When the Earl Met His Match by @st_reid #NewRelease #Historical


Today we have the excerpt tour for Stacy Reid’s WHEN THE EARL MET HIS MATCH! Check it out and be sure to pre-order your copy today!

Title: When The Earl Met His Match

Author: Stacy Reid

Genre: Regency Romance

Release Date: September 14th

About When The Earl Met His Match:

When Hugh Winthrop, the future Earl of Albury, decides to advertise for a wife in the London paper, he never expected an anonymous response from a woman who matches him wit for wit. Their back-and-forth letters on the true nature of love, something they disagree on wholeheartedly, leave him shocked—and intrigued. But then the woman he’s been corresponding with shows up on his doorstep, enticingly beautiful and offering a marriage of convenience in exchange for his protection…

Lady Phoebe Maitland expected to marry for love and nothing else, until the man she gave her trust betrayed her. The more intrigued she becomes by the mysterious and devastatingly handsome Hugh, however, the more she realizes he’s holding back from opening his heart due to long-held secrets she struggles to understand. As passion flares wickedly between them, their marriage bed is quick to heat up. But when Phoebe’s past threatens to destroy the fragile bond they’ve formed, even a budding belief in love might not be enough to save them.

Pre-Order Your Copy!

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Exclusive Excerpt:

Phoebe could feel Hugh’s stare like a physical caress along her nape then down to her hip. I’ll yield to your persuasion… Or more like his ravishment. Only a few steps away from the door, she whirled around and ran toward him without checking her speed. His beautiful eyes widened, and before he could react or even guess her intention, Phoebe jumped, grabbing his shoulders to haul herself up so she could wrap her legs around his hips. She did not concentrate on this very scandalous and outrageous position—that her dress had been pushed to her knees and she was wrapped around her husband like a vine, her ankles hooked around his back—but releasing one of his shoulders, she lunged to pluck the note he had been trying to hide.

Yes! She turned her triumphant gaze to him and realized their mouths were mere inches apart and her husband had frozen. Clearly, he had not expected her actions, but Phoebe hadn’t thought it would have so shocked him that he’d turned into this marble effigy.

She could feel his heartbeat against her breasts, which she had pressed so firmly against his chest. A wave of heat overwhelmed Phoebe, and she was unexpectedly mortified and intensely aware that she could feel every imprint of her lord’s body against hers. Her fingers tightened reflexively on his shoulder, and his lashes closed briefly, as if he savoured the sting of her nails that penetrated through the layers of his jacket and shirt.

“I’ve been improper,” she whispered, painfully aware of how close his lips were.

Phoebe placed the note close to her cheek. “Please take it back.”

Read it.”

“I…no, you did not want me to, and I should not have acted with such wanton disregard for your privacy—”

He pressed a finger to her parted lips. Then he lifted those fingers and signed, “Phoebe?”

“Yes?”

Read it.”

Painfully aware that she was still clasped intimately against him, she turned her head and lowered her gaze to the letter.

Dear Phoebe,

I like you.

I have started out wrong. I am happy that you are my wife. I listen to you sing to our daughter, and her chortles of joy make my heart hurt. I’ve never felt such an emotion before, but I’ve gathered it is a good thing, because I also want to smile whenever I see Franny and you together. Whenever you laugh, her legs kick, and her smile is comparable to the beauty of yours. How I wish she could hear my voice, even if once. How I wish I could sing for you…laugh with you.

About the Author:

USA Today Bestselling author Stacy Reid writes sensual Historical and Paranormal Romances and is the published author of over twenty books. Her debut novella The Duke’s Shotgun Wedding was a 2015 HOLT Award of Merit recipient in the Romance Novella category, and her bestselling Wedded by Scandal series is recommended as Top picks at Night Owl Reviews, Fresh Fiction Reviews, and The Romance Reviews.

Stacy lives a lot in the worlds she creates and actively speaks to her characters (aloud). She has a warrior way “Never give up on dreams!” When she’s not writing, Stacy spends a copious amount of time binge-watching series like The Walking Dead, Altered Carbon, Rise of the Phoenixes, Ten Miles of Peach Blossom, Love and Redemption, and playing video games with her love. She also has a weakness for ice cream and will have it as her main course.

Connect with Stacy:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Newsletter

#NewRelease Against All Odds by Jacqui Murray #Prehistoric #Fiction @worddreams


I’m thrilled to share Jacqui Murray’s New Release- Against All Odds

Tagline

Xhosa’s extraordinary prehistoric saga concludes, filled with hardship, courage, survival, and family. 

Summary

A million years of evolution made Xhosa tough but was it enough? She and her People finally reach their destination—a glorious land of tall grasses, few predators, and an abundance that seems limitless, but an enemy greater than any they have met so far threatens to end their dreams. If Xhosa can’t stop this one, she and her People must again flee.

The Crossroads trilogy is set 850,000 years ago, a time in prehistory when man populated most of Eurasia. He was a violent species, fully capable of addressing the many hardships that threatened his survival except for one: future man, a smarter version of himself, one destined to obliterate all those who came before. 

From prehistoric fiction author Jacqui Murray comes the unforgettable saga of a courageous woman who questions assumptions, searches for truth, and does what she must despite daunting opposition. Read the final chapter of her search for freedom, safety, and a new home.

A perfect book for fans of Jean Auel and the Gears!

Book information:

Title: Against All Odds

Series: Book 3 in the Crossroads series

Genre: Prehistoric fiction

Available digitally (print soon) at: Kindle US   Kindle UK   Kindle CA   Kindle AU

Excerpt:

Chapter 1

The foothills of the Pyrenees

They came out of the mountains, hair frozen in sparkling strands, hands and feet wrapped in shredded pelts, ribs etched against their skin under ragged hides white with snow, faces haggard with fatigue. Blood crusted scrapes and gashes, many recent, others almost healed, reminders of the violent struggles endured on their journey.

Though their steps flagged, not one of these upright creatures exhibited a hint of defeat. All males and a few females carried at least one spear, some two, many with warclubs strapped to their backs. Despite the anxiety and fear of entering this foreign land, hope energized them today, that their migration might be at an end.

All of them—Xhosa and her tribe, Pan-do and his, Wind, Zvi, and Seeker—had been chased from their homes by enemies. In their flight, they found each other. It took time to work through their differences but now they traveled side by side, respected ideas not theirs, and called themselves the People.

Their charismatic Leaders—Xhosa, Wind, and Pan-do—were known as reliable friends to those who earned their trust and dangerous enemies to those who opposed them. Two wolves—Spirit and Black Wolf—journeyed with them. Though the People lacked the animals’ sharp claws, dense fur, and piercing teeth, each considered the other “pack” and would defend them to death.

The exhausted group straggled down the gently sloping flank, feet shuffling carefully over the slippery scree. The ground changed from talus to stunted tufts of grass, sparse and brown which made walking easier. Optimism shone from their faces even as their tired eyes flicked side to side in search of unexpected movement, ears strained for out-of-place noises, and noses sniffed.

Rather than continue across the meadow, Xhosa led the People into the shade of the edging forest.

“Do you smell it, Wind?” Anticipation filled her gestures.

She and Wind, pairmates as well as Co-Leaders, stood quietly, absorbing their surroundings. Light filtered lazily through the canopy, the shadowed ground dappled with patches of warmth. She sniffed in the essence of wet earth and rotting leaves, the mustiness of moss, and something else much more enticing. 

“It’s there.” She pointed and strode forward, lengthening her stride.

An icy gust whipped down the hillside through the shadows and raised bumps on her arms but she ignored it. The forest gave way to open sky and searing heat. It was too hot for her thin pelt but she didn’t stop to remove it. Green stalks swayed as far as she could see, edged on one side by more mountains and the other by some sort of leaves and branches. Sunlight glinted off the rippled surface of a distant river as it curled over the terrain.

“Dung!” The scent overpowered every other odor.

Wind huffed to her side. “It’s been a long time since we smelled dung that wasn’t frozen.”

“We did it, Wind.” Her eyes glistened with relief.

For most of a Moon, dread gnawed at her courage and left her wondering if following the guidance of Seeker—a boy barely a man—was a mistake. But Seeker assured her in his ebullient way that once out of the hills, their new homebase would welcome them. Xhosa wanted to believe him because she wasn’t sure what else to do. Nor did she know what to do if it didn’t work.

Wind motioned, arms inclusive, “It’s beautiful, Xhosa.”

Siri, Pan-do, Ngili, the wolves Spirit and Black Wolf, and the rest of the People gathered around Xhosa and Wind, eyes locked on what lay in front of them.

Pan-do whispered, “We made it.” His eyes were moist, mouth open.

Ngili, the People’s Lead Hunter, motioned, hands close to his body. “With all this grass, Gazelle or Mammoth must be nearby.”

Dust, the Lead Scout, trotted up, coming from a tall cliff far ahead on their forward path. “I think there are caves there.”

The People hadn’t slept in a cave since leaving Viper and the Mountain Dwellers. It would be a treat if true.

Xhosa looked behind. Shadows already stretched as far from the bottom of the rocky slopes as sunlight to the top. Daylight would soon end.

“We don’t have much time. Let’s rest and then see if those are caves.”

Ngili, the People’s Lead Hunter, motioned, fingers spaced out, palms up, “I’ll go with Dust to check.” He added a swift spread-fingered swipe with first one hand and then the other, followed by a quick bob of his head and a puff.

Xhosa brushed both hands down her sides. Go.

The People spoke with a complex combination of hand motions, facial expressions, body movements, and sounds augmented with chirrups, snaps, hisses, and whistles. By the time Ngili finished talking, Xhosa knew how many would join him, where they would go, and how long they’d be away. The People’s communication was sophisticated but quiet, a precaution especially in unfamiliar areas. Unusual sounds—voices, for example—stood out. All animals made noises but few as varied as the People’s. Why alert Others who lived here to their presence? Xhosa would do that in her own time, in her own way.

Dust, Ngili, and two scouts soon receded into the landscape, the only evidence of their passage a slight disturbance in the slender waving stalks. Despite the dung scents, the abundant plant food, and the glisten of a faraway river, Xhosa crossed her arms over her chest and paced.

Something is wrong. 

She searched the forests and the rippling field that had swallowed up Dust and Ngili . Xhosa possessed the ability to see great distances in sufficient detail to find trails, footprints, movement, or the glitter of sun off eyes.

She saw none of those and that made her more uncomfortable.

With this wealth of food and water, Others should be here.

Wind motioned, palms flattened against his chest, “The mountains we crossed touched Sun. They’re cold and barren. Few can do what we did to get here, Xhosa. We are safe.”

Xhosa could hear in his voice, see in his gestures, that despite his bravado, Wind too felt uneasy about what they didn’t see and hear.

But she grinned. “I don’t know how I survived without someone being able to read my thoughts.”

She trotted over to a stream that fed into the river she had noticed. She stretched out on her belly, flat on the soft grass at the water’s edge, and took a long, satisfying drink of the sweet liquid. Thirst quenched, she collected handfuls of the tender shoots of new plants growing along the shore, ate what she wanted and tossed the rest into a communal food pile that would be shared with all the People. It was already filling up with fat fish speared from the slow-moving pools beside the river, tasty reeds and cattails, and even a handful of eggs plucked from nests not hidden well enough along the shore and in the roots of trees. The wolves snapped birds from the air and swallowed them almost whole, coughing up feathers.

Xhosa leaned back on her hands, sniffing the unique fragrance of each groupmember. Zvi was sweaty from wrestling with Spirit. Siri smelled sourly of hunger but she wouldn’t eat until Honey’s bleeding foot was wrapped in mulch and leaves. The females with new babies exuded the pleasant aroma of milk. Some scents jumbled together making them impossible to identify. When Xhosa became Leader of the People, before it merged with Pan-do’s and Hawk’s, the People had been small enough that she could recognize everyone by their odor. Now, she kept track of her tribe while Pan-do did the same with his. Wind helped everyone.

Done eating, the People sprawled on the warm ground, soaking up Sun’s remaining rays, chatting contentedly with gestures and the occasional sigh. Water dripped from their thawing bodies, soaking into the thirsty ground, as the remaining ice and snow on their pelts and in their hair melted away.

Xhosa and Wind sat apart from the others, on a log long ago softened by rot. She uprooted handfuls of grass and wiped the sweat from Wind’s body, as he did hers. The soft scratch felt good and the earthy fragrance reminded her of times long gone. When he finished, she harvested chunks of green moss from the log’s decaying bark and stuffed them into her neck sack. All the People wore one of these around their necks. Even the wolves did when they were migrating.

Finished, she leaned against Wind and closed her eyes. In a group of Others, her pairmate stood out. A Big Head, the People’s traditional enemy, the ones who drove Xhosa and her tribe from their long-established home, Wind had earned Xhosa’s trust by saving her life more than once and then, as a member of her People, sharing Big Head spear tricks and warrior skills with her Leads. Before long, each of them individually told her that thanks to Wind they could now defeat an attack which they couldn’t have done in the past. Whatever distrust her People harbored toward him faded away.

“Xhosa!” Dust panted up to her. “I found a cave. And we found trace of a herd. Ngili is tracking it.”

By the time Sun settled into its night nest, the People were ensconced in the cave Dust found. They had to squeeze together to fit but all were thrilled to sleep without waking to frozen toes and numb fingers. Stone and Zvi—the burliest of the People—lugged rocks in and Siri built a fire that quickly warmed the interior. The subadults gathered kindling to feed it and arranged who would be responsible throughout the night for keeping it lit.

Usually, the wolves slept scattered among the People but with Black Wolf close to delivering her pups, she dug out an opening in the back and claimed it as her den. Then she settled to her belly, one leg forward, the other bent back, eyebrows twitching.

Xhosa strode toward the nest she would share with Wind but stopped at the sight of Seeker, weight on his bottom, legs crossed in front of his body in the uncomfortable position he preferred. His pairmate Lyta curled next to him with their best friend, Zvi.

Xhosa approached Seeker. “You are not outside.”

Every night as long as Xhosa could remember, the enigmatic male lay on his back, gaze fixed steadily on the star-dotted sky, spouting what to Xhosa sounded like gibberish to whoever listened. Intermittently, he leapt to his feet and spun dizzying circles or bounced from one foot to the other, huffing and chirping. Lyta and Zvi would either join him or watch. He once explained to Xhosa that this was how he studied the changes in the night sky—the appearance and disappearance of particular stars or their movement in relation to each other—so he could guide the People accurately. This nightly process was how they had moved from the distant start of Endless Pond to this cave where Endless Pond seemed to end.

He didn’t respond to her statement, didn’t even acknowledge her. That worried Xhosa. She hadn’t been able to shake the feeling that danger lurked around them, somewhere. Seeker’s anxious look didn’t help.

She squatted at his side and added a question to her declaration. “The stars aren’t talking to you?”

To the side, Lyta wriggled, not comfortable in the seated position Seeker preferred but determined to try because Seeker liked it so much. Zvi crouched on the balls of her feet, the more traditional pose. She’d tried to sit on her bottom, legs crossed in front, but kept falling backward. Besides, it took her too long to rise from that position which meant if Lyta needed help, she couldn’t respond quickly. Squatting, for her, made more sense. Seeker didn’t care. He expected all to do what worked for them. Both his best friend and his future pairmate were long accustomed to his eccentricities.

Finally, Seeker offered Xhosa only a confused frown.

That’s not a “Yes they are,” and that raised the hair on her neck. Before she could ask more, Ngili scrambled through the thistle barrier the youngsters had placed around the cave’s mouth to prevent the entrance of intruders and hurried toward Xhosa.

He motioned, “I lost the herd’s trace in the dark. I’ll try again tomorrow,” and then raced toward where the hunters had gathered. They were all tired. Some would mate before sleeping but not Ngili. He hadn’t given up hope that his pairmate, Hecate, would come back.

After a final glance at Seeker, Xhosa joined Wind in their nest. She squatted behind him and teased the dirt and debris from his long head hair, occasionally focusing on a difficult tangle until her fingers could move easily through his hair. When she finished, he did the same for her.

As he groomed, he said, “I’ll join Ngili tomorrow. If there are herds, we will find them.”

“Pan-do and I will continue with the People.”

They said nothing more, both enjoying the calming feel of nails scratching on their skin and the intimacy of someone they trusted implicitly. Done, both fell asleep.

The first rays of daylight filtered into the cave. Black Wolf was already outside, padding back and forth restlessly, huffing uncomfortably. Wind left with Ngili and a handful of scouts, knowing Xhosa would leave a trail to wherever they settled when Sun’s light ran out. Though Spirit usually went with the hunters, today he stayed with Black Wolf.

