May 15, 2011

Sunday Smooch

Welcome to another LoveCats DownUnder Sunday Smooch!

Today we have a smooch from Midnight's Wild Passion by our fabulous guest author Anna Campbell, but first ...

the winner of last week's Sunday Smooch Giveaway is -- Helen!

Congratulations, Helen! Can you please contact Anna at:

anna (at) annhackettbooks (dot) com

and she'll send you a downloadable copy of Hunter's Surrender.

And now for today's Sunday Smooch from Midnight's Wild Passion by Anna Campbell...

London’s most notorious seducer, Nicholas Challoner lives solely for revenge…

The dashing, licentious
Marquess of Ranelaw can never forgive Godfrey Demarest for ruining his sister—now the time has come to repay the villain in the same coin. But one formidably intriguing impediment stands in the way of Nicholas’s vengeance: Miss Antonia Smith, companion to his foe’s unsuspecting daughter.

Having herself been deceived and disgraced by a rogue—banished by her privileged family as a result and forced to live a lie—Antonia vows to protect her charge from the same cruel fate. She recognizes Ranelaw for the shameless blackguard he is, and will devote every ounce of her intelligence and resolve to thwarting him.

Yet Antonia has always had a fatal weakness for rakes…

[Setup: Nicholas Challoner, Marquess of Ranelaw, is bent upon revenge on his long-term enemy Godfrey Demarest. The perfect instrument of his vengeance lies in his sights, Demarest’s innocent daughter Cassandra. Unfortunately for Ranelaw, Cassie’s chaperone is the redoubtable Antonia Smith who knows all about rakes and their strategems.

Ranelaw is unaccountably attracted to Antonia and decides to kill two birds with one stone – he’ll scratch his itch for the dowdy companion and seduce her into allowing greater access to Cassie. After a prickly exchange with Antonia at a society musicale, he climbs a cherry tree and breaks into Antonia’s bedroom...]

A chaos of impressions, familiar and unfamiliar, overwhelmed Antonia. She knew how a man’s embrace felt. But the fierceness of this hold, the hard strength of this body, the clean, fresh smell, these were all Ranelaw.

She flung her head up to deliver the scolding he deserved, then forgot everything when she met the blazing excitement in his eyes. A blazing excitement echoed in her pounding heart and rushing blood.

“No…” she whispered but he didn’t seem to hear.

He bent his head and kissed her hard. He was ruthless. He was insatiable. He gave no consideration to her unwillingness or her lack of preparation or what he believed was her inexperience.

Shock rather than anything as commendable as virtue kept her unmoving under his mouth. Even as molten heat flooded her and a deep trembling set up in the base of her belly.

With a muttered exclamation of frustration, he raised his head. He seized her shoulders in an adamant grip and stared down at her. “You can do better than that.”

Anger flashed through her. The famous lover had kissed her with all the finesse of a navvy breaking ground for a new canal. “So can you,” she snapped.

Immediately she realized her mistake when challenge sharpened his black gaze.

“N…no,” she stammered, at last making some attempt to sidle away. So far she’d stood in his embrace like a quiescent doll. She needed to start thinking about self-preservation before it was too late.

It was too late.

“Ah, but how can any red-blooded man ignore a demand from a lovely lady?” he said silkily.

“Believe me, you should ignore it.” Her voice was as uncertain as her attempt to escape.

“Chivalry forbids.” His lips twitched with the humor that never failed to transfix her. She was so utterly brainless when it came to Ranelaw. He turned her common sense to sawdust. Before she could summon a crushing retort, his touch softened to seduction and a calculating light entered his eyes.

Run, Antonia, run…

Her feet didn’t heed her mind’s panicked message. Instead she waited in tremulous silence for his mouth to claim hers.

At the touch of his lips, she made a muffled sound in her throat. She clenched her hands in his coat, ready to push him away. Until he began to ravish her mouth and her knees turned to water. The salty, spicy taste of Ranelaw flooded her senses.

Briefly everything but pleasure receded. With a sigh, she sagged into his arms. Impossibly she felt him hesitate, as though her abrupt surrender disconcerted him. Before she could take advantage of the fleeting reprieve, his mouth moved in unmistakable demand. Everything dissolved into heat.

