Friday, April 4, 2014

Tessa Berkley's LORD HEARTLESS

Author Interview – Tessa Berkley

I’m delighted to welcome fellow Decadent Publishing author Tessa Berkley to my blog today. She’s got a brand new historical romance out, and it features one of my favorite tropes: an arranged marriage! Take it away, Tessa!

Hi, Thanks so much for the welcome. My book, Lord Heartless, is set against the backdrop of Victorian England. My hero, Lord Landon William Arthur George Montague, wins the estate of Holly Grove from the hapless drunk, Lord Charles Gilbert , who takes his own life rather than face the humiliation of eviction. Gilbert's last gesture, is to send a letter begging for mercy and asking Lord Montague for compassion to marry his daughter so she will not be cast onto the streets. The marriage is of course a surprise to the fair Lady Juliet Gilbert.

However, the dowager Countess of Broadmoor,  Landon's mother, has one in store for him. She considers this marriage real. Landon must now win the heart of his fair Juliet, who has loved him since she first saw him at sixteen. But as we know, true love doesn't run smooth. Landon has a dark secret of his own, a child born out of wedlock.

So what's up with Lord Heartless? Bad boy with a rep?
Alas, Lord Heartless is a moniker.  Lord Montague was tagged by the Ton as a man without a heart after an incident in his youth that left his family ostracized from society. You see, Lord Montague, was once innocent. He did not understand the ways and wiles of those who wished to devoid his father from his fortune.

Nearly hoodwinked into a hapless marriage by one of his father's peers, who used his daughter as a way to rise up the ladder of English success, Landon fathered a child.  When the mother refused to care for him, Landon took him in and raised him with all due privileges. The woman was sent to the states, unfortunately, the ship was lost at sea and the Ton blamed Landon's family.

Already on the outs with the Ton, he furthered his bad boy image by philandering his way through the cast off wives of the Ton, flirting and taking favors when they were freely offered. Yes, he is readily seen as a man with no heart.  

Is he a  hunk?
Lord Montague is, shall we say, roguishly handsome.
Tall and broad shouldered, he would be considered rather tall for the time period being close to six feet in height. His dark head is a riot of curls, which like their owner, refuses to be tamed. He oddly does not like facial hair. In contrast to his dark looks, Landon has eyes that rival the blue skies. A firm, sensual mouth that is forever drawn up in his trademark grin.

Who does he favor? I believe a bit of Hugh Jackman and Tom Selleck.

Yeah, so...your hero and heroine have their ups and downs.  Do they smolder and sizzle?
Their relationship is quite rocky. She doesn't believe him and he, never having seen her  ( at least to his knowledge ) is unsure what he has gotten into. He only knows that what he is doing is right, it is just, and it will somehow redeem his character. For all his boasting, Lord Montague does wish to be back in the good graces of the Ton.  Like many Victorian marriages, their first kiss takes place at their wedding.  Here's a peek....

           One blink and through the brilliance of tears, a thin gold band adorned the third finger of her left hand. Still reeling over the implication, she watched detached as the minister withdrew his stole and laid it over their joined hands.

            “With God’s grace and no other objections, I now pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss your bride.”

            A thousand butterflies all erupted at once beneath the stays of her corset. Juliet looked up. Would he kiss her cheek or dare he kiss her lips? His grip tightened on her hands. Did he fear she might flee? Her knees trembled. He leaned closer.

            “Do not be afraid, Lady Juliet.”

            Her lips parted and her tongue dampened the flesh to make ready. She closed her eyes and waited. The warmth of his breath bathed her skin. The caress of his lips on hers, although brief, set her body aflame. Nearly forgetting to breathe, she drew back when the kiss ended and opened her eyes, afraid she might find the  moment nothing more than a dream.

            Inches away, Lord Montague’s expression mirrored her own. His astonishment appeared genuine. He blinked and gazed at her as if seeing her for the first time.

 I would  identify myself as a story teller early on. I loved reading books and rewriting them in elementary school. Later, I began to even rewrite television shows which of course, led to the invention of my characters.

I discovered romance through my mother. She was a rabid reader of Harlequin and instilled in me the glory of the use of the Library Card. We would raid the shelves then spend evenings reading the books. My mother, always warned me where the sex scenes were by leaving pieces of paper suck between the pages telling me I was too young to read this part even though I had children of my own.

It was an on line friend who suggested I begin writing for publication. She was a member of RWA and even went so far as to find my local chapter for me. I went and began learning with the likes of the late Judi McCoy and the marvelous Michelle Willingham. My usual forte are contemporary or historical cowboys. Lord Heartless is my first jab in the regency arena. 
Like most young authors, I received my share of rejections from both agents and publishers in the past thirteen years. But each rejection teaches me more and makes me reach for that brass ring. I have been very lucky to have gained publication with several epubs. I am absolutely thrilled to be with Decadent Publishing.
An arranged marriage may be the death of Lord Landon Montague, a man who earned his rude moniker, Lord Heartless, through the distaste of the Ton. When he makes plans to collect on a debt from Lord Charles Gilbert by foreclosing on Holly Grove, Gilbert commits suicide. Only then does Lord Montague learn that Lord Gilbert has left a nineteen-year-old daughter, Juliet, at his mercy.
Lady Juliet Gilbert suffered the stigma of suicide as best she could. But losing her home and the servants who raised her and stood by through her father's drinking would be the last straw. Unable to secure a position, Lord Montague's offer of marriage gives her hope. All she must do is produce an heir. But arriving at Broadmoor proves more taxing than she anticipated for her dark Lord already holds an heir conceived out of wedlock.

Will this doom any hope of finding happiness and label him forever Lord Heartless, or will London's society have its last laugh on Shakespeare when Montague wins his fair Juliet?

 LORD HEARTLESS is available at:

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Taryn Kincaid said...

Welcome, Tessa.

Nana Prah said...

The story sounds wonderful. I love arranged marriage stories.

TessaBerkley said...

Hi Taryn,
Thanks so much for having me today. I'm so sorry work has kept me out of the loop.

TessaBerkley said...

Hi Nana,

I love Lord Heartless. This story was a hoot to write. Thanks so much for commenting.

Anonymous said...

I love a good historical romance AND a good rake. Thanks for this post. Going on my TBR list.

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