Sunday, 14 December 2014

Excerpt and Giveaway: Once Upon a Rake

I have been horrible at blogging recently so I thought I'd do my best to offer up a little compensation in the form of one of my Victorian heroes in a wet shirt. I hope you enjoy ;) Leave a comment as I'll be giving away a copy of my Christmas Victorian story, Christmas Seduction to one lucky commenter. 


Excerpt


“Damn him.”
“Something the matter?”
Heat rushed into her cheeks and she snapped her head up to see Lucian entering with a tray of tea. He laid it down on the console table and began pouring himself a cup. Eleanor gaped like a fish. Had he heard her coarse language? Why was he bringing her tea? And what was he thinking coming in here looking like that?
Each breath grew more difficult the longer she looked. He perched himself against the table and languidly sipped his tea. The small cup reminded her of how fragile she had felt in his arms. Much like the china, his hands dwarfed her own tiny ones but she never feared he might break her. She had felt protected in those strong arms.
“Well?”
Eleanor snapped her gaze away from where he had divested himself of his cravat. His hair was damp, as was the front of his shirt. Unwittingly her gaze dropped again. Even the flesh at his collar had a sheen to it. Her fingers twitched and she forced her hands down into her lap to clench them together lest she give into the voice in her head that was screaming at her to touch that damp flesh.
“No...no...” she squeaked and coughed. “Nothing wrong. Have you been riding?” She groaned inwardly. What an inane question.
“Yes.” His gaze fixed on hers and the air around her grew thick and intense, as though she were caught in a storm.
“It is hardly the sort of weather for riding. Did you have something important to do?”
“No.”
“Oh.”
“Have you made much progress?”
“Pardon?” Eleanor stared at him for several moments before remembering what she was meant to be doing. “Oh, the books. Yes, though I am nowhere near done I’m afraid.”
“Will you not join me for some tea? You could do with a break.”
“I did just take a walk around the house,” she confessed. Though she longed for a warm cup, she did not think her legs would cooperate and moving closer to Lucian when he was dressed like that would be a mighty mistake. “You look...damp. Perhaps you should change?”
He lifted a shoulder and placed down the cup of tea to slip off his jacket and hang it over the back of one of the red leather chairs. Next came his waistcoat. Eleanor watched him undo each button, both horrified and fascinated. Good Lord, she hoped he stopped there. And she hoped he did not. To get a look at that wide chest...
She found herself fanning herself with a sheet of paper and had to slap it down. His lips twitched and she narrowed her gaze at him as he came to settle directly in front of her once more. The damp front of his shirt stuck to his chest and his movements had sent several drips of water trailing down his face and neck. Eleanor’s gaze followed those trails as they vanished under his shirt.
“I hope you do not mind my state of undress. I am not one for formality in my home.”
That proved it. He was toying with her. She was not sure what his intention in making her uncomfortable was, but she would not fall foul to his games.
“Not at all.” Her responding smile felt fragile but, regardless, she stood and walked over to help herself to tea.
“Allow me.” His fingers grazed hers as he took the teapot from her and poured. “You had two sugars, if I recall correctly.”
“How do you remember that?”
“I remember many things about you.” Lucian dropped two sugars in her tea and poured the milk without spilling a drop, and without taking his gaze from hers.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
In Victorian England, Little Ellie Browning swiftly discovered happily ever afters did not exist and rakes were simply rakes. When the man she had adored for years kissed her and left her heartbroken and she was forced to marry an elderly earl to save her reputation, she resolved to put any dreams of fairy tales aside. 

Seven years later, the now widowed Eleanor, Countess of Hawthorne, has returned to England after years of travelling and is now part-owner of a cotton mill left to her by her late husband. 

But the owner of the mill, and the very same handsome rake who hurt her years earlier, has no desire to let a woman interfere with his business, let alone little Ellie Browning—no matter how fascinating he finds her since her transformation from coltish scarecrow to almost graceful countess. 

