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Please welcome Heather Boyd to the blog!! Heather is going to tell you about her new book, Keepsake! She’ll also be giving away one copy to someone to leaves a comment telling her you want the book!

As always we begin with the lovely cover!!

Book

 

Now the blurb:

A BATTLE OF WILLS…

When the Marquess of Taverham married at eighteen, he was certain his life would be smooth and well ordered—right up till the moment his exuberant bride ran away on their wedding night, never to be seen again. Ten years later, when Kit is finally prepared to set his rash marriage aside by having his wife declared dead, she makes a shocking return, still beautiful but distrustful, and once more throws his life off-balance by refusing to live with him and resume their marriage.

…A WAR OF PASSION

Despite some lingering attraction, Miranda Reed has no love left for the heartless rogue she married. Older and wiser, she refuses to be a convenient wife for a man who expects everything to be his way with no care for her feelings. Keeping her husband at arm’s length is essential; her secrets will bring him to his knees. But in a battle of wills where hope and trust are both the prize and the casualty of war, the victor isn’t always the winner. Sometimes it takes an act of rebellion to recapture a fragile love.

And an excerpt:

As they rumbled off down Drury Lane, an angry male voice, Taverham’s certainly, called out to the coachman to wait. Thankfully, the driver remembered his instructions and did not obey her husband’s shouted command but instead continued on their way into the heart of Mayfair via a circuitous route designed to avoid notice.

Miranda was a little impressed that Taverham had troubled himself to chase after her. The ordering everyone about was always expected when one dealt with the marquess.

Daventry cleared his throat. “Lovely evening, isn’t it?”

Despite her desire not to reconnect with her husband’s set too closely, she smiled warmly at her unwanted companions. “Daventry, you really are droll.”

“Among friends one can be himself.” Daventry caught his wife’s hand and pressed a kiss to the back of it. “Taverham will be angry.”

“Better angry than a man twice married.” She’d thought long and hard about her decision to go to the theatre tonight and prevent Taverham from confirming to the world that there was no obstacle in marrying the widowed Lady Brighthurst. It was imperative that her life and their marriage not be set aside. Her needs must come first this time.

“True,” Lillian said softly, her brow crinkling with worry. “I am sure he would not have cared for that outcome.”

Miranda peered out the window at the candlelit windows they passed. She’d only just come up to London, but the prospect never changed. Fine exteriors hid the filth and lies beneath. Once Miranda had been oblivious to such deceptions but no longer. “Does he care for anything but his own concerns?”

Daventry leaned forward. “He cared for you.”

Miranda shook her head. “Not enough and perhaps not at all. My dowry was all he truly needed from me.”

Daventry remained close. “Surely you knew he needed the money desperately. That couldn’t have been the reason you left. What did he do to drive you away?”

Miranda opened her fan, stirred the air against her face, then closed it again. She would never tell a soul just how deeply she’d been misled and how much it had hurt her to be so badly used. Surely by now his closest friends knew where Taverham’s real affections had always resided? “’Tis not the right time for such a question to be answered. I’ve accomplished my goal.”

“To stop Taverham from starting up with Lady Brighthurst now she’s widowed and clearly interested in him?”

Ah, so Daventry did know what had been going on all along, since before her marriage. The memory of discovering Taverham seducing Lady Brighthurst, his mistress, on her wedding day still turned Miranda’s stomach even now.

She grimaced in distaste at the memory of her farcical wedding day and her shock at discovering the identity of Taverham’s mistress. A mistress everyone but her had likely known of even before that day. A pity no one had thought to warn Miranda of the unbreakable attachment before she’d given her innocence to Taverham. She’d been so naïve. She’d pledged to love, honor, and obey him, hoping he could love her as much. There could be no love and certainly little honor to be so deceived.

Yet now that Miranda was older and wiser, his affair with Emily meant little in the scheme of things. Taverham could have his mistress. She’d not stand in his way as long as she wasn’t subjected to the woman’s company. She sighed softly. “All I need to do is stop him from declaring me dead.”

Buy Links:

Amazon ~ Apple ~ Nook ~ Kobo ~ aRE

About Heather:

HeatherBoyd_200

Bestselling historical author Heather Boyd believes every character she creates deserves their own happily-ever-after, no matter how much trouble she puts them through. With that goal in mind, she writes sizzling regency romance stories that skirt the boundaries of propriety to keep readers enthralled until the wee hours of the morning. Heather has published over twenty novels and shorter works. Catch her latest news http://www.heather-boyd.com. She lives north of Sydney, Australia, and does her best to wrangle her testosterone-fuelled family (including cat Morpheus) into submission.

Connect with Heather:

Website ~ Facebook ~  Twitter ~

Sign up for Heather’s Newsletter – http://goo.gl/1VMbto

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Please welcome Collette Cameron back to the blog. Collette is here today to tell you about book The Earl’s Enticement! And she’ll be giving away a copy to one of you. Just leave a comment telling her you want it.

We start with the cover!

TheEarlsEnticement3_850 3rd

Here is the blurb!

She won’t be tamed.

