Sunday Spotlight on Daring and Decorum

Daring and Decorum, the first volume in what the author hopes will become a series, is a highwayman’s tale with a delightful twist, due out August 1 from Supposed Crimes. It features rambles across lonely moors, daring rides on horseback, sword-fights, unexpected desire, a bit of botany, and endless cups of tea.

The second volume, covering the period of Elizabeth’s first book publication and art showing in London, is entitled Silence and Secrecy. It deals with the secrets Elizabeth must keep to lead a life she never could have imagined choosing, but which now seems the only possible one for her. The author hopes to see it published sometime next year.

Both books feature as a background (and sometimes as a foreground) the political milieu of mid-1790s England: poverty contrasted with lavish wealth, bread riots, calls for political reform, counter-charges of treason and sedition, the movement for abolition, and above all, the fear of the French revolution being imported to British shores.

A separate story involving the highwayman will appear in an upcoming holiday box set from The Final Draft Tavern (which will also feature stories from Jude and Mari Christie!).

Buy Links for Daring and Decorum:

Amazon | Amazon UK | Website | Smashwords

Excerpt from Daring and Decorum

Miss Elizabeth Collington and her widowed friend, Mrs. Rebecca Burgess, have just emerged from a concert in Bath’s Upper Assembly Rooms when they are accosted by an old friend of Elizabeth’s.

I enjoyed the concert, but in truth I found Bath’s constant round of entertainments rather a chore, and was already beginning to long for the quiet routines of home. I was about to voice this thought to Rebecca as we emerged from the Upper Rooms after the performance, when I spotted Anthony and two other gentlemen in the crowd, moving toward us. They made a distressing sight. Anthony appeared not to have changed clothes since the previous night, and had even slept in them, judging by their disheveled state. His cravat hung limply from his collar, its diamond stud missing. His tailcoat remained unbuttoned, and his waistcoat was only partly fastened. His companions were in a like state of undress. Worse, they leaned on one another and staggered together as if they were under the influence of strong drink.

Rebecca pulled on my arm, whispering in my ear, “This way, Lizzie. Pay them no mind.”

But it was too late. Anthony had seen us, and had already tipped his felt hat to us. I could not give my oldest friend the cut direct, no matter his condition. I felt a measure of sympathy for him, and concern over what evils these companions might even now be encouraging in him.

“Lord Burnside,” I greeted him, giving a brief curtsy. I did not smile, but let my eyes show my concern. Rebecca, standing to my left, regarded me for a moment before at last giving her own curtsy.

“Lizzie—” Anthony said with a slight bow. He seemed the soberest of the three. “Miss Collington, I mean.” He turned to Rebecca and did the same. “Mrs. Burgess.” As he straightened, he tried to stand more erect, and to restore some semblance of propriety to his countenance while fumbling at the buttons of his tailcoat. “I hoped we would find you here.” Remembering his manners, he turned to his companions. “Allow me to introduce my friends, Lord Hartwood and Lord Petersly.”

Anthony might have recovered something of his gentlemanly manners, but his companions had not. Before either of us could curtsy to them, the one standing next to Anthony, Lord Petersly, exclaimed, “So this is the one you’ve been pining over. Damn me, Burnside, I can see why!”

Anthony gave him a cutting glare. “Petersly, remember where we are.” Around us, the crowd leaving the Assembly Rooms was thinning as sedan chairs carried people away, but we were still in danger of creating a scene.

As Anthony seemed unable to control his friends, I turned to see how Rebecca would manage the situation. She glared coldly at the three, meeting Anthony’s apologetic gaze at eye level. She had to tilt her head back to look up at Lord Hartwood, who now moved up to her on her left, returning her glare with his own frank appraisal of her person. “I always did like a tall woman. Mr. Burgess is a lucky man.” With an arch grin, he stepped within an impertinent distance of her.

