Saturday, 30 August 2014

Blog Tour Stop: The Lady Quill Chronicles

Lady Quill Chronicles - Tour Banner  

BOOK INFORMATION

TITLE – The Promise (book #1) The Vow (book #2) SERIES – The Lady Quill Chronicles AUTHOR – D.D. Chant GENRE – Historical Fiction/romance/adventure/mystery PUBLICATION DATE – 3rd March 2012 / 28th July 2014 LENGTH (Pages/# Words) – 95.620 words / 108.290 words PUBLISHER – Self-Publish COVER ARTIST – D.D. Chant

BOOK SYNOPSIS (The Promise & The Vow)

The Promise Cover
Dear Reader,
I wish to tell you a tale that began with a promise destined to change the lives of many.
When only a child, Lady Adele of Berron lost her family during a dreadful battle and was betrothed to a stranger.
Lord Rafe of Valrek, only a boy himself when the battle of Calis raged, grew to be a feared warrior and trusted advisor to his King. But sadness filled his past and Adele served only to remind him of all he had lost.
However the promise that bound these two together caused great anger to some. What, Dear Reader, happened in those days of treachery and darkness? Incline your ear that I may whisper the secrets that you so desire to hear......
Lady Quill
  The Vow - Book Cover
Dear Reader,
My next story begins with Velrek, where Lord Rafe and Lady Adele's arrival was cause for much celebration and rejoicing.
However Finan of Gournay, Rafe's foster brother and the captain of Valreks army, could not help a lingering feeling of worry.
Were Rafe and Adele truly safe from Lord Kyule's hate?
Adding to Finan's problems was the unsettling presence of Rafe's sister, Lady Esme. Used to keeping his distance from the woman of Valrek, Finan found that he could no longer escape as before.
As danger and treachery enveloped Valrek, Finan and Esme found themselves drawn together to fight the shadowy assailant that threatened the lives of those they loved.
What secrets would they unearth in their search for the enemy that taunted them?
Would they find that their stories were more closely linked than either of them ever knew?
Allow me please to answer these questions...
Lady Quill
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EXCERPT (The Promise)

