My Divinely Decadent Duke–an Interview of His Grace, Gordon Sedgewick of Althorn

My Divinely Decadent Duke is the second book of The Duke Series by Sandra Masters. Today, we have an interview of His Grace, Gordon Sedgewich of Althorn. To set the stage, here is a description of the book:

Orphaned and abandoned by family, Lady Cassandra Montgomery yearns for love. Beautiful and innocent, she attracts the attention of a renowned rake, the Duke of Althorn. When her security is threatened, she offers him a proposal for an arranged marriage in exchange for his guarantee of safety for her and her ward. After her first taste of desire in his arms, she finds the sexual attraction irresistible. Finding herself in a family way, she leaves his home, unsure of his love.

The Duke is at first enraged by the brazen behavior, yet he sees Cassandra as a captivating caregiver for his mother and impossible to resist. He agrees. The arrangement becomes inconvenient because love and sex enter the equation.

Will she believe her husband truly loves her and return to his waiting arms?

Will the Duke admit his love and use his rakish skills to woo Cassandra back to his bed?

INTERVIEW

Q. Your Grace, when you first met the former Lady Cassandra, what did you think of her?

A.  To start with, I sat in a wing back chair sipping a liqueur in front of a warm fire in the drawing room of a manor house where I attended a ball. I was startled by a conversation between a man and a woman who had entered the room totally unaware of my presence, The bounder had just summarily broken their engagement in favor of someone who had a higher status than she. I looked for a moment when I could interrupt and leave their presence, but that didn’t happen. A book flew across the room, as well as a paperweight of sorts. He left rather quickly. I stood up, announced myself, and offered my handkerchief and my glass of spirits. Do you know what she said? Something like, “Is this my night to meet nothing but scoundrels?”  But she did take the cognac and my handkerchief. That is how I met my future wife.

Q.  What happened then?
A.  Kindly remember I was an acknowledged rake and proud of it. The last thing I needed was a woman who needed comforting, like a wounded puppy. I’ve a fondness for such creatures. Imagine my surprise, when she took the arm I offered and we walked out of the room, only to meet her now ex-fiancé’. She excused herself for a moment and walloped him with her fist. Bravo, I thought. Great spirit. He wasn’t going to get the best of her. She and I then left him to nurse his cheek, and we joined the others at the ball.

Q. When did you meet again?
A.  Two weeks after that evening, I was on my daily walk on Brighton Beach and I saw an enchanting woman peering through a telescope and when she looked toward me, we recognized each other immediately. The lilt of her warm greeting pleased me. One thing led to the other, need I say more?

Q. Tell us something we may not know about you?
A. I was the second son of my father, therefore, not the heir. That suited me fine. I loved my brother. We were schooled together and then we were tutored at home. We learned the dead languages of Greek and Latin, and not too much else. The fate of second sons was a choice of the divinity or military. I cared for neither but did convince my father to allow me to travel to Barbados and learn about the sugar plantation and factories we had there. The good thing is that it showed me a different part of the world and commerce. The bad thing was that I contracted malaria and after four months on the island, I had to be transported home because foreigners were susceptible to the disease that could kill. Kalinya, a native woman I cared about, arranged for a witch doctor to ink me with a tattoo of a lion so my ancestors could protect me.
Tomas, my good friend from school days, went with me and therefore had the opportunity to transport me back home to England where I barely survived the ocean journey.  Without realizing it, my island life was left behind. Then everything changed.

Q. What happened?
A. My mother greeted the ship with footmen, a physician, solicitor, vicar, and a tutor whom I recognized. That somber sight could have sobered a drunk. I wondered why she was outfitted in black. Tomas assisted me to the carriage. When she saw me, she broke into tears. My father was dead, and three weeks later, my brother died in a carriage accident. That left me as the sole heir to the Duke of Althorn. There I was, totally unprepared for my dynastic responsibilities. My carefree life was over. I could never see Kalinya again. I did apply myself after my health returned, but it was a lonely existence. So I sought out former school chums, and I freely admit, we got into mischief in many ways. My mother tried to talk sense into me, but it was to no avail.