“Stand a pace farther off, my lord,” Rebecca said, fiddling with the sleeve at her right wrist. I had never heard her voice sound so grim and hard.

Just then my attention was directed away from her as Lord Petersly grasped my right hand and pressed it to his lips. Never had I been so glad of my kidskin gloves! Even still, I could feel the rasp of his unshaven chin through the cloth. “It is the greatest pleasure to make your acquaintance, Miss Elizabeth,” he said.

I pulled back at his use of my Christian name, which he should not have known, but he still grasped my hand in his own. Anthony looked on in mortification, but seemed incapable of the slightest attempt at restraining his friend.

“Burnside may have a family that thwarts his desires,” the lout went on, “but I assure you I do not. I would be glad to pay my attentions to a young lady of such blushing manner and attractive person.” His eyes roved up and down, taking in every inch of me.

Finally Anthony had heard enough. “Come now, Petersly.” He grasped his friend by the shoulder to pull him away, stepping in between us as he did so.

Just then there was a jostling on my left as Lord Hartwood gave a cry. I turned to see him sprawling into the street, Rebecca looking down at him as she rearranged the skirts of her gown. All around us the remaining concert goers gasped and paused to watch. “You’re in your cups, my lord,” Rebecca said, “and you’ve trod on my gown.” She put a protective arm around me as the fellow got clumsily to his feet.

“You—” he stammered. “She—”

“What?” Rebecca snapped. “Are you saying a woman threw you to the ground?”

“No, of course not! That would be absurd!” He stared around in confusion. “Apologies for my clumsiness, madam, and—for treading on your gown.”

Rebecca turned me away from them. “Come, Miss Collington, let us leave the young lords to their entertainment. We have an early start tomorrow.” We didn’t bother waiting for chairs, but made our way down the square in front of the assembly rooms toward Alfred Street.

We had not gone far when Anthony made to follow. “Please! Wait!” he called after us. “You must accept my profoundest apologies for my friends’ reprehensible conduct. Please, won’t you allow me to escort you?” He seemed almost sober now.

Rebecca froze and turned halfway to him. “Oh, certainly! We never know when we might be accosted by a trio of drunken wastrels.”

Meet Larry Hogue

Lawrence Hogue’s writing is all over the place and all over time. He started out in nonfiction/nature writing with a personal narrative/environmental history of the Anza-Borrego Desert called All the Wild and Lonely Places: Journeys in a Desert Landscape. After moving to Michigan, he switched to writing fiction, including contemporary stories set in the desert and fanfiction based on the videogame Skyrim. He’s a fan of folk music, and got the idea for Daring and Decorum while listening to Loreena McKennitt’s outstanding adaptation of Alfred Noyes’ poem, The Highwayman. When not speaking a word for nature or for forgotten LGBT people of history, he spends his white-knighting, gender-betraying energies on Twitter and Facebook, and sometimes on the streets of Lansing, MI, and Washington DC. He’s been called a Social Justice Warrior, but prefers Social Justice Wizard or perhaps Social Justice Lawful Neutral Rogue.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Amazon

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Sunday Spotlight on Blind Tribute

The Battle of Fort Sumter was the first engagement in the American Civil War.

Today’s Sunday Spotlight is on Blind Tribute, by Mari Anne Christie.

Good non-fiction gives us a new perspective on the facts. Great fiction puts us into someone else’s shoes, letting us live a life so different from our own that we withdraw dazed and changed. The view from Blind Tribute will remain with me always.

Blind Tribute begins on the same day as the Battle of Fort Sumter, the start of the American Civil War, and the conflicts and attitudes underpinning the war are the central themes of the book.

Harry, the protagonist, has been a newspaper man since his university days, first in his hometown of Charleston, then in war zones around the world, and—for the past twenty years—in Philadelphia, as editor of its most successful newspaper. The conflict between the States is played out in his family, his birth family demanding allegiance to the South, and his wife and son castigating him for lack of loyalty to the North.