Xhosa and Pan-do led. Dust copied their pace and direction but a distance away. With Ngili and Wind searching for meat, Xhosa focused on finding a cave large enough for the People. They strode onward, gaze sweeping the landscape, everyone grazing on berries, roots, and worms as they walked. Sporadically, Xhosa heard a faraway squawk or glimpsed a covey of birds as they exploded into flight, fleeing an unknown threat. It was the direction Ngili and Wind had gone, and told her how far they’d gotten.

The People rested by a waterhole. They searched its shoreline for prints but found none. Wherever the herds lived, they didn’t drink here so the People moved on, through copses of young saplings and around a bed of haphazardly-strewn boulders. The air tasted of flowers, warm earth, and the mild tang of salt, but the dung they found was hard and old.

Xhosa touched Pan-do’s hand and both stopped, eyes forward. “Do you smell that? It reminds me of Endless Pond.”

He pointed to his strong side and the direction they were walking. “From there and there. How can it be on two sides?”

Xhosa tingled. One of her People—Rainbow—had abandoned them long ago, taking many males and females with him. Others she and her People ran into while migrating here told her Rainbow traveled the same route she did but along the opposite shore of Endless Pond. For him, as for her, this was as far as he could go without folding back on himself.

If they got this far. If any survived.

She pushed aside those thoughts. Before searching for whatever remnants remained of Rainbow’s group, the People must find a homebase. All they suffered to get here—the interminable walking, the loss of Hawk, the death of groupmembers, Nightshade’s treachery—was for naught if they didn’t establish a home.

Spirit bumped her leg. Black Wolf panted at her mate’s side, her belly almost touching the ground.

Xhosa motioned, “Your mate’s pups won’t wait much longer. We will find a den for her.”

Spirit took off, his movements graceful and fluid with Black Wolf lumbering after him.

Not much later, Pan-do squinted ahead. “I think Spirit found a cave.”

Xhosa leaned forward, narrowing her gaze, and finally saw where Spirit stopped. He sat on his haunches at the base of a cliff, facing her, nose twitching, tail swishing the dirt behind him.

It took the rest of the day to cross over the craggy scrubland, up and down the deep ravines, and around the occasional spot of slippery ice. The cave proved too small for the People but not for Black Wolf’s needs. With much scuffling and panting, she created a nest for her pups and disappeared into the cool dark hole. The People settled outside, under an overhang that would protect them from rain and predators, and far enough away to not bother the new mother. As soon as Ngili and Wind arrived, shaking their heads that they hadn’t found a herd, they left again to search for signs of a trail left by former inhabitants of this cave.

Xhosa’s chest squeezed and her stomach knotted. Spirit padded up to her side, hackles puffed, nostrils flaring. He agreed. Something about this area made her tingle but for now, until Black Wolf finished, they must stay.

Questions:        

Why are these characters so violent?

The answer to this question is simple: They had to be. If Homo erectus hadn’t been violent 850,000 years ago, he—and our genus—wouldn’t have survived. With skin too thin, claws too short, and teeth useless for defense, man wasn’t the era’s apex predator. His only advantage over those who preyed on him was a thoughtful brain.

It’s hard to believe Xhosa walked from Africa to the Middle East to Spain.

Wilford Wolpoff of the University of Michigan says that Homo erectus left Africa “because they wanted to, because they had to, and especially because they could.” Homo erectus (Xhosa’s species) is the first of our genus to inhabit Eurasia. Dozens of sites exist from Indonesia to Spain to Britain. We know—because of his tool-creation sophistication—that Homo erectus was smart enough to survive in varied environs. But why leave his homeland and go elsewhere? It could be to follow the herds or a reaction to changes in climate. They might have fled or chased enemies, or it could simply be our forebears suffered what many today do—wanderlust.

Author bio:

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the Man vs. Nature saga. She is also adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for  NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Laws of Nature, Book 2 in the Dawn of Humanity trilogy, Winter 2021. 

Social Media contacts:

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Jacqui-Murray/e/B002E78CQQ/

Blog: https://worddreams.wordpress.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jacquimurraywriter/

LinkedIn: http://linkedin.com/in/jacquimurray

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/askatechteacher

Twitter: http://twitter.com/worddreams

Website: https://jacquimurray.net

What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon #BookReview #Historical #TimeTravel @aharmon_author


An Amazon Charts, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post bestseller.

In an unforgettable love story, a woman’s impossible journey through the ages could change everything…

Anne Gallagher grew up enchanted by her grandfather’s stories of Ireland. Heartbroken at his death, she travels to his childhood home to spread his ashes. There, overcome with memories of the man she adored and consumed by a history she never knew, she is pulled into another time.

The Ireland of 1921, teetering on the edge of war, is a dangerous place in which to awaken. But there Anne finds herself, hurt, disoriented, and under the care of Dr. Thomas Smith, guardian to a young boy who is oddly familiar. Mistaken for the boy’s long-missing mother, Anne adopts her identity, convinced the woman’s disappearance is connected to her own.

As tensions rise, Thomas joins the struggle for Ireland’s independence and Anne is drawn into the conflict beside him. Caught between history and her heart, she must decide whether she’s willing to let go of the life she knew for a love she never thought she’d find. But in the end, is the choice actually hers to make?

Biography

Amy Harmon is a Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and New York Times Bestselling author. Her books have been published in eighteen languages, truly a dream come true for a little country girl from Utah.
Amy Harmon has written thirteen novels, including the USA Today Bestsellers, The Smallest Part, Making Faces, and Running Barefoot, and the #1 Amazon bestselling historical, From Sand and Ash. Her novel, A Different Blue, is a New York Times Bestseller. Her USA Today bestselling fantasy, The Bird and the Sword, was a Goodreads Best Book of 2016 finalist. For updates on upcoming book releases, author posts and more, join Amy at http://www.authoramyharmon.com.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Book Review

Raised by a loving grandfather, Anne Gallagher is heartbroken at his death. She follows his last wishes and takes his ashes home to Ireland to spread them on the lough near the home where he’d grown up.

The moment she lands, Anne is overcome by a sense of history and tries to find out more about her grandfather’s life as a child. She has a few photos of her mother, father, and their best friend, Dr. Thomas Smith.

After visiting the graves of past members of her family, Anne rents a boat and heads out on the lough, only to get lost in a sudden fog. Frightened, she calls for help and gets shot by a stranger in a trawler.

When Anne awakens, it is to find herself in the care of a man who looks exactly like the Thomas Smith from her photos and it soon becomes clear that nothing is as it should be.

They can’t forget, they never will, the wind and waves remember Him still.

“Thomas?”

I’d called to him before. I’d screamed his name across the water until I was hoarse and hopeless. But I called to him again. “Thomas?” His name hung precariously in the air, weighty and wishful, before it teetered and fell, sinking like a stone beneath the surface. The lough whispered back with liquid lips, slow and sighing. Tho-mas, Tho-mas, Tho-mas.

Harmon, Amy. What the Wind Knows

This story shines a light on the Easter Rising, a massacre that took place in 1916 and changed Ireland forever.

“I’ve been reading about Ireland—biographies and documentaries and collections and diaries. I’ve been doing research for six months. I have so much information in my head, and I don’t know what to do with it. The history after the 1916 Easter Rising is just a garbled mess of opinions and blame. There’s no consensus.” Eoin laughed, but the sound was brittle and mirthless. “That, my love, is Ireland.”

Harmon, Amy. What the Wind Knows

While the rebellion is a key part of the book, so to is the growing romance between Thomas and Anne- a forbidden love.

Anne is from the future. How can she stay in her mother’s time period, even though it gives her the opportunity to live with her grandfather when he was a child, and Thomas?

When she makes the decision to risk all, outside forces step in to separate her from the life she truly wants.

I can’t imagine all men love their women the way I love Anne. If they did, the streets would be empty, and the fields would grow fallow. Industry would rumble to a halt and markets would tumble as men bowed at the feet of their wives, unable to need or notice anything but her.

Harmon, Amy. What the Wind Knows

I didn’t know much about Ireland’s turbulent history. What I learned is that Irish people are proud of their culture and their land. They are passionate of what they believe in and won’t give up- no matter the odds.

What the Wind Knows is a sweeping saga of love and history that proves where there is hope, there is a chance.

Where the Lost Wander by @AmyHarmon #Historical #BookReview @aharmon_author


In this epic and haunting love story set on the Oregon Trail, a family and their unlikely protector find their way through peril, uncertainty, and loss.

The Overland Trail, 1853: Naomi May never expected to be widowed at twenty. Eager to leave her grief behind, she sets off with her family for a life out West. On the trail, she forms an instant connection with John Lowry, a half-Pawnee man straddling two worlds and a stranger in both.

But life in a wagon train is fraught with hardship, fear, and death. Even as John and Naomi are drawn to each other, the trials of the journey and their disparate pasts work to keep them apart. John’s heritage gains them safe passage through hostile territory only to come between them as they seek to build a life together.

When a horrific tragedy strikes, decimating Naomi’s family and separating her from John, the promises they made are all they have left. Ripped apart, they can’t turn back, they can’t go on, and they can’t let go. Both will have to make terrible sacrifices to find each other, save each other, and eventually…make peace with who they are.

Attribution- Amazon

Biography
Amy Harmon is a Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and New York Times Bestselling author. Her books have been published in eighteen languages, truly a dream come true for a little country girl from Utah.
Amy Harmon has written thirteen novels, including the USA Today Bestsellers, The Smallest Part, Making Faces, and Running Barefoot, and the #1 Amazon bestselling historical, From Sand and Ash. Her novel, A Different Blue, is a New York Times Bestseller. Her USA Today bestselling fantasy, The Bird and the Sword, was a Goodreads Best Book of 2016 finalist. For updates on upcoming book releases, author posts and more, join Amy at http://www.authoramyharmon.com.
Photo by Zetong Li on Pexels.com

My Review

Seeking a better life, widow Naomi May joins a wagon train with her family heading across the country to California. She knows it will be a tough journey but faces it with enthusiasm and a touch of trepidation.

When John Lowry agrees to help his uncle guide a wagon train as far as a fort where he is to deliver his father’s mules, he doesn’t expect to be instantly attracted to the beautiful Naomi. But their relationship is doomed to fail. He is half Pawnee, a man straddling two worlds. She is everything he wants but cannot have.

The trail is a hard taskmaster. Soon, the wagon train is faced with challenges they could never have imagined; hostile territories, lack of drinking water, dangerous river crossings, dysentery, and racial prejudice.

It’s been a long time since I was so caught up in a story. The author does a wonderful job drawing the reader into the hearts and heads of our two protagonists, John Lowry and Naomi May. We get real insights into the pride of indigenous people, the clash of two cultures, and those caught in the middle.

Favorite Lines

That’s what hope feels like: the best air you’ve ever breathed after the worst fall you’ve ever taken. It hurts.

Harmon, Amy. Where the Lost Wander: A Novel

This kiss is slow and languid like the Platte, hardly moving, while beneath the surface the silt shifts and settles. His arms snake around me, and my palms flatten over his heart, needing and kneading, and heat grows in my belly and in my heart and where our mouths are moving together.

Harmon, Amy. Where the Lost Wander: A Novel

…eventually, time thinks for us. It cuts through the fog of emotion and delivers a big bowl of reality, and feelings don’t stand a chance,” John says with bleak finality.

Harmon, Amy. Where the Lost Wander: A Novel

Where the Lost Wander is a sweeping saga of a love that knows no bounds and defies a nation at war. It’s real. It’s brutal. It’s unforgettable.

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A Bride for Brynmor by @Jacqui_Nelson #Historical #BookReview


Can a sister who’s lived only for others find freedom with one man? Family has always come first—for both of them. He’s never forgiven himself for letting her go. She’s never forgiven herself for almost getting him killed.

When Lark and her songbird sisters are separated fleeing their cruel and controlling troupe manager, only Brynmor Llewellyn can help Lark save her sisters and escape to the far west. But Lark wants more. And so does Brynmor. When they’re stranded in a spot as difficult to guard as it is to leave—a rustic cabin at a train junction between Denver and the mountain town of Noelle, Colorado—they find themselves fighting not only for survival but for redemption, forgiveness, and a second chance for their love.

Will the frontier train stop of Songbird Junction be Lark and Brynmor’s salvation? Or their downfall when her manager, a con artist who calls himself her uncle but cherishes only his own fame and fortune—demands a debt no one can pay?

Biography

Fall in love with a new Old West… where the men are steadfast & the women are adventurous. You’ll find Wild West scouts, spies, cardsharps, wilderness guides, and trick-riding superstars in my stories. Those are my heroines. Wait till you meet my heroes! My love for historical romance adventures with grit and passion came from watching Western movies while growing up on a cattle farm in northern Canada. I’ve been nominated for over 20 awards and won the RWA® Golden Heart® & the Laramie® — but my best reward is hearing from readers who have enjoyed my stories.

Follow me on Amazon to be the first to hear about new releases.

Visit my website ~ http://www.JacquiNelson.com ~ and subscribe to my newsletter to receive a FREE STORY and be the first to hear about exclusive bonus content.

DO YOU LOVE HISTORICAL WESTERN ROMANCES?
Then why not join historical western romance authors and readers on the Pioneer Hearts Facebook group and share your favorite stories, photos, and all things Old West? http://www.facebook.com/groups/pioneerhearts

My Review

Lark, Oriole, and Wren are three sisters-of-the-heart raised in a métis foster home until their ‘uncle’, a troupe manager, steps in and takes over their lives.

Desperate to flee his cruelty, the sisters escape separately with plans to meet in Denver. But Lark is followed by her uncle, and with the timely arrival of Brynmor, she escapes capture.

Brynmor Llewellyn has been in love with the beautiful songbird, Lark, for a long time, but they both have family responsibilities keeping them apart. When he interrupts an attempt by her manager to capture her, his priorities change. He can’t ignore his heart any longer and commits to protecting her, whatever the price.

Favorite Lines

Rows of fiddles, banjos, mandolins, several pianos, even a few accordions and— She gasped with amazement. Mrs. Fitzpatrick had a hurdy-gurdy? The rare find yanked her forward like a lasso ’round her heart.

Nelson, Jacqui. A Bride for Brynmor (Songbird Junction Book 1)

The cries of the dead rose from their graves. Yesterday’s chill dug deep into her bones. Ulysses threw men under trains.

Nelson, Jacqui. A Bride for Brynmor (Songbird Junction Book 1) . Jacqui Nelson. Kindle Edition.

Gus grabbed a pair of spoons and waved them in Ulysses’ face. “Why don’t you just hand these to the lady ’n stop flappin’ yer gums like some no-talent trout washed up on life’s riverbank?”

Nelson, Jacqui. A Bride for Brynmor (Songbird Junction Book 1) . Jacqui Nelson. Kindle Edition.

Gotta love Grandpa Gus!

I give A Bride for Brynmor 5 lovely kisses- a sweet, charming romance read!

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Once Upon a Christmas Past #HolidayRomance #Historical @SDSXXTours


Once Upon a Christmas Past

A Historical Romance Holiday Collection

with stories by:
Regan Walker, Paula Quinn, Catherine Kean & Brenda Jernigan
Christmas in Scotland or Christmas in England – it is the best time of the year.
NY Times & USA Today & Bestselling Authors present – Once Upon
a Christmas Past – 4 full books of Christmas and Love.
A Secret Scottish Christmas by Regan Walker
Spies, Scots, and Shipmasters celebrate a very secret Christmas in Scotland
as identical twins, Robbie and Nash Powell, spies for the Crown,
compete for the love of the daughter of an Aberdeen shipbuilder.

 

A Highlander for Christmas by Paula Quinn
As the bard of the MacGregor clan, Finlay Grant is a natural-born
charmer. He can easily win the heart of any lass . . . but somehow,
the right words to express his love for stunning Leslie Harrison have
eluded him. Yet as Christmastide approaches, Finn knows he must find
a way to propose to the raven-haired beauty who has stolen his heart.

 

A Knight’s Redemption by Catherine Kean
Six Christmases ago, after refusing his kiss, Lady Mary Westbrook was
locked in the dungeon by Lord Holden Kendall, a squire at Branton
Keep. When an attempted child abduction days before Christmas brings
Holden back to the castle, Mary must confront again what happened
between them.
Holden is a grown warrior now, and he resolves to not only make matters
right with Mary but finally win her kiss. Yet, as peril ensues, Mary
must risk far more than a chance at true love.
Christmas in Camelot by Brenda Jernigan
Sir Nicholas the Dragon’s orders are clear. He is to fend off the enemy
besieging Noelle’s castle and bring the lady safely back to Camelot
for her wedding day to Sir Gavin. But spending time with the proud
beauty awakens an irresistible hunger in Nicholas. Now, as desire
does battle with duty, Nicholas has only two choices — to surrender
the woman he loves to another man or fight to the end to make her his
own.