Q. You are a well renowned duke, honored by all. What caused you to change your ways?
A. To say I loved my family would be an understatement. All I had left was my mother, whom I adored. When she fell and sustained an injury, I determined it was time to remember who I was and to emulate my father in all things. Above all, he was an honorable man. Honor became my personal signature. Now, I do not expect anyone to believe I became a saint. Not true by any means, but I was discreet. I did believe that personal integrity, respect, dignity and pride would distinguish my dukedom from others. My mother’s illness was the catalyst to my epiphany. I became aware Cassandra and her ward, Alicia, were also friends of hers, who visited my mother annually. I should say technically that Alicia was her brother’s ward, but the little girl belonged to Cass in every sense of the word. I never really cared to notice, until one day I was at home, when I overheard a conversation between Cassandra and the professional caregiver as to the unkind treatment she rendered my mother. As I listened, I realized this was not the compassionate aid my mother required, so I summarily terminated the nurse. I had to start the search again for I had terminated at least four others.

Q. You speak of your reputation, were all the allegations true?
A. I did acquire notoriety with the ladies, a small part was deserved. The other was conjecture, fodder for the scandal sheets, and wishful thinking. If I had all the liaisons attributed to me, my manly parts would have fallen off from overuse. Beg your pardon, Lady Masters, for my risqué banter. I am a model husband now, ever in love with my wife.

Q. How did the romance progress?
A. Rather quickly. It was clear I had an interest in her, but she came with a ‘package’, her ward, Alicia, a tow-headed blonde who resembled Cassandra. The unkind talk of the town was that the little girl was the issue of a liaison gone wrong. Cassandra was the sister of the earl, so she was semi-accepted in society. While there was no proof of such indiscretion, tongues wagged. The simple truth was that Alicia was the daughter of her best friend who died in childbirth. Cass, that’s what I sometimes call her, agreed to honor (there’s that word again) her promise to raise the child as her own. That’s courage I admired considering her circumstances..

Q. What caused you to propose?
A.  I didn’t. She offered me a business arrangement. She’d care for my mother if I would offer protection for her and little Alicia. In other words, it was a marriage of convenience. No mention of love or sex. I refused the proposition twice out of pride. Then I recalled how difficult it was for her to make such an offer to someone like me. My arrogance repelled me. One day I officially offered and we did marry. We now have two sons, two dogs, Runt and Giant, and there were a few puppies, also. And yes, then there was the traitorous mother dog who went everywhere with Cass, my dowager mother, and the children who frolicked on the beach. I was captivated from the start.  If you wish to know anymore, I suggest we reschedule.

Q. I say there, Lady Masters, I’m getting thirsty. Are you going to offer me a libation?
A. You have such a wicked smile. It makes me sigh. So sorry, your grace, kindly allow me to pour your favorite, since I know what it is.

Q. Your grace, I assume if readers want to know anything further, they should read the book My Divinely Decadent Duke?
A. Absolutely, I’m sure you can use the proceeds to fund future stories.

End of Interview

About Sandra Masters

From a humble beginning in Newark, New Jersey, a short stay at a convent in Morristown, NJ at the age of fourteen, retiring from a fantastic career for a play broadcasting company in Carlsbad, California, to the rural foothills of the Sierras of Yosemite National Park, Sandra traded in the Board Rooms for the Ballrooms of the Regency period and never looked back.

Sandra wrote her first book at the age of fifteen and since then she has always traveled with pen and paper in hand. She loves to write. Romance is at best a gift and her passion is the Regency period. Admittedly, she would prefer to be the sister of a duke or an earl…perhaps even a princess? Or the other endless possibilities of a widow. Hmmm.

Not being able to time travel, she now writes about what she loves and it has been worth every headache and heartache. She has been blessed with a great content editor, Cindy Davis, a lot of helpful The Wild Rose Press staff.

For a new author, it was nothing she expected, but everything she dreamed. However, her first love will always be for Regency Romance. There are five books in process in her DUKE series. ONCE UPON A DUKE is available from Amazon and the Wild Rose Press. Her new second release, MY DIVINELY DECADENT DUKE will have its worldwide release on January 29, 2016.

