Friday, August 17, 2012

VBT - Secrets and Scandals Series By Darcy Burke

Welcome to my stop on Darcy Burke's Secrets & Scandals Series Virtual Book Tour.  Darcy was kind enough to answer some interview questions for me, which are posted below.  Please be sure to leave a comment or question for her as she will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC, a copy of the anthology Born to Bite (out in August), an ebook of The Runaway Countess by Leigh LaValle, and a Sara Ramsey ebook. She is also running a contest on her website: sign up for her newsletter during the tour and you might win a $10 Amazon gift card.  You can follow her tour stops here, the more often you comment the better your chances at winning.


Me: Her Wicked Ways is the first book in your Secrets and Scandals series, can you share with us how many books you plan to publish in the series? 

Darcy: There will be five full-length novels and one novella.

Me: Can you tell us what kind of research you did while you wrote "Her Wicked Ways" and what attracted you to the specific period of time during which "Her Wicked Ways" takes place? 

Darcy: I researched the area in which the book is set (Wootton Bassett in Wiltshire) and the year 1816, which was the Year Without a Summer. Temperatures were about one degree cooler that year on average (compare that to this summer’s record-breaking US droughts – July was an average of 3 degrees warmer than the 20th century average) in the Northern Hemisphere, which resulted in food shortages across New England and Northern Europe. The cooler temperatures of 1816 are believed to be a result of low solar activity and excessive volcanic activity, particularly the 1815 eruption of Mt. Tambora in Indonesia. A cool summer and a poor harvest were perfect points of conflict for the story about an orphanage struggling to make ends meet. It gave the hero, Fox, an excellent reason for embarking on a career as a highwayman—his dependents were in grave risk. 
Me: When did you first discover your love of historical romance and decide you wanted to write in the genre? 

Darcy: I started reading historical romance in high school. I think the first one I read was Kathleen Woodiwiss’s Ashes in the Wind. And then I watched North & South on TV (starring a very young and gorgeous Patrick Swayze) and I was pretty much lost. I’ve always loved history (my best friend and I used to play “pioneer girls” in my playhouse—likely due to Little House on the Prairie), so writing it was a natural fit. Plus, my degree is in history (with a focus on US and British history, particularly the Tudor period in England), and I have to say research is one of the things I love best. Except for the times I get lost down a rat hole because I’ve found something terribly interesting (and probably not at all useful for my story, LOL). 

Me: Since you are fairly new to being published, what advice would you give to an aspiring writer? Is there anything you would do differently about your path to publication? 

Darcy: I don’t think I’d do anything differently, although if I’d had a crystal ball I would not have had my agent submit a book to NY the week the market crashed in 2008. ;) The best thing you can do as a writer is write. And you have to have patience, not just with the industry (which is incredibly slow, until you decide to self-publish and then things sort of steamroll, at least that was my experience), but also with yourself. Give yourself time to develop as a writer, to really hone your craft. Especially with self-publishing being so prevalent, I think writers have to work hard to put out their best product and be patient enough to make sure they do just that. It can be very hard to wait, but I believe it’s absolutely worth it. For me, I think publication happened at the right time, both for my writing and my personal life. When I think about writing to deadlines four years ago when my children were younger, I sort of hyperventilate, LOL.

Me: In your bio, you discuss a book you wrote when you were six, which you titled "The Magic Swan" - while that book is aimed towards a different genre (children) than what you currently write in, have you ever thought of publishing your childhood story for other children? 

Darcy: I actually wrote it when I was in sixth grade, so I think I was 12. I don’t think it’s quite good enough for public consumption, particularly the illustrations, LOL. My older brother’s books (he did two—they did them in fifth and sixth grade) were much better, though my memory could be deceiving me. Actually, my brother’s a terrific writer. He has a few stories I’d love to see him publish some day. As for children’s books, my 11-year-old daughter would love for me to write a book that she can illustrate, but so far inspiration hasn’t struck.

Me: The next two books in your Secret's and Sandals series, His Wicked Heart and To Seduce a Scoundrel, have just been published. Can you tell us what you're working on next? 