A fiery, unconventional Scot, Adaira Ferguson wears breeches, swears, and has no more desire to marry than she does to follow society’s dictates of appropriate behavior. She trusts no man with the secret she desperately protects.

He can’t forget.

Haunted by his past, Roark, The Earl of Clarendon, rigidly adheres to propriety, holding himself and those around him to the highest standards, no matter the cost. Betrayed once, he’s guarded and leery of all women.

Mistaking Roark for a known spy, Adaira imprisons him. Infuriated, he vows vengeance. Realizing her error, she’s appalled and releases him, but he’s not satisfied with his freedom. Roark is determined to transform Adaira from an ill-mannered hoyden to a lady of refinement.

He succeeds only to discover, he preferred the free-spirited Scottish lass who first captured his heart.

 

An excerpt:

Under the blessed shade of the large oak grove, Roark hopped to the ground. The gentlest of breezes tickled the tree’s leaves, their soft rustling filling the glen with a soothing refrain. He swiftly followed Miss Ferguson across the picnic area.

She’d snapped her parasol closed, then unceremoniously clambered from the landau, before dashing toward Helene’s carriage.

He didn’t like the way Miss Ferguson wielded the parasol or the look of outraged determination on her face.

Even infuriated, and stamping in her haste, her hips swayed enticingly. Others had begun to take note of her, and conversations dwindled before stopping altogether.

His guests stepped aside, opening a pathway for her as she bustled the short distance to the barouche.

If the situation wasn’t so dire, he’d permit the laugh tickling his lips. It was ridiculous. Her petite figure stampeding to rescue the pup, or ring Freidrick a peal, and everyone edging away, was chuckle-worthy.

Where was her family?

Ah, they too were moving as a unit to intercept her; the women from the left, the men from the right. They wouldn’t make it in time.

And neither, by God, would he.

How could she move so fast in that gown? Its ruffled hem didn’t allow long strides. Light blue stockings, embroidered ivory clocks at the heels, peeped out each time she took a hurried step.

She raised her closed parasol over her shoulder, like a knight with a sword.

Oh hell. He didn’t like the looks of this. Her first public jaunt, and she was going to make a bloody scene, devil seize it.

He picked up his pace, covering the ground with long strides just short of a trot, hoping to avert a disaster before it occurred.

 

BUY LINK: Amazon

 

About Collette:

Collette CameronAward winning, best-selling author, Collette Cameron, has a BS in Liberal Studies and a Master’s in Teaching. Author of the Castle Brides Series and Highland Heather Romancing a Scot Series, Collette writes Regency and Scottish historicals and makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and five mini dachshunds. Mother to three and a self-proclaimed Cadbury Chocolate chocoholic, Collette loves a good joke, inspirational quotes, flowers, trivia, and all things shabby chic. You’ll always find dogs, birds, quirky—sometimes naughty—humor, and a dash of inspiration in her novels. Her motto for life? You can’t have too much chocolate, too many hugs, or too many flowers. She’s thinking about adding shoes to that list.

 

Website: http://collettecameron.com

 

Facebook: http://facebook.com/collettecameronauthor

 

Blue Rose Romance Blog: http://blueroseromance.com

 

Twitter: http://twitter.com/collette_author

 

Goodreads: http://tinyurl.com/collettecameron

 

Newsletter: http://tinyurl.com/regencyrose

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Please welcome Liza O’Connor back to the blog! Today she’s talking about automobiles and her latest book, The Missing Partner,  not on pre-order.

Because we like book giveaways, she will give a copy of The Troublesome Apprentice to someone who tells her you want the book!

Liza Investigates

Why it took years for England to get its first car.

In 1895, the Honorable Evelyn Ellis purchased and brought the first automobile in England. It was a Panhard-Levassor from France.

URL: http://datchethistory.org.uk/Link%20Articles/Ellis/ellis.JPG

The Panhard-Levassor had been available for sale since 1890 in France. Thus, in my story, I have my character, Mr. Robinson buy the car in 1894 upon hearing the Hon. Ellis planned to buy one.

The reason why wealthy Englishmen weren’t importing cars as their latest amusement since 1890 was because the 1865 Locomotive Act stated that self-propelled vehicles could not travel faster than 4 mph. (Egads! A horse can canter at 12-17 miles. This restriction would be like trading in a horse for a pregnant cow.)

Originally a man with a red flag had to walk before the vehicle, but that was revoked by the time Ellis bought his auto. But the speed restriction continued to thwart the auto industry in England.

Weary of waiting for Parliament to act, Ellis boldly engaged the French company to build a car to his specifications (steering device on the left, Daimler engine), which was brought by boat to England and train to Hampshire. Then the Honorable Evelyn Ellis drove his new toy home, sometimes at 5 times the legal speed limit. No officer of the law stopped him on the well promoted journey.

Mr. Fredrick Simms was Mr. Ellis’s companion on this maiden passage and he wrote a journal which was published for all to read. Here is a bit of what the fellow had to say:

We were not without anxiety as to how the horses we might meet would behave towards their new rivals, but they took it very well and out of 133 horses we passed only two little ponies did not seem to appreciate the innovation.

