Friday, October 02, 2009

Tessa Dare Regency Dating Game III: Toby, Toby, Toby!

CONTEST TODAY!!! One RCC wins a copy of "A Lady of Persuasion"courtesy of Tessa! Have email addy avlbl in comment or blggr profile to enter, pls.

From Tessa: If you’ve read either of my first two books, you know a little something about Sir Toby Aldridge. In “Goddess of the Hunt,“ he was the object of Lucy’s eight-year crush—but she forgot him quickly enough once Jeremy came on the scene. In “Surrender of a Siren,” he was the guy Sophia left at the altar before she went adventuring with Gray.

So obviously, I had quite the challenge with Toby. How to take a man who’s been passed over by two heroines and make him a completely delicious hero in his own right? It wasn’t easy, let me tell you. I had to create the right heroine to push him to his fullest potential. But in the end, he turned out to be my favorite hero of all.

Here are his deets:
Name: Sir Toby Aldridge
Age: 30ish
Appearance: Very tall, lean and athletic, golden brown hair and warm brown eyes, dashingly handsome with a charming, boyish grin.
Occupation: Gentleman of leisure (a baronet); owns an estate.
Special talents: Very good with horses, expert at riding and driving both. A born politician, though little he knows it.
Personality: Hopeless flirt. A consummate charmer and ladies’ man with lots of devilish charm.

Much of Toby’s charm comes from his upbringing. His father died when he was quite young, and he was raised by a mother and three older sisters—strong women, all. He not only understands women, he has a deep respect for them hidden beneath all that flirtation. But Isabel, his heroine, is unlike any woman he’s met before. And he finds himself wanting more from her than he’s wanted from any other girl. It’s not enough for him to dazzle her with a wink and a smile—he’s determined to win her heart and earn her love.

Exclusive excerpt, just after their first kiss:

He slid his hand down the slope of her shoulder for one last caress, and her eyes fluttered open.

Blast. Now he’d done it.

Toby recognized the dazzled look in those eyes. He knew it all too well. Charming young ladies was his singular talent, and he’d developed it through years of practice. He knew the precise instant he had them. When they took all their youthful hopes and romantic dreams and shaped them into a tight little ball and tossed it into his hands. Here, they said. Take my heart and break it.

Normally, Toby was happy to oblige. What was that line in the novel his sister Augusta loved so well? “A girl likes to be crossed in love a little now and then.” Truer words were never penned. He took that ball of hopes and dreams, made a little show of juggling it, and handed it back—a bit dented, perhaps, but largely intact. Occasionally, he misjudged and the ball slipped from his grasp to shatter on the floor. But even then, the young ladies recovered quickly enough.

Because they always held something back. This little plaything they tossed him—it held the affections of a girl. Their true womanly hearts, their deepest passion and love, this they guarded, saved for another man. Anyone who labeled Toby a heartbreaker underestimated the shrewdness of feminine intellect. He knew, from years of experience, that young women were a great deal wiser than general opinion would allow.

There was something different about this woman, however—aside from her enchanting accent and strident politics. When he’d kissed her, she’d offered him nothing—but neither had she held anything in reserve. She didn’t know how to flirt. None of his compliments or teasing had warmed her a single degree, but in that moment when their lips met…she’d simply been his. With her, there could be no half-measures.

That kiss had rocked him to his boots.

So Toby could be called my beta hero of the three. At least, in public. When it comes to lovemaking, however…let’s just say, he knows how to take charge. Beta at the dinner party, alpha in the bedroom…I don’t know about you, but to me, that’s a winning combination! I was talking about this just last night with blogger Katiebabs, and she likened Toby’s alpha/beta mix to the traditional paradox that’s cited as a male’s ideal fantasy: lady in the ballroom, vixen in bed. Why shouldn’t we get the same in a hero?

What do you think, bellas?

MONDAY: Debut author and long-time Bella Jessa Slade GuestBlogs to celebrate the drop of "Seduced by Shadows," first in her Marked Souls series. Plus, Jessa's got an awesome contest with a wicked-cool grand prize.


Tiona said...

Oh, Welcome, Tessa! I just finished GOTH a couple of weeks ago, I think when I was sick, really sick, and it was still fabulous and had me laughing out loud, hehe. It was great. It reminded me a little of Jane Austin, but of course, she is the Great Dame of that period, hehe.
Can't wait to read the next two.
Oh, Toby. Just love him. He intrigued me in GOTH and I think will probably do so more in the next one. He's definatley a charmer. And I totally agree. We love the alphas, but could probably only really take those great, gentalmanly, sweet, do-anything-4-ya betas (Ok, stop thinking about your brother's roommate, PB!), but would definately want him to take charge in the bedroom! hehe As long, of course, as he let you do the same every now and then, hehe
Who typed that?

