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Archive for the ‘Guest Author’ Category

Please welcome historical author Ashley York to the blog. Ashley is here to promote her latest book, The Gentle Knight!! She will give a copy of the book to one of you who tells her you want it.

As always we’ll start with the cover.

TheGentleKnight5_1400

Next the blurb.

A medieval soldier returns home to find his lover died in childbirth just as his own mother had. Believing he is cursed, Peter of Normandy turns from love. When he must give escort to an Irish princess more noble than many knights, he struggles with his decision to live a solitary life. Can he take the chance that his love won’t be a death sentence and possibly make them stronger?

Padraig MacNaughton’s death bed decree rips his daughter, Brighit, from the shelter of her protective clan in Ireland. Forced to take vows at a Priory in England, she finds herself in the hands of lecherous mercenaries with their own agendas. Dare she trust the Norman knight to see her safely to her new life as a nun? Even when she finds in him the fulfillment of all she’s ever wanted?

Or will honor and duty eclipse their one chance for happiness?

And an excerpt.

The barrenness of the countryside would take Brighit some time to get used to. Perhaps it was only this area, but it seemed nothing like her home which was so lush and green. She missed her family. A tightness began to build in her throat but Brighit refused to acknowledge it. A splashing sound came to her from just beyond the tree stand.

She glanced back the way she’d come. The need to return immediately or confront Ivan’s wrath had her clenching her teeth. That splash sounded very much like the lake Lachlann had mentioned. A chance to clean her face and hands in a refreshing body of water rather than with a soaked cloth? The heat in that confined carriage was making her wilt. She sniffed and confirmed her stench was overwhelming. Before even thinking it through, she headed in the direction of the sound.

Brighit paused on the barely discernible path. Sure she heard rustling, she glanced behind at the open field she’d come from. It was empty. Nothing behind her that could make such a sound. Was it a deer perhaps? Taking a few steps farther, the small rise gave way to the breathtaking sight of a small lake. The top glistened like glass without a ripple to disturb its surface.

The slight breeze carried the pungent aroma of honeysuckle and lavender. The plants would be a wonderful thing to find and put in with her few belongings. Each night she would be surrounded by the smell of flowers. Without another thought she headed through the bushes to her right, careful to not make a sound in case the deer were still nearby. Movement along the banks drew her attention and she froze.

A man stood there dripping wet and naked. He pushed his hair away from his face. A handsome face with a strong jaw and a thick brow. She followed the movement of his hands, sloshing the water off his chiseled body. Blond hair spanned his broad chest and across his rippled torso, leading down his muscular legs, glistening in the fading light. His tarse was visible even from this distance. She looked long and hard. Her breathing became labored. Magnificent.

He turned in her direction. She ducked. She held her breath and shivered in the bush, willing her heart to stop pounding so loudly. When she ventured another peek, he was gone. Disappointment welled up inside her gut. She’d wanted nothing more than to sit and watch him, imagine how it would feel to run her hands down his expansive chest and firm body as he had done, to appreciate the rippled strength there. She blew out the breath she’d been holding and licked her dry lips. That certainly wasn’t going to happen, not in this lifetime—as a nun. A small bush of purple flowers brushed her hand and she snatched it. Lavender. The sun was dropping below the hills in the west and she needed to get back. Enough of these wasted desires.

Desire made things happen. It was her grandfather’s favorite saying. As the seventh son, he had been a man of some notoriety among Irish nobility. He was given the Celtic Princess, Faighrah, to wed. When he sired his own seventh son, the other leaders turned to him for guidance, for wisdom, in return for unfailing loyalty. The belief always that the seventh son of the seventh son of the seventh son had a special anointing from God. No evil could befall him.

Brighit was no son and evil seemed a little too close. Ivan had told her he would not hesitate to make up a lie about who she was. Even saying she was his wife. Others would believe him because he was a man. Perhaps a little more protection from the same God who made her a female was not asking too much.

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About Ashley.

headshot Ashley YorkI have wanted to be a writer since the sixth grade. My first story was a mystery and I discovered that my classmates loved it and it kept them guessing. I was a voracious reader, even at a young age, and loved the history in the novels I picked up. I was so enthralled with that history that I decided to get my MA in History. The early medieval period is my favorite, as you can tell from the novels I write.

Although all my works are fiction, I often like to incorporate authentic places, events, and people to increase the reader’s enjoyment. One of the more valuable lessons I have learned as a writer is the importance of using real history with the flair of artistic license. You’ll discover a world of fiction wrapped around historical people and events! I hope you enjoy reading these stories as much as I delight in writing them.

I live in New England with my husband, two cats and a yellow Labrador named Caledonia. I can be found at http://www.ashleyyorkauthor.com

 

 

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Please welcome bestselling author Cara Elliott back to the blog!! Cara is here today with her new release, Sinfully Yours!! She will give away a copy to one of you who tells her you want it!

First the beautiful cover.

Sinfully Yours-CElliott

Now the blurb.

Proper young ladies of the ton—especially ones who have very small dowries—are not encouraged to have an interest in intellectual pursuits. Indeed, the only thing they are encouraged to pursue is an eligible bachelor. So, the headstrong Sloane sisters must keep their passions a secret. Ah, but secret passions are wont to lead a lady into trouble . . .

