First Kiss Friday with Sherry Ewing & a Contest!

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Hello to all my wonderful readers and thanks for dropping by my First Kiss Friday blog! Today I’m hosting… well… myself and Before I Found You: A de Courtenay Novella (Book Three) in our just released set Storm & Shelter: A Bluestocking Belles Collection with Friends box set. Miss Miranda de Courtenay has had quite the journey and she’s come a long way from when she was first introduced in A Kiss For Charity. I hope you enjoy this first kiss scene and don’t forget about the Belles’ contest to find the dastardly reporter who’s hanging out at The Queen’s Barque Inn at Fenwick On Sea (see more below)! Happy reading and enjoy, my lovelies!

Excerpt:

After she had seen Grace earlier, Miranda had watched from the upper window of her bedroom overlooking the courtyard as Jasper and Nicholas left on their horses. Even remembering Jasper when he mounted that horse caused Miranda’s heart to flutter in her chest. Both men had discarded their cravats but Miranda’s gaze was focused only on one. Her eyes had wandered down to the brief glimpse of blond hair at the opening of Jasper’s shirt. Fingers tingling, she reached out to the glass pane window as though she could really feel his chest. She closed her eyes briefly as she imagined the texture of his skin. When she opened them again, their eyes met and his smile was truly wicked.

Miranda had jumped back from the window as though burned. How could Jasper be even more handsome in broad daylight than he had been in the candlelight at the ball?

Which, of course, was why she was standing here in the cold waiting for him to leave the manor. She blew air into her icy hands and was just about to give up on this idiotic notion when the door opened. Jasper began putting on his gloves and Miranda heard the distant sound of his horse being brought around from the stables.

Knowing she only had a moment to spare, she rushed from her hiding space around the corner of the house. “Jasper,” she exclaimed, loud enough to get his attention.

He looked over his shoulder and smiled before heading in her direction. Miranda drank in the sight of him. He was properly attired once more. She almost preferred seeing him at his leisure instead of the proper gentleman closing the distance between them.

“Miranda,” he said, in that unnerving French accent that caused her blood to race in her veins. He gave her a bow. “Whatever are you doing outside in the cold, ma chérie?” He took off his jacket and placed the garment around her shoulders. Such a kindness was going to be her undoing, especially when that lock of unruly hair once more fell rakishly across his brow.

The impulse was too great for her to ignore. Reaching up, she moved the hair from his forehead, and he captured her trembling fingers in his warm hands. Keeping his eyes fixated on her own, he bent forward and kissed the inside of her wrist. Dear Lord… her knees almost buckled when his lips connected with her feverish skin.

“Miranda?”

“Yes?” She continued staring up at his face as if to commit every inch to her memory so she would never forget him. From his green eyes to the dark shadow of stubble roughing his square jaw line, she couldn’t take her eyes from him. He was just as fascinating today as last evening and perhaps even more so, in a rugged kind of a way.

“Why are you outside?” he chuckled in amusement as though he had known where her thoughts had gone.

She at last remembered herself and backed up a step. He, in turn, stepped forward and continued to do so until they were out of sight of the front of the manor. It wasn’t until she felt the brick wall upon her back that she realized she had nowhere else to turn.

“I had to see you one last time,” she murmured in a breathy whisper. She leaned her head back just so she could once more stare into his eyes.

“I’m certain our paths will cross often, Miranda, at least when I’m on shore,” he said, coming so close she could feel the very heat of him radiating from his body. She almost moaned but as she placed her hands upon his muscular chest, instead a gasp escaped her. Her action was meant to halt him from coming any closer but it had the opposite effect when he pulled her into his arms.

“I don’t see how that will be possible,” she managed to say, while attempting to hold him off. Her pulse quickened and every fiber of her being craved to be held in his arms forever more. She must remember her goal, and Jasper could never fit into her plans.

“Anything is possible, Miranda. We just need to have a little patience. Time will eventually be on our side. I won’t always be at sea.” He ran a finger down her cheek, causing her to shiver in pleasure.

“It’s not about time, Jasper, because all the time in the world won’t change anything.”

He bent forward until his forehead touched her own. “I know we have only just met but, for whatever the reason, I feel drawn to you. Was I mistaken that you feel the same way?”

Her breath caught in her throat to hear his words. “No,” she said honestly. “You weren’t mistaken.”

He cupped her face so she had no choice than to give him her undivided attention. “Then, hopefully, you’ll forgive me if I do something I’ve been craving to do since last night.”

She gulped. Oh no… please don’t let him kiss me. “What’s that?” she asked instead, even though she knew what was coming.

“This…”

His lips gently slid across her own as if testing to see if she would accept the gift of his kiss. She should have pulled away but how could she deny what she herself wanted just as badly? She tilted her head to give him full access to her mouth and, when his tongue slipped inside, Miranda was completely lost. Shivers of delight swept across her entire body until she found herself wrapped in Jasper’s arms. Her hands made their way up into his hair and her fingers tangled into the soft length. He deepened their kiss without any protest from Miranda until she thought her feet would never again touch the ground.

How long their mouths danced with one another, she could not say. For one brief instant, Miranda never wanted the kiss to end. She never wanted to leave Jasper’s arms or his life. But when a soft moan escaped from her lips, the reality of what this man did to her finally penetrated her numb mind. She broke off their kiss and yet their mouths lingered near as their breaths mingled together. She may want him, but he could never offer her the life of her dreams.


