Monday, December 31, 2012

On the Seventh Day of Christmas


My true love gave to me...

A Dog Gone Christmas by Lindsay Downs

FROM THE COVER:


When a call for paws goes out, five friends bring their collies without question to a friend’s house. They learn the collies are needed to help seven children with the grief of losing a parent in Iraq or Afghanistan. Now, with seven friends, four collie yearlings and their mother, they set out to help the children.

Not far away, a mother hopefully leads her seven puppies to safety from a man intent on selling them for illicit purposes.

By a miracle of fate, the two mother collies find each other right before the man sells the puppies.

That Christmas morning will be one the children will remember all their lives as they are united with the puppies.

*****

Wanna be in the drawing for this book? Just leave a comment below with a way to get a hold of you. I'll draw a winner at midnight and post the result on tomorrow's giveaway. Be sure to come back again tomorrow for another 12 days giveaway!


Sunday, December 30, 2012

On the Sixth Day of Christmas

My true love gave to me...


FROM THE COVER: 

Gryff’s orders lay unopened on the table.

The silent tension caused Gem to bite her lip. She tucked a loose strand of auburn hair behind her ear and shifted uneasily in the chair. Wide-eyed, Gryff sat stiffly beside her, regarding the envelope. He was like a statue—hands on his knees—staring interminably at the table.

Finally, Gem cleared her throat. Gryff jolted as if in a daze and turned to look at her. A look of uncertainty hung in his eyes. She swallowed the dry, sticky taste in her mouth and reached for his hand. It felt cold…clammy. Gem could feel the faint tremor of his fear radiating through his fingers. She took Gryff's hand between her own and squeezed, trying to infuse heat and reassurance at the same time.

"Sometimes they come back," Gem's voice was barely a whisper. It was a feeble attempt, but she was grasping at straws here.

Everyone knows.

They don't come back. Never whole, anyway.

Merry Christmas to Tracy H., the recipient of the Fifth Day of Christmas giveaway!

****

Interested in this giveaway? Leave me a comment below, and I will draw the winner at midnight. I'll post the winner's name with tomorrow's giveaway. Be sure to come back for more chances to win during the 12 days of Christmas!


Saturday, December 29, 2012

On the Fifth Day of Christmas

My true love gave to me...

The Toymaker by Kay Springsteen

FROM THE COVER:

Lady Ivy Plumthorne, elder daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Wythorpe, is a worry to her parents. Desiring only that she be as happily wed as her younger sister, they've spent the past year parading prospective suitors in front of her. When she finds none of the suitors… suitable, her parents despair she will ever find the perfect husband. With Christmas approaching, they find one more prospective suitor, the Duke of Greenbriar. Only problem is, Ivy's already met the man of her dreams… and he's a toymaker.

Noel Phillip Vincent Greenstone, the Twelfth Duke of Greenbriar, wasn't cut out to be a duke. He preferred crafting toys that made children happy. So that's just what he did. And as Phillip Green, he traveled freely about, visiting shops and orphanages, and making no child went without a toy of his or her own. But a few chance meetings with Lady Ivy and he knows he wants to spend the rest of his life with her. The problem is, she needs to marry a nobleman and she only knows him as Phillip the Toymaker. He needs a plan, and fast. The world needs to meet the reclusive Duke of Greenbriar, so Phillip plans his own coming out. But how will Ivy react when she learns the truth?

Merry Christmas to Danielle Williams, the recipient of the Fourth Day of Christmas giveaway!

*****

Wanna be in the drawing for The Toymaker? Just leave a comment below with a way to get a hold of you. I'll draw a winner at midnight and post the result on tomorrow's giveaway. Be sure to come back again tomorrow for another 12 days giveaway!



Friday, December 28, 2012

On the Fourth Day of Christmas


My true love gave to me...

The Duke of Christmas Past by Kim Bowman

FROM THE COVER:


The only thing Donovan Ellis, Seventh Duke of Gatewood, wants for Christmas is for it to be over. Too much sadness surrounds the holiday. Horrors he'd just as soon forget. Oh, there's one present he yearns for with all his heart, but he can't have her. His foolishness pushed her into the arms of another. So if he can't have the one thing he truly desires, then he just wants to be left alone to drown in his own misery.

But when a ghostly apparition visits him, claiming things can be set right, can Donovan believe? Can he trust the duke of Christmas past? Or will meddling in the past bring more heartache than he already has to bear?

Merry Christmas to Liz R., the recipient of the Third Day of Christmas giveaway!

*****

Wanna be entered in the drawing for this book? Just leave me a comment below (be sure to give me a way to contact you if you win). I'll do a random drawing at midnight and post the winner with tomorrow's giveaway. Be sure to come back and enter again tomorrow for another giveaway!



Thursday, December 27, 2012

On the Third Day of Christmas

My true love gave to me...

Vidal's Honor by Sherry Gloag

FROM THE COVER:

When plunged into a world of spies, agents and espionage during the Peninsula wars, Honor, Lady Beaumont, flees for her life when the French capture her husband at Salamanca, and relies on his batman to arrange her safe passage back to England.

Viscount Charles Vidal is ordered by Robert Dumas, the First Lord of the Admiralty, to travel to Spain and escort the only woman he’s ever loved, Lord Devlin Beaumont’s widow back home before the French discover her whereabouts.

