First Kiss Friday with guest Jude Knight

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It’s First Kiss Friday and it’s my pleasure to welcome back my friend and fellow Bluestocking Belle, Jude Knight. Jude is sharing an excerpt from her novella in our box set Never Too Late. The first kiss in Forged in Fire comes nearly at the end of the novella. Sorry for the spoiler. But then you knew they had a happy ending, didn’t you? Happy reading!

Excerpt:

He tucked Lottie’s hand into his arm and began to stroll again.

“I cannot go off to the other side of the world, Lottie. I’d be leaving my heart behind.”

“You love New Zealand so much?”

“I love you.”

He let Lottie stop him again, but would not release the hand she tried to pull from his grasp. Tears stood in her eyes and she was shaking her head. He could barely stand at the blow, but she was asking a question and he made himself listen through the howling of his thoughts.

“How can you? You barely know me.”

“I know you. I have seen you under fire, and if ever a person is true to themselves, it is when they face death. I have seen your dignity and your courage, Lottie. I have fallen in love with your intelligence, your kindness, and your strength. If it is too soon, will you at least give me hope? Will you let me woo you?”

The tears were spilling over now, running ignored down her cheeks, but her eyes glowed as she smiled. “Perhaps that would be best. For a short time. Just to be sure that the love we have found is true, and not a chimera of the night.”

“You love me?” Now it was hope that roared, bubbling up to fill him.

“I think I do. I believe I do.”

Tad pulled Lottie into his arms. “Then a wooing it shall be, dear heart. For a short time.” She lifted her lips for a kiss, and he began his wooing.

***

Forged in Fire is a novella in Never Too Late,
the 2017 box set of the Bluestocking Belles.

Eight authors and eight different takes on four dramatic elements selected by our readers—an older heroine, a wise man, a Bible, and a compromising situation that isn’t.

Set in a variety of locations around the world over eight centuries, welcome to the romance of the Bluestocking Belles’ 2017 Holiday and More Anthology.

It’s Never Too Late to find love.
25% of proceeds benefit the Malala Fund.

1181 ~ The Piper’s Lady by Sherry Ewing

True love binds them. Deceit divides them. Will they choose love?

1354 ~ Her Wounded Heart by Nicole Zoltack

A solitary widow, a landless knight, and a crumbling castle.

1645 ~ A Year Without Christmas by Jessica Cale

An earl and his housekeeper face their feelings for one another in the midst of the English Civil War.

1795 ~ The Night of the Feast by Elizabeth Ellen Carter

One night to risk it all in the midst of the French Revolution.

1814 ~ The Umbrella Chronicles: George & Dorothea’s Story by Amy Quinton

The Umbrella Strikes Again: St. Vincent’s downfall (aka betrothal) is assured.

1814 ~ A Malicious Rumor by Susana Ellis

A harmonious duo is better than two lonely solos for a violinist and a lady gardener.

1886 ~ Forged in Fire by Jude Knight

Forged in volcanic fire, their love will create them anew.

1916 ~ Roses in Picardy by Caroline Warfield

In the darkness of war, hope flickers. In the gardens of Picardy, love catches fire.

Buy Links:

Amazon US  | Barnes & Noble   | iBooks  |  Kobo | Smashwords

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

Bio:

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. She writes historical novels, novellas, and short stories, mostly set in the early 19th Century. She writes strong determined heroines, heroes who can appreciate a clever capable woman, villains you’ll love to loathe, and all with a leavening of humour.

Blog Swap with my guest Ariella Moon

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Today I would like to welcome my guest Ariella Moon. Ariella and I are swapping blogs today to feature our latest releases. Read on for an excerpt from Ariella’s latest novel, The Amber Elixir. Isn’t her cover just stunning?

Excerpt:

Glynis, a priestess of Avalon, Viviane’s handmaiden and more, shook her head. “All this because you stole Merlin’s spell book.”

“Merlin challenged me to steal the tome, remember? I bested him, and he retaliated by imprisoning me in ice!”

Glynis’s knuckles whitened as she tightened her grip on the cloth bundle she carried. “Challenged? We are no longer nine years old, nor Merlin eleven. He is King Arthur’s Mage now, and you are the Lady of the Lake. The time for childish games has long passed.”

“I—”

“Merlin encased you in ice! You could have died.” Hurt and fury tinged Glynis’s words. “For all I knew, you had died.”

“Had I not cast a spell forward in time, and brought back the one person who could free me—”

“Lady Fenella paid a high price for helping you. We all did.”

“Glynis, I—” She stepped towards Glynis, but the priestess backed away, rocking the barge. Rebuffed, Viviane breathed in the cold acrid air then rubbed her arms inside her heavy cloak. In a softened voice she said, “My remorse knows no bounds.”

“You appear unharmed.” Glynis brushed back an errant lock of her pale blond hair. “Merlin’s spell must have protected you from the cold.”

“He cast it so I would suffer…just enough to remind me he is the master, and I, the apprentice.” The memory of Merlin’s cruel punishment—his betrayal—still shivered her core.

Glynis shook her head. “After three years of formal apprenticeship—”

“Each dark moon.”

“It has come to this. Why did Merlin imprison you here? Surely he knew your sanctuary would be ruined.”

“Spite. Revenge. Jealousy.” She frowned at the water’s unnatural green bloom.

“Mayhap.” Glynis’s eyebrows pinched together.

“’Tis the only explanation.” Viviane fumed.

“Merlin is impulsive, but he acts with purpose.” Glynis adjusted the sack. “Mayhap he wondered why you needed a sanctuary on another isle. Was Avalon not enough? Were your priestesses such disappointments, that even Avalon’s lake provided inadequate escape?”

Viviane stepped closer. “You never disappointed me.”

Glynis averted her gaze.

