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Archive for the ‘excerpts’ Category

Here we go again. It bashed me on my head this morning that in one week I fly to San Antonio for RWA’s annual conference!! And what have I not ordered? Swag! So where you ask is all this going? After all Monday is for excerpts. To day I invite you to post a quote from your latest book, WIP, or upcoming release. Buy links are welcome. I also want you to tell me what you are bringing for swag and if you’re not an author, what you like to receive.

Here is mine from Enticing Miss Eugénie Villaret.

Enticing Miss Eugenie Villaret“Just because I did not throw myself on you does not mean I refused you.” She scowled. “I said I would think about it. I will give you an answer later. After all, this is very sudden.”

He curled his hands into fists; otherwise they’d wrap themselves around her beautiful neck. “There is nothing hasty about this.”

Eugénie opened her eyes wide. “Oh, but there is. Before, you only wanted me as your mistress.”

“How the dev . . . Why would you think that?”

“We women know these things.”

Buy links: Amazon US ~ Barnes and Noble ~ iTunes ~ Kobo ~ Amazon CA ~ Amazon DE ~ Amazon FR ~ Amazon UK

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It is always my great pleasure to welcome, NYT bestselling author, Grace Burrowes to the blog!!  Grace is here to tell us about her latest book, The Captive, and give away one copy. All you have to do is say your want it!!

I finished it last night and was not at all surprised that it is on the USA Today Bestseller list!!

Here is the fabulous cover!!

captive_295w-274x450

Now the blurb.

He’ll never be free…
Captured and tortured by the French, Christian Severn, Duke of Mercia, survives by vowing to take revenge on his tormentors. Before the duke can pursue his version of justice, Gillian, Countess of Greendale, reminds him that his small daughter has suffered much in his absence, and needs her papa desperately.
Until he surrenders his heart…
Gilly endured her difficult marriage by keeping peace at any cost. Christian’s devotion to his daughter and his kindness toward Gilly give her hope that she could enjoy a future with him, for surely he of all men shares her loathing for violence in any form. Little does Gilly know, the battle for Christian’s heart is only beginning.

And if you still are on the fence about this book, an exclusive blurb.

Gillian, Lady Greendale, and Christian, Duke of Mercia, are discussing—among other fraught topics—safety in the wake of an attempt to poison him.

“You’re safe, Gilly. The footmen or I attend you wherever you go, and the entire staff has been warned to watch for strangers.” Christian sounded very sure of Gilly’s safety, but what of his own?

“The staff has been been…protective,” Gilly said. “Discreet, but protective.”

“You’re surprised?”

Yes, she was. Also relieved—and ashamed. “I left my slippers in your bedroom that first night.”

“So?”

The great lout was genuinely perplexed. “Below stairs, they know.”

“That we share a bed? If you say so.”

“I don’t like that they know.” She hated that they knew, hated that they might think her guilty of every weak, wanton behavior Greendale had accused her of.

Christian’s gaze narrowed, more closely approximating the ducal sphinx Gilly had barged in on weeks ago in London. “Will you pretend you don’t like what we do?”

She would have moved out from under his hands, but he only let her turn, and wrapped his arms around her from behind. “The question is sincere, my lady. I would not for the world impose on you.”

The wretch, saying such things out loud.

“I like what we do.”

“Then is it me? Perhaps you’d rather disport with a different partner?”

Behind the arrogance of the question, Gilly heard a hint, a well-hidden, ducally disregarded hint of vulnerability. She turned in his arms and pressed her face against his chest. She had licked, kissed, and nuzzled her way over most of this chest, and had found it delicious.

“I will never disport thus with another. I promise myself every morning I will not disport thus with you again, at least not until matters are settled between us.”

His hold on her loosened. “I do not understand your dilemma. I have determined you need time to sort it out yourself, and this sits ill with me, but as a measure of my regard for you, I do not force the matter.”

“Oh, no, you do not force the argument, you merely—”

“Yes?” He slipped his hands down and cupped her bottom, which meant she took notice of his male flesh growing hard between them.

“Even arguing arouses you.”

“Everything about you arouses me.”

Buy Links for print and ebook can be found at:

http://graceburrowes.com/books/captive.php

About Grace:

graceburrowes-headshot-01Grace Burrowes grew up in central Pennsylvania and is the sixth out of seven children. She discovered romance novels when in junior high (back when there was such a thing), and has been reading them voraciously ever since. Grace has a bachelor’s degree in Political Science, a Bachelor of Music in Music History, (both from The Pennsylvania State University); a Master’s Degree in Conflict Transformation from Eastern Mennonite University; and a Juris Doctor from The National Law Center at The George Washington University.

