Tag Archive | The Renegade Royals

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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Excerpt

http://www.vanessakellyauthor.com/books/my-fair-princess/excerpt-my-fair-princess/

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.

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Vanessa Kelly: How to Plan a Wedding for a Royal Spy

History Revisited

Hi, Susana! Thanks for hosting me on your lovely blog to talk about How to Plan a Wedding for a Royal Spy. This is the 3rd book in my Renegade Royals historical romance series, featuring the illegitimate sons of England’s royal dukes. Most Regency readers know who Prinny is, aka the Prince Regent, well-known rake and bon vivant. It’s thought that he had at least four illegitimate offspring and possibly more.

IMG_0031 copyBut the Prince Regent wasn’t the only bad boy in the family. Most of his brothers also produced children born on the wrong side of the blanket. The Duke of Kent, for instance, had at least ten with Mrs. Jordan. Trust me—those guys were busy! All told, there may have been as many as twenty-five illegitimate children with royal blood running through their veins. It’s fairly ironic, then, that there was such a scramble to produce a legitimate heir to the throne after the death of Princess Charlotte, the Prince Regent’s daughter, in 1817.

There’s not a lot of information about most of these children. After all, their births would surely have been scandalous and, in most cases, would not have been formally acknowledged. That, naturally, makes them perfect fodder for writers, since we can take quite a lot of license in creating characters that are actually well grounded in historical fact. That’s what I did with my Renegade Royals: I researched the royal dukes and their reputed offspring, worked up the appropriate timelines, and then came up with fictional heroes who would fit both the period and also my goals for the book.

Which, of course, is to write sexy, appealing, and dashing heroes that my heroines and readers will fall in love with!

How to Plan a Wedding for a Royal Spy introduces the next two heroes in the series—Captain Will Endicott and Captain Alasdair (Alec) Gilbride. Will is the son of the Duke of York, and Alasdair is the son of the Duke of Kent. They’re friends, cousins, and military spies who’ve worked many missions together.

Now, I have to admit that my inspiration for Will and Alec didn’t just come from history. While I was developing the proposal for this particular book, I also happened to be binge-watching the TV show Strike Back, an exciting thriller about two agents for the British Defense Intelligence Service. I won’t deny that some elements of that show, particularly the portrayal of the heroes, made their way into my story! It was huge fun to meld modern inspiration with historical background to create my take on a slice of Regency history.

How much history do you like in your historical romance? Do you prefer the emphasis on the history or the romance, or does it matter?

One person who comments will win a copy of Secrets for Seducing a Royal Bodyguard, book one in the series.

How to plan a weddingroyal spy copy

About How to Plan a Wedding for a Royal Spy

Whether as spies or lovers, the Renegade Royals—illegitimate sons of England’s Royal Princes—are bold, skillful, and a force to be reckoned with…

A war hero returned from Waterloo should be able to indulge in a bit of bad behavior. Instead, Captain William Endicott is summoned by his father, the Duke of York, to investigate an assassination plot. The unlikely suspect: William’s former sweetheart. Will can’t believe that innocent Evie Whitney could be mixed up in anything so nefarious. Then again, almost everything about Evie has changed—except for his body’s instinctive response to hers…

Just as Evie’s life is finally coming together, Will saunters back into it. Should she slap him—or seduce him? Even as she tries to decide, scandal pushes her toward marriage with a man she can neither trust nor resist—and into the heart of a deadly conspiracy…

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Excerpt

Will pushed away from the column, scowling at the smirk on Alec’s face. “It’s about time you showed up. I’ve been trailing around after Beaumont and his friends for the last hour, trying not to look like a lunatic. The last time I dodged behind a potted palm our hostess looked ready to have me carted off to Bedlam.” He was joking, of course, since his skills at discreet surveillance were as good as they’d ever been—despite the distractions Evie posed.

Alec, resplendent in his regimentals, cast a quick glance around them.

“No one is listening,” Will said dryly. “You know I haven’t lost my touch.”

His cousin shrugged. “Can’t be too careful, not with the cannonball this bloody assignment is turning out to be.” His gaze fixed on Beaumont and Evie, just coming off the dance floor on the other side of the massive ballroom. “I spent some time with Beaumont last week. While you were capering about with Miss Evelyn, I was practically paying court to the fellow. God only knows what he must think of me.”

“That you’re an ardent philanthropist, no doubt. And, by the way, I was hardly capering with Evie. Except for that day in the ruins, she’s treated me like I’m a leper, bells and all.”

Alec folded his arms across his chest and smiled, conveying the appearance of a man engaged in casual conversation. He liked to give the impression that he was a genial and not very bright giant, but Will knew he had his eye on Beaumont, Evie, and probably twenty other people in the room at the same time. “I noticed that. What did you do to rattle the poor girl?”

“I’m not sure,” Will said with a casual shrug. It was a lie, but Alec didn’t need the gory details. “I suppose she hasn’t yet forgiven me for abandoning her, as she put it.”

“And yet you two seemed quite chummy in the carriage.”

“I know it’s difficult, but try not to be an idiot,” Will replied in a tone of false sympathy.

Alec’s laughing gray eyes flashed back at him. “Someone is certainly in a foul mood. You know what you need?”

“No, but I’m sure you’ll tell me.”

“A visit to a cozy little brothel. It’s been much too long since you’ve had a good shagging.”

“I think not, but feel free to carry on without me.”

His cousin let out a soft hoot. “That’s what I thought. You’re still keen on the girl, aren’t you?”

Will narrowed his eyes in warning. “I suggest we stick to business. We haven’t had much chance to speak the last few days, since you’ve been busy with other things.”

Before answering, Alec took the time to give a pair of pretty girls strolling by a flourishing bow. They both giggled, flirting behind their fans, before gliding away.

“I’m sorry, old son,” Alec finally said in a vague manner. “What were we talking about?”

SusanaSays3Susana Says

…another thoroughly enjoyable Regency romp: 5/5 stars!

I can’t say enough about Ms. Kelly’s knack for characterization. The relationship between Evie and Edie, their parents (particularly their frequently misguided mother), and Will and his friend Alec (surely the next of the not-so-royal brood to be struck by Cupid’s arrow) give the story authenticity. Hovering over the courtship—if it can be called that—is a dangerous secret that threatens to wreak havoc on the security of England…and yet Ms. Kelly manages to weave it all together with a light touch of humor, leaving no doubts in the reader’s mind that Will and Evie’s romance will stand the test of time.

Highly recommended read!

About the Author

Vanessa 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. Her current series, The Renegade Royals, is a national bestseller. Vanessa also writes USA Today Bestselling contemporary romance with her husband under the pen name of V.K. Sykes.

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