Friday, May 3, 2013

Giveaway, Review, and Guest Post with author Natasha Blackthorne and her latest sizzle Her Mystery Duke

Happy Friday closer encounters!!  Today I have with me the very talented historical erotic author Natasha Blackthorne.  We were discussing hot places to have sex in earlier times.  For those of you who are new to Natasha's work wouldn't believe the steamy carriage ride in Grey's Lady or how she rocked it out in a horse's stable in one of my favorite books, A Measured Risk.  So I had to ask....what in her opinion were the top ten hottest places for a sex scene in a historical romance?  This is what she had to say:

1. In a rolling carriage.
2. In a gondola on the Grand Canal.
3. The widow’s walk early in the morning.
4. On a deserted beach by moonlight at midnight.
5. In the withdrawing chamber, behind a settee.
6. In the study, underneath the master’s desk.
7. Behind the lion cage at the royal menagerie.
8. Beneath the stairs.                                      
9. On a hilltop, on a hot day when everyone else is napping in the house.
10. In the butler’s bedchamber when he’s out for his Sunday walkabout.

 hmmm...some of those definitely could be turned into some naughty, naughty sex scenes!!  Especially if you threw in  This was the time of the riding!!  Natasha has offered a sneak inside Her Mystery Duke.  Let's take a look:

Erotica Romance ~ Light BDSM ~ Rubenesque / BBW ~ Regency
Historical ~ May-Dec ~ Novel Length, approx. 85,000 words.

Leagues apart in society, they can have only one possible future, that of protector and mistress...
Jeanne Darling spent her adolescence coping with her father's increasing illness and insanity. Left alone by his death and plunged into poverty, she did what she had to do to survive. Now still reeling from the overwhelming physical and emotional demands her father's care required, she values her peace above all. She doesn't need anyone or anything except her writing and the safety of her rented garret chamber. She's about to rise above her past and create financial independence for herself. What she absolutely does not need is the mysterious and possibly insane stranger who walks into the coffee shop and into her life.
David Somerville, the Duke of Hartley, has known pain and betrayal from the people closest to him. Born to privilege, power and wealth, and filled with idealistic vision for humane change, he gives all of himself to his political career. He keeps his life circumspectly under control. But one day, all the carefully arranged threads of his life unravel and his life intersects with Jeanne's in a way that challenges his view of everything he thinks he knows.

Leagues apart in society, they can have only one possible future, that of protector and mistress. And neither wants to risk deeper connection. However, their overwhelming attraction and resulting sexual games provide them with pleasures neither of them has ever known. Will their sensual journey lead them to discover a more emotionally profound side to domination and submission? Or will their seemingly insurmountable differences and passionate personal goals drive them apart?

Reader Warning: HER MYSTERY DUKE is a work of historical erotic romance. It is not meant to be a guide to or an accurate portrayal of modern BDSM lifestyles or practices. This story contains graphic descriptions of sexual acts and frank sexual language. It also contains light bondage, anal play, sexual toys, cunnilingus, fellatio, masturbation, voyeurism and spanking. Please be aware, there are no scenes of ménage or sexual sharing in this story.


Chapter One

London, England
January 1813

Indecent. The tall gentleman’s stare was the most blatantly indecent assault Jeanne
had ever encountered. Deeper than intense. Intimate, as though he knew everything thing
about her.

That penetrating gaze set her palms sweating and made her mouth dry. It was a
direct threat. No one could possibly know her. She kept herself too well protected,
hidden beneath layers of aloof disinterest. Yet she found herself unable to look away.
She just sat there and let that gaze burn her. Burn through the wall she kept between
herself and the world. It even seeped under her skin and melted her blood into warmed

A single pane of rain-splattered glass separated them. The thudding of her heart in
her ears blocked out the sounds from the common room of the coffee shop and created a
sense of isolation.

He wore no hat and his hair lay plastered like spilt black ink streaked across his
high, broad forehead. Rain dripped over hard, chiseled cheekbones, down an aquiline
nose and square jaw, over shoulders that were made even more impossibly broad by a
dark blue greatcoat.

