New Release from Caroline Warfield!

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What a great surprise to learn that I didn’t have to wait until October to read my friend Caroline Warfield’s latest release. Music on the Waters hit my Kindle last night and I can’t wait to read it. Be sure to grab yourself a copy and congratulations, Caroline!

Music on the Waters
By Caroline Warfield
Available now for $0.99

Sir Alexander Bradshaw, solid Scots merchant, needs to acquire a wife, a sensible woman who can manage his unruly sons and sullen daughter. As Orkney’s long, dark winter approaches with no suitable candidates, an acquaintance suggests a music teacher might occupy his daughter. He embraces at the idea.

Ann Dunwood let herself be lured to Orkney by the opportunity to play The Kirkwall Organ. For the beauty of the instrument, she can endure the tedium of choirs and parishioners who wish only for the most banal of hymns; she’s done it before. She knows how to fade into the shadows and keep to her place.

When Alec comes upon her filling the cathedral with a Bach fugue he is enchanted by the magical creature at the keyboard. The object of his fascination sinks into a demure young woman when the music ends. Alec determines to get the magical creature back, and quickly discovers she can fill his life with the music it sorely needs. How long before their solos become a duet?

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B086SGRWSG/

Bio:

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. In her newest series, Children of Empire, three cousins torn apart by lies find their way home from the far corners of the British Empire, finding love along the way.

She has works published by Soul Mate Publishing and also independently published works. In addition she has participated in five group anthologies, one not yet published.

For more about the series and all of Caroline’s books, look here:

https://www.carolinewarfield.com/bookshelf/

Medieval Monday with Sherry Ewing

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Welcome back to Medieval Monday and our nature theme! I’ll be starting us out this week as I give you a scene from my upcoming medieval/time travel Love Will Find You: The Knights of Berwyck, A Quest Through Time (Book Four). I just know you’re going to love my older couple Ella & Killian. You’ve seen them before. Now they get their happily ever after! Read on and enjoy, my lovelies!

Excerpt:

Dusk had fallen, the sky a heavenly splash of color in rich pink and purple. Every part of Ella’s body gave a silent scream of protest. She had had enough of the beast beneath her. Her fingers clenched Killian’s tunic to the point her knuckles were white while she continued to hold on as if her life depended on it. Who was she kidding? She was afraid to let go for she was certain she would find herself slipping from the horse and possibly breaking a bone or two during her descent to the ground. This riding a horse business was better left to those who grew up around the wretched animals from the time they could first walk.

During the hours of their travel, Killian had kept, for the most part, silent. The only exception was a word or two encouraging her that her time in the saddle would soon be at an end. They were making good progress on their journey south. But no matter how many times he said they would reach their destination shortly, Warkworth Castle was nowhere in sight. ’Twas obvious they would not reach its gates this eve and she could blame no one but herself since she had insisted on resting on several occasions.

Love Will Find You:
The Knights of Berwyck, A Quest Through Time (Book Four)
By Sherry Ewing

Sometimes a moment is all we have…

Ella Fitzpatrick is a woman with a secret. As she comes and goes from Berwyck Castle, seeking refuge within its gates, she yearns to be reunited with the one for whom she crossed time from the twenty-first century. She has lived another lifetime in the twelfth century waiting for the date of their reunion and it is almost upon her. But how could she have known the man she believes she loves is not the person she needs?

Killian of Clan MacLaren has been infatuated with Ella for many a year but has guarded his heart, knowing her affection lies with another. When Ella must flee Berwyck, Killian vows to escort her to her encounter with destiny. But passion flares between them and there is no doubt the bond they have is far greater than either of them expected.

Their time together is running out. Killian has a decision to make that might give him and Ella a future together. If you could change someone’s past, would you seize the moment?

Release Date: May 19, 2020
Available for preorder now
Buy Links:

Amazon US  |  Apple Books  | Barnes & Noble |  Kobo

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

Be sure to join me next week for another excerpt on Ruth Casie’s blog here: http://ruthacasie.blogspot.co.uk

First Kiss Friday with guest Caroline Warfield

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It’s First Kiss Friday and we’re going to ring in the month of May with my dear friend Caroline Warfield. Caroline has a new book coming out in October and I’m excited to read an excerpt of what she has in store for us with Music on the Waters. Take it away Caroline!

Music on the Waters concerns a lonely widower and a brilliant musician he has hired to teach his daughter. Late one night the two of them have pulled a Beethoven duet from the music cabinet and have been attempting to play it.

Excerpt:

Halfway through, their playing became entangled, until Alec broke off laughing, bowing his head to the piano. Ann convulsed, as if his laughter infected her with madness. They laughed until tears ran.

“How could we—” she began, gasping for air.

“The arrogance of it!” he replied.

“Maybe with a year of practice,” she said, catching her breath.

“A year? Surely a month or two would suffice,” he asserted.

She beamed at him; he thought it the most beautiful sight he had ever seen. When she opened her mouth to reply, the luscious line of her lower lip drew him. He froze, unable to pull his gaze away.

