Friday, August 1, 2014

Betrayed by My Heart by Grace Burrowes



Every writer has strengths, aspects of her craft she has an instinct for and can rely on. I might have said at one time that I had a pretty good imagination for a story, that “Once upon a time” worked for me like Maurice Sendak’s “Let the wild rumpus start!”

Then I wrote the one about the duke’s heir marries his housekeeper, and the one about the widow next door (two of those), and a few secret babies, and the lord of the manor falls for the governess (two of those, too), and the ever popular tale about the bad boy with the heart of gold (several, in fact), and the one about the PTSD veteran (another double), and the one about the…
 
On Tuesday, my 29th romance title will hit the shelves, The Traitor, and I approached this book wondering if another governess might pop out of the woodwork, or a secret baby? A governess with a secret baby? Or maybe it was time I earned my amnesia or switched twin chops? Once upon a time…. What?

I never, ever considered my hero might be a guy caught in such awful circumstances, that though he’s an English lord by birth, he joins the French army rather than face the lethal conditions of captivity. Worse yet, because Sebastian St. Clair enjoyed a privileged boyhood in England, he knows exactly how to interrogate British officers for the most productive results. That he’s saving their lives so they can turn around and seek revenge from him is the only consolation Sebastian has.

WHAT am I supposed to do with a hero like that?

What I ended up doing is loving that guy to pieces. He pushed, pulled, dragged, and tricked me out of my comfort zone as an author (and set a really troublesome example for next month's hero in The Laird). Sebastian ended up with such a load of undeserved misery, I HAD to write him a happily ever after. I had to find him a heroine every bit as a beleaguered, fierce and heart sore as he is, and I had to write them a story worthy of their love, courage and honor.

The result is my favorite book so far, and I hope that trend continues. Sebastian and Milly got the best of me, in every sense, and I hope they capture a piece of every reader’s heart, too.

How does a hero or heroine capture your heart? To three commenters (international), I’ll send a signed copy of The Traitor. I'm traveling today, so I cannot respond to comments as much as I'd like to, but I'll read every single one, promise.

Read an excerpt or order your copy here.

70 comments:

  1. I love a hero who is loyal, honest and would do anything for his lady. He must be someone I can root for because if he's a jerk, I most certainly would not enjoy reading his story. I can't wait to read Sebastian and Milly's HEA!

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    1. Agree, Anita. He can have wounds, blind spots, be slow on the uptake, but not a jerk. Not even a little bit, unless he immediately feels AWFUL about.

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  2. My favorite type of hero is an honorable man. Someone who has suffered, learned a lesson or grown from a mistake or bad decision.
    St. Just is my favorite GB hero followed closely by Douglas and Christian. Am looking forward to the Traitor and the Laird to see what made these men make their decisions .

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    1. My Starfleet Directive is "Be kind, tell the truth." That leaves a lot of room for a hero to also be grouchy, backward, flawed, mistaken, and otherwise in need of a heroine's guiding influence, but he has to be just plain decent from the start.

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  3. This sounds like an amazing book, Grace. Cover is gorgeous; premise tantalizing and that Sebastian is YOUR favorite says it must be one awesome book.

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    1. Carolyn, the goddess smiled: For once in my writing life I got a plot twist. That almost never happens, but I think it's my reward for taking on Sebastian's situation. He needed faith in himself, I needed faith in him.

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  4. I love the wounded heart hero,the one who's loyal and falls hard( even though he doesn't think he deserves it) and would fight the devil himself for his lady!!

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    1. Oh yes, ye heroes! "BE THAT GUY." The heroines agree with you, Made4books!

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  5. I love the loyal, honest and determined hero. I want him to not give up and to fight for who and what he wants. I have to say that I loved Christian's book so much that I went on Amazon and preordered the next 2 books. I can't wait to see where Sebastian's story will go.

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    1. And there's Christian, bowing to Sebastian and Michael. "Think nothing of it, gents..." Dukes, you know. Gilly has her work cut out for her.

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  6. I love to see couples who truly love and respect each other. I like the traditional roles where the hero is strong but loving (and of course, sexy!). The heroine is almost always beautiful (for his handsome), and supports her man. My second choice would be the tortured or injured hero.

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    1. Betty, I'm OK with protagonists who aren't so physically beautiful, as long as, inside them lurk beautiful hearts. In fact, sometimes, I think the less outside glitter, the more most readers can relate to them.

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  7. This sounds like an awesome story! I love that you went somewhere new and made a hero out of someone who on the surface made a despicable choice. I can't wait to read it!

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    1. Sebastian starts the book in very deep doo-doo and he knows it. He accepts his fate, all stoic, handsome and hopeless. Milly straightens him out, though it takes most of the book.

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  8. Both hero and heroine capture my heart when they show their flaws. They're not perfect and despite this, or perhaps because of it, they still manage to overcome adversity and hopefully get their happily ever after.

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    1. Seema, for me, they'd better get their HEA or I want my money back! (And Sebastian and Milly do get their HEA, also a thriving lavender farm, and eventually Sebastian's grandfather's property in France comes to him as well.)

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  9. The character who captures my heart is one whose vulnerabilities show through their public persona mask. When a partner is able to see through to those vulnerabilities and build a strong, balanced relationship with the other character - I am a goner. My favorite couple is the Duke & Duchess of Moreland.

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    1. Mickey, Their Graces grew on me. I wasn't sure as I was writing The Heir, that His Grace would ever get out of the penalty box. I already knew him from Douglas and Gwen's book, and didn't think much of his arrogance. Then I realized the guy was dealing with a heart condition/anxiety he was so worried over the happiness of his children and his duchess.
      Oh.
      OH. Well, then... as the series went on, and as I wrote the novellas for Their Graces as younger parents, I really warmed up to them. A Duke and His Duchess clinched it for me. Percival a hero, though sometimes he can sound more like a duke.

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    2. I think that's what makes him so human - he really loves his family and can't seem to get past his dukeliness very often to show his real self. Those real self moments are what gets to me!

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  10. This sounds fantastic- can't wait to read it! I love an honest and loyal hero. He can be a little bit of a jerk, as long as he redeems himself, recognizing and changing his jerkiness. But he's gotta be a good guy deep down.

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    1. Mk, I like those moments where the hero's blathering on like a jerk, knows it, but just... can't... stop.... himself. Heroines can make a lot of hay with moments like that.

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  11. I've read and loved all your books. I love a wounded hero, whether it's physical, psychological, or a combination of the two. So far my favorite GB hero is Valentine from the Virtuoso.

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    1. He's a wonderful guy, and in a sense, his book was easy, because his apparent strength was so obvious--his music. So, how do you torture a hero? You knock his one strength out from under him.... poor guy. Thank goodness for Ellen, though, and a papa who understands all about being stubborn and proud.

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  12. This is your favorite so far? That says a lot to me. I must read it ASAP. A hero gets my heart when he is quietly kind to the heroine. But I do love scenes with kindness to children and animals too.

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    1. Keep an eye out for the donkey scene. That's when Milly begins to sit up and take notice, too. Sebastian treasures the devotion of a lame donkey...

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  13. Can't wait to read this one! My favorite type of hero is always a bit of a risk taker, but the most aw inducing hero is a tortured soul

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    1. Now you had to go and say that. Once again, His Grace the Insufferable Duke of Mercia is over by the window, running a hand over the lace of his jabot... Nitwit. We know about the scars, Your Grace, but we're talking about St. Clair's book, now. Geesh.

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  14. My favorite hero or heroines are the ones who make an egreous mistake and then choose to try to make the rest of their lives meaningful. They don't use their failure as an excuse to opt out of life.

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    1. Somewhere in my reading I came across the topic, "Post Traumatic Growth Syndrome." It's along the lines of "That which does not kill me makes, wiser, kinder, a better friend," and a lot of major illness survivors exhibit these characteristics. I absolutely agree with you that they can look great on a hero or heroine. Daniel Banks is this kinda guy, and that presents another kind of challenge for me: The hero is an adult. He's loved and lost, he's grown up, he's content, if lonely. Now I have to figure out where we go from there...
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Posttraumatic_growth

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  15. I think St Justt was the perfect hero. Born illegitimate, abandoned by his mother, never quite feeling that he bekonged. Add to that a retiring soldier, with PTSD, who has a big understanding heart. You have my idea of perfect.

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    1. So happens Col. Lord Perfect will show up in at least one of the books for the Windham cousins that I'll be working on next year. One of the young ladies is sent north for safekeeping when scandal threatens.... but there are bachelors even in the West Riding! OOPS.

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  16. The ones who slay me have suffered, often unfairly, but have fought through their hurts to find some dignity and peace. Then he finds a lady who can't be ignored, forcing himself to risk dignity, peace and heart.

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    1. You got hold of an ARC. I know it. Glad it fell into appreciative hands!

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  17. I love the tortured hero who has a past leaving him unable to trust - and the heroine who comes along and against the odds beaks through his barriers with her honesty, loyalty and determined love for him. Oh and if he ends up a doting father with a baby in his arms and a toddler by his side, then all the better! So excited to read Sebastian's story! Roll on Tuesday!

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    1. To me, how a hero or heroine relates to children, the elderly, the animals... that's good stuff. That's who you are when nobody with any power is watching you. I'm happy to say Sebastian dotes on his Auntie, goes out of his way for Milly's cat, and longs for children. So what if he's committed a little treason to stay alive in the middle of a twenty-year long war? Details...

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  18. I love a tortured hero especially on who is in crisis do to his own difficult choices.
    St. Just is still my favorite tortured hero. I am hopeful that Sebastian lives up to expectations.

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    1. Sue, if he doesn't, Milly will be UPSET with him, and Sebastian cannot abide it when Milly's upset (or when his Aunt Freddie is upset, or his lone minion Michael is upset). If it's traumatic to endure torture for the sake of your men and your country, imagine the stress on the other end, when you know what you're doing is wrong, though it's the only way to preserve the prisoner's life.... and your own.

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  19. Whatever you are doing, just keep doing it. I love your characters. None of them are perfect people but that just endears them to me more.

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    1. Thanks, Catslady! And you will love Milly's cat, Peter. I think he was among the poker gang I posted on FB not too long ago. BIG, black, long-haired and rumbly.

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  20. I like realism, vulnerability, honesty, intelligence, a sense of humor and growth potential in characters. I'm very interested to hear you say The Traitor is your favorite book, because I've loved so many of your books! Having read (and enjoyed) The Captive, I think you really have your work cut out for you in turning this character into a hero. I'm looking forward to reading the result.

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    1. I know I won't succeed in rehabilitating Sebastian for every reader (I still get email telling me Lord Valentine should have killed Freddie Markham), but I hope he'll work as a hero for most of us. Fingers crossed...

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  21. I absolutely love a hero who can accept that he has faults, and who loves everything about the heroine including hers. I especially love the men who are traditional (why I love historical romances, lol) and strong, and know how to treat a lady like a lady.

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  22. how they act and what they say

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

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  23. Perfect hero's to me are the ones with the cool demeanor and hide behind a mask of indifference. the ones who care quietly about those around them but always handle business in the calmest of ways, until they are brought to their knees by their hearts. the staunch quietly hurting man who hides that he feels until that special someone unlocks his heart and he is brought down to earth by his need to protect her or her loved ones... and for heroine... of course its the spunky little chit who doesn't fit in in society, the girl who would rather run barefoot with the boys or gallop sitting astride a horse vs sidesaddle. But covers up her insecurities by hiding in the shadows at parties, until she spots injustice, be it mocking little biddies being cruel or men besmirching honor or the man she loves she will rise to the occasion of championing the mistreated (even if she must stand on a stool) to get toe to toe and eye to eye with those who would dole out the injustice. at the same time she is the woman who unlocks the heart of the man all proper with such a calm demeanor and cool head with her carefree nature. and though she may need saving in the end she is the one who saves him.

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    1. oh and the hero also has a soft spot for children and animals but never likes being caught kissing his horse or snuggling a cat or cooing to a baby:)

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    2. Sounds like somebody has a story in her imagination that's clamoring for liberation on the page. Go for it, Kathalina...

      Across the parlor, the assassins were smiling over their tea cups, ready to murder an innocent's reputation with a comment, an innuendo, and a raised eyebrow. Madam Heroine excused herself from Melanie Dingbat's recitations regarding her inflamed toe, and charged into the lists. for Sir Pomeroy The Hero needed a champion, lest he be defeated in absentia in his very first skirmish on the battlefields of Polite Society...

      "He kisses divinely," Madam Heroine muttered when Ethelreda Bloomingbutt paused for breath.
      All heads turned, ready to accuse her of lying, of course.
      Except she wasn't....

      Over to you...

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  24. The most important thing for me is consistency. The hero needs to abide by the rules the author has created for him. Yes, he will change and grow, but his words, actions and choices have to be believable within the framework the author has created. It's super jarring when they do something 'out of character' ... Gareth is a great example of success in this field! He's a jerk to Felicity and only gradually changes his behaviour AFTER his feelings change. And he never loses his bad boy base. *swoon*

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    1. YES!!!! Gareth is my foundation hero, the guy who convinced me I could write a romance, and I think his arc is among the most impressive of all the heroes. He's ready to slip over the moral horizon.... almost. I loved seeing him happily ever aftering in Trenton's book, but still very much his bad self, too. And then he popped up in Ethan's book, a much needed supporter, but STILL himself.... Glad to know he has a fan!

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  25. I like a hero who has lived with darkness and needs a woman to show him how to open up, take risks, and live. Men like that deserve a happy ending after enduring so much. As for my heroines, I like a woman who is fiercely intelligent (in whatever form that takes since there are many) and who finds a man who loves that about her. I like to see her move from protecting herself from a world that demeans female intelligence to protecting the man she loves just as strongly. I also like heroes who have children and either love them to pieces or, as with Ethan, need a woman to show them how to love their kids openly. There is nothing like a child to show you what matters most in this world.

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    1. sumregina, that last line deserves to come out of a character's mouth: There's nothing like a child to show you what matters most in this world. Could be the anthem for my life, too. Thanks!

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  26. I like someone who has suffered and gone through changes. Someone who actually grew in spite of his/her sufferings. Not so good in real life but I like that in books. :)

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    1. And yet, I think it's also true life. The suffering doesn't have to be enormous, but I think the suffering that pushes us forward is the suffering that appears to have little meaning. The acne that befalls us the day before the prom. The professor who for no reason seems to hate everything we write. Moving past that stuff, learning to not get stuck in it, is a big part of reclaiming happiness and wholeness.

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  27. I love a strong alpha male character they are loyal, possessive and honorable.

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    1. Honorable is the big one, for me. He can be grouchy, charm-free, anti-social, broke, scarred, and suffer migraines and dyspepsia, but he must be honorable.

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  28. It makes a hero irresistible when they really accept other people for what they are, when they think of what will make the other person happy,

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    1. A tolerant nature ought to come from having been through the wringer a few times, I agree. I'm also smitten by characters who can find that one, special, heartstopping gift--I don't have this talent. When Lady Eve saw her old mare the morning after her wedding... spot on, your lordship. Big points with me for that one gesture.

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  29. A hero will capture my heart when he loves his family and friends and even strangers and is honest and loyal to them. If there is a child in the book it always melts my heart when the hero is good with kids. It also helps for the hero to have a sense of humor but not one that he uses to make fun of others. Someone who isn't perfect and knows it.
    As for the heroine, my heart goes out to heroines who have had a difficult past or upbringing. Maybe they feel unlovable or unworthy. I love it when they finally realize that they too deserve love.

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    1. I also like a hero with whom the kids are good. Maybe he's awkward and gruff, or uses words that are too big, or has no sense of fun, but if the children in the book sense that he's reliable, honest, and a faultless source of protection, then I'll cut him a lot of slack in other departments. Same with animals. Whom the cat approves of, I will approve of.

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  30. I love a hero who really loves the heroine and shows it. I know it seems pretty basic for a romance novel, but so many times the fall-in-love part of a romance is so sudden or not seen through the hero's POV, so it doesn't quite seem credible. Grace's heroes are always believably and deliciously loving and are wonderful with it.

    cayenne-9t1 AT hotmail DOT com

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    1. Thanks, Kimberley. I also lose patience with the, "You fiend/kiss me." and "You scheming baggage/I have to kiss you" chemistry. We're not in fourth grade, where bonking somebody over the head with your lunch pail means "I like you, sorta."

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  31. A hero or heroine captures my heart when they persevere through adversity and manage to find the good in life despite what they've gone through.

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  32. They capture my heart when they overcome. When they make it through the darkness into the light. When they allow themselves the comfort of love.

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  33. I love the heros who persevere despite their wounds -- even if it takes them years to work past them (Ethan and St Just for example). They also are loyal and honest and willing to do anything for those they love.

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    1. You ladies have a theme going, of determination and perseverance. I think that sense, of never giving up, and being REWARDED for never giving up, is why a lot of us read romance. Virtue should be rewarded, in books if not always (that we know) in life.

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  34. If the heroes and heroines are relatable and I feel like we can be friends in real life. I love when the heroes does whatever it to win his lady`s hand, even showing his vulnerable side even if he might be an alpha type of guy.

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    1. When I judge contests, I'm forever exhorting aspiring authors. "You want me to stick with this guy/gal for 400 pages, give me a reason VERY EARLY in the book to like them! Don't expect I'll slog through forty pages of backstory to connect with the characters..." Some readers won't even slog through four pages, it's THAT important that the protags be worth their regard.

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  35. Well written heroes and heroines who appear realistic for the time period in question and jump off the page. When I wouldn't mind going to a dinner party to meet them I know it's a winner! Unusual scenarios, like that in The Traitor also appeal.

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    1. You raise an interesting point: When I'm writing a book, the characters are living in my house, riding around with me in my truck, loitering outside the courtroom at the day job. They have to have some likeable, positive qualities or I can't be around them enough to do a good job with their stories. They have to be "good room mates."

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  36. Thanks to everybody who stopped by and/or commented. I can haz my winners: bn100, Kimberley (cayenne), and sumregina. All I need are snail mail addresses and to whom you'd like the books signed. You can pass that information along at graceburrowes@yahoo.com.

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  37. I'm such a sucker for all these wonderful heroes that you write about. They capture my heart by their protective nature, loyalty, and gentleness, just to name a few. But what I love the most is how they love, completely and utterly and so very passionately.

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