedtour

‘Lady in Red’ by Máire Claremont

LIR MCSTORY: Lady Mary Darrel should be the envy of London. Instead, all society believes her dead. For Mary holds a secret so dangerous, her father chose to keep her locked away…and have a grave made for her near her mother’s. Driven to the edge of desperation, Mary manages to escape the asylum, only to find that her fate yet again rests in the hands of a man…

Edward Barrons, Duke of Fairleigh, longs for some way to escape the torment of his father’s crimes. In Mary’s warrior spirit and haunted gaze—which so mirrors his own—he finally sees his path to redemption. He will stop at nothing to keep her safe, even as she seeks revenge. But will the passion they discover in each other be enough to save them from their demons?

REVIEW: Lady Mary, daughter of the Duke of Duncliffe, has just escaped from an insane asylum where she had been placed by her father after the death of her mother, Esme. He put her there after she witnessed him murdering her mother.  Subjected to unspeakable treatment, rape, swill for food and constantly dosed with laudanum, her body and her mind are very weak.  Mary travels by foot to her mother’s friend, Yvonne, in hopes of finding shelter.

Edward Barrons, Duke of Fairleigh, is a tormented man filled with guilt over many crimes that his father committed.  

Yvonne feels that Mary will be safer staying with Edward who takes her in and strives to help her adjust to normal life again and to help her get over her dependency on the laudanum.  In helping her, Edward finds a feeling of salvation in payment for his father’s crimes.

This novel is dark at times and will make the reader cringe at the abuse that Mary suffered and the evil of some men.  However, it is also a lesson in the patience, caring and love of human beings helping others to heal from difficulties in their lives.

I was very impressed with the depth of sensitivity and knowledge of the author in understanding and expressing the pain, fear, frustration and anger suffered by Mary.

Connie for b2b

*Book provided by the author 

TDA MC

MEL’S THOUGHTS: I want to thank Connie for such a great and concise review of this extraordinary tale. We read it at the same time, and I just thought I needed to let you all know how much this story touched me as well.

Reading this book had me hold my breath on more than one occasion; it made my hands shake from anger at the society of the day; it brought tears to my eyes from pure impotence I felt in not being able to hold these two souls in my arms and in theTDL MC end I shed some more tears, but this time of happiness at finally witnessing good win over evil.

Máire Claremont is quickly earning her space on my ‘keeper shelf’ with her wonderful writing, believable plots and heroes and heroines who are willing to risk their souls for their happiness and never give up on themselves.

Please, please be sure to read this book, and the series of Mad Passions, starting with ‘The Dark Lady’ and coming in March, 2014 ‘The Dark Affair’.

*Book provided by NetGalley

Fan2Author Interview with…Máire Claremont!

Maire Claremontb2bMelanie: Hello Máire and welcome to b2b! I’m so happy you’re here! The buzz about ‘The Dark Lady’ is great! How exited are you with ‘The Dark Lady’ coming out?  I can’t even imagine the feelings you’re going through! The only closest I can compare it to is sending my kids off to the Kindergarten and hoping they’ll do good without me there to guide them….

Máire Claremont: Oh my!!!! I am totally over the moon. The release has been so exciting. I can barely believe it is all real. And yes, it is a bit like sending your baby into the world and hoping that no one bullies it.

b2bMelanie: Before I start with my interview, won’t you introduce yourself to our readers and tell us a bit about yourself and your début novel?

Máire: Well, I am a bit of a gypsy soul! I love to move. I’ve lived all over the US and the British Isles and Ireland. I have an M.A. in Drama and adore film and live theaters. My début is a bit on the different side. Very dark, focusing on a heroine escaping the insane asylum.

b2bMelanie: Máire, I am such a sucker for a tortured hero, and in ‘Dark Lady’ I had two-for-one. Both Eva and Ian traveled some rough road to their HEA and you made them work for it!

I found the story truly unique and exciting to read. You had me on pins and needles all through out! What made you choose this premise?

Máire: You know the premise was completely unmeditated. It came to me as I tried to go to sleep one night. The story literally came to me in the dark and I had to get up and start writing.

b2bMelanie: I must say that the many scenes you wrote just tugged at my heart-strings… How hard of a time did you have going so deep into the psyche of your Ian and Eva? I wondered if the intimate and sensual scenes came easier than those of Ian and Eva’s personal suffering. By the way, who did you model Eva and Ian after?

