I Kissed an Earl
July 2010

FOURTH book in the Pennyroyal Green series!

Violet Redmond’s family and fortune might be formidable and her beauty and wit matchless—but her infamous flare for mischief keeps all but the most lionhearted suitors at bay. Only Violet knows what will assuage her restlessness: a man who doesn’t bore her to tears, and a clue to the fate of her missing brother. She never dreamed she’d find both with a man whose own pedigree is far from impeccable.

Savage,” is what the women of the ton whisper about the newly styled Earl of Ardmay—albeit with shivers of pleasure. Born an English bastard, raised on the high seas, he’s on a mission to capture a notorious pirate. But while Violet’s belief in her brother’s innocence maddens him, her courage awes him…and her sensuality finally undoes him. Now the man who once lost everything and the girl who has everything to lose are bound by a passion that could either end in betrayal…or become everything they ever dreamed.


And be sure to check out the latest book, What I Did for a Duke, and other books in the Pennyroyal Green series:

The Perils of Pleasure
Like No Other Lover
Since the Surrender


sign up for my newsletter or
friend me at Facebook,
friend me at MySpace
or follow me on Twitter and I'll keep you abreast of excerpts, blurbs, contests and more!


Also in the Books section:




The only thing preventing Violet Redmond from expiring from boredom at yet another ball is the whispered gossip surrounding the newly styled, impossible-to-ignore Earl of Ardmay. Born in England, raised in America and on the high seas, his manners seem to be all that is correct. But he's imposing, faintly exotic, and disturbingly attractive, and whispered speculation about his origins ("Surely his parents were a bear and an Indian," Lady Peregrine suggests), his, er... prowess...(based on the size of his thighs) and his temperament (based on his scowl) abounds. "He looks like a savage," is how Violet sums it up. Because it's the earl's companion Violet is interested in: turns out his name is...Lord Lavay.( If you've read Like No Other Lover, you know why this shocks Violet to her toes.) He's far more traditionally handsome than the earl, too. Lady Peregrine, anticipating one of the thrilling disturbances Violet is renowned for, arranges for an introduction to the earl and Lavay—then promptly snatches Lavay off for a dance.

Leaving a thwarted Violet to have her first conversation and dance with the Earl.


She took swift note of him and immediately again thought of jewels. His face was faceted: High-planed cheeks, jaw hard and clean-edged as a diamond. Chin stubborn, brow high and broad, nose bold. A good mouth, drawn with elegant precision. She could imagine Indian in his bloodline. His complexion was what marked him as decidedly un-English and as a man with no particular pedigree: more golden than fair and likely to darken and darken rather than burn in the sun.

But he knew how to waltz.

When he expertly, gently took her hand in his and placed his other hand against her waist, she knew a moment of peculiar breathlessness, as though she were being pulled inexorably into an orbit. His intangible power was such that she was tempted both to resist it and surrender to it, and being Violet, she preferred the former to the latter, and promptly set about doing it.

Dash it. It was Lavay she needed to see.


She peered over the earl's shoulder in time to intercept Lady Peregrine's triumphant glance before she was twirled out of her view.

She stared darts at the back of Lady Peregrine's head.

"I don't bite."

The earl's voice was a low rumble near her ear.

Violet was startled. "I beg your pardon?"

"You were staring at me as though you wondered whether I might."

His accent was interesting: flat, commanding American crisped about the edges with something like aristocratic English. His r's were softer, almost rolled. It was as though he'd absorbed a bit of the music in the language of every land he'd traveled.

"Oh. No, I was satisfying…another curiosity."

"As to the number of eyes I might possess?"

"I ascertained the number rather quickly, thank you."

"Ah. So you were staring beyond me. I see." He sounded distantly amused. "What does it say about an evening when bad manners seem refreshing?"

He'd all but murmured it to himself.

Violet was seldom dumbstruck, so this was novel. She stared up at him.

