Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Please help me welcome historical author, Jane Ashford, to the blog!

We’ve decided to do something a little different today. Jane has written a post. She will also be giving away a copy of her book, Married to a Perfect Stranger. To be eligible, please leave a comment saying you want the book.

We begin with the lovely cover.

Married to a Perfect Stranger-m

 

Now the blurb.

Time and distance have changed them both. Quiet and obliging, Mary Fleming and John Bexley married to please their families. Almost immediately, John was sent on a two-year diplomatic mission to China. Now John is back, and everything they thought they knew about each other seems to be wrong… It’s disconcerting, irritating, and somehow very exciting.

Buy links.

AmazonBarnes and NobleIndieboundBooks a MillionIndigo

 

“Recognizing” True Love

True love is at the heart of every romance, and I imagine those two words can mean different things to different people. For me, and the books I write, the key to finding it is recognition.

Of course love often begins with physical attraction. As Springsteen sings, “You can’t start a fire without a spark.” We can all be rendered breathless and stammering by an incredibly handsome, gloriously built, fashionably dressed, extremely rich, insanely witty stranger. : ) Sexual tension adds lovely sizzle to a story.

But there’s more to true love. I think couples have to discover, and come to cherish, each other’s real nature before they can find their happy endings. Both have to be truly seen and valued by another.

This is particularly important in my new book Married to a Perfect Stranger. The hero and heroine have been defined as the less promising, less accomplished son and daughter by their families. They’re the “white sheep” from whom not much is expected. They have to fight these limiting labels in order to succeed, and their journey together in the story helps each of them do that. It’s not easy; there are many bumps and misunderstandings along the way. In the end, though, each recognizes and supports the amazing person the other has come to be. I think that’s true love. And with this strong foundation, their marriage will be strong and sweet.

What word means true love for you?

Thanks for having me on the blog!

About Jane.

JaneAshfordJane Ashford discovered Georgette Heyer in junior high school and was entranced by the glittering world and witty language of Regency England. That delight was part of what led her to study English literature and travel widely in Britain and Europe. Jane’s historical romances have been published in Sweden, Italy, England, Denmark, France, Russia, Latvia, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Spain, as well as the U.S. She has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award by RT Book Reviews.

 

Website www.janeashford.com

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jane-Ashford/154028944714495?ref=bookmarks

 

 

Today, show me the first time your hero and heroine meet. Feel free to post buy links if you are published, or social media links if you are pre-published.

My excerpt is from A Kiss for Lady Mary which will release on May 26th.

A Kiss for Lady MaryAs they followed the butler down a long corridor, Kit couldn’t help noticing that the carpets were clean and in good repair, the woodwork gleamed and the wall sconces sparkled. The walls appeared recently painted, as well.

Simmons opened a door, and bowed as Kit and Doust entered the room.

“Lady Eunice and Lady Mary,” the rector said, “how are you doing this afternoon?”

The older woman rose. “We are quite well, Mr. Doust.” When her gaze lit on Kit, a line appeared between her brows, then disappeared. She smiled as if she’d been expecting him. “Mr. Featherton, how good of you to bring our dear friend with you.”

A younger woman standing in front of the French windows started, then stared at him with the same silver eyes that had haunted his dreams. Her golden hair was dressed in a simple knot, loose curls framed her oval face, and her countenance had changed from a friendly smile to a mask of fear.

What, by all that was holy, was Lady Mary Tolliver doing pretending to be his wife?

Of all the females in England, she was the last one he’d expected to see at Rose Hill. Even when he had heard the name, he would never have suspected her. Something was vastly wrong with this situation, and he had many more questions than answers. Prime among his concerns was the question of why in the bloody hell she was here in the first place. Almost no one outside of his family even knew he owned this property. A rage he’d never experienced before rose within him. What a fool he was, spending the past couple of years mooning over a fraud. Had she planned to trap him into marriage? If enough people knew, Lady Bellamny for one, he might have to wed Lady Mary, but Kit would make her regret it.