He was like something from a dream. A harlot’s very naughty dream.

Oh, really. A handsome, mysterious stranger, one who was intensely interested in
her and seemed to know all about her? Her imagination was running away with her,
taking on a life of its own. She closed her eyes and shook her head slightly. The wine
hadn’t been that strong as to make her conjure carnal fantasies in mid-afternoon. In
public. She dared to look again.

The tall gentleman was gone.

There, see? An author of fairy stories couldn’t be fooled by a waking dream. And
yet cold, heaviness sank through her insides, a feeling of loss. How utterly ridiculous.
Irritated with herself, Jeanne bent over her mug, inhaling the fruity, spicy scent of
mulled wine, and listened to the low rumble of conversations around her. Mrs. Roberts
had a new blue bonnet and she was preening like a peacock. Mr. Taylor announced to
his friends that he’d just become engaged to Miss Smith and his companions were
alternately ribbing and toasting him.

Once a week, she ventured from her garret to this coffee shop to be among people,
as an observer. A customer, keeping a protective distance.

“Miss Darling.” The slightly nervous, boyish voice broke into her peace. “You
usually come here on Saturday.”

She forced the irritation from her expression and looked up to meet his freckled
face. “Yes, Paul, this week I decided on a change.”

She kept her tone cool and polite, as always.

Mr. Ratherford, her publisher, had sent a note, informing her that she should present
herself at his offices in two weeks and bring the fairy tales he’d requested. As an author
of children’s stories, she’d been working for months on the stories but she still had one
more story to write, the grand finale in what she hoped would be a published leatherbound
volume of the stories. However, she’d been unable to write for several weeks.

The harder she tried to create a story, the less she liked anything she wrote. Today, that
note had put her into a state of desperation. She’d come here to try and stimulate her
mind. It had worked a little too well judging from the daydream of the handsome,
mysterious stranger.

“A special occasion?” Paul’s words cut into her thoughts again.

Oh bother! She took a deep breath and struggled to find more patience. Once Paul
Cook started, he never let up. But he was just a boy, and a kind one at that. She bit back
an impatient response.

Her concentration, her peace, however: they were gone. Never mind. The wind was
howling with more intensity outside, and the winter’s day was growing dark far too
early. It was time to leave.

As she reached down to retrieve her reticule, the odor of wet wool intruded on her
senses, mingled with the citrus-soapy scent of a gentleman’s shaving lotion. A body
close to hers. Too close. She jerked her head up and faced her waking dream.
His greatcoat was opened to reveal a fine, silk, embroidered waistcoat that
encompassed a broad chest, which narrowed into a flat-as-boards stomach. Water
dripped from his hair, leaving wet spots on his hopelessly crushed cravat. He didn’t
seem to be aware of his dishevelment.

She met his eyes. His gaze intensified, turning to brilliant, intimidating greenish fire,
like an emerald catching the sunlight. Thick, dark lashes and heavy black brows made
the color appear even richer.


His voice was deep yet hushed and utterly masculine. It sent another curl of heat
through her, stronger, penetrating all the way down from her chest to her navel and into
her womb. However, it was the note of despair that made her catch her breath.
Pressure swelled in her throat, a pang of sympathy. Sympathy for others was the
most dangerous emotion of all. It could lead one to make painful, unwise sacrifices.
She’d never had such an immediate reaction like this to any man. Tingles raced from
her midsection to her toes, not arousal this time but an urge to run. He was dangerous.
And Thérèse? Clearly he was grossly mistaken. Or foxed.

She stood, then took a deep breath, released it, and raised her brows in a haughty
mask. “Pardon me, sir?”

His expression sharpened. He took her arm, harshly. “Don’t toy with me.”

She pulled back and he tightened his grip. His hand was large. His hold stronger
than any gentleman she’d known.

He leaned so close she could have brushed her lips against his. “Don’t pretend that
you don’t know me!”

