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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Blog Tour - Made the Grade: The de Montforte Brothers Series, Book 1 by Danelle Harmon | Guest Post, Review, & Giveaway

Today I'm turning my blog over to Danelle Harmon, who is talking about the top things that make a great historical romance hero!

ALSO -- Be sure to comment on this post to be able to sign up for this tour's GIVEAWAYs (listed below)!! [Blog Tour will run from July 23 - August 3, 2012]



What are the top 5 things that make a great historical romance hero and why? :

First off, I'd like to take the time to thank you, Jess, for hosting me on your blog today!

You ask a wonderful and thought provoking question, and one that I'm happy to answer. In real life, true heroes can seem to be few and far between, and often "too good to be true." We all know of the drop-dead-handsome guy who is as unfaithful as the day is long, leaving a trail of broken hearts in his wake. We all know of the recklessly courageous man whose constant need for an adrenalin rush makes him unavailable and undependable. We all know of the sweet guy who is as kind as the day is long, but lacks courage and allows the world to walk all over him. Perfection (so to speak) is seldom found in the real world, and mature people will take the good with the bad (as we hope our own "heroes" do with us!), but we don't have to settle for compromises in a romance novel. Oh, no! There, the elements that make a true hero combine into one perfect, wonderful, fantastic, (and usually impossible to find in real life) man!

I could write forever on the qualities that make a great historical romance hero, and for each reader, they may vary, but if I were to pick five, they would be:

  1. Courage. A man without courage has no business as the hero in a romance novel. Period. It takes courage to stand up to wrongs, it takes courage to save a heroine trapped on the edge of a high cliff, it takes courage to go into battle, it takes courage to admit a deep, dark secret that might mean the end of a treasured and precious relationship. All four of my de Montforte heroes face these and other challenges throughout the course of the series, and all of them are wildly imbued with courage, but a good example of it is shown by Lord Gareth de Montforte of "THE WILD ONE," the first book in the series. Down and out on his luck, and determined to show the world that he has grown up and can, indeed, be the husband and father his young wife believes he can be, he voluntarily subjects himself to a dangerous situation where he's pitted against a man much his superior in strength, size and experience -- a man who has been paid to kill him. Gareth has the choice to either walk away with his life intact ... or to follow through, even knowing the odds are against him, in order to win a home for his beloved wife and tiny daughter -- and sense of self-respect that has long been denied him. That is courage ... and it's wildly sexy!

  2. Integrity. A person who can't or won't stand up for his own convictions, and/or what he knows is right, is no hero in my book. It takes a certain amount of courage and self-confidence to stay true to one's ideals, and the best romance heroes are those who don't falter or waiver from their beliefs, no matter what the cost. This quality is aptly demonstrated by my hero, Lord Charles de Montforte in "THE BELOVED ONE," whose unreasonably high expectations of himself cause him incredible pain and nearly destroy him. But he never waivers from what he knows to be right, no matter what his own desires or the cost to his own personal happiness, and that is wildly attractive in any hero!

  3. Intelligence. A smart guy is a sexy guy; just look at how many nerd-types are showing up in romance novels these days! What woman in her right mind would want to spend her days with a guy who may be all brawn, but no brains? But in romance novels, we get to have both. One example of a super-intelligent (and very sexy) hero is Lord Andrew de Montforte, the hero of my book "THE DEFIANT ONE." A gifted inventor/scientist who takes refuge from the world in his laboratory after a terrible accident, Lord Andrew creates inventions that are guaranteed to change things: if not the world, then certainly his life, which is just the case when he creates an aphrodisiac that sends him and his heroine, Lady Celsiana Blake, on a hilarious journey of love and laughter. A smart guy is a sexy guy; there's no denying that!

