Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘excerpts’ Category

Please welcome Bron Evans back to the blog!! She has a wonderful post for you and a book for one of you who tells her you want it! Don’t forget that she is in New Zealand, so will not be able to answer comments until later in the day.

Hi Ella

 

Waving from a very warm New Zealand. I hope it’s not too cold where you are. I heard the USA has had a lot of snow. Thanks for letting me visit with you today and talk to you about A Touch of Passion, book #3 in my Disgraced Lords series.

I am a romance writer. I love my job, or passion, as I like to call it. It allows me to develop characters that I’d like to meet. I love strong, arrogant heroes, because I can show them that sometimes, if they let their walls down and open their hearts, love can rock their world. Usually that requires an intelligent and resourceful heroine—the type of heroine I can admire.

However, when writing historical romance, the game changes in that sometimes it’s difficult to show just how strong and independent a woman can be because of the restrictive culture of the day.

Generally, women in the early 1800’s, the Regency era I write in, had no real power because they were financially dependent on men, a husband, brother, or father.

It wasn’t until later in the 19th century, with the passing of the Married Woman’s Property Act in 1870, which gave women the right to be more than chattels of their husband, that woman began to look at financial security as a rightful state. Unmarried women during this period were the most vulnerable and were still at the whim of finding employment. With little education most were in menial servant positions. That’s why you read so many stories where the heroines are courtesans. Even today, the lack of money and educational opportunities is still the number one cause of slavery (the largest form of slavery today is sexual) in the world today.

During the early 1800’s, men maintained this financial superiority by keeping women uneducated. Schooling for women was not seen as necessary. Women were there to have children and run the home. What I now find ironic is that many women still do raise children and run the home, but in addition, also have to provide financially as well, but that’s another topic.

I wanted to write a story about a woman who found an unusual way to become independent. Can you imagine what kind of woman it must have taken in the 1800’s to go against society’s norms and rules? She’d have to have been strong, thick-skinned, and very intelligent too. A force to be reckoned with.

Women’s ability to bear children was prized more than intelligence. It reminds me of the lyrics to Madonna’s song, What it Feels Like For a Girl.

Strong inside but you don’t know it Good little girls they never show it When you open up your mouth to speak Could you be a little weak

That’s exactly what women were expected to be in the Regency era—weak and helpless. If you had an opinion you kept it to yourself.  Women were taught that no man wants a wife who is as smart, or smarter, than him. Or at least only those men too weak to recognize what an asset a smart woman could be to them.

My next release is A TOUCH OF PASSION (book #3 in the Disgraced Lords series) coming March 2015. It’s a tale that deals with the problem of a ‘modern woman’ in Regency times.

untitled

 

Grayson Devlin, Viscount Blackwood, is in love with Lady Portia, but denies it because he feels she is too modern for him, a man who needs the backing of the House of Lords in order to fulfill his promise to her dying brother. Lady Portia is financially secure, she doesn’t care about what others think of her, nor does she need to marry a man simply for security. She set up, and runs, one of England’s most successful cider businesses.

Portia is very independent. She almost died of a lung fever at the age of sixteen and she’s determined to live her life to the full. She uses her intelligence to start a business that not only supports her, but is also used to support an orphanage. She doesn’t mean to challenge society at every turn, but she won’t live her life to appease other people’s expectations. Grayson on the other hand lost his family and is determined to live up to his father’s honorable reputation. A wild and scandalous woman for a wife is not what he needs. Or so he thinks….

Here’s the blurb:

In the latest Disgraced Lords novel from USA Today bestselling author Bronwen Evans, a vivacious thrill seeker clashes with her dutiful defender—causing irresistible sparks to fly.   Independent and high-spirited, Lady Portia Flagstaff has never been afraid to take a risk, especially if it involves excitement and danger. But this time, being kidnapped and sold into an Arab harem is the outcome of one risk too many. Now, in order to regain her freedom, she has to rely on the deliciously packaged Grayson Devlin, Viscount Blackwood, a man who despises her reckless ways—and stirs in her a thirst for passion.   After losing his mother and two siblings in a carriage accident years ago, Grayson Devlin promised Portia’s dying brother that he’d always watch over his wayward sister. But having to travel to Egypt to rescue the foolhardy girl has made his blood boil. Grayson already has his hands full trying to clear his best friend and fellow Libertine Scholar of a crime he didn’t commit. Worse still, his dashing rescue has unleashed an unforeseen and undesired consequence: marriage. Now it’s more than Portia he has to protect . . . it’s his battered heart.