**Only .99 cents!!**

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Regan Walker
is an award-winning, #1 Amazon bestselling author of Regency, Georgian and Medieval romances. She writes historically authentic novels with real historical figures along with her fictional
characters. Among the awards she has won are the International Book Award for Romance Fiction, the San Diego Book Award for Best Historical Romance, the RONE Award for her medievals and the Gold Medal Illumination Award.
Paula Quinn is a NY Times and USA Today
bestselling author of medieval, Scottish historical, and paranormal
romance. To date, four of her books have garnered a starred review
from Publishers Weekly. She has been nominated for Storyteller of the
year by RT Book Reviews and every one of her books from the Children
of the Mist series have garnered Top Picks from RT Book Reviews. She
also writes fantasy romance under the pen name of Genevra Thorne.
Check out her newest series, Hearts of the Highlands on Amazon now!
Catherine Kean is an award-winning, Kindle Unlimited All-Star author of medieval romances whose creative muse has coaxed her to also write in other romance genres.
She wrote her first medieval romance, A Knight’s Vengeance, while her baby daughter was napping, and now has a backlist of over 20 published books. Catherine’s novels were originally published in
paperback and several were released in Czech, German, and Thai foreign editions. She’s won numerous awards for her stories, including the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence. Her novels also finaled in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards, the National
Readers’ Choice Awards, and the International Digital Awards.
In 2019, she co-founded CPC Publishing with author Wynter Daniels and is busy writing books for the Cat’s Paw Cove Romance series.
When not working on her next book, Catherine enjoys cooking, baking, browsing antique shops, shopping with her daughter, and gardening. She lives in Central Florida with two spoiled rescue cats
Brenda Jernigan is a bestselling author. Her books have been nominated for many awards – Book Seller’s Best Award, The Maggie Award, and The Holt Medallion Award. Publisher’s Weekly said, “Brenda Jernigan writes Romance, Adventure and Magic”
She grew up living the life of a tomboy – climbing trees, playing ball, and excluding starry-eyed romance from her daily repertoire. Brenda discovered the love of books while taking her son to Story Hour at the local library — she was hooked. She set an ambitious goal and began work on her first
novel. She continued to write six more novels in rapid succession. She figured having the same birthday as Ernest Hemingway couldn’t hurt.
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for special content and a giveaway!

 

Ribbons of Scarlet: A Novel of The French Revolution’s Women #Historical #Romance @InkSlingerPR @LauraKayeAuthor


Today we have the release blitz of Ribbons of Scarlet! Check out the gorgeous new release and grab your copy today!

Title: Ribbons of Scarlet

Authors: Laura Kamoie * Kate Quinn * Stephanie Dray * Sophie Perinot * Heather Webb * E. Knight

Genre: Historical Fiction

About Ribbons of Scarlet:

Ribbons of Scarlet is a timely story of the power of women to start a revolution—and change the world.

In late eighteenth-century France, women do not have a place in politics. But as the tide of revolution rises, women from gilded salons to the streets of Paris decide otherwise—upending a world order that has long oppressed them.

Blue-blooded Sophie de Grouchy believes in democracy, education, and equal rights for women, and marries the only man in Paris who agrees. Emboldened to fight the injustices of King Louis XVI, Sophie aims to prove that an educated populace can govern itself–but one of her students, fruit-seller Louise Audu, is hungrier for bread and vengeance than learning. When the Bastille falls and Louise leads a women’s march to Versailles, the monarchy is forced to bend, but not without a fight. The king’s pious sister Princess Elisabeth takes a stand to defend her brother, spirit her family to safety, and restore the old order, even at the risk of her head.

But when fanatics use the newspapers to twist the revolution’s ideals into a new tyranny, even the women who toppled the monarchy are threatened by the guillotine. Putting her faith in the pen, brilliant political wife Manon Roland tries to write a way out of France’s blood-soaked Reign of Terror while pike-bearing Pauline Leon and steely Charlotte Corday embrace violence as the only way to save the nation. With justice corrupted by revenge, all the women must make impossible choices to survive–unless unlikely heroine and courtesan’s daughter Emilie de Sainte-Amaranthe can sway the man who controls France’s fate: the fearsome Robespierre.

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Exclusive Excerpt:

National Convention

Paris, France

December 1792

“There she is, the harlot . . .”

“La femme Roland . . .”

“Traitorous slut . . .”

The whispers followed me as I made my way across the floor, looking neither right nor left. It was the first time a woman had been called to address the Convention, and I’d dressed for the occasion as though it were an honor: a blue gown that foamed about my feet as I stalked to the bar, a white fichu pinned with my tricolor cockade, red ribbons twined through my hair. A revolutionary patriot, top to toe. When I turned to face the questions, I let my eyes travel, bold and confident, to the high bleacher seats where the radical Jacobins held court.

Before the proceedings could even begin, some heckler from their ranks called, “How do you answer the charge of treason, citizeness?”

I replied with calm contempt. “The charge is ludicrous, and all here know it.”

It was a smear job of the crudest kind: an unsavory informer reporting he had discovered a London conspiracy to restore the king, and that my husband and I were complicit. My husband had already been summoned to account for himself and had perhaps not done as well as he might: he couldn’t hide his indignation, and he became flustered when the tone turned sneering. I would not give my questioners a chance to sneer.

“The informer states clearly, Citizeness Roland, that you—”

“I did not summon him.” I spoke briskly, taking the reins before my questioner could bring down the whip and speed this interrogation to the pace my enemies wanted. This was going to go at my pace, not theirs. “From my files of letters I can see the man wrote to me, asking for an interview with Minister Roland. I receive dozens of such requests every week.”

“You do not deny you received the man?”

“He paid a brief call, and from his probing I concluded he was sent to sound us out about some scheme or other.” I smiled. “Or perhaps I was wrong. I am a woman and not skilled in these matters.”

The questioner took turns with his colleagues, trying to turn my words on me, trying to talk me in circles. As long as I had listened to politicians drone over my dinner table, I could talk anyone in circles. I shredded their accusations and stamped the shreds underfoot, feeling the color rise in my cheeks—not embarrassment, but the fierce heat of pride. Was this what Roland felt when he addressed the Convention? This rush of power that tingled the fingertips, the confidence that my words were deploying like obedient soldiers and the crowd sat in the palm of my hand? Why would anyone who had command of this floor ever leave it?

Finally, I was excused to the sound of ringing applause among the deputies, the charge dismissed in full, the honors of the session formally accorded to me. I looked from Robespierre to Danton to Marat with a wide bland smile as I glided out, and the smile became a beam as my husband drew me into the nearest empty hall.

“Thank goodness it’s over.” His face was creased with relief. “Let me take you home, calm your nerves.”

“My nerves are calm, and I can take myself home. You stay, speak with those who need reassuring.”

He kissed my forehead. “I hated seeing you up there,” he muttered, before rushing back inside.

He’d hardly gone before a low voice spoke behind me, prickling my skin. “I loved seeing you up there. You were born to it.”

I turned, smile draining away. The man who loved me stood feet planted wide, arms folded, dark hair rumpled—he must have been waiting to catch me alone. “Citizen,” I managed to say, not daring to put his name through my lips.

“You were brilliant,” he said quietly. “Brave as a lioness.” A voice of calm power for a man not yet thirty-three. Six years younger than I, what did that say about me? “They should have known better than to try to trap you in so crude a snare.”

“That shabby excuse for a conspiracy might have been crude, but it was real, even if we had no involvement.” I kept my voice brisk, turning the conversation to safer waters. “As long as the king lives, there will be plots to restore him. The matter will have to be dealt with.”

“The king is just a man, and a small one.”

“With a long shadow.”

We both smiled involuntarily. It had always been like that with us, the eager cut-and-thrust of our minds. “If you wish to speak to my husband . . .”

But the man who loved me took my hand.

“Manon, I honor Roland and support him always. But I am here for you.”

About Laura Kamoie:

New York Times and USA TODAY bestseller Laura Kaye is the author of over forty books in romantic suspense and contemporary and erotic romance and has sold more than one million books in the U.S. alone. Among her many awards, she won the RT Book Reviews Reviewers’ Choice Award for Best Romantic Suspense of 2014 for Hard As You Can. A former college history professor, Laura grew up amid family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses, cementing her life-long fascination with storytelling and the supernatural. Laura lives in Maryland with her husband and two daughters, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

Laura also writes historical fiction under the name Laura Kamoie, also a Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and USA Today bestseller.

Laura is a member of the Romance Writers of America, the Maryland Romance Writers, the Washington Romance Writers, and she is past president of the RWA-Contemporary Romance Writers.

Connect with Laura Kamoie:

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A Ghost in The Kitchen by @TeaganGeneviene #NewRelease #Fantasy


Welcome to the launch party for A Ghost in the Kitchen! It’s a wild ride on a magical trolley through haunted Savannah, Georgia.

All the Pip stories by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All the Pip books by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene.

Purchase links:The Three Things Serial Story, Murder at the Bijou, and A Ghost in the Kitchen Thanks for hosting me for my novel launch and book fair.

Hi everyone. I’m Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene, and I’ve brought a bunch of friends for this shindig on a magical 1920s trolley. First let me tell you a little about my new novel. When my character, Paisley Idelle Peabody (better known as Pip) came along, I started writing a type of fiction that I never expected. Pip is a flapper. Her stories took me to Savannah, Georgia of the 1920s. It’s only natural that some ghosts got in on the act. After all, many people say that Savannah is the most haunted city in the USA!

Here’s the blurb for this novel.

A Ghost in the Kitchen, Three Ingredients-2 continues the flapper adventures of Paisley Idelle Peabody, aka Pip. It’s a 1920s “pantser” story and a culinary mystery. This time Pip’s pal Andy (from The Three Things Serial Story) returns. Granny Phanny is there too. She’s still trying to teach Pip to cook. Granny is in a lather because of the supernatural goings-on in her kitchen. There’s also one pos-i-lutely potent poltergeist!

New adventures abound as Pip and Andy unravel an old mystery.

It’s all spontaneously driven by “ingredients” sent by readers of the blog, Teagan’s Books.

A Ghost in the Kitchen by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene
A Ghost in the Kitchen by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

Did you hear the bell clang? Our magic trolley is here!

There are links galore, so limber up your clicking finger and jump on the trolley. Here’s a map showing some locations. Friends who promised to participate in my launch will be at some of these haunted places. They’ll get on the magical blog party trolley as we tour haunted Savannah!

Map showing haunted locations in Savannah, GA

I just wish this 1920s trolley could move faster… Oh! A brass lamp just clattered to the ground. There’s purple smoke coming out.“Your wish is my command!” Aladin Fazel – my favorite magician! Now the trolley can go anywhere. At the top of the map is the Moon River Brewing Company. That’s a good place to start in case anyone needs some liquid courage for this ghostly adventure!

Blue Moon Brewing Co Savannah
Blue Moon Brewing Co Savannah, GA

There’s Christoph Fischer. Duck! A rowdy, spifflicated ghost just threw a beer bottle. Olga Núñez Miret is helping Christoph get away from the spirited spirit and onto our trolley. Welcome aboard, Olga and Christoph. You two look darb in your 1920s glad rags. Magician, those ghosts are going to follow Olga and Christoph all the way to the trolley. Can you please get us to the next stop? We’ve traveled east, closer to the river. Our trolley is on a bluff above the River Walk. Now we’re at Factor’s Walk. The foundations of some of these buildings date back to the late 1700s. D. L. Finn and Valentina Cirasola should be waiting for us there. Ah, there they are, beside one of the sealed-off tunnel entrances. Love those hats, ladies! Applesauce, hurry to the trolley. There are shadow figures all around us!

Factors Walk, Savannah, GA
Factors Walk, Savannah, GA

Tunnels that originate in this area have been known to send ghastly moans into the still night air. Look out, Dyanna Wyndesong! A tall shadow was sneaking up behind you. Get back on the trolley, quick! Yes, that’s one of the many tunnels. They make a labyrinth beneath Savannah. Wow, we’re going into the haunted tunnel.

A hidden tunnel in Savannah, GA
A hidden tunnel in Savannah, GA

Magician, why are you slowing the trolley? You must see something ahead in this creepy tunnel… Oh! It’s a poster for Teri Polen’s yearly October event, Bad Moon Rising! I’ll be there on October, 18th, chatting with Teri about all sorts of Halloween-ish things, as well as my novella, Brother Love — a Crossroad. I hope everyone will join us for the fun.

Bad Moon Rising 2019
Bad Moon Rising, hosted by Teri Polen

Since this is a magical trolley the tunnel will take us directly the Sorrel Weed House where we’ll pick up two more guests. Just beware the lady in black! I hope John W. Howell and Dan Antion know about her. Oh-oh! John and Dan, that’s no damsel in distress, it’s a mean ghost. Hurry over here to the trolley, guys!

The Sorrel Weed House, Savannah, GA
The Sorrel Weed House, Savannah, GA

If you’ll keep the trolley heading south, Magician, we can pick up Michael (from OIKOS Publishing) at the Andrew Low House. I see that Jan Sikes is meeting us there too. Jan don’t go in that room! Through the window I see Juilette Gordon Low lying on the bed – but she died in 1927! Michael, watch out for that butler at the top of the stairs too. His clothes went out of style 150 years ago. Those are ghosts. You two better get on the trolley fast! Aladin, this is great! You found a magic tunnel to take us north east. Sally Cronin and Jacquie Biggar are waiting for us at the Colonial Park Cemetery. Ladies, I realize that handsome young man invited you to follow him. Don’t bother. He’ll just disappear once he goes inside the gate. He died a long, long time ago.

Colonial Park Cemetery, Savannah, GA, Wikipedia
Colonial Park Cemetery, Savannah, GA, Wikipedia

Applesauce! All these spooky apparitions have given me an appetite. Shall we find a haunted restaurant? Ah, the 17Hundred90 Inn & Restaurant is on our way. Robbie Cheadle and Marje Mallon are already there. Robbie, take care. That little boy is really a ghost. Marje, I know you feel sorry for Anna, but she’s been waiting for her lost love since before any of us were born. She’s a specter too.That ghostly cook, does not seem nearly as friendly as Maestro Martino, the cursed chef in A Ghost in the Kitchen. She’s banging her pots and pans and making a quite ruckus. What’s our next stop, Magician?

17Hundred90 Inn, Savannah, GA
17Hundred90 Inn, Savannah, GA

Now we’re at The Marshall House. It’s a haunted hotel where we’re picking up Chris Graham, the Story Reading Ape. What’s that dear Ape? You say your “naughty chimp” nephews are in a game of “tag,” chasing the ghosts of children who run up and down the halls there? They’re all having a great time! Hey, there’s Traci Kenworth too, down at the other end of the building. Come on to the trolley, Traci. Those little ghosts are starting to raise a ruckus.

The Marshall House, Savannah, GA
The Marshall House, Savannah, GA

Thanks to Aladin and our magical trolley, we’ve taken another of those hidden tunnels. Now, we’re almost back where we started, between River Street and Factors Walk. We have one more stop. We need to pick up Resa McConaghy and Jacqui Murray at the Olde Harbour Inn. Oh! They’re already running to the trolley. I expect the spirit known as Hank tried to crawl into bed with at least one of them. I also smell his cigar smoke. I think I’d run too!

The Olde Harbour Inn, Savannah, GA
The Olde Harbour Inn, Savannah, GA

Alright everyone. Pip and Granny Phanny are waiting for us at the cottage. Granny is eager to start her book fair. She’s a real bearcat, and she won’t like it if we’re late. So let’s get a wiggle on!

***

Granny Phanny’s Book Fair

Welcome to the book fair. All these authors volunteered to help me by sharing this magic trolley tour of haunted Savannah. Their books are all swell. So I put them in pos-i-lutely random order. Hopefully that will lead you to look at some things you might not typically read. You’ll find purchase links below the cover images.