Antonia shut her eyes and drowned in hot, black delight. Deep in the recesses of her mind, she admitted this was what she wanted from him. Had always wanted. It was wrong, but his kiss made her feel more alive than anything else in the past ten years.

Midnight's Wild Passion was released in the US in April and in Australia and New Zealand at the beginning of this month. To be in the draw to win a copy signed by Anna (wearing the sunnies in the photo to the left), answer the following question:

The Marquess of Ranelaw is undoubtedly a classic Regency rake and I think it’s pretty clear he’s met his Waterloo in Antonia. Why do you think Regency rakes are so endlessly popular with readers?

Come back next Sunday, when the winner of today's giveaway will be announced -- and a smooch from The Man Behind the Badge by Sharon Archer (wearing the hat in the photo) will be posted!


  1. Welcome back to the LoveCats, Anna -- so lovely to have you visit us again!

    I absolutely LOVE this kiss -- especially the bit where she tells him he could do better. Brilliant! Just what every rake needs to hear. Does wonders for the male ego...

  2. Whoo Hoo what a kiss I really can't wait to read this book I am soo looking forward to it.

    As for why we think Regency Rakes are so popular for me it is everything about them the way they think they can do what they please but they are still mostly honourable but they are always undone by a great heroine but still remain strong. Love them.

    Thank you all so much for my prize I have sent an email and look forward to reading Hunter's Surrender

    Have Fun

  3. Em, thanks so much for having me as your guest! This is becoming my home away from home! Yeah, I loved writing those snarky exchanges between Antonia and Ranelaw - they were fun to do!

  4. Hey, Helen, saw you won last week. Lucky you! Yeah, I think you're right about the rake - they're the perfect romance hero, aren't they? And then when they fall in love, they've got all those wonderful skills to devote to the heroine. Lucky heroine! Snort!

  5. O.o love that kiss i cant wait to read it when it arrives. and this little excerpt made me cant wait that much more. oh what a kiss and it builds the imagination and i can so see it in my mind.

  6. Oh this is one fabulous kiss, makes you stop and think doesn't it? Just found this site through facebook.

  7. I am relatively new to the world of regency rakes ( I am a contemp girl usually) but I must say from the little I have read what is appealing to me is how they are devilishly handsome, strong and powerful and just a little bit wicked. It’s a winning combination in my and many actual authors books :)

  8. Hey, great, Lindsey. Book should be with you pronto! Thanks for saying you enjoyed reading the kiss - it's always one of my favourite bits to write.

  9. Hey, thanks for swinging by, Virginia! So glad you enjoyed the kiss!!!!

  10. Snort, Nikki. I think that about covers it - especially the little bit wicked!!! Thanks for swinging by!

  11. OH New Author to me.... Love finding new authors.. Thanks to Lindsey H for pointing this out to me...
    Love a good kiss...

    Thanks for sharing with me...

    Kelly M

  12. Hey, Kelly, lovely to meet you! So glad you swung by - yeah, (snicker) I love a good kiss too!

    Thanks, Lindsey!

  13. Anna, so lovely to see you again! And, yes, this is becoming your home away from home - we couldn't be more delighted about that. :)

    You know, your heroes always have the best names. Ranelaw. Fabulous! Vale, Kylemore, Sheene. Do you sometimes make them up, or do you research names?

  14. Hi Anna,

    Loved the and tantalising. Lol!

  15. Hi Anna, Great meeting you here :) !

    Ooh! what a hot kiss ::fans self::

    Regency rakes I think are equivalent of modern day playboys ;) It is really fascinating to see the woman who brings them to their knees ;) and the sparks that fly..

    judimello AT gmaill DOT com

  16. Rachel, I LOVE naming everybody as you've probably guessed. Sometimes they come out of research, sometimes they come out of suburbs of big British cities when I'm watching UK property shows like Location, Location, Location. Ranelaw is actually a variation on Ranelagh Gardens which was a rival to the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens in the late 18th century/early 19th century in London. Struck me as a good name for a hero!

  17. Thanks, Nas! Glad you (and Antonia!) enjoyed it! ;-)

  18. Ju, don't we just love watching the rake/playboy being brough to his knees when he falls in love. Sigh. Works for me every time. Thanks so much for swinging by - glad the kiss helped to warm you up. A bit cold where I am today - I definitely need warming up!