  4. Devotion/Faithfulness to the Heroine. From presidents to sports figures, the news is depressingly full of rich, handsome, extremely powerful men whose downfalls come about because they just can't be faithful to one woman. Do we really need to find these guys in a romance novel? This one doesn't need any explanation! After all, what woman doesn't fantasize about being the sole and abiding craving of one of the richest, most powerful and handsome men in the land? A duke, no less? A man who has eyes for her, and for her alone? Eva de la Mouriere encounters just such a man in Lucien de Montforte, the mighty Duke of Blackheath, in "THE WICKED ONE." Even when tragedy strikes and Eva is told she will never be able to give her husband the heir he so desires, he isn't going anywhere. His love for his duchess is true and abiding and she is as essential to him as air and water; his adoration for her is as fixed as a star in a mariner's sky. To be the enduring fascination of such a powerful and sexy man ... does it get any better than that?

  5. Basic Goodness. Is there anything sexier than a guy who is kind to children, to animals, and to others? A man who goes out of his way, perhaps even at great personal risk to himself, to make life better for someone else? Tortured hero Damon de Wolfe, the sixth Marquess of Morninghall and naval captain who has fallen from grace, begins his hero's journey in "WICKED AT HEART" from a place of despair, apathy, and a burning need for revenge. It takes a very special heroine to awaken him to the basic goodness that is in this man's heart, and to turn that goodness into a force to be reckoned with. Damon will eventually risk his very life in an attempt to make life better for those around him who are suffering indescribable pain -- and that makes him a hero well worth meeting!

There are many "ingredients" that go into the recipe of a great romance hero, and these are just a few of them. I hope you've enjoyed reading my thoughts on this fascinating subject, and as for me, I've greatly enjoyed being here today. Thank you, Jess, and the readers of From Me To You, for hosting me. It has been a pleasure, and an honor, to be here!



About the Author :

Multi-award winning and critically acclaimed author Danelle Harmon is the author of ten books, previously published in print and distributed in many languages throughout the world. A Massachusetts native, she married her English husband while living in the United Kingdom, and both now make their home in Massachusetts with their daughter Emma and numerous animals including four dogs, an Egyptian Arabian horse, and a flock of pet chickens.



- This is an ARC book - Available Formats through Amazon.com: Paperback - Pages: 384; Kindle Edition - File Size: 916 KB | Expected Release Date: May 2012 | Publisher: Self-Published | Obtained: Goddess Fish Promotions

"The Wild One" [The de Montforte Brothers Series, Book 1] by Danelle Harmon

My Book Summary : Everyone who knows of his family knows Lord Gareth as The Wild One. He's reckless, the leader of his friends group called 'the Den of Debauchery,' popular with the ladies, and enjoys his carefree lifestyle. That is until Juliet falls into his life and turns his world upside down.

Juliet is from the colonies, the wilderness of Maine to be exact but most recently Boston. She is on her way to meet the Duke of Blackheath (her beloved's, Lord Charles, older brother) to see if he and his family (the de Montforte's) will take her and her daughter, Charlotte, in and help them out. However, on her way to meet the Duke of Blackheath her stagecoach gets robbed. Gareth, not far from robbery, becomes the hero when he attempts to stop the robbers and gets hurt during the process. During the time, that Juliet tries to help Gareth with his wound they find out about each other---that Juliet is Gareth's dead brother's fiancée, Gareth is the Duke & Charles' younger brother, and Charlotte is Gareth's niece. Gareth brings Juliet to the de Montforte home and while he's recuperating they get closer and become friends.

However, finding it hard to get over his "wild" ways, once Gareth is better, he takes out his Den members to have a bit of fun. Yet by the next morning Juliet & Gareth's lives change completely when they find out that the Duke won’t help Juliet out, so Gareth decides to step-up and help them out the only way he can think of how ... to marry Juliet!!

Will this be the best solution for them both?? Will they find that their feelings for each other are more than just friendship? Can Juliet finally settle down The Wild One??

My Book Review : 3.5 out of 5 stars! This fast-paced historical romance will show you what it's like to be the carefree third-son of a Duke who decides to finally become the man he was meant to be, yet has no idea where to begin. It's a very intriguing tale of heartache, new love, friendship, and the lengths one will go to keep those who he loves the most. I really liked the easy relationship/banter between Juliet and Gareth!! They were perfect for each other and setup a wonderful beginning to this series!! Plus, the surprise twist at the end is very shocking that I just not sure, how to take it, so it'll be interesting as to how the second book, "The Beloved One," will develop the series.

