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Archive for the ‘excerpts’ Category

Today is a free for all. Post any excerpt of up to 600 words as well as your buy links or social media information.

lady beresford's lover_ebookHere is mine from Lady Beresford’s Lover which just went on pre-order.

Rupert tried not to grin as Wigman, his valet, plucked an invisible piece of lint from Rupert’s jacket. It was a ritual they had gone through every day since he was sixteen, when his grandfather Stanstead had insisted Rupert have a valet. Some gentlemen would probably become annoyed with such fussiness, but he believed in encouraging everyone to perform their duties to the best of their abilities. If that meant a few moments’ delay in dressing, so be it. “Am I presentable, Wigman?”

“None more so, my lord.” Wigman gave a small sigh. “I do regret that Mr. Brummell was allowed to hold sway over gentlemen’s clothing. There was nothing like a nice lace cuff or velvet jacket to show a gentleman to perfection.”

“I have no doubt you are correct.” Truth be told, Rupert thought the previous styles had some merit. “Though, I do have an aversion to wigs and hair powder.”

“I must agree with you regarding that particular affectation, my lord.” He handed Rupert his watch fob and quizzing glass. “You are fortunate that you do not require padding. One could more easily disguise additions to a gentleman’s physique before the styles changed so drastically.”

“Fortunate indeed.” Rupert clamped his lips together. If he didn’t depart immediately, he’d be subject to the litany of faults in Wigman’s previous employers. “I have no idea when I’ll return.”

“Yes, my lord.”

Rupert strode out of his Grosvenor Square town house to the waiting town coach. He’d considered walking to Robert’s home on Berkeley Square, but dark clouds had hung low all afternoon, and the scent of rain was in the air. Not to mention arriving at his cousin’s house for their first ball, soaked, was not a wonderful idea. Rupert settled on the soft brown leather seat, a footman closed the door, and his coachman started forward.

He attempted to tamp down the feeling that something momentous was about to happen. His parents and Robert were most likely correct that he wouldn’t meet anyone he didn’t already know. Still, he couldn’t help a surge of excitement when the carriage came to a stop. Somewhere the perfect lady was out there waiting for him. All he had to do was find her.

The coach door opened, and he caught a glimpse of pale blue skirts moving up the steps before they disappeared into the house. The urge to chase after her, whoever she was, was almost too strong to resist. Rupert could feel his pulse beating a tattoo against his cravat; still, he forced himself to calmly take his place in the line. What were the chances it was the same woman who had watched him as he traversed the Mount Street Gardens? Surely she wouldn’t wear the same gown to a ball, yet he had noticed that when a lady favored a certain color, she wore it more often than she did others.

He was being absurd. Even a bit mad. Rupert knew absolutely nothing about the woman, not how old she was, or if she was married, or what she looked like, or if it was indeed the same female. In addition, there were a great many people between him and the lady in blue. Yet there was some force pushing him forward, necessitating that he follow her.

Buy Links: Amazon ~ B&N

 

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I hope you all had a wonderful Easter and a great rest of the week!

We have a lot of book winners, so let’s start there.

 

Congratulations

Congratulations to bn100 for winning a copy of Cara Elliott’s book, Liette for wining a copy of Collette Cameron’s book, Beverly for winning a copy of Jenna Jaxon’s book, Patricia for winning Jacki’s Delecki’s book, and Anna for winning a copy of Christi Caldwell’s book!!

We’ve been on the move, but I’ve been making sure to carve out time to write the first novella in The Worthingtons, and do some thinking about the third book in the series. This is a very rough draft from the third book.

Measles?” Lady Louisa Vivers exclaimed. “All three of them?”

Lady Charlotte Carpenter sank onto the sofa in the parlor they shared. “Yes, Theo, Mary and Philip. According to Jane and your mama, the others have already had them.”

