Posts Tagged ‘Cheryl Bolen’

Yes, I know it’s Sunday, but Cheryl caught in a transportation strike and could not get her information to me until yesterday. Also, I promised you that I’d put the post up as soon as I had her stuff. So here we go. As always, Cheryl will be giving away a copy of her book to one of you who leaves a comment saying you want it.

First the cover!

Duchess by Mistake

Now the blurb.

Another of Cheryl Bolen’s classic marriage-of-convenience stories

An innocent visit to the Duke of Aldridge’s to request a donation for her war widows puts Lady Elizabeth Upton in the midst of a most shocking scandal. . .

The Duke of Aldridge offers for his best friend’s sister, Lady Elizabeth Upton, after a mix-up sends her to his bedchamber—just as he’s emerging from his bath. She most certainly does not want to force the duke’s hand, but how can she bear the shame her scandalous behavior has cast upon her dear brother, the Marquess of Haverstock?

Once she agrees to marry her childhood heartthrob, Elizabeth realizes she wants nothing more than to win her husband’s love. But capturing his heart is no easy task when former loves threaten to destroy the fragile bonds of their marriage.

And last, but not least, an excerpt.

Some time after donning a dress which matched the periwinkle colour of her eyes and topping it with matching pelisse suitable for calling at Aldridge House, Lady Elizabeth Upton found herself knocking upon the door of the Duke of Aldridge’s fine house on Berkeley Square. She wondered how many times Charles had passed through this door during his two and thirty years. Since she had only come out three years previously, she had never had the opportunity to pay a call upon the duke, owing to his long absence from England.

The white-haired butler who answered her knock looked as if he’d been in the employ of the Aldridges for at least two generations. He quickly offered her a tight smile and spoke before she had the chance to offer her card. “Please come in. His grace awaits. If you will just follow me up the stairs.”

She supposed with this being the duke’s first day back, he was entertaining callers in the drawing room. She had not considered that she would not have him all to herself. It would be difficult to beg him for the significant donation in a room full of people. Her brother had once said the duke did not like to have his charities acknowledged, preferring anonymity.

Her gaze lifted to the massive chandelier that glistened above, then she began to follow the stooped-over butler as he mounted the stairs, his movements slowed by age. All the way up the impressive, iron banistered staircase portraits of long-dead Aldridges stood almost one on top of the other and seemed to be staring at her.

To her surprise, when they reached the first floor he did not stop but continued mounting stairs to the next level. Though her experience with ducal residences was limited, she was unaccustomed to finding a drawing room so far removed from the home’s entrance. In most of the houses with which she was familiar, the third level was reserved for bedchambers.

They reached the third level. It was slightly less formal than the second level, actually looking remarkably like the third–bedchamber–level at Haverstock House. The butler turned to the right and shuffled along another corridor until he reached the first paneled and gilded door. It was closed. He teetered to a stop and turned to face her with a somber countenance. “You will find his grace in here.” Then he began to retrace his steps.

She drew in a breath, reached for the door handle, and opened it.

She heard a splashing sound before the door was fully open. How peculiar. When she had clear view of the room, she gasped. There in its center, framed by the fireplace behind him, the Duke of Aldridge was emerging from his bath. His long, glistening, gloriously formed body was completely naked.

In her entire life Lady Elizabeth Upton had never seen a naked man in the flesh. Though her first instinct should have been to run screaming from the chamber, she was frozen to the spot, unable to remove her gaze from . . . the manly part. And so much more. From his wide shoulders along his burnished skin and muscled limbs, the dark-haired duke exuded a masculinity like nothing she had ever seen.

A flood of memories of her former adoration of this man many years ago walloped her. She felt the heat climbing into her cheeks and knew she should flee from the profligate duke. Yet, like a compulsion to watch a grim sight not suitable for female sensibilities, she was incapable of turning away.

“You’re not Belle!” he said, snatching his toweling and covering the lower portion of his statue-worthy body. His voice held a note of incredulity.

No doubt, Belle was a lady of the demimonde. What a wicked man he was! To think, his first day back in the kingdom he chose to spend with a woman of that sort.

At the sound of his voice, she realized how shameless she must appear. And how very improper it was for her to be there. She came to her senses, let out a full-fledged scream, turned on her heel, and fled down the stairs.

And came face to face with her brother.

“Haverstock!” she cried.

His brows lowered with concern. “What’s the matter, Lizzie?”

She tossed her head back in the direction of the duke’s private chamber. “That man! He’s thoroughly debauched.” Then she scurried down the stairs. Never again would she come to this . . . this temple of profligacy.


