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It’s time for Monday Excerpts! Today I invite you to post the first time your characters meet. Buy links are encouraged as are social media links.

Here is mine from Lady Beresford’s Lover, which releases on July 21st, and is available for pre-order.

lady beresford's lover_ebookVivian had the strangest sensation she was being watched. She glanced up and fought to control her countenance. It was him! The gentleman from the park. She was sure of it, and he was staring at her. Their gazes met, and he held hers as he strode forward, apparently not seeing either the footmen who darted out of his way or the other guests attempting to draw his attention.

He was taller than she’d thought, had a strong face with lean cheeks and strong bones. His aristocratic nose was blade straight, reminding her of an ancient Greek or Roman. He carried himself with ease, as if he was the master of his life and the world around him. At first he appeared to be in his early thirties, but when he came closer, she could see no lines bracketing his well-defined lips or marring his smooth brow. The gentleman appeared good-natured, as if a grin hovered permanently around his mouth. In time, she imagined his eyes would have smile lines.

When he reached her small coterie he bowed to Phoebe. “My lady, always a pleasure to see you again.”

Phoebe smiled at him. “You will soon rival Kit and Robert in your address, my lord.”

Vivian did not know who Kit was, but the only Robert she had been introduced to was Lord Beaumont. The grin Vivian had known was not far away graced the gentleman’s lips. “Ah, Featherton is the standard to which all gentlemen aspire. I am a mere pretender to his throne.” The man’s gray eyes twinkled. “As for my cousin, I trust I have surpassed his address already.”

He did resemble Lord Beaumont to a large degree. Both gentlemen had classic good looks, but this man appeared—Vivian searched her mind for the word . . . vital. He had an energy about him she did not see in most gentlemen of the ton. Even young men, such as he must be, contrived to appear fashionably bored.

“Please introduce me to your friends, my lady,” he said to Phoebe as he glanced at Vivian.

Phoebe’s eyes seemed to dance, but there was no indication of laughter in her voice. “Certainly. Ladies, my I introduce you to the Earl of Stanstead. My lord, the Dowager Marchioness of Telford, the Countess of Beresford, and Miss Corbet. Lady Telford is my great-aunt, Lady Beresford is her cousin, also a connection of mine, and Miss Corbet the granddaughter of my aunt’s friend.”

Lord Stanstead bowed over each of their hands. “My pleasure, ladies. We shall all be richer for your presence.”

Vivian tried not to let her heart flutter, but it was no good. She drew in a small breath. His voice was as deep and clear as his eyes.

Buy links: Kensington  ~  Amazon ~ B&N ~ Kobo

Now it’s your turn!! 

 

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Happy Sunday!

in the spinster's bedroom_ebookLet’s start with the winner of Sally Mackenzie’s book, In the Spinster’s Bed. Congratulations to Jacque McNeal!!

 

 

In book news, it is less than a month until the release of Lady Beresford’s Lover!! Naturally, it is on pre-order. For you bloggers and reviewers, it is on Netgalley. If you are already a Marriage Game fan, you’ll see a lot of the characters you’ve already met.

I really love this book, and I hope you will as well!! Just to pique your interest, I’ll tell you a little more about it.

Here is the cover.

lady beresford's lover_ebook

 

The 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?…

And an excerpt.

“My lady—” Hal, who’d been her personal footman since her come out, hovered in the open door. “The new Lord Beresford asks if you’ll receive him.”

What could he possibly want? Since the reading of the will, Vivian hadn’t had much to do with her husband’s cousin and best friend who’d come into the title.

Well, whatever it was, she would not allow it to stop her from leaving.

“I’ll see him. Please bring tea and ask Miss Corbet to join me.” Silvia Corbet, the vicar’s eldest daughter, had been Vivian’s companion for the past year, and during that time Vivian had come to love Silvia like a sister.

“Yes, my lady. I’ll get her first.”

“Thank you. That would be best.”

Vivian was not completely conversant concerning the rules of being a widow, but she could not think they would allow her to be in the same room with a gentleman who was not a close relation. Or perhaps that was incorrect. She had heard that some widows took lovers. Still, she did not want to be alone with the man. In any event, he could have nothing to say that would interest her.