She'd been right about his eyes. They were a remarkable, cloudless-sky-blue ringed in darker blue. Thick lashes, golden tips where the sun had touched them again and again. Lines, three each, at the corners of his eyes, like the rays she used to draw about suns when she was small. Squinting into the sun from the deck, indeed.

"Have you considered it might be bad manners to insinuate that my manners are bad?" she said with some asperity.

This amused him. "You presume that I care whether you care."

She blinked. What manner of man was this?

His brows went up. Well? Inviting a volley. But his air was still somewhat resigned and detached. As though he entertained no real hope she could ever possibly divert him.

She in truth possessed exquisite manners and knew how to employ them, and she considered that she ought to exert a modicum of effort charm him. He was an earl, after all, the captain of a ship…and he might be able to tell her something about Lord Lavay.

"How do you find England, sir?"

He gave a short laugh.

She bristled. "I wasn't trying to be witty."

"Were you trying to be banal?" he asked politely.

"I've never been banal in my entire life," Violet objected, astonished.

He leaned forward as he swept her in a circle, graceful for a large man. As though he were a chariot and she were simply along for the giddy ride. He pulled her a trifle closer than was proper. She smelled starch and something sharp and clean; likely soap and perhaps a touch of scent. She was eye-level with the whitest cravat she'd seen outside of Lord Argosy, and suddenly she was overwhelmingly aware of his size and strength.

"Prove it," he murmured next to her ear.

And then he was upright again, all graceful propriety, and they were turning, turning, gliding in the familiar dance.

Which suddenly felt astoundingly unfamiliar thanks to her partner.


She was stunned.

Still…she had the peculiar sense that the earl was simply amusing himself. His eyes remained on her but still his gaze seemed oddly…uncommitted…even as they moved gracefully together, even as his hand rested warmly, firmly at her waist. She suspected he had already taken her measure, categorized her, and neatly dismissed her, and was now simply prodding at her like a toy that he wished could do more than roll or squeak. To make the waltz more interesting for him. For as long as he needed to endure the tedium of it.

"Customarily," she said with gentle irony, "in England, it's the gentleman's duty to charm his dancing partner. Perhaps you've been at sea so long you've forgotten."

He was instantly all mock contrition. "You could very well be correct. It could be I've become a savage while I was away."

Her eyes narrowed.

He met her gaze evenly.

For a moment they swept along in time with the music.

"It's impolite to eavesdrop," she said finally.

"I wasn't eavesdropping," he said easily.

"Then it's impolite to send spies to do the eavesdropping for you. For clearly you did."

This pleased him. His eyes brightened; the hand at the small of her back pressed against her approvingly, and it was a new sensation, startling, almost intimate. "I'm not certain 'impolite' is the word you're looking for. In all honesty the overhearing, as it were, was happenstance. But as you are an expert in the matter of etiquette, please refresh my memory: how polite is it to gossip?"

The man was a devil. And yet she was awfully tempted to laugh.

"I was being gossiped at," she tried after a moment. And offered him a mischievous lowered-lashed smile that usually all but dropped grown men to their knees. Generally hothouse bouquets arrived at her door the day after she'd deployed one.

He wasn't entirely immune to it. She was rewarded with a pupil flare.

"Ah, but are you a complete innocent, Miss Redmond?" His voice had gone soft. His mouth tipped sardonically. Up twitched one of those brows again. This time it was almost a threat: don't bore me.

If this was a flirting relay, he'd just handed her the baton.

Violet felt that familiar surge of exhilaration when tempted with a reckless inspiration. She'd seldom been able to resist that surge.

She briefly went on toe to murmur the words closer to his ear than was proper, so close she knew he could smell her, feel her breath in his ear when she spoke. Once again was rewarded with the heady smell of the man himself: sharp, clean, heightened by his warmth and nearness.

"What do you think, sir?"

She instantly had his full attention for the first time since the waltz had begun.