Aldridge was having the devil of a time trying to remember where he had seen that chit before. No doubt, she was a lady of Quality. He’d likely scared the poor thing senseless. There had obviously been a serious misunderstanding.

As soon as he called for Lawford, Haverstock came striding into Aldridge’s bedchamber. When he saw that Aldridge was without clothing, his facial expressions thundered. “What in the hell were you doing with my sister?”

Oh, damn! That’s why she looked familiar! The duke grimaced. “It’s not what you think.”

Haverstock’s gaze raked over him from the top of his wet head down the full length of his nakedness. “Oh, isn’t it? My god, Aldridge, she’s an innocent! How could you?”

By then Aldridge’s valet had come striding in with fresh clothing for his master, and Aldridge began to dress. “It seems I owe her an apology. I assure you I have no dishonorable designs on your sister.”

Haverstock regarded him thoughtfully for a long, silent moment. “Then are you saying your intentions toward Elizabeth are honorable?”

“But of course. What do you take me for?”

“It appears I shall now take you for my brother-in-law.”

Buy links.

Amazon ~ Barnes & NobleSmashwords ~ iTunes ~ Kobo


About Cheryl.

Cheryl BolenCheryl Bolen is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of over 20 romances, both historical and contemporary mystery. Many of her books have placed in contests, including the Daphne du Maurier (romantic suspense) and have been translated into ten languages. She was Notable New Author in 1999. In 2006 she won the Holt Medallion, Best Historical, and in 2012 she won Best Historical in the International Digital Awards and she’s had four other titles place in that competition. Her 2011 Christmas novella was named Best Novella in the Romance Through the Ages. She invites readers to www.CherylBolen.com, or her blog, www.cherylsregencyramblings.wordpress.co or Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cheryl-Bolen-Books/146842652076424.

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Happy Cold Sunday!

I don’t know where you are, but we have no heat on the boat and are freezing.

Let’s warm up with book winners. Congratulations to Linda Thumb who won Jo Bourne’s book coverand to Elf Ahearn who won Cheryl Bolen’s book!! Have fun reading!!Luxury Christmas door










Now for the cover reveal for A Kiss for Lady Mary which releases in May. Tell me what you think.

A Kiss for Lady Mary


Ella Quinn’s bachelors do as they like and take what they want. But when the objects of their desire are bold, beautiful women, the rules of the game always seem to change…

 Handsome, charming, and heir to a powerful Viscount, Christopher “Kit” Featherton is everything a woman could want—except interested in marriage. So when he hears that someone on his estate near the Scottish border is claiming to be his wife, Kit sets off to investigate.                                                                                                                                                                

Since her parents’ death, Lady Mary Tolliver has been hounded by her cousin, a fortune-hunting fool after her inheritance. Refusing to settle for anything less than love, Mary escapes to the isolated estate of rakish bachelor, Kit Featherton. Knowing he prefers Court to the country, she believes she will be safe. But when Kit unexpectedly returns, her pretend marriage begins to feel seductively real…



No excerpt yet, it’s still being edited.

Here is the Amazon link. I’ll post more later.

Hubby and I have had a busy week on the boat, and I also had a great deal of writing to accomplish.

We took one of the forward berths (front bedrooms) and turned it into a much needed pantry! Other than a 3 by 2 foot cupboard for food in the galley, all my food storage was under the settee. Here are the before during and after pictures.

Remodel 2

Pantry 3

Pantry 5



My editor is breathing down my neck, so I have to get back to writing.

Let me know how you’re doing. Are you cold as well?

Have a great and warmer week,


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Please welcome, New York Times bestselling author, Cheryl Bolen back to the blog!! Cheryl is here to tell you about her new book, a Christmas in Bath, which releases on November 4th. She will also give a copy to one of you who tells her you want it.

Let’s begin with the lovely cover.

Luxury Christmas door


Now the blurb.

Characters from the first five Brides of Bath books will be serving up some Christmas cheer, while Glee Blankenship sharpens Cupid’s arrow in A Christmas in Bath, a “sweet” novella.

Unbeknownst to scholarly Jonathan Blankenship, his sister-in-law Glee has decided this Christmas he needs a little push to make him see that his dear friend of four years, Miss Arbuckle, will make his perfect mate.



And an excerpt!

When Miss Mary Arbuckle received the note from Glee Blankenship imploring her to come straight away to her house on Queen Square, Miss Arbuckle began to tremble. Had something happened to Jonathan Blankenship? It was not like Glee to order people about. Especially since Glee rather had her hands full with a new infant son and an entirely too precocious daughter not quite three years of age.

Miss Arbuckle wrapped herself in her faded red cape, put on her woolen gloves, twirled a muffler about her neck, and began the walk to Queen Square. Other young ladies subjected to the discomfort of walking in this extreme cold might have wished to command a luxurious coach and four to whisk them about this hilly watering city.