Lucian is still recovering from the after-effects of one of his mills succumbing to fire, and now he’s fighting to save the other in a tough economic climate. He doesn’t need this new distraction, especially when, after a series of accidents, it becomes clear someone wishes the mill to close and he has to find the culprit—fast. 

With things heating up between Ellie and Lucian, it’s apparent that not only is the mill in peril—they are both at risk of getting burned...


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Sunday, 2 November 2014

Book Spotlight and Giveaway: Black is the Colour by Nicole Hurley Moore

Please welcome Nicole to my blog today as she shares an excerpt from her medeival fairytale romance and be sure to check out the giveaway at the bottom. You could win a $25 gift card.
~~~~~
Ciana has loved Oran all her life and nothing, not even her father will prevent them from being together. But the Mayor of Stonemark has higher aspirations for his daughter than the village blacksmith. He engages the help of a witch and dark magic to bend Ciana to his will.
Oran knows that he doesn’t deserve Ciana. But their love is stronger than the metal he forges and welds. She has his heart and he will never turn from her no matter the cost.
Separated, Ciana will need all her strength to journey through the deep forest and save Oran from the witch’s curse. Alone and with only a trail of black feathers to follow, Ciana will fight against the odds and attempt to bring her lover home.


Round double, double you go,
Until black feathers upon you grow.
Beak and claw, talon and wing,
Now with raven’s voice you will sing.
To the heavens you shall fly,
It is my will –
So say I.

Purchase from


Excerpt
Oran’s arms were around her, holding her tight. She snuggled against him to capture his warmth. Outside the wind had picked up. It caused the branches to scratch against the cottage walls. Ciana closed her eyes but there was something that wouldn’t let her sleep.
She tilted her head back and looked at Oran. His eyelids flickered for an instant before closing altogether. His dark hair had fallen forward and obscured part of his face. Reaching up, Ciana brushed it back.
“You should sleep. The dawn will be here soon enough and we have a long journey ahead of us,” he said as he tightened his grasp.
“I know, but I can’t settle... it’s as if...”
“What?”
“Oh, I don’t know. It’s as if something isn’t right.”
“All is well, my love,” he answered sleepily. “It’s been an eventful day. You’re worried that your father will come after us but we will soon be far beyond his reach.”
“I suppose you’re right.”
“We’ll be long gone before he even returns. Fear not,” he said as he kissed her shoulder. “We’ll be at Havensport in three days and the very thought of Stonemark will be far behind us.”
“I’m sure that’s true,” Ciana said as she closed her eyes and willed herself to fall asleep. But the wind shrieked and circled the cottage and Ciana could not shake the feeling of foreboding.
“Of course I’m right. There is nothing to worry about...”
The door burst open with a bang. The wind tore around the room, circling the bed. With it came leaves, sticks and debris from the woods. Oran threw himself over Ciana in an attempt to shield her from the maelstrom. The wind howled like a banshee and the bed shook, until she was sure that both of them would fall.
“What’s happening?” Ciana shouted.
“I don’t know – but nothing natural I’ll wager,” Oran said as buried his head above hers. “Just hold on, love and wait for it to pass.”
But it didn’t. The wind became stronger and rattled the cottage until Ciana thought the whole thing would blow away. Ciana wrapped her arms around Oran’s waist but let out a cry as a branch dragged across her forearm, scratching and snagging her flesh until it bled.
“Put your arms beneath me and keep down – I’ll protect you.”
“But who will protect you?”
“I’ll be fine as long you’re safe. Everything will be...” Oran broke off as the wind tugged at his body. It began to lift him up.
Ciana grabbed his arms and tried to anchor him to her. “You can’t have him!” she screamed against the circling wind. “You can’t have him!”
Oran held on to the rough wooden bed head and she felt his muscles strain and bulge as he gripped on. “Ciana, I...”
The vortex spun quicker around the room. Noise thundered in Ciana’s ears as she was buffeted by more twigs, leaves and black feathers. She held onto Oran until her knuckles were white and her nails dug into his skin.
“I won’t let you go.”
His dark eyes locked onto hers for a moment. “I love you.”
“Nay, I won’t let you go...” But even as the words fell from her lips her grip slipped.