But Harry is loyal to the neutrality of the press, and determined to make of himself his greatest news story. When he returns to Charleston but refuses to take sides, he expects to offend. He wonders if he will survive. He almost doesn’t.

Blind Tribute is a book about integrity, about the real meaning of family, about pride and its costs, about who pays for our acts of conscience. The exploration of the relationship between government and media is timely in today’s political climate, but also timeless, applying as much today as it did when Lincoln and Davis saw newspapers as propaganda machines. Harry’s view of neutrality is no more popular today than then, and more needed than ever.

Blind Tribute is meticulously researched and brilliantly written. Mari Anne Christie’s characters are real, her plot lines compelling, and her descriptions vivid. The scene that describes Harry’s ordeal is one of the most grueling things I’ve ever read.

I’ve been reading bits of this book for three years, as Mari reshaped, rewrote, and polished every line. I’ve seen it grow from good to great. If you read one historical fiction book in 2017, make it this one.

Blind Tribute

Every newspaper editor may owe tribute to the devil, but Harry Wentworth’s bill just came due.

As America marches toward the Civil War, Harry Wentworth, gentleman of distinction and journalist of renown, finds his calls for peaceful resolution have fallen on deaf—nay, hostile—ears, so he must finally resolve his own moral quandary. Comment on the war from his influential—and safe—position in Northern Society, or make a news story and a target of himself South of the Mason-Dixon Line, in a city haunted by a life he has long since left behind?

The day-to-day struggle against countervailing forces, his personal and professional tragedies on both sides of the conflict, and the elegant and emotive writings that define him, all serve to illuminate the trials of this newsman’s crusade, irreparably altering his mind, his body, his spirit, and his purpose as an honorable man. Blind Tribute exposes the shifting stones of the moral high ground, as Harry’s family and friendships, North and South, are shattered by his acts of conscience.

Universal Link

Buy from Mari’s website

Facebook Launch Party, July 28th, 2pm – 8 pm MDT

Giveaway

Mari will be giving away a quill pen (like Harry’s) and powdered ink, a swag pack including Harry’s Editorials Collection, and a e-copy of the book to one winner.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Meet Mari Anne Christie

Mari was “raised up” in journalism (mostly raising her glass at the Denver Press Club bar) after the advent of the web press, but before the desktop computer. She has since plied her trade as a writer, editor, and designer across many different fields, and currently works as a technical writer and editor.

Under the name Mari Christie, she has released a book-length epic poem, Saqil pa Q’equ’mal: Light in Darkness: Poetry of the Mayan Underworld, and under pen name Mariana Gabrielle, she has written several Regency romances, including the Sailing Home Series and La Déesse Noire: The Black Goddess. Blind Tribute is her first mainstream historical novel. She expects to release the first book in a new family saga, The Lion’s Club, in 2018.

She holds a BA in Writing, summa cum laude and With Distinction, from the University of Colorado Denver, and is a member of the Speakeasy Scribes, the Historical Novel Society, and the Denver Press Club. She has a long family history in Charleston, South Carolina, and is the great-great niece of a man in the mold of Harry Wentworth.

Author Website & blog: www.MariAnneChristie.com

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

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Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/marichristie

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Wattpad (romance only): https://www.wattpad.com/user/marianagabrielle

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/mari-anne-christie

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Spotlight on The Demon Duke

Today’s guest is Margaret Locke, and her new release The Demon Duke.

Behind every good man is a great secret.

Banished to Yorkshire as a boy for faults his father failed to beat out of him, Damon Blackbourne has no use for English society and had vowed never to return to his family’s estate at Thorne Hill, much less London. However, when his father and brother die in a freak carriage accident, it falls on Damon to take up the mantle of the Malford dukedom and to introduce his sisters to London Society–his worst nightmare come to life.

He never planned on Lady Grace Mattersley. The beautiful debutante stirs him body and soul with her deep chocolate eyes and hesitant smiles. Until she stumbles across his dark secret.

