29 November 2009

Guest Author: Margaret Mallory

We're happy to welcome back one of our regular contributors, Margaret Mallory, as she celebrates the release of KNIGHT OF PLEASURE, the second of her "All the King's Men" trilogy from Grand Central.

THE GREATEST PASSION...

Lady Isobel Hume is an expert swordswoman who knows how to choose her battles. When the king asks her to wed a French nobleman to form a political alliance, she agrees. But that's before the devilishly charming Sir Stephen Carleton captures her heart-and tempts her to betray her betrothed, her king, and her country.

...IS WORTH THE GREATEST PERIL

Sir Stephen Carleton enjoys his many female admirers--until he dedicates himself to winning the lovely Isobel. When a threat against the king leads Isobel into mortal danger, Stephen must prove that he is more than a knight of pleasure...and that love can conquer all.
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"★ ★ ★ ★ [A] riveting story, intertwining adventure and history...with a constantly increasing level of sensuality....[A] rare treat." ~ RT Book Reviews

"Margaret Mallory's passionate novel, KNIGHT OF PLEASURE, is an absolute delight for fans of historical romance." ~ Fresh Fiction

"You're not just reading a novel, you are stepping into the story...KNIGHT OF PLEASURE is amazing." ~ Gloria Gehres, The Romance Readers Connection

"Book two of Ms. Mallory's All the King's Men series is thrilling, romantic, and just plain good reading." ~ RomRevToday

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Tell us a little about the unusual setting of your new release.

KNIGHT OF PLEASURE is the second book in my medieval series, "All the King's Men." The first book in the series, KNIGHT OF DESIRE took place during the last Great Welsh Rebellion, when Henry V was still Prince Harry. This second story begins a dozen years later, in 1417, during Henry V's "re-conquest" of Normandy. Most of it takes place in Normandy. As with my first book, I incorporate real historical events and characters into the story. I love history, so that part is always great fun for me.

A number of scenes take place in Caen Castle, which served as King Henry's headquarters in Normandy at this time. My hero, Sir Stephen Carleton, is in Caen with the English army when Lady Isobel Hume arrives from England to marry a French nobleman she has yet to meet.

This massive castle once belonged to Henry V's ancestor, William the Conqueror. Another ancestor, Richard the Lionheart, gathered his knights here before leaving on crusade.

Henry V claimed Normandy as the descendant of William the Conqueror, even though his line back to William was a bit…convoluted. Despite the fact that his father had usurped the throne, Henry V was confident in his divine right to rule England and Normandy. Later, he would add France to the list.

William the Conqueror, also known as "William the Bastard," built a men's and a women's abbey on either side of the town of Caen to absolve himself of the sin of marrying his cousin. I was surprised that this was considered a sin, but apparently it was nothing that couldn't be fixed by building a couple of magnificent abbeys. In the middle ages, the church was often pragmatic in dealing with the rich and powerful. Hence, William's sin was the church's gain.

My heroine's brother spends time with the monks at the men's monastery, the gorgeous Abbaye-aux-Hommes, above.

So tell us a little about your hero and heroine.

I have to say, I adore this hero, Sir Stephen Carleton. Stephen, who was the thirteen-year-old brother of the hero in my first book, proved to be such a charmer that I had to write a story for him when he grew up. Stephen is the sort of man I avoided like the plague back in my dating days—the fun, handsome guy who had too many women hanging off him. My sensible heroine will take one look and tell herself not to trust him further than she can throw him. But Stephen is always more than he seems. Beneath the good looks and charm, beats a true hero's heart.

Isobel is a serious young woman who has learned to put childish dreams aside. Her trust was shattered when the father she adored forced her to marry a disgusting elderly man in order to regain the family lands. When her husband dies, the lands she was promised are taken from her. Faced with only bad choices, she agrees to make a political marriage to a French nobleman at her king's behest.

The moment Stephen and Isobel meet, the attraction sizzles between them--and the King's plans for Isobel are in jeopardy. But trust doesn't come easy for Isobel. And putting her fate in the hands of a Knight of Pleasure does not seem a wise course at all.

Do you have a favorite scene?

I can't say which scene is my very favorite, but one of them is Stephen's opening scene. He's a disillusioned young man with tremendous potential who is headed down the wrong road fast. In this first scene, I show him waking up hung-over and not knowing where he is. When he turns to see who he is in bed with, he groans. Not her again. He's hit bottom, and he knows it.

What's next?

The third book in the series, KNIGHT OF PASSION, is scheduled for release in June. Except for the prologue, which takes place at the Louvre in Paris, this last book is set in England. The hero is Jamie Rayburn, who was a toddler in the first book and a teenager in the second. Other characters from the earlier books, including Stephen and Isobel, will make appearances in KNIGHT OF PASSION

I have plans for a new series after that, but I can't talk about it yet! Learn more about my books, events and contests, check out my website.

Thanks for telling us about your new release, KNIGHT OF PLEASURE!

I'd love to respond to comments! I will be in an airplane most of Monday, so please be patient with me that day. I will give an autographed copy of KNIGHT OF PLEASURE to one of the commenters.

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Thanks for stopping by, Margaret. All right, dear readers, leave a comment or question for Margaret and you'll be entered into a random drawing for an autographed copy. I'll draw the winner next Sunday. Void where prohibited. Good luck!

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