Her third book, THORN, SON OF A DUKE, is the prequel to her fourth book, THE DUKE’S MAGNIFICENT BASTARD, which is a multi-cultural romance story of a young couple defeating all odds.

P.S. Sandra love bears of all sizes and shapes. However, she prefers to view the real life ones from afar.

kris BANNER USE THIS

Pets in Space — A New SFR Anthology

Pets In Space 600x900

Pets in Space

Out October 11th, 2016

Even an alien needs a pet…

Join the adventure as nine pet loving sci-fi romance authors take you out of this world and pull you into their action-packed stories filled with suspense, laughter, and romance. The alien pets have an agenda that will capture the hearts of those they touch. Follow along as they work side by side to help stop a genetically-engineered creature from destroying the Earth to finding a lost dragon; life is never the same after their pets decide to get involved. Can the animals win the day or will the stars shine just a little less brightly?

New York Times, USA TODAY, Award Winning, and Bestselling authors have nine original, never-released stories that will capture your imagination and help a worthy charity. Come join us as we take you on nine amazing adventures that will change the way you look at your pet!

10% of profits from the first month go to Hero-Dogs.org. Hero Dogs raises and trains service dogs and places them free of charge with US Veterans to improve quality of life and restore independence.

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A MATE FOR MATRIX: CYBORG PROTECTION UNIT

By S.E. Smith (New York Times/USA TODAY Best Selling Author)
Matrix Roma is a member of the elite Zion military Cyborg Protection Unit. Matrix gets more than he bargains for when his cyborg partner, a hybrid Wolfhound named K-Nine, goes missing and ends up finding a mate for Matrix in the middle of a deadly mission on an unknown planet called Earth.

STRAY

By Susan Grant (New York Times Best Selling, USA TODAY, and RITA Award Winning Author)
Interplanetary Marine Lt. Lukas Frank has a lot in common with a street dog named Bang-Bang; they both started off as scrappy orphans fighting to survive—and beat the odds. Things change when Bang-Bang leads Lukas to starpilot Capt. Carlynn Riga. The tough war hero learns what it means to surrender — his heart. Lukas’s struggles with PTSD threaten to tear the three of them apart, but nothing threatens them more than when Carlynn goes missing on a mission. Can a scarred marine and his unlikely canine partner find Carlynn and bring her home, or will he lose everything he’s finally found worth fighting for?

SPARK OF ATTRACTION

By Cara Bristol (USA TODAY Best Selling Author)
Memory: intact. Cognitive function: enhanced. Emotion: erased. After becoming a cyborg, Captain Dante Stone didn’t think he’d ever feel again, until a traumatized young woman and a ball of synthetic fur named Sparky helped him to love.

STAR CRUISE: STOWAWAY

By Veronica Scott
Cargo Master Owen Embersson is shocked when the Nebula Zephyr’s ship’s cat and her alien sidekick, Midorri, alert him to the presence of a stowaway. He has no idea of the dangerous complications to come – nor does he anticipate falling hard for the woman whose life he now holds in his hands. Life aboard the Nebula Zephyr has just become more interesting – and deadly.

THE REAL DRAGON

By Pauline Baird Jones
Emma Standish didn’t think her day could get any worse. Her dad is marrying his boss, her dragon suddenly came back talking and typing, and it’s her fault the Earth, or at least ten square miles of Texas, is going to be destroyed. That’s what happens when you forget something very, very important. Luckily for her, she’s got the love of her life that she can’t remember and her dragon by her side. Who needs to worry when you’re having a day like this?

STARDOG

By Laurie A. Green
Navigator Taro Shall has a mission no one wants – find a way to eradicate snakes on a starship. He never expects to find the answer to his problem in a charming street vendor named Adini. His already unusual mission becomes more complicated when he suddenly acquires an adorable StarDog that soon sweeps him and Adini into the maw of a brewing insurrection.

SPIKE

By Alexis Glynn Latner
Young Roboticist Ten Jaxdown has to deploy, and possibly sacrifice, the swarm of investigative robots that he has invented and cares about more than anything else in the star system. It may be the only hope for those depending on him and his robots to save them. Yet, even as frantic preparations for the unprecedented deep-space rescue mission are set in motion, it could all be threatened by sabotage.

