::::Juliana Gray is giving away to one luckywinner a copy of A LADY NEVER LIES and A GENTLEMAN NEVER TELLS. How do you enter to win? Just join in and add a comment for a chance to win. Winners will be picked December 20th. Don’t forget to leave your email addy or to check back to see if you won::::
Her nose brushed against the side of his neck. He smelled of wool and clean rain and…something else, something familiar…his soap, perhaps? She inhaled deeply, quietly, and in a flash she was back on the riverbank at Henley again, and Roland had just emerged from the Leander boathouse, bathed and dressed and flushed with victory… The hot June sun had beat against her hat, and the crowd around them had hummed with noise. He’d had to lean close to her cheek to hear her words, and her brain had spun with the clean, newly washed scent of his neck, the delicious flavor of his soap. It had seemed somehow scandalous, that she should know such an intimate detail about him. She’d wanted to drink it in, to lick it off his skin.
– A Gentleman Never Tells, Chapter 3
I love scent. I love it in my own life—the smell of my house after we’ve been away for a few days, the smell of my husband’s undershirts when he pulls one from the drawer in the morning and matches it with his skin—and I love scent in books. (Well, I love the scent of books, too, but I’ll try to stay on topic here.)
Scent is so immersive. Sound comes close, maybe; especially music. When I hear the delicate notes of the Au Fond du Temple Saint duet from The Pearl Fishers, I’m transported years away to a velvet August evening in Holland Park, and a pair of young singers silhouetted against the twilit ruins of Holland House. But scent goes even deeper; scent heads straight for your innards; scent makes you feel. The memory of a scent never dies. It never even grows old.
It can also—as my heroine Lilibet Somerton will shortly learn in the scene above—make you do some foolish things. Lilibet first fell in love with dashing Lord Roland Penhallow six and a half years ago, only to lose him when duty (and Roland’s unexpected and untimely absence from the London scene) lands her in a wedding chapel with the beastly Earl of Somerton. But she’s longed for Roland ever since, and when circumstance throws the two of them together in the stable of an Italian inn, it only takes one whiff to turn her back into a lovestruck debutante.
Lilibet’s not alone, of course. As I look over the books in my Affairs by Moonlight trilogy (A Duke Never Yields, the final episode, will be released in February), I’ve noticed that all of my characters seem to have a particular scent, and it tends to drive his or her opposite number to Very Wicked Thoughts. Lilibet’s cousin Abigail is especially—er—susceptible to the hint of bergamot in Duke of Wallingford’s personal effects, to say nothing of his actual person. In A Lady Never Lies, Alexandra’s lilies have a similar effect on a certain flame-haired automotive genius named Phineas Burke.
Because yes, scent is aphrodisiac too, and if you’re a writer who’s going to reunite lovers (and oh, how I love to reunite lovers!) scent is your most potent ally. A lady can resist the sight of a man she loves; she can even resist the sound of his voice in her ear again. But how can she resist the smell of his skin? It’s the human signature at its most elemental. Even if two men use the same soap, it lays a distinct fragrance on each one; Roland’s scent tells Lilibet that this is Roland, this is the man she loves.
And he’s back…
For a long, weightless moment, it almost seemed she could hear that white-clothed crowd chattering again, could feel the sun melt the crown of her hat, could see an eternal summer lying before her…[A]nd she still stood on the riverbank with Lord Roland Penhallow’s coaxing voice in her ear and the sweet scent of his soap filling her head.
— A Gentleman Never Tells, Chapter 3
So what scents (especially in this fragrance-filled holiday season!) evoke memories for you? And is there any smell in particular that drives you to unladylike thoughts…or deeds?
A Gentleman Never Tells (Affairs by Moonlight, book #2)
About the book:Six years ago, Elizabeth Harewood and Lord Roland Penhallow were London’s golden couple, young and beautiful and wildly in love. Forced apart by her scheming relatives and his clandestine career, Lilibet and Roland buried their passion beneath years of duty and self-denial, until a chance encounter at a remote Tuscan inn changes everything they ever knew about themselves… and each other.
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