First Kiss Friday with Caroline Warfield

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Happy New Year, my lovelies, and welcome to my First Kiss Friday blog. My first guest author of the year is my dear friend Caroline Warfield. Caroline has an excerpt from her upcoming novel The Forgotten Daughter in her new Ashmead Heirs series. If you haven’t gotten a chance to read them, you’re missing out. We hope you enjoy this first kiss scene. Happy reading!


When the old Earl of Clarion leaves a will with bequests for all his children, legitimate and not, listing each and their mothers by name, he complicates the lives of many in the village of Ashmead and beyond. Francis Hancock was left out and forgotten completely. She is the third of The Ashmead Heirs.

In The Forgotten Daughter, Fanny comes looking for a hero. She gets a mild-mannered land steward. Eli is good at fixing things, however, and he is determined to solve her problems, even when they take him far from home. Even when he falls in love with her. Even when she falls into the net of a trafficking ring. Even at risk to his own life. Never underestimate a quiet hero. 

In this scene, a band of kidnappers tried to pull her from her carriage.

Excerpt:

“Is this the first time you killed a man, Benson?” the corporal asked.

Eli nodded. He’d had no choice and wouldn’t second guess himself, but the horror of it would haunt him.

“It needed doing,” Goodfellow said, clapping him on the shoulder. “Think on the things you protected.”

When Fanny slid up next to him and put an arm around his waist, he turned her away from the sight of the brigand’s wounds, and pulled her into an embrace. He soaked in the comfort she offered, thanking God she had not been injured. 

Fanny went up on her toes and kissed the side of his chin. “We best get Reilly to a doctor,” she said, her voice thick and wet.

He kissed her fiercely then, pouring all the wanting, all the passion, all his need for comfort into that kiss. When he raised his head, still holding her, Goodfellow studiously saw to the tack on his horse, but Wil stared open mouthed.

Eli almost asked Fanny to trade places with Wil, needing her by his side, but she’d be safer inside the carriage. One thing he knew for certain. Once they got to the inn, he wouldn’t let her out of his sight.


About the Book

Frances Hancock always knew she was a bastard. She didn’t know her father was an earl until her mother died. The information came just in time. She and her mother’s younger children were about to be homeless. She needs help. Fast. What she wants is a hero.

Eli Benson, the Earl of Clarion’s steward, took great pride in cleaning up the mess left behind by the old earl’s will. When a dainty but ferocious young woman with the earl’s hair and eyes comes demanding help, his heart sinks. She isn’t in the will. She was forgotten entirely. And the estate is just getting its finances back in order. But he knows a moral obligation when he sees one. He may not be her idea of a hero, but people count on him to fix things. He’s good at it. Falling in love with her will only complicate things.

Eli will solve her problems or die trying. It may come to that.

Preorder now for 99 cents. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B09PGSYJ3Q/

It reverts to full price after launch on January 27.

About the Author

Award winning author Caroline Warfield has been many things: traveler, librarian, poet, raiser of children, bird watcher, Internet and Web services manager, conference speaker, indexer, tech writer, genealogist—even a nunShe reckons she is on at least her third act, happily working in an office surrounded by windows where she lets her characters lead her to adventures in England and the far-flung corners of the British Empire. She nudges them to explore the riskiest territory of all, the human heart. 

Learn more about Caroline here:

Visit Caroline’s Website and Blog  http://www.carolinewarfield.com/

Meet Caroline on Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/carolinewarfield7

Follow Caroline on Twitter https://twitter.com/CaroWarfield

Email Caroline directly   warfieldcaro@gmail.com

Subscribe to Caroline’s newsletter  http://www.carolinewarfield.com/newsletter/

Amazon Author http://www.amazon.com/Caroline-Warfield/e/B00N9PZZZS/

Good Reads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8523742.Caroline_Warfield

Bookbub https://www.bookbub.com/profile/caroline-warfield

Bookshelf: http://www.carolinewarfield.com/bookshelf

Available for Preorder!

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Good morning, my lovelies! Just a heads up that Before I Found You: A de Courtenay Novella (Book Three) is available for preorder. Previously in the Storm & Shelter boxset with the Bluestocking Belles, Before I Found You will now be available for individual sale! Release date February 8th.

A quest for a title. An encounter with a stranger. Will she choose love?

Miss Miranda de Courtenay has only one goal in life: to find a rich husband who can change her status from Missto My Lady. But when a handsome stranger crosses her path at a Valentine’s Day ball, her obsession with titles dims. Might love be enough?

Captain Jasper Rousseau has no plans to become infatuated during a chance encounter at a ball. He has a new ship to run, passengers to book, and cargo to deliver. But one look into a young lady’s beautiful hazel eyes, and he becomes lost. Does love at first sight really exist?

Their paths continue to cross until they are both stranded in Fenwick on Sea. Their growing connection is hard to dismiss, despite Miranda’s childish quest for a title at all cost. But what if the cost includes love?

Buy Links:

Amazon US | Apple Books | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Books2Read

Amazon AU | Amazon BR | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon ES | Amazon FR | Amazon IN | Amazon IT | Amazon JP | Amazon MX | Amazon NL | Amazon UK

Angus & Robertson | Thalia | Tolino | Vivlio

Holiday Sale from Sherry Ewing

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Hello to all my wonderful readers! I’ve put my Regency novella Under the Mistletoe up for sale just in time for some holiday reading. I know you’ll enjoy this romantic suspense story with Margaret and Freddy so happy reading! From my house to yours… I wish you all a Happy Holiday season and prosperous New Year!