WHO IS THE SNOOPING REPORTER?

As told in Storm & Shelter in eight original novellas, refugees—the injured, the devious, and the lonely, lords, ladies, and simple folk; spies, pirates, and smugglers all sheltered at the Queen’s Barque Inn. Now concern is buzzing in Fenwick on Sea and across these United Kingdoms, as scurrilous gossip about the goings on during the recent storm spread through the reports in that scandal rag, The Teatime Tattler. Who is the snoop?

YOU CAN HELP

Correctly identify the reporter and be entered to win a $100 gift card and other great prizes. There are details and instructions for entering here: https://bluestockingbelles.net/belles-joint-projects/storm-shelter/wanted-the-snooping-teatime-tattler-reporter/

CLUES

There are clues in every story in Storm & Shelter. Find more clues by following on to each stop in our Snooping Reporter Blog Hop. You may even find a giveaway on each stop so be sure to comment. You can find the first stop again here: https://bluestockingbelles.net/belles-joint-projects/storm-shelter/wanted-the-snooping-teatime-tattler-reporter/

ABOUT THE BOOK ~ Storm & Shelter: A Bluestocking Belles Collection with Friends

When a storm blows off the North Sea and slams into the village of Fenwick on Sea, the villagers prepare for the inevitable: shipwreck, flood, land slips, and stranded travelers. The Queen’s Barque Inn quickly fills with the injured, the devious, and the lonely—lords, ladies, and simple folk; spies, pirates, and smugglers all trapped together. Intrigue crackles through the village, and passion lights up the hotel.

One storm, eight authors, eight heartwarming novellas.

MY CONTRIBUTION TO THE SET: Before I Found You, A de Courtenay Novella By Sherry Ewing

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?

Today the price for the boxset is only $0.99 but it goes up to the normal price on April 20th. Grab yours at the sale price while you still can!

Buy Links for Storm & Shelter:

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

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

Angus & Robertson

A young lady’s reputation is at risk again!

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Elsie carefully balanced the tea service on the tray she carried up the stairs at The Queen’s Barque Inn. She had almost reached the top when the owner’s dog came bounding up behind her barking at her heels begging for attention.

“Not now, Hector,” Elsie said while the dog pranced around her feet. “Can’t you see that I’m busy?” The dog seemed to understand and took off for another part of the inn.

Busy! Busy didn’t even begin to describe what Elsie had been reduced to! She was a lady’s maid and not meant for the duties in the scullery, for goodness sake! But once they had arrived at the inn, Elsie had been overrun with chores after Miss Miranda de Courtenay had offered Elsie’s services. Mr. and Mrs. Brewster, who were the owners of the inn, had been more than grateful to have an extra set of hands to help with their overflowing guests who had also become stranded at the inn due to a storm.

It had taken Elsie a while to get accustomed to where everything was located since the inn was a labyrinth of confusing corridors connecting the entire inn and mismatched rooms with décor from every century of past years. You would have thought the builders would have put more planning into its construction but it appeared as though they added onto it over the years as the owners saw fit. And the cleaning! Why some rooms were so worn down they surely hadn’t seen a proper cleaning in years. Only the mice, rats, and spiders seemed to enjoy these rooms and obviously were not happy their messy domain had been ruined by busy maids.

Some rooms had been converted for the injured and Elsie had been reduced to collecting soiled bandages and used bedding to be laundered. She’d mopped and swept floors until she felt that she’d never stop sneezing from the accumulated dust that reached her nose. Finally, after a hot bath, she was now properly dressed and ready to take tea to Miss Miranda. Perhaps afterwards, she might be able to just go back to her room in the servant’s quarters and nap.

She continued down the second-floor corridor until she saw Charlotte Brewster, one of the owner’s daughters, peering down into one of the more presentable parlors of the Queen’s Barque Inn. At Elsie’s approached, Charlotte silently placed one finger over her mouth and nodded down. Elsie quietly stepped forward to view the scene. One elegantly dressed gentleman sat with two ladies who leaned forward and giggled in delight while he opened a newsprint and began to read.

Gentle Readers:

This just in from The Queen’s Barque in Fenwick on Sea!

Who was the fashionable damsel who entered the inn looking like a drenched field mouse, with no one else to give her countenance but her maid? None other but Miss d.C. Dedicated readers of The Teatime Tattler will be familiar with the escapades of this particular young miss. She has been a frequent piece of tittle-tattle in previous editions, barely escaped ruination in the past several years. There’s sure to be a bit of excitement while she’s stuck here.

Which of the several eligible peers also stranded at the inn will she set her cap on? We’ll just have to wait and see. Knowing her past, anything is possible. Stay tuned for further developments.

An anonymous reporter
for The Teatime Tattler

The gentleman finished and the ladies laughter echoed throughout the parlor. The tea service rattled in Elsie’s hand and when the group below began to look around, Charlotte quickly took Elsie’s elbow so they remained unseen by the nearby wall. Charlotte took the tray from Elsie while she attempted to catch her breath.

“Good heavens! How in the world did that rag learn Miss Miranda was here?” Elsie asked.

“The gentry aren’t the only ones who’ve been spreading the latest bit of gossip. My mum has had to reprimand more than one servant daily to keep their mouths shut whenever that newspaper gets delivered,” Charlotte said with a grimace. “You best make your way to your mistress without delay. She needs to learn that a reporter has somehow learned she’s in Fenwick on Sea.”