Unlike other girls, Miss Arbuckle’s thoughts had never been occupied with wishing for things that were unobtainable. At a very early age she had come to accept that her widowed mother would never be possessed of wealth. She had also come to terms with the fact that she would never be a beauty. Her looking glass only too plainly confirmed that the most to which Miss Arbuckle could ever aspire was to be considered tolerable looking.

Because of her pragmatism, she had long accepted her fate as a spinster of extremely modest means. Such acceptance could have been sorely tried by the company she kept. Ever since she had attended Miss Worth’s School for Young Ladies, her closest circle of friends had consisted of other young ladies of Quality who were in possession of beauty, wealth, and in many cases, rank.

Ten minutes of very fast walking brought her to the Blankenship’s fine home. Inside, as she was divesting herself of her cape beneath a huge sparkling chandelier, the lovely Glee Blankenship came scurrying down the stairs to greet her.

Even though the two had been friends since they attended Miss Worth’s School for Young Ladies together, Miss Arbuckle never failed to be struck over Glee’s beauty. Perhaps it was because Glee was the antithesis of shy, drab, bookish Miss Arbuckle. Though Glee was considerably shorter than Miss Arbuckle, her vibrant personality was in perfect harmony with her fiery red hair, giving her a presence much larger than her stature would merit.

Only when Glee reached the gilt and marble entry corridor did Miss Arbuckle notice that she was carrying her babe. “I do thank you for coming, Miss Arbuckle! Please, let us go sit in the drawing room.”

In the ivory drawing room, the butter-coloured silken draperies were open, providing the chamber with more light than other rooms, but it was still an excessively dreary day. It was, after all, December in Bath.

Glee sat opposite Miss Arbuckle, who had taken a seat upon one of a pair of silk brocade sofas that faced each other in front of the fire. Glee first addressed inarticulate noises to her little red-headed babe. Then, to Miss Arbuckle’s astonishment, Glee lowered the bodice of her gown and lifted away that part of a woman’s anatomy that provided sustenance. The babe began to greedily suckle.

Mary’s cheeks turned scarlet. She had never before witnessed such a display! This was most shocking indeed. Miss Arbuckle was most determined to ignore what Glee was doing and concentrate on what she was saying.

It was, however, difficult not ponder the question of why Glee Blankenship had not procured a wet nurse. It was not as if Gregory Blankenship—Glee’s husband—was not sinfully wealthy.

There was not the least trace of embarrassment in Glee’s voice when she spoke. “I wanted to tell you that Jonathan is coming to spend Christmas with us in Bath.”

There was certainly nothing shattering in that remark. Why had Glee led Miss Arbuckle to believe the matter was so urgent? Then a thought, a truly petrifying thought, penetrated into Miss Arbuckle’s brain. He’s bringing a wife. Glee wanted to prepare Miss Arbuckle for the heart-breaking news.

Though the two women had never discussed Miss Arbuckle’s feelings for Mr. Jonathan Blankenship, Glee had to know that her friend had loved him since the first day he had ever favored her with a comment.

Whenever he was in Bath, Jonathan Blankenship and Miss Arbuckle spent a great deal of time together, and the two of them shared many interests. He was the only young man who had ever danced with her at the Assembly Rooms, the only man who had ever brought her flowers, the only man who had ever honored her with his attentions.

Miss Arbuckle’s eyes rounded. “Why should that matter to me?” Her disinterest, Glee had to know, was an act.

“I know very well, Mary Arbuckle, that you’re in love with my brother-in-law. Can you deny it?”

Still fearing that Glee was going to notify her of Mr. Blankenship’s nuptials, she shrugged. “I will own that I have a strong attachment to him, but there has never been any form of understanding between us.”

“I know that very well, you goose! I have decided that you must give the man a little push so he’ll realize you’re the very woman to be his perfect wife.”

Miss Arbuckle’s sweating palms uncoiled, and she expelled the breath she was holding. He wasn’t wed to another!

Then Glee’s words sunk in. Miss Arbuckle had never allowed herself to give consideration to marrying dear Mr. Blankenship. “You forget that unlike you, I am not a beauty who can easily claim men’s hearts. Nor am I possessed of fortune, and as a second son, Mr. Blankenship will surely be compelled to marry a woman who brings a comfortable dowry. I have resigned myself to being Mr. Blankenship’s friend. Nothing more.”

“Pooh! How long have you known him now?”

“Four years.”

“And you are how old?”

Miss Arbuckle swallowed over her mortification. “The same as you. Three and twenty.” An old maid, to be sure.