“Will that put off Grace and Matt’s trip to Worthington?” Grace, Charlotte’s sister had recently married Louisa’s brother, the Earl of Worthington. All ten children, except Charlie who was at Eton,  and Louisa’s mother, were living in the Carpenter family townhouse across Berkeley Square from their house while it was being renovated.

Charlotte grimaced. “There is no choice. Renovations must be started in the schoolroom there as well.”

Both she and Charlotte were half way through their first Season. Louisa chewed her lip. “Well, I suppose we should write notes excusing ourselves from the entertainments we’d planned to attend.” Rubbing her forehead, she glanced at the writing table. “What a bother. Why did they have to choose now to fall ill?”

Charlotte let out a peel of laughter. “That is almost exactly what Matt said.”

lady beresford's lover_ebookIn other book news. Lady Beresford’s Lover has finally come out on pre-order. I haven’t done a pre-order celebration in a while, so it is past time. The first person who posts any of the buy links from anywhere in the world, will receive a copy of Lady Beresford’s Lover when it releases.

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?…

I also have a couple of  favors to ask of you. If you haven’t signed up for my newsletter, please do. I’d also love it if you could like my author page, provided, of course, that you haven’t done it already. http://www.facebook.com/ellaquinnauthor.

Sadly, we had to leave St. Martin for a while, but we did stock up on wine, cheese, and a couple of baguettes. Leaving St. Martinla boulangerie et patisserie 2015-03-28

We arrived fourteen hours later in St. John, but only stayed two nights.

Little Lamesure Bay, St. John

 

We’re now at Christmas Cover awaiting our enclosures.

Christmas Cove 2015-04-12

By next weekend we will be in Culebra, Puerto Rico for a very short stay before sailing up to the Bahamas.

What have you been up to this week?

 

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Please welcome Jacki back to the blog!! She has a boxes set for us today!

Let’s start with the cover!

JackiDelecki_TheCodebreakersSeries_3DBundle1400[1]

 

Now the blurbs.

The Code Breaker Series Box Set

Men and women from the class of privilege and rank risk their lives to defend England against the treacherous designs of Napoleon. They confront disaster, scandal, and passion as they pursue their code of honor and love.

Book One: A CODE OF LOVE

Threatened by French spies, assassins, and calculating suitors, can Lady Henrietta Harcourt trust the infamous rake, Lord Cordelier Rathbourne, with her carefully guarded family secrets?

Book Two: A CHRISTMAS CODE

Lady Gwyneth Beaumont has long awaited the opportunity to show Viscount James Ashworth that she is no longer the impetuous child who dogged his footsteps. Now a much sought-after debutante, she is determined to prove to the hard-headed rake that she is a grown woman and a worthy participant in both the spy game and the game of love.

Book THREE: A CODE OF THE HEART

When Miss Amelia Bonnington unwittingly stumbles upon a smuggling ring in the modiste shop of her good friend, it is up to Lord Derrick Brinsley to save her. Can the disreputable rake and undercover agent prevent the French from stealing the Royal Navy’s deadly weapon and find love with the only woman capable of redeeming him?

And the excerpts!

A Code of Love:

Prologue

1802, Paris

Lord Michael Ormond Harcourt crept along the darkened passageway. He had earned his reputation as a brilliant code breaker, but never before had he ventured into the realm of housebreaker. Henrietta was going to be furious not to be part of tonight’s exciting intrigue.

He strained to listen for the sounds of the house in the wee hours of the morning. He heard nothing but his heartbeat pounding in his ears. Reassured he was the only one about, he allowed himself to release the breath he had been holding since he sneaked into Gaston Le Chiffre’s house. He moved down the narrow corridor to his French colleague’s office.

He had only been in Paris a fortnight when he developed suspicions about Gaston–a series of sensations, hushed silences when he walked into a room, the papers on his desk seeming to have been moved, and the persistent feeling he was being followed.

The final impetus to search Gaston’s office came yesterday with the arrival of an anonymous note: “Something’s afoot.”

He gingerly opened the office door, inspecting the darkened corners before he entered. The dying fire cast shadows on the book-lined walls. A log shifted. The small crash startled him, causing his heart to thump against his chest.

