I’d love to bring to you today USA Today Bestselling Author of Regency Historical Romance; Julie Johnstone. Spotlighting her latest release My Enchanting Hoyden (A Once Upon A Rogue Novel Book 3). Don’t miss this amazing tale of love and passion.
My Enchanting Hoyden (A Once Upon A Rogue Novel Book 3)
By Julie Johnstone
Genre: Historical Romance
Released: August 3, 2015
A bargain born of desperation ignites into passion as one lord’s quest to save his family leads to the discovery that he can never settle for less than love.
Forsaken, abandoned, and duped, Miss Jemma Adair has no other recourse but to request her grandfather’s help to avoid living on the streets. His asking price? She must marry a neighboring lord’s odious son. Thankfully, there is a way out of her dilemma—ensuring the rake never asks for her hand. But what is Jemma to do when her ally is an all-too handsome silver-tongued lord with a penchant for poetry that makes her question giving her heart to another man?
Philip De Vere, Lord Harthorne, wishes to marry for love, but inherited debt and family obligations force him to seek a wealthy wife. Yet experience has taught him that ladies of the ton prefer rogues to gentlemen with a poet’s soul. But when an unrepentant hoyden claims to know a thing or two about how to make a man a rake, Philip finds he cannot resist Jemma’s offer or her.
Excerpt Number One:
Jemma licked her lips and batted her eyes. “Smile wolfishly,” she whispered. “And then reach for my face as if you want to touch it and can barely hold yourself back.”
Philip complied, immediately coming a hairbreadth from touching the delicate slope of her cheekbone. His entire body so ached with the need to touch her that his fingers trembled and he had to clench his hand into a fist in order to stop himself. He hissed as he snatched his hand back and pressed it to his side.
Her eyes widened as she looked at him. “That was utterly believable,” she said in low, hushed tones. “You are a very quick learner.”
Everything about her beckoned him in. “It’s easy to play the rake with a teacher as beautiful as you.” Hellfire. He was out of control. He had to compose himself and remember who he was, who she was, and what could never be.
“Still practicing?” she asked in a throaty voice.
No. He nodded. He refused to speak any more lies.
Excerpt Number Two:
Philip was acutely aware of Jemma in a thousand ways at once. Her heart beat quickly against his chest through her fine silk gown. She had a strong grip but slender fingers. She smelled of lavender with an undertone of lilac. She fit perfectly under his chin and against him. She radiated a warmth akin to the sun’s.
Her sobbing broke his heart in a way he could write a thousand lovelorn poems about and still never capture just how much he wanted to erase her pain. If circumstances were different, he suspected he could fall for her so deeply that finding his way to the surface of sanity would be impossible, yet he’d be blissful where he dwelled with her. But circumstances weren’t different, and he could not fall. He released her, and as he did, she swiped at her damp cheeks.
His chest tightened mercilessly, and he ached to wrap his arms around her. He exhaled a long breath and took another deep one in the hope that his voice would not give away exactly how much he wanted to touch her.
Release Day Excerpts:
Philip barreled out of the study, down the corridor into the main hall, and brushed past the footman who was reaching to open the door for him. Philip, needing an escape from his own thoughts, flung open the door and stormed outside. He would have kept going straight to his awaiting carriage if he hadn’t crashed right into something very soft. That something let out a hearty umpf that told him right away the something was a someone. And when he looked up, he realized that someone was Jemma, teetering on the edge of the steps, her eyes wide and her arms waving frantically in the air as she tried to right herself.
For a moment, he stood stock-still, fascinated with the emotions careening across her lovely face. Determination. Fear. Frustration. Back to determination. An inspiration of words hit him: An Ode to a Tempestuous Woman.
She swayed backward, and he reached out and snagged his hand about her waist to save her. He meant only to bring her forward, but he overestimated how hard to tug and she ended up barreling into his chest, her hands grasping—no doubt in self-preservation—both his arms. The beat of her heart hammered against his chest, and the poetic words that had failed to come to him for more months than he could remember flowed through his mind as he stared down into her dazzling eyes. How had he failed to notice that gold flecked her blue-green eyes? He’d never seen the likes of her color.
“I could write a hundred poems about your eyes,” he blurted, lost in them.
Immediately, she tugged away, then moved down to the step below him and tilted her head up to look at him. She raised her hand to shield her eyes from the setting sun, or maybe to hide her eyes from him so he wouldn’t wax eloquent about them anymore. He felt like a fool. He could make a joke of it to save his pride, but he refused to do so.
The moment she realized he wasn’t jesting was clear by the flair of her nostrils and the subtle way she tried and failed to inhale a deep breath. “How boring that would be,” she finally said. She lifted her chin. “Would it go something like, She had round eyes, very oddly colored both green and blue?”