“I will not allow you to resign yourself to being a spinster.” Glee deprived her babe of his nourishment, gently dabbed a cloth around his little mouth, and spoke some unintelligible nonsense to him.

All the while, Mary tried not to allow her gaze to drop below Glee’s neck. “No one chooses to be a spinster. It just happens to be my fate.”

“Pooh!” Glee began to nurse again, but Mary refused to let her eye lower.

“If Jonathan asked you to marry him, would you accept?” Glee asked.

Not without an alien fluttering in her heart, Miss Arbuckle nodded.

“It is my belief that Jonathan is already in love with you, but he just doesn’t realize it. Now, Miss Arbuckle, we must plan our strategy.”

Mary swallowed over the huge lump in her throat. “Our strategy?”

“Indeed. When I determined to capture Blanks’s heart, I went about it in much the same way a general plans his battle strategy.”

“Then you are far more clever than I.”

“Jonathan would never agree with that. I declare, he has told me hundreds of times how uncommonly clever you are.”

Miss Arbuckle warmed under such praise. “It would be false modesty for me to attempt to refute that for I realize that Mr. Blankenship does credit me with thinking like an intelligent man. The pity of it is, he rather thinks of me as a man. To him, I am a very dear friend, like his friend Melvin Steffington. Nothing more.”

“Then it is our job to make him see you with new eyes.”

“New or old eyes, I am still plain.”

“Being plain is not at all the same as being ugly. Because you are not ugly, it will be excessively easy to render you prettier. You must give me a free hand.”

Miss Arbuckle shook her head. “It is difficult for one to appear pretty without pretty clothes, and I assure you, Mama’s limited funds are stretched to the limit as it is.”

“You are a good seamstress, are you not?”

She nodded. “But fabric comes very dearly.”

“Sweet Sally wanted me to find a good use for the dresses which she has been unable to get back into since the birth of her twins. Since you are tallish like Sally, they will do very well for you—with modifications, of course. Your bosom is much larger than Sally’s, which is non-existent.”

How could Mrs. Blankenship speak of bosom without even lowering her voice? Once again, the flush stole into Miss Arbuckle’s cheeks.

Miss Arbuckle would not recognize herself in fine ball gowns. She had never owned any. The very idea of wearing lovely clothes that had been made for a countess suffused Miss Arbuckle with a feeling of uncommon lightness. “I don’t know. . .”

“I assure you, the gowns are lovely,” Glee continued. “My brother selected them himself for her after he recovered from the fire, and now he is delighting himself by selecting new gowns for her.”

“Are you certain Lady Sedgewick would not object?”

“Of course I am. Put your trust in me. When you go to the assemblies, it’s essential you leave off the spectacles. Men are not attracted to them. Until they’re in love with you. Then they love you just as you are.”

“Whenever Jonathan Blankenship is in Bath, I do try to go without my spectacles.”

“I know when the two of you are together sharing poems and treatises, you will have to wear them, but he’s so obsessive over those pursuits I daresay he won’t take a look at you.”

That was true. “I don’t believe he looks at me as a woman.”

A wicked smile danced upon Glee’s face. “I mean to change that.”

“I don’t know. . . It has occurred to me that Mr. Blankenship is one of those men who is neither interested in women nor desirous of uniting himself to one.”

“We will see, my dear Miss Arbuckle. We will see.”

It was not in Mary Arbuckle’s nature to be anything but compliant. “I shouldn’t like to use trickery on dear Mr. Blankenship.”

“I wouldn’t call it trickery. It’s simply a matter of assisting him to the place of his greatest happiness. What man would not wish to be there?”

“But how can you know where his happiness is?”

“Because he’s my dear Blanks’s brother! Trust me, Miss Arbuckle, I am a great student of human nature. I do know that he loves you. He first fell in love with your fine mind; now, he needs to be stunned by your appearance. ”

Glee’s little son had fallen to sleep. As Glee went to restore her clothing, Miss Arbuckle effected great interest in the fire blazing in the hearth.

“There is more!” Glee added.

Miss Arbuckle’s stomach felt as if she were falling from a great height. “Dear God, tell me you have not told him of my feelings!”

Glee gently shook her head, then lowered he lashes to peer at her babe’s sweet face.

Unaccountably, Miss Arbuckle felt a stab of envy. Not for Glee’s beauty. Or for her wealth. But for the family she loved so dearly, the family that loved her just as devotedly.

“I have a plan to make Jonathan jealous,” Glee said.

“There is nothing that would make him jealous because he is not in love with me.”

“He is too. He just doesn’t know it yet. It’s our task to show him that of all the women in the wide world, you are the one who was created to be his mate.”