“No lessons, no rituals fully prepared me for becoming Lady of the Lake. I came to the sanctuary to remember my roots.” She frowned as she spied a scorched stump, the sad remains of an ancient pine she used to sit beneath. Viviane’s voice fell to a husky whisper. “I clung to the part of me that is still human.”

“But your one true desire had been to become a goddess—the Lady of the Lake.”

Viviane uttered a harsh laugh. “As usual, I had not fully thought through the consequences—such as outliving the people I love.”

High color bloomed in Glynis’s cheeks.


Blurb:

 Viviane, the new Lady of the Lake and High Priestess of Avalon, accepts a challenge from Merlin unaware her bold actions will have tragic consequences. Two of her priestesses are turned to stone. A forbidden love deserts her. Now alone, she has six young handmaidens to train and protect.

When Morgan le Fay demands assistance with a spell that could change the balance of power in the Two Realms, Viviane refuses her. But what if Morgan’s secret knowledge could restore the stone priestesses? Would an alliance with the sorceress prompt Viviane’s love to return? Or will the gamble cost her all she holds dear?

Buy Links
Amazon US | Barnes and Noble | Kobo
Amazon AU | Amazon CA | Amazon BR | Amazon DE | Amazon ES | Amazon FR | Amazon IN | Amazon IT | Amazon JP | Amazon MX | Amazon NL | Amazon UK

About Ariella Moon

Ariella Moon draws upon her experiences as a shaman to create magical Young Adult fiction. Her series include The Two Realms Trilogy, a medieval Scotland and Fairy fantasy romance, Two Realms Novellas, origin stories of characters and magic in the Two Realms, and The Teen Wytche Saga, a series of sweet contemporary paranormal romances. Ariella’s “Covert Hearts” appears in Second Chances: A Romance Writers of America Collection.

Ariella spent her childhood searching for a magical wardrobe that would transport her to Narnia. Extreme math anxiety, and taller students that mistook her for a leaning post, marred her youth. Despite these horrors, she graduated summa cum laude from the University of California at Davis. She lives a nearly normal life doting on her extraordinary daughter, two shamelessly spoiled dogs, and a media-shy dragon.

Ariella loves to hear from her readers. You can reach her at:

http://www.ariellamoon.com
http://www.ariellamoon.blogspot.com
http://www.facebook.com/ariellamoon.author
http://www.goodreads.com/AuthorAriellaMoon
http://www.pinterest.com/ariellamoon/
http://instagram.com/authorariellamoon

Find my excerpt from The Piper’s Lady within the Bluestocking Belles box set, Never Too Late here.

 

Medieval Monday with guest Laurel O’Donnell & a Giveaway!

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Welcome to the 11th week of our First Encounter theme for Medieval Monday. I would like to welcome back today’s guest, Laurel O’Donnell who has a snippet from her novel, The Angel and the Prince. Don’t forget to leave Laurel a comment here on my blog to be in the running for this theme’s giveaway. The winner will be randomly chosen at the end of this theme. Read on and enjoy!

Excerpt:

Ryen’s eyes glittered with the challenge.  No man had ever needed two doses.  But this was the great Prince of Darkness.  A second dosage ought to bend his will, she thought, as she again touched the powder.  The white flecks adhered immediately to her fingers.  She raised her hand, but as she neared he turned away and her fingers brushed his cheek, moving across his open wound.  Ryen pulled back quickly, staring down at his blood on her fingers.  When she looked up she saw the Prince of Darkness force back a cry of pain.  She knew he was cold.  So very cold.  His shoulders were hunched against the chill of the powder.  Her gaze traveled over his naked chest.  She was awed by the size of the corded muscles in his neck and shoulders, the firmness of his chest, the ridges in his flat stomach.  His body shuddered, and then he was still.

Blurb for The Angel and the Prince by Laurel O’Donnell

In this exciting medieval romance, the French lady knight known as the Angel of Death wages a battle of wills and desires against her dreaded enemy — the English warrior known as the Prince of Darkness.

Ryen De Bouriez is a French warrior, dedicated to protecting her country against the hated English. In place of glittering ball gowns, she wears shining armor. Instead of practicing the gentler arts, she wields a sword. Those who whisper her name in fear and awe call her the Angel of Death.

Bryce Princeton is the Prince of Darkness, an English knight sent by his king to find and destroy their most hated adversary — the Angel of Death. Little does he know that his enemy is no man at all, but a beautiful woman who will challenge his heart and honor at every turn.

Forced to choose between love and honor, the Angel and the Prince wage a battle of wills that challenges everything they have ever believed in.

Buy Link
Amazon

Don’t forget to leave a comment for your chance to win a signed copy of The Angel and the Prince!

Follow along next week for Laurel’s next snippet at Nicole Locke’s website here.

You can find my snippet on FOR ALL OF EVER at Laurel’s website here!

First Kiss Friday with Sherry Ewing

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Welcome to another First Kiss Friday. Today I’m featuring… well… myself and my first kiss scene between Neville Quinn, Earl of Drayton, and Lady Gwendolyn (Worthington) Sandhurst from Nothing But Time: A Family of Worth (Book One). In this scene, Gwendolyn’s younger brother Brandon has arranged for her to meet Neville and have a quiet dinner together. Such a mischievous brother, right? Happy reading and enjoy!

Excerpt:

The door shut behind him, leaving her alone with Neville. The draperies to the room were closed allowing the outside world no admittance to the intimate setting within. She shivered, not from fear, but more that she was actually here… with him.

“You came,” his throaty words, uttered softly in her ear, had her resisting the urge to lean back into his body that was almost touching her backside.

“Yes, I came. I know I should have remained at home, but here I am.” She turned to face him.

“I am pleased you decided to join me,” he declared holding out his hand. “May I?”

She reached up to take his outstretched fingers. He took hers and gently tugged at her glove before putting it into his jacket. “Something for me to always remember you,” he whispered, before raising her hand to place a kiss on the inside of her wrist, “not that I could ever forget you.”