On our way we passed a great many (horse drawn) vehicles of all kinds as well as cyclists. It was a very pleasing sensation to go along the delightful roads towards Virginia Water at speeds varying from three to twenty miles per hour, and our iron horse behaved splendidly. There we took our luncheon and fed our engine with a little oil.

 

The trip was completed in 5 hours and 32 minutes (not including stops) at an avg. speed of 9.84 mph.

Ellis loved to give his friends rides in his car, and one passenger was Edward, the Prince of Wales, later to be King Edward the VII. Ellis’ speed terrified the poor fellow. (He was about 54 yrs old when he took this ride. While I can find no evidence that he rode with Ellis again, he did ride with other drivers and became a strong supporter of the automobile industry.)

To stop the honorable Ellis and many other high gentry from constantly breaking the law, Parliament attempted to fix the problem in the Locomotive Act in 1895, but sadly the standing Parliament fell and the bill was delayed until November of 1896, when a new Parliament allowed automobiles to drive 8 to 16 mph (local authority’s discretion).

So why did my character not get credit for having the first car in England?

Because the man turned out to be a white slaver and was sent to prison. His car was sold to reimburse the poor servants he’d abused. He didn’t deserve historical mention. Also, he’s fictional and history mostly ignores those type of people.

Here is a rare color photo of the actual car that Ellis drove.

http://datchethistory.org.uk/Link%20Articles/Ellis/br%20run.JPG

Did I time-travel to take this pic? No. It’s a staged shot with modern people dressed up as Victorians. But the car is actually the one Ellis drove. The lady is a descendant of Ellis’ and the gentleman is the Director of the Science Museum….hmmm, perhaps there was some time traveling involved.

I’ll investigate at a later date why, if the first car had the steering wheel on the left, how Britain ended up being a right sided driving country.

xnv The Missing partner Xavierfinal3400x640

 

The Adventures of

Xavier & Vic

Book 2

The Missing Partner

By Liza O’Connor

Cases to be Resolved:

The ‘New Woman’ Who Lost Her Old Mind

The Lost Servant of Dante’s Hell

The Disappearance of a Very Important Man

The Abduction of Sneaky Snake by a Grand Elephant

The Cat Who Wore Too Much

 

blurb

 

Vic Hamilton takes the reins of the investigation office, while Xavier Thorn disappears on an assignment for the British government. Her caseload is entirely ‘lost and recovery’ cases. In the midst of solving all her client’s problems, she learns that the government has lost Xavier. With the help of the gypsy pirate Jacko, and her driver Davy, Vic rushes against time to rescue everyone.

Most alarming, she befriends and hires a dangerous criminal as an employee of Xavier Thorn’s Private Inquiries—without Xavier’s permission.

An Excerpt

Despite Mr. Robinson’s instructions to his butler to assist Victor, she sensed Jonston did not relish his assignment. He sat stiff and rigid on the edge of the chair with an expression of stoic suffering.

Victor studied him, wondering how to penetrate his armored shield. She decided to sneak in, using the unreasonable employer card. “How many people work here?”

“Thirty-two in total. Eleven in the gardens, nineteen in the house and two in the auto shed.”

“The what?”

Jonston sniffed as if a foul odor assailed him. “Mr. Robinson has purchased an automobile.”

“Really?”

“Ever since he’d heard the Honorable Evelyn Ellis intended to acquire a Panhard-Levassour, Master Robinson wanted to buy one, as well. A month ago, he purchased the contraption and hired two men to keep it running.”

“Where does he drive it?”

“Wherever there are horses to frighten,” Jonston replied in aggravation. “It’s an ugly thing. A little dogcart with giant wheels. Makes a ghastly noise.”

 

lINKS

Book 1

The Troublesome Apprentice

Amazon

Don’t forget

Book 1 is free 9/15-9/21

Want a free copy of The Troublesome Apprentice?

Leave me a humorous comment with your email address below.

  

Book 2

The Missing Partner

Amazon

Available for Pre-order

 

 

About the author

 

First, I got tired of telling my proper blog. Now, I’m tired of telling my improper bio. So what’s left?

Liza O’Connor was born, raised badly, left the South/Midwest and wandered off to find nicer people on the east coast…and employment, there were no jobs in the Mid-west. There she worked for the meanest man on Wall Street, while her psychotic husband tried to kill her three times. (So much for finding nicer people.) Then one day she declared enough, got a better job, divorced her husband, and fell in love with her new life where people behaved normally. All those bad behaviors has given her lots of fodder for her humorous romances. Please buy these books, because otherwise, she’ll become grumpy and write troubled novels instead. And given her past, they will likely traumatize you.

Mostly humorous books by Liza:

Saving Casey – Old woman reincarnates into troubled teen’s body. (Half funny/half traumatizing)

Ghost LoverTwo British brothers fall in love with the same young woman. Ancestral ghost is called in to fix the situation. There’s a ghost cat too. (Humorous Contemporary Romance)

A Long Road to Love Series: (Humorous Contemporary odd Romance)

Worst Week Ever — Laugh out loud week of disasters of Epic proportions.

Oh Stupid Heart — The heart wants what it wants, even if it’s impossible.

Coming to Reason — There is a breaking point when even a saint comes to reason.