She closed her mouth slowly, and he leaned forward longing to kiss, his common sense in full retreat.

When she licked her lower lip, he was lost. He closed the distance until their breaths mingled.

“Sir Alec?” she murmured before he touched his lips to hers.

“Alec,” he said against her mouth, moving his lips and touching hers with his tongue. She didn’t pull away. He moved back mere inches, enough to look for any sign of distress. Her wide, expectant eyes sent him back for more.

Just a taste, he thought.

When she opened for him, he was lost. He pushed the bench back from the piano and pulled her into his lap, one arm about her shoulders anchoring her to him, the other caressing her waist and hip.

She gripped his shoulders, holding on as if for life. Her untutored responses to his kisses sent a warning through him, but he ignored it. When the hand at her waist slipped up to cup one breast, she stiffened, and he pulled it away, lifting his head to look at her again. She whimpered and shivered in his arms, leaning her mouth toward his, but he pulled her against his shoulder.

He dropped his head to hers, reveling in the silken feel of her hair. “I should apologize.”

She pulled herself up. “No, I—”

She didn’t object when he pulled her back. “Don’t. You’re a beautiful woman and a brilliant musician. I refuse to regret kissing you.” They sat together for long moments, her head nestled against his shoulder and his arm around her waist, until he kissed her neck and set her back on the bench.

Music on the Waters
By Caroline Warfield
Preorder now for $0.99

Sir Alexander Bradshaw, solid Scots merchant, needs to acquire a wife, a sensible woman who can manage his unruly sons and sullen daughter. As Orkney’s long, dark winter approaches with no suitable candidates, an acquaintance suggests a music teacher might occupy his daughter. He embraces at the idea.

Ann Dunwood let herself be lured to Orkney by the opportunity to play The Kirkwall Organ. For the beauty of the instrument, she can endure the tedium of choirs and parishioners who wish only for the most banal of hymns; she’s done it before. She knows how to fade into the shadows and keep to her place.

When Alec comes upon her filling the cathedral with a Bach fugue he is enchanted by the magical creature at the keyboard. The object of his fascination sinks into a demure young woman when the music ends. Alec determines to get the magical creature back, and quickly discovers she can fill his life with the music it sorely needs. How long before their solos become a duet?

Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B086SGRWSG/

Bio:

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. In her newest series, Children of Empire, three cousins torn apart by lies find their way home from the far corners of the British Empire, finding love along the way.

She has works published by Soul Mate Publishing and also independently published works. In addition she has participated in five group anthologies, one not yet published.

For more about the series and all of Caroline’s books, look here:

https://www.carolinewarfield.com/bookshelf/

 

 

 

 

First Kiss Friday with Sherry Ewing & a Giveaway!

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Today on First Kiss Friday I’ll be sharing the first kiss scene from Love Will Find You that releases on May 19th. I’m super excited for this full-length novel to hit your eReaders. I just know you’ll love Ella & Killian and their journey through Time! Be sure to read to the end to learn about my giveaway. Happy reading and enjoy, my lovelies!

Excerpt:

Her tears tore at his heart, for he had not heard such suffering in many a year. Aye, she had indeed held her emotions in for far too long, if the river of tears soaking his tunic was an example of how she was feeling. He picked her up, even though she protested while still clutching at his tunic. She weighed next to nothing as he carried her to one of the window seats set into the rock wall. Keeping her on his lap, he leaned over to open the shutter to let in the ocean breeze.

She hiccupped, still trying to take in huge gulps of air to calm herself. She made an attempt to disengage herself from his arms but he only tightened them around her. “Dinnae fash yerself, Ella. I vowed I would keep ye safe and keep ye safe I shall, even it if means I must needs take ye myself tae see yer lover.”

Where such a commitment came from, Killian had no idea. Now that he had made the promise, he was not sure if he would be able to just stand idly by while he handed the woman he cared about over to another man. He had never acknowledged his feelings towards Ella to anyone but himself, but she had unknowingly owned his heart for several years now. How could he have confessed such inner yearnings when he knew she pined away for another?

“He was never my lover,” she murmured, almost giving him hope. Wiping her eyes, she gazed upon him sheepishly before scooting off his lap. “I am most sorry for breaking down in such a manner. I do not know what came over me, for I always thought I was made of sterner stuff. What you must think of me.” She turned her head to look out at the dark night sky.

“Ella…”

“This is so embarrassing.” She buried her face in her hands to hide from him.

“Ella…” He tried again to coax her to look upon him. When his words failed, he reached over, took her hands from her face, and tipped her chin up so he could see directly into her eyes.

His only thought was to give her the reassurance she needed, that he would keep her safe. But as he searched her face while staring into her trusting eyes, he knew he was forever lost. He was about to tell her they would ride out before the dawn. Truly, such was his intention. But as he watched her lips part to draw a deep breath, any thoughts of remaining level headed fled in that one instant as the time and space between them seemingly stood still.