“Nor I you, Neville.” She could feel her eyes glistening over with unshed tears. The warmth of his hand in hers was almost her undoing. Until this very moment, she had not been aware how much she craved even the gentlest of touches from another.

“Come, you must be famished,” he urged, ushering her to the table. “If you will permit me, I will be your most obedient servant this evening.”

“Really? Obedient? Such a vow could land you in trouble, my lord,” Gwendolyn teased.

“I was in trouble the moment I first discovered you at luncheon that day, let alone when I walked through your brother’s door.”

“I do not regret meeting you here, Neville.”

“Nor I, Gwendolyn.”

Neville held out her chair and Gwendolyn sat down into the cushion. His hand came to rest lightly upon her shoulder and she reached up to give it a slight squeeze. He went to the sideboard and began putting an assortment of food upon their plates before setting hers at her place on the table. With the wine poured, they began to eat in silence for several minutes, each lost in their own thoughts.

“Tell me of yourself,” Neville asked, before taking a sip of his wine.

“What is there to tell? I had a normal upbringing, most likely similar to your own. Being the daughter of a duke does have certain responsibilities or opens many doors if you have need of something.”

“And what do you stand in need of now?”

Gwendolyn sighed. “That is a difficult question to answer, for there are many things I wish were different in my life. I know I should not speak of it, but my marriage is a shambles and hardly one you read about in a romance novel.”

“I would not have our conversation upset you, Gwendolyn. You need not speak of your marriage,” Neville replied, reaching across the table for her hand.

“How can I not? I do not mean to be a bore, but you must understand that for me to be here with you, alone, is completely out of character. I do not make a habit of late night trysts with men I barely know. Betraying my husband will surely land me in hell.”

“Then we will go there together. Let me also confess I do not make a habit of stealing another man’s wife. Yet, you must admit there is something between us that cannot be explained. I know you feel it, too.” Neville pushed back his chair, took her hand and led her to a settee. She began to move to one side but he would have none of it. “Do not go so far away. I would have you close to me. You are mine… at least for as long as this night will allow us.”

His hand continued to hold onto hers and she gave up any further protests that may have spilled from her lips. They would have been falsehoods and there was no sense lying to the man who was tearing down the last defenses to her heart.

She raised her eyes to meet his. There was so much promise hidden within the depths of those piercing hazel orbs. “I can never truly be yours, Neville, just as surely as you can never be mine.”

“We have nothing but time this night, Gwendolyn,” he murmured, leaning forward he pressed a kiss upon her temple.

“Time… this evening will pass too swiftly, and then I will once more be returned to the nightmare of my life.”

“Then do not think of what the morrow will bring. Tonight, I will keep you safe at my side.”

Gwendolyn leaned her head upon his shoulder and he put his arm around her. Safe. He was like a boat anchor keeping her grounded whilst the waves crashed against the shore, attempting to pull loose the ropes that would keep her moored to a dock. Yet, the reality of her life remained with her and her conscience would not let go of the values she had adhered to all her life.

She leaned back to look up at the most handsomest man she had ever beheld. “I cannot become your mistress, Neville,” she confessed. He stroked his hand through her hair so gently she almost burst out into tears at the injustice of it all.

“I know,” he whispered, before leaning down to give her their first kiss.

How could she have known just one taste would make a simple kiss so meaningful? How could she have known a kiss could be so pleasurable? How could she have known her life would change forever in the instant their breath mingled as one? She had changed, and she now knew what everyone spoke of when they said they were in love. Love… she had fallen in love with Neville the moment she had first seen him. However in the world would she live without him? More importantly, how was she supposed to return home to a husband she could not help but hate?

Neville held Gwendolyn in his arms and swore he wished never to let her go. He deepened their kiss and a fire erupted in his loins he would be hard pressed to put out. If she only knew what she did to him with the simple gesture of cupping his face, she would have run from her brother’s house and never looked back. What had they gotten themselves into?

He broke off their kiss and disappointment flashed in her eyes. “Do not stop, Drayton,” she murmured seductively.

Neville smiled knowing from the use of his title she was miffed at him. “I cannot take much more, my sweet Gwendolyn.” He pressed forward to nibble on her pouting lower lip. “I am only a man after all, and your sweet charms will be my undoing if we continue.”

She put her arms around his neck and pulled. “Just one more. Make me forget everything else but you.”

Neville groaned and gave in to her demand. How could he not, when she begged him for another kiss? He pressed her down so she was lying on the settee, but when their bodies molded together as one, her eyes flew open wide. There was no way to hide his arousal pressed intimately against her.

The grin he gave her must surely appear wicked. If he did not know better, he would have said her reaction was virginal, but surely that could not be the case? She was a married woman and must know what she was doing.


Nothing But Time
A Family of Work: Book One

You can learn more about Nothing But Time by clicking on the Book tab above. Thanks for stopping by today and be sure to leave me a comment! I hope you enjoyed this excerpt.

Buy Links:

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Medieval Monday with Ceci Giltenan & a Giveaway

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Welcome to our tenth week of our first encounter Medieval Monday theme. Are you still commenting on our blogs to be in the running for our giveaway? Let’s hope so. I’m happy to welcome Ceci Giltenan and her snippet from Highland Redemption. Happy reading and don’t forget to leave her a comment!

Excerpt:

Tomas remembered Father James. He was exceedingly kind and Lady Katherine had adored him. Tomas had known he must have surely passed away by now, but his heart ached a little anyway. Almost without thinking, he made the sign of the cross and said a silent prayer for his soul.

Vida had a slightly bemused look on her face. “That was kind of you.”

“I’m sorry, what?”

“Saying a prayer for the soul of a stranger. It was kind.”

A stranger. Right. Tomas had to be more careful. “I…uh…I have known priests who were dear to me. And I suppose it never hurts to pray for the soul of a priest.”