 

I loved these two characters. They had to battle both each other, but also the time period they lived in. I guess nothing has changed. Women still have to battle to be seen as equal to men. It’s proven that men are still paid more for the same job, there are proportionally fewer women on company boards or in senior management positions, sporting achievements are more prominent for male dominated sports (and they earn way more), and parts of the world still want to suppress a woman’s right to education and freedom of choice. It appears we still have some way to go…

I hope you’ll check out A Touch of Passion. It’s up for pre-order at all major eRetailers. Can you name  a favorite historical romance that has a working heroine? I’ll draw one lucky commenter to win a copy of INVITATION TO PASSION, my latest release, in book or ebook format.

 

Amazon http://amzn.to/1Bqrx2O

Amazon Canada http://amzn.to/1yUMOfv

Amazon UK http://amzn.to/1ucWygI

Amazon Australia http://bit.ly/1zEw2lG

Amazon Germany http://amzn.to/1AkEo57

iBooks http://bit.ly/1EFqsR8

Nook http://bit.ly/1yFzr2u

Kobo http://bit.ly/11iYfmc

 

Just to prove that I am not writing a fantasy, and that women did own successful businesses in the Regency period, I’ll share a link to a fabulous post over at Smart Bitches about strong, intelligent, businesswomen of the Regency period, by Michelle Styles.

lady-jersey

http://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/2012/08/amazing-regency-businesswomen-a-guest-post-by-michelle-styles/

 

Bron’s Bio:

Bron_300x421-2USA Today bestselling author, Bronwen Evans grew up loving books. She writes both historical and contemporary sexy romances for the modern woman who likes intelligent, spirited heroines, and compassionate alpha heroes. Evans is a two-time winner of the RomCon Readers’ Crown and has been nominated for an RT Reviewers’ Choice Award. She lives in Wellington, New Zealand with her dog Brandy.

Bronwen loves hearing from avid romance readers at romance@bronwenevans.com

You can keep up with Bronwen’s news by visiting her facebook page https://www.facebook.com/bronwenevansauthor

 

Twitter: @bronwenevans_nz

Read Full Post »

Please welcome Gina Danna back to the blog. Today she is promoting her latest book, Great and Unfortunate Desires! Gina has graciously agreed to give away a copy to one of you who leaves a comment saying you want it.

As always we’ll start with the cover!

GinaDanna_Great&UnfortunateDesires_1400px

 

Now the blurb. 

Victorian England c. 1870

Operating as a British spy, Tristan St.James, the new Marquis of Wrenworth, barely escapes Afghanistan with his life in the spring of 1869. He plans to seek vengeance against the traitor who exposed him and for the agent he’s forced to kill. Returning to England, as a lord, he must marry. Haunted by guilt from the horrors of war, he avoids love at all costs, but finds himself drawn to the only woman who is disinterested in him.

Lady Evelyn Hurstine has waited over two years for the return of her love, a man who left for war in the East. But during that time, she suffered a brutal assault, resulting in a child and fear of any man touching her except for the man she once knew. The pursuit by the marquis scares her but her excuses against his proposal dwindle.

Their marriage strengthens into love until she discovers her husband isn’t the safety she believed but the one who killed the man she once loved. Caught in a world of intrigue and mayhem, Tristan must prove his love to her before the traitor destroys them both.

And finally an excerpt.

After all the years he’d spent in India and Afghanistan, nothing much surprised Tristan other than English ideas on manners and morals. Relaxing in a leather cushioned chair at Brooks, trying to forget Livingston’s cautionary dismissal, Tristan sipped his brandy while other patrons debated the recent bets placed in the club’s infamous ledger. With the Season in full session, matchmaking wagers almost outnumbered the vulturous mothers of the debutantes. Tristan’s stomach roiled because he knew his name was now listed in the book.

Harry sat to Tristan’s right watching Tristan as he toyed with an unlit cigar. Finally Harry laughed.

“I fail to see the humor in this,” Tristan griped.

Harry slid to the edge of his chair. “Aren’t you curious who you’re linked with?”

“No.”

“That is what is so funny. The fact that you say that, yet you sit there, smoke pouring from your ears…”

“That is simply my cigar.”

Harry’s grin spread further. Both knew the cigar wasn’t burning. “Right. Well, in case you are wondering…”

“And I’m not,” Tristan stated flatly.

“I placed money on you and the Hurstine chit.” He sat back, arms crossed, and waited for a response.

Tristan’s gaze narrowed. There was something about her, beyond her beauty, which called to him. His body registered her presence, albeit in memory only, stirring his loins to attention and inflaming his desire for her. She was fire and ice, a mystery. “Why her?”

Laughter again from Harry. “Good lord, man, haven’t you queried Debrett’s about her? Or that lovely Lady Sarah you’ve been escorting around?”