After an eventful Season, Anna Sloane longs for some peace and quiet to pursue her writing. Though her plots might be full of harrowing adventure and heated passion, she’d much prefer to leave such exploits on the page rather than experience them in real life. Or so she thinks until she encounters the darkly dissolute-and gorgeously charming-Marquess of Davenport. Davenport has a reputation as a notorious rake whose only forte is wanton seduction. However the real reason he’s a guest at the same remote Scottish castle has nothing to do with Anna . . . until a series of mysterious threats leave him no choice but to turn to her for help in stopping a dangerous conspiracy. As desire erupts between them, Davenport soon learns he’s not the only one using a carefully crafted image to hide his true talents. And he’s more than ready to show Anna that sometimes reality can be even better than her wildest imaginings . . .

And an excerpt.

Anna’s steps quickened as she passed by the room reserved for the ladies and ducked around a darkened corner. From a previous visit to the townhouse, she knew that a set of French doors in the library led out to a raised terrace overlooking the back gardens. It was, of course, against the rules for an unchaperoned young lady to venture outdoors on her own. But she had chosen the secluded spot with great care—the chances of being spotted were virtually nil.

The night air felt blessed cool on her overheated cheeks. “Thank God,” she murmured, tilting her face to the black velvet sky.

“Thank God,” echoed a far deeper voice.

A pale plume of smoke floated overhead, its curl momentarily obscuring the sparkle of the stars.

“It was getting devilishly dull out here with only my own thoughts for company.”

Speak of the Devil!

Anna whirled around. “That’s not surprising, sir, when one’s mind is filled with nothing but thoughts of drinking, wenching and gaming. Titillating as those pursuits might be, I would assume they grow tiresome with constant repetition.”

“A dangerous assumption, Miss Sloane.” Devlin Greville, the Marquess of Davenport—better known as the Devil Davenport—tossed down his cheroot and ground out the glowing tip beneath his heel. Sparks flared for an instant, red-gold against the slate tiles, before fading away to darkness. “I thought you a more sensible creature than to venture an opinion on things about which you know nothing.”

Anna watched warily as he took one . . . two . . . three sauntering steps closer. Quelling the urge to retreat, she stood her ground. The Devil might be a dissolute rake, a rapacious rogue, but she would not give him the satisfaction of seeing her flinch.

“Sense has nothing to do with it,” she countered coolly. “Given the rather detailed—and lurid—gossip that fills the drawing rooms of Mayfair each morning, I know a great deal about your exploits.”

“Another dangerous assumption.” His voice was low and a little rough, like the purr of a stalking panther.

Anna felt the tiny hairs on the nape of her neck stand on end.

He laughed, and the sound turned even softer. “I thought you a more sensible creature than to listen to wild speculation.”

“Indeed?” Feigning nonchalance, she slid sideways and leaned back against the stone railing. Which was, she realized, a tactical mistake. The marquess mirrored her movements, leaving her no way to escape.

“I—I don’t know why you would think that,” she went on. “You know absolutely nothing about me.”

“On the contrary. I, too, listen to the whispers that circulate through the ton.”

“Don’t be absurd.” She steadied her voice. “I am quite positive that there’s not an ill-word spoken about me. I am exceedingly careful that not a whiff of impropriety sullies my reputation.”

“Which in itself says a great deal,” drawled Devlin.

“You’re an idiot.”

“Am I?” He came closer, close enough that her nostrils were suddenly filled with a swirl of masculine scents. Bay rum cologne. Spiced smoke. French brandy. A hint of male musk.

Her pulse began to pound, her breath began to quicken.

Good Lord, it’s me who is an idiot. I’m acting like Emmalina!

Shaking off the horrid novel histrionics, Anna scowled. “You’re not only an idiot, Lord Davenport, you are an annoying idiot. I’m well aware that you take perverse pleasure in trying to . . .”

Cocking his head, he waited.

“To annoy me,” she finished lamely.

Another laugh. “Clearly I am having some success, so I can’t be all that bumbling.”

To give the Devil his due, he had a quick wit. Biting back an involuntary smile, Anna turned her head to look out over the shadowed gardens. Flames from the torchieres on the main terrace danced in the breeze, their glow gilding the silvery moonlight as it dappled over the thick ivy vines that covered the perimeter walls.

She shouldn’t find him amusing. And yet like a moth drawn to an open fire . . .

“What? No clever retort?” said Devlin.

Anna willed herself not to respond.

“I see.” Somehow he found a way to inch even closer. His trousers were now touching her skirts. “You mean to ignore me.”

“If you were a gentleman, you would go away and spare me the effort.”

“Allow me to point out two things, Miss Sloane. Number one—I was here first.”

The marquess had a point.

“And number two . . .” His hand touched her cheek. He wasn’t wearing gloves and the heat of his bare fingers seemed to scorch her skin. “We both know I’m no gentleman.”

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About Cara.

Cara ElliottI started creating books at the age of five, or so my mother tells me. And she has the proof—a neatly penciled story, the pages lavishly illustrated with full color crayon drawings of horses and bound with staples—to back up her claim. I have since moved on from Westerns to writing about Regency England, a time and place that has captured my imagination ever since I opened the covers of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.” (Clearly I have a thing for Men in Boots!)

