Monday, October 20, 2014

Giveaway, Interview, and Excerpt of Darling Beast by Elizabeth Hoyt

About the Book:


Falsely accused of murder and mute from a near-fatal beating, Apollo Greaves, Viscount Kilbourne has escaped from Bedlam. With the Crown's soldiers at his heels, he finds refuge in the ruins of a pleasure garden, toiling as a simple gardener. But when a vivacious young woman moves in, he's quickly driven to distraction . . .


London's premier actress, Lily Stump, is down on her luck when she's forced to move into a scorched theatre with her maid and small son. But she and her tiny family aren't the only inhabitants—a silent, hulking beast of a man also calls the charred ruins home. Yet when she catches him reading her plays, Lily realizes there's more to this man than meets the eye.


Though scorching passion draws them together, Apollo knows that Lily is keeping secrets. When his past catches up with him, he's forced to make a choice: his love for Lily . . . or the explosive truth that will set him free.

~ Excerpt from Darling Beast 
by Elizabeth Hoyt  ~

     He dropped his satchel and took up the shovel, sticking it into the base of one of the dead bushes, striking at the root mass. The blade only went halfway into the soil, so he jumped with both feet on the shoulders of the blade, driving it the rest of the way down. He could feel as the blade sliced through the roots and he grunted with satisfaction. He’d spent part of the previous night sharpening the shovel to do just that. Gingerly he began prying with the handle—too hard a movement and he’d snap it, or worse, the iron blade itself. He’d already lost two shovels this spring.

    “You don’t mind if I continue?” he heard Miss Stump ask. “It’s just that I need to finish writing this soon—very soon.”

     He glanced up curiously at that, wondering at the worried line between her brows as she stared down at her manuscript. Makepeace had said she couldn’t get acting work at the moment. Perhaps this was her only means of making money.

     He shook his head in reply.
     “I’m only in the third act,” she said absently. “My heroine has gambled away all her brother’s money because, well, she’s dressed as her brother.”

     She glanced up in time to catch his raised eyebrows.

     “It’s a comedy called A Wastrel Reform’d.” She shrugged. “A complicated comedy because right now no one knows who anyone is. There’s twins—a brother and sister—named Wastrel, and the brother has convinced his sister—her Christian name is Cecily—to pretend to be he so that he might seduce Lady Pamela’s maid, and he’s engaged to her—Lady Pamela, not her maid.”

     She took a breath and Apollo slowly smiled, because against all odds, he’d understood everything she’d just said.
     Miss Stump grinned back. “It’s silly, I know, but that’s what comedy is, really—a lot of silly things happening, one after another.” She glanced down at her play, running her finger down the page. “So Cecily, dressed as Adam—that’s the brother—has lost terribly at a hand of cards to Lord Pimberly. Oh! That’s Fanny—the maid’s—father, and Lady Pamela’s scorned suitor. Although of course no one knows that Pimberly is Fanny’s father, otherwise she wouldn’t be a lady’s maid, now would she?”

     Apollo leaned on his shovel and cocked an eyebrow.

     “Kidnapped at birth, naturally,” she replied. “But fortunately she has quite a distinctive birthmark. Right here.” She tapped the upper slope of her right breast.

     Apollo defied any man not to follow the direction of her finger. She had quite a lovely breast, gently swelling above the severe square neckline of her dress and modestly covered by a filmy fichu.

     “Yes, well.” Her husky voice made him raise his gaze. Her cheeks had pinkened, but that might’ve been the wind. “In any case, I’m writing a scene between Cecily and Lord Pimberly in which Pimberly demands his money and Cecily doesn’t have it. And naturally he’s begun to realize he’s attracted to her at the same time.”
     She cleared her throat.

     He nodded, messing a bit with his shovel to look as if he were still working. Actually, he was beginning to fear that the blade was stuck in the roots.

     Miss Stump glanced at her manuscript and slipped back into what he now knew was Cecily—the sister dressed as her brother. “Do you judge a gentleman by his bits, my lord?”

     She turned and placed her fists on her hips again, in the wide-legged stance. “Pardon me, but I said chits.”

     Turn. Her hands dropped. “And yet, ’tis still your manly bits we discuss.” She glanced at him out of the corner of her eye. “No?”

     He screwed his mouth to the side and reluctantly shook his head.

     “Blast!” she exclaimed under her breath, bending to the paper. She scratched out something and then froze, obviously thinking.

     He wasn’t even pretending to work anymore.

     She gasped and then hunched over her manuscript, scribbling furiously before straightening, a gleam of triumph in her eye.

     She tossed her head as Cecily. “Indeed, and would you know a chit should you see one?”

     Now she was a baffled Pimberly. “Naturally.”

     “Oh, my lord?” She turned her head and looked over her shoulder through lowered lashes at the imaginary Pimberly, all daring flirtation. “And how is that, may I ask?”


     “How does a gentleman of your unsurpassed perception differentiate a chit from a bit?”

     And she batted her eyelashes.

     The juxtaposition between the ribaldry of her words and the innocence of her expression was so silly, so utterly enchanting, that Apollo couldn’t help it: he threw back his head and laughed.

About the Author:

Elizabeth Hoyt is the New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of historical romance, including reader favorite, The Raven Prince.

