Sunday 27 September 2015

You're the Earl That I Want by Kelly Bowen - Book Excerpt
This week a reader told Kelly Bowen that her heroine was too strong.

Meanwhile, in the 21st century, we love the way Kelly brings such strong women to life in her historical romances.

Today Kelly Bowen is sharing an excerpt from You're the Earl That I Want, in which you can see just how awesome her heroines can be.

From the Blurb:


For businessman Heath Hextall, inheriting an earldom has been a damnable nuisance. The answer: find a well-bred, biddable woman to keep his life in order and observe the required social niceties. But it's always been clear that Lady Josephine Somerhall is not that woman. Once a shy slip of a girl, Joss is now brilliant, beautiful chaos in a ball gown.


In her heart, Joss has always loved Heath, the one person she's always been able to count on. That doesn't mean she wants to marry him though. Without a husband, Joss can do as she pleases-and now, it pleases her to solve the mystery of an encoded file given to Heath by a dying man. It's put Heath in peril once, and Joss won't let that happen again. She'll do what she must to ensure the earl's safety. And to remind him that what she lacks in convention, she makes up for in passion.


“We can’t outrun them,” Luke warned from his perch.

“I don’t want you to outrun them,” Joss said to her coachman.  “I want you to stall them.”

“Understood,” Luke replied.

Heath climbed into the small interior, Joss on his heels, the door clicking shut behind her.  In the darkened interior, he couldn’t see her expression, only hear the sound of her rapid breathing.  The carriage lurched into motion, though one would have thought the coachman were incompetent or drunk or both in the manner it slowly wove from side to side.

Another shout came from outside, muffled through the walls of the carriage, and with it, the sound of approaching horses.

Heath felt his jaw clench.  “I’ve put you in danger.”

“Would you have preferred me to have ignored you in the middle of the street?”

“Maybe.  If those men stabbed Gavin Smythe—”

“Would you have driven past me if our roles had been reversed?”

“Of course not.”

“Well, then.”  She sniffed.

Heath wasn’t at all reassured. “They are going to see all that blood.  Even a blind man couldn’t miss it.  Hell, how much blood can possibly be in a body?”

“Ten pints,” Joss said from somewhere across from him.

“Ten pints?” Heath repeated faintly.

“For an average-sized man.  You can measure it as a percentage of body weight, so children or someone smaller will have a good deal less, of course, but…” she trailed off.  “Not that that is important at the moment,” she muttered.

“Oh, dear God.”  Heath realized he was clutching the leather folder in his hands so tightly that his knuckles were stiff.  Distracted, he held it up, trying to get a better look at it in the weak streetlight filtering through the carriage window.

“What is that?”

“A folder or a ledger of some sort.  It was Smythe’s.”

“I thought it was yours.”

“No.  He gave it to me before he lost consciousness.  Said I needed to keep it safe.”

Joss muttered something rude under her breath.  “And you mention this now?”

“I beg your pardon.  I was too busy trying to save a man’s life earlier.”

Her fingers bumped his in the shadows, and she pulled the bound leather from his hands.

“What are you doing?”

“Hiding it,” Joss hissed.  “Odds are this is what got your man stabbed in the first place.”

Joss’s backside was suddenly in his face as she half crouched and turned in the compact space. He leaned back as far as he was able even as he heard a latch click in the darkness followed by the sound of a squeaky hinge and an odd scraping noise.

The carriage lurched sideways, and Heath’s hands immediately went to up to steady her before he snatched them away.  He shouldn’t have his hands anywhere near Will’s sister’s backside.  He shouldn’t have his hands anywhere near Josephine, period.  He liked the feel of her far too much.

There was the sound of more latches being released, then the scrape of metal on metal. What the hell was she doing?

“Unbutton your shirt,” Joss said as she yanked the curtains closed, plunging the interior into complete darkness.  “And get rid of your cravat.”

“I beg your pardon?”  He heard her thump back down onto the squabs.

