Blog Tour // Review + Excerpt: Lady Derring Takes a Lover by Julie Anne Long

Lady Derring Takes a Lover by Julie Anne Long
Series: The Palace of Rogues #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: February 26th 2019
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A mistress. A mountain of debt. A mysterious wreck of a building.

Delilah Swanpoole, Countess of Derring, learns the hard way that her husband, “Dear Dull Derring,” is a lot more interesting—and perfidious—dead than alive. It’s a devil of an inheritance, but in the grand ruins of the one building Derring left her, are the seeds of her liberation. And she vows never again to place herself at the mercy of a man.

But battle-hardened Captain Tristan Hardy is nothing if not merciless. When the charismatic naval hero tracks a notorious smuggler to a London boarding house known as the Rogue’s Palace, seducing the beautiful, blue-blooded proprietress to get his man seems like a small sacrifice.

They both believe love is a myth. But a desire beyond reason threatens to destroy the armor around their hearts. Now a shattering decision looms: Will Tristan betray his own code of honor…or choose a love that might be the truest thing he’s ever known?

Buy Links:
Amazon • Barnes & NobleiTunesIndieBound

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Lady Derring Takes a Lover is my first Julie Anne Long book. I know many who love her work, so I was excited to dive into this. While I didn’t love it, I did overall enjoy the writing and the characters. JAL has a particular writing style that distinguishes her from other historical romances I’ve read, which I appreciated.

Delilah Swanpoole has just left her husband, who has left her with a mountain of debt. The only thing she inherits is a random building by the docks. Though she didn’t love her late husband, she cared for him, so she was surprised to find out he was in debt… and had a mistress. She meets this mistress, Angelique, and they form a wary truce that eventually deepens into a strong friendship and business relationship regarding the abandoned building.

Captain Tristan Hardy is tasked with tracking a cigar smuggling operation, and this leads him to the building that Delilah is now the owner of. He needs to investigate how much she was involved with the smuggling, if at all, but doesn’t expect to grow feelings for her. I’ll admit, I never particularly connected with Tristan as much as I did Delilah – he’s a very reserved and calm person, though I did enjoy the way his and Delilah’s relationship deepened. They bring out something different in each other, and it was fun reading their flirtation and banter.

Delilah is definitely my favorite part about this book. She is lost after her husband’s death, trying to navigate a life without financial security or even a home, but the one thing she does have is her dignity. She keeps her head high and strong, eventually learning about herself and what she wants in life. Her character development is wonderful!

Even though I didn’t love it, Lady Derring Takes a Lover is a strong historical romance that I’d recommend if you want something different than your typical romance with a duke or rake. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series!


Now here’s an excerpt from Lady Derring Takes a Lover! ❤

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She’d taken two steps when he said, his voice raised only a little, “Lady Derring . . . something puzzles me.”

She halted.

Closed her eyes.

Took a shuddering breath for courage.

Turned back to him. From the relatively safe distance of three feet, she said, “Surely not. We’ve established you know everything.”

His smile was small and patient. “You seem to excel at so very much here at The Grand Palace on the Thames. Yet you can’t seem to disguise how much you want me.”

Reading Order: The Palace of Rogues series

#1 ~ Lady Derring Takes a Lover: EbookPaperback • AudibleGoodreads
#2 ~ Angel in a Devil’s Arms: EbookPaperbackGoodreads (Oct. 29, 2019)

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USA Today bestselling author Julie Anne Long originally set out to be a rock star when she grew up (and she has the guitars and fringed clothing stuffed in the back of her closet to prove it), but writing was always her first love. Since hanging up her guitar for the computer keyboard, her books frequently top reader and critic polls and have been nominated for numerous awards, including the Rita, Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice, and The Quills, and reviewers have been known to use words like “dazzling,” “brilliant,” and “impossible to put down” when describing them. Julie lives in Northern California.

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Blog Tour + Excerpt & Giveaway: It Started with a Scandal by Julie Anne Long

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Welcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for It Started with a Scandal by Julie Anne Long!

It Started with a Scandal by Julie Anne Long

It Started with a Scandal by Julie Anne Long
Series: Pennyroyal Green #10
Publication Date: March 31st 2015
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Lord Philippe Lavay once took to the high seas armed with charm as lethal as his sword and a stone-cold conviction: he’ll restore his family’s fortune and honor, no matter the cost. Victory is at last within reach—when a brutal attack snatches it from his grasp and lands him in Pennyroyal Green.