Rafe watched as Adele pushed a wisp of hair back from her cheek and tucked it behind her ear. She was unaware of his eyes upon her, all her attention was on the robin that hopped about on the frozen earth, pecking at the crumbs she had scattered for it. She must be tired, she had to be. Eda was even now asleep, curled up in the shelter of a fallen log. It was Eda who had begged for rest, for food, but never once had Adele demanded anything, no word of complaint had passed her lips. Still he was uneasy. Adele and Eda had talk in a desultory manner, but there had been silence between himself and her for too long. At first he had not noticed, his head was too full of plans and worries for him to spare a thought for conversation. But for a long while he had been conscious of the deafening silence between them and had been made uncomfortable by it. That was strange in itself because he had been used to long marches from an early age and had never found the quiet awkward before. Certainly he had never voluntarily conversed with any lady not related to him. He was surprised to find that the hush had become oppressive and longed for her to say something, however inconsequential, to show him that she was not upset by his having ignored her for so long. Maybe he should talk to her, but he could think of nothing to say. The robin, encouraged by Adele’s stillness and enticed by the crumbs, bravely moved a little nearer. Adele smiled breaking another piece of rye bread and crumbling it between her fingers before dropping them to the floor. The robin fluttered away nervously and Adele laughed. “’Tis only crumbs, you silly thing.” The robin cocked its head to one side, regarding her speculatively from one beady eye before hopping a little nearer. He was so close that Rafe could see with incredible clarity the overlapping feathers on his bright red chest and he realised that he had never really looked at a robin before, not really looked. “He’s a handsome fellow, isn’t he?” Rafe was startled to hear Adele’s warm and friendly voice. He looked up to find her regarding him from wide, clear eyes. “Welcome back to the land of the living, you were gone a long time you know.” She was still smiling, there was no reproach in her words. “I was thinking,” answered Rafe apologetically. “Forgive me, I have not been very good company for you.” “You are worried,” shrugged Adele. “I only hope that you have found some solution to the problem that vexes you so. It is not pleasant to be always troubled.” She scattered a few more crumbs for the waiting robin. “You know, this little fellow reminds me of a passage in the Bible.” Adele smiled again. “When Jesus was teaching upon the Mount of Olives and he said to take a lesson from the lilies of the field because they neither toil nor spin but even Solomon in all his glory was not comparable to one of them.” Her serene eyes drifted up to meet his gaze. “’Tis true; for I have never yet seen a fabric that could equal this little robin redbreast.” Rafe stared hard into her softly unfocused eyes for some moments. “You are a very unusual girl.” The words slipped from his mouth before he could check them. Adele’s eyes met his and, for the first time in the short while he had known her, he saw that they were clouded with uncertainty. It had been meant as a compliment, in his own mind it had been a praising description, although it was true that he never meant to speak the words out loud. It seemed that although she might well be unusual, she did have one thing in common with the rest of her sex. That was the belief that in a woman, unusual was not an epithet to aspire to. She had taken the comment to be little better than a slight and was embarrassed, he could tell. It was with some surprise that he discovered that he would have given a great deal to unsay those words, or to come into possession of others that would assure her of his meaning. But he had none. He knew not how to converse with women, although there were many who would have refuted that statement. Rafe was held as a favourite with ladies, they thought him charming, attentively courteous and yet still retaining that elusive air of reckless danger. Rafe had never been easy in their company, it had rendered him silent. Strangely enough this silence had the effect of inspiring admiration in female hearts and these ladies believed that his lack of words had betrayed a great depth of emotion and sympathy. Gradually he had learnt to suffer the discomfort he felt in their presence stoically. He had never found their conversation particularly interesting, but then again he had not found it to be fraught with as many difficulties as conversation with Adele so often was. Indeed these ladies would have said, had they been asked, that it was possible to converse with Lord Rafe in complete openness. Rafe was innately polite and had always listened to their prattle in well concealed boredom, leaving them with the impression that he was a wonderfully sensitive man, with whom a lady could always enjoy a deep and meaningful conversation in which the souls of the principals had been poured out with unrestrained and frank honesty. The fact that Lord Rafe rarely said a word, but listened in silence while the Lady in question divested herself of her opinions on every subject under the sun, completely escaped them. This left said Lady with the impression that Rafe were something of a fountain of wisdom. Thankfully there had never been the need to say very much, for it had often been his reflection that ladies were quite capable of holding a conversation without the participation of a second party. In fact they seemed vaguely put out when one interrupted them half way through their monologue. It was different with Adele, she required active participation. To her conversation was to learn about others, not discussing, at length and in great detail, her own feelings and needs. He should have found the change refreshing, and in a way he did, but he found it alarming too. Adele would have been greatly surprised to know that he had any interest in her at all and her opinion of this last remark was not well defined. She was conscious of a sinking feeling of disappointment, tangled up with hurt and embarrassment. It had never occurred to Adele that she might be different to other girls, for she had thought that the whole point of her training at the fort was that she might conform to the idea of a proper wife. It came as something of a shock to find that this was not so and she knew a sudden and uncomfortable fear that perhaps she would not please Lord Rafe, that he too would be disappointed. “Are you thirsty, Lady Adele?” Rafe didn’t know what she was thinking, but he misliked the look of perturbed concentration on her face. She looked up at him, not having heard what he had said but knowing that he had addressed her. Her large, troubled eyes met his and he felt as if the breath were knocked from his body, suddenly he heard himself speaking. “I did not mean that!” He registered the meaning of his words and began to stammer. “That is… ‘tis not that I didn’t mean it, ‘tis just… I just…” He broke off, unsure if his tangled explanations were making it worse. He was relieved to find that the worry had faded from her eyes and that they were filled with the beginnings of mirth. “You are funny when you become nervous.” “I’m not nervous!” Rafe looked vaguely revolted by this description. “It is only that I did not mean it like that.” Again he looked sheepish. “All I meant was, that to be different… ’tis good... that is, Lord Rafe will be pleased.” He broke off abruptly again. “You do not think Lord Rafe will mind?” asked Adele blushing. “You think he will like it, Finn?” “I… yes.” Rafe cleared his throat and stood, looking in the direction in which they had come. The conversation was becoming a little too complicated, too difficult. He even had a vague suspicion that the discussion should not have been taking place. As he looked through the trees, his eyes keen and searching, worry entered his face. Adele saw it, saw his mind change track and begin on lines wholly different to those of a few moments before. He was gone again, lost to her as a companion. Though his form was still there standing across from her, his mind was somewhere else, somewhere along the trail that they had traversed, restless, questing, searching for answers, for something that she did not know. “Finn?” Rafe turned at the sound of her voice, it was low, gently probing and for a few seconds he said nothing as he tried to recover his wondering thoughts. She didn’t speak again, did not question him, but sat looking up, her eyes placid, waiting for him to say something. He had the feeling that she was not requesting confidences, but merely seeking reassurance, the comfort of companionship with another person. “You look tired.” “So do you,” she replied. “In truth I think you must be more weary than I, for ‘tis you who must bear the responsibility of our journey.” She stole a look up at him from beneath lowered lashes. “And I think you are plagued by much worry, more even than befits the gravity of our situation.” Rafe was taken back, few were the people who could read his thoughts with such a degree of perspicacity, and rare was the person who could hold their curiosity in check, questioning not from whence these other worries came. For some reason her understanding unsettled him. “We have yet much ground to cover before we make camp tonight, it is best that we move along now.”
Facebook.LQC.