Darcy: I just finished a contemporary paranormal about shades—men who are made immortal when their souls are taken—and the Guild of banshees who are trained to restore their souls, which kills them. The book features the banshee assassin and the shade she’s unable to kill. It was a total departure for me to write, but so fun! I’m excited to see what people think. 

I’m currently working on the next installment of the Secrets and Scandals series, a novella called To Love a Thief. It features Lord Kersey, who readers briefly met in Her Wicked Ways. He’s a former constable who surprisingly inherited a viscountcy from a distant relative. Fortunately, a prominent earl takes him under his wing and shows him the ropes of Society. Kersey looks forward to using his newfound role to further his ideas regarding police reform. He also sets his sights on a potential viscountess—until he catches her stealing from his mentor. When Jocelyn sees her family’s stolen heirlooms in the possession of a wealthy earl, she demands their return. However, the earl dismisses her claim as false and she vows to recover the items at any cost. It’s a fun story with two very strong-willed people. I hope readers will enjoy it!

Me: If you could travel to any place in the world, regardless of cost, where would you travel and who would you want to take on your journey with you? 

Darcy: Two places: The UK and Denmark. The UK because I went there without my husband thirteen years ago and missed him every second and wished he was there (he was in law school at the time). My mom was born in England and my grandmother was Welsh, so we still have family there, plus we have good friends who live in London and have invited us to visit. Soon! 

And Denmark because my cousins live there. I had the opportunity to meet them for the first time in June when my brother and I were flown there to appear on a television show, This is Your Life, about my cousin who is one of Denmark’s most talented and famous actresses. Sounds like a book, doesn’t it? It was crazy! We lost touch after our parents died (our dad died in 1986 and their mom died in 1995—they were siblings) and found each other on Facebook a few years ago. I’d talked to my cousin on the phone once and just loved connecting with her, so of course I jumped at the chance to not only meet her in person, but surprise her on a television show. Did I mention it was crazy? Crazy fun. My brother and I had such a wonderful time getting to know them, and I just know it was the beginning of a very special relationship. I look forward to going back with my family (yes, I went to Europe again without my husband!) and spending a lot of time together. They’re also planning to come here, which will be awesome. 

Hmm, can I add a third place? Italy. My husband really wants to go and I think he deserves to go wherever he wants!

Me: Whose writing are you a fan of? Which currently living author would you like to meet in person? 

Darcy: In the historical romance genre, I’m a huge Elizabeth Hoyt fan. Her historical ambience is fabulous—everything just leaps off the page. I’m also a big fan of my pal Kristina McMorris because her research and attention to even the smallest detail is phenomenal. I mean, when you read one of her books (two are currently available and are set during WWII) you are just immersed in the time. I’d love to meet Stephen King or JK Rowling to see how they develop ideas and hear about their writing process.

Quick Get to Know You Questions 

Favorite Color? Green 
Favorite Snack? Cheese
Preference for Print or Ebook? I would’ve said print until June, when I got my Kindle Fire. Now it’s ebook all the way.
If your friends had to describe you in one word, what would it be? Busy J
Heels or Flats? Flats.
Favorite Season? Fall
Favorite Romance Movie: Notting Hill! 


Secrets and Scandals Series
Darcy Burke

Book 1: Her Wicked Ways


Banished from London for her reckless behavior, Lady Miranda Sinclair is robbed by a dashing highwayman en route to the country. By offering him a kiss in lieu of the jewels she had to leave behind, she commits the very type of act that caused her exile. When her dour guardians extend her punishment to performing charitable work at the local orphanage, she’s further tempted by the home’s owner, a provincial gentleman who stirs her passion in a most wicked way.

Desperate to save his orphanage from financial catastrophe, Montgomery "Fox" Foxcroft leads a double life as a highwayman. The arrival of wealthy, well-connected Miranda, whose kiss he can’t forget, presents a lawful opportunity to increase his coffers. His problems seem solved—until she rejects his suit. Out of options and falling for the heiress, Fox must risk what principles he has left and take advantage of her wicked ways—even if it ruins them both. 