Ah. She didn’t truly see herself. Given that he barely knew her, he couldn’t decide if the revelation was surprising or shed light on her prickliness. If she saw herself as odd, maybe her sharp wit was a defense against her insecurity. The thought tightened his chest. His sister had seen herself in that same light for most of her life, and it had been hard to watch the toll it had taken.
Devil take it. He should simply leave, but he couldn’t do it. He wanted her to see herself through his eyes, so she would have a bit of confidence when having to brave the cruel ton in her debut. “I think the poem would go more like this: She had eyes of emeralds and sapphire ice, entrancing and fearsome at once. Beguiling, beseeching, bewitching in thrice…”
His heart pounded as he looked at her. He didn’t know where that had come from, but he was damned proud of it. That was his one last act as a non-rake.
She turned her face away for a moment, and when she glanced back at him, she shook her head, almost as if at herself. “You have a beautiful gift for lying.”
He frowned. “Was that your version of a compliment?”
She cocked her head and drew her eyebrows upward. “Take it as whatever you desire.”
He wanted her to realize she was lovely because soon she would realize how little it might matter without a dowry, but it appeared he had bungled it. He could feel the heat in his cheeks. Rakes didn’t blush, damn it all.
“I do not lie, Miss Adair.”
“You’d be the first man, then, Lord Harthorne.”
“Jemma!” a voice said in clear dismay from a few steps beneath her. Philip blinked in surprise at Jemma’s sister, Miss, Miss― Ah, hell. Her Christian name had completely escaped him. He could recall she was the younger sister, though, so propriety demanded he use her Christian name. Jemma had struck him dull-witted. Fine start to being a rogue, this was.
He sketched a hasty bow. “I didn’t see you standing there Miss…?” He certainly couldn’t pretend he remembered her name when he’d just told Miss Adair he didn’t lie.
“Miss Anne,” she said, offering one of her pleasant smiles.
She was a pretty thing, her pale looks currently all the fashion, but strangely not compelling to him as her flame-haired, freckle-flecked sister was. Everything about Jemma begged inspection, dissection, and quill to paper to figure out the conundrum she presented. Whereas Miss Anne appeared to be an open book. There was nothing wrong with that, but he had always liked the puzzles of life.
He cast a sideways glance at Jemma and found her studying him as if he were some foreign specimen she wasn’t sure whether to crush under her slipper or capture in a jar. “It’s a pleasure to see you again,” he said to Miss Anne.
“You’ll be seeing more of me,” the young lady gushed. “And my sister. We’re making our debut this Season.”
His gaze immediately went to Jemma’s face. He couldn’t help it. She displayed her displeasure vividly. A dark scowl marred her lovely features, and her lips pressed into a thin, white line. Clearly, she was not nearly as pleased to be making her debut and partaking in the Season as her sister was. He could relate. The prospect of countless balls filled with nonsensical chatter, false smiles, and his having to actively search for an heiress did not entice him in the least, but it was necessary.
“I wish you both happy hunting,” he said, unsure what else to say. “I’m certain we will run into one another again very soon.”
Jemma snorted, and her sister elbowed her in the side. Jemma cut her eyes to her sister before focusing on him once again. Something mischievous stirred in the depths of her eyes that matched the wicked smile suddenly lighting her face. “Is that what you are doing, Lord Harthorne? Hunting?”
“Are you?” he parried to sidestep the need to lie.
“No. I’m running.”
“Jemma,” her sister groaned.
She shrugged. “I doubt Lord Harthorne is bothered by me speaking my mind. Are you, Lord Harthorne?”
He had to smile. He rather liked her bold nature. “As long as your words don’t sting me, I am not bothered a bit. In fact, I find I’m quite intrigued.”
Her eyebrows knitted together. “My aim is not to intrigue.”
“Don’t you want a husband, Miss Adair?”
“About as much as I want the plague,” she replied cheekily.
He threw his head back and laughed, even as her sister grabbed her hand and started tugging on her. “I’m terribly sorry, Lord Harthorne. My sister is not herself tonight.”
“I’m myself,” Jemma called over her shoulder as her sister dragged her up the few steps to the front door.
As the door opened, Philip remembered the money in his coat. He’d forgotten to give it to his sister. “Miss Adair!”
Jemma swung around to face him and quirked her brows up. “Miss me already?”
By God, she was an outspoken lady. He itched to get home and create a poem worthy of her.
Julie Johnstone is a USA Today best-selling author of Regency Romance and the author of a new urban fantasy/paranormal romance book. She’s been a voracious reader of books since she was a young girl. Her mother would tell you that as a child Julie had a rich fantasy life made up of many different make believe friends. As an adult, Julie is one of the lucky few who can say she is living the dream by working with her passion of creating worlds from her imagination. When Julie is not writing she is chasing her two precocious children around, cooking, reading or exercising. Julie loves to hear from her readers. You can send her an email at email@example.com or find her at http://www.juliejohnstoneauthor.com, or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/authorjuliejohnstone or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/juliejohnstoneauthor or at twitter @juliejohnstone.