Keeping his eyes fixed on her, he set a pleasant smile on his face and strode toward her. When he was no more than a foot away, he took her hands, raising one, then the other, to his lips and placed lingering kisses on each palm.  Damn the butler for having left the door open and Doust being there at all. There was nothing for it, but to play his part. “Aren’t you happy to see your husband, my dear?” Lowering her voice so that only she could hear, he added. “And are you prepared for the consequences?”

Buy Links:  Amazon US ~ Amazon UK ~ B&N ~ Apple

Now it’s your turn.

Sunday News!

Happy Sunday!! Let’s start with the winners!

Devilish DukeCongratulations to Bevieann for winning Vicky Dreilings’s, book What a Devilish Duke Desires!

 

And to Louisa Cornell for winning a copy of Erin Satie’s book, Lover’s Knot!The-Lovers-Knot-Ebook

 

 

 

 

 

Now I have a surprise for you!! I received a sneak peek of the cover art for, Three Weeks to Wed, the first book in my next series. It will be available in mass paperback in April 2016. This has to be the best cover yet!! Sneep Peak Three Weeks to Wed

No blurb yet, but here is a short excerpt.

Grace swallowed. Maybe now he’d understand. “My lord . . .” His mouth re-captured hers. Her tongue tangled with his, savoring his taste and the soft caresses. Once again his wicked hands lit fires under her skin.

He lifted his head and her lips followed. “Will you do me the honor of being my wife?”

Grace fought herself to let go of him and back up, yet he refused to release her hands. “My lord, thank you for your very kind offer, but I find I cannot accept.”

His expression rapidly changed from a humorous to confused and then severe. “Why?”

She closed her eyes and fought to steady her voice. “All those children, they are my brothers and sisters.”

Frowning, he shook his head as if trying to make sense of what she’d said. “Very well. Many families have a number of children. What does that have to do with anything? I have sisters myself. I’ve been hoping you liked children.

Tears stung her eyes as Grace bit her lip. This was the hardest thing she’d ever had to do, but do it she must. Her throat tightened, threatening to choke her. “I am—I am their guardian. I will never give up that position.”

Wrenching her hands from his, she fled the room, closing the door with a snap behind her.

Matt stared down at his empty hands and then at the closed door. He found a chair and sat. Numbness washed over him. How many children were there? He should have counted, but it never occurred to him that she . . . He put his elbows on his knees and dropped his head into his hands.

Guardian? She’s their guardian? How could that be?

He’d lost track of how long he sat there trying to think when the door opened.

The youngest girl walked in, a mulish cast was about her mouth, and her determined chin trembled a bit. “You made Grace cry.”

That was fair. He felt like crying as well. “I didn’t mean to. I meant to make her happy.”

The child creased her brow and nodded wisely. “Made a mull of it, did you?”

Now to the boat. We should finally have our weather enclosure next week. That will mean that I don’t have to grab the computer and run inside every time it rains. Last Monday, we moved to Christmas cove.

Christmas Cove

We’ll be here until the 9th then we’ll head down island for a couple of weeks. It’s a fun anchorage. Most boats are here for a couple of days, then leave. We have also seen a number of charter boats. There is even a pizza boat.

Pizza Boat

Yesterday, Hubby reminded me to take pictures of the fish. Unfortunately, they are not as clear as I would have liked.

2015-02-28 17.33.11

2015-02-28 17.32.58

We are still waiting for our Garmin wind part. The post office appears to have misplaced it.

What’s been happening with you this week. Who has been snowed on?

Ella

 

Please welcome historical author Erin Satie! Erin will be giving away a copy of her book, Lover’s Knot to one of you. Just leave a comment telling her you want it.

Now the cover.

The-Lovers-Knot-Ebook

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The blurb.

Memory is his weapon. Forgetting is her armor.