Anastasia Steed is an intrepid young mission designer. She steps forward with an idea that can improve the odds of the mission. Neither she nor Ten expect the assistance they receive from a very unusual pet. A pet that will bring together two alienated human beings who didn’t realize they needed each other. Can Ten and Anastasia discover who is behind the sabotage, save the mission, and discover what is evolving between them? With a little bit of unusual help, anything is possible.

SPACE RANGER

By Lea Kirk
Graig Roble is a Senior Commander with the Guardian Fleet security. His specialty as a weapons specialist and combat master is his world, what he was born to do – or so he thought until he finds his resolve and focus inexplicably wavering. His new position aboard the Atlantis can’t even save him; if anything, it has left him questioning his own motives. He never thought that could happen until he met Simone Campbell.

Simone’s focus is on her home world – Earth. She thought her life was full with her research as a botanist. After all, she always believed that helping the people of her world become self-sufficient should take all of her concentration – except it doesn’t. There is one man that keeps pulling her attention, and her heart, away from her job.

Graig’s gift of a puppy to keep her company does more than that, it keeps him in her dreams. How can such a simple gift bring her comfort and make her long for more? Graig and Simone are about to find out that sometimes love can blossom from the smallest, furriest ties.

ESCAPE RUN

By Carysa Locke
Teegan’s job as a hunter is to track down the Talented, those driven insane by their gifts. She and Ember, her psychically gifted fox, have tracked dozens of people for Cole, the man who works to rehabilitate and recover these troubled souls. When one of Cole’s most dangerous patients escapes, Teegan and Ember are on a hunt that could prove fatal if she doesn’t keep her focus on her mission. Unfortunately, Cole is proving one distraction that might make this her last hunt if she can’t do that.

Can Teegan keep her heart and mind in the game long enough to save an entire planet’s population, or will her distraction lead to heartache – and possibly death for everyone?

Guest Post — TATTOOS – All You Never Needed to Know

by Sandra Masters

Sandra MastersNot sure why exactly, I became fascinated with tattoos and did an immense amount of research. I even thought of getting a tattoo myself, but felt at my age, I didn’t want the pain, so I opted for washable tattoos.  What fun! I appeared at a writers group with an Egyptian type tattoo just below my neck. It was a great conversation piece. Move over, Nefertiti.

My second book MY DIVINELY DECADENT DUKE, was released January 29th featuring the cover below. My duke originally did not have a tattoo, but as the hero in the book called to me, this author decided he would have a tattoo inked on him by a Barbados witch doctor to protect him from evil. He has a Lion Clan tattoo. Thanks to RJ at The Wild Rose Press and my graphic artist, Debbie Taylor, my cover is picture perfect.

Book CoverThe history of tattoos goes back centuries and is referred to in the bible. It was common around the world, especially in China, Japan, Asia and Polynesia. It spread throughout Europe like wildfire. It already held a place in Central America and Australia. In fact, some anthropologists claim that the history of tattoos may date back as long as 15,000 years. Certainly, we know that many of the ancient civilizations used tattooing techniques.

Throughout history, tattoos have been used as:

Signs of status and place in society
Magical amulets against evil (My novel’s reason)
Punishment
Reminders of a religious belief
Adornments for the sake of beauty
Gang members to establish identity

lionBetween 1766 and 1770, Captain James Cook made three voyages to the South Pacific. When Cook and his men returned home to Europe from their voyages, they told tales of the ‘tattooed savages’ they had seen. The word tattoo itself comes from the Tahitian tatau and was introduced into the English language by Cook’s expedition (though the word ‘tattoo’ or ‘tap-too’ , referring to a drumbeat, had existed in England since at least 1644.