- Describe a typical writing day. Are you a morning, afternoon, or night-owl writer?
Do you know the saying ‘Kids change everything!’? That is so true! Before my kids came along I was a total night owl and I would stay up until two or three in the morning writing on my books, but now I am a morning and afternoon writer. I take the kids to school, and then I go straight to the gym. After my workout, I come home, write for three or four hours and then run errands and pick up the kids.
- Can you tell us about your current work-in-progress?
I’m currently working on the fifth Whisper of Scandal Novel. This one is titled The Dangerous Duke of Dinnisfree.
- What inspires you when you’re writing?
I’m really inspired by music. When I get stuck on a character I’ll often stop and listen to music that goes with how I want the character to be feeling. If I want angst, I’ll pull out Nina Simone. If I’m writing a fight scene I may pull out The Foo Fighters.
- What’s your favorite item on your writing desk?
My computer! Ha-ha! Just joking. Currently, my favorite item on my desk is the book I spent a fortune on so I could research for my second Lords Of Deception book. I’ve been wanting this research book for a very long time.
- What’s your favorite genre and why?
I love Historical romance, obviously, but I also love Medieval novels. I am a sucker for a knight or a lord, but I like bold heroines and action in my romances.
- Any advice you have for a blossoming author?
Develop incredibly thick skin and do not give up on your dream. Don’t let the naysayers snatch your dreams from you. Write, write and write some more even when you feel at your worst.
- When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
I love to go to the gym, read, cook, listen to music and travel. Of course, I have two young boys so I have to fit all this in with their very busy sports schedules.
- Anything else you’d like to share with your readers?
I really truly write because I love it and because my fondest hope it to bring happiness to others. I hope that my books do this.
Review by Janet Greaves
My Enchanting Hoyden (A Once Upon A Rogue Novel Book 3) by Julie Johnstone is truly a masterpiece and a book that you will read cover to cover! I could hardly put the book down, it’s that good!
We start off with Heroine Jemma Adair working or should be working in her mother’s bakery but alas her mind is elsewhere. She’s focused on the whereabouts of her love, Will, whom she’d three days prior, given her innocence. She’s desperately awaiting the shop’s bell to ring and announce his arrival and his undying love for her and to take her as his wife. The bell does ring, however, she’s greeted by her mother and sister, Anne. Her mother had always warned Jemma about men and their mistreatment of women and that they can’t be trusted, having such a bad experience with the girls’ father and her heart being torn in two, she didn’t want to see the same fate occur to her girls. However, Jemma had hope that, Will would be different. It was only moments later, that Jemma learns the truth about Will, he’s headed to a life of being a highly successful lawyer and has a true lady society and wealth hanging on his arm… he breaks off with Jemma, taking not only her innocence but her trust and faith in men as well.
Debt collectors soon show up at the door of the bakery with warning to Jemma’s mother that she has mere days to pay the debts, lest she lose the bakery forever. Having heard all of this, she collapses and sadly leaves the girls behind to handle the debt and the bakery without her. In desperation and alone, Jemma reaches out to her grandfather the Duke. He comes through for her and Anne and agrees to take them to England, but on one condition; the girls must become proper ladies in six months’ time. Jemma wants nothing to do with marriage and men, that is until she meets Lord Hawthorne, Philip De Vere. Stuck in his own financial debts and taking care of his mother, Philip needs to marry for money, but his heart is that of a poets and romance speaks to his soul and he wants to marry for love… true love. Uncertain that he will ever find it and get out of his debts, that is until he meets Miss Jemma Adair. Can Jemma learn to love and see that not all men are heartless and cold? Will Philip be able to find a wife that he can love and share beautiful romantic and passionate evenings with? Will true love ever come to them?
Julie Johnstone’s writing is phenomenal in this tale of passion and love. She brings us characters that have such deep and vast personalities, the heroine Jemma is strong and courageous, with a witty and a sassy sense of humor, the hero, Philip De Vere is deeply romantic and passionate and is a true man of his word. Johnstone provides us with such deep and detailed historical accuracy and her scenery is out of this world, such intricate detail that she just draws the reader in and brings them back to Regency England.
If you’re looking for a deeply passionate and well written historical romance to escape into another time and place, then this is the book for you!
I’d love to extend my warmest thanks to Julie Johnstone for graciously agreeing to this spotlight. It’s been such a joy having you on the blog today, Julie. Thank you so very much. Friends, absolutely love My Enchanting Hoyden and I highly recommend this wonderful book to all of you!
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