Tessa Dare said...

Morning Bellas and Michelle! Thanks so much for welcoming me yet again. It's a huge pleasure to come chat about Toby, because as I say, in many ways he became my favorite hero of the three.

Princess Bumblebee, thanks for your lovely comments about GOTH! And yes, Toby sounds like just your kind of guy. Caring and considerate when you want him to be, and alpha when you're wanting that. ;)

One of the things I loved about writing Toby was letting him (and everyone around him) come to realize what a natural leader he is. He doesn't rush into a situation barking orders and throwing punches, but he has a quiet way of asserting control of a situation when matters get tense. People look to him for reassurance and confidence.

LauraT said...

Hi Tessa!

I love this blog. And I can't wait to read all 3 of your books. I also love Toby, and I haven't even read the books yet! Thank you for giving us a hero that is "Beta at the dinner party, alpha in the bedroom…I don’t know about you, but to me, that’s a winning combination!"

I LOVE it! I can't wait to meet Toby and his heroine, and of course to read the first two! I love it when I get to meet a hero for two books, then finally he gets his own.

Keira Gillett said...

"Anyone who labeled Toby a heartbreaker underestimated the shrewdness of feminine intellect. "

Your poor hero! Passed over twice... I'll take him home and give him some loving!

siggykag at gmail dot com

Catherine Gayle said...

I've always really loved a good beta hero, actually. Sure, reading an alpha is fabulous too...but there's truly something about the guys that are good through and through. Should be interesting to read your combination of alpha and beta all rolled up into one!

amy kennedy said...

I so agree with all the comments -- I never realized that that is what I would want in real life...beta in public, alpha in bedroom. Thanks Tessa!

Maureen said...

I like a variety of heroes and a charming beta hero is always a pleasure to read.
mce1011 AT aol DOT com

Tessa Dare said...

Hey, LauraT! Always a joy to "see" you. :)
You know, getting to know Toby over three books was the best part of it for me. And actually, knowing all the characters so well - in this third book, all six protagonists have roles to play. It was so much fun to write them all together as a group. Hope you like it when you get a chance to read it!

Keira, that's the spirit! Toby has never lacked for female attention. But it's only in this book he realizes that he wants to win a woman's LOVE. He's a real sweetheart, and a FAB cuddler. :)

Catherine, I'm glad to hear you love the good guys. Believe me, I love alphas and bad boys too, but there's just something about a decent guy... Toby even gets along with his mother! How many romance heroes can say that?

Amy K, that's why T is my favorite of the three. A great beta hero makes for, IMO, a very believable HEA.

Maureen, I like variety, too! That's why each of my heroes (and heroines) are so different. And it has amazed me how evenly split readers are about which book/hero/heroine they like best of the three.

Vanessa Kelly said...

Congratulations on the release of A Lady Of Persuasion, Tessa! I can't wait to read Toby's story.

I love your image - beta at the dinner table, alpha in the bedroom. Because, really, who needs an alpha at a dinner party - he'd wreck the place! But a take-charge guy in the bedroom is so delicious, especially when he has such beautiful manners outside of it. Such a nice contrast!

Kim said...

Congratulations, Tessa. After reading the first book, it will be interesting to see what become of Toby. Does he remain the shallow flirt who only likes the chase or does he settle down?

Jill Kemerer said...

Tessa, I've heard raves about your books but haven't tried one yet. Now that I've had a sneak preview of Toby (yum, yum), I'm going to have to give it a whirl. Thanks for giving me a new book to look forward to!!

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Buona sera, Bellas! Welcome back, Miss Tessa! Oh, what am I going to do now that we're in the final installment of the RDG? I'll miss looking forward to your visits! What will I have to look forward to, hmmm? hmm?

I'm never really sure about the term beta; some say there's no such thing, that all romance heroes have to be alphas. But Toby's a unique sort of hero, in that we learn his skill with women is keen, like the best romance heroes and, as he shows us below, he's aware of his attraction. Yet he's got empathy for women,and we learn in ALOP how deeply that goes, and it's rather charming and also heartrending in a way.

I'm almost embarrassed to say this because I have a reputation to uphold, but I, ok, actually noticed there was a heroine in this novel.

Yeah, so what of it?! I'm going to really be interested in knowing how many women identify with her and on which levels. She's rather unique, multicultural, yet kind of uncomfortable with it, though not for reasons one might expect given the time she's living in. And she's so conflicted and doesn't realize it. And she and Toby are sort of innocents, perhaps, despite that each has seen things the other hasn't. Both will have their eyes opened by novel's end, but not in the usual ways we think of in romances. They're sort of subtle journeys.

Oh, gawd, I'm so pathetic. I haven't even discussed sex. What's happened to me?

Unknown said...

