Erica Ridley is a USA Today bestselling author of historical romance novels. Her latest series, The Dukes of War, features roguish peers and dashing war heroes who return from battle only to be thrust into the splendor and madness of Regency England. When not reading or writing romances, Erica can be found riding camels in Africa, zip-lining through rainforests in Costa Rica, or getting hopelessly lost in the middle of Budapest.
Tell us about the Dukes of War, and The Pirate’s Tempting Stowaway!
The Dukes of War historical romance series features roguish peers and dashing war heroes who return from battle only to be thrust into the splendor and madness of Regency England.
Clara Halton, the heroine for this book, is the mother of the heroine from the second book. Twenty years before, Clara was disowned and banished for being a teen mom in a time period when losing one’s virginity either led to a hasty marriage or social ruin. As an empty nester before the age of forty, I felt it was past time for this smart single mom to get a Happy Ever After of her own. And I had just the man in mind.
When I thought about my ideal pirate, I wanted a hero somewhere between Jack Sparrow and The Princess Pride. Someone strong, sexy, and sure of himself. Someone who could be counted upon for carefree quips and rollicking adventure...with a deep capacity for love that will bring him to his knees. That man is Mr. Gregory Steele, better known as the infamous Captain Blackheart. But how will a man who lives for the sea win the heart of a woman who puts down roots on land?
What are your favorite genres to read?
I inhaled historical romance until I became published in that genre. Now that I must live and breathe my own books (again and again, throughout the editing process) I frequently find myself turning to other genres in order to disconnect my “writer brain” from what I’m reading. I like to read other styles of romance, mysteries, suspense, paranormal—any novel that hooks me!
How do you deal with writer’s block?
If I'm blocked because a scene isn't working or I literally have no idea what should happen next, that usually means I'm way too close to the project and need to take a step back. More often than not, going on a long walk will jog something loose in my brain and let me see where the story needs to go.
Other times, taking my mind off of the problem completely—such as going on a Netflix or TBR binge—provides me with the right amount of distance to find my own answers.
However, if I know exactly what I need to do next but I just don't "feel" like writing, that is not an excuse to spend the next four hours with someone else's characters. I sit myself down in front of the computer and force myself to keep going, no matter how slow and painful it might be. It might take minutes or it might take days, but eventually I'll get my mojo back.
Sometimes the only trick to keeping going is just not stopping.
Do you watch a TV show weekly or binge watch?
Binge watch! Since I live in the rainforest, Netflix is pretty much my only option when it comes to TV. I'm sooo sad that I can't stream Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime from outside of the U.S. Especially now that Amazon has some great looking original programming! (I've read all the Bosch books, so I'm particularly bitter about being denied that one, lol.)
Do you collect things when you travel?
I am not much for knick-knacks, so I promised myself that if I ever collected travel souvenirs, it would need to be something small, inexpensive, and eminently practical. Thus: shot glasses!! LOL. It seemed like a good idea before there were three or four dozen of them...
I have two wall-mounted shot glass cabinets (this is a real thing!! You should've seen how excited I was to learn shot glass cabinets existed) and on exactly one occasion--my last birthday party in Florida--every single shot glass was used in a birthday toast. See?? I told you shot glasses were practical! ;-)
What is one place that I should see if I visit your hometown?
I live in Nuevo Arenal, Costa Rica, a stone's throw from Lake Arenal, the biggest and prettiest lake in the country. So definitely you should come see it! If it's a clear day, there will be windsurfers on the lake, and you may even be able to see one or two of the closest volcanos!
Erica Ridley’s The Pirate’s Tempting Stowaway
A Dukes of War Novella
A Dukes of War Novella
Release Date: December 1, 2015
Publisher: Intrepid Reads
Genre: Historical Romance
ISBN: 978-1939713414 (ebook) MSRP: $2.99
ISBN: 978-1939713421 (mmpb) MSRP: $7.99
About the Book:
The Pirate’s Tempting Stowaway is a standalone story in the Dukes of War regency romance series, featuring roguish peers and dashing war heroes who return from battle only to be thrust into the splendor and madness of Regency England.
