Guest Author & Giveaway: Courtney Milan featuring Trial by Desire

Wednesday, September 29

***This giveaway has ended, but you should still read the's worth your time:)  Thanks for joining the fun!***

Have you every purchased an anthology for one author, and figured since you bought it you might as well read the other stories too?  That was how I happened upon my guest today.  I picked up the anthology The Heart of Christmas, first because it was a holiday anthology (and I love those), and second because it had a novella by Mary Balogh.  Only to realize that Ms. Balogh's story was a reprint (several times over) that I had already read it a loong time ago but forgotten about.  To say I was disappointed is an understatement, but then for some unknown reason, call it divine intervention if you will, I decided to read "This Wicked Gift" by Courtney Milan before tossing the book into the Goodwill box.  To say I was blown away by her story in that anthology is a vast understatement of epic proportions.  

I loved that the hero and heroine were working class, and that the plight of a young woman struggling to provide for her family, with little hope of getting married because they have no money, finds love with a hero with a heart of gold. Their happy ending doesn't come without sacrifice.  It wasn't easy, or charmed, but it was beautiful.  I loved, loved, loved it!  So after falling in love with her story, I immediately looked her up on the net to find out what other gems of her's I had been missing out on, only to find out that her debut novel, Proof of Seduction, had yet to be released and I only had to wait a few short months to get my bookover hands on it.  Long story short, I read it and loved it.  In fact she blew me away with her storytelling yet again.  

That was almost ten months ago, and I have been patiently waiting for her newest book ever since.  They say good things come to those who wait....which is why I have very high hopes for Ms. Milan's new historical romance Trial by Desire.  To my great delight Courtney Milan is my guest today to talk about her unlikely hero in Trial by Desire.  I hope you read and enjoy it as much as I did :)

The hero least likely to...

One of the strange things about motivation is that the same circumstance can make a person do completely opposite things. Think about it: the following two sentences both make perfect sense, even though they are exactly the opposite.

His father was an alcoholic, and so he is an alcoholic.
His father was an alcoholic, and so he will not touch a drop.

(I actually read this example somewhere else, but I can't find the source--so apologies! If anyone knows where it's from, please let me know.)

And so let's talk about circumstances. I'm sure you all know That Guy. You know, the guy from high school. The one who floated through all his classes, barely passing. He graduated by the skin of his teeth. His teachers heaved a sigh of relief when he scraped up the necessary points to get through their classes. He was never a bad kid--but he was the a class clown. Everyone liked him. In his senior year, he was voted "least likely to hold down a full time job" by the class, because nobody expected him to do anything worthwhile.

Have any of you met That Guy at your high school reunion? Sometimes, he's not there because he's in jail. Sometimes, he shows up, proud because he's managed to keep his latest entry-level job for a few years. Sometimes he's faintly average--working a desk job for the last five years, married, with 2.2 kids.

But on rare occasions, he's the one who walks into the room and nobody recognizes him. He cut his hair. He's wearing a suit. He owns his own business--no, make that three businesses--and he just sold one of them to Google for $29.6 million dollars. And when someone asks him what happened, how he turned his life around, he just smiles and says, "I didn't want to be That Guy."

His expression is hidden behind his $500 sunglasses, and so you can't see the sleepless nights over the last decade. You don't feel all those evenings of aching self-doubt, where he wondered why he should even bother. You don't know how many times he nearly gave up, but kept going. You don't know how many times that class vote--"Least Likely to Hold Down a Full-time Job"--made him grit his teeth and keep going.

All you know is that he's somehow become a total success--and he still makes you laugh.

In Proof by Seduction, my debut novel, Ned was a secondary character...and, let's face it. He was That Guy. The one who made people laugh. A really, really nice guy--but, you know. Everyone got together, and they voted him least likely to hold down a full time job. Under that kind of pressure, a lot of people crack. But Ned--Ned is that one-in-a-hundred kind of person, the one who thinks, "I'm not going to be That Guy."

And he turns his life around. When Trial by Desire starts, he knows he has to prove himself.

It's up to you to decide whether he does. But if you're wondering... here's a little taste:
Ned knew what it was like to feel powerless, at the mercy of others. And he didn’t like seeing it in anyone else.

It was a sentiment as idiotic as kicking her door down would have been. After all that, he still saw himself as some sort of a hero—a strange and useless one, no doubt. He was no Bow Street Runner, no knight in shining armor. If he’d had chain-mail, it would all have rusted at sea. But Ned wasn’t the sort of knight who perished in glorious battle for the sake of a poetic ending.

He had prevailed. He’d beaten back those doubts. He’d found his place and he’d learned to stand on his own two feet, free from that cloying hint of bitter dependence.

It looked like Lady Harcroft—and by extension, Ned’s own wife—needed a hero. If he could bring Lady Harcroft the kind of peace he’d found, it would prove once and for all that his victory had not been temporary. It would be proof that he’d truly won, that he’d tamed his own response. It would be like a medieval tourney, his very own trial.