I have a BA and an MFA in Graphic Design from Yale University and now my work as a writer lets me combine my love of the printed word with my love of art. I’m very fortunate in that research for my historical novels allows me to travel to interesting destinations around the world—however, my favorite spot is London, where the funky antique markets and used book stores offer a wealth of inspiration for my stories.

 

 

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Please welcome Susana Ellis back to the blog!! Susana is here today to tell  you about a Waterloo boxed set she and several other fabulous authors have published!! She is also giving away a copy to one of you who tell her you want it!!

 

As always we’ll start with the cover, but the rest of the post is a little different.

waterloo_cover_best

Beaux, Ballrooms, and Battles:

A Celebration of Waterloo

 June 18, 1815 was the day Napoleon Bonaparte’s Grande Armée was definitively routed by the ragtag band of soldiers from the Duke of Wellington’s Allied Army in a little Belgian town called Waterloo. The cost in men’s lives was high—22,000 dead or wounded for the Allied Army and 24,000 for the French. But the war with Napoleon that had dragged on for a dozen years was over for good, and the British people once more felt secure on their island shores.

The bicentenary of the famous battle seemed like an excellent opportunity to use that setting for a story, and before I knew it, I had eight other authors eager to join me, and to make a long story short, on April 1, 2015 our Waterloo-themed anthology was released to the world.

 You are all invited to visit our Website and Facebook Page

Giveaway

 Beaux, Ballrooms, and Battles mug to a random commenter

Our Stories

Jillian Chantal: Jeremiah’s Charge

Emmaline Rothesay has her eye on Jeremiah Denby as a potential suitor. When Captain Denby experiences a life-altering incident during the course of events surrounding the Battle of Waterloo, it throws a damper on Emmaline’s plans.

 

Téa Cooper: The Caper Merchant

The moon in Gemini is a fertile field of dreams, ideas and adventure and Pandora Wellingham is more than ready to spread her wings. When Monsieur Cagneaux, caper merchant to the rich and famous, introduces her to the handsome dragoon she believes her stars have aligned.

 

Susana Ellis: Lost and Found Lady

Catalina and Rupert fell in love in Spain in the aftermath of a battle, only to be separated by circumstances. Years later, they find each other again, just as another battle is brewing, but is it too late?

 

Aileen Fish: Captain Lumley’s Angel

Charged with the duty of keeping his friend’s widow safe, Captain Sam Lumley watches over Ellen Staverton as she recovers from her loss, growing fonder of her as each month passes. When Ellen takes a position as a companion, Sam must confront his feelings before she’s completely gone from his life.

 

Victoria Hinshaw: Folie Bleue

On the night of the 30th Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, Aimée, Lady Prescott, reminisces about meeting her husband in Bruxelles on the eve of the fighting. She had avoided the dashing scarlet-clad British officers, but she could not resist the tempting smile and spellbinding charm of Captain Robert Prescott of the 16th Light Dragoons who— dangerously to Aimée— wore blue.

 

Heather King: Copenhagen’s Last Charge

When Meg Lacy finds herself riding through the streets of Brussels only hours after the Battle of Waterloo, romance is the last thing on her mind, especially with surly Lieutenant James Cooper. However, their bickering uncovers a strange empathy – until, that is, the lieutenant makes a grave error of judgment that jeopardizes their budding friendship…

 

Christa Paige: One Last Kiss

The moment Colin held Beatrice in his arms he wanted one last kiss to take with him into battle and an uncertain future. Despite the threat of a soldier’s death, he must survive, for he promises to return to her because one kiss from Beatrice would never be enough.

 

Sophia Strathmore: A Soldier Lay Dying

Amelia and Anne Evans find themselves orphaned when their father, General Evans, dies. With no other options available, Amelia accepts the deathbed proposal of Oliver Brighton, Earl of Montford, a long time family friend. When Lord Montford recovers from his battle wounds, can the two find lasting love?

 

David W. Wilkin: Not a Close Run Thing at All

Years, a decade. And now, Robert had come back into her life. Shortly before battle was to bring together more than three hundred thousand soldiers. They had but moments after all those years, and now, would they have any more after?

 

About Lost and Found Lady

On April 24, 1794, a girl child was born to an unknown Frenchwoman in a convent in Salamanca, Spain. Alas, her mother died in childbirth, and the little girl—Catalina—was given to a childless couple to raise.

Eighteen years later…the Peninsular War between the British and the French wages on, now perilously near Catalina’s home. After an afternoon yearning for adventure in her life, Catalina comes across a wounded British soldier in need of rescue. Voilà! An adventure! The sparks between them ignite, and before he returns to his post, Rupert promises to return for her.

But will he? Catalina’s grandmother warns her that some men make promises easily, but fail to carry them out. Catalina doesn’t believe Rupert is that sort, but what does she know? All she can do is wait…and pray.

But Fate has a few surprises in store for both Catalina and Rupert. When they meet again, it will be in another place where another battle is brewing, and their circumstances have been considerably altered. Will their love stand the test of time? And how will their lives be affected by the outcome of the conflict between the Iron Duke and the Emperor of the French?