Climbing out of Hell — The reconstruction of a terrible man into a great one.

The Troublesome Apprentice — The greatest sleuth in Victorian England hires a young man who turns out to be a young woman.

 

Social Networking

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT

LIZA O’CONNOR, XAVIER & VIC:

Investigate these sites:

Liza’s Blog and Website   Facebook   Twitter

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This is Loreen’s first time on the blog so please give her a warm welcome!! Loreen is going give us a peek at her release, Lost Honor!! She’ll also be giving away a copy to one of you who tells her she wants the book!

 

As always, let’s start with the cover.

LostHonor_w7482_300
Now for the blurb:
 
Captain Morgan Danvers sets sail to rescue his brother, kidnapped by pirates. Fearing he will become like his father who abandoned him, he has cut himself off from his emotions. Then a willful stowaway crashes into his life, awakening dormant feelings and firing his lust. Soon he finds his all-important honor threatened, for even though he is betrothed to another, he is drawn to her against his will.Arianna Pemberton hides in a barrel she thinks will be loaded on her brother’s ship but lands on Morgan’s brig. Her father has forbidden her to sail, and this is her only course of action. Unwilling to allow a man to control her, she is determined to make her way as a seaman, a profession she knows and loves. But when Captain Danvers discovers her deception, he refuses to permit her to prove herself. As she struggles to convince him, unwanted passion emerges, jeopardizing her plans for independence.

And an excerpt.
Throwing open the door to his cabin, he pushed her inside, entered, and slammed it shut. He remembered doing this once already today. He hoped this time would be the last.
Morgan folded his arms across his chest and leaned against the door.
 
She stood defiantly before him as her perfect, seductive chest rose and fell in a swift rhythm. From the quick trip down here, fear, or anger, he couldn’t tell. She acted the opposite of every female he had ever encountered.
 
“Now, let’s get a few things straight. I run this ship. I am the captain. I am king on the Sea Dragon. You obey my rules. And the first one is, you go where I tell you and stay there until I command otherwise.” A paper from the top of his desk floated to the floor, reminding him of her other infraction and possible spying. “And you never, ever, touch my belongings.” He swung his arm in a wide arc. “This is not how I left my cabin. Return it to its previous condition.”
 
“But—”
 
“Quiet!” he roared. “I am not finished. You will remove those clothes and dress as a female should.” He stalked toward her.
 
She instinctively stepped back.
 
He snatched the cap off her head, and sunshine spilled out. Ensnared by her golden beauty, he stilled and pictured her hair unbound, enveloping her curves, enveloping him. He shook himself. Her allure would not save her. He was immune to feminine charms. Morgan shoved the wool cap at her, and she caught it in her hands. “Women do not wear these.”
 
“Are you finished?” She stood straight and tall. All five feet of her.
 
He nodded.
 
“I’m sorry I made a mess of your cabin, but you left me no choice. I needed to find a way out.”
 
“Why? I explicitly stated you were to remain. I even locked you in.” His gaze searched the cabin. “How did you escape?”
 
“I used the key.”
 
“How did you get it?” A sudden thought struck. “From Mark? Is he the one who let you out?” Morgan spun toward the door to summon the boy. She grabbed his arm to stop him, and a shocking sizzle shot through him.
 
An indrawn breath escaped her. She immediately released him and clasped her hands together in front of her, the knuckles white, her arms tense. “He had nothing to do with me leaving the cabin. It was all my idea.” The words tumbled from her mouth.
 
Morgan strove to ignore the tingling sensation running up and down his arm and to summon back the anger that had seeped from him. He held out his hand palm up. “Give me the key.”
 
She brushed blonde wisps of hair from her face. “I don’t have it.”
 
“Where is it?”
 
She hesitated. “At the bottom of the ocean.”
 
Lost Honor is available in e-book and paperback from The Wild Rose Press, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble online. Buy links can be found on my website www.loreenaugeri.com
 
 
 
About Loreen:
 
Loreen3 pictureLoreen Augeri has always liked to read and write. As a young child, she created stories featuring a young girl and her loyal horse. Riding was her favorite pastime.
 
She started reading historical romances when her children were babies. When her youngest daughter started school, she decided she wanted to write a novel. At first, to see if she could, later as a hobby, and then seeking publication. Joining Romance Writers of America and her local chapter helped in the process.

Loreen lives in Massachusetts with her husband of 33 years and her two adult daughters. When she is not reading or writing, she enjoys walking, dancing, and spending time at the beach.

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Please welcome Jenna Jaxon back to the blog!! Today she has her medieval romance, Time Enough to Love. She’ll be giving away a signed print copy to one of you!!  Just tell her you want it!

Look at this lovely cover!

TETL front

Now the blurb.

When Lady Alyse de Courcy is betrothed to Sir Geoffrey Longford, she has no choice but to make the best of a bad bargain. The hulking knight is far from her ideal man, and although he does possess some wit and charm, he is no match for the sinfully sensual man she secretly admires, Thomas, Earl of Braeton, her betrothed’s best friend.

