Guest Author & Giveaway: Leigh LaValle featuring The Runaway Countess

Wednesday, April 11

Today we continue our theme of award winning authors with 2011 RWA Golden Heart® Finalist, Leigh LaValle. 

I recently watched Robin Hood, the Disney version, with Little Love during Spring Break and we both really enjoyed it.  There's just something about that story that has massive appeal, which I guess is why my guest today, author Leigh LaValle, decided to put her own spin on the Robin Hood tale in her Regency historical romance, The Runaway Countess. Though I highly doubt her characters break out into catchy tunes :)   Enjoy!


A Character Love Letter

THE RUNAWAY COUNTESS is a Regency retelling of the Robin Hood legend in which the figurative Sherriff of Nottingham captures one of Robin Hood’s Merry Maids.

Trent Carthwick, the Earl of Radford and Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire, must find the famed highwayman plaguing his county before lawlessness spreads into riot and revolt. However, his seductive captive, Mazie Chetwyn, refuses to tell him anything about her masked accomplice. The two spar and cajole and test each other to exhaustion. Brought close by fate and laid bare by circumstances, the two enemies fall in love.

In this letter, Trent has received a solid clue as to the location of the highwayman known as The Midnight Rider. He has ridden out in the dark of the night with a small militia of men. Mazie is waiting at the window, her heart torn in two with worry. 

Dearest Trent-

My bed is cold and you are far away. Fear keeps me awake, fear of the darkness. Fear of losing you to the darkness forever.

I watch the slim light of the moon and her impossibly slow journey across the sky. I await your return. Where are you? Are you safe? There were so many guns—too many guns—among the men tonight.

I taste blood with this waiting. I cannot abide the thought I beg of the moon for your life, Trent. I beg that she keep you in her light. You must return home to me. You must not find the Midnight Rider. Neither of you can die. I will not see another loved one locked behind that dark door.

Come home and let me love you.

You were upset with me when you left. Hurt and angry. I ask the impossible, I plead you understand what cannot be understood. I love you but I cannot tell you the truth about the man you seek. It is not a choice I want to make. It is a terrible fate that has befallen us. You have my heart even as you hunt those I love.

The moon is lost behind a cloud. I am fallen into a thousand disjointed pieces. I can no longer hold myself together. I am torn apart by loyalty, and the wound of love will kill me.

I would die a thousand deaths for you. Come home to me, Trent. Come home safe to me. I cannot give to you the Midnight Rider’s life, but I can give you mine.

My heart is forever yours.

Once the darling of high society, Mazie Chetwyn knows firsthand how quickly the rich and powerful turn their backs on the less fortunate. Orphaned, penniless and determined to defy their ruthless whims, she joins forces with a local highwayman who steals from the rich to give to the poor.

Then the pawn broker snitches, and Mazie is captured by the Lord Lieutenant of Nottinghamshire. A man who is far too handsome, far too observant…and surely as corrupt as his father once was.

Sensible, rule-driven Trent Carthwick, twelfth Earl of Radford, is certain the threat of the gallows will prompt the villagers’ beloved Angel of Kindness to reveal the highwayman’s identity. But his bewitching captive volunteers nothing—except a sultry, bewildering kiss.

And so the games begin. Trent feints, Mazie parries. He threatens, she pretends nonchalance. He cajoles, she rebuffs. Thwarted at every turn, Trent probes deep into her one vulnerability—her past. There he finds the leverage he needs and a searing truth that challenges all he believes about right and wrong.

Read an excerpt & enjoy this special excerpt for Musings readers:

or read it in a Google document here

Congratulations Leigh!  And thank you for being my guest today.  Reading Mazie's letter to Trent really makes me lament the loss of letter correspondence today.  Don't get me wrong, but there is just something...special about a hand written letter, don't you think?

If you'd like to learn more about author Leigh LaValle and the books she writes you can find her at her website, her blog, on Twitter, and at Facebook.

To celebrate the release of The Runaway Countess, Leigh would like to giveaway a digital copy of the book to one lucky Musings follower.  Here's how you can enter to win...

