Friday, July 27, 2012

Sweet Saturday: Mud-Slinging Campaign

Sir Joshua Reynolds 003
Portrait of Lady Caroline Howard (1771-1848)
by Sir Joshua Reynolds
“Lord Marks’ daughter is a child, Grandmother. A child with mousy brown hair and braids. And straight as an—” He stopped mid-sentence. This was humiliating enough without divulging his preferences to his grandmother.

She arched a malevolent eyebrow.

The last time he had seen the child had been five years ago upon a visit to Lord Marks’ country estate to discuss a business venture. She had loitered about underfoot the entire afternoon, vying for his attention. Her father had indulged her every whim and seemed to view everything she said or did as an enchantment of sorts. Baldwyn had simply rolled his eyes, concluded his business, and took his leave at the first opportunity.

Knabstrupper Baron
Photo by Heinz Hackman
But the girl was not content to be pleasantly tolerated by a gentleman nine years her senior. She preceded him out of doors and lay in wait behind a hedge, and as he rode past she ambushed him, hurling crudely formed mud balls dangerously close to his head. Fortunately, her aim left something to be desired, though by pure dumb luck, one of the misfired projectiles struck square in his horse’s eye. The animal reared, taking Baldwyn by surprise and sending him flailing all the way to the ground. The few strategically placed bruises would have been humiliating enough, but by some horrifying twist of fate, his horse had recently dropped a steaming pile of dung in the precise location he found himself sitting.

Naturally, no doubt to the delight of the devilish pixie, he had to immediately return to the house to clean up and change before he could leave again. But it was already late, so he was forced to remain for the night, enduring an evening of unending prattle as the girl begged for his particular attention.

Even now as he thought on the tragic memory, his head ached and his backside throbbed.

Baldwyn massaged his temples in slow deliberate circles, hoping to erase the reminiscence from his mind forever.

“Lady Anastasia is no longer a child, Baldwyn. And you have responsibilities.” His grandmother’s voice broke through his anguish.

“Regardless, Grandmother. It would have been nice to have a choice in the matter.”

Friday, July 20, 2012

Sweet Saturday: Old Acquaintances

Why his grandmother had insisted they make an appearance promptly at the start of the evening was beyond Baldwyn’s understanding. No one of any consequence had yet arrived, which left him with nothing to do but seek out the best hiding places in the house in case they were needed later.

Sapphire engagement ring
And that is what he was doing when the Duke of Montmouth happened to come across his path.

“Paisley, I didn’t know you had returned to the city.” Montmouth greeted him with a hearty pound on the back.

“Aye, ‘tis my misfortune that beckons me,” Baldwyn answered, grimacing under the duke’s painful salutation.

“The dowager?” his friend asked, arching a single eyebrow.

Baldwyn nodded. “She insists I marry.”

“Sounds familiar,” Montmouth said. He shook his head and chuckled knowingly. “So tell me, has she yet selected the perfect target for your matrimonial bliss?”

“Worse.” Baldwyn’s stomach turned even as he said it. Certainly Montmouth would note the displeasure undoubtedly etched across his face. “She has already spoken to the girl’s father on my behalf.” Both of Montmouth’s eyebrows shot up in blatant shock. “Yes, indeed. It is true. Without my knowledge or consent, I have become betrothed to a girl I hardly know and haven’t seen in years. In fact, the last time I had the pleasure, she hurled mud balls at me.”

Montmouth’s delight broke out in a loud, bellowing laugh.

Baldwyn was not entertained in the least. He leveled his gaze on his host.

“You’ll pardon me, Montmouth, if I do not share your amusement.”

The larger man tried in vain to stifle his mirth. “Ahh! I’m sorry, Paisley.” He burst into another round of raucous laughter. When it wound down, he shook his head and wiped at his eyes with the back of his hand. “I am sorry, Paisley. I do hope she has outgrown that phase by now. The duchess would be terribly put out if the girl began flinging mud in her ballroom.”

Baldwyn glanced around the room. The very thought of the wretched child taking aim at him this evening made his throat go dry. “Have you anything stronger than champagne in the house?”


Montmouth pounded him on the back again. “Yes, of course. I can see that you need it, and if it wasn’t already necessary, it shall be very soon!” He chuckled again as he stepped to the liquor cabinet, drew a bottle of good English whiskey from its place there, and filled two glasses.