Sophie Roe was once a wealthy young lady, with an adoring fiancé. But that was ten years ago. Now Sophie barely scrapes a living in trade. Her benefactor, the Duke of Clive, is dead. And the man she jilted is the new duke: rich, powerful, and determined to think the worst of Sophie. Julian has never been able to forget Sophie. He intends to find out just why she rejected him—and why she’s lying about the old duke’s death.

Sophie is hopelessly entangled in the past. But as long-buried secrets and betrayals come to light, Julian may be the man to set her free…
Spring, 1839 Derbyshire             Julian Swann had been born seventh in line to inherit the dukedom of Clive. That gap ought to have expanded over the years, as the six who came before him sired sons who would grow up, take wives, and beget more sons.

But instead of adding new branches to the family tree, Fate had hacked away at the old. Age, war, disease. Everything that could have gone wrong had. The gap narrowed coffin by coffin, then finally closed.

And so, newly ennobled, Julian exchanged one name for another. One residence for another. One set of problems for… another. That much he could guess from the moment he arrived at High Bend, the duchy’s grandest holding.

Now his grandest holding.

His predecessor’s widow greeted him in the high front hall, young and fresh against a background of weathered stone and moth-eaten tapestries. She wore a gown that flaunted her curves rather than her grief, mourning black fitted tight around her full bosom and trim waist, crepe pleats flaring with her hips. She looked, he thought, like a nun in an erotic drawing.

“Are you ready? I’m about to perform my last act as mistress of the castle.” Gloria, Dowager Duchess of Clive, eyed Julian the same way he might admire a friend’s horseflesh, her regard frank and almost clinical. “My husband’s rooms have been cleaned and aired in preparation for your arrival. They’re yours now.”

She paused, and Julian felt a certain bitter satisfaction when she added, “Welcome home, Your Grace.”

Despite everything, he knew he had come home. As a child and young man, he’d kept his little room in High Bend while the title tumbled down the family tree. He might as well have been part of the entail: each new duke inherited the pastures, the mines, the factories, and the child.

Julian squeezed the young Dowager’s hands and leaned in to kiss her cool cheek. “I hope you know that you’ll always have a place here. You’re welcome to stay on at High Bend for as long as you wish.”

“I do not wish.” She grimaced. “I am sick unto death of this old pile. I’ve always hated living so far from Town, and now…”

“I’m sorry I couldn’t attend the funeral.” Julian settled a hand at the small of her back and urged her out of the front hall, with its drafts and echoes, and into the first of High Bend’s two central courtyards. Overhead, a latticework of iron and glass kept out the worst of the weather. “By the time I heard the news, there was no chance of arriving in time.”

“The news.” The Dowager laughed, low and throaty. “But, Julian, you haven’t heard the news. I’ve tried to keep it quiet—I didn’t dare write it down in a letter, though God knows the coroner’s told every shopkeeper and washerwoman in the county.” She took a deep breath and stared straight ahead. “Clive didn’t die of an apoplexy. He took his own life.”

Julian froze. “That’s not possible.”

She turned around to face him. One corner of her mouth, thin-lipped and deep red, turned up. “I would have said the same. And yet it was so.”

“For no reason? With no warning?” Julian shook his head. Men like Clive did not commit suicide. He’d been wealthy, esteemed. A duke, with a beautiful daughter only a few years younger than his even more beautiful second wife. “I don’t believe it.”

“He left no room for doubt,” said the Dowager Duchess. “Come along. I’ll show you.”     The stiff crepe of her skirts rustled on the granite as she strode purposefully out of the courtyard and into a wide corridor. Lit sconces cast flickering orange haloes against the stone walls, and an oriental carpet swallowed the noise of their footsteps. She led him up one of the spiral staircases tucked into High Bend’s turret towers and down another corridor to a small sitting room, elegantly if impersonally furnished.

“I didn’t think you’d like my staying on in my old rooms, with the connecting door.” The Dowager opened up a small bureau and extracted a piece of paper from the bottom of a pile. “So I’ve moved all my things here until I can manage a permanent move. Here.” She held the paper with the tips of her fingers. “Proof.”

