Archive for February, 2015


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 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.


“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.


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.

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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:


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.


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.


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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!

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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.


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


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?


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Please welcome historical author Andrea Stein!! I first met Andrea at an RWA conference and it turns out we have a lot in common. We both snow ski, sail, and write historical romance! So when I discovered that she had a book coming out, I had to have her come visit. Andrea will be giving away a copy of her book, Fortune’s Horizon, to one of you who tell her you want the book.

We will, of course, start with the cover.


Now the blurb.

She risks everything to deliver gold to the Confederacy.

Lillie Coulbourne marks time in Paris while the Civil War rages back home. While translating dispatches for the French Finance Ministry, she accepts a spy mission through the Union blockade. When the captain of the only blockade-runner headed back to a Southern port won’t deal with women, or spies, she sneaks aboard as his cabin boy.

He refuses to risk his ship, or his heart.

Blockade runner Captain Jack Roberts has never been caught and he’s not about to let a spoiled American heiress ruin his perfect record. After he discovers her deception, he fails miserably at keeping her at arm’s length and vows to send her packing on the first mail ship back to England.

When she surprises him with her skill as a seaman and navigator, he grudgingly allows her to finish the run. But ultimately, he has to choose what is closer to his heart – Lillie or his ship.

And an excerpt.

After Martha swept out of the room, Lillie jumped off the bed to find Giselle laying out her clothes. A steaming tub of water tempted her in the far corner. She shed her mud-soaked traveling dress and sank into the water with a sigh of relief. Her maid held her hair up and began skillful spot repair of the mud damage in her heavy, dark curls.

Nothing like a short nap and hot water to lift a girl’s spirits. She had begun to rally her strength when there was a knock at the door. Her maid adjusted the screen around the tub and went to investigate.

“Lillie, you’ll never guess who we’ve drawn for partners.” Sarah’s bright, annoyingly chipper voice floated across the top of the screen.

“Please,” she groaned. “Tell me it’s not the ‘odious one.’”

“Yes, and I’m to go in with his friend, Edward.”

“Is there a gun anywhere out there?”

“Of course not. Why would you ask such a horrible question?”

“I was hoping you could just shoot me and get it over with. At the rate this whole affair is going, I’m probably going to be shot as a spy eventually, anyway. If we do it now, then I won’t have to endure all the torture in between.”

“It’s only dinner,” Sarah said. “We can maneuver them between us at the table so they’ll talk to each other and ignore us.”

Lillie stood, reached for the drying sheet her maid handed her, and moved resolutely toward her clothing.


Buy Link



About Andrea.

author snapAuthor Andrea K. Stein lives and writes at 9,800 feet in the Rocky Mountains, just fifteen minutes from the Continental Divide. A retired newspaper editor, she is a USCG certified sea captain who spent a number of years delivering yachts out of Charleston Harbor to destinations up and down the Caribbean. Many nights her ships were moored near the site where blockade-runners took on loads of cotton for the run back out through the Union blockade during the Civil War.

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Happy Sunday! We have two winners to announce this week. First congratulations to Glenda for winning Julia Tagan’s Stages of Desire, Stages of Desire cover medand to Neva for winning Wendy LaCapra’s giveaway of Elizabeth Essex’s book Almost a Scandal!!







I had a great time on the Florida RWA chapter’s Sun in the Fun Cruise. They were a lovely group of people. I was surprised at how many husband’s were there. I also got to know Julia Quinn. We are actually the same height, but she was wearing heels.

me and JQ

Aside from meals, I pretty much stayed in my cabin writing. I cannot tell you how glorious it was to have three days of almost totally uninterrupted writing and editing. I managed to get through most of the last book in The Marriage Game!

Unfortunately, I returned to St. Thomas to an upset husband. Magen’s Bay was working out well for me, but not for him. So we moved to American Yacht Harbor where we are working our way through more repairs.

Here are some pictures of our new, temporary home. He is much happier now that he has people to talk with and not just a wife you gets angry when he interrupts my writing.

Feathered friend at AYH


I’m off to finish the book. Here is an excerpt of the book I’m working on.

An hour later, Meg, Damon, Georgiana, Sarah, and Alan were practicing their lines for Twelfth Night, when Benson appeared. “Miss Featherton, my lord, the Duke of—”

“Stand aside, man. I told you I don’t need to be announced.” A tall gentleman, who looked to be in his late sixties, pushed the butler aside.

