A Little Known Fact (and Giveaway!) About HER TRUE MATCH Paige Tyler (X-OPS #6)

A Little Known Fact from Her True Match . . .

The DCO wants Dreya to work for them, using her unique abilities to help people instead of stealing from them. She’s not so sure about that idea. She’s spent most of her adult life hiding her secret and looking out for number one. She has no interest in being someone’s superhero. But working with Braden is starting to look better and better by the day. The DCO brings him into the fold when they decide it would be good to have a person who understands how Dreya thinks. Braden goes along with the plan. Yeah, he wants to make sure she doesn’t get away from him again, but he also has the craziest urge to keep an eye on her for a whole other reason—to keep her safe. He has no idea where that urge comes from, but maybe Dreya is growing on him?

Title: Her True Match
Author: Paige Tyler
Series: X-Ops, #6
ISBN: 9781492625926
Pubdate: March 7, 2017
Genre: Paranormal

FORCED TOGETHER

When feline shifter Dreya Clark is escorted from the police interrogation by two secret agents, she thinks she’s dodged a bullet. That sexy detective Braden Hayes caught her stealing red-handed. When she finds out what she has to do to stay out of jail, suddenly she’s missing the hot cop with the piercing gaze. She’s being recruited for her shifter abilities by the Department of Covert Operations.

WILL DANGER RIP THEM APART?

Braden has been chasing the smart-mouthed cat burglar for years. But when Dreya’s taken away, he knows their game of cat and mouse has turned deadly-serious. There’s no way he’ll let her go off alone. Fur flies and temperatures flare as Braden realizes Dreya is much more than she appears. Thrown together on a dangerous covert mission, this unlikely pair will have to rely on each other to make it out alive.

 

Excerpt:

“How do you know I wasn’t testing the security system?” Dreya asked, her lips curving into a coy smile.

Braden sat across from the beautiful thief in one of the burglary section’s interrogation rooms, working hard to keep from smiling back at her. Even though he knew her record backward and forward, he was still having a hell of a time maintaining a professional detachment. He was good in the interrogation room, but Dreya was better. She charmed, she flirted, and she controlled where she wanted the conversation to go. Braden had already been forced to toss Mick out of the room. His partner had come damn close to asking their suspect out on a date, even though she was sitting at the table wearing a pair of handcuffs.

Though Braden had to admit she made the cuffs look good. Even now, she was sitting at the table with her long, blond hair cascading around her shoulders, talking animatedly with her hands as if the heavy stainless steel cuffs were a fashion accessory. He wasn’t even sure when she’d gotten her hair out of the braid it had been in before, but he had the crazy urge to run his fingers through it. He resisted—barely. Dreya had been saying since they’d brought her in that this was all a big misunderstanding and that she could straighten this out if she could talk privately with the owner of the art piece they seemed to think she’d stolen. Like that was going to happen. Something told Braden that putting her in the same room with some rich playboy would be an incredibly bad idea. All she had to do was bat those hazel-green eyes at him a few times and tousle her hair with her fingers, and the guy would agree with anything she said. Hell, the guy would probably give her the silly blue balloon dog thing sitting on the table between them as a gift.

“If we’re going to talk about security systems, Dreya, let’s start with how you managed to climb the wall of that apartment on the south side of M Street. Because I gotta tell you, that was damn impressive.”

He expected her to deny it had been her—or beam with pride at the compliment—but her eyes widened in shock. For the first time that night, there was fear on her face.

“You saw that?” She darted a nervous glance at the one-way glass mirror to her left, the one Mick was standing behind.

He nodded. “Sure did. In fact, we have it all on video. The climb, the walk across the cable, the jump you made to the balcony.”

On the other side of the table, her face went pale. Shit, was she starting to hyperventilate?

“How many people have seen the video?” she demanded.

Braden frowned. Why the hell was a second-story thief worried about how many cops had seen her display her talents? That made no sense.

“Just my partner and me,” he assured her. “But while the video is amazing, it doesn’t explain how you were able to scale that wall. Were you using something on your hands to get a grip? I searched your bag but didn’t find anything.”

Dreya swallowed hard. In all of the previous occasions he’d questioned her, she’d been confident and posed, but suddenly it was like she’d been hit by lightning. She seemed off balance…lost.

“You can’t let anyone else see the video,” she said.

He shrugged. “That’s not really up to me.”

She stared at her cuffed wrists, her shoulders slumping in a defeat he hadn’t seen coming. “What if I confess?”

She said it so softly he wasn’t sure he’d heard her correctly. “What?”

Dreya lifted her head to look at him, that usual glimmer missing from her eyes now. “If I confess right now, will you destroy the video?”

Braden hoped to hell his mouth wasn’t hanging open. Being interrogated by the cops could make people say strange stuff, but Dreya had to know that even with the evidence they had on her, a woman with her background and clean record could likely get a case like this whittled down from the standard five to seven to less than two years. Why would she agree to a written confession? What the hell was on that video she was so terrified of letting anyone see?

He knew he needed to be careful, but right then it was hard to think of Dreya as the hardened criminal he’d always believed. He was smart enough to know she wasn’t a saint, but there was something going on here. She was so terrified she was on the verge of tears.

The sudden aura of vulnerability had his heart beating hard and fast. The urge to protect her from whatever was freaking her out was impossible to ignore. Part of the reason he’d become a cop was to help people in trouble, and Dreya definitely seemed to be in trouble.

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About the author:

Paige Tyler is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of sexy, romantic fiction. Paige writes books about hunky alpha males and the kick-butt heroines they fall in love with. She lives with her very own military hero (a.k.a. her husband) and their adorable dog on the beautiful Florida coast. Visit www.paigetylertheauthor.com.

Social Networking Links:
Website
Facebook
Twitter: @PaigeTyler
Goodreads

 

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A Note to Readers from Beverly Jenkins, Author of BREATHLESS (with a giveaway!)

Dear Readers,

This is the second book in the Rhine Trilogy and I do hope you enjoy it. With all the issues and heartache Portia carried inside, I knew it would be difficult for her to give her heart to someone, but Kent Randolph proved to be the man for the job, even if I didn’t know he would be her hero when the story began. Hope you’ll enjoy seeing Rhine and Eddy from Forbidden and, yes, they are still very much in love.

The Fontaine Hotel is loosely based on the Mountain View Hotel founded in Oracle, Arizona, in 1895 by Annie Box Neal and her husband William “Curly” Neal, who were both of African- American and Native-American descent. The Mountain View was a combination hotel and spa and catered not only to European royalty but to wealthy visitors from places like Russia, Australia, and China, too. Look them up.

The great Apache chief Geronimo surrendered on September 4, 1886, and was promptly declared a prisoner of war. He and his people eventually wound up in Florida along with the Apache scouts the army employed to hunt him down. He died at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, in 1909. The Apache warrior Lozen, also captured in 1886, was sent to the barracks at Mount Vernon, Alabama, where she died of tuberculosis in 1887. Although her name has faded from America’s memory, her bravery and fearlessness remains legendary with her people.

I only touched briefly on African-American women and the fight for suffrage but hope to get back to it in depth sometime in the future. Until then, if you’d like to do some research on your own, here are two excellent sources:

African American Women and the Vote: 1837–1965 by Cynthia Neverdon-Morton, et al.

African American Women in the Struggle for the Vote: 1850–1920 by Rosalyn Terborg-Penn

Having the opportunity to create characters and stories that reflect my heritage as a woman of color is priceless. Representation matters.  Thanks again for the support and love. Thanks also for spreading the word about my books to everyone you know. It’s much appreciated.

Until next time, happy reading.

B.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

BEVERLY JENKINS has received numerous awards, including five Waldenbooks/Borders Group Best Sellers Awards, two Career Achievement Awards from Romantic Times Magazine, and a Golden Pen Award from the Black Writer’s Guild. Ms Jenkins was named one of the Top Fifty Favorite African-American writers of the 20th Century by AABLC, the nation’s largest on-line African-American book club. She was recently nominated for the NAACP Image Award in Literature. To read more about Beverly, please visit her website at www.beverlyjenkins.net.