Their journey is fraught by danger, least of all knowing whether they are surrounded by friends or foe. Will they survive long enough to explore the possibility of a future together or will whispers of treason be enough to see Honor dispatched to Tyburn first?

Merry Christmas to Liz R., the recipient of the Second Day of Christmas giveaway!

*****

Wanna be entered in the drawing for this book? Just leave me a comment below (be sure to give me a way to contact you if you win). I'll do a random drawing at midnight and post the winner with tomorrow's giveaway. Be sure to come back and enter again tomorrow for another giveaway!



Wednesday, December 26, 2012

On the Second Day of Christmas

My true love gave to me...


FROM THE COVER:

Baldwyn Sinclair, the Duke of Paisley, returns to London in the dead of winter at the request of his overbearing grandmother to find she has forged a betrothal contract on his behalf... without his knowledge. Now he is to be married to none other than the girl who used to throw mud at him in order to gain his attention.

He is not happy about the prospect, but he is nothing if not devoted to duty.

Anastasia Trent has been in love with the Duke of Paisley since she was seven years old and has spent her life pining for him, fantasizing about the moment they would see each other again. But when he makes it clear that her imaginings are in vain, her disappointment drives her into the arms of a dangerous man.

It is up to Baldwyn to rescue her once again, to save her from herself, and to find perhaps, along the way, exactly what his own heart was searching for.

Merry Christmas to Mother Buck, the recipient of the First Day of Christmas giveaway!

*****

Wanna be entered in the drawing for this book? Just leave me a comment below (be sure to give me a way to contact you if you win). I'll do a random drawing at midnight and post the winner with tomorrow's giveaway. Be sure to come back and enter again tomorrow for another giveaway!



Tuesday, December 25, 2012

On the First Day of Christmas



My true love gave to me...


The Partridge and the Peartree by Patricia Kiyono

FROM THE COVER:

Phillip Peartree, Duke of Bartlett, dreamed of a peaceful life with a suitable mate until a hunting accident left him scarred and nearly deaf.  Resigned to spending the rest of his days alone, Phillip has devoted himself to rebuilding his family estate.  But a chance encounter with a lovely young woman in a dusty bookstore rekindles his almost-forgotten hopes and dreams.

Lady Amelia Partridge has no time for the frivolity of the London social scene. She is much too busy.  In addition to her work with the Ladies Literary Society, she has a mission – educating poor children in the city. She also has a secret life, one she fears might drive away the young duke who has become increasingly important to her.

*****

Want to be in the drawing for this book? Just leave me a comment below with your contact info. I'll do a random drawing at midnight and post the winner with tomorrow's giveaway! Be sure to come back again tomorrow for another offering.


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Twelve Days of Christmas

I love the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas." Every year the school I work in does a door decorating contest based on a theme. The year this song was the theme, my class's door took first prize! We did a bunch of research on the meaning of each gift and took pictures of the kids representing each thing. It was awesome.

Ever wonder about the traditions the song was based on? I do. Anyway, I decided to look it up.

Traditionally, the twelve days of Christmas began on Christmas day and ran to Twelfth Night (January 5th). Apparently, the different orthodox churches developed their own versions of how to celebrate the twelve days. So some of them end it on the 5th of January, and others end it on the 6th with the Epiphany. A lot of people tend to think it ends on Christmas Day, because that is the end of the American Christmas commercial season.

If you're interested in finding more information, I got mine from Wikipedia and Holy Trinity.

I have never celebrated the twelve days of Christmas before. But is seems like one tradition I should be incorporating. I know my kids would love getting a present a day twelve days in a row! Wouldn't you?

To that end, I am planning twelve days of gifts here on my blog. Every day between December 25th and January 5th I'll post about a different book and offer it free to a reader, chosen by a random drawing each day. To be eligible just leave me a comment with an email contact (I won't save the info. Just need it to let you know if your name is drawn). But be sure to come back each day to enter again. Should be a wild ride!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Unexpected Choice



Stacey Ingram is the girl next door. She keeps her business to herself and despises pity. Forced to drop out of school in order to take care of her ailing grandfather, her self-confidence is shot, yet she is still too proud to ask for help.

Her grandfather’s care zaps their savings, and the bills are piling up, but she would still rather go through bankruptcy than accept a handout.

Especially from the guy across the street, whom she has been in love with since childhood. And she’s far too busy caring for others to envision any happiness for herself. Besides, she knows what real love is, and it isn’t the feeling she gets whenever Joey McCrary comes around.


Joey McCrary is every girl’s dream, and he lives like he knows it. All through high school and college he had girls hanging on his arm, and he was none too careful whom he chose to spend his time with. Now that he’s faced with an unexpected responsibility, he has to change his ways fast.

The only person he trusts to help him is the girl next door, Stacey Ingram. Ever since he’s known her, she’s been a pillar of stability. No matter what life threw at her, she could handle it with quiet grace. That’s why he is certain, the curve he’s going to throw her will be met with equal effort.

The way he sees it, she needs him as much as he needs her. It’s a win-win. Not to mention the fact that she's more woman than he can handle. Now he’s wondering why he never noticed her before.