A Ghost in the Kitchen by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

A Ghost in the Kitchen, Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

Ghost book fair 1
Brother Love – a Crossroad, Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene The Gemini Connection, Teri Polen

Through the Nethergate, Roberta Eaton Cheadle

Tales from the Irish Garden, Sally Cronin
Ghost Book Fair 2
My Girl, Jacquie Biggar Deadly Quotes, Olga Núñez Miret The Season of Limbo, Al Fazel (not yet published Naked Lemons, Valentina Cirasola
Ghost book fair 3
My Vibrating Vertebrae, Agnes Mae Graham The Curse of Time, M.J. Mallon Circumstances of Childhood, John W. Howell Over My Dead Body, Christoph Fischer
Ghost Book fair 4

The Glowing Pigs, Snort Stories of Atonement, Tennessee, Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

Jewel, Jan Sikes Nine Black Lives,Resa McConaghy

Just Her Poetry, D.L. Finn

Universal link to my Amazon Author Page Sheiks and Shebas, thanks so very much for getting on the magical trolley for this tour. Ya’ll are pos-i-lutely the berries!

***

This is a work of fiction. Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.

Copyright © 2019 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

All rights reserved.

No part of this work may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights.

All images are either the property of the author or provided by free sources, unless stated otherwise.

Evermore by @JodyHedlund #Ya #Historical #EverTour @PrismBookTours


On Tour with Prism Book Tours

Always (The Lost Princesses #0.5) By Jody Hedlund Christian YA Historical Romance Paperback & ebook, 136 Pages August 13th 2019 by Northern Lights Press

A fierce elite guard. A loyal lady in waiting. They must work together to save three princesses from certain death.

On the verge of dying after giving birth to twins, the queen of Mercia pleads with Lady Felicia to save her infant daughters. With the castle overrun by King Ethelwulf’s invading army, Lady Felicia vows to do whatever she can to take the newborn princesses and their three-year old sister to safety, even though it means sacrificing everything she holds dear, possibly her own life.

Gravely wounded in battle and knowing all is lost to his enemy, the king of Mercia tasks Lance, one of his fiercest elite guards, to protect his family along with keys to an ancient treasure. As Lance makes plans to sneak the princesses out of the capital city, he doesn’t need or want Lady Felicia’s help.

With the dark enemy in pursuit, Lance and Felicia must put aside their differences to outrun King Ethelwulf and prevent him from killing the princesses. In a desperate attempt to hide the young girls, Lance and Felicia agree to a marriage of convenience, a decision that will change their lives—and hearts—forever.

(Affiliate links included.) GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & NobleBook Depository Also FREE through KindleUnlimited

Excerpt

“I shall ride the final course.” I grabbed the great helm. “You know I have the better chance at vanquishing Lord Mortimer.”

“No, Adelaide.” Mitchell reached to divest me of the helmet, but I sidestepped him and thrust it on before he could wrest it away.

“I shall pretend I am you, and Lord Mortimer will be none the wiser.” My voice was hollow against the conical metal hood that covered my entire head except for the narrow eye slits and the small pricked breathing holes. I fumbled at the leather chinstrap, determined to tie it into place before Mitchell stopped me.

“Adelaide,” he said in a puff of exasperation. But his voice wasn’t as angry as it was frustrated. Whether he said so or not, I understood him. He was irritated more with himself than with me. Thus far during the jousting tournament, he’d tied with Lord Mortimer, which meant if we didn’t win the fourth and final course, we’d go home without the coveted purse of gold.

If we returned to Langley without the gold, the physician wouldn’t come to heal Aunt Susanna, and we would forfeit the expensive medicine she so desperately required.

Evermore (The Lost Princesses #1) By Jody Hedlund Christian YA Historical Paperback & ebook, 222 Pages August 27th 2019 by Northern Lights Press

An ancient key. A secret treasure. And a princess destined to use them both to fight evil and restore peace.

Raised by a noble family, Lady Adelaide has always known she’s an orphan. Little does she realize she’s one of the lost princesses and the true heir to Mercia’s throne…until a visitor arrives at her family estate, reveals her birthright as queen, and thrusts her into a quest for the throne whether she’s ready or not.

Unable to tolerate King Ethelwulf’s cruelty and lawlessness, Christopher Langley left Mercia years earlier, training a group of rebels in neighboring Norland. When he returns home after his mother’s death, he discovers that not only is Adelaide all grown up, but she’s also the rightful queen of Mercia.

When King Ethelwulf discovers Adelaide’s location, he’ll stop at nothing to capture her and the key she holds to the ancient treasure. Christopher is just as determined to protect Adelaide so she can lead the growing rebellion. When feelings ignite between the two old friends, forces threaten to destroy their love and rip them apart forever.

(Affiliate links included.) GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & NobleBook Depository Also FREE through KindleUnlimited

Other Books in the Series

Coming late September and October. Pre-order now! (Affiliate links included.)

About the Author

Jody Hedlund is a best-selling and award-winning author who loves fairy-tales and happily-ever-afters. She makes her home in Midland, MI with her husband and five teen-aged children. When she’s not writing another of her page-turning stories, you can usually find her sipping coffee, eating chocolate, and reading.

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Tour Schedule

Tour Giveaway

One winner will receive the prequel and all three books in The Lost Princesses series (Always, Evermore, Foremost and Hereafter) in paperback or ebook (winner’s choice, if winner is outside the US ebooks only) Ends September 25, 2019

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When a Lady Kisses a Scot by @TaraKingston115 #HistoricalRomance #Read @authorspal


Meet the Author:

Award-winning author Tara Kingston writes historical romance laced with intrigue, danger, and adventures of the heart. A Southern-belle-out-of-water in a quaint northern town, she lives her own happily-ever-after with her real-life hero and a pair of deceptively innocent-looking cats. The mother of two sons, Tara’s a former librarian who first fell in love with the romance genre when she discovered her mother’s old-school romance paperbacks. When she’s not writing, reading, or burning dinner, Tara enjoys movie nights, traveling, cycling, hiking, DIY projects, and cheering on her favorite football team.
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About the Book:

Rose Fleming has been presumed dead for the last decade. It required leaving everything—and everyone—she loved behind, including MacAllister Campbell. But faking her death allowed her to stay safe until the threat posed by a mysterious villain had passed. Believing it’s finally safe again, she returns…and runs smack into the only man she ever loved.
But Rose was wrong and the stalker she escaped years ago still has her in his sights.
Ten years ago, Mac mourned the death of the woman he loved. It’s taken years to heal his heart only to discover that not only is Rose still alive, but still in grave danger. Mac can forgive Rose’s deception, but he’d never be able to forgive himself if he didn’t protect her from the evil still stalking her.
The only thing worse than losing her once would be losing her again… and he won’t let that happen.

Excerpt

It seemed a lifetime since MacAllister had walked out of her life.

But there was no mistaking him. Even after all these years, standing in the shadow of the Larkspear Theater on a gaslit night, she knew the shape of his face, the wave in his chestnut brown hair, and the subtle scent of soap and bergamot indelibly imprinted on her brain.

Questions flashed in his eyes, coupled with a clear sense of recognition. Had he seen through her pitiful attempt at camouflage—a coffee rinse liberally applied over her hair to dull its natural auburn hue and a netted veil on her hat to partially obscure her features?

MacAllister had always taken in the smallest of details. Pity that trait had not changed.

Well, there was nothing to be done about it now. At the moment, MacAllister Campbell’s powers of observation were the least of her worries.

“Are you all right, miss?” His question was bland, ordinary. Perhaps she was mistaken—perhaps he didn’t recognize her.

She gave a nod, then raised up on her tiptoes to peer over his shoulder. In the distance, a tall man with a shock of stringy black hair shoved his way through the crowd. A chill washed over her. So, he was following her. The man’s near-constant presence since she’d left the hotel on the Strand had not been a coincidence. Another minute or so and he’d be upon her.

Dear God. The nod had been a colossal lie.

She wasn’t all right.

Not at all.

If the bull of a man caught up with her, she might well join the ranks of the deceased again.

Only this time, it would not be a charade.

Suddenly, she knew what she had to do. She’d likely regret it. But at least she’d be alive.

Since she’d last seen MacAllister, she’d developed a talent for making good use of every resource. And now, she needed MacAllister—well, she needed a man—if only for a very short while.

“Darling.” She flashed a soft smile, curled a gloved hand over his forearm, and urged him away from the gas lamp’s hazy light. “I’m delighted I found you.”

His eyes narrowed. She thought he’d respond, but he didn’t. Had she actually left him speechless? It wasn’t easy to get the better of MacAllister. This might well be a first. The notion was oddly satisfying. Not that she had time to savor the experience.

Peeking over his shoulder again, she spotted the black-haired man. He’d muscled past a burly gent with a walrus mustache. Oh dear.

“Oh, I’ve missed you so.” Taking hold of MacAllister’s jacket lapels, she stepped close to his body. Ignoring the press of a button against her cheek, she buried her face against the tweed. “Hold me. Please.”

His arms enfolded her. “Do you intend to tell me what in blazes is going on?” His voice was low and husky, so familiar, even after all this time.

Glancing over his shoulder to scan the crowd behind him, she glimpsed a flash of her pursuer’s coal-black hair.

His sharp, indrawn breath betrayed the tension in his body. “Who are you looking for?”

“An old friend,” she whispered against his mouth. “I need you to do something…for me.”

“Tell me what you’re up to. I’ve no patience for games.”

Did you ever, MacAllister?

She clung to him like a drowning woman. “Please, hold me.”

To her relief, he played along.

Leaning closer, she lifted the netting on her hat, just enough to leave her eyes still veiled.

“This is no time for words.”

No time for hesitation.

He framed her face in his large, warm hands. “What is this about?”

“Stop talking and kiss me.”

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USA Today Bestselling Author Beverly Jenkins’s compelling new series follows a Northern woman south in the chaotic aftermath of the Civil War . . . Rebel #Historical #Romance @PureTextuality @authorMsBev


The first novel in USA Today Bestselling Author Beverly Jenkins’s compelling new series follows a Northern woman south in the chaotic aftermath of the Civil War . . .

Valinda Lacey’s mission in the steamy heart of New Orleans is to help the newly emancipated community survive and flourish. But soon she discovers that here, freedom can also mean danger. When thugs destroy the school she has set up and then target her, Valinda runs for her life—and straight into the arms of Captain Drake LeVeq.

As an architect from an old New Orleans family, Drake has a deeply personal interest in rebuilding the city. Raised by strong women, he recognizes Valinda’s determination. And he can’t stop admiring—or wanting—her. But when Valinda’s father demands she return home to marry a man she doesn’t love, her daring rebellion draws Drake into an irresistible intrigue.

 

About the Book

Rebel
by Beverly Jenkins

Series
Women Who Dare

Genre
Adult
Historical Romance

Publisher
Avon Books

Publication Date
May 28, 2019

 

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Excerpt

“Is it a love match?”

 

Val paused. It was now her turn to study him. She replied truthfully, “No, it isn’t. I take it you believe there is such a thing?”

 

“I do. You?”

 

“There are no love matches in my family or in the families of my acquaintances, so I err on the side of saying no.”

 

“Raimond and Sable have one, as did my parents, as did our great-grandparents Dominic and Clare.” He added softly, “Love is real, cheri.”

 

The passion he put into the words, coupled with his accent were such a heady combination, if he professed the moon was made of ice cream she’d ask for a bowl and spoon. She eyed his full lips and remembered the gentleness of his fingers on her scraped cheek. Common sense urged her to get up and run from him like her slips were on fire because Drake LeVeq was dangerous in ways an engaged, untouched woman like herself couldn’t even imagine, but lord help her, she was drawn to him.

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To celebrate the release of REBEL by Beverly Jenkins, we’re giving away a paperback copy of Tempest by Beverly Jenkins to one lucky winner!

GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS:  Open to US shipping addresses only. One winner will receive a paperback copy of Tempest by Beverly Jenkins. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Books.  Giveaway ends 6/10/2019 @ 11:59pm EST.  CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

 

About Beverly Jenkins

BEVERLY JENKINS is the recipient of the 2018 Michigan Author Award by the Michigan Library Association, the 2017 Romance Writers of America Lifetime Achievement Award, as well as the 2016 Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award for historical romance. She has been nominated for the NAACP Image Award in Literature, was featured in both the documentary Love Between the Covers and on CBS Sunday Morning. Since the publication of Night Song in 1994, she has been leading the charge for multicultural romance, and has been a constant darling of reviewers, fans, and her peers alike, garnering accolades for her work from the likes of The Wall Street Journal, People Magazine, and NPR. To read more about Beverly, visit her at www.BeverlyJenkins.net.

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Her blackmailer is hot on her trail and her secrets could soon be exposed… Highland Salvation by Lori Ann Bailey #Historical #Romance @authorspal @labaileyauthor


Meet the Author:

Winner of the National Readers’ Choice Award and Holt Medallion for Best First Book and Best Historical, Lori Ann Bailey writes hunky highland heroes and strong-willed independent lasses finding their perfect matches in the Highlands of 17th century Scotland. Writing about the people and places playing in her head helps her live out her dreams and delve into her love of history and romance. When not writing, Lori enjoys time with her real-life hero and four kids or spending time walking or drinking wine with her friends.
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About the Book:

Finlay Cameron, the bastard son of an English earl and a Scottish mother, weds stunning, outgoing Blair Macnab to ensure her clan’s loyalty to King Charles. She’s everything he’s ever wanted in a wife, but he suspects she may be plotting his murder.
Always considered to be nothing more than a pretty face, Blair Macnab yearns to prove her worth. She refuses to be used as a pawn for political gain, but when confronted by a blackmailer, her only option is to marry the brawny Finlay Cameron.
In Finlay’s arms, she feels safe for the first time ever. Until she learns that her blackmailer is hot on her trail and her secrets could soon be exposed…

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Excerpt

 

After the door clicked into place, Finlay bolted it then pivoted to see his wife contemplating the bath. Blair’s cheeks flushed a shade of pink to rival the prettiest roses in England.

 

“I hoped ye would enjoy it after our journey.”

 

“It looks lovely.”

 

“We will arrive at my estate tomorrow, and I thought it might make ye more comfortable to bathe before we arrive.”

 

“Aye.” She blushed.

 

“Dinnae be ashamed.” Approaching her, his hand fell onto her small waist. Circling behind her, he felt her shiver beneath his palm, but instead of pulling away, she leaned into his touch.

 

He pulled the strap binding the tip of her locks free. “I ken why ye’ve been pleating yer hair for the journey, but I prefer it down.”

 

“I can do that,” she said, but she made no move to pull away as he deftly unbraided the plaits.

 

“Nae. I’ve wanted to feel these silky strands run through my fingers.” Once the waves fell free to her waist, his fingertips roamed upward as the smooth tresses slid through his hands. He massaged the tender flesh of her scalp. Her head tilted into the movements.

 

He drew her hair to the side and let his hands trail down her back, savoring the feel of her fevered skin beneath her shift. The material was already loose. He reached up, pulling the gown from her shoulders and placing gentle kisses on the newly exposed skin up the curvature, along her neck.

 

She leaned into him for support. He continued to caress her skin, and she moaned.

 

“If I dinnae stop, ye will not make it into that water while ’tis still warm.” He nibbled at her ear, and she arched into him.

 

Tonight, he would do more than just sleep with Blair, but he was determined to do this right after the mishandled opportunities and resentments.

 

“Hmmm,” was her only response, as if he’d set her at ease and she was looking forward to him ravishing her. It didn’t help his self-control.

 

Pulling away, he instructed, “Bathe. We will have all night for me to teach ye how a woman should be cherished.”

HS2

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Her Midnight Sin by @Sofie_Darling #Historical #Romance @authorspal


Meet the Author:

Sofie Darling is an award-winning author of historical romance. Her debut novel, THREE LESSONS IN SEDUCTION, won the Writers’ League of Texas’ Manuscript Contest in the Romance Category in 2016.She spent much of her twenties raising two boys and reading every book she could get her hands on. Once she realized she simply had to write the books she loved, she finished her English degree and embarked on her writing career. Mr. Darling and the boys gave her their wholehearted blessing.

When she’s not writing heroes who make her swoon, she runs a marathon in a different state every year, visits crumbling medieval castles whenever she gets a chance, and enjoys a slightly codependent relationship with her beagle, Bosco.