Julian took the sheet and read.

I know what I am doing, and I will not apologize. I have no confession to make but this. I meted out the poison and I drank it of my own free will. I am so sorry. I never did have the courage to do the right thing until it was too late. Please forgive me for asking you to remember the man I wished to be rather than the one I was.

Brief. To the point. And fake.

“What is this?” Julian traced the letters with his fingertip. He knew who’d written this note, and it hadn’t been his predecessor—though the ninth Duke of Clive’s signature did appear at the bottom.

“He left a note.” Her voice was low, furious. “He wanted us to know.”

“I suppose it would have been suspicious otherwise,” Julian murmured. He sniffed the paper, but the only perfume he detected was the dowager duchess’. “For a man to die of poison without any explanation.”

“How soft-hearted you are,” marveled the duchess.

Julian looked up, startled. It had been a long time since anyone had accused him of undue kindness.

“He wasn’t trying to protect us.” She slapped the table. “Who would have guessed? Who would’ve sounded the alarm? He was trying to punish us. To make us feel guilty.”

“And do you?” Julian asked.

The dowager duchess blushed.

But no. She hadn’t the skill to copy her husband’s hand. Clive the Ninth, only one rung ahead of Julian in the ladder of succession, had worked as a solicitor for more than a decade before inheriting the title. He’d developed a tidy, precise, legal hand. Hard to duplicate without similar training—or a talented forger’s skill.

And in these frozen hinterlands, he could only name one person whose abilities matched the task. Sophia Roe, Julian’s former fiancée. As a young man, he’d been astonished by her talent. On more than one occasion, he’d seen her forgeries fool the very individuals whose handwriting she had copied. They would take their own memories to task rather than doubt the evidence on the page.

In later years, after he’d started working for the Foreign Office, he’d been more impressed by her restraint. To his knowledge, Sophie had never attempted to profit from her ability.

But he’d read Clive’s will. The ninth duke had left her a handsome bequest—a bundle of properties guaranteeing her a revenue of some twelve thousand pounds a year. Perhaps, threadbare as her pockets were, she’d decided to hasten her benefactor’s demise?

Perhaps it hadn’t been the first time she’d succumbed to temptation.

The thought chilled him, but why? She wasn’t his wife. Her crimes couldn’t blacken his name. He hadn’t even seen her in ten years. And yet…

Julian drew the tip of one finger over a majuscule I. Ink had pooled at the base of the downstroke and left a small blot, because Sophie had paused over a letter that would have been a clean, quick line in his cousin’s hand. A small flaw.

He thumbed the curled flourish that crowned a small o, the line thinner and lighter than Clive the Ninth’s heavy fingers could have managed. Sloppy. Sophie must have written this in a rush. He knew her work. When she took her time, she could fool anyone.

Why hurry? Unless she meant these little flaws as a message to him. Because only he would look at this note and see the truth. He knew her abilities, and he’d been trained—first by Sophie herself, later by experts at the Foreign Office—to recognize such small irregularities.

“I have to go,” Julian announced.

“What?”

“I have to go,” he repeated, handing the letter back to the dowager duchess.

“You’ve only just arrived,” she protested. “There’s nothing to be done. Take the afternoon to rest. There will be plenty of time in the morning—”

But he didn’t wait to hear her suggestion. If Sophie wanted a confrontation, he’d give her one. A decade ago, she’d sent her uncle to break their engagement rather than confront him herself. She’d denied him any chance to plead his case. But he wasn’t small-minded. He’d teach her a lesson just by making an appearance.

Julian retraced his steps to the front hall. He donned a thick scarf and his greatcoat before stepping out into the chill spring air. High Bend stood atop a windswept tor, perilously steep on three sides with a narrow road winding up the fourth. The gray stone of the building blended with the gray sky, melted into the Derbyshire hills. Weak sunlight glinted off the windows, black as dark water.

When the stable boy led his horse around to the front drive, Julian heaved himself into the saddle and urged his mount to a trot. Down they went, the road a pale crease dividing rows of rocky mountains, down to a shallow valley where the village of Padley spread from slope to slope.