His deep, hushed voice sent pleasurable shivers through her but Jeanne pushed the
sensation aside. As his hot breath wafted over her, she inhaled deeply but couldn’t
detect any odor of spirits. Nor were the pupils of his eyes dilated, as they might be if he
were under the influence of some strong drug. Prickles raced over her scalp like a
thousand needles.

Perhaps the gentleman wasn’t in full control over his mental faculties. Dear God.
Just like Papa. She’d spent her youth caring for her father in his varying stages of
insanity. Life with him had become a prison. Since his death, she had lived in fear of the
unbalanced. Another series of prickles raced over her scalp.

She met the stranger’s gaze levelly. “What’s your game?”

“Thérèse, don‘t be this way.” His whisper, laced with steel, was so low, that she
unwittingly leaned closer. “We needn’t make any dramatics here. We’re going home.”
This near to him, Jeanne noted the glassiness of his eyes. Again, she sniffed. No hint
of alcohol. But then again, having experienced all of Papa’s variances of sanity, she had
an instinct for spotting others who were likewise afflicted. This man was definitely
afflicted in his mind.

This was the exact situation she always dreaded. Since her girlhood, she always
watched others, seeking any sign of madness. She’d had to cope with Papa, that had
been her duty, but she was always careful to keep others who showed any inkling of
mental instability at a safe distance. How stupid of her to have let herself be distracted
by this man’s masculine beauty.

Angry at herself, she jerked her arm, trying once again to free herself. His grip
remained relentless.

“Thérèse!” Again, the low steely whisper. “Behave yourself.”

How unwise of her. An insane person could react unpredictably. She ought not to
provoke him. Yet she knew it was important to present a strong, confident front.
“Sir, I am not your Thérèse and have no wish to be. So please unhand me.” Her
heart was hammering at her chest wall so violently, she had trouble keeping her voice
even. She lifted her chin and stared at him steadily. “Now.”
“You are deliberately pushing me, Thérèse. I don’t appreciate it.”

Boots sounded on the floorboards. The sound drew her attention to how quiet the
public room had become. She glanced around. The other patrons were staring.
“Miss Darling, is everything all right?”

The tall gentleman turned to Paul and regarded him with an icy, haughty stare. “The
lady is a friend. Please go back to your counter and mind your business.”

At the velvet over iron tone, the young man’s eyes grew round. He took one step
backward and then another, then stood looking uneasy.

“Are you having a spot of trouble here, Miss Darling?”

Jeanne turned to face the shop owner, a large, barrel-chested man.
The stranger exhaled long and loud. A sound of complete exasperation. “As I told
the boy, the lady is a rather close friend. I would appreciate a little privacy.”

The shop owner turned to her. “Miss Darling?”

Her heart froze and her chest constricted. She placed a hand to her throat. She didn’t
know what to say.

“The gent don’t look right to me.” The owner’s wife squinted at the stranger.
Jeanne glanced at the gentleman’s handsome profile and the proud jut of his jaw. He
gazed at her sideways and she caught her breath. There was something about that brief
gaze. A lost, disorientated air. Just like Papa when he had been in one of his worst
spells and he was trying to hide it by acting arrogantly assertive.

But she had seen. The stranger was truly not in his right mind.

He swayed then braced his large hands on the back of the chair and caught himself.

Arrogance fell over his face like a mask.

Jeanne’s throat ached. He was so vulnerable. So alone.

Mrs. Cook motioned to the chair Jeanne had vacated. “Sir, you better sit.”

The gentleman stared at the matron—well, rather he glowered down his nose at her.
“If you please, the lady and I have some personal business to attend to.”

His eyes jerked from side to side. At the alarming motion, Jeanne started. He
seemed to lurch forward. She looked down and saw his hands gripping the chair back.
The knuckles were white. The ache in her throat increased.

Jeanne glanced back at Mrs. Cook. The woman wrinkled her forehead. “Go fetch
Dr. Miller.”

Paul walked to the door.

“Quickly now.” Mrs. Cook’s voice carried urgency and she made a shooing motion.