“Nay, I don’t suppose it does. But it was kind of you anyway.”


Blurb:

Tomas’s life changed forever when at the age of seven he was adopted by Laird and Lady Maclan ending the abuse he’d suffered at Ambrose Ruthven’s hand. He’d never looked back and never intended to

But fate had other plans…

Now, nineteen years later, he runs headlong into his past. The Ruthvens are in trouble and Tomas is in a position to help them. But can he set aside his hatred for Laird Ruthven for the good of the clan into which he was born?

Fate always adds a twist…

Laird Ruthven’s daughter is not what Tomas expected. Vida Ruthven is sweet, smart, and utterly irresistible.

Now, Tomas must choose between being the savior or taking the ultimate revenge.

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Highland-Redemption-Duncurra-Legacy-Novel-ebook/dp/B071NL216N

Follow along next week on Elisabeth Hobbe’s website: https://elisabethhobbes.co.uk/. Remember to leave a comment for a chance to win an e-copy of Highland Redemption or another e-book of your choice by Ceci Giltenan.

You can also find my next snippet from For All of Ever at CeCi’s blog here.

First Kiss Friday with my guest Regina Jeffers & a Giveaway!

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Today on First Kiss Friday, it’s my pleasure to introduce you to Regina Jeffers who will be sharing a bit of history and an excerpt from, The Earl Claims His Comfort. Read on and enjoy!

In most historical romances, the idea of a peerage passing from one male in the family to another is part of the plot line. But exactly what was the procedure when a peer holding a title passed?

First, let us clear up some misconceptions. The first of those is the difference between an heir apparent and an heir presumptive. The heir apparent can only be the peer’s oldest living son or the oldest of his grandsons ( son of the oldest son), if the peer’s oldest son is deceased. What’s most important to remember is that “if a man inherits a peerage, it is because he is the eldest surviving legitimate male who can trace a direct (father to son) lineage back to an earlier holder of the peerage. In other words, he doesn’t inherit because he was the brother or the cousin or the uncle of his predecessor, but because his own father, or grandfather, or great-grandfather, or great-great-grandfather, etc., was an earlier holder of the peerage. [“Eldest” in this context doesn’t mean that he happens to be the oldest of several different living men who can trace a direct line back to an earlier holder of the peerage, but rather that his line is the eldest, i.e., eldest son of eldest son; and all other lines senior to his have died out.]” (“Hereditary Peerages” https://www.chinet.com/~laura/html/titles03.html)

Letters patent customarily state the order of descent, usually through the male line. Only legitimate children (meaning the parents are married at the time of the child’s birth—not necessarily the time of his conception) are permitted to succeed to a peerage. This means that the peer has NO choice as to whom will succeed him. He CANNOT disown his heir. Without a son as the heir apparent, most patents will have the peerage become extinct. Occasionally, the letters patent will permit a brother or nephew or cousin to inherit (as in the case of Admiral Lord Nelson), and rarely females/daughters may inherit. All is determined by how the the letters patent are worded. Nothing can be changed after the patent by which the peerage was created are signed.

Meanwhile, an heir presumptive can be the peer’s brother, uncle, cousin, etc. The heir presumptive will never be the heir apparent. He can NEVER be presented with one of the courtesy titles associated with the peerage.

What of tradition? If a peer dies, his heir does not automatically assume the peerage’s seat in the House of Lords. For several reasons, there is a “waiting” period. The most obvious reason to wait is to determine if the deceased peer’s widow is pregnant. This would also be in effect if the heir apparent likewise dies, as in, for example, a father and son killed in a carriage accident. If so, the heir presumptive must wait to determine if there is to be a child and if that child is a son.

If an obvious heir is available (with no question of waiting) the new peer is not presented by his new title right away. Likely, the estate servants, solicitors, and other who serve him, will call him by his new title, but as a matter of courtesy to the widow and any children, he is not summoned to the House of Lords until after the funeral. This was not a legal matter, but more a matter of etiquette. However, because it was not a matter of law, but of custom, there was a wide variation in the observance. After the funeral and the will are addressed by the executor, the new peer sends a petition to the Lord Chancellor, asking that a writ of summons to the House of Lords be sent so he can take his seat in the current or next session of Parliament. The heir must PROVE to the HOL that his parents were married at the time of his birth, that he is the son they delivered from the mother’s pregnancy, that he is 21 years of age (reached his majority), and that he is a member of the Church of England.

If no son exists, the heir presumptive must assume the burden of proof. He follows the same procedure, except that he must also prove that he and his father and all others between him and the deceased were legitimate descendants of the original holder of the letters patent and that they are dead. Once the proofs are accepted, a writ of summons is sent to the new peer for him to take his seat in the House of Lords.

So what happens if the heir held an honorary title of viscount or such at the time of the peer’s death, would the HOL call him to the House under that title? The answer is NO.

He would only be called to the House of Lords in his father’s barony—if the father had one.

He would be a viscount socially, but a baron in Parliament.

Image Citation: Woman and children mourning at a gravestone, via The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1822. Dirge Magazine. http://www.dirgemag.com/victorian-post-mortem-photography/

 


Introducing The Earl Claims His Comfort: Book 2 in the Twins’ Trilogy, releasing September 16, 2017, from Black Opal Books – a 2016 Hot Prospects finalist in Romantic Suspense

Hurrying home to Tegen Castle from the Continent to assume guardianship of a child not his, but one who holds his countenance, Levison Davids, Earl of Remmington, is shot and left to die upon the road leading to his manor house. The incident has Remmington chasing after a man who remains one step ahead and who claims a distinct similarity—a man who wishes to replace Remmington as the rightful earl. Rem must solve the mystery of how a stranger’s life parallels his, while protecting his title, the child, and the woman he loves.