Grace writes Georgian, Regency, Scottish Victorian and contemporary romances in both novella and novel lengths. She’s a member of Romance Writers of America and Novelist, Inc. and enjoys giving workshops and speaking at writer’s conferences. If you’d like Grace to speak or present at your conference, contact her here. Giving back to the industry is a large part of the fun of being published!

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Please welcome Regency author, Christi Caldwell, back to the blog. Christi has a new book out and she’ll be giving away a copy to one of you who tells her you want the book!

The winner will be announced on Sunday News!

Without further to do, I give you the cover of Always Proper, Suddenly Scandalous!

APSS

Now the blurb.

Geoffrey Winters, Viscount Redbrooke was not always the hard, unrelenting lord driven by propriety. After a tragic mistake, he resolved to honor his responsibility to the Redbrooke line and live a life, free of scandal. Knowing his duty is to wed a proper, respectable English miss, he selects Lady Beatrice Dennington, daughter of the Duke of Somerset, the perfect woman for him. Until he meets Miss Abigail Stone…

To distance herself from a personal scandal, Abigail Stone flees America to visit her uncle, the Duke of Somerset. Determined to never trust a man again, she is helplessly intrigued by the hard, too-proper Geoffrey. With his strict appreciation for decorum and order, he is nothing like the man’ she’s always dreamed of.

Abigail is everything Geoffrey does not need. She upends his carefully ordered world at every encounter. As they begin to care for one another, Abigail carefully guards the secret that resulted in her journey to England.

Only, if Geoffrey learns the truth about Abigail, he must decide which he holds most dear: his place in Society or Abigail’s place in his heart.

 

And if you need more, an exclusive excerpt!

In desperate need of a drink, Geoffrey took a step toward a liveried servant bearing a tray full of champagne when his black Hessian boot suddenly snagged the hem of a young lady’s skirt.

The tear of fabric ripping blended with the din of conversation around them.

The lady gasped, and pitched forward. Even as the glass of ratafia in her hand fell to the floor, her hip collided with the passing servant who teetered on his feet. The young man’s serving tray tilted precariously, and for an infinitesimal moment Geoffrey believed the servant had steadied his burden.

But the servant’s tray slipped from his fingers. Champagne flutes careened to the floor, and sprayed the bubbling liquid onto the gown of several matrons standing nearby, who cried out in shock and scurried off.

“Pardon me,” Geoffrey murmured to the servant, and then returned his attention to the woman he’d inadvertently sent reeling. A mere five or so inches smaller than his six foot frame, she stood taller than most of the ladies present. “Forgive me. Are you all…?”

She smiled up at him.

His question died upon his lips as he gazed down at the woman who’d unwittingly beckoned from across the ballroom mere moments ago. His eyes traveled the high planes of her cheekbones, the gray irises of her eyes, her full, red lips.

…and then her slipper met the moisture upon the marble floor. Like one of the skaters at the Frost Fair on the River Thames, she slid forward, into a nearby pillar. “Ouch.”

Geoffrey’s arm shot out and he sought to steady her.

“Thank you,” she said. She shook out her sea foam green skirts and unlike the horror that wreathed the faces of the surrounding ladies, wry amusement fairly glittered in her gray-blue eyes. “I am uninjured,” she assured him.

His eyes widened and with alacrity, he released her.

She cocked her head to the side. “Are you injured?”

Her flat accent did not possess the clipped proper tones of a proper English lady. He blinked. “Injured?”

“You appear unwell, sir.”

By God…

“You are an American,” he blurted.

A mischievous smile played about her lips. “I am.” She looked around and then back to him. “Never tell me you’re scandalized by me being an American?”

He was scandalized by the wicked direction his mind had wandered that involved an American woman. If his mother was outraged at the prospect of a Scott assuming the Redbrooke title, what would she say to an American lady having garnered Geoffrey’s attention?

“Ahh, you do smile,” the young woman said.

Geoffrey frowned. “I beg your pardon?”

“Alas, it is gone,” she said with a long, exaggerated sigh.

Geoffrey became aware of the appalled stares of Polite Society’s most respectable peers, trained upon him. From across the room, his mother, who stood alongside Lady Tisdale, glared with blatant disapproval. It was the much needed reminder of past failings and inner weaknesses that had wrought much agony upon his family. By standing here engaging this…this…stranger, in the midst of Lord and Lady Hughes’s ballroom, he opened himself up to public censure. His intentions were marriage to Lady Beatrice, and any hint of untoward interest in another would not be countenanced by the Duke of Somerset or his daughter.

