Outlander Ep. 106 ‘Garrison Commander’

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It’s Monday and I’m still trying to process this last episode.

Below are my thoughts about it and its characters. If you haven’t watched the episode, be aware that there are spoilers. As for all the rest of you that have seen it, I hope you stop by and give me your thoughts on it.

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This episode starts and ends with hope. It starts where it ended last week, at the brook with Lt. Foster offering assistance to Claire, if she needs it and she tells him she is indeed a guest of MacKenzie’s but he insists for her to accompany him to Ft. William and meet his commanding officer, which she has no choice but do, Dougal in tow. She is actually happy about being among her people and is hopeful in soliciting their help in escorting her to Inverness.

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Well, after meeting some English officers and a few glasses of wine, our Claire gets a bit too comfy and just then, in walks Captain Randall. And from there on, I’m now sure everything will go south. But not Claire! She’s full of hope that one of these noble English officers will sympathize and offer her an escort. After all, these are her people. I loved watching her entertain all these men, but once she proved not to be just an ‘English Rose’ but a woman with a mind, all those men just ran for the hills and abandoned her to one of the best tête-à-tête sessions I’ve ever seen. This was her only hope to convince Captain Randall to help her get to Inverness and let me tell you, our girl tries very hard, but this man can read her like a book.

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He’s not buying any of it, and in the end tells her so. He is plainly playing her like a harpsichord [btw, wasn’t that the instrument playing as she’s dining with the those pompous asses?!], and even I can see her wheels churning as to how to reach this man that reminds her so much of her beloved Frank. Captain Randall wants her to corroborate the fact that MacKenzie is a Jacobite and she’s playing dumb, telling him she knows no such thing.

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At this point he tells her that if she doesn’t cooperate, he’ll employ other tactics to get at the truth [SHUT THE F* UP CLAIRE!]. I just knew she couldn’t let this one pass by! She tells him she’s heard of ‘his tactics’ before. They earned him quite the reputation at Castle Leoch. You could see that Black Jack was itching to talk about this particular case of inflicting pain and administering his own brand of justice to a young man who had already been flogged with 100 lashes just a few days ago. He deemed it appropriate to give him another 100 for having been found with bread in his possession.

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And here is where we get to go into the mind of a monster. What a trip! Hell and damnation, but this is one sick SOB! The way he describes himself, his victim and the act of flogging is very disturbing. But to watch the said act as he is describing it is beyond anything I’ve ever read [excluding the Bible] or seen [excluding Mel Gibson’s ‘Passion of the Christ’]. The scene is brutal in its honesty. If this scene was visually and emotionally hard to watch, I can’t even imagine how hard it must have been on the actors in it. Sam Heughan and Tobias Menzies were brilliant. Those scenes opened the eyes of the audience as to the strength of this young man, but most of all, we were let into a dark mind of a monster.

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No normal, sane human would ever enjoy describing his actions as form of bonding and connecting to his victim by flaying him to the bone. No normal, sane human would refer to that heinous act as ‘bloody masterpiece’. However, an insane, sadistic man would and did.

106 c“I think all they could see was the horror. I could see the beauty. I saw the truth. That boy and I, we were creating a masterpiece, an exquisite, bloody masterpiece. It was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.”  Black Jack Randall

Our Claire finally and irrevocably gets the picture, but still, deep within her heart tries to reach him by offering what little understanding she can. Both are trying to explain his darkness by using war as an excuse, but I’m not buying it! BULL! This guy relishes his darkness and he’s not willing to leave it.

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“I dwell in darkness, madam. Darkness is where I belong. I need none of your sympathy and you‘ll get none from me.” – Black Jack Randall

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Now let me back up a minute here. It’s noteworthy to mention that the scene between BJR and Claire took in the garrison’s dining room and only the two of them were there. It was actually exhilarating and amazing to watch the exchange.