ABOUT THE BOOK:

As manager of one of the finest hotels in Arizona Territory, Portia Carmichael has respect and stability-qualities sorely missing from her harsh childhood. She refuses to jeopardize that by hitching herself to the wrong man. Suitors are plentiful, but none of them has ever looked quite as tempting as the family friend who just rode into town…and none have looked at her with such intensity and heat.

Duchess. That’s the nickname Kent Randolph gave Portia when she was a young girl. Now she’s a stunning, intelligent woman-and Kent has learned his share of hard lessons. After drifting through the West, he’s learned the value of a place to settle down, and in Portia’s arms he’s found that and more. But convincing her to trust him with her heart, not just her passion, will be the greatest challenge he’s known-and one he intends to win…

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Jami Gray, Author of MARKED BY OBSESSION, Talks About the 3rd PSY-IV Book

Introducing MARKED BY OBSESSION, a paranormal romantic suspense by Jami Gray!

MARKED BY OBSESSION is the third installment in my PSY-IV Teams series which focuses on a select group of ex-military psychics who use their unique abilities to thwart a mercenary group of psychic determined to undermine the country and line their pockets. Each book focuses on a different member of the teams as they brave personal nightmares to discover a new strength in finding their other half.

As a character driven writer, my characters tend to mold the plot, and when I sat down to begin MARKED BY OBSESSION, I gave myself two challenges: an everyday heroine with no psychic abilities who could be strong without being a warrior, and she couldn’t cuss. Want to know which one was harder to channel? Coming up with curses that aren’t cuss words is much more difficult than you think.

Wolf is my hardened solider, solid and sure of himself and his place, and just happens to be a telepath. He deserved someone who could keep him grounded, someone who couldn’t be manipulated. Enter Meli, who is quite happy curling up with a book and avoiding arguments, or anything she doesn’t want to deal with. Wolf fascinates her, but she’s lost her only family, her brother, and his death leaves her floundering while her normally staid world tilts on it axis. It also means she’s hesitant to reach out for the one man who tempts her dream big. It doesn’t help that she’s managed to become the focus of deranged stalker, who wants not just Meli, but revenge, and is willing to go through Wolf to get it.

In MARKED we get to trail along with Wolf, as he partners with Meli, who doesn’t have a single psychic ability other than her ability to keep Wolf out of her head. His place in her heart is another matter altogether, but since she’s trying to figure out why she’s the target of a stalker, she’s a bit hesitant to take a chance on Wolf. Wolf, on the other hand, has no qualms about shaking up Meli’s world, but before he can claim what’s his, he has to unravel the mess she’s trapped in. Together they must find the answers behind a lethal obsession before it costs more than their willing to pay.

 

About the Author:

Jami Gray is the award winning, multi-published author of the Urban Fantasy series, The Kyn Kronicles, and the Paranormal Romantic

Suspense series, PSY-IV Teams. She can be soothed with coffee and chocolate. Surrounded by Star Wars obsessed males and two female

labs moonlighting as the Fur Minxes, she escapes by playing with the voices in her head.

Hunt her down at:

www.jamigray.com        Twitter     Facebook     Goodreads

 

MARKED BY OBSESSION
PSY-IV Teams #3

Asking for his help will expose more than her heart…

Meli Dwyer’s ordered life followed a clear-cut path, just the way she preferred until the death of her beloved brother. Rocked by her loss and grappling with the emotional fallout, a series of unexplained events marked by an escalating violence send her world into chaos. Alone and floundering in her harsh new reality, she reaches out for help from the sexy and mysterious warrior who managed to sneak under her guard, Wolf.

But some risks are worth taking…

When Wolf receives an unexpected call from the illusively alluring Meli, the PSY-IV Team’s skilled and lethal telepath doesn’t waste time racing to her side. Months earlier she ignited his protective instincts and her call gives him the perfect opportunity to set siege to her wary heart. Before he can breach the scars of her past, he’s engaged in a dangerous game beside the one woman he can’t read, facing an enemy whose motives and obsessions blur his lines between justice and revenge.

As the stakes rise, Meli must decide if the answers to her personal nightmare are worth uncovering if it costs her the man who captured her battered heart.

Available in paperback or e-book at:

jamigray.com

Or anywhere books are sold!

      

 

 

Lena Diaz, Author of FINAL EXIT, Explains What “EXIT” Is (plus a giveaway!)

 EXIT Inc. – What the Heck is it?

Just what is “EXIT”? The simple answer is that it’s an acronym that stands for “EXtreme International Tours”. EXIT Inc. is a company that matches tour guides and vacation packages with people who want extreme, fun, and dangerous outdoor experiences all over the world. This can range from riding fiver rapids and ziplining across deep canyons to climbing Mount Everest or some other equally exciting but dangerous endeavor. All under the protection of an experienced and capable guide. But is that really what EXIT is about?

Of course not.

The tour company part of EXIT Inc. is just a front, a cover for its real mission as a clandestine government organization. Many of the tour guides at EXIT are really agents, called Enforcers, who take on the dirty jobs that other alphabet agencies can’t, or won’t, tackle—including assassinations. The Enforcers take out the bad guys before the bad guys can hurt more people.

Or, at least, that’s what it’s supposed to be about.

What the heroes in the EXIT books quickly discover is that there is far more to EXIT than even they knew. There’s a conspiracy, that may go all the way to the top. Enforcers are being tricked, used for someone’s personal gain. As a result, some of the people being “taken out” by Enforcers may not be bad guys after all.

Each of the EXIT novels (there are three in all, with FINAL EXIT being the last) focuses on a different Enforcer, and a dilemma each of them has to resolve. Meanwhile, the series itself has an overarching thread through all of the books, showing what happens to EXIT Inc. as its Enforcers begin to realize they are being used. FINAL EXIT is the explosive conclusion when readers finally find out what happens to the company and those who are behind it.

Yes, the books are most enjoyable when read in order as a series. However, each one is also stand-alone, following a specific problem that the hero and heroine have to tackle together while they fall in love. It’s always my goal to make each of my books a fully satisfying read regardless of whether you’ve read any of the others in the series.

The first two books, EXIT Strategy and No EXIT, feature heroes who are Enforcers. In FINAL EXIT, it’s the heroine who’s the Enforcer. How cool is that? I loved writing a super-strong female character who was smart, fierce, and willing to fight to the death for the people she cared about. And who better to pair her with as the love interest than a by-the-book FBI agent who was her polar opposite? Bailey and Kade were a super-fun couple to write. Forced to work together against EXIT, they have to overcome their mutual distrust of each other in order to survive. And along the way, of course (after all, it is a romance), they fall in love. And they live happily ever after!

Originally from Kentucky, romantic suspense author Lena Diaz also lived in California and Louisiana before settling in Northeast Florida with her husband, two children, and a Shetland Sheepdog named Sparky. A Romance Writers of America Golden Heart® finalist, she’s won the prestigious Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense and has been a finalist for the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award. She loves to watch action movies, garden, and hike in the beautiful Tennessee Smoky Mountains.

 

 

Can they find forever in the wreckage of their lives? 

FINAL EXIT
EXIT Inc. #3
Lena Diaz
Releasing Jan 31st, 2017
Avon Books

Lena Diaz concludes her sexy, suspenseful EXIT Inc. series as an FBI agent teams up with a beautiful assassin to uncover a deadly government conspiracy…

 

After a tragic mistake nearly destroyed his life, Special Agent Kade Quinn will do whatever it takes to save his career. His latest mission? Track and capture the remaining EXIT operatives to determine if they’re still a threat. But his next target—a stunning female assassin—is both elusive and dangerously appealing.

Bailey Stark has outsmarted the FBI so far, but she’s tired of running. Tired of watching her friends ambushed by government agents in tactical gear and never seen again. She suspects they aren’t being evaluated—they’re being exterminated—and she’s determined to convince Agent Quinn his mission is a lie before it’s too late. Bailey doesn’t want to rely on him. She definitely shouldn’t desire him. But she knows teaming up with the skilled, sexy agent may be her only hope.

Kade doesn’t want to believe Bailey’s claims, but he promises to keep her safe. Trusting one another is difficult. Fighting their attraction is harder. And as they uncover the disturbing truth behind his mission . . . staying alive will be nearly impossible.