The barren environment and simple lifestyle of the East was looking better and better to Tristan. Olive-skinned women with kohl-shadowed eyes and veiled faces were far more interesting than those of his own country. Frankly, he’d prayed he would be exempt from all this, but, as Harry so annoyingly pointed out, he wasn’t. Except for the ice queen and her pretty friend, few Englishwomen attracted him. But he feared if he looked in the book, he’d discover some bettors had associated him with several others.

“All right Harry. You’ve peeked. Tell me of these ladies.”

Harry chuckled. “I truly think you should take a gander yourself, but” he leaned in, “the Winston line is long and well established, with money but no title. In the Hurstine family, though, the father is a baron and one with money. Many believe he’s gone into trade to increase his wealth.”

Tristan caught his friend’s sneer at the end of the sentence. His gaze narrowed. “Trade? What a shame. Eliminates her immediately. Oh, the audacity!”

Harry frowned, Tristan’s sarcasm lost on him. “You know your solicitors could rule out such a match as inappropriate because of that.”

Tristan laughed. “Harry, my dear boy, trade may be the only thing that’ll help the snobby nobility. Land isn’t the means to an end anymore, my boy. Not when grain from the Americas is cheaper than home grown. No, no.” But Harry still had a look about him that made Tristan push. “What else about her?”

Harry’s brow furrowed. “There is a story, rumor, but you know how they go in these areas…”

“About what?” Tristan’s voice rose, aggravated. His stomach tightened. What on God’s green earth was he rambling about? If there was something else about her supposed unsuitability, he needed to know what it was.

His friend swallowed loudly and cleared his throat. “There was an episode, or so it’s been said, that she has a bastard. Or cares for one at any rate.” He shrugged.

Tristan frowned. The Ice Queen? A child? Her? She looked half-scared, half-frozen—too much so to allow intimacy. Thoughts of another man being close to her, touching her, made his skin prickle. A feeling of possessiveness overcame him, one he fought mightily to ignore.

“That is one of the most ridiculous accusations I’ve ever heard,” he spouted. It couldn’t be true, could it?

 

 

Buy links: Unfortunately, the book is not yet up on Amazon or the other sites as this blog goes live.

 

About Gina.

Gina_036I’ve had two loves since childhood – horses and history. I read everything I could to learn about horses, all The Black Stallion series by Walter Farley and collected every Breyer horse model I could buy. As to history, I devoured everything I could about the historic sites my parents took me to and fell in love with John Jakes North & South series. Later, that turned to historic romances and I was lost.

But I had to grow up, choose a major and career. One of my loves set the path – History. Got my BA & MA in European History and US from the University of Missouri and did PhD work through St. Louis University. Those degrees got me into the museum field, making history my career.

All those years of academic research abilities have helped me in writing historical romance. But heroes and heroines are more than monarchs, presidents, despots, and war machines. They’re real people, living in a time many romanticize about without understanding the complexities. These people love, hate, worry, celebrate and live like we do. How? Research, research, and more research. Diaries, census records, wills, deeds, church sermons, letters, laws, and so much more. Years of being a Civil War Reenactor helped me go beyond academia to get to the backbone of these people – who they were. The past is a fascinating adventure, real and alive, with discoveries at every corner. These people loved and fought just like we do today.

With my son off to college, I have the freedom to now research and write what I’ve longed to write – not for academia, not for formal education but from my heart. As a member of RWA, MORWA, HHRW, and The Beau Monde, I get to experience the new adventure of the love in the past. That is, as long as I still pay attention to my supervisors – my two black labs, my three cats and yes, my Arabian gelding, named Shetan, after The Black Stallion.  Both my childhood loves together at last.

Read Full Post »

Please welcome, New York Times bestselling author, Cheryl Bolen back to the blog!! Cheryl is here to tell you about her new book, a Christmas in Bath, which releases on November 4th. She will also give a copy to one of you who tells her you want it.

Let’s begin with the lovely cover.

Luxury Christmas door

 

Now the blurb.

Characters from the first five Brides of Bath books will be serving up some Christmas cheer, while Glee Blankenship sharpens Cupid’s arrow in A Christmas in Bath, a “sweet” novella.

Unbeknownst to scholarly Jonathan Blankenship, his sister-in-law Glee has decided this Christmas he needs a little push to make him see that his dear friend of four years, Miss Arbuckle, will make his perfect mate.

 

 

And an excerpt!

When Miss Mary Arbuckle received the note from Glee Blankenship imploring her to come straight away to her house on Queen Square, Miss Arbuckle began to tremble. Had something happened to Jonathan Blankenship? It was not like Glee to order people about. Especially since Glee rather had her hands full with a new infant son and an entirely too precocious daughter not quite three years of age.