He closed the door and moved to the center of the room, lit a taper, and placed it in the holder on the desk, then shuffled through the neat stacks of papers. He opened drawers, searching the contents.

He ran his hand across the smooth mahogany surface of the desk then passed his fingers along the rough underside. There he found a slightly recessed area in the far corner. His fingers

returned to the uneven surface. Applying pressure, there was a sudden give, followed by a compartment popping open on the top of the desk.

The secret compartment contained a leather book. He scanned the room before he removed the worn volume. He had never seen a code quite like this one: French scrawl preceded by endless rows of numbers. This French puzzle was better than a wrapped Christmas present. He stuffed the incredible find into his waistband. He would crack the code in the safety of his room, then return the book to its hiding place, all before Gaston awoke.

He blew out the taper and left the office. He backtracked through Gaston’s garden. Carefully closing the garden gate, he entered the alley. The mixture of fog and smoke from the city’s coal fires blanketed the city. He could see no more than a few feet ahead. The cloying darkness muffled the distant voices, the clatter of carriage wheels, and horses’ hooves.

Approaching the street, he slowed his pace. Hanging lanterns illuminated the walkway where he emerged from the unlit alley.

He turned and walked toward his house. In the thick fog, the sound of his footsteps resonated, booming with each step.

The hairs on his neck prickled when he heard another set of footsteps shuffling behind him. With only a few yards to reach home, he ran, never pausing to look back.

With his right hand, he reached into his greatcoat for his pistol; with his left, he lunged for the doorknob.

The report of a pistol echoed down the street. An intense heat penetrated his awareness. He stumbled forward.

The door opened from the inside. The lights around Denby, his manservant, gave him an angelic halo.

“Close the door, man.”

“My lord, what is it?”

“I’ve been shot.” The room grew dimmer. “Get this book to Hen.”

A Christmas Code:

Chapter One

Hot and breathless from performing the newly imported French dance steps of the quadrille, Gwyneth paused during the break in the music. She fanned her heated cheeks repeatedly, attempting to cool herself. Lord Henley glanced down at her. His lips were tight, his eyes dark with need. She had seen the same look on the faces of many men, but never on the face of the only man who mattered.

She wanted to see the same burning desire and possessiveness in the eyes of her childhood infatuation as she knew blazed in her eyes when she looked at the impossible but dazzling Viscount Ashworth.

The gentleman, newly arrived, had barely glanced at her despite the new gown made especially to entice the hard-headed rake. Her friend and dress designer, Amelia, obsessed with the simplicity of Greek togas, had crisscrossed sky blue silk across Gwyneth’s ample chest with a dramatic décolletage. The back of the gown was draped in the same manner with a revealing V. It was a simple design, but sensual in the way the fabric clung to her body.

She felt alluring and hopeful that tonight Ash would finally throw off all the restraints. She had felt his eyes on her back, knowing he watched her as she gaily danced the intricate pattern she had recently learned from her French dance master.

Lord Henley offered his arm as the quadrille ended. “May I take you to the refreshment table for a glass of punch? This new French dance is very demanding.”

“Thank you. I’m not thirsty. Can you please take me to my dear friend, Miss Bonnington?”

Lord Henley’s eyes clouded with emotion. Gwyneth couldn’t refuse the dance, but she needed to escape the gentleman before he embarrassed himself. She wanted to spare him the pain of rejection. After five marriage proposals this season, she had become somewhat of an expert in recognizing the signs of imminent declaration.

Lord Henley escorted Gwyneth to Amelia, who had also finished dancing and now stood alone.

“Thank you, sir, for the dance.” Gwyneth did a brief curtsy.

Lord Henley bowed. “It was my pleasure.” He hesitated, then sharply nodded his head. She didn’t want to be unkind, but there was no reason to pretend interest and encourage hope when there was none.

They watched Lord Henley circle to the other side of the room.

