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

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

No blurb yet, but here is a short excerpt.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Christmas Cove

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

Pizza Boat

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

2015-02-28 17.33.11

2015-02-28 17.32.58

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

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

Ella

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

Now, onto the cover!

Devilish Duke

The blurb:

WILL A FEW FLIRTATIOUS STEPS

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

LEAD TO A SCANDALOUS SEDUCTION?

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

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

And an excerpt.

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

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

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

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

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

Lucy winced. “That is awful.”

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

“So can I,” Evelyn said.

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

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

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

She hoped.

“I’m done up tonight,” Evelyn said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lucy shuddered. “I remember.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He laughed. “That’s rich.”

“Evidently, so are you.”

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

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

“You heard the coins jingling while I ran.”

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

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

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

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

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

About Vicky:

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

 

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

 

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

Egret 2

We also had a booby land on the dock.

Boobie

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

Secret Harbor

Secret harbor 4

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

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

lady beresford's lover_ebook

Blurb.

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

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

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

So, what have you been doing this week?

Ella

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

me and JQ

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

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

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

Feathered friend at AYH

AYH 2AYH

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Tell me what you did while I was gone.

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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Yes, I was not supposed to be here. I’ll tell you all about it after we congratulate Glenda who won Susanna Fraser’s book, Freedom to Love!

Now for the boat drama. While we were in the Gulf Stream coming up from the Keys, we started taking on water. Not a thing you want to have happen. I made a quick call. We sailed overnight and put into a boat yard that morning. The problem was fixed, as well as several other items that we had not gotten done.

We were at the boat yard for a week and were fortunate to meet some other cruising couples who have become friends. Alicianna and I both went to groomers.

Alicianna at groomer 2

I bought some much needed prescription sunglasses, and green bags to help keep fresh vegetables longer, as well as a new bilge pump. Part of the reason we had so much water in the boat was that it had stopped working. Unfortunately, we missed our weather window. So we’re in Ft. Lauderdale until late Tuesday or Wednesday morning. If anyone wants to stop by, just let me know.

Here are some pictures of our anchorage in the Las Olas mooring field.

Las Olas Jan 14

Las Olas night view

I also got to make a quick stop at the Elbo Room. I hadn’t been there since around 1974. Elbo Room

In the meantime, I have been writing the last book in The Marriage Game series. To say it’s been slow going, would be putting it mildly. I wrote a few scenes out of order. One of which I got to, the other I’m still slogging my way towards.

The book doesn’t have a name yet. I’ve been playing with Miss Featherton’s Christmas Marquis. If you have any ideas, I will submit them to my editor, and if he picks it, you’ll get a copy of the book.

I had to give my editor an idea of what Damon, Marquis of Hawksworth looks like.

Damon

As well as Miss Featherton. Meg

The premise of the book is that after experiencing two betrayals and heartbreak, Meg has decided to marry a man she cannot fall in love with. Damon, however, has other ideas. Here is an unedited excerpt.

Damon swallowed his frustration. “Have you never even considered being the Marchioness of Hawksworth, and future Duchess of Somerset?”

Her head jerked up. Her eyes resembling a startled dear. “Marry you?”

“Why not.” He captured her lips, and this time she opened her mouth, allowing him to plunder. A few moments later, he grinned. “We at least have passion. I’ll wait for you to fall in love with me.”

“Fall in love?” Her jaw dropped, but she quickly recovered. “Are you telling me that you love me?”

“Yes, but I must admit that I have sworn not to marry unless the lady loves me in return.”

Once more she attempted to break loose, but apparently settled for glaring at him. “You cannot be serious.”

On Thursday Christi Caldwell will be back visiting, and on Friday Miranda Neville is here. Please make sure to stop by and welcome them. Also, be patient if you get stuck in moderation. If the wind and sea gods are good, I will be underway and on my sat phone wifi. Not the speediest of things.

What have you all been up to?

Ella

 

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