Sally MacKenzie’s Loving Lord Ash

Diane here.

Sally MackenzieToday my friend, Sally MacKenzie returns to Risky Regencies to talk about her latest, Loving Lord Ash, the third book in her Duchess of Love series.

See what reviewers are saying about Loving Lord Ash:

Readers will love being treated to this lively, hilarious Regency romp in MacKenzie’s Duchess of Love series and will want all three books.” —Booklist

lovinglordashMacKenzie entices her readers into a funny, romantic tale with her protagonists at cross purposes, sizzling sensuality, a touch of poignancy and a surprise twist. This all adds up to a delightful read.” —RT Book Reviews

Sally will generously give away a signed copy of Loving Lord Ash to one lucky commenter chosen at random.

Welcome, Sally!

Tell us about Loving Lord Ash

Here’s the back cover copy:

A Little Misunderstanding…

Kit, the Marquis of Ashton, is in a sticky wicket. He married young and for love—how naïve. He discovered his mistake the very day of his wedding, but he is saddled now with a wife he’s reluctant to trust. And however much evidence he gathers against faithless Jess, he can’t seem to prove her guilt to the final judge—his foolish heart.

Jess knows she’s bobbled her marriage, however innocently. A fairytale wedding makes no difference if she hasn’t got the marquis charmed to show for it. Well, she’s had enough of accidental encounters with naked gentlemen and near misses explaining things to her husband. It’s time to buck up and go win her man back—even if she has to fight very dirty indeed.


I’m excited to say that Booklist gave Ash a starred review! And Eloisa James included Loving Lord Ash in her Romance Reviews column on March 3, “SF (Not) Seeking M.” You can find it here:

How does Loving Lord Ash fit into your Duchess of Love series?

Ash’s book is the last in the series and is about the oldest son—the heir to the duchy. Readers met Ash in the first book, Bedding Lord Ned, where they learned that he and his wife, Jess, have been estranged for years. He appears again in the opening pages of Surprising Lord Jack, but then he leaves to finally settle the question of his marriage. He’s just turned thirty; he needs to see to the succession.

A smart writer would have figured out why Ash and Jess were estranged before beginning the series. Apparently, I am not a smart writer. Or let’s just say I appear to be a confirmed “pantser.” I don’t plan in detail before I begin writing—no outlines for me! Instead, I trust my characters to show me the way. Sadly, Ash was rather uncooperative; he didn’t want to give up his secrets. He and I had to have a long talk about why he and his wife were separated before I could begin his story.

 Did you come across any interesting research when writing Loving Lord Ash?

Yes! I wanted Jess to have a large dog. For a while I considered a wolfhound, but decided I liked a Newfoundland better. But were there Newfoundlands during the Regency? I’m delighted to say there were.  Though they probably didn’t look exactly like modern Newfies, which is why I never come right out and say Fluff is a Newfoundland. He’s just a very large, black dog. BUT—Lord Byron had a Newfie! More than one Newfie, actually, as well as a number of other pets including a bear and a badger.

Byron’s most famous Newfie was Boatswain who died of rabies and with whom Byron wished to be buried. (Didn’t happen.) Bryon buried Boatswain at Newstead Abbey and erected a monument over the tomb on which he inscribed his “Epitaph to a Dog.” This site has a lot of fun information, though the poem quoted seems to be the opening lines that were actually written by Bryon’s friend, John Hobhouse:

What is risky about Loving Lord Ash?

Hmm. I’m not sure there’s anything terribly risky about Ash—or at least, not if you’re a “Naked reader” and used to my humor. This book has a group of gay characters, but that doesn’t really strike me as risky, though it might seem unusual to some readers. And I should say that they are secondary characters—I don’t focus on their love lives, though I know there’s a subgenre in romance today that does.

What’s risky—or I guess tricky might be a better word—to me about the entire Duchess of Love series is the way the books are closely linked. My Naked books were connected, too, but in a more haphazard way. When I planned—I suppose I should put quotation marks around that word—the Duchess of Love books, I decided they would all follow after the other in a comparatively short time frame. So Surprising Lord Jack picks up right where Bedding Lord Ned ends. Loving Lord Ash is a little more complicated. Ash appears in the beginning of Jack’s book, but then he leaves to go to Blackweith Manor and confront Jess. So the beginning of Loving Lord Ash takes place during Jack’s book. The reader doesn’t see this, but I needed to keep it in mind so the timing of Ash’s book would work out. Roughly halfway through Loving Lord Ash, Ash and Jess arrive in London—just shortly after Jack’s book ends.