Bookish Grace much prefers solitude and reading to social just-about-anything. Her family may be pressuring her to take on the London Season to find herself a husband, but she has other ideas. Such as writing a novel of her own. But she has no idea how to deal with the Duke of Malford.

Will she betray him to the world? Or will she be his saving Grace?

Amazon ♦ B&N ♦ iBooks ♦ Kobo:

Meet Margaret Locke

As a teen, Margaret pledged to write romances when she was older. Once an adult, however, she figured she ought to be doing grownup things, not penning stories. Thank goodness turning forty cured her of that silly notion.
Now happily ensconced again in the clutches of her first crush (romance novels!), Margaret is never happier than when sharing her passion for a grand Happy Ever After. Because love matters.
Margaret lives in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley in Virginia with her fantastic husband, two fabulous kids, and three fat cats. You can usually find her in front of some sort of screen (electronic or window); she’s come to terms with the fact she’s not an outdoors person.
You can find here here:

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Excerpt

Rexborough Ball, London Early April, 1814

Grace squeezed nearer to the wall, surveying the crowded room from her cramped corner. Bodies moved around each other as everyone jockeyed for position. It was the first grand ball of the Season, a mad crush at the Marquess of Rexborough’s expansive London estate. There was hardly space to dance, though the orchestra played gaily.

If only she could go home. Her sister Emmeline danced by with Lord Everton, a vivacious smile lighting her face. Even Rebecca’s eyes sparkled with happiness as she carefully executed her steps opposite the handsome Marquess of Emerlin.

Why could Grace not feel the same excitement?

Matilda, standing next to Grace, beamed at her other two daughters, delighting in their successes in snagging eligible men so early in the evening.

“They’re merely dancing, Mother. No need to plan the weddings.”

The dowager duchess sniffed. “At least they’re dancing. You have begged off three invitations so far.”

“Lord Oglesby has two left feet, quite possibly three, if my toes have any say. Lord Featherstone is old enough to be my grandfather. And Lord Emerlin only asked because you wished him to. You know he’s had his sights on Becca for waltzing.”

Her mother aired her face with the elaborate fan in her right hand. “I suppose it wouldn’t be a bad match. Though he is so much her elder.”

“A marquess and the eventual heir to a dukedom. Not such a bad match, indeed. And ten is not so many years. Many a young lady has married a far older gentleman.”

Matilda Mattersley opened her mouth as if to respond when a commotion started amongst the ball goers. They gave a collective gasp as a man entered the room. He was clad entirely in black—black pantaloons, black coat and waistcoat, even an ebony shirt and cravat. Thick black hair tousled wildly over his forehead. Two young ladies next to Grace tittered.

“He is of fine countenance,” one gushed.

“Who is he?” said the other.

A matron broke in, speaking sharply. “Did you not hear him announced? That’s the Duke of Malford.” She made the sign of the cross. “They say he is a devil. They call him the Demon Duke.”

“Really?” the first girl exclaimed.

The older woman slapped the girl’s knuckles with her fan. “Don’t even think about it, Alice. Come, let us seek some lemonade.”

The girl obediently followed the matron, no doubt her mother, through the mass of people.

“The Demon Duke,” Grace murmured.

The man moved farther into the room. His grin was wicked, but his shoulders tight, his eyes . . . sad. Did he notice how people edged away? How whispers raced across the room? How eyes peeped at him while pretending not to do so?

How could he not?

Sympathy flooded through Grace. “He doesn’t look devilish to me,” she said to her mother. “He looks uncomfortable. Like he wishes he were anywhere else but here.” How she could relate.

Matilda sucked a breath. “However he looks is not your concern. The Duke of Malford is not an option.”

“I do not think you have anything to fear, Mother. A man such as that would never be interested in a mouse such as me.”

