Anna Campbell stops by b2b …

‘Midnight’s Wild Passion’

ACBOOK BLURB: London’s most notorious seducer, Nicholas Challoner lives solely for revenge…

The dashing, licentious Marquess of Ranelaw can never forgive Godfrey Demarest for ruining his sister—now the time has come to repay the villain in the same coin. But one formidably intriguing impediment stands in the way of Nicholas’s vengeance: Miss Antonia Smith, companion to his foe’s unsuspecting daughter.

Having herself been deceived and disgraced by a rogue—banished by her privileged family as a result and forced to live a lie—Antonia vows to protect her charge from the same cruel fate. She recognizes Ranelaw for the shameless blackguard he is and will devote every ounce of her intelligence and resolve to thwarting him.

Yet Antonia has always had a fatal weakness for rakes . . .

Buy Links: Amazon / B&N / Book Depository

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Hi Melanie, Leah and Connie! Thank you so much for having me as your guest today on bookworm2bookworm and a big mushy mwah on your third birthday! Congratulations! What a fabulous achievement!

Book pushing is something I love to do. I do reviews once a month over at the Romance Dish of older books that might have gone under people’s radar. I was originally going to do that here, but then I decided to talk about a book of my own that I’ve always had a particular soft spot for.

MIDNIGHT’S WILD PASSION came out in 2011 as my take on the classic Regency romance that I’d grown up reading, most memorably from Georgette Heyer. It has elopements and glamorous Regency parties and duels and frumpy companions with shady pasts to hide and a hero who tries very hard to be a wicked man, but can’t quite manage it once he falls, very much against his will, in love.

Here’s a short excerpt from the scene where ruined lady in disguise Antonia is very close to succumbing to the rakish Lord Ranelaw, much against her better judgement.

Bascombe Hailey, Surrey, Spring 1827

When she rounded the side of the building, Antonia glanced across the silent lake. Stars shimmered on the still blackness, turning it into an inverted sky.

“Good evening, Antonia.”

She wasn’t surprised to look back at the summerhouse and see Lord Ranelaw watching from the shallow flight of steps. His presence seemed part of the enchantment. Or perhaps she was so tired, she drifted in a blur where nothing seemed quite real.

“Lord Ranelaw,” she said softly. A breeze across the lake ruffled her loosely arranged hair.

“Nicholas,” he said equally softly. He leaned against one of the four Corinthian columns that supported the portico and folded his arms.

“Nicholas.” His name signaled a concession they both recognized.

Starlight glimmered on his white shirt—did the man never go decently dressed in coat and neckcloth?—but she discerned few other details. She didn’t need to see him. His image was etched on her heart. Handsome, careless, wicked.

Precious…

“I knew you’d come.” He sounded calm, sure.

The darkness sharpened senses other than sight. She heard the rustle of the trees, smelled the slight dankness of the lake behind her, felt the evening breeze cool against her skin. Skin flushed with awareness.

“You waited three days.”

“I can be patient,” he responded steadily.

She bit her lip. Had she expected to see him? Did her presence mean they’d make love? Somewhere she’d already said yes.

“Are you going to run?” he asked in a casual voice, as if consent or refusal were all the same to him. But even in the shadows, she saw he tautened with anticipation.

“I should.”

He straightened and prowled down to the bottom step. She knew he waited for her to flee like a frightened bird. Like a woman with an ounce of self-preservation.

He became preternaturally still. His voice was low, coaxing, thick and deep as velvet. “What’s it to be, Antonia?”

“Don’t bully me, Ranelaw,” she said sharply.

“Are you pretending you’re just out for an evening walk?”

That’s what she’d told herself. Not even she believed it.

She’d left the house, wandered toward the summerhouse, because she knew Ranelaw waited. She admitted that to herself. She wasn’t quite ready to admit it to him. “I didn’t realize you’d be here.”

Her eyes had adjusted enough to see the glint of his teeth as he smiled. “Yes, you did.”

What use struggling to preserve her pride? He’d soon know she was helpless to resist him. He knew already.

“Yes, I did,” she answered almost soundlessly.

The words lay between them like a challenge.

She poised in breathless suspense for him to sweep her into his arms. Across the several yards separating them, she couldn’t mistake his urgency. The silence developed a vibrating quality. Even the breeze dropped in expectation.