 

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Excerpt

 

September 14, 1793

A beach near Dieppe, France

 

“I don’t like the look of those clouds, monsieur,” Tobias McIntosh said in fluent French to the gray-bearded old man in a sailor hat waiting impatiently near the rowboat that was beginning to bob more sharply with each swell of the waves. “Are you sure your vessel can make it safely all the way to Newhaven in these choppy seas?”

 

The old man waved a hand over the horizon. “La tempête, it is not a threat, if we leave immédiatement. Plus tard…” He shrugged. “Je ne sais pas.”

 

“Please, mon amour,” pleaded the small woman wrapped in a hooded gray cloak standing at his side. “Allow me to stay with you. I don’t want to go to England. I promise I will be prudent.”

 

A strong gust of wind caught her hood and forced it down, revealing her mop of shiny dark locks. Tobias felt like seizing her hand and pulling her away from the ominous waves to a place of safety where she and their unborn child could stay until the senseless Terreur was over.

 

“Justine, ma chère, we have discussed this endlessly. There is no place in France safe enough for you if your identity as the daughter of the Comte d’Audet is discovered.” He shivered. “I could not bear it if you were to suffer the same fate at the hands of the revolutionaries as your parents did when I failed to save them.”

 

She threw her arms around him, the top of her head barely reaching his chin. “Non, mon amour, it was not your fault. You could not have saved them. It was miraculeux that you saved me. I should have died with them.”

 

She looked up to catch his gaze, her face ashen. “Instead, we met and have had three merveilleux months together. If it is my time to die, I wish to die at your side.”

 

Tobias felt like his heart was going to break. His very soul demanded that the two of them remain together and yet… there was a price on both their heads, and the family of the Vicomte Lefebre was waiting for him in Amiens, the revolutionaries expected to reach them before midday. It was a dangerous work he was involved in—rescuing imperiled French nobility from bloodthirsty, vengeful mobs—but he had pledged himself to the cause and honor demanded that he carry on. And besides, there was now someone else to consider.

 

“The child,” he said with more firmness than he felt. “We have our child to consider, now, Justine ma chère. The next Earl of Dumfries. He must live to grow up and make his way in the world.”

 

Not to mention the fact that Tobias was human enough to wish to leave a child to mark his legacy in the world—his and Justine’s. He felt a heaviness in his heart that he might not live long enough to know this child he and Justine had created together. He could not allow his personal wishes to undermine his conviction. Justine and the child must survive.

 

Justine’s blue eyes filled with tears. “But I cannot! I will die without you, mon cher mari. You cannot ask it of me!”

 

“Justine,” he said, pushing away from her to clasp her shoulders and look her directly in the eye. “You are a brave woman, the strongest I have ever known. You have survived many hardships and you can survive this. Take this letter to my brother in London, and he will see to your safety until the time comes that I can join you. My comrades in Newhaven will see that you are properly escorted.”

 

He handed over a letter and a bag of coins. “This should be enough to get you to London.”

 

After she had reluctantly accepted and pocketed the items beneath her cloak, he squeezed her hands.

 

“Be sure to eat well, ma chère. You are so thin and my son must be born healthy.”

 

She gave him a feigned smile. “Our daughter is the one responsible for my sickness in the mornings… I do not believe she wishes me to even look at food.”

 

She looked apprehensively at the increasingly angry waves as they tossed the small boat moored rather loosely to a rock on the shore and her hands impulsively went to her stomach.

 

“Make haste, monsieur,” the old sailor called as he peered anxiously at the darkening clouds. “We must depart now if we are to escape the storm. Bid your chère-amie adieu maintenant or wait for another day. I must return to the bateau.”

 

“Tobias,” she said, her voice shaking.

 

He wondered if he would ever again hear her say his name with that adorable French inflection that had drawn him from their first meeting.

 

“Go, Justine. Go to my family and keep our child safe. I promise I will join you soon.”

 

He scooped her up in his arms and carried her toward the dinghy, trying to ignore her tears. The old sailor held the boat as still as he could while Tobias placed her on the seat and kissed her hard before striding back to the shore, each footstep heavier than the last.

 

He studied the darkening sky as the sailor climbed in the boat. “You are sure it is safe?”

 

“La Chasseresse, she is très robuste. A few waves will not topple her, monsieur.”

 

“Je t’aime, mon amour,” she said to him plaintively, her chin trembling.

 

“Au revoir, ma chère,” he said, trying to smile, although his vision was blurring from tears.

 

Will I ever see her again?

 

He stood watching as the dinghy made its way slowly through the choppy sea to the larger ship anchored in the distance, grief-stricken and unable to concentrate on anything but his pain. When the ship finally sailed off into the horizon, he fell to his knees and prayed as he had never done before for the safety of his beloved. He remained in that position until drops of rain on his face reminded him of the Lefebre family waiting for him in Amiens.

 

With a deep breath, he rose and made his way to the nearby forest, where his horse waited, tied to a tree.

 

“Come, my friend. We have a long, wet journey ahead of us.”

 

Setting foot in the stirrup, he swung his leg over the saddle and urged the horse to a gallop, feeling his heart rip into pieces with every step away from his beloved.

 

About Susana.