And yet once she had it she wasn't certain she wanted it. It was like being passed something too hot to hold overlong. His gaze was potent; there was nothing in it of the entreaty she was accustomed to seeing in the faces of men. He was weighing her with a specific intent in mind. His eyes touched on her eyes, lips, décolletage, taking a swift bold inventory of her as a woman that both shortened her breath in a peculiarly delicious portentous way and made her fingers twitch to slap him.

And then he smiled a remote, almost dismissive smile and his gaze flicked up from her as they negotiated a turn in the dance.

And then froze.

He dropped the remnants of his flirtatious demeanor as abruptly as a boy drops a toy when called into dinner.

Before her eyes his jaw seemed to turn to granite; tension vibrated in the hand pressed against her waist. He gripped her fingers a trifle harder than he ought to.

What in God's name had he just seen?

She flexed her fingers. He absently eased his grip.

"Miss…" He glanced at her perfunctorily. And returned his gaze to whateve—-or whomever—riveted him.

He'd forgotten her name? She clenched her teeth to keep her jaw from dropping.

"Redmond," she reminded him exaggerated sweetness.

"Of course," he soothed. He gave her another cursory, dutiful glance, meant to placate. Then returned to the object of his focus. She'd seen a fox look at a vole that way before. Right before it pounced.

And shook it until its neck snapped.

"I believe I may I be acquainted with the gentleman dancing with the young lady in yellow. If I'm correct, his name is Mr. Hardesty. Are you acquainted with him?"

With some perilous head craning, she managed to follow the direction of his gaze.

And her hands went peculiarly icy inside her gloves.

He was looking at her brother Jonathan.

"I believe the gentleman to whom you're referring is Mr. Jonathan Redmond. He's my brother."

The earl's attention sharply returned to her. But the expression on his face stopped her breath as surely as though he'd stabbed an accusing finger into her sternum.

She felt him will tension from his big body. Obediently tension went.

"Is your brother, Mr. Jonathan Redmond, a merchant, by any chance?" His tone was mild. "A sea captain?"

He somehow kept Jonathan in his line of sight even as he moved her by rote in the waltz. ONE two three ONE two three… She felt utterly superfluous. Suddenly she was the means by which the earl could stalk her brother about a ballroom.

Jonathan, who like all men his age possessed of good looks and money and prospects was convinced he was fascinating, chattered gaily to the woman he danced with, who glowed up at him.

"Good heavens, no sir. Jonathan lives with our family in Pennyroyal Green and London. His amusements are in London and Sussex, and if he's ever been on a ship, I assure you he wouldn't be able to stop bragging of it. Jonathan has never even expressed an interest in the high seas. Perhaps you will have an opportunity to meet him this evening. Upon closer inspection you may discover his resemblance to Mr. Hardesty is not so strong."

This was meant to reassure him—and protect Jonathan.

The earl remained coldly silent.

She was beginning to feel a bit like a ship steered on a voyage. And as much as Violet craved novelty, this was a sensation she could easily have done without.

"He doesn't 'resemble' Mr. Hardesty," he explained, as if to a slow child. "He could be Mr. Hardesty's twin."

The conversation was now making her uneasy. Her hand twitched restlessly in the earl's. He gripped it tightly, almost reflexively. As though he alone would dictate when or if she could leave.

"I can tell you Jonathan hasn't a twin, sir," she said tartly.

Violet peered over his shoulder for Lavay, who would have the pleasure of the next dance, and noted with relief that the waltz approached its closing notes and Lady Peregrine looked pleased with him, not troubled or irritated.

"Is Mr. Hardesty a fellow sailor?"

There was a hesitation.

And then his smile was a tight, remote thing. Oddly, it made all the hair on the back of her neck stand up.

"I suppose you could say that."

It really didn't invite additional questioning about Mr. Hardesty, which she supposed was the point of it.

He suddenly appeared disinterested in conversation.

"Are you staying in London long?" she asked.