A smile leaked through the dowager duchess’s pursed lips. “A mouse, indeed. It’s good to see this mouse knows to stay away from a cat. He looks rather feral.”

He is a panther, sleek and black. With the mien of a lion.

“If you’ll pardon me, Mama, I am in need of the retiring room.”

Grace slipped from the room. With everyone’s attention on the Duke, this was a good time to sneak away to the library, as she’d done at Rexborough balls a time or two before.

She pulled a book from the shelf. Ah yes. Aesop’s fables. She settled in near a window, her thoughts on the man in the ballroom.

Hadn’t Aesop said it was the mouse who saved the lion?

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Love between the classes

This month, most of the Bluestocking Belles are publishing the novellas that were part of our 2016 box set, Holly and Hopeful Hearts.  My contributions to the set were A Suitable Husband. and The Bluestocking and the Barbarian. I’m not releasing Barbarian yet. I want to expand it into a novel. But I have A Suitable Husband up on prerelease and it will be published on 30 September.

As the Duchess of Haverford’s companion, Cedrica Grenford is not treated as a poor relation and is encouraged to mingle with Her Grace’s guests. Perhaps among the gentlemen gathered for the duchess’s house party, she will find a suitable husband?

Marcel Fournier has only one ambition: to save enough from his fees serving as chef in the houses of the ton to become the proprietor of his own fine restaurant. An affair with the duchess’s dependent would be dangerous. Anything else is impossible. Isn’t it?

So far, I just have it up on Amazon, but I’ll add other links over the next week or so. Read on for an excerpt.

✶´`´*★ ☆EXCERPT – A SUITABLE HUSBAND☆ ★.¸¸,.✶ 

“He does not look at me and see a woman. No one does.”

 Lady Sophia spoke decisively. “You are blue-devilled, my dear. Who knows whether any of us will meet a man who can see past our elderly exteriors to the treasures we all are? If we do not, you and I shall be old maids together.”

“Yes,” Lady de Courtenay agreed. “Perhaps we should set up house together. Certainly Sophia and I have no more wish to live forever on the sufferance of our brothers than you do on the Haverfords’. Who needs men, after all? Selfish, conceited creatures, always jumping to conclusions.”

This time, Mademoiselle Grenford’s laugh was more genuine.

Lady Sophia said, “Rest for an hour. Read a book. I will order a pot of tea and some cakes, and Grace and I shall deal with anything that arises.” Her voice was coming closer.

 Swiftly, before she could open the door and find him listening, Marcel retreated down the hall and around the corner, all the way back downstairs, thinking furiously.

 First, he must order a tray set with the most delicate of cups, the finest tea, and some of the little cakes from the test batch he had made that morning, in preparation for the real challenge of Christmas Day’s dinner. Each was a work of art with its own sugar flower, and it had not escaped his notice that his mademoiselle liked them.

Then, while his assistants made the tray, he must make peace. This war must end. If that meant giving Madame Pearce her way on the tower, then so be it. He could not be part of causing pain to his mademoiselle.

His! How foolish he was. He was a chef. She was an aristo, of a family with a duke, despite her humble words. Yet un chien regarde bien un évêque. A dog can take a good look at a bishop. The English proverb was similar. A cat may look at a king. What would Mademoiselle Grenford think if she knew Marcel saw her as a woman, as she put it?

Perhaps bread to go with the cakes? Bread sliced thinly and buttered by his own hand and topped by some of Madame’s conserve. A peace offering from them both.

Determined, he gave his orders to his kitchen and braved the kitchen of Madame Pearce. An odd quest, but would not a knight dare anything, brave any danger, undergo any humiliation, for the lady he must adore from afar?

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Sunday Spotlight: The Hills of Gold Unchanging

I’ve just been Facebook partying with Lizzi Tremayne, whose Long Trail series I’ve featured before on this blog. You may remember her Xavier and her Aleksandra visiting Her Grace the Duchess of Haverford.

