Hi Amalie and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, The Rakehell of Roth!
Please summarize the book a la Twitter style for the readers here:
Sleeping Beauty meets As You Like It in a delicious, second-chance, frenemies-to-lovers tale between a plucky heiress and her runaway marquess. Abandoned by her knight in tarnished armor, Lady Isobel Vance is stuck in misery-ever-after, and after three years of loneliness in the country, she has had enough. It’s time to wake up, throw down the gauntlet, and go get her husband.
Please share the opening lines of this book:
Was it peculiar that she didn’t feel married?
A forgotten glass of warm champagne in hand,Lady Isobel Vance, the new Marchioness of Roth, peeked up at the towering, silent gentleman beside her as they stood on the balcony. The Marquess of Roth could be a statue carved from marble instead of flesh and bone. Starkly beautiful. Impenetrable.
Please share a few Fun facts about this book…
Ooh, I love fun facts!
- This story is a mash-up of Sleeping Beauty and Shakespeare’s As You Like It (following in the tradition of The Beast of Beswick, which was Beauty and the Beast meets The Taming of the Shrew).
- There’s an irreverent and cool Regency “Dear Abby” column…as well as some inventive chapter headings from the resident sex expert, Lady Darcy.
- There’s a sexy social club where shenanigans ensue.
- I loved playing with the Shakespearean element in As You Like It with girl-in-disguise and hidden identity…especially to tease and torment my hero.
- There’s a gentleman’s auction for charity…in which the men are the prize.
What first attracts your Hero to the Heroine and vice versa?
This is a marriage of convenience, so at first, the hero is attracted to my heroine’s looks – she’s a diamond of the first water, as they say. My heroine is attracted at first to the hero’s strength, appearance, and status. This is a superficial attraction, however, and other things become more important – like my heroine’s courage and determination or the hero’s generous heart buried beneath a mountain of baggage. These two really have to work for their HEA.
Using just 5 words, how would you describe Hero and Heroine’s love affair?
Wild, unexpected, bold, circuitous, satisfying.
The First Kiss…
Isobel had no idea who closed the distance first, only that his lips were on hers, his tongue sliding across the seam and demanding entry. She gave it. She wanted it. Wanted him. Opening her mouth, Isobel welcomed him, meeting him stroke for stroke. Their teeth ground together as their bodies erased any space between them, his arms banded around her…her fingers knotted into the hair at his nape. She yanked. He groaned, his lips detaching for breath.
“Shut up and kiss me, Winter.”
Without revealing too much, what is your favorite scene in the book?
Oh my goodness, my favorite scene is a very, very naughty one. It’s right after she participates in a scandalous auction and places an obscenely high bid to win the company of her husband. I love the fact that Isobel does what she has to do to get what she wants. She’s nervous and scared, but she’s so determined. I really love her agency in this book.
Her smile was pure seduction. “You knew a girl, Roth, from three years ago who was unsophisticated in every possible way. Practically asleep. She’s not anymore.” She crossed her arms over her chest and licked her lips. “Now close that sinful mouth of yours, strip like a good lad, and show your mistress what she’s won.”
If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would be absolutely crucial to include?
I would love for this book to be optioned! Without a doubt, I would have to say the scene by the well in the garden. It’s the first scene where Isobel tells Winter what she wants and why she has come to London. Again, her agency makes me want to shout with glee!
Bloody hell. Was she flirting with him?
“Who are you and what have you done with the timid Lady Isobel?”
“She grew up, and she was never timid, my lord.” Her laugh rang out between them. “You simply did not know her.”
His appreciative gaze slid from her glowing face to the embroidered bodice of her walking gown to the tips of her muddied boots. “Indeed.”
The push and pull between them had begun when she’d barged into his home, and had only increased during that teasing dance of theirs—like weapons being drawn and paces being counted in a duel unlike any other. And now, it seemed as if she were preparing to take it up another notch.
Perhaps he had underestimated his little country wife.
Readers should read this book …
I know everyone’s saying if you love Bridgerton, read this…BUT SERIOUSLY, if you enjoyed Bridgerton, give this one a try. Secrets and misunderstandings abound in this tale, but so do lots of laughter, friendship, and enough smexy shenanigans to leave you breathless. Also, as you can probably guess from some of my answers, I’m all about resilient women, feminist thinkers, and female agency, and I hope that Isobel brings that to the page.