“It won’t be the first time her reputation has suffered because of gossip, but it hardly seems fair when this time all she’s doing is going to visit a friend,” Elise said with a frown before she realized she was telling a complete stranger Miss Miranda’s business. Elsie’s eyes widened with worry.

Charlotte gave her a small smile. “I understand,” she whispered before handing the tray back to Elsie. “I must be about the chores my mum has given me but know I won’t say a word about what we overheard.”

“Thank you,” Elsie nodded in gratitude hoping the young girl would be true to her word.

Charlotte left and Elsie took a deep breath before heading toward Miss Miranda’s room. She hesitated but an instant before she gave a short knock. At the call to enter, Elsie opened the door to view Miss Miranda sitting quietly reading a book. Elsie’s expression must have said much for Miss Miranda put the book down in her lap.

“What’s happened now?” she asked as though prepared for the worst.

Elsie placed the tray on a table then poured Miss Miranda a cup of tea, not that tea would actually calm the young lady after she learned she was once again the topic of the latest gossip. “I have news…”


WHO IS THE SNOOPING REPORTER?

As told in Storm & Shelter in eight original novellas, refugees—the injured, the devious, and the lonely, lords, ladies, and simple folk; spies, pirates, and smugglers all sheltered at the Queen’s Barque Inn. Now concern is buzzing in Fenwick on Sea and across these United Kingdoms, as scurrilous gossip about the goings on during the recent storm spread through the reports in that scandal rag, The Teatime Tattler. Who is the snoop?

YOU CAN HELP

Correctly identify the reporter and be entered to win a $100 gift card and other great prizes. There are details and instructions for entering here: https://bluestockingbelles.net/…/wanted-the-snooping…/

CLUES

There are clues in every story in Storm & Shelter. Find more clues by following on to each stop in our Snooping Reporter Blog Hop. The next stop is https://alinakfield.com/storm-shelter-release-day-blog-hop/


ABOUT THE BOOK ~ Storm & Shelter: A Bluestocking Belles Collection with Friends

When a storm blows off the North Sea and slams into the village of Fenwick on Sea, the villagers prepare for the inevitable: shipwreck, flood, land slips, and stranded travelers. The Queen’s Barque Inn quickly fills with the injured, the devious, and the lonely—lords, ladies, and simple folk; spies, pirates, and smugglers all trapped together. Intrigue crackles through the village, and passion lights up the hotel.

One storm, eight authors, eight heartwarming novellas.

MY CONTRIBUTION TO THE SETBefore I Found You, A de Courtenay Novella By Sherry Ewing

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 Miss to My Lady.

Captain Jasper Rousseau has no plans to become infatuated during a chance encounter at a ball.

Their connection is hard to dismiss, despite Miranda’s quest for a title at all cost. What if the cost includes love?

Buy Links:

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

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

Angus & Robertson


A GIVEAWAY FOR THIS STOP!

To be in the running for an eCopy of either A Kiss For Charity or The Earl Takes A Wife (Books 1 & 2 of my De Courtenay series) comment below and tell me: What are you looking forward to the most when we return to our new normal? I’ll generate a random winner Sunday, April 18th.

Good luck and don’t forget to continue on to the next stop on our blog hop at Alina K. Field’s blog here: https://alinakfield.com/storm-shelter-release-day-blog-hop/

Medieval Monday with Ruth A. Casie

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It’s Medieval Monday and we are continuing on with our First Kiss theme. Today’s guest is Ruth A. Casie who is sharing a snippet from her novel Knight of Runes. We hope you enjoy her excerpt. Happy reading, my lovelies.

Snippet:

She looked down at the sapphire, then up at him with a devastating smile. “I’ll have to ask Jeannie if I can borrow it again.” A blush painted her face a soft pink.

He pulled her close, his heart pounding an erratic rhythm. The anticipation was almost unbearable. “Sweet Rebeka, make me immortal with your kiss.” He covered her mouth with his, tasting the mead still on her breath, then he pulled away and gazed into her eyes. The very air around them sizzled.


Knight of Runes
by Ruth A. Casie

He is her key to return to the 21st century. She is the only one who can save him.

England
May, 1605

When Lord Arik, a druid knight, finds Rebeka Tyler wandering his lands without protection, he swears to keep her safe. But Rebeka can take care of herself. When Arik sees her clash with a group of attackers using a strange fighting style, he’s intrigued.

Rebeka is no ordinary seventeenth-century woman—she’s travelled back from the year 2011, and she desperately wants to return to her own time. She poses as a scholar sent by the king to find out what’s killing Arik’s land. But as she works to decode the ancient runes that are the key to solving this mystery and sending her home, she finds herself drawn to the charismatic and powerful Arik.

As Arik and Rebeka fall in love, someone in Arik’s household schemes to keep them apart, and a dark druid with a grudge prepares his revenge. Soon Rebeka will have to decide whether to return to the future or trust Arik with the secret of her time travel and her heart. 