He knew he would regret his rash decision, but Killian did not care. To hell with what he should and should not do! He would take and treasure this one moment, for he knew her heart belonged to another. But right now, in this very instant, Ella belonged to him. Without any further thought, and before he changed his mind, he lowered his head to kiss her lips.

***

Their breaths mingled on a heartbeat. Soft. Gentle. Searching. ’Twas an exploration of two beings trying to find one another while a rush of excitement shivered within their souls. A groan escaped her parted lips as she drew in her next breath. Never before had she felt such a deep yearning as she did now.

She knew what it was to live on the outside, yearning for the romance that had passed her by. This kiss was outside of her experience.

Killian must have taken the sound as encouragement for his arms wrapped around her bringing her closer. She reached out to cup his cheek, feeling the stubble of growth across her fingertips, while her other arm snaked around his neck. Her fingers curled into his hair as though she were holding onto him for support. She could feel his hand as it made its way through her hair with a caress. Slanting her head, he took full advantage of the opportunity presented to him as his tongue plunged into her mouth to dance with her own.

If Ella had not been sitting down, she surely would have fallen to the ground in a heap of pleasure. Wave after wave of desire coursed through her as though she had craved this man’s touch her entire life. He made her forget everything but this moment. She cared not when he lifted her once again and she found herself sitting upon his lap. His arms wrapped themselves around her once more and she felt as if she were secured in a cocoon of warmth and comfort. He made her feel safe for the first time in more years than she could remember and she gave herself completely to this man who had addled her wits with just one kiss.

She gulped in air when his lips traveled to her neck. How long had it been since someone had actually made her feel?


Love Will Find You:
The Knights of Berwyck, A Quest Through Time (Book Four)
Available for preorder. Release date: May 19, 2020

Sometimes a moment is all we have…

Ella Fitzpatrick is a woman with a secret. As she comes and goes from Berwyck Castle, seeking refuge within its gates, she yearns to be reunited with the one for whom she crossed time from the twenty-first century. She has lived another lifetime in the twelfth century waiting for the date of their reunion and it is almost upon her. But how could she have known the man she believes she loves is not the person she needs?

Killian of Clan MacLaren has been infatuated with Ella for many a year but has guarded his heart, knowing her affection lies with another. When Ella must flee Berwyck, Killian vows to escort her to her encounter with destiny. But passion flares between them and there is no doubt the bond they have is far greater than either of them expected.

Their time together is running out. Killian has a decision to make that might give him and Ella a future together. If you could change someone’s past, would you seize the moment?

Buy Links:

Amazon US  |  Apple Books  | Barnes & Noble |  Kobo

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

Are you on BookSprout?

If you’re a reviewer on BookSprout, I have 24 copies of this ARC still available for review. I’d love for you to follow me and review Love Will Find You. Here’s the link to the ARC: https://booksprout.co/arc/32525/love-will-find-you

Giveaway Opportunity!

Need to play catch up on my medieval/time travel series (although all my books can be read as a standalone)? Then comment below on how you’re keeping busy while sheltering in place. You’ll be in the running for any of my previously published time travel stories. I’ll keep this open through the weekend and a random comment will be chosen as the winner on Monday. Good luck!

 

First Kiss Friday with Rue Allyn

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Welcome to another First Kiss Friday. Today’s guest is my friend and fellow Bluestocking Belle Rue Allyn. Rue is sharing an excerpt from One Moment’s Pleasure. Happy reading and take it away, Rue!

Sherry thank you so very much for the opportunity to share with your readers the first kiss from One Moment’s Pleasure. I hope your readers will understand that I am truly sorry I can only provide a part of this scene. They will have to read One Moment’s Pleasure from the beginning to find out why Edith believes the man she is with is a paid stud and why Dutch believes she is a prostitute. They both happen to be wrong. But there it is. Love’s course is never easy, and this couple has a doozy of a time getting to their HEA.

Excerpt

Suddenly Edith was beyond furious. She’d lived her entire life in unpaid servitude catering to or circumventing the absurd, unreasonable wants of a man. Now, when she’d spent good money to have a man at her beck and call, to cater to her needs and desires, that man had the temerity to insist that he was in charge. That she should cater to him. She finally found her voice.

“What you want? What you want!” Her tone rose with every word. Her arms dropped to her sides. Her hands fisted. “I’m fed up with men and their insistence on having everything their way. Well, not tonight.”

A flush rose to heat her cheeks. Her shoulders stiffened. Her chest heaved, and her bodice slipped.

“I’ve invested everything in this venture,” she ranted, beyond caring. “Tonight we do things my way.”

Kicking her trailing skirts aside, she advanced.

The man stood there, his mouth open, staring at her chest. “What the hell do you think you’re doing?”

All sense fled before Edith’s fury. At the same time she wanted to hit him and kiss him.