Photo credit from: @spetzluv45 @JeSuisPrestNow

Photo credit from: @spetzluv45 @JeSuisPrestNow

To some, this episode may have been boring [once more I say to each their own] but to me, they were tension filled; riveting; painful; absorbing; revealing. And when I say revealing, I don’t only mean ‘character revealing’, I mean it also as showing me the caliber of both, Caitriona Balfe and Tobias Menzies, acting abilities. HOLY SHIT but they are brilliant. I couldn’t avert my eyes from Claire’s eyes. This woman’s quiet tears were falling unchecked to her bosom while staring at this man who is oh so casually talking about flogging a man almost unto death. You can see that she is in pain as much as loathing, wishes with all her might to somehow reach deep inside this man, and try to fix him. Well, that is until he sucker punches her! All bets are off now! Kudos to Caitriona Balfe for once more showing us how strong she is in this role.

PHOTO CREDIT STARZ

PHOTO CREDIT STARZ

This might have been Tobias Menzies’ finest hour, but he needed someone like her to bring this all out, and boy she held her own! The same could be said for Sam Heughan. Tobias Menzies needed him as well to pull this scene off. In the end, all three did an outstanding job and this show continues to bring it’s A game, as I give props to the writers, directors, show runner, producers, costumes, music [OMG this was great too], and finally those hard-working makeup artists that had me squirm as I watched Jamie’s back.

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The end of this episode came quickly as usual and I whooped as Dougal once again saves the day by whisking Claire out of the garrison, with BJR telling him he’s not done with her and to bring her back for further questioning on the morrow. Dougal may have saved her but he still doesn’t trust her and while they stop by this creek, he once more asks claire, while she’s drinking the sulfurous water from the creek, is she an English or french spy [all the while hiding his dirk behind his back] and at this Claire is pissed as hell for having to repeat it over and over that she’s just plain Claire Beecham. Lo and behold, he says he believes her and the reason for it?!

PHOTO CREDIT STARZ

PHOTO CREDIT STARZ

The magic spring! Yeah! If she was lying, she’d be dead by now from water eating her gizzard out! So now that he trusts her not to be a spy, he finally wants to protect her by making her a Scot. And the only way to do that, is for her to be married to one. No, not him but we now know it will be Jamie she’ll be marrying if he’s willing, which HELLO! He sure is and I’m loving this ending and I can finally exhale!

What did you think about this episode? Did you buy into BJR’s excuse? Were you able to watch the flogging? What did you think of Cait’s performance in this episode? And Sam’s? And Tobias’s?

 “Doesn’t it bother you that I’m not a virgin?” – Claire

“No,” Jamie says, “So long as it doesn’t bother you that I am.”  – Jamie Fraser

Here is preview for next week’s episode “The Wedding”

@Outlander_Starz and @TallShipProds [Maril Davis] on Twitter!

MARIL DAVIS
Here she is, answering Outlander fans’ questions!

Chat with brilliant Co-Executive Producer on Friday! Tweet questions with

Everyone ready for my live chat? Starting…..NOW!

Have you read all of the Outlander books/companion books? Has shared unpublished writings with you?

Yes and Yes.

Will you get a break before filming of season two starts or just go straight into it?

We will get a mini-break before we dive into Season two.

13 ep season 2? Thinking of splitting the book into 2 seasons?

No, Dragonfly will be one season, just like the first book.

Will you be returning to Doune for the next season?

Probably not, since we don’t go back to Castle Leoch in

Who among cast is most like the character they play?

Probably Stong, intelligent lady with a great sense of humor!

Even b4 being renewed were you planning on how to bring DIA to screen? Biggest challenges to this?

We definitely talked about it. Impossible not to talk about future books while breaking 1st season

PHOTO CREDIT STARZ

PHOTO CREDIT STARZ

Are the actors as excited for Season 2 as we are? Perhaps they’re a wee bit knackered right at this moment.

We’re all tired, but also INCREDIBLY excited about Season Two!

