Shana Galen and Five Fun Facts from …

Sapphires Are an Earl’s Best Friend

???????????????????????????????????????1. I didn’t come up with the titles for any of the books in the Jewels of the Ton series. After When You Give a Duke a Diamond was titled I knew the other books would have gems in the titles too, but I didn’t know which gem until I’d already written all of If You Give a Rake a Ruby and most of Sapphires Are an Earl’s Best Friend. I had to go back and include the gem in the title in the story.

2. I named the hero’s friend Flynn because Flynn Rider from Tangled is my favorite Disney Tangled Rlynn Riderhero. But then I liked him so much I had to write a story for him too. It will be out in January and is titled The Viscount of Vice.

3. When Lily turns up at the end of If You Give a Rake a Ruby as a spy, I was as surprised as anyone else. I didn’t know she was a spy, and it wasn’t what I was planning for her book. Fortunately, my editor gives me a lot of leeway when I write synopses, since my books are generally nothing like the synopses I turn in.

Multi-Colored-Sapphires[1]4. I had to research sapphires when I was writing this book. I found out that sapphires come in more than just blue. They can be purple and pink and other colors too. I have some pictures of various colored sapphires on my Pinterest board for Sapphires Are an Earl’s Best Friend.

girl sidesaddle5. Lily rides a horse several times in the novel, and I had to research riding habits to make sure she was dressed appropriately. I always find it so amazing that women did everything men did on horseback, but they did it sitting sideways!

Who’s your favorite “supporting actor” in a book, movie or TV show? Does s/he deserve a story of his/her own?

Giveaway: print copies of When You Give a Duke a Diamond

&

 If You Give a Rake a Ruby. (U.S./Canada only)

sg saaebf2

‘Sapphires Are an Earl’s Best Friend’

Careful, gentlemen—there’s more to this courtesan than meets the eye

What better disguise for a secret agent than that of a courtesan? Lily Dawson, dubbed the Countess of Charm, is a spy working for the Crown to uncover a traitor.

Andrew Booth-Payne, Earl of Darlington, wants to hate Lily for taking up with his father, but something about Lily intrigues him. When he discovers there is more to her flirtation than greed, he knows he must help her uncover a traitor. Even if that traitor is his own father…

*Connie’s review here.

*Excerpt here.

Buy Links: Amazon / B&N / iTunes

Shana GalenAuthor Bio: Shana Galen is the bestselling author of fast-paced adventurous Regency historicals, including the RT Reviewers’ Choice The Making of a Gentleman. Booklist says, “Galen expertly entwines espionage-flavored intrigue with sizzling passion,” and RT Bookreviews calls her “a grand mistress of the action/adventure subgenre.” She taught English at the middle and high school level off and on for eleven years. Most of those years were spent working in Houston’s inner city. Now she writes full time. She’s happily married and has a daughter who is most definitely a romance heroine in the making.

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‘Sapphires are an Earl’s Best Friend’ by Shana Galen

sg saaebfSTORY: She Wants Him… She Wants Him Not…

Lily Dawson, dubbed the Countess of Charm by the Prince Regent himself, plays the role of the courtesan flawlessly while her real purpose is spying in the service of the Crown. Her mission now is to seduce a duke to test his true loyalties. She’ll do it, even though the man she really wants is Andrew Booth-Payne, Earl of Darlington—the duke’s son.

Andrew is furious when he finds himself rivaling his father for Lily’s attention. When he uncovers Lily’s mission, Andrew is faced with impossible choices. It seems he is destined to betray either his family, his country, or the longings of his own heart…

REVIEW: Lily Dawson, is known as the Countess of Charm.  She passes herself off as a courtesan when she is truly a spy for the government.  At present, she has been tasked with trying to cozy up to the Duke of Ravenscroft to find if he truly is or isn’t loyal to his country.  The Duke is known to be a hard drinking, old lecher.  He is suspected of being in possession of some rubies that he is using to pay for assassins to kill government spies.  Lily is staying at his home looking for chances to search the place to see if the suspicions are true.  Lily is finding things difficult for she is constantly being thrown together with Andrew Booth-Payne, the Earl of Darlington and son of the Duke of Ravenscroft.  Her growing attraction to him is throwing her off her game.  Knowing that his father is also lusting after Lily makes for some great confrontations and a good story.

This is the third book of Shana Galen’s Jewels of the Ton series and stories of each of its three members.  The first book is “If You Give a Rake a Ruby” which features Fallon, the Marchioness of Mystery.  The second book is “When You Give a Duke a Diamond” which features Juliette, the Duchess of Dalliance.  And now, we have the third book, “Sapphires are an Earl’s Best Friend” which features, Lily, the Countess of Charm.  There you have the three books of the series and I do hope that readers will get a copy of all three of them so you have the whole series and know the entire story.