The force of the wind lifted Oran off the bed. The leaves swirled around him and swallowed his body so only his outstretched arms and head were visible. The strength of the whirlwind wretched Oran from Ciana’s grasp, the bed head snapped and with one final look Oran was dragged off the bed, back through the open door and into the night dark wood.


About the Author

Nicole has always been a lover of fairy tales, history and romance. She grew up in Melbourne and Central Victoria and has travelled extensively. Her first passion in life has always been her family, but after studying and achieving her BA in History and Honours in Medieval Literature, she devoted her time to writing historical, fantasy and contemporary romance. She is a full time writer who lives in the Central Highlands of Victoria with her family, where they live in the peaceful surrounds of a semi-rural town.


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Friday, 24 October 2014

Double Cover Reveal


Tempting His Mistress
Coming November 10th

What could possibly induce at woman to follow in the footsteps of her mother and further sully her reputation by becoming a mistress?

Lilly Claremont is well used to being at the centre of gossip.  Being the illegitimate child of a rich businessman never failed to titillate the gossips and while she cared little about the wagging tongues she never intended to reinforce their opinions of her by ruining herself completely.

But it seems Lord Hawksley is determined to make the fascinating Lilly his mistress…

Evan has no doubt her bold tongue and beautiful body could keep him entertained for some time. Captivated by her, he must find a way to burn through his desire for her. He cannot marry a woman of such social standing so why not make her his mistress?

After the murder of her father, Lilly is searching for answers and they lead her directly to Lord Hawksley. But will they also lead her to his bed...?





Once Upon a Rake
Coming November 24th

In Victorian England, little Ellie Browning swiftly discovered happy endings did not exist, and rakes were simply rakes. When the man she had adored for years kissed her and left her heartbroken, she resolved to put any dreams of fairy tales aside.
Seven years later, the widowed Eleanor, Countess of Hawthorne, has returned to England after years of travelling with a few ideas in mind. Firstly, she will continue to be the refined, elegant woman she has learned to be—or at least she shall try her best—and secondly, she will make a difference to the lives of those less fortunate than her.  A fine opportunity presents itself when she discovers she is now a part owner of a cotton mill.
But the owner of the mill and the very same rake who had hurt her, has no desire to let a woman interfere with his business, let alone little Ellie Browning. After one of Lucian’s mills succumbed to fire, he’s fighting to save the other and continue his father’s legacy of fine business decisions and accruing wealth.
However, after a series of accidents, it becomes clear someone wishes the mill to close. But who, and why? Forced together to investigate the incidents, they must get past their shared history if they want to save the business.
If only the growing attraction between them did not prove such a distraction. With things heating up between them, it becomes clear that they are both at risk of getting burned...





Thursday, 16 October 2014

New release plus giveaway!

Congrats to B.J. Scott on her latest release. Be sure to comment and have a read of this great blurb. One random commenter will win their choice of a gorgeous earring and necklace set. Be sure to leave your email so we can get in touch. :)
Her Highlander’s Promise.
Do you believe in love at first sight? Can true love conquer all and triumph over evil? Find out in Her Highlander’s Promise.  
Blurb: Torn between honoring a deathbed promise to her father, a vow that could result in her demise, and being with the man she loves, Laurel MacClay must find a way to unravel a mystery from the past, secrets that could stop an abhorrent betrothal to her arrogant cousin and may even save her life.

Author Bio: Canadian Romance Author B.J. Scott
With a passion for historical romance, history in general, and anything Celtic, there is always has an exciting work in progress. Each story offers a blend of romance, adventure, suspense, and, where appropriate, a dab of comic relief. Carefully researched historical facts are woven into each manuscript, providing a backdrop from which romance, gripping plots, and vivid characters—dashing alpha heroes and resourceful, beguiling heroines you can’t help but admire—spring to life. A member of RWA, World Romance Writers, and Savvy Authors, B.J. also writes contemporary, paranormal, time travel, and romantic suspense.