Geoffrey folded his arms across his chest. This American upstart might have a face and body to rival Helen of Troy, but possessed the uncouth manners one would expect of an American. “Miss,” he said from the corner of his mouth. “We’ve not been properly introduced, therefore, any discourse between us is highly improper.”

Her lips twitched, with, he suspected, mirth. “I would say toppling over the host’s servant and spraying his guests with champagne and glass is also improper, but you’ve done that, sir.”

Geoffrey felt heat climb up his neck, and resisted the urge to tug at his suddenly tight cravat, shamed by the accuracy of her charge. He did not create scandals. Not anymore. He was proper. And poised. And…

She arched a brow.

Well, in this instance he’d created a small scandal. Still, he needn’t raise further eyebrows by talking to the vexing miss.

Even if he wanted to.

He needed to go. Immediately. Anywhere but within mere inches of the lady who smelled like lilacs and lavender and now champagne. “Again, forgive me for causing you distress.” He bowed deeply and beat a hasty retreat.

Geoffrey had made a fool of himself once over a young lady. He’d not be so foolish again.

Buy Links:

Barnes and Noble

 

About Christi:

Twitter Picture ChrissyChristi Caldwell is the best-selling author of historical romance novels set in the Regency era. Christi blames Judith McNaught’s “Whitney, My Love,” for luring her into the world of historical romance. While sitting in her graduate school apartment at the University of Connecticut, Christi decided to set aside her notes and try her hand at writing romance. She believes the most perfect heroes and heroines have imperfections and rather enjoys tormenting them before crafting a well-deserved happily ever after!

 

When Christi isn’t writing the stories of flawed heroes and heroines, she can be found in her Southern Connecticut home chasing around her feisty five-year-old son, and caring for twin princesses-in-training!

 

 

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Life seriously interfered with everything writing yesterday. To make it up to you I invite you to post any excerpt of 500 words, buy and social media links. Please keep it PG-13.

If you’re here to read, let us know how we’re doing.

Here is mine from Enticing Miss Eugénie Villaret which releases on August 7th!

Enticing Miss Eugenie VillaretJuly 1816, England

William, Viscount Wivenly, caught a glimpse of sprigged muslin through a thinly leafed part of the tall hedge, behind which he’d taken refuge.

“Are you sure he came this way?” an excited female voice whispered.

  1. He didn’t like the sound of that. Will found himself in sympathy with the fox at a hunt.

“Quite sure,” came the hushed response. “You must be careful, Cressida. If I reveal to you what Miss Stavely told me in the strictest confidence, you must vow never to repeat what I’m about to say. I swore I’d never breathe a word.”

“Yes, yes,” Miss Cressida Hawthorne replied urgently, “I promise.”

He’d been dodging the Hawthorne chit for two days now, and unfortunately she wasn’t the only one. The other woman sounded like the newly betrothed Miss Blakely.

“Well then”—Miss Blakely paused—“I really shouldn’t. If it got out, she’d be ruined!”

“I already promised,” Miss Hawthorne wheedled.

After a few moments, the other girl continued. “Miss Stavely said she followed Lord Wivenly to the library so that they’d be alone, and he’d have to marry her.”

“What an excellent plan.” Miss Hawthorne’s tone fell somewhere between admiring and wishful.

“Well, it wasn’t.”

Even thinking about the incident with Miss Stavely made Will shudder. There were few worse fates than being married to her in particular. Fortunately, the lady was not as intelligent as she was crafty. The minute she’d turned the lock, she had announced he would have to marry her. However, she’d failed to take into account the French windows through which Will had made his escape.

“What do you mean it wasn’t a good idea?” Miss Hawthorne asked.

“Have you heard a betrothal announcement?”

Their footsteps stopped. Drat it all, there must be another way out of here. He surveyed the privet hedge, which bordered three sides of this part of the garden. Across from him was a wooden rail fence about five feet high. Large rambling roses in pale pink and yellow sprawled along it, completing the enclosure. Whoever designed this spot had wanted privacy. Will’s attention was once again captured by the voices.

“No,” Miss Hawthorne said slowly, as if working out a puzzle. “So it didn’t work.”

“Do you know what Miss Stavely failed to take into account?”

When Miss Hawthorne didn’t reply, Miss Blakely continued. “She didn’t bother to ensure she had a witness at hand. Miss Stavely said Lord Wivenly looked her up and down like she was a beefsteak and told her he’d ruin her if she wished, but not to think he’d take her to wife.”