Kiss him? Where had that thought come from? Massively uncomfortable, hot, nerves itching, overwrought with confused emotions, and uncaring of the consequences, she had to show him who was in charge. She marched up to him, stood toe to toe then stretched toward his frown and pressed her mouth to his.

The softness of his lips shocked her. Who would believe such a hard expression could feel so good? She inhaled. The scents of mint, leather, and the faint odor of chocolate swirled in her head, anger drowned in a flood of desire. After a moment, his mouth responded, moving ever so slightly back and forth across her own. This was even better. Tiny lightning bolts struck her skin. The itching hadn’t stopped, in fact the tingling sensation increased. It felt wonderful, and Edith wanted more.

She wrapped her arms around his neck and let her body fall against his until they were pressed together from shoulder to knee. A thousand new sensations overwhelmed her, and she tried to get closer. His arms tightened around her in a most gratifying manner.

Inwardly Edith crowed, and the knot of tension in her belly loosened. She’d kissed him, and he’d returned her kiss. She’d shown him that she was in charge. Her desires would take precedence.

***

This was the most awkward, ill-practiced, unsubtle attempt at seduction that Dutch had ever been party to, and as Cerise Duval’s one-time toy he’d been party to a great many. The woman kissed like a child. Lips together and almost no pressure, suction, or movement of her mouth, as if mashing faces was all she knew about the process.

Still, Dutch kissed her back. Kissed her like he was starved for it. His lips moved over hers, sampling her tenderness, tasting her sweetness. His hands skimmed along her soft curves to cup her buttocks and urge her closer. The pressure of her breasts against his chest stirred his senses. His manhood hardened, and he ground his hips against her softness. He hadn’t lain with a woman in more than six months. Abstinence alone could explain his body’s response. He waited for her to open her mouth. For a whore, she sure didn’t seem to know what to do. She just hugged him and pressed inward with both her mouth and body, but she didn’t move. Didn’t rub.

Didn’t do anything else. She might as well have been a stick of wood were it not for her heat and heady female scent. The spicy odor of daisies engulfed him. No working girl ever smelled like daisies.

His cock surged, straining toward that eager, inexperienced, feminine warmth. No! He put his hands on her shoulders, pushed her to arm’s length, and stared into her puzzled, hugely dilated, green eyes.

He recalled her approach when he’d entered the room. She’d swayed from side to side in the oddest way. Was she drunk? When he considered her rapidly changing moods and the sudden flush of her skin above the sinking neckline of her dress, he knew drugs to be the cause.

One’s Moment Pleasure
By Rue Allyn
Available for Pre-order

One Moment’s Pleasure will become a lifetime’s passion when spinster, Edith Alden, embarks on a search for her missing sister.  Pretending to be a rich bored woman looking for an interlude with an anonymous male Edith enters the San Francisco bordello where her sister was last seen. She escapes the bordello almost too easily, but she can’t escape the passion ignited by a stranger’s kiss.

Born and raised in the brothels of the California gold rush, Dutch Trahern worked for years to erase a childhood spent committing petty crimes and worse in order to survive. That past comes back to haunt him in the form of a woman he rescues from prostitution. Now his hard won respectability is threatened by an irresistible desire for a woman he shouldn’t want.

Buy link:

Available for pre-order at https://books2read.com/u/mKDW5v with official release on Monday April 20, 202

My Personal Invitation to you.

Please join me and author Jude Knight on Monday, April 20, 2020 at https://www.facebook.com/groups/BellesBrigade/. We will celebrate release day of our most recent novels with a Book Tennis party and all sorts of other fun. Yes, there will be prizes.

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

Find Rue On-line

Keep up with Rue Allyn by subscribing to her newsletter and get a free copy of Knight Protector when you do, or find her here:

Website  https://RueAllyn.com

Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/groups/RueAllynCrew

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/

First Kiss Friday with Barbara Bettis & a Giveaway!

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Welcome, my lovelies, to another First Kiss Friday with today’s guest Barbara Bettis. You’ve seen Barbara here before, usually on Medieval Mondays, but today she has a first kiss scene for your reading pleasure from For This Knight Only. She’s also offering a giveaway so please be sure to read all the way through to be in the running. Take it away, Barbara!

Thank you for having me on your lovely blog today, Sherry. I’m celebrating the book birthday of one of my favorite medievals. I loved writing Roark and Alyss’s story. Both are determined to have their own way, but each must learn to compromise.

EXCERPT:

Anger drove her to answer without thought. “No one can force me to marry.”

He stepped back. “Sir Baldwin, tell Lady Alyss of the messenger who just left.”

Baldwin shot her a pained look of apology. “From Windom he came, milady. The new master there commands an interview tomorrow, under order of Prince John. I sent him on his way, but it don’t look good. This new master’ll be here early in the morn, I’m bettin’.”

Alyss stood, chin high, arms crossed beneath her breasts. “Let him come.”

Sir Roark chuckled. “By God, my lady, we’ll deal well together.” He grabbed her shoulders and pulled her against his broad chest.