I loved the book and as always with Shana Galen’s novels, she has once again proven herself to be the master of the romance spy novel.  No one writes them as well.

*Connie for b2b

*Book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

Shana Galen stops by b2b…

NDAD LD‘Never Desire a Duke’ by Lily Dalton

BOOK BLURB: A secret from his past holds the key to their future…

A Marriage Beyond Hope

Lady Sophia has long been estranged from her husband, Lord Vane Barwick, the Marquess of Claxton, whose rumored list of amorous conquests includes almost every beautiful woman of the ton. Yet a shocking encounter with him in a crowded ballroom—and a single touch—are all it takes to reawaken her furious passion for him. But how can she trust the man who crushed her dreams and took away the one thing she wanted most?

A Love Beyond Reason

Lord Claxton has never forgiven himself for the youthful mistake that ruined his marriage to Lady Sophia. Now, after nearly a year abroad, the reformed rogue vows to win back the only woman he’s ever truly loved. He’ll do whatever it takes to prove he can be the honorable husband she deserves—and the passionate lover she desires. As the snowdrifts deepen outside their ancestral home, can they rekindle the flame that burned so bright and find a new path to forever?

***   ***   ***

Buy Links: Amazon / B&N

Lily Dalton’s Website / Facebook / Twitter

REVIEW here.

EXCERPT:

As the carriage rumbled away, Vane pivoted on his heel and returned to the house, only to find the door locked. A blast of wind cut through his coat, chilling his spine.

He gripped the handle. “Sophia.”

“Go away,” she cried, her voice muffled by three inches of wood.

Carved into the spandrels at the upper corners of the door, two cherubs crouched above him, peering down with the most vexatious expressions of mirth. He glared back, which, admittedly, accomplished nothing.

“Please open the door.”

In return she bellowed, “Take. The carriage. And leave.”

“Not until we talk.”

He could only interpret the responsive tangle of unintelligible nonsense as a rejection of his request. Turning, he stared out into the night, clenched fists resting on his hips.

From this elevated vantage point, he could not see even the slightest evidence of Lacenfleet in the vale below. A thickening, frost-laden fog made the darkness impenetrable. Old memories tugged at the corner of his mind, but he commanded himself to the present, returning his gloves to his quickly numbing hands.

For a moment, his spirit wavered. Perhaps, after all, he owned too twisted, too tangled a soul to justify claim to Sophia’s respect and love. Perhaps, as Wolverton had said, his efforts came too late.

As if in answer, a vision came into his mind of Sophia on their wedding day, peering up at him during the service from beneath her headdress of feathers and lace, wearing the most astounding expression of unadulterated joy. Then another from their honeymoon in Scotland. Her eyes vivid green, her hair wet, and her chemise plastered transparent against her nymphlike body, as they’d frolicked near naked in the loch. But best of all, the look of shock on her face the moment they’d realized the visiting parson had just discovered them.

Arriving at his decision, Claxton strode toward the remaining carriage.

***

Sophia rubbed at the frosted pane and squinted, watching the carriage disappear into the fog and snow. Astonishingly, Claxton had actually done exactly as she demanded, which only made her feel more wretched.

Now she was alone, with only her misery and the very recent memory of finding her husband in Lady Meltenbourne’s arms. Turning from the window, she faced the silent vestibule. There was nothing to do but have a good, miserable cry.

All at once, the emotion she’d held inside all evening crowded her throat, enormous and unstoppable. Hiccuping through tears, she pressed her hand to her mouth and returned to the scene of her recent trauma. Only to freeze on the threshold.

Claxton sat in a chair beside the fire, staring at her over gloved, steepled fingertips, his hat perched on his knee. Ice crystals sparkled on the shoulders of his coat and in his raven’s wing dark hair.

“Hello, darling,” he said, with a dangerous gleam in his eyes.

His chest rose and fell as if he’d exerted himself in executing whatever trick it had taken to get inside the locked house and into his present position. If he had sent the carriage off, that left her alone with him for the night. A bubble of hysteria rose up inside her.

“Oh, you.” From a nearby table she snatched a figurine and raised it above her head—

“Don’t.” He stood, a vision of dark wool, flashing blue eyes, and utter calm. “That belonged to my great-grandmother.”

Sophia almost hurled the stated heirloom, just to see if its destruction would cause a break in his dispassionate façade. It was no wonder why he had been chosen by the Crown to represent England’s interests abroad. Everything about him screamed of control. But she returned the figurine to its place. After all, she bore no ill will toward Claxton’s great-grandmother, only Claxton. Finding nothing else within arm’s reach suitable for hurling, she rounded the settee to confront him.

