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Rogues & Remarkable Women

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Anne Gracie | A Hero's Trouble


If I told you you'd love a hero who was frightened of literary societies and muffins, would you believe me? Probably not, but read on, and maybe I can change your mind.

For me to enjoy a romance, I have to love the hero. Generally I like one who's strong, tough, and honorable, a take-charge kind of guy, the kind of guy who relishes trouble, who's a fighter as well as a lover. But sometimes an unexpected hero simply arrives on the page.

The hero in THE WINTER BRIDE, Freddy Monkton-Coombes appeared in the previous book (THE AUTUMN BRIDE—a RITA finalist) as a minor character. He was the hero's best friend, a sidekick kind of guy. He's neither tough, or take-charge —he's a beta-hero, a funny, charming, bad-boy rake. Freddy isn't even a heroic kind of name.

But somehow, I knew he had to be the hero of the next book. Even though he's horrified by things like literary societies and muffins.

Freddy on the literary society Damaris (the heroine) attends:

"The horror stories those girls read are enough to make a fellow's hair stand on end."
Max frowned. "Horror stories? They don't read horror stories, only entertaining tales of the kind ladies seem to enjoy, about girls and gossip and families—"
"Horror stories, every last one of them," Freddy said firmly. "You asked me to sit in on their literary society last month, when you went up to Manchester, remember? The story they were reading then . . ." He gave an eloquent shudder. "Horror from the very first line: It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. Must he, indeed? What about the poor fellow's wants, eh? Do they matter? No. Every female in the blasted story was plotting to hook some man for herself or her daughter or niece. If you don't call that horror, I don't know what is!"

Freddy on muffins. Not the edible kind. Muffins in Freddy's lexicon are "Females. Eligible females. Seriously marriage-minded eligible females, usually of the reforming type."

Freddy stared gloomily at the plate before him. Lady Bea was convinced that muffins were the Monkton-Coombes food of choice. That was Max's fault, blast him. He'd told his aunt that Freddy was obsessed with muffins, and of course the old girl thought he meant these blasted bun things. She had him served with them each time he called. And expected him to eat them. With enthusiasm.
He picked up a muffin, hefted it lightly and eyed the fire with a narrowed gaze. It was a good blaze, strong enough to reduce a muffin to ash in a short time. But would there be an incriminating smell?
He raised the muffin, aimed and was about to toss it in the fire when feminine footsteps sounded in the hall. He dropped the muffin, turned toward the open doorway and saw four smartly dressed females advancing toward him, smiling.
The hairs on the back of his neck rose. Why the devil were they grinning at him like that? What did they know? What did they want? He had a powerful urge to flee.


To get his parents and marriage-minded muffins off his back, our hero pays marriage-shy Damaris Chance to enter into a false engagement. She gets a cottage of her own and the security she craves; he gets peace from the females who stalk him relentlessly. It's a foolproof plan; how could anything go wrong?

Published by Berkley, USA in mass market paperback, e-book, and audio, THE WINTER BRIDE is out now — April 2014.

Anne Gracie concludes:

I loved writing this book. Freddy is funny and charming, a flirtatious, bad-boy rake, but he has hidden depths, and as the story progresses, he slowly reveals himself to be "an utterly to-die-for hero" (so said Mary Jo Putney.) Damaris is serious and quiet, and the secrets of her past make her vulnerable, but underneath her cool exterior she's really something special — watch her stand up to Freddy's b*tch of a mother, and I think you'll love her as much as I do.

So what about you — do you enjoy an occasional beta-hero? A walk on the lighter side of romance? Do you like muffins? Or book clubs? I'll give a copy of THE WINTER BRIDE to someone who leaves a comment.

The Autumn Bride
Chance Sisters

The Winter Bride
Chance Sisters




47 comments posted.