Perhaps not his finest moment, though Will had wanted to scare the chit. Not that it had worked. She had practically launched herself at him.

“Oooh, how wicked.” Miss Hawthorne giggled. “He’s so handsome, and has such nice brown hair. I’d love to be compromised by him.” She paused. “But only if he had to marry me, so you must make sure to bear witness.”

Amazon US ~ Barnes and Noble ~ iTunes ~ Kobo ~ Amazon CA ~ Amazon DE ~ Amazon FR ~ Amazon UK

 

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Sorry this is so late. Let’s do blurbs or, if you don’t have one, a short excerpt. Add your buy links or social media links.

Here is mine from Enticing Miss Eugénie Villaret, book #5 in The Marriage Game which releases on August 7th!!

 

Enticing Miss Eugénie Villaret

Enticing Miss Eugénie Villaret

Ella Quinn’s intriguing and irresistible bachelors are masters in the game of seduction. But nothing has the power to change a single man’s mind like a captivating woman… 

William, Viscount Wivenly, plans to remain the most eligible of bachelors. He refuses to surrender to the schemes of husband-hunting ladies and matchmaking mamas. Fleeing the pressure of the ton, he’s bent on finding refuge in the West Indies. What he finds instead is a fascinating stranger, a woman so unlike those of his society that he can’t resist such a beguiling distraction… 

Determined to let nothing complicate her mission to protect her family’s livelihood while covertly rescuing orphaned slave children, Miss Eugénie Villaret does her best to evade suitors. But when dashing William lures her down a path of forbidden adventure and delicious danger, she may be convinced that business can indeed be mixed with pleasure—and persuaded to add passion to her priorities…

Buy Links:

Amazon US ~ Barnes and Noble ~ iTunes ~ Kobo ~ Amazon CA ~ Amazon DE ~ Amazon FR ~ Amazon UK

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Happy Sunday!! Let’s start with winners.

Congratulations to Andrea Schiffner for winning Jennifer Bray-Weber’s book, Carol Cork for winning Miranda Neville’s book and Sue Gorman for winning a set of Keeper Kards and a pen!!

I’m giving away a set of Keeper Kards and a pen each week for the next month. All you have to do is tell me you want them.

The house reorganization is still underway. This week will be devoted to painting kitchen cabinets and touch-ups.

I did buy new chair cushions and a mooring ball.

New cushions 001

Mooring ball 001

I’ll leave you with an excerpt from Enticing Miss Eugénie Villaret.

The morning following the disaster with his betrothed, Will sent his groom to the flower market. As he was tying his neckcloth, Griff returned empty-handed.

This was not good. “Where are the flowers?”

Griff fiddled with his hat. “Ain’t got a market hereabouts.”

Will almost rolled his eyes. His groom wasn’t usually so dense. “Why didn’t you go to the florist?”

“Ain’t got one of them either.”

They must have something. Will ran a hand through his hair. What the deuce was going on? He’d seen a flower arrangement at the Whitecliffs’. “I need to find a bouquet.”

“Sorry, my lord. I looked all over town and didn’t see any at all.”

Damn and blast. “Get your breakfast and meet me down at the warehouse. I’ll ask around.”

“Yes, my lord.” Griff bowed and left the bedchamber.

Will finished his cravat before strolling into the parlor, where he found Andrew already discussing a good portion of fruit. Will strolled to the sideboard and inspected the offerings. “There is apparently no flower market in town.”

Andrew glanced up with a smug expression. “That is what I was given to understand.”

Will paused in the process of selecting a baked egg. “Then where am I to find flowers for Miss Villaret?”

A grin split Andrew’s face. “You have to go to someone’s house and ask to be allowed to pick a bouquet from their garden.”

The egg slipped off the serving spoon Will held. “Ask a private person for flowers? I’ve never heard of such a thing.”

Andrew nodded. “There is a woman in the Queen’s Quarter who raises roses and lilies, among other plants. I have her direction. You may go immediately after breakfast. I was told it is better to pick the blooms in the morning.”

Will retrieved the egg and took a piece of Dum bread stuffed with cheese. “I’ll send Griff.”

“You’ll go yourself,” Andrew said, “or you won’t have them at all. The woman is particular about who she sells them to.”

“Give me the directions.” Will heaved an exasperated sigh. Was nothing easy when it came to Eugénie?

And a picture of the beach.

Sunday news 001

What have you all been up to?

Ella

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I’m also so happy to have the fabulous Miranda Neville on the blog!! I know you’ll help me give her a huge welcome!