It was in 1769 that Cook first noted his observations about the body modification and is the first recorded use of the word tattoo to refer to permanent marking of the skin. He recorded it in his Ship’s log book. This method is a painful operation and is performed but once in their lifetimes.

anchorCook’s Science Officer and Expedition Botanist, Sir Joseph Banks, returned to England with a tattoo. Banks was highly regarded as a member of the English aristocracy. Cook brought back a Tahitian Chief whom he presented to King George and the English Court. The talk of many in society was the tales of the “tattooed savages.” Many of Cook’s men, ordinary seamen and sailors, came back with tattoos, a tradition that would soon become associated with seamen and men of the sea in the public’s mind. In the process, sailors and seamen re-introduced the practice of tattooing in Europe and it spread rapidly to seaports around the globe.

In fact, many tattoo artists held permanent residences in the ports of England, Spain, France and Italy. It is claimed there was a tattoo artist in every major port city.

Some Popular Symbols:

  • swallowAnchor: Refers to a someone who has sailed across the Atlantic
  • Dragon: Refers to a sailor that has served in Asia
  • Fully rigged ship: Represents traversal of Cape Horn
  • Golden Dragon: Means a sailor has crossed the International Date Line
  • Harpoon: Refers to a member of the fishing fleet
  • Rope around the wrist “Hold Fast” across the knuckles” Represents a sailor who was a deckhand
  • Swallow: Obtained when first setting out to sea. It was considered good luck.

By the 19th century, tattooing had spread to British society but was still largely associated with sailors and the lower or even criminal class.

dragonIt is said that aristocratic and royal families of Europe may well have been the first celebrities to indulge in the taste for tattoos. The royal court was fascinated and the Tahitian Chief’s tattoos were admired. The Chief was presented to King George V and he himself got inked with the “Cross of Jerusalem” when he traveled to the Middle East in 1862. The Dukes of Clarence and the Duke of York were similarly tattooed in Japan while serving in the British Admiralty solidifying what would become a family tradition.

In later years, Lady Randolph, Winston Churchill’s mother, sported a snake tattoo around her wrist, and for formal occasions, had a specially made diamond bracelet to cover it when she was in society. Winston Churchill also had a tattoo!!

Hope you enjoyed knowing more than you’ll have to about tattoos worldwide.

SANDRA MASTERS

Soul Song

Seeing Beyond the Ordinary

Intense emotion cutting through

like a knife in my heart,

missing the synergy of

an ageless art,

knowing the loss

yet moving apart,

lifetimes gone.

Beyond death we connect

a lifeline unseen,

yet tethered by spirit,

keeps us together,

as long as we hear it.

Deeply felt,

the notes make us whole,

singing the music,

the song in our soul.

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Once Upon a Duke–an Interview of Duchess Serena Austen

Background

Serena, an artist and widow, has no desire for another husband. When she meets Geoffrey Austen, attraction sizzles to a scorch. Stolen days and nights ignite forbidden passion. Geoffrey asks Serena to become his mistress, but she wants commitment, love and marriage, not an affair with a notorious rake.

Geoffrey realizes Serena might be the one woman who can care for his tortured soul, and maybe release his demons. The magic they shared is shattered when he learns she’s been forced into betrothal with another and held captive. He vows to save her even at the cost of his own life.

Will Geoffrey’s gallantry prove he truly loves Serena?

If he survives, will Serena surrender all to him?

Interview

Q. Your Grace, when you first met the Duke of Austen, what did you think of him?

A. Not overly much. He was so sure of himself and his ability to sweep a woman off her feet with his glib tongue and his practiced seductive words. I was shocked at the liberties he took without getting my consent, but he was memorable. For the first time, I found I wanted to know more about a rogue such as he.

Q. When did your opinion change of him?

A. Certainly not when he attempted to seduce me when Henry, my brother, conveniently left us alone. When he posed for me to complete his portrait in his handsome writing outfit, he utilized his double entendre words to suggest risqué visions.

Q. Them what caused you to change your opinion of him?

A. When he gifted me with Adonis, the puppy hound. It was a dirty underhanded ploy. I could resist the man, but I couldn’t resist a man with an impish puppy in his arms. And when the pup piddled on the floor, and he, the duke, cleaned it up, my heart was his. It was then I determined that no man who could humble himself in such a manner would maltreat a woman.

Q. I hesitate to ask, but for the readers’ sakes, I will. Your first husband had a sadistic streak and he beat you at will. Why did you not take action to stop him?