Lizzi is about to publish A Sea of Green Unfolding, book 3 in the series. Which reminded me that I haven’t posted my review for book 2, The Hills of Gold Unchanging. So here it is.

The Hills of Gold Unchanging is superb storytelling. As Aleksandra and Xavier faced and survived human malevolence, natural disaster and accidents, and their own doubts and insecurities, I kept turning pages to find out what happened next. I love books in which adversity sculptures character and where challenges to relationships bend them to breaking point and rebuild them stronger. This is one of those books. I can’t wait to read the sequel.

Buy A Long Trail Rolling, and The Hills of Gold Unchanging, and preorder A Sea of Green Unfolding

Amazon * Nook * Kobo  * Smashwords 

FIND LIZZI AT:

Lizzi’s Website * Lizzi’s Blog * Twitter * Facebook * Pinterest * Goodreads * Amazon Author Page * Instagram

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Sunday Spotlight on Broken Things

Broken Things is Meg Henshawe’s book. Hers and Jake Cohen’s. If you’ve read the early books in Jessica Cale’s Southwark Saga (especially Virtue’s Lady), you’ll remember Meg. Loud, coarse, ready to trample over everyone to get what she wants, known far and wide for her beauty and her lovers. And if you haven’t read the earlier books, get them first, because this book will change everything you thought you knew about Southwark’s favourite whore.

Cale takes us into London’s worst slum in the years after the Great Fire. Her characters are irreverent, coarse, often violent, always real and compelling. Her training as an historian shows in the depth and texture of the life she portrays. Her skill as a novelist means we simply enter that life, never aware of Cale the scholar as we live the story with Meg and Jake.

What’s broken in this book? Meg and her hopes for the future. The Rose and Crown, the inn that she runs with those of her sisters still under her fierce protection. Her relationship with her son’s father. Jake’s hands, his job (for a second time—in the Great Fire, he had lost his family, his betrothal, and his future as a goldsmith), his sense of himself.

This book is about two people who have little to lose, and that about to be ripped from them. Alone, Jake is ready to give up and Meg can see no way out. Together, they find a reason to hope; a reason to keep fighting and to win.

If you read only one book this month, make it this one.

About Broken Things

Rival. Sister. Barmaid. Whore.

Meg Henshawe has been a lot of things in her life, and few of them good. As proprietress of The Rose and Crown in Restoration Southwark, she has squandered her life catering to the comfort of workmen and thieves. Famous for her beauty as much as her reputation for rage, Meg has been coveted, abused, and discarded more than once. She is resigned to fighting alone until a passing boxer offers a helping hand.

Jake Cohen needs a job. When an injury forces him out of the ring for good, all he’s left with is a pair of smashed hands and a bad leg. Keeping the peace at The Rose is easy, especially with a boss as beautiful—and wickedly funny—as Meg Henshawe. In her way, she’s as much of an outcast as Jake, and she offers him three things he thought he’d never see again: a home, family, and love.

After Meg’s estranged cousin turns up and seizes the inn, Meg and Jake must work together to protect their jobs and keep The Rose running. The future is uncertain at best, and their pasts won’t stay buried. Faced with one setback after another, they must decide if what they have is worth the fight to keep it. Can broken things ever really be fixed?

Content notes: Diverse characters, profanity, violence, graphic sex

Amazon buy link

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Sunday Spotlight on What the Scot Hears

Amy Quinton has produced another fun romp in her Agents of Change series. MacLeod, the Scot of the title is superb: gloomy, pessimistic, suspicious, and totally befuddled by the brash American woman who keeps stumbling across his work as a spy for the British Crown.

For all her cheerful outgoing personality, Amelia hides secrets of her own, not least her identity and her background.