C.S. Lewis first captivated B. J.’s imagination in the fourth grade, and her desire to write sprang from there. Following a career in nursing and child and youth work, B.J. married her knight-in-shining-armor, and he whisked her away to his castle by the sea. In reality, they share their century-old home in a small Canadian town on the shore of Lake Erie with three dogs and a cat. When she is not working at her childcare job, on her small business, or writing, you will find her reading, camping, or antique hunting.


Her Highlander’s Promise: Release date Oct 15, 2014

Check out her 3 other books: The Fraser Brother Trilogy:


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Monday, 6 October 2014

Blog Tour Stop: Scandal at Almack's by Gloria Gay

Scandal At Almacks - Tour Banner

BOOK INFORMATION

TITLE – SCANDAL AT ALMACK’S AUTHOR – Gloria Gay GENRE – Regency Historical Romance Novella, ebook only PUBLICATION DATE –April 25, 2014 LENGTH (Pages/# Words) – 36,000 words PUBLISHER – BORROUGHS PUBLISHING GROUP
Scandal At Almacks - Book Cover
 

BOOK SYNOPSIS

Beautiful Jenny Longtree was expected to do her duty and accept the marriage proposal of a man she abhorred, Calvin Hazeldeck, an old and rich mortician whose offer of a marriage settlement would save her family from destitution brought about by her father’s bad shipping investments.
Then unexpectedly, Jenny’s dear uncle, Sir Roger Addington, who had been informed of the family’s dilemma, offered his favorite niece a London social season as a last chance to find a husband on her own.
But in the whirl of the London season, Jenny realizes that without a dowry her chances of obtaining a marriage proposal are practically non-existent.
Then on the last ball of Almack’s, and when Jenny feels that time is slipping away, Lady Jersey, the head patroness of Almack’s, introduces her to Sebastian Billington, Lord Corville. As they dance the waltz, Jenny realizes she has fallen in love at first sight with a man she is likely never to see again.
And during the seductive dance with Lord Corville, something happens that has Jenny lying on the floor at Lord Corville’s feet, having momentarily passed out. When she comes to, she finds a sea of faces staring down at her and scandal exploding all around her.

BUY & TBR LINKS

 

EXCERPT

Lord Corville was surprised that Lady Jersey had led him directly into a vision of lovely youth. Usually wallflower duty was how it sounded, giving an opportunity to dance a few sets to girls who were in their first season and not likely to obtain dancing partners on their own because they lacked pedigree or were pretty enough but lacked an attractive dowry. The Almack’s patronesses took their duty to young girls in their first or second season very seriously, and in every ball the two in charge could be seen walking about, matching young ladies to reluctant young men.

Sebastian seldom if ever glanced toward the wallflower area, but now he regretted it. The moment he gave his gloved hand to this girl and led her to the dance floor, it was all he could do to keep his balance until they began their waltz.

Her touch was so sensual, he felt her hand not on his but directly on his groin. A hot frisson coursed along his nerve endings, and his whole body shuddered in anticipation. If he felt so much with only the soft touch of her hand on his, what would he feel with her in his arms?

Suddenly realizing where his mind was going, he shook off such outlandish thoughts. He was a bit foxed and couldn’t even remember what Lady Jersey said the girl’s name was during the introduction. He should have skipped that stop at Rothyn’s townhouse, as they’d dipped into bottles of claret before coming here.

Of course, it was turning out amazingly easy to keep his promise to his sister Camie. One dance with a wallflower debutante? Why this beautiful girl lacked dance partners was beyond his understanding. She was as lovely and as rare as an orchid, and her scent intoxicated him even more than the claret.

He had never felt such jumping sensations as he was now feeling while waltzing with her. Her eyes as she looked at him were sparkling blue aquamarines, and the tingling ripple the mere touch of her hand had started now throbbed along his groin so that his hand tightened on hers even as his breeches tightened. He quickly forced his eyes away from her lithe form, for just a quick glance at her curves unhinged him.