Julian left his horse at the inn, flipped a coin to a stable boy, and clicked open his pocket watch. Iron & Wine Writing Fluid, read the label he’d glued to the inside face, 21 Halftail Road. He’d lifted it from a bottle of Sophie’s ink years ago, when she’d just started out. Soaked the bottle in water, peeled off the paper, and… kept it.

Most men carried a portrait of their beloved, but Julian never had to worry about forgetting what Sophie looked like. He did have to prod himself to remember what he knew in the abstract, but had never seen or felt or tasted: the woman she’d become, the things she’d gone on to do without him.

Her shop looked much as he’d imagined it, a small cottage only a block away from the row of shops lining Padley’s main street. A sturdy wooden sign with Iron & Wine spelled out in polished brass letters hung from a bracket over the lintel. A woman bent at the waist in front of the whitewashed front door, the ribbons of her apron billowing out from her waist.

She had the fine, balanced figure of a Greek caryatid. Supple curves crafted by a deity who preached moderation in all things and possessed skill enough to prove his point in the shape of a woman’s body. Sophie had always been just lush enough, just slim enough, just soft enough. Just right, in every way.

A woven shawl slipped down her shoulders. In his memories, she wore silks and fine woolens, muslin and velvet. Not gray serge and undyed homespun. At least her hair had stayed the same—it snarled and frizzed, skeins twisting loose from pins and bonnet to snap in the breeze.

Even after ten years, the sight of her moved him. He wanted to fall to his knees, rub his face in the dirt. Why didn’t you want me? Why did you turn me away?

She reached out with her white, white arms, a crystal phial tipped neck-down between ink-stained fingers. A single drop of sunny golden fluid formed at the lip and then, ever so slowly, fell to the ground.

Poison?

Sophie tucked her elbows into her waist and murmured something in a voice too low for him to understand. Sweet words, so gentle and warm that his bone-dry soul wept with envy.

Then the rage came back, and he could move again. “What have you got there, Sophie?”

His voice startled her so much that she staggered, looking up and reeling away as she recognized him.

Her cheeks had hollowed dramatically since he’d last seen her, as though someone had scooped out all the baby fat with a spoon. With her pointed chin, her face now formed the perfect shape of a heart, marred only by a dark mark high on her left cheek.

The last time they’d been face to face Sophie had been distraught, more than a little drunk, and gushing blood from just that spot. He had gone to find help, and then he’d never seen her again.

But he wasn’t looking at a scar, now. It resembled a puncture wound, yes, but this mark was deep black. Inky. It had been made. Stamped, branded, tattooed onto her flesh.

It… didn’t surprise him. He could imagine it so easily. While he’d been beating down her door, out of his mind with heartbreak and rage, she’d been boxed up inside, savage with anger of a different kind. She had the strength of a snake eating its tail, self-immolating and infinite.     Could a woman like that commit murder? Oh, yes. Absolutely.

“wonderfully compelling” — Sarah Wendell of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books

“smart, somber, totally engaged me through every page with great suspense and a lovely romance” — Mandi of Smexy Books

“readers who like Courtney Milan would like this book” — Jane Litte of Dear Author

Buy Links:

Amazon ~   iTunes ~  Barnes & NobleKobo

About Erin.

IMG_0055Erin Satie was born in California, but she’s lived all over the world. She went to college in New York, studied in Morocco and Egypt, worked in France. She endeavors to always have visited more countries than she’s lived years. But when she’s not traveling, she lives on a farm in Kentucky with a hound dog and a lovebird and writes historical romance novels.

Please welcome bestselling historical author Vicky Dreiling back to the blog!! Vicky will be giving away a copy of her latest release, What a Devslish Duke Desires to one of you. All you have to do is leave a comment saying you want it.

Now, onto the cover!