“Ruth A. Casie, weaves an exciting and beautifully told legendary tale that is both rich and engaging.  It is full of, ‘on the edge of your seat’ suspense, mind-boggling drama and a forever-after romance. Ms. Casie’s sparkling new novel, KNIGHT OF RUNES is a winner!” ~ Romance Junkies

Buy Links: Amazon: https://amzn.to/2C73zRV

Follow along next week (April 19) for excerpt #11 here https://judithmarshallauthor.com/blog/
Please leave a comment below. Miss last week and a chance to comment? Check it out here: https://www.anastasiaabboud.com/

First Kiss Friday with Alina K. Field

Welcome to my First Kiss Friday blog! Today’s guest is Alina K. Field, who will be sharing an excerpt from her novella, The Comtesse of Midnight, found in the Bluestocking Belles boxed set, Storm & Shelter. Pre-order your copy of Storm & Shelter today for only 99 cents. Price will go up after release day, April 13, 2021. Read on for an excerpt from The Comtesse of Midnight

In The Comtesse of Midnight, a young Scottish earl seeks an elusive French Comtesse who holds the key to his true identity. When he finds her, she dashes all his hopes—and promises him new ones. Here is their first kiss: 

Excerpt:

“We’ll leave for Bloodmoor Hill Manor at first light,” he said. “About the rest…” He traced a finger along her cheek, and under her neckcloth, and then went to work single-handed untying the knot. 

The skilled touch sent shivers through her. The neckcloth fell away, as did the opening of the linen shirt. 

She’d bound her breasts, as she always did. He dipped a finger under the cloth, watching her. 

“Ye’re certain we’re not related?” he asked. 

“I am certain. Your blood is much higher than mine, my lord.” 

“What is your name?”

“Marielle Plessiers. And you are Malcolm?”

“Yes. And for now, we’re just a man and a woman.” 

She went up on her toes and their lips met. The storm picked that moment to rage harder, the wind howling again like the need boiling inside her. 

He was virile, and strong, and a man in the prime of his mating years. Oh, how she wanted him.

***

Her soft lips tasted like brandy. Malcolm clasped her more closely, inhaling her scent of fresh sea air and soap whilst she trembled against him, as if the soul-baring tales of both his mother’s suffering and her own had been true. His good sense told him to hold back trust. His heart said to comfort her. His base nature said she was his for the taking, and his base nature won out.

He pulled the tails of her shirt from her loose trousers and searched for the tie of the cloth binding her breasts, the need to see them, to touch them driving him mad. He found the knot, and unable to loosen it, ripped it, while his tongue dueled with hers and the cloth fell away. 


About The Comtesse of Midnight

A Scottish Earl on a quest for the elusive Comtesse de Fontenay rescues a French lady smuggler from the surf during a devastating storm, and takes shelter with her. As the stormy night drags on, he suspects his companion knows the woman he’s seeking, the one who holds the secret to his identity. 

Marielle Plessiers may dress like a boy and go out with the local free traders, but she’s really the Comtesse de Fontenay. She trades in spirits, not secrets, but the information she holds will change Malcolm Comyn’s life forever.

About Storm & Shelter

When a storm blows off the North Sea and slams into the village of Fenwick on Sea, the villagers prepare for the inevitable: shipwreck, flood, land slips, and stranded travelers. The Queen’s Barque Inn quickly fills with the injured, the devious, and the lonely—lords, ladies, and simple folk; spies, pirates, and smugglers all trapped together. Intrigue crackles through the village, and passion lights up the hotel.

One storm, eight authors, eight heartwarming novellas.

Buy Links:

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3kgRmLG

Apple Books: https://apple.co/3lZYHja

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/storm-shelter-bluestocking-belles/1137958115

Kobo: https://bit.ly/3o0z977

Google books: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Grace_Burrowes_Storm_and_Shelter?id=TNMhEAAAQBAJ

Books2Read: https://books2read.com/u/b5k2pO

Author Bio and links:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Medieval Monday with Cathy & DD MacRae

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I’m glad to have you returning for another Medieval Monday. It’s always a pleasure to have my friend Cathy MacRae back on my blog. We hope you enjoy this snippet from her novel The Highlander’s Pirate Bride. Happy reading and enjoy, my lovelies!]

Snippet:

She took his hand and did not resist as he drew her before him. The room, boasting little more than a sullen glow of peat on the hearth, was suddenly much too warm, the walls much too close, her gown—albeit one she’d outgrown months earlier—much too tight.


The Highlander’s Pirate Bride
By Cathy & DD MacRae

Will the theft of the wrong ship land her in a hangman’s noose? Or a Highlander’s arms?

Blurb:

As the pirate The Black MacNeill, Rona MacNeill has stolen more than one English ship to keep her clan from starving. With Yule only days away, will the theft of the wrong ship land her in a hangman’s noose? Or the arms of a Highlander?

Rona MacNeill has done everything she can to help her small, impoverished clan—except marry for money. Her luck seems to lie in stealing ships, not attracting suitors. Only days before Yule, she seeks one last ship with stores to keep her people fed over the long, harsh winter. Too bad her luck has run out.

Pedr MacLean is happy to be the younger (by three minutes) son of Baron MacLean. His days are filled with running the family’s shipping business and sailing the world. His heart belongs to the sea—or so he thinks, until one of his ships is stolen, and the woman responsible turns his world upside down.

Drawn to Rona’s strength and love of the sea, Pedr will agree to her father’s demand—information on the whereabouts of his ship in exchange for his daughter’s hand in marriage. Will Rona find herself caught between a marriage of convenience and a hangman’s noose? Or will she discover something far more compelling?

The Highlander’s Pirate Bride is the swash-buckling seventh addition to the Hardy Heroines series. If you like pirates, rags-to-riches, and swoon-worthy Highlanders, you’ll love Cathy & DD MacRae’s newest high-seas romance.