A doctor.

Memories rose in Jeanne’s mind. Her father screaming, his face contorted in torment
as the doctor painted yet another mustard plaster on his skin in an attempt to draw the
poisonous humors out. The endless purges and emetics. The excruciating blisters on his
skin and the agonizing dry heaves. None of it did anything to cure Papa’s mad fits and
mental lapses. And then finally, the insane asylum.

It is how they would deal with this obviously touched gentleman. As though her
stays had suddenly shrunk, her chest constricted. No, no, it wasn’t her place to step out
of her way to aid this gentleman. He wasn’t her responsibility. She owed him nothing.
Her breathing came shorter, faster. It wasn’t safe to stick one’s neck out. And yet the
words rose. She tried to hold them back but they burst out, “There‘s no need for a

Mrs. Cook frowned deeper. “But he called you Thérèse. That’s a French girl’s
name, not yours.”

“He is calling me by my middle name.” Jeanne held her breath and waited to see if
this lie would be accepted.

Mrs. Cook blinked several times. “You have a French middle name?”

“Yes. My mother’s mother was French.” Another lie.

The matron’s eyes narrowed. “Just how does this gentleman know you? He seems
very well off to be on familiar terms with a decent girl from around here.”

Jeanne caught herself biting her lip. She quickly released it and gave the first answer
that came to mind. “He’s my cousin, on my mother’s side, twice removed.”

Again, Mrs. Cook blinked a few times then her mouth twisted until she looked like
she’d just tasted a particularly sour lemon.

“My cousin is not well.”

“Apparently. More likely drunk as a lord.” Mrs. Cook’s tone became sourer than her
expression. “I don’t like this.”

“Pardon me?” Jeanne tried for genteel outrage.

Mrs. Cook’s tone became sharper. “I have known you since you started coming here
on Saturdays with your Papa. I always thought you were such a dedicated daughter. A
good girl. But I don’t like having fancy pieces courting trade in my shop.”

“Mrs. Cook, this man is my cousin.”

“A wealthy relation who didn’t help you when your dear Papa was ill?”

“My cousin was out of the country at that time—he was in India, making his

Mrs. Cook looked from Jeanne to the gentleman and back. Several times. “I don’t
see any family resemblance.”

Jeanne swallowed against a tightening throat. Could everyone hear the pounding of
her heart? “I favor my father’s side. He—he is my cousin.”

Her voice came out so strained that she cringed internally.

The matron’s expression hardened. “I think you met this gentleman under less than
respectable conditions. Perhaps in a place where you’re known by a false name, a fancy
French name to make yourself sound more interesting to wealthy gentlemen.”

Jeanne’s mouth dried and anxiety twisted her insides. “That’s not how it happened.”

“I’d appreciate if you took your cousin and left. I’d also appreciate if you never
came back. I run a decent shop here, not a place of disorderly assignation.”

Jeanne sucked in a deep breath. That had hurt. More than she wished to admit. This
was her place of comfort and respite when her isolation became too much. And she was
a horrible liar. But what else could she have done? Consigned this poor soul to
Bedlam? Oh God. She’d known he was dangerous. Why hadn’t she listened to that inner

She glanced up at the gentleman. He was gazing at her with an odd, confused
expression. Might he be ill, instead of insane? Surely, if he were that ill, he’d be in bed.
She reached a hand to him. “Let’s leave.”

The gentleman released the chair then took her hand and laced his fingers with hers
as naturally as though he’d always done so. “Come, Thérèse.”

They walked sedately out of the coffee shop, just like that, with their hands

The rain had let up yet the wind still gusted. With her free hand, she readjusted her
scarf. His hold remained firm on her hand until they had traveled a block away. The
strength of his grip sent prickles of fear darting into her. He could easily overpower
her, if his insane whim so dictated.

He stopped just as they were about to turn the corner, and he looked down at her. A
slight smile softened his mouth. “My darling.”