Máire: Oh thank you!!!!!!! Sometimes it was very tough, mining their grief and walking their paths with them. I loved writing the intimate scenes because it was a chance for them to be happy amidst their sorrows but it was also really natural to write the darker scenes as they were so true to character. Eva and Ian aren’t mirrored off anyone or anything. They are completely unique to me.

b2bMelanie: I think Cover Art is almost as much important as the content of the novels, but I find that not many publishers are acknowledging the artists or the models, and as an avid reader I love all aspects of the novel I’m about to read.

Tell me about the cover art for this book. It is stunning. This woman looks just like what I pictured Eva to be.

Máire: I got SO SO lucky!!! Jon Paul was the designer. Signet just really went to town on giving me the most beautiful cover. I sent them some images and we had a cover conference about the feel. Wait until you see Lady in Red’s cover!!!

b2bMelanie: You sure did! Jon Paul is such a sweetheart, not goona even attempt to hide my adoration for the man!

Maire Claremont The DarkLady Book Tour

Let’s talk titles…How hard is it to ‘name’ your ‘baby’? Have you gone through more than one and can you tell us what they were? 

Máire: The Dark Lady was ALWAYS the title. I was so lucky. It came to me. It’s a reference to Shakespeare’s Dark Lady sonnets. And my editor loved it and it never had to change.

b2bMelanie: Do you let someone read your work during your writing process? Who’s the lucky person and why? Or do you wait ‘till it’s finished, then you let someone read it…and who?

Máire: Oh yes! Delilah Marvelle author extraordinaire reads everything I write! Lacey Kaye also often looks and my amazing agent Helen Breitweiser!

b2bMelanie: OMG! The Delightful Ms. M. sure is lucky! I can’t tell you how lucky I was to meet her last year. Adore her!

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

Máire: Elizabeth Hoyt is my very favorite historical writer right now with Delilah Marvelle making a very close second. They both write amazingly detailed deep books.

b2bMelanie: Totally with you on that one!

What’s on your TBR right now?

Máire: Lord of Darkness by Elizabeth Hoyt and Forever A Lord by Delilah Marvelle.

b2bMelanie: I don’t have Hoyt’s, but now must get it. As for Delilah’s book, I read it as soon as I got my special ARC copy and loved it!

Now, that ends up our ‘professional’ portion of this interview. Are you ready to get personal? Or are you going to chicken out on me?

Máire: Do I look like a Chicken?!? LOL.

b2bMelanie: HAHAHA!…Let’s get Personal:

So, tell us something personal about yourself that you’d like us to know…anything that makes you comfortable…or not…like how many times did you fall in love?

What’s your favorite meal of the day (food)? Flannels or Silk? Do you like to cook? What’s your favorite spot in the house? Cats or Dogs? Champagne or Beer?  Your favorite time of the year? What are your fears? Your joys?

Máire: Oh Wow! I am almost never in love! I think that’s why I love romance. I can fall in love whenever I want!

M favorite meal is dinner. I adore Indian food! Chicken tikka Masala?? nom nom om.

I’m flannels all the way because they are the best to write in!

My favorite spot in the house is. . . the bed. I even write in it. :D

I adore cats!! Always have. I love their snobbiness.

I’m a total Champagne girl. I adore bubbles!

My favorite time of year is Fall. I love the transition and the turning of the leaves! Such a gorgeous time of year!

Fears?? Failure of course or rejection. The nice thing is with all the writing, I’ve had to face my fears. And the more you face those fears, the stronger you become.

I do cook and actually like it unless I’m cooking just for me.

My joys??? Traveling!!! I could travel all year long and never get tired of living out of my suitcase! In fact, that’s my goal, to be able to travel ALL the time.

b2bMelanie: Máire, thanks for ‘coming over to play’! I wish you a long and ‘muse’ filled writing life. It has been a pleasure and much fun to host you and get to know you.

*For Author’s Bio, please click on her photo. 

*Máire can be found here: Website / Blog / Facebook / Tweeter / Pinterest

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“The Dark Lady” now available at: Amazon Kindle B&N / Nook /

*For an EXCERPT please click on the book cover.

GIVEAWAY

One commenter will win a choice of copy or eBook

of THE DARK LADY and all you need to do is answer a question…

If you could travel to any time, what it be and why??

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‘The Dark Lady’ by Máire Claremont

TDL MCSTORY: Lord Ian Blake has returned from India a broken man. Years ago, he pledged to Lady Eva Carin—his childhood companion and first love—that he would bring her husband back alive. His failure haunts him. But even his jaded soul can’t anticipate the shocking sight of beautiful, independent Eva confined in a madhouse.