Buy link:  https://www.amzn.com/dp/B08WFJFT8D

First Kiss Friday with Rue Allyn

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Welcome to my First Kiss Friday Blog. Today’s guest is fellow Bluestocking Belle Rue Allyn who has an excerpt from her novella Wait for Me in the Belles’ boxset Storm & Shelter. The set releases April 13th. The paperback is now available and the eBook is currently up for a special preorder price of only $0.99. Grab your copy quick before the price goes up after release date. Enjoy this excerpt from Rue’s novella. Happy reading, my lovelies.

Excerpt:

An unidentifiable racket interrupted, but she could not look away. Then an unseen force pushed her in Gilroy’s direction. His arms closed about her as a storm of activity surrounded them.

“Ooof.”

Eyes wide she tilted her head and stared past his shoulder. At full speed, Hector, the dog from the inn fled out the open church door with a stream of boys trailing after him. She straightened and found herself smiling into Brandon’s face. He smiled back.

She could not have said how the kiss happened, or who broke away first. She found herself with her back against the wall, fingers to her mouth astonished at the sensations the brief meeting of lips caused.

Gilroy seemed equally surprised. He did an about face and fled, moving as if Napoleon’s entire army were on his heels.

What in the world? Her lips still tingled and confusion swirled below her stomach. In front of her, the register stood forgotten. She’d never experienced anything like that. She’d kissed men before but had never wished the activity had gone on for hours.


About Wait for Me:  Esmeralda Crobbin, aka the pirate Irish Red, and Captain, Lord Brandon Gilroy were enemies by nature who first met during a battle at sea. But fate trumps nature when a fierce storm creates a chance encounter and forced proximity. Brandon learns the pirate is a woman of serious honor and responsibility. Esmeralda discovers the captain is more than a uniform stuffed with rules and regulations. Both love the sea with boundless passion, but can they love each other?

About Storm & Shelter: When a storm blows off the North Sea and slams into the village of Fenwick on Sea, the villagers prepare for the inevitable: shipwreck, flood, land slips, and stranded travelers. The Queen’s Barque Inn quickly fills with the injured, the devious, and the lonely—lords, ladies, and simple folk; spies, pirates, and smugglers all trapped together. Intrigue crackles through the village, and passion lights up the hotel. One storm, eight authors, eight heartwarming novellas.

Storm & Shelter is available for Pre-order now for only $0.99 until release day, April 13, 2021 when the price goes up.

About Rue Allyn: Award winning author, Rue Allyn, learned story telling at her grandfather’s knee. (Well it was really more like on his knee—I was two.) She’s been weaving her own tales ever since. She has worked as an instructor, mother, sailor, clerk, sales associate, and painter, along with a variety of other types of employment. She has lived and traveled in places all over the globe from Keflavik Iceland (I did not care much for the long nights of winter.) and Fairbanks Alaska to Panama City and the streets of London England to a large number of places in between. Now that her two sons have left the nest, Rue and her husband of more than four decades (Try living with the same person for more than forty years—that’s a true adventure.) have retired and moved south.  When not writing, enjoying the nearby beach or working jigsaw puzzles, Rue travels the world and surfs the internet in search of background material and inspiration for her next heart melting romance. She loves to hear from readers, and you may contact her at Rue@RueAllyn.com.  She can’t wait to hear from you.

Find Rue Online

Website~~https://RueAllyn.com

Blog~~ https://www.rueallyn.com/blog/

Facebook~~https://www.facebook.com/RueAllynAuthor

Twitter~~https://twitter.com/RueAllyn

Amazon~~https://www.amazon.com/Rue-Allyn/e/B00AUBF3NI/

Goodreads~~https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5031290.Rue_Allyn

Pinterest~~https://www.pinterest.com/RueAllyn/

Keep up with all the news about Rue Allyn and deals for her books, Sign up for Rue’s News quarterly newsletter here, and receive a free download.

Medieval Monday with Barbara Bettis

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It’s another Medieval Monday and today’s guest is Barbara Bettis who is sharing a snippet from her novel The Lady of the Forest. Happy reading and enjoy, my lovelies!

Snippet:

One quick flip and she’d be under him, pinned to the ground at his mercy. His body approved the idea, but his mind attempted to impose control. Although he relished the sensation of her length pressed against him, he winced at a jab to a scar along his ribs, and his inconvenient erection began to soften.

The absurdity of their plight made him smile. “I could make any number of suggestions in this position.” 

“You’re too wise for that.”

“Ummm. I will say this.” He slid his hands down her back, over her curves, and up her sides. “For such a soft lady, you have the sharpest elbows in the shire.”

His hands wrapped around her upper arms, and a rumble grew low in his belly.


The Lady of the Forest
By Barbara Bettis

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.

Buy Link –  http://amzn.to/2gIrn1j

First Kiss Friday with Caroline Warfield

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Welcome to my First Kiss Friday blog! Today’s guest is Caroline Warfield who will be sharing an excerpt from her novella The Tender Flood found in the Bluestocking Belles’ box set Storm & Shelter. The boxset is currently on sale at a special preorder price of only $0.99. Grad your copy before the price increases. Release date is April 13th! Read on and enjoy this excerpt, my lovelies.

In THE TENDER FLOOD a coachman who believes himself beneath an earl’s granddaughter tries to keep his distance. He fails. This is their first kiss.