Amelia hid her face behind her fan, her bright eyes dancing in merriment. “Another stricken gentleman.”

“I believe he was about to ask if he could call on my brother tomorrow. I think I did an excellent job of extricating myself before Lord Henley declared his feelings.”

“Lord Henley is quite a catch. He’s heir to a vast fortune. His interest can’t be limited only to your dowry.”

“Thank you. I’m glad it isn’t only money that makes me attractive.” Gwyneth liked to believe it was her wit, her sparkling eyes, but she knew her position as sister to an earl and heiress to a hefty inheritance gave her a definite cache with the gentleman. And it was just like Amelia to tease her.

“Your following of swains has nothing to do with your luscious figure, your dramatic looks, or your amiable personality. My unique skill as a designer has brought all these gentleman to swoon at your feet.” Amelia snickered, which made Gwyneth laugh.

Tears were running down Gwyneth’s cheeks. “You do know how to level a woman’s confidence.”

The comment drove both to louder laughter.

Gwyneth noticed that Ash had turned in her direction. He smiled.

Lost in the merriment, she smiled back before she remembered her resolution not to appear as a puppy, waiting at his feet for a pat on the head. She could hide her feelings as well as he did. Forbidden by some unwritten gentleman’s code, Ash considered her off limits. She wasn’t sure if it was the age difference of eight years, his rakish past, or her position as his best friend’s younger sister.

He still kept her at a distance, maintaining that she was a mere youngster and they were simply childhood friends. She had spent the entire season trying to convince him otherwise, but she was tiring of the game.

A Code of the Heart:

Prologue

Edworth House Party

Christmas Eve, 1802

 

Amelia Bonnington braced herself as the crowd bumped and pushed, straining to get close to His Highness. The crème of society shoved and elbowed, politely-of-course, since one would never want to be accused of bad manners.

The Prince of Wales stood on a small platform elaborately decorated with heavy boughs of greenery and red velvet, matching the Christmas décor of the massive ballroom. Hundreds of beeswax candles burned. No expense had been spared for the house party celebrating his royal visit.

Amelia had no desire to be part of the prince’s circle; they were a ghastly group who were only interested in themselves and their own pleasure.

She sucked in the little air left in the room and pushed, courteously-of-course, toward the door. The crowd and the heat were unbearable. She wasn’t one to swoon, but with the thick mix of perfume and the hot bodies, she felt tonight might be her first. She, one of the steadiest women, felt unsteady and unsafe. The last days of upheaval must have had a greater effect on her than she had wanted to believe.

Her whole world had been turned upside down and twisted sideways at this house party. In the last two days, her friends had been poisoned and kidnapped, and she had been ensnared in the French villain’s trap. But the deadly crisis had to be kept secret. Nothing must look out of the ordinary. No one outside the intelligence world ever know about the enemy’s threat to the prince’s life. The ball must go on.

Amelia looked over her shoulder for the closest exit, but the throng pushed her forward. She needed to escape from the packed room.

A gentleman used the chaos in the crowded room, to crash into her, to take liberties with her person. After spending the last four years in congested ballrooms, she fully recognized the scoundrel’s ploy. His heavy eyelids didn’t conceal his hungry eyes, focused down her décolletage. As his eyes remained fixated on her breasts, he grabbed her elbow, pretending to help her when in fact he intended to pull her close against his hefty, malodorous body.

His reek of stale alcohol and sour sweat constricted her stomach and burned her throat. She pulled her arm away from his grasp, repulsed by the wetness seeping through his gloves. “Sir, release me this instant.”

She was about to dig her heel into the supposed gentleman’s fat toe when suddenly a space opened around her and a smell of fresh lime soap surrounded her.

The perspiring man stared behind her. His slack mouth and his blood-shot eyes widened in fear.

She recognized Lord Brinsley’s scent without needing to turn; he was an impossibly difficult, yet irresistibly appealing man. His deep, velvety voice flitted down her skin like a caress. “Miss Amelia, may I escort you away from this mob?”

