Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Character Guest Post & Giveaway - Compromising Willa Blog Tour

Lady Wilhelmina Stanhope is ruined and everyone knows it. Back in Town for the first season since her downfall, Willa plans to remain firmly on the shelf, assuming only fortune hunters will want her now. Instead she focuses on her unique tea blends, secretly supporting a coffee house which employs poor women and children. If her clandestine involvement in trade is discovered, she'll be ruined. Again.

No one is more shocked by Willa's lack of quality suitors than the newly minted Duke of Hartwell. Having just returned from India, the dark duke is instantly attracted to the mysterious wallflower. His pursuit is hampered by the ruthless Earl of Bellingham, who once jilted Willa and is now determined to reclaim her.

Caught between the clash of two powerful men, a furious Willa refuses to concede her independence to save her reputation. But will she compromise her heart?


I'm pleased to welcome Augustus Manning, Earl of Bellingham to the blog today.

Welcome! Thanks for being with us today. 

(Straightens his cuffs) I am very busy. Please do get on with it.

Could you tell us how you feel about Willa? 

She belongs to me. She has since the day I ruined her, although the stubborn chit refuses to concede to the inevitable. She really has no idea of what is good for her. Once she is my wife, I will enjoy bringing her into submission. That begins with installing Willa at my country estate.

But doesn’t Willa hate the country? I thought she prefers the excitement of city life. I know she enjoys attending the Ladies Reading Society. 

What she does or doesn’t prefer is of no consequence. The sooner she is far removed from her bluestocking friends the better. As my wife, she will do as I bid.

I understand that Willa secretly supports a coffee house that employs poor women and children. 

Can you believe the scandal? A lady engaging in trade? It’s beyond intolerable. The lower orders should know their place and I fully intend to ensure Willa comprehends the way of things once she is mine.

Are you sure she’s going to marry you? She has said she won’t wed you under any circumstances. 

We’ll see about that. If I have to resort to a very particular sort of persuasion to make her see reason, so be it.

I’ve heard Willa is interested in the Duke of Hartwell and I understand there is bad blood between you and the duke…that he thrashed you years ago at university but refuses to reveal what triggered the beating. 

Isn’t it obvious? He’s always been jealous of me. You see, I was the heir, while he was only a second son. It was his great good fortune that his brother, the duke, died unexpectedly. The only reason he got the better of me during our altercation is because I was foxed. If I’d been sober, I would have taught that upstart the lesson he deserved.

Mmmhmm. On another subject, I hate to bring this up but…um…there are rumors that you do unspeakable things to servants. 

I wouldn’t say I do it to them. It’s more of a mutual transaction. They should be thrilled to be in company with their betters. (Stands impatiently) If that is all, I think I hear Willa in the other room. I must go and make her mine.

Well, thank you for taking the time to speak with us. Good luck…I guess…in your pursuit of Willa.

I don’t need luck. I have a strategy. She’ll never know what hit her until it is far too late…



Hartwell frowned. “I scarcely see how Lady Wilhelmina can belong to Bellingham if there is no betrothal.”

“There is certain talk no gentleman would ever repeat.” Heenan reached for his mother-of-pearl snuffbox. “Some say it is why the lady has kept herself away from Town for so long.”

“And this is commonly discussed in society?”

“It is not the kind of thing one hears in Mayfair’s drawing rooms,” Selwyn answered in halting tones.

“But most gentlemen about Town eventually hear the talk,” Garrick added with a lascivious smirk.

Heenan leaned over and inhaled snuff into his nose. “Not that anyone dares to cut her in public.” Leaning back in his chair with a satisfied sigh, he used a handkerchief to wipe remnants of the powdery substance from his upper lip. “Impeccable family lines and all. The family carries on as though nothing has happened. She is under the protection of her cousin, the Marquess of Camryn, who is quite influential in the Lords. No one dares risk his wrath.”

“I don’t follow.”

Garrick leaned forward. “They say the chit is compromised. Utterly and completely, if you get my meaning.” He winked at Hart. “But she still acts the frigid princess, all high and mighty. Otherwise, who wouldn't want to toss up those skirts and give her a good hard—”

Something in his head snapped loose, blinding him to anything but the desire to crush the drunken whoreson beneath his boot heel. He bolted to his feet and shoved the table back with a loud clatter. Towering over Garrick, he grabbed the man’s cravat with one hand and drew back his fist with the other. Garrick shrank back in his chair, wide-eyed, his face pinched with fear. Action at the other gaming tables screeched to a halt. Silence descended; all eyes were riveted on Hartwell.

Selwyn jumped up and placed a calming hand on his shoulder. “Now Hartwell,” he said, partially positioning himself between the two men. “This is just a friendly misunderstanding among gentlemen.”

His neck burned. It was a lie. It had to be. “It is hardly the act of a gentleman to insult a lady's honor in the most grievous way possible.”

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About the author:

Diana Quincy is an award-winning former television journalist who decided she’d rather make up stories where a happy ending is always guaranteed. Growing up as a foreign service brat, Diana visited many countries and is now settled in Virginia with her husband and two sons. When not bent over her laptop or trying to keep up with laundry, she enjoys reading, spending time with her family and dreams of traveling much more than her current schedule (and budget) allows.

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  1. My favorite cup of coffee is Creme Brulee Latte from Starbucks!