From the first, Sir Geoffrey finds himself smitten by Lady Alyse, and, despite her infatuation with his friend, vows to win her love. When Geoffrey puts his mind to wooing Alyse, he is delighted to find her succumbing to his seduction. But when cruel circumstances separate them, Geoffrey must watch helplessly as Thomas steps in to protect Alyse—and falls in love with her himself.

As the three courtiers accompany Princess Joanna to her wedding in Spain, they run headlong into the Black Plague. With her world plunged into chaos, Alyse struggles with her feelings for both the men she loves. But which love will survive?

And an excerpt.

“Lady Alyse de Courcy!” King Edward called out again, bringing Alyse’s head up like a startled deer. “Present yourself before the court.”

Alyse shot off her seat. Oh, Lord! She had kept King Edward waiting.

“I beg pardon, sire.” She hurried from behind the table, too aware of all the eyes now on her. As she moved to stand before the king, the low drone of many voices rose around the room.

“Impudent girl.”

“I’d not want to be in her place.”

“Do you think the king will…”

Each snatch of conversation made her heart beat faster.

What will he do to me?

Her normal embarrassment at being the center of attention tripled at the thought of this blatant lapse of protocol. She stopped several feet from the dais and the room hushed as though everyone held their breath.

“What do you require of me, Majesty?” Her mouth so dry she could taste sand, Alyse fought to speak in a normal tone. With a sigh of relief, she dropped into a deep curtsy, hiding her face in the folds of her skirt. If only she could remain bowed thus before His Majesty for the remainder of the evening.

King Edward laughed. “Obedience, Lady Alyse, as I require of all my subjects. As your father requires of his daughter.”

Her heart thumped wildly in her breast. That could mean but one thing.

“Rise, my lady.”

She did so on unsteady feet. “I am ready, as always, Your Majesty, to obey my father as I would you.”

Holy Mary, let it be Lord Braeton.

King Edward lifted an eyebrow toward Alyse. “A very pretty answer, my lady. And are you ready to accept your father’s decree for your betrothal? His messenger has today reached me with the contract, as I am to stand in his stead in this matter.”

Alyse took a deep breath and hoped her voice did not tremble. “Yea, Majesty, I will obey my father.”

King Edward nodded and leaned over to whisper something to Queen Phillipa, who sat beside him, heavy with their twelfth child.

Mere seconds before she learned her fate. She could scarce affect an indifferent pose before the court when inside every inch of her quivered with anticipation of the name. His name, pray God, on the king’s lips.

  1. Thomas.

In her mind, she heard the word.

The king straightened, glanced at her then at the man by her side.

“What say you then, Sir Geoffrey? Does the lady not speak fair? I vow she will make you a proper wife and a dutiful one as well.”

Alyse turned, until that moment unaware that Geoffrey Longford stood beside her. Chills coursed down her body as the king’s words echoed in her mind. The sensation of falling backward assailed her, as though she rushed away from the tall man at her side even as his figure loomed larger and larger in her sight.

Not Lord Braeton.

Her numbed brain repeated the phrase, trying to comprehend that instead he would be her husband. Geoffrey Longford.

God have mercy on me, for by the look of him, this man will not.

Buy Links: Amazon

About Jenna.

Jenna Jaxon is a multi-published author of historical and contemporary romance.  She has been reading and writing historical romance since she was a teenager.  A romantic herself, she has always loved a dark side to the genre, a twist, suspense, a surprise.  She tries to incorporate all of these elements into her own stories. She lives in Virginia with her family and a small menagerie of pets.  When not reading or writing, she indulges her passion for the theatre, working with local theatres as a director.  She often feels she is directing her characters on their own private stage.

Jenna is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America as well as a member of Chesapeake Romance Writers. Her debut novel, Only Scandal Will Do, is the first in her House of Pleasure series, set in Georgian London.  Her medieval novel, Time Enough to Love, is a Romeo & Juliet-esque tale, set at the time of the Black Death.

She has equated her writing to an addiction to chocolate because once she starts she just can’t stop.

 

 

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I’m so happy Grace Burrowes is back with us again. She is not only a fabulous author, but a wonderful friend and mentor as well. She has graciously offered to give away a copy of her latest release to one of you who take the time to tell her you want it. Now, without further to do, here is the cover!!

Tell me you wouldn’t buy the book on the cover alone!

laird_4501

 

The blurb because you like them.

After years at war, Michael Brodie, Baron Strathdee, comes home to his Scottish estate to find his clan expects him to set aside Brenna, the arranged bride he left behind nearly a decade ago. To make matters worse, Michael’s Uncle Angus, whom Michael relied on to manage estate matters, is also impatient with Brenna’s independence and contrariness, though the clansmen and tenants loathe Angus, too.
 
Michael will not abandon a wife who has loyally—if angrily—waited for his return, but he soon realizes the resentments stirring among his family have deep, shameful roots, and the war he left behind was paltry compared to the battle he must fight to win his wife’s heart, and keep her in her rightful place at his side.

After all, why else to you buy a book, other than for the cover.

Michael and Brenna finally have the time, privacy and most of the trust necessary to consummate the marriage vows they took nearly a decade earlier. For Michael, the stakes for this campaign eclipse those of any he’s fought before… 

 

“Shall you undress me, Wife?” Michael asked.