An afternoon of bliss brings a cascade of consequences for Elise Fountain. Shunned by her family and ousted from a job she loves, survival means a plummet down the social ladder to a position no woman has yet been able to keep: housekeeper to a frighteningly formidable prince.

The bold and gentle Elise sees past his battered body into Philippe’s barricaded heart . . . and her innate sensuality ignites his blood. Now a man who thought he could never love and a woman who thought she would never again trust must fight an incendiary passion that could be the ruin of them both.

Buy Links:
Amazon • iTunes • Barnes & Noble • HarperCollins • Google Play

Now here’s Chapter One: Part One from It Started with a Scandal! ❤


“In light of your …circumstances…Mrs. Fountain, I’m certain you’re aware that it is a bit unusual for you to be granted an interview at all. But this is an exceptional…situation…and the Redmond family did put in a good word.”

So many words requiring delicate choosing and pillowing with little silences. Circumstances. Situation.

Elise gritted her teeth clamped together, withstanding all of them the way she had for years.

“I understand,” she said somberly.

“—that is not to say that you could not satisfactorily perform the duties, and I should hope you would not be influenced by Mrs. Gordon, whose temperament proved unequal to the job—”

Mrs. Gordon must be the sobbing woman Elise had passed departing the house as Elise came up the walk. She’d been carrying a valise and muttering “heartless bastard” viciously under her breath.

“…because the successful candidate will possess a clear head and a mature outlook…” Mrs. Winthrop continued. She paused briefly in her torrent of words to narrow her eyes at Elise.

Elise had donned her most severe gown and ruthlessly pinned her hair motionless with approximately three hundred pins. She nodded, serenely confident she looked mature and that nothing as frivolous as a curl would escape.

And she kept her fingers laced tightly in her lap, as if this alone could keep her nerves from shattering. It had at least disguised the trembling.

Would that she’d managed to keep her stays laced just that tightly six years ago.

Alas, spilt milk, and all of that.

“…and as you know, I’m employed by the Earl of Ardmay, and they have volunteered me to undertake the selection process as a special favor to their family…”

Mrs. Winthrop had not ceased speaking since Elise arrived fifteen minutes ago.

“…and as for the current staff, there will be no steward or butler, as this is a relatively small household and the tenant is temporary. So you would head the small entire staff, which is comprised of—”

Something unmistakably large and glass, hurled from a considerable distance with considerable force, exploded into thousands of jingling fragments.

Both women froze.

It was exactly what Elise expected her nerves would sound like when they finally shattered.

In the stunned silence that followed the rain hurled itself at the window like a warning. Get out! Get out while you can!

Ah, if only she’d a choice.

Mrs. Winthrop cleared her throat at last. “He likely won’t ever aim at you. All the same, there’s naught wrong with his arm and it’s best to be well clear of him if you think he might be in a throwing mood.”

Elise hoped this was black humor. How on earth to respond? She glanced down at her bloodless knuckles as if they were crystal balls. No help there.

She decided to nod sagely.

“I understand they’re blessedly rare. The throwing moods,” Mrs. Winthrop expounded.

“And we must always count our blessings.”

It emerged more quickly and dryly than Elise intended.

In other words: More herself than she had intended.

This she knew because Mrs. Winthrop’s eyebrows launched like birds flushed from shrubbery.

She eyed Elise sharply for a moment.

Elise held her breath.

Then Mrs. Winthrop smiled a vanishingly swift smile. It was like a cinder thrown off a distant campfire, when Elise had been lost in the dark woods for weeks.

“All right then, Mrs. Fountain, I should be pleased to introduce you to his Lordship, Lord Lavay, who is a Prince of the House of Bourbon. If he’s…amenable.”


The loquacious Mrs. Winthrop went curiously silent as she led Elise through a labyrinth of Alder House’s too-dark hallways. The candles hadn’t been trimmed; a few were fitfully, smokily, burning in their sconces. She frowned. The house was handsome enough, but tn the rooms they swiftly passed the fires burned low or not at all. She surreptitiously dragged a fingertip along top of the wainscoting; she could feel dust cake it.

She saw no evidence of the rumored household staff.

They scaled a flight of marble stairs with a smooth, modest banister, and Mrs. Winthrop finally halted paused on the threshold of what appeared to be a study.

It was as dark and soft as a cave, but a huge leaping fire picked out glints from around the room, and Elise’s eyes tracked them reflexively: the polished legs on a plumply upholstered settee and a pair of gorgeous chairs, the inlay on a small round table, the gilt on a framed map and the stand of a handsome globe, an empty crystal decanter, a tiny bottle of Sydenham’s Laudanum on a sideboard, only half full.