The man’s high-handed rudeness and lack of good breeding was inexcusable. She clamped her lips together to stop herself from engaging in a similar display of incivility. Even without the beginning of the title, Meg would have known exactly who he was. His resemblance to his son was unmistakable. His Grace of Somerset had just thoroughly aroused her fury, and he was about to be taken down a notch or two.

The children lapsed into what had to be stunned silence. They had probably never heard anyone speak to Benson with such distain.

Damon stood, his countenance a mask. If not for the tick in his jaw, she would not have known how angry he was, and she fought keep her temper under control. A fight she might very well lose.

Meg took the hand he held out, rose, curtseyed, and raised a brow just as she had seen the dowager duchess do. No one could suppress pretentions and bad behavior better and more quickly than her grace. “Somerset, I presume.” She glanced at Benson. “I shall apologize for his grace’s conduct as it is clear he will not. You may leave us now.”



Tell me what you did while I was gone.


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I am so excited to have my friend and fellow welcome historical author, Wendy LaCapra to the blog!! Wendy is a Golden Heart finalist, and she is here to tell you about her debut novel, Lady Vice!! In a bit of a twist on giveaways, and because Wendy’s novel is not on pre-sale, she is giving away a copy of Elizabeth Essex’s Almost a Scandal, which is the first book in her fabulous Reckless Brides series: “Bold, brazen, and beautiful, the Reckless Brides refuse to play by society’s rules of courtship. But-come hell or high water-they always get their man.” Just leave a comment telling her you want the book! Unfortunately, print books are limited to the US and Canada.

First the amazing cover!!


Now the blurb:

Not every lady plays by the rules.

Lady Lavinia Vaile knows what happens to a woman who puts her faith in society. For her, it was a disastrous marriage to a depraved man-one she threatened to shoot when she left him. Now Lavinia lives outside of society’s strict conventions, hosting private gambling parties. It’s only when her husband is shot dead that Lavinia finds herself in terrible danger…

A former judge in India’s high court, Maximilian Harrison will do anything he can to help Lavinia. In the darkest of times, he held on to thoughts of her and the love they once shared. Now he risks his own position in society―along with his ambitions―in order to clear her name. Yet as desire reignites between them, Lavinia remains caught up in secrets and shame. Her only salvation is to do the unthinkable…and trust in both Maximilian and love.

And finally an excerpt!

Max had found heaven—or, perhaps he had found hell. He was not completely convinced of which, knowing only he floated in the hazy glow of tender—

Good God. When have I ever used the word tender?

He rolled to his side and fitted Lavinia against his heart, concentrating on her pulse. Her soft breath fanned his skin, and his thoughts dissipated into a pool of languid oblivion.

“You said you knew this would happen,” she whispered.

Stalling for time, he kissed the tips of each of her slender fingers.

“Until I saw you, I was not certain how either of us would react.” He paused to kiss her palm. “But I always hoped.”

If she were to parse his words, she would notice he had avoided her question. Of course he had not known, but it would be a lie to say he had not been driven by a kind of irrational desire.

Her lids fell and her gaze gentled. She looked dreamy. Perhaps she was from Elfhame after all, a fairy princess playing in mortal form. Never in his life had he seen, nor would he see, anything so beautiful.

She sat up. Her hair swished like a curtain, falling over her breasts. Her tiny palms pressed his cheeks. With her fingernails, she etched small patterns beneath his ears as she lowered her lips.

A gentle kiss—sweet and supple.

She leaned away, smiled demurely, and stretched. He sensed she reached for something she could not quite grasp. He understood. A powerful surge of yearning stole his breath.

No matter how much he felt like crowing, his elation brought him no closer to truly making Lavinia his than she had been when he was thousands of miles away. They had stolen an act of love, but he wanted to make her his in truth—not just in private, but for the entire world to see—a gentleman and his lady.

“So here we are, lying on a bed covering I carried across the continents for you—”

She laughed. “You sailed home.”

“Across one continent, then.”

Another laugh. In Lady Sophiaʼs garden, he had despaired of ever glimpsing the Vinia he had known. This was the second time heʼd seen her carefree. He clasped her hand tightly, so very grateful to have been wrong.

“So” he continued, “when this is over…”

A sudden, nervous uncertainty massed in his throat, killing his words. Who was he to a fairy princess that she should condescend to his petition? He rested on his arm and drew her hair to the side, exposing her neck. He placed a kiss on her shoulderʼs curve.

“Umm, that feels lovely.”

“Shh, Vinia,” he said, allowing his courage to build.