A. I was young and inexperienced in the ways of men. Trystan, my brother’s choice of a husband for me, found me easy prey for his demented behavior. He frightened me, and threatened harm if I breathed a word to anyone. I remember his words when he said, “I’ll make you regret the day you were born.”

Q. What would you like us to know about Geoffrey the man you did fall in love with?

A. Geoffrey had his own demons with which to deal. In many ways, we redeemed each other. That night on the lake when he discovered my scarred back, all he wanted to do was sooth and comfort me. When he helped me back to my studio apartment, he actually put salve on my back. It was then I knew that he was the only man for me. We just had to decide on what terms. I wanted marriage. He didn’t. Then fickle fate took a hand and indeed the only choice was for him to rescue me from my captors, or for me to attend his funeral. He sent word to me he’d set me free one way or the other. The rest is for the readers to learn.

A Note from the Author

If you go to my website and sign up for my newsletter, you’ll be entered into a drawing for a digital book of Book Two of the Duke Series, MY DIVINELY DECADENT DUKE. Look it up on Amazon, on sale now for $2.99. Book Three, THORN, SON OF A DUKE, is a teaser prequel of 15,000 words to Book Four, THE DUKE’S MAGNIFICENT BASTARD. This book may be released in Fall 2016.

Happy reading!

About the Author

Fall in love with Romance all over again
with author Sandra Masters

From a humble beginning in Newark, New Jersey, a short stay at a convent in Morristown, N.J. at the age of fourteen, Sandra Masters retired from a fantastic career for a play broadcasting company in Carlsbad, California, and settled in the rural foothills of the Sierras of Yosemite National Park with her husband, Ron, and two dogs, Silky and Sophie. She traded in the Board Rooms for the Ballrooms of the Regency Era and never looked back.

She wrote her first book at the age of thirteen and since then she’s always traveled with pen and notebook for her writing experiences. It’s been the journey of ten thousand miles with a few steps left to go. She deemed it a pleasure to leave the corporate world behind decades later.

Nothing she expected, but everything she dreamed. Her business card lists her occupation as Living The Dream.

SANDRA MASTERS Web Site  Facebook

Author at The Wild Rose Press

  • ONCE UPON A DUKE – Debut Release – The Duke Series
  • MY DIVINELY DECADENT DUKE – Book Two now available
  • THORN, SON OF A DUKE, Book Three – 15,000 word. Mini Teaser PREQUEL to Book Four
  • THE DUKE’S MAGNIFICENT BASTARD – Book Four Coming Soon 2016

Once in a while
In the middle of ordinary life
LOVE gives us a FAIRY TALE.

An Offer and Free Book Opportunity from Best Selling Author Debra Salonen

How’s your summer going? Fantastic, I hope.

I was excited to be part of the huge Romance Writers of America Literacy Book Signing in San Diego a week ago. Connecting with readers –and other authors — never gets old. I came home with some fantastic books to read and a few copies of my own print books to giveaway.

Email your “snail mail” address (anywhere in the world works for me) to debsalonen@gmail.com and I’ll send you one of my cool new bookmarks, PLUS, I’ll enter your name in a drawing to win one of my print books, either: BLACK HILLS BABY or MONTANA MIRACLE.

I’ll announce the four winners in my next newsletter.

I have some exiting to news to share, too. I’ve been invited to write a book for The Inheritance Project. If you haven’t heard of this fabulous collection of books and authors, you’re in for a treat. My book will be a new addition to my Black Hills Rendezvous series, called: BLACK HILLS LEGACY. I’m working on the details now, but I can tell you it will involve The Mystery Spot.

You can find out more by liking our Facebook page: THE INHERITANCE.

If you’d like to check out the most recent Inheritance Project release, you’re in luck. Author Margaret Daley’s romantic suspense, Deadly Legacy, just released. It’s definitely on my #mustread list.

Amazon      iBooks       Kobo       Google        B&N

Legacy of Secrets. Threats and Danger. Second Chances. From USA Today Bestselling author, Margaret Daley, is another romantic suspense from her series Strong Women, Extraordinary Situations.