Excerpt:

“I’ll check the barn one last time. Be ready to go.”

Patience groaned. Her heart fell, forcing her to admit she had hoped for a declaration—of affection of—she refused to think farther than that. She grabbed up the few things she meant to take in a sack, including a jug of milk for Hercules. A sound at the door drew her attention; he had come back and stood holding the door jamb with both hands.

Before she could speak, he crossed the room and pulled her into a crushing embrace, taking her mouth with his until her knees failed and she had only his embrace to rely on.

***

Insanity born of hope. Zach could think of no other explanation for his behavior. When she responded to his kiss with sweet passion, coherent thought eluded him. One dainty hand slid up his neck and into his hair as if to pull him closer. The other clung to his shirt. He pulled his mouth away forcing himself to gentle the kiss, only to nibble the corner of her mouth and kiss his way across her cheek to her ear.

She groaned and followed his lead, the difference in their height, enabling her to kiss his neck just above his collar. An urge to tear his shirt off to give her access shook him, bringing him to his senses. He removed the hand that had somehow migrated to her round little behind and the one around her back anchoring her to him, gripping her by her upper arms instead.

He held her away, but not far, their mouths still inches apart.

“A gentleman would have offered for you first thing this morning, before Banks even arrived. This display of behavior—”

“Are you saying you aren’t a gentleman, Zach?” She wrinkled up her nose, teasing him adorably.

His laugh tasted bitter on his tongue. “I’m no man of leisure, wealth, or title. Isn’t that the definition of a gentleman?”

“If behavior matters, you’re more gentleman than all the social climbing fops who thought to pursue my uncle’s favor by courting me.”

That startled him. It cooled his heated blood like an ice bath. “Is that what happened? Why you aren’t married?”

She nodded shyly, dipping her forehead to his chest. “It was long ago.”

“Fools the lot of them,” he muttered, kissing the top of her head. “Come sit. We need to speak rationally, and I can’t with you this close.”


ABOUT THE TENDER FLOOD

Neither battle nor loss of his leg destroyed Zachery Newell. Working as a coachman, he tries to build a life in spite of his injuries, while he plans for the sort of life he knew in childhood, happy and content above his father’s print shop, but when a woman races out of the storm and into the stable yard of The Queen’s Barque with a wagon full of small boys, puppies, and a bag of books, he is enchanted.

Dismissed by a charity school, Patience Abney struggles on her own to create The Academy for the Formation of Young Gentlemen to give every boy a happy and productive life. Now the roof has caved in. Though she managed to get her boys to the safety of an inn, she has no idea how she will rebuild.

Zach knows Patience, the granddaughter of an earl, is far above the touch of shopkeeper’s son. He tries to keep his distance, but when the two of them make their way across the flooded marsh to her damaged school in search of a missing boy, attraction grows into passion, complicating everything.

ABOUT STORM & SHELTER

Eight Authors, Eight Heartwarming Novellas, One Catastrophic Storm

When a storm blows off the North Sea and slams into the village of Fenwick on Sea, the villagers prepare for the inevitable: shipwreck, flood, land slips, and stranded travelers. The Queen’s Barque Inn quickly fills with the injured, the devious, and the lonely—lords, ladies, and simple folk; spies, pirates, and smugglers all trapped together. Intrigue crackles through the village, and passion lights up the hotel.

BUY LINKS:

Amazon US |  Apple Books | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

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

Angus & Robertson

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Award winning author of family centered romance set in the Regency and Victorian eras, Caroline Warfield has been many things, and believes she is now in at least her third act. She works 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 while she nudges them to explore the riskiest territory of all, the human heart. 

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Medieval Monday with Mary Morgan

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Our Medieval Monday with our First Kiss theme is rolling right along. I’m always happy when I can have my friend Mary Morgan on my blog. Mary is here to share an excerpt from her latest novel Magnar. We hope you enjoy this excerpt. Happy reading, my lovelies!

Snippet:

He gritted his teeth—her words sparked outrage from his inner beast. Glancing over his shoulder, he offered, “Then which would you prefer? Halvard or me? Make your choice, Elspeth. Did you not consider I do not favor this union either?” 

Confusion marred her features. She fisted her hands on her hips and glanced upward. “Did you argue against this marriage with King William?” 

“Aye.” 

“Yet he convinced you?” 

Aye.” 


MAGNAR
(The Wolves of Clan Sutherland, Book 1)
By Mary Morgan

The Wolf surrenders to no one.

Blurb: 

Known as the Barbarian, Magnar MacAlpin is a fierce ruler for those under his command. As leader of the Wolves of Clan Sutherland, his loyalty and obedience lies with Scotland. However, the king’s last demand is not something Magnar will tolerate.

After Elspeth Gunn’s brother the Chieftain of Castle Steinn is murdered, she flees with her nephew, and finds safety amongst a band of men who are rumored to be part wolf. When the king forces her to wed a heathen Northman, she fears losing her heart and soul not only to the man, but the beast as well.

In order to restore peace to a shattered clan, Magnar and Elspeth travel a treacherous path that challenges their beliefs. When evil seeks to destroy ancient traditions, will Magnar be compelled to restrain his wolf or allow him free to protect those he loves?