Before she could protest, Sir Roark’s mouth was on hers, and she was forced to clutch his sleeves. Only to keep from tumbling over, of course, because her traitorous legs threatened to collapse. Then the tip of his tongue brushed the seam of her lips, and she lost all thought but his taste and the strangely comforting arms holding her up.

****

The kiss had been a damned mistake. Roark had meant it as a statement of possession. But her softness hit him like a mace. When he inhaled the rich fragrance of spice and roses and woman, his intent changed. He hauled her closer, slanted his mouth, stroked his tongue along the seam of her lips. At her whimper, a flicker of guilt undercut Roark’s stirring of desire. He ought not do this to the lady. He ought to gather his belongings and be on his way.

But the memory of the recent messenger lingered. That one portended nothing good. If Roark gave in to his inconveniently awakening conscience, by tomorrow night Chauvere, its people, and its lady would be the property of the neighboring lord. Of that, Roark was certain. So the way he saw it, either Lady Alyss married him or she’d be forced to accept someone else. And if Windom’s representative was any indication of his master, she’d not like that alternative.

What would it take to persuade her? A sudden pain burst between his legs, and he gasped, eyes blurry. The little hell-cat kneed him. Even though chain mail deflected some of the impact, he used every bit of his willpower to remain standing.

Apparently persuasion took more than a kiss.


For This Knight Only
By Barbara Bettis

 

He’ll do anything for land, even marry her; she’ll do anything for her people, except marry him.  If only either had a choice.  It’s a marriage only love can save.

Sir Roark will do anything to gain land, even beguile an unwilling lady into marriage. He knows she’s much better off with a man to take control of her besieged castle, to say nothing of her desirable person. But it isn’t long before he discovers that, although her eyes sparkle like sunlight on sea waves, her stubbornness alone could have defeated Saladin.

Lady Alyss is determined to hold her family’s castle, protect her people, and preserve her freedom— until her brother’s dying wish binds her to a stranger. Still, she’ll allow no rugged, over-confident, appealing knight to usurp her authority, even if she must wed him. Especially since he thinks a lady’s duties begin and end with directing servants. Alyss has a few surprises for her new all-too-tempting lord.

But when a common enemy threatens everything, Roark and Alyss face a startling revelation. Without love, neither land nor freedom matters.

Buy Links
Amazon  |  B&N|  iTunes

Bio:

Award-winning author Barbara Bettis has always loved history and English. As a college freshman, she considered becoming an archeologist until she realized there likely would be bugs and snakes involved. And math. Through careers as a newspaper reporter and editor, then a college journalism and English professor, she’s retained her fascination with history. Give her a research book and a pot of tea, and she’s happy for hours. But what really makes her smile is working on a new story. Now retired, she lives in Missouri where she spins tales of heroines to die for—and heroes to live for.

Find Barb Here:

Bookbub
Facebook
Twitter
Blog/Website

GIVEAWAY: Most—if not all—of us are still at home and looking for new books to read. As a gift for your comments today, you’ll be entered to win one of Sherry’s ebooks of your choice, plus this one of mine. If you already have it, we’ll make some accommodations J Please leave your email addy along with your comments. Thank you for being here!

Freebie Alert!

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Do you know I still have If My Heart Could See You for #FREE in the US right now? It should also be at a discounted rate internationally. This was my debut novel from 2014 and began my whole medieval/time travel series. I just know you’ll love it if you haven’t read my work before. Grab a copy while I still have it at this discounted price!

If My Heart Could See You – The MacLaren’s
A Medieval Romance
FREE through April 20, 2020

When you’re enemies, does love have a fighting chance?

For Amiria of Berwyck, defeat does not come easily as she watches her home and clan being ripped asunder. When the very enemy who has laid siege to her home demands her fealty, she will do whatever it takes to protect her people including a hastily concocted ruse that quickly begins to unravel. All too soon, she starts to question whether she can forgive herself for betraying those she has sworn to protect.

Dristan of Blackmore, champion knight of King Henry II, has a reputation to uphold as the Devil’s Dragon. After his invading army conquers Berwyck castle, he sets out to manage the newly claimed estate by training its knight in the art of proper defense. At first, everything appears as it should be, or is it? Betrayed by those he believed he could trust, he must first set aside his anger before he can make room in his heart for love.

Together they are tied by an unspoken bond. As they begin to rebuild the land and unite their people, forces beyond their control attempt to tear apart their fragile truce and only time will tell if love will forever bring them together.

Buy Links – Available in eBook and paperback:

Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | Apple Books  | Kobo

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


If My Heart Could See You is also now available as an Audiobook. Come listen to how Marian Hussey has made my novel come to life!
Narrated by Marian Hussey

Audiobook Buy Links:
Amazon  |  Audible iTunes

First Kiss Friday with Jude Knight

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Any day I can welcome my friend Jude Knight to my First Kiss Friday blog is a good day. She certainly has a way of pulling at your heartstrings. Read on to find out what she has in store for you!

