Romance Novel Giveaways - Freebies and Giveaways of All Things Romance Romance Novel Giveaways: Once Upon a Wager by Julie LeMense, Book Tour & ♥GIVEAWAY♥ (Regency Romance)

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Once Upon a Wager by Julie LeMense, Book Tour & ♥GIVEAWAY♥ (Regency Romance)

When Lord Alec Carstairs returns from the Peninsular Wars, hailed as a hero in the midst of the London Season, only Annabelle Layton knows the sort of man that he really is, that the honor everyone praises is illusory.

They'd been close friends once, before a passionate kiss changed everything. But if she'd secretly loved him, those feelings had died one bright summer morning, when a reckless wager left Annabelle with terrifying injuries. Alec had abandoned her without a backwards glance.

Hardly the actions of a hero.

But Alec has never forgotten her, despite his vow to stay away. There is more to that long ago-day than Annabelle knows, and shocking lies have distorted the past. Can he uncover is painful truths, and still keep his distance from the stunning beauty? Can he deny his forbidden desire, even as it flares again between them, hotter than ever?
How fun! Here are some "Did You Know?" facts about "Once Upon A Wager"...

The Title Was...
At first, I liked the idea of "Loves, Lies and Letters" because I've always been an alliteration junky. My husband, though, thought it made the book sound too much like a soap opera, and with Lady Annabelle Layton as the heroine, he's probably right.

The Main Character was inspired by...
I can't honestly say that Annabelle was inspired by any one person. I've always loved romances, especially Regency era historicals, and I'd always wanted to write one. So I sat down one day and started...which I've learned is really not the most efficient way to go about it. Annabelle and Alec both sort of grew organically as the story went along. However, one character, Sophia Middleton, was very much inspired by my late mother-in-law, who was a larger-than-life character with a great sense of humor. She told things like she saw them, very much like Aunt Sophia.

How might the book have ended differently?
I have three boys, and as you might imagine from their perspective, a romance book is just about the worst thing I could have decided to write. When I described the ending, my 15 year old son, Max took it upon himself to come up with a new one. Damien Digby is a villain in this book, and Max decided that Alec, our hero, and Digby should have a duel at the edge of the cliff at dawn. Annabelle hears about the duel, and tries to intervene. She runs towards Alec just as he pushes Digby off the cliff face, shouting "Requiescat in pace" (or Rest in Peace in Latin, just to elevate the tension.) A la the movie "Die Hard," Digby (aka Hans) pulls a gun out as he is falling to his death. He shoots Alec through the heart on the way down, and the bullet not only travels through Alec, but also into Annabelle, who has just come up behind him. And then everyone dies. The end. I explained to Max that romance books, with happily ever after stories, can't end that way. To which he replied, "That's why I'll never read them."

Did your husband have any suggestions for the book?
He was of the mind that the smexy scenes needed to be tripled, which is probably a standard male response. Honestly, he was a trooper during the whole process. He read the entire book on a smart phone while traveling.

When you're not writing, whose books are you reading?
I will drop anything that I'm doing for new books by Meredith Duran, Sherry Thomas, Julie Anne Long, Sarah MacLean and Valerie Bowman. They are marvelously talented authors, each and everyone.
Excerpt from Once Upon A Wager by Julie LeMense
Published by Crimson Romance (5/12/2014)
Impulsively, Annabelle reached up and pressed her lips to his. Alec reared back in surprise, but she clasped her arms around his neck, pulling him toward her, unwilling to let go. His lips were warm. He smelled of sandalwood still, and something spicy—shock, no doubt—but the feel of him was glorious. His heartbeat was pounding against her chest, his hair silky beneath her fingers. Even as he held his arms at his sides, refusing to touch her, she pressed closer, trying to erase the distance between them.
But he was completely still, like a pillar of salt. His mouth was unyielding, and she suddenly knew that he didn’t share her feelings. He felt none of her longing. He was holding his breath, waiting for her to be done.
Embarrassed, she slowly withdrew, easing her hands away, and then her lips.
Only to have his arms clamp like manacles around her, pulling her flush against him, trapping her there. She could feel the tension in his body, everything about him tight and hard. He angled his head down, capturing her mouth, a rush of wine-scented breath mingling with her own, making her feel lightheaded and needy.
With a low moan, he sucked at her lower lip until she opened her mouth, his tongue slipping in, slick and insistent. Annabelle shuddered with the intimacy of it, desperate to feel more of this new sensation as he gathered her closer. He swept his hands along her waist, over the curve of her hips, and down the swell of her backside, cupping her against something heavy and hot. All the while, he explored her with his mouth, as if she was something sweet and he craved the taste of her. Caught up in her desire, she knew only that she’d never felt this way. She would give him all of herself for the taking, if only he would ask.
But then inexplicably, he stopped. With a muffled curse, he dropped his arms and took several steps back. He crossed his hands behind him, as if to keep them occupied, and watched her, his eyes hooded, his breathing uneven.
How could he control himself so quickly? She still felt dizzy, as if she’d been drugged with laudanum.
“God above, I knew better,” he said. “I should have stayed as far away as possible.”
That cured her dizziness. Had she given him such a disgust of her, then?
“That should never have happened, Annabelle. It was wrong. Please, you need to go back inside.”
“I am sorry.” She could barely speak the words. “I suppose I’ve confirmed all of your worst assumptions.”
“I’m angry at myself, Annabelle, not at you. I took advantage.”
“If anything,” she said, watching him beneath her lashes, “I was the one who took advantage.”
“Do you hear yourself?” His voice was sharp now, even pained. “Can you understand why I have stayed away? You can’t tempt a man like that. I warned you I’m not so honorable.”
“Is it such a bad thing to kiss me? I’ve wanted to kiss you as long as I can remember.”
For several moments, he simply gazed at her, his face inscrutable. “Well, then,” he said quietly. “We have kissed. You have indulged your curiosity with no thought for the consequences. I don’t have that luxury.”
He turned, vanishing into the darkness as she touched a hand to her lips, where she could still feel his kiss.
Julie LeMense has been a Regency romance addict since her first deliciously bad Barbara Cartland novel. Now, she prefers the complex plotting and characterizations of Meredith Duran, Julie Anne Long, Sherry Thomas, and Sarah MacLean. If she's not busy reading a romance, she's probably writing one in her haunted Pennsylvania home, where ghosts from the Gilded Age try to sneak their way into her stories.
Up for grabs: $10 B&N gift cards!


  1. Thanks for hosting me today!
    All the best,

    1. A pleasure! Thank YOU for all of the "fun facts!"


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