Author photoSusana has always had stories in her head waiting to come out, especially when she learned to read and her imagination began to soar. Voracious reading led to a passion for writing, and her fascination with romance and people of the past landed her firmly in the field of historical romance.

A teacher in her former life, Susana lives in Toledo, Ohio in the summer and central Florida in the winter. She is a member of the Central Florida Romance Writers and the Beau Monde chapters of RWA and Maumee Valley Romance Inc.

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Susana’s ParlourSusana’s Morning Room

 

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Things have been a little off kilter due to our passage from the Caribbean to the States. I hope you’ll forgive me and please welcome historical author Janet Justiss to the blog!! This is her first time here, and I know you’ll make her feel welcome. Janet is going to tell us a little bit about her latest book, The Rake to Reveal Her. She is also giving away a copy to one of you to tells her you want it!

First we’ll start with the cover.

REVEAL

 

Now the blurb.

THE SOLDIER NEXT DOOR…

Dominc Ransliegh lost more than his arm in battle—he lost his reason for living.  Returning to his family seat, he shuns all society.  If only his beautiful, plainspoken tenant, Theodora Branwell, wasn’t so hard to ignore…

Since her fiance’s death on the battlefield, Theo’s devoted herself to caring for soldiers’ orphans.  She’s powerfully attracted to Dom, but knows all too well the consequences of temptation.  Is Theo, who’s survived so much, brave enough to reveal her secret to her handsome, wounded neighbor?

And the excerpt.

SUFFOLK, SPRING 1816

His ears still ringing from the impact of the fall, Dominic Fitzallen Ransleigh levered himself to a sitting position in the muddy Suffolk lane.  Air hissed in and out of his gritted teeth as he waited for the red wave of pain obscuring his vision to subside.  Which it did, just in time for him to see that black devil, Diablo, trot around the corner and out of sight.

Headed back to barn, probably, Dom thought.  If horses could laugh, surely the bad-tempered varlet was laughing at him.

It was his own fault, always choosing the most difficult and high-spirited colts to train as hunters.  Horses with the speed and heart to gallop across country, jumping with ease any obstacle in their paths, but needing two strong hands on the reins to control their headstrong, temperamental natures.

He looked down at his one remaining hand, still trembling from the strain of that wild ride.  Flexing the wrist, he judged it sore but not broken.  After years of tending himself from various injuries suffered during his service with the 16th Dragoons, a gingerly bending of the arm informed him no bones broken there, either.

His left shoulder still throbbed, but at least he hadn’t fallen on the stump of his right arm.  Had he done that, he’d probably still be unconscious from the agony.

Resigning himself to sit in the mud until his muzzy head cleared, Dom gazed down the lane after the fleeing horse.  Though the doctors had warned him, he’d resisted accepting what he’d just proved:  he’d not be able to control Diablo, or any of the other horses in his stable full of hunters just like the stallion, with a single good hand.

Sighing, Dom struggled to his feet.  He might as well face the inevitable.  As he’d never be able to ride Diablo or the others again, there was no sense hanging on to them.  The bitter taste of defeat in his mouth, he told himself he would look into selling them off at Tattersall’s while the horses were still in prime form and able to fetch a good price.  Sell the four-horse carriages, too, since with one hand, he couldn’t handle more than a pair.

Thereby severing one more link between the man he’d been before Waterloo, and now.

Jilting a fiancé, leaving the army, and now this.  Nothing like changing his world completely in the space of a week.

Could he give it all up? he wondered as he set off down the lane.  Following in his hunting-mad father’s footsteps had been his goal since he’d joined his first chase, schooling hunters a talent he worked to perfect as his cousin Max had aspired to a career assisting his father in Parliament, his cousin Alastair had trained to run his extensive agricultural holdings.  Before the army and between Oxford terms, he’d spent all his time studying horses, looking for that perfect combination of bone, stamina and spirit that made a good hunter.  Buying them, training them, then hunting and steeplechasing with the like-minded friends who called themselves “Dom’s Daredevils.”

Stripped of that occupation, the future stretched before him as a frightening void.

Though he’d never previously had a taste for solitude, within days of his return, he’d felt compelled to leave London.  The prospect of visiting his clubs, attending a ball, mixing with the old crowd at Tatt’s, inspecting the horses before a sale—all the activities in which he’d once delighted—now repelled him.  Sending away even his cousin Will, who’d rescued him from the battlefield and tended him for months, he’d retreated to Bildenstone—the family estate he’d not seen in years, and hadn’t even been sure was still habitable.

He’d sent Elizabeth away, too.  A wave of grief and remorse swept through him as her lovely face surfaced in his mind.  How could he have asked her to wait for him to recover, when the man he was now no longer fit into the world of hunts and balls they’d meant to share?

Ruthlessly he extinguished her image, everything about her and the hopes they once cherished too painful to contemplate.  Best to concentrate on taking the next small step down the road ahead, small steps being all he could manage toward a future cloaked in a shifting mist of uncertainty.

Fighting the despair threatening to suck him down, he reminded himself again why he’d left friends, fiancé, and all that was be familiar.

To find himself…whatever was left to find.

Wearily he picked up his pace, his rattled brain still righting itself.  He traversed the sharp corner around which his horse had disappeared to find himself almost face-to-face with a young woman leading a mare.