Locked in an asylum, forgotten by society, Eva is adrift in both body and mind. For Ian to break her free, they must cross a powerful enemy—and prove her sanity to England’s unforgiving aristocracy. But the biggest danger of all may come when the secrets of Eva’s tragic past are finally unlocked.

REVIEW: The first word that came out of my mouth as I’ve finished reading this story was WOW… and then I exhaled.

‘The Dark Lady’ by Máire Claremont is her début, and what a début it is!

If you’re like me, one of those bookworms that have a need for the book to grab them from the first page, then you’re in luck if you decide to read this book. You’ll be on pins and needles ‘till the end.

For a change this story develops in 1865, Victorian era and what a contrast to Regency era it is. For some reason it looks like women suffered even worse than in the earlier years. This is the case with our heroine. This woman, as the story opens, is in hell and she’s hanging by a thread.

Lady Eva Carin not only lost her husband, but soon after suffered a loss even greater than that, a loss of her son in an accident of her making. Thomas, her brother-in-law who is now the new Lord Carin, uses her pain and devastation to his advantage and commits her to an asylum in which for the past two years she’s endured many ‘disciplinary’ treatments ordered by the woman who runs the place, such as a regular dose of opium to a point of addiction, many beatings and more.

Lord Ian Blake is back from India and as much as he dreads coming face to face with Eva, he knows that he ows her the truth about Hamilton’s death, and feel that this as his only opportunity of redeeming himself in her eyes and coming to terms with his role in it. He’s been haunted with memories of not just Hamilton’s death but also with their life as children as all three have grown up together in a wonderful home provided by Hamilton’s father, Lord Carin. He took in both Eva and Ian after their individual parents died. As they grew together, boys were always vying for love and approval of the old man but it was Hamilton who started envying the bond that had developed between his father and Ian.

Ian on the other hand hadn’t realized that his earnest admiration and love for Lord Carin was a sore point to his best friend so whatever he did to please him, Hamilton viewed it as a challenge and affront to his own character. Even Eva was in some way touched by their rivalry. While they all were aware of her duty to marry Hamilton, they also realized that she had more in common with Ian than Hamilton, but neither Eva nor Ian voiced their thoughts or feelings out loud as that would be a breach of duty and bring much hurt to the man who they both loved like a father.

Ian is shocked to find out that she’s been committed, but once he enters the hell she’s been living, he is livid and enraged. The only thing stopping him from committing murder is the thought of saving the poor creature who is now Eva.

What an awesome characterization of a woman on a brink this was. I was brought to tears as Eva goes through so many emotions, not believing her eyes or her laudanum infected mind that there is someone who cares if she’s dead or alive.

And then there’s Ian caught between his quilt over his best friend’s death and desire for the woman he always loved but could never allow himself even a dream of having.

Beside being well written and plotted, paced to perfection with many moments of hair-raising action,  this is without a doubt, one of the best haunting, poignant and heart wrenching stories of love I’ve read in a while.

Bookworms, mark your calendars for February 5, 2013 and remember that as the arrival of Máire Claremont. This author is here to stay and I welcome her with open arms.

*Book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

‘All I Want for Christmas is a Duke’ by Delilah Marvelle & Máire Claremont

AIWFCIAD DM MCSTORY: Merry Christmas, Mrs. Robinson by Delilah Marvelle

Lady Jane left her father, the Earl of Chadwick, and the ton behind to experience life on the stage. After a disastrous marriage, the widow is living on the edge of poverty, determined to guard her heart, when a secret admirer from her past demands a second chance.

Shy and retiring Martin Nicholas Pierce, the Sixth Duke of Somerset, has carried a torch for Lady Jane since her youth, but he is five years her junior. When she married another man, he left for Europe, determined to put her out of his mind. After returning to find Lady Jane free, he vows to replace the memories of her cursed Twelfth Night with a new beginning.

STORY: The Twelve Days of Seduction By Máire Claremont

Alexander Hunt, Eighth Duke of Berresford, is aware his ward’s governess isn’t quite what she seems. Although Miss Flint is beautiful and intelligent, she misrepresented herself to gain employment, and he threatens to give her the sack mere days before Christmas.

Desperate to convince the sexy duke not to tear her from the little girl she’s grown to adore, Adriana challenges him to seduce her before the Twelve Days of Christmas have come to an end, although she fears it may cost her heart. Alexander accepts the challenge, unconcerned that he has as much to lose, if not more, than the delectable Miss Flint.

