Thursday, December 15, 2011

On the 9th Day of Christmas My True Lord Gave To Me..with Maya Rodale (+ Giveaway)

9 Playful Princes with Maya Rodale



Maya began reading romance novels at her mother’s insistence, and it wasn’t long before she was writing her own. Her next release is The Tattooed Duke (March, 2012), book three in the Writing Girls Series. Check out www.mayarodale.com for sneak peeks and prizes.


Find Maya Online: Website | Extras' Page | Twitter | Facebook


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Nine playful princes, one scorned duke and daring wallflower 
by Maya Rodale


London
22nd December, 1820

It was the sort of occasion for which marriage-minded mamas resorted to all manner of nefarious trickery, for which obscenely expensive and exquisite gowns were purchased, and upon which the hearts and hopes and dreams of many a maiden were fixed.

The occasion which had all of London in a froth (the female half, particularly) was the first ever gathering of the League of Princes. Nine European Princes gathered in London to pledge their friendship and unite their nations for the greater good of Europe. Or something to that affect; most of London was in an utter frenzy because there were Princes in town. Eligible, marriageable Princes. Nine of them, in fact.

A ball was held at the Palace to celebrate. Invitations were highly coveted. The Duke of Uxbridge sold his for three thousand pounds to some title-hunting American. Five hundred invitations were sent. Six hundred favorable replies were received. The ball was an absolute crush.

The women were agog over the Princes. One man was decidedly not.

“How does it feel to not be the highest ranking chap in the room?” Jack Fitzwalter asked, clapping his friend, the Duke of Ashbourne on the back.

“I have never enjoyed myself at a ball more, now that the vicious machinations of debutants and their mothers are not directed at myself,” Ashbourne answered truthfully. On every other occasion, since the day of his birth, he’d been The Most Eligible Bachelor In The Room.

Thus, it was strange to be able to relax, rather than be on guard for a wicked female to tear her bodice, muss up her hair and throw herself into his arms, as Miss Trawicke had done just Thursday last at the Westlake Soiree.

“Not one single female is remotely interested in you this evening,” Fitzwalter said, awed. “It’s as if you were manure on the bottom of one’s boot.”

“Ridiculous. I could still have any woman I chose,” Ashbourne scoffed.

“Indeed? I wager that Lady Ophelia Marchant will not waltz with you,” Fitzwalter said, inkling his head to the lady in question. Her family occupied the house next to Ashbourne’s in London. While they were familiar to each other, his determination to avoid any suitable and unmarried female—as the Most Eligible Bachelor In The Room was wont to do—meant they were not close.

She was on what, her third season now? She was a plain lass, and too quiet and steadfast to draw many suitors. She was not the sort of woman to inspire mad passions in a man.

“Twenty pounds says she will,” Ashbourne said, shaking his friends hand and strolling over to Lady Ophelia. Surely, he’d be twenty pounds richer in just a few moments.

“Good evening, Lady Ophelia.” He bowed before her. She spared him the briefest of glances.

“Go away,” she hissed. When he recovered from the surprise of being refused, Ashbourne delighted in the challenge before him.

“Would you like to waltz?” he asked, undeterred.

“No thank you,” she replied.

“You realize you have just refused a duke,” Ashbourne pointed out. It seemed overmuch to add that he was generally considered The Most Eligible Man In The Room.

“Pshaw. A duke is a trifling thing tonight. I’m saving myself for a Prince.” At the mention of her quarry, Lady Ophelia’s eyes brightened with excitement and her cheeks flushed with anticipation. Had he said she was plain? She was really pretty, in truth.

“Any particular Prince? I hope you hadn’t set your heart on the Prince Furstenberg for he’s been ‘discovered’ with Lady Samantha Weatherby. They were in the conservatory. Certain items of attire were missing.”

Ashbourne and Lady Ophelia both turned to look at the ashen-faced Prince, who appeared shell-shocked and Lady Samantha, who smiled triumphantly and toasted her champagne flute.

“Oh well, one down. Eight options left,” Lady Ophelia said.

“Seven. The Prince of Schleswig-Holstein retired early,” Ashbourne said and Lady Ophelia scowled. “He tired of being hunted, I presume.”

“That doesn’t show much stamina now, does it?” Lady Ophelia murmured to his absolute shock.

“See, some things are more important than a title,” The duke said, uttering a sentence he never imagined would cross his lips. “Like stamina.”

“Your point, Your Grace?”

“A title isn’t everything,” he said.

“Really? Funny, that, coming from a Duke,” she said, glancing away from the crowds and Princes and fixing her gaze upon him. Suddenly, he felt warm. Overheated.

“A duke whom you refused not a moment ago.” He’d never been refused. She so clearly wasn’t the slightest bit interested in his company, yet a team of horses could not have dragged him away from her. It so happened that Lady Ophelia was pretty and intriguing.

“That was before I knew there were only seven princes left,” she said, sighing.