Relief and something much more potent buzzed all her nerve endings. She turned quickly and found herself pressed against the broad chest of the man she had been forced to conspire with to save her friends.

She hastily straightened herself. “I never thought I’d be happy to see you.” She refused to be like all the other women who fawned for his slightest glance.

He lifted an eyebrow and the corner of his mouth in that sardonic way she always found irritating. He was too big, too handsome, and too confident for her to find him irresistible. She’d never let him have the satisfaction of knowing she found him…almost irresistible.

 

 

Buy links: Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Kobo

 

About Jacki:

HeadShot_SmallJacki Delecki is a bestselling romantic suspense writer. Delecki’s Grayce Walters Series, which chronicles the adventures of a Seattle animal acupuncturist, was an editor’s selection by USA Today. Delecki’s Romantic Regency The Code Breaker Series hit number one on Amazon. Both acclaimed series are available for purchase at http://www.JackiDelecki.com.

To learn more about Jacki and her books and to be the first to hear about giveaways join her newsletter found on her website. Follow her on FB—Jacki Delecki; Twitter @jackidelecki.

 

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Please welcome historical author Jenna Jaxon back to the blog. Jenna writes medieval, Georgian, and Regency romances. She is here today to show you her cover for her latest book, Only Marriage Will Do! As the book will not be out until June 9th, Jenna will give away a copy of the first book in the series, Only Scandal Will Do. Simply leave a comment saying you’d like the book.

First will start with the cover.

Marriage

Next the blurb.

Not every happy-ever-after begins at “I do.”

When the hero of her dreams rescues Lady Juliet Ferrers from the man claiming to be her husband, she is sure she has found her one true love.  But is she free to marry him?  Not to be deterred, Juliet arranges for her hero, Captain Amiable Dawson, to escort her to her family estate, hoping that along the way she can win his love.

Amiable is charmed by the sweet, beautiful woman he rescued, and although he has grave reservations about her marital status, he allows himself to be swept up into Juliet’s romantic spell and the promise of a happy-ever-after.

The spell breaks when legal questions arise and Juliet faces the horror of not knowing if she is married to her knight in shining armor or the cruel viscount who is determined to have her at any price.

Now an excerpt.

London July 2, 1761

The brass lion-head knocker under Amiable Dawson’s hand sent a sharp rap through the dark walnut door of Dunham House for the second time. The hot July sun hadn’t done his temper any good as he waited on the marble stoop for entrance to the Marquess of Dalbury’s townhouse. He’d been in a foul mood ever since the news of his beloved Katarina’s marriage to the marquess had reached him. Blast it to hell, he was supposed to have married the girl. At least he could make sure she was well and well taken care of by this man she had married.

At last a short, dark-haired maid opened the door. She took one look at him, gasped, and stepped back into the house. Her eyes widened and she glanced to her right, wringing her hands. “Who may I say—”

A man shouted from within. “No, I do not believe you.”

“It is true, I tell you!” A woman’s voice, raised and sharp with terror, sent a chill through Amiable.

Katarina. What in God’s name?

He barged past the stunned girl and strode down the hall toward the commotion. He burst through the doorway, expecting to defend the woman he loved, only to stop dead at the sight of a man lunging across a sofa and grasping a woman by the wrist. Amiable had half drawn his sword before he realized the woman was not Katarina, but a complete stranger. He dropped it back into its scabbard. This was none of his affair.

The young man, foppishly dressed in a robin’s egg blue satin coat dripping too many layers of frothy lace at throat and wrists looked at Amiable, a snarl on his lips.

Taking advantage of the distraction, the woman wrenched her arm from the man’s grip. “Praise God. Here he is.” She staggered as she righted herself. “Now you will have to believe me, Philippe.”

The fop scrambled back off the sofa and groped for a black lacquer walking stick that lay on the floor. Lips pressed together, he glowered at the woman. “That remains to be seen, ma chere. In any case, I have shown you the papers. They speak for themselves.”