Miranda’s spotlighting her latest book, Coming June 24, 2014: Lady Windermere’s Lover  (Book 3 of The Wild Quartet)

She’ll also give away a copy to on of you who tells her you want the book! We haven’t done a giveaway for several weeks, so let’s make this a good one!

Don’t you think this cover is gorgeous!

untitled

Now for the blurb:

Blurb:
Damian, Earl of Windermere, rues the day he drunkenly gambled away his family’s estate and was forced into marriage to reclaim it. Now, after hiding out from his new bride for a year, Damian is finally called home, only to discover that his modest bride has become an alluring beauty—and rumor has it that she’s taken a lover. Damian vows to keep his wife from straying again, but to do so he must seduce her—and protect his heart from falling for the wife he never knew he wanted.
Cynthia never aspired to be the subject of scandal. But with her husband off gallivanting across Persia, what was a lady to do? Flirting shamelessly with his former best friend seemed like the perfect revenge . . . except no matter how little Damian deserves her loyalty, Cynthia can’t bring herself to be unfaithful. But now that the scoundrel has returned home, Cynthia isn’t about to forgive his absence so easily—even if his presence stirs something in her she’d long thought dead and buried. He might win her heart . . . if he can earn her forgiveness!
And finally an exclusive excerpt!

 The awkward first meeting between Lord and Lady Windermere, after he returns from abroad, is interrupted by the Duke of Denford. Damian believes him to be Cynthia’s lover; all Cynthia knows is that Denford and her husband have been on bad terms for years.

“Clearly I have much news to catch up with since I’ve been away,” Windermere said, for all the world as though he were on the best of terms with the friends of his youth. “Can I persuade you to join us for dinner one evening, Julian? I am engaged with Grenville tonight, but tomorrow perhaps. Unless you have another engagement, my lady.”

“If I did, my lord, I would cancel it. It would ill become me to amuse myself elsewhere when my husband has been restored to me after so long.”

“Excellent. Shall we say seven o’clock then? Unless you prefer to keep country hours.”

“I am no longer the country mouse I was when you left me at Beaulieu, my lord. I would not dream of sitting down to dine a minute earlier.”

“I can see that you are not. You have become quite worldly, my lady. Admirably so.”

If someone had told Cynthia back at the Birmingham Academy that one day she’d be sitting between an earl and a duke, she’d have called him a fantasist. Keeping up with the byplay between the two men tested her newly developed sophistication. One man had never wanted her, the other said he did. Too bad that the former was the husband to whom she owed loyalty, however undeserved.

She looked at Julian, who had been following the exchange with the wry twist of the mouth that both fascinated and exasperated her, then turned back to her husband. Windermere had a singularly beautiful smile, as she remembered to her cost. In her experience he deployed it seldom and almost never with genuine intent. What he directed at her now sent her heart thudding against her ribs, but it did not reach his eyes. She knew it was a meaningless curve of the lips.

She inclined her head with a graciousness that was wholly feigned. “Why thank you, my lord. Your praise overwhelms me. I live only to please you.”

“What do you say, Julian?”

“How could I possibly resist such an invitation.” He swept a bow of matchless urbane mockery. “A demain, Cynthia,” he said, and stalked out like the sleek black cat he resembled.

She didn’t miss the flash of emotion that crossed Windermere’s face when Julian used her given name, nor the thoughtful look that pursued him out of the room.

“You are very cordial with Denford,” she said. “I had heard you disliked him.”

“And knowing that, you pursued his acquaintance? Such a loyal wife.”

Her behavior did prick at her conscience, though logically Windermere’s had been worse. “I pay little attention to gossip. I am glad I did not allow rumor to keep me from a friendship that obviously you don’t object to. I am delighted to see you and Julian on such good terms.” Her sunny smile felt like a death grimace. “I have lived quietly in your absence without entrée to the ton. Caro, Denford, and their friends welcomed me. Now that you are home, I look forward to expanding my circle with your other acquaintances.”

“I suppose you are ambitious to be received in more fashionable circles,” he said with a sneer. She’d never heard Windermere speak so rudely, and it caused her fierce satisfaction that she’d rippled his glassy calm. She didn’t know why he was upset, but that was nothing new. Since the moment he’d slipped the ring on her finger, pleasing her husband had proved impossible.

“Only for your sake,” she said with a careless wave, intended to convince him—and herself—that his ill opinion meant nothing to her. “I haven’t forgotten you telling me a wife is important to a diplomat’s career.”