Why hadn’t he touched her yet? They both knew she wouldn’t fight.

He turned his face to the glittering sky then he stared directly at her. Through darkness, that regard burned.

“Why?” The question cut through the night like a blade.

You can read another excerpt on my website.

I’d love to give away a copy of MIDNIGHT’S WILD PASSION (print or e-book, international) today. Just leave a comment! I’d love to know what was the book that got you hooked on reading historical romance.

AAUTHOR INFO: Australian ANNA CAMPBELL has written eight multi award-winning historical romances for Grand Central Publishing and Avon HarperCollins and her work is published in sixteen languages. Anna has won numerous awards for her Regency-set romances. Anna’s latest release is Book 2 in the Sons of Sin series, A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS, which has just been nominated as best sensual historical romance of 2013 in the RT Book Reviews Reviewers Choice Awards.

Social Media: Website / Twitter / Facebook / GoodReads

Headlines from Little Derrick! – reported by Anna Campbell

ARMK ACHi Mel! Thanks for having me as your guest today on bookworm2bookworm. Always a pleasure to be on your blog.

Today, I’ve got my intrepid roving reporter hat on (and doesn’t it suit me? I think the veil is particularly becoming!).

So, dear readers, imagine yourselves back to the lovely autumn of 1827 in Oxfordshire, England. In my endless search for fascinating stories, I’ve snuck into the obscure village of Little Derrick which is part of the Duke of Sedgemoor’s Leighton Court estate. I have it on good authority that the duke has made an appearance in the area over the last few weeks after never setting foot in the place before. Naturally, this roused my reporter’s instincts (and also, the duke is single – perhaps he’s looking for a duchess! Please let him know I’m available!).

The duke’s arrival isn’t the only significant news in this formerly unremarkable village. There was a break-in at the local vicarage! Luckily brave Genevieve Barrett, the vicar’s daughter, was on hand to banish the ruffian before anything was taken. Since then, our heroine has been surprisingly quiet about the events of that night. Terror must still have her in its grip, although I hope to probe her recollections with my usual journalistic sensitivity. Unfortunately to date, she has refused all requests for an interview.

Miss Barrett’s father is the famous medieval scholar, the Reverend Ezekiel Barrett, who was dining with the duke on the night of the outrage. What’s odd about all this skullduggery is that everybody knows the vicarage contains no valuables, whereas a few miles away, Youngton Hall, home of avid collector Lord Neville Fairbrother is stuffed to the gunwales with gold and jewels.

Another worthy recent addition to Little Derrick’s social scene is handsome bachelor Christopher Evans who has moved in with the vicar to pursue his studies. Mr. Evans is handsome enough to set this tough lady reporter’s heart beating – please don’t tell the duke. There has been some talk about his attentions to Miss Barrett who until this point has been a dedicated spinster, interested only in scholarship and the welfare of the parish.

Could St. Katherine’s, the pretty village church, be ringing out the wedding bells soon? If so, your intrepid reporter promises to cover the event!

I was lucky enough to interview Mr. Evans yesterday about his impressions of the village – not to mention our local beauties, and I don’t mean the romantically ruined abbey. What struck me as I talked to him is how much he resembles sketches I’ve seen in the newspapers of that arbiter of elegance, Sir Richard Harmsworth.

ANNA CAMPBELL, JOURNALIST: Mr. Evans, welcome to Little Derrick. I can’t help noticing that you bear a resemblance to the scandalous Sir Richard Harmsworth.

MR. CHRISTOPHER EVANS: Don’t know the fellow. Sounds like a dunderhead.

ACJ: No, he’s the darling of London society. All the ladies swoon over him. Despite the scandal of his bastardy.

MCE: Still sounds like a dunderhead.

ACJ: Hmm, if you say so. On a happier note, the residents of Little Derrick have noticed that you’ve taken a shine to our vicar’s daughter.

MCE: Miss Barrett is all that’s gracious to a guest in her house. She only wished me to the devil once yesterday.

ACJ: Forgive me for saying, but she doesn’t seem to have taken quite as much of a shine to you.

MCE: Never fear, she will. I’m like a fungus. I grow on people. She likes my dog. That’s a start.

ACJ:  Yes, Sirius has become a local favorite. Although he tried to bite me when I patted him.

