~ CARA ELLIOTT ~
Welcome back to UTC, Cara! You’re releasing a new series called the Hellions of High Street. Can you please tell us more about the Sloane sisters?
They are a trio of unconventional young ladies with a passion for writing. Olivia, the eldest, pens fiery political essay for London’s leading newspaper under the nom de plume ‘The Beacon’; Anna, the middle sister, writes racy romance novels; and Caro, the youngest, is an aspiring poet with a penchant for the melodramatic. The problem is, proper young ladies of the ton—especially one who possess very small dowries— are not encouraged to have an interest in intellectual pursuits. Indeed, the only thing they are encouraged to pursue is an eligible bachelor—preferably one with both a title and a fortune. So, the headstrong, opinionated Sloane sisters must keep their passions a secret. But as we all know, secret passions can lead a lady into trouble . . .
SCANDALOUSLY YOURS is the first book in the series and this is Olivia’s story. As the eldest of the sisters, she perhaps has the most to lose. What was is about her character that made you connect with her?
Olivia is the most outspoken and opinionated of the trio. She is passionate about ideas and would much rather compose her fiery political essays than waste her time in such frivolous pursuits as flirting and dancing. In truth, she finds most men uninteresting . . . until she clashes with the Earl of Wrexham (aka The Perfect Hero) I really enjoyed showing her slowly unwinding and realizing that emotional passions can be every bit as intriguing as intellectual passions. (Yes, she discovers that smart can be very sexy!)
In SINFULLY YOURS, book two of the Hellions of High Street series, you feature the Marquess of Davenport who is known to be a notorious rake. We adore reading about rakes in our Historical novels. What would you say sets him apart from other rakes we have encountered?
Oh, Davenport was SUCH fun to write. Sharp and sarcastic, he assumes an aura of devil-may-care cynicism. But his outwardly roguish behavior hides a far more intriguing side of his character. Not only does he occasionally spy for the British government but, like Anna, he also has a very unusual secret hobby—but if you want to know what it is, you’ll just have to read the book!
What can you tell us about PASSIONATELY YOURS, the third book in the series?
Caro is the youngest Sloane sister, and as a budding poet, she tends to be the most dramatic. She has watched her sisters have exciting encounters with dashing heroes, and now she is longing for some excitement of her own. After all, how can she write passionate poetry until she has experienced a Grand Adventure? But there is an old saying that warns be careful what you wish for! When Alec McClellan, the moody Scottish lord she met at Dunbar Castle suddenly appears in the quiet spa town of Bath, she quickly finds herself caught up in a swirl of dangerous intrigue . . .
For readers new to your work, how would you describe your writing?
My books have a lot of humor and witty dialogue, yet there’s also an intensity of emotion beneath the banter. Like all of us in real life, my characters struggle with doubts and fears, but at heart, I celebrate the power of love and friendship.
Historical Romance heroes can be one of the most hottest across all genres. Tell us who your all-time favourite Historical Romance hero is and explain why you adore him so much.
Oh, unfair—it’s WAY too hard to choose just one! That said, I adore Benedict Carsington in Lord Perfect by Loretta Chase. He’s strong and stoic, the very paragon of a proper and reserved English gentleman—or so he thinks. But there’s a wilder, more passionate side to him, a inner devil-may-care, fun-loving streak that’s hidden deep inside. He just needs the right lady to bring it out. It’s hard to resist a man who’s solid and dependable, yet is also a little reckless and sexy in just the right moments.
Since it’s Historical month at UTC, we want to know why you love the era in which you write in and perhaps share with us one or two of your favourite books that explore that time period.