"We'll return to the ship by dawn and sail shortly after sunup." A perfunctory response.

"You're bound for…"

"Le Havre." A curt two-word answer.

Moments later, mercifully, the waltz ended. He bowed beautifully to her, the epitome of graciousness, and she curtsied, and he handed her off to the approaching Lord Lavay with as much regret as if she were a tureen to be passed.

She peered over her shoulder as he bowed to Lady Peregrine, and dutifully took up his position in the waltz.

She turned quickly to Violet and surreptitiously tapped her teeth with one finger in a signal: he has all of them!

She doubted the earl would even remember her name.



If the impulse takes you...Preorder it now at Amazon or Borders!




Praise for Julie Anne Long's work:

"Julie Anne Long reinvents the historical romance for modern readers, delivering intense, passionate characters and high adventure. Her writing glows."
Amanda Quick

"A fresh voice that stands out in a chorus of Regency historicals, Julie Anne Long entrances with deftly woven humor, strong and believable characters, and a genuinely rich and emotional resolutions. Delicious and delightful!"
Karen Hawkins





So what's this Pennyroyal Green series about?

The Pennyroyal Green series takes us through the lives, passions, adventures and misadventures of the denizens of Pennyroyal Green, Sussex, England, a town anchored by the wealthy Eversea and Redmond families —whose relations are civil on the surface, but seethe beneath with ancient secrets and grudges and —naturally — attractions. :) We'll follow these folks wherever their passions take them —whether it's London, the gallows, a ballroom, a bedroom, the high seas, or the Sussex downs. I have major plans for these people. :) The stories are loosely connected and characters recur, but not in every book. A number of Pennyroyal Green characters will get their own stories—not just Everseas and Redmonds—and each story can be read independently of each other. Collect 'em all! LOL. The first book in the series is The Perils of Pleasure. You can find alittle background on the legend of the town and the origins of the feud between the Everseas and Redmonds in the prologue of POP, too. :)

Here's a quick Pennyroyal Green series "cast of characters." When characters are featured prominently in a specific book, I'll link to the book or make a note of it. This list will grow over time, may even sprout more branches and family names, and I'll expound a little more on each character in this space as we get to know each of them a little better throughout the series.

The Everseas
The Redmonds
Jacob Eversea—Patriarch   Isaiah Redmond—Patriarch
Isolde Eversea—Matriarch   Fanchette Redmond—Matriarch
Marcus Eversea—oldest son (POP)   Lyon Redmond—oldest son

Colin Eversea (Madeleine Greenway)

  Miles Redmond (Cynthia Brightly)
Ian Eversea   Violet Redmond
Chase Eversea   Jonathon Redmond
Olivia Eversea   Lisbeth Redmond (cousin)
Genevieve Eversea   Roland Tarbell (cousin and deceased; see POP)
Other Pennyroyal Green Denizens:
Ned Hawthorne—owner and proprietor of the Pig & Thistle, ancient pub   Louisa Porter
Polly Hawthorne—Ned Hawthorne's daughter    
Martin Culpepper    
Frances Cooke    
Miss Marietta Endicott— headmistress of Miss Endicott's Academy for Young Women (referred to as the School for Recalcitrant girls by the townspeople)    
Other Series Characters
Mr. McBride, apothecary we first meet him in To Love a Thief, which isn't a Pennyroyal Green book)    
Mr. Croker, scalliwag    
Eleanor, Countess Malmsey    
Harry the Footman    
Dr. William August    
Horace Peele (and Snap the dog)    
Madame Marceau, Modiste (we first net her in TO LOVE A THIEF, which isn't a Pennyroyal Green book; she also had a cameo in THE SECRET TO SEDUCTION)    
Pennyroyal Green Series Places
The Pig & Thistle, pub   The Mercury Club (in London)
Miss Marietta Endicott's Academy for Girls (The School for Recalcitrant Girls)   The Velvet Glove (in London)
The Church    
The Gypsy encampment