Excerpt:

With Digby gone, Margaret took a seat by the fire, and Frederick sat opposite her. An awkward silence fell between them, broken only by the crackling and popping of the wood within the hearth. Conversation had never been stilted between them, but Margaret was clearly nervous because she kept peeking over her shoulder as if she were being watched. Frederick was unsure what he should say to calm her nerves.

“You have no need to fear me, Margaret,” Frederick whispered softly now that they were alone.

“I do not fear you, Freddy.”

He was pleased to hear his name as it passed her lips. “Then what is troubling you so?”

The eyes raised to his were filled with worry. “Why are you here?”

He watched her fidget with the fabric of her gown. “You know why. I was invited,” Frederick answered.

A sound escaped her, but it was hardly ladylike. “You could easily have made your excuses and refused.”

“I wanted to make sure you were safe,” he replied.

“How could I not be safe? Captain Morledge is practically my betrothed.”

Frederick ran his hand across his eyes. “I do not trust him. There are rumors—”

The laugh she gave was meant to be merry, but sounded forced. “Frederick, please tell me you have not taken to believing in town gossip. I would have thought you, above all people, were above such nonsense.”

He frowned. “Nonsense or not, I needed to see for myself that you are not in danger, even if I must watch over you myself.”

“It is hardly necessary.” Margaret’s attention once more flew to the entryway.

He reached over to take her hand.

She wrenched back with a silent and pleading look, and the briefest shake of her head. Leaning slightly forward, she confided, “Please do not, for it will not be wise. The servants watch my every move, and even now, it is reckless of me to be here alone with you.”

“You see! There is cause for concern. Why will you not let me help you?”

“Please, Freddy. This is my one chance to find some happiness. Do not ruin it for me.”

“We have discussed this before, Margaret. You know my offer still stands. I would wed you on the morrow if you would have me.”

“Shush, you fool. You know I cannot.”

“Yet you would enter into a marriage with a man you do not love.”

A heavy sigh left her lips. “I can learn to love him.”

“Now who is the fool?” he grumbled irritably.


Under the Mistletoe
By Sherry Ewing
On Sale for $0.99 for a Limited Time

A new suitor seeks her hand. An old flame holds her heart. Which one will she meet under the kissing bough?

When Margaret Templeton is requested to act as hostess at Captain Sander Morledge’s Christmas party and possibly agree to marry him, she did not think she would see the man who once held her heart. Frederick Maddock, Viscount Beacham had never forgotten the young woman he had fallen in love with, and his feelings are evident when he sees her at a holiday gathering. In a swirl of Christmas miracles and joyous celebration, will the two finally put down their differences and once again fall in love?

Buy Links:

Amazon US  |  Apple Books | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
Amazon AU | Amazon BR | Amazon CA Amazon DE | Amazon ES | Amazon FR | Amazon IN | Amazon IT | Amazon JP | Amazon MX | Amazon NL |  Amazon UK

First Kiss Friday with Ella Quinn

Welcome to my First Kiss Friday blog. My guest today is USA Today bestselling author Ella Quinn who has an excerpt from The Temptation of Lady Serena . Happy reading and enjoy, my lovelies!

Excerpt:

He turned Serena to face him. Her wondering eyes met his, searching. She was so lovely, so innocent, and, though she might not realize it yet, she belonged to him. Robert touched her lips softly with his, teasing hers to respond. Finally, after hesitating for what seemed like an eternity, Serena’s gentle lips moved beneath his.

Excitement raced through him.

He was the first to kiss her and he wanted everything she could give him.

“Robert.” Her whispered word, more of a tender sigh.

He’d never known how sweet his name could sound, how hearing it on her lips could stun him. A previously unknown sense of protectiveness and possession came over him. No other would ever have her.

He slowly dropped his hands from her shoulders to wrap her in his arms and draw her close. Her head didn’t even reach his collarbone.

Serena expected the kiss, but not the tremor it caused. Strange warmth simmered within her, and her knees wobbled. Robert held her more tightly. Her breasts, touching his hard chest, tingled and ached. His lips were firm, but soft, moving against hers gently.

When she responded, his kisses grew more insistent. He moved his tongue over the seam of her lips. Curious, Serena opened her mouth. Robert entered, his tongue caressed hers and her burning boiled over. She moaned; her heartbeat so quickly she thought she’d swoon. Instead, she returned his caress. Soon their tongues were tangling. His body hardened and the evidence of his desire rode against her stomach.

Serena desperately wished someone had talked to her about kissing, and how his hands stroking her back would make her feel so different, so willing to be with him. Bereft when he lifted his head, she wondered if she’d done something wrong. He pulled her closer and kissed her again. She opened her mouth, eagerly responding to him. How had she lived so long without knowing this wonderful, ravening feeling?

In the past, Robert’s passion had been solely physical, his only goal to slake his and his lover’s lust. Serena’s innocent fervor spurred him to want more for her.

He’d planned to use all his considerable experience to bind her to him, tonight. To make her crave what he could give her. No one could light the flames of desire in a woman better than he. Yet, with each heartbreakingly guileless kiss she gave, his vaunted control slipped.