A few moments later, Silvia entered the room. “Hal said we have a visitor.”

“Indeed, the new Lord Beresford.” Vivian moved to the sofa. “Thank you for coming so quickly.”

“I was on my way to you in any event.” Silvia’s demeanor had changed from her normal friendliness to barely suppressed anger upon hearing his lordship had come. She chose a chair in the corner of the room near one of the windows, took out her embroidery, and gave a short nod.

As soon as Vivian’s companion had settled, his lordship was announced. At the same time, Hall brought in the tea tray, setting it in front of her, and obviating the need for her to stand and greet the man. “Good afternoon, my lord.”

Lord Beresford glanced at her, bowed, and smiled, apparently not even noticing that Silvia was in the corner. “Good day. I hope I find you well.”

“Yes, thank you, quite well.” And she’d be even better when she left this place. What she did not understand was how the man could fail to notice Silvia; however, he hadn’t glanced her way. What could he want that had him so focused on Vivian? “Would you like some tea?”

“Please. Two sugars and milk, if you would.”

The Queen Anne sofa opposite her groaned as he lowered his large, muscular frame onto the delicate piece. Vivian winced, expecting it to splinter at any moment. Nothing in this parlor was made for persons of his size and weight. Finally satisfied the sofa would not break, Vivian handed him the cup.

He took a sip, focusing his solemn brown gaze on her. “Have you made plans for what you will do after your year of mourning is over?”

Vivian glanced up, then lowered her eyes. By any standards, he was a handsome man with thick sable hair, a straight nose, and well above medium height. However, his resemblance to her late husband was too strong for her to be comfortable in his presence, and she had no intention of telling him of her cousin Clara’s invitation. “Have you need of the dower house?”

“Of course not,” he assured Vivian hastily. “You are naturally welcome to remain as long as you wish.” He set his cup down, clearing his throat. “There is, however, a proposition I’d like to place before you, if I may?”

He probably wanted her to act as his hostess until he married. She would tell him she was not interested. Vivian wanted no more dealings with anyone by the name of Beresford. Unfortunately, curiosity had always been another one of her faults. She raised her brows and returned his gaze, praying she presented the image of a calm, composed widow, when in fact her stomach churned as it had when facing her husband. “Go on.”

“I’d like to propose a marriage between us.”

Marriage!

In the year Lord Beresford had been at the abbey, he hadn’t once sought her out, and now he proposed marriage? Did he think she was simply to be a piece of property to be traded at will? Fury pierced her like lightning during a summer storm. After what his cousin had put her through, he must be mad. It was all she could do to maintain her countenance. How could he think she would exchange one Lord Beresford for a newer version? She would never even consider such a suggestion. And if she did, she’d be made a laughingstock among the servants and the villagers. If his expression weren’t so serious, she would have thought he was playing a sick joke.

When she didn’t respond, he continued. “You are, after all, familiar with the abbey and the area. It would not be a love match, but neither was your union with my cousin. I believe I can promise I will never embarrass you or cause you any distress.”

As her husband had done when she’d discovered his long-standing affair with a local farmer’s wife. She took a few shallow breaths, attempting to gather her wits and find a way to end this conversation civilly. “We barely know one another.”

For some reason, that seemed to hearten Lord Beresford. “A state which may be easily remedied. The fact remains that I am in need of a wife, and you fit the bill. I can give you children.”

Vivian’s cup rattled. She was that close to throwing cup, saucer, and pot at him all at once. The next thing she knew, the delicate china was taken from her hands. Silvia put her arm around Vivian’s shoulders and sat next to her.

Beresford jumped to his feet as if a bee had stung him. “What are you doing here?”

“Why am I not surprised?” Silvia replied in a voice of icy distain. “Apparently you have forgot I am Lady Beresford’s companion. Now, my lord”—her tone took on the manner of a queen—“I believe you’ve said quite enough, and it is time to take your leave.”

He flushed as he stood, strode to the door, opened it, and fixed his fierce look on Silvia. “You may leave. I wish to speak with her ladyship alone.”