“Don’t call me your darling,” she raged, barely able to contain the impulse to leap on him and pummel him with her fists. Even now, the scent of Lady Meltenbourne’s perfume clung to him. It clouded her nostrils, driving her toward the most uncontrolled madness. “You forfeited the right long ago. Why are you even here?”

He muttered something that sounded like “because of Scotland.”

“What did you say?” Sophia demanded.

“I said, because I’m a deuced selfish bastard,” he growled.

“How did you even get inside?” She glared up from beneath the brim of her velvet cap, which she still wore, in addition to her redingote and gloves.

He smiled rather like a wolf, stripping the gloves from his hands, which unnerved her further because it indicated his intention to stay. “Wouldn’t you like to know?”

 ***   ***   ***

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Shana Galen

AUTHOR INFO: Shana Galen is the bestselling author of fast-paced adventurous Regency historicals, including the RT Reviewers’ Choice The Making of a Gentleman. Booklist says “Galen expertly entwines espionage-flavored intrigue with sizzling passion,” and RT Bookreviews calls her “a grand mistress of the action/adventure subgenre.”

She taught English at the middle and high school level off and on for eleven years. Most of those years were spent working in Houston’s inner city. Now she writes full time. She’s happily married and has a daughter who is most definitely a romance heroine in the making.

Shana loves to hear from readers: visit her Website or see what she’s up to daily on Facebook and Twitter.

Behind the Scenes: Winn and Elinor from True Spies

TS SGHi, I’m Shana Galen, and I write fast-paced, adventurous Regency romances. My latest is the follow-up to Lord and Lady Spy, and I’m here with Winn and Elinor to talk more about the book. Let’s start with Elinor. Elinor, you’re a mom of two girls. How do you find the time to plan Society functions, attend soirees—all the duties required of a baroness—and still spend time with your husband and kids?

Elinor: As you know, Shana, it has not been easy. The girls are older now and do not need me as much as they did when they were young. I miss that, actually. Winn travels quite a bit, and I find myself rather lonely and seeking a bit of adventure.

Winn: Is that why you’re contemplating an affair?

Elinor: I have no idea what you are referring to, my lord.

Shana: Baron Keating, you have a few secrets of your own. What’s it like being a spy for the Barbican group.

Winn: I’m rather tired of it, if the truth be known. I’d like to spend more time at home. I feel as though I looked around and my wife and my children have all changed and moved on without me.

Shana: That can happen even in my time when men become too wrapped up in work.

Winn: In my defense, I was out there saving the country from the diabolical plan of one of the most sadistic criminal underlords ever known. It was rather important work.

Elinor: And can you believe he kept that from me? I feel like I don’t even know him. We’re virtual strangers.

Winn: I can remedy that. Give me a half hour in your bed chamber, madam. We can very quickly become reacquainted.

Shana: Right, so let’s chat about something else. Readers have been asking about Adrian and Sophia from Lord and Lady Spy.

Winn: Wolf and Saint. They’re some of the best spies in the Barbican group, but they’ve retired.

Shana: Didn’t you meet with Wolf about the case mentioned in True Spies?

Winn: I might have met with him about…something.

Elinor: And I consulted with Sophia. She’s lovely.

Shana: I think the one thing many readers want to know is whether Sophia is indeed pregnant. Can you answer that?

Elinor: Shana, that’s simply not an appropriate topic for mixed company. Your readers will have to read the book to discover that (or a review with a spoiler).

Shana: I wanted to mention this book is based on the film True Lies. Elinor, at one point you have to perform a strip tease. Do you think you measure up to Jamie Lee Curtis’s performance in the film?

Winn: I haven’t seen the film—what is a film?—but personally, I was impressed.

Elinor: No comment.

Shana: Last question. Do you think there’s a chance for the two of you to reconcile? It seems there’s a pretty big chasm separating you.

Elinor: No. I think we must go on living separate lives. I don’t love Winn any more.

Winn: I don’t accept that response. She does still love me, and before the end of the book, I’ll win her back.

Shana: Thanks both of you. I wish you a wonderful happily ever after!

Melanie, thanks for hosting us. Readers, are there any movies you think would make good inspiration for a book? One reader who comments will win a copy of Lord and Lady Spy (U.S. and Canadian residents).

Warning! This agent’s secret identity—and his heart—have been compromised!

Winslow, an elite spy in Regency England, has managed to keep his identity secret from everyone—including his beloved wife Elinor. But his success with these covert affairs has taken a toll on their marriage, leaving Elinor to entertain the idea of a secret liaison with a rakish spy.