Does also do scouting for locations? Do you go location hunting? They have been spectacular!

Yes he does and I do too. All the writers/producers scout locations for their blockdo the fans help keep you guys going? we know we’re a handful!

Yes, they do. The support is amazing and keeps us going on tough days.

My man is watching w/me. Did cast and crew significant others know the series before filming?

I would say most of the cast and crew had never heard of the books before they started working on the show

PHOTO CREDIT STARZ

PHOTO CREDIT STARZ

Can you tell us if Sir Marcus MacRannoch was part of adaptation of book?

YES!We cast Frazer Hines in the role the man responsible for setting books in Scotland

how mini is a mini break?

Two weeks

Will you be joining Ron in a podcast during the season? love the podcasts.

I don’t know. He hasn’t asked! ;)

Are there different producers for each block? Though it was only the writers and directors.

PHOTO CREDIT STARZ

PHOTO CREDIT STARZ

All of our writers are also Producers. so, a different writer/producer covers each block

How do you decide on directors?

We look at their past work and also interview them and get references

Sam isn’t a heroic romantic?

But, of course! However, Sam can blink…. :)

Is anyone keeping costumes? They’re sooo good!

No, probably not. However Terry told me I could have Claire’s coat with the fur trim…..;)

Did T Menzies read bits of both Frank & Jack in casting or did you cast on basis of his general brilliance? :)

The amazingly talented read both a Frank scene and a Jack scene for his audition

What character do you look forward to the most to cast from Dragonfly in Amber?

Probably Lord John and FERGUS!!!

What character do you think will be the hardest to cast in Season 2?

Brianna and Roger

Since you’re already got a huge studio in Scotland, will you be filming DIA there?

Yes, we will continue to use our studio as our home base

PHOTO CREDIT STARZ

PHOTO CREDIT STARZ

*on bended knees* do any of you guys know why is not airing in the UK?!

No clue and it’s very sad. We feel HORRIBLE about it!

Have you given some thought into writing an ep?

Hahahahaha, NO.

Who makes you laugh the most?

They ALL make me laugh, but maybe a tie between and

Besides the coincidence of hair style, do you have other things in common with Claire?

LOL – Well some would accuse me of being ballsy and outspoken, so I guess there’s THAT coincidence as well! ;)

Were you a fan of the books before working on Outlander?

Um, YES! This was my passion project gave me books years ago. Loved them. Pitched them to Ron

Thanks for all the questions! Sorry I couldn’t answer them all.Will try go back to answer ones I missed! Until next time!

TONITE is THE NITE!

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As an avid reader and self proclaimed bookworm, I have had the pleasure to read ‘Outlander’ by Diana Gabaldon as soon as the book came out in 1991 [I'm a proud owner of a First Edition/First Print], and consequently each book that followed.

photo trak @#I know that many, including the author, are offended by categorizing this piece of literature as a romance novel, and while personally I believe that this falls under multiple genres, if this book was placed in the Fantasy or Historical Fiction isle in 1991, I would have not stumbled into it. I, therefore, was lucky to find it in my favorite aisle of a book store: Romance Novel aisle.

To say that I’m a fan of the books is to put it mildly. My love for the world and characters that Diana Gabaldon created goes way deeper than that. I consider myself a passionate [do not EVER refer to me as a 'RABID fan'! I'm NOT a dog, and I do not bite!] lover of all things Outlander and try to follow and connect with like-minded people when I can. They give me an outlet to freely share my enthusiasm for the books, author and the characters that have become real to me.