Comfort Neville has escorted Deirdre Kavanaugh from Ireland to England, in hopes that the Earl of Remmington will prove a better guardian for the girl than did the child’s father. When she discovers the earl’s body upon a road backing the castle, it is she who nurses him to health. As the daughter of a minor son of an Irish baron, Comfort is impossibly removed from the earl’s sphere, but the man claims her affections. She will do anything for him, including confronting his enemies. When she is kidnapped as part of a plot for revenge against the earl, she must protect Rem’s life, while guarding her heart.

Excerpt:

Excerpt from the end of Chapter 4 and the beginning of Chapter 5…Miss Comfort Neville and Lord Remmington have successfully fought off two attackers, who meant him harm.

Scrambling to recover the gun he dropped upon the bed when he tumbled backward, Rem staggered toward the open portal. There was a second assailant somewhere in the house, and he must find the man before the culprit brought harm to Miss Neville or the child. Stumbling through the opening, the sight of Miss Neville wielding a heavy cooking pot and standing triumphantly over the crumpled form of darkly clad attacker brought Rem up short.

She glanced to him with real concern crossing her features. “Please tell me you did no additional harm to your leg,” she said in a breathy voice.

Rem could not help but smile. “I am not a complete incompetent in such matters.”

She still held her pot high, as if to strike the man another time. “No, just a complete hoodwink to test your recovery.”

For some insensible reason, her remark did not sit well with Rem. Perhaps it was because he desired her good opinion. He ignored her lofty accusation as his eyes narrowed. “Would you have me accept my attacker’s intent?” he demanded testily.

The woman’s mind never ceased to amaze him. Rather than arguing with him, Miss Neville giggled, as if in alarm. “I would have you remove this cookery from my grip. I do not think my fingers can be pried free.”

With a shake of his head in disbelief, Rem crossed to her and scooped Miss Neville into his arms. He tugged the pot from her grasp to set it on the table beside her.

“All is well,” he cooed, as she snuggled deeper into his embrace. Rem realized she trembled from fright, as well as from relief.

“I feared I failed you,” she confessed.

Rem’s lips grazed her temple. “On the contrary,” he whispered. “We are quite an invincible pair. I find you the most remarkable woman of my acquaintance.”

“Why would someone make two attempts on your life, my lord?” the lady pleaded. “Assist me to understand.”

“I wish I knew the answer,” Rem whispered. “But know I mean to untangle the mystery.”

Rem’s embrace tightened about her, edging Miss Neville closer. Her heat warmed his body from chin to abdomen. The rightness of her in his arms nearly knocked his defenses off kilter. His emotions screamed with disorientation. He told himself his reaction was that of any man to the temptation of an exceedingly handsome woman, but Miss Neville’s uneven breathing invaded his reason. He used his fingers to lift her chin so he might look upon the woman’s countenance. The lady’s brilliant eyes sparked with recognition. Despite being the type of woman he customarily avoided, Rem realized he wanted her more than he thought possible.

She was fine boned with a sprinkle of freckles across her nose. In the pale light of the banked fire, her hair lacked the spark of red noticeable in the daylight. Even so, an otherworldly halo surrounded her. Rem could not explain what provoked him to act upon his desire. Mayhap it was Malvern’s voice in his head, encouraging Rem to claim a bit of happiness, or mayhap it was simply pure insanity. Slowly he lowered his head to brush his lips against hers. Although he had yet to taste her, Rem recognized the desire melding them into one.

“My lord,” she groaned as he edged her deeper into his embrace.

And then the moment ended as quickly as it began.

“Miss Neville!” Deirdre called. The child’s voice echoed through the servants’ hall.

Rem shoved Miss Neville from his hold and took a step back. He could see the confusion crossing the woman’s features, but she recovered quickly. By instinct, she turned to capture Deirdre into her arms as the child burst into the room only a few steps ahead of Elda and Sally.

“I am fine,” Miss Neville assured as she nestled Deirdre closer. “His lordship and I are unharmed. Just a couple of men down on their luck, looking to steal a meal and something to pawn. Likely they did not expect the house to be occupied .”

Rem was thankful for the banyan for it covered the remains of his desire. Through a still husky voice, he instructed his servant, “Sally, you go out to the barn, and tell Peter to hustle up to the main house and inform Sir Alexander and Lord Malvern that I require their assistance post haste. Afterward, I wish Peter to fetch Mr. Underwood to tend these men.”

“Yes, my lord.”

“Elda, you return Miss Deirdre to her room.” Rem leaned forward to caress the child’s cheek. She was the spitting image of her mother, at least the image Rem still retained of Miss Pillips, except for her eyes, which he was sore to admit were of the nature of the ones he viewed in the mirror each day. “You were very brave to rush to Miss Neville’s rescue, but both the lady and I wish you safe. You go with Elda, and as quickly as we secure these two intruders, both Miss Neville and I will come to your quarters and answer all your questions.”

The child’s bottom lip trembled, but she asked, “How will you climb the stairs, my lord?”

“Have no care,” he told the child in sympathy. “For you, I will conquer even the steepest mountain. Moreover, if worse comes, I will order my servants to carry me above stairs. What good is it to be an earl if one cannot wield a bit of power.”

With remarkable maturity, the child straightened her shoulders, and her gaze met Rem’s. “You are very good, my lord. I’d think your servants would perform the task gladly.”

Rem thought of Mr. Flood, but he kept his opinions to himself. He would find a means of removing control from Flood’s hands without usurping a long-time servant. Rem blamed himself for permitting Flood so much control. He had turned his back upon his home seat. He had performed his duties to the employment of the villagers and the upkeep of the estate, but he had never sown the seeds of loyalty that belonged to his father and brother. It was difficult to build connections when one was never in residence. The acknowledgment was a poor excuse.

