Thursday, May 8, 2014

Tasty Book Tours: Two Dukes and a Scandal Tour (Guest Post + Excerpts + Giveaway)

Two Dukes and a Scandal Tour
It Takes a Scandal by Caroline Linden
How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days by Laura Lee Guhrke
Redemption of the Duke by Gayle Callen

Guest Post from Laura Lee Guhrke

Ten Fun Facts about Dukes

In celebration of my new book, HOW TO LOSE A DUKE IN TEN DAYS, I decided it might be fun to share some interesting tidbits about English dukes. So here’s ten fun facts, in case you ever meet one in person and need some conversation starters: 

1. A duke is only referred to as “Your Grace” by commoners. Other members of the peerage address him as “Duke.” But it’s bad form to say, “Your Grace,” all the time, so if you ever run into a duke at a party, use the term sparingly.

2. In writing a formal letter to a duke, a commoner would use the salutation, “My Lord Duke.” In no other situation is a duke referred to as “my lord” anything. Informally, you may address your correspondence with the salutation, “Dear Duke of _________.” I only tell you this in case you ever want to invite the very handsome 13th Duke of Argyll to your next party. His Christian name is Torquhil, by the way, but you don’t need to know how to pronounce it, since you would never use his Christian name. Which is kind of sad. I like Torquhil, however it’s pronounced. Hmm…might have to use that name for my next ducal hero…

3. Originally, all English dukes were of royal blood. The sons of the monarch are typically given a ducal title. One of the perks of the job.

4. The very first British duke was Edward, The Black Prince, the eldest son of Edward III. He was created Duke of Cornwall by his father in 1337, and developed a very bad reputation for killing massive numbers of French people. The first non-royal duke was Robert de Vere, created Duke of Ireland by King Richard II in 1385. De Vere was also the first British marquess. Robert is important mainly because his descendent, Edward de Vere, is one of those fellows rumored to have been the real Shakespeare. Edward’s descendent, the present Duke of St. Albans, is working tirelessly to prove Edward was the true bard. Are you getting dizzy yet? Just be glad this blog isn’t about the Royal Houses of Europe. Talk about a head-banger.

5.  In Historical Romance Land, of course, there are thousands of dukes running around, but in Real Life, dukes are becoming an endangered species. Today, there are only 24 non-royal dukes in Britain. In the Georgian period, the heyday of dukes, there were about 40.

6. The honor of holding a dukedom for the longest time belongs to HRH Prince Edward of Kent, who has held the title for 72 years. He is the first cousin of Queen Elizabeth II.

7. The oldest dukedom in Britain is Norfolk, created in 1483 by Richard III. The Howard family, holders of the dukedom, remained Roman Catholic through the Reformation, and remains pretty much Roman Catholic to this day. The 3rd Duke of Norfolk’s claim to fame was that his niece, Catherine, got her head chopped off by Henry the VIII’s axman. As dynasties go, though, the Howards are still going strong. The Tudors, not so much. So who got the last laugh there, dear Henry?

8. The expression, “Put up your dukes,” a reference to one’s fists as “dukes”, reportedly comes from rhyming slang: Duke of York ‘fork’ is a reference to fingers. The American expression, “Duke it out,” meaning to fight, is reported to originate from the Revolutionary War, and the duke in question was the favorite son of George III, Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany.

9. The Dukedom of Fife is alone among dukedoms of the peerage in the fact that it can pass through the female line, not just the male. In all other dukedoms, the guys get all the glory.

10. Beef Wellington may or may not be named after the Duke of Wellington (heated debate between historians rages on), but “wellies” can definitely be credited to the famous duke. Our modern rain boots, though not made of the original calfskin, are a direct descendent of Wellington’s own design, which modified the then-popular Hessian boot. So when you put on your wellies and go out in the rain, know that your feet are dry thanks to the Iron Duke. 

There you have it, ten fun facts about dukes. But since there are so many dukes in Historical Romance Land, I want to know why readers love them so much. Tell me, romance readers, what is it about dukes that makes them so fascinating?