“Over my dead body,” Silvia mumbled just loudly enough for him to hear.

He opened his mouth, and Vivian decided to step in before all-out war could ensue. She knew nothing about his lordship’s manner, but, as much as she appreciated her companion’s championship, she’d never seen Silvia so exercised or rude.

In a calm but unapologetic tone, Vivian said, “I asked Miss Corbet to remain with me.”

He glared at Silvia as if he’d argue.

“However,” Vivian continued firmly, “I do not believe I need to hear any more of your proposition, my lord. My answer is no. I have no desire to wed you. In fact, I have no desire to marry anyone ever again. Once was quite enough, thank you.”

As he stalked out of the parlor, he glanced over his shoulder. “I’ll speak to you again when you are in a better frame of mind, my lady.”

“Not if I have anything to say about it,” Silvia hurled at his retreating form.

His shoulders hunched, then the door snapped shut behind him.

Buy Links: Kensington  ~ Amazon ~ B&N ~ Kobo

On to boat news. As you know, I’ve been sailing up the east coast.

After leaving Deltaville, we spent the night in the St. Inigoes River and caught up with one of Alicianna’s (our puppy) sisters.

Alicianna and Chelsa June  2 2015Alicianna and Chelsa June  3 2015

Then on to the Solomons, Maryland for a night.

Anchorage at SolomonsAnchorage at Solomons2

And finally Annapolis where we’ll remain until July 5th.

Annapolis 4

Annapolis

Contact me if you’re in the area and wish to get together.

Ella

 

 

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Please welcome USA Today bestselling author Sally Mackenzie back to the blog! Sally is here today to showcase her novella, In The Spinster’s Bed! And she’ll give a copy to one of you. All you have to do is tell her you’d like a copy!

We’ll start with the  beautiful cover.

in the spinster's bedroom_ebook

Now a blurb

At Spinster House, a woman can enjoy the spoils of single life—or find the love of a lifetime…  

It has been twenty years since Lord William Wattles laid eyes on Annabelle Frost. Still, he remembers everything—her ethereal beauty, her bookish intelligence, her surprisingly modern attitudes about love…and lust. But Belle’s allegedly wanton behavior led her father to send her away to save the family’s reputation. Now she resides at Spinster House in the village of Loves Bridge, where an unmarried lady can live—and in Belle’s case, support herself as a librarian—in peace…

Beautiful, passionate Belle—sworn off marriage? William can’t believe the woman he once knew could end up like this. But when the hands of fate bring him to Loves Bridge, his long-lost love might just end up back in his arms. Is their unwavering desire worth the sweeping scandal that is sure to follow them both? Absolutely.

And an excerpt.

William backed out from under the heavy oak table in the Spinster House kitchen. He’d come by after supper to see if Belle had found out where Poppy had got in. She hadn’t, so he’d insisted on having a look himself.

He glanced up to see if his head had cleared the tabletop—and caught Belle admiring his arse.

Lust exploded in his gut.

She’d been so passionate, so fearless as a girl. No hiding in the darkness or under the covers for Belle. She’d wanted to see him naked—and she hadn’t shied from his eyes either. She’d been beautiful, her skin white and smooth, her breasts and—

Zeus, I’m so hard, even these baggy breeches can’t hide my cock.

If only he still had on his waistcoat and coat, but he’d shed them along with his silly peruke and sham spectacles so he could crawl under the furniture more easily.

“Are you going to stay down there all night?”

Did Belle sound a little breathless? Perhaps she was feeling a bit lustful herself. He’d be happy—delighted—to take care of that for her.

Did she still make that odd, throaty little noise just before she came?

His cock swelled even more, and his bollocks ached.

“Well, did you find the hole?”

He’d like to find her—

No. He had to think about something else, but his randy mind was stuck in a burning quicksand of lust and sinking fast.

And then the bloody cat landed on his arse, her sharp claws digging deep.

“What the—!” He jerked upright and slammed the back of his head into the tabletop. “Fu—oww!”

He collapsed onto the floor, not sure whether to grab his head or his arse.

He decided on his head.