Most of us can associate a certain world event with where we were when it Sam Heughanhappened, such as the first walk on the moon [I received my first real kiss that night, gazing at that moon], the assassination of JFK or the WTC attack on our country, and on July 13, 2013 as the casting of Sam Heughan as James Alexander Malcolm MacKenzie Fraser was announced, I can remember exactly where I was and what my thoughts were. I sat at my desk and Diana’s FB feed came through with a picture of a guy pointing at his head. On a closer look, I realized that this young man was to play a role which fans of the books have prayed for over twenty years. The first thought entering my mind was, how cute! He is, and the second was how perfect for the part he was. And when they finally got around to casting Claire Randell, a starring role went to Caitriona Balfe, and no matter that I knew nothing of this woman, I knew she had the perfect look for that character. The reason for me believing so much in this series rests on only one man.

ustv-ronald-d-mooreMy fears and doubts about how good the adaptation of a much loved books would be, were gone as soon as I found out who the show runner is. All my tummy butterflies were gone the name Ron D. Moore was uttered. I knew without a doubt that he would take every care with casting the right people, finding the perfect locations, make sure that the piece was as authentic as he could possible make it and that’s when I relaxed and decided to just enjoy the ride he was offering. It helped to caitriona balfeknow that he was the man that brought to my husband and me a show that we could both love and watch together [Battlestar Galactica]. You may think that happens often, but it actually does not. My hubby loves Bad Santa and I hate it. I love Notebook and he hates that movie. Titanic is loved by us both, though, so there is still hope for both of us yet!

Tonight at 11 PM Central time, my year-long wait to see what I thought would never be, is over and the first episode of OUTLANDER series based on the book by the same name by Diana Gabaldon, titled appropriately ‘Sassenach’, will be broadcast for FREE on STARZ website, On Demand and on STARZ YouTube channel.

My emotions are all over the road today and none have to do with fear of ‘if the show can live up to my expectations’ because I have not set any for it. I adore the books and I have no doubt in my mind that the show will stand on its own feet and only enhance the books I love so much. No. My heart is so full of love toward the people associated with this project that physically I feel a bit ill with excitement, anticipation and gratitude. After all, I’ve followed, lurked and vociferously cheered every site, group, and contact of the show.

I keep telling my friends that are filled with fear that the series will not live up to the books they are in love with; that Jamie that they have in their head will not be what they envisioned; that the whole thing will be cheesy and cheapened by ‘all the gratuitous sex’ scenes, to relax, take a deep breath and let go of the books. Lock them in your heart for only 16 weeks and give this show a chance. If you don’t like it, guess what? It’s okay. For every one person that doesn’t like it, there will be HUNDREDS that do.

A fan of the books or not, I think you should give this show a try. It is for FREE so you really have nothing to lose, and so much to gain. Like I said, I’ve glimpsed a few scenes here and there, and for my bookworms that appreciate a good, solid story filled with three-dimensional characters and plenty of adventure set in historical Scotland [think men in kilts, LOTS OF MEN!], I highly recommend you tune in and give it a go! I will and I’ll make sure to let you know if my trust in Mr. Moore has paid off.

GIVEAWAY!

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‘Outlander’ by Diana Gabaldon [tie in copy]

1 Winner/US ONLY!

Spotlight on Victoria Vane and…

Hot Cowboy Nights Series!

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Hey Bookworms! I hope your summer’s going great! I have great news to share with you. My next series and its first book ‘SLOW HAND’ will be out sometime in November and it is hot contemporary cowboy series from Sourcebooks

This unique series is comprised of four connected stories (SLOW HAND, ROUGH RIDER, STRAIGHT SHOOTER and SILVER TONGUE) with an option for more. All of my heroes are true cowboys, but these are cowboys like you have never seen before. The cast of characters is unusually diverse, pairing a sassy southern girl with a Montana lawyer, a rancher/bull rider with a female stock contractor, a Marine scout sniper with a wildlife biologist and a horse whisperer with a documentary film maker. 

Although this new endeavor marks a distinct departure from historical romance, I hope you will find that my trademarks still remain—well-researched, scorching hot and emotionally compelling, character-driven stories. The first two covers are finished, and I hope you like them as much as I do. Both books are now available for pre-order as well.