Re: Anne Gracie | A Hero's Trouble

i love beta hero i love muffins
(Denise Smith 4:04am April 2, 2014)

I'll take an occasional beta hero, along with the occasional muffin. I also love the lighter side of Romance!! The one thing I wanted to do was to thank you for coming here today. I really had a great laugh after reading your excerpts, and have put your book on my TBR list. Although the cover is gorgeous, I know the cover is going to be a wonderful and funny read that won't let me down!! It's always a plus to know a little bit extra about the characters, as well as a little more about the Author who wrote it. A million thank yous for starting my day on the right foot!!
(Peggy Roberson 9:41am April 2, 2014)

I love beta heroes from time to time.
(Pam Howell 9:42am April 2, 2014)

Loved your blog today. This book sounds wonderful. Thank you for the chance to win a copy.
(Nancy Reynolds 9:46am April 2, 2014)

I love Beta Heroes! It is nice to see the other side of a
(Karin Anderson 9:50am April 2, 2014)

Look forward to reading this book and love beta heroes!!
(Bonnie Capuano 9:57am April 2, 2014)

I do love a beta hero a walk on the light side is nice for a
(Gail Hurt 11:21am April 2, 2014)

I like all kinds of heroes! I also enjoy humor in stories. The Autumn Bride was a wonderful book, so I am looking forward to reading this one.
(Cheryl Castings 11:23am April 2, 2014)

I definitely like a light-hearted romantic man. Stories that have humor and make me smile are my favorites! I belong to a book club...but although I've suggested several romance books, they want more "serious" books. Poor ladies don't know what they are missing! Thanks for the contest!
(Jan Terry 12:07pm April 2, 2014)

Beta hero is an interesting term. I always like my heros to be flawed and not the perfect superheroes you find in books sometimes. I love muffins. I like to bake sometimes, and muffins are easy and fun to bake.
(Sandy Fielder 1:02pm April 2, 2014)

I love muffins and book clubs!
(Denise Austin 1:59pm April 2, 2014)

What a beautiful cover! I do enjoy beta characters... lighter romances.
(Colleen Conklin 2:46pm April 2, 2014)

Thanks for all these comments. My Freddy is a beta hero, but he's flawed and
there are hidden depths to the man. I hope you enjoy his book.
(Anne Gracie 6:03pm April 2, 2014)

Jan, I don't understand why books clubs always want to read serious books —
variety is the basic of all kinds of health. A friend of mine is in a bookclub
because she thinks the books they read "do her good" even though half the time
she doesn't enjoy or even finish them. A romance that makes me smile and feel
happy at the end is certainly doing me good, I think.
(Anne Gracie 6:04pm April 2, 2014)

I love the wit and intelligence of Jane Austen's characters and of plays like "The Importance of Being Earnest". Often, these male protagonists are not alphas but betas whose conversations provide humour and whose fear of marriage is mortal. Loved "The Autumn Bride" and looking forward to 'winter'.
(Susanne Bellamy 6:42pm April 2, 2014)

I like beta heroes, because I believe even they have a bit of alpha hidden in them when it comes to someone they love. I can't wait to read this book, Anne. The cover is gorgeous, too.
(Marcy Shuler 6:51pm April 2, 2014)

Oh I love beta heroes!!!! I mean I love alpha heroes too but Betas are my
absolute favorites! They listen and aren't overtly controlling. They have a
keen eye for observing everyone and everything. And they love deeply,
as too alphas but beta-love is more of a quiet sweet romance. So yes, I
do like walking on the lighter side of romance.
And I love muffins! Poppy seed muffins are my favorite. And book clubs
are where I can fan girl about a current book I just read or just plain out
fan girl about an author or about a new book as I wait for its release!!! So
yes, I love book clubs!
(Ki Pha 7:11pm April 2, 2014)

If Ann Gracie wrote it, I'll take either type of hero.
(Penny Holmes 7:11pm April 2, 2014)

Love the cover! Very beautiful! I do enjoy reading about
beta-hero's sometimes.
(Samatha Hodges 8:15pm April 2, 2014)

Beta heroes deserve HEAs too.
(Mary C 8:39pm April 2, 2014)

I love fake engagement stories!!!
(Lisa Hutson 10:29pm April 2, 2014)

Beta heroes are great, too. I like Freddy's take on the world. His outlook makes other people double take and that makes me laugh.
(Laura Gullickson 12:45pm April 3, 2014)

Am such a fan of your stories. The snippets made me laugh.
(G. Bisbjerg 2:16am April 3, 2014)