I’ve heard you’ve just become a grandmother. Are you excited?

Can’t you see me jumping up and down? My eldest and his wife had twins—a boy and a girl—at the beginning of February. The babies are SO cute. And, no, I’m not at all prejudiced.

There’s actually a link between grandmotherhood and the Duchess of Love stories. I started writing the series back in 2009 or 2010. At that time, my oldest son was married. Now two of the four have wives. And after wives come…well, for me, thoughts of maybe someday grandchildren. And things that I’m thinking about sometimes find their way into my characters’ heads. So Venus, the Duchess of Love, has been longing for her sons to have children first because she wants them to experience all the emotions fathers feel for their children—and, of course, Ash needs a son to secure the succession—but then, yes, because she’d like to be a grandmother. And you’ll see when you read Loving Lord Ash, she gets her wish.

But books are written long before they arrive in bookstores. It wasn’t until after I’d finished Loving Lord Ash and handed it in, that my son and daughter-in-law told me they were expecting. (And you should have heard son’s voice when he called to tell us they’d heard TWO heartbeats. He was quite, um, surprised, lol!)

What is next for you?

I’ve just agreed to write a new series for Kensington. It’s very early days, so I can’t say too much about it yet. Right now, I’m calling it the Spinster House series and setting it in Loves Bridge, an imaginary village. It turns out our September trip to England was very inspiring!

By the way, you might have noticed that the dog on the cover of Loving Lord Ash is not a Newfie. Apparently the art department felt that a large dog would take over the cover–and they were probably right. I like to think this dog is Shakespeare, who was the main dog in Surprising Lord Jack and who does appear in Loving Lord Ash. So here’s my question: Are you a big dog or a small dog sort of person? Or are you a cat, ferret, fish, or lizard person? Tell us a funny pet story!

Diane here, again. Remember, one lucky commenter will win a signed copy of Loving Lord Ash. I’ll pick the winner by midnight Monday night.



About diane

Diane Gaston is the RITA award-winning author of Historical Romance for Harlequin Historical and Mills and Boon, with books that feature the darker side of the Regency. Formerly a mental health social worker, she is happiest now when deep in the psyches of soldiers, rakes and women who don’t always act like ladies.
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35 Responses to Sally MacKenzie’s Loving Lord Ash

  1. I have always liked the look of King Charles Spaniels, but never had a dog. You see, I’ve been brought up to be a cat person 😉 We now have our fourth cat, a gorgeous callico girl called Charlotte. The first time we saw her, she was 24 hours old & one look was enough to melt my heart. Her name and coat colors remind me of said King Charles Spaniel… Never realized that connection till this second. *Storing information till later 😉 *

    Charlotte does many funny things that make me laugh & the most recent thing she does that delights me is picking flowers 🙂 When we had a small branch with flowers in a vase, she took all the blooms off. Played with them a little and kept comming back for more 😀 I took a really cute photo of her & have it on my blog, it’s my post on February 28, perhaps you’d like to see it?

    Loving Lord Ash sounds wonderful btw. I hope they both realize that getting married was the best thing they ever did 😀

    • I love the picture of your flower-picking cat! How very cute.

      The series I’m working on now will, if it follows my current plan, feature a village cat named Poppy who is a calico. She’s modeled–and named–after the cat we saw when we were in Moretonhampstead this September. That Poppy hung out at the inn we stayed at, though she lived across the street.

      But I don’t think I can actually call the cat in my story a calico. When I tried checking, I got the impression the term is post Regency.

  2. I am so looking forward to reading Loving Lord Ash ! This has been a fun series as I do so lovely family series.

    My childhood dogs included a standard dachshund named Fritz and a King Charles Cavalier Spaniel named Mischief (aka Debenwood Roland.)