They swayed around the vast ballroom, and the lights from a thousand candles and the twirling couples confused him. The lovely girl in his arms became three identical girls who twirled round and round like the racing dials of a mad clock. He heard the waning notes of the waltz as it was coming to its end and felt so dizzy that, had he not held her, he would have lost his balance. He looked into the girl’s beautiful eyes and his gaze drifted downward. Her breasts, the tops of them peeking alluringly from her filmy gown, were so fetching that he wondered when he had ever seen a better pair. There was a small dark mole on her left breast, and a tiny rosebud by it, and so compelling was the tiny beauty mark that he was hypnotized.

The music had stopped. He looked into the girl’s lovely blue eyes and wondered why they were wide with alarm, and her voice was loud and clear in the silence that followed the conclusion of the waltz.

“Oh!” she exclaimed.

Her hand on his shoulder slipped away as she fell to the floor, her crumpling body settling softly on his feet. Sebastian leaned down toward her prone body.

After a few seconds, the girl opened her eyes. A crowd had rushed forward, and there was a large circle of people around her and Sebastian, three or four deep, looking down with concern. And silence, as everyone just stared.

The girl was helped up by two gentlemen while Lord Corville continued to stare, speechless.

Lady Jersey broke the silence. “What happened to you, my dear?”

A twittering of exclamations rose like a deafening wave, and then sudden silence fell again as the crowd waited in suspense for the girl’s reply.

The girl spoke slowly but clearly, so that everyone heard her words. She looked directly into Lord Corville’s eyes and said, “Lord Corville touched me inappropriately.”

AUTHOR BIO

Gloria Gay has lived in San Diego, California the greater part of her life, where she worked as a legal secretary for twenty-five years and as a stringer for a local newspaper. Her heart, though, has always been with art and literature and it was one of the happiest days of her life when she wrote her first book.
Boroughs Publishing Group recently published her fifth Regency romance, Lovely Little Liar. Scandal at Almack’s, with the same publisher is Gloria’s sixth Regency romance. Her debut novel, First Season, earned a four-star review from Romantic Times Book Reviews. She is also the author of Forced Offer, Canceled Courtship and Known to All.
She lives with her husband, Enrique, an architect, in San Diego, California, and couldn’t be happier that their children and grand-children live nearby.

AUTHOR FOLLOW LINKS

 

GIVEAWAY PRIZES

Two eCopies (mobi, epub, pdf) of Scandal at Almack's a Rafflecopter giveaway

This Tour Was Organized & Hosted By 1-MINIBUTTON

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

The Invasion of Bute: The end of the Vikings?



To Dream of a Highlander takes place on the Isle of Bute, one of the western islands of Scotland in 1230—mid-siege.

The siege is not often written about. The tension between the powerful Norway—who held most of the western islands at the time—had only just started and culminated much later on in the infamous Battle of Largs. In history, this invasion could be considered a mere blip.

But for Walter Steward, the man who built the castle walls and took the island from the Norse originally as a steward of the king, this battle ended dreadfully for him. In defending the castle, he was struck by an arrow and killed.

What is now known as Rothesay castle replaced a wooden castle on the island. In around 1200, William the Lion seized the island from the Norse and Walter began erecting the castle. Alas his defences would prove inadequate when the time came.

King Hakon IV of Norway wanted to assert his rule in the isles and, accompanied by Uspak from the house of Somerled and Olaf of Man, set about hunting down those who were unfaithful for Hakon and the men of the king of Scots who sought power in the isles—such as Walter.

While this fleet spent time seeking out and killing these men, the climax of the expedition did not occur until a year later, in 1230, when they stormed the castle at Bute. It is said that the defenders poured boiling pitch (a substance obtained from tar) and molten led on the attackers but they used shields to protect themselves and cut down the walls. Walter was killed by an arrow and the castle was taken.

However, they could not hold the keep. Alan of Galloway responded by assembling a fleet and upon seeing them, the Norse extracted a ransom of three hundred silver marks and left. This was not the end for Bute. In 1263, Hakon travelled from island to island, demanding allegiance following the king of Scots, Alexander III’s raids of the Norse territory.

