Gambling. Carousing. Flirting. Charlotte, Duchess of Rutherford, will do anything to create a scandal large enough to force her husband to finally petition for a divorce. Once madly in love with Philip, she is now determined to escape from their less than civil marriage and the reminders of his betrayal.
Until he stole her away…
Philip Burgess, Duke of Rutherford, is not a man to tolerate regrets. He wed Charlotte for revenge, not for love or convenience, knowing she would come to hate him. But he never expected he would one day find himself craving her attention or desiring her company….
And gave her something more…
Philip is no longer the cold, deceitful man she married years ago. And when he promises Charlotte a divorce if she will help him become a better husband for another woman, she wonders if she truly wants to lose him—and if Philip may still possess her heart after all…
“March’s debut novel glows with its fresh take on a traditional theme, a second chance at love. Her sprightly characters and snappy dialogue set the pace for a delectable, sensual, love story.” –RT Book Reviews
And now, in Ashley’s own words…
The Hero List
Now to the hero list. Admit it, ladies, we all have one. I’m not talking about the list of qualities we want in our ideal romance hero—which for the most part would probably be pretty standard: tall, dark, handsome, knows what he’s doing in the bedchamber, has a great sense of humor but a stare that makes your knees week.
No, I’m not talking about him (although, wow—I really want to read about that romance hero now ;).
I’m talking about the hero list so many women create before they meet “the one”. Because we might not know what “the one” will look like or what his name will be, we create a list of qualities that we decide we will look for in this perfect man, qualities we hope that “the one” will have.
My list was created sometime during the summer between the 8th and 9th grades. (Note: If your 14-15 year old daughter gets bored during the summer, tell her to create her own hero list. 😉 ) If I remember correctly, the following comprised my standards for my own ideal hero (In no particular order, mind you…after all, he’d have to have all of them to be perfect):
1) Sense of humor (definitely had to make me laugh and be fun to hang around)
2) Hot (although I could live with cute)
3) Intelligent (needed someone to keep up with me)
4) Christian (had my own values)
5) Played the drums (because drummers are HAWT)
6) Played the guitar (because drummers who also play the guitar are SUPER hawt)
7) Lifeguard (I believe my thinking on this was that this would ensure he’d be hot or at least have a great body…yes, I was somewhat of a superficial 15 year old)
I probably didn’t think of this back then because my ideal hero might not have been able to drive yet, but as a bonus…a motorcycle would have scored major points!
Either way, I created the list, just to give myself an idea of what kind of guy I was interested in. To be honest, I never expected to find someone who met all of these requirements. But if I met someone with three or more…well, I would consider myself fortunate and start planning the wedding immediately.
I kept my list in 9th grade. Didn’t find anyone. 10th grade. Still nothing. I moved schools for 11th grade, and that first semester I found him. The perfect hero.
He had EVERYTHING. Cute, intelligent, sense of humor, played the drums AND guitar, was a lifeguard during the summer, and was a Christian. I wish you could have seen me as I discovered each of these one by one, mentally checking them off on my list. On the outside I tried to be nonchalant, but inside I was squeeing like mad—simply because he was the perfect guy for me.
Or rather, he should have been.
Because the sad truth is, ladies…There was no chemistry between us. Zippo. Nada. In fact, I developed a crush on his best friend and tried to hook Perfect Hero up with my best friend. Perfect Hero and I were friends, but never anything more.
I have to admit that this was a crushing blow to the romantic inside me. It felt like serendipity. We were MEANT to be together…weren’t we?
Instead, four years later, at the age of 19, I married someone else. Someone I was crazy in love with. He was cute, intelligent, had a great sense of humor, and shared my values…but he didn’t play the drums or the guitar (although he did make an effort by strumming it some ;)) and he certainly wasn’t a lifeguard (no Michael Phelps here, ladies). He didn’t even have the bonus material; he was convinced that he would get in an accident and die if he ever rode a motorcycle.
But we’ve been married almost 8 years now and I fall more in love with Mr. Imperfect Hero every day. He cooks, he cleans, he’s a terrific father, he still makes me laugh, and he takes the very best care of me. Also, I’m really excited to tell you that he’s now agreed that he’ll try riding a motorcycle…someday.
As a romance author, this experience has taught me two things. 1) This is a fantastic story line and I’m definitely going to have to use it for a future book; and 2) I don’t want my romance heroes to be perfect. I want them to be perfect for the heroine, even if she has a hero list. I want him to surprise her and make her open her heart and eyes to something so wonderful she would never have dreamed of it on her own. Because I’ve lived that experience, and let me tell you, ladies…it’s the greatest feeling in the world.
Although I urge you to go out and buy BODYGUARDS IN BED and read it first, then I’d love to give away a copy of my first book, SEDUCING THE DUCHESS. It’s about a woman who thought she married the perfect hero and then found out he wasn’t so perfect after all…until he becomes the perfect man for her.
To enter to win (open to US and international), all you have to do is tell me 5 things that would be on your best-of-the-best real-life hero list. (And no, you can’t base it off of everything that’s wonderful about your significant other. 😉 ).
(Note: This drawing is open internationally.)