“Six,” the duke corrected. The Prince of Piacenza‎ was entering the ballroom from the terrace, arm in arm with a very smug Lady Melinda Buckley. His cravat was askew, her hair was disheveled.

“Five, really. The Prince Volkonsky is supposedly a crashing bore. I’m not sure I could tolerate that, not for all the tiaras in Europe,” Lady Ophelia said. This elicited a grin on his part.

“Would you care to waltz now?” he asked. He didn’t need twenty pounds but he did need to win. More than anything, he now really, truly desired a waltz with Lady Ophelia.

“There are still five princes left,” she pointed out.

“Shall I dispatch them all?” he offered gallantly. Finally, she turned to look at him.

“You have never been so keen to dance with me before, duke. We are not strangers to one another.”

“You never would have refused me before,” he said frankly. Like many a man he was aroused and enthralled by the thrill of the chase, but despised being hunted himself. He did not puzzle on this double standard for he was noticing, for the first time, that Lady Ophelia possessed a marvelous, mouth watering figure. He clasped his hands behind his back, lest he surrender to the impulse to touch, to caress.

 “Shh. The Prince of Capua is coming this way!” She cried.

“I believe he is headed toward the punch bowl.”

“Well then to the punch bowl we must go.”

“We?” That was a good sign, at least. Off to his left, Fitzwalter was laughing heartily at the sight of the Duke of Ashbourne trailing after Lady Ophelia Marchant, who was in hot pursuit of a Prince of Capua.

A mob swarmed the Prince as he arrived at the punch bowl. Apparently, the entire ton was suddenly, outrageously parched. He might have wished to watch the scene about to unfold—enhanced by the gin that young Lord Derby had spiked the punch with.

But Ashbourne noticed that he stood under the mistletoe. With Lady Ophelia. To hell with the waltz. He suddenly, desperately wanted a kiss.

Lady Ophelia noticed that she stood under the mistletoe with the Duke of Ashbourne whom she had adored a la distance for quite some time now. Years of pining for him had met with no success. Tonight, she deliberately switched her tactics to rebuff him rather than throw herself at him, as per the advice of her other neighbor, the devious Lady Palmerston.

She had curbed her impulses to waltz, to banter prettily with him. She had, by some Christmas miracle, managed to maneuver them under the mistletoe under the pretence of following the Prince of whatever to the punch bowl.

“There are still 5 Princes left,” Ashbourne said. The ninny.

Lady Ophelia heaved a sigh. “I suppose a duke will do.”

And before a gaggle of princes and ballroom stuffed with the haute ton, the duke of Ashbourne kissed Lady Ophelia Marchant.

After that, their betrothal was announced. And after that, he paid twenty pounds to Fitzwalter for though he failed to obtain a waltz, he’d scored a kiss. It was worth every penny.

###
Want some more of Maya Rodale's work?
Coming in March 2012:

Breaking news, scandal fans:
You thought you knew the dangerous Duke of Wycliff, London’s globe-trotting adventure addict. Here’s what you don’t know: he’s penniless. Sebastian Digby’s duekly lifestyle is over forever unless he finds a rich bride. But thanks to The London Weekly, everyone knows better than to tangle with this lothario. Besides (as one writer can testify), it seems that Sebastian has been unable to keep his hands of his own lowly housemaid…

And that’s a problem. A big one. Because that housemaid just happens to be me. Eliza Fielding. The same undercover Writing Girl who’s been exposing the Duke’s most intimate secrets to the world. And now I’ve gone and complicated everything by falling love with him. Passion and deception have never been so delicious, but now the truth could destroy everything. This is more than a conflict of interest. It’s a seduction where love itself hangs in the balance
Pick It Up Today!:
Amazon (paperback) | Barnes&Noble (paperback)
Amazon (Kindle) | Barnes&Noble (Nook)

**Giveaway**
Maya will be giving away one copy of A TALE OF TWO LOVERS, book two in the Writing Girls series to one random commenter who answers the following question: hold out for a prince, or will a duke do for you? (US Only) Just make sure to leave a comment with your answer and fill out the raffle copter form below!

 Don't Forget to head over to Ramblings From This Chick and read Christie Kelly's special holiday scene (plus ener her giveaway)


a Rafflecopter giveaway
**Grand Prize Giveaway**
On behalf of myself, Dani and a whole host of generous and awesome authors, we will be having one BIG Grand Prize given away to 1 lucky winner. The grand prize consists of a mix of books, swag, and lots of other secret goodies. Believe me, you want to enter to win this prize. Just make sure to leave a comment every day on each post on both blogs and fill out that day's grand prize giveaway form on each blog. You can follow THIS link to today's form for this post or fill it out below after you comment.
That's it. Super easy! 


Good Luck everyone and Happy Holidays!