Slow Hand-300SLOW HAND (Hot Cowboy Nights #1)

STORY: Wade Knowlton is a workaholic with an urge to get out. He’s close to leaving his struggling Montana law firm in the dust and going back full time to the ranch with his brothers . . . until the gorgeous Nicole Powell walks into his office in need of an attorney to settle her estranged father’s estate.

Nicole is a southern belle with a hankering for cowboys—but after a swell of bad seeds, she’s sworn off anything in boots. As their attraction flares into a passion they can’t avoid, will they discover that love can lead to greener pastures?

EXCERPT:

He went to work on his shirt buttons. His collar was soon wide open revealing a generous show of muscular chest that make her hands itch to rip it off him. She diverted her gaze and curled her itchy hands by her sides.

“Have no fear, cowboy,” Nikki replied in a tone meant to disguise the warm flush that had come over her. “I corralled all my wild impulses long ago.”

“Did you, now?” He still stood in doorway, head cocked. “Somehow, I think you may have missed a few strays.”

“Maybe I need to make myself clearer. I have an aversion to cocky cowboys.”

Just keep telling yourself that, Nikki. Maybe if you repeat it often enough it’ll become true.

“Is that so?” His brows flew upward. “I can’t say I ever met a woman with an actual aversion to me.”

“Don’t take it personally. It’s nothing against you in particular, but to your type.”

“And what do you think you know about my type?”

“Since I don’t have a pole handy, enough to keep you at arms-length. Besides that, this whole line of conversation is entirely inappropriate in light of professional ethics, don’t you think? You are my attorney, after all.”

“Well, darlin’,” he scratched his unshaven jaw, “there’s a little hitch to that.”

“What do you mean? You said you’d help me.”

“And I will, but you can’t engage my professional services until I know who you are.”

“I’ve told you who I am!” she insisted.

“Sweetheart, I’m a lawyer, and according to the law, your claim don’t weigh without authentication.”

“Authentication?”

“Proof.”

“So what are you saying? That you don’t believe me?”

“I’m not saying that at all. Only that our professional relationship will commence once you get your I.D. In the interim,” His gaze slid over her in a way that threatened to melt her insides, “you’d best find yourself a nice, long, sturdy pole.”

Pre-order: Amazon / November 2014

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Pre-order: ROUGH RIDER, Amazon / February 2015

GIVEAWAY 1: 1 Winner/Choice of any e-book title from my backlist!

GIVEAWAY 2: >>>  Rafflecopter <<<

Victoria VaneAUTHOR BIO: Victoria Vane is an multiple award-winning romance novelist and history junkie whose collective works of fiction range from wildly comedic romps to emotionally compelling and intensely erotic romance. Look for Victoria’s sexy new contemporary cowboy series coming in summer 2014.

A lover of history and deeply romantic stories, Victoria Vane combines these elements to craft novels and novellas for a mature reading audience. Her writing influences are Georgette Heyer for fabulous witty dialogue and over the top characters, Robin Schone , Sylvia Day, and Charlotte Featherstone for beautifully crafted prose in stories with deep sensuality, and Lila DiPasqua for creative vision in melding history with eroticism.

Victoria also writes historical fiction as Emery Lee and is the founder of Goodreads Romantic Historical Fiction Lovers and the Romantic Historical Lovers book review blog.

Social Media: Web Site / Blog / Facebook / Tweeter Goodreads / DeVere Fan Site

Jenny Barden’s Book Blast of …

The-Lost-DuchessThe Lost Duchess

BOOK BLURB: An epic Elizabethan adventure with a thriller pace and a high tension love story that moves from the palaces of England to the savage wilderness of the New World.

Emme Fifield has fallen about as far as a gentlewoman can.

Once a lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth, her only hope of surviving the scandal that threatens to engulf her is to escape England for a fresh start in the new America where nobody has ever heard of the Duchess of Somerset.