I recommend this novel and series to anyone who enjoys historical romances!

- On a side note -
I think I was a little biased with how much I liked Juliet since like her I'm from Maine too. =0)

Author's Series Extras : My first blog post! | Music to Write By

Book Teaser(s) :
"You, my dear, do not know how to have fun."
"I do, too!"
"You do not. You are as bad as Lucien. And do you know something? I think it's time someone showed you how to have fun. Namely, me. You can worry all you like about our situation tomorrow, but tonight ... tonight I'm going to make you laugh so hard that you'll forget all about how afraid of me you are."
"I am not afraid of you!"
"You are."
And with that, he pushed his chair back, stalked around the table, and in a single easy movement, swept her right out of her chair and into his arms.
"Gareth! Put me down!"
He only laughed, easily carrying her toward the bed.
"Gareth, I am a grown woman!"
"You are a grown woman who behaves in a manner far too old for her years," he countered, still striding toward the bed. "As the wife of a Den member, that just will not do." ~ within Chapter 18
For more information on this book, series, and/or any other books by Danelle, then please check out her website.



Book Excerpt :

Prologue

Newman House, 18 April, 1775

My dear brother, Lucien,

It has just gone dark and as I pen these words to you, an air of rising tension hangs above this troubled town. Tonight, several regiments — including mine, the King's Own — have been ordered by General Gage, commander in chief of our forces here in Boston, out to Concord to seize and destroy a significant store of arms and munitions that the rebels have secreted there. Due to the clandestine nature of this assignment, I have ordered my batman, Billingshurst, to withhold the posting of this letter until the morrow, when the mission will have been completed and secrecy will no longer be of concern.

Although it is my most ardent hope that no blood will be shed on either side during this endeavour, I find that my heart, in these final moments before I must leave, is restless and uneasy. It is not for myself that I am afraid, but another. As you know from my previous letters home, I have met a young woman here with whom I have become attached in a warm friendship. I suspect you do not approve of my becoming so enamoured of a storekeeper's daughter, but things are different in this place, and when a fellow is three thousand miles away from home, love makes a far more desirable companion than loneliness. My dear Miss Paige has made me happy, Lucien, and earlier tonight, she accepted my plea for her hand in marriage; I beg you to understand, and forgive, for I know that someday when you meet her, you will love her as I do.

My brother, I have but one thing to ask of you, and knowing that you will see to my wishes is the only thing that calms my troubled soul during these last few moments before we depart. If anything should happen to me — tonight, tomorrow, or at any time whilst I am here in Boston — I beg of you to find it in your heart to show charity and kindness to my angel, my Juliet, for she means the world to me. I know you will take care of her if ever I cannot. Do this for me and I shall be happy, Lucien.

I must close now, as the others are gathered downstairs in the parlour, and we are all ready to move. May God bless and keep you, my dear brother, and Gareth, Andrew, and sweet Nerissa, too.

Charles


Sometime during the last hour, it had begun to grow dark.

Lucien de Montforte turned the letter over in his hands, his gaze shuttered, his mind far away as he stared out the window over the downs that stood like sentinels against the fading twilight. A breath of pink still glowed in the western sky, but it would soon be gone. He hated this time of night, this still and lonely hour just after sunset when old ghosts were near, and distant memories welled up in the heart with the poignant nearness of yesterday, close enough to see yet always too elusive to touch.

But the letter was real. Too real.

He ran a thumb over the heavy vellum, the bold, elegant script that had been so distinctive of Charles's style — both on paper, in thought, and on the field — still looking as fresh as if it had been written yesterday, not last April. His own name was there on the front: To His Grace the Duke of Blackheath, Blackheath Castle, nr. Ravenscombe, Berkshire, England.

They were probably the last words Charles had ever written.

Carefully, he folded the letter along creases that had become fragile and well-worn. The blob of red wax with which his brother had sealed the letter came together at the edges like a wound that had never healed, and try as he might to avoid seeing them, his gaze caught the words that someone, probably Billingshurst, had written on the back....