Her Wicked Ways

She sighed, a sound of deep regret. “I told you, I have no money.”
“You’re lying. You reek of wealth.” Fox sniffed loudly to punctuate his statement and got a nose full of her alluring scent for his trouble.
“I know.” Her lips curved into a small, almost seductive smile. It stole his breath. Literally. When he finally remembered to take air, he did so quite audibly. Her mouth widened then, and her face shone like the sun on the brightest summer day.
What the hell kind of highwayman fixated on some chit like a cheap Byron impostor?
Fox reined in his wayward lust. “You must have something of value. A piece of jewelry? A quizzing glass?”
She arched a brow. “What do you take me for? A doddering dowager?”
Good God, no. Never that. If they’d been anywhere else, he would’ve laughed.
Instead, he called out to Rob, as much to distract himself from her as to determine his steward’s progress. “How are you doing over there?” He was careful to lower his voice lest Carmody determine his identity. Highway robbery shouldn’t be this bloody complicated.
“Coming along. Gent’s being quite accommodating.”
He returned his attention to the girl, disappointed she hadn’t sprouted a wart in the last few seconds. “I don’t have time to discuss the finer points of your doddering or lack thereof. Return to the carriage and retrieve whatever it is you have of value. I’d hate to have to use my pistol.”
Her gaze flicked downward. “Your pistol?”
Hell’s teeth, had she just looked at his crotch?
“You’re not even pointing it at me.”
She was quite maddeningly correct. 


 Book 2: His Wicked Heart

Jasper Sinclair, Earl of Saxton, made a bargain with his devil of a father to marry in one month’s time. But instead of shackling himself to an acceptable debutante, he indulges his baser needs. He joins a fighting club and pursues a delectable woman who may not be what she seems. Soon he finds himself battling addictions that threaten his already wicked heart.

Orphaned seamstress Olivia West wants the chance to lead an honest, respectable life, but the arrogant Earl of Saxton launches a daunting campaign to make her his mistress. Destitute and desperate, she agrees to one night with the dangerous lord, hatching a scheme to take his money and keep her virtue. However, Jasper uncovers her deception and vows to claim what he's owed—not his money, her.


His Wicked Heart

Olivia stood taller and thrust her chin at him. “I came from Devon several months ago and took a position at the theatre as a seamstress. I only filled in onstage for an actress who left temporarily to care for a sick relative. It was then I had the misfortune of encountering—and being bedeviled—by you.”
Bedeviled? He’d show her bedeviled. Jasper closed the gap between them until they nearly touched. “And when is it exactly that you came from Devon?”
She tipped her head back, but didn’t shrink from him. An auburn curl loosened and grazed her ivory cheek. “March.”
He took in the graceful sweep of her neck, partially covered from his hungry gaze by the starched collar of her shirt beneath the deep sage green of her riding habit. His lust threatened to destroy any semblance of propriety, which, alone as they were in the gallery, was nonexistent. “So you really are from Devon.”
“Yes.” Her voice deepened, stirring his desire further.
He tucked the stray lock of hair behind her ear. “And your parents died last year. Were they ill?”
Her breathing hitched as his fingers skimmed the outer shell, and he felt a surge of triumph. “A coaching accident.”
“You said you didn’t own any horses.”
The flash of disquiet in her eyes confirmed the lie. She drew back, and his body regretted that his mind had pursued this course instead of kissing her senseless. “They’d borrowed someone else’s carriage.” A plausible excuse, but he still didn’t believe her.
So disappointing—both her dishonesty and his unquenched lust. “Ah, and therein lies the tragedy.”
She turned, quickly, before she showed him any emotion.


Book 3: To Seduce a Scoundrel

Quintessential debutante Lady Philippa Latham is determined to avoid scandal at all costs so that she may marry well. When her mother’s outrageous behavior threatens their family’s reputation, Philippa unwittingly follows her to a party no unmarried Society girl would risk attending. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Philippa is “rescued” from disaster by England’s most notorious scoundrel, which sets them both on a path to public and personal ruin.

Lord Ambrose Sevrin is infamous for ruining his brother’s fiancée and refusing to marry her. Content to remain among the fringe of the upper ten thousand, he is an intriguing enigma to London’s elite. Philippa thinks she’s met the true Ambrose—a gentleman who would fight to defend her and help her secure a husband before it’s too late. But he can’t be that husband, even for her. He won’t tolerate redemption—or love—for his crimes are far worse than anyone can imagine.