Dear heavens, he was such a gorgeous man. But he was still a madman. Dangerous,
utterly dangerous. Any sensible person knew well to be frightened of the insane, she
more than anyone. She returned his smile but only to placate him.
“Are we headed in the proper direction for the mews?” he asked.

“Yes, we are. They are just down this street and to the right.”

“Esau has the carriage there.”

Well, there it was. She’d done her part keeping him out of the clutches of an
overzealous doctor. God and this Esau fellow would have to watch over him now. She
wasn’t about to get anywhere near his carriage and risk him shoving her bodily into it.
She offered another, hopefully warm, smile.

She must have succeeded for he relaxed his grip on her hand and they resumed
walking. As they rounded the corner, she slipped her hand from his.

And ran.


Her heart pounded and she ran faster.

“Stop, please. For the love of God!” His tone was hollow with desolation. Her
sympathy panged her yet again. Unwittingly, she glanced over her shoulder.
Wind whipped the gentleman’s dark forelock. He leaned against a street lamp, one
hand holding his side. He appeared to be panting for breath, his expression a mask of
loss and despair.

Just like Papa. She’d seen those emotions on her father’s face too many times. But
the expression appeared so out of place on such an arrogant, masculine face. Her heart
constricted. She turned back to face the direction she was running and put all her energy
into it.

Something came between her foot and the pavement. She lost her balance and fell
forward. As the bricks rose to meet her, she threw her hands out to brace her fall. She
cried out then reeled from the fall. Her arm began to burn like fire. She knew she
wouldn’t be able to run easily for much longer.

She hauled herself to her feet and scanned the shop fronts.

Mrs. Mason’s Bakery.

Relief washed over her. Mrs. Mason had always been friendly. She had even given
her day-old bread on days when she couldn’t pay.

She darted into the shop and the scent of baking bread and spicy cinnamon and
apples comforted her.

“Good day, Miss Darling!” Mrs. Mason sang out. “What shall it be today?

“I think I’ll have whatever smells of apples and spice.”

“You sit and I’ll bring it right out.”

Jeanne sank into the nearest chair. Moments later, Mrs. Mason brought hot tea and
apple pie. But Jeanne found the pie tasted like ashes and could only manage a few tiny
bites. Unable to stop twitching and fidgeting, she kept catching herself glancing back at
the window.

She jerked her head away.

No, don’t look. He is not your affair.

She forced herself to focus on Mrs. Mason’s steady chatter. The wind made a long,
low, threatening howling sound. Such a dreadful day. What about—

No, he isn’t your responsibility.

A loud crash seemed to rumble through her body and shake her bones and resound in
the pit of her stomach.

What happened? An accident? A carriage trying to avoid a disorientated pedestrian
and yet hitting them all the same?

She jumped to her feet and rushed to the window. Some crates had blown over. Men
were shouting and running about. The sky had grown darker.

Against all her caution, her gaze was drawn back to the direction whence she had

Oh God, there he was, staggering down the street in a wavering pattern. For such a
stalwart-looking man, the gentleman walked so oddly, so slowly. Had he been in the
war perhaps and suffered some irreparable head injury that had left him this way?
Almost completely in front of the shop, he glanced up. He had that lost, desolate

Her throat burned.

His gaze sharpened. Homed in on her.

Oh, damn. How stupid of her. Of course, he’d seen her at the window. She stepped
back several paces. But it was too late. He began walking toward the door.

“Isn’t it just awful weather, Miss Darling?” Mrs. Mason exclaimed. “My Ben can
take you home in the gig later, if you like. Come sit back down and have a chat.”
Jeanne didn’t answer, her gaze was fixed on the gentleman as he reached for the
door. He was coming in. And he looked absolutely furious, in a cold, controlled way
that was all the more frightening. Her hand flew to her mouth to stop the cry of protest
that sprung from the depths of her and she backed away from the window.

The tiny bell tinkled as he entered, an incongruously gay herald. His eyes blazed
into hers. She gave a little squeak and took several steps backwards until her bottom hit
one of the display cases.

