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Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues Anthology Edited by Christina Boyd - Blog Tour and Giveaway

Book cover: Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues by various authorsThe blog tour for Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues stops by here today. This is an anthology focusing on the 'bad boys' in Austen's works rather than her heroes, written by some fantastic authors: Karen M Cox, J Marie Croft, Amy D'Orazio, Jenetta James, Lona Manning, Christina Morland, Beau North, Kate Oliver, Sophia Rose, Joana Starnes and Brooke West, brought together by editor Christina Boyd. The tour joins us for a closer look at one of the stories in the book, written by Joana Starnes, who is one of my favourite Austenesque authors. Joana's story focuses on the breaker of Marianne Dashwood's heart, John Willoughby. I have an excerpt of this story to share with you. Also, if you've been following the blog tour you will know that there are two fantastic prizes up for grabs, details of which are below. Let's read the blurb first:

Book Description:

One has all the goodness, and the other all the appearance of it.” —Jane Austen

Jane Austen’s masterpieces are littered with unsuitable gentlemen—Willoughby, Wickham, Churchill, Crawford, Tilney, Elliot, et al.—adding color and depth to her plots but often barely sketched. Have you never wondered about the pasts of her rakes, rattles, and gentlemen rogues? Surely, there's more than one side to their stories.

It is a universal truth, we are captivated by smoldering looks, daring charms ... a happy-go-lucky, cool confidence. All the while, our loyal confidants are shouting on deaf ears: “He is a cad—a brute—all wrong!” But is that not how tender hearts are broken...by loving the undeserving? How did they become the men Jane Austen created? In this romance anthology, eleven Austenesque authors expose the histories of Austen’s anti-heroes.

Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues is a titillating collection of Georgian era short stories—a backstory or parallel tale off-stage of canon—whilst remaining steadfast to the characters we recognize in Austen’s great works.

What say you? Everyone may be attracted to a bad boy…even temporarily...but heaven help us if we marry one.

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Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen's Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues is available to buy now - Amazon US / Amazon UK. It's at a reduced price while the blog tour is on, so if you want it at a reduced price snaffle it up now!

You can also add it to your shelves on Goodreads or listen to the Spotify list.

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Excerpt from Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues - “Willoughby’s Crossroads” by Joana Starnes


Willoughby's Crossroads by Joana Starnes - from Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen's Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues
The knocker, a pretentious urn, falls repeatedly and loudly into place as I employ it with uncommon force but to no avail. There is still no answer. I knock again. No gentlemanly tap-tap-tap, but the sustained pounding of the bailiff come to collect his dues. And, just like the aforementioned bailiff, I am not above bringing the door down, if it comes to that.

It does not, which is just as well. I might have needed more than my roiling anger to prevail over the solid oak and should have brought the bailiff’s men as well. The door swings on its hinges revealing Tom, the second footman, and behind him the butler, fixing me with a censorious stare.

“Mr. Willoughby, sir,” the butler drawls. “Begging your pardon, but her ladyship is not receiving at such an early hour.”

On a different day, I might have laughed at his shameless hypocrisy, to stand there and deliver such words with a blank face. As though he had not admitted me to her presence at far less sociable hours.

I do not laugh. Instead, I grind a warning through my teeth:

“Stand aside, Higgins,” I growl. “I will not be trifled with today. Where is she?”

Neither man answers, but Tom—younger and less versed in the base arts—flashes a glance towards the marble staircase. I neither request nor need further clarification and I push past the servants, disdaining to acknowledge the butler’s cries of protest as I take to the stairs at a run.

I know my way of course, and all too well at that. Her townhouse and country residence are as familiar to me as my own home. Or rather as the seat of my ancestors, for no one in their right mind would regard that sad and mouldering old pile, Coombe Magna, as a home.

It had been very far from welcoming, even when my mother was alive. My “saintly mother” as my sire would invariably refer to her, and with the same inflection, both before and after her passing. I never asked him why. Speaking to him was something I have always been as eager to avoid as spending too many nights under his roof. Just about anybody’s company was preferable. But this is neither here nor there. As a rule, I never ponder on Coombe Magna, my boyhood, my departed mother, or the late John Oglivie Willoughby. At this point in time, I could not give a damn at all, and likewise for philosophising. What I seek—nay, demand—is a direct answer to a simple question: Is it true, the report?

