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August 2, 2012

PP Elizabeth Essex - Almost a Scandal

She's always ready for adventure.
He's almost ready for love.


It’s here! The first novel in my new Reckless Brides Trilogy, ALMOST A SCANDAL is out! And I must say I’m thrilled.

This is the story of Sally Kent, a girl who grows up in a navy family and who lives, breathes and thinks about ships all day long. A girl who is, well, a lot like me. Or the me who wanted to spend my teenage years crewing on windjammer schooners off the New England coast. The me who loved the feel of the wind on my face and the blue, blue ocean spread out in front of me. The me who was filled to the brim with the possibilities of adventures.

So there’s a little piece of me closer to the surface of this heroine than in any other of the books I’ve written. And I will say that her story was so very dear to my heart, that I didn’t try to write it for a very long time, until I felt I had the skills necessary to do Sally, and the man she loves, Lieutenant David Colyear, justice.
PP girl Elizabeth Essex!

And I think I have. But you be the judge.

Here’ a little excerpt from ALMOST A SCANDAL in which Lieutenant Colyear discovers Sally’s true identity, and that the midshipman under his command is not one Richard Kent, but his older sister:

He knew.  The knowledge was there in the quiet resignation of his voice, in the pained way he closed his eyes so he might no longer have to look at her.  She told herself it was inevitable that he should know her.  But even that cold knowledge could not alleviate the searing knot of pain radiating from her chest.
She turned away so he might not see the hot wash of tears rising in her eyes.  She would not cry.  Devil take her, she was a Kent.
“It’s funny.  All day I’ve been thinking of that summer.  The summer I spent with your family at Cliff House, there in Falmouth.  I recall it was a very fine house, with a great prospect down to the sea.”
“Oh, yes.”  She could hear the bleak, frustrated attempt at humor in her voice, as she followed his improbable segue.  “I don’t think my father could abide in any house for longer than a day, if it did not have a view of the sea.”
“It was your brother Matthew’s idea to use the time to study for our lieutenancy examinations.  Ambitious, Matthew Kent was.  Still is.  Do you remember?”
“I do.”  She remembered as if it were yesterday.  She had been old enough to envy them their careers, had hung on their every word, Col and Matthew.  But especially Col.  “Everyone was home for the same fortnight.  Matthew, Dominic, Owen, Daniel, and Father.  It was the last time we were all there, together.”
            “I recall it particularly.  The way you were then, how you sat together in the evenings and sang songs.  One of you played the mandolin.”
It had been she who played the mandolin.  Richard played the violin.  The damn instrument was still taking up space at the bottom of her sea chest.
            “You used to play that same song as Punch did this morning.  Dance to your Daddy.”
The damn song.  She should have known.  She should have anticipated that he heard everything with the same focus, the same acute attention that he saw.  But still, she could not give up.   “It’s a very old tune.”
“Yes,” he agreed calmly.  “All the men seemed to know the words.  It was a proper rousing send-off this morning.”
It was killing her, the waiting.  The waiting for his condemnation.  Knowing it was coming. Knowing she deserved it.  The heat piling up in the back of her throat kept her from answering.
“I remembered the song.”  He looked at her briefly then, and she could see the truth, the full understanding deep in his green eyes.  “Do you remember that evening, when we caught fireflies in your orchard?  The phosphorescent insects lighting up as the late twilight gave way to dark.  Do you remember?”
“Yes.”  The word tasted like misery, cold and ashen in her mouth.
He had instantly, with a few, precise words conjured up the soft magic of that evening.  She could smell the pungent green of the long grass they crushed beneath their feet, tromping about the overgrown orchard to capture the glowing insects in an empty jam jar. 
“And one landed in your hair, and I was obliged to brush it off, though it looked charming there, lighting up your ginger hair.  The green against the orange glow.”
The heat behind her eyes felt blinding.  It was worse, this slow, thoughtful meander into memory, than any torture he might have thought up.
“And we pelted your brother with windfalls for preaching at us so.”
            “Yes.”  The misery was pushing the hot tears into the corners of her eyes.  She dashed them away with the edge of her sleeve.  Devil take her.  She would not cry.  Not in front of Mr. Colyear.  No matter the provocation.
            It had been she—Sally.  She had been in the back garden with him, sitting on the high orchard wall with him by her side, lobbing apples at Richard for his mealymouthed prating.  They had laughed and laughed, and she had felt special to be allowed within the sacred circle of the young naval men.  She had been proud of her arm, as if a young man like Col would notice such a thing in a girl.
And Richard had run away to the house, and left them alone in the orchard together, she and Col, that long-ago evening.  And she had sworn he might have kissed her, but at the last moment she had shied away, and laughed and thrown more sticks to cover her awkwardness.
The knowledge was there in his eyes.  In the dark, uncompromising certainty of his gaze.  In the way his mouth flattened into a tense line, the smile banished along with the warmth of the memory.
“Just so.  Just as I thought.”  He nodded briefly, but the warmth faded out of his eyes. He began to shake his head back and forth in maddened disbelief. 
“You might have told me, Kent.  You might have spared me the-”  Something in his voice was off, rusted like a sword left too long in a sheath.  The sound of betrayal.  “You might have told Captain McAlden.  You ought to have.  But damn your eyes, you ought not to have done it at all.”
            But she had.  She had done it quite purposefully.  And she would do anything to keep it from being undone.  “Sir, please.”  She had to make him understand.    “I had no choice.  I had to come. I felt as if I should suffocate if I had to spend another day ashore. You have to understand.  You of all people-”
            You of all people, who was raised by Captain Alexander Kent, ought to understand the seriousness, the utter hell and be-damned gall of what you have done.”
            He was right.  She had known the chance she had taken.  But she was a Kent. She had recklessness bred into her bones. Calculating risk came as easily as trimming a sail or riding the crest of a wave into the shore. As easy as breathing. And it had been worth it.  The feeling she had gotten this morning, when she had been aloft—she’d never felt so perfectly right, so happy and useful, in her life.  She had only to convince him.