FROM THE COVER:

Joey McCrary needs a wife and someone to help him raise his daughter after he made some poor choices in college.  Stacey has always been his friend, and even though she’s a sweet girl, nothing can compare to the feelings he has for his ex.

Joey realizes that he and Stacey can benefit one another.  Joey can provide Stacey with all she’s ever wanted: a family.  But can Stacey teach him a few things along the way, too?

Available now at: AMAZON      BARNES & NOBLE      ASTRAEA PRESS


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Regency Christmas Revisited

My three winners, chosen by my daughter in a random drawing are Krista Raven, Linda, and Stephanie Michels! Congratulations, and thank you for participating!


Sunday, December 2, 2012

A Regency Christmas


Thanks for stopping by this leg of the Regency Christmas blog hop presented by Astraea Press! For my part, I'd like to introduce you to my Christmas Regency Two Turtledoves, the story of Baldwyn Sinclair and Anastasia Trent.

Baldwyn Sinclair, the Duke of Paisley, returns to London in the dead of winter at the request of his overbearing grandmother to find she has made a betrothal contract on his behalf... without his knowledge. Now he is to be married to none other than the girl who used to throw mud at him in order to gain his attention.


He is not happy about the prospect, but he is nothing if not devoted to duty.

Anastasia Trent has been in love with the Duke of Paisley since she was seven years old and has spent her life pining for him, fantasizing about the moment they would see each other again. But when he makes it clear that her imaginings are in vain, her disappointment drives her into the arms of a dangerous man.

It is up to Baldwyn to rescue her once again, to save her from herself, and to find perhaps, along the way, exactly what his own heart was looking for.


Now for the giveaway! In order to qualify for an entry, leave me a comment about your favorite Christmas tradition. On December 10th, I'll choose three winners at random to give a free ecopy of Two Turtledoves. Already read it? Never fear! I'll let you pick any of my other titles as an alternate. Thanks again for stopping by!

Say hi to Astraea Press's New York Times bestselling author Rachel Van Dyken for me! She's next on the blog hop!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Touring Innocent Tears with Iris Blobel

Thank you, Laura, for having me today on your blog, and a big hello to all your readers. My current story is called Innocent Tears and this is what it’s all about:

Becoming a parent can be daunting at the best of times, but for Flynn, a business lawyer in Melbourne, it almost pulls the feet from right underneath him. He’s become a father to six-year-old Nadine literally overnight! He had no idea about her existence, and the news throws him into chaos, even more so when he is asked to take over custody.

With the help of Emma, an employee at the hotel where Nadine and her grandparents are staying, and his parents, Flynn tries to do the right thing. Yet, the right thing in his eyes differs from his parents’, and Emma is voicing her opinion as well. And right in the middle is little Nadine, still grieving the loss of her mother and finding a wonderful friend in Emma. There’s no doubt she’s afraid where and with whom she will settle.

But in the end, it’s a letter Flynn receives that helps him figure out what to do.

So I thought I’d give you a bit of a guided picture tour through the story and with that through Melbourne, the capital of Victoria and where Innocent Tears is set. Enjoy!

Whenever Flynn needs to sort his thoughts, he looks out of his window and watches the world go by... along the river at the famous “Southbank”.
Melbourne Skyline from Rialto - Nov 2008

The first time he spends some time with Nadine and Emma, they take the tram to go to St Kilda Beach.
W Class Tram St Kilda

Well, these ones still exist, but they’re doing the “circle hoop” and not going anywhere near St Kilda. So, they actually took one of those trams:
D2.5012 + D1.3513 stkilda

And this is where they had their lunch. Wouldn’t you like to have lunch at a place like that. But .... hmmm ... looking at the sky, well, they say, Melbourne is famous for the four seasons in one day. I suppose that would’ve been “autumn” that day.
St Kilda Beach

After the initial helplessness, Flynn received help from his parents, who live here:
Townsville, Queensland - Beach

Flynn not only receives parental advice, but also some time to think, while his parents take little Nadine to where he grew up –Tasmania:
Misty cradle mountain and lake - tasmania

Wineglass Bay from Lookout crop

But in the end it’s a simple letter that helps him make a decision, the probably most important one of his life!

Hope you enjoyed this little introduction to my adopted home. Thank you, all, for taking your time to stop by, I appreciate it!

And thank you, Iris, for taking the time to guide us on that gorgeous tour of your setting! I loved having you visit inklings today!

Where you can buy Innocent Tears by Iris Blobel:

Friday, November 23, 2012

Sweet Saturday: Shipwreck

Abraham Willaerts - Stormy Sea - WGA25762

Elias lay in his bunk, crammed between two other prisoners. The rhythmic sway of the ship and the foul stench of the hold had long since lost their sickening effect. They had been at sea for two weeks. The sea sickness had passed after only a few days. Now the soft pitch of the ship was a comforting constant — something to depend on even when the rest of his life was spiraling desperately out of his control. Uncertainty was the only thing left to nauseate him.

It was adequate to the task.

His trial had been a miscarriage of justice. But what did the French know of justice? They could hardly keep their own people fed and content. Their monarchs and nobility with their gluttony and excesses balked in the face of the poor and starving of France. Revolution was inevitable.