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 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 towards 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.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Beguiling Bridget Release Party

The long awaited sequel to USA Today Bestselling Waltzing with the Wallflower has arrived! Don't miss Anthony and Bridget's story! Rachel and I are so excited about this new release, we decided to celebrate with a giant giveaway! There are prizes and chances to win on both of our blogs, as well as things to do on our Facebook pages. You can test your knowledge of Waltzing with the Wallflower, Ambrose and Cordelia's story, with trivia questions, suggest ideas for the title of Wilde and Gemma's story, access buy links, and more!

Enter the giveaway for my blog below. Then go visit Rachel's blog and enter hers too! Double your chances at winning!

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Meet the Characters:

Beguiling Bridget Teaser:

They walked in awkward silence all the way to the end of the block. Bridget stopped at the house on the corner and followed the path to the front door, and without knocking she let herself in.

“Are you mad? You cannot simply let yourself into someone’s house! Whatever would people think? What would they say—?”

“Bridget, my dear, is that you?” a man’s voice called.

Anthony cursed. “A man? You’re here to meet a man? And dressed as a boy? Could this possibly get worse? You shun my attentions for another?”

“Bridget?” The voice was hoarse and weak.

“Merciful heavens! I will never live this down,” Anthony mumbled to himself as he followed the girl around the corner.

His eyes fell on an elderly gentleman who seemed to have one foot in the grave. “Ah, Bridget, my dear, are you ready for your fencing lesson?”

“I was wrong. It just became much worse.” Anthony began to perspire as Bridget shed her coat and rolled up her sleeves. Smooth fair skin peeked out from her white shirt, causing his nostrils flare in agitation or arousal — he wasn’t quite sure which, but he was certain the temperature in the house just spiked at least ten degrees. And where was the blasted butler with refreshments?

“And you are?” the elderly gentleman asked.

“Viscount Maddox at your service.” He bowed curtly before the man and waited.

“I’m sorry, Lord Travis. He insisted on following me.”

“How fortuitous, my dear. You shall have a sparring partner.”

“Sparring partner?” Anthony repeated and began to laugh. “Surely you jest.”

“I never jest.” The man made no move to smile or breathe, it seemed.

“Right, then.” Anthony shifted on his heels. “So I’ll just…” He didn’t finish the sentence. Instead he silently cursed his brother and Wilde as he shook off his jacket and readied himself for battle… against a woman. The very woman he was supposed to be winning.

Truly, the odds were not in his favor.

“En garde!” Bridget yelled.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Releasing This Thursday!

Don't miss the sequel to USA Today Bestseller, 
Waltzing with the Wallflower!

Anthony's story:


Driven to distraction by the redhead across the room, Anthony Benson barely hears the terms of his brother’s challenge before agreeing to them.

No matter. It will be easy. Viscount Maddox has never had any problem impressing the ladies. And four weeks is more than enough time to win over this so obviously neglected wallflower.

But things are never as easy as they seem.

The lady has lofty aspirations. And not one of them includes love or marriage. Especially not with an arrogant and self-assured playboy like the viscount. No matter how attractive he may be.


For a sneak peek at the new cover art for Beguiling Bridget and other inside information, "like" Waltzing with the Wallflower on Facebook.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Sweet Saturday: Beguiling Bridget

Anthony entered into Ambrose’s townhome much like a dog with its tail between its legs.

Ambrose took one look at his brother and swore. “Well, that went well.”

“Obviously.” Anthony muttered as a squashed strawberry fell out of his jacket and tumbled onto the floor.


“I thought he didn’t like strawberries?” Wilde said to Ambrose, “It seems that if he was so offended by said fruit he wouldn’t take to bathing in them, which is the only conclusion I can come up with considering his state of dress.”

“It is my calculation,” Anthony sat on a nearby chair and cringed when the sticky juice of the strawberry ran down his legs, “that when the lady could find no daggers, swords, or pistols, she became desperate and decided to torture me with my favorite fruit.”

“She was successful, no doubt.” Ambrose smiled and let out a chuckle.

“I shouldn’t have kissed her.”

“Idiot,” Ambrose replied.

“Dolt,” Wilde agreed.

“What did you expect me to do? I apologized! I went down on one knee and I had this speech, truly it was a speech that would bring even Byron to tears, and then when I saw her lips and her face I lost—“

“—complete control of your mind, no doubt.” Wilde shook his head. “If you do not fix this then Gemma will never speak to me again! Women have to stick together, after all.”

At Anthony’s irritated look Wilde apologized. “Well, it’s not that I’m not concerned for you and the lovely lady, and yes perhaps I’m being a mite selfish, but saints alive, Anthony! I’ve never met a man so horrid at proposals and apologies in my life! And just this last year Ambrose apologized to Lady Cordelia by giving her a dead plant!”

“Now see here!” Ambrose roared. “I didn’t know it was dead until after I gave it to her.”

“That makes it so much better.” Anthony closed his eyes while his brother and Wilde continued to bicker. They were both right, perhaps he should allow the lady to shoot him—anything would feel better than the pain he was feeling at present.

Bridget. She deserved the prince, the white horse, the pretty words. She deserved it all, and he had kissed her instead.

Well, no more. He was going to do this right, even if it killed him, which to be truthful was a very real possibility.

“Right then.” He pulled himself to his feet and began walking towards the door.

“Where are you going?”Ambrose asked.

“To storm the castle,” Anthony muttered and walked out into the afternoon air.

~ Beguiling Bridget releasing in July 2012

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Sweet Saturday: Paisley

Baldwyn slumped into the royal blue wingback chair and eyed her with suspicion.
“What are these important family matters, Grandmother? Please. I wish to be enlightened.”
“Your tone says otherwise, Baldwyn. Remember to whom you are speaking.” She was seething now. He had pressed her too far.
“Of course, Grandmother. I apologize. Please, continue.”
The dowager lifted her head and glowered down her aristocratic nose at him. Again her steel blue gaze sliced right through him, sending a sudden chill stampeding down his spine. He took the cup of tea offered by the maid and sipped, hoping to cover his momentary lapse in ducal composure.
“I have wonderful news for you.” That was debatable. “I have arranged a betrothal.”
The tea turned to sludge in his throat and he choked, spewing the mouthful he had just drawn from the cup all over the table before him. He glanced up in time to see the fresh brew dripping from the dowager duchess’s chin.
Her stoic glower told him all he needed to know. Death awaited him.
The maid was at the old woman’s side in an instant, fear radiating from her crisp green eyes as she dabbed at the duchess’s tea-bathed face. Baldwyn rose to offer his aid, but his grandmother’s hand shot up, freezing him in place.
“Sit down, Baldwyn. We shall complete the business at hand.” She wrenched the linen cloth from the maid’s hands and swatted her away. As she continued, she patted her forehead, cheeks, chin, and neck with the cloth.
“As I was saying…I have arranged a betrothal contract between you and the daughter of Lord Marks.”
Baldwyn’s blood curdled in his veins. Shock held him prisoner where he was, tying his tongue until finally he forced out, “Betrothal! You’ve gone mad!”
“I said, ‘Sit down’.” Her gaze leveled on him once more, compelling him to his seat.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Summer Reads

Thanks for stopping by! The giveaway for Summer Reads is All We See or Seem, a sci-fi romantic suspense and a $15 Amazon or Barnes&Noble gift card. See below to take your chance.


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.

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Monday, July 2, 2012

Meet & Greet: Lady Gemma

Lady Gemma Reynolds
daughter of the Duke of Fraley

The beautiful and talented Gemma Reynolds is as straight-laced as they come. She quotes the etiquette book in her spare time. And though her goal in life is marriage, she is scared to death to be alone with a man. Propriety is very important to her.

Her parents and brother are over-protective of her, and raised her to be conscious of the appearance of everything she does and says. If there is even a hint of impropriety, Gemma becomes faint.

This is why her friendship with Bridget is such a puzzle. However, they do seem to balance each other out. Gemma holds Bridget back from jumping off the ledge and plunging into complete scandal, while Bridget encourages Gemma to step outside her comfort zone every once in awhile.

When bumbling Sir Colin Wilde focuses his attentions on uptight Lady Gemma, the result is sometimes funny—sometimes sad. Sometimes it is downright improper...and Lady Gemma doesn't know what to do with that.