To Seduce a Scoundrel

“Is that what you’ve been doing with your dance partners tonight? Husband hunting?” The notion filled Ambrose with a disturbing sense of nausea.
They danced apart again and Ambrose took the opportunity to mentally review the men he’d watched her with. When they came together, he said, “That foreign boy…you danced with him out of obligation, not because you’re considering his suit?”
Philippa smiled up at him, her ale-colored eyes sparkling beneath the glow of hundreds of candles. “Oh, stop. I’m not considering his suit, but he’s perfectly charming.”
“Charm is your chief requirement in a husband?”
Her body moved with precision and grace. “Along with honor and kindness.”
“You might do better with a dog.”
She laughed as they danced apart again. Such a warm, lovely sound. He would miss it.
When they came together, she gave him a contemplative look. “Is there a breed you recommend?”
“Something loyal who’s ready to defend you.”
“Like you?” She gazed at him alluringly and he had to work to focus on the dance steps.
“That is not how I’d describe myself.” Unfaithful, selfish, arrogant…these were far more accurate adjectives.
“But your ability to defend me and my honor is well-established. And here you are with me again tonight.” She shook her head, her lips set firmly together. “I’m dubbing you loyal.”
He leaned forward slightly and lowered his voice to just above a whisper. “Please, stop. You’re going to reverse my black reputation. I can’t have that.”


AUTHOR INFORMATION: Darcy Burke wrote her first book at age 11, a happily ever after about a swan addicted to magic and the female swan who loved him, with exceedingly poor illustrations. An RWA Golden Heart® Finalist, Darcy loves all things British (except tomatoes for breakfast, or any other time of day, actually) and happy ever afters.

A native Oregonian, Darcy lives on the edge of wine country with her devoted husband, their two great kids, and three cats. In her “spare” time Darcy is a serial volunteer enrolled in a 12-step program where one learns to say “no,” but she keeps having to start over. She’s also a fair-weather runner, and her happy places are Disneyland and Labor Day weekend at the Gorge. Visit Darcy online at, follow her on Twitter at, or like her Facebook page,

Please be sure to leave a comment or question for her as she will be awarding a $25 Amazon GC, a copy of the anthology Born to Bite (out in August), an ebook of The Runaway Countess by Leigh LaValle, and a Sara Ramsey ebook. She is also running a contest on her website: sign up for her newsletter during the tour and you might win a $10 Amazon gift card.  You can follow her tour stops here, the more often you comment the better your chances at winning.


  1. I love the covers for these!


  2. Hi Francesca, thanks for stopping by! If you love these, wait until you see the cover for my new novella, To Love a Thief, coming next month. Newsletter subscribers are getting a sneak peek today, but I'll have it up on my website on Monday. :)

    I'm headed out of town for the weekend and our destination has no cell service and limited wifi. I'll try to respond to comments later today, but if the wifi isn't available, I'll respond when I return on Sunday evening!

  3. I'd bet Denmark would be a good setting for a historical romance.


  4. All the books sound great. I enjoyed learning more about you.

  5. Nice interview. This sounds like a good series.


  6. I love how you refer to it as a research "rat hole"....when you're led off course on an interesting detour. As a librarian, I understand the lure of tantalizing tidbits and tangents. Love your covers, too, and the blurb for To Seduce a Scoundrel. Thanks for sharing.
    catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

  7. I love my historicals with a bit of spicy! Thank you so much for the interview. Carin
    mawmom at gmail dot com

  8. The covers are lovely

  9. The covers are lovely.

  10. I love the covers.

  11. Just popping in to say HI and sorry I missed visiting with you on party day! Hope you all had a good time!

    kareninnc at gmail dot com

  12. Hi Trix and bn, thanks for stopping by today! Catherine, I love librarians! You and Ingeborg will be excited to see the cover for my novella due next month-it'll be on my website soon! Hi Carin! And Karen! And hello, Candace-you can get the first book, Her Wicked Ways FREE right now at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, iTunes, Smashwords, and All Romance eBooks. I hope you enjoy it!

  13. I'm wondering why one of the books will be a novella?

    I love the idea of you collaborating on a book with your daughter.


  14. I love how she used a real historic event to weave into the tale to give it a conflict based on reality. Thanks for the excerpt