My opportunity to demand the answer comes sooner than expected. I imagined I would find her in the morning room or still at breakfast. Finding her reclining on a chaise longue, in her bedchamber, has me speechless. This vexes me quite as much as her languorous pose, doubtlessly assumed for the occasion, for she could not claim that my tempestuous entrance had surprised her from her rest; the din I caused to gain admittance could have roused the dead.

She rearranges the lace of her dressing gown with slow deliberation, which cannot fail to provoke me all the more, as does the casual greeting, delivered without looking up.

“John. This is a surprise.”

“Is it? Did you not imagine I would come as soon as Lady Susan told me of your engagement?”

“Ah,” she says. Just that and nothing more.

And then, she does raise her head and look at me. I blink, staggered to discover my anger mellowing and melting. Struth! Is that all it takes? A mere glance to tame me? Love’s fool, Captain Tilney called me not long ago, and I grinned and shrugged, dismissing it as envy. Perhaps the man had the right of it after all. Love’s fool. Perhaps I am.

Still tongue-tied, I simply stand there, watching her, and she holds my gaze without blinking. And also without guile. There is none, and no shifty dissimulation either, in those hazel eyes. No change. No artifice. The report is false. It must be.

I find myself on one knee beside her. How did I get there? I could not care less. The question I stormed in here to demand an answer to comes out in a whisper:

“It is a falsehood, Isobel, is it not?”

She runs her fingers through my hair and smiles like a cat.

“Oh, John! My tempestuous, dear boy.”

Book cover: Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen's Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues
The caress irritates me—I never was one for having my hair stroked—and the tone and appellation vexes me even more. Her dear boy! There was I thinking I was nobody’s “boy” but my own man, even before the late Willoughby’s passing. And she can drop the matronly act, too. She is not that much older. Six years, seven maybe. I never asked, of course. What gentleman would, and what did it matter?

What mattered now was her reply. I toss my head back, away from the caress, and press my point.

“Is it a falsehood?”

“Of course not. When has Lady Susan ever spoken an untruth?”

Her misplaced archness revives my forgotten fury. She jests. My world has just collapsed around me—and she jests!

I know not what I am about to say, too many words are fighting to come out at once, and before any of them do, she speaks, and her countenance sobers.

“Yes, John, I am to marry Camborne. He asked and I accepted.”

Why?”

She shrugs.

“Why not? His title and estate have much to recommend him. He is worth well-nigh thirty a year, I am told.”

“He is a dithering, old fool in his late forties.”

She laughs again.

“Oh, for the charm of youth that finds late forties old! What would you say if I told you the marquess is, in fact, nearing his sixtieth autumn?”

“Oh, plenty!” I snap back. “To begin with, I would ask you to cease speaking of my charming youth with the vexing condescension of a matron. And then I would ask if you had lost your mind. Sixty? Good Lord in Heaven! Did you not say that you loathed your first marriage of convenience? What madness would prompt you to enter into a second one?”

“I loathed Heston and my marriage to him because he was a miserly, little man, and I should have known better than to accept him simply to please my father. This time, I only seek to please myself. Frankly, I think I did rather well. Camborne is liberal, wealthy, and oh-so-easily guided. As for his age, if anything, I find it highly recommends him. The settlement is exceedingly handsome.

Incomparably better than Heston’s pitiful provisions. The little that Heston left is nearly gone already. Camborne’s settlement is a wholly different matter. I think I shall enjoy being the dowager marchioness rather well…”

I stare aghast as she calmly speaks of a better-placed second widowhood before she has even wed her second husband. Who is this cold and calculated harpy? I knew she had resented her first husband and blamed her first marriage on her youthful inexperience and her parents’ persuasion. But to sell herself thus for the second time to a higher bidder–and what for?

Granted, one cannot live on air. I know that all too well. My late sire left behind a dark, old pile, staggering debts, and very little else. Yet, I would not contemplate selling my favours like a common trollop or else I would have offered for the waspish and insipid Miss Grey a twelvemonth ago! The very thought that Isobel is more than contemplating it—that she has already consented to sell herself to Camborne after all we shared—sends my blood boiling.