She believes she will finally have the danger and excitement her marriage has never afforded her—until things get too dangerous, and she ends up being kidnapped. In this world of intrigue, Elinor discovers that no one is who they seem to be—not even her own husband.

TRUE SPIES BY SHANA GALEN – IN STORES NOW!

To Purchase True Spies:

Amazon
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iBookstore
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Shana GalenABOUT THE AUTHOR: Shana Galen is the author of fast-paced adventurous Regency historicals, including the Lord and Lady Spy Series, the Jewels of the Ton Series, as well as the Sons of the Revolution Trilogy. A former English teacher in Houston’s inner city, Shana now writes full time, and is working on more regency romance novels! She’s happily married to the Ultimate Sportsfan and has a daughter who is most definitely a romance heroine in the making. Shana loves to hear from readers: visit her website, or see what she’s up to daily on Facebook and Twitter.

‘True Spies’ by Shana Galen

TS SGSTORY: He’s weary of deception…

Baron Winslow Keating is honor-bound to finish one last mission as an elite spy for the Barbican group even though he just wants to go home and be with his family. But after years of secrecy and absence, his daughters hardly know him and his wife has given up on him. . .

She wants to try a little intrigue . . .

Elinor has had enough of domestic boredom. She contemplates an affair with a rakish spy, only to discover a world of intrigue and treachery that she never knew existed. Even more shocking, her neglectful husband is suddenly very attentive – quite the jealous type – and apparently there is much more to him than she ever knew . . .

REVIEW: With ‘True Spies’ Ms. Galen continues her Lord and Lady Spy series that I really loved.

The character of Elinor was so well-developed that I could feel her emotions as she’s torn about her feelings toward her husband who it seems that he doesn’t care for her.
I found it very hard to like the hero. It took me more that half the book to start warming up to the guy!
His affection for Elinor wasn’t in evidence as much as was his love for his work and that bothered me all through the read.

‘True Spies’ is a romance between two mature people with children, obligations and a life that has forced both characters to take stock of themselves and their future.

Shana Galen does it again and gives us fast paced, adventure filled, well written romance about a couple trying to rediscover each other all over again. I’ve come to love the dialogue this author created.

It’s sharp, witty, clever, mature and never fails to touch my heart or tickle my funny bone. It’s brilliant!
I swear I can recommend it on dialogue alone, but I must say she plotted this one well too, so if you like a good, solid plot, than you just have to get it.

 

EXTRA REVIEW: ‘Spy Wore Blue’ by Shana Galen

SWB SGSTORY: Blue is the best of the best. A top agent for the elite Barbican group, he’s on the trail of an assassin targeting his fellow spies. Blue’s search leads him to Naples, Italy and the Teatro di San Carlo, where a string of suspicious events makes him believe he may have found his man. Unfortunately, he’s also found a woman—his long-neglected wife.

A brilliant opera singer…

Helena Giles is beautiful, talented, and furious. She taught Blue how to be a master of disguise, and to thank her, he disappeared. When they married, he promised to give up his work for the Barbican group. He gave Helena up instead. Now Blue is back, and he wants a place in the theater and in her bed. Helena doesn’t believe, as the rest of the theater’s cast, that the murders have anything to do with a theater phantom, but she isn’t ready to believe Blue’s theories either.

A dangerous passion…

It’s soon clear the real object of the theater phantom is Blue. And when Helena catches a glimpse of the assassin called Reaper, she becomes a target herself. In Reaper, Blue is finally pitted against his match, and in Helena, he finds a passion he thought he thought impossible. But can this chameleon be true to himself when love is the most dangerous sport of all?

MINI REVIEW: The above blurb just about tells you the story, so I’ll just skip the retelling of it and go straight to the point.

I know I’m not the only one out there that wished, I mean REALLY wished, this story was a full book. I thought Blue deserved it!

Regardless of my wishes, I’ll admit I liked it a lot. It packed a punch in its short format, and you’ll find a bit of everything in it; mystery, suspense, and passion between two very intriguing characters.
And speaking of characters, these two were ON FIRE! Holy smokes! These two were burning up the pages of my Kindle! LOVED IT!

Melanie for b2b

*Books provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

‘Wyoming Bride’ by Joan Johnston

WB JJSTORY: After three months in a mail-order marriage, Hannah Wentworth McMurtry is a widow—pregnant, alone, and near death in the Wyoming wilderness. Though she is saved by a man with a face cut from stone, she still grieves the husband who died on their journey west. Hannah needs a husband, but does she dare marry another stranger?