Hi Tessa, nice to see you here! Congrats on your new release! I loved your book Goddess of The Hunt and I can't wait to read this one. It sounds like an awesome read!


Tiona said...

Tessa, coming from a family of bad boys, so to speak, makes me appreciate the beta types even more, hehe. The bad boys are ok to drool over on their motorcycles (is it getting hot in here?), but it's the betas that we can see ourselves coming home to, hehe. As my sister would say "Hubba Hubba" lol!
QB, we forgive you this time. Now on to the sexy deets!

Tessa Dare said...

Hey, Vanessa, Jill, Virginia - Thanks so much for saying hi! I hope you do enjoy Toby's story.

Kim--does he stay a shallow flirt. Heh. Of course not!

And on the topic, Michelle, thanks for bringing up Isabel. When I started planning this book, I knew I would need to pair Toby with his polar opposite. Someone who took everything TOO seriously, so that they could even one another out. That's where Isabel came from. When I was developing her character, I actually thought a lot about Jane Eyre. I always envisioned Gray and Isabel and Joss's father as a sort of Mr. Rochester-gone-wrong. (Well, not that Rochester even went exactly *right*, but..) If you're familiar with JE, you know he had been sent to Jamaica and married a woman there who was insane. So my idea of the Grayson family sort of started with the question, what if Mr Rochester had just stuck around the West Indies instead of going back to England? What would his kids have been like? And obviously, I decided they would have had some serious issues to work through, as Isabel does. I'm so glad I was able to pair her with Toby, who comes from this very loving, stable family because she needed that. But at the same time, he needed someone to push him to think his life a little more, to consider how he uses all the advantages he's been given in his life. I really enjoyed writing them as a couple.

Tiona said...

Tessa, your characters sound very unique and fascinating, as were those in GOTH. Now I'll have to read Jane Eyre to know where you're coming from, hehe. And Toby showing your heroine that life isn't to be taken so seriously sounds like a great time!

chey said...

Toby sounds like an amazing hero!

chey127 at hotmail dot com

Tessa Dare said...

PB - definitely, you must read Jane Eyre! Classic love story, and one of my all-time favorites.

Chey - thanks!

Lois said...

I love the sound of that, beta outside, alpha inside. . . In the real world, I probably would not like knowing an alpha male. But I read plenty, but sometimes even in fiction, I'm not always thrilled with him; sometimes I can't get lost in the fantasy of it. So, I met many alphas I love, some not so much. But I can't really think of any betas that I haven't. I love them all, in the end. . . but, ah, the bedroom, well, some things are simply quite appropriate at times. ;)


Barbara E. said...

I haven't had a chance to read Goddess of the Hunt or Surrender of a Siren, but they're both on my TBR pile. I'd love to get A Lady of Persuasion so I can read them all 3 in a row.

mrsshukra said...

Hi Tessa!

I love this alpha/beta combo in a romance and real life hero!
I can't wait to read A Lady of Persuasion!


Laurie G said...

I'd love to read Isabel and Toby's story. I really don't care if a hero is alpha or beta as long as I can relate to them and the story is well written.

ev said...

Hi Tessa!!

Late to the party but what else is new these days! I haven't had time to twitter much either so I have been missing out on a bunch of stuff. But we have our sci-fi convention next weekend and it's been a busy time.

I downloaded the new book for my Sony as soon as it came out. I can't wait to read it. It's going to be my treat to myself when next weekend is over and we take off for a long weekend the following Thursday. (We bought a new RV and it will be our maiden voyage. Pun intended)

I loved the first two books as I have told Tessa a bunch of times and can't wait to read Sir Toby's book. The characters are so easy to believe, the dialogue great and the stories memorable.

These are keepers and I will probably get them in PB too at some point.

What's next on the horizon Tessa?

Myrin said...

Hi Tessa, so good to have you here again. I've verrrrrrra much enjoyed both GOTH and SOAS (though I liked the latter even better - I know what you think, Now she's rhyming, of all things!, but that wasn't intentional - I simply love me some good privateer-and-still-a-little-pirate story) and I'm eager to start ALOP which is lying here on my desk right now, but I'm very much into Kresley Cole's IAD-series at the moment and I'll first finish these books before I go back to historicals and get immerse again in the world you created.

Let me tell you here that I greatly admire your style of writing - it's absolutely beautiful and I find myself swallowing every word just for the fun of it. Your books are an asset for the romance world.

Now, to the topic. I've just wondered what exactly a beta is. I know, I always come with those definiton things, but really. I couldn't even describe what an alpha is like if you asked me spontaneously (although I do know the term, yes, yes, don't we all? But really, think about it!). I think it's just because from not having read the book I can't see any difference between Toby's behaviour and that of other characters that are definitely alpha.

So maybe someone could enlighten me about this?