Devilish Duke

The blurb:

WILL A FEW FLIRTATIOUS STEPS

Harry Norcliffe never wanted to inherit his beloved uncle’s title. The rigidity of the ton, the incessant reminders from his marriage-minded mama that he must settle down with a highborn lady and produce an heir and a spare: it’s all such a dreadful bore. So when his mother asks him to take part in a dancing competition, he patently refuses. The last thing he needs is another chore . . . until a beautiful, brilliant, delightfully tempting maid makes him rethink his position.

LEAD TO A SCANDALOUS SEDUCTION?

Most women would be over the moon to be pursued by a wickedly handsome-not to mention wealthy-duke like Norcliffe. But Lucy will not be any man’s trophy. She could use a friend, though, and what begins innocently soon ignites into desire. As Lucy tries to resist Harry’s scorching kisses, he makes an utterly irresistible offer. Enter the dance contest with him, and win a prize that could change her life forever . . . if falling in love doesn’t change it first.

Bio: Triple RITA finalist Vicky Dreiling is a confirmed historical romance junkie and Anglophile. Frequent business trips to the UK allowed her to indulge her passion for all things Regency England. Bath, Stonehenge, and Spencer House are among her favorite places. She is, however, truly sorry for accidentally setting off a security alarm in Windsor Castle. That unfortunate incident led her British colleagues to nickname her “Trouble.” Vicky is a native Texan and holds degrees in English literature and marketing.

And an excerpt.

As they walked out into the night, the jingle of the shop door sounded altogether too cheerful, given her bad news. Lucy pulled the hood of her cape over her head, because the night air was damp and chilly. The misty fog swirled all around them. It had become their habit to walk together until their paths divided. It had made her feel safer, for at least part of the walk.

“Lucy, I know something is wrong,” Evelyn said. “Your face was very pale after Madame took you to the sewing room.”

“She sacked me, but I expected it. Madame cannot afford four seamstresses and needs someone who can work twelve hours—and for less pay in all likelihood.”

Mary exchanged a long look with Evelyn. “That explains why she hired Ida. No doubt the girl accepted a pittance for wages.”

“I suspect Ida is working in exchange for sleeping on the shop floor,” Evelyn said.

Lucy winced. “That is awful.”

Mary halted. “Lucy, I can loan you a bit of coin.”

“So can I,” Evelyn said.

“Oh no, I cannot allow it. I’ll earn wages tomorrow after my dance lesson. I’ll find a second position soon.” She must find it quickly. Her earnings as an assistant to Mr. Buckley, the dancing master, were barely sufficient, and more than once he’d shorted her based on some trumped up mistake she’d supposedly made.

Lucy held her basket closer as they approached a street vendor. She bought two meat pasties and a quarter loaf of bread for dinner. Then they resumed their walk.

“We will all persevere so that we can look forward to bright futures,” Lucy said. Her words were at odds with the fear gripping her, but she mustn’t give in to despair. She’d managed to pay for lodgings and food for herself and her grandmother these past six months, and she would manage again. A bit of pluck and a prayer would see her through this latest setback.

She hoped.

“I’m done up tonight,” Evelyn said.

Mary sighed. “I shall dream about the future tonight. Billy says we’ll marry when he saves up enough money.”

Lucy shared an inscrutable look with Evelyn. Billy made promises to Mary, but according to Evelyn, he spent most of his wages in the tavern. Lucy had never met him, but she feared Billy would break Mary’s heart. Perhaps it would be for the best if he did. Mary deserved better treatment.

“We’ll miss you at the shop,” Mary said.

Lucy’s breath frosted. “We could meet at Green Park on Sunday afternoon if the weather is nice.”

Evelyn sighed. “Madame needs us to sew this Sunday, too.”

Lucy feared Madame would pressure them to work seven days a week.

The three stopped at the corner of Piccadilly and Regent, where their paths would split.

“Lucy, I know this is hard for you now,” Evelyn said, “but if you continued to work for Madame, you would not be able to teach dance.”

Mary nodded. “Do whatever you must to earn wages, but don’t give up your dream of having your own dance studio.”