But what did that matter to Elias? He was bound for the French-held islands of the Caribbean to be sold into slavery and worked to death in the sugar cane fields. And he would never see his beloved Jaime again.

He allowed his eyes to close in a fitful sleep. Dreams of his new wife calling his name, begging him to return to her, besieged his mind. But iron bonds tightened around his wrists, and he couldn’t reach her.

Elias awoke to the rocking of the ship seeming to move with a wider pitch, though it was difficult to tell from his place in the hold with the other prisoners. When the sea water began spilling in torrents down through the hatch and filling the prisoner’s quarters, Elias grew concerned.

Movement on the bunk below him accompanied by frightened murmuring, brought him to the edge of the berth. Other prisoners were leaving their places on the wooden planks and dropping the short distance to the floor. He was forced to follow those next to him, since they were chained together. In a short time he was ankle deep in the cold salty brine.

Panicked shouts from the crew reached his ears. But he could only understand a word here and there. The roar of the sea outside seemed to drown out all other noises, except the wind as it screamed through the cracks of the deck above them.

Fear seemed to leap like wildfire from face to face in the hold, spreading from one trembling prisoner to the next. If the ship went down, they would all die down there, bound together and shackled to the hull. The walls of the ship creaked and shook as it rolled from side to side, moaning out the funeral dirge that sang of Elias’s death. His chest constricted and he closed his eyes, conjuring the image of his beloved Jaime one last time. If he was going to die, he wanted to do so thinking of her.

Somehow she would know he had loved her with his last breath.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

One Year Already?

Last year on Black Friday I made my author debut with a co-authored Christmas novella entitled The Parting Gift. Since then I have released five other books -- two other cooperative efforts with Rachel Van Dyken and three solo works. It has been a busy year to say the least.

On this anniversary of my debut book and the blogaversary of inklings I'd like to celebrate the occasion with a giveaway of the book that started it all.

Interested? Leave me a comment below and I'll enter you for a chance to snag an ecopy of The Parting Gift. I have three of them up for grabs! I'll do a random drawing for three winners on December 1st.

Thanks for making my first year so amazing!

FROM THE COVER:

Blaine Graham lost his mother when he was the tender age of eleven. Grief over the loss drove a wedge between him and his father, and soon proved too difficult for him to deal with. At the age of sixteen, he falsified his papers and made the trip across the border into Canada with his best friend to join the Royal Canadian Air Force and enter the war in Europe as a pilot. Ten years later Captain Graham finds himself flying commercial jets in Boston – his estranged father and his past life all but forgotten, until the day he receives a telegram from his dying father asking him to come home.

The persistent Mara Crawford, a live-in nurse, has experienced her fair share of loss as well. Her attachment to Blaine’s father drives her desire to bring reconciliation between the two men before time runs out for her patient. But her best laid plans didn’t include falling in love again.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Wedding Jitters



Georges de La Tour 039It was late when Elias and Jaime found their way back to the room they had already rented for the night. It wasn’t overly spacious or elaborate in décor. There was a table with two wooden chairs and a double bed with a straw tick mattress. A single candle flickered on the table, casting a soft glow on the rustic furniture.

Elias closed the door behind him and slid the bolt into the latch. The solid thunk of the wooden bar rang through the silence physically jolting Jaime who stood only a few steps past him. She seemed to tense in the ensuing quiet, and her eyes were wide and frantic as her gaze darted all about the room, looking at everything but him.

Perhaps it was a mistake to ask her to refuse the gypsies’ offer of wine.

His palms were clammy, so he tugged off his gloves and tossed them on the table, trying to seem nonchalant. A losing battle. His heart felt as though it would burst out of his chest at any moment. He swallowed hard and realized how dry his throat was.

A pitcher of water sat in the middle of the table for washing. How long had it been sitting there? At this point, he didn’t care. Even if there were things visibly growing in it, Elias would drink some.

He stepped to the table and lifted the pitcher and a nearby wooden cup. Tipping the pitcher, he poured a small amount into the cup and lifted it to his lips. The cup was a bit stale smelling, but the water was fresh and clean. He swished the mouthful over his tongue and swallowed then turned to Jaime.

“The water is good.” His ears burned. Had he just said that? He cleared his throat, perhaps he could make it better. “Would you like some?” He lifted the cup toward his bride and immediately cringed at his own ineptness. Why was this so difficult?

Oui.”

Elias refilled the cup and extended it once more. Jaime took it from him and sipped it. Her gaze remained on Elias’s face as she drank. She took another draught from the cup and returned it to him. A single clear droplet remained on her lower lip for only a moment before her tongue slipped between her lips and swept it away in what seemed an agonizingly slow movement.

He was transfixed and painfully aware of the tension between them. Glancing at the cup in his hands, Elias realized his mouth again felt like an Arabian desert. He drained the cup of the remaining contents and set it on the table with a heavy clunk. Much louder than he had intended.

“So…” Jaime seemed to scan the room as she turned away from him and began to loosen her own gloves one finger at a time, finally slipping them off in a slow deliberate motion.

Tracing her movements with his eyes would certainly send Elias over the edge of control, but he could hardly help himself. However, it wasn’t until she laid her gloves on the bed and faced him again with those wide, imploring golden brown eyes and asked him to help her with her boots that he realized his long habit of practiced control was no longer necessary. They were married.