This first kiss appears in Paradise Lost, the little collection of vignettes that Jude Knight is currently writing, and that she’ll give away to newsletter subscribers when she publishes the story of James’s son next month, on 15 April. Paradise Lost is a companion piece to Paradise Regained, which is about James. To Wed a Proper Lady is the story of his son, and novel one of six in The Children of the Mountain King.

Excerpt:

Eleanor traced the words in the water that puddled on the stone rim of the fountain. “Lady James Winderfield.” Her lips curved in a tremulous smile. The man she loved was asking her father for her hand, and would soon come to ask her.

“I have made an appointment to meet your father tomorrow,” he had whispered in her ear last night as they promenaded down the centre of the double line of dances. Then, as they passed one another, a few moments later, “You know what I want to ask him, my darling.”

She circled the girl at the head of the ladies’ line, barely aware of the other people in the room, conscious only of James and the words that set her heart thumping. Only years of practice kept her moving gracefully back around to meet James again, her arm stretched high, her hand ready for his brief clasp and her ears for another burst of whispered words.

“This is what you want?”

Looking up, she nodded, and the anxiety cleared from his eyes as they met hers. How could he be unsure of her? She had no further opportunity to reassure him. They had to part and dance down the outside of their respective lines, and the music drew to a close before they could speak again.

Her mother was waiting, and hurried her away. The Earl of Farnmouth, her father, had decided it was time to leave.

He was with her father now, shut in the earl’s study. Soon, surely, the earl would send him out into the garden. The answer would be yes, of course. As the daughter of an earl, she knew her worth, but James was third son of a duke; a duke, furthermore who was a friend of her father.

Eleanor cast a glance at the house and frowned slightly. Lord Farnmouth would say yes. Of course, he would. Only last week, he had interrupted her dinner with her mother to announce that he expected a very eligible offer for Eleanor’s hand. “I am pleased with your daughter, countess,” he had told her mother. “Betrothed after only two months after her debut. You are to be congratulated, madam.”

He had not spoken to Eleanor, but he seldom did. Nor had he given a name, but who could it be but James? James was her most ardent suitor. Indeed, since the rapscallion son of the Duke of Winshire had made her the object of his devotion, the rest of her court had fallen away. They had been callow boys, in any case, standing up with her because of childhood friendship or because she had become fashionable.

James was a man, not a boy — twenty-four years to her seventeen. He was unbelievably handsome, charming, clever, funny, and dearer to her than anyone she had ever known, even her older sister. And he had chosen her! She clapped her hands and spun in a circle, unable to contain her delight.

Soon he would come. She composed herself on the stone bench opposite the path by which he would enter the garden.  How would he propose? On one knee? Sitting beside her? The thought had her up on her feet again, too excited to stay still, peering down the path.

“Eleanor!” It was a hiss just a hairsbreadth above a whisper.

She spun around. James had come from the other direction. Well, no matter. She hurried towards him, her hands outstretched. What was the matter? The tragic expression on his face frightened her. “James? What is the matter?”

He clasped her hands and pulled her after him into the shadows of the yew walk, where he wrapped his arms around her and rested his chin on her hair. “Eleanor, I love you. I love you more than life itself. You believe me, do you not?”

Eleanor pulled away, but only enough to peer into his eyes. “James? What did my father say?”

James groaned.

“James, you are frightening me. Did he say we must wait?”

“Eleanor, he says that he has given your hand to the Duke of Haverford,” James blurted.

Eleanor’s breath stopped and she could hear her blood surging in her ears as her heart pounded. Her sight grew dark at the edges, and the enormous yew hedges swayed towards her as if to batter her into the ground. By force of will, she fought off her faintness. “But… but he is old,” she stammered, “and a wicked libertine, and cold as ice.” She stamped her foot. “I don’t want him, James. I love you. I love you, James.”

“Shush, my love,” James begged. “We must be quiet. Farnmouth told me I could not see you again, but I had to, Eleanor. I’ll find a way. I promise. You love me and I love you. I will ask my father to help. He is friends with yours. Surely Winshire can persuade the earl.”

“Yes!” Eleanor’s heart gave another enormous thump, this time with relief. “We will be together?” she asked.

“We will marry,” James promised. He bent his head and his lips touched hers. It was a gentle, reverent salute, but Eleanor pressed closer and the kiss changed, James’s lips still soft, but questing, moving, devouring. His tongue pressed the seam of her mouth and swept inside when she gasped. Again, the darkness hovered, but this time it was a welcoming warmth, a giving and taking of sensation, a merging of selves so that Eleanor no longer knew who sighed and who moaned, or how long they stayed intertwined.

The whistling of a gardener brought them back to themselves. “I must go,” James told her. “Stay strong, my love. We are meant to be together, and I will find a way.”

“We are meant to be together,” she agreed.

***

The Duchess of Haverford put the rose back into her memory box. It was from a small bouquet he had sent her. She had worn it for that last dance. Now it was fragile, dried and faded, adorned with yet another tear to join all the others she had wept on it in the past ten years. Once, she had loved and been loved. That, at least, would never change.