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About the Book:

Like a vengeful Norse god, Captain John Nylander has come from the sea to steal the only home that Callie has ever known. And that might not be all he’s after.
Can a Viking…
Orphaned as a child, Nylander has never known a real home. Now he is ready to leave the dangers of his past behind and put down the roots he has always longed for. The only thing standing in his way is a lanky aristocratic lady who is more at home on the farm than in the ballroom. And she has secrets…
And a Viscountess…
Callie, the Dowager Viscountess St. Alban, has poured all her energy into making Wyldcombe Grange her home. Managing an estate is not what she dreamed of, but her late husband’s rejection made it clear that love and a family would never be hers. Now she may lose even that to the sinfully handsome Captain. But Nylander is making her dream again…
Turn passion into love?
Nylander inspires a recklessness in Callie that she can’t control. Soon she finds herself conspiring with pirates and contemplating midnight trysts with the very Viking who has turned her life upside down. For Nylander, being with Callie embodies everything he’s always wanted—home. As midnight strikes, will all their secret, sinful dreams come true?

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Excerpt:

 

Captain Nylander.

 

His voice was deep enough to shake the foundations of this mansion loose. Certainly deep enough to rattle Callie, her breath shallow and her mouth dry. She rose to a stand by slow increments and stood so silent and so still that she imagined she might be forgotten. Then the captain’s gaze met hers over St. Alban’s shoulder, and all hope was lost. His eyes narrowed in question, and she lifted a single, imperious eyebrow in response. The Grange knew that eyebrow well, and she sensed it was her best defense against this man in this moment.

 

Before her stood the man who would never be her friend. He was her rival . . . her enemy. Soft gaslight caught the golden strands of his unfashionably long, slightly unkempt hair and the glint of clear blue sky in his eye. For all his modern English attire, the man could have been a Viking, a Norse god even, from the tales of yore come to life. All he lacked was a shield in one hand and a hammer in the other.

 

Callie’s breath had no choice but to catch in her chest. Her enemy was imposing, yes, but did he also have to be so blasted, devastatingly . . . god-like?

 

 

SD HMS Teaser7

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An opinionated tomboy must navigate the dangers of society, unaware her brother’s killer is lurking in her midst. A Perfect Plan by @AlyssaDrakemuse #Historical #Romance @PureTextuality


An opinionated tomboy must navigate the dangers of society, unaware her brother’s killer is lurking in her midst.

When her brother’s ship sinks off the coast of France, Miss Samantha Hastings surrenders her quiet, country life to manage his affairs. Suddenly thrust into society, Samantha faces an unfamiliar world and the unnerving green eyes of Lord Westwood-her brother’s best friend and her new guardian.

Benjamin, Lord Westwood, never intended on following through with his rash promise to act as guardian to Edward’s bratty little sister. Upon learning of his best friend’s death, Benjamin’s intention was to marry her off to the first acceptable suitor. When he finds himself falling for Samantha instead, Benjamin alights upon the perfect plan; a marriage of convenience.

The plan, however, quickly unravels when they discover Edward’s disappearance was due to foul play. Now, Samantha is in more danger than either of them realized and Benjamin is running out of time. Can he save the woman he loves or will murder ruin his perfect plan?

If you enjoy the mystery and intrigue of Amanda Quick and Lisa Kleypas, dive into this spellbinding series filled with history, romance, and suspense.

 

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About the Book

A Perfect Plan
by Alyssa Drake

Series
Wiltshire Chronicles Book One

Genre
Adult
Historical Romance
Romantic Suspense

Publisher
Independent

Publication Date
April 2, 2019

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Excerpt

PROLOGUE

 

June 19, 1842

 

He stared pitilessly, mouth twisted cruelly, as Mr. Matthew Hastings writhed uncontrollably on the mahogany desk. His arms flopped helplessly; a dull thud, thud, thud. Heavy green drapes, lining the picture window behind the desk, blocked any moonlight from streaming into the room. Only the dim light of fading embers bathed Mr. Hastings and his guest at this early hour. No sound echoed in the sleeping house. Anonymity cloaked the sole witness to Mr. Hastings’ excruciating demise.

“It is unfortunate I had to resort to this unpleasantness.” The man shook his head with feigned sadness, a sneer hovering just on the edge of his lips. He paused, deep in contemplation, and then spoke quietly, as if explaining an important lesson to a child. “I did caution you–several times–over the past few months. However, you refused to heed my warning.”

Leaning over, the man slid his fingers through Mr. Hasting’s hair, mostly black, but highlighted by the graying of age. His grip tightened, and he wrenched Mr. Hastings’ head sideways. Pressing his lips to Mr. Hastings’ ear, he hissed intimately. “You have something I want, something that was promised to me when I was much younger. Since you are unwilling to relinquish possession…”

He indicated a half empty glass of brandy resting precariously near the edge of the desk, just out of reach of Mr. Hastings’ twitching hand. The brandy taunted; its amber color glistened ominously. Mr. Hastings’ eyes rolled wildly as the toxin caused his body to spasm in a gruesome dance. His tongue remained paralyzed, locked, unable to form a simple word. Help.

The man released Mr. Hastings’ head, gently returning it to the desk, and then stroked his fingers down the side of Mr. Hastings’ contorted cheek. “This particular poison is quite painful. I must admit, I chose it because I knew it would cause you to suffer horribly.”

“Ugh,” replied Mr. Hastings. His flopping body beat its slow rhythm again; a fish gasping for its last breath of air. The raspy breathing echoed in the study. Although the sound was not loud enough to raise alarm in the house, the man’s eyes flew to the closed study door. Grabbing Mr. Hastings by his hair, the man yanked, crushing Mr. Hastings’ mouth with his hand.

“Stop this nonsense, this instance,” he hissed.

Jerking, Mr. Hastings threw his torso forward, ripping out of the man’s grasp, and stretching for the poisoned snifter. His fingers brushed against the glass, sliding down the side. The glass scooted further away, teetering on the edge of the desk. With a lunge, he wrapped his hand around the glass, locking tightly. Gasping twice, Mr. Hastings’ shuddered and then exhaled, his body slumping onto the desk.

Cautiously, the man relaxing his grip, straightening slowly. He studied Mr. Hastings’s with narrowed eyes, searching for any hint of movement. Nothing. He grinned and chuckled quietly as his gaze fell on the glass in Mr. Hastings’ grip.

“No clues.” He clucked his tongue. “A good attempt, however, kindly remember, I am much smarter than you.”

Prying the glass from Mr. Hastings’ stiff hand, the man dumped the remaining liquid into the fireplace. The fire hissed and burned red briefly before returning to its normal color. Wrapping the glass in a handkerchief, the man placed it carefully in his coat pocket. He patted the pocket twice before his eyes rose to meet Mr. Hastings’ empty gaze.

“I am sorry to steal you so young from your lovely wife. The loss will be devastating for her.” A horrid smile stretched across his lips. “Please do not concern yourself with the well-being of your dear wife or your children; I intend to take good care of your family.”

“Ugh, ugh.” Mr. Hastings choked. His hand slammed down on the desk. His head rolled to the side, lifting a centimeter from the desk. His blue eyes rolled madly, threatening to burst from their sockets. Agony racked his features; his entire face strained taut from the poison’s brutal assault.

The man laughed quietly and stepped toward the desk, his voice scornful. “You are a fighter. Perhaps I did not give you a large enough dose.”

His hand slid into his breast pocket, fingers closing around a tiny brown vial. A wheezing breath escaped from Mr. Hastings’ lungs. He deflated, his body twisted grotesquely over the desk; a lifeless marionette. Eerie silence filled the study. Mr. Hastings’ empty eyes, permanently frozen in a moment of anguish, glared accusingly at the man.

Placing his fingers to the side of Mr. Hastings’ neck, the man nodded with satisfaction. He leaned over the body and rifled through the desk drawers, his hands groping into the far recesses. Each empty disappointment brought a growl to his lips. Taking care not to disturb Mr. Hastings’ corpse, the man slid his fingers under the desk looking for a secret compartment or hidden drawer. He found nothing, not a key, not a clue, nothing, just an ordinary desk.

With a snarl, he stood, his eyes scanning the study, absorbing every detail, every nook and cranny. This was the only room left in the townhouse he had not yet had the opportunity to search. Yet they continued to elude him. He shook his head, chewing his tongue as he glanced over at Mr. Hastings. Such an inconvenience–this murder business–although this was by no means his first horrendous act.

His eyes swept the room again, taking inventory; various trinkets from Mr. Hastings’ travels decorated the bookshelves along the walls. Mrs. Hastings’s ornate writing desk, hidden in the far corner, was situated to face the beautiful garden hidden behind the green curtains, instead of the center of the room.

Mr. Hastings once teased his wife at a dinner party that her desk should be in his office, since she spent most of her time on the business of correspondence and all business should be performed in an office. In response to his remark, she requested the staff move her desk from the sitting room into the office the next morning, where she spent most of her time staring out the window at the foliage instead of writing letters.

“What wonderful a distraction!” She often exclaimed the sentiment, her musical voice bloomed with joy each time. “Surely if ever anyone has a reason not to respond to a letter, it is due to the beauty of nature.”

Gliding over, he ran his fingers lightly over the soft wood. Rebecca’s desk. He tried to open the desk top, but the rollup lid refused to budge. Snarling, he grasped a bronze letter opener from Mr. Hastings’ desk and shoved the edge roughly under the lid attempting pry it open. With a snap, the lock gave way and the letter opener sliced into the soft wood, gouging a deep scar across the delicate surface of the desk. The letter opener fell from his palm with a thunk, skittering across the floor and disappearing under Mr. Hastings’ desk.

The man searched all the crevices of the desk, pulling out every drawer and muttering with each empty outcome. His only discovery, an old pile of love letters tied with blue and white ribbons, was stashed in the rear of final drawer. He fanned through them quickly, annoyed to find Mr. Hastings’ tidy scrawl decorated the outside of every envelope. Sentimental value, apparently, why else would Mrs. Hastings store them in her desk? He shoved them roughly back into the drawer and slammed it with a snarl. Angered, he roared at the body sprawled across the desk.

“Where did you hide them?”

The corpse did not respond, but Mr. Hastings’ wide eyes appeared to be mocking his frustration. A last laugh in death, the man mused sourly.

“No answer. I am not surprise.” He cast a disdainful sneer at the body. “However, mark my words, I will find them, and no one will be able to tie me to your unfortunate demise.”

The man crossed the room once more. Wrenching open the study door, he leaned into the hallway and, with panic dripping from his voice, yelled. “Help, Mr. Hastings has taken ill. Oh please, help.”

The butler, awakened by the man’s cries, came running down the hallway through a door in the kitchen. He slid across the wooden floor in his stockings and rushed to Mr. Hastings’ side. Drinking in his master’s anguished eyes and immobile figure, the butler gasped. He examined the body but felt no pulse in Mr. Hastings’ wrist.

“What happened?” the butler asked, still bent over his employer.

“As we were talking, Mr. Hastings fell into some sort of fit, thrashing about, and then just slumped over.” The man forced a concerned tone into his explanation and leaned over the body as well. “I called for you as soon as the episode began.”

Twisting sideways, the butler studied the man. “We will need to fetch Dr. Barnes; however, I fear it is too late to save Mr. Hastings’s life.”

“Stay with him, do what you can; I will go for the doctor.” The man exited the study before the butler could reply.

Stepping out into the late evening fog, the man whistled a hollow tune, which echoed hauntingly in the mist. He called for his carriage with a quick snap of his fingers and climbed into the cab without a backward glance. As the carriage bounced along toward the doctor’s house, the man wondered if the butler noticed anything suspicious when he entered the room. His hand unconsciously curled around a glass hidden in his coat pocket; the final detail which needed to be resolved.

Perhaps it might be best to pay for the butler’s silence. However, if the butler was a loyal employee, a payoff would raise suspicions. An accident, on the other hand, would permanently guarantee the butler’s silence. How much tragedy could one family endure? He smirked in the darkness of the coach. Does a dead butler even count as a tragedy?

The carriage stopped suddenly, jarring him from his morbid thoughts.

“Help!” The man leapt from the carriage bellowing and banged loudly on Dr. Barnes’ front door. His voice strained with false concern. “Help, please, help, I need a doctor!”

“I will be right there.” The tired voice replied from deep within the recesses of the house. The elderly doctor blearily opened his front door, holding the nub of a candle. “I am Dr. Barnes, how can I help you, Mr…?”

“There is no time for introductions,” replied the man, his face partially concealed in shadow, as if the light recoiled from his visage. He shoved a parchment wrapped bundle into the doctor’s hand.

“What is this?” Dr. Barnes blinked, focusing his tired eyes on the solid mass in his hand.

“Mr. Hastings has died.” The man lowered his voice and leaned closer. “This is to ensure that he died of natural causes.”

Thumbing through the stack money, Dr. Barnes’ tongue caught between his teeth. He whistled under his breath, counting silently. He glanced up, realization glowing in his dim irises, and raised a suspicious eyebrow. “Did he?”

“Most definitely not. However, I am weary this evening and a bit reluctant to tolerate more than one death tonight. Although, if the need arises…” The man’s voice trailed off.

Dr. Barnes tightened his grip on the money and nodded once. “There will be no need, I understand your request.”

“I thought you might.” The man smiled. The sentiment did not reach his cold, dark eyes.

“I must leave at once,” replied Dr. Barnes. His tongue twisted around the words, garbling the sentence into mushy syllables of fear. Grabbing his medical bag from behind the door, Dr. Barnes threw a jacket over his arm and pulled the door closed behind him.

“Would you like to ride in my carriage?” The man bared his teeth, gesturing to his carriage; darkness seeped from the inside of the coach.

“No, thank you. I shall go on foot. Good night, sir.” Dr. Barnes shuddered once, and then nodded to the man, turning and walking in the opposite direction of the carriage.

“Doctor.” The man’s soft voice chased Dr. Barnes’ retreating back.

Dr. Barnes paused half-way down the street, his shoulders drooped. Reluctantly he turned. “Yes, sir?”

“It would do you well to remember I know where you live.” The man saluted him with a curt nod.

“Yes, sir,” answered Dr. Barnes. A tremor wracked his small frame. He pulled the jacket tightly around his shoulders, spun around again, and hastened down the street. He vanished around a corner without another word.

Casually walking over to a nearby bridge, the man dug into his pocket, and extracted the handkerchief containing the stolen glass. He leaned over the railing and dropped the contaminated snifter into the river below. Sucked into the swirling, black water, he watched the glass sink rapidly below the churning surface of the Thames–vanishing from sight. He folded the handkerchief, and replaced it in his pocket, patting it.

Humming the same haunting tune as before, he climbed back into his carriage and knocked on the window. The snap of a whip followed his cue, cracking twice over the backs of the horses. They pulled impatiently on the reins, jerking the carriage forward. The man leaned back into the darkness, pressing his fingers together in delight.

“I am not finished with your family yet, Mr. Hastings.”

 

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To celebrate the release of A PERFECT PLAN by Alyssa Drake, we’re giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to one lucky winner!

GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS:  Open to internationally. One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Alyssa Drake.  Giveaway ends 4/6/2019 @ 11:59pm EST. Limit one entry per reader. Duplicates will be deleted.  CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

 

 

About Alyssa Drake

USA Today Bestselling Author ALYSSA DRAKE has been creating stories since she could hold a crayon, preferring to construct her own bedtime tales instead of reading the titles in her bookshelves. A multi-genre author, Alyssa currently writes Historical romance, Paranormal romance, Contemporary romance, and Cozy mystery. She thoroughly enjoys strong heroines and often laughs aloud when imagining conversations between her characters.

Alyssa graduated from the University of the Pacific, with a B.S. in business and a concentration in French literature. Currently she resides in Northern California with her blended family, where she works full-time at a chocolate factory.

She believes everyone is motivated by love of someone or something. One of her favorite diversions is fabricating stories about strangers surrounding her on public transportation. Alyssa can often be found madly scribbling notes on a train or daydreaming out the window as the scenery whips past.

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Not your ordinary thief… The Gate to Eden by @CathyMcDavid #Audiobook #Romance @PrismBookTours



On Tour with Prism Book Tours

The Gate to Eden
By Cathy McDavid
Historical Romance, Western
Audiobook, 10 Hours and 33 Minutes (also in Paperback and ebook)
January 12th 2019

Expert crackshot Maddie Campbell will do whatever it takes to survive in this female Robin-Hood-of-the-Old-West story – including evading bounty-hunter-for-hire Scott McSween who’s intent on bringing her in.

Not your ordinary thief, widow and mother Maddie Campbell likes to think her wealthy victims are merely “donating” to herself and the hundreds of other widows and children left abandoned by the mining company after a devastating accident took the lives of their menfolk. Maddie’s secret excursions are quite successful…until ruggedly handsome former lawman Scott McSween arrives in Eden to investigate the recent string of crimes.