Blurb (It Takes a Scandal by Caroline Linden)

The second book in a deliciously sexy new series from USA Today bestselling and RITA award winning author Caroline Linden, in which an utterly shocking book--Fifty Shades of Grey for the Regency era-- has all of London talking and gives more than one young miss a mind for scandal.

Sometimes it takes a scandal . . .

Abigail Weston has everything: beauty, wit, and one of the largest dowries in England. Her parents hope she’ll wed an earl. Abigail hopes for a man who wants her desperately and passionately. But the money seems to blind every man she meets-except one.

Sebastian Vane has nothing. He came home from war with a shattered leg to find his father mad and his inheritance gone. He’s not a fit suitor for anyone, let alone an heiress. But Abigail lights up his world like a comet, bright and beautiful and able to see him instead of his ruined reputation. And it might end happily ever after . . .

To reveal your heart’s desire

Until Benedict Lennox begins courting Abigail. Ben is everything Sebastian isn’t-wealthy, charming, heir to an earl. Sebastian won’t give up the only girl he’s ever loved without a fight, but Abigail must choose between the penniless gentleman who moves her heart, and the suitor who is everything her parents want.


Still, her father’s reasoning was somewhat daft. “They must know it’s not terribly likely for any of us,” she murmured. Her brother shot her an unreadable glance. Abigail flipped one hand. “Aristocratic husbands—or wife. Everyone looks down on us as nouveau riche tradesmen.”

“Noblemen,” said James, staring down at the sparkling river, “have married actresses. Mistresses. Americans. Some lord somewhere has probably married a scullery maid. Believing a pretty girl with a handsome dowry could catch one isn’t too much of a stretch. They don’t put up much of a fight, when enough money is involved.”

“Could catch one,” she repeated, laying heavy emphasis on the first word. “Not necessarily will catch one. And what if I don’t like any that might deign to take me? Mama chose a humble attorney’s son, and she seems happy enough. Perhaps I’m destined to be a butcher’s wife.”

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Blurb (How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days by Laura Lee Cuhrke)
From USA Today bestselling author Laura Lee Guhrke comes the story of a bargain, a marriage of convenience…and the chance for love to last a lifetime

They had a deal…

From the moment she met the devil-may-care Duke of Margrave, Edie knew he could change her life. And when he agreed to her outrageous proposal of a marriage of convenience, she was transformed from ruined American heiress to English duchess. Five years later, she’s delighted with their arrangement, especially since her husband is living on another continent.

But deals are made to be broken…

By marrying an heiress, Stuart was able to pay his family’s enormous debts, and Edie’s terms that he leave England forever seemed a small price to pay. But when a brush with death impels him home, he decides it’s time for a real marriage with his luscious American bride, and he proposes a bold new bargain: ten days to win her willing kiss. But is ten days enough to win her heart?


As he spoke, Edie realized that it wasn’t just about missing Joanna or her need to watch over her sister that lay at the heart of her reluctance to send her away. It was also the idea of being alone here at Highclyffe that had always made it so hard. Joanna’s absence would have brought home to her the loneliness of her life. The loneliness of being an independent woman who ran charities and built gardens to keep herself busy, who knew that unless she constantly entertained guests, she would have to eat her meals in the ducal dining room alone and picnic at the Wash by herself. Everything was different now, of course. Regardless of what happened in the next five days, she would never live alone at Highclyffe. She might be living alone elsewhere, but not here. “I don’t know if I want her to go to Willowbank. I don’t…I don’t know where I’ll be living, and I want to be near her. Until things are settled with us, I don’t think I should commit her to a particular school.” He was silent for a moment, then he nodded and gave a little cough. “Yes, of course. Still, Willowbank’s in Kent, so…it’s easy to reach from…from London. Europe, too, if you…chose to live there.” He spoke slowly, his frequent pauses making it seem as if he had difficulty with getting the words out. He looked away. “If you were to go back to New York,” he said, his voice a tight whisper, “that might be different. It’s so far away.”

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Blurb (Redemption of the Duke by Gayle Callen)
USA Today bestselling author Gayle Callen concludes her new series with a tale of generosity, passion, and the true kindness of the heart.

A duke who needs to be tamed…a lady who refuses to be rescued.