Robert’s breathing became ragged, his blood heated, and he grew hard. His unexpected passion for her was so strong he struggled to harness his more primitive desires. His body urged him to press her up against the wall and take her. Mine. With real effort, he reined in his demons and brought himself under control. God, and this was just a kiss—or was supposed to have been.

Robert slowly lifted his head. Serena’s rosy lips were swollen, and her face flushed. He wondered if her breasts were tinged with passion. Her nipples hardened and brushed his chest. Robert groaned. He’d attend to them later. Holding her tightly, he stroked the length of her back and recaptured her lips, plundering and laying claim to them. He drew back to gaze at Serena. Her wide eyes returned his stare.

“Did I do something wrong?”

The vulnerability in her voice humbled him.

“No, you did everything right.” Too right. He was well and truly caught. How was he to keep Serena and remain in control? “We need to return before they begin to search for us.”

Robert kissed her lightly before leading her out of the folly. His plans for her leapt forward. He must marry her, and soon.


The Temptation of Lady Serena
By Ella Quinn

Ella Quinn’s bachelors in The Marriage Game series are charming and cunning when it comes to the ways of love—until the right woman captures their unsuspecting hearts…  

“Supported by a wonderful cast of characters, Quinn’s thoughtfully drawn lovers teach each other the value of love in this delicious Regency treat.” ~ New York Times Bestselling author Eileen Dreyer

Custom-made gowns…nights at the theater…and a host of eligible bachelors. Accustomed to living a quiet life in the Scottish Borderlands, Lady Serena Weir has never had any of these luxuries. But when Serena’s brother demands she finally have a Season in London, she’s thrust into a glamorous world she’s only dreamed of… 

Robert, Viscount Beaumont remembers all too well what it feels like to be in love. That is why he must keep his distance from Serena. He’s only felt his pulse stir the way it does now when he made the mistake of loving the wrong woman once before. Yet the more he strives to resist his feelings, the nearer he is to falling under Serena’s seductive spell…

Buy Links:

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1ckTNY3

Amazon Canada: http://amzn.to/13OW4Fn

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/198ENaV

B&N: http://bit.ly/16NXZKo

Kensington: http://bit.ly/1b6z328

iTunes: http://bit.ly/1cdfHJk

About the Author:

USA Today bestselling author Ella Quinn’s studies and other jobs have always been on the serious side. Reading historical romances, especially Regencies, were her escape. Eventually her love of historical novels led her to start writing them.

She is married to her wonderful husband of over thirty years. They have a son and two beautiful granddaughters, and a Portuguese Water Dog. After living in the South Pacific, Central America, North Africa, England and Europe, she and her husband decided to make their dreams come true and are now living on a sailboat. After cruising the Caribbean and North America, she completed a transatlantic crossing from St. Martin to Southern Europe. She’s currently living in Germany, happily writing while her husband is back at work, recovering from retirement.

Ella loves when readers connect with her.

Website: http://www.ellaquinnauthor.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/EllaQuinnAuthor

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ellaquinnauthor

Blog: http://ellaquinnauthor.wordpress.com

First Kiss Friday with Jude Knight

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Happy First Kiss Friday and welcome to my blog. It’s never too early to start celebrating the holiday season and my guest Jude Knight has an excerpt from her novella A Suitable Husband in the Bluestocking Belles’ box set Holly and Hopeful Hearts which is on sale for only $0.99! Happy reading, my lovelies, and enjoy.

James fell in love at first sight, but has been hitting one barrier to his wooing after another. At last, after eight months, he is alone with his beloved, as she decorates a room for Christmas. How could he bear to waste such an opportunity?

Excerpt:

“Very well, Lord Elfingham, I will put you to work.” She put one hand on his shoulder to help herself from the ladder. “Bring the ladder, please. I have more garlands to hang.”

James lifted the ladder and followed obediently in her wake. “What are we doing, pray tell?”

“We are having a costume party tonight. You heard?”

James nodded. His wardrobe was limited to what he could carry in his saddlebags, but the duchess had ordered chests of costumes and fabric brought down from the attics, and he had found the means to replicate his festival clothes as a mountain prince, or at least close enough for the audience.

If they wanted a barbarian, he would give them a barbarian.

“We did not decorate in here on Christmas Eve, since we had so much else to do, so I am putting up Christmas decorations. See? The evergreen is a symbol of life in this most holy season. And the holly, have you heard the song about the holly?”

Sophia sang for him, in a light alto, all the verses his father had taught them when he was a tiny child. This European holly was not precisely the same as the holly he had grown up with, but it was similar. For the pleasure of hearing her voice, he kept his counsel. 

She went on to explain the other Christmas customs, not just the foliage and ribbons and other materials used in the decorations, but the pudding that had been served at Christmas dinner, the Yule logs burning in various fireplaces around the house, and the boxes that the duchess had delivered the previous day to poor families around the district. 

“Cedrica and I, and several of the other ladies, were her deputies,” Sophia explained. “It was wonderful to see the happy little faces of the children, James.” 

James had stayed back from the hunt organized for the men in the hopes of spending time with Sophia, and had found out about the charity expedition too late to offer his services. “I am sorry that I missed it,” he said sincerely.

He noted one glaring omission in her descriptions. “Just a decoration,” she had told him, mendaciously, when he asked about the kissing boughs.

And now pretending to be ignorant of these English Christmas customs was about to pay off. One day, when she was safely his wife, he might admit to Sophia that he and the whole gala had hung on his father’s tales of an English Christmas, that his mother and her maids had decorated high and low, and his father had led the troops out to find a fitting Yule log to carry home in triumph on Christmas Eve. A harder job in his dry mountains than in this green land.