Captain Blackheart leads a simple life of roving the seas, wenching and treasure-hunting. He steers clear of romantic entanglements that could tie him to land. He shouldn't have any trouble keeping his hands off the gently-bred lady he's commissioned to abduct—except his cargo turns out to be feisty and passionate! She'd be a prize worth treasuring, if having her aboard didn't jeopardize everything...
Clara Halton thought the worst loss she could suffer was to be stripped of her family, stricken with consumption, and left to die alone. Then she meets Blackheart. Their attraction is ruinous...and irresistible. When he delivers her like so much plunder, his mission is over — but hers has just begun. She'll force him to acknowledge their connection, even if she must storm his ship to do it!
In this scene, Captain Blackheart (aka Mr. Gregory Steele) has abducted Clara on horseback, despite her having been quarantined with a potentially contagious, life-threatening illness.
Mr. Steele didn’t seem to take the threat seriously. Perhaps he didn’t take much of anything seriously.
Clara’s stomach clenched. This was madness. What if he was wrong, and had already contracted the illness? What if all that awaited Grace at the docks of London was the corpse of her dead mother?
She tightened her grip about his waist as a shudder wracked through her. He was a cocksure, overbearing stranger but she would never forgive herself if something happened to him because of her.
It was too late, though, wasn’t it? She was already on the back of a horse, cleaving herself to his body, drunk on the idea of seeing her daughter again. Of recovering some semblance of health. Of having a future.
She would go mad if she allowed herself to dwell on all the ways this misadventure could go horribly awry. Mr. Steele knew the risks. He was the one who’d talked her into taking an even bigger one. According to him, he’d reunite her with her family in little over a fortnight. If she’d let him. Trust him. Relinquish control.
Her eyes closed as she nestled her cheek into his back and listened to the reassuring beat of his heart. She’d met Mr. Steele scant hours earlier, but she already knew he was impossible to argue with. Full of charm and swagger, and an utter confidence that he would always get his way.
She hated that kind of man because he was exactly the type who most tempted her. It wasn’t that she distrusted him, but rather that she distrusted herself. Strong men weakened her knees. The thought of being protected, of being safe again, after so many years of fearing what the morrow might bring…
The tension seeped out of her shoulders. She let herself drift away, to dream of her daughter’s smile, of the endless brilliant sea, of a strange, arrogant man with teasing blue eyes and a strong, firm touch.
Clara awoke in his arms. In his arms? Heat flooded her cheeks. Whilst she’d slept, she’d apparently slid to one side until she’d become unseated and had to be caught before tumbling to the ground below.
He still hadn’t let her go.
“I’m fine.” Her arms were pinned too well to allow her to rub the sleep from her face. Or for her racing heart to calm down. “I’m awake now.”
“You’re moving up front. We’re at least an hour from the closest inn, and I won’t risk you getting hurt.”
“I promise I won’t fall back aslee—”
Her bottom thumped in place. Her flush burned hotter as her hips nestled between his thighs.
“I’ve got you,” he murmured against her hair. “You’re safe now. I won’t let you out of my sight until we set sail.”
A shiver teased her skin that had nothing to do with the chill of winter. Every inch of her body was tense, alive to the feel of his legs against hers, of his arm wrapped about her waist, of the rhythmic motion of their pelvises as the horse cantered toward the closest town.
Toward the closest inn.
Blast, there was no hope of falling back asleep. Not with their bodies touching like this. Not when the promise—er, the threat—of sharing a bedchamber was so imminent. He was absolutely, positively not the suitor for her. Or at all. As soon as they were aboard a passenger liner, she’d find her own room with other ladies and never see the man again.
But first, she’d have to survive a night in the same bed.
The Dukes of War romance books in Series Order:
#1 The Viscount’s Christmas Temptation Nov. 2014
#2 The Earl’s Defiant Wallflower Dec. 2014
#3 The Captain’s Bluestocking Mistress Mar. 2015
#4 The Major’s Faux Fiancée Jun. 2015
#5 The Brigadier’s Runaway Bride Sept. 2015
#6 The Pirate’s Tempting Stowaway Dec. 2015
#7 The Duke’s Accidental Wife Mar. 2016