“Oh, oh, are—” Belle had to gasp to get some air, she was laughing so hard. “Are you all right?”

“I’ve been better.”

“I’m sure Poppy didn’t mean to hurt you. She was just jumping down from the table and your, ah… That is, your, um…”

He looked up at her.

She gestured at his hindquarters. “You were in the way.”

“So I gather.”

The blasted cat came over to stare at him before sitting down and turning her attention to her right paw. He had the distinct impression she’d known exactly where his lascivious thoughts had been headed when she’d pounced upon his posterior.

 

Buy links: Amazon ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Kensington Books ~ Apple iBooks ~ Kobo

 

About Sally.

Sally MacKenzie

Sally MacKenzie

USA Today bestselling author Sally MacKenzie writes funny, hot, Regency-set books for Kensington Zebra. Her Naked Nobility series concluded (at least for the time being) with The Naked King, which was named one of ALA Booklist’s top ten romances for 2011; now she’s hard at work on a new “Duchess of Love” series. The prequel novella, “The Duchess of Love,” is a 2013 RWA RITA® finalist in the Romance Novella category. Bedding Lord Ned, the first full-length book in the series, received a starred review from Publishers Weekly and also made Booklist’s top ten romance list of 2012. Surprising Lord Jack, the second book, received a starred review from Booklist. Loving Lord Ash will release March 2014. Her books have been translated into Czech, French, Indonesian, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Turkish. Sally graduated with a B.A. in English from the University of Notre Dame in the first class of women. She’s a Cornell Law School dropout, former federal regulation writer, recovering parent volunteer, mother of four grown sons (and mother-in-law to two daughters), and middle-of-the-pool Masters swimmer. A native of Washington, D. C., she still resides in suburban Maryland with her husband.

 

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Welcome to Monday Excerpts. Today you’re invited to post any excerpt up to 800 words featuring secondary characters. Please feel free to post buy links, or your social media links. If you’re not a writer, tell me what type of secondary characters you love!

Here is my excerpt from Lady Beresford’s Lover.

“What the devil do you think you are doing?” Nick growled at his longtime friend and fellow former officer, Damon, Marquis of Hawksworth.

“Saving you from yourself,” came the self-assured reply. “Couldn’t you see the lady didn’t want anything to do with you?”

“I made a promise.” Nick clung stubbornly to his desire to have all of this finished, one way or the other.

“Well, if you really do wish to wed her”—Hawksworth’s tone was more of a question—“I suggest you leave the lady alone for a bit.” He pressed a glass of wine into Nick’s hand. “I thought all of you fellows on Wellington’s staff had a good deal of address, or did his standards fall after I sold out?”

Nick opened his mouth and closed it again. He actually did want Lady Beresford to refuse him, but he didn’t want Silvia any more incensed with him than she already was. Which meant he had to corner Vivian when Silvia wasn’t around. “You are generally correct. I merely see no reason to postpone this. If she rejects me again, I shall have to look for another woman to be my wife.” Such as Silvia, if he could get her to tell him what he had done to deserve her ire. Conversely, he didn’t wish to see another man hurt Vivian again. His cousin had done quite enough of that. “By the way, who was that pup with her?”

“Oho, I’d be careful of who you are calling a pup.” Hawksworth gave Nick one of his irritating superior, I know more than you do looks. “That was the Earl of Stanstead, and although he may be young in years, he is not a man to be taken lightly. He boxes with Jackson, fences with Angelo, and the times I’ve seen him shoot he never missed. If you were to fight him, even with your experience, I don’t know that I would wager on you.”

Just then, a woman in a cream gown caught the corner of Nick’s eye and he turned. Silvia. She was enchanting. Even if she could flay a man’s skin with the sharp edge of her tongue. Though she didn’t look to be doing that now. She smiled up at the gentleman dancing around her. She’d never smiled at him that way, except the once. Nick let out a low moan.

“If you’re ill, we should leave,” Hawksworth said. Then he apparently got a look at what, or rather who, Nick was staring at. “She is an Incomparable.”

“Don’t even think about it.” Nick surprised himself by snarling. Hawksworth lifted one dark brow. “She may look like a sweet young lady, but she’s a shrew. I have reason to know.”