But this was not the time for that story. Not when Sophia was relaxed and about to pass under a kissing bough that retained its full complement of mistletoe berries.

James suppressed a grin. “Look,” he said, at the opportune time, pointing up. “My kaka—my Papa—told me about these.”

She stopped, as he had intended. With a single stride he reached her, wrapped her in his arms, and captured the lips that had been haunting his dreams this past eight months.

And she kissed him back. For a moment—for one long glorious moment, while time stood still and the world ceased to exist—Sophia Belvoir kissed him back.


James and Sophia first appeared in The Bluestocking and the Barbarian, a novella in the collection Holly and Hopeful Hearts. This collection is currently on sale at 99c, and the Bluestocking Belles will be discussing it on Facebook at 1pm (New York time) on Saturday 27th November.

We’d love for you to join us on: https://www.facebook.com/groups/BellesBrigade/posts/3079496369002451/

About Holly and Hopeful Hearts

When the Duchess of Haverford sends out invitations to a Yuletide house party and a New Year’s Eve ball at her country estate, Hollystone Hall, those who respond know that Her Grace intends to raise money for her favorite cause and promote whatever love-matches she can. Seven assorted heroes and heroines set out with their pocketbooks firmly clutched and hearts in protective custody. Or are they?

Holly and Hopeful Hearts is a Bluestocking Belles Christmas collection, and is currently reduced in price to 99c.

Buy it at:

Amazon US:  http://ow.ly/INwa3049Ey3
Amazon UK: http://ow.ly/ZMuH3049ELM
Amazon Australia: http://ow.ly/TczG3049EQ2
Amazon Canada: http://ow.ly/IERm3049EYM
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/664559
Kobo: http://ow.ly/Vx1n304jGzj
Barnes & Noble: http://ow.ly/LqCI304jGuS
iBooks: http://ow.ly/JcSI304jGWE

For more links, see: https://bluestockingbelles.net/belles-joint-projects/holly-and-hopeful-hearts/

A Suitable Husband, by Jude Knight

As the Duchess of Haverford’s companion, Cedrica Grenford is not treated as a poor relation and is encouraged to mingle with Her Grace’s guests. Surely she can find a suitable husband amongst the gentlemen gathered for the duchess’s house party. Above stairs or possibly below. 

Valuing Vanessa, by Susana Ellis

Facing a dim future as a spinster under her mother’s thumb, Vanessa Sedgely makes a practical decision to attach an amiable gentleman who will not try to rule her life. 

A Kiss for Charity, by Sherry Ewing

Young widow Grace, Lady de Courtenay, has no idea how a close encounter with a rake at a masquerade ball would make her yearn for love again. Can she learn to forgive Lord Nicholas Lacey and set aside their differences to let love into her heart?

Artemis, by Jessica Cale

Actress Charlotte Halfpenny is in trouble. Pregnant, abandoned by her lover, and out of a job, Charlotte faces eviction two weeks before Christmas. When the reclusive Earl of Somerton makes her an outrageous offer, she has no choice but to accept. Could he be the man of her dreams, or is the nightmare just beginning?

The Bluestocking and the Barbarian, by Jude Knight

James must marry to please his grandfather, the duke, and to win social acceptance for himself and his father’s other foreign-born children. But only Lady Sophia Belvoir makes his heart sing, and to win her he must invite himself to spend Christmas at the home of his father’s greatest enemy. 

This novella was later rewritten as the novel To Wed a Proper Lady, the first novel in the series The Return of the Mountain King.

Christmas Kisses, by Nicole Zoltack

Louisa Wycliff, Dowager Countess of Exeter wants only for her darling daughter, Anna, to find a man she can love and marry. Appallingly, Anna has her sights on a scoundrel of a duke who chases after every skirt he sees. Anna truly thinks the dashing duke cares for her, but her mother has her doubts. 

An Open Heart, by Caroline Warfield

Esther Baumann longs for a loving husband who will help her create a home where they will teach their children to value the traditions of their people, but she wants a man who is also open to new ideas and happy to make friends outside their narrow circle. Is it so unreasonable to ask for toe curling passion as well?

Dashing Through the Snow, by Amy Rose Bennett

Headstrong bluestocking, Miss Kate Woodville, never thought her Christmas would be spent racing across England with a viscount hell-bent on vengeance. She certainly never expected to find love…

More about Jude Knight:

Jude Knight’s writing goal is to transport readers to another time, another place, where they can enjoy adventure and romance, thrill to trials and challenges, uncover secrets and solve mysteries, delight in a happy ending, and return from their virtual holiday refreshed and ready for anything.

Jude writes everything from Hallmark to Regency Noir, in different eras and diverse places, short, medium and extra long. Expect decent men with wounded hearts, women who are stronger than they think, and villains you’ll want to smack or worse.and all with a leavening of humour.

Website and bloghttp://judeknightauthor.com/

Subscribe to newsletterhttp://judeknightauthor.com/newsletter/

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Amazon author pagehttps://www.amazon.com/Jude-Knight/e/B00RG3SG7I

First Kiss Friday with Veronica Crowe

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It’s another week gone by so that must mean it’s First Kiss Friday! Thanks for dropping by my blog. Please welcome my dear friend Veronica Crowe who is sharing an excerpt from her novella The Last Christmas that is in the boxset Star of Wonder. It’s never too early to start reading a holiday love story and with this set, you’ll be ready for the holiday season. Happy reading, my lovelies, and enjoy!