Miss Arbuckle wrapped herself in her faded red cape, put on her woolen gloves, twirled a muffler about her neck, and began the walk to Queen Square. Other young ladies subjected to the discomfort of walking in this extreme cold might have wished to command a luxurious coach and four to whisk them about this hilly watering city.

Unlike other girls, Miss Arbuckle’s thoughts had never been occupied with wishing for things that were unobtainable. At a very early age she had come to accept that her widowed mother would never be possessed of wealth. She had also come to terms with the fact that she would never be a beauty. Her looking glass only too plainly confirmed that the most to which Miss Arbuckle could ever aspire was to be considered tolerable looking.

Because of her pragmatism, she had long accepted her fate as a spinster of extremely modest means. Such acceptance could have been sorely tried by the company she kept. Ever since she had attended Miss Worth’s School for Young Ladies, her closest circle of friends had consisted of other young ladies of Quality who were in possession of beauty, wealth, and in many cases, rank.

Ten minutes of very fast walking brought her to the Blankenship’s fine home. Inside, as she was divesting herself of her cape beneath a huge sparkling chandelier, the lovely Glee Blankenship came scurrying down the stairs to greet her.

Even though the two had been friends since they attended Miss Worth’s School for Young Ladies together, Miss Arbuckle never failed to be struck over Glee’s beauty. Perhaps it was because Glee was the antithesis of shy, drab, bookish Miss Arbuckle. Though Glee was considerably shorter than Miss Arbuckle, her vibrant personality was in perfect harmony with her fiery red hair, giving her a presence much larger than her stature would merit.

Only when Glee reached the gilt and marble entry corridor did Miss Arbuckle notice that she was carrying her babe. “I do thank you for coming, Miss Arbuckle! Please, let us go sit in the drawing room.”

In the ivory drawing room, the butter-coloured silken draperies were open, providing the chamber with more light than other rooms, but it was still an excessively dreary day. It was, after all, December in Bath.

Glee sat opposite Miss Arbuckle, who had taken a seat upon one of a pair of silk brocade sofas that faced each other in front of the fire. Glee first addressed inarticulate noises to her little red-headed babe. Then, to Miss Arbuckle’s astonishment, Glee lowered the bodice of her gown and lifted away that part of a woman’s anatomy that provided sustenance. The babe began to greedily suckle.

Mary’s cheeks turned scarlet. She had never before witnessed such a display! This was most shocking indeed. Miss Arbuckle was most determined to ignore what Glee was doing and concentrate on what she was saying.

It was, however, difficult not ponder the question of why Glee Blankenship had not procured a wet nurse. It was not as if Gregory Blankenship—Glee’s husband—was not sinfully wealthy.

There was not the least trace of embarrassment in Glee’s voice when she spoke. “I wanted to tell you that Jonathan is coming to spend Christmas with us in Bath.”

There was certainly nothing shattering in that remark. Why had Glee led Miss Arbuckle to believe the matter was so urgent? Then a thought, a truly petrifying thought, penetrated into Miss Arbuckle’s brain. He’s bringing a wife. Glee wanted to prepare Miss Arbuckle for the heart-breaking news.

Though the two women had never discussed Miss Arbuckle’s feelings for Mr. Jonathan Blankenship, Glee had to know that her friend had loved him since the first day he had ever favored her with a comment.

Whenever he was in Bath, Jonathan Blankenship and Miss Arbuckle spent a great deal of time together, and the two of them shared many interests. He was the only young man who had ever danced with her at the Assembly Rooms, the only man who had ever brought her flowers, the only man who had ever honored her with his attentions.

Miss Arbuckle’s eyes rounded. “Why should that matter to me?” Her disinterest, Glee had to know, was an act.

“I know very well, Mary Arbuckle, that you’re in love with my brother-in-law. Can you deny it?”

Still fearing that Glee was going to notify her of Mr. Blankenship’s nuptials, she shrugged. “I will own that I have a strong attachment to him, but there has never been any form of understanding between us.”

“I know that very well, you goose! I have decided that you must give the man a little push so he’ll realize you’re the very woman to be his perfect wife.”

Miss Arbuckle’s sweating palms uncoiled, and she expelled the breath she was holding. He wasn’t wed to another!

Then Glee’s words sunk in. Miss Arbuckle had never allowed herself to give consideration to marrying dear Mr. Blankenship. “You forget that unlike you, I am not a beauty who can easily claim men’s hearts. Nor am I possessed of fortune, and as a second son, Mr. Blankenship will surely be compelled to marry a woman who brings a comfortable dowry. I have resigned myself to being Mr. Blankenship’s friend. Nothing more.”