  19. Oh, Anna, what a sigh-worthy kiss! Can't wait to get my mitts on Midnight's Wild Passion. Yuuuummmmm!!!!!!

    Ah, the appeal of a rake... you know, they always have a sense of humour. I think that's what does it for me.

    Lovely to have you hanging out at the LoveCats again, Anna. :-)

  20. Oh Anna, I seriously can't wait to read this book. That was a great kiss makes me want to read the book all that much more. I want more of Ranelaw!!

  21. Actually, Michelle, I think you're right about the sense of humour. Ranelaw knows he's a rotter at the start but he has such a sardonic view of life, you (well, ME!) kinda forgive him for his badness. Especially when he starts redeeming himself pretty fast too! Glad you loved the kiss!

  22. Anna - that was simply delish!!!!
    Thanks for dropping into lovecats and sharing your characters kiss =)
    Oh oh I'm a poet and I didn't even know it!

  23. Ooh, Mel, you liked it? I know you're such a connoisseur! Thanks for having me as your guest today.

  24. Oooh, who wants to run from that? ;)

    Rakes are fun! And we give an extra cheer when the right woman comes along to reform them. :D

  25. Anna! Rakes are wonderful - all that badness begging for a good woman to reform it! And your Nicholas is an especially delicious rake! I love Nicholas and Antonia's story! Your winner is in for a fabulous read!

    It's fantastic to see you here at the LoveCats again!


  26. Anna, that's one terrific kiss. I love the fact she demands better from him...and gets it! Wonderful book. I think this is one of your best to date!

  27. Smooches to Anna and the LoveCats!

    Oooh, I loved that scene. In fact, I loved lots of scenes in MWP and I agree with Annie who said this book is one of your best.

    Why are rakes so appealing? I think it's because when they're bad, they're very, very bad, but when they're good, they're very, very good. ;)

  28. Hi Anna and Sharon, I've just finished reading MIDNIGHT'S WILD PASSION and this excerpt reminded me of how much I liked it. Antonia is a strong and feisty heroine and gives as good as she gets. And while Ranelaw starts off as a reprehensible rake he starts to unravel almost as soon as he meets his match in Antonia.
    I echo Annie in saying this is one of your best books Anna!

  29. Helen congrats on your win. Smooches when done well can be so much fun for vicarious entertainment. And this one is fantastic. Your writing is always escapist, sensational and a little vacation from my frantic life. Keep up the good work.

  30. Anna,love that kiss! Helen congrats on the win!! As always Anna, your excerpt sucked me in and held me captive. I look forward to reading the book!

  31. Oh, I've loved all of Anna's books. This one sounds like another wonderful read. Fantastic excerpt! How could you not fall in love with her Regency rakes! And aren't the covers of her books just gorgeous!


  32. Oh yeah! That's a great way to warm up a cool spring day. I'm really looking forward to reading this book Anna.

  33. Yeah, Julie, it's when the right woman comes along that we start cheering, isn't it? I 100% agree. Glad you enjoyed the kiss!

  34. Sharon, thank you for having me as your guest on the Love Cats! It's fun to talk smooches, isn't it? So glad you loved MIDNIGHT'S WILD PASSION!!!!

  35. Thanks so much, Annie! I had a lot of fun with the dialogue between Nicholas and Antonia!

  36. Snort, Vanessa. And perhaps when they're good, they're bad. And when they're bad, they're good! Love it! Thanks for saying how much you enjoyed MWP!

  37. Wow, thanks, Kandy! I'm so glad you loved Midnight's Wild Passion - as you know, I'm a huge fan of your lovely contemporary romances! Yeah, unravel about describes what happens to Ranelaw once he meets his match, doesn't it? Snort!

  38. Thanks so much, Jean! Yeah, I love being swept away into a wonderful new world with a great romance too!

  39. Thanks so much, Patti! So glad you enjoyed it!!! xxx

  40. Thanks so much, Catslady! I'm so glad you've loved all the books - happy reading with MWP! And I've been so lucky with the cover gods, haven't I? I think this one is just gorgeous.

  41. Thanks so much, Kaelee! Warming up a cool spring day? Works for me! We're heading into winter down here - I've noticed a definite zing in the air when I've got up for my early morning emails!

  42. This blog is adorable. And Anna, I love MWP. I agree, it's the absolute best! Congratulations.

  43. Thanks so much, Kimberley! So glad you enjoyed it!!!!