Excerpt:

“You look ready to retire,” he said, rising from his seat. “Allow me to escort you upstairs.”

They climbed the staircase and strolled down the hallway in companiable silence, until they reached her door.

“Thank you for letting us decorate,” Lara said as they faced each other.

“It is my pleasure.” He took her hand in his and looked deeply into her eyes like he did the night before. 

Lara fought the urge to hope, even as he leaned closer, his eyes dropping to her lips. 

No. She would not fall for this kissing nonsense again. 

But to her utter shock, he angled his head and tenderly cupped her jaw with an elegant hand. He rubbed his thumb in a mesmerizing pattern along her jawline and her resistance crumbled. She was not imagining things this time. It was truly happening—she could clearly see the desire in his eyes.

Perhaps. . . wishes do come true. . .

She closed her eyes as his breath fanned on her cheek, and waited… and waited… and waited… 

“I’ve been itching all day to do this,” he said, his thumb moving more firmly on her skin. “This smudge has been driving me crazy.”

Smudge?

Lara opened an eye to see him bent on his task.

“There!” he proclaimed in triumph, releasing her with one last swipe of his thumb. “All gone and clean as can be.”

Lara hoped her mortification did not reflect on her face. His intimate actions and subsequent withdrawal befuddled her. Was he toying with her?

Distress shot through her heart. But of course. He must have read her foolish infatuation to him and wanted to satisfy his conceit. Lovesick simpleton that she was, she fell for it not once—but twice!

This is what happens when you allow yourself to fall for a man who is utterly out of your reach! she chastised herself, overwhelmed with disappointment. To her chagrin, tears sprang in her eyes without warning.

“Good night, Your Grace.” She abruptly turned her back to him and reached for the doorknob.

“Lady Larabelle.” His hand tightened around hers. In her discomfiture, she failed to recall he still held hand her in his.

“Yes?” she replied without turning to face him.

“I am sorry.” He sighed.

“Whatever for?” She gripped the doorknob, stifling the urge to cry.

Large hands alighted on her shoulders. “Please, will you look at me?”

“I—I cannot,” she croaked.

He wedged his body between her and the door and lifted her chin with the crook of his forefinger. “I did not mean to be presumptuous.” He tucked a lock of hair behind her ear.

“No. It was my mistake. I-I thought—” Lara swallowed to keep her voice from shaking. “I’m sorry—it has been a long day. I-I must have taken leave of my senses and misread y-your—” 

“Advances?” he raised a dark eyebrow in that fashion she adored and pulled her closer. “No, you did not.”

Lara’s eyes widened. The Duke of Grafton had wanted to kiss. . . her?

“I ache for you, Larabelle,” he whispered, resting his forehead against hers.

Lara’s heart filled with joy at the sound of her given name on his lips. “Oh, James.” She sighed with pleasure at how lovely it felt to reciprocate the intimacy. “And I, for you.” 

His eyes darkened but then he suddenly recoiled and swung his gaze away with a muffled oath.

“James?” Lara’s happiness was replaced with trepidation. Was he going to push her away again? But the anguish in his expression told her otherwise. She gently turned his face to her. “What’s wrong?”

He squeezed his eyes shut and drew a long breath, slowly releasing it with a hiss before he opened his eyes again. “Pardon my lapse in manners. It is nothing—nothing important.” He gave her a mollifying smile.

Lara watched him shift to a more pleasant, lighthearted demeanor and wondered if the sorrow she saw in his eyes not a minute past was a figment of her imagination. 

“Shall we continue where we left off?” He wrapped his strong arms around her, enfolding her in his warmth.

She moistened her lips, her pulse racing, her eyes instinctively closing as he tilted her face up to him. 

Somewhere in the back of her mind, a sliver of concern lurked beneath the rapture she felt. She could still—possibly—suffer another dose of humiliation because of her foolishness. 

Lara inwardly cringed at the unthinkable. 

However, she should not have dwelled on her insecurity, because this time around, no more waiting was necessary. To her sheer pleasure and utmost relief, at long last—the handsome and elusive Duke of Grafton—kissed her. 


The Last Christmas
By Veronica Crowe

“This tale was inspired by the Christmas carol, “Stille Nacht” or “Silent Night.” Like the song, this story is about hope, faith, and redeeming grace. True love knows no boundaries and conquers all, and if you pray with all your heart and believe, miracles can happen.”

Blurb:

After more than a decade of relentless galivanting around the world, James Oliver Draven, the Duke of Grafton, had finally returned home. 

He had done everything he wished to do with satisfaction. Tirelessly pursued knowledge and experience from every opportunity he could, with more vibrance and adventure than any man could manage in two lifetimes. He could not want for anything more. 

He was ready to go.

So, what was he doing, nursing sentiments of powerful affection and desire so fierce, he could not help but hope for more days—years, even—and dream of sharing a life with another? 

Of all the worst coincidences in the world—why did he have to meet the woman he could see himself having a life with—now?  

Now—when his days were numbered, and he had no life to give?


Larabelle Howard, the Earl of Berkshire’s daughter, had one goal in returning to England from America:

She wished to spend one last Christmas at her dear departed papa’s beloved country manor, before her mother sold it to the highest bidder. 