Glee truly was possessed of a remarkable understanding of human nature for she had just perfectly described how Miss Arbuckle felt about Jonathan Blankenship. “One would have to be very adept at conjuring to accomplish such a feat.”

“Conjuring has nothing to do with it. Because I know he loves you, I know that when he thinks another man wishes to steal your affections, he will do everything in his power to woo you.”

Miss Arbuckle’s mouth gaped open in astonishment. “Another man? It appears my conjuring reference was justified.”

“There will be another man. Leave that to me.”

“I will own, you have far more experience than I in matters of love, my dear Mrs. Blankenship, but I cannot give credit to what you’re saying.”

“You admitted you would like to marry Jonathan. Now you must allow me to ensure that it happens.” Glee rose. “Come up to my chamber so I can begin your physical transformation. He arrives this afternoon, and I mean for you to nearly steal his breath away.”

Buy Links: The price for A Christmas in Bath will $.99 until November 4th.

Amazon ~ Kobo ~ iTunes

About Cheryl:

Cheryl BolenSince being named Notable New Author for 1997, Cheryl Bolen has since published more than 20 books with Kensington/Zebra, Love Inspired Historical, and Montlake. She has broken into the top 5 on the New York Times and hit the USA Today bestseller list. Her 2005 One Golden Ring won Best Historical, Holt Medallion, and her 2011 My Lord Wicked was awarded Best Historical in the International Digital Awards, the same year her Christmas novella was chosen as Best Novella. Her books have been finalists for other awards, including the Daphne du Maurier, and have been translated into almost a dozen languages.


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I had the delightful pleasure of meeting Cheryl last summer. She is truly not only a great author, but a wonderful person!

Today Cheryl is her to introduce her new book, Love in the Library,  book 5 in her Brides of Bath series.  She will be giving away a copy, reader’s choice, of one book in the series to one lucky commenter who says they want it. How easy is that!

Here is the gorgeous cover. I love the period details.

Love in the Library

Love in the Library

Now the blurb.

The Beauty and the Scholar

The Brides of Bath are back! Scholar Melvin Steffington is just the man to help young widow Catherine Bexley recover her late husband’s nearly priceless manuscript. Little does either of them know that in their quest to regain the Chaucer, they will confront danger while fighting their growing attraction to one another.

The comical parts of this book will have the reader chuckling often.–Bookworm2Bookworm

Everything I’ve read by Cheryl Bolen has been a “keeper” and this latest in The Brides of Bath series is no different. — Past Romance

Historical note: The first three Brides of Bath were published in mass market paperback only in 2002, and due to their popularity, a fourth one was published in 2004. Long after they were out of print, they were reissued with new covers in 2011, and for the first time became available as ebooks.

And an excerpt.

Love in the Library (A new Brides of Bath novel)

By Cheryl Bolen

“Now we’re stuck in this room together,” Mr. Steffington said. “Why could you not have been my sister as we were at the Duke’s Arms last night?”

“But you are mistaken, Airy. I wasn’t actually your sister at Duke’s Arms.”

“You know what I mean.” Her gave her an I’d-like-to-gag-your-mouth-with-a-used-handkerchief look.

Catherine attempted to out stare him.

Mumbling something incoherent beneath his breath, he looked away. Her gaze followed his to the four-poster bed.

Oh, dear.

“Of course, I shall sleep on the floor,” he said.

“Of course.” She shrugged. “It does look softer than most floors. And I shall insist you take the counterpane to fold into a little mattress.”

“Can’t take your blanket.”

“Oh, yes. I shall have the bed curtains closed to hold in the warmth.”

“They will also give you privacy.”

“True.  I shouldn’t like you to see me sleeping. What if my mouth gapes open like a moron—meaning no disparagement to those poor afflicted souls.”

“I cannot imagine you ever looking anything but ladylike.”

“Oh, Airy, that is so kind of you.” That he was incapable of staying angry with her, endeared him to her. The girl who would one day capture his heart would be very fortunate. Very fortunate, indeed.

As she directed a smile at him, his lashes lowered. She was certain his compliment now embarrassed him. He was not the smooth-talking, bed hopper she’d wager his twin brother was. She rather pitied the girl who married that twin. Reflecting over her own smooth-talking, bed-hopping late husband, she was now happy that he’d been possessed of those traits. Otherwise, his demise would have been too, too painful.

She sighed. Yes, the girl who married Mr. Steffington would be most fortunate.

“You must allow me to make your bed,” she said. “I am ever so experienced. Whenever my little nephews visit me, I make them a pallet on the floor of my bedchamber.” She set about to remove the quilt from the bed, fold it lengthwise, and place it on the floor beside her own bed.