Read this book to discover how this mismatched pair discover they are perfect for one another, while negotiating people determined to kill them and MacLeod’s reaction to Amelia’s lies. Better still, read the series. Two other couples already matched are in this novel, and it was fun to see them again. I very much enjoyed What the Duke Wants, and am now itching to read What the Marquis Sees, which I’ve skipped. See? The books can be read independently and out of order, but I want to see how Beatrice won her man. I’ve a suspicion she may be my favourite of the three heroines so far.

I’d have loved a bit more of a sense we were in 1814. The voice is very modern, and there’s little period detail. But still a rollicking good yarn, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the series.

What the Scot Hears

Agents of Change, Book 3

England 1814: Reticent Scottish Lord pursues Mouthy, Independent, American Woman… She is an outspoken American orphan with a questionable past and a dubious purpose. He is a man of few words on the lookout for a traitor. How could they NOT get along?

Mrs. Amelia Chase is a highly-opinionated, 23-year-old woman from America on the run from her past with a penchant for self-preservation and a healthy love for Shakespearean insults. Much to a certain Scotsman’s dismay:

She isn’t:

  • Quiet – not with her tendency to talk to everyone about anything…
  • Demure – highly overrated if one cannot wear red and show off one’s curves…
  • Equine-savvy – she once fled some currish, toad-spotted, coxcombs – er, villains – in a stolen carriage at a pace slower than a meandering walk. Oh, and mistook a common mule for a thoroughbred. But other than that…

And she is:

  • Brave – Smart, Loyal, Witty. Er, charming. Plus, Modest, Lonely, Secretive – Um, forget that last part…
  • And In love – with a distrustful Highlander of all things…

Lord Alaistair MacLeod is an agent for the Crown and a man with secrets. He doesn’t speak of them, he doesn’t dwell on them, and he certainly doesn’t let them define his future. Much. One thing is for certain, he definitely doesn’t share his confidences with a peery, outspoken American woman who is obviously trouble, acts highly suspicious, and is far too nosy for her own good… No matter:

He is always:

  • Focused – men who cannot stay to task are foolish…
  • Pointed and Reserved – enough said…

And he isn’t:

  • Cheeky – like a certain American firebrand…
  • Led by his… ahem…even when following on the heels of a curvy, red-wearing… ahem
  • Or In love… especially not with a Troublesome, Meddlesome, so-called Independent American Woman…

Can he trust enough to embrace such an enigmatic woman? Can she awaken the passions of such an intensely private man?

Amazon ☼ Barnes & Noble ☼ KOBO ☼ iBooks

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Spotlight on Nothing But Time

In today’s Sunday Spotlight is Sherry Ewing’s Nothing But Time.

This short Regency novel is the tale of Gwendolyn, married despite her protests to a nasty old man who bullies and abuses her, and cuts her off from contact with her friends. It’s also the story of Neville, the successful investor and rising aristocrat who falls in love, quite against his will, with another man’s wife.

Adultery is a daring topic for a romance. To keep our sympathy, the writer needs to give us extenuating circumstances, and Ms Ewing does so to the max. The story has it all: thwarted love, a villain,  a mad chase north, a heart-wrenching  separation, and a few passionate interludes to give us hope that all will be well.

I liked Gwendolyn’s compassion for her ungrateful spouse, and how hard she tried to be true to the vows she didn’t want to make. But Neville was my favourite of the two. He was not an innocent, but he was in love for the first time, and he was putty in Gwendolyn’s hands, as well as charming, determined, faithful, and brave.

The book was short and the characters only lightly painted. The horrible husband was a caricature, but the boorish elder brother and the mischievous younger one both show promise. I look forward to more stories of the Worth family.

They will risk everything for their forbidden love…

When Lady Gwendolyn Marie Worthington is forced to marry a man old enough to be her father, she concludes love will never enter her life. Her husband is a cruel man who blames her for his own failings. Then she meets her brother’s attractive business associate and all those longings she had thought gone forever suddenly reappear.

A long-term romance holds no appeal for Neville Quinn, Earl of Drayton until an unexpected encounter with the sister of the Duke of Hartford. Still, he resists giving his heart to another woman, especially one who belongs to another man.