After her proclamation of his goodness, Miss Deirdre hugged him about the legs before accepting Elda’s hand. As odd as it would sound to others, Rem wished to call the child back and claim a bit of her innocent loyalty, for it had been too long since he knew such kindness.

“Your attentions prove well for her, my lord,” Miss Neville said as she stood slowly to glance about the room. “We have ourselves another conundrum, your lordship.”

“We will begin by securing my assailants’ hands and feet before they come to, and then we will discuss what just occurred,” he instructed.

“Nothing occurred, my lord.”

Rem’s frown lines deepened. Before the attack, he had dreamed of seducing her, and then she was there before him and so vulnerable he could not resist capturing her into his embrace. He had known the woman only a sennight, and she had already shredded his well-honed defenses. Since Delia’s desertion, Rem had carefully constructed walls about his emotions and his heart, and he did not approve of what he was about to do, but he did it, nonetheless.

Catching Miss Neville’s hand, he jerked her into his arms. At the same instant, Rem lowered his head to claim her mouth in desire. Although her awkward need announced the woman an innocent, he fused their lips in a heated exchange. When she gasped, Rem’s tongue invaded her mouth, demanding she return his passion. Surprisingly, the woman clung to the silky banyan and his shoulders, and she pressed her luscious curves against the flat planes of his body.

Pure unadulterated want warmed every bone in his body, and it took every ounce of his renowned discipline to withdraw his mouth from hers. The thought of tossing his attacker out into the kitchen for Malvern and Sir Alexander to question, while he carried Miss Neville into the small bedroom and to bar the door, caught him with its intensity. It was insanity that he practiced, but all Remmington wished was to mark Miss Neville as his.

“There. Now you cannot claim nothing occurred,” he whispered huskily against her temple.

The woman swayed against him. “Remind me to avoid future arguments with you, my lord,” she murmured.

“Do not tell the others, but know that I find you quite fetching when you offer your opinions,” he said with an ironic chuckle. “Now, assist me with our intruders before the marquess and Sir Alexander find us clutching each other so intimately.”

His words unsettled her composure. She flushed with color before stepping from his arms. At length, she opened her mouth to offer an apology, but Rem halted her words with his warning. “If you mean to offer me your regrets, Miss Neville, I will tolerate none of them. Our intimacy was the first time I have felt alive in some five years. Do not spoil it with false forgiveness.”

He spoke the truth. Even when he had kissed Miss Lovelace, Rem felt only the pleasantness of finding a comely female in his embrace. At the time, he thought the response enough to bring him happiness. Now, he doubted anything less than a love relationship would satisfy him.


Angel Comes to the Devil’s Keep: Book 1 of the Twins’ Trilogy – a 2017 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense finalist -a SOLA’s Eighth Annual Dixie Kane Memorial Award finalist for Historical Romance

Huntington McLaughlin, the Marquess of Malvern, wakes in a farmhouse, after a head injury, being tended by an ethereal “angel,” who claims to be his wife. However, reality is often deceptive, and Angelica Lovelace is far from innocent in Hunt’s difficulties. Yet, there is something about the woman that calls to him as no other ever has. When she attends his mother’s annual summer house party, their lives are intertwined in a series of mistaken identities, assaults, kidnappings, overlapping relations, and murders, which will either bring them together forever or tear them irretrievably apart. As Hunt attempts to right his world from problems caused by the head injury that has robbed him of parts of his memory, his best friend, the Earl of Remmington, makes it clear that he intends to claim Angelica as his wife. Hunt must decide whether to permit her to align herself with the earldom or claim the only woman who stirs his heart–and if he does the latter, can he still serve the dukedom with a hoydenish American heiress at his side?


Meet Regina Jeffers

With 30+ books to her credit, Regina Jeffers is an award-winning author of historical cozy mysteries, Austenesque sequels and retellings, as well as Regency era-based romantic suspense. A teacher for 40 years, Jeffers often serves as a consultant for Language Arts and Media Literacy programs. With multiple degrees, Regina has been a Time Warner Star Teacher, Columbus (OH) Teacher of the Year, and a Martha Holden Jennings Scholar and a Smithsonian presenter.

Every Woman Dreams: https://reginajeffers.wordpress.com

Website: http://www.rjeffers.com

Austen Authors: http://austenauthors.net

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Regina-Jeffers-Author-Page-141407102548455/?fref=ts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/reginajeffers

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Regina-Jeffers/e/B008G0UI0I/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1479079637&sr=8-1

Also on Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+.

Now for the GIVEAWAY. I have two eBook copies of The Earl Claims His Comfort available to those who comment below. The giveaway will end at midnight EDT on Monday, October 9.

Medieval Monday with Nicole Locke & a Giveaway!

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It’s week nine for our Medieval Monday blog hop and today’s guest is author Nicole Locke. Nicole is sharing a snippet from her novel Her Christmas Knight so be sure to read on and leave her a comment to be in the running for our giveaway. Enjoy!

Excerpt:

The seal slipped in her suddenly damp hands. She knew that nose. She had broken that nose. Reluctantly, against her will, she raised her eyes to his again. He was still studying her.

She felt permanently latched to him. She could not move even to let air into her lungs. Oh, she didn’t want to, but she knew those eyes. And they knew her. There was no confusion in their blue depths, there was only…waiting.

But he couldn’t be the man she knew. She hadn’t heard from him or seen him for more than six years. She’d thought him dead. She wanted him dead.

‘Hugh?’ The name escaped before she knew she still had a voice, and the corner of his lips lifted.

She knew that crooked smile. She knew that smile all too well.


Blurb:

A knight to protect her—this Yuletide 

By order of the English king, Alice of Swaffham searches London nobility for the traitor dealing information to the Scots. Little does she know that the mysterious spy she seeks is the man she once loved and thought she’d lost forever…

If Hugh of Shoebury felt unworthy of Alice before, as the Half-Thistle spy he can never claim her heart. Now he must fight to keep not only his dark secrets—and Alice—safe from a vengeful king…but also his burning longing for her at bay!