Found on the desk of Captain Lord Charles Adair de Montforte on the 19th of April 1775, the day on which his lordship was killed in the fighting at Concord. Please deliver to addressee.

A pang went through him. Dead, gone, and all but forgotten, just like that.

The duke of Blackheath carefully laid the letter inside the drawer, which he shut and locked. He gazed once more out the window, lord of all he surveyed but unable to master his own bitter emptiness. A mile away, at the foot of the downs, he could just see the twinkling lights of Ravenscombe village, could envision its ancient church with its Norman tower and tombs of de Montforte dead. And there, inside, high on the stone wall of the chancel, was the simple bronze plaque that was all they had to tell posterity that his brother had ever even lived.

Charles, the second son.

God help them all if anything happened to him, Lucien, and the dukedom passed to the third.

No. God would not be so cruel.

He snuffed the single candle and with the darkness enclosing him, the sky still glowing beyond the window, moved from the room.


Chapter 1

Berkshire, England, 1776

The Flying White was bound for Oxford, and it was running late. Now, trying to make up time lost to a broken axle, the driver had whipped up the team, and the coach careered through the night in a cacophony of shouts, thundering hooves, and cries from the passengers who were clinging for their lives on the roof above.

Strong lanterns cut through the rainy darkness, picking out ditches, trees, and hedgerows as the vehicle hurtled through the Lambourn Downs at a pace that had Juliet Paige's heart in her throat. Because of Charlotte, her six-month-old daughter, Juliet had been lucky enough to get a seat inside the coach, but even so, her head banged against the leather squabs on the right, her shoulder against an elderly gent on her left, and her neck ached with the constant side to side movement. On the seat across from her, another young mother clung to her two frightened children, one huddled under each arm. It had been a dreadful run up from Southampton indeed, and Juliet was feeling almost as ill as she had during the long sea voyage over from Boston.

The coach hit a bump, became airborne for a split second, and landed hard, snapping her neck, throwing her violently against the man on her left, and causing the passengers clinging to the roof above to cry out in terror. Someone's trunk went flying off the coach, but the driver never slowed the galloping team.

"God help us!" murmured the young mother across from Juliet as her children cringed fearfully against her.

Juliet grasped the strap and hung her head, fighting nausea as she hugged her own child. Her lips touched the baby's downy gold curls. "Almost there," she whispered, for Charlotte's ears alone. "Almost there — to your papa's home."

Suddenly without warning, there were shouts, a horse's frightened whinny, and violent curses from the driver. Someone on the roof screamed. The coach careened madly, the inhabitants both inside and out shrieking in terror as the vehicle hurtled along on two wheels for another forty or fifty feet before finally crashing heavily down on its axles with another neck-snapping jolt, shattering a window with the impact and spilling the elderly gent to the floor. Outside, someone was sobbing in fear and pain.

And inside, the atmosphere of the coach went as still as death.

"We're being robbed!" cried the old man, getting to his knees to peer out the rain-spattered window.

Shots rang out. There was a heavy thud from above, then movement just beyond the ominous black pane. And then suddenly, without warning it imploded, showering the inside passengers in a hail of glass.

Gasping, they looked up to see a heavy pistol — and a masked face just beyond it.

