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Vanessa Kelly: My Fair Princess (Giveaway)

My Fair Princess 2 copy

Thanks so much for hosting me on your blog today—it’s a pleasure to be here with you and your readers, Susana!

With My Fair Princess, I’m thrilled to be introducing a new historical romance series called The Improper Princesses. It’s Regency-set, and it’s a spin-off from my previous series, The Renegade Royals. Both are grounded in a specific historical element—the rather outrageous love lives of the sons of King George III.

The term “Regency rake” could very well have been coined for the Prince Regent and his royal brothers. They lived large (literally and figuratively), gambling, drinking, and engaging in numerous sexual affairs. The Prince Regent, later George IV, took several mistresses, which included actresses (one of whom he secretly married), and possibly fathered up to four illegitimate children.

The Duke of York also had several by-blows, perhaps as many as five, and the Duke of Clarence (later William IV) sired ten children with his mistress, Mrs. Jordan. I could go on, but you get the picture! As you can see, in developing a series based on this topic I had plenty of material to work with. Even better, very little—if anything—was known about many of these children, which left plenty of leeway in creating my fictional characters.

In The Renegade Royals I featured heroes who were the illegitimate sons of England’s princes. The Improper Princesses, however, features the illegitimate daughters in the starring roles. As challenging as the “stain” of illegitimacy was for male children, just imagine what it would have been like for females born of illicit relationships during that era. Plenty of room for drama and conflict in their stories!

The heroine of My Fair Princess is Gillian Dryden, the product of a relationship between the notorious Duke of Cumberland and a young widow. Gillian was basically raised in exile in Sicily, where she grew up as a tomboy. She’s a crack shot, a terrific rider, and carries knives in her boots. Gillian also developed the unfortunate hobby of hunting bandits who terrorized the countryside and were responsible for the death of her beloved stepfather.

Because of this risky avocation, Gillian’s family deems it time for her to return home to England, where she can learn to be a proper lady and find a respectable husband. The man tasked with this challenge is Charles Penley, the Duke of Leverton, who happens to be the most polite and sophisticated man in London.

Let’s just say that Charles has his work cut out for him, and let’s also say that Gillian’s training and transformation don’t go exactly as planned!

I had great fun writing this book, and I really enjoyed grounding the story in a small part of the lives of England’s princes. In this case, the truth was definitely more outrageous than fiction!

Are you a fan of real-life historical characters in your historical romance? Can there be too much history in romance? Two people who comment will win signed, print copies of How to Marry a Royal Highlander, the 4th book in The Renegade Royals Series.

About My Fair Princess

First, Vanessa Kelly brought readers The Renegade Royals. Now, in a delightfully witty new series, she introduces The Improper Princesses—three young women descended from royalty, each bound for her own thrilling adventure . . .

Despite being the illegitimate daughter of a prince, Gillian Dryden is happily ignorant of all social graces. After growing up wild in Italy, Gillian has been ordered home to England to find a suitable husband. And Charles Valentine Penley, the excessively proper, distractingly handsome Duke of Leverton, has agreed to help transform her from a willful tomboy to a blushing debutante.

Powerful and sophisticated, Charles can make or break reputations with a well-placed word. But his new protégée, with her habit of hunting bandits and punching earls, is a walking scandal. The ton is aghast . . . but Charles is thoroughly intrigued. Tasked with taking the hoyden in hand, he longs to take her in his arms instead. Can such an outrageous attraction possibly lead to a fairytale ending?

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About the Author

IMG_0031 copyVanessa Kelly is an award-winning author who was named by Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association, as one of the “New Stars of Historical Romance.”  Her Regency-set historical romances have been nominated for awards in a number of contests, and her second book, Sex and The Single Earl, won the prestigious Maggie Medallion for Best Historical Romance. The Renegade Royals, her last series, was a national bestseller. Vanessa also writes contemporary romance with her husband as VK Sykes.


Ella Quinn: When a Marquis Chooses a Bride (The Worthingtons, Book 2)

I’m so glad to be back visiting Susana and all of you!

I’m here today to tell you about When a Marquis Chooses a Bride, Book #2 in The Worthingtons.

For those of you who read Three Weeks to Wed, the first book in the series, you might recall Charlotte bemoaning that her dearest friend, Dotty Stern could not come out with her. In typical Worthington fashion they figured out a way to give Dotty her Season, and that’s when the fun begins.

Note: Ella is giving a signed copy of When a Marquis Chooses a Bride to one random commenter.

About When a Marquis Chooses a Bride

Thanks to their large extended family and unconventional courtship, The Worthingtons have seen their share of scandal and excitement. But nothing has prepared them for this… 

When a Marquis Chooses a Bride copy

The Dowager Lady Worthington isn’t quite sure what to make of country-girl Dorothea Stern. As the granddaughter of the Duke of Bristol, Dotty is schooled in the ways and means of the nobility. But her sharp wit and outspoken nature has everyone in a tizzy. Especially their cousin, Dominic, the Marquis of Merton.