New Release and Giveaway! HIGHLAND VIXEN by Mary Wine (Highland Weddings #2, with a note from the author)

An Intro from the Author

Hummm….the truth is, I am nerd enough to think history is fun. All the little facts and laws from centuries ago have always fascinated me. My parents were always listening to me expound on some little bit of wonderment…aka…historical fact.

Working these little facts into my work is something I try to do because I believe it’s important to write a book, set in the time it is dated. It was a different time and I think that adds spice to the unfolding romance. Life wasn’t fair then and it isn’t now. There is nothing I love more than to set out to see a couple overcome the odds and live happily ever after.

At least I love it when it’s finished! When I’m in that bottom of the ninth inner point, it’s hair pulling time as I try and work things out. Yes, I know I’m the author and should know these things but honestly, these characters have minds of their own!

I hope you all enjoy Highland Vixen. 2017 holds three titles from my Highland Brides and yes, I make you wait for that moment when it all comes together, but they are all brides after all.

Cheers!

Mary Wine

 

About the Author:

Acclaimed author Mary Wine has written over 30 works of Scottish Highland romance, romantic suspense and erotic romance. An avid history-buff and historical costumer, she and her family enjoy participating in historical reenactments. Mary lives in Yorba Linda, California with her husband and two sons.

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Title: Highland Vixen
Series: Highland Weddings, #2
Author: Mary Wine
Pub Date: February 7, 2017
ISBN: 9781492602590

 

Fierce Highland war chief seeks comely lass for fun, frolic, and marriage

Marcus MacPherson is every inch the fearsome Highlander. He’s used to men averting their eyes and women cowering before him. He thinks he’ll eventually settle down with a nice, obedient bride. Instead, he gets Helen Grant… Stubborn as the day is long, fearless and dedicated to raising as much hell as possible, Helen is definitely going to challenge Marcus. And challenge him some more. And then some.

It’s anyone’s guess who’ll win this battle of the heart…

Buy Links:

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Excerpt

MacPherson Castle was huge. It needed to be, because there were over three hundred retainers alone. When supper was laid out on the tables, their conversation echoed through the stone corridors. But that didn’t stop a woman’s scream from penetrating the chatter. Men came off their benches, their kilts flipping aside as they started toward the back stairwell where the sound had come from.

What stopped them was their War Chief, Marcus MacPherson, coming through the wide arched passageway. He had a woman with him who wasn’t pleased to be his captive.

“What are ye doing?” Shamus MacPherson demanded from his seat at the high table.

“Uncovering a deception,” Marcus replied to his father and laird. He set the woman in front of the MacPherson laird. “Helen and Brenda are no longer in this keep. Ailis has kept to her chamber to deceive us all into thinking Helen and Brenda were there with her. While this one”—he pointed at the girl—“has made sure no one saw her face to notice the game.”

Shamus dropped his knife and looked at the girl. Her eyes widened. “I did as I was told by me mistress.” She lowered herself awkwardly.

He snorted at her in reprimand. “Allowing her to act foolishly and leave the protection of this stronghold is no’ to be commended, girl. Ye lack the sense to be a personal servant to me daughter-by-marriage.”

The girl paled, shaking like a dried-out leaf in a wind storm.

Shamus grunted and waved her away before turning to his other son. “Best ye go discover what yer wife has been about this last week.”

Bhaic MacPherson was already pushing his chair back. There was a grim set to his jaw as he moved behind the other chairs and down the steps to where his half brother was glowering at him.

“With child or no, that wife of yers needs a reckoning,” Marcus growled.

Bhaic stopped in the passageway, just out of sight of the rest of the clan. “She is with child, so ye’ll manage yer temper or no’ be seeing her.”

Marcus crossed his arms over his chest and grinned at his brother. Bhaic grunted, recognizing the promise in the expression. No one liked a fight better than Marcus, except perhaps Bhaic.

“I mean to have words with her, Brother,” Marcus warned Bhaic. “And they will nae be kind.”

“If ye truly want to frighten Ailis, speak nicely to her.”

Marcus grunted and took to the stairs. Bhaic reached up and pulled him back by the shoulder.

“Helen may well be in the hands of the Gordons, thanks to this deception. Ye killed Lye Rob, and they would take great delight in paying us back in blood.” Marcus shot back at his brother. “Brenda and Helen could no’ have more than half a dozen men with them.”

Bhaic’s face tightened. “I know ye’re right to be angry, Brother.” He passed Marcus and took to the stairs. He offered his wife a single rap on the door of their chamber before he pushed it in and Marcus followed him.

Ailis Robertson was waiting for them. She stood in the center of the receiving room, ready to face them. Damn, but Marcus loved her spirit, even when it was at odds with what he thought she should be doing with all that strength of character.

“Ailis…” Bhaic began.

“I’ve deceived ye,” she stated. “I’ve been pretending to be more ill than I am, so the women could stay with me and no’ be seen.”

“Ye know very well how the Gordons treat their captives.” Marcus pointed at her. “Did ye no’ think of what might happen to Helen and Brenda if they tried to ride across the Highlands with naught but a handful of men?”

She paled. Bhaic reached forward and gripped her forearm, but she sucked in a breath and steadied herself.

Marcus snorted at her. “How long have they been gone?”

“Four days.”

Marcus was gripping his sleeves so tightly his knuckles popped. “Where did they go?”

“To court, to seek shelter from Brenda’s kin.”

“Court.” Marcus spat the word out like a curse. “Right into the hands of the Earl of Morton. Ye might recall how that man treats women he thinks can be of use.”

Ailis stiffened. “I do.”

Marcus grunted at her before he purposefully turned on his heel and left the chamber, the longer pleats of his kilt flaring out behind him.

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Christina McKnight, Author of THEODORA (Lady Archer’s Creed #1) Shares her Top Ten Romance Authors (and a giveaway!)

As an author, my stories are much like the books I enjoy reading. My inspiration comes from many authors that came before me. My love for scene setting comes from Stephanie Laurens. My tendency to write about families comes from Julia Quinn. And my love of mystery mixed into each plot is what I love about Amanda Quick’s writing.

 

My Top Ten Historical Romance Authors

by Christina McKnight

 

  1. Eloise James has stayed true to the Historical Romance genre throughout her career. Her novels never disappoint and always leave the reader wanting more.

 

  1. Catherine Coulter’s Sherbrooke Brides books started my love for Historical Romance series. Your favorite characters’ journeys continue long after their book is complete.

 

  1. Julia Garwood’s books are so enchanting that I will forsake my favorite place and time period (Regency England) to read her book, For The Roses—and I do it at least once a year!

 

  1. Lisa Kleypas has mastered the art of writing a heroine that every woman would give up modern conveniences to be! I could live without running water, computers, and modern medicine to be Winnifred Hathaway in Seduce Me at Sunrise.

 

  1. Pamela Britton knows how to write a rake of the first order! Her books Scandal, Seduced, and Tempted feature super hot bad boys!

 

  1. Christina Dodd—what more do I need to say? The woman is an icon and legend! I recommend all of her books.

 

  1. Lauren Royal brings a whole new to dimension to a love story. Her Jewel Series (Amethyst, Emerald, and Amber) is full of snappy dialogue and captivating characters.

 

  1. Julia Quinn wrote another of my favorite series, The Bridgertons. The series follows a group of siblings (named in alphabetical order, which is helpful since there are a ton of them!) and their unique love stories.

 

  1. Amanda Quick combines dynamic characters, romance, accurate historical details, and mystery to create enthralling books, including Deception, Desire, Mischief, Mistress, Scandal and Reckless (to name a few!)

 

  1. My all-time favorite historical romance series is written by Stephanie Laurens. The Cynster Novels follow a family full of interesting men and women who will have you on the edge of your seat the whole time!

 

Author Bio:

Christina McKnight is a book lover turned writer. From a young age, her mother encouraged her to tell her own stories. She’s been writing ever since.

Christina enjoys a quiet life in Northern California with her family, her wine, and lots of coffee. Oh, and her books…don’t forget her books! Most days she can be found writing, reading, or traveling the great state of California.