    As an adult I had large dogs for many years – Rottweilers, German and Dutch Shepherds and Great Danes. However, the loss of my last Great Dane – Glory – broke my heart. She was nine years old, which is considered “senior” for a Dane, but I decided I couldn’t bear to lose another dog after what seemed like so short a time.

    I now have chihuahuas and miniature dachshunds – funny, tough, and remarkably long-lived.

    Congratulations on becoming the grandmother of twins. I have seen the photos on Facebook and they are simply darling !

    • Thanks, Louisa.

      One of my friends had a mastiff–and now has a German Shepard and a couple chihuahuas.

      I do have to say I was very surprised when we were in LA a few years ago to see people walking along carrying chihuahuas all dressed up. I thought that happened just in the movies 😉 Do you ever dress your dogs up? For Halloween maybe?

      • My dachshunds have matching “hot dog” costumes for Halloween and for marching in parades to raise money for our local shelter.

        I have sweaters for my chihuahuas, but one of them – Frodo the Horrible – is far too macho to wear a sweater no matter how cold it gets.

        • Oh, I love the hot dog costumes! I think my friend with the chihuahuas says at least one of them is quite the escape artist–there’ no keeping a sweater on that dog!

  3. Hi Sally! Loving Lord Ash sounds as delightfully entertaining as we always expect from you (no pressure, right?). I’m looking forward to reading it. The pup on your cover is adorable, so I can see why marketing chose him even though he’s not the “right” dog -it’s all about the sales appeal, n’est-ce pas? I’ve loved a number of dogs and cats in my lifetime –currently without any as we are still mourning the loss of our most recent one. The heartbreak’s not healed yet! The most entertaining pet I’ve had was a half-Siamese tabby cat who was so smart she got into all sorts of mischief no one would ever expect a cat (or even a human) to think up! Wishing you the best success with the new book. Congrats!

    • LOL, Gail. Thank you!

      There was recently a column–or maybe it was a series of columns–on the mischief pets can get up to. One was about a cat that the owners thought had gotten lost in the duct work–and then they discovered they’d accidentally made him up in the bed when they’d pulled the covers up!

  4. ki pha says:

    Hi Sally!!!
    I’m so looking forward to Ash’s story!!! I got to say I thought they were going to just separate and that Jess was just a no good lady but now, I’ll have to find out!

    I’m also looking forward to that new series~

    And congrats to the release and a very sad goodbye to the Duchess of Love series.

    • Thanks ki pha!

      One of the tricky things about writing Regencies–it’s very hard to have the characters divorce. And if the hero is a duke, he needs an heir, so just staying separated won’t accomplish that goal.

  5. Debbie Mccreary says:

    Sally, you know I love all your books and am so excited to have Loving Lord Ash, even tho it is the end of this series. Your naked series was what made me a follower of you and your books. In all the years I have read books, not once until a year ago did I think to leave reviews. That makes me re-read all your and leave reviews! lol When I have time, I will. I’m not a big pet fan. I was raised in the country and had dogs and cats, always outside. In my adult life the most inside pets I could think of having is fish. I love having fresh water fish. Fish are not demanding and are soothing to watch. That’s my great adventure with pets! I like dogs, but after raising children and now grandchildren living with me, that is enough activity and adventures for me! Your new series I expect will keep me a faithful reader of you, just like your other series have done.

    • Hi, Debbie. Reviews are lovely, so if you do have a chance to review any of the books, that would be wonderful. I have to say, I would be no good at writing reviews!

      My mother wasn’t a pet fan. I always wanted a cat, but all I got was a little green turtle. And once we learned those turtles could spread salmonella, I had to give him (or her–I don’t remember if I ever knew) away.

      I did have a goldfish or two when I was away at college. The doctor said I needed to add humidity to the room, and that a fish bowl was a good way to do it. Only the fish always died during football games for some reason. (I went to the University of Notre Dame–maybe the excitement was too much.) So the fish never really worked out.

  6. Cathy P says:

    Hi, Sally! You are a new author for me. After reading your interview, I must say that I love humorous love stories, and yours sounds like it’s right up my alley.