Then her gaze traveled over him from head to toe. “I fear you may be too tall.”

“My feet won’t mind hanging off.”

She started to giggle.

He cracked a smile. “Allow me to guess. You are now imagining my feet talking.”

Still giggling, she nodded.

“You are possessed of the silliest sense of humor.” He eyed the pallet. “Perhaps you shouldn’t put it so close to your bed. What if I snore?”

“I am accustomed to men snoring.” Her hand clapped around her mouth. “I didn’t mean to imply I’ve slept with multiple men. Only one, actually.”

His dark eyes flashed with mirth.

And they both laughed.

“Why did you not warm to Lord Seacrest?” she asked. “I thought he was charming.”

Mr. Steffington frowned. “You would. He shamelessly flirted with a married woman!”

“Well. . .I’m not actually a married woman.”

“He doesn’t know that!”

Mr. Steffington’s deep sense of morality touched her. She gave him a puzzled look. “I hadn’t noticed Lord Seacrest flirting. He was merely being friendly.”

“Only to you. He was jealous of me.”

“Why would he be jealous of you?”

“Because I had the good fortune to marry you.” He shrugged. “At least, that’s what the man thinks.”

“Oh, Airy, that is so sweet that you think being married to me is a good thing.”

“I didn’t say that.”


Seconds later, she feigned a yawn. “I suppose I am rather tired.”

His glance flicked to her valise, then to his beside it. He cleared his throat. She was coming to learn that he cleared his throat every time he was about to say something he thought might be construed as too intimate. “Would you like me to leave the room whilst you dress for bed?” He was unable to meet her gaze.

“You don’t have to leave the room.”

His gaze absently lowered to her bodice, then whipped away. “Then I vow to turn my back and close and my eyes whilst you . . . ah, remove your. . . well, you know.”

“You don’t have to close your eyes.”

Those dark eyes of his rounded. “Oh, but I must. You’re a lady, and I’m a gentleman.”

She stood. “That won’t be necessary. I’ll pull the curtains around my bed and then disrobe.”

“Capital idea!” He looked exceedingly relieved.

She went to her valise, removed her night shift, then crossed the room and climbed on top the big bed.

“Here,” he said. “I’ll close the bed curtains for you.” It was much easier for him because of his height.

When he finished, she sat on the side of the bed and listened to his footsteps move away. “Thank you, Airy. Good night, sleep tight—”

“And don’t let the bedbugs bite,” he finished.

Once she had changed into her night shift and got beneath the covers she called out to him. “I’m decent now, but I find I don’t like the dark. If you weren’t in the chamber with me, I would be terrified.”

“Should you like for me to crack open your bed curtains?”


“I, ah, shall need to restore my shirt first.”

How she would love to see him without his shirt. “Don’t bother. I’ll close my eyes.”

“Are you sure?”

He needn’t know if she peeked. After all, it was quite dark within the cubicle of her bed. “Certainly!”

“Forgive me. I didn’t mean to imply. . .”

“Of course you wouldn’t.”

He quietly moved across the carpet. “Where should you like the sliver of light?”

“The foot of the bed will do nicely, thank you.” And would afford a glimpse of him.

Seconds later, a buttery vertical light striped the foot of her bed, and she watched as he moved back to his pallet with the powerful majesty of a panther. Firelight glanced along the tawny length of his long, lean, and wonderfully bare torso.

Yes, she thought to herself, her breath a bit ragged, the girl who snared dear Mr. Steffington would indeed be fortunate.

Buy Links:

Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ iTunes ~ Kobo

About Cheryl Bolen:

Cheryl BolenCheryl Bolen is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of more than 20 romance books, both historical and contemporary mystery. Many of her books have placed in writing contests, including the Daphne du Maurier for romantic suspense. They have been translated into eight languages and have become Barnes & Noble and Amazon bestsellers. She was named Notable New Author in 1999. In 2006 she won the Holt Medallion (Honoring Outstanding Literary Talent) for Best Historical, and in 2012 she won Best Historical in the International Digital Awards for ebooks published the prior year. Her 2011 novella was named Best Novella in the Romance Through the Ages competition.

Admitting to a fascination with dead Englishmen and women, she has been a regular contributor to the Regency Plume, the Quizzing Glass, and The Regency Reader. She invites readers to her website, www.CherylBolen.com, or her blog, www.cherylsregencyramblings.wordpress.co.

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I’ve known Cheryl from my forums, but I got to meet her at a national conference this past summer. She is a wonderful person. Now I’m going to introduce you to her books, if you haven’t already found them. Today she is spotlighting The Theft Before Christmas and  will give one autographed copy of Marriage of Inconvenience to a lucky commenter who leaves a comment saying she/he wants the book. The giveaway is limited to the US and Canada.