You can visit her online at the following places: Website Facebook | Twitter Goodreads | Amazon

 

 

Title: Theodora
Series: Lady Archer’s Creed (Book One)
Author: Christina McKnight
Genre: Historical Romance, Regency
Release Date: January 17, 2017

 

Friendship…

Lady Theodora Montgomery departed Miss Emmeline’s School of Education and Decorum for Ladies of Outstanding Quality to attend her first London Season—her three dearest friends by her side. With her sharp wit and skill on the archery field, Theo is far more interested in winning a large purse prize than securing a husband. But when she is unmasked on the tourney grounds, her face exposed to all, she fears her identity and days spent gallivanting around London will cause not only her undoing, but the downfall of her friends as well.

Loyalty…

Mr. Alistair Price, heir to the elderly Viscount Melton, arrived in London with his eight younger siblings in tow. He is charged with keeping his family name above reproach until the Season starts and his sister, Miss Adeline Price, is presented to society—though that proves far more difficult than Alistair ever expected when he discovers his rebellious sister climbing down the side of their townhouse and scurrying off to Whitechapel for an archery tournament. His focus remains on saving his family from the certain ruin and disgrace Adeline’s actions invites—until Alistair catches sight of another female archer, her arrow connecting with far more than the center of her target.

And honor above all…

With Theodora’s future—and that of her friends—in jeopardy, will she agree to a marriage devoid of affection, or risk everything for the man who won her heart?

 

Available at: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks

 

Chapter One

London, England
October 1825

Alistair Alexander Price entered his father’s townhouse—for all intents and purposes, his townhouse since his father had taken ill the year before and was unable to travel. Alistair was responsible for the care and well-being of his siblings—he was to tend the account ledgers, he was answerable to all his father’s tenants—and it seemed, Alistair was also solely accountable for the funds needed to fulfill all of those obligations.

“Your coat, Mr. Price?” Donavon, the family butler, held his arm out, prepared to take his over garment.

Alistair shrugged, allowing the coat to fall from his shoulders and into his butler’s waiting arms. “Thank you. I will be in my study, please make sure I am not disturbed.”

“Of course, Mr. Price.” The servant gave him a faint smile.

Alistair was fairly certain the staff was delighted to have the Melton horde in residence—and agreeable to Alistair filling his father’s vacant shoes, though he had not inherited the Melton Viscountship as yet.
With a nod, Alistair continued on to his father’s study. He shook his head. His study. It was highly unlikely his father would ever journey to London again.

Alistair needed a quiet place to think, and if it took drinking himself into a stupor to figure out his family’s problems, then so be it. With eight younger siblings in residence, a quiet room was hard to come by; however, he knew his three brothers were at their fencing lessons, and the female part of his household avoided his study as much as possible—unless summoned. Alistair had made a point of using the room when doling out lectures on inappropriate behavior, as well as when imparting bad news.

Anyone who invaded his private space was subject to one or the other—and on many occasions, both.

His footsteps sounded as he walked down the corridor, past his sisters’ receiving room—not that the five Melton females were used to receiving guests beyond family—and beyond to the study.

The day had not gone as planned, to say the least. His father’s longtime solicitor, Mr. Adams, had shared with Alistair the dire conditions of the many Melton estates. Since the viscount had begun his downward spiral and his illnesses finally took his ability to walk, not a single tenant issue had been addressed, no roofs had been mended beyond what the villagers could do themselves, and no upkeep to the estate gardens had been done. And their family coffers were continually drained from the expenses of supporting nine children and a full-time physician to care for the aging viscount.

Alistair’s father had once been a very hands-on viscount, not trusting estate business and tenant concerns to anyone. That left Alistair to fumble his way through things once his father was unable to leave his sickbed—and his mother unwilling to leave her husband’s side.

Alistair rounded his desk and fell heavily into his chair—the chair he’d seen his father occupy for all of Alistair’s twenty-five years. It had remained vacant for nearly two years before Alistair and his mother made the decision to remove the children to London to avoid them witnessing the viscount’s worsening condition. His mother was to join them before his sister, Adeline, was presented to society.

The news had arrived yesterday—two short weeks before Adeline’s first ball—that Viscountess Melton would not be joining her children in London. At least, not this season.

Certainly, Alistair could handle depositing Adeline at her dress fittings, consulting with her on which invitations to accept, and accompanying her on outings to Hyde Park, but he did not enjoy any of those things, and as a rule, strictly avoided any excursion that would result in meeting marriage-minded females. There was an overabundance of those to contend with in his own home without seeking them out about town.

And Alistair hadn’t the time or the patience for any of it.

Thankfully, he only need present one sibling to the ton this season, Adeline—next season would be Adelaide and Amelia, and after them, Arabella the following year. Lastly, Ainsley. It was all too much to wrap one’s mind around. The viscount’s coffers would be empty long before Alistair inherited the title. And what to do about his brothers: Abel, Alfred, and Adrian? They were remarkably unconcerned with their future paths. None of the three wanted their father to purchase them a commission to serve their country—though Alfred and Adrian were much too young to be burdened with such thoughts as yet. Not a one had an interest in any trade, but Abel did enjoy spending his spare time assisting at the British Museum, without pay, of course; however, at the age of twenty and one, he should be focusing on something more suitable to support a family.

Alistair would see his duty through: ensuring that all of his siblings were wed and taken care of. And then, if there were still time for him and he hadn’t been beaten down by the strain of it all, he would think about his own future.

There were many years ahead of him before he had the luxury of pondering what he wanted for his life. Little Ainsley was only ten, after all, and with eight years until her introduction, Alistair would have no rest until then.

What had his parents been thinking? Nine children with his father already close to fifty when the first was born.

It was irresponsible, to say the least. At this point, Alistair would be close to the same age when he had the time to focus on finding his own wife. Never would he burden anyone with supporting his offspring.

As he stared toward the open door, a flash of green flew past, catching his attention. He had glimpsed a trail of blonde curls before the girl was out of sight, her slippered feet making no sound.

He was out of his chair and following, a lecture on the inappropriateness of running indoors on the tip of his tongue. It was necessary for him to hurry to the entryway as his siblings were fast to disappear, especially if they suspected he was in pursuit.

Adeline stood, ready to enter the receiving room when he called her name, his displeasure clear in his voice.
Her hand paused on the door handle but did not turn it.

“Adeline,” he chastised. “What have I said about running in the house?”

“It is only necessary to run faster than the person chasing you?”

“Do not play feebleminded with me,” he sighed, knowing he had, indeed, said those exact words many times, but that was before he and his sister had reached adulthood—and he’d been forced to take his unofficial place as head of the Melton clan. “What did I say about running in the house yesterday?”

“That it is highly inappropriate for women who’ve left the schoolroom and expect to be accepted in ballrooms,” she mimicked. “Women who have turned their cotton pinafores in for silk gowns should refrain from such uncouth behavior.”

“And…” Alistair prodded. He shouldn’t have to lecture Adeline on her decorum. Hadn’t he spent enough coin on her tutelage? For a woman of eight and ten, she could use a healthy dose of maturity.

“If such young women do not agree, then they are free to pack their trunk and return to the country.”

He smiled with pride at her ability to recite his lecture from the day before. “Very good. Miss Emmeline’s School of Education and Decorum for Ladies of Outstanding Quality has at least taught you one valuable skill. Now if only you could follow the sound advice you memorized.”

Adeline stuck her tongue out at him as she turned toward the door once again.

“Adeline!” Again her hand froze on the knob—knowing her luck would only get her so far with her eldest brother. “You must put your childish ways behind you if you favor a successful season.”

“Of course, my dearest, most loving, and wise brother.” Her talent for charming others—all the while mocking them—was a gift all of his siblings shared, though her sweet words never fooled him. “Now, if you do not mind, it is discourteous to keep guests waiting.”

“Not many are informed we are in London. Who is calling on you?”

And why hadn’t he been informed there was a visitor in his home? It was not only his aging parents but also his servants who’d taken a liking to his younger siblings, often doing their bidding without realizing it.

“It is only Theo, Alistair.” She said the name as if it should be familiar to him. Only Theo?

He wanted to demand she tell him who the bloody hell Theo was and what the man was doing calling on his sister without properly introducing himself to Adeline’s eldest brother before requesting an audience with her. True, their parents were still responsible for the lot of them; however, as the eldest male in good health, it fell on Alistair to keep his siblings safe.