Despite her efforts to throw him off track, they can’t resist each other. He knows she’s somehow involved and is determined to draw out all her secrets in the most exquisite ways – with soft caresses and passionate kisses. But when finally confronted with the truth – that Maddie is actually the thief he’s been hired to hunt down and bring in – will Scott choose the woman he loves or his duty to the law?

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Excerpt

Edenville, Arizona Territory

1887

THADDEUS NEWLIN DIDN’T LIKE prostitutes. He’d worked too hard and too long building his empire only to risk losing it by succumbing to some dreadful disease acquired from a barroom whore.

He did, however, like women and partook of their pleasure as often as his pressing schedule allowed. Young women with long hair, ample curves, and clear skin were his preference. And innocent — if only in looks. No soiled doves ever found their way beneath his blankets.

His secretary, Zachariah Forrester, had assumed the task of procuring this evening’s entertainment, as he always did when the mood for companionship struck Thaddeus. Mr. Forrester recruited from the residences and ranches of whatever town they happened to be visiting. As times were tough and money tight, he seldom encountered any difficulty locating a willing female who fit his boss’s exacting specifications. Then, like all good secretaries, he conveniently disappeared for several hours after escorting the young woman to the steps of Thaddeus’s private railroad car. Neither did he ask any bothersome questions at the end of the night, regardless of the woman’s disheveled condition.

“Very nice,” Thaddeus said as he watched the pretty little thing standing in front of him slip the narrow sleeves of her camisole off her pale shoulders. Mr. Forrester had done well tonight, and Thaddeus considered giving his secretary a bonus.

“I ain’t never been with a man like this before,” the woman said shyly, lowering her eyes to the richly carpeted floor. “You’re my first…you know.”

Thaddeus doubted the truth of her statement. She might not be a prostitute in the strictest sense of the word, but she’d certainly done this before. The large nipples visible through the material of her camisole and the roundness of her belly attested to previous childbirth. Not that Thaddeus cared. In fact, he preferred experienced women. Just not worldly.

“You don’t have to be nervous, my dear.” He played along with her pretense. “I promise to be gentle.” And he would be gentle. Until the end.

She lifted one stocking clad foot and placed it on the edge of the pinstriped settee, near to his leg. Thaddeus felt himself stirring and smiled. He might be past his prime and have only half the hair atop his head he did at twenty, but he’d not yet lost his ability to perform.

Reaching out a large hand, he stroked her smooth, and surprisingly muscular, calf. “Why don’t we see what we can do about removing this stocking?”

The woman — he couldn’t quite remember her name — pressed a knuckle to her lips. “It were a long walk here from my place. Can I use the…the…chamber pot first?” It clearly pained her to have to ask for the convenience.

“Of course. It’s in there.” He pointed toward a door leading to his sleeping quarters.

She ducked behind the door, quiet as a mouse. No sense wasting time, Thaddeus thought and kicked off his boots. Next, he stood, removed his pants, and tossed them aside. They landed haphazardly on the elegant cherry wood rocker he’d had shipped all the way from Boston last year. By the time he completed undressing, he’d begun to wonder what was detaining his lovely guest.

Wearing only his long underwear, he walked to the door of his sleeping quarters and knocked. “Are you all right, my dear?”

His only answer was a soft scuffling sound.

“Hello.” He knocked again, and the brass knob twisted. Thaddeus smiled and moved away from the opening door. “There you are.”

“So, I am.”

The door swung wide, and the smile on Thaddeus’s face died as the end of a Colt revolver was jammed into his protruding gut.

 

 

 

About the Author

As a sophomore in high school, NY Times, USA Today, and Amazon bestselling author Cathy McDavid won a local writing competition with her self-illustrated children’s book. Who knew that small triumph would eventually lead to a career writing contemporary romances with over 1.3 million books sold? With forty-seven titles to date, Cathy is also a member of the prestigious Romance Writers of America’s Honor Roll. This “almost” Arizona native and mother of grown twins recently married her own real-life sweetheart. After leaving the corporate world four years ago, she now spends her days penning stories about good looking men who ride the range or fight fires or hunt creatures all while sweeping the girl off her feet. It’s a tough job but she’s willing to make the sacrifice.

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Five tribes. One leader. A treacherous journey across three continents in search of a new home… Survival of the Fittest- Jacqui Murray @WordDreams #Historical #Read


Survival of the Fittest

Blurb:

Chased by a ruthless and powerful enemy, Xhosa flees with her People, leaving behind a certain life in her African homeland to search for an unknown future. She leads her People on a grueling journey through unknown and dangerous lands but an escape path laid out years before by her father as a final desperate means to survival. She is joined by other homeless tribes–from Indonesia, China, South Africa, East Africa, and the Levant—all similarly forced by timeless events to find new lives. As they struggle to overcome treachery, lies, danger, tragedy, hidden secrets, and Nature herself, Xhosa must face the reality that this enemy doesn’t want her People’s land. He wants to destroy her.

Book information:

Title and author: Survival of the Fittest

Series: Book 1 in the Crossroads series, part of the Man vs. Nature saga

Genre: Prehistoric fiction

Cover by: Damonza 

Available at: Kindle USKindle UKKindle CAKindle AU

Who would enjoy reading Survival of the Fittest?

If you like watching Bear Grylls in Man vs. Wild eat snakes and drink piss to survive, if you want to understand why the h*** we do [fill in your favorite face plant moment],  you’ll love this book.

Excerpt:

Chapter 1

Her foot throbbed. Blood dripped from a deep gash in her leg. At some point, Xhosa had scraped her palms raw while sliding across gravel but didn’t remember when, nor did it matter. Arms pumping, heart thundering, she flew forward. When her breath went from pants to wheezing gasps, she lunged to a stop, hands pressed against her damp legs, waiting for her chest to stop heaving. She should rest but that was nothing but a passing thought, discarded as quickly as it arrived. Her mission was greater than exhaustion or pain or personal comfort.

She started again, sprinting as though chased, aching fingers wrapped around her spear. The bellows of the imaginary enemy—Big Heads this time—filled the air like an acrid stench. She flung her spear over her shoulder, aiming from memory. A thunk and it hit the tree, a stand-in for the enemy. With a growl, she pivoted to defend her People.

Which would never happen. Females weren’t warriors.

Feet spread, mouth set in a tight line, she launched her last spear, skewering an imaginary assailant, and was off again, feet light, her abundance of ebony hair streaming behind her like smoke. A scorpion crunched beneath her hardened foot. Something moved in the corner of her vision and she hurled a throwing stone, smiling as a hare toppled over. Nightshade called her reactions those of Leopard.

But that didn’t matter. Females didn’t become hunters either.

With a lurch, she gulped in the parched air. The lush green grass had long since given way to brittle stalks and desiccated scrub. Sun’s heat drove everything alive underground, underwater, or over the horizon. The males caught her attention across the field, each with a spear and warclub. Today’s hunt would be the last until the rain—and the herds—returned.

“Why haven’t they left?”

She kicked a rock and winced as pain shot through her foot. Head down, eyes shut against the memories. Even after all this time, the chilling screams still rang in her ears…

The People’s warriors had been away hunting when the assault occurred. Xhosa’s mother pushed her young daughter into a reed bed and stormed toward the invaders but too late to save the life of her young son. The killer, an Other, laughed at the enraged female armed only with a cutter. When she sliced his cheek open, the gash so deep his black teeth showed, his laughter became fury. He swung his club with such force her mother crumpled instantly, her head a shattered melon.

From the safety of the pond, Xhosa memorized the killer—nose hooked awkwardly from some earlier injury, eyes dark pools of cruelty. It was then, at least in spirit, she became a warrior. Nothing like this must ever happen again.

When her father, the People’s Leader, arrived that night with his warriors, he was greeted by the devastating scene of blood-soaked ground covered by mangled bodies, already chewed by scavengers. A dry-eyed Xhosa told him how marauders had massacred every subadult, female, and child they could find, including her father’s pairmate. Xhosa communicated this with the usual grunts, guttural sounds, hand signals, facial expressions, hisses, and chirps. The only vocalizations were call signs to identify the group members.

“If I knew how to fight, Father, Mother would be alive.” Her voice held no anger, just determination.

The tribe she described had arrived a Moon ago, drawn by the area’s rich fruit trees, large ponds, lush grazing, and bluffs with a view as far as could be traveled in a day. No other area offered such a wealth of resources. The People’s scouts had seen these Others but allowed them to forage, not knowing their goal was to destroy the People.

Her father’s body raged but his hands, when they moved, were calm.  “We will avenge our losses, daughter.”

The next morning, Xhosa’s father ordered the hunters to stay behind, protect the People. He and the warriors snuck into the enemy camp before Sun awoke and slaughtered the females and children before anyone could launch a defense. The males were pinned to the ground with stakes driven through their thighs and hands. The People cut deep wounds into their bodies and left, the blood scent calling all scavengers.

When Xhosa asked if the one with the slashed cheek had died, her father motioned, “He escaped, alone. He will not survive.”

Word spread of the savagery and no one ever again attacked the People, not their camp, their warriors, or their hunters.

While peace prevailed, Xhosa grew into a powerful but odd-looking female. Her hair was too shiny, hips too round, waist too narrow beneath breasts bigger than necessary to feed babies. Her legs were slender rather than sturdy and so long, they made her taller than every male. The fact that she could outrun even the hunters while heaving her spear and hitting whatever she aimed for didn’t matter. Females weren’t required to run that fast. Nightshade, though, didn’t care about any of that. He claimed they would pairmate, as her father wished, when he became the People’s Leader. 

Until then, all of her time was spent practicing the warrior skills no one would allow her to use.

One day, she confronted her father. “I can wield a warclub one-handed and throw a spear hard enough to kill. If I were male, you would make me a warrior.”

He smiled. “You are like a son to me, Daughter. I see your confidence and boldness. If I don’t teach you, I fear I will lose you.”

He looked away, the smile long gone from his lips. “Either you or Nightshade must lead when I can’t.”

Under her father’s tutelage, she and Nightshade learned the nuances of sparring, battling, chasing, defending, and assaulting with the shared goal that never would the People succumb to an enemy. Every one of Xhosa’s spear throws destroyed the one who killed her mother. Every swing of her warclub smashed his head as he had her mother’s. Never again would she stand by, impotent, while her world collapsed. She perfected the skills of knapping cutters and sharpening spears, and became expert at finding animal trace in bent twigs, crushed grass, and by listening to their subtle calls. She could walk without leaving tracks and match nature’s sounds well enough to be invisible.

A Moon ago, as Xhosa practiced her scouting, she came upon a lone warrior kneeling by a waterhole. His back was to her, skeletal and gaunt, his warclub chipped, but menace oozed from him like stench from dung. She melted into the redolent sedge grasses, feet sinking into the squishy mud, and observed.

His head hair was sprinkled with grey. A hooked nose canted precariously, poorly healed from a fracas he won but his nose lost. His curled lips revealed cracked and missing teeth. A cut on his upper arm festered with pus and maggots. Fever dimpled his forehead with sweat. He crouched to drink but no amount of water would appease that thirst.

What gave him away was the wide ragged scar left from the slash of her mother’s cutter.

Xhosa trembled with rage, fearing he would see the reeds shake, biting her lip until it bled to stop from howling. It hardly seemed fair to slay a dying male but fairness was not part of her plan today.

Only revenge.

A check of her surroundings indicated he traveled alone. Not that it mattered. If she must trade her life for his, so be it.  

But she didn’t intend to die.

The exhausted warrior splashed muddy water on his grimy head, hands slow, shoulders round with fatigue, oblivious to his impending death. After a quiet breath, she stepped from the sedge, spear in one hand and a large rock in the other. Exposed, arms ready but hanging, she approached. If he turned, he would see her. She tested for dry twigs and brittle grass before committing each foot. It surprised her he ignored the silence of the insects. His wounds must distract him. By the time hair raised on his neck, it was too late. He pivoted as she swung, powered by fury over her mother’s death, her father’s agony, and her own loss. Her warclub smashed into his temple with a soggy thud. Recognition flared moments before life left.

“You die too quickly!” she screamed and hit him over and over, collapsing his skull and spewing gore over her body. “I wanted you to suffer as I did!”

Her body was numb as she kicked him into the pond, feeling not joy for his death, relief that her mother was avenged, or upset at the execution of an unarmed Other. She cleaned the gore from her warclub and left. No one would know she had been blooded but the truth filled her with power.

She was now a warrior.

When she returned to homebase, Nightshade waited. Something flashed through his eyes as though for the first time, he saw her as a warrior. His chiseled face, outlined by dense blue-black hair, lit up. The corners of his full lips twitched under the broad flat nose. The finger-thick white scar emblazoned against his smooth forehead, a symbol of his courage surviving Sabertooth’s claws, pulsed. Female eyes watched him, wishing he would look at them as he did Xhosa but he barely noticed.

The next day, odd Others with long legs, skinny chests, and oversized heads arrived. The People’s scouts confronted them but they simply watched the scouts, spears down, and then trotted away, backs to the scouts. That night, for the first time, Xhosa’s father taught her and Nightshade the lessons of leading.

“Managing the lives of the People is more than winning battles. You must match individual skills to the People’s requirements be it as a warrior, hunter, scout, forager, child minder, Primary Female, or another.  All can do all jobs but one best suits each. The Leader must decide,” her father motioned.

As they finished, she asked the question she’d been thinking about all night. “Father, where do they come from?”

“They are called Big Heads,” which didn’t answer Xhosa’s question.

Nightshade motioned, “Do they want to trade females? Or children?”

Her father stared into the distance as though lost in some memory. His teeth ground together and his hands shook until he clamped them together.

He finally took a breath and motioned, “No, they don’t want mates. They want conflict.” He tilted his head forward. “Soon, we will be forced to stop them.”

Nightshade clenched his spear and his eyes glittered at the prospect of battle. It had been a long time since the People fought.

But the Big Heads vanished. Many of the People were relieved but Xhosa couldn’t shake the feeling that danger lurked only a long spear throw away. She found herself staring at the same spot her father had, thoughts blank, senses burning. At times, there was a movement or the glint of Sun off eyes, but mostly there was only the unnerving feeling of being watched. Each day felt one day closer to when the People’s time would end.

“When it does, I will confess to killing the Other. Anyone blooded must be allowed to be a warrior.”

Author bio:

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the Man vs. Nature saga. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for TeachHUB and NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Quest for Home, Summer 2019. You can find her tech ed books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning

Social Media contacts:

http://pinterest.com/askatechteacher

http://linkedin.com/in/jacquimurray

https://worddreams.wordpress.com

https://jacquimurray.net


The clock is ticking for a wealthy Duke… Duchess by Deception… @MarieForce #Historical #Romance @InkSlingerPR


Today we are celebrating the release of DUCHESS BY DECEPTION by Marie Force. This is Marie’s first historical romance title and is part of the Gilded series. Grab your copy now!

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DUCHESS BY DECEPTION by Marie Force

A Gilded Novel

Available Now

Book Blurb:

In New York Times bestselling author Marie Force’s dazzling historical romance debut, the clock is ticking for a wealthy Duke who must marry by his thirtieth birthday—or lose his title…

Derek Eagan, the dashing Duke of Westwood, is well aware of his looming deadline. But weary of tiresome debutantes, he seeks a respite at his country home in Essex—and encounters a man digging on his property. Except he’s not a man. He’s a very lovely woman. Who suddenly faints at his feet.

Catherine McCabe’s disdain for the aristocracy has already led her to flee an arranged marriage with a boorish Viscount. The last thing she wants is to be waylaid in a Duke’s home. Yet, she is compelled to stay by the handsome, thoughtful man who introduces himself as the Duke’s estate manager.

Derek realizes two things immediately: he is captivated by her delicate beauty, and to figure out what she was up to, Catherine must not know he is the Duke. But as they fall passionately in love, Derek’s lie spins out of control. Will their bond survive his deception, not to mention the scorned Viscount’s pursuit? Most important, can Catherine fall in love all over again—this time with the Duke?

“…Force has crafted a masterpiece with the perfect amount of romance.” —Starred Review from Publisher’s Weekly

PURCHASE IT NOW!

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AUDIO: Sample | Audible US | Audible UK | Audible AU

Excerpt

Chapter 2

The next morning, Derek rode his black stallion Hercules out of London, heading for his country estate in Essex. He’d left without a word to the London household staff. They’d discover soon enough that he’d taken his leave and would send word to Anthony before the day was out. After taking their orders from Anthony during Derek’s adolescence, some of them were more loyal to his uncle than they were to him.