Buy Links:

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | APPLE BOOKS | KOBO

Last week’s snippet on Ruth A. Casie’s blog: http://ruthacasie.blogspot.com/
Follow along next week on Judith Sterling’s blog: https://judithmarshallauthor.com/blog/

First Kiss Friday with Cerise DeLand

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Welcome to my First Kiss Friday blog with fellow Bluestocking Belle Cerise DeLand. Today Cerise is sharing an excerpt from her novella LORD STANTON’S SHOCKING SEASIDE HONEYMOON. This marvelous story is found in the Belles’ box set Storm & Shelter that releases on April 13th. It’s currently on a special preorder sale for only $0.99. Be sure to grab yourself a copy at this reduced price. We hope you enjoy this excerpt and happy reading, my lovelies!

Excerpt:

SETTING: March 28, 1815

Townhouse of Russell Downey, the sixth earl of Stanton, the night before his wedding to Miss Josephine Meadows, the daughter of his associate, a merchant with whom he often deals to buy supplies for Wellington’s Army on the Continent.

Stantontook her hand. “Come. I’ve something to show you.” 

Josephine could have sworn his bright blue eyes danced, declaring enticing things.

Up the grand main staircase he led her to the second floor, down the long hall, to stand before a set of double doors.

He opened both wide. “Your suite. Or rather, soon to be.”

She gazed upon a sitting room, big as her bedroom in St. James’s Square. And nearly empty.

“Furnishings are spare. The two Hepplewhite chairs you may change, of course. The floor needs rugs. Come in here.” He led her into the chamber with a door ajar to a smaller room, most likely her boudoir. Here before her stood only a gigantic clothes press and smaller French lingerie chest. But there was no bed.

She swung, her mouth open to ask why not.

“I ordered my housekeeper and butler to prepare a list of items the room needed for you. They did, but I must say I failed to choose anything.”

“You’re busy,” she said in quick excuse for him.

“That’s not it at all.”

“No?” Dare she hope he intended to take her to his bed? Tomorrow night? And all the nights thereafter?

He threw out his arms in frustration. “I did not know what to get for you. What you’d like.”

I’d like to sleep with you.

“I want you to have everything you desire.”

The lump in her throat grew large.

“I want you to choose. You have excellent taste.”

“Do I?” she asked, wistful, charmed and so unaware he had ever noticed any details about her person.

That gave him pause. “I know you do. From the green gowns you favor that turn your eyes to emerald and the pinks that accentuate the blush in your cheeks. You are quite stunning.”

No one had ever called her stunning. “Thank you.”

He looked at a loss, this man who had commanded hundreds, fought his opponents to the death and who now ran the logistics of supplies that would either make or break the Duke of Wellington’s forces against the little Frenchman who would not stay in exile.

She got her wits about her. “I didn’t expect you to go to such expense for me.”

“Money has no place in marriage. Not in anyone’s. Not in ours.”

“I agree. And for this, I am delighted to do it.” She smiled and spun, arms out, in full circle to welcome the joys of her marriage. Then she went with her impulse and took two steps toward him, and on her tip-toes, reached up to kiss his lips. Briefly. Too briefly.

He clutched her upper arms and as she stepped away, cleared his throat. “I want you to be comfortable. And happy, Josephine.”

“As I will work to make you happy, Stanton.”

“You’ll make me delirious if you use my given name.”

She tipped her head to and fro. “I must practice.”

“Say it now, then.”

“Russell.”

He cocked his right brow. “Russ.”

She let her eyes dance. “Russ.”

“I want this for you, my dear. A completely new start. I owe it to you and to myself. Changing whatever relics of the past that now do not apply to our future.”

“I wish to be your loving helpmate.” 

Once more, he reached out to her and this time, stroked the backs of his fingers down her cheek. “As I will be yours. I am determined to be a good and willing partner, Josephine. Tomorrow I repeat words made by man, meant for God and others. To many who say them, hear them, they are useless. A sign, merely, of lawful commingling. A seal of financial union. I swear to you my words bear none of that. None.”

“Nor will mine.” Ever since I first set eyes on you, I have wanted you for my own. Sans title, money, land. 

His sky blue eyes grew stormy with new happiness and old pain. “Hear me, Josephine. Please, as this revelation is new for me. But I will tell you. I do not wish to belabor you with old sorrows but I will have you know this about me. This, which few have ever learned from my lips.” He seized a breath. “My first marriage was no union of like minds or pleasures.”

He had never spoken of his first wife to her and she doubted to her father, either. While the gossip about the late Countess of Stanton was sparse, the lack of information irritated Josephine especially now that she had accepted his proposal of marriage. A woman who valued an abundance of facts in her work, she knew the past would be vital to understand…and just as vital to avoid duplicating. 

He stared at her. “I married my first wife out of duty. Friendship among our families and land that marched beside each other’s led to an expectation that she and I marry to seal the union of affections. From childhood, I never questioned it. Neither did Henrietta.”

Torment sluiced over his brows and he dropped her hands as if they burned him. Josephine swayed toward him, the magnet of his touch, the hurt of his rejection had always drawn her toward him no matter where he strode.

He took up a stance near the mantel, an Adam’s creation of stark white. His severe black dinner attire created a pillar of harsh contrast to the alabaster. His hand to his lips, the swipe of his fingers across his mouth gave her notice that he meant to continue in this dark vein of remembrance. 