There they are, Sally and Col, stuck together on HMS Audacious for the length of their voyage. And in such proximity, sparks will fly, and tempers and passions alike will ignite.

She’s always ready for adventure, he’s almost ready for love.

And to celebrate, I’m giving away two copies of ALMOST A SCANDAL, along with other goodies, to two random commenters! Stop by and leave a comment with your email address for your chance to win!

Find Almost a Scandal at:


Sylvia said...

Good morning! What a wonderful excerpt. Can't wait to read the whole book. I hope this one makes the lists (NYT or USA or even Amazon top 100) for you.

Michelle Miles said...

I love it! I can't wait to read more. I'm going to have to get this. Congrats on your release!

Elizabeth Essex said...


Good morning right back at you! I'm so glad you like the excerpt, and I would like nothing more for this book to get out there and sell itself right off the shelves and into hands and ereaders like ... well like a bestseller. :)

So thanks so much to everyone here at the PP for helping me to spread the word, and for letting me come here and share with you.


Mae Clair said...

What a delightful concept and a wonderful excerpt. This sounds like a fantastic read. So glad I stopped by to check it out :)


Elizabeth Essex said...


Thank you so much for your kind words! I'm so happy that this book is finally out. It was very much a book of my heart, and I hope it finds an audience.

But I promise, from this point on in the novel Sally and Col are on a direct line toward combustive passion. Only cuter. :)

Thanks again for stopping by!

Elizabeth Essex said...

Mae Clair,

I'm so glad you stopped by to read it, too! I hope you enjoy the rest of the book just as much. :)

I think my books aren't typical regency historicals, in that they aren't 'drawing room pieces' with witty dialog. Although there is plenty of wit and humor, I write much more earthy, complicated stories than some, but I hope you'll give it a try.

Thanks so much for your kind comments! Cheers.

Kathy Ivan said...

I had the pleasure of receiving an Advanced Reading Copy (ARC) of this book and all I can say is--pick it up right away! It is absolutely fabulous. It's definitely no surprise that our Ms. Essex was a 2-time RITA finalist. Her writing is devine!

Miss EE, wishing you many, many sales and as Sylvia said may you make all the lists NYT, USA Today, and all the rest. Big hugs, girlfriend.

Elizabeth Essex said...


You are super kind, and as much as I would love to be a two-time finalist—alas, only the once!

But I will toot my own horn and say that this book is every bit as good as the RITA nominated book, THE DANGER OF DESIRE, so readers can expect the same find of unconventional heroine, and sexy tension with a hero to die for from ALMOST A SCANDAL.

Here's to great sales! And thanks so much for your enthusiasm and encouragement! Much appreciated.

Diane D - Florida said...

I'm happy to find you again Elizabeth. Congratulatins to you on the release of "Almost a Scandal". I got it right this time.

This looks like an amazing story. I love anything "naval".

dpd333 (at) aol dot com

Sasha Summers said...

I loved, loved, loved DANGER OF DESIRE and cannot wait to dive into Almost a Scandal! As a matter of fact, I think I know what I'm going to do today... off to read. Congratulations on the new release Miss Essex! May it bring you all the success and accolades you deserve!

Vicki Batman, sassy writer said...

I am jumping up and down. I'm so excited to get this book in my hands.

Congratulations, sweetie! You are a super PP. ox

Elizabeth Essex said...