She hugged her friends quickly. “Thank you for believing in me. Now I must go.”

“Be safe,” Evelyn said. “Remember the story we told you about the girl who disappeared forever after she let a man take her up in his carriage.”

Lucy shuddered. “I remember.”

“If a man offers to escort you, run,” Evelyn said.

“Remember, speak to no one, and make sure no one follows you,” Mary said.

She nodded, remembering her friends’ many warnings. Their tales of girls snatched off the street and sold into prostitution had made her skin crawl.

“I’ll not forget,” Lucy said. “Godspeed.”

Lucy shivered more from the frigid wind than the threat of danger. She stood beneath the lighted gas lamp, watching her friends walk away until they were no longer visible. Her chest tightened. It would be harder to meet them now that she’d lost her sewing job, but Lucy swore she would make it happen.

In that one unguarded moment, a filthy man grabbed hold of her basket and tugged hard.

The misty fog swirled around Harry as he strode along Piccadilly, but it wasn’t too dense tonight. Soon he must buy a carriage. He’d need one for inclement weather, and now that he was a bloody duke, he supposed he ought to have a decent vehicle for traveling. God knew he’d inherited an enormous fortune and could afford whatever caught his fancy. He’d always thought money would bring him happiness, but it hadn’t. Perhaps in time he would feel differently.

He was only a block away from his rooms at the Albany when he saw a thief tugging on a woman’s basket. When she screamed, Harry ran as fast as he could and shouted, “Stop, thief!” The ragged man took one look at him and ducked down an alley.

“Are you hurt?” Harry said as he reached the woman. Lord, his heart was hammering in his chest.

“No, but I thank you, kind sir,” she said, picking up the small loaf of bread and dusting it off.

He couldn’t help noticing her shabby glove as she set the bread beneath a cloth in her basket. Yet she spoke in a crisp, educated manner. The hood of her red, threadbare cloak fell back as she straightened her small frame. The lighted oil lamp nearby revealed her thick, red curls. She had the kind of hair that made a man want to take it down, but that only reminded him of her peril. “You ought not to be on the streets alone at night,” he said. “It’s dangerous for a woman.”

She pulled her hood up and scoffed. “Sir, I assure you, I would not set foot on these mean streets if I had any other choice.”

The woman’s plump lips and bright emerald eyes drew him. She was a rare beauty. “If you will allow it, I will escort you for your safety,” he said, smiling. “Surely you will not object to protection.”

Her eyes narrowed. “You’ve done your good deed for the evening, Sir Galahad.” She reached in her basket and brandished a wicked-looking knife. “My trusty blade is protection enough.”

Holy hell. It was a large blade, but she held it too low. He also noticed her arm trembled. She clearly had no idea how to use the blade. One sharp blow to her arm would incapacitate her, and the knife would fall to the ground.

She looked him over and shook her head. “Perhaps I should escort you for your safety.”

He laughed. “That’s rich.”

“Evidently, so are you.”

She’d obviously taken stock of his clothing and deduced he was wealthy. “Come now, I’m a man and far stronger than you. I can defend myself.”

She angled her head. “Have a care, sir. I quickly deduced you have a full purse inside your inner breast pocket. And if I can surmise that this quickly, you can be sure ruffians will, too.”

“You heard the coins jingling while I ran.”

She looked him over. “I wager those boots were made at Hoby’s. They’re worth a fortune. So is all of your clothing. At the very least, you ought to carry one of those canes with a hidden blade. Not everyone is as merciful as I am.”

“You believe I am in danger?” How the devil had this conversation taken such a bizarre turn?

She regarded him with a world of knowledge in her eyes. “Tonight, Sir Galahad, you are far more vulnerable than I am.”

Stunned into silence, he watched her disappear into the wispy fog. Then he reached inside another inner pocket and took out his penknife. A second, longer blade, far more wicked, folded out at the opposite end. He’d kept it hidden because he didn’t want to frighten her. So much for gallantry, he thought wryly. He wrapped the wool scarf around his neck to ward off the chill and continued on his way home, her impertinent green eyes haunting him the entire walk. And damned if they didn’t coax a smile out of him.