Emme joins Kit Doonan’s rag-tag band of idealists, desperados and misfits bound for Virginia. But such a voyage will be far from easy and Emme finds her attraction to the mysterious Doonan inconvenient to say the least.

As for Kit, the handsome mariner has spent years imprisoned by the Spanish, and living as an outlaw with a band of escaped slaves; he has his own inner demons to confront, and his own dark secrets to keep…

Ever since Sir Walter Raleigh’s settlement in Virginia was abandoned in 1587 its fate has remained a mystery; ‘The Lost Duchess’ explores what might have happened to the ill-starred ‘Lost Colony’ of Roanoke.

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Buy the Book: Amazon (AUS) / Amazon (UK) / Book Depository

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GIVEAWAY/INTERNATIONAL!

1 Print copy/ 1 Winner!

Jenny BardenAbout the Author: I’ve had a love of history and adventure ever since an encounter in infancy with a suit of armour at Tamworth Castle. Training as an artist, followed by a career as a city Jenny (Portrait 2)solicitor, did little to help displace my early dream of becoming a knight. A fascination with the Age of Discovery led to travels in South and Central America, and much of the inspiration for my debut came from retracing the footsteps of Francis Drake in Panama. The sequel centres on the first Elizabethan ‘lost colony’ of early Virginia. I am currently working on an epic adventure Mistress of the Seaduring the threat of invasion by the Spanish Armada.

My work has appeared in short story collections and anthologies and I’ve written for non-fiction publications including the Historical Novels Review. I am active in many organisations, having run the ‘Get Writing’ conferences for several years, and undertaken the co-ordination of the Historical Novel Society’s London Conference 2012. I am a member of that organisation as well as the Historical Writers’ Association, the Romantic Nevelists’ Association and the Society of Authors. I’ll be co-ordinating the RNA’s annual conference in 2014.

I have four children and now live on a farm in Dorset with my long suffering husband and an ever increasing assortment of animals.

I love travelling, art, reading and scrambling up hills and mountains (though I’m not so keen on coming down!).

Author Links:  Website / Facebook / Twitter / Jenny Barden’s Blog / English Historical Fiction Authors Blog

Theresa Romain and Five Fun Facts from …

TO CHARM A NAUGHTY COUNTESS

Hello, bookworms—thank you for hosting me today! My newest historical romance, TO CHARM A NAUGHTY COUNTESS, just came out last week. It’s a Pygmalion story with an anxiety-prone virgin duke hero on a bride hunt, a rakish widow who has no plans to marry again, and lots of Regency gadgets.

That’s the nutshell version! And today I’m happy to share…

Five Fun Facts About TO CHARM A NAUGHTY COUNTESS

1816 cold summer1. My working title for this book was “A Lady of Affairs,” but my editor (wisely) asked for suggestions that had a little more to do with history and romance. I came up with a list of 20 other possibilities, including the gem “These Aren’t the Brides You’re Looking For.” (Clearly I was no help at all.) My editor decided she did NOT want to evoke Star Wars and came up with the much more romantic final title.

2. The plot of TO CHARM A NAUGHTY COUNTESS is driven by a real-life historical event, the brutal cold of The Year Without a Summer.” A huge volcanic eruption caused ash to spread through the atmosphere, dropping temperatures during the year 1816. As you might expect with snow in summer, crop failures were common. My fictional duke lost a fortune in agricultural investments in this way—thus his bride hunt.

3. The hero of this book is named Michael, Duke of Wyverne. When I started writing this book, I didn’tWYVERN know what a “wyvern” was, or that it was anything at all. Turns out it’s a very specific kind of dragon: Huh.

When I learned that, I decided to leave it as Michael’s title. First of all, it’s not spelled quite the same. And second—it’s a DRAGON.

4. A pair of minor characters in the story are named Lord and Lady Kettleburn. I borrowed their name from an even more minor character in the world of Harry Potter: Silvanus Kettleburn, the Care of Magical Creatures professor replaced by Hagrid. What can I say? The name just made me grin.

