Guestpost by author Leigh LaValle + Giveaway

Filed in featured , Giveaways , Guest Post , Leigh LaValle , The HEA Lover Posted on April 17, 2012 @ 7:00 am 21 comments

Today we’re very happy to welcome Leigh LaValle on Book Lovers Inc. Leigh’s Debut novel The Runaway Countess was release a few weeks ago. We’ve had the pleasure of reading it and we can’t recommend it enough! Keep your eyes open for our Dual review later today.  Let’s give a fantastic welcome to Leigh Lavalle and enter the contest to win our ow copy of the Runaway Countess!

Making Merry on Midsummer’s Eve

Spring is in the air! As the sun shines brighter and the temperatures rise, I feel my blood stirring. Summertime, with her vibrant, sweaty nights, is coming soon. I love every season, but I find summer by far the sexiest. Indeed, I set my debut novel, the RUNAWAY COUNTESS, during the hot, sultry summer of 1821.

Summer brings long days spent out-of-doors, succulent berries fresh from the garden, and boisterous open air festivals. The most popular summertime festival in Europe is the lover’s holiday of Midsummer’s Eve. Celebrated on the solstice, Midsummer’s Eve is a pre-Christian holiday with strong ties to fertility rituals. (You can see where I am going with this  (: )

On Midsummer’s Day, revelers came together in an open field to celebrate. Flowers were gathered for decoration, participants engaged in games and activities (such as dancing around a maypole or competing in footraces) and villagers hawked their wares to other villagers.

But, it was as the sun set for the shortest night of the year that the true celebrations began. Under the light of the June moon (called the Honey Moon due to harvesting honey from the bees) inhibitions were cast aside and revelry echoed through the sultry night air.

Bonfires were lit and villagers leapt over the flames for luck. Musicians tuned their instruments and a procession of merrymakers, often dressed in costume, wandered through the festivities carrying lanterns. Wheels were set aflame and tossed into the air or sent rolling down hillsides.

To add to the allure of the night, courting couples were encouraged to wander into the woods. Together, they would look for faeries and pixies, and gather the herbs thought to be most potent on Midsummer’s Eve. Indeed, many couples would stroll off and not return for quite some time. (And, I should guess, without any herbs in hand or pixie sightings to report.)

A night for lovers, divination spells also existed on Midsummers Eve. A woman might glimpse her next lover by dipping cloth in rose water and letting it dry before the fire with salt. (The more I research the more I think spells were not needed to see one’s lover at all 🙂 ) Or, a man might go to a churchyard with his sword and, turning nine times, recite “Here’s the sword; where’s the sheath?” Subtle, isn’t it?

I had a lot of fun researching the Midsummer’s Eve festival, and used many of the traditions in THE RUNAWAY COUNTESS. I added a pond for skinny dipping and hero and heroine who have been sparking off each other for weeks. Voila- a night is created full of mischief and romance. A night the hero and heroine will never forget.

Tell me, Dear Reader, which season do you find the sexiest? Do you love cozy winter nights? The awakening of spring? One lucky commenter will win a digital copy of THE RUNAWAY COUNTESS!

Book synpsis:

 The Runaway Countess

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.

Amazon , Barnes and Noble , Samhain , iBooks

About the author :

Leigh LaValle was born in a time when ladies shopped at the modiste and rogues sent heated looks across a crowded ballroom. Time slipped forward a few hundred years, and she currently lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family. When she is not writing about said ladies and rogues, mommying, or reading, she is rarely seen cleaning. More often, she is found hiking or, when she is really lucky, in the white powder of the ski slopes. She is also a devoted yoga practitioner and instructor.

Website , Facebook , Twitter , Goodreads  ,  Blog



Leigh has generously offered an ebook copy of  The Runaway Countess to one lucky commenter!

All you have to do is leave a meaningful comment about the Guestpost or answer  one of Leigh’s questions
(You can read our full giveaway policy here)

Please be sure to include a valid email address in the comment form (need not be in the actual body of the comment).

This giveaway is open to all!

Giveaway ends on Saturday, April 28th, 2012; we will announce the winner on Sunday.

Good luck!

About Caro The HEA Lover

Caroline is a HEA loving, yarn addicted French who's desperately hoping to get a HEA of her own. If she's not reading then she can be found knitting while listening to Audiobooks or watching Tv shows. Her secret addiction is reading websites that make fun at other people's expense (DYAC, Failbook)! Caroline also blogs at the Secret HEA Society with Susi.