Is there anything in your past that you hope everyone forgets? I'll post my own big secret in the comments--and one lucky commenter will win a copy of TRIAL BY DESIRE, so she can see how Ned manages it for herself.

She cannot forget the fire he ignited…

In the three years since her husband left her, Lady Kathleen Carhart has managed to forge a fulfilling life for herself. But when Ned Carhart unexpectedly returns, she finds her tranquility uprooted—and her deepest secrets threatened. Though she has no intention of falling for Ned’s charms, Kate can no longer deny the desire that still burns in her heart.

Or the promise of his love…

Ned is determined to regain his wife’s trust by using unbridled seduction. But just as Kate surrenders to Ned’s passion, her carefully guarded past threatens to destroy her. Now Kate must place her faith in the only man she’s ever loved, and the only one who has ever betrayed her…

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Congratulations Courtney!  Trial by Desire officially released yesterday on September 28th.  I'm really looking forward to reading it because I loved Proof by Seduction and thought that her novella in The Heart of Christmas was the best!  I know I already said all of that, but it's worth repeating :) 

Yesterday I told you how much I loved to read Jill Shalvis's blog because of her daily dose of humor.  Courtney Milan's website is also one of my favorite haunts for the same reason.  She doesn't blog as regularly as Jill does, but when she does I can't click over to her site fast enough to read what she has written.  Her post titled "Chased by Cows" had my eyes watering I laughed so hard.  I liked it so much that I went back and reread it again yesterday :)  Then add the book reviews by her husband...and what can I say it's a favorite for many reasons.  You too can enjoy Courtney Milan at her website, her blog, MySpace, Twitter, and Facebook.  While there you should definitely check out  her Extras page because there are several free reads, and you can also find the FAQ's, and other interesting tidbits for Trial by Desire (like why her books have "code names").

To celebrate the release of  her new book, author Courtney Milan has offered to giveaway one copy of Trial by Desire to one lucky commenter.  Here's how you can enter to win...

Ways to earn entries:
  • Mandatory: Answer the question Courtney asked readers, and if you'd like you can also ask her a question and/or leave a meaningful comment.  (good for 1 entry)
  • Mandatory: You MUST be a Google Friend Connect (GFC) follower in order to be eligible to win (unfortunately an email subscriber, or subscription in Google reader, and a follower are not the same thing so make sure you are signed up as a follower if you'd like to win this book)
  • If you have a blog, or even if you don't, you can earn extra entries by telling your friends. If they successfully enter to win and mention that you sent them you can each earn extra entries. You can blog about it with a link to this post, post it on Facebook, Twitter, email...or even word of mouth (good for 5 entries for the referrer and the commenter for each friend) . Please note that to earn the points they must mention your GFC name so that I can match you.
How to enter:
  • You can choose to enter as many different ways that you want, but please place all of your entries in ONE comment 
Rules and disclaimers:
  • This contest is open to US & International addresses
  • You must be at least 18 years or older, or of legal age in your country
  • The contest will end on October 2nd at 11:59 pm EST and winner will be posted after they have been selected
  • Winner(s) will be selected using
  • The winner(s) will have THREE days from the date they are posted to provide a mailing address. If you do not contact me within three days a replacement winner will be selected. NO EXCEPTIONS
  • The book(s) will be mailed directly from the publisher or author and no substitutions are allowed
  • Seductive Musings is not responsible for prizes that are not honored, distributed in a timely manner, lost, stolen, or damaged during transit 
  • All giveaways are subject to change/cancellation without prior written notice
Good Luck!
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Maureen September 29, 2010 at 6:11 AM  

Congratulations on the new book Courtney! When I was a teenager I spent a lot of time babysitting my younger sister so I would tell everyone that I would never have children. Of course, I ended up having two. I follow on GFC.

Danielle @ Romance Book Junkies September 29, 2010 at 7:39 AM  

I have lots of things in my past I hope everyone forgets. On the top of that list would be my first marriage. lol

I'm an old follower.
I tweeted about the contest.

Carol L. September 29, 2010 at 8:30 AM  

The only thing I can really think of is that for a long time I had decided not to marry or have children and focus on a career. Well, 2 ex's and 7 grown kids later that didn't happen. lol lol
I love your blog and Mr. Milan's reviews. I haven't laughed so hard that early in the morning in a long time. lol
Carol L.

Joanna St. James September 29, 2010 at 10:36 AM  

ah High school, I was told I was so ugly I should adopt kids. well if i wanted to I can steal all their bfs now and my son is the cutest baby ever.
in their face right?

Courtney Milan September 29, 2010 at 10:55 AM  

Good morning everyone!

First on the list of things I wish I had never done: failed out of college the first time I went.

It wasn't anything like "I wasn't smart enough"--more like, "Oh crap, it's hard to pass a class when you never attend."