5. TO CHARM A NAUGHTY COUNTESS begins on June 14, 1816. The story needed to kick off in early summer, and I chose that date because June 14 is my daughter’s birthday.  ;)

There you have it: five secret behind-the-scenes facts!

Thanks for stopping by, and please feel free to ask me anything else about the story that you like. I’m giving away a copy of TO CHARM A NAUGHTY COUNTESS to one random commenter with a US or Canada address.

 

tr tcancBOOK BLURB: Can A Reclusive Duke…

Brilliant but rumored mad, Michael Layward, the impoverished Duke of Wyverne, has no success courting heiresses until widowed Lady Stratton takes up his cause–after first refusing his suit.

Win London’s Most Powerful Countess?

Caroline Graves, the popular Countess of Stratton, sits alone at the pinnacle of London society and has vowed never to remarry. When Michael–her counterpart in an old scandal–returns to town after a long absence, she finds herself as enthralled with him as ever. As she guides the anxiety-ridden duke through the trials of society, Caroline realizes that she’s lost her heart . But if she gives herself to the only man she’s ever loved, she’ll lose the hard-won independence she prizes above all.

BUY LINKS: Print: amazon • barnes & noble • book depository • books-a-million • chapters indigoindiebound • powell’s • posman • sourcebooks • walmart • watermark

Ebook: kindle • nook • ibook

trAUTHOR BIO: Historical romance author Theresa Romain pursued an impractical education that allowed her to read everything she could get her hands on. She then worked for universities and libraries, where she got to read even more. Eventually she started writing, too. She lives with her family in the Midwest, where she is working on her next book.

Social Media: Website / Facebook / Twitter

Two Dukes & a Scandal with …

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Caroline, Laura & Gayle! 

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‘It Takes a Scandal’ by Caroline Linden

cl itasSometimes it takes a scandal . . .

Abigail Weston has everything: beauty, wit, and one of the largest dowries in England. Her parents hope she’ll wed an earl. Abigail hopes for a man who wants her desperately and passionately. But the money seems to blind every man she meets-except one.

Sebastian Vane has nothing. He came home from war with a shattered leg to find his father mad and his inheritance gone. He’s not a fit suitor for anyone, let alone an heiress. But Abigail lights up his world like a comet, bright and beautiful and able to see him instead of his ruined reputation. And it might end happily ever after . . .

To reveal your heart’s desire

Until Benedict Lennox begins courting Abigail. Ben is everything Sebastian isn’t-wealthy, charming, heir to an earl. Sebastian won’t give up the only girl he’s ever loved without a fight, but Abigail must choose between the penniless gentleman who moves her heart, and the suitor who is everything her parents want.

Buy Links: Amazon | B&N | iTunes

Teaser:

A recluse. Why? He might have fallen on hard times, but his house was gracious and beautiful, a handsome brick mansion. One could easily see it, for it sat on the ridge of the hill that rose beyond Hart House. And he was handsome enough—even without counting his reserve—that most girls would overlook a limp, if they noticed it at all. When he used the cane it was almost imperceptible. Even more, Abigail didn’t sense he wanted to be a recluse. He could have held back when she was chasing Milo and avoided her entirely; she hadn’t noticed him at all until he spoke to her. He hadn’t needed to walk her back to the house. He hadn’t needed to give her that long, appraising look at the end, as though he was drinking in every facet of her appearance …

Well. If balls were good for anything, they were good for gossip. Surely a man as mysterious as Sebastian Vane would have inspired some whispers. She pinned one last sprig of loose jasmine into her hair and went down the stairs, determined to find out.

‘How to Lose a Duke in Ten Days’

[An American Heiress in London] by Laura Lee Guhrke

llg htladitdThey had a deal…

From the moment she met the devil-may-care Duke of Margrave, Edie knew he could change her life. And when he agreed to her outrageous proposal of a marriage of convenience, she was transformed from ruined American heiress to English duchess. Five years later, she’s delighted with their arrangement, especially since her husband is living on another continent.