I love the Regency era—it’s a fascinating time, with Society aswirl in silk, seduction and the intrigue of the Napoleonic War. The whole world was changing, so I find it a perfect backdrop for my unconventional heroines, who like to challenge the rules. (Hey, don’t we all like to break a rule once in a while!) But sorry! This time it’s really impossible to name just one book I love from the era. There are too many wonderful ones. So instead I’ll share some of my favorite authors! I’m lucky enough to be in a wonderful historical blog group, the Word Wenches, which include some of the leading luminaries of the genre. Your readers can’t go wrong with any books by my pals Jo Beverley, Joanna Bourne, Nicola Cornick, Anne Gracie, Susan Fraser King, Mary Jo Putney and Patricia Rice.
Care to share a weird or quirky habit of yours while you write?
Sometimes when I’m really struggling with a scene, I get a bar of Lindt chocolate (Right now, Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt is the current favorite) and break it into little squares. Then I let the Muse have a bite for every paragraph finished. Yes, yes, I know that’s blatant bribery, but the Muse doesn’t always play nice, so fair’s fair! (And p.s.—it works!)
Thank you so much for sharing with us today!
Thank you so much for having me!
Meet the Hellions of High Street
Proper young ladies of the ton—especially ones who have very small dowries—are not encouraged to have an interest in intellectual pursuits. Indeed, the only thing they are encouraged to pursue is an eligible bachelor. So, the headstrong Sloane sisters must keep their passions a secret. Ah, but secret passions are wont to lead a lady into trouble…
The eldest of the three Sloane sisters, Olivia is unafraid to question the boundaries of Society—even if it does frequently land her in trouble. Disdaining the glittery world of balls and courtship, Olivia prefers to spend her time writing fiery political essays under a pseudonym for London’s leading newspaper. But when her columns attract the attention of the oh-so-proper Earl of Wrexham, Olivia suddenly finds herself dancing on the razor’s edge of scandal. With the help of her sisters, she tries to stay one step ahead of trouble…
However, after a series of madcap misadventures, Wrexham, a former military hero who is fighting for social reform in Parliament, discovers Olivia’s secret. To her surprise, he proposes a temporary alliance to help win passage of his bill. Passion flares between them, but when a political enemy kidnaps the earl’s young son, they must make some dangerous decisions… and trust that love will conquer all.
THE HELLIONS OF HIGH STREET SERIES CONTINUES WITH SINFULLY YOURS…
Proper young ladies of the ton-especially ones who have very small dowries-are not encouraged to have an interest in intellectual pursuits. Indeed, the only things they are encouraged to pursue are eligible bachelors. So, the headstrong Sloane sisters must keep their passions a secret. Ah, but secret passions are wont to lead a lady into trouble . . .SINFULLY YOURS After an eventful Season, Anna Sloane longs for some peace and quiet to pursue her writing. Though her plots might be full of harrowing adventure and heated passion, she’d much prefer to leave such exploits on the page rather than experience them in real life. Or so she thinks until she encounters the darkly dissolute-and gorgeously charming-Marquess of Davenport. Davenport has a reputation as a notorious rake whose only forte is wanton seduction. However the real reason he’s a guest at the same remote Scottish castle has nothing to do with Anna . . . until a series of mysterious threats leave him no choice but to turn to her for help in stopping a dangerous conspiracy. As desire erupts between them, Davenport soon learns he’s not the only one using a carefully crafted image to hide his true talents. And he’s more than ready to show Anna that sometimes reality can be even better than her wildest imaginings . . .
Excerpt from SINFULLY YOURS
Suddenly Anna couldn’t bear the oppressive gaiety of the crowded ballroom a moment longer. Lifting her skirts, she turned and hurried down one of the side corridors.
Her steps quickened as she passed by the room reserved for the ladies and ducked around a darkened corner. From a previous visit to the townhouse, she knew that a set of French doors in the library led out to a raised terrace overlooking the back gardens. It was, of course, against the rules for an unchaperoned young lady to venture outdoors on her own. But she had chosen the secluded spot with great care—the chances of being spotted were virtually nil.
The night air felt blessed cool on her overheated cheeks. “Thank God,” she murmured, tilting her face to the black velvet sky.
“Thank God,” echoed a far deeper voice.