Here is the cover. Isn’t it lovely?

theft before christmas

And the blurb.

the theft of the Regent’s Michelangelo has the potential to set off on
international incident, he believes his best chance of recovering it before the
donor’s Christmas Eve visit is to bring in his favorite investigators: Captain
Dryden and his wife Lady Daphne.
* * *
With her usual deft touch, Bolen
mixes real historical figures with her own memorable cast of characters. Mix a
locked room puzzle, a tour of Regency London, a murder, and a sweet romance
between two friends thrown together by Daphne and Jack’s investigation, and you have another charming Regent Mystery for the holiday season.

Now an excerpt.

Chapter 1

The crimson velvet box was much heavier than Lady Daphne had at first thought when Papa had placed it in her palm. She eased open the lid and there lay perhaps the loveliest necklace she had ever beheld (that wasn’t upon a royal neck).  It consisted of three scalloped tiers of glittering sapphire stones set in glistening gold and sprinkled with diamonds.

“They gave you the wrong necklace, Papa! These are not emeralds.”

His bushy brows lowered. “Does it not match your dear mother’s eyes?”

Her mother’s eyes were blue. “Indeed it does.”

He held out his hands. “Well, there you have it. Got the right necklace.”

“But, Papa, you distinctly told me you got an emerald necklace.”

His gaze flicked to the gift he had entrusted into his daughter’s care. “Are those not emeralds?”

Daphne rolled her eyes. “Emeralds are green.”

“I always get my blues and greens and emeralds and sapphires mixed up. But I do know the color of my wife’s eyes.”

And Daphne suspected her father had been very naughty. Whenever he had one of his dalliances with opera dancers, Mama received the loveliest pieces of jewelry. The thick diamond bracelet came after Dolly Farraday. The ruby necklace after the actress Mrs. Davidson, and the cessation of his affair with Maggie Lorne netted Mama a stunning emerald ring.

All of this made Daphne appreciate the value of her own non-aristocratic husband and his puritanical ideas about marriage and fidelity.

“Mama will adore it. I do wish I could show you what I got my darling husband for Christmas, but I sent it on to Addersley with the servants’ coach.”

“Christmas morning will be here soon enough,” he said.

“Miss Huntington,” Lady Daphne called, “you must come see the sapphire necklace Papa has bought Mama for Christmas.”

Her Papa had come to his eldest daughter’s house directly from Rundell & Bridge. “Whatever you do, don’t forget to bring it to Addersley Priory when you and that fellow come for Christmas,” he said.

“Papa, you are not to call my dear husband that fellow. He has a name.” From the corner of her eye, Daphne observed Miss Huntington’s blond head as she swept into the drawing room.

“I have the devil of a time remembering his name. I always want to call him Mr. Rich.”

Daphne knew it was her own fault her father had difficulty with dear Jack’s name. She felt beastly guilty for the way she had initially tricked her father with Jack’s feigned identity. No one abhorred lying as much as she—except perhaps for her honorable husband—but she had learned that when undertaking a secret commission for the Prince Regent she sometimes had to resort to the fabrication of the truth.

“Oh, my lord,” Miss Huntington said, “it is the most beautiful necklace I’ve ever seen. Lady Sidworth will be the happiest woman in the kingdom on Christmas morning.”

“Papa, did you know Jack and I shall be bringing Miss Huntington to Addersley Priory for Christmas?”

Lord Sidworth faced the girl, who was a half dozen years younger than Daphne. “How delightful, Miss Huntington. I am especially happy since I told your parents when your father was posted to St. Petersburg that I’d look out for you.” He clasped her hands. “How are your parents?”

“Cold,” she said with a giggle. “The frigid winters are a great excuse for Mama to procure an assortment of very fine furs.”

He chuckled. “I remember when Lord Malmsey came back from serving as ambassador at St. Petersburg, he had quite a wardrobe of fur hats.”

“Which he never wore in England,” Daphne added.

The door to the drawing room opened, and Jack strode into the chamber. Even after all these months, Daphne was still profoundly affected every time she gazed upon the physical perfection of the man she had married. It wasn’t just his uniform—which she must own, he wore better than any officer in His Majesty’s Hussars. For, she thought with a galloping heartbeat, he was even more magnificent without it. Color rose into her cheeks.

He removed his hat, revealing stylishly cut dark brown hair that framed his manly face with its square plains and strong chin and perfect aquiline nose. He immediately sketched a bow to Lord Sidworth. “Your servant, sir.” Then he eyed the other guest. “Good day, Miss Huntington.”