Buy Links: Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Nook ~ Books-a-Million ~ iTunes

About Vicky:

Dreiling_Vicky -002 5x7Triple RITA finalist Vicky Dreiling is a confirmed historical romance junkie and Anglophile. Frequent business trips to the UK allowed her to indulge her passion for all things Regency England. Bath, Stonehenge, and Spencer House are among her favorite places. She is, however, truly sorry for accidentally setting off a security alarm in Windsor Castle. That unfortunate incident led her British colleagues to nickname her “Trouble.” Vicky is a native Texan and holds degrees in English literature and marketing.

 

Monday Excerpts

I’m so glad to be able to get back to Monday Excerpts. This is where you get to strut your stuff, or find a new to you author.

Please post the blurb for your current or next release. Buy links are encouraged. If you’re unpublished, post a short excerpt of what you are working on or querying.

A Kiss for Lady MaryHere is mine from A Kiss for Lady Mary which releases on May 26th and is available for pre-order.

Ella Quinn’s bachelors do as they like and take what they want. But when the objects of their desire are bold, beautiful women, the rules of the game always seem to change…

Handsome, charming, and heir to a powerful Viscount, Christopher “Kit” Featherton is everything a woman could want—except interested in marriage. So when he hears that someone on his estate near the Scottish border is claiming to be his wife, Kit sets off to investigate.

                                                                                                                                                             Since After her parents’ death, Lady Mary Tolliver has been hounded by her cousin, a fortune-hunting fool after her inheritance. Refusing to settle for anything less than love, Mary escapes to the isolated estate of rakish bachelor, Kit Featherton. Knowing he prefers Court to the country, she believes she will be safe. But when Kit unexpectedly returns, her pretend marriage begins to feel seductively real…

 

Buy Links.

AmazonAmazon UK ~ B&N ~ iTunes

Now it’s your turn!

Sunday News!

Happy Sunday!! Let start with the winner of Andrea Stein’s book, Fortune’s Horizon. AndreaKStein_FortunesHorizon200Congratulations to Eileen!

 

As you know, we were a marina in Red Hook for about a week. Before we left, this guy came to visit.

Egret 2

We also had a booby land on the dock.

Boobie

We left the dock and anchored in Red Hook Harbor, but with the wake from the ferry boats, and a north swell, that didn’t last long. We are now in Secret Harbor.

Secret Harbor

Secret harbor 4

When we leave here we’ll either go to Christmas Cove or the British Virgin Islands until our new dodger (windshield) is finished. We’re also getting new sunshades and cushions for the cockpit.

Book #8 in The Marriage Game has been sent to my editor. It still doesn’t have a name yet. But I did get the cover for Book #7, Lady Beresford’s Lover.

lady beresford's lover_ebook

Blurb.

Ella Quinn’s bachelors are quite sure of what they want in life—and love—until the right woman opens their eyes…

After a painful heartbreak, Rupert, the handsome young Earl of Stanstead, has decided that when it comes to love, avoidance is best. Until he meets a woman who makes him forget his plan—and remember his longing for a wife and family. Yet he senses that she too has been hurt, though she attempts to hide her feelings—and more—in the most baffling and alluring way. Intrigued, Rupert is willing to play along, if winning her is the prize…

Crushed by her late husband’s scorn, Vivian, Countess of Beresford, believes she is monstrously undesirable. Sadly childless, she has moved to London resigned to a solitary life. Still, when she encounters Rupert at a masquerade ball, her disguise as Cleopatra emboldens her. Convinced he doesn’t recognize her, she begins an after-hours affair with him, always in costume—while allowing him to innocently court the real her by day. But when Rupert makes a shocking choice, will Vivian be able to handle the truth?…

So, what have you been doing this week?

Ella

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 15,857 other followers

%d bloggers like this: