Thursday, 26 May 2011

Welcome Evangeline Collins!

As Thursday's guest of honour, I'm delighted to welcome the wonderful Evangeline Collins, whose unconventional Regency love stories  have taken the romance world by storm! Welcome, Evangeline!

Opposite Attraction

There’s a saying that opposites attract, and that can certainly be true when it comes to the hero and heroine of a romance novel. You can have two people who appear different but actually complement each other wonderfully. That mix of strengths and weaknesses that make the individuals stronger when together. It usually takes some time for the characters to realize they are meant to be together, but by the end of the book, they have snapped together like puzzle pieces, and in more ways than just physical.

To me, opposites present a very intriguing dynamic. There’s tons of potential for inner conflict (and for someone who adores angst, that potential is just downright yummy). Yet there is also a huge potential payoff if the characters can figure out how they fit together. That payoff, of course, being a wonderful happily-ever-after.

In Her Ladyship’s Companion, my sensual Regency-set romance, I cast opposites for the hero and heroine. Bella is a married aristocratic woman who is determined to be the perfect lady. Her hero, Gideon, is a baseborn male prostitute (a gorgeous, intelligent and polite prostitute, but a working man nonetheless). Gideon’s job is to bring his client pleasure, whereas Bella has spent the last five years keeping her inner tart locked up tight. On the surface they could not be more different, but a look below the surface shows that they are absolutely perfect for each other, and not just in the bedroom. It’s a romance, so of course it ends in a happily-ever-after. Though it does take some doing, and a nice amount of angst, to get there.

Giveaway: A signed copy of Her Ladyship’s Companion

Question: Do you like opposites in your romance novels, or do you have a different type of favorite couple?


In the Scottish countryside of Selkirk, Lady Isabella Stirling resides at Bowhill Park, serving penance for a sin that nearly ruined her family. For five years she has been condemned to a loveless marriage and confined to the estate where she does little more than tend her rose garden. With her husband absent for months at a time and few visitors, Bella lives a lonely existence, denying the passions that burn within her very soul.

Then her cousin comes for a visit and makes an outrageous suggestion: what Bella needs is a lover. A hired lover. Despite her need, Bella says no. But soon Mr. Gideon Rosedale arrives - and he is at her service for two weeks. Indulging in what she intends to be a harmless flirtation, Bella is overcome by Gideon's intoxicating presence. And when she at last permits him to satisfy her desires, she discovers she's done the unthinkable - she's fallen in love.


Not wanting him to think she was watching him over his shoulder, she wandered off to check the surrounding plants. Though she did sneak a few peeks from the corner of her eye. His large hands were infinitely gentle as he coaxed the young rose from her pot and set her into the ground.
“I believe I’m finished here, that is if my work passes your inspection.”
At his confident words, Bella turned from the other roses. Suppressing a grin, she slanted him a ‘we’ll see’ look and flicked her fingers. He stepped aside. Already the little Celsiana appeared stronger in her new home. He had done an expert job. Not one leaf lay lost on the fresh, dark soil under her branches.
            “Well done, Mr. Rosedale. You make an admirable gardener.”
            He tipped his head. “I try, ma’am.”
            Bella chuckled at his failed attempt at humility. She turned on her heel. “Come along. We’re done here.”
            “Yes, ma’am,” he replied, the grin clear in his voice.
            He stepped ahead of her when they reached the hothouse. The shovel and empty pot held in one arm and his coat slung over one shoulder, he opened the door.
            “Thank-you,” she murmured as she walked passed him, untying the ribbons of her bonnet.
            He replaced the shovel inside the cabinet. “Where does the pot go?”
            “You can set it next to the worktables by the other empty pots. There’s a bucket of water by the hearth if you wish to wash up.” She pulled off her bonnet and ran a hand over her head, smoothing any stray hairs.
            The grin just wouldn’t leave her lips. If all days could be like this one…
            Water splashed as Mr. Rosedale washed off the dirt from the garden. He wiped his hands on an old embroidered towel. Bella walked to the left and set her bonnet on the settee, removed her gloves, dropping them atop her discarded shawl, and reached around to untie her apron.
            “Allow me.”
            His deep male voice washed over her, so close it tickled her ear. Slightly damp, cool hands stilled hers. Gooseflesh rose up her arms. She took a quick breath against the sensation and dropped her arms to her sides.
            Slowly, lazily, he pulled one apron tie. It was so quiet she could hear the fabric unravel. She felt the instant the bow released. His fingers brushed the small of her back as he pulled the tie loose. He reached around to take hold of the top center of the apron. Instead of removing it, he pressed his palm to her waist, holding it in place. He leaned closer. Heat scorched her back. Her derrière tingled where the top of his thighs brushed the sensitive flesh. She was still fully clothed, but felt exposed. As if she stood bare before him.
            The scandalous image formed in her mind. He exactly as he was – in buff breeches, black boots, white lawn shirt and a proper pin-striped waistcoat. And she…naked, the warm air in the hothouse caressing every inch of her skin. A quiver seized her body.
            Held within his light embrace, she could do nothing but close her eyes against the heavy flush of raw need. She knew all it would take was one movement, one word and he would release her. But she stayed still as a statue, fighting the impulse to rock back against him, to feel the long length of his body pressed fully to hers.
            His other hand coasted up her side grazing the sensitive outer swell of her breast to settle on her shoulder. A gasp expanded her lungs as his warm lips met her neck. Shamelessly, she arched, granting him access. He caressed the point of her racing pulse with the tip of his hot wet tongue before laying open mouth kisses on her neck. The brush of teeth grazing her skin incited her passion. Her hand clutched over his at her waist. Unable to resist a moment longer, she thrust her hips back and encountered the unmistakable evidence of his arousal. A low groan shook her throat.
            “Dinner tonight?”
            The soft, husky words shot to her core. His deep voice a potent source of lust. She shifted, needing to ease the ache. “Pardon?”
            He nuzzled the small cove behind her ear. “Dinner. Tonight. Am I to be your guest?”
            “Oh,” she gasped, trying to right her mind and focus on his question. “Yes.” Always. Forever.
            He laid a light kiss on her neck then stepped back, his hand sliding out from under hers. “What time?”
            She blinked her eyes open and turned, her mouth jealous of the attention her neck had received. “Ah…” Time didn’t matter. She wanted him to kiss her, to feel his lips upon hers, to taste the hot recesses of his mouth. “Six,” she heard herself say.
He stepped around her to drop the apron on the settee. “Six it is.”
Discomposed, Bella smoothed her hands down the front of her dress, her senses still in a riot. Yet he spoke so casually. Mild irritation clashed with thwarted desire. She glanced up, looking through the windows until she found the sun. “I should go.”
“It’s getting late and I need to dress for dinner.”
“You needn’t stand on formality with me.”
“But it’s dinner.” She rarely had guests and going through the feminine ritual of dressing for dinner was one she was loath to skip.
“Surely you can stay a bit longer,” he cajoled. “You’ve only shown me a few of your young roses.”
He sounded earnest, as if he truly wanted her to stay and wasn’t just being polite. “Another time,” she said with a smile.
“All right then. Six.” He sketched a short bow. “I shall count the hours, my lady.”