Flint Creed has also lost someone he loved—when the woman he hoped to marry chose his younger brother instead. Now he must find a ranch wife of his own. But every female in the remote Wyoming Territory is too old, too young, or already married . . . until he discovers Hannah on the prairie. Flint doesn’t pretend to love her, but he doesn’t tell her he loves another woman, either. Hannah doesn’t pretend to love him, but she doesn’t tell him about the child she carries. Though danger surrounds them on the Wyoming frontier, the greatest threats of all are the secrets within—revelations that could destroy the new life Hannah and Flint have begun to cherish.

REVIEW: I was looking forward to reading the second book in this series ever since I read the first one!

Ms. Joan Johnston’s tales are new to me, but I’ve already tracked down almost all of her back list and hope to read them in between my Regency World.

What originally attracted me to this particular series, and for that matter this author, is the way she develops not just her characters, but the families within those stories. Everything about her books just has that feel of ‘saga’. They’re all connected and just sort of ‘grow’ on you…You just get hooked, and once you read one story, off you go to next and on and on!

This time we have Hannah’s story and as much as I liked her, I was on a war path with her twin, Hatty. Holy Crap! She might have driven me to murder were I her sister! If there was trouble to be had, she was in it to her eyeballs!

‘Wyoming Bride’ picked up where ‘Texas Bride’ left off and Hannah is doing exactly what her sister did, marries a man just to save herself and her two sisters, from the orphanage.

It was great to watch Hannah become strong and decisive woman. Like I said, character development seems to be one of many talents Ms. Johnson has.

As for our hero, Flint Creed, I thought him a very complex and it was too much fun being in his head, just waiting for him to figure out that the woman he thinks is his ‘soul mate’ is nothing but an infatuation.

And then we have the secondary characters, Ransom and Emaline, which are as well drawn as the first and following them was even more fun!

There were many times I wanted to strangle this idiotic chick and tell Ransom to drop her like a hot potato!

If you’ve never read any of Joan Johnston’s books, here is what you’re missing: great writing, wonderful three-dimensional characters and stories that have an epic feel to them. She excels in bringing her readers to go through sadness to elation within a paragraph! That’s a gift!

Looking forward to Hatty’s story which will be out later this year, ‘Montana Bride’ and then, the one I can hardly contain my excitement for, Josie’s in ‘Blackthorne’s Bride’!

*Book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

‘When You Give a Duke a Diamond’ by Shana Galen

BOOK BLURB: He had a perfectly orderly life…

William, the sixth Duke of Pelham, enjoys his punctual, securely structured life. Orderly and predictable—that’s the way he likes it. But he’s in the public eye, and the scandal sheets will make up anything to sell papers. When the gossip papers link him to Juliette, one of the most beautiful and celebrated courtesans in London, chaos doesn’t begin to describe what happens next…Until she came along…

Juliette is nicknamed the Duchess of Dalliance and has the cream of the nobility at her beck and call. It’s disruptive to have the duke who is the biggest catch on the Marriage Mart scaring her other suitors away. Then she discovers William’s darkest secret and decides what he needs in his life is the kind of excitement only she can provide…

EXCERPT: 

“You’re coming with me,” he told her. “I don’t know what’s frightening you, but you can explain in my coach.”

“I’m not…” But she looked over her shoulder and seemed to reconsider. “Very well. You do realize, Your Grace”—somehow she made the title sound like an epithet—“that your actions tonight only confirm the rumors about us and incite new ones.”

Reluctantly, Pelham looked over his own shoulder. A crowd of onlookers was watching them, most of them murmuring and whispering behind their hands. He scowled at them, and several scurried away. Others took a step back.

“I’ll squash any further rumors,” Pelham said between clenched teeth.

“Wonderful,” she muttered.

He signaled to his coachman, and his carriage was beside them in mere moments. A footman opened the door and handed the duchess up. He was right beside her. Once inside, he closed the curtains and instructed his coachman to wait.

He turned his attention to the woman across from him and tried not to stare. The color was high in her cheeks, and her eyes were bright. He did not think it possible, but she was even lovelier than when he’d first seen her tonight.

His gaze—completely of its own accord—flicked to her mouth. She’d rouged it, because it was far too perfectly red to be natural. It reminded him of some exotic fruit, and he desperately wanted to sample it. One kiss…

He tightened his hands on his knees. What was wrong with him? He couldn’t kiss her. She wasn’t an acceptable kissing partner in the least. She was a courtesan—a whore. She seduced men for money, and he was falling under her spell.

She narrowed her icy blue eyes at him. “Why are you looking at me like that?”

FEATURED AUTHOR: Shana Galen

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