***

For more about Paradise Regained, see https://judeknightauthor.com/books/paradise-regained/

For more about The Children of the Mountain King series, see https://judeknightauthor.com/the-children-of-the-mountain-king/

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About Jude Knight:

Have you ever wanted something so much you were afraid to even try? That was Jude ten years ago.

For as long as she can remember, she’s wanted to be a novelist. She even started dozens of stories, over the years.

But life kept getting in the way. A seriously ill child who required years of therapy; a rising mortgage that led to a full-time job; six children, her own chronic illness… the writing took a back seat.

As the years passed, the fear grew. If she didn’t put her stories out there in the market, she wouldn’t risk making a fool of herself. She could keep the dream alive if she never put it to the test.

Then her mother died. That great lady had waited her whole life to read a novel of Jude’s, and now it would never happen.

So Jude faced her fear and changed it–told everyone she knew she was writing a novel. Now she’d make a fool of herself for certain if she didn’t finish.

Her first book came out to excellent reviews in December 2014, and the rest is history. Many books, lots of positive reviews, and a few awards later, she plans to keep publishing until she runs out of years.

Website and blog: http://judeknightauthor.com/

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How about a sale?

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Everyone is trying to do their part during these uncertain times. Does social distancing and shelter in place got you down? No worries! I’ve got something to keep you entertained for hours.

I’ve put my entire Knights of Berwyck series on sale for $0.99 each but hurry! This sale ends May 24th. At least you’ll have lots of reading for your TBR pile and you’ll be all caught up when my next novel, Love Will Find You, releases on May 19th! You can click on the Book tab above or find all the links here.

May you all stay safe and healthy while we do our part to get us through the coronavirus. Happy reading, my lovelies, and enjoy!

First Kiss Friday with Virginia Heath & a Giveaway!

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Welcome to another First Kiss Friday. Today’s guest is my friend Virginia Heath who as an excerpt from Redeeming the Reclusive Earl. Take it away Virginia!

I love a quirky pairing and Max and Effie in REDEEMING THE RECLUSIVE EARL are certainly that. Scarred from a fire, Max is trying to hide from the world at his newly inherited estate but those plans are scuppered by the tenacious Effie who flatly refuses to abandon her archaeological dig on his land. Effie is, for want of a better word, a genius with a photographic mind who terrifies most men with her intelligence. Despite his initial anger at her trespassing, the pair form an unlikely friendship as Max finds himself recruited as her reluctant assistant…

Excerpt:

Did she intimidate him?

What sort of a blasted question was that to ask hot on the heels after he had only just discovered there had been multiple idiots who had apparently kissed her in the past. Idiots who were too stupid not to want to do it again! Because to his way of thinking, asking if she intimidated him was merely a polite way of asking if she emasculated him, which would be laughable if everything about Effie didn’t remind him hourly exactly how masculine he truly was.

The most masculine part of him was still reeling at the sight of her all flustered and damp in that worn shirt and those damned form-fitting breeches. And she had a smear of mud on her cheek, which he’d had the devil of a job not brushing away the second he had seen it. The only way he could stop himself was to pretend he did not want to hold her muddy hand when he had stupidly offered to help her out of the trench, because in that precise moment, had he hauled her up, he would have hauled her into his arms and likely scared the hell out of her.

What baffled him, what he still couldn’t wrap his head around, was how those idiotic men had found the strength not to kiss her because he was severely struggling with it.

Every day it got harder and, to make it worse, the urge wasn’t only fired by her pretty face and mouth-watering figure, but by her mind. The more he got to know her, the more he wanted to know her in every sense of the word. His unwelcome infestation of visitors aside, the past three days had been interminable because he had missed her. He’d even ridden twice in the pouring rain in the pathetic hope he would still find her here, tenaciously digging despite the foul weather. The linen shirt plastered to her skin and rendered translucent…

And those thoughts were not helping his discomfort at all. What had possessed him to work in the same trench as her? Mere inches away, but still too many miles apart for his liking.

Blasted torture!

Clearly he had a masochistic streak to have chosen this, rather than the other fifteen trenches he had dug, just to be close to her?

Annoyed, he thrust the trowel into the soft mud wall in front of him and felt the tip of it strike something solid. Even though he knew it was probably a rock, he still took the time to remove the soil carefully from the surface exactly as Effie had taught him.

The edge of whatever it was seemed large and curved like a wheel and, because he did not possess her patience or want to alert her to the fact he might have found something and then have to suffer her leaning over him while he worked, he discarded the trowel and began to tug away the earth with his fingers. Then he hit peat and that happily crumbled with the merest touch.

Little by little, the object quickly revealed itself until Max had uncovered a foot-wide crescent. But unlike a wheel, it wasn’t hollow, nor did it have spokes. He swiped his hands over it to clean away the mud and then stared in disbelief at the tiny spot of ornately tooled metal he had clumsily uncovered.

