Release Day and Giveaway! LEGALLY CHARMING by Lauren Smith (Ever After #1)

 

Title: Legally Charming
Series: Ever After #1
Author: Lauren Smith
Genre: Contemporary Romance/New Adult
Release Date: March 13, 2017

Blurb:

THE RIGHT DRESS CAN CATCH THE EYE OF PRINCE CHARMING…
 
Felicity Hart has one goal: Completing her masters in art. Falling in love isn’t part of the plan. She reluctantly agrees to attend a Halloween party with her best friend. After sneaking away from the party and falling asleep in an unoccupied room, she wakes to the sexiest pair of eyes she’s ever seen. Eyes that belong to the one man who could turn her well organized world upside down. When he flashes that wicked, panty-melting smile at her the vow to not fall in love seems impossible…
 
EVERY PRINCE IS LOOKING FOR HIS SLEEPING BEAUTY TO KISS…
 
Jared Redmond used to be the ultimate bad boy. But now his legal career is taking off and the partners of his firm are trusting him with high-dollar real estate transactions. Jared’s king-size bed is empty. But when he arrives home on Halloween to find a princess sleeping in his bed – his all work and no play attitude goes out the window. There’s nothing he wants more than to explore the hidden desires of this mysterious beauty and show her just how much of a bad boy he really is by fulfilling her every fantasy.
 

WHEN MIDNIGHT STRIKES AND COACHES TURN TO PUMPKINS… Underneath the glitter of this fairy tale romance, Felicity and Jared might have found true love. But the mounting pressure of their real lives takes hold again and Jared and Felicity are pulled further and further apart. Can they find their fairy tale ending or will they be left with the dying embers of what could have been?

Excerpt:

Jared Redmond stumbled from the taxicab, his brown leather briefcase smacking his back as he struggled to stay on his feet. He swallowed a growl of frustration. This was the last time he let the senior partners of his firm keep him out late to celebrate. He’d only had one drink, since he was dead tired from the last few months of overtime at the office. Having to smile, laugh, and socialize all night with the partners left him edgy and desperate to get home and crawl into bed.

God forbid he just do his job and do it well enough to earn respect. No, he had to spend hours at one of the most expensive restaurants with them, watching them pat each other on the back when he’d done all the heavy lifting in their multi-million-dollar transaction.

Big fucking mistake.

Now he was completely drained, and his body was determined to go to sleep on him right there on the street. His vision was fine, but his motor skills seemed to have abandoned him. He reached the glass doors of his apartment building lobby, leaning a little too heavily against the glass. Fishing around in his pocket for his keycard, he muttered a string of curses when his hand came up empty. He glanced up and rapped his knuckles. Thank God, the guard recognized him and buzzed him inside.

“Mr. Redmond.” The security guard nodded, a knowing smile on the older man’s lips.

“Hey, Randy,” he greeted, wincing at the slur of his words.

A few more steps and he reached the elevator. After much effort focusing on the series of floor buttons on the panel, he pressed the button to the fifteenth floor and it lit up. He leaned his head back on the mirrored walls, resting. Jesus, it was like he was drunk, but he knew it was sheer exhaustion.

It had been a hell of a day. After two months of negotiations, sleepless nights, long hours, and no chance of reviving his obsolete social life, he’d closed the massive real estate deal, and closed it earlier than he’d anticipated. Everyone demanded they go out and celebrate. He just wanted to crash and sleep off all of the stress pent up inside him.

He was going to walk into his bedroom and face-plant on his bed and not move all weekend from that spot.

Tanner would be out with his girlfriend, Layla, celebrating. It was Halloween, wasn’t it? A little grin tugged at his lips. The apartment would be empty and quiet. The perfect benefit of arriving home early. He’d told Tanner he wouldn’t be back until Sunday, and it was only Friday now. He expected his little brother and girlfriend would be out partying the night away, giving him total silence and a soft bed to crash on without any disturbances.

The second the elevator doors slid open with a soft hiss, he heard the music and the erratic noises of a party. Laughter, voices, all coming from their apartment.

Fucking hell.

“Tanner,” he growled, fists clenched.

So the partying tonight was in, not out.

Jared contemplated turning around and finding a hotel, or worse, calling Shana. No, bad idea. They’d dated on and off during law school and after, but they’d never been exclusive. Currently he and Shana were off. Definitely off.

Lousy timing for Tanner to throw a damn party.

That was the main problem with letting his twenty-four-year-old brother live with him. He’d thought it would be nice to spend some time with his little brother, but with his work schedule he barely saw Tanner. The one night they might have hung out, he was too tired to care. He was not in the mood to dodge drunken graduate students all night and try to drown out all the racket they were making. Luck wasn’t with him tonight. Fuck, he was turning into a crotchety old man if he was going to let a party piss him off.

The door to their place was unlocked, and when he swung the door open, a wave of fresh sound engulfed him. His eardrums throbbed, and he winced at the explosion of the music that drilled into his skull like nails. Scantily-dressed girls bounced about to the pounding rhythm of the music along with guys who were watching with giddy-schoolboy expressions. Some of them cheered and smiled, drunkenly overjoyed that a new person had shown up to the party. Several familiar faces, Tanner’s friends, waved at him or nodded as he walked past them.

“Jared! I thought you weren’t coming home till tomorrow?” A zombie stripper stepped in front of him, hands on her hips. Through the gory makeup he thought he recognized her.

“Layla?”

Tanner’s girlfriend was dressed as a zombie stripper. Only Layla could manage to pull off that look.

“Layla, what the hell is going on?” he demanded, gesturing to the insanity. A girl in a sexy Lara Croft costume was singing a bad karaoke cover of “Somebody’s Watching Me.” Holy fuck. He was going to need some noise-cancelling headphones to survive this shit. For a brief second he considered tossing everyone out on their damn asses, but this place was half Tanner’s and he’d told Tanner he wouldn’t be here tonight. Brother code demanded he suffer through this bullshit.

Layla didn’t look chagrined in the least. “It’s Halloween. Oh, and Felicity’s birthday, obviously.”

“Who is Felicity?” He’d never met anyone named Felicity. Not that it was surprising, because he was never around when his brother was hanging out with Layla and their friends. He didn’t really remember what it was like to be that carefree. Law school and work had a way of consuming a person’s good memories.

“Scratch that, I don’t care. Is this thing”—he waved a hand around—“ending anytime soon?” He shifted his briefcase strap over his shoulder. His suit was starting to suffocate him, and as much as he liked the particular steel-gray tie he wore at the moment, he was desperate enough to cut it right off his neck if he couldn’t get to his room fast enough.

“Uh…” She licked her lips. “Don’t know. But you said you weren’t coming back until Sunday.”

“Well, here I am and tired as fuck. So I’m going to bed. Try to keep it down,” he growled.

“Uh, Jared.” She dodged around him, trying to prevent him from getting past her.

“What did you do?” He arched a brow, sensing by the way her eyes widened and she shifted in her stilettos that something was wrong.

“I might have given your bed away.” Layla bit her lip, yet she was brave enough to still meet his eyes.

“What do you mean you gave my bed away?”