Prematurely stuffy, Dom was raised by his cheerless uncle to be wary of a host of things, including innovation, waltzing, and most perilous of all: true love. Still, there’s something about Dotty, beyond her beauty, that Dom cannot resist. But the odds are against him if he intends to win her as his bride. Will he choose loyalty to his family—or risk everything for the one woman he believes is his perfect match…

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Early afternoon sun poured through the windows of the large airy schoolroom in Stern Manor. The space was filled with bookcases, four desks, two sofas, and sundry toys.

Miss Dorothea Stern sat on the larger of the much-used sofas, threading a strand of rose silk through her embroidery needle. She had one more Damask rose to complete before the slippers she was making for her mother were completed.

But no matter how hard she tried, she could not escape the fact that the neighborhood was sadly flat now that her best friend, Lady Charlotte Carpenter, was gone. For years, they had planned to come out together, just as they had done everything else since they were in leading strings.

In the meantime, there was a great deal to keep Dotty busy. Since her mother’s accident, she had taken up Mama’s duties. Dotty enjoyed visiting their tenants, talking to the children and their mothers, and finding ways to help them.

“Dotty,” her six-year-old sister, Martha, whined, “Scruffy won’t stay still.”

Scruffy, a three-legged dog Dotty had saved from a hunter’s trap, was resisting Martha’s efforts to tie a ribbon on him. “Sweetie, boys don’t like frills. Put it on your doll instead.”

Fifteen-year-old Henrietta glanced up from the book she was reading. “She took it off the doll.”

“Henny,” Dotty asked, “aren’t you supposed to be practicing your harp?”

Her sister stuck her tongue out. “No, I’m supposed to be reading Ovid in Greek.”

Their father, Sir Henry, was a classical scholar and had been a rector before his older brother’s death a few years ago. Much to Henny’s dismay, he had decided to teach all the children Latin and Greek.

Dotty took in the book her sister held. The marble cover was a trademark of the Minerva Press novels. “That is not Ovid.”

Puffing out a breath of air, Henny rolled her eyes. “Aren’t ladies supposed to be fashionably stupid?”

“No, they are supposed to appear stupid,” Dotty replied tartly. “Which is completely ridiculous. I refuse to marry a gentleman who thinks women should not have brains.”

“If that’s the case, you may become a spinster,” Henny shot back.

“Lord Worthington likes that Grace is clever.” Dotty resisted a smug smile. “I’m sure there must be other gentlemen who believe as he does.”

Charlotte’s older sister, Grace, was now the Countess of Worthington. She had taken all five of the younger children with her to London for Charlotte’s come out. Shortly after arriving in Town, Grace had met and fallen in love with Mattheus, Earl of Worthington. They had wed three weeks later.

Not long ago, Grace and her new husband had returned to Stanwood Hall for a few days so that Lord Worthington, who was now guardian to her brothers and sisters, as well as his own sisters, could inspect the property.

Before Henny could retort, the door opened. “Miss”—Dotty’s maid, Polly, glanced around the room, her gaze settling on Dotty—“Her ladyship asked me to come fetch you.”

Dotty pulled the thread through, secured the needle, and set the slipper down. “Is she all right?”

“Oh yes, miss.” Polly bounced from foot to foot. “She got a letter from London and sent for you straightaway.”

Dotty hurried to the door. “I hope everything is all right.” There was nothing wonderful in receiving a letter from London. Practically everyone they knew was in Town for the Season. Mama and Dotty should have been there as well, yet the day before their planned departure her mother slipped and broke her leg.

“No, miss,” the maid said as she hurried after her. “Her ladyship was smiling.”

“Well, I suppose the sooner I get to her, the sooner I shall find out what she wants.” A minute later, she knocked on the door to her mother’s parlor and entered. “Mama, what is it?”

Waving a sheet of paper in her hand, her mother smiled broadly. “Unexpected and wonderful news. You shall have your Season after all!”

Dotty’s jaw dropped. She snapped it shut and made her way over to a chair next to her mother. “I don’t understand. I thought Grandmamma Bristol couldn’t sponsor me because of Aunt Mary’s confinement.”

This”—Mama waved the letter through the air again—“is from Grace.”

About the Author

Ella QuinnBestselling author Ella Quinn’s studies and other jobs have always been on the serious side. Reading historical romances, especially Regencies, were her escape. Eventually her love of historical novels led her to start writing them. She has just finished her first series, The Marriage Game, and her new series, The Worthingtons began in April 2016.

She is married to her wonderful husband of over thirty years. They have a son, two granddaughters, and a dog. After living in the South Pacific, Central America, North Africa, England and Europe, she and her husband decided to make their dreams come true and are now living on a sailboat cruising the Caribbean and North America.

She loves having readers connect with her.