What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have planned?
My next historical romance is THE PRINCESS STAKES, which will be out June 29, 2021. This is a diverse historical romance story about a biracial Anglo-Indian princess who is on the run from an assassin and falls into the arms of the boy–now duke–whose heart she broke. Talk about tension and past baggage…
The next in that series is RULES FOR HEIRESSES, and it comes out October 26, 2021. That one is about the hero’s sister from THE PRINCESS STAKES, who wants to avoid her future as some rich man’s possession and takes off for shores unknown. The hero in this story is mixed with Caribbean roots, so that’s my wheelhouse.
I’m super excited about both of these books!!
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
Giveaway: Print copy of THE RAKEHELL OF ROTH.
To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: What’s your favorite trope in historical romance (or romance in general). Mine is hands-down enemies-to-lovers. =)
Excerpt from The Rakehell of Roth:
EXCERPT: THE RAKEHELL OF ROTH BY AMALIE HOWARD
Winter glared at the butler for making him feel guilty. “No. Call for my horse. I’m going out.”
“You just returned home, my lord.”
“Are you my keeper now?”
Ludlow’s mouth had gone so thin, it was nearly invisible. “Someone has to be.”
“Now, see here—” Winter had had just about enough. He turned to give the man the blistering he deserved and stiffened as the front door to his house crashed unceremoniously open, letting in a burst of cool, fragrant wind.
A cloaked vision stood there as the enticing waft of flowers slammed into Winter. He couldn’t see beyond the heavily-brimmed bonnet, and for a moment, he thought the actress, Aline, had changed her mind about a frolic in the sheets with Matteo.
But Aline was petite. This new arrival was not.
Ludlow rushed toward the door in greeting, and froze as the woman chuckled and said something to him in a low, sultry voice. He couldn’t quite see the butler’s face. He also couldn’t catch the lady’s tones to recognize its owner, but they were decidedly refined. Most of his callers were from the demimonde, but the occasional aristocratic lady still found her way to 15 Audley Street looking for trouble and a tumble.
He caught his breath as Ludlow took her cloak, and her bonnet was removed in slow motion. A skein of silken, wheat-colored hair shook loose and a heartshaped face came into view with glowing pinkened cheeks. Full, luscious lips parted, and he exhaled as a pair of unforgettable frosted-ocean eyes met his.
Recognition and lust hit him like a runaway carriage.
Because the stunning, surprising, and gracefully elegant vision standing in his foyer was none other than his lady wife—the Marchioness of Roth.
What the bloody devil was she doing here?
Winter stood stock still in utter disbelief as liquid heat unraveled in his groin, bursting through his veins like the fireworks over Vauxhall. He blinked, but the vision did not dissipate. Time had only fulfilled its promise with her youthful beauty, and the svelte changeling who now stood in his bride’s stead was a radiant goddess.
“Husband,” she said in a low greeting that went straight to his groin.
“What are you doing here?” he choked out.
A blond brow arched. “This is your home, is it not? And by extension, mine as well?”
The corners of those kissable lips drifted upward at his curt denial. “Whyever not? Surely you haven’t forgotten you have a wife? Despite not having seen you in years, I hadn’t expected you to be in your dotage at so young an age, my lord.”
His jaw slackened. Winter was at a loss. He simply could not reconcile the confident virago who stood on his threshold with the demure, shy mouse he’d left behind three years ago. That girl had been unable to look at him without blushing. Without complete adoration glowing in her gaze. This woman looked like she could tear him apart with her eyes alone, chew him up and spit him out…spent, trembling, and gratifyingly wrecked.
To his utter dismay, the crotch of his trousers crowded to the point of pain, arousal shunting through him like a flood.
In three years, his attraction to her hadn’t abated in the least. No, it had grown like a furtive beast, feeding on the scraps of his memory. The fragrant scent of her, the slick velvet feel of her. The moans she made as she came apart, her body convulsing around his, and his given name a benediction upon her lips. He’d hoarded the precious fragments like a beggar hoarding coin.
“This is no place for a lady. You should be at Vance House,” he told her in a hoarse voice. His father’s ducal residence was a few streets away, which, while still not far enough away, was not here.