She attempted to smile. “You were supposed to be gone until Monday, and Felicity needed a place to stay tonight. It’s late, and I didn’t want her to go home alone. She lives in a sketchy part of town—so I told her she could crash in your bed since you weren’t going to be here.” She glared at him, accusing him of something he wasn’t entirely sure was his fault. “So she’s in your room tonight.” She ended with a finality that did not entirely make sense to his tired brain.

“Let me get this straight. Some girl is in my bed…right now?”

Layla swallowed, her eyes darting away before coming back to him. “Um…yeah?”

“No,” he stated and stalked toward his room, Layla at his heels. Whoever this Felicity person was, she was in his bed, and since it was his bed, whatever Layla and this girl had seemed to think otherwise, he’d have her out of it.

Reaching his bedroom door, he crashed it open and strode in, prepared for all the hell and fury that came with drunk, twenty-something females—and instead, as his eyes adjusted, he found a princess in his bed.

Layla clattered behind on her too-tall stilettos. “Jared, wait—”

He pushed the door open, and a yellow beam of light from the hallway cut across the dark room, revealing a figure lying across his bed.

A princess. There was a princess in his bed.

The burgundy-and-gold gown was draped over his comforter with pearls glowing like tiny moons on the bodice of her gown.

What the fuck?

“Please don’t wake her,” Layla begged.

Wake her? Jared shook his head. What nonsense. He wasn’t a romantic. Even though she was certainly a fantasy. All luscious curves and mystery. Her dark auburn hair cascading over the pillow looked soft. His hands ached to reach out and fist in the strands. She looked like the kind of woman a young man dreamed about and ruined his sheets over, the kind of woman he’d stopped dreaming about a long time ago because he was convinced they didn’t exist.

He didn’t turn to look at Layla as he spoke. “Who is that?”

“Felicity Hart. Birthday girl and, more importantly, my best friend.” The threat was heavily implied. Don’t screw with Layla or her friends. Her loyalty in that respect was one of the things he admired most about his brother’s girlfriend.

Layla’s fingers curled around his biceps and squeezed, getting his attention.

“I told her she could sleep in your room since you weren’t supposed to be here. It’s the only place available for her to sleep.”

“I’m not giving up my bed. I worked seventy hours this week. I’m going to sleep.” He got one step inside his room before Layla practically tackled him, climbing up his back like a spider monkey.

“You. Will. Not. Wake. Her. Up,” Layla growled, nails digging into his arms. “She has a really important research paper due tomorrow, and she needs to sleep.”

“She can stay, but I’m sharing my bed with her. End of discussion. Go back to your party.” With a little shove, he made sure Layla couldn’t get back in before he shut the door in her face.

When he turned back around, he studied the girl in his bed. Without the hallway light he could barely make out her features. Just a silhouette, really, of a princess. Arousal slammed into him. He felt like an idiot. He never dated anyone who was still in school. They were too young. A year ago he’d tried to date a girl who was twenty-four, but she’d gotten pissed every time he’d had to work late. She didn’t get the pressures of his job. None of the girls younger than him seemed to understand that. Layla was all right, but she was still a kid. He needed someone mature who was at the same point in her life as him, an adult.

The hot little princess was the last thing he needed to be thinking about.

Don’t think about her or how much fun it would be to wake her up and kiss her. Just be a gentleman and go to bed.

His inner voice was a goddamn control freak, but he was thankful someone was still responsible.

Turning away, he started to strip out of his work clothes. He kicked his shoes off and then slipped a pair of pajama bottoms on. He didn’t bother with a shirt. He always got a little hot at night anyway. As he moved deeper into the room, he caught his foot on a chair. It screeched as it slid across the wood, and he winced, catching himself against the back of it. He glanced at the bed, but the girl hadn’t woken. A few quick steps and then he hit the bed, landing on his stomach and bouncing a little. The princess next to him didn’t stir. He shifted a couple of inches and slid one arm beneath his pillow to puff it up as he laid his head down. The toll of the night’s celebrations dragged him to the edge of the abyss of sleep. He was so close…

A little gasp and a half-strangled whimper pulled him to the surface again. “Whah?” He groaned and rolled onto his side facing the girl.

She was thrashing and whimpering beside him. Her hands clawed at the bodice of her dress, as though trying to escape it.

“Damn it!” He sat up and flicked on the lamp by his side of the bed. The wash of color in the room showed how flushed the girl was. She still shifted and kicked, moaning as if in pain. Jared leaned over and gently jostled her shoulder.

“Hey, kid, wake up.”

She jolted awake. Bright gray eyes like liquid mercury flashed in shock and fear as her gaze fell on him.

“Hi,” he said.

The princess blinked, her eyes darting around the room, then back to him, focusing on his bare chest. Her pupils dilated.

“Did we…um…who—” She shook her head as though to clear it. “Who are you, and what are you doing here?”

Jared let out a raspy chuckle. “I’m the one who should be asking questions. But it’s been a long day and I’m beat. I’m Jared, and you are in my bed.”

He stood and walked back to his cherrywood dresser. His fingers curled around the brass handle, and he opened the top drawer.

“You’re Tanner’s brother?” Her voice was soft, husky. It rolled over him, soothing his irritation.

He selected a silk striped button-down nightshirt and a pair of boxers from his drawer and then returned to the bed. “Here.” He held the clothes out to her.

“What are those for?” she asked. One elegant brow rose.

“You. You woke up clawing at your dress. Looks like it’s too tight around your chest and it’s restricting your breathing. Unless you have clothes of your own, you’re changing into these so we can both get some sleep. Layla said you had some paper due tomorrow.”

When she opened her mouth, he could see the protest in her eyes and it amused him. Feisty little thing. And damned if he didn’t picture all the things he’d like to do to that little mouth.

“Take the clothes and change in the bathroom. Now.” He deepened his voice, and she hopped out of bed, snatching the clothes as she darted into the bathroom. She froze, then slowly looked over her shoulder at him.

“What?”

“My dress…it’s the laces in the back. I can’t reach them.”

A sigh escaped him. “Come here.” He crooked a finger and sat farther back on his bed. She sidled up to him, bashfulness in her every movement.

There was something sinful and suggestive about the way she nibbled her bottom lip. He twirled a finger, indicating for her to spin around. She offered her back to him. The silk ribbons on the back of her gown came undone easily enough, but he was surprised to see the second set of laces beneath, which belonged to a corset. It was black with embroidered red roses that set off the color of the loose tangles of her hair. The strands teased the back of his hands as he unlaced the corset. The creamy skin of her lower back made his mouth go dry. The princess was trying to kill him with these temptations.

All too soon the view disappeared as she rushed into the adjoining bathroom to change.

He fell back onto the bed, staring up at the ceiling. His fingers tapped a rhythm on his stomach as he waited. This was not at all how he’d predicted his night would go. He wasn’t complaining—not exactly.

The princess emerged, gown gone. She looked so young, standing there dwarfed in his button-down shirt and a hint of his boxers beneath the hem at her mid-thighs. Her gorgeous hair was wild and long, and it looked like she’d been well loved in bed. He didn’t miss the swell of her full breasts against the thin, expensive silk. The top button was low down her chest, exposing a wealth of creamy skin. Damn.

ADD TO GOODREADSPurchase Links:

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Author Bio:

Lauren Smith is an Oklahoma attorney by day, author by night for Grand Central Publishing, who pens adventurous and edgy romance stories by the light of her smart phone flashlight app. She knew she was destined to be a romance writer when she attempted to re-write the entire Titanic movie just to save Jack from drowning. Connecting with readers by writing emotionally moving, realistic and sexy romances no matter what time period is her passion. She’s won multiple awards in several romance subgenres including: New England Reader’s Choice Awards, Greater Detroit BookSeller’s Best Awards, Amazon.com Breakthrough Novel Award Quarter-Finalist and a Semi-Finalist for the Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Award. To connect with Lauren, visit her at http://www.laurensmithbooks.com/ or twitter at https://twitter.com/LSmithAuthor.
Author Links:
Giveaway

Release Day and Giveway! THE RAKEHELL’S SEDUCTION by Lauren Smith (Seduction #2)

Title: The Rakehell’s Seduction
Series: Seduction #2
Author: Lauren Smith
Genre: Historical/Regency Romance
Release Date: February 6, 2017
 Blurb:
HE’S MADE A DANGEROUS WAGER

Ambrose Worthing is no gentleman. He’s a proud cold-hearted rake who’s determined to stay a bachelor forever. He enjoys bedding a different woman every night without the risk of falling in love. When he hears about a wager over the seduction and ruination of the daughter of his father’s best friend, he knows he must intervene. Committing himself to the bet, he agrees to seduce Lady Alexandra Rockford—for her own good. He never expected the lady in question to be a beautiful, fiery creature who has passions of her own that call to his guarded heart.

SHE’S VOWED NEVER TO FALL IN LOVE AGAIN

Alexandra Rockford has sworn off men, her heart still broken from the false promises of a childhood sweetheart who left her to marry an heiress. When she stumbles into Ambrose outside of a country ball, she knows the rake his trouble. His smile, his touch, his forbidden kiss are all too tempting but being with him would ruin her. Determined to enjoy herself without falling in love, Alex can’t help but let her defenses down with the too charming rake. But when she discovers Ambrose is seducing her to win a bet, it will take everything Ambrose has to prove to her that he is worthy to love her.

 

Purchase Links:

99c for a limited time only

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
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Excerpt:

Ambrose Worthing was attending a country dance.

The notion was laughable. He, a glorified rakehell with a distaste for country life, was currently entrapped in a bloody assembly room that could pass for a barn on better days. In fact, as he glanced around the room, he decided it most certainly resembled a farmyard at the moment, with the gaggle of society mamas squawking like geese, their turbans festooned with tall ostrich plumes.

He groaned when he saw them scrutinizing him, whispering behind their fans, their eyes dancing over his form as they assessed his marital suitability. From the clever smiles he glimpsed, he knew they were ready to throw their innocent daughters at his feet.

Like bloody hell. He was not about to find himself accidentally “compromising” any of the young ladies here tonight. He’d come here tonight to find one particular young woman to seduce her, to win a bet he’d made in London the previous week, and hopefully save her. He was not about to let the gathering of society mamas intimidate him into dancing with their daughters, even if they rivaled the great ancient Mongolian Golden Horde led by Genghis Khan. Many a rake had fallen under their wiles, surfacing months later to find themselves stuck with a shy chit of a girl as a wife and an obnoxious mother-in-law.

At twenty-nine years old, he’d managed to weather many attempts by his friends and relatives to see him settled. If those who loved him could not bring him to the altar, no silly chits from the country would have any success either. He was a permanent bachelor, and he liked it. Marriage was not made for men like him. To be tied down with one woman for the rest of his life and suffer the trappings of home and hearth when he could be exploring the world and living? Heavens no, he would not give up his freedom for anything.

A few daring matchmaking mamas separated from the crowd and walked in his direction. Damnation, even the need for a master of ceremonies to perform introductions wouldn’t stop these women.

Ambrose spun on his heel, desperate to avoid conversation. If he had to listen to one more story about how well their daughters played the pianofortes or how accomplished they were at needlepoint, he’d run from the assembly hall screaming.

He had met almost everyone present at the dance and had no desire to continue any of the acquaintances. He was only here because of the wager placed in a betting book at White’s. A damned fool named Gerald Langley had put down in the books that anyone who plucked the fruit of this girl’s vine would receive five thousand pounds from him. Langley was a brute with little in the way of good sense and far too much coin. Ambrose had no idea why Langley had it in for the Earl of Rockford’s daughter, but he did. After reading the bet, Ambrose had penned his name to the challenge and notified Langley he had accepted the wager.

For once in his life he was trying to do the right thing by a woman. It was a bit ironic, though, that saving the woman required compromising her. But the Earl of Rockford and his father had been friends, and Ambrose felt he owed it to Rockford to win the wager and keep the lady safe from true scoundrels. No other man would take the care with her that he would and see to it that her first time with a man was a pleasurable experience.

He had one month to seduce Rockford’s daughter and provide proof of this seduction in London. As the lady in question had never been to London, there was much speculation among the men at his club whether she was a diamond of the first water or a dowdy creature. The betting book listed her age as twenty-two, young enough not to be an ape leader, a nasty term for women nearing spinsterhood.

Apparently Rockford wasn’t one for traditions. Any father wishing to ensure his daughter’s future would have brought her to London at seventeen or eighteen, had her presented to the queen, and then made the round of balls to hunt for a husband.

Yet Rockford had not done any of that. He’d kept his daughter in the country, living a quiet life. An unplucked fruit to tempt the worst sort of men in White’s to bet upon the taking of her maidenhead for their own amusement.

Normally Ambrose had little desire to compete in wagers, especially ones which involved the corruption of innocents. It was not out of some moral principle, but rather a dislike of virgins. They tended to fall in love and cling to the man who took their innocence. But after witnessing the sort of men discussing whether to take the bet that night, Ambrose decided he would do this innocent lady a favor. He’d penned his name in the books, taking up the wager, and sent a letter to Rockford, renewing their acquaintance.

A letter from Rockford arrived only a few days later, inviting Ambrose to this ball and to spend a few weeks at Rockford’s home as a guest. It was the perfect opportunity for Ambrose to cozy up to the man’s daughter and see what sort of creature he would soon be bedding.

If only he knew what the lady looked like. In the chaotic din full of dancing and music, he could not find a single young lady among the crush that he was willing to bed. It wasn’t that the young ladies weren’t attractive. They were, but none were to his taste. Innocent young ladies had never appealed to him. If his friend Gareth Fairfax had been there, Gareth would have been laughing at him. Gareth was stuck in his own hell—the poor fool was happily married. Married! Ambrose couldn’t think of anything more terrifying than being stuck with one woman for the rest of his life. Helen was a darling creature and perfectly suited to Gareth, and Ambrose supposed it would be not too terrible to share a bed with a woman like her. But still, to be leg-shackled?

I would rather die in a thousand unspeakable ways than stand in a bloody church and tie myself to one woman for the rest of my days.

Also Available

AMAZON US / UK / CA / AU
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Author Bio:

Lauren Smith is an Oklahoma attorney by day, author by night for Grand Central Publishing, who pens adventurous and edgy romance stories by the light of her smart phone flashlight app.

She knew she was destined to be a romance writer when she attempted to re-write the entire Titanic movie just to save Jack from drowning. Connecting with readers by writing emotionally moving, realistic and sexy romances no matter what time period is her passion.

She’s won multiple awards in several romance subgenres including: New England Reader’s Choice Awards, Greater Detroit BookSeller’s Best Awards, Amazon.com Breakthrough Novel Award Quarter-Finalist and a Semi-Finalist for the Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Award. To connect with Lauren, visit her at http://www.laurensmithbooks.com/ or twitter at https://twitter.com/LSmithAuthor.

Author Links:
 Giveaway:

Lauren Smith, Author of THE BITE OF WINTER (Love Bites #1) Talks About Her Inspiration for the Series (with a Release Day Review and Giveaway!)

Zoey is down on her luck, homeless and jobless over Christmas. When she’s attacked in an alley, she’s rescued by two century old Irish vampires named Ian and Connor. It’s up to them to win her heart over Christmas.

TBOW_BlitzBadge

The Inspiration for The Love Bites Series- Lauren Smith

I love reading paranormal romances and I’ve been wanting to write a series for a long time about sexy vampires. There are a lot of dark paranormals on the market with edgy action scenes and gritty adventures, which I love reading. But I realized there was a big lack of what I’m calling the softer sensual paranormals. With my Love Bites series, I’m offering readers a fun little series of novella length paranormal romances that gives them a sweeter, but still sexy as heck.

Paranormal romances can be very fun when they’re dark and brooding, but half the fun of vampires, shifters, fae and all those other fun supernatural creatures is how interesting they can be when tossed into a normal world like ours. So rather than have readers immerse themselves into a supernatural world they aren’t familiar with, I present readers with a world they know and live in, and show them how entertaining and often hilarious supernatural creatures can be.

So for example, rather than right a vampire fight scene with blood and gore, you get to read about a Vampire who is over 200 years old trying to figure out how to buy a modern sensible human woman some sexy lingerie. Or you might have two alpha male vampires building insanely intricate gingerbread castles in order to impress their human female lover. If you love how these scenarios might turn out, then you’ll love taking a bite out of the Love Bites series this winter.

 

About Lauren Smith:Lauren_Smith_2014

Amazon Best-Selling Author Lauren Smith is an attorney by day, author by night, who pens adventurous and edgy romance stories by the light of her smart phone flashlight app. She’s a native Oklahoman who lives with her three pets: a feisty chinchilla, sophisticated cat and dapper little schnauzer. She’s won multiple awards in several romance subgenres including being an Amazon.com Breakthrough Novel Award Quarter-Finalist and a Semi-Finalist for the Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Award.

Connect with Lauren: Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

 

BiteOfWinter-The300

Synoposis:

Zoey Blake is about as far down on her luck as she can get. A car crash took her parents, leaving her destitute and on the street. When she’s attacked by another homeless person, her lifeblood drains away as her fading vision is filled with the face of a handsome stranger.

Ian Kennedy, a century old Irish vampire, never could resist rescuing a stray. As a few drops of his blood heals Zoey’s wounds, he realizes she’s a sweet, tempting, flesh-and-blood woman. But there’s one problem. Connor, who made Ian promise decades ago: no more mortal lovers.

After another vampire murdered his soulmate, Connor O’Shea swore never to let a mortal woman pay the price for loving him. Until he feels Zoey’s skin and tastes her lips. She makes him want to break that vow.

Zoey finds herself caught in their web of seduction. But as Christmas draws near and her grief deepens, happiness seems far out of reach. And Ian and Connor join forces to prove their love is sacred, special…and forever.

Warning: This book contains two scorching-hot Irish vampires, one lady with plenty of pluck but zero luck, naughty lingerie, and enough Christmas cheer to redeem even the darkest creatures.

 

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

Add The Bite of Winter  to your GOODREADS TBR pile!

Review:

This wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but I did end up liking the story quite a bit. Zoey, Ian, and Connor are all sympathetic characters, and I really liked the idea of Zoey being able to bring the centuries-old vampires back to “life” again by bringing a touch of humanity back into their lives. The three of them had some interesting chemistry going on, and watching them prepare for a Christmas together was fun.

And I love that two big, bad, jaded vampires have been adopted by three stray cats. Too adorable.

The one part that was a little questionable is how quickly Zoey went from homeless girl who can’t and won’t depend on or trust anyone and who has been attacked in an alley and left for dead to a girl who is letting two vampires (!) take care of her. Shouldn’t she have been a little less accepting of the whole creatures of the night are actually real and I’m staying with two of them thing? Slightly more freaked out, perhaps? Part of it could be explained away by the whole they-have-glamour idea, but surely not all…?

Overall, though, this was an enjoyable story. I’ll be watching to see what Ms. Smith is going to be doing with the rest of this series.

Rating: 3 1/2 stars / B+

I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

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Release Day and Giveaway! THE DUELIST’S SEDUCTION by Lauren Smith (Seduction #1)

Out today!
The Duelist’s Seduction
by Lauren Smith
Series: Seduction, #1
Genre: Historical Romance (Regency)

Cover Designer: Fiona Jayde

Release Date: May 12, 2015

Helen Banks is going to die. When her twin brother gambles away their fortune, she must save his life and take his place in a duel to satisfy the honor of a man her brother couldn’t pay. Disguised as her brother, Helen faces the one man she’s admired from afar, a widower with a dark past and eyes that scorch her very soul.

Since Gareth Fairfax lost his wife, the darkness in his heart continues to grow. Lashing out at anyone who opposes him, Gareth is stunned to face a lovely young woman opposite his dueling pistol. After discovering Helen’s deception, he offers her a choice: become his mistress or her brother dies.

Their devil’s bargain turns into a slow, sweet, intoxicating seduction. With each passing hour, Helen uncovers Gareth’s secret heartbreak and yet she can’t help but fall for the man who has ruined her. With Helen in his arms, Gareth wonders if he might yet be saved. All it takes is one passionate embrace, a kiss from the depths of his soul and a night of wild abandon.

 

 

 

Gareth looked at her, her blue eyes gazing at him in pity. Did she not know what she was asking of him? Love was hard to find, hard to earn, and hard to keep. He reached up to tug one of her curls playfully, wanting to rid his mind of the thoughts she’d put there. His actions made her wrinkle her nose in disapproval. The urge to hold her was too strong to resist. He tugged her into his arms, relishing the feel of her body flush against his.

She was growing ever more receptive to his kisses. He let her mouth guide his, let her explore his chest, his arms, his back before she locked her hands around his neck. Her fingertips brushed the back of his neck and stroked his hair. He loved how quickly she opened up to him, how she let him instruct her in the ways of seduction.

The feeling of her touch on his skin made him shiver. She was a quick learner. Gareth wanted to part her legs again, like he’d done in the meadow, but the stables were no place for such an activity. Instead he teased her breasts through the fabric of her gown until he felt her grow breathless. He hardened, his groin aching with need, but he could not take her, not until she asked for him. He could have kissed and touched her for hours.

“My apologies, sir!” A groom, who’d walked into the stables, apologized profusely as he scrambled away, overturning a bucket of feed in his haste to depart.

Helen stifled an embarrassed giggle and buried her face in his chest as though to hide herself from the world. Gareth found himself laughing, too. It was a loud, rich laugh, one he hadn’t made in years. What was she doing to him? In a mere matter of a day, she had turned his world upside down. She was open and honest about herself and her life. And brave. He couldn’t forget that, either, the way she’d risked her life to save her brother’s knowing she would die. What woman of his acquaintance would have dared to risk her life? None that he knew. Helen was different. She was real and beautiful and so full of life. Each time he looked at her, something inside him seemed to shake off a century’s worth of dust and awaken. Being around her made him feel alive.

“Let’s get the horses ready. We should get a ride in while the day is young.” Gareth reluctantly pried her away from his chest and set about saddling the horses.

They rode at a nice canter for nearly an hour, over the meadow, down the hill, and through the neighboring lands. Gareth chuckled as Helen rode her mare through a flock of panicked sheep. They both nearly fell out of their saddles with laughter as they watched the wooly creatures bolt in all directions to avoid being trampled by her horse. The sheep gathered rebelliously into a flock several yards away, bleating melodramatically at having been attacked.

“Heavens! That was quite a ride,” Helen said as she watched the sheep shifting restlessly as her horse stomped and huffed.

“I daresay, the farmer, Mr. Pennysworth, won’t be pleased to find we’ve been scaring his beasts. Come, let’s away, Helen,” He chuckled and lightly tugged the reins of his horse, guiding it to turn around.

Gareth watched Helen the entire time they were out riding. He could not keep his eyes off the halo of her golden hair or the mischievous grin as she drove towards the sheep. Her little laugh was music to him, music he’d been missing for years.

Sing my little thrush, please sing to me. She was beautiful, she was perfect, and he would have to let her go. That brother of hers would eventually show up, and Gareth would have to deal with him when the time came. Damned if he knew what to do with Martin Banks. The fool might still insist on the duel, now over Helen’s honor. What a mess he was in. His eyes strayed to Helen, and her easy smile made all of the problems with his choice to have her fade. She was worth the trouble. He knew he could not keep her for long. Ambrose’s words came back to him. He was ruining her for her brother’s debts. Debts she shouldn’t have to pay, and he’d destroyed all chances of her making a good match. On the field after the duel that hadn’t mattered to him, in fact he’d relished the thought of hurting Banks by saddling him with a sister who would never make a match. But now…now he saw he was only hurting Helen, a brave, innocent woman who didn’t deserve any of this. Yet there was no way to undo the damage he’d done.

Marriage was out of the question. He had nothing to offer her besides his name and his body, and he knew only too well that a woman like Helen would need his heart to survive a marriage. For him, it was seduction, plain and simple. He had no right to anything else. He’d lost his right to love a long time ago. God would not give him a second chance, not after blessing him with Clarissa. That sort of love, he was sure, came only once. He had his turn and lost. Helen was nothing more than a cruel reminder of what he could never have.

 

 

 

*Note: The Duelist’s Seduction was previously released as part of the Captivated by His Kiss Anthology, which is no longer available.

 

 

Lauren Smith is an attorney by day, author by night, who pens adventurous and edgy romance stories by the light of her smart phone flashlight app. She’s a native Oklahoman who lives with her three pets: a feisty chinchilla, sophisticated cat and dapper little schnauzer. She’s won multiple awards in several romance subgenres including being an Amazon.com Breakthrough Novel Award Quarter-Finalist and a Semi-Finalist for the Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Award. Lauren loves hearing from readers and can be reached through her website www.laurensmithbooks.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Release Day and Giveaway! CAPTIVATED BY HIS KISS (A Regency collection)

Gotta love box sets–can’t go wrong!

 

Captivated by his Kiss
by Cheryl Bolen, Bronwen Evans, Barbara Montajem,
Collette Cameron, Wendy Vella, Heather Boyd,
and Lauren Smith
Genre: Historical Romance/Regency
Release Date: January 12, 2015

 

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Cheryl Bolen and USA Today Bestselling Author Bronwen Evans are joined by Barbara Monajem, Collette Cameron, Wendy Vella, Heather Boyd, and Lauren Smith in this exciting collection of short regency romances. Be CAPTIVATED BY HIS KISS in these seven emotional stories of second chances, scandalous wagers, and the quest for true love. Lose yourself again and again in beautifully written romance.

Cheryl Bolen ~ His Lordship’s Vow
Bronwen Evans ~ To Wager the Marquis of Wolverstone
Barbara Monajem ~ The Christmas Knot
Collette Cameron ~ Bride of Falcon
Wendy Vella ~ Christmas Wishes
Heather Boyd ~ Miss Watson’s First Scandal
Lauren Smith ~ The Duelist’s Seduction

HIS LORDSHIP’S VOW by Cheryl Bolen

Bereft of beauty as well as fortune, the exceedingly plain Miss Jane Featherstone has failed to attract any suitor during her three Seasons. Rather than be a burden to her brother and his obnoxious wife, Miss Featherstone vows to accept the first man who asks—even though she’s always worshipped a lord who’s far above her touch. . .

Lord Slade must marry an heiress in order to honor the deathbed vow he made to his father, and he needs Miss Featherstone’s help in wooing her beautiful cousin. After her initial anger, Miss Featherstone agrees to his scheme, telling him she’s doing so because she admires his Parliamentary record of humanitarian legislation and his reverence for truth. But the more he’s with the two cousins, the more attracted he becomes to Miss Featherstone. What’s a man of his word to do? Break a vow to a beloved father—or follow his heart with Miss Featherstone?

 

TO WAGER THE MARQUIS OF WOLVERSTONE by Bronwen Evans

Marcus Danvers, the Marquis of Wolverstone, is renowned for his cynical demeanor. It’s rumored that long ago, a beautiful woman broke his heart. Now he lives life for pleasure. That is, until the beautiful, as she is deceitful, Contessa Orsini re-enters his life with a wager he cannot resist.

THE CHRISTMAS KNOT by Barbara Monajem

Widowed and destitute, Edwina White takes a position as governess in a remote village in the north of England—in a haunted house. She’s so desperate that she’ll take anything, and besides, she doesn’t believe in ghosts. Little does she know that her new employer is the seducer who lied and deceived her many years ago.

Sir Richard Ballister inherited an estate with a ghost and a curse, and every governess he hires leaves within a week. Finally, a woman desperate enough to stay arrives on his doorstep—but she’s the seductress who dropped him many years earlier for a richer man.

The last thing Richard and Edwina want is to work together, but they have no choice. Can they overcome the bitterness of the past in time to unravel a centuries-old knot and end the Christmas curse?

 

BRIDE OF FALCON by Collette Cameron

After five Seasons, Ivonne Wimpleton has accepted she’s a haute ton undesirable. Always a bit ungraceful, her suitors are men desperate to get their hands on her marriage settlement. Guarded and aloof, she’s resigned herself to spinsterhood. She doesn’t mind her fate, since Chancy Faulkenhurst—known as Chance to his friends and the man who once held her heart—left for India years ago without an explanation.

When Ivonne’s father, Viscount Wimpleton, refuses Chance’s request for her hand in marriage, he transfers to the East India Troops. Chance’s dreams of making Ivonne his wife are soundly dashed. Ignoring her letters, he closes the door on his heart and Ivonne and remains in India.