Daphne breezily walked up and smacked a big, loud kiss upon his cheek. “Hello, my darling.”

Her open displays of affection always embarrassed poor Jack. But he more than made up for that one particular shyness when he hungrily made love to her each night. She blushed again at the memory of what a masterful teacher he was in their bedchamber.

She gazed up into his face, smiling. “We’re all packed for Addersley. The servants’ coach left almost an hour ago.”

He cleared his throat. “I wonder if there’s room in our coach for one more?” Then his gaze shifted to his father-in-law. “I thought perhaps you wouldn’t mind one more, my lord, since Addersley’s so vast in size.”

Lord Sidworth quickly shook his head. “No, of course not. After all, it’s Christmas. I like to share my largess most especially this time of year.”

Daphne’s brows lowered as she faced her husband. “Who did you have in mind?”

“Colonel Bond.”

She immediately understood. Jack didn’t like the thought of his friend being alone at Christmas. The colonel—who was still a bachelor even though he was forty—had no family. “I’m sorry I didn’t think of inviting him myself.”

“Good, I’ll dispatch a quick note to him. It could delay our start.”

“It won’t hurt us to wait.” Daphne turned back to her father. “You, though, are late. I know Mama awaits you. She had hoped to leave this morning.”

She walked her father to the door, and when they reached it, they beheld a curious sight. One of a pair of royal couriers was just about to knock.

Her father spun to her. “It looks as if the Regent will be needing your husband’s assistance again.”

“And if he does, that is no concern of yours. You know we are governed by the strictest secrecy.” She shrugged. “But I daresay his majesty merely wishes to send us Christmas blessings.”

Her father descended the steps to his waiting coach as one of the liveried couriers, who held a letter bearing the royal seal, spoke to her. “His Royal Highness has charged us with delivering this to Captain Dryden and Lady Daphne Dryden, and we are to await an answer.”

She invited them inside. Now it was imperative to have Miss Huntington leave the drawing room. Whatever the Regent wanted was likely a private matter not to be shared with anyone.  “If you’ll just wait in the morning room, I shall get the captain.”

She returned to the drawing room. “Miss Huntington, can I beg a massive favor of you?”

The sweet girl, who was sadly rather plain and hadn’t taken during the past two seasons, faced her. “Anything, my lady.”

“Could you deliver Jack’s letter to the colonel? His home is no more than a ten minute walk from here.”

The young lady looked a bit puzzled.

Daphne shrugged. “All our servants have gone on to Addersley Priority.” Except for Andy—who Jack and Daphne might need, if they had to go to Carlton House to meet with their monarch.

Jack, too, looked puzzled as he folded the letter, addressed it, and crossed the chamber to hand it to Miss Huntington.

That lady read the address. “Oh, so he’s on Vauxhall Bridge Road.”

“I told you it wasn’t far.”

“Should you like me to await a response?” the lady asked.

That might be a good idea—in case the Regent was summoning them. That would keep Miss Huntington away longer. “How sweet of you to offer. That would be ever so kind.”

Once that lady donned her hat and heavy woolen cloak and departed, Daphne led her husband to the morning room. “The Regent’s sent his couriers.”

Jack grimaced. “Let us hope it’s nothing that will prevent our journey to Addersley.”

She hadn’t thought of that. She had never missed a Christmas with her family at Addersley Priory in her five and twenty years.

When Jack entered the morning room, both men rose and saluted,

She loved to watch him when he appeared commanderly. His face serious, he slightly inclined his head, strode to the Hussar holding the letter, took it, and opened it. After he scanned it, he said, “It’s to both of us, love.”

She sidled up beside him and glimpsed. The prince’s signature –at least an abbreviated version of it—appeared at the bottom, and an embossed royal crest was upon the top.

My Dear Lady Daphne and Captain Dryden,           

I beg that you call on me at Carlton House as soon as possible. An urgent matter has arisen that requires your particular set of skills. I don’t need to tell you that your complete discretion is once again required.”

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A little about Cheryl.

Cheryl BolenA former journalist and English teacher, Cheryl Bolen sold her first book to Harlequin Historical in 1997. That book, A Duke Deceived, was a finalist for the Holt Medallion for Best First Book, and it netted her the title Notable New Author. Since then she has published more than 20 books with Kensington/Zebra, Montlake, Love Inspired Historical and independently. Her 2005 book One Golden Ring won the Holt Medallion for Best Historical, and her 2011 gothic historical My Lord Wicked was awarded Best Historical in the International Digital Awards, the same year one of her Christmas novellas was chosen as Best Historical Novella by Hearts Through History. Her books have been finalists for other awards, including the Daphne du Maurier, and have been translated into seven languages.

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