“Pooh! How long have you known him now?”

“Four years.”

“And you are how old?”

Miss Arbuckle swallowed over her mortification. “The same as you. Three and twenty.” An old maid, to be sure.

“I will not allow you to resign yourself to being a spinster.” Glee deprived her babe of his nourishment, gently dabbed a cloth around his little mouth, and spoke some unintelligible nonsense to him.

All the while, Mary tried not to allow her gaze to drop below Glee’s neck. “No one chooses to be a spinster. It just happens to be my fate.”

“Pooh!” Glee began to nurse again, but Mary refused to let her eye lower.

“If Jonathan asked you to marry him, would you accept?” Glee asked.

Not without an alien fluttering in her heart, Miss Arbuckle nodded.

“It is my belief that Jonathan is already in love with you, but he just doesn’t realize it. Now, Miss Arbuckle, we must plan our strategy.”

Mary swallowed over the huge lump in her throat. “Our strategy?”

“Indeed. When I determined to capture Blanks’s heart, I went about it in much the same way a general plans his battle strategy.”

“Then you are far more clever than I.”

“Jonathan would never agree with that. I declare, he has told me hundreds of times how uncommonly clever you are.”

Miss Arbuckle warmed under such praise. “It would be false modesty for me to attempt to refute that for I realize that Mr. Blankenship does credit me with thinking like an intelligent man. The pity of it is, he rather thinks of me as a man. To him, I am a very dear friend, like his friend Melvin Steffington. Nothing more.”

“Then it is our job to make him see you with new eyes.”

“New or old eyes, I am still plain.”

“Being plain is not at all the same as being ugly. Because you are not ugly, it will be excessively easy to render you prettier. You must give me a free hand.”

Miss Arbuckle shook her head. “It is difficult for one to appear pretty without pretty clothes, and I assure you, Mama’s limited funds are stretched to the limit as it is.”

“You are a good seamstress, are you not?”

She nodded. “But fabric comes very dearly.”

“Sweet Sally wanted me to find a good use for the dresses which she has been unable to get back into since the birth of her twins. Since you are tallish like Sally, they will do very well for you—with modifications, of course. Your bosom is much larger than Sally’s, which is non-existent.”

How could Mrs. Blankenship speak of bosom without even lowering her voice? Once again, the flush stole into Miss Arbuckle’s cheeks.

Miss Arbuckle would not recognize herself in fine ball gowns. She had never owned any. The very idea of wearing lovely clothes that had been made for a countess suffused Miss Arbuckle with a feeling of uncommon lightness. “I don’t know. . .”

“I assure you, the gowns are lovely,” Glee continued. “My brother selected them himself for her after he recovered from the fire, and now he is delighting himself by selecting new gowns for her.”

“Are you certain Lady Sedgewick would not object?”

“Of course I am. Put your trust in me. When you go to the assemblies, it’s essential you leave off the spectacles. Men are not attracted to them. Until they’re in love with you. Then they love you just as you are.”

“Whenever Jonathan Blankenship is in Bath, I do try to go without my spectacles.”

“I know when the two of you are together sharing poems and treatises, you will have to wear them, but he’s so obsessive over those pursuits I daresay he won’t take a look at you.”

That was true. “I don’t believe he looks at me as a woman.”

A wicked smile danced upon Glee’s face. “I mean to change that.”

“I don’t know. . . It has occurred to me that Mr. Blankenship is one of those men who is neither interested in women nor desirous of uniting himself to one.”

“We will see, my dear Miss Arbuckle. We will see.”

It was not in Mary Arbuckle’s nature to be anything but compliant. “I shouldn’t like to use trickery on dear Mr. Blankenship.”

“I wouldn’t call it trickery. It’s simply a matter of assisting him to the place of his greatest happiness. What man would not wish to be there?”

“But how can you know where his happiness is?”

“Because he’s my dear Blanks’s brother! Trust me, Miss Arbuckle, I am a great student of human nature. I do know that he loves you. He first fell in love with your fine mind; now, he needs to be stunned by your appearance. ”

Glee’s little son had fallen to sleep. As Glee went to restore her clothing, Miss Arbuckle effected great interest in the fire blazing in the hearth.

“There is more!” Glee added.

Miss Arbuckle’s stomach felt as if she were falling from a great height. “Dear God, tell me you have not told him of my feelings!”

Glee gently shook her head, then lowered he lashes to peer at her babe’s sweet face.