~Pirate's Ransom (work in progress)

Friday, November 2, 2012

Sweet Saturday: Gypsy Wedding


File:Encampment of Gypsies with Caravans.jpg“Gypsies?” Jaime’s eyes lit up with excitement. “Oh, let’s hurry!”

“Are you certain? There won’t be a priest. Or a church. We will be out of doors.”

Her smile was bewitching. She rested her hand on his forearm and lowered her eyelids seductively. “As you said before, it is our only alternative.”

Elias swallowed at the dry knot in his throat. “Then we should be going. They are expecting us.”

He took her hand and led her down the path to the edge of town. The flickering light from the campfires betrayed the location of the camp, and they made their way swiftly across the field to the outer boundary of the woods where the gypsy sentries waited to guide them in.

Elias could feel their dark gazes assessing Jaime. He stepped between the two men and his bride and tightened his grip on her arm possessively. A low murmur from the taller of the two gypsies brought a peal of laughter from the shorter man. Jaime tensed beneath Elias’s grasp.

“Kako Nicu, the Moroccan and his… woman.” The last word came out with an ironic cast. The old bandolier looked up from his place near the fire. It was too dark to make out his expression, and the flicker of the flames played tricks on Elias’s eyes.

“What is this?” he asked in his low gravelly voice. One of the sentinels escorting them answered in a stream of Hungarian, something Elias understood but had no intention of repeating for Jaime’s ears.

“You didn’t tell me your woman was French.”

“Why does it matter?”

“From the look of her a noblewoman. We don’t want trouble here.”

Elias pulled her closer, hesitating only a moment before lapsing into the Hungarian language to explain. “This is the daughter of Seigneur Pepiot. He promised her to another, a man older than himself, a drunkard and a pig. The lady escaped his tyranny without his knowledge and has elected to marry instead, a servant of the sultan’s brother. It is dangerous for all of us. But for none so much as me. And I vow to keep your family’s part in this affair a secret.”

Nicu, the old bandolier, held his peace a moment, considering Elias’s petition and assurances. Then a solemn nod. “We will hear your vows, Moroccan,” he answered in French and gestured for them to join him by the fire.

Time for Christmas Stories!

It is that time of year again! Get into the Christmas spirit with some good reading. Astraea Press has eleven Christmas regencies releasing this month (including Two Turtledoves and The Devil Duke Takes a Bride). Check out these titles on Amazon and Barnes & Noble!


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Renwick House Release Party!

Surprise!
Both the latest additions to the Renwick House series released early and are available now! To celebrate the occasion Rachel Van Dyken and I threw together a little giveaway to thank you for helping us ring in the new releases.

The Devil Duke Takes a Bride 
by Rachel Van Dyken

Benedict Devlyn, Duke of Banbury, has one thing on his mind and it isn't marriage. But things take a turn for the worse when his menacing and aunt throws a hitch in his plans to remain the most sinful and talked about man in the ton. After all, a man cannot keep the reputation of being The Devil Duke when he is leg-shackled to some simpering spinster.

But his aunt, bless her heart, thinks she's dying, and believes her nephew’s behavior is the only thing standing in the way between her entrance to heaven or hell. So she very lovingly and selflessly sets him up. With his childhood nemesis.

A young woman who, though she claims it was an accident, has nearly killed him thrice through her lack of grace and manners. It matters not that the minute he sets eyes on her at the Christmas ball, his blood boils with lust. He refuses to allow himself to fall prey to his aunt’s ministrations.

That is, until he is compromised and stuck in an engagement to a girl who claims she'd rather jump from a moving carriage than marry him. Funny thing that, for the very minute she says no, he finds his heart very much wants to say yes. When she doesn't leap at the chance to marry him, he sets about to not only prove that he's worthy of her favor, but also worthy of her heart.


Two Turtledoves
by Leah Sanders

Baldwyn Sinclair, the Duke of Paisley, returns to London in the dead of winter at the request of his overbearing grandmother to find she has made a betrothal contract on his behalf... without his knowledge. Now he is to be married to none other than the girl who used to throw mud at him in order to gain his attention.
He is not happy about the prospect, but he is nothing if not devoted to duty.
Anastasia Trent has been in love with the Duke of Paisley since she was seven years old and has spent her life pining for him, fantasizing about the moment they would see each other again. But when he makes it clear that her imaginings are in vain, her disappointment drives her into the arms of a dangerous man.
It is up to Baldwyn to rescue her once again, to save her from herself, and to find perhaps, along the way, exactly what his own heart was looking for.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, October 26, 2012

Sweet Saturday: Familiar Faces


He handed one to Baldwyn and raised his own in toast. “To your engagement, Paisley. May she be everything you need.” Montmouth gulped the contents of his glass and laughed once more. Baldwyn eyed the amber liquid in his glass before tossing down his whiskey drink as well then lifted his glass to request another.

His host shook his head with a smirk and took the glass from Baldwyn’s grasp. “I think not, Paisley. After all, a gentleman should be altogether alert when meeting his future wife.

“I’d rather be foxed when the assault ensues.” Baldwyn scanned the room once more looking for some worthy place to hide.