As to how she ended up insulting a duke, sleeping in his home, and developing a ridiculous infatuation to him like a moon-eyed ninny at the ripe old age of five and twenty–all in one day–was completely beyond her.

But of course, it would not lead to anything—she knew that. He was the Duke of Grafton, and she—was the odd neighbor who wore breeches and knew how to fix roofs! What was she thinking?

Their “almost” kiss—that’s what. 

The tenderness on his face as he gazed at her—she was almost convinced that he reciprocated her attraction. And that intensity in his eyes as he moved closer; his stare locked onto her mouth. She was almost certain he was going to kiss her.  

 Almost.

Had she imagined the whole thing? Why did she have the feeling that he was pushing her away, because he was hiding something?

Buy Link for the boxset Star of Wonder: https://www.amazon.com/Star-Wonder-Historical-Romance-Collection-ebook/dp/B097J42L9W

About the Author:

Veronica Crowe is the author of the Heirs of Cornwall series from Dragonblade Publishing, a three-book Regency romance full of romantic entanglements, hilarious misadventures, profound, heartfelt moments, and grand happy endings. Her poignant novella, titled, The Last Christmas, can be found in the 2021 holiday collection, Star of Wonder. Currently, she is completing the first book in her urban fantasy series, The Royal Eucalyxian Empire, titled, The Prince and The Quinterian, slated to be released in 2022.  

First Kiss Friday with Alina K. Field

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Thanks for stopping by for my First Kiss Friday blog! Today’s guest has been here before and it’s always a pleasure to Alina K. Field return with her fabulous characters. Today she has an excerpt from Haunting Miss Fenwick. Isn’t the cover gorgeous? I just love purple! Be sure to grab your copy now while its on sale for only $0.99. Happy reading and enjoy, my lovelies!

Excerpt:

“I would never hurt you or Sir Newton.” He reached for her hand and squeezed it. 

Her answering tremble passed through her arm and into him. 

Outside, the lightning and thunder had died, but the rain slapped the window sharply. Like as not it had had turned to sleet. 

He slipped the edge of the blanket over her shoulder and pulled her closer. “You’re cold as well.” 

She angled her head and studied him. “Is there truly treasure here?”

“I don’t know.”

“Is that why you’re here?” 

Never confess. Money would be sweet, but it wasn’t what he was looking for. 

“You would steal it from us?” 

It wasn’t stealing. If he found money, he would merely be taking back from Sir Richard what was owed, what was needed to save his brother’s life. 

Digging deep, steeling himself, he gave her the look he’d honed as a young officer, a look he’d used on his most ill-disciplined men, the one he could hold observing a lashing…and for the worst cases, a hanging. 

She glared back at him, as fiercely defiant as the worst denizens of the rookeries. 

He shook his head and sighed. 

“Does anything frighten you?” His hand slipped lower, down her arm and under it, over a slim waist to a generous curve that made his breath—and other parts of him—stir. 

“Mr. Greggson’s attempt on my person was alarming. I thank you for saving me.” A shudder went through her. “Would he have attempted more than a kiss, do you think?” 

His fingers moved of their own will, softly stroking. “He’s not a man you should be alone with.” 

“Yes, I do know that. You and my father have both said so. But what about you, Freddy? Ought I to be alone with you?” 

He’d never forced a woman, not ever. Not even after the madness of battle had he succumbed to that primitive drive. He’d done his duty to restore order within his men as well. 

He’d understood their mad impulses though. 

“I am a gentleman, Tilly.” 

She stirred. “Papa…has not been feeling well, I think. I was ever so happy to see him out in the fresh air, but I’ve worried so about him. Mr. Greggson doesn’t know that, but he does know I’m my father’s only child. He seeks to coerce me into marriage because he’s after the estate and its income, and whatever valuables may be found here, which when Papa dies, he believes will be mine.” She let out a minty breath. “But you, Captain Sanderford, you I believe would prefer just money and not my person along with it.”

“Tilly—”

“And so, it would probably be wise for you to unhand me.”

His hand tightened, bunching the cloth of her robe. “Unhand you?” 

She tilted her head and gazed at him, almost an equal in height now that they were sitting. Her lips had parted a fraction and locks of hair draped the deep blue of eyes that glistened in the light from the candles. 

“Oh, Tilly.” He dipped his head and touched his lips to hers. 

Softness. The scents of mint and soap and lilac. 

His chest pounded and every nerve in his body roared. She hadn’t pulled away, hadn’t pushed, hadn’t slapped him. 

Proceed with caution, he reminded himself. He pressed closer and slanted his lips, coaxing until her mouth opened. 

His hand strayed up, under her breast, and he drew her against him. 

What, besides parchment, was under the high-necked gowns and the heavy robe?


Haunting Miss Fenwick is on sale for 99 cents through November 15, 2021.

About the book: 

Thrilled to finally have a permanent home, a Squire’s daughter won’t let a supernatural creature scare her away. While hunting the ghost she doesn’t believe in, she stumbles upon a mysterious flesh and blood man who might be the key to all of her problems.

When the new Squire moves into Fenwick Manor, an ex-army officer secretly searching the sprawling medieval wreck devises a plan. First, the manor’s legendary ghost will chase servants away. Then, he’ll convince the new residents to leav

When the new Squire moves into Fenwick Manor, an ex-army officer secretly searching the sprawling medieval wreck devises a plan. First, the manor’s legendary ghost will chase servants away. Then, he’ll convince the new residents to leave.