They both started, the horsing rearing a little.

“Down, Starfire,” a feminine voice commanded.  Looking up at him expectantly, the girl smiled and said, “Sir, will you give me a hand?  I was almost run down by a black beast of a stallion, which startled my mare.  I’m afraid I wasn’t paying enough attention, and lost my seat.  I’ll require help to remount.”

His mind still befuddled, Dom stared at her.  Though tall enough that he didn’t have to look down very far, his first impression was of a little brown wren–lovely pale complexion, big brown eyes, hair of indeterminate hue tucked under a tired-looking bonnet, and a worn brown habit years out-of-date.

The unknown miss didn’t flinch at his eyepatch, he had to give her that.  Nor did her eyes stray to the pinned-up sleeve of his missing arm–the sleeve now liberally spattered with mud and decorated with leaf-bits, as was the rest of his clothing.  Heavens, he must look like a vagrant who’d slept in the woods.  It was a wonder she didn’t run screaming in the opposite direction.

His lips curved into a whimsical smile at the thought as her pleasant expression faded. “Sir, could you give me a hand, help me remount?” she all but shouted.

Dom flinched at the loud tones.  She must think me simple as well as disheveled.  As his mind finally cleared and her request registered, his amusement vanished.

The images flashed into his head–all the girls he’d lifted in a dance, tossed into saddles…carried into bed.  With two strong arms.

Anger coursed through him.  “That would be a bit of problem.”  He gestured to his empty sleeve.  “Afraid I can’t help you.  Good-day, Miss.”

Her eyes widened as he began to walk past her.  “Can’t help me?” she echoed.  “Can’t–or won’t?”

Fury mounting, he wheeled back to face her.  “Don’t you see, idiot girl?” he spat out.  “I’m…impaired.”  ‘Crippled’ would be better description, but he couldn’t get his mouth around the word.  He turned to walk away again.

She hurried forward, the horse trailing on the reins behind her, and blocked his path.  “What I see,” she said, her dark eyes flashing, “is that you have one good arm, whether or not you choose to use it.  Which is more than many of the soldiers who didn’t survive Waterloo, including my father.  He wouldn’t have hesitated to give me a leg up, even with only one hand!”

Before he could respond, she shortened the lead on the horse’s reins and snapped, “Very well.  I shall search for a more obliging log or tree stump.  Good day, sir.”

Bemused, he watched the sway of her neat little bottom as she marched angrily away.  With well-tended forest on either side of the lane–deadfall quickly removed to provide firewood for someone’s hearth–he didn’t think she was likely to find what she sought.

Turning back toward Bildenstone, he set off walking, wondering who the devil she was.  Not that, having spent the last ten years either with the army, at his hunting box in Leceistershire or in London, he expected to recognize any of the locals.  That girl would have been only a child the last time he’d been here, seven years ago.

He’d probably just insulted the daughter of some local worthy–though, given the shabby condition of her riding habit, not a man of great means.  He meant to limit as much as possible any interaction with his neighbors, but in the restricted society of the country, he’d likely encounter her again.  Perhaps by then, he’d be able to tender a sincere apology.

Stomping down the lane without encountering any objects suitable for use as a mounting block, Theodora Branwell felt her angry grow.  After a fruitless ten-minute search, she conceded that she might have to walk all the way back to Thornfield Place before she could find a way to remount her horse.

Which meant she might as well abandon her purpose and try again tomorrow.

Not the least of her ire and frustration she directed at herself.  If she’d not been so lost in rehearsing her arguments, she would have heard the approaching hoofbeats and had her mount well in hand before the stallion burst around the corner and flew past them.  After all the obstacles they’d ridden over in India and on the Peninsula, how Papa would laugh to know she’d been unseated by so simple a device!

No sense bemoaning; she might as well accept that her lapse had ruined the timing for making a call on her prospective landlord today.

She had Charles to check on, she thought, her heart warming as she pictured the little boy she’d raised like a son.  Then there were the rest of the children to settle, especially the two new little ones the Colonel had just sent her from Brussels.  Though the manor’s small nursery and adjoining bedchamber were becoming rather crowded, making settling the matter of the school and dormitory ever more urgent, Constancia and Jemmie would find them places.  But she knew the thin boy and the pale, silent girl would feel better after a few sweetmeats, a reassuring hug, and a story to make them welcome.

How frightening and strange the English countryside must seem to a child, torn from the familiar if unstable life of traveling in the van of an army across the dusty fields and valleys of Portugal and Spain.  Especially after losing one’s last parent.

It was a daunting enough prospect for her, and she was an adult.

The extra day would allow her to go over her arguments one more time.  She liked Thornfield Place very much; she only had to convince Mr. Ransleigh, her mostly absentee landlord now unaccountably taken up residence, that turning the neglected outbuilding on his property into a home and school for soldier’s orphans would cause no problem and was a noble thing to do.

A guilty pang struck her.   She’d really been too hard on the one-armed, one-eyed man in the lane. Though he might have been injured in an accident, he had the unmistakable bearing of a soldier.  Had he suffered his wounds at Waterloo?  Recovering from such severe losses would be slow; frustration over his limitations might at times make him wonder if it would not have been better, had he never made it off the battlefield.