Thanks for these lovely comments. I'm enjoying them all so much.
(Anne Gracie 4:31am April 3, 2014)

I love heroes in all their varieties. People are a wondrous subject, full of variety,
no too alike. I especially like creative characters that step away from any mold or
pre-set assumptions.
(Carol Roddy 11:51am April 3, 2014)

Freddie sounds like he will make this a fun romance to read.
(Anna Speed 12:09pm April 3, 2014)

I love Bata heroes, muffins of all kinds except Bran, and I am in a book
club. I would love to read your book and recommend it to my book club and
leave a review.
(Hillary Kaltenbach 1:00pm April 3, 2014)

Would love to read this book by Anne Gracie.
(Tina Lechuga 1:12pm April 3, 2014)

I like the chocolate chip muffins,
I don't know about book clubs we don't have them around here they sound like fun!
Congratulations on your new book
(Penney Wilfort 1:44pm April 3, 2014)

I like muffins quite the little bit..especially orange cranberry! I enjoy the occasional book club, also.
I like my men to be alpha, for sure, but, occasionally a beta male will catch my eye! But, the book sounds really good and I'd love to read it.
(Vennie Martinisi 2:10pm April 3, 2014)

I like muffins, but not all muffins, I have never been in a book club, congratulation on the new book, I would love to be chosen
(Tina Gilligan 2:11pm April 3, 2014)

I love muffins, I've been in a book club, I don't mind the occasional beta male, or a walk on the lighter side of romance.
(Denise Holcomb 2:24pm April 3, 2014)

what wonderful reviews on amazon.com! Turns out we're not the only ones who love the occasional beta-hero. It's such fun to see characters grow in the course of the story - it keeps those pages turning.
(Beth Fuller 2:30pm April 3, 2014)

Beta heroes are okay with me. I love humor with my romance.
Nobody needs to take themselves too seriously.
(Donna Antonio 3:02pm April 3, 2014)

I do like a lighter side in a romance. Appreciate the
(Leona Olson 3:06pm April 3, 2014)

I enjoy both the Alpha and the Beta Hero. They have their
good points for each. I do like the walk on the lighter side
of romance as it has more conflict. As for muffins they are
a staple in my home. Not too fond of book clubs as they do
not always read book I will.
(Tina Ullrich 4:09pm April 3, 2014)

I enjoy both the alpha and beta heroes. I do love romances that make me laugh, and Winter Bride sounds like a fun one. I also like muffins (ladies and the kind you eat). Give me a blueberry, cinammon, apple, or chocolate chip muffin, and I feel like I am in Heaven.
(Cathy Phillips 4:15pm April 3, 2014)

Enjoy all your books!
(Doris Losey 4:21pm April 3, 2014)

I enjoy heroes period. If it's a good story, I'll probably love the book and I also like books with humor in them.
(Carol Woodruff 7:27pm April 3, 2014)

it can be a lot of fun to read about a more regular beta guy
step up and save the day! I love muffins - blueberry are my
(Diane Sallans 9:51pm April 3, 2014)

I love muffins and walks on the lighter side of romance.
(Nyala Edwards 10:31pm April 3, 2014)

I do enjoy the beta heroes' stories. There are not alot of books written about the beta hero.
(Kai Wong 11:14pm April 3, 2014)

I love to read about Beta heroes. They're more of a challenge to the heroine and their books are usually funnier. I'd like more Beta heroes.
(Sharon Extine 1:00am April 4, 2014)

I do like Beta heroes. They seem to have a gentler nature. I
also like muffins, but I have never been part of a book club.
(Mary Preston 7:03am April 5, 2014)

Women as muffins.... teehee. Sounds like sometimes Freddie
might be hard to like; but then again having a real
personality with actual likes and dislikes is kind of nice.
Having a more normal guy is sometimes nice...
(Vanessa Primer 8:20am April 8, 2014)

I totally wanna read this :)
hope I get a Chacen to read
this wonderful piece of
writing :)
(Sukriti Goyal 2:53pm April 8, 2014)

What an fascinating book! Love the cover. Freddy is definitely an interesting character. Thanks for sharing the great excerpts.
(Bonnie H 1:17pm April 28, 2014)

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