His friend’s other brow joined the first. “To you or to everyone? Her partner appears to be enjoying himself.” Hawksworth’s lips formed a sardonic smile. “I never knew you had such a difficult time with ladies. It must have been caused by Waterloo, or are you still upset that you had to sell out? Without the uniform, you now must actually work at being acceptable.”

Nick scowled. “At least I’m not aping the Dandy set.”

His friend laughed. “My dear friend. I never copy. I am leading the Dandy set. Let’s depart before you do something that will reflect badly on both of us.”

Maybe Hawksworth was right. It was time to retreat and attack at a later time.

Buy links are here.

Now it’s your turn!

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Welcome to Sunday News!! Let’s start with the winner of Liza O’Connor’s book. Congratulations to Laura!!

In a comment a few weeks ago, someone pointed out that Miss Featherton’s Christmas Prince was not due to release until December 22d. That seemed a bit late to me, but I was busy. So I sat on it for a while. Low and behold, when I contacted my editor, the date was immediately changed to November 10th!

Ella Quinn’s wealthy, titled bachelors think they’re immune to romantic notions. Yet no matter how they try to evade it, love somehow finds a way…

miss featherton's christmas prince_ebookIn the two seasons since her triumphant debut, Meg Featherton’s heart has been tested to its limits. Her first suitor: a criminal. The second, a cur. For her third act, Meg vows to leave love completely out of the marriage equation. She has set her sights on a newly made viscount whom she could take or leave. However, now she must avoid his handsome, roguish, irresistible best friend like the plague. It’s no easy feat, as they are all attending the same house party…

Damon, Marquis of Hawksworth, cannot imagine why Miss Featherton seems so damn disinterested—or why he cares so terribly much. Certainly Meg is a fine wifely prospect for a man in his position, but more than that, he finds he longs for her as he has never done for another woman. She may be determined to protect her heart, but Damon is equally set on winning her over, one delicious kiss at a time…

This week has been fairly slow. We left Hampton on Tuesday and arrived in Deltaville, VA that afternoon. It was the first time we went from one marina to another. But we had some boat work that needed to be accomplished, and marine repairmen prefer the boat to be at a dock. Here is our view.

Deltaville, VA

It’s been really hot, but if there is a breeze to be had, we get it. I’ve been able to finish the edits my editor sent me and do some writing on the 3d book of the next series. On Tuesday, we will continue our journey north. I had wanted to spend the 4th of July in DC, but Hubby didn’t want to go up the Potomac, back down the Potomac, then up the Chesapeake Bay, and back down the Delaware River. So it looks like we’ll be and a currently unknown location.

Don’t forget to come by tomorrow for Monday Excerpts. I’ll be focusing on secondary characters.

What are you doing for the 4th? And how was your week?

Ella

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Please welcome Liza O’Connor back to the blog. Since her last visit, Liza has been very busy. Today she’s going to tell you about all the books in her Victorian mystery series. She is also giving away a book to one of you who tells her you want it. Take it away, Liza!

ARE YOU CAUGHT UP?

In case you haven’t even started, allow me to say you have a bunch of fun sleuthing in front of you.

The books are a humorous and serious, Late Victorian Sleuth Series with a tendency towards romantic moments. And for one lucky commenter, I will give you your choice of the books, although I strongly recommend reading in order.

1) XnV books don't get left behind you be lonely big  small

It all starts with The Troublesome Apprentice where the greatest sleuth in England, Xavier Thorn, hires a cheeky troublesome apprentice. To his shock, he discovers the fellow has awoken his heart and “Vic” is actually a young woman of twenty-two. While they work out their complicated personal feelings, they manage to solve five mysteries.

WARNING: Never call Xavier Thorn by the name of “Sherlock Holmes”. Sherlock is a fictional character and any comparison of Xavier to Doyle’s character sends my sleuth into a fit.

With matters resolved between Xavier and Vic, you would think the next book would go along nicely. HA!