This culminated in the Battle of Largs. The Norse were pushed off the mainland but the battle was indecisive, with losses on either side and no clear victor. With the approach of Winter, Hakon vowed to seek revenge in the Spring. Fortunately for Alexander, Hakon never lived to see Spring. His son, Magnus, had little interest in continuing the fight and gave up the Herbrides and the Isle of Man to Scotland for four thousand marks in the Treaty of Perth. This was the beginning of the end of the Norse age.


Friday, 19 September 2014

The Highlander Giveaway Hop


Welcome to the Highlander Giveaway hop. Join me and some other great blogs to win some awesome highlander reads. Check out all the blogs listed below and be sure to stop by to win. You can win a ecopy of To Steal a Highlander's Heart on my blog today simply by commenting and leaving your email :)

Excerpt

Wisps of mist rose from the ground and swirled around Alana’s ankles. She thrust out a foot to watch the white haze dance about her before glancing over her shoulder at the keep in the distance. Tucked against the mountain and cut off by a shallow river, the tall stone castle seemed almost insignificant. She blew out a long breath and watched as it too misted.
Though pleased to be free from the keep, and her father’s watchful eye, a sense of foreboding struck her. Alana frowned while she tried to recall why she had come out onto the moors. In truth, she barely remembered getting dressed yet here she was, in her pale blue plaid, hair braided, drawing in the early morning air. Only the foggy remnants of a dream remained, something that beckoned for her to come here.
And how was it there were no men to stop her from leaving?
A strange occurrence indeed, for her father never left the castle walls unattended. It had been deathly quiet. A morbid thought occurred to her and she wondered why she did not check that all was well. Had they been attacked overnight? Were her kinsmen dead? Nay, surely not, for there would be triumphant victors crowding the halls of Dunleith Keep by now and she would either be killed or captured.
The whole morning had been strange. Her first clear memory was standing in the moors and staring off into the distance as if awaiting something. A prickle danced over her skin and she spun wildly, feeling as though fingers had tickled down her spine. Ach, either someone played games with her or her mind was addled. She huffed. Too much time spent cloistered away.
Specks of orange sunlight filtered across the mountains, dancing between the cracks and valleys and Alana tilted her head. The urge to keep going, to see what lay over the other side warred within her. She so missed being outside, missed her freedom.
Da would have a fit.
With a sigh, she turned back to the castle, the stone tower seeming more grey and oppressive than ever before. Hitching up her skirts, she strolled leisurely back, taking her time to admire each wild flower as she went. She ought to walk quickly. Should her father discover her absence, he would no doubt lecture her on the dangers of her actions and would certainly remind hertheir enemies were everywhere. Ach, she saw no—
She spun wildly when the heavy thud of hooves sounded. A brown horse bore down upon her, barely a few paces away. Alana squeaked in surprise when the rider snatched her plaid and hauled her into the saddle in front of him, not even slowing the mountas he positioned her firmly in his arms. She scarcely comprehended how it had happened. One moment there had been no one and then suddenly…A ghost mayhap?
She tried to wriggle in his hold but a strong arm pinned her to his chest. “Release me, ye fool.”

“I think not, my lady.”
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Moray, Scotland, 1230 

Alana sets eyes on Morgann for the first time in several years and what does he do? He captures her! But Alana refuses to go meekly with the sexy Highland warrior. Her kidnapping will reignite the rift that’s existed between the two clans since her father accused Morgann of theft and she doesn’t want to see her father harmed in the inevitable war that will ensue. 

Unfortunately for Alana, the faeries seek to interfere with her plans to escape. The sidhe have a debt to repay and Tèile, the green faery, is determined to mend the rift between the clans for good. And that means ensuring Alana and Morgann marry. 

Morgann has his own reasons for taking Alana and they are nothing to do with marriage or war. He wants to use her to reveal a secret from the past, the one that had him accused of theft. If only he didn’t find his childhood friend so attractive. When circumstances force them together, Alana’s life is threatened and war is imminent. Can Morgann reveal the truth without losing Alana? And will the faery’s meddling help or hinder his cause? 

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