‘Effie…’

His tone must have alerted her to his discovery, because like a shot she as at his side and staring in disbelief. ‘Good heavens…’

Suddenly crouched next to him, her fingers joined his as they frantically removed the dirt. A task made easier by the moisture left in the ground from days of rain , the removal of years of compacted earth with the pickaxe only days before and the fresh drops which decided to fall from the sky to soften the peat it sat in. In no time and oblivious of the rainfall soaking them through, they had unveiled a perfect circle, obviously an ancient shield, the centre decorated with a proud riveted disc around which swirling patterns had been pressed into the metal.

Max stepped back to allow her smaller, more nimble, gentle fingers to prise the embedded edges from the earth, then watched transfixed as it was suddenly and miraculously free with hardly any effort and she lifted it.

‘I cannot believe it is completely intact.’ She laid it reverently on the grass on the top of the trench and ran her palm over the pattern as the rain that had started again hammered down on it. ‘Unless the peat somehow preserves things better than normal soil?’ She tugged free the hem of her shirt and used it to clean away as much muck as she could and then just stood and stared at it in wonder. ‘It is beautiful… Truly beautiful… Obviously bronze by the patina and lack of rust… The workmanship exquisite.’

‘So much for the Celts being savages, then? The man who used this had excellent taste and knew one hell of a blacksmith.’

She slowly turned to him, half-smiling, half-agog. ‘You are right… The man who owned this was someone special, Max. This shield is a statement. Purely ceremonial, I’ll wager, and a mark of his status, exactly like the gold bracelet. Both are incredibly special objects and it is too coincidental to find two such treasures in one small space.’

‘Do you think it plausible this wooden hut belonged to a king?’ If the Celts even had kings.

‘Perhaps… Which would make this dwelling…’ Awe turned to excitement as she beamed, then launched at him, wrapping her arms around him in an exuberant hug while jumping up and down. ‘Oh, Max! This is wonderful! Wonderful! You’ve found something wonderful! He’s someone important! Someone hugely important! That explains why his house is so big!’

‘Do you think?’

‘It has to be! He is an eminent chieftain or a king!’

‘Or a queen like that Boudicca you and my sister are so fond of. That bracelet is too small for a man’s wrist. And then there is that comb you found. Big, hairy, blue men wouldn’t bother with a comb…’

‘Wouldn’t it be wonderful if this was a woman’s house? A different sort of woman than society understands today, of course.’ Much like Effie herself. ‘But one who mattered once. Someone important…’ Her hands clutched at his waistcoat as she beamed and bounced on the spot. ‘You’ve found something amazing, Max!’ Caught up in her excitement he looped his arm around her waist and laughed, picking her up and spinning her around in the confined space as best he could until they were both giddy. ‘You’ve found something amazing!’

‘We found something amazing, Effie.’

We…

He liked the sound of that on his lips. Liked the feel of her arms locked around his neck. The feel of her lush body in damp fabric plastered against him. The sight of her bedraggled hair and the way it dripped rainwater on to his face. The way that rainwater spiked her long lashes and dewed her lips.

He felt his heart beating against her ribs.

Felt his chest rise and fall in time with hers.

Lost himself in the depths of her beautiful, expressive eyes.

Then forgot all the reasons why he shouldn’t kiss her and simply did, sighing against her mouth as he gathered her close. She tasted like the outdoors. The sea air. The vast horizons he had sailed towards, filled with promise and wonder. Smelled of lilacs and roses and rainwater. Felt like utter perfection in his arms.

As if she had been made for him. That was his last rational thought before he lost himself.

Until the sound of rapidly approaching hoofbeats broke the spell and the pair of them jumped apart and blinked at each other, stunned.


REDEEMING THE RECLUSIVE  EARL
By Virginia Heath

His heart is a fortress.

And she’s trespassing!

After losing all he holds dear in a horrific fire, Max Aldersley, Earl of Rivenhall, shuns the world—until he catches Effie Nithercott digging holes on his estate! He banishes the intrepid archaeologist and the unsettled feelings she rouses within him. But she returns even more determined and infuriatingly desirable than before! He wonders just how deep she’s prepared to dig—so far she’ll reach the man beneath his scars?

Giveaway question: For a chance to win 1 of 3 eBook copies of REDEEMING THE RECLUSIVE EARL simply answer the following question:

I love a tortured hero and there aren’t many more tortured than poor Max- who is you favourite fictional tortured hero?

Buy link: mybook.to/reclusiveearl

Social links:

https://www.facebook.com/virginiaheathauthor/

https://www.virginiaheathromance.com/

Virginia Heath bio:

When Virginia Heath was a little girl it took her ages to fall asleep, so she made up stories in her head to help pass the time while she was staring at the ceiling. As she got older, the stories became more complicated, sometimes taking weeks to get to the happy ending. Then one day, she decided to embrace the insomnia and start writing them down. Eighteen books later, it still takes her forever to fall asleep.