Unaccountably, Miss Arbuckle felt a stab of envy. Not for Glee’s beauty. Or for her wealth. But for the family she loved so dearly, the family that loved her just as devotedly.

“I have a plan to make Jonathan jealous,” Glee said.

“There is nothing that would make him jealous because he is not in love with me.”

“He is too. He just doesn’t know it yet. It’s our task to show him that of all the women in the wide world, you are the one who was created to be his mate.”

Glee truly was possessed of a remarkable understanding of human nature for she had just perfectly described how Miss Arbuckle felt about Jonathan Blankenship. “One would have to be very adept at conjuring to accomplish such a feat.”

“Conjuring has nothing to do with it. Because I know he loves you, I know that when he thinks another man wishes to steal your affections, he will do everything in his power to woo you.”

Miss Arbuckle’s mouth gaped open in astonishment. “Another man? It appears my conjuring reference was justified.”

“There will be another man. Leave that to me.”

“I will own, you have far more experience than I in matters of love, my dear Mrs. Blankenship, but I cannot give credit to what you’re saying.”

“You admitted you would like to marry Jonathan. Now you must allow me to ensure that it happens.” Glee rose. “Come up to my chamber so I can begin your physical transformation. He arrives this afternoon, and I mean for you to nearly steal his breath away.”

Buy Links: The price for A Christmas in Bath will $.99 until November 4th.

Amazon ~ Kobo ~ iTunes

About Cheryl:

Cheryl BolenSince being named Notable New Author for 1997, Cheryl Bolen has since published more than 20 books with Kensington/Zebra, Love Inspired Historical, and Montlake. She has broken into the top 5 on the New York Times and hit the USA Today bestseller list. Her 2005 One Golden Ring won Best Historical, Holt Medallion, and her 2011 My Lord Wicked was awarded Best Historical in the International Digital Awards, the same year her Christmas novella was chosen as Best Novella. Her books have been finalists for other awards, including the Daphne du Maurier, and have been translated into almost a dozen languages.

 

Read Full Post »

I have the very great pleasure of having Jo Bourne visit me today!! If you haven’t read any of her books you are in for a treat!! She is one of my favorite authors! She has also been generous enough to off one copy of her latest book to one of you! All you have to do is tell her you want it!

Now, without further to do, here is the cover!!

rogue spy cover amazon

 

The blurb.

Ten years ago he was a boy, given the name Thomas Paxton and sent by Revolutionary France to infiltrate the British Intelligence Service. Now his sense of honor brings him back to London, alone and unarmed, to confess. But instead of facing the gallows, he’s given one last impossible assignment to prove his loyalty.

Lovely, lying, former French spy Camille Leyland is dragged from her safe rural obscurity by threats and blackmail. Dusting off her spy skills, she sets out to track down a ruthless French fanatic and rescue the innocent victim he’s holding—only to find an old colleague already on the case. Pax.

Old friendship turns to new love, and as Pax and Camille’s dark secrets loom up from the past, Pax is left with a choice—go rogue from the Service or lose Camille forever…

And an excerpt!

She felt him carefully, deliberately, loosen his grip and slide his hands to manacle her arms.

“Here’s good advice,” he said.  “Don’t trust that man.  Don’t believe anything he promised.  And don’t lie to me.”

She could feel anger inside him, like the dark orange coal in a hearth that flares into fire unexpectedly, all at once.  She knew him in this mood.  In the Coach House, Devoir used to sit up at night, staring into the dark, brooding, radiating this kind of tightly wrapped rage.

He’d never let it loose.  She wondered if he’d do so now.  “Let’s talk first.  You can hurt me later, Devoir.”

“I’m not hurting you.  I’m not even making you nervous.”

“I beg to differ.”  Held this way, she couldn’t shrug, but he’d feel the twitch.

Somewhere in the long years, Pax had become tall.  She hadn’t needed to look up to talk to him when they were children.  He’d been thin, then.  Now he had the stripped-down frame of someone who’d pushed himself relentlessly, too hard and too long.

What does it say of a man that his hands are callused from fingertip to palm?  That is forearms were wire hard muscle under the skin?   She read years of self-discipline in his body where it weighed, honed and hard, against her.  There was no hint of compromise anywhere in the compendium of him.

She’d fought Devoir on the practice field when they were children.  Sometimes he’d won.  Sometimes she did.  They slapped the ground and stood up and began again.  If they fought now, she wouldn’t win without hurting him badly.  She might not win even then.

London was filled with amiable fools.  It was a pity one of them hadn’t waylaid her.  “This is pointless.  You don’t have to extract information from me like a toothdrawer pulling teeth.  Everything important is in that letter I sent to Meeks Street.  Read it.”

“It’s in code.”