But the Squire’s spirited daughter soon has him wondering if he might have found a perfect comrade in arms to help battle old enemies and find the proof that will clear his family name.

 Buy Links:

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07W7VV5MN

Kobo https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/haunting-miss-fenwick

Nook  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/haunting-miss-fenwick-alina-k-field/1132856997?ean=2940161216842

Apple Books https://books.apple.com/us/book/haunting-miss-fenwick/id1475837095?ls=1

Google Play:     https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Alina_K_Field_Haunting_Miss_Fenwick?id=Vpy7DwAAQBAJ

Universal Link: https://books2read.com/u/bzvOa9

About the Author:

Award winning and USA Today bestselling author Alina K. Field earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and German literature but prefers the much happier world of romance fiction. Though her roots are in the Midwestern U.S., after six very, very, very cold years in Chicago, she moved to Southern California, where she shares a midcentury home with her husband and a spunky, blond rescued terrier. She is the author of several Regency romances, including the 2014 Book Buyer’s Best winner, Rosalyn’s Ring. Though hard at work on her next series of romantic adventures, she loves to hear from readers!

Website: https://alinakfield.com/

Amazon Author Page https://www.amazon.com/Alina-K.-Field/e/B00DZHWOKY

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

MeWe: https://mewe.com/i/alinakfield

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AlinaKField

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alinak.field/

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/alina-k-field

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7173518.Alina_K_Field

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/alinakf/

Bingebooks: https://bingebooks.com/author/alina-k-field

Newsletter signup: https://landing.mailerlite.com/webforms/landing/z6q6e3

First Kiss Friday with Jude Knight & a Freebie!

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Hello, my lovelies, and welcome to my First Kiss Friday blog. You’ve seen my guest here before and I’m always thrilled to have Jude Knight on my blog any day of the week. Jude has an excerpt from one of her novellas in her boxset of short stories from Chasing the Tale. Be sure to read all the way to the end to collect your #FREE eBook. Happy reading and take it away Jude!

This excerpt comes from The Veiled Bride, which is a short novella in my book of short stories, Chasing the Tale. It’s my one and only medieval, set in Scotland during the time of Robert the Bruce. It has a clan feud, a bride who has been stolen from her betrothal ceremony and imprisoned for ten years in an abbey, a plot to ruin her groom, and a surprise for the villains.
In the excerpt, our reunited couple are about to consummate their marriage


Excerpt:

Jonetta had that deer and the hunter look again, as if she thought Liam was about to grab her, hurl her on the bed, and take his pleasure without any thought to hers. Her apprehension helped to steady him: a needed warning that this was all new to her. Remembering her innocence gave him the strength to ignore the intense pressure of his base self.

He put one arm around her and lifted her chin with his hand. Jonetta pursed her lips and Liam covered them with his own, keeping his touch gentle. At first, he used only his lips, caressing hers until he felt her relax.

He drifted his tongue along the seam of her mouth, but she had no idea what he was requesting. Her own lips stayed firmly shut until he nibbled on her lower lip so that she opened with a gasp, letting his tongue sweep victoriously inside. Gently, he reminded himself and was rewarded when Jonetta tentatively touched her own tongue to his—even followed when he retreated, to explore his mouth as he had explored hers.

Now that she was fully engaged in the kiss, as they tasted one another, he let a hand drift down to rub over her nipple. He rejoiced when he found a hard nub that indicated her arousal, but she stiffened, a slight retreat from the sensual spell he was trying to weave. He brushed the sides of her breasts: first one, then the other, while still intensifying the kiss.

One subtle step at a time, he encouraged her further and further into ever more intimate caresses until she was yearning towards him, responding to every touch; until he had her chemise above her knees, his fingers and thumb performing the intimate dance that soon he and she would recreate together.
When he drew back from the kiss and lifted her into his arms to carry her to the bed, her glorious eyes were hazed with passion, but not enough to still the question that rose, unspoken but obvious, from their depths.

“The bed,” he told her and was pleased when no hint of trepidation marred her relaxation in his arms. Before she could lie down, he lifted her chemise and, though she blushed, she allowed him to take it over her head. She made no move to cover herself as he stood back to take in her glory: her broad hips and narrow waist, the breasts upon which he had been feasting. A man privileged to enjoy those breasts could die happy.

She was blushing. “Ye are very beautiful,” Liam told her, and his innocent bride blushed still further, which strengthened him to ignore the clamourings of his own body. He would see to her pleasure first, for he had been told that a maid’s first time was easier if her lover made sure she was well-pleasured before her lover entered her.

She coloured still further under his gaze, and shifted as if to cover herself. He put out a hand to stop her. “No, beautiful Jonetta. Here in our bedchamber, let us be naked and unashamed like Adam and Eve before the Fall. He gathered her back into his arms, and lay down to return his mouth to hers, whispering, “Let me see to yer pleasure.”


Chasing the Tale
By Jude Knight

Escape into another place and time just long enough for a lunch or coffee break in eleven short stories from the imagination of award-winning author Jude Knight. Nine Regency plus one colonial New Zealand and one medieval Scotland. Multiple tropes, catastrophes and barriers on the way to a happy ending.

An Angel, Unawares
In colonial New Zealand, Molly faces Christmas without her husband. A passing drifter helps her keep her three children happy, but when will Rick be home?