    I have always had dogs, both large and small. My first one was an Alaskan Husky named Duchess (a very big dog). My parents got her for me when I was a baby and she died when I was 14. After that, I had 3 Beagles. After my DH and I got married, we got a Golden Retriever that was 6 months old. She went from an outside dog to an apartment dog overnight. After we got her, I started a new job about 2 weeks later. I had my underwear on the bed and went in to get my bath. The next thing I knew, Honey had jumped in the tub with me and laid down in my lap. I got her out, finished my bath, and got ready to put on my underwear. She grabbed my panties, and I had to chase her all over the apartment to get them back. After we moved into our house, Honey was 7 years old, and we got a Boxer. He tore down curtains, wallpaper, chewed up a couch, and did many other destructive things. They both died when they were 12 years old. Then we got a Toy Fox Terrier and an Australian Shepherd. After that, we got another Toy Fox Terrier, Australian Shepherd, and a Chihuahua-Yorkie mix. My Australian Shepherd and Chihuahua-Yorkie mix are 12 and 11 years old now.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  7. Kelly Mann says:

    Definitely a dog person (severe cat allergies) We a Blue Healer that stays outside and a Shih Tzu that stays in the house. We have always had dogs but our Shih Tzu is the first inside dog we have ever had. I look forward the reading Loving Lord Ash.

  8. Barbara Elness says:

    I like dogs, big ones, little ones, in between ones, but as far as being a pet parent, I’m more of a cat person. I don’t have any pets at the moment, having lost the last of mine a bit ago, but I will have some soon.

    • We live across from a park and enjoy watching the parade of dog walkers with their assorted dogs. One of my favorites is the labradoodle.

      We also watch an outdoor cat–not sure where it lives–that likes to hunt in the park. The other day I saw some creature on the sidewalk in a standoff with the cat. At first I thought it was a fox since it was red and had a foxy look to it, but its hind legs were higher than its front legs, which made me think coyote. I was on the phone with son #2 or I would have taken a picture to show to our neighbor, the resident wildlife expert.

  9. diane says:

    Omigosh, my daughter is home this weekend and everything else has gone out of my head! A belated welcome, Sally!

    Thanks, everyone, for making Sally welcome.

  10. Congratulations on becoming a grandmother, Sally! I hope the twins and their mommy are doing fine.

    “Loving Lord Ash” sounds like such a wonderful book, and I’m a big fan of second-chance-at-love, overcoming-past-mistakes kinds of books. So I’m definitely going to check this one out. 🙂

    My family has had cats since I was two or three, so I’ve ended up being more of a cat person than a dog person. Unfortunately, my sweet cat died last year and I haven’t been able to adopt a new kitty yet thanks to the unstable situation at my job. My parents, however, adopted a little dog last summer, so I now have a doggie sister: she’s a chihuahua/mini-pincher mix and is such a sweetie. She’s the perfect size to pick up for a hug and a cuddle. 🙂

    • Well, I’m afraid Mom and Dad both wish the little cuties were better sleepers. We keep saying “this, too, shall pass” and they seem to be holding up pretty well, but if my son is to be believed, they are operating on two hours sleep.

      So sorry to hear about your kitty, but happy about your cat-sized (?) doggie 🙂

  11. A belated hi and congrats on the new book, Sally! No dogs here, just an unfriendly cat who requests food by digging her claws into you. She’s now 17 and set to live forever in rude health and manners.

  12. CrystalGB says:

    I have 2 Bengal cats who sleep with us every night. They are very unique and energetic kitties.

  13. Linda says:

    Any size dog but not the small yappy ones. I love the ones on your covers, they look so cute!

    • Thanks! I do think the dogs are cute, even if they might not be the right dog. Actually–and I have said this when I was here a few years ago–the solicitation cover for Bedding Lord Ned, the first book in the Duchess of Love series–had a dog on the cover. The only problem was the character was a cat. For a split second I considered revising the book, but you just can’t change a cat into a dog with the Word search function. So the publisher redid the cover to take out the dog and put in a cat.

  14. deanna says:

    just bought your 3 books and getting the bundle of naked lords

  15. Jackie Wisherd says:

    I love that there is a dog on the cover of your book..most covers wouldn’t have a dog on them even if one was a part of the story. I would buy this book just cuz I like the cover. But it does sound like a good story after reading the blog.

  16. bn100 says:

    big dogs

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