The woman ran from behind the sofa to Amiable’s side, grazed a kiss over his cheek and whispered, “For God’s sake, help me. I am alone here and he is trying to take me away. Please, agree with whatever I say.”

Smiling into her pleading face, he grasped her hands and gave them a gentle squeeze to signal his acquiescence. “Whatever is the matter, my dear?” Hell if he knew. But he could play his part, even with little information. Let the lady lead and he’d follow as well as he could.

The woman smiled then took a deep breath. “My dear, may I present Viscount St. Cyr?” She nodded toward the fop. “Philippe, this is my husband, the Earl of Manning.”

Buy Links.   Amazon ~  Barnes & Noble

About Jenna.

 

Jenna Jaxon is a multi-published author of historical and contemporary romance.  Her historical romance, Only Scandal Will Do, the first in a series of five interconnecting novels, was released in July 2012. Her contemporary works include Hog Wild, Almost Perfect, and 7 Days of Seduction. She is a PAN member of Romance Writers of America as well as a member of Chesapeake Romance Writers. Her medieval romance, Time Enough to Love, is being published this summer as a series of three novellas. The first book, Betrothal, will release on April 19th.

 

Jenna 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.

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

 

 

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I hope you’re having or had a wonderful Easter weekend!! Do you have an animal in your story? If so, post an except with the beastie in it. If not, pick any excerpt and post it. Buy links are welcome.

Here is my excerpt from Lady Beresford’s Lover, which releases in July.

lady beresford's lover_ebookVivian strolled into the parlor. It was well appointed with walls and curtains matching the ones in the bedroom. On one wall, long windows flanked a French window which led to a small balcony where one had the promised views of the park. A chaise rested along the inside wall, two comfortable-looking chairs stood before the fireplace, and a writing desk was situated between two windows on the other outside wall.

“I’ve got the fire going in your bedchamber,” the housekeeper said. “If you want I’ll have the one here lit as well. Your bath will be up in just a bit.”

“Thank you.” Vivian smiled. “I don’t believe I will want a fire here until later. Do you know if my maid arrived?”

“Yes, my lady. I believe she’s pressing some of your clothes, and your cat’s around here somewhere. I saw a footman bring her up. Shall I send your dresser to you?”

“Not at the moment.” Vivian glanced at the balcony, wanting to get a better look at it. “I will not require her until my bath is ready. Could you please bring me some tea? I find I’m quite parched.”

“As you wish, my lady.” Mrs. Murchison bobbed a curtsey, then left the room.

Vivian opened the windows, stepping out onto the balcony. A small table and two chairs were situated off to the side. Gisila paced up to her and chirped. Vivian scratched the cat’s head, then placed her hands on the wrought iron rail and stretched, sniffing the air.

“What do you think, Gisila? It is not as clean as in the country but not as bad as the other parts of London we passed through.”

Gisila sat and stared up at Vivian with large yellow eyes.

“I’m sure Hall will have found a place for your toilet.” She sniffed. Actually what she smelled was roses. Sweet with spicy facets. Looking down, she spied a trellis of pink roses. If nothing else, she would enjoy these rooms.

Glancing over at the Mount Street Gardens, a tall man striding as if he would be late captured her attention. He stopped and removed his hat for a moment, giving her a glimpse of his curly, pale blond hair. Even at this distance, something about him was compelling. His dark jacket appeared molded to his torso, and a well-made torso it was. Tight pantaloons encased his muscular legs. She couldn’t drag her eyes away from him.

Then he looked up, almost right at her. Oh Lord, she’d been caught! Vivian ducked back into the parlor, hiding behind the curtains. Had he seen her? Inching forward, she peered out again, but he was gone.

Now it’s your turn!!

 

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Please welcome the lovely Collette Cameron back to the blog. She is here today to promote her latest release, Wagers Gone Awry, Book 1 in the Conundrums of the Misses Culpepper. Collette is also giving away a copy of her book to one of you. All you have to do is leave a comment saying you want it.