As if reading his intent, Montmouth said, “There’s no good place to hide in here, Paisley. Your grandmother will find you if she has to bring in the dogs.” He stepped toward the door. “I have to see to my newly-arriving guests. Feel at liberty to search out a more worthy concealment… but do stay out of my whiskey.” With that, the Duke of Montmouth disappeared through the doorway, leaving Baldwyn to wallow in his apprehension.

He didn’t linger. Eventually, his grandmother would come looking for him. It would be far wiser to keep moving, throw the bloodhounds off his scent. As he entered the corridor the music from the ballroom drifted into the hall. Baldwyn cringed. He would have to dance with her. She would probably trip him.

How he longed for the serenity of his estate in Scotland. Of course, in that moment, he longed for the serenity the war on the Continent could provide.

Baldwyn stepped into the ballroom and glanced around the room. More guests were arriving by the minute. The dowager duchess was nowhere to be seen. His eyes fell on the balcony doors on the far side of the room. A perfect place to hide. No one would yet be there so early in the evening, not with the weather so bitterly cold.

He began his trek through the room, nodding and offering brief polite pleasantries to the few guests he encountered in his path. He could hide there, wait for Lord Marks and his daughter to be announced, and get a good look at the girl before being forced into her company… for life. If nothing else, it would give him an illusion of some control in the arrangement.

“Paisley!” A familiar voice drew his attention from his destination. Baldwyn turned to find himself face to face with an old family friend. One with whom he had spent many a night carousing about the town back in those old days past.

“Rawlings!” The sight of his old chum comforted him somewhat, making him think of simpler times. No responsibilities. No demands. No betrothals.

“You just missed a fair bit of excitement!” Rawlings appeared to be entertained still. Amusement danced behind his dark eyes.

“Oh? What did I miss?” There were hardly enough guests here for a mouse in the kitchen to cause a rumpus. At any rate, there seemed to be no evidence of anything out of the ordinary now.

“The dowager duchess discovered Banbury on the balcony with Lady Katherine. The look on his face! I’ll never forget that sight as long as I live.”

It took a moment to fully absorb the information. Surely not even his grandmother would be capable of two forced betrothals in one evening. A knot formed in his stomach. Even if he had entertained thoughts of escaping her schemes, the old woman would find a way to trap him. Just as she had apparently done to Benedict, his cousin. Perhaps he had shown signs of less than full cooperation.

Baldwyn would have to step prudently. Avoid balconies, dark corners, and above all, Lord Marks’ daughter. If Benedict Devlyn, the Devil Duke himself, could be ensnared — a man of legendary prowess, who was always rumored but never seen to be ruining some girl, could find himself caught in a woman’s trap — what hope was there for mankind?

“Where is he now?” Baldwyn scrutinized the growing crowd. If what Rawlings said was true, Benedict would need a shot of that whiskey.

“Somewhere collecting the remaining fragments of his dignity, no doubt,” Rawlings answered with laugh.

“I suppose I had better seek him out and see to his wounded pride.”

“Right. And I must dance with Lady Rawlings before she becomes entrenched in gossip with her sister. It’s good to see you, Paisley.” He bowed slightly and sauntered toward the refreshments where his wife stood conversing with the Duchess of Tempest.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Two New Releases -- Coming November 1st!



Two Turtledoves


Baldwyn Sinclair, the Duke of Paisley, returns to London in the dead of winter at the request of his overbearing grandmother to find she has made a betrothal contract on his behalf... without his knowledge. Now he is to be married to none other than the girl who used to throw mud at him in order to gain his attention.

He is not happy about the prospect, but he is nothing if not devoted to duty.

Anastasia Trent has been in love with the Duke of Paisley since she was seven years old and has spent her life pining for him, fantasizing about the moment they would see each other again. But when he makes it clear that her imaginings are in vain, her disappointment drives her into the arms of a dangerous man.

It is up to Baldwyn to rescue her once again, to save her from herself, and to find perhaps, along the way, exactly what his own heart was looking for.

~Leah Sanders

The Devil Duke Takes a Bride

Benedict Devlyn, Duke of Banbury, has one thing on his mind and it isn't marriage. But things take a turn for the worse when his menacing and aunt throws a hitch in his plans to remain the most sinful and talked about man in the ton. After all, a man cannot keep the reputation of being The Devil Duke when he is leg-shackled to some simpering spinster.

But his aunt, bless her heart, thinks she's dying, and believes her nephew’s behavior is the only thing standing in the way between her entrance to heaven or hell. So she very lovingly and selflessly sets him up. With his childhood nemesis.

A young woman who, though she claims it was an accident, has nearly killed him thrice through her lack of grace and manners. It matters not that the minute he sets eyes on her at the Christmas ball, his blood boils with lust. He refuses to allow himself to fall prey to his aunt’s ministrations.

That is, until he is compromised and stuck in an engagement to a girl who claims she'd rather jump from a moving carriage than marry him. Funny thing that, for the very minute she says no, he finds his heart very much wants to say yes. When she doesn't leap at the chance to marry him, he sets about to not only prove that he's worthy of her favor, but also worthy of her heart.

~Rachel Van Dyken

Friday, October 19, 2012

Sweet Saturday: Return to Me


Christopher Brandon stood in the stern of the clipper and stared at the empty horizon left in its wake. The past few weeks had taken his life by storm, and he was still spinning in the aftermath… and still further to go… away from the only life he had known and toward a world he knew nothing of, a foreign grandfather he had never met.