EXCERPT (The Vow)

The night was black as pitch, so dark that Finan could not make out anything in the room. He sat upright, wondering what could have woken him. He was by no means a light sleeper and during the evening’s festivities had indulged liberally in mead. It had not been enough to inebriate, but enough to relax him and give him an altogether more cheerful view of the world. So why was he sleepless now? Grinding a fist against his eye, it suddenly occurred to him that the room was too dark. The fire had gone out, leaving the air to take on the chill of the night. He shivered and grumbled irritably under his breath. He had managed to remove his tunic before falling in to bed, now with the woollen blanket and the furs covering the bed pooled at his waist, his skin was covered with gooseflesh. Vaguely he wondered if he could be bothered to relight the dead fire, or if it would be simpler to find another blanket. He was almost certain there was a spare at the foot of his bed. Yawning he flung back the covers, but his sleepiness made him clumsy and he cracked his knee against the table to one side of the bed. With an angry oath he lurched to rest against the wall, soothing his bruised appendage. He stood there for some considerable time, cursing with a fluency that would have alarmed Lady Ebba, if only she had heard him. He found a great many things to curse: the table, himself and whatever fool had thought to put the table there in the first place. Finally he straightened and sighed heavily. The flavour of smoke hung on the air and Finan frowned glancing to where his fire should have been burning merrily. There was enough of the scent of smoke to burn the back of his throat, yet no source for its abundance. The mists of sleep cleared sharply from his brain, replaced by an uncomfortable sensation that something somewhere was amiss. It was a feeling that he had learnt long ago not to ignore, a cold certainty that clawed in his stomach giving him no peace. Opening the door he stepped out into the hall beyond. The main house and great hall was used only during the day. One of the smaller secondary halls housed the bedchambers. It was a square structure with an apex roof, built with a secondary wall within a first and partitioned into private rooms. Finan had been given the first chamber on the left, as his duties called for him to be readily available for his men. The stench of smoke was stronger in the hall but the large fire toward the end of the room was nothing more than a few glowing embers. After a few moments investigation, Finan found the source of the smoke; it seeped under the door of Rafe’s bedchamber. Panic welled within him and he threw back the bedroom door. Smoke billowed out, causing him to recoil, with a shout for help he plunged into the room, almost blind with tears as the smoke laden air assaulted his eyes. He fought his way forward to the bottom of Rafe’s bed. He could just make out his friend’s form, unnaturally still beneath the covers, a twisted woollen blanket spreading flames over the furs. “Rafe!” Finan’s hoarse voice had no affect on the still form and he reached to pull the burning covers free from the bed. The walls on either side were aflame preventing Finan from stepping forward, and greedy flames licked at the frame of the bed. Finan made out Rafe’s heavy, fur lined cloak carelessly thrown over a nearby chair and used it to cover Rafe’s inert body. It would at least shield him from the flames long enough for Finan to get him out of the room. He sucked in a dry lungful of hot air that scorched his throat and wiped the sweat free of his eyes. There was no way past the flames that surrounded the bed, no way to reach Rafe but through the scorching heat. With sudden determination Finan plunged forwards, pain filling his mind as he felt the touch of fire on his hands and crawling along his forearms. This couldn’t happen again, he couldn’t lose another brother! Wrapping Rafe within the cloak, he hoisted him over his shoulder and staggered towards the door. The scorching burn against his shirtless skin was agonising but Rafe’s lax body in his arms frightened him more. Dimly he was aware of shouting as the rest of the house became aware that something was wrong. As soon as he made it into the hall, eager hands lifted Rafe away from him. “Don’t put him down in here.” Adele’s voice cut through the noise, her tone calm and confident. “Get him outside, he needs clean air, Finan too.” “I must help with the fire.” A firm grip fell on his shoulder and Finan grimaced shifting away from the touch. Esme released him immediately. “You have helped enough Finan, there are sufficient people to see the fire is put out.” Looking at the men staggering to and fro with buckets of water, he saw the truth of her statement. Worry for Rafe propelled him out into the cool night air. Too many was the time he had seen someone shut too long in a smoky room die. It didn’t seem to matter whether the flames had touched them or not, they fell into a sleep that no one could rouse them from. Adele directed the men to lay Rafe down some distance from the house. She was shrouded in a plain nightgown, without a cloak to offer her protection from the night air. She looked more childlike than ever with the voluminous white folds billowing about her and her hair plaited neatly down her back. Finan swayed, his vision blurring and nausea making his stomach roll. “Finan? What is it? What is wrong?” Lady Esme’s concerned face swam before his eyes and he shook his head attempting to bring her into focus. The nausea hit harder and Finan turned and vomited on to the grass. He’d never felt so weak before, his legs as unsteady as a newborn colt. Someone slid their arm around his waist, giving him much needed support as he discharged the rest of his evening meal on to the ground. His legs gave way and he dropped to his knees, despite the cold air his skin still seemed to burn. Esme watched his laboured breathing worriedly. His hands were fisted and pressed into the ground either side of his knees and his head was bent forward, eyes tightly closed. She could see the pain in the lines of his face and red burns stood out patchily against pale skin. Reaching forward she drew his head to rest against her shoulder, surprised that he didn’t pull away, but sagged tiredly against her. The new position gave a better view of his arms and hands. The blood drained from her face and she winced. Large blisters and red open wounds covered his skin from hand to elbow. Finan would bear a constant reminder of this night for the rest of his life. “Rafe?” Finan’s voice, rough and husky made her jump and she looked where Adele held Rafe’s limp form in her arms. Tears blinded her, closing her throat so she could hardly breathe. It didn’t seem possible that her energetic, vibrant brother could be lying so still and silent. Was it just a few hours ago that he had stood before them all with the tale of his adventures? Her gaze shifted to where her father clasped her sobbing mother tightly, a grey expression of horror drawing his features tight. Aisly stood to one side, immaculately elegant as ever, her long chestnut locks hanging around her slender frame, making her appear as some ethereal pagan goddess. There were tears standing in her eyes but Esme knew that Aisly would not let them fall. She clenched her hands into fists and stood stiff and defiant. Finan struggled upright on receiving no response and cast a worried look down into her face. Whatever he saw expressed upon her features caused him to pull away and drag himself to where Rafe lay pillowed in Adele’s embrace. Adele wasn’t crying but there was bleakness in her expression, pain in her eyes. “Is he…?” “Give him but a moment.” Adele’s soft voice was no more than a whisper and Finan felt that she was not exactly answering his question but reassuring herself. He gazed down at Rafe’s lifeless body and pale face. Bile rose in his throat as he recalled another white face and lax body laid out as if in sleep. His vision blurred between the two faces, both so dear to him. Once again it seemed as though he sat in Lord Brogan’s tent, a bloody battle field without and Evoric’s body laid within. His brother had looked so calm, so peaceful, as if he slept. Finan had felt that he had only to reach out and touch his shoulder and Evoric would rise from his slumber. He couldn’t recall how long he’d sat by his brother’s still form. It hadn’t seemed possible that Evoric was truly dead, Finan’s mind had recoiled from the idea, yet deep down he had known it to be the truth. It was why he could not bring himself to touch Evoric’s body and find it cold and lifeless. In the end he had sat beside his brother through the night, and when the soldiers came to bury him the next morning, Finan had exchanged his own dagger with Evoric’s. At least they would always have something of each other that way. “Rafe?” Finan jumped at Adele’s soft voice, she was stroking Rafe’s cheek with gentle fingers. “You must wake up now, you have to try, can you not do that for me?” Her voice trembled with the effort it took to hold back her tears, but still Rafe made no move. She bent her head to touch her lips to his brow. “I know how strong you are, your heart still beats with the might of a warrior.” Adele shifted to set a lingering kiss against Rafe’s mouth. Her next plea was so softly spoken Finan doubted anyone but he heard it. “Pease, Rafe, you cannot leave me all alone.”