With out further to do, here is the cover!

UPDATEDWagersGoneAwry_400x600

Here is the blurb.

Brooke Culpepper resigned herself to spinsterhood when she turned down the only marriage proposal she’d likely ever receive to care for her family. After her father dies, a distant cousin inherits the estate and becomes their guardian but permits Brooke to act in his stead.

Heath, Earl of Ravensdale is none-too-pleased to discover five young women call the dairy farm he won and intends to sell, their home. Desperate, pauper poor, and with nowhere to go, Brooke proposes a wager. His stakes? The farm. Hers? Her virtue. The land holds no interest for Heath, but Brooke does and he accepts her challenge.

And an excerpt.

Lord Ravensdale’s women probably washed with perfumed soap. Expensive, perfumed bars from France. Pink or yellow, or maybe blue and shaped like flowers.

Why the notion rankled, Brooke refused to examine. Except, here she stood attired like a country bumpkin covered in dog and cat hair, with her curls tied in a haphazard knot and ink stains on her fingers. She couldn’t even provide his lordship a decent repast or light a candle to guide him to the study, let alone produce a dram of whisky or brandy to warm his insides.

Nonetheless, his favor they … she must win.

She straightened her spine, determined to act the part of a gracious hostess if it killed her.

“Sir, you should take off your coat. It’s soaked through.”

While his lordship busied himself removing his gloves, she studied him. High cheekbones gave way to a molded jaw and a mouth much too perfect to belong to a man. A small scar marred the left side of his square chin. How had he come by it?

She could almost envision him, grinning and legs braced, on the rolling deck of a pirate ship, the furious waves pounding against the vessel as the wind whipped his hair.

Stop it!

Hand on his sword, he would throw his head back and laugh, the corded muscles in his neck bulging; a man in command against nature’s wrath.

“The ride here turned most unpleasant.”

Lord Ravensdale’s melodic baritone sent her cavorting pirate plunging off the side of the fantasy ship and into the churning waves. Brooke clamped her teeth together. What ailed her? She’d never been prone to fanciful imaginations.

After tucking his wet gloves into his pocket, his lordship unbuttoned his tobacco-brown overcoat.

Almost the same color as his eyes.

Buy Links: Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Kobo ~ IBooks ~ Google Play

About Collette.

Collette CameronBestselling, award-winning author, Collette Cameron, has a BS in Liberal Studies and a Master’s in Teaching. Author of the Castle Brides Series. Highland Heather Romancing a Scot Series, and Conundrums of the Misses Culpepper 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 and cobalt blue. 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.

 

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Usually we focus on the heroine and hero, but I though it would be fun to let our secondary characters shine today. If you have buy links or social media links, please post them as well.

A Kiss for Lady MaryHere two of mine from A Kiss for Lady Mary. Lady Eunice Phipson, is my heroine’s aunt and Mr. Brian Doust is the local vicar.

Mr. Doust twined her arm with his, drawing her close. “Invite me, and I’ll try to discover his intent.”

She gazed up at him. “You would assist in this the conspiracy?”

His eyes warmed. “My lady, I would have thought that by now you’d have realized there is very little I would not do for you and those who matter to you.”

“Oh my.” Warmth rose in her face. How long had it been since she’d blushed? “You have me acting like a girl again, and I must tell you, my salad days are long past.”

He raised her fingers to his lips, kissing them one by one. “I think you are the perfect age. I would be honored if you will call me Brian, and may I call you Eunice?”

This was more than she had expected and everything she had wished for. Pulling his head down to her, she pressed her lips to his. He moved slowly, gently at first; then she touched her tongue to the seam of his lips and he opened his mouth to receive her. Frissons of pleasure shot through her as he tilted his head, deepening the kiss. She threw her arms around him, pressing her breasts to his chest. Who would have thought a rector could kiss like this?

Their tongues tangled and caressed. He tightened his arms around her. Oh, God. How could she have lived so long alone?

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