 Buy Links:

Amazon: myBook.to/Lovers-n-Legends6
Harlequin: https://www.harlequin.com/shop/authors/24841_nicole-locke.html

Next Monday, Nicole is at Elisabeth Hobbes’s blog here.
You can also find my snippet on For All of Ever on Nicole’s blog here.

First Kiss Friday with Caroline Warfield.

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This First Kiss Friday, my dear friend Caroline Warfield brings us a scene in which the weary physician, Salvatore, can’t resist stealing that first kiss. You don’t want to miss Caroline’s upcoming release, Lady Charlotte’s Christmas Vigil. Happy reading and enjoy!

Excerpt:

“Salvo?” a muffled voice queried from the bed.

He started to back out. Too late.

Lottie sat up, her cotton nightclothes white in the moonlight. “What is it? Are the boys worse?” She pulled the covers back and swung over to sit on the edge. The movement pulled her gown high over one knee and gave him a view of graceful feet and a slender leg.

“Don’t get up, Lottie. Are you well?” He raised the candle to see her face better. The purple smudges under her eyes hadn’t abated.

She looked back, puzzled. “Well enough. Why did you come?”

His eyes scanned her, from the glorious hair to the tips of those graceful toes. He tried to remind himself of his professional demeanor, but diagnosis played no part in this scrutiny.

“Salvo?” Lottie asked, her voice thick.

“I’m sorry, Lottie. You should not be embroiled in my family’s crisis.”

She pulled her gown down to cover herself. He suspected she blushed rather in the semi-darkness, but he couldn’t pull his eyes away.

“I don’t mind. It feels good to be needed. Besides, David looks better every day. I have you to thank for that.”

His feet moved into the room before he could tell them to stop.

She frowned at him. “You look exhausted. You can’t care for patients all day and stay up all night. Let me take over with the boys.” She rose. “You get to your bed.”

He had her in his arms before either could take another breath.

“Thank you,” he breathed against her mouth, just before he kissed her.

Lottie pulled back and gasped. He would have pulled back then, but a second later, she moved closer and pressed her mouth to his. He tasted her gently, but didn’t probe. He cupped her face, so he would not pull her up against his arousal, though he yearned to drag her close. He kissed her eyes and down her cheek before setting her away from him.

Lottie raised trembling fingers to her mouth. “Salvo?”

“That was shameless of me, but I can’t regret it.”

 

About the Book

 Love is the best medicine and the sweetest things in life are worth the wait, especially at Christmastime in Venice for a stranded English Lady and a handsome physician.

 Lady Charlotte clings to one dream—to see the splendor of Rome before settling for life as the spinster sister of an earl. But now her feckless brother forces her to wait again, stranded in Venice when he falls ill, halfway to the place of her dreams. She finds the city damp, moldy, and riddled with disease.

As a physician, Salvatore Caresini well knows the danger of putrid fever. He lost his young wife to it, leaving him alone to care for their rambunctious children. He isn’t about to let the lovely English lady risk her life nursing her brother.

But Christmas is coming, that season of miracles, and with it, perhaps, lessons for two lonely people: that love heals the deepest wounds and sometimes the best dreams aren’t the ones we expect.

Preorder now at
Barnes & Noble |  Amazon

About the Author

 Traveler, would-be adventurer, former tech writer and library technology professional, Caroline Warfield has now retired to the urban wilds of Eastern Pennsylvania, and divides her time between writing and seeking adventures with her grandbuddy and the prince among men she married. Her new series sends the children of the heroes of her earlier books to seek their own happiness in the far-flung corners of the British Empire.

 

 

Find Caroline on the Web:

Website http://www.carolinewarfield.com/

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

Good Reads http://bit.ly/1C5blTm

Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/carolinewarfield7

Twitter https://twitter.com/CaroWarfield

Email warfieldcaro@gmail.com

Newsletter:   http://www.carolinewarfield.com/newsletter/

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

Medieval Monday with Barbara Bettis & a Giveaway!

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Please help me welcome to Medieval Monday my guest, Barbara Bettis. Barbara will be sharing a snippet from her novel, The Lady of the Forest. Be sure to leave her a comment to be in the running for our giveaway. Happy reading and enjoy!

Excerpt:

“Who are you?” he rasped. “And what are you about here?”

“The lord of Stonehill sent word to watch for a stranger.”

Her tone had deepened, roughened. Did she really believe he’d think her a boy?  “And he said to attack this stranger, bind him like prisoner?”

“He did.”

An unwelcome suspicion wormed into Henry’s aching head. “Why?”

“He said the man is a traitor to England and must die.”


BLURB:

He must pursue his enemy; she must protect her people. Can their love survive the duties that drive them apart?

When her elderly husband dies, Lady Katherine fakes her own death and disappears into the forest with others escaping the brutish new lord. Determined to protect her people, she knocks the wrong man senseless. But Lord Henry isn’t an enemy, he’s the brother of her childhood friend. Although his tender confidence tempts her, she’s bound by duty.

Henry of Chauvere has found the one lady he wants for his own, never mind she’s tied him hand and foot. When he learns the king has ordered her to wed Stonehill’s ruthless new master, he insists Kate seek haven with his sister. But she won’t desert her friends. Henry vows to solve her problem, provided he catches a traitor before the threat from Kate’s past catches her.

When a daring rescue compels Henry and Kate to join forces, their attraction grows into love. If only duty didn’t drive them apart.

AMAZON  TWRP

Follow along next week at Elisabeth  Hobbs’s: https://elisabethhobbes.co.uk/   Don’t forget to comment for a chance to win an e-copy of The Lady of the Forest.

Find my snippet of For All of Ever, on Barbara’s blog here.