She knew it was.  She’d have given anything, had Papa been found alive, whatever his condition.  Or Marshall, dead these five years now.

The bitter anguish of her fiancé’s loss scoured her again.  How much different would her life be now, had he not fallen on that Spanish plain?  They’d be long married, doubtless with children, her love returned and her place in society secure as his wife.

But it hadn’t been fair to take out her desolation on that poor soldier. Wholly preoccupied with her own purpose, she only now recalled how thin his frame was, how disheveled his rough clothing.  When had he last eaten a good meal?  Finding employment must be difficult for an ex-soldier with only one arm.

He’d not carried a pack, she remembered, so he was must be a local resident.  Country society comprised a small circle, she’d been told, much like the army.  Which meant she’d probably encounter the man again.  If she did, she would have to apologize.  Perhaps in the interim, she might also think of some job she could hire him to perform at Thornfield Place.

Satisfied that she’d be able to atone for her rudeness, she dismissed him from her mind and trudged down the lane back toward Thornfield.

Buy Links: Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble

About Janet.

AUTHOR PHOTOJulia Justiss wrote her first plot ideas for a Nancy Drew novel in the back of her third grade spiral and has been writing ever since.  Before turning her hand to fiction, her writing ventures included publishing poetry, composing the wording on the envelope enclosing the death benefit check for an insurance company and editing an American embassy newsletter.  Her Regency historical novels have been winners or finalists in the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart, Romantic Times Magazine’s Best First Historical, Golden Quill, National Readers Choice, and Daphne du Maurier contests.  She lives with her husband in the Piney Woods of East Texas.

 

Find her at: www.juliajustiss.com

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Please welcome guest author Sheri Cobb-South back to the blog. Sheri will be giving away one copy of her latest book, Baroness in Buckskins! Which, I will tell you, has my attention! All you have to do is leave a comment telling her you want the book.

First we start with the cover!

Baroness in Buckskin postcard

 

Now the blurb.

Richard, Lord Ramsay, has been brought up from the cradle with a consciousness of his duty to his family and his name. His sense of responsibility has led him to install two elderly aunts in the Dower House; educate his cousin Peter Ramsay and employ him as a steward; and provide a home for poor relation Jane Hawthorne, who once served as his mother’s companion.

When a letter arrives from America informing him that the death of a relative has left eighteen-year-old Susannah Ramsay not only an orphan, but heiress to a Kentucky plantation as well, Lord Ramsay considers making an offer of marriage to his American cousin to be a practical solution: besides providing for the young woman, such a match would give the Ramsays extensive holdings on two continents.

Then Susannah arrives from America, and Richard suddenly finds his well-ordered life set end over end. With her wild red hair, unfashionable clothes, and frontier ways, Susannah appears to be an unlikely Lady Ramsay. Appalled at the prospect of marriage to the girl, yet determined to honor his commitment, Richard turns her over to Jane and Peter to educate her in the ways of British society. But her transformation into a lady is the least of the surprises Susannah has in store for her strait-laced British relations . . .

 

And an excerpt.

The lake was beautiful, but its banks were quite steep in places, and it was deeper than the unwary might suppose. Sure enough, as Peter drew nearer, he saw a dark head bobbing just above the surface of the water. Flinging himself from the saddle, he ran the last few steps, shedding his coat and waistcoat and tossing them aside as he slid down the bank.

“Susannah, I’m coming! I’m—”

She turned at the sound of his voice, and the words died on his lips. Far from drowning, she stood at a depth of about four feet, her head and shoulders breaking the surface of the lake. Streams of water ran from her hair, trembling in diamond-like drops from the ends of each curl, spilling over bare shoulders, and running in rivulets down the slight indentation that narrowed into the crevice between her—

Crimson faced, Peter fixed his gaze determinedly on her face. “What the devil are you doing?” His breath came in laboured gasps that had little to do with his recent exertions.

“I’m taking a bath,” she explained, as if bathing naked in an ornamental lake were the most natural thing in the world.

“Are you aware that the whole household is searching for you?” he demanded with less than perfect truth. “Come out of there at once! No, wait! Don’t!”

Buy link: Amazon

About Sheri.

At the age of sixteen, Sheri Cobb South discovered Georgette Heyer, and came to the startling realization that she had been born into the wrong century. Although she doubtless would have been a chambermaid had she actually lived in Regency England, that didn’t stop her from fantasizing about waltzing the night away in the arms of a handsome, wealthy, and titled gentleman.

scs1Since Georgette Heyer was dead and could not write any more Regencies, Ms. South came to the conclusion she would simply have to do it herself. In addition to her popular series of Regency mysteries featuring idealistic young Bow Street Runner John Pickett (described by All About Romance as “a little young, but wholly delectable”), she is the award-winning author of several Regency romances, including the critically acclaimed The Weaver Takes a Wife.

A native and long-time resident of Alabama, Ms. South recently moved to Loveland, Colorado, where she has a stunning view of Long’s Peak from her office window.

 

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Please welcome USA Today Bestselling author Christi Caldwell back to the blog! Christi is here with her latest release, The Love of a Rogue!  She will give away one copy to one of you. All you have to do is tell her you want it.

We begin with the cover.

ChristiCaldwell_TheLoveOfARogue28

Next the blurb.