And he could not do that if unfamiliar men were coming and going right under his nose.

Instead of ripping the door off its hinges and confronting the man who dared enter his home without an invitation, Alistair took a deep breath. Far different from the deep breath he’d taken earlier in his study as he’d allowed the pressure of his responsibility to settle. No, this deep breath was giving him time to gather his words to use as his weapon instead of his fists.

Many—especially his female siblings—called him domineering and imperious when it came to his family. But his father had trusted him to lead well in the viscount’s stead, and no matter the difficulty of the task, Alistair would do exactly that.

Adeline looked at him as if he’d grown a second head with five eyes. “Are you experiencing a decrease in memory, dear brother?”

His temper rose at Adeline’s reference to their father’s diminished mental capacity, and his sister knew she’d gotten to him. She was most successful at finding every little thing that irritated him and drawing his annoyance out. And since her return from boarding school, he’d realized she hadn’t changed. Not even the smallest bit.

The viscountess, Lady Melton, had hoped that separating the two siblings would ease their lifelong discontent and competitiveness with one another, but while Alistair had been made to mature far quicker than most, his sister was still the hellion she’d been since birth.

“I assure you, I am in full capacity of my senses, Miss Adeline,” he spoke the words slowly, pronouncing each as if she were the one who was struggling to grasp his meaning. “Why do you not introduce me to your friend, Theo?”

Maybe he was the boon Alistair had been praying for—a man to take his wayward sibling off his hands before the season had even begun. Alistair’s only regret was that he’d paid the modiste’s note the day before. He need push this Theo to announce his courtship quickly and have the betrothal papers drafted as soon as the man hinted at the possibility—before he discovered that Adeline was not the demure miss he assumed her to be, but a sharp-tongued, quick-witted, infuriating debutante who knew exactly how alluring her blonde hair, fair skin, and pale blue eyes were.

Adeline made no move to join her guest, most likely suspecting her brother had some plan contrived—and she would be correct.

“Come, dear sister,” he hissed. “Let us not keep our visitor waiting.”

“But—“

“Do you not want me to greet our guest?” he asked. This Theo gentleman must be highly unsuitable if Adeline were working this hard to keep Alistair from entering the room. Again, he searched his memory for any mention of a Theo—or, more likely, Theodore—who’d made his acquaintance. There was that elderly earl, Lord Bays. His given name was Theodore if Alistair weren’t mistaken, but he was far too old for his sister’s liking and, he gulped, wedded going on three decades. Certainly, Adeline hadn’t lowered herself to consorting with men who were spoken for. “Allow me to open the door.”

Adeline scrutinized him before shrugging. “Very well, let us greet our guest. Do not embarrass me before my friend.”

“Embarrass you?” Alistair asked, stunned. “Why ever would you think I would do something so juvenile?”

“You have been known to make me look awful and think it is comical.” She released the knob and crossed her arms.

“Or need I remind you of how cruel you and Abel have been to me?”

“Must I remind you what a nuisance you were as a child?” he retorted. This was the way of things for them: bickering, bantering, and arguing—with no end in sight. “You would follow Abel and me around constantly. It was
improper for a young girl of quality.”

“You lost me in the woods!” she shrieked. “I was only ten, and the sun was setting.”

“But you never followed us outdoors again, did you?”

“Humpf.” She tapped her foot, waiting for him to agree that he would not mortify her. When he made no move to agree to her request, she continued, “And the pie?”

Alistair couldn’t help but chuckle at the reminder. “The pie dropping over the railing from the landing above the main hall was Abel, and you very well know that. We could not have known you’d be walking below at that precise moment.”

“My new frock was ruined from the berry juices.”

“Again, that was many years ago, Adeline,” he said. “I have grown—matured—as I hope you did as well during your time away at school. Now, please allow me to escort you to greet this Theo gentleman.”

A smirk landed on Adeline’s face, and her brow rose. “Of course, dear brother. Let us join our guest.”

He set his hand on her arm to halt her before she entered the room. “Do not think I take kindly to men calling on my sister without my express permission. This will not go unmentioned.”

“Oh, I certainly hope you do reprimand Theo.” Adeline giggled, a sound Alistair hadn’t heard in many years. Actually, he hadn’t heard it since she’d slipped a dozen pond frogs into his trunk before he’d left for Eton. The carriage had been made to stop only two hours’ journey from their country estate to free the trapped creatures; however, they’d already done the intended damage to his entire wardrobe, and Alistair had spent an entire week wearing the same set of clothes until new ones could be sent. “It is only what is deserved.”

Alistair had had enough of his sister’s irksome banter, so he stepped around her, pushing the door wide. “After you.” Alistair bowed mockingly as she flipped her hair over her shoulder and preceded him into the room.

Entering, he immediately scanned the room looking for the man who dared enter his home with no regard for proper
etiquette, putting his sister’s reputation in question before her first season was underway.

“I do not appreciate hearing that someone dares cross the threshold of my home without suitable cause to do so.” Alistair’s voice thundered through the small receiving room. He wanted the man to be aware his actions were not agreeable to Alistair—Adeline’s guardian while in London. “You are certainly fortunate I am in residence to rectify the situation.”

He paused, glancing around the room for his intended target, but no man stood by the open hearth, nor by the windows, their drapes held back with a simple tie to allow the warm sunlight in.

A small gasp brought his attention to the delicate sofa his mother favored when in London.

“Lady Theodora Montgomery,” Adeline said, rushing to stand before the sofa. “I have missed you ever so much. I am happy to see you have arrived safely in London.”

After bending down to give the woman a quick hug, Adeline cast a smirk in her brother’s direction—knowing she’d successfully redirected the embarrassment to him. “I do apologize for my brother’s abominable greeting.”

The woman’s eyes were rounded with fright at his callous tirade as she stood abruptly, ready to flee.

“As you can see, he is as dreadful as I’ve told you all these years,” Adeline confessed, squeezing Lady Theodora’s hands before turning to Alistair. “Have you terrified my dear friend enough for one day, brother?”

The poor woman was so startled she hadn’t managed a single word in greeting—Alistair regretted any alarm he’d caused her; however, she must understand Adeline had misled him. She was certainly a gently bred woman, unlike his hoyden lot of sisters.

“Lady Theodora,” Alistair started, attempting to mend the dismal situation. “I am Mr. Alistair Price, Adeline’s eldest brother—and I assure you, I am not the horrid man my sister claims.”

The woman looked wholly unconvinced by his proclamation, but offered her own greeting nonetheless. “It is nice to make your acquaintance, Mr. Price, but please refrain from dropping a pie on my head while I’m in your home. I fear my mother would be quite vexed if I ruined my new gown.”

Alistair took a step back at her brazen comment as his sister doubled over in laughter.

“My dear, Theo,” Adeline said, a giggle on the fringes of her words, “I have missed you so.”

Why did he feel as if he’d walked into a trap set up by his most cunning sister?

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Jan 16th
I Love Romance – Review
Jen’s Reading Obsession – Spotlight
Kimmie Sue’s Book Review – Review
The Silver Dagger Scriptorium – Spotlight
Books,Dreams,Life – Spotlight

Jan 17th
Barbara’s Book Reviews – Spotlight
Lisa’s Loves(Books of Course) – Guest Post
Mommabears Book Blog – Spotlight
RoloPoloBookBlog – Spotlight
Sportochick’s Musings – Review
What Is That Book About – Spotlight
Writing Pearls – Review
The Avid Reader – Spotlight

Jan 18th
Book Lover in Florida – Spotlight
Just Books – Spotlight

Jan 19th
Becky on Books – Guest Post
OMGReads – Spotlight

 

Jan 20th
It’s All About the Romance – Interview
LadyTechie’s Book Musings – Review
Twinsie Talk – Review
My Book Addiction and More – Guest Post
Those Crazy Book Chicks – Spotlight

A note to readers of The Kingmaker Chronicles from Amanda Bouchet, Author of BREATH OF FIRE (with a giveaway!)