He walked over to her chair and extended one elegant finger to tilt her face upward. Her heart skipped a beat when, for an instant, she thought he was going to kiss her, as a man might be expected to do after a year apart from his wife. But those perfect lips came within a foot of hers and no closer. She made herself meet him eye to eye, wishing she could read his thoughts. They were engaged in an unspoken struggle she didn’t entirely understand.

“What?” she whispered finally.

“You have changed,” he said.

“Just as you requested. I tried to become the wife you wanted.”

Buy links:  Amazon     Kindle    Nook/Barnes& Noble    Kobo    iTunes  

 

NevilleColorSmallerAbout Miranda:

Miranda Neville grew up in England but as a long time resident of the United States she considers herself bilingual in American and British English. She has written eight historical romances for Avon, including the popular Burgundy Club series and the current Wild Quartet. Publisher’s Weekly has described her work as a “mix of hilarity, mystery, and passion.”  She can be reached on  Facebook, Twitter, or through her website.

 

 

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Please welcome historical author, Jennifer Bray-Weber to the blog!! Jenn is here to spotlight her latest book, Mutiny of the Heart!! She’ll also be giving away one copy of the book to one of you who tells her you want it!!

With out further to do, let’s take a look at the cover!

MutinyOfTheHeart

 

Oh my! Where is my fan when I need it? On to the blurb!

Navigating the high seas as the female captain of a pirate ship means always being on your guard—especially when one takes a temptingly handsome slave on board.

Captain Joelle Quint believes the slave claiming to be a cartographer can help her decipher the map her father left her when she was a child. She’s spent years trying to unlock its truths, hoping that it holds the answers to a dark family secret.

Sloan Ricker has no intention of remaining captive. When the fiery, red-headed captain offers him his freedom in exchange for solving her map, what begins as an opportunity to escape becomes a struggle to make the beautiful, intriguing Joelle his mistress in more ways than one.

Amidst a battle with the Royal Navy and a first mate’s jealousy, Joelle also fights her growing lust. And as much as he’d like to deny it, Ricker’s desire for Joelle has overcome his initial disdain. To get the answers, independence and love that they both long for, Joelle and Ricker must relinquish control to each other…or die trying.

 Now for the excerpt!

Captain Quint was a dangerous woman—in more than just cunning. She had Valeryn. The first mate had been punishing Ricker for kissing her. Ricker had gotten a great deal of satisfaction knowing he burrowed deeply under Valeryn’s skin. He was an arsehole. All the extra work he forced upon Ricker, all the malicious sneers, amounted to Ricker’s stronger will to drub the bastard within an inch of his life. He would relish the moment he and Valeryn bled.

“We’ll likely need to careen her,” Joelle said, turning her attention back to the charts. “Making us vulnerable.”

“This part of the bay’s coastline is woodsy.” He pointed to a bend in the shore on the map. “You can hide well there. The problem might be the sand. The Black Cove River lets out there. The sand will be soft and hard to dislodge from, even in high tide.”

She was contemplating a decision. What, he wasn’t sure. Though he could hazard a guess. What to do, where to go should they need to escape…

“By the looks of the leak, Captain, your ship will not make it to a friendlier port.”

Rissa bucked again, delivering on his point. A saber clattered to the floor.

“Too many more jolts like that and the only place we’re going is the tomb of Davy Jones,” she groused.

They both bent for the sword. Ricker reached it first, his fingers wrapped firmly around the hilt. Their eyes locked. He had her weapon and she gauged his face for his next move. A burnished eyebrow slowly arched upward, a daring curve coiled her lips. No fool, he had little doubt she’d have a ball wedged in his brain from the pistol hung at her waist should he try something stupid.

Frankly, he was far too distracted. Bending low, she presented him with a crippling peek of the ravine between her breasts, swaying with the ship’s rocking movements. Holy Mother! He licked his bottom lip, smiled and slowly handed her the handle.

“You want to run me through,” she said, her tone forthright, her smile heated.

“Aye,” he answered. “To the hilt.” Over and over again.

“’Tis a pity, then. You won’t make it out alive.” She rose, too graceful for the lurching vessel, with a wicked arch to her back. The minx.

“The satisfaction and pleasure of the attempt would be worth it, I think.” He, too, rose without stepping back, being at the risk of injury to the proximity of the sword’s blade.

“Oh?”

She adoringly eyed the sword’s tip, testing its sharpness with her finger, before gliding her gaze back to him.

Damn all, the seduction fluttering under those coy, deadly lashes drove a hard spike below his belt.

“The taste.” He paused, picking his words carefully, and enjoying the titillation of her waiting, of her expectations. “The taste of freedom can be overwhelming. Even if the undertaking means certain death.”