Brenna set her footwear tidily beside the bed and scooted back against the pillows.

“I think not. A grown man can undress himself if he’s properly motivated.”

Michael considered her suggestion as he arranged his boots beside hers. Brenna wasn’t being entirely shy, though she was being entirely Brenna.

Making him work for his pleasures, which he was more than happy to do.

“Watch, then, and plan our afternoon while you do,” he said, unbuttoning his waistcoat. The better to entertain his wife—and the better to stop himself from falling upon her like a beast—he moved away from the bed, making a proscenium of the hearth rug.

The waistcoat he tossed in the direction of the privacy screen.

“Michael Brodie, for shame.”

Brenna wasn’t teasing, though she was watching, so Michael hung the blasted waistcoat on the back of the rocker and got busy with his neck cloth. The knot had become Gordian at some point in the day’s rambles, but he managed to wrench it open without strangling himself.

When he would have whipped the damned thing out the window, Brenna arched one fine, eloquent eyebrow.

That eyebrow promised that husbands who were cavalier with their clothing would suffer retribution at the hands of their wives. Michael folded his neckcloth and laid it tidily over the back of the rocker as well.

“Am I to be the only one sporting about unclad?” Michael asked as he took a seat on the hearth and started on his cuffs.

“The breeze is fresh. When you’re done dawdling, I’ll consider your question. One doesn’t want to suffer an avoidable chill.”

Because his head was bent toward his wrist, Michael permitted himself a smile.

“I am available to assist my wife,” he said, which was, at last, the blessed, blasted truth. He pulled his shirt over his head, draped it neatly over the waistcoat, then rose, clad only in his kilt.

Brenna remained on the bed, crossed-legged and barefoot, but otherwise fully clothed. She gave nothing of her mood away, not in her expression, not in her posture, not in her silence.

“Brenna, have you changed your mind?” Asking the question nigh killed Michael, but never, never, even by persuasion or innuendo would he prevail on his wife for favors she was reluctant to grant.

She regarded his chest, her brows knitting at a particularly bewildered angle, and that’s when insight struck: Brenna wanted to be in charge of this situation, but had no idea how to go on. She needed to be in charge, in fact, but had never traveled the path they would follow.

Whoever had betrayed her youthful trust, whoever had trespassed against her person, had left scars where a woman’s natural sense of her own urges and pleasures should lie.

Michael would deal with the rage such a conclusion provoked—later. For now, he had a wife to please. Wearing his kilt and what he hoped was a reassuring smile, he climbed onto the bed and took her hand.

“Brenna, I love you. I want very much to please you, and right now, I’m a bit nervous of my prospects.” More than a bit, though determined, nonetheless. “Can you meet me halfway?”

“Meet you halfway?”

“I am your willing slave in all that might transpire in this bed, but a slave needs instructions, hints, the occasional command. A husband needs them even more.” A husband needed them desperately, because so much that was wondrous, sweet, and nourishing to the soul might be lost if Michael misread his wife in the moments that followed.

Those delicate, lovely brows rose on the word husband.

“You are not my slave, Michael Brodie, and I will never be yours. Not your slave, your plaything, your wee pleasure, your little secret—”

She closed her eyes, as if willing herself to put aside the ire gathering in her words.

“I am your husband,” Michael said, kissing her knuckles. “I would like to become your lover, and I would adore having you for mine.” He would like to be so much more to her, too—her friend, champion, partner, confidant, most loyal opposition, lady’s maid, companion, and favorite pest, for starters.

Brenna took the hem of his kilt between her fingers and thumb and rubbed the wool slowly back and forth. “I know nothing of being a lover.”

She spoke with regret and rubbed the wool the way a child grasps a favorite blanket for reassurance.

Perhaps Michael should have waited for the dark of night, not to spare Brenna’s sensibilities, but to spare himself the sight of her bewilderment. He spun a half-truth as delicate as the dust motes wafting about on the afternoon sunbeams.

“This part of being married is not complicated, Brenna Maureen. We touch, we kiss, we pleasure each other, and pleasure each other yet more. If God is generous, we conceive a child, the first of many, and then we sigh and hold each other and wonder at all the loveliness we’ve shared.”

And Michael would wonder, too, at all the years they’d missed. For as surely as desire hummed softly through his veins, so to, did regret. He’d made decisions any soldier would be proud of, and served in a difficult position loyally and well.

Those same decisions were something any husband—any lover—would regret for all his days and nights.

“So kiss me,” Brenna said. “We’ve kissed before, and I think I have the knack of that much.”

Her posture was wary, her eyes downcast, and yet she still stroked her fingers over the hem of Michael’s kilt. Michael kissed her palm, and without giving up her hand, stretched out on his back.

“Let the kissing begin,” he said. Let the loving begin, for Brenna did love him. She had to have some form of tender regard for him, or she would not take these steps with him.

He’d amused her, though, and that was good. “I’m to do the work?”

“A little guidance to your husband shouldn’t be too much to ask.” Brenna had been guiding the entire castle for years, navigating past financial difficulties, clan jealousies, Angus’s backward notions, and Highland winters. Appealing to her sense of responsibility earned Michael a considering look that turned into a shy grin.