But deals are made to be broken…

By marrying an heiress, Stuart was able to pay his family’s enormous debts, and Edie’s terms that he leave England forever seemed a small price to pay. But when a brush with death impels him home, he decides it’s time for a real marriage with his luscious American bride, and he proposes a bold new bargain: ten days to win her willing kiss. But is ten days enough to win her heart?

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EXCERPT:

Stuart took a deep breath and rubbed his hands over his face, working to govern the violence inside himself. Rage would be of no help right now. He reached for his walking stick, took up his shoes, and returned to his own room. He dressed for dinner, and somehow, putting on a starched bib shirt, white waistcoat, black trousers, and black dinner jacket helped him tamp down the rage inside. As he tied his white silk tie into a proper bow, as he fastened shirt studs and cufflinks, as he tucked a white pocket square into place, he was able to set aside the part of his soul that was raging beast and regain the part that was civilized man. Then, and only then, he went in search of his wife. He found her by the Roman Garden, or as she called it, the Secret Garden. She was sitting on the bench where they’d sat the day before, but as she caught sight of him emerging from between the tall clumps of fennel and mullein, she jumped to her feet. “What do you want?”

He stopped, studying her across the courtyard, considering how to proceed without causing her more pain or making things worse. He’d come out here to comfort her, but looking at her now, he suspected she would welcome comfort about as much as she might welcome having a tooth drawn.

He took a deep breath. “It wasn’t just your heart he broke, was it?”

Her face twisted, and it was like a knife going into his chest. “He…” Stuart paused, working to force the words out. “He violated you.”

She made no sound, she shed no tears. She didn’t move or speak. She just looked at him, and no answer to his question was necessary. Her pain hung in the sultry summer air between them, and Stuart’s rage drove even deeper, spread even wider. From the beginning, he’d sensed her pain; he just hadn’t seen the true reason for it. Or maybe he just hadn’t wanted to see? This wasn’t a broken heart or a virgin’s fear; this wasn’t something simple. Still, he knew the truth now, and as horrific as it was, there was no going back, so what was he supposed to do with the knowledge? God, in a situation like this, what was any man supposed to do?

‘Redemption of the Duke’ by Gayle Callen

gc rotdA duke who needs to be tamed…a lady who refuses to be rescued.

Adam Chamberlin was the third son of a duke, known for gambling binges and drunken nights. No one expected anything of him …until tragedy strikes. Now Adam is the new Duke of Rothford, determined to right the wrongs he’s done. Except a secret in his past means helping the one woman who doesn’t want his help at all…

It’s not every day that a duke introduces himself to a woman sitting by herself in Hyde Park. Faith Cooper is even more surprised when Adam offers her a position as a lady’s companion to his elderly aunt. Faith refuses to be beholden to a man again-certainly not this man, who both infuriates and attracts her. But with the simmering passion between them, will Faith surrender to forbidden desire?

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EXCERPT: (From the opening of the book)

Adam Chamberlin sat alone in his London study, preoccupied once again by the astonishing realization that he was now the Duke of Rothford—he, the youngest of three sons, who’d been called a scoundrel and a rake and worse by his own brothers. For many years he’d taken great pleasure in living up to that. He and his younger sister were the offspring of his father’s second marriage to a much younger woman who’d brought little but beauty to the family, not property or connections. Adam’s brothers had never let him forget it, although always out of earshot of their father.

He’d deserved Society’s scorn once upon a time; he’d even reveled in it—anything to prove to his brothers that their threats and their condemnation didn’t matter to him.

Before joining the army, he’d never been responsible for anything or anyone. But the Eighth Dragoon Guards had shown him that a man could be judged on his honorable deeds, not his ancestors or his money. He’d been able to start over, to support himself instead of holding his breath waiting for his father to die and his brothers to make good on their threats of cutting him off.

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