Ways to earn entries:
  • Mandatory: Ask Leigh a question about this book OR tell me your favorite part or line from either excerpt. (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.
  • You can also earn extra entries by sharing the flipbook excerpt on Facebook, Twitter, your website or blog or other social media sites. You can earn 5 entries for each place that you share it and leave a link in the comments.
  • Purchase any item from the Seductive Musings Amazon store by using this link, or the Amazon widget contained within this post and email a copy of your purchase receipt to me no later than the deadline to enter (email available in sidebar). Sorry purchases made prior to this date do not apply, and link contained in this post must be used. No faxes or snail mail copies are allowed. No purchases are necessary to win. (good for 25 entries, or 50 entries if a purchase is made from the featured author's available titles)
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 April 13th at 11:59 pm EST and winner will be posted after they have been selected
  • Winner(s) will be selected using, and/or by the author
  • 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
  • Winners will be subject to one copy per household, which means that if you win the same title in two or more contests, that you will only receive one copy of the title in the mail
  • 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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*Seductive Musings is an Amazon affiliate and receives a very small referral fee for purchases made via the links on the blog and through the Seductive Musings Amazon Store. Read the full disclosure here.


Ivy April 11, 2012 at 11:55 AM  

Wow...Mazie's letter to Trent was so emotional. Now I want to know who the highwayman is that she also loves. A brother? Cousin? Why did you decide on a Robin Hood themed Regency?
Robin Hood is a favorite and I loved the PBS show with Michael Praed as Robin. Heart be still but he's aged well...gracious. I think he's gorgeous.
Your cover is beautiful. I like this trend where the faces aren't fully revealed. Sometimes the cover faces didn't fit my imagination & it irked occasionally.
Thanks for the chance!

Leigh LaValle April 11, 2012 at 2:59 PM  

HI Ivy-

There are many reasons I chose a Robin Hood themed Regency. Mostly I wanted to take a well known story of right/wrong and turn it on its head. In THE RUNAWAY COUNTESS I redeem the evil Sherif of Nottingham.

In the original cover, the faces were shown. My editor and I decided to crop it. I like the results! Just enough of the mouth to tantalize...

Thanks for stopping by!

erin April 11, 2012 at 3:57 PM  

Congrats on the new release! I love the premise and I've had this on my wishlist for a while now ;)

The letter was intense... so I assume that this was after the end of the book?

Leigh LaValle April 11, 2012 at 4:50 PM  

This letter takes place toward the end of the book. There is an actual scene where Trent rides out with his men. I wrote the actual scene then decided not to include it since, well, men hunting men isn't the most exciting for a romance :) So, I show the scene leading up to it, when Trent is leaving. And the scene were he returns to Mazie, who has been waiting.

June M. April 11, 2012 at 10:28 PM  

I have wanted to read this book since I first heard of it. I love the storyline of the book, the heroine who is caught between her former partner and the man she is falling in love with. She can not give up her friend and worries for all of them. Will this book be part of a series? Perhaps the Midnight Rider getting his HEA?
GFC: June M.
manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

Tore April 11, 2012 at 10:55 PM  

I am a follower and email subscriber. I love reading about Robin Hood. Please enter me in contest.

Leigh LaValle April 12, 2012 at 12:45 AM  

Hi June-

Yes, there will be two more stories related to this book- both novellas. The first will release this June as part of an anthology, and the second in the early fall.

Thanks for stopping by!

Leigh LaValle April 12, 2012 at 12:46 AM  

Hi Tore-

I love Robin Hood too :)

Filia Oktarina April 12, 2012 at 11:48 AM  

Congrats on the new release!
I wanted to read this book, and since i know this one like Robin Hood story, that make me intrique and the letter was so intense. I like story Robin Hood, watch movie and tv series to. So how you will make this story will be interesting, can't wait to read it:)

follow Email subscriber and GFC as Filia Oktarina
filiafantasy at gmail dot com

marybelle April 15, 2012 at 10:22 PM  

A must read for me.

Are the titles given to Trent Carthwick factual?

GFC: Mary Preston

Email Subscriber


Anonymous,  April 16, 2012 at 12:28 PM  

First let me say what a lovely letter: touching, poetic, and heart breaking. What a terrible position to be in.
It really is a shame that letter writing is practically a lost art. When my husband was overseas, there was no email, snipe, or even cell phones. We wrote to each other and I treasure those letters.

I am glad you picked up the Robin Hood story line to use in THE RUNAWAY COUNTESS. It is one of my favorites, even the Disney animated version. I love Clucky. I am looking forward to your take on this theme. It sounds good. I hope you have good success with the release of this book.

GFC Follower, librarypat.

I tweeted this giveaway:!/pbbearclaw/status/191925460928700416

Just noticed the end date. Sorry I missed it.
Best of luck with the release of THE RUNAWAY COUNTESS. I'll be looking for it.

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