“To conquer what holds your tethers at any cost still requires strategy.”

“Perhaps, but not if the opportunity suddenly arises without warning. ’Tis difficult to stay the course.”

“Has an opportunity arisen?” She ran a finger along the edge of the sword’s blade, light from the lantern catching on the smooth, polished metal. The suggestion was killing him.

“Several times over.”

She ever so slightly shook her head, her drying hair curling at the ends, bouncing. “What has kept you at bay?”

“The taste—” his gaze landed upon her mouth before delivering his bitter taunt, “—has been sour.”

Her coquettish smile faded, gone like the flash in a pan. She expelled a disgusted huff. Quint swiveled, securing the saber back onto the wall.

“Be forewarned, Mr. Ricker. I am quite skilled at survival. I shall, nevertheless, be careful not to allow further opportunity.”

Ricker suddenly wished he hadn’t gone head to head with the saucy captain. He underestimated her. If he didn’t ignore her overwhelming allure and what she did to him, how his body reacted around her, he’d never regain his freedom. Fire and brimstone! He may have won this battle, but he feared he would lose the war.

Buy links: 

Carina Press ~ Amazon ~ B&N

About Jenn:

GH026+(2)Award-winning, multi-published author Jennifer Bray-Weber has always wished for real life to mimic adventuresome tales. As if being a mother of two wasn’t enough adventure, she writes pirate historical romances and dabbles in erotica fantasy romance. Her next two books in the Romancing the Pirate series are scheduled to release early in 2014. Connect with Jennifer and join her mailing list for sneak peeks, excerpts, and free giveaways.

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Welcome to Monday Excerpts! I threw the metaphorical dart at a book this morning and it landed on chapter three. So, I invite you to post the first page of your chapter three from a new release, an upcoming release, or a WIP! Please keep it PG-13 and feel free to post buy links.

Enticing Miss Eugénie Villaret

Enticing Miss Eugénie Villaret

Here is mine from book #5 in The Marriage Game, Enticing Miss Eugénie Villaret which releases in August.

An hour later, Eugénie and Cicely entered the large parlor on the lower level of Whitecliff House. Cicely’s apartment consisted of one large room, flanked on one side by her bedchamber and dressing room, and on the other by a small parlor with her piano and books.

Cicely called for coconut water. After her maid left, she motioned to a settee positioned against the back wall. “No one can hear us from here. Now, tell me what is wrong.”

With her flaxen curls and wide cornflower-blue eyes, Cicely gave every indication of being a silly widgeon, yet she had the sharpest mind of anyone Eugénie knew.

She chewed her lower lip. “I need to look at the business’s books, without Mr. Howden catching me.”

“Because?” Cicely asked, drawing the word out.

“He’s been telling Maman that it is losing money.”

Cicely heaved a loud sigh and made a “come on” motion with her hand. Eugénie told her about her previous attempt to view the ledgers and Mr. Howden’s threat to quit.

“Hmm.” Cicely pursed her lips in thought. “I know my father hasn’t heard your family’s company is in poor condition.”

“Mr. Howden said he was keeping it a secret.” Eugénie untied her hat and flung it down next to her. “It’s bad enough that Papa is . . . gone.” She fought the tears threatening to fall. “That is dreadful, but now Maman worries all the time about money as well. Nothing cheers her.”

Buy links: Amazon US ~ Amazon UK ~ Amazon German ~ Amazon France ~ Amazon Canada ~ Barnes and Nobel ~ Kensington ~ iBooks ~ Kobo

Now it’s your turn!!

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Please welcome historical author, Jane Lark, to the blog. Jane has given me her latest book, THE SCANDALOUS LOVE OF A DUKE, book three in Jane Lark’s Kindle best-selling Regency romance series! to spotlight. She will also give a signed paperback copy of The Illicit Love of a Courtesan, the first book in the series, to one of you who tells her she wants the book!

Let’s have a look at the cover!

002 The Scandalous Love of a Duke High Res

Now the blurb:

Isolated by life and choice, John Harding, the Duke of Pembroke, sees an angel in a pale mauve dress across a room and is drawn closer as lust grips firm and hard in his stomach. The wheat-blonde hair escaping her dull dove-grey bonnet and caressing her neck lures his eyes to a spot he’d like to kiss. She speaks with animation her hands moving. Then as if she senses his gaze the stranger turns and looks at him.

A rush of pain and longing spilled from Katherine’s heart into her limbs. It was so long since she’d seen John but her reaction was the same as it had been more than half-a-dozen years before. She loved him, secretly, without hope, but a chasm of years and status stood between them.