“But what about the interim?” I ask with a cold sneer. “How will you enjoy taking him to your bed, until he obliges you by dying?”

To my utter shock her bare arms wind around my neck, and she kisses me. Not one kiss but a dozen, breathless and burning. She draws me to her, lies back on the chaise longue, and I follow. I ask no further questions—who the devil would feel inclined to talk just now? Of anything at all, much less Camborne?

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Biography

Author Joana Starnes
JOANA STARNES lives in the south of England with her family. Over the years, she has swapped several hats—physician, lecturer, clinical data analyst—but feels most comfortable in a bonnet. She has been living in Georgian England for decades in her imagination and plans to continue in that vein till she lays hands on a time machine. She is one of the contributors to The Darcy Monologues anthology, and the author of seven Austen-inspired novels: From This Day Forward—The Darcys of Pemberley, The Subsequent Proposal, The Second Chance, The Falmouth Connection, The Unthinkable Triangle, Miss Darcy’s Companion and Mr Bennet’s Dutiful Daughter. You can connect with Joana through her website www.joanastarnes.co.uk and on Facebook via her timeline and her author page, All Roads Lead to Pemberley.


Giveway Time!

There are two amazing prizes up for grabs so its well worth entering. Enter the giveaway for Grand Prize 1 by using the rafflecopter, and enter to win Grand Prize 2 by commenting on the blog tour stops. A list of stops is at the bottom of this post so follow the tour and comment to increase your chances of winning.

Giveaway from Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen's Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues
Grand Prize #1.

Enter Rafflecopter to win fifteen books from the anthology authors! One winner. Fifteen books! Contest ends midnight, December 30, 2017. One “Grand Prize #1 winner” will be announced January 2, 2018.


Giveaway from Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen's Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues
Grand Prize #2.

Follow our “Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s #RakesAndGentlemenRogues” Blog Tour and comment on each stop to be eligible for #RakesAndGentlemenRogues Pleasures prize pack:

  • ‘Pride & Prejudice’ Print, autographed by Colin Firth & Jennifer Ehle; 
  • Bingley’s Teas (Willoughby & The Colonel);
  • Jane Austen playing cards; 
  • set of 6 Austen postcards; and 
  • ‘The Compleat Housewife’ notecards set. 


(All guest comments will be entered in drawing to win. Comment at each site to increase your odds.) Contest ends midnight, December 30, 2017. One “Grand Prize #2 winner” will be announced January 2, 2018.



Blog Tour Schedule:

THE #RakesAndGentlemenRogues BLOG TOUR
πŸ’—Monday, November 6: REVIEW: Margie's Must Reads
πŸ’—Thursday, November 9: REVIEW, Obsessed with Mr. Darcy 
πŸ’—Monday, November 13: REVIEW, Austenesque Reviews
πŸ’—Tuesday, November 14: REVIEW, Olga of ROSIE AMBER team
πŸ’—Wednesday, November 15: (release day) REVIEW, Just Jane1813
πŸ’—Thursday, November 16: REVIEW, Diary of an Eccentric  
🎩Monday, November 20: FEATURE w/Katie Oliver (George Wickham), From Pemberley to Milton
🎩Wednesday, November 22: FEATURE w/Joana Starnes (Willoughby), Babblings of a Bookworm
🎩Friday, November 24: FEATURE w/Sophia Rose, (General Tilney), Herding Cats & Burning Soup
🎩Monday, November 27: FEATURE w/Amy D'Orazio (Captain Tilney), My Jane Austen Book Club
🎩Wednesday, November 29: FEATURE w/Brooke West (Henry Crawford), VVB32 Reads
🎩Thursday, November 30: FEATURE w/Lona Manning (Tom Bertram), Lit 4 Ladies
πŸ’—Friday, December 1: REVIEW, Lit 4 Ladies
🎩Monday, December 4: FEATURE w/Beau North  (Colonel Fitzwilliam), Obsessed with Mr. Darcy
🎩Thursday, December 7: FEATURE w/J. Marie Croft (John Thorpe), Harry Rodell blog/ROSIE AMBER team
πŸ’—Friday, December 8: REVIEW, From Pemberley to Milton 
🎩Monday, December 11: FEATURE w/Jenetta James Hannah McSorley (William Elliot), Austenesque Reviews 
🎩Thursday, December 14: FEATURE w/Karen M Cox (Frank Churchill), Darcyholic Diversions
🎩Monday, December 17: FEATURE w/Christina Morland (Sir Walter Elliot), Of Pens & Pages

50 comments:

  1. Really enjoyed this excerpt!! Will she go through with the marriage? Love to find out :)

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    1. So glad to hear that, Jo's Daughter! Hope you'll like the rest too. Best of luck in the giveaway and thanks for stopping by today to read the excerpt.