“Am I to be kissed and not heard?” she asked, teasingly.

“No, never. But interrupting is rude.”

“Apologies,” she said, grinning.

“Accepted.” What he wouldnʼt do to capture that smile. “So, as I was saying”—He swallowed—“when this is over, will you make an honest man of me?”

Release Date & Link

Release Date March 9th. Book page link: http://www.wendylacapra.com/mybooks/
Netgalley request link: http://bit.ly/1zNvD4y


About Wendy:

?????????????Wendy LaCapra has been reading romance since she sneaked into the adult section at the library and discovered Victoria Holt & Jane Aiken Hodge.  From that point on, she dreamed of creating fictional worlds with as much richness, intrigue and passion as she found within those books. Her stories have placed in several contests, including the a 2012 Golden Heart®. She lives in NYC with her husband and loves to hear from readers.

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Please welcome historical author Julia Tagan back to the blog! Julia is here to tell us about her latest book, Stages of Desire. She is also giving away a copy of the book to one of you. All you have to do is leave a comment saying you want it.

First the intriguing cover.

Stages of Desire cover med

The blurb:

To be or not to be—in love…

As a ward of the Duchess of Dorset, Harriet can hardly expect more from a match than the ringing endorsement of “from what I’ve heard, the man is financially secure and his teeth are quite regular.” After all, she’s only the lowly daughter of traveling actors, not the actual daughter of the duchess.

William Talbot, Earl of Abingdon is set to marry the duchess’s daughter. After his elder brother’s scandalous death, his family’s reputation is paramount, and he’ll allow nothing to damage it again. But when Harriet disappears to save her father from debtor’s prison, the scandal threatens William and his intended’s family.

The simple task of fetching the duchess’s runaway ward turns complicated when Harriet insists on traveling with her father’s acting company. William’s forced to tag along, and finds himself entranced. The stage transforms Harriet into a free-spirited, captivating beauty. But someone’s been sabotaging the theater company, and instead of facing scandal, William and Harriet discover a threat not only to their growing passion, but to their lives…

And an excerpt:

London, 1808

“From what I’ve heard, the man is financially secure and his teeth are quite regular,” announced Eleanor, Duchess of Dorset.

Harriet Farley, the duchess’s ward, smiled wanly, trying to be as polite as she could under the circumstances. The ballroom brimmed with young women coiffed and adorned to perfection and men whose gazes darted toward the prettiest. Although normally Harriet preferred lingering along the perimeter, tonight she was to be introduced to a promising suitor, handpicked by the duchess herself. For the first time, she’d take part in the ritual of courtship instead of observing from the duchess’s side. Her moment had come.

Then why did she feel like a hare caught in a trap?

The aroma of Pear’s soap and perfume wafted through the crowd. Harriet dabbed her handkerchief under the lace trim of the neckline of her gown but stopped when the duchess furrowed her brow. After six years of living under the same roof, Harriet was keenly attuned to the woman’s slightest sign of irritation.

“I’m sure he’s lovely, Your Grace,” said Harriet. “I trust your judgment when it comes to these matters.”

The duchess shrugged and snapped open her fan, obviously pleased. Harriet’s guardian had a regal profile as would befit the wife of the Duke of Dorset, even though his sudden death three years earlier had taken its toll on the duchess’s loveliness. The family’s recent financial woes had no doubt exacerbated the deep lines etched on her forehead. Harriet could never repay their generosity, taking her in when she was twelve years old, yet now she could do something to help. Or so she hoped.

The duchess scanned the room like a sea captain looking for signs of land. “We’ll wait until Marianne’s betrothal is settled, and you’ll be next.”

“Of course, Your Grace.” Harriet wiggled her toes and winced. The first order of business once she was married would be to buy slippers that fit, not ones intended to make her too-large feet appear dainty.

“You’ve been an agreeable companion to Lady Marianne, and now, if luck has it, you’ll be an agreeable wife to the sixth son of a baron.”

“I’m excited to meet Mr. Hopplehill.” Harriet swayed back slightly, so her heels, not her toes, supported her body weight.

“Act at ease, my girl. You stand so stiffly one would think you’re a marble sculpture.”

She shifted her weight forward, trying to comply.

“Now you’re slumping. Oh, for heaven’s sake. You must have picked up some semblance of proper conduct from Marianne.”

Tears stung her eyes and she took a calming breath. She hadn’t been born into the ton, and evenings like these only reinforced her sense of inadequacy. The other girls were like lap dogs, brushed and pampered and pirouetting for biscuits, while she was more of the loyal hunting dog, happier loping across fields and braying.