First Kiss Friday with Judith Sterling

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Today on First Kiss Friday I have author Judith Sterling and her first kiss scene from her novel Flight of the Raven. We hope you enjoy this excerpt. Happy reading and enjoy!

Excerpt:

William stood before the cold hearth with his back to the door.  His commanding presence diminished the sweeping arch of the vacant fireplace.

“Leave us,” he ordered without turning.  “Shut the door behind you.”

The heavy, oak door slammed shut.  The stone walls reverberated from the force of it.

Emma studied the sheen of his straight, black hair, the proud set of his shoulders, and the wide, leather belt which cinched his ebony tunic at the waist.  An eternity might’ve passed while she waited for him to acknowledge her presence.  When at last he turned, his dark eyes blazed.

Her stomach lurched.  “Y-you wished to see me?”

He glowered at her in silence.  A chill of foreboding ran through her, but she stood her ground.

A full minute later, he still hadn’t spoken.  Her patience waned.  If he expected her to read his mind, he could think again.

She cleared her throat.  “You obviously need time to collect your thoughts, so I’ll leave you to them.”

“You will stay right here,” he ruled in slow, measured words.  His scorching gaze belied his smooth tone of voice.  “I sent for you to discuss your betrayal.”

She swore under her breath.  Someone must’ve divulged her plan to stay celibate.  If only she’d told him sooner.

“I can explain,” she said.

“Save your breath.  There’s only one explanation.”

“You said ‘discuss.’  A discussion requires two opinions.”

“An opinion laced with lies doesn’t count.”

“But if you—”

“Silence!”

His shout echoed off the prison walls.  Her stomach churned, but she clamped her lips shut.

“Now,” he said, lower in pitch, “listen and learn.  A traitor can challenge the king’s reach, but only a fool underestimates mine.  My men know this.  Legions of Saracens—alive and dead—know it.  Wulfstan will know it too.”

“What has Wulfstan to do with this?”

William grunted.  “You play innocence well.”

“Truly, I know not whereof you speak!”

“I speak of your escape…tonight…with Wulfstan.”

“What?”

“My squire was in the mews while you were plotting your little scheme.”

“Holy Mother!”  Frantically, her mind snatched up the pieces of what was said and where.  “’Twas Gertrude’s idea.”

“A welcome one, reportedly.”

“I considered it, but—”

“So you confess.”

“No!  Your spy heard but part of the conversation.  In the end, I chose you.”

He snorted.  “Right.  And I sell genuine relics of the saints.”

She glared at him.  With quick, deliberate steps, she closed the space between them.  “Then I’ll fetch my purse, for I speak the truth.”

“I am no fool.”

No, she thought, but you’re a veritable god of arrogance.

A lord of intimidation, too.  Why else would he summon her to the prison tower?  With dispatch, her desire to explain the curse, and its implications to their wedding night, died.

For an instant so brief she might’ve imagined it, his expression changed.  He looked almost…wounded.

“Does the thought of marrying me so disgust you?” he asked.

His dark, infinite eyes became her world.  “Not at all.”

Large, warm hands clasped her upper arms.  “Is Wulfstan your lover?”

“No.”

“Liar.”

“Tyrant.”

His mouth claimed hers.  She wrenched her head to the side, tried to break away.  His grip tightened.  His lips demanded more.

Emma thought fast.  She couldn’t match his physical strength.  But maybe, if she didn’t resist, didn’t react in any way, he’d release her.

She willed herself to relax.  Almost at once, his lips slackened.  They became softer, gentler.  Intrigued, she relaxed further.

His lips brushed hers and left a tingling warmth in their wake.  She liked the sensation, but the longer he fed it, the more she wanted the full pressure of his mouth.  A low sound of protest vibrated deep in her throat.

William moaned, and his hot tongue nudged her closed lips.  A curious action.  Not unpleasant, though, so she opened her mouth.  His tongue slipped inside and began a slow, thorough exploration.  In response, she flicked her tongue against his.

He groaned.  The sound was raw, exciting.  His hands burned a path from her arms down to her hips.  His tongue darted deeper, faster.  Her mouth tingled.  Heat tantalized her belly.  Never had she felt so alive.

Blurb:

How eager would the bridegroom be if he knew he could never bed the bride?

Lady Emma of Ravenwood Keep is prepared to give Sir William l’Orage land, wealth, and her hand in marriage.  But her virginity?  Not unless he loves her.  The curse that claimed her mother is clear:  unless a Ravenwood heir is conceived in love, the mother will die in childbirth.  Emma is determined to dodge the curse.  Then William arrives, brandishing raw sensuality which dares her to explore her own.

William the Storm isn’t a man to be gainsaid.  He’ll give her protection, loyalty, and as much tenderness as he can muster.  But malignant memories quell the mere thought of love.  To him, the curse is codswallop.  He plans a seduction to breach Emma’s fears and raze her objections.  What follows is a test of wills and an affirmation of the power of love.

Buy Links:

Buy at The Wild Rose Press

Buy at Amazon

Buy at Barnes and Noble


Author Bio:

Judith Sterling’s love of history and passion for the paranormal infuse everything she writes. Flight of the Raven and Soul of the Wolf are part of her medieval romance series, The Novels of Ravenwood. The Cauldron Stirred is the first book in her young adult paranormal series, Guardians of Erin.  Written under Judith Marshall, her nonfiction books—My Conversations with Angels and Past Lives, Present Stories—have been translated into multiple languages. She has an MA in linguistics and a BA in history, with a minor in British Studies. Born in that sauna called Florida, she craved cooler climes, and once the travel bug bit, she lived in England, Scotland, Sweden, Wisconsin, Virginia, and on the island of Nantucket. She currently lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and their identical twin sons.

Social Media:

Website – https://judithmarshallauthor.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/judithsterlingfiction/

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16291161.Judith_Sterling

Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B01MT3KB7L

The Wild Rose Press – https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/2212_judith-sterling