To purchase HER MYSTERY DUKE at Amazon USA, click here.

Click here for Amazon UK.

Click here for All Romance E-Books (ARe).

Connect With Natasha: Site | Blog | Twitter | Facebook 

This author has the amazing ability to create unique stories with incredible situations.  She never fails to amaze me.  This issues that she tackled will actually send goosebumps up and down your arms.  She hits on a really relevant issue that was prevalent during this time period.  Many of the diseases we now have cures for caused and outbreak of insanity before claiming their life. Can you imagine the treatment of the insane back then?  They were probably used as guinea pigs for all types of experiments. Its haunting and sadly enough, our main character took care of a parent that suffered this fate.  Jeanne's detachment from life and withdrawal into herself were a direct result of the pain and guilt she felt on a constant basis.  She is a very complex character full of fear, compassion, and insight.   But she meets her match with her duke in so many ways.  Its so hard to say who in truth is saving who.

I enjoyed this book.  This author has a way of fully amercing herself in the time period that leaves you feeling as if you had been there.  And let's not forget the sex scenes!  No one can write light BDSM like Natasha.  It is decadent and excitement all wrapped up into one! I have never been disappointed in any of her reads and I can't wait for more.  She truly is a master of her craft!  Hats off to another great read!!


Natasha is giving away a $5 choice ARE or Amazon card!  Just fill out the rafflecopter below!!  Good Luck!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Victoria Zumbrum said...

The times of King Arthur and Camelot. Thanks for the giveaway.

Betty Hamilton said...

In the master bedroom.... while the master is in the study or the library!

Christine A. said...

The library and then the dining hall.

Debby said...

The kitchen after hours.

Linda said...

Oh, the library! =)
Thanks for the giveaway & Happy Friday!

Beautiful Disaster said...

In the garden or near the fireplace.

VampedChik said...

The library's always a good spot.

Jeanne M said...

The perfect place would be at a country estate down by the lake where they recline on a blanket after a swim (naked of course) and then feed each other from the basket of food while sipping a fine wine!

erin said...

at a ball :)

lisagkendall said...

In a not quite private garden or the conservatory. Thanks for the post. lisagk(at)yahoo(dot)com

June M. said...

Being a book lover, the library of course! But the gardens could be nice too on a warm summer night by moonlight :)

SdyLion said...

In the solarium- because nobody has one of those anymore. sdylion(at)gmail(dot)com

Linda said...

The conservatory!

Mary Preston said...

In a massive four poster bed. The kind that could house the population of a town. Not that I'm inviting the town to participate.

Arely ZPerez said...

The gardens was the thing that first popped in my head! Then the library... the study... and the classic: the bedroom!

Kelsey Summer said...

I'd say just about anywhere, but if I had to choose a place I'd say a theater balcony/box (with the curtains closed).


vadeluna07 said...

In the library or on a balcony.

Katie Amanda said...

the dungeon of a castle :)

angela0040 said...

The torture room of a castle, it already has all the equipment.

mcv said...

In the library, after everyone is asleep, the heroine goes down in her nightclothes to get a book and gets something else instead.

LorettaLynn//Temprance said...

Out by a river or strem why the horse drink ;)

Meghan said...

Good question: Maybe during a ball or in a park somewhere.
I love blog hops! Thanks for participating in this one! As I do love my romance spicy, this is a good hop for me. One of my favorite romances with a spicy edge is "Beautiful Bastard" by Christina Lauren. I can't wait for the second in the series to come out, "Beautiful Stranger."
Thanks for the giveaway!
mestith at gmail dot com

divavixenqueen said...

by a waterfall by the castle or the masterbedroom with a
kingsize bed.

Dovile said...

in Rome, at the emperor's palace

Joanne said...

How about in the library, the gardens, or in the carriage. I guess just about any place would be good.

desitheblonde said...

i have read alot of historical and most them have them having sex at the pond or in the barn or in slave place and then the bath and then in the cave on te propety out field and then

laura troxel said...

In a carriage.

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