In book 2, The Missing Partner, we begin with a sweet interlude of love between our two sleuths, then Xavier returns to a case he’s been working on for Internal Affairs. Vic is left to handle their cases alone while everyone tries to keep her in the dark about Xavier. Only her incredible intuitive skill lets her know the first time she speaks to Chief Inspector Stone of Scotland Yard that Xavier is missing. Her gut tells her he’s in trouble, but so are a great deal other people. With the assistance of Jacko, Sergeant Meyers, Inspector Stone & Dr. Connors, they attempt to save most of the people involved, during which, Vic is so impressed with a criminal’s ability to abduct her, that she hires him onto Xavier’s staff.

Book 2.5, A Right to Love, is not technically part of the X&V series because the pirate Jacko and Vic’s prior friend, Alice, have fallen in love and this is their love story. It’s an odd love story since Jacko is running about trying to keep Vic safe from getting into too much trouble at the same time he is wooing Alice. Time wise, it overlaps book 2.0 and then moves on, only it’s from Jacko’s and Alice’s point of view. It also provides closures on the case close to Alice, so you’ll definitely want to include it in your reading.

In Book 3, The Mesmerist, you’ll be glad Vic hired Tubs to their staff. Had she not, this villain with inexplicable skills would have killed them all. Only Vic contemplates the Mesmerist could be a woman, and only Tubs has the strength to stop her. But in the eyes of many, Tubs was and will always be a criminal and is not to be trusted.

In Book 4, Well Kept Secrets, Their youngest employee, L’il Pete, is devastated when his mum is murdered. Xavier suggests the boy goes to Vic’s home, to be raised by her butler, since he did such a fabulous job with Vic. Meanwhile, they hunt for those involved in Maggie’s death. The case proves to be part of a larger crime, run by a parliament member. Jacko is called up from the country to assist, while Tubs is sidelined, since everyone in the lower docks knows him. And it turns out the non-faithful use of condoms didn’t work for Xavier & Vic.

In Book 5, Pack of Trouble, while hiding out at Jacko’s Spanish home, Vic almost dies giving birth to her son. Fortunately, Dr. Connors arrives in time to perform a Cesarean and save both Vic and the baby. That’s only the beginning of the abuse poor Vic endures. When they return to England, the first day back, Vic gets abducted. While everyone is trying to find her, the one who actually ferrets her out will surprise you. Vic comes out of the ordeal with a great deal of broken bones, and in her era, bones were not set, they were normally sawed off if they were broken. Fortunately, Tubs possesses the art of bone setting. Still, Vic does not enjoy being on the sidelines, thus she begins her own investigation while she’s in a wheel chair and covered in casts. She has her new driver Samson and Tubs carry her and her wheel chair about town.

And book 6? Yes the series continues, but it won’t come out until 2016, so read the others and be patient.

Liza O’Connor lives in Denville, NJ with her dog Jess. They hike in fabulous woods every day, rain or shine, sleet or snow. Having an adventurous nature, she learned to fly small cessnas in NJ, hang-glide in New Zealand, kayak in Pennsylvania, ski in New York, scuba dive with great white sharks in Australia, dig up dinosaur bones in Montana, sky dive in Indiana, and raft a class four river in Tasmania. She’s an avid gardener, amateur photographer, and dabbler in watercolors and graphic arts. Yet through her entire life, her first love has and always will be writing novels. She loves to create interesting characters, set them loose, and scribe what happens.

Liza is the author of 14 full length novels. Next on her plate is a Science fiction series (with romance) called The Multiverses. The first four books are slotted for last half of 2015.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT

LIZA O’CONNOR

Liza’s Blog and Website   Facebook   Twitter

Hyperlinks to books if they fall off while uploading:

http://www.amazon.com/Troublesome-Apprentice-Adventures-Xavier-Book-ebook/dp/B00M7H63VO/

http://www.amazon.com/Missing-Partner-Adventures-Xavier-Book-ebook/dp/B00NAJQ4ZI/

http://www.amazon.com/Right-Love-Spinoff-Adventures-Xavier-ebook/dp/B00QD68XFE/

http://www.amazon.com/The-Mesmerist-Adventures-Xavier-Book-ebook/dp/B00ONMKZ88/

http://www.amazon.com/Well-Kept-Secrets-Adventures-Xavier-ebook/dp/B00UGKDF5G/

http://www.amazon.com/Pack-Trouble-Adventures-Xavier-Book-ebook/dp/B00YI05KT4/

 

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Welcome to Monday Excerpts! Let’s do a free for all today. Any excerpt of 800 words or less. Please keep it PG-13. Buy links  and social media links are welcome.