YOU TUBE TRAILER & PLAYLIST

My sister is a musician and she wrote two custom pieces for both books.
The Promise [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsFh7KI6i5U]
The Vow: [youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8XJp1Ezcwo]
    Lady Quill Chronicles - Author Photo  

AUTHOR BIO

Hi everyone! My name is Dee Dee, I’m twenty six and I live in a beautiful part of Devon, England with my family. I have a younger sister, Amy who is a brilliant guitar player, some chickens, duck, geese, pheasants, a cat (that adopted us when we moved in!!!) and some Koi.
Broken City is actually my second novel. My first, as my Aunt so delicately put it, was crazy but in my defence I was only sixteen at the time. On the plus side I learnt a lot (or so I hope) and two years later ‘Broken City’ was finished.
I really hope you enjoy reading my books as much as I enjoy writing them.
I love reading and have a kindle: I read almost anything with adventure and romance in it! I also like to cook and wear impractical high heels!!! And as you might have noticed I have a horrible addiction to exclamation marks!!!

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Monday, 25 August 2014

Exclusive Excerpt: Too Much to Lose

Today I'm sharing a sneaky peek from my upcoming NA romance, Too Much to Lose which will be releasing on the 5th September. Enjoy and don't forget to join my release party where there will be a prize a day! 
Today you can win a copy of my military romance novel, Not Another Soldier by leaving a comment here! Don't forget to leave an email address!


Add to your Goodreads


“Don’t fight this, princess. I’ll make it worth your while. I won’t make life harder for you. Just let me into your life… just a little.”
As she gazes up at me, I see the internal fight. Like a little girl lost, she stares up at me, trying to decide if I’m her salvation or not. I’m so far from it, it’s insane, but I keep my expression sincere and pray she doesn’t see that.
Then in an unexpected move, she leaps forward and her arms tangle around my neck. Before I can utter a sound of surprise, her lips are on mine. I hear the jacket she was holding drop to my feet with a woosh but everything else fades and I wrap my arms about her waist. I pin her to me and, unable to control myself, I rock my hips into her in an attempt to ease the agony.
She moans and opens her mouth to me. I take the opportunity to thrust my tongue in to meet hers. My muscles go taut at the taste of her; a tingle runs down my spine. Every part of me is on fire. Who knew a kiss could have such an effect?
I slide my hands around to cup her ass, notching myself against her. She’s breathless and pliant in my arms. Putty in my hands. I swear I could take her here and now if I just kept up the pace. We stumble as the kiss deepens and I manoeuvre her around so she’s propped up against the bike. I draw away to briefly eye her.
My Harley and a hot woman.
“God, you drive me insane, Jess.”