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Join the Discussion
  • Stella April 17, 2012 at 7:27 am

    Thank you for the lovely post Leigh! I think all seasons have their beauties (though some have more tahn others 😉 ) and are sexy in their own way: cold winter nights are great for cuddling under the duvet or in front of the fire, autumn walks in colourful parks and forests are beautiful, and then there are picnics and midnight skinny dipping, stargazing, sleeping under the stars in summer, and of course spring with all the freshly blooming flowers mm.. But when it comes to sexiness my vote goes to winter and summer 😉

    • Leigh LaValle April 17, 2012 at 1:11 pm

      Stella- You make great points about every season! I was in Paris one september. The flowers were still out and the leaves were changing. Tres romantique!

  • Darline Stewart April 17, 2012 at 11:24 am

    I would love to win the book, I do think Warm cozy winter Night would be the sexiest season because you can have Champagne by the fire light.

    email address is:

    • Leigh LaValle April 17, 2012 at 1:09 pm

      Champagne by firelight! You are my kind of girl 🙂

  • aurian April 17, 2012 at 11:43 am

    thanks for the lovely guestpost, it was fun reading. A bit strange at first, important festival in Europe, I thought, huh? Never heard about it.
    I like spring and fall best. Spring when everything becomes green again, and you can finally go for a walk again, or fall, when the hotness of summer is gone, and it is still beautiful enough to spend the day outside.

  • erinf1 April 17, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    Fun post! Thanks for the great post and giveaway! I’ve read such wonderful reviews for Leigh’s book. Congrats on the release!!!

    I love spring. I live in a place where we have 4 seasons and winter can last forever and be very cold and snowy. I find that everyone here is usually very silly and romantic once the weather turns nice and before it gets blistering hot 😉

    • Leigh LaValle April 17, 2012 at 1:22 pm

      Thanks Erin! It has been so much fun to release my first book. Chatting with readers is by far the best part! And I know what you mean about springtime. I am also from the land of 4 seasons, where summer can get too hot.

  • Arianne April 17, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    I like spring because of all the pretty colors and flowers. And it’s also not too cold and not too hot. Sometimes it also rains which I find romantic when I’m indoors 🙂

    email: cruz042 at

    • Leigh LaValle April 17, 2012 at 5:22 pm

      I love walking out in the warm rain! I don’t do it enough.

  • blodeuedd April 18, 2012 at 3:12 am

    No need to enter me, I am trying to keep away from ebooks until I get a reader..but it’s hard!!

    LOL! “Here’s the sword; where’s the sheath?” No way, oh that makes my day

  • June April 18, 2012 at 3:13 am

    I guess I would consider either summer or winter the sexiest. Winter you can cuddle up in front of a fire, long nights snuggling on the couch, etc. But in summer, you have more exposed skin (hot shirtless guys….Yum), and you can spend the day cooling off in water (hot guys in pools….Yum) LOL. You get my idea.

  • Rachel @ theJeepDiva April 18, 2012 at 7:33 am

    I think my favorite/sexiest season is Spring. I love all the flowers starting to bloom and the trees just getting their leaves. I like taking walks and it isn’t to hot.

  • Tamsyn April 18, 2012 at 10:25 am

    I love all the seasons but I think Spring is my current favourite. Sakura was blooming everywhere just last week and it is a wonder to behold. You can really feel the world opening up to embrace the sun during the cherry blossom season.

  • LSUReader April 18, 2012 at 11:11 am

    Spring is it! The flowers, the (relatively) mild weather–it just seems “happiest.” Winter is very brief here in the deep south. Summer is called many things here–sexy is not on the list. Fall–what fall?

  • Anne Fescharek April 18, 2012 at 11:17 am

    I don’t usually read historical but this one sounds extremely enchanting. As for the question, midsummer night is spiritual but I find that could winters nights to be the most romantic: sipping hot spiced wine by a roaring fire with candles aglow, safe inside with the snow falls. Alone with the one you love….Just lovely!

    Please enter me to win this book, I dying to read it!


  • Victoria Zumbrum April 18, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    I would love to read this book. It sounds very good. I have never been to Paris but I would like to visit one day.

  • Yadira A. April 18, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    I love summer too! Indeed it is the sexiest season;) Love the idea behind Honey Moon and I can’t wait to read THE RUNAWAY COUNTESS!!!

  • bn100 April 21, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    I think winter nights. The book sounds good.

  • Jennifer B April 23, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Hmmmm, summer is awfully sexy, LOL, but spring adds a bit of hope to the sexy (warming) temps…I’ll go with spring. When everything come alive again, when it all feels new.

  • Joanne B April 27, 2012 at 9:30 am

    I think Summer is the sexiest season. Women can where all those skimpy little outfits to try to get the attention of the hot guys we’ve been pining for all Winter.
    This book sounds amazing. Can’t wait to read it.


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