To enter Evangeline's contest for a signed copy of Her Ladyship's Companion, just answer her question above: Do you like opposites in your romance novels, or do you have a different type of favorite couple? The contest will end at midnight tonight and the winner will be announced tomorrow on this thread.


  1. Hello Evangeline!
    I do enjoy opposites attract stories in romance. I like to see the couple bicker back and forth. The tension between them usually leads to explosive situations. Passion isn't far behind. Great post!

    user1123 AT comcast DOT net

  2. Whew! That was a tingling post!

    I love them all, opposites attract, born to be together, whatever. As long as its got some steamy time, and the story is there.

    jennhutson3128 at yahoo dot com

  3. Opposites are great! Though I am not picky. If the couple has chemistry, I'm pretty much good :-)

  4. Hi,

    loved the post!!

    Yeah, I like opposites, but the most important thing is that they really connect, there's lots of sexual tension and they really do fall head over heels for each other.

    I really love the couples who are fighting and bitching at each other at first before they finally realise that they are in love...hehe!!!

    in Germany

  5. I love all types of couples and opposites are just one of my favorite types to read about!


  6. Hi Evangeline - great to have you at the party! I'm all for opposites myself - more opportunity for conflict, and making-up, of course :).

    What gave you the idea to write about this unusual hero? I have to say he sounds very intriguing!


  7. Oh, and I have to remember to post a couple of questions for Evangeline from reader Monica, aka Emma, who can't make it to the party except in spirit :).

    1) Which of your books to you recommended to a first time reader of your work and why?

    2) Where do you get all your information and research for the books that you write?


  8. Hi everyone! Sorry I'm so late to the party - I'm blaming the EDJ and in-laws in town.

    Hey Marie - thanks for having me! What gave me the idea to write about Gideon? I had the idea for the heroine first. As I was mulling ideas for a hero for her, it hit me. A male prostitute - he'd be perfect for her. :) I love unconventional characters, so I couldn't resist giving her Gideon as a hero ;)

  9. Hi Emma - I'd recommend Seven Nights to Forever to a new-to-me reader. It has a slightly sweeter tone than Her Ladyship's Companion. As for where I get my information/research...everywhere. Library books, internet research, talking to other historical authors, etc.

  10. Opposites attracting is a all time fav for me! I love the H and h trying to fight the attraction! Thanks for sharing a great post today!


  11. I love when opposites attract. I don't like the characters to have too much in common.

    meredithfl at gmail dot com

  12. Sounds like everyone enjoys an "opposites attract" story :).

    Funnily enough, Evangeline, my in-laws are in town too, staying for a week. I felt I should do a bit of cleaning in their honour, and boy, was that overdue :). Very glad you thought of Gideon, and stuck with him too, because I love an unusual hero.

    Many thanks to Evangeline and to everyone who commented! I'll be back in a moment with the winner...

  13. And Evangeline's winner is.. JEANETTE 8042!

    Congratulations, Jeanette! Could you please email me - Marie AT MarieTreanor DOT com, with your postal address. Thanks!

  14. ::hugs:: Sorry I'm coming in late to show my support, but you know I love ya! Huge, HUGE fan of your work. ::grins::

    Great blog, Evangeline. And thanks for posting, Marie.

    All my best,

  15. Better late then never. Cliche',I know...but true. :) This is a great post and since I read the book,(which is awesome BTW) and love opposites that attract romances, this sucked me in. Definitely one for my keeper shelf.


  16. I don't think I have a favorite "type", but opposites certainly can work if the author pulls it off, which you did in HLC. Nice blog! (And don't enter me in the contest as I already have this on my keeper shelf.)

  17. I don't know if it is opposites attract that I love so much as two people who fit together to create a whole. That is such a romantic notion. Sigh! Thanks for the giveaway.

  18. Congrats Jeanette!!!

    in Germany