MCE: He doesn’t like nosy parkers.

ACJ: Mr. Evans, that’s hardly polite!

MCE: Your pardon. I’m just speaking on Sirius’s behalf. I of course love the press’s intrusive attentions.

ACJ: That’s all right, then.

MCE: I have an appointment with my dog groomer. Must dash. And definitely don’t waste any time looking for a connection with that Harmsworth blockhead. Definitely nothing to do with me. I’m from Shropshire.

ACJ: Mr. Evans, wait! I have more questions…

Now, that’s interesting. A gentleman who flees so swiftly from a reporter would seem to have something to hide. I must dig further…

Make sure you check back for more Doings in Little Derrick from your correspondent!

EXCERPT: here.

Buy links: Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Book Depository:

OK, loyal readers, help our correspondent out here. Do you think Genevieve really doesn’t like Christopher? What do you think Genevieve would say about Christopher if she agreed to an interview? Do you think there really is a connection between the mysterious Sir Richard Harmsworth and Christopher Evans? And do you think there’s enough work to keep a dog groomer in business in such an unfashionable backwater?

If you want to find out exactly what’s happening in Little Derrick, I’ve got a signed copy of  A RAKE’S MIDNIGHT KISS to give away to someone who comments today (international).

AUTHOR BIO: Anna Campbell has written six multi award-winning historical romances for Avon HarperCollins and her work is published in eleven languages. Always a voracious reader, Anna decided when she was a child that she wanted to be a writer.

Once she discovered the wonderful world of romance novels, she knew exactly what she wanted to write. Anna has won numerous awards for her Regency-set romances including Romantic Times Reviewers Choice, the Booksellers Best, the Golden Quill (three times), the Heart of Excellence (twice), the Aspen Gold (twice) and the Australian Romance Readers Association’s favorite historical romance (four times).

Her books have twice been nominated for Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA Award and three times for Australia’s Romantic Book of the Year. In 2012, Anna launches an exciting new publishing venture with Grand Central Publishing.

You can catch Anna on social media: Website / Facebook / Twitter / GoodReads

‘A Rake’s Midnight Kiss’ by Anna Campbell

ARMK ACSTORY: It Takes A Lady

Brilliant scholar Genevieve Barrett knows how to keep a secret. Her identity as the author of her father’s academic articles has always been her greatest deception—until a charming housebreaker tries to steal the mysterious Harmsworth Jewel from her. She doesn’t reveal that she recognizes her father’s devastatingly handsome new student as the thief himself. For Genevieve, this will be the most seductive secret of all…

To Catch A Thief

Sir Richard Harmsworth has been living a lie, maintaining a rakish façade to show society that he doesn’t care about his status as a bastard. Yet long haunted by his unknown father’s identity, Richard believes the Harmsworth Jewel will confirm his claim as the rightful heir. But when Richard sets out to seduce the bookworm who possesses the stone, he instead falls for its beautiful owner. But even as she steals Richard’s heart, Genevieve will be in greater danger than her coveted treasure…

REVIEW: By now the cat’s out of the bag, and you all know that Anna Campbell is one of my all-time fave-authors and reading and reviewing one of her books is a lot fun and it never-ever gets dull.

I knew she can right well developed three-dimensional characters, and this was no surprise, but what surprised me most about this book is how funny, almost slapstick comedy is in this read. I just couldn’t read fast enough, or laugh out loud more.

She gave us a fast pace, an interesting plot with twists and turns, and a sweet, sensual and very touching romance. As for the dialogue, I dare you guys not to laugh reading most of it. I also found the secondary characters as well developed as the first ones, and for all us fans out there, she brought back Jonas and Sidonie from ‘Seven Nights in a Rogue’s Bed’. She even gives us some fun pets to read about!

Honestly, once I started reading, I just couldn’t put it down. It had action from the start, and it just wouldn’t let go!

To say that ‘A Rake’s Midnight Kiss’ was a good read is an understatement. This was really one of those books so well written; plotted and executed that will stay with me forever.

Highly recommending it and its accompanying little novella ‘Days of Rakes and Roses’ for hours and hours of fun, entertaining and pure pleasure!  