Man, did I ever do some dumb things when you are younger.

jeanette8042 September 29, 2010 at 11:45 AM  

In the past I wished everyone forgot how I was the super shy and acne plagued girl in middle school that some people made fun of.

GFC follower

Scorpio M. September 29, 2010 at 11:52 AM  

For some reason, I became an emotional, slobbering doofus when it came time for me to give the toast at my friend's wedding. I barely got the words out. I was not drunk, if I was at least I'd have an excuse, lol! It's caught on video & pics for all eternity now...Ugh!

GFC follower.

PoCoKat September 29, 2010 at 12:05 PM  

I think everyone has things in their past they would like everyone forget. Aren't we all constantly reinventing ourselves?

I follow on GFC.

littleone AT shaw DOT ca

Anita Yancey September 29, 2010 at 12:24 PM  

Yes, I wish everyone would forget that I got a case of the giggles and laughed all through my wedding vows. That's a wedding you can't forget.

I follow on GFC!


LilMissMolly September 29, 2010 at 1:05 PM  

I don't really have any regrets that I wish people would forget. I use my mistakes as evidence to my daughters of what NOT to do. ;)
Congrats on your new release, Courtney! I'd love to win a copy.

Lvsgund @
GFC, twitter & FB follower

P.S. I've discovered many a new favorite author through anthologies.

mrsshukra September 29, 2010 at 1:16 PM  

Congrats, Courtney! I also look forward to Mr. Milan's reviews!

Not learning to speak Chinese will always be on top of my list.

Google follower!


Sheree September 29, 2010 at 1:57 PM  

Hi! I loved PROOF BY SEDUCTION and am looking forward to reading TRIAL BY DESIRE.

As for embarrassing things, there are many, practically my entire freshman year in high school, for example. Can everyone just forget that year? Please?


Robin K September 29, 2010 at 4:09 PM  

I do not know if I have regrets on things I have done, perhaps more so on things I did not do. We are shaped by our life decisions and I would not change my life right now for anything.

I am a follower.

robin [at] intensewhisper [dot] com

Estella September 29, 2010 at 4:31 PM  

Nothing in my past I want everyone to forget.

GFC follower

kissinoak at frontier dot com

Alexa September 29, 2010 at 8:01 PM  

Frankly I would like to just forget this year. It's not that I've done anything bad or that I regret I just think this year has been rather boring and uneventful.

I'm a blog follower

scottsgal September 29, 2010 at 8:16 PM  

Wow I can't think of anything that I hope people forget - even the goofy things have made me who I am today
msboatgal at

scottsgal September 29, 2010 at 8:16 PM  

follow on GFC
msboatgal at

Ivy September 29, 2010 at 8:29 PM  

I too loved Proof by Seduction..I'm actually reading 2 right now that I have to get read before starting Trial by Desire. I'm chomping @ the bit....
I did go by her blog and loved it. That's another to follow...
Don't enter me, I already have it. *G*

Jolene Allcock and Family September 29, 2010 at 9:09 PM  

congrats on the new book, it sounds amazing. There is one thing that drives me nuts. I have the tendency to open my mouth and say really stupid things without thinking. Once, I was with my mom and sister and we were talking about my mom's upcoming birthday on Friday the 13th and for some stupid reason, out pops "I wonder why my birthday has never fallen on Friday the 13th" Well, duh, mine is on the 24th, but I didn't get what I had just said while I was getting looks from my family. Needless to say, it has been spread around and told at parties and now I get random Happy birthdays every Friday the 13th.

I'm a GFC follower

Tore September 29, 2010 at 10:24 PM  

I am a follower and email subscriber. Is there anything in your past that you hope everyone forgets? No I dont have any secrets. Please enter me in contest.

k_sunshine1977 September 29, 2010 at 10:59 PM  

how about my first marriage? that's the only big one....ah, well, at least i learned from my mistakes.

thank you for the contest!

k_sunshine1977 at yahoo dot com

JenM September 30, 2010 at 12:19 AM  

I honestly can't think of anything in my past that I wish people would forget. Hmm, I wonder if that means that I haven't taken enough chances in life.

GFC follower

buddyt September 30, 2010 at 4:09 AM  

Once as a teenager I cut all my hair off on a dare.

Since I was a real beach lover and was always sporting a dark tan you can imagine the contract of the pale white dome and the tan.

I was made to blush more times than I can count for years after but thankfully nobody knows about this nowadays !

I am a Follower,

Carol T

buddytho {at} gmail DOT com

Pam S (pams00),  September 30, 2010 at 10:59 AM  

Congrats on your latest release Courtney!

Wow there are several moments I'm sure I'd rather not have any light shed on lol.

One would be a huge crush on my cousin's best friend I had as an early teen - I was so obvious and pityful lol.

Pam S (follower pams00)
pams00 @

CherylS22 October 2, 2010 at 2:02 PM  

I hope everyone forgets my disastrous first engagement!
Thanks for the giveaway~
megalon22 at yahoo dot com

GFC follower

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