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    2. It is a lovely taste of Joana's story. Joana opens the anthology as the collection follows Jane Austen's novels publication date and she certainly sets the tone. Thanks for stopping in. Hope you add this to your must read list!

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    3. Thanks again for making DTK happen, Christina. Wonderful to be part of your dream-team!

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    4. I reckon she does, leaving Willoughby free to break more hearts.

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  2. I love to love a rake. Thank you for the great excerpt.

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    1. My thoughts exactly, Mary. We've got to love 'em - just not marry one, like Christina said :D

      So glad you liked the excerpt. Thanks for reading and commenting and best of luck in the giveaway!

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    2. Mary, I think Joana does a remarkable job giving us back story to Willoughby and seeing him in a amongst his own people. Can't wait to hear what you think of the whole collection. Thanks!

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    3. I have always been a bit wary of rakes, both in real life and in fiction :)

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  3. Thanks ever so much for hosting 'Dangerous to Know' and Willoughby today, Ceri, you're ever so kind! Sending lots of hugs, and I wish they weren't virtual :) xx

    Joana

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    1. Thank you Joana. I hope we can meet up sometime in 2018. I'd love to meet you!

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  4. Thank you, Ceri. I truly appreciate you hosting today's author feature and excerpt. I hope you can escape a moment or two and away with some of Austen's lesser known antagonists. All our best to you.

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    1. Thank you so much Christina. I am looking forward to meeting all your rakes.

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  5. Lovely excerpt - I'm in the middle of this story now, and wow! That Isobel! I can't wait to see how this pans out :)

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    1. Thanks, Karen, so glad you're enjoying it. 'An Honest Man' was amazing!!! Jaw-dropping moment after another, SO many things I didn't see coming. Wonderful read!

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    2. Glad you enjoyed it Karen!

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  6. A devilishly delightful excerpt!!

    Enjoyed this snapshot of Willoughby...
    yes,it's a guilty pleasure liking a bad boy!😊

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    1. A guilty pleasure indeed :) Wonderful to hear you liked the excerpt, Mary. Thanks, much appreciated!

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    2. Am glad you are enjoying the excerpts and blog tour! Thank you!!!

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    3. Glad you enjoyed meeting Willoughby!

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  7. What an opening story this was! I also liked the cross-over of characters from Jane's other books! Then the name you used for one of the chaperones was interesting touch! Loved it!

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    1. I agree. Joana has proven to us she can write even outside of her Darcy & Elizabeth expertise! Surprised herself I think. I, of course, knew all along she is capable of much ;) ;)

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    2. I liked the characters from other books too, Carole, and it gives us a hint of the company Mr Willoughby is in, Lady Susan is not the best influence!

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  8. I couldn't resist the temptation to drag Darcy into it, Carole, even if just a little bit :) Thanks so much, I'm so glad you liked it!

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  9. Oh man, I just loved this story. That excerpt reminded me of why. :)

    Thanks so much for hosting our tour, Ceri! :)

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    1. So happy you liked the excerpt and the story, Sophia Rose, and thanks so much for making me fall in love with General Tilney. What a moving story that was!

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    2. I was glad to join in Sophia!

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    1. Best of luck in the giveaway, and thanks for taking part!

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    2. Thanks! I kinda like it myself;)

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    3. The prizes are amazing aren't they!

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  11. Lovely anthology. Happy Thanksgiving to those celebrating today.

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    1. Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, Sheila! So glad you liked the anthology. I loved being part of Christina's dream-team for the Rogues too. Amazing team, and writing a rogue was such fun!

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    2. And Happy Thanksgiving to you!

