The Legendary Duke celebrates one month – with excerpts!

The Legendary Duke is one month old!

(Well, rather, he’s twenty-nine – but his story has been out in the world for 31 days. Woot!)


This is what the Publishers Weekly BookLife Prize (for which The Legendary Duke is currently a semi-finalist) has to say:


“The revenge quest of Gavin Knight is the driving force behind this skillfully plotted romance. The novel is full of tension and drama that will keep readers turning pages until the very end. Locke uses a contemporary style with an Austenian flair, and she varies both the tone and vocabulary perfectly, depending on the point of view of each character… Savvy readers will note the inspiration of this story from the Arthurian tale of Gawain and the Green Knight. Locke seamlessly blends hints from classics like The Count of Monte CristoPride and Prejudice, and Arthurian legend into an utterly enjoyable Regency romance.”

How does Nelle Greene feel about the enigmatic Gavin Knight, Duke of Cortleon?


Lucy-Anne nodded then followed her through the door. “I do so wish you could be in love, Nelle,” she said as they descended the stairs. “It’s the grandest of feelings. Like …floating. Like you and he are the only two people in the world, your only wish to be with him. To kiss him!” She giggled. “I want to kiss Ashvere again and again until the end of time. Kissing is so grand!”

Memories of a night not so long ago and yet so far away, of a dance, of a look, of a kiss at midnight, attacked Nelle. Curse the man. He hounded her day and night.

Lucy-Anne turned at the bottom step. “You kissed the Duke of Cortleon. Was it anything like that? Or must it be someone you love?”

Yes, it was everything like that. Grand didn’t even begin to describe it. But she shook her head in response; some things were too private to share, even with her sister.


Meanwhile, Cortleon is wrestling with his own feelings…


He soaked in those blue eyes, eyes as blue as the paint Michelangelo had used on the Sistine Chapel. He’d thought nothing could render them more beautiful, yet the luxurious, deep hue of her dress magnified their brilliance. A delectable blush infused her cheeks, and a jaunty bonnet covered her hair. If only he could untie its ribbon and pull it off to let those tresses fall free. How long was her unbound hair? How would it feel caressing his shoulders?

Her tongue darted out to lick at her lower lip, and desire punched him in the gut harder than Engelsfell’s fists.


But this is not a simple tale of Duke meets Lady…


“Oh, no. No, no, no. You mustn’t cry, dearest Nelle. You mustn’t.”

She leaned into him. “Why are you here?”

“Because …” He paused. Why was he here? This wasn’t proper. Proper be damned, screamed the brandy in his brain. Maybe he ought to listen. “You are my goddess and I am your knight.”  

A wan smile greeted his words. “I’m not. This is no masquerade.” She closed her eyes for the briefest of moments. “And Lord Grennet is no Fool.” She swayed slightly in the doorway, a surprising giggle bursting forth. “Did you know I’ve sometimes thought him a dragon, one set to devour me?”

“Then I must slay him.” The words were said in jest, a response to her imagery, and yet she held her fingers to his lips to silence him.

“Never say that,” she whispered. “I’m not a princess who needs rescuing.” She paused, biting her lower lip. The seductive sight sent shivers through him, though he was far from cold. A haunting sadness filled her eyes. “I’m not your quest, Gavin.”


You don’t have to love Arthurian legends to fall for the Duke of Cortleon in this Regency historical romance.


Don’t miss this love/hate triangle for the ages…

The Demon Duke audiobook now available!

The Demon Duke is now available in audiobook format on multiple audiobook sites!

You don’t want to miss Edward James Beesley‘s intense, emotional, and, heck yes, sensual take on Damon Blackbourne, Duke of Malford.

Mr. Beesley truly brings  The Demon Duke alive!

Most sites include an audio sample, but in case you’d like to listen RIGHT NOW, here you go:

Find The Demon Duke on audio here:

Wahoo! I hope you love it!

The Legendary Duke and Signets and Lions … oh my!