A pale plume of smoke floated overhead, its curl momentarily obscuring the sparkle of the stars.
“It was getting devilishly dull out here with only my own thoughts for company.”
Speak of the Devil!
Anna whirled around. “That’s not surprising, sir, when one’s mind is filled with nothing but thoughts of drinking, wenching and gaming. Titillating as those pursuits might be, I would assume they grow tiresome with constant repetition.”
“A dangerous assumption, Miss Sloane.” Devlin Greville, the Marquess of Davenport—better known as the Devil Davenport—tossed down his cheroot and ground out the glowing tip beneath his heel. Sparks flared for an instant, red-gold against the slate tiles, before fading away to darkness. “I thought you a more sensible creature than to venture an opinion on things about which you know nothing.”
Anna watched warily as he took one . . . two . . . three sauntering steps closer. Quelling the urge to retreat, she stood her ground. The Devil might be a dissolute rake, a rapacious rogue, but she would not give him the satisfaction of seeing her flinch.
“Sense has nothing to do with it,” she countered coolly. “Given the rather detailed—and lurid—gossip that fills the drawing rooms of Mayfair each morning, I know a great deal about your exploits.”
“Another dangerous assumption.” His voice was low and a little rough, like the purr of a stalking panther.
Anna felt the tiny hairs on the nape of her neck stand on end.
He laughed, and the sound turned even softer. “I thought you a more sensible creature than to listen to wild speculation.”
“Indeed?” Feigning nonchalance, she slid sideways and leaned back against the stone railing. Which was, she realized, a tactical mistake. The marquess mirrored her movements, leaving her no way to escape.
“I—I don’t know why you would think that,” she went on. “You know absolutely nothing about me.”
“On the contrary. I, too, listen to the whispers that circulate through the ton.”
“Don’t be absurd.” She steadied her voice. “I am quite positive that there’s not an ill-word spoken about me. I am exceedingly careful that not a whiff of impropriety sullies my reputation.”
“Which in itself says a great deal,” drawled Devlin.
“You’re an idiot.”
“Am I?” He came closer, close enough that her nostrils were suddenly filled with a swirl of masculine scents. Bay rum cologne. Spiced smoke. French brandy. A hint of male musk.
Her pulse began to pound, her breath began to quicken.
Good Lord, it’s me who is an idiot. I’m acting like Emmalina!
Shaking off the horrid novel histrionics, Anna scowled. “You’re not only an idiot, Lord Davenport, you are an annoying idiot. I’m well aware that you take perverse pleasure in trying to . . .”
Cocking his head, he waited.
“To annoy me,” she finished lamely.
Another laugh. “Clearly I am having some success, so I can’t be all that bumbling.”
To give the Devil his due, he had a quick wit. Biting back an involuntary smile, Anna turned her head to look out over the shadowed gardens. Flames from the torchieres on the main terrace danced in the breeze, their glow gilding the silvery moonlight as it dappled over the thick ivy vines that covered the perimeter walls.
She shouldn’t find him amusing. And yet like a moth drawn to an open fire . . .
“What? No clever retort?” said Devlin.
Anna willed herself not to respond.
“I see.” Somehow he found a way to inch even closer. His trousers were now touching her skirts. “You mean to ignore me.”
“If you were a gentleman, you would go away and spare me the effort.”
“Allow me to point out two things, Miss Sloane. Number one—I was here first.”
The marquess had a point.
“And number two . . .” His hand touched her cheek. He wasn’t wearing gloves and the heat of his bare fingers seemed to scorch her skin. “We both know I’m no gentleman . . .”
Proper young ladies of the ton-especially ones who have very small dowries-are not encouraged to have an interest in intellectual pursuits. Indeed, the only thing they are encouraged to pursue is an eligible bachelor.
Preferably one with both a title and a fortune.
So, the headstrong, opinionated Sloane sisters must keep their passions a secret.
Ah, but secret passions are wont to lead a lady into trouble . . .
Coming March 4, 2014