Six years later, severely injured during a battle, Chance returns to England physically and emotionally scarred. His love for Ivonne remains just as strong. When he learns due to a whim of Prinny’s she must choose one of the despots whose offered for her hand, Chance is determined that none should have her but him. Except, not only is she infuriated he made no effort to contact her, in Chance’s absence, his father arranged a marriage for him and fully expects Chance to honor the agreement.

 

CHRISTMAS WISHES by Wendy Vella

Past experiences have taught Miss Hero Appleby to distrust noblemen, especially self-indulgent rakes like Lord Caruthers. However she was desperate for money to support the orphans in her care this Christmas, so it is to him she must go. Perhaps it had been wrong of her to point out his many faults so boldly, but the man had reeked of last nights over indulgences, and that coupled with his indolent lifestyle, drove her to distraction and all thoughts of lady-like behaviour disappeared in his infuriating presence.

Max didn’t remember much of his first meeting with the annoying Miss Appleby, thanks to the after effects of one good drink too many. But he vaguely recalled he’d promised her something, just to get her out of his house so he could suffer in peace. Unfortunately peaceful was the last word to describe her as he found out the next day. She was unlike any woman he knew – opinionated and rude certainly, but she worked selflessly to provide for children that were not even of her blood. Max had believed himself incapable of emotion yet Hero was making him feel things that he had believed were long dead. Could his long forgotten Christmas wish really come true?

 

MISS WATSON’S FIRST SCANDAL by Heather Boyd

Overworked London banker David Hawke has two goals for his week in the seaside town of Brighton: one, recover an overdue debt from a good friend and neighbor and two, relax for the remaining holiday without any further distractions. When his friend’s impulsive younger sister barges into his home to beg his aid, he’s drawn deeper into her life and scrambling to keep their relationship on a professional level.

Abigail Watson may be considered too young to have the cares of the world on her shoulders but her brother is in financial trouble and she’s desperate to help him recover. Despite the impropriety, she appeals to the bachelor next door for an extension on the debt and his help to secure her brother a wealthy wife. However, matchmaking never runs smoothly and falling in love is something neither one counted on.

 

THE DUELIST’S SEDUCTION by Lauren Smith

Helen Banks is going to die. There is no other option: either fight a duel in her twin brother’s place or see him die. But Helen never counted on the man she was to duel with being the same man she admired from afar for so long, Gareth Fairfax, a wealthy lord and the man sworn to exact his payment from the Banks twins through any means.

When Gareth discovers his opponent is a woman and more importantly, the sister of the man he means to kill, he demands satisfaction of some kind. He gives her two choices. She can return to his estate and become his mistress, or he can send her home and settle the matter with her brother by finishing the duel. Helen, unable to ignore the secret longing she’s had for Gareth, decides to accept his proposal and go with him back to his estate, thankful that her desire for him also saves her brother’s life.

Helen accepts the devil’s bargain and agrees to stay with Gareth, at his beck and call, putting more than her innocence in danger as Gareth begins his slow seduction. With each passing hour, she sees the tortured heart of a man who’d once loved and lost. Helen fears she may lose her own heart to him, and believing she can never lay claim to his heart. But as they challenge the limits of their passion and the sensual delight they find in each other’s arms, they may find that love is within their reach.

 

 

 

CHERYL BOLEN

Since her first book was published to acclaim by Harlequin Historical in 1998, Cheryl Bolen has written more than 20 books, mostly historical romances. Several of her books have won Best Historical awards, and she’s been a New York Times and USA Today bestseller.

Connect with Cheryl

BRONWEN EVANS

USA Today Bestselling Author Bronwen Evans grew up loving books. She writes both historical and contemporary sexy romances for the modern woman who likes intelligent, spirited heroines, and compassionate alpha heroes.

Her debut Regency romance, Invitation to Ruin won the RomCon Readers’ Crown Best Historical 2012, and was an RT Reviewers’ Choice Nominee Best First Historical 2011. Her first self-published novella, To Dare the Duke of Dangerfield, was a FINALIST in the Kindle Book Review Indie Romance Book of the Year 201,2 and a finalist in the RomCon Readers’ Crown Best Historical 2013. Her first contemporary released December 2012, The Reluctant Wife, won the RomCon Readers’ Crown Best Category 2013.

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BARBARA MONAJEM

Barbara Monajem wrote her first story at eight years old about apple tree gnomes. After dabbling in neighborhood musicals and teen melodrama, she published a middle-grade fantasy when her children were young. Now her kids are adults, and she’s writing for grownups. Her Bayou Gavotte series of paranormal mystery and romance takes place near New Orleans and features hereditary vampires, a Native American telepathic rock star, and other characters with paranormal abilities. She also writes sexy Regency romances with bold, passionate heroes, spirited, adventurous heroines, and the occasional touch of magic. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia, with an ever-shifting population of relatives, friends, and feline strays.

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COLLETTE CAMERON

Award winning, Amazon best-selling author, Collette Cameron, has a BS in Liberal Studies and a Master’s in Teaching. Author of the Castle Brides Series and Highland Heather Romancing a Scot Series, Collette writes Regency and Scottish historicals and makes her home in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and five mini dachshunds. Mother to three and a self-proclaimed Cadbury Chocolate chocoholic, Collette loves a good joke, inspirational quotes, flowers, trivia, and all things shabby chic. You’ll always find dogs, birds, quirky—sometimes naughty—humor, and a dash of inspiration in her novels. Her motto for life? You can’t have too much chocolate, too many hugs, or too many flowers. She’s thinking about adding shoes to that list.

Connect with Collette
WENDY VELLA
Wendy Vella is a lover of all things romantic. Her novels are sensual with just a touch of wicked and set in the often intriguing backdrop Regency England. Writing is something she has always found time for; and penned her first novel at eighteen, though she is adamant it will never make an appearance further than the closet in which it currently resides.
Connect with Wendy
HEATHER BOYD
Bestselling historical author Heather Boyd believes every character she creates deserves their own happily-ever-after, no matter how much trouble she puts them through. With that goal in mind, she writes sizzling regency romance stories that skirt the boundaries of propriety to keep readers enthralled until the wee hours of the morning. Heather has published over twenty novels and shorter works. She lives north of Sydney, Australia, and does her best to wrangle her testosterone-fuelled family (including cat Morpheus) into submission.
Connect with Heather
LAUREN SMITH
Lauren Smith is an attorney by day, author by night, who pens adventurous and edgy romance stories by the light of her smart phone flashlight app. She’s a native Oklahoman who lives with her three pets—a feisty chinchilla, sophisticated cat and dapper little schnauzer. She’s won multiple awards in several romance subgenres including being an Amazon.com Breakthrough Novel Award Quarter-Finalist and a Semi-Finalist for the Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Award.
Connect with Lauren

 

 

 

 

Release Day and Giveaway! HIS WICKED SEDUCTION by Lauren Smith (The League of Rogues #2)

Review coming–reading this one right now 🙂

 

His Wicked Seduction
by Lauren Smith
Series: The League of Rogues, #2
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Cover Designer: Kim Killion
Release Date: November 11, 2014

 

 

Horatia Sheridan has been hopelessly in love with Lucien, her brother’s best friend, ever since he rescued her from the broken remains of her parents’ wrecked carriage. His reputation as London’s most notorious rakehell doesn’t frighten her, for under his veneer of cool authority she has glimpsed a man whose wicked desires inspire her own.

Lucien, Marquess of Rochester, has deliberately nurtured a reputation for debauchery that makes every matchmaking mother of the ton quake with fear. His one secret: he is torn between soul-ripping lust for Horatia, and the loyalty he owes her brother.

That loyalty is put to the test when an old enemy of the League threatens Horatia’s life. With Christmas drawing near, he sweeps her away to his country estate, where he can’t resist granting her one wish—to share his bed and his heart.

But sinister forces are lurking, awaiting the perfect moment to exact their revenge by destroying not only whatever happiness Lucien might find in Horatia’s arms, but the lives of those they love.

Warning:  This book contains an intelligent lady who is determined to seduce her brother’s friend, a brooding rake whose toy of choice in bed is a little bit of bondage with a piece of red silk, a loyal band of merry rogues and a Christmas love so scorching you’ll need fresh snow to extinguish it.

 

“Charles, do think we’re being followed?”

Charles brushed off some snow from his gloved hands when it dropped onto him from a nearby shop’s eave. “What? What on earth for?”

“I don’t know. That carriage. It has been with us for quite a few streets.”

“Lucien, we’re in a popular part of London. No doubt someone is shopping and ordering their carriage to keep close.”

“Hmm,” was all he said before he turned his attention back to Horatia and her footman. One of her spare gloves fell out of her cloak and onto the ground, going unnoticed by both her and her servant. Lucien debated briefly whether or not he should interfere and alert her to the fact that he and Charles had been following her. When she continued to walk ahead, leaving her glove behind, he made his decision.

Lucien caught up with his friend still ahead of him on the street. “I’ll not keep you. Horatia’s dropped a glove and I wish to return it to her.”

“Plagued by a bit of chivalry, eh? Go on then, I want to stop here a moment.” He pointed to a bookshop.

“Very good. Catch me up when you’re ready.”

Lucien dodged through the traffic on the road and was halfway across the street when pandemonium struck.

Bond Street was turned on its head as screams tore through the air. The coach that had been shadowing him raced down the road in Lucien’s direction. Yet, rather than trying to halt the team, the driver whipped the horses, urging them directly at Lucien.

He was too far across the street to turn back; he had to get to safety and get others out of the way. Horatia! She could be trampled when it passed her. Lucien’s heart shot into his throat as he ran. The driver whipped the horses again, as if sensing Lucien’s determination to escape.

“Horatia!” Lucien bellowed at the top of his lungs. “Out of the way!”

He’d never forget the look on her face. The way her confused expression changed into unadulterated joy at seeing him, then to terror as she realized the curricle was headed straight for them.

Lucien crossed the street moments before the horses reached him. He tackled Horatia, knocking her to the ground in an alley between the shops. The curricle’s wheels sliced through the snow and slush inches from his boots, soaking them with icy water.

For a long moment, Lucien couldn’t move. She was alive. He’d made it. The curricle hadn’t run either of them over…

Then his body seemed to realize it had a woman under it. A woman with the finest curves God had ever made to tempt a man. Her bonnet was askew, revealing long lustrous curls of deep chestnut hair. Her dark eyes, so innocent, fixed on his face in wonder.

“My lord…” she murmured in a daze. Her gloved hands rested on his chest, holding him at bay. He felt the tremble of her hands all the way to his bones, and his body responded with interest.

“What in blazes?” Charles rushed into the alley, gray eyes alight with fury. “Did you see who was driving that curricle?” Charles paused and took in the scene before him with a smile. “Horatia, love, how are you? Not too bruised I hope?” Charles had never in his life bothered with titles or propriety. Neither did Lucien for that matter. So it didn’t surprise Lucien that his friend treated Horatia as he did.

“Oh Charles!” she exclaimed. She seemed to realize only now she was on her back in an alley just off Bond Street, with a street full of curious people peering in and Lucien on top of her.

Lucien gritted his teeth. “Oh Charles!” she’d said, but Lucien was always “My lord.” It grated his nerves that she didn’t offer such intimacy to him. It was his own damned fault. He pushed her away at every opportunity, just to keep himself from tugging her into the nearest alcove and kissing her. Something about her seemed to render him into the most barbaric state possible. He had little else on his mind other than how she’d taste, how she’d moan and sigh if he could just get his hands on her.

“Lucien…” Horatia stammered. His name on her lips was more erotic than a lover’s sated sigh. “What on earth just happened?”

“I fear someone just tried to run me over, and you were, unfortunately, in the way,” he explained, worried by the dazed expression swallowing her dark eyes.

 

Book 1: Wicked Designs

 

 

Lauren Smith is an attorney by day, author by night, who pens adventurous and edgy romance stories by the light of her smart phone flashlight app. She’s a native Oklahoman who lives with her three pets: a feisty chinchilla, sophisticated cat and dapper little schnauzer. She’s won multiple awards in several romance subgenres including being an Amazon.com Breakthrough Novel Award Quarter-Finalist and a Semi-Finalist for the Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Award. Lauren loves hearing from readers and can be contacted through her site at www.laurensmithbooks.com.

 

Sign up for Lauren’s Newsletter at www.laurensmithbooks.com

 

 

 

 

Sales Blitz with Giveaway! WICKED DESIGNS by Lauren Smith (League of Rogues #1)

Sale prices now showing at all vendors! (As of 10/21/14)

NOTE: There has been an unexpected delay in WICKED DESIGNS’ sale price–it’s not yet showing up at the vendors, but hopefully will soon. If you’ve already paid full price for it, let me know in the comments because Lauren has a special offer just for you as an apology (be sure to leave your email so I can contact you).

Wicked Design Sale Card

 

Wicked Designs
by Lauren Smith
Series: The League of Rogues, #1
Genre: Historical Romance
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Cover Designer: Kim Killion
Release Date: January 7, 2014

 

 

The League of Rogues takes what they want—but have they taken on too much?

For too long Miss Emily Parr has been subject to the whims of her indebted uncle and the lecherous advances of his repulsive business partner. Her plan to be done with dominating men forever is simple—find herself a kind husband who will leave her to her books.

It seems an easy enough plan, until she is unexpectedly abducted by an incorrigible duke who hides a wounded spirit behind flashing green eyes.

Godric St. Laurent, Duke of Essex, spends countless nights at the club with his four best friends, and relishes the rakish reputation society has branded him with. He has no plans to marry anytime soon—if ever. But when he kidnaps an embezzler’s niece, the difficult debutante’s blend of sweetness and sharp tongue make him desperate for the one thing he swears he never wanted: love.

Yet as they surrender to passion, danger lurks in Godric’s shadowed past, waiting for him to drop his guard—and rob him of the woman he can’t live without.

Warning: This novel includes a lady who refuses to stay kidnapped, a devilish duke with a dark past, and an assortment of charming rogues who have no idea what they’ve gotten themselves into.

 

 

Godric’s chest shook with silent laughter as he drank in her sweet taste—innocence like fine brandy, addictive and intoxicating. Joy heated his blood and warmed his heart. She’d come back for him, rescued him.

Her hands clenched his biceps, fingers digging into him the more he kissed her. By the time he’d lifted his head to gaze down at her, she was panting, and her hips rubbed instinctively against his own.

He was transfixed by the delicate blush of her cheeks, and the slightly upturned nose that created an impish charm.

Yet he sensed she feared him a little.

Emily had never been with a man, never been kissed until he’d captured her. A more practiced woman would have known what to do. He enjoyed the little instruction he’d given her. The temptation she presented was too much to resist. He moved one hand up to cup her cheek, his thumb stroking the line of her jaw. Raw desire churned in the violet pools of her eyes, a hint of frustration added a shimmer that made him smile. She didn’t like that she enjoyed kissing him.

He found her reaction to him fascinating. Other women would gaze at him with slumberous eyes, and leisurely return his kisses, or in Evangeline’s case, bite him back. Emily’s eyes were bright and full of wonder tinged with anger. There was an eagerness in her lips, a searching in her hands as she stroked his shoulders. It was as though she was determined to enjoy herself, even if she didn’t like him. He liked the rebellious spirit in her. She was taking what she wanted from him. If she demanded he stop he would, even if it killed him. But until then he’d steal as many kisses as he could.

Godric wanted to spend days with her, explore her soft curves and find new ticklish spots. He wanted to bow down and worship at the altar of her sensual innocence. She was every bit the wanton, wild creature for which he’d spent years searching. He’d finally found her, and he would have her beneath him, atop him, against the wall, bent over the bed… Oh, the possibilities.

He hadn’t known a woman could taste like this, feel like this. He felt like a damned villain, having faked his drowning, but he’d wanted to see if she would return. His friends could have found her in Blackbriar easily enough, none of the shopkeepers would keep her presence a secret from him had he been searching for her.

But she had come back. The second she’d dragged him from the lake, he’d wanted to kiss her more than he’d ever wanted to kiss any woman. Right on the muddy bank, soaking and cold. He would warm her with his passion and his gratitude. The wet skin of her thigh was smooth. The muscles there stretched against him as she tightened her leg. She had the legs of a rider. Lord, how he wanted those legs wrapped around him the same way.

Soon. He promised himself he would take her a thousand times, in every way, ride her until she couldn’t walk, yet leave her begging for more.

 

 

 

 

Lauren Smith is an attorney by day, author by night, who pens adventurous and edgy romance stories by the light of her smart phone flashlight app. She’s a native Oklahoman who lives with her three pets: a feisty chinchilla, sophisticated cat and dapper little schnauzer. She’s won multiple awards in several romance subgenres including being an Amazon.com Breakthrough Novel Award Quarter-Finalist and a Semi-Finalist for the Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Award. Lauren loves hearing from readers and can be contacted through her site at www.laurensmithbooks.com.

 

Sign up for Lauren’s Newsletter at www.laurensmithbooks.com

 

 

 

 

Release Day and Giveaway! THE SHADOWS OF STORMCLYFFE HALL by Lauren Smith

Can’t wait to read this one!

 

The Shadows of Stormclyffe Hall
by Lauren Smith

Genre: Paranormal Romance/Romantic Suspense with Gothic Elements

Publisher: Entangled Publishing

Release Date: September 29, 2014

 

A thrilling gothic romance from Entangled’s Otherworld imprint…

To defeat a dark evil, they must face his family’s past…

Bastian Carlisle, the Earl of Weymouth, doesn’t believe in ghosts. Even though tragedy and mysterious hauntings have driven his family away from his ancestral home, Stormclyffe Hall, he is determined to restore the castle to its former glory. His plans are disrupted when a stubborn American shows up on his doorstep hoping to pry into his family’s tragic history.

Jane Seyton, an American graduate student, is convinced there’s more to the tragedy of Stormclyffe Hall than history claims. Ever the scholar, she is determined to discover the truth, even if it means putting up with the arrogant, yet sexy, Bastian.

Although Bastian wants nothing to do with the pushy American, it soon becomes clear that something evil is in the house—and that something is targeting both Jane and Bastian. The two must join forces to purge the ghosts of Stormclyffe Hall once and for all—even as they try to fight a physical attraction between them that grows more and more impossible to deny.

 

The twenty-minute drive to the estate took her on a narrow road that paralleled the edge of the coast. Although it was October, the grass was still green on the hillsides, and storm clouds were only a vague outline on the horizon.  The landscape gave way to a slowly rising hill and a mass of distant trees, gnarled and knotted together tight as thorns. Just beyond was a glimpse of the castle. It was a massive edifice that stood stark against the sky and trees, towering over the fields, and she couldn’t help but stare.

The countless photographs she’d collected over the years hadn’t prepared her for the raw beauty and power of the structure. The worn battlements were still fully intact, facing the sea like warriors, ever defiant in the face of nature’s force on the coast. The steep cliffs merely half a mile from the castle loomed, dark and threatening.

No fence lined the cliff edges. No warning signs guided visitors away except one that read Private Property. Heavy Fines for Trespassing. She repressed an achy shiver as a cloud stole across the sun’s path, dimming all light.

The gray stones of Stormclyffe stood stalwart and proud, challenging her to drive closer. The road turned to gravel and thinned even more, leaving only enough space for her car.

Sheer desolation seemed to pour off the structure as she pulled into the castle’s front drive. If not for the five work vehicles that obviously belonged to various handymen, she would have thought the castle was devoid of all life.

Strands of hair stung her face as the wind whipped it about. There was an unsettling silence on the grounds, like something unnatural muffled the sound of the sea. No crashing waves, only the violence of the wind against the castle’s stones.

The house seemed to be wrapped in an invisible layer of thick wool, where sight and smell were dulled. The wind’s icy fingers crawled along her shoulder blades and dug into her hair, making her tense with apprehension. The castle walls were pitted with small chinks in the stones like fathomless obsidian eyes that stared at her, sized her up, and found her wanting.

The hairs rose on the back of her neck. The eerie sensation of eyes fixed on her back sent a cold wave of apprehension over her skin. She whipped around to look at the deserted landscape, suddenly fighting off a rush of panic at being alone out here.

Her heartbeat froze for a brief moment. A woman in a long white nightgown, hair loose down to her waist, stood hesitantly on the cliff’s edge, half turned toward the sea. She stared at Jane. Her skin was grayish, and her eyes were shadowed with black circles as though she hadn’t slept in years.

Something wasn’t right about the way she looked, or the fact that the nightgown looked far too old in style for any modern woman to be wearing. Not to mention a woman in a nightgown in broad daylight wasn’t right either…

 

 

 

Lauren Smith is an attorney by day, author by night, who pens adventurous and edgy romance stories by the light of her smart phone flashlight app. She’s a native Oklahoman who lives with her three pets: a feisty chinchilla, sophisticated cat and dapper little schnauzer. She’s won multiple awards in several romance subgenres including being an Amazon.com Breakthrough Novel Award Quarter-Finalist and a Semi-Finalist for the Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Award. Lauren loves hearing from readers and can be contacted through her site at www.laurensmithbooks.com.