She stopped when she reached the mirror-like toes of a pair of Hessians by the hearth.

And followed them all the way up.

Inside them stood a man.

A very tall man.

He in fact all but loomed; the firelight threw his shadow nearly to where she stood at the door.

Elise took an unconscious step back from it, as though it were a spill of lava.

His face was aimed rather pointedly at the window, as if he was expecting someone.

She followed his gaze curiously.

She just saw the same ceaseless slanting rain, like bars on a cell.

A spray of sparkling shards surrounded his feet. The remains of a vase, from the looks of things.

“Lord Lavay…”

Elise shot Mrs. Winthrop a worried look. The seemingly indefatigable Mrs. Winthrop’s voice had gone faint. As if she suddenly didn’t have enough air to form words.

The man turned. Slowly, as if he was the earth itself on its axis. Or as if an invisible sculptor was rotating him to present a finished work.

Voila! Elise thought to herself. An attempt at bravado.

It was too late. She’d already sucked in her breath and tightened all of her muscles, like a creature who had stumbled across a predator in a clearing and wished to make herself unnoticeable.

He was so clearly of that singular species, The Aristocracy, that she might as well have bought a ticket to see him, the way she had once when her father had brought her, as a little girl, to see the Royal Menagerie in London.

He wasn’t young. There was no softness to his face—not in the set of his mouth, or the burn of his gaze, or the severe right angles of his jaw. His beauty was austere and inarguable and there was a palpable force to him, as if he had sprung from the earth due to violent underground activity, a bit like a mountain range. She thought about the things she’d been told about him.

Privateer. Soldier. Prince.

Power, violence, privilege.

He looked like all of the things he was purported to be.

Do we carry around our pasts so visibly? She wondered. Because if she so, she was certainly in trouble.

There was no denying that he frightened her.

And after a moment, this made her angry. She’d been so certain she was impossible to frighten after the events of the last five years. She could not afford to be frightened. She thought she deserved never to be frightened again.

She squared her shoulders.

Life is full of tests, children, she’d once primly told her students.

That was before she’d been tested.

The woman Mrs. Winthrop brought into Phillipe’s study was petite and colorless. Her face and the folded knot of her hands were twins, both white and tense. Her dress was demure, long-sleeved, high-collared, fashioned of serviceable gray wool. Her hair was dark. She could be any age.

Her eyes dropped instantly upon meeting his. It was deference or fear, or perhaps fascination. He was accustomed to all of them. None of it interested him.

She was, unsurprisingly, unremarkable in every way.

Apart, that was, from her posture, which was almost aggressively rigid. It reminded him of a drawn saber.

This made him smile faintly.

He sensed it wasn’t a pleasant smile when both women gave a little start.

“I’d like to introduce Mrs. Elise Fountain, my lord.”

Miss Fountain dropped an elegant enough curtsy.

“You may leave us,” he said to Mrs. Winthrop, without looking at her.

Mrs. Winthrop bolted like a rabbit released from a trap.

Mrs. Fountain’s gaze rose again, rather like a man struggling up the side of a cliff, wavered, and held.

To read the rest of Chapter One, check out these blogs:

Urban Girl Reader EXCERPT PART 2
Eater of Books EXCERPT PART 2

Buried Under Romance EXCERPT PART 2

Toot’s Book Reviews EXCERPT PART 2
Doing Some Reading EXCERPT PART 2
Ramblings from this Chick EXCERPT PART 2

The Lusty Literate EXCERPT PART 3
Romancing the Readers EXCERPT PART 3

Snarky Mama EXCERPT PART 3
Curling up with a Good Book EXCERPT PART 3

The Jeep Diva EXCERPT PART 3

After Hours at Lily Bloom Books EXCERPT PART 3
To Read or Not to Read EXCERPT PART 3

I Heart Romance EXCERPT PART 3

about the author

Julie Anne LongaUSA Today bestselling author JULIE ANNE LONG originally set out to be a rock star when she grew up (and she has the guitars and fringed clothing stuffed in the back of her closet to prove it), but writing was always her first love. Since hanging up her guitar for the computer keyboard, her books frequently top reader and critic polls and have been nominated for numerous awards, including the Rita, Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice, and The Quills, and reviewers have been known to use words like “dazzling,” “brilliant,” and “impossible to put down” when describing them. Julie lives in Northern California.

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