"Yer money or yer life. Now!"

~~~~

It was the very devil of a night. No moon, no stars, and a light rain stinging his face as Lord Gareth Francis de Montforte sent his horse, Crusader, flying down the Wantage road at a speed approaching suicide. Stands of beech and oak shot past, there then gone. Pounding hooves splashed through puddles and echoed against the hedgerows that bracketed the road. Gareth glanced over his shoulder, saw nothing but a long empty stretch of road behind him, and shouted with glee. Another race won — Perry, Chilcot, and the rest of the Den of Debauchery would never catch him now!

Laughing, he patted Crusader's neck as the hunter pounded through the night. "Well done, good fellow! Well done —"

And pulled him up sharply at he passed Wether Down.

It took him only a moment to assess the situation.

Highwaymen. And by the looks of it, they were helping themselves to the pickings — and passengers — of the Flying White from Southampton.

The Flying White? The young gentleman reached inside his coat pocket and pulled out his watch, squinting to see its face in the darkness. Damned late for the Flying White...

He dropped the timepiece back into his pocket, steadied Crusader, and considered what to do. No gentlemen of the road, this lot, but a trio of desperate, hardened killers. The driver and guard lay on the ground beside the coach, both presumably dead. Somewhere a child was crying, and now one of the bandits, with a face that made a hatchet look kind, smashed in the windows of the coach with the butt end of his gun. Gareth reached for his pistol. The thought of quietly turning around and going back the way he'd come never occurred to him. The thought of waiting for his friends, probably a mile behind thanks to Crusader's blistering speed, didn't occur to him, either. Especially when he saw one of the bandits yank open the door of the coach and haul out a struggling young woman.

He had just the briefest glimpse of her face — scared, pale, beautiful — before one of the highwaymen shot out the lanterns of the coach and darkness fell over the entire scene. Someone screamed. Another shot rang out, silencing the frightened cry abruptly.

His face grim, the young gentleman knotted his horse's reins and removed his gloves, pulling each one carefully off by the fingertips. With a watchful eye on the highwaymen, he slipped his feet from the irons and vaulted lightly down from the thoroughbred's tall back, his glossy top boots of Spanish leather landing in chalk mud up to his ankles. The horse never moved. He doffed his fine new surtout and laid it over the saddle along with his tricorn and gloves. He tucked the lace at his wrist safely inside his sleeve to protect it from any soot or sparks his pistol might emit. Then he crept through the knee-high weeds and nettles that grew thick at the side of the road, priming and loading the pistol as he moved stealthily toward the stricken coach. He would have time to squeeze off only one shot before they were upon him, and that one shot had to count.




Giveaways!! :
  • A digital copy of book two, "The Beloved One" to one randomly drawn commenter at every stop during the tour

  • A $25 Amazon Gift Card to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour

To Enter : Please leave a comment on this post, with a valid email address included at the end of it.

Soo .... COMMENT, COMMENT, COMMENT on this post!! And you could WIN!! =0)

ALSO -- Be sure to follow the tour around the other blog sites! Commenting on the other stops on the tour will also increase your chance of winning!


Find Danelle Harmon :

15 comments :

  1. This story sounds really great, but then all the ones you have written sound awesome. I guess I will have to read them all.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I missed visiting with you for a couple of days. Life sort of gets in the way.

    What characters are the hardest/easiest for you to write: The hero, the heroine, the villain (or villainess), the secondary male & female characters? What are the most fun to write?

    kareninnc at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love the answers to the 5 things that make a great historical romance hero. Where can I find this guy?LOL
    Kit3247(at)aol(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm really looking forward to reading this as it sounds quite different to anything I've read recently. :)

    Becky01x(at)gmail(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks, Jess, for hosting me here today! I thought your question for this blog was a wonderful one. It really made me think!

    Thank you to all the commenters, too, for making me feel so welcome!

    Karen, that's a tough question! A good villain is always fun to write, but as long as the character is interesting, I love working with them all! :)

    Good luck to everyone in the drawings!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Yes! I agree with everything about your post, Danelle :-) Especially-- "A smart guy is a sexy guy" FOR THE WIN!

    justforswag(AT)yahoo(DOT)com

    ReplyDelete
  7. I love the qualities that you've offered for the great historical romance hero. They are spot on what I look for. I also like ones who may seem to be a cad or "bad boy" but turn out to be nice guy gentlemen.

    catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
  8. Just an FYI, there is a brand new and beautiful e-cover for WICKED AT HEART ... the one shown here is the old paperback version. Check out the e-book cover, it's gorgeous! http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008LHV8QY

    Thanks again for hosting me here today, Jess!

    ReplyDelete
  9. It's out of my genre, but I just might try it...sounds cool.

    vitajex(at)aol(dot)com

    ReplyDelete
  10. Totally agree with the 5 reasons & since I think all 5 are equally important I'll have to read all 5 books too!

    thumbelinda03@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  11. A fabulous list of 5. I want!!

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for taking your time to comment!! =0)

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