“Growing up together we thought we knew each other. Certainly we valued the same things, didn’t we? The same friends. The Berber horses our fathers raised. The hunt. Poetry.” His pause sent a chill up her back and the hair on her arms lifted. “She wanted to marry young and quickly. Her father had died and her older brother had married. She wished to set up her own house. I agreed to that, to everything. I was free. A carefree lad. Randy, actually. And I had the money. Why should I not marry and indulge us both, eh?

“But I did not see that my agreements were one-sided. I wanted the city. She wanted the country. I wanted the work of Parliament and my friends who worked at Whitehall. She wanted the solitude of her dogs and her roses. When I heard the call of the cavalry and the need to defend my country, she did not approve of my decision to join the Hussars. She demanded I return home and give her babies, days of idling in gardens and reading and pulling deadheads from rosebuds.”

He ran a hand through his hair. The thick mass rumpled wildly around his aquiline features. “She ordered me not to join, not to leave her alone in the country. I refused. For the next few months, she ran hither and yon about the country. Without word of her whereabouts, she kept me guessing. She also kept the ton in ripe gossip. She led me a merry chase. When I learned finally that she had returned home to the Hall, I went there and confronted her. She was wild. She bargained with me. She’d stay in one place if I quit the service and came home to her. She required a constant attendance I could not give her. When I refused, she turned…ugly and took an andiron to me. I bear the scar.”

Josephine’s mouth fell open. She’d never asked how he’d acquired it, assuming it was a battle scar. “Oh, my dear.” 

He swung toward her, the horrified look upon his face warning her off. “I left her that night and never returned. I went off to Portugal and Spain, and learned first-hand the delicate art of supplying thousands of men and animals on the march in a foreign land. A year later while I was there, she died of catarrh. I had her buried in her family’s crypt. Six years ago, when I returned home to England, I had the Hall in Bury St. Edmonds stripped of all she’d put into it. Since then, I’ve had a few essential rooms redecorated. That house, too, awaits your kind touch.”

He’d told her last week that he’d written to tell staff there that they would arrive at a future date for a wedding holiday and that she would attend to the renovations.

He threw her a wan smile. “When I married her, I was twenty years old. She was eighteen. I thought I knew her. She said we were…cut from the same cloth. Ah, but what does one know at eighteen?”

I knew I loved you. That first afternoon, when my father brought me into his offices and introduced his friend, the dashing creature who ensured soldiers had uniforms to clothe them, blankets to warm them, beef to sustain them, shot and rifles and cannon and boots.

“I am sixteen years older now, Josephine, and I do hope much wiser. I see in you, my dear, much that resembles my own temperament. You love people and your work, your father and young brother. You see joy in living and cultivate it. I want to make a good husband to you, Josephine, and I promise to give you the best of me.”

No declaration of love, but she would take it. “Thank you, Russ. I do not marry you lightly. I’ve had suitors.”

His face broke into a rueful smile. “I know you have. Many, I would say.”

She took his good humor and wished to build on it. “I refused them all.”

“Good prospects they were, my darling.”

At his use of that endearment, she noted progress in his regard of her. “You knew, did you?”

He grinned. “Your father and I are very good friends.”

She flowed nearer to him, her hands flat to the silk of his waistcoat. “I was never attracted to any of them.”

“I often wondered why. They were young. James Caffrey of Hammond Lane was only twenty-five when he asked for your hand three years ago. And what’s-his-name English? Thomas English is rich as Midas. Clothier to His Majesty’s Army makes him a good catch.”

She toyed with a button on his waistcoat. “Youth and money have their charms but I was not enchanted.”

“Your father was astonished you refused.”

Years ago, he was. Not lately. “Many times, he asked me why. I’m shocked he told you about their proposals.”

Russ reached for her, his large sure hands cupping her cheeks. “Your papa sprinkled details like lures to a treasure. In truth, I heard more from my friends, tidbits of gossip that you would not have any of them. And I rejoiced.”

Her heart pounded with his admission. “I wish I’d known.”

“Do you?” He hooted, hugged her close and kissed her forehead. “Minx! With every man you refused, I could not keep up with the parade.”

“Surely, sir, you can count to five.” 

He guffawed. “Your father counted eight.”

“That many? How complimentary!” She wrapped her arms around his waist and drew back to admire the man who would be hers at last. Here in this noble, honorable, hard-working creature was all she had ever desired of love. “I wanted only you.”


LORD STANTON’S SHOCKING SEASIDE HONEYMOON,
in Storm & Shelter: A Bluestocking Belles Collection with Friends
By Cerise DeLand

She is so wrong for him.

Miss Josephine Meadows is so young. In love with life. His accountant in his work for Whitehall. Her father’s heir to his trading company—and his espionage network.

Lord Stanton cannot resist marrying her. But to ensure Wellington defeats Napoleon, they must save one of Josephine’s agents.

Far from home, amid a horrific storm, Stanton discovers that his new bride loves him dearly.

Can he truly be so right for her?

And she for him?

STORM & SHELTER, Box set, $0.99 cents on pre-order! 800 pages of delight!

Buy Link: Books2Read: https://books2read.com/u/b5k2pO

About the Author:

 Cerise counts more than 50 published novels to her credit, most of them historical romances. She’s won awards, earned fabulous reviews but she treasures most the readers who have celebrated her work since she was first published in 1991. Her days are filled with the characters she imagines come to her home for tea and dinner to discuss their love lives. Those guests have always made for intriguing conversation on her morning walks or during her morning swims. Is she addicted to writing? Of course, she is. And she declares there is no happier way to live!

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