Following weeks of being cooped up in the city, Hercules seemed as anxious as Derek to return home, so Derek gave the big horse his head, and they made good time. They stopped only once for food and water, and Derek was grateful not to be recognized at the roadside inn. Otherwise, he might’ve been detained while the innkeeper tried to impress him. That was why he’d worn simple leather breaches, a white linen shirt and riding boots. After weeks on parade before the beau monde, it was a welcome relief to blend in with the unwashed masses.

Within a few hours, Derek and Hercules reached the southeastern corner of Derek’s vast estate and headed north. During the long journey, Derek had tried to put aside his disappointment over another failed Season and focus on the many tasks that awaited him at home. Here he knew who he was and what was expected of him. In polite society, all the lines became fuzzy, and he was forced to become someone he barely recognized.

If the pattern of years past was repeated, he could expect a dark mood to set in soon after he arrived home and settled back into the monotony of daily life, alone as always. That he had to go back, choose one of the simpering debs, apply for a special license and speak his vows sometime in the next ten days made him shudder. The thoughts were enough to get the dark mood started early.

It wasn’t that he didn’t like women. Oh no, he loved women. He loved their soft skin, their endlessly alluring scents, their long hair and lush curves. Other than his horses, he loved nothing more than losing himself in a willing woman. Sadly, in his corner of the country, suitable women were few and far between.

During the second of his many Seasons, Derek had befriended a courtesan named Kitty who saw to his more basic needs during his semi-regular visits to the city. While he liked and admired her, it wasn’t lost on him that were it not for the easy familiarity he shared with Kitty, he might’ve settled into a marriage long before now.

He’d never expected to reach the age of nine and twenty still unattached with no prospects on the horizon, not to mention any hope of producing an heir he could shape and mold into the future Duke of Westwood. The idea of constraining his own son to the life of a duke pained him, but Derek planned to live to a ripe old age, giving his son the chance Derek never had to experience life before being shackled with endless responsibilities and obligations. Perhaps he’d even take drastic steps to change the barbaric marriage rule in the family tenet, so his son would never feel the pressure that now threatened to suffocate Derek.

He chuckled softly. Getting a bit ahead of yourself, old sod. You can’t even find a wife, and you’re already making plans for the son you’ll never have at this rate.

He thought about how thrilled his Uncle Anthony would be to push Derek aside and take on the title he’d coveted all his life, even while pretending to have Derek’s best interests at heart. With these thoughts weighing heavily on his mind he almost missed it. A man was digging feverishly in a glade set back from the road. Derek reined in Hercules. “Whoa, boy.”

The horse snorted in protest.

“Easy.” Derek patted the horse’s neck while he watched for a minute before urging Hercules toward the digger. As he approached, he noticed the man wasn’t very tall. His ill-fitting clothes were caked with dirt, his boots scuffed and his breathing labored as he went about his work with single-minded determination, oblivious to the fact that he was being watched.

“You there!” Derek called out.

Startled by Derek’s sudden appearance, the man dropped the shovel and fell back on his rear.

Suppressing the urge to laugh at the shocked expression on the man’s dirty face, Derek dismounted and approached, offering a hand to help him up. From what Derek could see under the brim of the cap the man wore, his features were delicate, almost effeminate, and his filthy hands seemed too small to wield such a heavy shovel.

Ignoring Derek’s offered hand, the young man scrambled to his feet, rubbing his hands on his pants in a nervous gesture.

“Don’t even think about running,” Derek said. Dark eyes filled with fear stared back at him. “What do you think you’re doing digging here? This is private property. Anything you uncover belongs to the Duke of Westwood.”

The young man’s face twisted with scorn, but still he didn’t speak.

Derek noticed the other man’s hands were trembling. “I won’t harm you. I just want to know what you’re doing.” When that got him nowhere, he bent to retrieve the shovel. “If you won’t answer my questions, I’ll have to confiscate this.”

Uttering an animalistic growl, the man lunged for the shovel. As he and Derek crashed together, his threadbare cap flew off his head, and long, curly blond hair spilled down his—or rather her—back.

Deep navy-blue eyes stared up at him as she quaked in terror.

Shocked to realize his trespasser was a woman who was deathly afraid of him, Derek reached out to steady her. “Easy now. I won’t hurt you.”

She released a gasp as her legs seemed to collapse beneath her.

Derek caught her just before she hit the ground in a dead faint. By holding her over his shoulder, Derek managed to struggle the featherweight woman and her small valise onto Hercules. Once astride, he arranged her so she rested against him. Right away Derek could feel the heat of her fever through his shirt. Her hair was matted with grime, and she smelled, well, less than fresh. Derek wondered how long she’d been battling the elements on her own and when she’d last eaten.

Tightening his hold on his passenger, Derek urged Hercules into a canter. They arrived at Westwood Hall less than an hour later. Derek’s cousin Simon, butler Rutledge and several footmen met them.

“Your Grace!” Rutledge cried. “We had no idea you’d be home so soon!” He curled up his regal nose at the sight of the ruffian with Derek. “And who have you brought?”

“I encountered her out on the south quarter. She’s burning up with fever.” Derek signaled one of the footmen, who approached to relieve him of his passenger. “Take her to the blue guest room.” Derek dismounted and handed the reins to a second footman. “And send for the doctor right away.”

“Yes, Your Grace,” Rutledge said, gesturing to the second footman as he, Derek and Simon followed the man carrying the sick woman into the house.

“Who is she?” Simon asked.

“I have no idea. She was digging in the glade when I came across her.”

“Digging for what?”

“She passed out before I could ask her,” Derek said as he rushed inside with Simon on his heels.

Mrs. Langingham, the housekeeper, met them in the foyer, taking over for the flustered butler. “Oh, Your Grace, you’re home so early!”

“As usual, London failed to keep me entertained. Would you please have one of the maids draw a bath for the young miss? She’s dirty and ill.”

“Of course.” Mrs. Langingham signaled to a maid, who scurried off.

“I’ll see you later,” Derek said to his cousin as he followed the footman carrying the woman up the stairs. At the doorway to the room he’d assigned her, he hesitated. It wouldn’t be proper for him to be in her bedchamber. Even though he had no idea who she was or where she’d come from, he worried about her reputation, nonetheless.

The footman set her on the bed and came to the door.

“Thank you,” Derek said, his eyes on the woman. He stood watch over her until the maids had her bath ready in the bathing room he’d recently installed.

Mrs. Langingham bustled into the room after them, barking out orders and taking command. “Now off with you, Your Grace. We’ll take good care of her.”

“If she comes to,” Derek said, acting on instinct, “don’t tell her where she is or who found her.”

“As you wish.”

“I’ll check on her later.”

“We’ll take good care of her,” Mrs. Langingham said again as she ushered him out the door. “Don’t worry yourself.”

Derek left the room, but he didn’t want to. For some odd reason, he wanted to stay and care for her himself. To peel the filthy clothing from her petite body and bathe what looked to be weeks of grime off her, to wash her long hair and towel it dry by the fire. He wanted to crawl into bed next to her and hold her until the fever broke and she could tell him why she’d been digging on his land. So far all she’d done was growl at him, but the desperation he’d heard in that growl had touched him deeply.

He could go back, clear the room and take over. But Mrs. Langingham had helped to raise him, and he’d never shock her that way. Walking toward his own bedchamber at the other end of the long hallway, Derek decided he’d go back as soon as they had her settled in bed. Hopefully by then the doctor would have arrived.

***

An hour later, Derek returned to check on his new ward and stopped dead in his tracks at the bedchamber doorway. The woman was propped against a small mountain of pillows, her damp golden curls forming a halo around her freshly scrubbed face. A porcelain complexion, pretty pink lips and a button nose completed a rather captivating picture. He’d been oddly drawn to her when she was dirty and smelly. But now he needed her to awaken so he could find out everything there was to know about her.

While he stared at her, she began to thrash in the bed as if in the midst of a frightening dream.

“What’s wrong with her?” he asked, riveted by the fear he saw on her face.

“She’s been terribly agitated, Your Grace,” Mrs. Langingham said, wringing her hands.

“Can’t you do something?” he asked the doctor. Reeking of whiskey, the old man had clearly been dragged from the village pub. Derek moved to the foot of the bed for a closer look.

“She’s quite ill, Your—”

“Don’t call me that,” Derek snapped. “Until I find out more about what she’s after, I don’t want her to know who I am or where she is.”

“I doubt she’s paying much attention to what we are saying, sir.”

“Regardless, can’t you do something to make her more comfortable?”

The doctor shook his head. “If she doesn’t wake in the next day or two, we can bleed her.”

“Absolutely not.”

“But Your, I mean, sir, there may be no other choice.”

Derek had yet to hear of anyone who’d been better off after bleeding than they had been before. “No talk of bleeding. For God’s sake, no one does that anymore.”

“It can still be highly effective,” the old man huffed.

Derek decided then and there it was time for a new doctor in the village. He’d begin the search as soon as possible.

“I can’t help but notice,” Mrs. Langingham said to Derek, “that she seems to calm somewhat when she hears your voice.”

He moved to the side of the bed, took the young woman’s work-roughened hand and held it between both of his. “There now, you’re safe here. Try to rest.” Before his astounded eyes, she relaxed into the pillows, but her fever-reddened cheeks worried him. Turning to the doctor, Derek said, “Will she recover?”

The doctor picked up his bag of useless tools. “She’s young, and though she’s somewhat malnourished, she’s strong. There’s no reason to believe she won’t recover. Try to get some tea or broth into her.”

Mrs. Langingham, who’d been hovering at Derek’s shoulder, nodded vociferously. “I’ll see to it personally.”

“I’ll do it,” Derek said.

“But, sir,” Mrs. Langingham protested, “it’s not proper!”

“You said yourself that my presence calms her. And besides, who will know?”

She wilted under the intensity of his gaze. “As you wish. I’ll have the tea sent up.” She bustled from the room.

As the doctor prepared to leave, Derek stopped him. “Not a word of this in the village. Do you understand me?”

“Yes, sir. I’ll check on her tomorrow.”

After closing the door behind the doctor, Derek went to stand by the bed. Hands in pockets, he studied his guest so intently that he never heard Mrs. Langingham’s return. She set the tray of tea and broth on the bedside table.

“I’ll take it from here,” Derek said.

“Your Grace,” she whispered, her expression scandalized.

“That’ll be all, Mrs. Langingham.” He sent her a warm smile. “Thank you for your assistance.”

“You’ll need to put a towel under her chin.”

“I can handle it. I’ll see you in the morning.” Derek waited until the housekeeper left the room before pouring the tea and waiting for it to cool. Once it had become somewhat tepid, he sat on the bed and arranged his patient so she reclined against his chest. Remembering the towel Mrs. Langingham had recommended, Derek tucked it under the woman’s chin and over her shoulders and then reached for the tea.

The heat from her feverish body seeped through their clothing to warm him. “Come now,” he said softly. “Let’s have a little sip.”

She strained against his tight hold and turned her head away from the cup he held to her lips. Her mouth opened, and he was able to get her to drink a small bit without her choking. It took more than half an hour, but he managed to get most of the cup into her. He wiped her face with the towel and started to settle her back in bed.

But she turned into him, her head on his chest, and began to murmur in her sleep.

Now this, Derek thought, was definitely improper. Regardless, he couldn’t seem to bring himself to leave her, even though her fever was making him overly warm.

“No,” she muttered. “Don’t. Please don’t.” She stiffened, as if in pain, and let out a low moan.

“It’s all right,” Derek said, combing his fingers through her glorious mane. “I’ve got you. You’re safe here.”

“Don’t hurt me. Please don’t.”

Derek tightened his hold on her. “You’re safe. No one will hurt you.” He realized his shirt was damp and looked down to see tears on her fever-brightened cheeks. Brushing them away, he ached to know who she was, who had hurt her, and what had brought her to his corner of Essex.

He spoke softly to her until she once again relaxed into a deep sleep. The long, eventful day finally caught up to him, and his eyes drifted closed. His next conscious thought was one of struggle. Someone was fighting him with everything they had. He startled awake to find his patient battling her way out of his embrace.

“Wait,” he said. “I won’t hurt you.”

“Release me this instant!” Her voice was low and cultured, and the sound stirred him profoundly.

Derek did as she asked, and she sprang from the bed.

Arms folded across the front of the thin night rail Mrs. Langingham had found for her, she glared at him as she wobbled on unsteady legs. “Where am I? Where is my clothing? Who undressed me?”

“You’re at Westwood Hall. The housekeeper bathed and dressed you.”

Her face flaming with embarrassment, she grabbed a blanket from the foot of the bed and wrapped it around herself. “And who resides here?”

“The Duke of Westwood.”

She made a face of supreme distaste.

Derek bit back the urge to laugh.

“I have no desire to be the guest of a duke. If you’ll find my clothes, I’ll be on my way.”

“I believe they were burned.”

“I beg your pardon?”

“They weren’t fit to be rags.”

“They’re all I have!” Her pale face lost what color it had left as she swooned.

Derek bolted from the bed to catch her and settled her back in bed. “You’re ill. You can’t go anywhere until your fever breaks and you regain your strength.”

Dark blue eyes filled with tears. “I can’t stay here.”

“What has the duke ever done to you?”

“Not a thing.”

“Then why are you so opposed to being his guest?”

“I’d feel the same about any peer of the realm,” she said with a haughty lift of her delicate chin.

“And why is that?”

“I have my reasons. Who are you anyway?”

Derek’s brain froze.

“Have I asked a difficult question?”

“Of course not,” Derek said, recovering. “I’m Jack Bancroft, the duke’s estate manager.”

“You’re not a peer?”

“No, ma’am.” Derek wasn’t sure why he lied, except that he wanted to know more about her and already understood that he’d get nowhere with her as the Duke of Westwood. That, alone, made her different from every other woman he’d ever met.

“Good,” she said, visibly relieved.

“Now that I’ve given you my name, will you return the favor?”

She rolled her plump bottom lip between her teeth. “Catherine.”

Derek lowered himself into the chair next to the bed. “Pleasure to meet you, Catherine.”

“How did I get here?”

“I brought you. Do you remember our encounter in the woods? You were digging.”

“And you took my shovel.”

“The duke tends to frown upon strangers digging on his land without his knowledge or permission.”

Her eyes flashed with anger. “Oh, what does he care? He has thousands of acres. What’s one small hole to him?”

“It’s still his land, and thus his hole. Why don’t you tell me why you were digging?”

Her eyes widened. “My bag! Where’s my bag?” Clawing at the blankets, she tried to get up.

“Stay there. It’s right here.” He crossed the room to get the threadbare valise and brought it to her.

She did a quick inspection and then clutched it to her chest, eying him warily. “Did you look inside?”

“I did not.” Dropping back into the chair, he propped his feet on the foot of the bed. “You haven’t answered my question. Why were you digging?”

“I was looking for something that belongs to me,” she said, her gaze darting to his feet on the bed and then back to his face. Her expression told him that if it were up to her, he and his feet would be expelled from the room immediately.

Confused, Derek said, “So, you’ve been here before?” He was quite certain he’d remember her.

“No. My grandmother has.”

“And she left something behind?”

“I don’t wish to discuss it any further.”

“I can’t help you if I don’t know what brought you here or why you were willing to risk your health and well-being in pursuit of it.”

“Why would you want to help me?”

With every passing minute Derek grew more fascinated by her. He forced himself to project a sense of calm when he was anything but. “The duke has gone abroad to America for the summer.” Even though he surprised himself with the easy lie, his face remained neutral. “I’ve nothing much to do in his absence. If you’re looking for something, I might be able to help.”

“I don’t require your assistance. If I could just borrow some clothing, I’ll be on my way.”

“I’m afraid I can’t allow that.”

“You can’t, or you won’t?”

“As the duke’s estate manager, I oversee everything involving the land. I can’t permit a stranger to dig unsupervised.” He sent her his most charming smile. “You wouldn’t want to cause me trouble with my employer, now would you?”

“I don’t see why you can’t just let me go and forget you ever met me.”

Derek gave her his most charming smile. “My lady, you are quite unforgettable.”

“And it is quite unseemly for us to be alone together in a bedchamber.”

“No member of this household will speak of it.” He would see to that. “You were sick. I thought you’d be more comfortable waking up to someone you recognized, even though our association was brief.”

“And how precisely did you end up in bed with me?”

“I fed you some tea and then you fell asleep. I didn’t want to disturb you. And you seemed . . . ”

“What?”

“Frightened. Has someone hurt you?”

Catherine gasped. “Of course not. Why would you say such a thing?”