EXTRA REVIEW: ‘Days of Rakes and Roses’ by Anna Campbell

DORAR ACSTORY: Lady Lydia Rothermere has spent the past decade trying to make up for a single, youthful moment of passion. Now the image of propriety, Lydia knows her future rests on never straying outside society’s rigid rules, but hiding away the desire that runs through her is harder than she could have ever dreamed. And as she prepares for a marriage that will suit her family, but not her heart, Lydia must decide what’s more important: propriety or passion?

Simon Metcalf is a rake and adventurer. But for all his experience, nothing can compare to the kiss he stole from the captivating Lydia Rothermere ten years ago. Simon can scarcely believe he’s about to lose the one woman he’s never forgotten. The attraction between them is irresistible, yet Lydia refuses to forsake her engagement. With his heart on the line, will Simon prove that love is a risk worth taking?

MINI REVIEW: This was such a great fast & furious [pun intended] short novella.

The couple, Simon and Lydia gets separated after their youthful indiscretion, but these two never forgot that incident, and both were forced by their parents to deal with the repercussions in a best way they saw fit, regardless of the young couple’s feelings.

My heart broke for these two, and Ms. Campbell wrote their emotions so well that I couldn’t help but feel for them!

After a full decade, just as our heroine is ready to take the plunge, here walks in her youthful indiscretion and with her brother’s blessing, the man now wants her back.

Anna Campbell is one of my favorite authors and I expect she will be for a very long time. The short format of a novella must be a challenge to many authors, yet she somehow managed to develop a great plot, entertaining and three-dimensional characters with plenty of action, romance and a killer dialogue.

Let me tell you, if you like a story with star-crossed lovers, then this story will touch your heart, your funny bone and just may have you dip into the cold swimming pool, for after all, this IS Anna Campbell, and she can sure write HOT!

Melanie for b2b

*Books provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

Spotlight on Anna Campbell and…

These Haunted Hearts: A Regency Ghost Story

THH ACBOOK BLURB: On one fateful wedding day at Marston Hall in 1818, four linked destinies hover in the balance.

Josiah Aston, Earl of Stansfield, wakes to discover he’s seventy years dead and he alone can free his beloved wife Isabella’s tormented soul. But first he must convince her to trust him against all the evidence…
Lady Isabella Verney, beautiful and tempestuous, married the man of her dreams, only to die violently on her wedding day. Every clue points to Josiah as the murderer…

Is true love strong enough to defeat ancient malevolence forever?
Miles Hartley, Viscount Kendall, is society’s ideal catch, but what does that matter if he can’t convince Calista Aston that he loves her? When an age-old curse strikes, only by proving himself worthy of her faith can he save their happiness…

Lady Calista Aston, noted bluestocking, fears she loves Miles Hartley not wisely, but too well. On her wedding day, her doubts place her at evil’s mercy. When death and disaster loom, is it courage or mad folly to believe that Miles loves her in spite of all her faults?

On one fateful wedding day at Marston Hall in 1818, will the lovers emerge triumphant or will darkness conquer all?

EXCERPT:

The Chinese Bedroom, Marston Hall, Norfolk, May 1818

Calista watched Miles at the window. The light limned him, turned him into a being from another world. The magnificent sight made the breath catch in her throat. He wore a loose white shirt and breeches. She’d never been so aware of his height or the lean strength of his body.

He turned and at last she saw the smile that tilted his mouth. His eyes focused on her and the smile faded, replaced by an expression that looked like awe. He tautened into stillness as he surveyed her from her loosened hair to her bare toes peeping beneath the white hem of her simple night rail.

The moonlight was so bright, she saw his Adam’s apple bob when he swallowed. She could almost imagine that he found her as breathtaking as she found him. His expression smoothed the sharpness from her uncertainty. The clamorous babble of thoughts in her head quietened to a low hum of need.

“You’re undressed,” he said huskily.

It seemed foolish to blush when they both knew she was in this room to offer herself to him, but heat flushed her cheeks. “I wasn’t sure what to wear.”

His joyous smile made her toes curl against the Turkish rug at her feet. “Or not, as the case may be.”

“Or not.”

She waited in an agony of pleasurable suspense for him to seize her, ravish her into delight so that she had no chance to remember the dictates of propriety. But he approached slowly, as though afraid if he moved too abruptly, she might vanish. By the time he stopped in front of her, she trembled with apprehension and desire. Her body felt too small a vessel to contain the storm of emotions raging inside her.