The heat must be affecting her thinking.

Buy Links:

Amazon ~ B&NApple ~ Kobo


Most of us think that malaria strikes only in super-hot climates like India and Africa. But in Regency-era England, where my romance Stages of Desire takes place, malaria was still rampant in the swamps and coastland. Even worse, the standard treatment at the time, made from the bark of the cinchona tree, tasted awful and wasn’t all that effective.

So when I decided to make my hero, William, Earl of Abingdon, a trained physician (he came into the title when his brother unexpectedly died), I also gave his dear sister malaria. Mean of me, I know. But William’s desperate to find a better treatment, and, luckily for him, the early 1800s were chock full of innovations in medicine.

In real life, two Frenchmen discovered how to extract quinine from cinchona in 1820, resulting in a much more effective and concentrated treatment. Taking quite a bit of artistic license, William teams up with an apothecary to figure out the process. When it came down to researching the precise details, I scoured technical papers that left me scratching my head before turning to my chemical engineer father for a lesson in “Extraction for Dummies.”

I loved the idea of mashing up history and fiction to give the plot a jot of reality. What innovations or discoveries have you enjoyed reading about in historical romances?

About Julia:

Julia Tagan smallJulia Tagan is based in New York City, where she worked as an actress before venturing into writing. A journalist by training, she enjoys weaving actual events and notorious individuals into her historical romances. Her favorite activities include walking her dog in Central Park, scouring farmers’ markets for the perfect tomato, and traveling to foreign cities in search of inspiration.


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Welcome to Sunday News!

Let’s start with this week’s winners. Congratulations to Joanna for winning Jacki’s ebook. A Code of the Heart

and to Lori H for winning a copy of one of her audio books!!

I have been slammed with deadlines this week. First the copy edits for Lady Beresford’s Lover which will release in July.

Here is an excerpt.

“I need to speak with you.”

Punt nodded, and supervised setting out Vivian’s breakfast. She’d been hungry before, but now her stomach twisted itself into knots.

“You’re up before times. Are you feeling better?”

“I am wonderful and well rested.” There was no point in not being forthright. After all, she was a grown woman and a widow. “I need you to accompany me to the land agent.”

“About a house?” Punt’s lips pressed together in disapproval, and Vivian ignored it.

“About a town house.” She sat at the square table near the windows overlooking the garden, and poured her tea, adding two sugars and milk. She wasn’t able to meet her maid’s eyes, but said in an even tone, as if every day she told Punt that she was going to try to have an affair, “I have decided to have a liaison with Lord Stanstead, and I shall need your help.” The room was so still, so silent, it was deafening. Vivian took a sip and swallowed. Blackmail it was. “If you won’t help me, I’ll be forced to find someone who will.”

After several more uncomfortable moments, Punt finally said, “You’ve thought about this, have you?”

Vivian’s heart pounded in her chest. “A great deal.”

“I don’t suppose you’d . . . no, never mind.” Punt shrugged. “If that’s what you want, I can’t have you trusting yourself to strangers, and someone’s got to look out for you.”

Vivian let out the breath she’d been holding. This was really going to happen.

I also had the galleys for A Kiss for Lady Mary to do.


The second day of May 1816, London, England

My dearest Constance,

I am distraught at the idea that you will miss another Season. London is always so diverting. However, I fully understand your concern over your granddaughter. It would be far better for her if we could get her settled. Speaking of which, Featherton has finally lost patience with his heir and is insisting he wed soon. We have long spoken of a match between our houses. Could it be the time has come for us to step in and arrange a union?

Your devoted Friend,

Lucinda, Dowager Viscountess Featherton.


The tenth day of May 1816, Near Market Harborough, England

My dear Lucinda,

I believe you are correct. I cannot think of a better match for my Mary than your Kit. We must plan carefully. There is also the matter of her cousin. He is still stalking her. If only there was a safe place for her to hide until her situation can be resolved.

Your friend as always,

Constance, Dowager Duchess of Bridgewater

I love these two ladies so much I brought them back for the last book in the series. Which needs to be finished in three weeks.

This next week I’m off to the Fun in the Sun Conference where I’m giving a class on Regency customs and manners. Because I’ll be on a cruise ship, I won’t be able to post next Sunday. However, Please stop by on Friday when my guest author is Julia Tagen!

Until then, here is a picture of Little Magen’s.

Little magens

What have you been doing, and what do you have planned?



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