A note to readers of The Kingmaker Chronicles…

Breath of Fire comes out on January 3rd and I couldn’t be more excited about it! I hope that readers who met Cat and Griffin and followed their exploits in A Promise of Fire will be looking forward to this second installment in The Kingmaker Chronicles, and I hope that new readers will be interested in giving this fantasy romance trilogy a try. The story picks up right where A Promise of Fire left off and with a shocking moment of truth: Cat’s secrets are finally revealed to all. But with the cat out of the bag (pun definitely intended!), important plans can now form to move Thalyria toward unification under Cat and Griffin’s joint rule—plans that will certainly keep Beta Team on their toes. But while Cat’s violent past and lingering self-doubt still haunt her on a deep level, Griffin won’t let her back down from the fate she’d love to avoid. As Griffin propels her toward her inevitable destiny and Cat tries to come to terms with the prophecy that’s haunted her for eight years, readers can expect plenty of adventure and danger, more of Cat’s smart-mouthed humor, exciting Beta Team moments, and a romance that heats up to positively scorching levels. Friendships solidify into unshakable bonds, and perilous quests lead the members of Beta Team into uncharted territory where monsters, magic, and mayhem abound. With Breath of Fire, I hope that readers get swept away and caught up in the emotion and adventure as Cat and Griffin try to navigate their developing and intensely passionate relationship while also taking on the daunting and dangerous task of conquering the world. But most of all, I hope you simply enjoy the book!

 

About the author:

Award-winning author Amanda Bouchet grew up in New England and studied French at the undergraduate and graduate levels, first at Bowdoin College and then at Bowling Green State University. She moved to Paris, France in 2001 and has been there ever since. She met her husband while studying abroad, and the family now includes two bilingual children, who will soon be correcting her French.

 

Social Networking Links:
Website: www.amandabouchet.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AmandaBouchetAuthor/
Twitter: @AuthorABouchet
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14469474.Amanda_Bouchet

Title: Breath of Fire
Author: Amanda Bouchet
Series: The Kingmaker Chronicles, #2
ISBN: 9781492626046
Pubdate: January 3, 2017
Genre: Fantasy Romance

 

SHE’S DESTINED TO DESTROY THE WORLD…

BUT NOT IF SHE CAN HELP IT

Cat” Catalia Fisa has been running from her destiny since she could crawl. But now, her newfound loved ones are caught between the shadow of Cat’s tortured past and the threat of her world-shattering future. So what’s a warrior queen to do when she knows it’s her fate to be the harbinger of doom? Everything in her power.

Griffin knows Cat is destined to change the world—for the better. As the realms are descending into all-out war, Cat and Griffin risk sacrificing everything they’ve fought for. Gods willing, they will emerge side-by-side in the heart of their future kingdom…or die trying.

BUY HERE

Excerpt:

We assemble in the Athena courtyard after breakfast on the fourth day. Griffin and I are already mounted, but the rest of Beta Team—Kato, Flynn, and Carver—are still finishing their good-byes, strapping on the last of their gear, and readying their horses. If I’m not mistaken, Flynn is moving slowly because he keeps shooting discreet glances toward Jocasta from under lowered auburn brows. Carver, his long, leggy gait slower than usual, only just left his family under the shaded arcades that band the castle’s ground floor like an ornate, marble ribbon. And Kato, all blond hair, blue eyes, and corded muscle, moves with casual purpose and lionesque indolence—unhurried in his stride but powerful and inherently ready for action. Despite the stakes of the journey, none of them seems to feel any real urgency to leave.

I don’t like lingering over farewells, and their lagging makes me feel like I have ants in my pants. It’s all I can do not to start hopping in the saddle. Panotii is champing at the bit, and so am I. He prances sideways and bumps into Brown Horse. Brown Horse doesn’t move an inch and regards us with calm, intelligent eyes. He’s so much like his rider that I almost laugh.

Unable to hold back a smile, I drink in Griffin with my eyes. Actually, I look at Griffin all the time. I think about him even more, and every time I do, it’s like a wild kick of adrenaline straight to the heart. It’s distracting. He’s distracting.

A tingling warmth spreads beneath my skin. “I can’t wait to gallop.” I haven’t been outside the city walls since Ios. Panotii and I need to stretch our legs, see for miles, and feel the wind in our faces. It’s good for a horse. For a person who’s been confined to a cage, it’s cathartic. Castle Sinta and its grounds may be big, beautiful, and full of Griffin, but in some ways, it’s still a cage. Real freedom is answering to only yourself, and being responsible for no one. Since that’s a moral vacuum, none but the truly wicked are ever truly free.

That must be how Mother feels—free.

Panotii keeps dancing, and I stroke his sleek, chestnut neck, trying to soothe him. “Panotii wants to run, too.”

“You’ll burn yourselves out.” Griffin’s silver-hued eyes hold a hint of warning. “And you’ll burn us out chasing you. We have a long way to go.”

I make a sour face. “Did I ever tell you I detest the voice of reason?”

“Did I ever tell you you’re adorable when you’re riled up?”

I scowl. “I’m never adorable.”

“You’re right,” he says mock-seriously. “You’re very scary. Especially with that curl bouncing over your cheek.”

I shove the stupid curl behind my ear. My wavy hair is turning even more unruly with the approach of the rainy season. It’s overcast for the first time in weeks, and I can smell the moisture in the air, somehow both sultry and refreshing, as if a cloud were about to burst over the scorched land, but the Gods aren’t quite ready to stick a dagger in it yet. My hair doesn’t know the difference. Anything too short to stay firmly in my braid is now springing out with gusto and frizzing all around my head.

Out of habit, I check my knives. My old set hangs from multiple belt loops. My new set is secured to flat, leather straps circling my thighs. My sword is on my back in a sling Griffin had fashioned for me along with the thick boar’s hide armor that hugs my upper body from shoulders to waist in a sleeveless, close-fitting shell. A direct hit will pierce the leather, but it’ll provide protection from slices or glancing blows, as will the new vambraces on my forearms.

I told Griffin I’d be too hot and confined, which I am, but he insisted in that steady, intractable voice of his that if I want to ride with warriors, I’d better have the equipment.

He knows I’ve been fighting without any of this since before I could walk, but I humored him because I love him. Apparently, that’s how couples work. Compromise. Gah! Now there’s so much metal and leather weighing me down that I almost couldn’t get on my horse.

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A Letter to Readers by Jane Ashford, Author of LORD SEBASTIAN’S SECRET (The Duke’s Sons #3–with a giveaway!)

Dear readers of The Duke’s Sons series,

We’ve reached volume three, Lord Sebastian’s Secret, out on January 3. The military Gresham brother’s story turned out to be quite a romp. On a visit to his betrothed’s family, Cavalry major Sebastian faces a plethora of impertinent pugs, ubiquitous younger sisters, and a prospective father-in-law dedicated to ancient Saxons and arcane philosophy. Very much not Sebastian’s forte, for several reasons. Fortunately, there’s the lovely Georgina, who makes any amount of adaptation and effort worthwhile. Sebastian would do anything for her, and he very nearly does!

I really like the Gresham family. I’m feeling sad right now as I finish the fifth and final volume about them. I kind of hate to let them go. Should I consider revisiting the clan in future? Hmm. Is there anyone from the stories you’d really like to see again? Get in touch and let me know.

And thanks so much for reading!

Jane Ashford

 

JANE ASHFORD, a beloved author of historical romances, has been published in Sweden, Italy, England,
Denmark, France, Russia, Latvia, and Spain, as well as the United States. Jane has been nominated for a Career Achievement Award by RT Book Reviews.

 

Social Networking Links
Website: www.janeashford.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JaneAshfordWriter
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/842700.Jane_Ashford

 

Title: Lord Sebastian’s Secret
Author: Jane Ashford
Series: The Duke’s Sons, #3
ISBN: 9781492621621
Pubdate: January 3, 2017
Genre: Historical Romance

 

He’s hidden this shameful secret all his life…

Lord Sebastian Gresham is a battle tested soldier and brilliant strategist.  Yet all his life he’s had to hide his complete failure to decipher letters. In his own mind, he’s just stupid. What a miracle it is that he’s found the perfect bride. Lady Georgina Stane is beautiful, witty, and brilliantly intelligent. Sebastian is head over heels in love, proud as a peacock, and terrified. But if she finds out his secret, he’ll lose her love forever.