The fabric tied at his neck strangled him, and he tugged at it with a sun-bronzed finger. He had long since tossed the confining gloves into the churning sea below, and the cravat was next. How a man could reconcile himself to wearing such things was beyond his understanding. He couldn’t breathe, he couldn’t feel, and worst of all, he felt all semblance of his control slipping away from his grasp as rapidly as the declining sight of land behind them.

His heart yearned to go home.

Back to the place where he was simply Grinning Badger.

But he had seen the destruction with his own eyes. The entire village slaughtered, and he was helpless to stop it. The image of White Bird lying face down in front of her lodge—unarmed, unprotected—seared his brain. The soldiers cut her down on the way out to cook the morning meal. The only mother he had known for fifteen years.

He was spared. His pale skin marked him, and he was captured, tethered, and dragged back to the soldiers’ fortress, while the screams of the women, children and young braves echoed in his ears.

And he had fought—anyone who came near him tasted his wrath—until they had beaten him unconscious and deposited him in a stone cell with an armed guard.

They left him there for three days with no food or water. Their efforts to break his spirit, force him into submission. But he had no intention of breaking. Somehow he would escape, find the remnants of his clan, gather reinforcements, and attack the soldiers with a force they had never before seen.

After three days, however, his tongue had swollen in his mouth, he was seeing spirits wander in and out through the walls of the cell, and he had a vision of his mother, calling him in for dinner when he was only a boy.

It wasn’t White Bird.

It was another woman. One he had long forgotten. The white woman who had given birth to him, who had sung to him as she tucked him into bed at night, read to him by the lantern light, and held him when he woke up crying in the night.

“Mama,” he had whispered through his parched lips. The first English word he had heard or spoken in fifteen years. The apparition turned to him and smiled, opening her arms wide to beckon him to her.

As he reached out for her, darkness closed around him, claiming him completely.

When he regained consciousness, he was in a soft bed. Someone held up his head and ladled cool water down his dry throat. It stung all the way down, but never had anything felt better to him.

The fog gradually lifted from his eyes, and a man dressed in the red coat of a British uniform hovered over him.

“Are you Christopher Brandon? The son of Major Marcus Brandon?” The words fell on his ears like a tomahawk splitting into the trunk of a tree. The faint wisp of memory sent tendrils of understanding. The names were familiar, striking a chord deeply buried in his mind.

But Grinning Badger didn’t want to understand.

So he just stared at the pale ghost-like face and waited in silence.

The man’s frown creased his pasty white face, and he turned angrily on the people around him, yelling unintelligible gibberish, then he disappeared.

Sweet darkness found him again, and he slept.

When the light began to filter through again, another ladle of water was poured down his throat, which he gulped greedily. Beside the bed stood a man he recognized as a Cheyenne scout. The soldiers had often used him as a translator in their interactions with the Creek.

The British officer stood next to him speaking louder than necessary. As if the problem was that his captive was deaf rather than simply not understanding the harsh sounds exploding from his tongue.

The Cheyenne gazed at Grinning Badger with indifference and translated into the soothing, sweet words his ears longed for.

“The soldier thinks you are the son of a white chief from across the sea.”

Grinning Badger stared at him a long moment, trying to recover the fleeting memory that eluded him.

“I am the son of Leaping Elk and White Bird. My family was slaughtered and my village burned by these soldiers.”

“You are a white man.”

“I am Creek.”

“The Creek are no more.”

Grinning Badger tensed and allowed his gaze to fall on the British officer who was staring at him intently as though he was growing impatient for the answers he wanted. His fists were clenched at his sides.

“The Creek will rise again.” He spat out the words, glaring into the soldier’s dull green eyes—shallow, murky pools of deceit and murder. Nothing like the depth of pride and nobility in Leaping Elk’s dark eyes.

The soldier was pink and fleshy. His nose was red and round, and his cheeks jiggled when he spoke, like ripples from dropping a stone in a pool of thick mud.

“What did he say? Is he the duke’s grandson?”

“Yes,” the Cheyenne scout answered.

Monday, October 15, 2012

HEA Hop Recipient

I'm happy to announce the winner of my Happily Ever After Blog Hop giveaway!

Congratulations to Ruth Hill!

Thank you to everyone for participating. Enjoy your new book, Ruth!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Meet & Greet: Teo

Teo
Stem 7217A

Teo spends a lot of time with Aria, the EROMI plant assigned to his social group. When Aria leaves to fulfill Dr. Admatha's mission, Teo has a difficult time understanding the difference between her mission and the orders stems usually receive, which mean they won't be coming back.

He doesn't have long to fret over her absence though. When his human counterpart is convicted of a capital crime, Teo's purpose is questioned by EROMI's powers that be. Who will Aria find in Teo's place when she returns to Endfield?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Happily Ever After


Thank you for stopping by to enter the giveaway!
The winner from this blog hop will receive a choice between an electronic copy of the newly released 
Whispered Music by Rachel Van Dyken
OR
an electronic copy of
The Whispered Kiss by Marcia Lynn McClure
Both are amazing, yet completely different, re-tellings of the fairy tale "Beauty and the Beast".