Anne Under Siege
Can this year get worse? Anne has been robbed, the frosts have killed the vegetable seedlings, and now the new earl wants to evict them. It doesn’t help that she once had a youthful infatuation with the man!

The Fifth Race
If she wins this one last race, Rhi will be free to choose her own future. Lose, and she must marry the winner. Cen, returning from a decade at war, is determined to be that winner, for he has always loved her. But he is not the only challenger, and someone is prepared to cheat and even kill in order to take the prize.

Found in Scotland
Ned Broderick wakes in an inn far from home, cared for by a stranger who claims to be his wife. Is she a cunning schemer, or the woman of his dreams?

Home is the sailor; home from the sea
Stephen Fletcher has one final task for the navy; presenting his commiserations to his best friend’s sister. Fletch never could resist a damsel in distress, especially one he has been writing to for years.

Look into my eyes
Two strangers watch one another across a crowded ballroom. What does the rake called Lord Charming have to do with the duchess known as the Paragon? Only the two of them know.

The Marquis Returns
A forced wedding, the feud between their families, and a seven-year separation. Their marriage did not get off to a good start. Hal and Willa will be lucky to get out of it with their dignity intact. They’d be fools to hope for more, even if miracles do happen at Christmas.

The Mouse Fights Back
Tiberius has promised to keep Claudia safe from his grasping relatives and also from her own. His Mouse, he calls his little wife, tenderly. But when Tiberius is in danger, Mouse must find her courage and her teeth.

The Path that Brings Us Home
Gwen returns to the home she hasn’t seen in ten years, uncertain of her reception. Her brothers’ war with another local family destroyed her lover, her dearest friend, and her own life. Will she be forgiven? Can she find a measure of happiness?

The Rain Dog
When Jake saves a dog from a flooded river, he has no idea that the dog will more than return the favour, saving him and bringing him his lost love.

The Veiled Bride
Jonetta Macintosh and Uilleam Cameron were parted by treachery on their betrothal day, and treachery stalks them still, a decade later. In medieval Scotland, where the clans put their feuds ahead of the King and the welfare of the kingdom, can our two star-crossed lovers find a path to peace and happiness?

Buy links
Books2Read: https://books2read.com/chasingthetale
Jude Knight’s book page: https://judeknightauthor.com/books/chasing-the-tale/
Selz shop https://judeknight.selz.com/item/chasing-the-tale

Giveaway
Chasing the Tale is free on Jude’s SELZ bookstore, or drop Jude an email through her website, letting her know what ebook version you need, and she’ll send you a copy.

Meet Jude
Jude always wanted to be a novelist. She started in her teens, but life kept getting in the way. Years passed, and with them dozens of unfinished manuscripts. The fear grew. What if she tried, failed, and lost the dream forever? The years since 2014 have brought 11 novels, 13 novella, 4 volumes of short stories, 3 awards, and hundreds of positive reviews. The dream is alive.

Website and blog: http://judeknightauthor.com/
Subscribe to newsletter: http://judeknightauthor.com/newsletter/
Jude’s bookstore: https://judeknight.selz.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JudeKnightAuthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JudeKnightBooks
Pinterest: https://nz.pinterest.com/jknight1033/
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/jude-knight

New Release from Caroline Warfield!

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When the old Earl of Clarion leaves a will with bequests for all his children, legitimate and not, listing each and their mothers by name, he complicated the lives of many in the village of Ashmead. One of them was the daughter who defied him. She was left nothing, and is the second of The Ashmead Heirs.

Can they slay the demons of their past and forge a future?

More lies between the duchess and the man she wants than money and class. The widowed Duchess of Glenmoor has cultivated a simple life. She was content until a man with knowing eyes and coal black hair captured her thoughts. Colonel Brynn Morgan has put his past in the coal mines of Wales to rest and formed a satisfying career in London, but he has nothing to offer a wife, much less the duchess who haunts his dreams. They both have demons to slay if they want to be together.

The Defiant Daughter – Free with Kindle Unlimited!

Buy Link: https://bit.ly/TheDefiantDaughter

Author bio

Award winning author Caroline Warfield has been many things: traveler, librarian, poet, raiser of children, bird watcher, Internet and Web services manager, conference speaker, indexer, tech writer, genealogist—even a nunShe reckons she is on at least her third act, happily working in an office surrounded by windows where she lets her characters lead her to adventures in England and the far-flung corners of the British Empire. She nudges them to explore the riskiest territory of all, the human heart. 

Find Caroline on these social media outlets:

Visit Caroline’s Website and Blog: http://www.carolinewarfield.com/

Meet Caroline on Facebook:   https://www.facebook.com/carolinewarfield7

Follow Caroline on Twitter: @CaroWarfield

Email Caroline directlywarfieldcaro@gmail.com

Subscribe to Caroline’s newsletterhttp://www.carolinewarfield.com/newsletter/

Amazon Authorhttp://www.amazon.com/Caroline-Warfield/e/B00N9PZZZS/

Good Readshttp://bit.ly/1C5blTm

Bluestocking Belles:  http://bluestockingbelles.net/about/caroline-warfield/

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/caroline-warfield

Caroline’s Other Books 

Bookshelfhttp://www.carolinewarfield.com/bookshelf/

A Dangerous Nativity, a novella prequel to both her Children of Empire and Dangerous Series is available for free at:

Barnes&Noble   Kobo   Amazon  Smashwords