 

Excerpt:

Sebastian closed his eyes and gritted his teeth. He could all too easily picture the astonishing news that he had eloped running through his family—the letters flying back and forth, the disbelief and consternation. The surreptitious brotherly smirking. An image of his mother’s astonished face made him wince.

“Some people think I don’t care about convention,” muttered the marquess. “Not true. And this was too much. An elopement!”

“Except that it wasn’t, Papa,” Georgina pointed out. “It was an unfortunate accident. I think you might have had more faith in my character.”

Frowning at the floor, the older man said something too softly to be heard. Sebastian thought it might have been, “It wasn’t you I was worried about.”

“The duchess is sending your brother,” said Georgina’s mother. She tried to speak blandly, but Sebastian got a clear sense of a woman getting the better of an argument at last.

The marquess glared at the group with a mixture of defiance and contrition.

“Which brother?” Sebastian asked.

“Randolph,” supplied his hostess.

Sebastian groaned softly. If anything could have killed his appetite at this point, the news that a brother had been dispatched to sort him out would have done it. He supposed this was his mother’s idea of just retribution for what she probably characterized as “antics.” She would have known that he would never elope.

If she’d had to send a brother, she could’ve drafted Robert. He’d have made a joke of the whole matter and charmed everyone so thoroughly that they saw it the same way. Alan or James might have refused to be embroiled in such a tangle at all. Nathaniel was still on his honeymoon. Mama couldn’t order him and Violet about quite so easily, anyway.

Randolph, though. Sebastian nearly groaned again. Randolph was usually glad for an excuse to take a few days’ leave from his far-northern parish. And he positively delighted in helping. Sebastian supposed that was why he’d become a parson. Part of the reason. He’d also been asking “why” since he could speak. According to family legend, that had been the first word Randolph learned. Sebastian certainly remembered being followed about by a relentlessly inquisitive toddler.

Nathaniel, a responsible six-year-old, had become so tired of saying he didn’t know that he’d taken to making things up. Sebastian still sometimes had to remind himself that discarded snakeskins were products of reptilian growth rather than intense surprise. Sebastian smiled. Randolph had spent several months trying to startle snakes out of their skin after that tale.

Then Sebastian’s smile died, and he put down his last sandwich. Randolph would revel in Mr. Mitra and the marquess’s lectures on reincarnation. There would be no end to his questions, or to the incomprehensible discussions after the ladies had left the dinner table. Sebastian only just resisted putting his head in his hands.

Georgina was looking at him, though, her expression anxious. He tried a reassuring smile. From her response, he judged that it was only marginally effective. He bolstered it, vowing to deal with Randolph. He would face anything to save her distress.

Georgina stood, holding her still half-full plate to her chest. “I believe I’ll go to my room now,” she said. “I’m quite tired.”

Her father looked guilty, her mother approving. Sebastian wondered at the determination on her face. It seemed excessive for a walk up a few steps. Was her leg hurting? One look at her father told him he would not be allowed to assist her to a bed.

Night had deepened by the time Georgina managed to hunt down Hilda and corner her in a little-used reception room, where she’d apparently been holed up for a good while, judging from the cake crumbs. Georgina stationed herself between her youngest sister and the door and confronted her with hands on hips. “Have you lost your mind?” she demanded.

For a moment, it seemed that Hilda might deny everything, but then she slumped back on the sofa and let out a long sigh. “I only meant to leave you overnight, but everything went wrong from the very first. Whitefoot didn’t like being led. He jerked the rein right out of my hand and ran away. I had to take your Sylph to the Evans farm before I could chase after him. It took hours before I got him there as well.” She paused and looked indignant. “Emma abandoned me! She turned tail and rode home. And she’s been practically hiding in her bedchamber ever since.”

“Perhaps she feels a sense of remorse for having done something absolutely outrageous,” Georgina suggested.

Hilda wrinkled her nose. “Well, we came back first thing the next morning to get you.”

“That does not excuse…”

“And you were gone!” Hilda actually dared to look reproachful. “As if you’d vanished into thin air.”

“Thick mud, more like,” said Georgina.

“If you had just waited, or only walked a little way along the trail, we would have found you. And there wouldn’t have been such a very great fuss. Why didn’t you? How could you be so clumsy as to fall into a gully?” Hilda cocked her head. “I never even knew it was there.”

“Don’t even dream of blaming this on me!” Georgina gazed at her sister. They were alike in coloring and frame, but apparently their minds ran on entirely different paths.

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A Quick Q&A with Jill Mansell, Author of SOLO (with a giveaway!)

QUESTION: A meteor is headed for your house. You have saved your family, pets, and the family photos. You have time to save one more item. What will you save?

I’m going to be greedy and foolhardy and save *two* of my favourite paintings, which I commissioned my favourite artist to paint. Here they are – this is me writing my books, and my daughter Lydia is the one who types them up for me. The artist’s name is Rose Popay and she’s fabulous.

 

About the author:

With over 10 million copies sold, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jill Mansell writes irresistible and funny, poignant and romantic tales for women in the tradition of Marian Keyes, Sophie Kinsella and Jojo Moyes. She lives with her partner and their children in Bristol, England.

Website | Twitter | Facebook

Title: Solo
Author: Jill Mansell
Pub Date: January 3, 2017
ISBN: 9781492632429

 

It all starts at a party, as these things often do…

  • A one-night stand with far-reaching consequences
  • Momentarily enamored guests going home with all the wrong people
  • An unfaithful wife struck by jealousy and getting a dose of her own medicine
  • A shocking family secret revealed at the worst possible moment

One fling follows another, and now the whole community is embroiled in a great big web of deceit, the untangling of which will charm you, amuse you, make you laugh and make you cry.

Whatever’s going on in your life, Solo by Jill Mansell is the perfect distraction right about now…

 

Buy Links:
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Barnes & Noble
Indiebound

Excerpt:

I must be drunk, thought Tessa, kicking off her shoes and sinking into a sitting position on the edge of the vast, canopied bed. When a man like Ross Monahan urged you to spend the night at his place and assured you that you were quite welcome to the bed—he would be happy to sleep on the settee—you knew you were playing with fire.

Either drunk or crazy, she told herself as she pulled her dress over her head, threw it in the direction of a large, red-velvet chair and wrapped herself in the dark-blue toweling robe he had left for her.

But she knew she wasn’t that drunk. She was enjoying the game which had begun so many hours earlier. The challenge had been thrown down and she couldn’t resist it. She was going to seriously enjoy being the only woman in the history of the world to have slept in Ross’s bed…alone.

His suite of rooms on the top floor of the hotel was as sumptuous as she had imagined, particularly since seeing the rest of The Grange earlier. Like stowaways, they had remained closeted in the conservatory until the early hours of the morning when the last guests had departed, either roaring off into the night in their smart cars or retiring to their rooms in the hotel.

Then, taking her hand, Ross had given her the full guided tour, showing her the elegant sitting rooms, the restaurant, the squash courts, the superb gym and the spectacular indoor swimming-pool built inside a second, even larger, conservatory, illuminated by underwater lighting and surrounded on three sides by more tropical vegetation. Ross was as proud of the hotel as a new father. Tessa had been touched by his enthusiasm. But if he was under the impression that she would be so overwhelmed by this display of his success that she would leap into bed with him, he was going to be disappointed.

Saying no was much, much more fun.

Firmly securing the belt of the far-too-big robe around her waist, she threw back the bedcovers and slid between cool white sheets, just as a cautious knock sounded at the door.

“It’s OK, I’m decent.”

“Pity,” said Ross lightly. He was still dressed, and carrying a folded blanket over one arm.

Tessa gestured at the bed. “This is awfully kind of you. You’ll probably have a terrible time trying to sleep on that settee.”

“Probably.” He gave her a mournful look, then grinned. “But I’ll survive.”

She watched him fling the blanket over the narrow leather Chesterfield. “And it’s four thirty now. Nearly time to get up again anyway.”

“Don’t remind me.”

“I’m very grateful.”

“Absolutely no problem.”

Tessa pulled the covers up to her chin and smiled at him. “You’re a true gentleman.”