Here is mine from Lady Beresford’s Lover, book #7 in The Marriage Game, which releases on July 21st.

lady beresford's lover_ebookRupert entered the ballroom and was announced. The roar of voices barely lowered. Across the way, Marcus leaned casually against a pillar, fondly grinning at something or someone Rupert couldn’t see, most likely Phoebe. He made his way through the already crowded room. Snagging a glass of champagne, he wove around clusters of ladies in brightly colored silks, which made a stark contrast with the darker colors the gentlemen wore. He knew most of those present and exchanged greetings as he came upon a circle of acquaintances. It took several minutes before Rupert was finally close enough to Marcus and Phoebe that he could see the other ladies.

He sucked in a breath. One of the women wore a pale, almost ice-blue gown. Her curls were silvery, much like he’d imagined the color of the snow maiden’s hair in a fairy tale his mother had read to him. When the lady glanced at him he could see her eyes were of the same deep blue as the trim on her gown, and the color of the deeper waters he’d seen in the Mediterranean Sea. Not in her first blush of youth, her cheeks were no longer plump. But not that old, perhaps close to his age. She had turned her head toward her neighbor, and her determined chin firmed. God, she was even more beautiful than he’d imagined. Who was she? Rupert was quite sure he’d never seen her before.

He gave himself a shake. Standing there like an idiot wouldn’t do him any good at all. He’d never been shy about meeting a lady, yet he couldn’t stop himself from staring at her. What would happen when they were introduced? Would she be as fascinated by him as he was by her?

He prayed she wasn’t married.

Vivian had the strangest sensation she was being watched. She glanced up and fought to control her countenance. It was him! The gentleman from the park. She was sure of it, and he was staring at her. Their gazes met, and he held hers as he strode forward, apparently not seeing either the footmen who darted out of his way or the other guests attempting to draw his attention.

He was taller than she’d thought, had a strong face with lean cheeks and strong bones. His aristocratic nose was blade straight, reminding her of an ancient Greek or Roman. He carried himself with ease, as if he was the master of his life and the world around him. At first he appeared to be in his early thirties, but when he came closer, she could see no lines bracketing his well-defined lips or marring his smooth brow. The gentleman appeared good-natured, as if a grin hovered permanently around his mouth. In time, she imagined his eyes would have smile lines.

When he reached her small coterie he bowed to Phoebe. “My lady, always a pleasure to see you again.”

Phoebe smiled at him. “You will soon rival Kit and Robert in your address, my lord.”

Vivian did not know who Kit was, but the only Robert she had been introduced to was Lord Beaumont. The grin Vivian had known was not far away graced the gentleman’s lips. “Ah, Featherton is the standard to which all gentlemen aspire. I am a mere pretender to his throne.” The man’s gray eyes twinkled. “As for my cousin, I trust I have surpassed his address already.”

He did resemble Lord Beaumont to a large degree. Both gentlemen had classic good looks, but this man appeared—Vivian searched her mind for the word . . . vital. He had an energy about him she did not see in most gentlemen of the ton. Even young men, such as he must be, contrived to appear fashionably bored.

“Please introduce me to your friends, my lady,” he said to Phoebe as he glanced at Vivian.

Phoebe’s eyes seemed to dance, but there was no indication of laughter in her voice. “Certainly. Ladies, my I introduce you to the Earl of Stanstead. My lord, the Dowager Marchioness of Telford, the Countess of Beresford, and Miss Corbet. Lady Telford is my great-aunt, Lady Beresford is her cousin, also a connection of mine, and Miss Corbet the granddaughter of my aunt’s friend.”

Lord Stanstead bowed over each of their hands. “My pleasure, ladies. We shall all be richer for your presence.”

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