He reached out to smooth her hair away from her face. His touch always turned her knees to custard. Now, when the bed and all it portended filled the shadows behind him, the glance of his hand set her burning. If such a seemingly innocent touch had this effect, she’d most likely combust into ashes before they were done tonight.

Calista bit her lip and stood in shaking stillness as he trailed his hand across her neck and shoulders. His touch felt like a discovery rather than a seduction. Although of course she was seduced. Her heart thundered and her breasts tightened against the thin lawn of her nightdress.

“Beautiful,” he whispered, running his hand down her side then up again.

A tremulous sigh escaped her. This tender wooing lured her deeper and deeper into the turbulent waters of desire. She should move, speak, do something to encourage him. But his touch was so delicious, she found herself unable to do anything beyond accept this worship. His scent was spicy, clean. Familiar, yet with a musky tinge that awakened her senses.

Through the haze of pleasure enveloping her, she managed to send up a silent prayer. That the reverence she read in his face would last. That he’d still love her after he’d taken her to bed. That he’d look at her like this in the morning when she stepped inside the Marston parish church to pledge herself to him for the rest of her life.

REVIEW: This is a short but sweet and very suspenseful story of two couples fighting for their love.

I was spellbound by the suspense and read the story in one sitting. Its Gothic feel gave me goose bumps!

My heart went out to both couples as they were fighting this curse.

Josiah Aston, Earl of Stansfield can’t remember how he died, but one thing he does remember is how much he loves Lady Isabella Verney, his bride…

Lady Calista Aston is sure of her love for Miles Hartley, Viscount Kendall, her future husband, but she’s full of doubts about his feelings for her. She somehow feels unworthy of his love and believes he would be better off without her…

I highly recommend this tension and suspense filled gem. You’ll be hooked from the first page to the last. Promise!

*Book purchased from Amazon.

AUTHOR’S BIO: Anna Campbell has written six multi award-winning historical romances for Avon HarperCollins and her work is published in eleven languages. Always a voracious reader, Anna decided when she was a child that she wanted to be a writer. Once she discovered the wonderful world of romance novels, she knew exactly what she wanted to write. Anna has won numerous awards for her Regency-set romances including Romantic Times Reviewers Choice, the Booksellers Best, the Golden Quill (three times), the Heart of Excellence (twice), the Aspen Gold (twice) and the Australian Romance Readers Association’s favorite historical romance (four times). Her books have twice been nominated for Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA Award and three times for Australia’s Romantic Book of the Year. In 2012, Anna launches an exciting new publishing venture with Grand Central Publishing. She launches her first series, “Sons of Sin”, with SEVEN NIGHTS IN A ROGUE’S BED in October 2012.

Keep in touch with Anna at: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Romance Bandit / Harper Collins / Goodreads

GIVEAWAY: Tell us if you believe in ghosts and why. One lucky commenter will get an eCopy of this book.

‘The Winter Wife: A Christmas Novella’ by Anna Campbell

WW ACSTORY: Will a chance meeting on Christmas Eve…

Alicia Sinclair, Countess of Kinvarra, cannot believe that fate has been so cruel as to strand her on the snowy Yorkshire moors with her estranged husband as her only hope of rescue. During their rare encounters, the arrogant earl and his countess act like hostile strangers. Now that Alicia has fallen into Kinvarra’s power, will he seek revenge for her desertion? Or does the dark, passionate man she once adored have entirely different plans for his headstrong wife?

…deliver a second chance at love?

Sebastian Sinclair, Earl of Kinvarra, has spent ten wretched years regretting the mistakes he made with his young bride, but after long separation, the barriers between them are insurmountable. Until an unexpected encounter one stormy night makes him wonder if the barriers of mistrust and thwarted desire are so insurmountable after all. When winter weather traps Sebastian and his proud, lovely wife in an isolated inn, could the earl and his headstrong countess have a Christmas miracle in store?

REVIEW: The above blurb is just perfect so I won’t summarize the story, but will come straight out and tell you that its worth every penny!

For a short little book, this one packs a punch and a half! I just loved everything about it. It’s very hard to offer a short novella without sacrificing something of the story, but Anna Campbell does it, by God!

It was such fun watching these two hot-tempered people come together and set this story afire. It’s intense, sensual and so much fun to read and I highly recommend it.