“I believe you,” said Ross. “Thousands wouldn’t.”

She watched him hover for a few seconds beside the sofa, wondering no doubt if she might change her mind. Then, giving him one last big smile, she plumped up her pillows and turned over. “Mmm, well, thanks again. Good night.”

Tessa didn’t know what time it was when she shifted in her sleep and first realized that she was no longer alone in the bed. Her bare leg was resting against another bare leg, definitely not her own. Sleepily, almost subconsciously, she stretched out her hand and encountered a smooth, warm back. She became aware of the very faint scent of aftershave and toothpaste, and the quiet, regular breathing of someone deeply and peacefully asleep.

To her great surprise, Tessa was neither shocked nor annoyed by this invasion of her privacy. It was, after all, his bed and a narrow, slippery leather Chesterfield was about as conducive to a good night’s sleep as a tin bath.

In fact, she realized drowsily, she had forgotten quite how nice it felt to lie next to another body, accidentally brushing against an arm or a hip, sharing each other’s warmth and enjoying the primal instincts of simply being together.

With a guilty start she came properly awake. For the way her fingertips were trailing down Ross’s spine wasn’t in the least bit accidental. And, without even realizing it, her own left leg had managed to fit against the curve of his right one with all the snugness of a missing piece in a jigsaw.

This was taking the enjoyment of sharing each other’s warmth a little too far.

Regretfully easing her leg back to her own side of the bed and removing her hand from his back, she closed her eyes and attempted to distract her mind from its traitorous wanderings. She had always believed that physical intimacy—not just sex—was something like a video recorder or a Magimix: what you didn’t have, you didn’t miss, it just faded from your mind and became unimportant.

It had been almost a year since her last relationship had ended. At first, of course, she had missed the hugs and the kisses—and the sex—but certainly not enough to go rampaging round Bath in search of males, any males, with whom to satisfy the need for physical contact.

And pretty soon she had become used to being and sleeping alone once more. The withdrawal symptoms had been mild. Because hugging and kissing and sex weren’t physical addictions like heroin. They were something that was nice but also quite possible to live without.

On the other hand, a year was a long time.

 

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Kim Redford, Author of BLAZING HOT COWBOY, and Her Fave Cowboy Character (with a giveaway!)

My Favorite Cowboy Character

I’m excited to share one of my favorite cowboy characters!

My Pal Trigger (1946) is a wonderful example of singing cowboy movies. Cowboy Roy Rogers and cowgirl Susan Kendrick (Dale Evans) entertain with Western music as they solve a mystery while he acquires Trigger, the famous palomino horse. Roy Rogers exemplifies the good-hearted cowboy who helps people and animals, and usually finds love with his wife Dale Evans.

He’s one hero who inspired my Smokin’ Hot Cowboys series of contemporary cowboy firefighter novels.

 

 

Kim Redford is an acclaimed author of Western romance  novels. She grew up in Texas with cowboys, cowgirls, horses, cattle, and rodeos for inspiration. She divides her time between homes in Texas and Oklahoma, where she’s a rescue cat wrangler and horseback rider—when she takes a break from her keyboard. Visit her at kimredford.com.

 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13507548.Kim_Redford

Author Website: www.kimredford.com

 

Title: Blazing Hot Cowboy
Author: Kim Redford
Series: Smokin’ Hot Cowboys, #2
ISBN: 9781492621508
Pubdate: January 3, 2017
Genre: Contemporary Western

 

He’s all the heat she’ll ever need.

Lauren Sheridan’s return to Wildcat Bluff after the death of her husband is bittersweet. Thirteen years have passed since she set foot in the place that’s always held her heart…and the sizzling memories of her high school sweetheart.

Kent Duval has it all. A proud rancher and volunteer firefighter in the small town of Wildcat Bluff, he’s missing only one thing from his life: passion. Kent last saw Lauren Sheridan when she was sweet sixteen and they were head-over-heels in love. Now she’s back, spunky daughter in tow, and he no longer knows which way is up. As the heat between them builds, Kent can’t help but wonder if past flames can be rekindled and second chances really do exist.

 

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2fmkkHq

B&N: http://bit.ly/2gyApPl

iBooks: http://apple.co/2ghhvdf

 

Excerpt:

In Wildcat Bluff County, Texas . . .

Kent Duval joined other firefighters in front of a burning barn. He wasn’t wearing much firefighter gear, so he’d pump water and roll hose from the booster while another volunteer used the nozzle to wet a perimeter around the structure.

Streams of water hit the building and steam rose along with smoke as Kent and the other first responders fought to bring the blaze under control. Even so, the fire quickly expanded in size as it ate up oxygen. Soon the wooden barn was fully engaged and pumping smoke. Flames surged higher into the sky. They kept up the water barrage, beating back the blaze despite the orange-and-yellow flames spitting and licking and clawing to take back what was lost. Every fire had its own personality. This one reminded Kent of a dangerous wild bull.

And just when he thought they had the blaze contained, a piece of shake-shingle roof was ripped off by the wind and whipped across firefighter heads to land in the adjacent pasture. Flames immediately set the dry grass ablaze, and a line of fire headed straight for the nearby house at Twin Oaks.

“Watch my pump!” When Kent got a nod of understanding from another firefighter, he took off running, hoping he could stomp out the fire with his cowboy boots before it took hold and swept away from them.

He got ahead of the blaze, but the flames were quickly consuming the grass. He stomped hard, making a little headway, but he quickly realized he wasn’t able to do enough fast enough. And the other firefighters couldn’t leave the barn. He’d have to call for backup, but he feared the engine couldn’t get there in time.

Just as he pulled his cell phone out of his pocket, he heard Lauren calling to him. He glanced up. She’d crossed the road, dragging a heavy fire extinguisher in each hand, up to the barbwire fence. He could’ve cheered because she might just have saved the day.

He pocketed his cell, ran over to her, grabbed the canisters, and set them down on his side of the fence.

“Hold up the barbwire and I’ll crawl under,” she said as she went down on her knees.

“Lauren, I don’t want you in danger.”

“I’m not letting that fire get anywhere near my daughter at Twin Oaks.” She lay down and started to crawl on her stomach under the fence.

He quickly raised the bottom strand of wire so she wouldn’t tear her clothes or scratch her back.

Once she was on the other side, she grabbed a can and dragged it toward the leading edge of the blaze.

He used the black strap to hang the other fire extinguisher over his shoulder and caught up. He tried to take the canister from her, but she gave him a no nonsense look.

“Two of us are faster than one,” she said. “I remember how to use these cans, so let’s get to it.”

He grinned, loving her sassiness even as he wanted to keep her safe. He knew better. This was his Lauren, and she didn’t back down for nothing or nobody. “Let’s do it.”

Together, they got out in front of the fire and started spraying the potent chemical on the blaze, leaving a trail of yellow. They continued to relentlessly douse the flames till nothing was left except charred grass. When their fire extinguishers were empty, they tossed them aside, and then stomped on the crisp grass to make sure there were no hot embers left that might reignite.

Finally, Kent picked up one empty canister and hung it from his shoulder by the strap before he put the other strap over his free shoulder. He couldn’t resist leaning down and giving Lauren a quick kiss.

“Don’t you know I’m too hot to handle?” she teased, chuckling with a sound caught somewhere between delight and relief.

“Guess I’m looking to get burned.”

“I think we’re both a little on the scorched side.” She pointed toward the barn. “But that building took the brunt of it.”

He looked in that direction. He felt a vast sense of comfort when he saw the old barn was nothing more than a pile of black rubble with a red-orange glow of banked embers here and there. He glanced back at the blackened patch of pasture. He’d been cocky tonight—maybe because being with Lauren had made him feel like Superman. He knew better. You could never count on a fire doing what it was supposed to do, and particularly not when it was a raging bull of a blaze.

He clasped Lauren’s hand and threaded their fingers together. “Guess you’re a Wildcat Bluff volunteer firefighter all over again.”

She squeezed his hand. “I feel like I’ve never been gone.”

“Let’s get you home.”

“Twin Oaks will look mighty good.”

But Kent hadn’t been thinking about that place. He’d been thinking about his own farmhouse on Cougar Ranch.

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