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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.

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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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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.

AndreaKStein_FortunesHorizon200

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

Amazon

 

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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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!!

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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.

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.

PROLOGUE

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?

Ella

 

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Please welcome historical author, Jacki Delecki to the blog. This is Jacki’s first time visiting, and she’ll be giving away an ebook copy of her latest book, A Code of the Heart, and an audio copy of one of her other books. All you have to do is tell her you want it.

First the cover. I love that purple.

A Code of the Heart

Now the blurb.

Miss Amelia Bonnington has been in love with her childhood hero since she was nine years old… or so she thought until a not-so proper impassioned and unyielding kiss from the not-so honorable and equally disreputable Lord Derrick Brinsley, gave her reason to question the feelings of the heart.

Lord Brinsley, shunned from society for running off with his brother’s fiancée, hasn’t cared about or questioned his lack of acceptance until meeting the beguiling Amelia Bonnington. One passionate moment with the fiery Miss Bonnington has him more than willing to play by society’s rules to possess the breathtaking, red-haired woman.

Amelia unwittingly becomes embroiled in espionage when she stumbles upon a smuggling ring in the modiste shop of her good friend. To prove her French friend’s innocence, she dangerously jumps into the fray, jeopardizing more than her life.

On undercover assignment to prevent the French from stealing the Royal Navy’s deadly weapon, Derrick must fight to protect British secrets from falling into the hands of foreign agents, and the chance at love with the only woman capable of redeeming him.

 

And last, but not least, an excerpt.

Edworth’s Christmas Ball

December, 1803

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 Regent stood on a small platform at the front of the ballroom, elaborately decorated for Christmas. Heavy bows of greenery and bells hung on red velvet throughout the room. Hundreds of beeswax candles burned. No expense had been spared for the house party celebrating His Royalty’s visit.

Amelia had no desire to be part of the Prince’s retinue, 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, politely, of course, toward the door. The crowd and the heat were unbearable. She never swooned, but with the strong smell of perfume and the hot pressing bodies, she felt tonight might be her first. A maelstrom of sensations and emotions enveloped her. 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.

She needed to escape from this crowded room. She needed fresh air and open space. A gentleman used the chaos in crowded room to take liberties with her person. After spending years in congested ballrooms, she fully recognized the scoundrel’s ploy to press against her. His heavy eyelids didn’t conceal his roving 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 closer against his heavy, malodorous body.

A sick sensation started in her stomach and crawled to her throat. She pulled her arm away from his grasp, repulsive with sweat 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 air and lime soap surrounded her.

The perspiring man stared behind her. His slack mouth and the look of fear on his face were priceless.

She recognized Derrick Brinsley’s scent and heat—the impossible, difficult, yet appealing man. His deep, dark voice flitted down her skin like a caress. “Miss Amelia, may I escort you away from this crowd?”

Relief and something much more potent tingled along her skin. She turned quickly and found herself pressed against the broad chest of the man she had been forced to conspire with to save her friend.

“I’ve never thought I’d be happy to see you.” She refused to be like all the other women who’d be grateful to have his attention.

His lifted one eyebrow in a sardonic way that she always found irritating. He was too big, too handsome, and too confident that she’d find him irresistible. She’d never let him have the satisfaction that she did find him…almost irresistible.

A CODE OF THE HEART coming February 2015!

About Jacki.

HeadShot_SmallDescended from a long line of storytellers, Jacki spins adventures filled with mystery, healing and romance.

Jacki’s love affair with the arts began at a young age and inspired her to train as a jazz singer and dancer. She has performed many acting roles with Seattle Opera Company and Pacific Northwest Ballet. Her travels to London and Paris ignited a deep-seated passion to write the Regency Code Breaker Series. Jacki is certain she spent at least one lifetime dancing in the Moulin Rouge.

Jacki has set her Grayce Walters Mystery Series in Seattle, her long-time home. The city’s unique and colorful locations are a backdrop for her thrilling romantic suspense. Although writing now fills much of her day, she continues to volunteer for Seattle’s Ballet and Opera Companies and leads children’s tours of Pike Street Market. Her volunteer work with Seattle’s homeless shelters influenced one of her main characters in An Inner Fire and Women Under Fire.

Jacki’s two Golden Labs, Gus and Talley, were her constant companions. Their years of devotion and intuition inspired her to write dogs as main characters alongside her strong heroines. A geek at heart, Jacki loves superhero movies—a hero’s battle against insurmountable odds. But her heroines don’t have to wear a unitard to fight injustice and battle for the underdog.

Look for more heart-pounding adventure, intrigue, and romance in Jacki’s Code Breakers Series. A Code of Love is the first book in the series. A Christmas CodeA Regency Novella, is now available at all retail sites.  A Code of the Heart will be released on Valentine’s Day 2015.

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

 

 

 

 

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