Exclusive excerpt

Katherine picked up the Bibles the children had been working with and set them aside. Then she turned towards the small altar in the chancel chapel where she’d led the Sunday school.

She was looking for something to do to pass the time while the congregation dispersed and she waited for Revered Barker to drive her home. Her gaze caught on the open side door. John stood there watching her, his athletic silhouette framed in the arch of sunlight.

She had not forgiven him for kissing her, nor for forcing her to admit she had wished him to do it. Neither was a gentlemanly act. He had changed.

Ignoring him, she turned to the storage cupboard. She felt his presence so keenly she could sense him smiling behind her. She’d heard him singing amidst the congregation as she’d worked with the children. He had a beautiful voice. It rose above that of everyone else with perfect clarity.

How could a man who was now so steely hard and disgracefully arrogant still sing like an angel?

She pressed a palm against the slates to make them straight when they were already perfectly aligned.

“Are you hiding, Katherine?”

Her heart thumped. “Working, John.”

His boot heels rang on the glazed medieval tiles and she spun about when she heard him get too close.

He was two feet away, his pale eyes gleaming yet unfathomable. “I was waiting to speak with you, your parents have left. I thought… You are not hiding from me, are you?”

“No,” she breathed, knowing she coloured.

His gaze swept across her face clearly assessing her as she had not been able to assess him because his features were set like marble.

“There is no need for you to fear me, Katherine.”

She lifted her chin. “I am not afraid of you, John.” I am afraid of myself.

“I would never hurt you.”

Her chin lifted another notch. She hurt for him anyway. She had ached for him for seven years. Hiding was the only way to escape more pain.

He did not move, his pale gaze holding hers as though he could hear the words she did not speak.

“I have thought about you since the funeral.” His voice whispered back off the cold bare stone. “I know I said sorry to you yesterday, Katherine, but I really do not think I am. I wanted to kiss you, too. Why should either of us feel regret?”

She dragged a deep breath into her lungs. “John, do not do this.” She stepped back and hit the shelves.

He caught her arm to stop her fall, but did not let go.

“Do what? Admit I am attracted to you. I am, as you are to me.” His head was bowing before he’d even finished speaking.

Their lips touched.

It was different than yesterday, it was gentle, hesitant and reassuring, and without conscious thought her hands slid over his shoulders, one settling behind his neck, half holding his mouth to hers.

When his lips opened and his tongue slid across the seam of hers, she could not help but part hers and kiss him back as he was kissing her.

Their tongues weaved an intricate dance and she felt her body press against his, as the shelves dug into her back.

His hand supported her, slipping to the first curve of her lower back and her shoulder, but then his kiss became more ardent and his tongue pressed deep into her mouth.

“Katherine!”

They flew apart and she knew she must be crimson. The back of her hand pressed to her mouth wondering how swollen her lips must look and then her palms pressed to her hot cheeks before trying to tuck wisps of her hair back beneath her bonnet.

Reverend Barker’s long, confident footsteps could be heard as he walked briskly up the aisle.

Her hands ran quickly over her gown, smoothing out creases which were not there. She felt dishevelled but it was not an outward turmoil, it was an inward one.

She looked at John. He did not look contrite at all.

Oh John, what are you trying to do to me?

Buy links:

Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Kobo

About Jane:

JaneLark (2)Jane is a writer of authentic, passionate and emotional Historical and New Adult romance and author of a No.1 bestselling Historical Novel,’The Illicit Love of a Courtesan, as well as a Kindle overall Top 25, bestselling author.

She began her first historical novel at sixteen, but a life full of adversity derailed her as she lives with the restrictions of Ankylosing Spondylitis.

When she finally completed a novel it was because she was determined not to reach forty still saying, I want to write.

Now Jane is writing a Regency series as well as contemporary, new adult, stories and she is thrilled to be giving her characters life in others’ imaginations at last.

You might think that Jane was inspired to write by Jane Austen, especially as she lives near Bath in the United Kingdom, but you would be wrong. Jane’s favourite author is Anya Seton, and the book which drew her into the bliss of falling into historical imagination was ‘Katherine’ a story crafted from reality.

Jane has drawn on this inspiration to discover other real-life love stories, reading memoirs and letters to capture elements of the past, and she uses these to create more realistic plots.

‘Basically I love history and I am sucker for a love story. I love the feeling of falling in love; it’s wonderful being able to do it time and time again in fiction.’

Jane is also a Chartered Member of the Institute of Personnel and Development in the United Kingdom, and uses this specialist understanding of people to bring her characters to life.

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