The riders were almost upon them now, shod hooves creating a loud clatter that rang sharply in the still night.

“There is a trail of blood that leads into the middle of this street.  There, the trail becomes a puddle and then abruptly disappears.  This is the only carriage in sight.  You tell me what they’re going to conclude.”

“That we picked him up.”

“Yes.  I suspect that they will stop us.  In fact, I’m counting on it.  It will give Joseph more time to get your Mr. Smythe to safety.”

As if on cue, the carriage groaned to a shuddering halt, as did the sound of approaching riders. A sinister silence fell all around them, betrayed only by the snort of a horse drawn up too tight and the sound of boots hitting stone as men dismounted.

Heath became aware Joss was shucking her own cloak, the sound of fabric slipping over fabric audible in the quiet.

“What are you doing?” he whispered.

“I can think of only one thing we could have been doing that would have made us oblivious to anything and everything beyond these curtains.  Only one thing that might explain why you are not dressed in a coat.”

She could not possibly be suggesting what he thought she was suggesting.

A faint rip signaled the loss of a seam somewhere in the darkness.

“Your cravat, Hextall, and be quick about it.  Then the top buttons of your shirt.”

Holy hell, but she meant to do the unthinkable.  “You…me…that’s…that’s…that’s absurd!  You can’t possibly be serious.”

“You don’t have to be so emphatic.”

“That’s not what I meant,” he ground out. “Your brother will kill me.”

“Not if these bastards do it first. Besides, it’s hardly the first time I’ve seen you wearing less than more.  You hardly ever bothered with shoes.”

“It was summer.  And we were children,” he spluttered.

“All that familiarity should make this easy, then.”

“Your reputation will be ruined!”

“For God’s sake, Hextall, you think those men care about me or my reputation?  They stabbed and likely killed an officer of the law tonight to get whatever it is they want, and I rather suspect what they want is now hidden―”

A vicious pounding on the door made him jump.

“Open up!” a coarse voice yelled.

Christ, but this was really happening.  Heath yanked at the linen at his throat.

“Come here,” he said roughly, reaching for Joss in the dimness.  He found her upper arm and pulled her onto his lap, positioning her so that his back was to the carriage door and she was hidden by his body.  At the very least he could protect her from whoever was outside that door.

Her legs were straddling his waist, and he shoved her skirts up over her knees, allowing her to settle herself on his thighs. Joss slipped her arms under his evening coat and around his ribs as she wriggled against him.  His body reacted instantly, lust spiraling, and he cursed.  Not the time or the place.

Or the woman.

“What about your coachman?” Heath whispered frantically, tossing his cravat to the floor.

“Luke can handle himself.”

“Fine.”  Heath would have to take her word.  His concern was for Joss. And himself.  “You and me ― we saw and heard nothing.  There was no Gavin Smythe, there was no blood, there was no mystery folder.  Understood?”


“Nothing but me,” he whispered, his hands delving under her skirts and coming to rest on the magnificent backside he had just sworn he would never touch.

“Nothing but you,” she repeated.

The carriage door was wrenched open.


You're the Earl That I Want by Kelly Bowen is a historical romance, released by Forever on August 25, 2015.

Find this book at: Amazon | Book Depository | The Publisher | Goodreads

About the Author:

I was born and raised in Manitoba, Canada. I attended the University of Manitoba where I earned a graduate degree in veterinary physiology and spent many years happily working as a research scientist in the agriculture industry. None of which, of course, has anything to do with writing romance novels.

My writing stemmed from my lifelong obsession with history, a weakness for a good love story and after my first child was born, I sat down to do what I'd also wanted to do - write a novel. (The entire process being facilitated by the abundance of winter months that can be found in this particular province).

Currently, I live in Winnipeg with my husband and two boys who are wonderfully patient and supportive of the writing process. Except, that is, when they need a goalie for street hockey.

Social Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

More from Kelly Bowen on Love Reading Romance:

A Lady's Guide to Skirting Scandal by Kelly Bowen - Book Review