Confession: I’m a bit of an Anglophile. I know more about the British monarchy than I should. I love English writers. Austen. Dickens. Shakespeare. Donne. Coleridge. Bronte. Chaucer. To name a few. I hoard Regency romance novels. As a teenager, I convinced many friends and relatives that Prince William would one day ask me to marry him. Nowadays, my British obsessions run more toward Tom Hiddleston, Daniel Craig, and Henry Cavill. So when I realized that the heroine of my latest Harlequin Superromance novel, Married One Night (on shelves this month!), would meet a charming and handsome Englishman by the name of Gerald Leighton, I rubbed my hands together in glee and dove into the research I would need to help craft his character.
A few fun facts about Gerald….
1) He’s a bestselling author of time travel/fantasy novels.
2) He’s the modern-day equivalent of a renegade earl.
Ladies and gentleman, I give you my favorite beta hero, Gerald Leighton….
“Aren’t you tired?”
“I should be zonked, but it’s the adrenaline,” Gerald admitted. “Hasn’t quite worn off yet.” Reaching to grip the back of his neck with one of his wide-palmed hands, he glanced at the jukebox. “This is a good song.”
It was the Stones’ “Wild Horses.” “It’s my favorite,” Olivia murmured.
Gerald’s brows lifted in surprise. “Well, blow me.”
Her mouth dropped open and blood rushed to her face. “What?”
“I said, ‘Blow me.’” When she only continued to stare, aghast, he cleared his throat. “You know? Blow me down. Knock me down with a feather. It’s British. Slang, I mean.”
“Oh!” Olivia said, loosening a laugh that sounded nervous even to her ears. “I thought you meant—” She caught his eye, felt her cheeks darken to fuchsia, and shook her head. “Nothing. No. Never mind.”
By the look on his face, he had already caught on. He rocked back on his heels and pressed his lips together, glancing down at the floor. She thought his face might be a little red, too, but it could have been the dim lighting. She went back to sweeping and said, a little loudly, “Why does it ‘blow you down’—that this is my favorite song?”
His eyes found hers again. “In addition to Queen, I’m a Stones fan, too. ‘Wild Horses’ has always been one of my favorites.” After hesitating a brief space of a moment, he lifted his hand. “Shall we dance, then?”
Her broom stopped in midswipe as her face lifted to his. “Dance?”
“Dance with me, Liv,” he repeated. “We’ve danced before.”
Since when did he call her Liv? She really didn’t think she could handle that kind of intimacy. Not with him. “I’ve got to finish cleaning.”
Gerald tugged the broom away. “I think you’re done, love.” The words were whispered against the hair over her ear. The tingles she’d felt on her lips cascaded down her neck, back and torso until she couldn’t help but shiver pleasantly.
Before she could think up a practical protest, he threaded his fingers through hers and placed her opposing hand on his shoulder. With the subtle urging of a warm hand on the small of her back, he pulled her close against him.
Be sure to follow the virtual book tour for more about Olivia and Gerald and excerpts from the book at Pump Up Your Book or my blog where I’ll be posting weekly updates. Happy reading, everyone!