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Guest Post: Imagery is Everything by Marie Lavender

For most writers, painting a picture is important.  Getting a reader to see something the way you do is paramount to anything else.  This is why I rely heavily on images.  I use new photos, old photos, anything I can find to understand how something works or to try to paint a picture.  Sure, imagination is also important.  What you can’t see in reality you create in your mind.  But, we still have to describe it.
They teach you to use all of your senses to describe a scene.  Not just externally, but internally.  If you look at a tree, how does it make you feel?  Do you think of history, of how old that tree is, how long it has been around?  I do.  Do you want to find out what kind of tree it is?  Ah, but you don’t have to know right away.  You can research it to match the leaf pattern.  Hell, you can substitute for another tree in most cases (I guess it depends what is indigenous to a region).  
Think of an old red tricycle.  Does that make you feel something?  Do you think of your childhood, how you used to peddle fast, your legs spinning until you thought you could fly?  Was your mom or dad watching close by to make sure you didn’t get hurt?  Wow, a photo can bring some memories to mind, can’t it?  It’s the same with research.  When I do research on a time period or a specific location, I try to ruminate on it for awhile.  How does it make me feel?  How would a character feel?  Are the streets paved or are they still dirt-laden?  All of these details might not seem so important for some beginning writers, but I guarantee readers will feel more grounded into a character’s situation if they can “feel” something.
After I write a manuscript, I often go back through to see if I’ve missed any of these sensory details.  For Upon Your Honor, I used old photos, old journals or ethnographies about locations, old newspaper ads, old maps, anything I could find to fill in the gaps.  Sure, I did a lot of research as I went along, but the nice thing about saving it is that you can go back to it when you need to add anything.  For locations, I not only found pictures of a city as it is now, but I tried to find images of how it looked then, in 1891, for authenticity.  With fashion or décor, I researched sites that specialized in the Victorian age or I looked at sources specific to that year.  I will share some of the imagery I used to describe what happened in my book here with you.
How do these images makes you feel?  Are you getting a sense that imagery is everything?
Let me give you another example just for fun.
I recently stumbled across this photo on a blog, and it automatically got my creative wheels turning.  
This is my little five sentence piece of fiction I came up with spur of the moment:
Waiting by the tracks, the rain spattered down on her black umbrella.  The cobblestone pattern beside the metals rails was a fine sheen of water.  In her long, blue casual dress she huddled through the cold, her butt planted on a long trunk.  She alternated gazed down the long track and checked her watch.  It was running late, and she feared her packed clothing would be soaked soon with the delay.
So, you see.  Anything can spur a moment of creativity for a writer.  Even if we’re not looking at photos, life can provide the same things.  Real life is quite inspiring, and I utilized those feelings while writing Upon Your Honor.
I hope you love the book as much as I loved writing it!
In closing, I will leave you with two excerpts from Upon Your Honor, the second book in the Heiresses in Love Series.  These teasers contain quite a bit of detail.
Excerpt
“Do you want a tour of the house before dinner? Maybe the grounds?”
She nodded. “That would be lovely. Thank you.”
Adrienne gave her the tour. The plantation home was in the Greek Revival style with a symmetrical façade and narrow windows near the front door. There was a long central hall running between the front and back exits on the lower floor. Each room was complete with wide oriental rugs and lovely dark cherry furniture with blue velvet padding.
She was shown the dining room. A long dining table, complete with sixteen chairs, lay in the middle of the space. A harp-shaped fan hung from the ceiling, clearly for warmer evenings. The parlor had a fireplace and a pianoforte on either side of the comfortable settee and chairs. While in the kitchen, she and Adrienne were greeted by the cook, Amelie. Gabriel’s sister assured Chloe that they did not always eat at the long dining table for all of their meals, and had breakfast or luncheon in either their rooms or in the parlor. On such an occasion, a buffet table would be set out so they could serve themselves.
The second floor had a long hallway, as well, and many bedrooms. She imagined most of the bedrooms were decorated as elegantly as hers. Each bedroom let out onto the extensive gallery, which overlooked the estate grounds.
The house was so beautiful Chloe could not imagine how it had been growing up.
Excerpt 2
Hours later, Chloe was dressed in the dark blue costume. The velvet was soft like mink against her skin. She looked in the mirror in her bedroom and could not tear her gaze away. The sleeves were narrow and the neckline was cut low to tease onlookers with the tops of her breasts. The only thing that made it acceptable was the extra white lace fabric adorning the neckline. The rest of the gown flowed out beautifully and was adorned with nothing but the rich blue fabric. Gabriel’s mother had also lent her a necklace with a pretty substantial sapphire pendant in the shape of a heart.
The whole costume was perfect, far from what she was accustomed to. Even when she’d lived with her father, she had hardly ever attended balls. There simply wasn’t the occasion for one. Her neighbors were content to go to the theater or to hold simple afternoon teas. Parties were very rare. In truth, she imagined her father had been too busy to take her to any.