Adam Chamberlin was the third son of a duke, known for gambling binges and drunken nights. No one expected anything of him …until tragedy strikes. Now Adam is the new Duke of Rothford, determined to right the wrongs he’s done. Except a secret in his past means helping the one woman who doesn’t want his help at all…

It’s not every day that a duke introduces himself to a woman sitting by herself in Hyde Park. Faith Cooper is even more surprised when Adam offers her a position as a lady’s companion to his elderly aunt. Faith refuses to be beholden to a man again-certainly not this man, who both infuriates and attracts her. But with the simmering passion between them, will Faith surrender to forbidden desire?


(From the opening of the book)

Adam Chamberlin sat alone in his London study, preoccupied once again by the astonishing realization that he was now the Duke of Rothford—he, the youngest of three sons, who’d been called a scoundrel and a rake and worse by his own brothers. For many years he’d taken great pleasure in living up to that. He and his younger sister were the offspring of his father’s second marriage to a much younger woman who’d brought little but beauty to the family, not property or connections. Adam’s brothers had never let him forget it, although always out of earshot of their father.

He’d deserved Society’s scorn once upon a time; he’d even reveled in it—anything to prove to his brothers that their threats and their condemnation didn’t matter to him.

Before joining the army, he’d never been responsible for anything or anyone. But the Eighth Dragoon Guards had shown him that a man could be judged on his honorable deeds, not his ancestors or his money. He’d been able to start over, to support himself instead of holding his breath waiting for his father to die and his brothers to make good on their threats of cutting him off.

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Author Bio’s
Caroline Linden was born a reader, not a writer. She earned a math degree from Harvard University and wrote computer software before turning to writing fiction. Ten years, twelve books, two Red Sox championships, and one dog later, she has never been happier with her decision. Her books have won the NEC Reader’s Choice Beanpot Award, the Daphne du Maurier Award, and RWA’s RITA Award. Since she never won any prizes in math, she takes this as a sign that her decision was also a smart one. Visit her online at

Laura Lee Guhrke spent seven years in advertising, had a successful catering business, and managed a construction company before she decided writing novels was more fun. A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Laura has penned over twenty historical romances. Her books have received many award nominations, and she is the recipient of romance fiction’s highest honor: the Romance Writers of America RITA Award. She lives in the Northwest with her husband (or, as she calls him, her very own romance hero), along with two diva cats and a Golden Retriever happy to be their slave. Laura loves hearing from readers, and you can contact her via her website:

After a detour through fitness instructing and computer programming, Gayle Callen found the life she’d always dreamed of as a romance writer. This USA Today bestselling author has written more than eighteen historical romances for Avon Books, and her novels have won the Holt Medallion and the Laurel Wreath Award.
Gayle lives in Central New York with her three children, her dog, Apollo, and her husband, Jim the Romance Hero.
 Visit her website at

Rafflecopter Giveaway 
(Three Gift Packs from Avon Romance including a Piece of Custom Jewelry and Copies of Release from All Three Authors)
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  1. Ooh, I do research all the time, and I think I learned a thing or two from Laura! Thank you, Melody May, for hosting us!

  2. I loved all the excerpts and really got a kick out of Laura Lee Guhrke "Ten Fun Facts about Dukes".

    Anyone who loves to read Historical romance should be sure to add all three books to their TBR list!

  3. Laura, I truly was fascinated by all your research and your article on dukes. It was fun to learn where the terms "Put up your dukes" and "Duke it out" came from. I like the study of word origination. As to how I feel about dukes in romance novels, I think I'm just used to dukes being the heroes. I don't know when it started, but I started reading Regencies and Georgian and Victorian romance stories at least 30 years ago and most all of the heroes were dukes or viscounts or maybe a baron or two. Before that, I read about brave, gutsy pirates who were usually nobodies but for their fame on the high seas. So I can't really say I like or dislike dukes as heroes in my romances, it's just that they've always "been there." I think a romance about a commoner during the same historical era, who was very brave against long odds, would be a good story too. And it could be about the power and riches a duke has that makes them so popular with readers, kinda like the fascination people have for the Brit royals and movie stars. At least, this is all my opinion anyway. Thanks for asking!