Brenna swung a leg over his thighs and straddled him. “Fine, then. Here’s a place to start.”

You can find the link to all the buy links here.

About Grace:

graceburrowes-headshot-01

Grace 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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My good friend Liza O’Connor has released a Victorian Romantic Mystery!! As usual, she has a lot going on. Please welcome her back to the blog!!

Take it away, Liza!

Thank you, Ella.

Today, let’s talk about an item that has become the most beloved object in the universe: the telephone

xnv_telephone

In 1854 the French engineer Charles Bourseul wrote the first design of a telephone in a public memorandum, but everyone considered it a fantastical concept, thus no one would fund him, so endeth the story.

In 1860, Johanne Phillip Reis constructed a prototype which he named ‘telephon’. Sadly, he couldn’t find anyone in Germany who had the least bit of interest in his invention, so again, endeth the story.

In 1871 Antonio Meucci created a voice link between floors of his house, but failed to mention voice in his patent claim. Never underestimate the importance of proper documentation or persistence. If Meucci had been able to pay the $10 fee to maintain the caveat after 1874, no patent could have been issued to Bell. Sadly Meucci was too poor and let it expire.

1876:  Two inventors: Alexander Graham Bell (Bell Telephone Co.) and Elisha Grey (Western Electric Co., now Lucent Technologies) both filed for patents on the same day for voice over wire devices. Gray entered his first, which meant it was further down in the stack of patent requests, thus Bell’s patent was plucked from the pile first, and therefore awarded the patent.

Any of these earlier inventors could have created the telephone if only they had received more encouragement and had the support structure necessary to succeed. Bell happened to have a rich and business-savvy father-in-law who did not wish his daughter to live in disgrace and poverty so he ensured Bell succeeded, whether the fellow liked it or not. (Bell hated being his puppet.)

Throughout the years, there have been a great many patent wars on who actually invented the telephone and specific designs within the phone. But without doubt, the Bell Company was the first to commercialize the telephone.

Still, had Bourseul received funding and support like Bell, the world might have had telephones twenty years earlier.  What I do know, if Bell hadn’t had married his wife and gotten a control-freak father-in-law, he wouldn’t not be the father of telephony. Someone else would have stepped up and taken his place.

And who was Alexander’s father in law? Gardinar Greene Hubbard, U.S lawyer, financier, & philanthropist. He founded National Geographic and then made himself its first president, Founded (with friends) Bell Telephone and made himself president. (By the way: Alexander Bell, resident genius, only received the title of Chief Electrician.) If you haven’t figured it out yet, Hubbard was uber high society and Alex would never be one of ‘them’.

The only reason why Alexander even met Hubbard’s daughter was because he taught at the school for the deaf that Hubbard funded to help his daughter Mabel learn to speak. (Yes, he basically bought a school to teach his daughter to live among the hearing). Mabel had gone deaf at five from scarlet fever. She fell in love with her instructor (Bell) and wanted no one else. Given her limited opportunities for a happy life in high society, Hubbard decided to turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse. His son-in-law would amount to something rather he liked it or not!

In retrospect, Alex might have been happier if he remained a teacher, married someone of his own class, and let one of the other guys invent the phone, but he loved Mabel and Mabel loved her daddy, so he bent his will to that of Hubbard’s.  During his life, he created other fascinating things, as well, such as electric heaters, sound carried by light (the beginning of Digital music), electronic mail, and composting toilets, (two of those were practical needs in Canada, the other two were clear foresight into future needs.) Hubbard wasn’t interested in his other inventions. He just wanted a son-in-law that didn’t bring shame to his family name (and for the telephone to sell well enough to pay him & his investors back for all the money they had put out to make Bell Telephone successful, plus a profit.)  Ironically, he achieved getting Bell into the history books, while Hubbard has pretty much been been forgotten.

But then the youth of the world may soon forget Bell and insist the inventor of the phone is Steven Jobs.

Main sources: Wikipedia and the biography by Charlotte Gray. Reluctant Genius: Alexander Graham Bell and the Passion for Invention.

And what do my characters think of this new contraption? Vic would love a phone but the network to make them useful isn’t established yet. It will be a few more years before Gregory the butler acquires one in his room.

Xavier is appalled at the idea clients could call him up day and night without an appointment set 24 hours in advance. So he stubbornly refuses to consider the matter even once they become a useful item.

Book 1 Banner1

Book 1 Prize Banner2

 

The Adventures of

Xavier & Vic

Book 1

The Troublesome Apprentice

By Liza O’Connor

XnV Troubled Apprentice 400 x 640

Cases to be Resolved:

The Key to Aunt Maddy’s Death

The Missing Husband of Mrs. Wimple

The Disappearing Scarlet Nun

The Clever Butcher’s Wife

The Rescue of Lady Anne

 

blurbWhile investigating the death of a friend and client, Maddy Hamilton, Xavier Thorn (reputed to be the greatest sleuth in England) is greatly impressed with Maddy’s nephew, Victor, and offers him a job as his secretary. Aware of Xavier’s history of firing secretaries, Victor garners a promise that for three months he cannot be fired. Vic then proceeds, in Xavier’s view, to be cheeky and impertinent at every turn. Xavier endures the impudent pup because Victor is most skilled in extracting the truth from clients and intuiting facts with little evidence to assist.