You are sweet to come here as well, so no worries. This past week was a super release week for readers of historical romances, so it's no wonder everyone has gotten confused. Even I don't remember all the titles to my friends' wonderful romances.

But if you love everything naval then this is the story for you. It's a bit like a Patrick O'Brian novel but with the romance front and center and more important than anything else—at least my hero and heroine come to believe so. :)

Thanks so much for stopping by! Cheers.

Elizabeth Essex said...


You are so kind. I'm glad to hear you love The Danger of Desire, because I've got another adventurous, unconventional heroine for you in ALMOST A SCANDAL.

And even though the excerpt only hints at the heat of passion building between these two characters, I can promise you super sexy, full blown romance in the midst of this sea tale.

Hope you enjoy! And thanks so much for helping me to spread the word! Cheers. :)

Elizabeth Essex said...


I'm jumping up and down with you! :) I'm so hapy for this book to be out, and so thankful to have such great friends to help me spread the word.

ALMOST A SCANDAL has already crack Amazon's top 100 General Bestsellers at #70, so I'm hoping to heat up some buzz and push it up the rankings.

And I couldn't do it without fabulous friends and loyal romance readers like the Princesses. So polish off your tiaras today and wear them proudly!


Unknown said...

I am always looking for new authors. I am just starting to read historical romances. I will defintely add this to my must read list. Thanks for the giveaway.

Sylvia said...

Already in the top 100! I knew it! Well tonight when I get home, I'll just have to buy a copy to push it even higher! You go girl!

Elizabeth Essex said...


Oh, yeah! And I love finding new readers. :) I'm so glad you're giving historical romance a try, and I hope you'll love ALMOST A SCANDAL.

There are also a huge batch of other historical releases out in the past week, so this is a great time to find new voices in the genre.

Thanks so much for stopping by! Happy reading!

Anonymous said...

Loved the excerpt. Have added to my tbr wishlist.
Thanks for the chance to win.
panthers.ravens@yahoo dot com

Elizabeth Essex said...


You're an absolute peach. Another thing that will help push the book up in the rankings is simply to go to Amazon and hit their LIKE button on the book:

Thanks so much for your enthusiasm and encouragement! XOX

Elizabeth Essex said...


Thanks so much for stopping by today, and adding ALMOST A SCANDAL to your wishlist.

I keep my wishlist/TBR pile on my ipad, and it's just full of great reads that came out this week.

Here's wishing you plenty of time to read! Cheers.

Susan Gates Taylor said...

Elizabeth, I love gettimg lost in your stories. Your characters are well developed, strong willed and intelligent! I feel as if I am at home, raised in Virginia Beach and spending summers at my grandparents beach home across the Chesapeake Bay from the Navel Academy. Windows always open and waking up and going to sleep to the cannon fire. I used to wear flip-flops to visit the academy and walk barefoot through the chapel! Such delicious naughty memories! You bring those memories of sailing and the smell of the ocean and bay back to me. Thank you!

Elizabeth Essex said...

Oh, Susan, you just brought my childhood summers alive for me! I grew up on the Connecticut shore and nothing, absolutely nothing ever makes me feel as totally relaxed and happy as the smell of the wind off the water.

Oh. I miss it very badly when I'm stuck here in the Texas heat. I used to take my kids back up to the shoreline when they little, but now there are too many camps and classes and obligations to take that time off. Sigh.

I'll just shut my eyes and pretend. But I hope ALMOST A SCANDAL will give you that same feeling of the wind in your hair. Enjoy!

And thanks so very much for stopping by! Cheers.

Vicki Batman, sassy writer said...

Just bought a copy online!!!

Elizabeth Essex said...

Oh Vicki, you are so marvelously supportive! Thank you. I bought one too. :) I love to actually buy one and send it to my mom. :)

THanks again! Cheers.

Michelle Miles said...

Bought it! Woohoo!

Elizabeth Essex said...


Thank you so much. You Princesses are the best. Please picture me making a deep regency curtsy in your direction!


Phyllis said...

Ah, Liz, so sorry for the late entry as I've been working such strange hours.

You have such a way with words, they just flow and captures us in story. Congrats on the release and much success with it!

Elizabeth Essex said...


You are such a dear! Thank you so very much for your kind words. It always means so much to me when my peers like my work.

Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by! I know how hard it is to fit so many different jobs—writing, blogging, social media, grocery shopping, dentist visits etc.—in after working all day. Much appreciated! Cheers.

hotcha12 said...

WOO HOO Elizabeth, congrats on a winner!!

Karilyn Bentley said...

Sorry to be a day late on here! I loved the excerpt! Love your writing! Must go buy the book now. :) Congrats on your release!!

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