“Decipher it.”  When the Fluffy Aunts came, they’d have it worked out in ten minutes.  She wriggled inside his hold, against his body.  “I haven’t been benign to you recently, but if I promise to be inoffensive for five or six minutes, will you give me enough space to scratch my nose?”

“Bear the discomfort.”

Supportez l’inconfortC’est votre sacrifice à la Révolution.  She remembered days, nights, hours, in the bare, inescapable training field and carrying a dozen different kinds of pain, body and mind.  The Tuteurs said, “Bear the discomfort.  It’s your sacrifice to the Revolution.”

In those days, Devoir had been a rock of strength for all of them, endlessly strong, endlessly patient.  She missed him.  This stranger was no substitute.

Paxton–she would think of him as Paxton–wrapped himself the whole length of her body, reading the tension of her bone and muscle, ready to predict any attack before she made the first twitch.  He was all inescapable force, intelligently applied.  One must applaud.

But any man on earth can be persuaded.  A judicious mixture of lies and truth could work wonders.  “You’re expecting great revelations.  I’d rather you didn’t.”

He made a disbelieving exhalation between his teeth.  That eloquent, familiar noise.  That was Devoir’s comment on so many of life’s small happenings.

His grip loosened slightly.  There was room to breathe.

Buy links: Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble

About Jo.

me 42Joanna lives in the foothills of the Blue Ridge with her family, a medium-sized mutt and a faux Himalayan cat.
 
She writes Historical Romances set in England and France during the Napoleonic Wars. She’s fascinated by that time and place – such passionate conviction and burning idealism … and really sexy clothes.

Read Full Post »

It is release day for Madeleine’s Christmas Wish!!

Madeline's Christmas Wish_ebook

Yesterday on Sunday News I offered a free book. So many of you wanted copies, I picked two winners.  Congratulations to  Demetra and Christina Riggs!!

Here is the release tour schedule. There will be giveaways at some of the sites. Unfortunately, I don’t have all the links, but I will post them as they go live. Thank you all so much for your support!!

Madeline’s Christmas Wish Tour

10/27/14 – Romance At Random

10/27/14 – Romance Divas

10/27/14 – Mary Gramlich

10/27/14 – Manic Readers

10/27/14 – Readers Entertainment Magazine

10/27/14 & 10/29/14 – Karen’s Killer Book Bench

10/28/14 – SOS Aloha

10/28/14 – Miss Ivy’s Book Nook

 

10/28/14 – RomCon

10/28/14 – Fresh Fiction

10/29/14 – USA Today HEA

 

Read Full Post »

Happy Sunday! I’ve been so busy trying to meet book deadlines and with boat stuff, that I did not realize that Madeleine’s Christmas Wish, my first novella in The Marriage Game series releases tomorrow!!

To celebrate I’m giving away an ebook copy to one of you who tell me you want it! And because I have not been doing much promotion, I’ll introduce you to the book!

I love the cover.

Madeline's Christmas Wish_ebook

The blurb.

The bachelors in Ella Quinn’s Marriage Game series make a habit of resisting the irresistible. But during the season for giving, surrendering to temptation may be the greatest gift of all…

A French spy, Georges, Marquis Cruzy-le-Châtel, has lived in England for years, sacrificing his life for his country—but not his heart. For he’s never been able to forget his childhood friend, Madeleine. And now, in her hour of need, he is there to rescue her…

The victim of a ruthless statesman, Madeleine, Comtesse du Beaune, has been abducted and sent to England to work in a brothel. Her greatest wish is to return home for Christmas, and her only hope of it is to marry Georges—though she will be his wife in name alone. Yet as they steal across the snowy countryside, Georges decides to woo her—with kisses that melt the winter’s frost and leave her longing for a holiday miracle…

Praise for The Temptation of Lady Serena

“This charming, sweet love story is the perfect addition to the Marriage Game series.” –RT Book Reviews

And an excerpt!

“Dead? When?”

Even in the darkness, Madeleine could make out the shock in Georges’s face.

“About three months ago.” She blinked back her tears. “We were told he died after falling from a horse. Which makes no sense. He gave up riding after he injured his hip. They showed us his body and said his neck had been broken.”

“How many people knew he no longer rode?” Georges asked, his voice unusually calm.

She shook her head, trying to remember. “Hardly anyone. He did not wish to show any weakness. He’d always taken the coach when he traveled for business.”

“What of your brother?”

Armand was her twin and elder by five minutes. They had always been so close, she was surprised she hadn’t felt his death. Her head began to ache, and she rubbed her temples. “We have not heard from him since the war ended. All of us assumed the worse. My father was searching for Armand, or his body, when he was murdered.”