On the Origin of The Duke of Cortleon’s Lion Symbol


… He grabbed his father’s hand, fixing his eyes on the large ring, the one with the golden lion’s head on top of a red stone. The Cortleon crest. Papa had told him he’d wear the ring when he was Duke.

The Legendary Duke

Upon deciding to write a Regency historical romance based on the Arthurian legend of Gawain and the Green Knight, my brain immediately spun with name possibilities. I adore crafting book titles and character names with meaning; it’s one of my favorite parts of the whole writing process! In fact, I adapted so many Arthurian/medieval-connected names for The Legendary Duke that I added a glossary at its end to explain their significence, should anyone besides me have interest.

Gawain and the Green Knight medieval illustrationThe Legendary Duke’s hero, our Regency version of Gawain, is Gavin Knight, Duke of Cortleon. Gavin is the modern equivalent of Gawain, and Knight evokes both the Knight in the legend’s title and the medieval period in general. Cortleon, Gavin’s ducal title, is an amalgam of “courtly love” and “Caerleon” (a Welsh castle some consider the real site of Camelot), both relevant to this book’s Arthurian inspiration.

But why a lion for his ducal signet? Well, not only have lions long been associated with England, but “leone” is Italian for lion. Given that Gavin, an English duke, spent most of his youth in Rome, the lion seemed his perfect symbol.

Gawain and the Green Knight also dedicates several paragraphs to discussing Gawain’s famous red shield with its five-pointed gold star (emphasis mine):

When they brought him his shield, it was bright red gules,
painted with a pentacle of purest gold.
Holding the baldric, he hung it from his neck,
and the sign thus set suited him well.
Why the pentacle is proper to that noble prince
I must let you know, though I linger in the telling.
It is a sign that Solomon set long ago
to signify truth by a trustworthy token.
It is a figure with five fine points
and each line overlaps and locks with the others,
everywhere endless: the English, I hear,
most often call it the Endless Knot.
And so it fits this knight with his flashing armor,
who was faithful five ways and five times each.
All knew Gawain to be good as purified gold:
devoid of villainy, his virtues were a court’s delight. 

I combined this image with the lion’s head to form the Cortleon coat of arms and signet ring design but longed for a visual representation to inspire my writing (I’m a very visual person!). So, I googled around and stumbled across Lori Ferguson’s Etsy shop, Nature With You – and specifically this piece of jewelry (shown at the top of this post):

Squee! It wasn’t quite a star-shaped lion’s head, but it was perfect! I ordered it. Once in hand, I loved it so much, I immediately ordered the same with a green background, figuring it’d better suit a romance based on Gawain and the Green Knight. Now I am the proud owner of both – and both just might play into The Legendary Duke in one way or another…

Absolutely elated with these two pieces, I contacted Ms. Ferguson to ask if there was any chance she’d be willing to let me use my personal photos of the lion charm in my promo for The Legendary Duke – and she graciously consented! Wahoo!

I’m so thankful. Having these in hand certainly did influence my writing. I look forward to hearing what y’all think. I highly encourage you to check out her Nature With You Etsy shop – I also bought beautiful necklaces for my bestie and my cousin! 

Thank you a million times over, Lori! Your jewelry and this Regency-medieval mash up are now forever linked – at least in my head.

Win the RITA® Finalists in Short Historical Romance!

It’s RITA Time!

On Thursday, July 19th, the Romance Writers of America announce the 2018 winners of the coveted RITA awards, given each year to the romance novels selected by fellow romance writers and judges as that year’s best across a variety of subcategories.

I’m so stoked The Demon Duke is in the running!

In celebration, I’m giving away ebook copies of all seven of the finalists for Short Historical Romance. I’ve read them all and they are brilliant, peeps. Wahoo!

Wanna watch the RITA ceremony LIVE? 

Wahoo! A Giveaway!

A Man of Character is Now Available in Audiobook!

A Man of Character is now available in audiobook from numerous retailers!
Don’t miss Margaret Locke’s highly praised first book in the Magic of Love series, a charming, whimsical romantic comedy about a bookstore owner who discovers she has the power to bring fictional men she’s created to life!