“You were speaking in your sleep.”

She put a hand over her mouth. “I wasn’t.”

Derek leaned forward and rested his elbows on the bed. “Who hurt you, Catherine?”

Shrinking back from him, she sank deeper into the pillows. “No one,” she said in barely more than a whisper.

“Let me help you.”

“I can’t stay here. I won’t accept charity from the aristocracy.”

“The way I see it, you don’t have much choice. You’re sick, weak, most likely far from home, alone, unprotected. Need I go on?” When she only glowered at him, he continued. “I can help you, but only if you’re honest with me.”

“And what will you tell the duke?”

“He is to be away for some months and trusts me to manage his affairs in his absence.”

“I can’t stay in his home. I just can’t.”

“We may be able to make other arrangements, so you wouldn’t have to stay under his roof, per se.”

She stared at him, mouth agape. “Why would you do such a thing for someone you barely know?”

“I told you. It’s all too quiet around here when the duke is away. Helping you will give me something interesting to do.”

She gave him an arch look, which, along with her fever-reddened cheeks, only added to her overwhelming appeal. “And what, pray, will you expect in return?”

He feigned shock. “My dear lady, I may not be a peer, but I am a gentleman.”

“A gentleman who somehow found his way into my bed the day we met.”

Derek couldn’t help but smile at her witty retort. “For that I would offer my most heartfelt apologies if I hadn’t so enjoyed holding you while you slept.”

“You’re outrageous,” she huffed.

He shrugged. “I speak only the truth. I have a proposition for you.” Was it his imagination or did she shrink further into the mountain of pillows?

“What kind of proposition?”

“You’re looking for something that’s clearly important to you. I can provide access to the area in which you wish to look as well as food and shelter for as long as you’re a guest on the estate.”

“In exchange for?”

“The truth. Tell me who you are, what you’re looking for, how you managed to get so sick and dirty, who you’re running from and anything else I should know in order to justify my actions to the duke.”

She rolled that plump lip between her teeth once more, sending a sharp bolt of lust straight to Derek’s cock. Had he ever envied another’s teeth before? Not that he could recall. He watched an array of emotions cross her expressive face—fear, trepidation, longing, desperation, distrust and despair. That last one made him feel small for forcing himself on her when she clearly wanted nothing more to do with him.

Even though he’d been less than truthful with her, he hadn’t lied about wishing for something interesting to occupy his time. Since he was supposed to be in London for another few weeks, his schedule was open, and his regular duties delegated to others.

He extended his hand. “Do we have a deal?”

She glanced at his hand and then at his face. “Do I have any other choice?”

“Not if you wish to continue digging on the duke’s property.”

Scowling, she held out her hand. “Fine.”

As Derek enclosed her soft hand between both of his, a charge traveled through his limbs to settle in his groin, and he wondered just who was fooling who.

—————————-

AUTHOR INFORMATION:

Marie Force is the New York Times bestselling author of more than 50 contemporary romances, including the Gansett Island Series, which has sold more than 3 million books, and the Fatal Series from Harlequin Books, which has sold 1.5 million books. In addition, she is the author of the Butler, Vermont Series, the Green Mountain Series and the erotic romance Quantum Series, written under the slightly modified name of M.S. Force. All together, her books have sold more than 5.5 million copies worldwide!

Her goals in life are simple—to finish raising two happy, healthy, productive young adults, to keep writing books for as long as she possibly can and to never be on a flight that makes the news.
Join Marie’s mailing list for news about new books and upcoming appearances in your area. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter @marieforce and on Instagram. Join one of Marie’s many reader groups. Contact Marie at marie@marieforce.com.

 

AUTHOR LINKS:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Newsletter | Goodreads

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They have a month to clear his name and convince society they are madly in love… The Earl I Ruined by @ScarlettPeckham #Historical #Romance @PureTextuality


BOOK SYNOPSIS

She’s beautiful, rich, and reckless…

When Lady Constance Stonewell accidentally ruins the Earl of Apthorp’s entire future with her gossip column, she does what any honorable young lady must: offer her hand in marriage. Or, at the very least, stage a whirlwind fake engagement to repair his reputation. Never mind that it means spending a month with the dullest man in England. Or the fact that he disapproves of everything she holds dear.

He’s supposedly the most boring politician in the House of Lords…

Julian Haywood, the Earl of Apthorp, is on the cusp of finally proving himself to be the man he’s always wanted to be when his future is destroyed in a single afternoon. When the woman he’s secretly in love with confesses she’s at fault, it isn’t just his life that is shattered: it’s his heart.

They have a month to clear his name and convince society they are madly in love…

But when Constance discovers her faux-intended is decidedly more than meets the eye—not to mention adept at shocking forms of wickedness—she finds herself falling for him.

There’s only one problem: he can’t forgive her for breaking his heart.

BOOK INFO

The Earl I Ruined by Scarlett Peckham

Series Secrets of Charlotte Street Book Two

Genre Adult Historical Romance

Publisher Independent

Publication Date December 11, 2018

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TOUR WIDE GIVEAWAY

To celebrate the release of THE EARL I RUINED by Scarlett Peckham, we’re giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to one lucky winner!

LINK:  https://bit.ly/2Ualg7v

GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS:  Open to internationally. One winner will receive a $25 Amazon gift card. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Scarlett Peckham.  Giveaway ends 12/24/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Limit one entry per reader. Duplicates will be deleted.

Excerpt

In this scene our heroine awaits our hero in a powdering closet, where she plans to be discovered kissing him to convince their families they are in love.

(It does not go well.)

She knew him by his footsteps alone. That precise clipped pace, the moderate thump of a well-kept heel articulated under a (she imagined) slender but finely muscled calf. He never shuffled or stomped. He walked the way he did everything: elegantly.

She reached out from behind the closet door and grabbed him.

Perhaps with too much force, for he came careening toward her in a half stumble and nearly crushed her against the shelves.

“What are you doing?” he gasped, bracing against the shelf above her head to find his balance. The closet was small, just big enough for two adults to stand in. It was lined with wig stands and jars of powder and smelled heavy, like starch and milled soaps. And now, like the woody, balsam scent of whatever Apthorp used to oil his hair.

“Waiting impatiently to be discovered weeping in the wig closet by my future husband,” she said irritably. “Who is four minutes late.”

“May I ask why you are in the wig closet?”

“Because wig closets are just the improbable, tucked-away kinds of places that young lovers go when they wish to steal a moment of privacy to offer each other comfort outside of the prying eyes of their extended families.”

He glanced at her face in the shadows.

“You appear decidedly dry-eyed.”

“Can you please get on with it?”

“Pardon?”

“Hurry. When we’re discovered, you can’t be freshening up your peruke. Kiss me.”

He inched backward into a stack of smocks. “Absolutely not.”

“Must I do everything?”

She latched on to his shoulders so that he could not escape and, before she could lose her nerve, planted her lips on his.

She had not taken the initiative to kiss anyone since that first fumbling attempt on Apthorp all those years ago—and it was harder than it looked to do it properly, without accidentally eating someone’s nose or clacking into his jaw with one’s forehead. She felt like a mole nosing in the dark for a berry on a bush just slightly out of reach. Under her fumbling lips Apthorp went completely rigid. She stood up on her toes, trying to get better purchase.

He yanked his head out of her reach. “My God, what are you doing?”

“Kissing you. My brother will come looking for us at any moment. We must be locked in a passionate embrace.”

He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, his eyes flashing with some emotion she couldn’t place.

“You know, Constance, you really must learn to ask permission.”

He must really learn to stop lecturing her, but now was not the time to press the issue.

“Please just kiss me.” It was imperative that when Archer found them, they be engaged in something more convincing than a discussion of the etiquette of courtship.

Apthorp stared at her, as if debating something in his mind.

“Constance, may I kiss you?” he asked in an official, courtly tone, like he was modeling correct behavior on which she might be tested later.

“Obviously.”

Gently, he took a hand and tipped her mouth up to his. Gently, he put his lips to hers.

Given what she knew about the secret ways he spent his time, this pretension to gentlemanly delicacy was rather laughable. And they did not have time for it.

She snatched his head in her hands and mashed her face to his, trying to mount a more persuasive display of ardor before anyone witnessed this chaste, practically nonexistent peck.

She felt a rumble beneath her hands.

His shoulders were shaking.

With laughter.

She gasped and pushed him back. His shoulders hit the shelves, causing a wooden wig stand to fall onto a sack of lavender-scented powder, which erupted in a cloud that itched her nose. She immediately fell into a coughing fit so violent that, half-weeping with laughter, he pounded at her back.

“You cow,” she said through gasps. “Because of you, we will both suffocate.”

He stilled, clearly trying to restrain his mirth. “I’m sorry.”

“What is so unbearably humorous?”

“The fact that you are mauling me in the powdering room.”

“I was not mauling you. I was evincing passion.”

His lip quirked up. “In my experience,” he said softly, “that’s not how passion works.”

“No? It works by tiny mincing nibbles at my lower lip?”

“It builds. Lovers have to get to get a feel for one another.”

“Sounds dreadfully dull.”

He stared at her lips for a beat too long, then glanced up into her eyes.

“I assure you, Constance, it isn’t.”

She wanted to be angry at him, but she could not fail to notice that his eyes no longer held the ire they’d borne when he’d looked upon her yesterday. His gaze was earnest. Like he wanted her to understand something that was important to him.

She found herself at a loss for a response. Because for the first time, she was connecting the rumors about this man and his salacious nocturnal predilections to the person whose eyes lingered on her face rather more kindly than she’d have expected of a hell-raking letch, yet with a knowledge in them that made her shiver.

“Haven’t you ever been properly kissed?” he asked softly.

She stuck out her chin, embarrassed to admit that she was far less bold in her private behaviors than the devil-take-it portrait she liked to affect in public. “Of course I have.”

He bit his lip. “Not by anyone who knew how to do it properly, apparently.”

ABOUT SCARLETT PECKHAM

SCARLETT PECKHAM is a four-time Golden Heart® finalist in Historical Romance who writes steamy stories about alpha heroines. Her Secrets of Charlotte Street series follows the members of Georgian London’s most discreet – and illicit – private club with lush writing, historical detail, a feminist worldview and a light touch of kink.

Scarlett lives in Los Angeles and when not reading or writing romance she enjoys drinking immoderate quantities of white wine, watching The Real Housewives, and dressing her cat in bowtie.

AUTHOR LINKS

Newsletter http://geni.us/TheScarlettLetter

Website https://www.scarlettpeckham.com

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ScarlettPeckham

Twitter https://twitter.com/scarlettpeckham

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/scarlettpeckham

Goodreads  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17997581.Scarlett_Peckham

Amazon  https://amzn.to/2zIGmkN

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Is it wrong for a woman to want more? The Duke That I Marry by Cathy Maxwell #Historical #Romance @AvonBooks @PureTextuality @MaxwellCathy


Once upon a time there were three young ladies who, despite their fortunes, had been on the marriage mart a bit too long. They were known as “the Spinster Heiresses” . . .

Is it wrong for a woman to want more?

Not if she is a Spinster Heiress. They do not settle. Any young miss would be very lucky to find herself promised to a man like the Duke of Camberly. However, Miss Willa Reverly has watched her friends marry for love. Camberly may be the prize of the season, but she will not be “sold” to any man. She wants his devotion or she wants nothing at all.

When is a Marriage of Convenience inconvenient?

Newly named to the ducal title, Matthew Addison is determined to discover the secrets behind Mayfield, the bankrupt estate he has inherited. He doesn’t have time to coddle a headstrong heiress who is determined to ditch him over something as silly as “love.” Little does he know that his questions will place her in jeopardy. Now he must do what he must to save them both.

Could it be that in running from danger they might be racing headlong into a truly unexpected fate: falling in love?

 

About the Book

The Duke That I Marry
by Cathy Maxwell

Series
The Spinster Heiresses Series

Genre
Adult
Historical Romance

Publisher
Avon Books

Publication Date 
November 27, 2018

 

Purchase Your Copy Today!


Amazon  |  Avon Romance  |  Barnes & Noble  |  Google Play  |  iBooks

 

Teaser Graphic - The Duke That I Marry by Cathy Maxwell - 2

Excerpt

Her arms came around his neck. She stood on her toes. He picked her up and carried

her to the bed. His fingers began working her lacings. Her hands slid inside his jacket, pushing it down over his shoulders.

 

Dear God, he wanted this. He’d had her warmth beside him in bed but it had taken all his willpower to give her the time she needed to heal.

 

Matt lowered his arms, and his jacket slid to the floor. He pulled Willa down onto the bed beside him. He kissed her chin, her cheek, her nose, and her sweet ears before finding her mouth again. She laughed as if it tickled, and the sound made his heart grow fuller, the beat stronger.

 

She loved him.

 

He’d always thought true love was full of drama and turmoil. It wasn’t. Love was the sense that he was right where he was supposed to be. That at last, he’d found his home.

Teaser Graphic - The Duke That I Marry by Cathy Maxwell - 3

 

Tour Wide Giveaway

To celebrate the release of THE DUKE THAT I MARRY by Cathy Maxwell, we’re giving away one paperback copy of If ever I Should Love You!

GIVEAWAY TERMS & CONDITIONS:  Open to US shipping addresses only. One winner will receive a paperback copy of If Ever I Should Love You by Cathy Maxwell. This giveaway is administered by Pure Textuality PR on behalf of Avon Romance.  Giveaway ends 10/10/2018 @ 11:59pm EST. Avon Romance will send the winning copies out to the winner directly. Limit one entry per reader and mailing address. Duplicates will be deleted. CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

 

 

About Cathy Maxwell

CATHY MAXWELL spends hours in front of her computer pondering the question, “Why do people fall in love?” It remains for her the great mystery of life and the secret to happiness. Fans can contact Cathy at www.cathymaxwell.com; Twitter: @maxwellcathy

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  Amazon

 

 

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Born In A Treacherous Time by Jacqui Murray #Historical #BookReview @WordDreams


Born In A Treacherous Time

‘The book’s plot is similar in key ways to … Jean M. Auel’s The Clan of the Cave Bear–Kirkus Reviews

Born in the harsh world of East Africa 1.8 million years ago, where hunger, death, and predation are a normal part of daily life, Lucy and her band of early humans struggle to survive. It is a time in history when they are relentlessly annihilated by predators, nature, their own people, and the next iteration of man. To make it worse, Lucy’s band hates her. She is their leader’s new mate and they don’t understand her odd actions, don’t like her strange looks, and don’t trust her past. To survive, she cobbles together an unusual alliance with an orphaned child, a beleaguered protodog who’s lost his pack, and a man who was supposed to be dead.

Born in a Treacherous Time is prehistoric fiction written in the spirit of Jean Auel. Lucy is tenacious and inventive no matter the danger, unrelenting in her stubbornness to provide a future for her child, with a foresight you wouldn’t think existed in earliest man. You’ll close this book understanding why man not only survived our wild beginnings but thrived, ultimately to become who we are today.

This is a spin-off of To Hunt a Sub’s Lucy (the ancient female who mentored the female protagonist).

“Murray’s lean prose is steeped in the characters’ brutal worldview, which lends a delightful otherness to the narration …The book’s plot is similar in key ways to other works in the genre, particularly Jean M. Auel’s The Clan of the Cave Bear. However, Murray weaves a taut, compelling narrative, building her story on timeless human concerns of survival, acceptance, and fear of the unknown. Even if readers have a general sense of where the plot is going, they’ll still find the specific twists and revelations to be highly entertaining throughout. A well-executed tale of early man.”

–Kirkus Reviews

Biography

Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-8 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice reviewer, CAEP reviewer, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, and a weekly contributor to TeachHUB. You can find her resources at Structured Learning. Read Jacqui’s tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days here on Amazon. Also, read her new series, Man vs. Nature, starting with Born in a Treacherous Time.

My Review

Journey to the land before time in this thrilling prehistoric story of courage and tenacity against all odds!

When pregnant Lucy loses her lifemate and is cast out of her old tribe she joins a new group and mates to the leader of the tribe, Raza. She is a hunter and a healer, but has to work hard to gain the trust of her new tribe.

Every day is a challenge to survive. Food is sparse, the climate is dangerous, and the hunters often become the hunted. The author does a superb job of world-building; it was easy to visualize the world Lucy enhabits and the trials she had to endure.

If only we could all have her bravery!

I have never read anything like this before, but that didn’t stop me from becoming engrossed with these characters and invested in Lucy’s journey.

If I had one complaint, it’s that it had to end! 

An Engrossing read-you’ll root for Lucy!