With a shrug, Chloe pushed her feet into some matching blue slippers. She checked the mirror again. A maid had drawn her hair up into a bun, then several long curls hung here and there down her neckline as well as around her face. Francoise, who was also Tante Lina’s personal maid, urged her to wear some cosmetics, but Chloe had declined.
The most she had ever done was pinch her cheeks or firm her lips together to create the same affect. Back home, Veronica had started her on a natural cream regimen at night as soon as she had become of age. Perhaps Chloe’s attempts did not last, but given how deadly some of the current trends were, it was preferable. Besides, she had seen some of the stage makeup on the opera singers and it was hideous. Chloe gave a satisfied nod at her reflection, then she grasped her white shawl to guard against the cool of the night, and left the room.
As promised, Adrienne wore a green gown. Gabriel’s mother wore a lavender one. And despite her age, Tante Lina was still resplendent in a silk mauve-colored gown.
Gabriel appeared in a black suit, dressed perfectly for the occasion. When he saw her, his eyes widened. He crossed the room and took her hands. In front of everyone, he leaned forward and kissed both her cheeks. “You are so lovely, ma chére,” he whispered.
She murmured a thank you, but she could not dismiss the fluttering of her heart or the heat in his gaze. Why was she always undone in his presence? Love was making a fool of her, and she was helpless to stop it. If only she had left the ship sooner. If only she had given Gabriel that letter. She would not love him so much, and she would not feel so torn. But, that was a lie, wasn’t it? She had loved him even then. Chloe wasn’t sure when it had begun. Had she loved him from the moment she’d stumbled across him in her attempt to stow away?
“I thought you would wear the other gown,” Gabriel said, drawing her attention to his words.
“So did I.”
“Where did you get this?” he asked pleasantly.
“It’s your grandmother’s, an heirloom really. Your mother insisted I wear it. I could hardly say no.”
He looked surprised for a moment, then smiled. “I’m glad. You look ravishing.”
“Come along, mes poulettes,” Gabriel’s mother announced, and Chloe was saved from making a response. Not that she could have formed one.
It was nine o’clock in the evening, and they left the house as a group. They took two carriages; Fara, Tante Lina, and Adrienne in one while Gabriel and Chloe got in the other.
The ride to the Fournier’s was both silent and agreeable. Nostalgically, she was reminded of the carriage ride they’d taken to get to New Orleans, the nasty spill along the journey and the moments she’d spent with Gabriel at the inn in Claiborne. Did he ever think of it as she did? Did it mean much more to him than a simple night of pleasure? She hoped so, but she couldn’t be sure.
It had been a week since she’d arrived at his parents’ house, and she had not gone to Nana’s. She knew she would have to. It was inevitable. But, perhaps she could delay it for just a bit longer, put off the separation that must occur. For she knew she had to move on. She knew she was not worthy of this lovely family that had accepted her.
Gabriel cleared his throat and she glanced at him as he sat across from her. “About what happened in Claiborne…”
“Yes?”
He frowned. “I feel I must have taken advantage of you.”
It was certainly kind of him to say so, but she could not bear for him to alter what had truly occurred, at least, not in her mind. “No, you did not.”
“You cannot realize—”
“I’m not naïve, Gabriel. I knew exactly what I was doing. You do not have to feel responsible for it.”
“You were a virgin,” he said quietly.
“So I was. Does that matter?”
“It does to me.”
“Why?”
“I took what was meant for your future husband. I had no right.”
She shook her head. “You were the only one I wanted.”
He smiled slowly and looked as if he would reply but they reached their destination. There was no chance to discuss it further. They were quickly swept into the pandemonium that was the ball.
The Fournier house was made of dark red brick with large white columns placed in front. It had galleries sweeping across the front, like the Bellamont Plantation, and the galleries were buffeted by cast-iron railings. Draped around the house was foliage of all kinds and a high brick wall, which she imagined encased a garden.
Once inside, the family was announced, and then they made their way down a wide staircase into a large ballroom. The room was covered in gold damask wallpaper with matching gold curtains. Tables were scattered here and there, but the focus was the dance floor, where couples spun even now. Buffet tables laden with rich reserves of food were laid out towards the sides. The family found a table and sat. Gabriel excused himself and returned with plates laden with delights. There was a wide variety of fish, game, vegetables and rice. Chloe particularly enjoyed the shrimp and oysters. For dessert, there were fresh pineapple, brandied fruits, almonds, raisins and an assortment of cheeses.
Soon everyone was too stuffed to eat any more. A servant cleared the plates away, and Chloe watched as Fara and Tante Lina abandoned the table to join a group of other women, perhaps friends. Gabriel escaped as well. He clearly knew many gentlemen in the room as they stopped to shake hands and speak with him. One man buffeted him on the shoulder, grinning. It was clear they knew one another very well. “Who is that?” she wondered aloud.
Adrienne glanced over, then shrugged. “That is Alexandre. He has been Gabriel’s bon ami since childhood.”
“I see.” Her attention wandered a bit, and she listened to the lively music play in the room. Chloe sat pleasantly beside Gabriel’s sister as the dancers spun around the room. Adrienne tapped a finger on her provided dance card in an agitated manner. Chloe put a hand over her companion’s. “What ails you, dear?”
“Have you seen this card? There are fifteen dances on here, and he has taken all but five,” she replied.
Chloe hid her smile behind her other hand. She had been lucky enough to see Adrienne’s gentleman greet her when they first came into the house, and the girl was not as removed as she pretended to be.

Blurb
Deception is a dangerous path… 
New York City, August, 1891 – Orphaned after the death of her father, Chloe Waverly stows
away on La Voyageur to escape the clutches of her cruel fiancé, Lamonte Beckett. Gabriel Hill, a strange and compelling gentleman, comes upon Chloe and promises to protect her without knowing the true circumstances of why she is running away. During their journey, Gabriel doesn’t bargain on being distracted by her fair beauty or succumbing to her many charms. As their attraction to each other grows, so does the danger and Gabriel suspects things are not as they should be. 
Both are determined to get to New Orleans, where she can start a new life. But, once they reach their destination, events spin out of their control and Chloe is captured by the fiancé she escaped. Gabriel is left wondering if he can overlook her betrayal. Soon he finds himself in a race against time, to reach her before Beckett can exact revenge.
Purchase Links

Author Bio
Bestselling author of UPON YOUR RETURN and 18 other books. 2014 BTS Red Carpet Review Nominee. Finalist and Runner-up in the MARSocial's Author of the Year Competition. Honorable mention in the January 2014 Reader's Choice Award. Liebster Blogger Award for 2013 and 2014. Top 50 Authors on AuthorsDB.com. Winner of the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors.
Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for over twenty years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Marie has published nineteen books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, mystery/thriller, literary fiction and poetry. Lavender just released Magick & Moonlight, a paranormal romance, in March. Upon Your Honor, released in late April, is her second historical romance. Feel free to visit her website at http://marielavender.webs.com/ for further information about her books and her life. Marie is also on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and 

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Join me for my upcoming release!


Join me on September 5th on Facebook to celebrate the release of  Too Much to Lose, a NA contemporary romance. There will be fun games and lots of prizes.

I'm also giving away 5 x $2.99 ebooks of choice from Amazon for those attending! Enter below. 



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, 8 August 2014

COVER REVEAL: Too Much to Lose

TMTLCoverRevealFacebook

BOOK SYNOPSIS

Have you ever been so desperate you made a decision that would haunt you forever?

Jess has.

She became a porn star.

Jess is on the run from her past. She has no friends, no life. She tries to forget everything that happened to her all those years ago. After changing her image, leaving her home and getting a new job, she’s determined it won’t happen again. If that means never being close to anyone ever again, then so be it.

If only Hunter O’Reilly didn’t make her wish things could be different.

Hunter needs this job. After being screwed over by his partner—make that ex-partner—his investigation business is on the line. Already in debt, he eagerly takes on the job of finding some stolen money at triple his going rate and all leads point in Jess’s direction. He expects problems at that price. But he doesn’t expect to fall for her.

However, no job is ever that simple. When he’s forced to spend more time with her, the lines between business and pleasure are blurred. And once Jess’s life comes under threat, they have to make a decision, can they both overcome Jess’s past?

 

TBR LINK

GOODREADS

Sexy young couple playing in love games in a bedroom.
   

EXCERPT 

“If you’re in trouble, I know some people who can help.”

“I’m not in trouble. Really, I’m not. I mean who would want to kill me? I know bankers aren’t exactly popular—” she lets loose a shaky laugh “—but I’m harmless.”

Harmless? Not sure about that. Jess sends my heart racing, makes my skin clammy. She’s driving me insane. Harmless? No way.

“What do you want me to do?” I ask.

“Do?”

“Shall I stick around?”

“Oh. No, you don’t need to do that.”

“I don’t mind.”

“I’m fine. Seriously. Thank you for today. You must be tired and I bet your side hurts.”

It does, but I’m not going to admit to that. “It’s fine.”

“Look about that kiss....”

“That was my fault.”

“I kissed you.”

“You did.” I can’t resist letting my mouth curve upwards. She kissed me, but I don’t know if that’s a bad or a good thing. While my pride basks in it, the voice inside that keeps pulling at my gut wants to scream at her to run while she still can. I’m no good for her. “But I kissed you back,” I point out. “And I should not have been... er... touching you out there.”

She draws her bottom lip between her teeth. “It’s okay.”

Hell, how do those two tiny words send an arrow of need straight to my cock? It’s okay that I was kissing her? Or touching her up? It’s okay that I want her so badly I nearly bent her over my bike to fuck her?

Before I can dwell on it anymore and make an even bigger fool of myself, I get to my feet. “Will you let me stay?”

“I don’t think so. It’s too risky.”

A hard knot forms in my throat. I’m more dangerous to her than a crazed gunman it seems. She might be right. If—when—I find that money, her whole life is going to come crashing down.

“Don’t answer the door to anyone. Be careful. Call me if you need me. In fact, call me tomorrow.” She follows me to the door. “Please?” I add as uncertainty dashes across her face.

Jess opens the door and I step out. “I’ll call you,” she says when I turn to face her.

“Promise?”

She rolls her eyes and her mouth curves. “I promise.”

Those lush lips snare my attention and my own smile drops. My skin feels hot and itchy, my pulse urgent. This is insane. I rest an arm against the door frame, my feet still firmly planted on the other side of the threshold and bring my mouth slowly down on hers. She softens but doesn’t touch me. We’re divided by the invisible line between the corridor and her room. I can’t help thinking of it as symbolic. We’re divided by secrets and lies.

Not that any of that matters once our lips connect. I swear I’ve never wanted to kiss a woman somuch. Kisses are about the end game. But not with Jess. I want to drown in her kisses, to kiss her all day and see if I ever tire of them. I suspect it’s unlikely.

Happy young couple in love
 

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1 x paperback copy of Not Another Soldier 2 x $2.99 ebooks of choice

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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Author Interview and Spotlight: Elodie Parkes

Thank you for inviting me to your blog to talk about my new Evernight Publishing release, ‘The Summer Heat’.