Lady Imogen Moore hasn’t had an easy time of it since she made her come out three Seasons ago. With her betrothed, a powerful duke breaking it off to wed her sister, she’s become the tons favorite piece of gossip. Never again wanting to experience the pain of a broken heart, she’s resolved to make a match with a polite, respectable gentleman. The last thing she wants is another reckless rogue.

Lord Alex Edgerton has a problem. His brother, tired of Alex’s carousing has charged him with chaperoning their remaining, unwed sister about ton events. Shopping? No, thank you. Attending the theatre? He’d rather be at Forbidden Pleasures with a scantily clad beauty upon his lap. The task of chaperone becomes even more of a bother when his sister drags along her dearest friend, Lady Imogen to social functions. The last thing he wants in his life is a young, innocent English miss.
Except, as Alex and Imogen are thrown together, passions flare and Alex comes to find he not only wants Imogen in his bed, but also in his heart. Yet now he must convince Imogen to risk all, on the heart of a rogue

And an excerpt.

Alex leaned close. His breath tickled her ear. “See, how she leans her cheek upon her hand! O, that I were a glove upon that hand, that I might caress that cheek.”

Her heart fluttered and she dropped her hand to her lap, clutching the fabric. “T-touch,” she corrected. “That you m-might touch that cheek.”

“Yes, and yet a caress is so much more meaningful than a mere touch, wouldn’t you say, Imogen?” Alex slid his gloved hand over hers, staying her distracted movement.

Yes, oh goodness, she quite agreed. His touch coupled with his knowledge of Shakespeare was heady stuff, indeed. “You read Shakespeare,” she said, unable to keep the shock from her statement.

He turned the very question she’d put to him that last week, on her. “Are you surprised?” Suddenly, he stopped that gentle stroking and she mourned the loss of that seductive little movement. She bit the inside of her lip to keep from begging him to continue.

“N-not at all.” She was however, surprised he read the romantic words of William Shakespeare. Nor did she care for this side of Alex. This shared love and fascination of The Bard’s works that made him more human than rake.

“I find myself surprised by you.” He slipped his fingers into hers, intertwining the digits. His hand strong and powerful, hers fragile and delicate against it, and yet somehow perfectly paired. “You intrigue me.”

“Why would that be?” Her heart thumped erratically at his touch, his words. With the exception of her broken betrothal and flaming-red hair, nothing had earned the notice of anyone—until Alex. “There is nothing unordinary about me.” William’s fickle interest had proven testament to that.

“There is everything extraordinary about you,” His lips nearly brushed her ear and when he spoke in that husky, mellifluous whisper, she could almost believe it. “You quote Shakespeare, sweet Imogen?” His strong, powerful fingers tightened about hers in a seductively possessive grip.

Here in the midst of polite Society with a theatre full of lords and ladies looking for the next piece of gossip, he’d enthralled her. “I do.” Not always intentionally. Imogen swallowed and stole a glance about, but Chloe sat perched at the edge of the box, engrossed in the show below. She looked about the theatre. How could anyone not see that with each stroke of his hand over hers, Alex threw her world into greater tumult?

“You hate shopping, but you enjoy the theatre.” With infinite slowness, he rolled her satin theatre glove slowly down her arm and then freed each finger from the restrictive confines. Imogen darted her gaze about. Surely someone knew the seductive game Alex now played. Yet even two seats apart, her friend remained engrossed in the production below. Wholly uncaring of who might observe his bold touch, Alex whispered, “What manner of woman are you?” He rested her glove upon his lap

She sucked in a breath at his intimate caress. “Wh-what are—?”

“Shh,” he whispered. Alex stroked his thumb in small, soothing circles about her palm eliciting all manner of delicious shivers that radiated at the point of contact and spread through her.

Her chest heaved up and down with slow, shallow breaths. His was just a hand and his fingers moved in a really innocuous movement, except… Imogen bit her lower lip as he rubbed his thumb over the wildly fluttering pulse at her wrist. The small, seductive grin upon his lips indicated he knew he’d roused her senses.

“Romeo had the wrong of it, Imogen.” His husky murmur stirred her belly

She shouldn’t engage in this seductive game with him. It was outrageous and meant nothing to him. “I-in what way do you believe?” She could no sooner quell the question on her lips than she could stop the beating of her own heart.

He studied her through thick, black lashes. “I’d not feel your gloved hand upon me. I’d have your naked palm caressing me, touching me.”

God forgive her. Her lids fluttered madly. She still was the same weak, romantic fool she’d always been. Alex had only opened her eyes to the passion she carried inside, made all the more dangerous by the shred of hope she clung to—to love and be loved.

Buy Links.


 

About Christi.

HeadshotUSA Today Bestselling author, Christi Caldwell blames Judith McNaught’s “Whitney, My Love,” for luring her into the world of historical romance. While sitting in her graduate school apartment at the University of Connecticut, Christi decided to set aside her notes and try her hand at writing romance. She believes the most perfect heroes and heroines have imperfections and she rather enjoys tormenting them before crafting a well-deserved happily ever after!

 
Christi makes her home in Southern Connecticut where she spends her time writing, chasing around her feisty six-year old son and caring for her twin princesses in training!

 

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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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