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    3. Yes, I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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  12. Joana, dear lady, you know we all absolutely adore you. OMG!! This work was amazing. Of course I loved your part... you are so creative and I like that about you. Christina did a marvelous job with the editing and I hope this book blows the socks off the literary world with its success.

    I already have a copy of the book so no worries there. Christina, thanks for adjusting the Rafflecopter for those of us that don't Tweet or Face... many thanks.

    Since I am in a country that celebrates Thanksgiving... a time where we take a day to reflect and be thankful, I want to say I am thankful for the JAFF community. That includes the bloggers, GoodReads, and of course our JAFF authors. Thank you for bring joy into my life. Have a blessed holiday season in the manner in which you celebrate and have a great rest of the year.

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    1. Thank YOU, Jeanne, for your wonderful words and your suport, you're EVER so kind!! Christina moved heaven and earth to make the Rogues happen, and what a beautiful labour of love it is! Looks gorgeous, and OMG those gorgeous stories that ripped the rug from under my feet so many times.

      Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, with a really nice December to follow, and I'm ever so thankful that JAFF allowed me to know you and other lovely people like you. Take care and all the best!

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    2. Awwww, I am grateful for so much and my daily dose of connecting with other likeminded readers in the fandom is a blessing. Thank you both for your generous and kind words. I think this collection is beautiful from the cover to the layout to each story--says this very partial and biased fan!!

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    3. What wonderful wishes Jeanne!

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  13. I could use a little "bad boy" reading right now!

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    1. Hope you'll have fun with it soon, Eva, and thanks for stopping by to read the excerpt!

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    2. Ditto! And then I've been seeing #RakesAndGentlemenRoguesSightings on the internet from around the world/readers are posting pictures with...that lucky book

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    3. Hope you enjoy the book of bad boys Eva!

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  14. I’m still reading this anthology and I have to say I was hooked from the start (thanks to Joana)! To suddenly be turned into liking a character you have not liked in past readings, i.e. Willoughby, and now feel sorry for him…what a dichotomy!

    I cannot possibly choose a favorite as I am still reading the book; however, “A Wicked Game” by Katie Oliver made me love the man! Darn it!

    “Willoughby’s Crossroads” by Joana Starnes made me want to go right through the pages and slap the you-know-what out of that mean Isobel! Poor guy he was set on the road to womanizing so quickly. Come here Mr. Willoughby, I’ll rub your brow for you!

    “Fitzwilliam’s Folly” by Beau North did me in when Cal and the Colonel were traveling to dance among the stars. How I loved that!! I’m afraid that is as far as I have gotten, ladies as I read as I can grab a few minutes here and there. But I KNOW i won’t be let down as these writers are a fabulous group! Thank you for this collection

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    1. That makes me so happy! And I think you are reading the collection as intended... A story or two at a time...so you can savor each. Even if they can't all be redeemed, I hope you will enjoy the stories and appreciate the writers' honesty. Thank you.

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    2. It's so good to hear that you were able to give these characters a chance Monkee. I think one of the nice things about Austen's characters is that they are multi-dimensional. Some Austenesque stories have characters like Wickham as unredeemably evil but I don't see them that way.

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  15. I wouldn't mind an urn as a knocker: I guess it depends on how elaborate it is!

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  16. When I first started reading Joana's story on Willoughby, I sympathised with him for getting used and dumped by Isobel. I'm just getting to the part of where it is revealed that his fiance's guardian is none other than Lord Camborne. I can't wait to find out how Willoughby ends up seducing Eliza Williams and becoming a cad and a scoundrel.

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  17. Ceri, Thank you for hosting this #RakesAndGentlemenRogues blog stop and supporting our anthology. The winner of the rafflecopter draw for all the books from the authors is Becky Cherrington. The winner for the blog tour comments (announced by a live draw on Facebook) for the Bingley's Teas, assortment of notecards, postcards, and playing cards as well as the autographed Colin Firth & Jennifer Ehle poster was dholcomb1 (Denise Holcomb). Congratulations! And thank you to all who supported "Dangerus to Know: Jane Austen's Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues" blog tour. So appreciate!! You made it fun.

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    1. While I'm a little disappointed that the winner isn't me, I'd like to congratulate Becky and Denise, both of whom are regular blog friends. So pleased for you, ladies!

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