Georges’s brows snapped together. “Where was your brother?”

“With the army.”

He fought for Napoleon!” Georges’s tone was so furious she flinched.

What did he know about anything? His family had left France. She glared at him. “He fought for France! He fought for his family. When they offered him the commission it was a test of our loyalty. Armand dared not refuse.” Madeleine was surprised by how much she wanted Georges to understand, wanted his help in rescuing her mother and sister.  “He would have done anything for us.”

When he spoke again, the anger had leached from his voice. “Like you did. Which, if he is dead, leaves you . . . ?”

“Comtesse du Beaune.” She had not wanted the burden; still it was hers, as was the responsibility to protect her family.

Perhaps when she had discovered the men transporting her were avoiding Paris, she’d been stupid not to insist they take her to the capital, so that she could seek help. Yet she’d been so afraid for her sister. If the men had lost her, they might have gone back for Genevieve. Non. She could not think that way. She’d find a way to bring her family here, where they would be secure. Then she’d return to Beaune and preserve her family’s heritage and what her father had loved.

Buy links: Amazon ~ B&N ~ Apple

Please follow the blog tour. The information will be posted on my FB page and on my website.

This is also a huge guest author week. Two New York Times bestselling authors will be vising. Johanna Bourne on Thursday and Cheryl Bolen on Friday!!

As for the boat, my Panda washer/dryer arrived the other day.

PandaPanda inside

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now I’m off to stain shelves for the pantry.

What did you do last week?

Ella

Read Full Post »

Please welcome Alanna Lucas to the blog!! This is the first time Alanna has visited us, and I’m thrilled to have her! She will be giving a way a copy of her release, When We Dance, to one of you who leaves a comment saying you want it!

Here is the lovely cover!

When We Dance_FINAL

Here is the blurb!

STEP BY STEP

Miss Artemisia Germayne is used to gossip. She is far from the ton’s version of an ideal beauty. Worse still, she cannot dance. But when she finds herself in the uncomfortable predicament of abandonment on her wedding day, embarrassed and humiliated she retreats to the country.

Nigel Rochefort, second son of the Earl of Monfort, has always taken his good fortune for granted, so when the woman for whom he has a secret tendre is about to marry his friend, the only logical thing to do is break up the wedding. But that scandal is only the start. The bride’s sister has also disappeared, and Nigel must first clear his name to assure Artemisia’s affections. As he gives chase, many truths are yet to be learned. This is no simple country dance or game of seduction but an unstoppable waltz of desire—and true love.

Now an excerpt!

She actually struck him. Nigel could not believe what had just happened. A woman had just struck him. Not just any woman or casual acquaintance, but Artemisia. Not a delicate slap, but a hard punch full of pent up anger. That had never happened to him before. He just sat there…stunned. Did she suspect?

Before he had the opportunity to reflect further on the question, Lord Germayne made an announcement and swarms of guests brushed past him, giving him curious looks as they filed out of the chapel. His first thought was to stay put and wait for everyone to leave. He was in no mood for inquisitive gossipmongers, but he did not want to be trapped, surrounded by the same gossips in question.

Following the herd of bright dresses and fanciful hats out of the chapel, whispered theories swirled around him as to the whereabouts of Mr. Chartwick. The general consensus was that the groom had cold feet. Nigel knew otherwise.

Nigel was within earshot when Lady Lamden began to weave one of her vicious tales. “…and this is not the only scandal facing Lord and Lady Germayne. Did you notice that Miss Philippa Germayne was not in attendance?”

The pair of gossips stopped walking, and huddled together, too deep in tittle-tattle to notice that anyone was eavesdropping.

Ducking behind a large urn of flowers, Nigel strained to hear the conversation.

“I have it on the best authority that the young lady in question is not indisposed, but has disappeared altogether.”

“Disappeared?”

“She has not been seen since yesterday when she was discovered alone in the park with a certain notorious rake.”

Nigel’s stomach lurched with guilt. He was the notorious rake they spoke of.

Buy links:

Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Boroughs

About Alanna:

author picAlanna Lucas grew up in Southern California. From an early age, she took an interest in travel, incorporating those experiences into her writing. When she is not daydreaming of her next travel destination, Alanna can be found researching, spending time with family, or going for long walks. Alanna Lucas is a member of the Romance Writers of America, East Valley Authors, The Beau Monde, and Celtic Hearts Romance Writers.

Connect with Alanna:

www.alannalucas.com  

https://www.facebook.com/alannalucas27 

https://twitter.com/alannalucas27 

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4446010.Alanna_Lucas 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 15,494 other followers

%d bloggers like this: