Virtual Tour w/Giveaway: The Duke of Daring by Darcy Burke

Love is the one risk he doesn’t have the heart to dare.

The Untouchables #2
Darcy Burke
Releasing July 5th, 2016

Miss Lucinda Parnell is out of money. A dismal failure at the Marriage Mart, she’d just as soon leave Society far behind. Desperate to earn funds to retire with her grandmother to the country, Lucy disguises herself as a man to gamble in London’s hells. But the Earl of Dartford, an Untouchable she never imagined speaking to let alone spending time with, is onto her in a trice. When he insists on acting as her protector, Lucy fears her chance to remain an independent woman is destined to go up in flames.

After losing his entire family, Andrew Wentworth, Earl of Dartford built a wall to keep attachments at bay. He believed he could keep Miss Parnell safe without compromising his defenses, but she’s exciting and irresistible. Their deepening relationship makes him even more determined to push her away. Nothing will stop him from trying to avoid reliving the anguish of loss. Love is the one risk he doesn’t have the heart to dare.

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“Yes, let’s be direct with one another, shall we?”
Lucy blinked at him. “I am always direct.”
“Unless you’re trying to fool people into thinking you’re a man.” His sarcasm was simultaneously annoying and charming.
“Yes, that. A necessary transgression, I’m sure you agree.”
His brow arched. “I hardly think you care whether I agree.”
He had her there. She grinned. “Maybe a little. I mean, I do care. A little.” She’d come to like Dartford during their brief acquaintance, in spite of his moments of arrogance and imperiousness. She looked forward to another adventure or two with him. “You have my word that I won’t venture out without your assistance. Shall we set our next appointment?”
His eyes widened briefly. He seemed a bit surprised at the ease with which she’d agreed. “Excellent. Tell me when, and I’ll meet you as I did tonight.”
“Four nights hence, at half past eleven.”
The hackney drew to a halt on Bolton Street, but not in front of her house. They stepped out of the cab, and Dartford paid the coachman.
With her house in sight, weariness seeped into Lucy’s frame. She longed to pluck all the padding from her body and scrub her face clean after discarding the fake sideburns.
Dartford walked with her toward the house. “What would your grandmother say if she knew you were doing this?”
Lucy suffered a pang of guilt. “She’d be horrified.”
“What does she think you’re going to do once she retires?”
They’d reached her house. Lucy stopped and turned toward him. “She expects me to marry.”
“And is that a possibility?” he asked. Shadows played across his face, but she could see his eyes clearly. They were dark, intelligent, often filled with humor. His cheekbones gave definition, while his chin, square with a slight cleft, provided character. He bore an appealing countenance. No, that wasn’t at all fair. He was exceptionally handsome. And an earl. Precisely the kind of man her grandmother had hoped she would marry but who’d consistently ignored her the past five years. An Untouchable.
She tamped down a scowl, suddenly annoyed anew at her predicament, which was silly since she’d abandoned the idea of marriage. A choice she didn’t regret in the slightest.
She gestured to her costume and the sideburns stuck to her face, currently making her itch. “Would I be doing this if it were?”
He shrugged. “Perhaps it is possible, but you don’t wish to marry, so you choose this instead.”
That actually summed up her current attitude quite accurately. She would choose this over marriage. “As it happens, Idon’t wish to marry.”
“Indeed?” He cocked his head to the side. “How surprising. We are alike, then, because I don’t wish to marry either. Some distant cousin will need to inherit the title.”
She wanted to ask why but didn’t. That would encourage him to ask her the same, and she had no intention of explaining that to him. Besides, it was best if they didn’t become too…close. This was a necessary partnership, but they weren’t going to be lifelong friends.
“Are those comfortable?” He reached out with his fingertips and brushed the sideburn glued along her right jawline.
She ignored the frisson of delight that sparked down her neck. “Not particularly. In fact, I’d like a few days to recover from wearing them.”
“I should like to see you without them.” His dark gaze penetrated through her carefully constructed wall, and his deep voice shot straight into her chest, stirring the inconvenient attraction she felt toward him.
Her breath caught. “I doubt you ever will.”
His mouth ticked up in a half smile. “Don’t tease me. Please. Not when I’ve been so helpful. Think of all you won tonight.”
All she’d won. It wasn’t just the money. Not to her. She’d won respect with her shooting, even if she couldn’t tell them she was a woman.
She took a step back, determined to put space between herself and this suddenly dangerous man. “I appreciate your help, but I won’t share credit for my winnings. They are mine alone.”
He gave a slight bow. “My apologies,” he murmured.
“I’ll see you in a few days.” She turned from him.
“Not if I see you first,” he said.

Q & A with Darcy Burke

What books/authors have influenced your writing?
Kathleen Woodiwiss was definitely the first. I've read so many of her books over and over again. I love Judith McNaught--Almost Heaven is my favorite of hers. Current authors who have influenced me include Elizabeth Hoyt, Tessa Dare, and Lisa Kleypas.

Your favorite book by you or another author?
Love Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas, but it's really hard to pick just one favorite!

What’s you next project?
I'm currently working on the first novel in my contemporary Ribbon Ridge offshoot series, Love on the Vine. SO GOOD will be out in late August. Then I'll be working on the next book in The Untouchables. I'm excited to write about Aquilla and THE DUKE OF DECEPTION (yes, that's the title!).

Have you ever had one character you wanted to go one way with but after the book was done the character was totally different.
Yes, actually. The heroine in THE FORBIDDEN DUKE didn't go the way I'd originally intended. I'd plotted that she would pursue the duke, but she didn't want to do that, lol. I'm happy with how it turned out though!

Share a funny incident in your life.
This is a funny/embarrassing story that's writing-related. At my first RWA (Romance Writers of America) Conference, I signed up to pitch an agent and an editor. As I waited for my appointment, I stood at the back of the room with others who were waiting. I felt something on the top of my foot (I was wearing sandals) and looked down. To my horror, a giant cockroach was sitting on top of my foot! Clearly I had no choice but to shriek and dance around like an idiot, drawing the attention of a good portion of the room. Luckily, the editor I pitched (the late, great Kate Duffy at Kensington) was none the wiser. Fun times for a newbie writer, lol!

Who was your favorite hero/heroine that you have written about?
No lie, I just adore Lucy and Andrew in THE DUKE OF DARING. They're both such warm, fiercely independent, and passionate people. They were such fun to write. In my contemporary series, I really love Evan Archer and Alaina Pierce. She's a mega famous movie star and he's a hometown boy with Asperger's. Their love story is really special to me.

Clean shaven, Scruff, beard, or mustache.
Clean shaven! But I love the look of scruff. :)

Darcy Burke is the USA Today bestselling author of hot, action-packed historical and sexy, emotional contemporary romance. Darcy wrote her first book at age 11, a happily-ever-after about a swan addicted to magic and the female swan who loved him, with exceedingly poor illustrations.

A native Oregonian, Darcy lives on the edge of wine country with her guitar-strumming husband, their two hilarious kids-who each seem to have inherited the writing gene in some form-and two Bengal cats. In her "spare" time Darcy is a serial volunteer enrolled in a 12-step program where one learns to say "no," but she keeps having to start over. Her happy places are Disneyland and Labor Day weekend at the Gorge.

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