Disdainful eyes traveled the ostentatious decor of the foyer and then flicked to his disheveled form. In his current state, cravat missing and coat discarded, Winter knew he looked like he’d been well and truly corrupted by his evening activities, even though he had spent the better part of four hours at his club poring over tedious expense accounts. Hence his rumpled appearance, though she wouldn’t know that.
A tiny grin touched her lips, throwing him for a loop.
Did she find something amusing?
“What’s wrong with me staying here?” she asked innocently, though her arctic eyes warred with her soft words. For some reason, Winter had the feeling his wife was furious, though nothing showed in her calm demeanor…except for those eyes that glittered like sharpened ice, threatening to dagger him at any moment. The contradiction thrilled him and irritated him all at once, sliding under his skin like silk over a blade.
“It’s a gentleman’s residence.”
“Naturally,” his wife interrupted, retrieving her cloak and bonnet from Ludlow, who stood with his mouth uncharacteristically agape. She favored the butler with a sweet smile that made him snap to attention, a smitten look clouding his normally austere features. “You are right, my lord. I do intend to stay at Vance House.” Her mouth curved more as she turned back toward Winter, the decadent curve of those plump lips knocking him like a hammer to the ribs. “Your father insisted, of course. But I wanted to inform you myself that I was in town.”
Winter scowled at the mention of the duke, his eyes narrowing at the fact that his father had known of his wife’s visit. “Why are you here, Isobel?”
“A marchioness should be at her husband’s side, don’t you think?” A pair of brilliant, jewel-hard eyes speared him, daring him to challenge her. “I’m here for the season.”
“The season?” he echoed, his brain slow on the uptake.
“Yes.” His marchioness smiled, that full pout twisting in a way that made him suddenly want to do untoward, debauched things to it. “We wouldn’t want the ton to think you’ve lost your touch, would we, Winter?”
His eyes narrowed. “In what way?”
“That the Marquess of Roth can’t handle his own wife.”
The words registered like fired shots. Winter blinked. Did his prim, shy bride just insult his masculinity? But then something like excitement licked up his spine. Strangely, it was the most alive he’d felt in months. Years. A slow grin replaced his scowl. His demure kitten had grown into a feline with razor-sharp claws, but whatever game his little wife intended to play, Winter would see it won.
And then he would send her back to Chelmsford.
“Trust me, love, you couldn’t be more wrong.”
The Marchioness of Roth turned in a vicious whirl of satin skirts and glanced over her shoulder in the doorway, a sultry gaze boring into his, one that promised both satisfaction and destruction in equal measure. “Prove it then, love.”
She made those four parting words sound like a gauntlet: See you at dawn.
Winter stood there, stunned, for several loud heartbeats after his wife had left, leaving shrapnel in her wake.
Ludlow pinned him with a gratified expression. “So, roses to Vance House, then, my lord?”
“Sod off, Ludlow.”
From the look of his wife, he was going to need a lot more than roses.
Excerpts. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
As owner of the most scandalous club in London, the last thing the notorious Marquess of Roth wants is a wife. Keeping up his false reputation as a rake brings in the clients with the deepest pockets—money he needs to fund a noble cause. Even though everything inside tells him not to leave his beautiful, innocent wife behind at his country estate…he must.
But three years later, tired of her scoundrel of a husband headlining the gossip rags, Lady Isobel Vance decides enough is enough. She is no longer a fragile kitten, but as the anonymous author of a women’s sexual advice column, she’s now a roaring tigress…and she can use her claws.
Isobel decides to go to him in London, channeling her powers of seduction to make him beg to take her back. But she didn’t expect her marauding marquess to be equally hard to resist. Now the game is on to see who will give in to the other first, with both sides determined like hell to win.
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Meet the Author:
AMALIE HOWARD is the author of the Publishers Weekly bestseller, The Beast of Beswick, touted as “a smart, sexy, deliciously feminist romance.” She is the co-author of the #1 bestsellers in regency romance and Scottish historical romance, My Rogue, My Ruin and What A Scot Wants, and has also penned several young adult novels, critically acclaimed by Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, VOYA, School Library Journal, and Booklist, including Waterfell, The Almost Girl, and Alpha Goddess, a Kid’s INDIE NEXT selection. Of Indo-Caribbean descent, she has written articles on multicultural fiction for The Portland Book Review and Ravishly magazine. She currently resides in Colorado with her husband and three children. Visit her at amaliehoward.com.
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