Chance encounters lead to intimate dinners, until Neville and Gwendolyn flee to Berwyck Castle at Scotland’s border hoping beyond reason their fragile love will survive the vindictive reach of Gwendolyn’s possessive husband. Before their journey is over, Gwendolyn will risk losing the only love she has ever known.

 

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Neville’s first glance at Gwendolyn

He held her stare. How could he not when he had been admiring her beauty just a short while ago? He did not dally with women whose husbands were living, and certainly not one who was associated with a potential business associate. The last thing he needed was some man breathing down his neck challenging him to a duel, and that most assuredly included her brothers as well as her husband.

To say she was beautiful would not have done the lady justice. She was young, perhaps no more than twenty. Her light brown hair was swept up into a pleasing coiffure and one long curling ringlet cascaded down her left shoulder. He could not tell the color of her eyes from this distance but they were framed in a round face with a clear complexion. Neville should not let his gaze linger on those lips for long. They were meant to be kissed and kissed often.

Something about the lady continued to pull at his heart, and, for the life of him, he could not look away. She seemed sad, and he could only ponder the cause. Why her disposition was important to him he could not say, and yet, he had a sudden desire to sweep her away and fill her days with happiness. He squashed down the notion of what he would like to do with her nights.

They continued staring, one to the other, and he watched in fascination as her chest rose and fell as if she were attempting to catch her breath. Neville had been tempted long enough and he gave into the impulse by offering her the slightest of nods. She must have at last come to her senses at his gesture, for she quickly turned away, but not before Neville witnessed a lovely blush rising to color her cheeks.

Meet Sherry Ewing

Sherry Ewing picked up her first historical romance when she was a teenager and has been hooked ever since. A bestselling author, she writes historical & time travel romances to awaken the soul one heart at a time. Always wanting to write a novel but busy raising her children, she finally took the plunge in 2008 and wrote her first Regency. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, the Beau Monde & the Bluestocking Belles. Sherry is currently working on her next novel and when not writing, she can be found in the San Francisco area at her day job as an Information Technology Specialist. You can learn more about Sherry and her published work at www.SherryEwing.com.

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Sunday Spotlight on The Reluctant Wife

Caroline Warfield writes a superb book, and has had me as a devoted fan since Dangerous Works, the first in her Dangerous series. The Reluctant Wife is her best yet.

The hero, Fred, is one of the boys from Dangerous Nativity, all grown up and following his boyhood dream of being a soldier. But his dreams have turned sour. We meet him in a village in Benghal, drinking his sorrows after the sudden death of the local woman who was his housekeeper and mistress.

No better able to bear injustice and bullying than he was as a child, he has spoken for those without a voice, protected those without power, and been rewarded by demotion and sidelining. In his eyes, he’s a failure; a failure, furthermore, faced with responsibility for his two mixed-race daughters.

The heroine, Clare, bursts in on his life at that moment. She is the sister of his supervising officer, who is a pompous idiot, and bears deep scars of her own. In India only to get her brother’s signature on papers that will give her financial independence, she is still grieving the loss of her only child, and sees herself as a failed wife, and a failed mother.

From the first, Clare understands that what the girls need is their father.  Fred takes some more convincing: across the Indian Ocean and the Egyptian desert, and on into England, where he and Clare must confront their doubts and fears, as well as facing down a bully from Fred’s past in India; a bully who means murder.

Fred’s cousin Charles, Duke of Murnane, has an important role to play in this book, and we see some more healing from the damage his wife did years before to the relationship between Fred, Charles, and Fred’s brother Rand (hero of The Renegade Wife). Charles stars in The Unexpected Wife, due out later this year, and I can hardly wait.

Find it here: https://www.amazon.com/Reluctant-Wife-Children-Empire-Book-ebook/dp/B06Y4BGMX1/

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