Elizabeth was born in New Orleans but grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota. She was fortunate to be able to travel extensively as a child, visiting St. Andrews, Scotland; Germany; France; and Belgium. She spent a year in Oxford, England and was a summer exchange student to Kawasaki, Japan.

Elizabeth has a BA in anthropology from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and, as a result of having no clue what to do with her life thereafter, a career history as a barista, a (terrible) sales clerk, a Wisconsin Revenue Service data entry slave, and an archeological field work grunt. Fortunately, Elizabeth married relatively young and produced two children who kept her busy until her mid-thirties. At about this time, when her youngest was entering Kindergarten, Elizabeth’s mother hinted that perhaps Elizabeth should get a Real Job.

Sadly, Elizabeth was so delusional she thought writing a romance novel might qualify as a Real Job.

But! Five years later, to everyone’s surprise, she actually sold that romance novel (The Raven Prince) and began a rather successful career as a Romance Novelist. This was most fortunate since Elizabeth is singularly unqualified to do anything else but Make Up Stories.

Since then Elizabeth has written thirteen books to critical acclaim: The Prince Trilogy (The Raven Prince, The Leopard Prince, and The Serpent Prince); the Legend of the Four Soldiers series (To Taste Temptation, To Seduce a Sinner, To Beguile a Beast, and To Desire a Devil); and the Maiden Lane series (Wicked Intentions, Notorious Pleasures, Scandalous Desires, Thief of Shadows, Lord of Darkness, and the upcoming Duke of Midnight .) All of Elizabeth’s books are set in eighteenth century England and all feature a fairy tale story that serves as a foil to the main story.

Elizabeth’s books have made the New York Times bestseller list seven times, have finaled five times in Romance Writers of America’s prestigious RITA award contest, and have won three Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Awards. All of her books have received Top Pick reviews from RT BookReviews magazine. Wicked Intentions, Notorious Pleasures Scandalous Desires, and Thief of Shadows received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly. Four of her books were voted into All About Romance’s (AAR’s) Top 100 Romances of All Time list and six were Desert Isle Keepers at AAR. Elizabeth’s books have been translated into eighteen languages.

Elizabeth researches extensively for her historical romances, both by reading books on topics such as: history, costume, warfare, social mannerisms, and cooking, and frequenting museums whenever she can to study portraits and the little dogs that aristocratic Georgian ladies seem to always be holding. When desperate she often consults Mr. Hoyt, who is an archaeologist and Historical Research Wizard.

Elizabeth lives in central Illinois with a pack of untrained canines and a garden in constant need of weeding.

~ Interview with Elizabeth Hoyt ~

      Question:  On your website, you say you base many of your books off of fairy tales.  I've noticed you tend to pick those that aren't so well known. What’s your personal favorite lesser-known fairy tale and what is it that you love about it?  

Answer: I’ve always liked “The Goose Girl” about a princess who is switched with her serving maid and forced to become a goose girl (herding geese, I guess) at her betrothed castle. A magical severed horse head is involved which is delightfully gruesome. I like the suspense of the princess in disguise.

      Question:  What elements, besides a good chemistry between the two main characters, do you feel are most important for writing a good romance? 

Answer: The characters themselves have to be compelling. They might have the best chemistry in the world, but if the reader isn’t interested in the hero and heroine as people, the book is boring.
      Question:  Some say romances are just retelling the same story over and over again in different ways. True, the base of every romance--boy and girl meet and fall in love--is essentially the same, but if it were truly that simple, we'd all be able to be bestselling romance novelists. Being as you're a bestselling author, what's your secret to keeping your stories fresh and preventing them from feeling like we're reading a romance novel repeat? 

Answer: Hm. Well, I suppose romances are all alike…but that’s like saying people are all alike: we all have eyes and ears and legs so what’s so interesting about different people? I think you can see the false argument I make here: people may be all the same at a certain base level, but there is infinite diversity among people—and people, like romance books, are infinitely compelling. 

If I’m not interested in the story I don’t think the reader will be. I often set myself intellectual challenges when writing: how does a mute man communicate to a woman he’s attracted to? If a first impression is really bad—say, the heroine thinks the hero is a mentally challenged ugly monster—what will make her change her mind? How does love heal a man of mental wounds?

In general, I don’t repeat characters. If I’ve already written an amoral river pirate, why would I want to write another?

      Question:  Being as you write historical novels, if you could travel back in time and attend any event or see any part of history (secret or not) as it was occurring, what would you choose to see or do and why?

Answer: It would be interesting to attend some of the early women’s rights meetings in America—the ones Susan B. Anthony attended. I always think it’s interesting when a person decides to not only go against society’s thinking, but actively challenge it. That takes courage.

      Question:  Is there anything that someone who hasn’t read one of your books should know about you, your books, or your characters that might entice them to read them?

Answer: Hm. Well, I read a review recently that said my books aren’t as dark as the reader heard they were—does that entice? I think of my books as complex with complex characters. But there are a lot of goofy moments as well. Oh, and the sex is really quite hot. ;-)

~ Giveaway ~
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DARLING BEAST is available in paperback, ebook, and audio book formats wherever books are sold:

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