As they solve a string of cases, Xavier discovers a few more important details about his troublesome apprentice, such as her true gender, and the realization that she has awakened his long dormant heart.

An Excerpt

Mrs. Wimple entered and, before Xavier could ask if she wished tea, Victor, the impertinent pup, asked the question as he showed her to a chair. She requested tea, and Victor promised to bring it shortly.

“He’s new,” Mrs. Wimple said once the scamp had left the room.

“Yes, I recently acquired him. He’s just come down from Oxford.”

“Oxford,” Mrs. Wimple repeated, clearly impressed. “I would not think a young man from Oxford would wish to be a mere secretary.”

“Daresay you are right. Victor is my apprentice. He is learning the craft of investigation.”

“Oh, how very exciting for him.”

“I have strong hopes for the young man. He’s incredibly bright and very insightful. I daresay, within a year, I will be forced to make him my partner or he’ll leave and open his own office.”

“And then we would have two Sherlock Holmes.”

Xavier’s muscles tightened at her words. He had already told the damnable woman during her first visit Sherlock Holmes was a fictitious character who bore no resemblance to him at all. He hated it when clients thought themselves clever. “Yes, and imagine how confusing it would be.” He rapped his pencil on the edge of his desk. What is taking Vic so damn long? Unless he has never made tea and hasn’t a clue, but surely he can figure out something so simple.

Victor returned carrying a silver tray burdened with a large assortment of bowls, cups, and saucers. Where the bloody hell did he find a serving set? In the past, all the secretaries had brought a single cup of tea.

Mrs. Wimple seemed to appreciate all the tomfoolery and complimented Victor on his fine manners.

 

***

 

“Mr. Holmes was telling me you are an Oxford man.”

Vic smiled with amusement at Xavier being called “Mr. Holmes”. “I am indeed, ma’am.” Vic smiled at Xavier. “And you, Mr. Holmes, how do you wish your tea?”

Xavier’s eyes narrowed. “Guess.”

Vic handed him a plain tea, then removed the service tray and returned with pencil and paper to take notes. To her surprise, Xavier had waited for her to return before beginning.

“I’ve decided to place Victor in charge of your case, Mrs. Wimple.”

That made no sense. She’d nearly burnt down his place of business. Hardly a reason to promote her to investigator. Without a doubt he was up to something.

“Since he has not read my notes from the first meeting, we are going to start at the beginning, as if you have never been here before. I would like you to tell him all pertinent facts, but bear in mind, if you lie to him, he cannot help you.”

“Lie? Why would I lie?”

“I sincerely hope you will not, but you lied to me. You wasted my time in our last interview and I’ve no patience left. Therefore, I am going to sit quietly and enjoy my tea while Victor conducts his interview. If he manages to do what I could not, I will allow him to continue to learn this business. However, if he cannot pull the truth from you, I will fire him for incompetence and it will be on your head, Mrs. Wimple.”

“But that’s not fair,” she protested.

Vic couldn’t agree more. True her actions had almost scarred Xavier for life and burnt down his business, but he had given her his word she would not be fired for three months. She was barely into her second day. She studied her cranky employer, trying to make sense of his turnabout. He showed no anger, only annoyance, all aimed at Mrs. Wimple.

Xavier set his cup on his desk and leaned forward. “I’m sorry, but it’s your punishment for wasting my time with lies and half-truths.”

lINKS

 

The Troublesome Apprentice

Amazon

Kindle Unlimited

 

About the author

 I’m tired of telling my proper bio. So you get the improper bio.

Liza O’Connor was raised by feral cats, which explains a great deal, such as why she has no manners, is always getting in trouble, and doesn’t behave like a proper author and give you a proper bio.

She is highly unpredictable, both in real life and her stories, and presently is writing humorous romances. Please buy these books, because otherwise, she’ll become grumpy and write troubled novels instead. They will likely traumatize you.

Mostly humorous books by Liza:

Saving Casey – Old woman reincarnates into troubled teen’s body. (Half funny/half traumatizing)

Ghost LoverTwo British brothers fall in love with the same young woman. Ancestral ghost is called in to fix the situation. There’s a ghost cat too. (Humorous Contemporary Romance)

A Long Road to Love Series: (Humorous Contemporary odd Romance)

Worst Week Ever — Laugh out loud week of disasters of Epic proportions.

Oh Stupid Heart — The heart wants what it wants, even if it’s impossible.

Coming to Reason — There is a breaking point when even a saint comes to reason.

Climbing out of Hell — The reconstruction of a terrible man into a great one.

 

Social Networking

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT

LIZA O’CONNOR, XAVIER & VIC:

Investigate these sites:

Liza’s Blog and Website   Facebook   Twitter

Prior Tour Sites

 

 

Don’t Forget to enter to win one of the two $25 Amazon Gift Cards.

Enter Rafflecopter

 

 

 

 

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