REVIEW: ‘Merry Christmas Mrs. Robinson’ by Delilah Marvelle

This story was extra special to me because of its pairing of the older woman/younger man. In my personal life, I am the older woman…

Lady Jane was only in her early twenties when she decided, and was encouraged by her younger friend Martin, to defy the society and reach for her dream of becoming an opera singer. A decision like that came with a heavy price of being estranged from her family and being shunned by most of the society. I say most, because men of that society adored and pursued her relentlessly. One of them in particular caught not just her attention, but the attention of the papers as well. To all of them he was only known as Mister X and his letters were something she looked forward to, knowing that his words brought her closer to that elusive thing called love. And then one day, a man shows up and claims her heart in the name of Mister X…

Martin Pierce, the sixth Duke of Somerset, is worried about his elderly Aunt who was neglected by his family because many years ago she defied Society and ran off with a man not worthy of her station. He is trying very hard to have her see and understand that the living quarters she resides in are roach infested and not suitable to her station. Through his discussion with her, he finds out that the woman he adored and never could forget is now impoverished and residing in the same building as his Aunt.  This news crushes him and he realizes that the time has come for him to act on his deep feelings for her.

It’s no secret to any of my followers how much I love anything this author writes and this short novella is no different. I loved the way she portrayed both hero and heroine as two lonely souls that connected as friends first, and lovers later.

As they grew older, they seemed to have reversed their personalities. Long ago, Martin was all of seventeen; shy and reserved young fellow with a deep feeling for an ‘older’ woman of twenty-two.  The only relationship he could offer Jane was that of a friend. That, however never stopped him from secretly declaring his love for her through his letters.

Jane had been strong and forward thinking female filled with excitement and not shy at all. She believed in herself and her dreams, wanting to absorb all that life had to offer, most of all the love of a man whom she loved through his letters.

Years later, Jane’s doubts and apprehension of the intimacy she knows she wants, but isn’t sure of are now keeping her away from Martin.

Martin on the other hand is now a man to be reckoned with.  Gone is the shy and timid youngster to be replaced by this gloriously handsome and love starved man who knows what he not just wants but needs with all his heart.

This is one of those stories that I’ll be rereading from year to year, that’s how good it was! My heart just went out to both of them. In this story you’ll find a bit of everything, from wit to sensuality, but romance is the driving force and I highly recommend it for many Christmases to come.

REVIEW: ‘The Twelve Days of Seduction’ By Máire Claremont

This story comes to us from an author that will blow us all away when her début book comes out next year. Keep an eye on ‘The Dark Lady: A Novel of Mad Passions’ coming out February 5, 2013.

If y’all are ‘Jane Eyre’ fans, this one will be a hit for you, no question about it. For all of those that never read ‘Jane Eyre’ [or for that matter saw any version’s offered to us from many filmmakers, notably the BBC series with Toby Stephens playing Mr. Rochester, who I thought did even better job than Orson Welles], I am sure you’ll love it as well.

Adriana Flint’s understated beauty and strong character were driving force behind this story of a woman who pulled herself out of the gutter, quite literally.

She is a survivor and through sheer determination alone, she reinvents herself as this proper English miss that takes the position of a governess, to a little girl who is challenged by a limp, the Duke of Berresford’s ward. She adores the little mite and dedicates herself to teaching her ways to overcome her disability. Adriana also realizes that sooner or later, her secret identity and her ‘moonlighting’ job will be discovered and crush not only her, but two people she had come to care for so much.

Alexander Hunt, Eighth Duke of Berresford is a man who adores his little ward and would do anything to keep her from harm. Over a year ago he had hired her Governess and watched the little girl thrive under her care. He respected and observed the boundaries he set by ignoring his secret desire for the prim and proper young woman under his employ and protection. That, however is about to change, as he confronts her and decides to either throw her on her ear, or keep her as his mistress and far away from his home.

As they both come to an understanding that would be amicable to both, Adriana accepts his offer to become his mistress, but only if he manages to seduce her for the next twelve days. Ms. Claremont writes the rest of the story with an easy prose, fast pace and gives us a look into the romance of these two lonely but headstrong people who will make your eyes mist.

Both of these stories were written with romance in mind first and will touch your heart with its unique characters, setting and sensuality.

I am always happy when I read Ms. Marvelle’s work, but now my curiosity is peaked by the new author I discovered and am eagerly awaiting and looking forward to making room for on my Keeper shelf.

Book provided by NetGalley.