He wasn’t looking for a savior…
Scarred at a young age, Dominique Maksylov, Royal Prince of Russia, has lived a reclusive life. As a musical prodigy, his music has wide reach into the world, but few ever see his face. He never ventures into polite society, but when he dis-covers he is the only heir to the Earldom of Harriss, he goes to one ball. And that one ball, was enough to change the direction of his life forever.
But how could he possibly have known that other person— the other half of his whole—would not only need his help but threaten his very existence?

She didn’t know how hard it would be to love the broken.
Isabelle Hartwell’s mother just sold her to the Beast of Russia. He’s mean, tem-peramental, and the most virile, handsome man she has ever encountered. But he has a secret, one he’s willing to die for and he refuses to let anyone in. Will she be able to reach his heart before it’s too late?



With the sea at its side, the beautiful township of Bostchelan was home to man—including the lovely Coquette de Bellamont, her three sisters, and her beloved father. In Bostchelan, Coquette knew happiness and as much contentment as a young woman whose heart had been broken years before could know. Thus, Coquette dwelt in gladness until the day her father returned from his travels with an astonishing tale to tell.

Antoine de Bellamont returned from his travels by way of Roanan bearing a tale of such great adventure to hardly be believed. Further, at the center of Antoine's story loomed a man—the dark Lord of Roanan.Known for his cruel nature, heartlessness, and tendency to violence, the Lord of Roanan had accused Antoine de Bellamont of wrongdoing and demanded recompense. Antoine had promised recompense would be paidwith the hand of his youngest daughter in marriage.

Thus, Coquette found herself lost, thrust onto a dark journey of her own. This journey would find her carried away to Roanan Manor—delivered into the hands of the dark and mysterious Lord of Roanan who dominated it.

What is your favorite "happily ever after" story of all time?
To qualify for the drawing in this giveaway, leave your comment with your name and email below.
Thanks again for stopping by!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Meet & Greet: Aria

Aria Markus
#8936

Aria has lived and worked at the Endfield compound for the past several years. She lives among the stems and interacts with them on a daily basis. As far as they are concerned, she is one of them. She's been there long enough, she is starting to think she is too.

The powers that be never let her forget who she really is -- what her role at Endfield is.

But no one knows the real reason Aria came to Endfield in the first place. The one memory that haunts her and makes it impossible to trust another human being.

~ All We See or Seem (available now) and One Lonely Rose (work in progress)~

Friday, October 5, 2012

Sweet Saturday: Unwanted Attention

Senor Tenorio

Lord Marks made lively conversation during the short trip to Holly Hall. No doubt an effort to bolster Anastasia’s spirits. She tried to humor him, to laugh along with his jests, but inside she was in turmoil.

She would know her fate in a matter of minutes, but in the mean time there was nothing she could do but hope.

As the footman announced them, Anastasia scrutinized every face in the ballroom one by one.

Her heart sank when her search returned empty.

Her father offered his arm, whispering in her ear, “It’s early yet, my sweet. Chin up. He’ll come.”

Anastasia braved a weak smile. “Of course, Papa. He’ll come.” Her throat clenched around the words she desperately wished were true.

Safely deposited among the ladies on the side of the great hall, Anastasia continued her search for Baldwyn’s auburn hair and clear blue eyes.

When Lord and Lady Kringle were announced, the music began. There was still no sign of Baldwyn. Anastasia clung to her father’s words. It’s early yet. Her gaze made its fourth desperate sweep of the ballroom.

Behind her, a familiar masculine voice drifted to her ears, sending waves of chill dancing down her spine all the way to her toes.

“So lovely to see you again, señorita.”

Mr. Tenorio. Anastasia cringed as though with his words and his smooth exotic accent he had touched her. And then he stepped even with her, standing far too close. She retreated a step, but found herself against Tristan Markham on the other side, who had closed in without her notice.

“Mr. Markham. Mr. Tenorio.” Anastasia offered a shallow curtsy.

“Please.” Mr. Tenorio grasped her hand and lifted it to his lips, pulling her toward him in the same motion. “Allow me to be the first to offer my sympathy, my dear.”

“Sympathy, sir?” she asked, regarding him with contempt.

“On the dissolution of your engagement, of course. It must have been a frightful experience, your entanglement with the Scottish duke. I hear he has a terrifying temper,” Tenorio crooned.

Had it not been for his possessive grip on her hand and the unsettling words about her betrothal, Anastasia would have laughed out loud then, for the proof of Baldwyn’s terrifying temper was still fading from Tenorio’s cheekbone, though he had apparently tried to cover it with powder.

“Pardon me?” Anastasia stared at him. On her other side, Tristan bumped her elbow, pushing her into Tenorio’s chest.

“Yes, yes, señorita. There is no need to pretend all is well. We are friends, no?  ” His grasp slid to her elbow and he held her firmly to him, as his other hand reached to caress her cheek. He smoothed her lips with his thumb.

“No,” she countered and closed her lips into a stern line, glaring into his soul-less black eyes.

“Aww, you wound me, my lady… and after all we’ve shared together.” He clicked his tongue as if to shame her.

“Let go of me.”

~ from Two Turtledoves (coming in November)