A ménage romance, two guys and a girl, this is erotic, contemporary romance that sizzles.

The Summer Heat

When lifelong friends Nate and Evan watch the arrival of a new neighbor, they never expect to find their friendship rocked by the lovely Annabel who moves into the empty house next door.
Annabel likes both Nate and Evan the moment she meets them. As they all grow close, will she be forced to choose between these gorgeous men?

Inspiration behind the story:

The inspiration came from a tree being cut down in the communal gardens where I currently live. I didn’t even see it felled, but I was immensely saddened as this was a healthy young tree. In my story, the gorgeous guys are cutting down a diseased tree in their garden, and that’s how they see Annabel move in next door.

My characters:

Annabel. She’s ready for love and looking for someone after her last miserable relationship. I imagine her surprise when she meets Nate and Evan, and has strong attraction to both of them.

Nate: He’s gentle, kind, sensually sexy, very good looking. Friends mean a lot to him. You can feel safe and loved with him, but boy do you know when he’s made love to you.

Evan: Strong, alpha, hides his emotions, but sex just drips from his gorgeous body. He calls you babe and takes charge, all the while your soft skin under his fingertips blows his mind.


Excerpt

The Saturday morning sun blazed in the June sky. Heat shimmered off the sidewalk. Nate and Evan were the only people out in their front yards. The noise of their work tools were the only sounds, as not even the seagulls that often wheeled overhead ventured from the cool of the ocean yet.
Nate and Evan’s house was one of the largest in the rows of three story houses built along the river in a modern development unimaginatively called Riverside Mews. Narrow lanes that led to the river path separated the rows. Somehow, patches of white sand always settled on the paths, though the nearest beach was a mile away. Each house had its own river access, through a gate at the end of the back yard to a riverbank public path, but there was no boat access, no jetties. The public path wound along by the river from the seaside town close by and on into the countryside. The house to the right of Nate and Evan’s place was occupied by a small family, but the house to the left had been empty and for sale all year.
The roar of a large van engine broke the hot, morning silence as it turned into the street and thumped over each speed hump in the road, until it drew up in front of the empty house next door.
Nate gave the van a cursory glance, but Evan leaned on his spade and watched as two men leapt out of each side of the van. He read the name of a removal firm and their logo emblazoned across the side of the vehicle and discovered it was from a city in the north of the state. It piqued his interest, so he continued with his unashamed staring.
The men who’d alighted from the cab walked to the back of the van and opened its double doors, just as a pale blue, old model Mustang drove up and parked a short distance away.
A young woman got out of the Mustang.
Copyright Elodie Parkes 2014 Evernight Publishing All Rights Reserved

To find where to buy the book on release, August 5, visit Elodie’s blog

Author interview:
Are you working on another book right now?
I’m working on three books, right now. Two are contemporary erotic romance, and one is romance Sci-Fi.
Naturally, they are all love stories, with HEA. I have to have that in my books.
I’m not writing much though, because of my day job, where I have shifts, and I’m editing for the releases in the latter part of this year.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
My characters and setting becoming so real to me.
What do you like the least?
Marketing. It’s so time consuming and quite soul destroying when you’d rather be writing. (Smiles)
Would you like to see any of your books as movies?
None of them. I’d be there fussing about the script staying true to the book, or the casting. (Laughs).
What things do you like to do to relax?
I find writing relaxing, but I also like to get out into the countryside near where I live. I enjoy visiting the historic places too. I read, watch movies and I love music. I’m often singing along with something as I drive.
Do you have another job as well as writing?
Yes, I have to. I work for an antiques emporium. It’s very tourist driven, so right now I have late night hours and work all weekend and holidays. I do shifts, usually start about midday or two in the afternoon, and work through until ten or eleven. It means I’ve taken a hiatus from writing so my stories mentioned above are waiting for me. I can feel them there wanting to be written.
If you could have one super power in your existence, what would it be?
It would have to be healing.
If money were not an object, where would you most like to live?
I live in the country where I want to, maybe I’d move down the coast to Cornwall or Devon, closer to the ocean, which I love.
What kind of car would you have if money was no object?
I have the car I want. I’m a Jeep person and always drive them.
What’s your favorite color?
I have two I love, oh wait three, blue, purple and green.
Can you think of a song or piece of music that could be your theme tune?
It changes for me every time someone in an interview asks, (laughs) right now it’s The Eagles: Tequila Sunrise. That’s because I usually see the sunrise after arriving home very late at night, editing, networking, or real life stuff, like my laundry, and then I flop to sleep for a few hours. (laughs again) Check out my dark shadows.
Just answer these questions as quickly as possible.
Chocolate or vanilla?
Chocolate
Dog or cat?
Dog and horse
The film or the book?
Both (sorry)
Jeans or skirt?
Jeans but sometimes little black dress
Beach or Snow resort?
Countryside and beach
Heels or flats?
Boots, depends where I’m going if they are heeled or flat
Stockings or pantyhose?
Stockings, love them
Is there anything you would like to say to your readers?
Thank you for reading my books. I write from the heart so you get a piece of it every time you read one of my stories. (Smiles)