47 comments:

  1. That was delicious, Maya! Happy Holidays!

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  2. Funny and sweet! You don't have to enter me for the book - I already have Tale of Two Lovers. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

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  3. Maya, I thought the title was inspiring enough but the excerpt ... well, March can't get here fast enough! A prince or a duke, huh? Decisions, decisions ... well, if it's Ashbourne, I'll gladly settle for the Duke. : )
    Merry Christmas and may 2012 bring only the best!

    amyvalentini@aol.com

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  4. Fun story, Maya, I enjoyed that.

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  5. ouch.. just see that this is for US only ;(

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  6. I loved this story, Maya. I was grinning the whole way through. Great banter and fun, sexy characters!!!!

    :>)

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  7. Lovely scene, Maya! The prince countdown had me laughing--and who can resist a bit of mistletoe? Congrats on your upcoming release. :)

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  8. Hold out for whomever you love, the title shouldn't matter! It's a romance!

    Sue P.
    pennsdog@yahoo.com

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  9. A Duke would do for me if he's the one I love.

    junegirl63(at)gmail(dot)com

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  10. Wow, all y'all are some serious night owls or very, very early risers! Glad you enjoyed the story! I had such fun writing it! :)

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  11. That's a wonderful story... :) I think I'll settle for a duke if he loves me...

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  12. I don't think it matters. Duke or Prince- as long as they wee good to me and loves me. Great excerpt. I don't think I've ever seen the word Pshaw in print anywhere.

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  13. I'm holding out for my Prince, whether he be a real Prince, a Duke, or just the guy next door. Great story and would love to read more.

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  14. Should a duke show up for me, and he's the right one, I'd be thrilled. Of course we all wish to wait for our Prince Charming, but you know what? I never had that dream as a little kid; nope, Prince Charming just didn't do it for me, he seemed to sissy and full of himself. I'd take a Duke anyday! Or a Lord...Or a Highlander (any title or none at all)....Or a 'Mr.' and long as he is Mr. Right for Me! :D LOL.

    Great story--I enjoyed it. And I'm finding these 12 days of Xmas to be quiet entertaining--princes, rogues--much more interesting than pipers and turtle doves! Lol.

    Enjoy!
    TBQ

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  15. I would settle for a Duke, or an Earl. The title would not matter if I loved him.

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  16. I would settle for a Duke, no Prince for this girl...LOL!

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  17. Anna summed it up perfectly. Delicious!

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  18. If I loved the Duke, then the Duke it would be! :-)

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  19. Maya,
    What a wonderful story. Yep, a Duke would do for me!

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  20. O that was just plain fun! Too bad this contest is US only!

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  21. Thanks for sharing the excerpt, this is definitely a series I will check out. Duke or Prince, either will do as long as the man is the right one.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    Merry Christmas to all!!

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  22. I really enjoyed this scene, thanks :) Can't wait for The Tattooed Duke

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  23. I loved the scene and a Duke would definitely do, heck I'd even go for an Earl or a Baron (or even the butler) if they were the right one for me.

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  24. I haven't read any of your books but would love a chance to read one

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  25. I would take either the prince or the duke. I am not choosey. I love the cover of this book. Maya is a new author for me and would love to win and read her book. I love to read and always looking for new books and authors to check out. thanks for the chance to win.
    christinebails@yahoo.com

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  26. I'm a hold out for the prince kind of girl...I just KNOW he is coming! Love love love the sound of The Tattooed Duke! It just got added to my TBR list, after reading that excerpt how could it not?!

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  27. I love this little tale. Going to check out more of Maya Rodale right now!

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  28. I'd settle for a Duke - or even a lesser noble. :)

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  29. I want to read the Rest of the Story...

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  30. Maya, this story was Ahmazing!! I can't thank you enough for sharing it with us all and I hope there's more from where this came from, because it was oh so good. =)

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  31. That was a fun scene. I don't think I'd take the Duke or the Prince, they are both too high and mighty for me.

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  32. Duke! Less affairs of state than a Prince. Thoroughly enjoyed 'A Groom of One's Own' and cannot wait to read your next book.
    Also you video "Dangerous Books for Girls" convinced my 50yr old sister to read her first romance novel, and gave her insight into why I love the genre.

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  33. Loved the story! Put a smile on my face. :) Thanks for that!

    Pam

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  34. Oops, forgot to answer the question when I originally posted.

    In this case, I think a Duke will do. :)

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  35. Only a Duke will do! Enjoyed the read. TKS

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  36. I loved the scene of Nine playful Princes, one scorned Duke and a daring wallflower. I would be quite happy with a Duke, as long as we both loved each other. I also wouldn't mind being called "Your Grace" either!!!

    Thanks for this opportunity to win "A Tale of Two Lovers".

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  37. I'd settle for a Duke. A tattooed Duke. lol. Thanks for the wonderful story.

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  38. Prince, Duke, janitor...if he doesn't make you complete, it doesn't matter what his title is or isn't.

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  39. You are a new author for me but I enjoyed what I just read and would like to read more!

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