b2b is Three!

happy_blogoversary11[1]

Someone pinch me! Has it really been THREE years already?! WOW!

Another year just whooshed by me…Personally, it has been another year filled with health issues I just wasn’t ready to deal with, but then when are we, right?!

Through it all I found that my hubby’s love can get me through everything life throws at me and that is a blessing I don’t ever want to take for granted.

As always, I still feel blessed with so many of you that are faithfully stopping by, commenting and making me laugh out loud. Your support is appreciated and always welcome. I’m really humbled by the romance community all over the world!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I love you all!

This year saw our Krissie leave us, but we welcomed with opened arms two of our faithful followers with their unique reviews, Connie and Leah. I was seriously considering shutting the blog down when they jumped in and literally saved me. Please help me welcome them with a huge HIP-HIP-HOORAY!

Since last year our one month-long PUSH-A-BOOK celebration was such a great hit with readers and authors alike, we thought why mess with something that ain’t broke?

Clipart Illustration of a Bunch Of Floating Party Balloons With

So get ready, our bookworms as we’re kicking off our ONE month long celebration on November 1st with Vanessa Kelly and ending it with Anna Campbell.

Throughout the month we’ve invited some of the most hard-working, amazingly creative and way too talented people in the romance community to stop by and help us celebrate. Our invitations once more answered with so much enthusiasm that we just might schedule some visits in twos and threes!

Here’s just a few of the authors that will be coming over… Delilah MarvelleVicky DreilingEileen DreyerDanelle HarmonMaureen Driscoll, Anna CampbellGrace BurrowesMia MarloweMarilyn BrantVanessa KellyLouise AllenShana Galen, Elise RomeNicola CornickJillian StoneSaralee EtterPatricia RicePriscilla ShayBethanne Strasser, Valerie Bowman, Bella Love, Monica BurnsElla Quinn, Caroline LindenSandra OwensTerri BrisbinVictoria Vane, Jenn LeBlanc, Norah WilsonAmanda ScottDonna CummingsNicky Wells, Marguerite KayeBarbara MonajemSaralee EtterDeborah Doucette, Lila DiPasqua, C.C. HumphreysTracy Anne Warren…and a few surprise guests too! There will be prizes…books, and books and some more books, a bookworm heaven, right? There will be many surprises and a Grand Prize as well!

giveaway11[1]

Won’t you help us celebrate with:

1) Telling us which ‘Book’ would you like to ‘Push’ and why…

2) Subscribing to our Blog…

3) ‘LIKE’ -ing us on our Facebook!

All three are required for a TRIPLE chance to win in the Grand Giveaway!

However, if you’re already a follower and our FB buddy, all you need do is…COMMENT on the upcoming posts and you’re all set to go. Are you ready to PARTEY?!

fallingconfettidivider1221[1]

‘A Lesson in Chemistry with Inspector Bruce’ by Jillian Stone

BOOK BLURB: Inspector Archie Bruce, the brilliant young man who runs the Scotland Yard crime laboratory, is suddenly shifted from his duties behind the scenes, directly into the line of fire. Undervalued and overworked, Archie has no time for a social life––that is, until the heroine’s father, a noted chemist in his own right, offers Archie a deal. He will modify a secret latex compound that will transfer fingerprints from the crime scene to the lab. In exchange, Archie must agree to tutor his charming, but exasperating daughter, Miss Fiona A. Rose, for the major pharmacy exam.

But as Archie and Fiona attempt to study for the major, they can’t help but get involved in a bit of sleuthing. Was the fire in the opium den accidental or deliberately set? Who was behind the lab explosion? Not to mention the strange and haunting memory of a masquerade ball and a very seductive kiss. Amidst the pop quizzes and adventure, Fiona and Archie ultimately find the force of attraction too tempting to resist.

If you’ve always been curious about The Gentlemen of Scotland Yard, this e-novella is a great way to give the series a try: $0.99 at all ebook outlets!

Amazon    B&N Nook   iTunes

Please stop by the author’s website: http://jillianstone.com

EXCERPT:

Outside Greater Scotland Yard, Archie hailed a cab. “What about Alfred?” He opened the cab door. “Up boy.”

“We adore dogs at Rose & Company––Mrs. Gallagher especially.” Fanny smiled at the droopy-eyed bloodhound.

Archie stared at her. “But you don’t have any pets.”

Fiona scooted over and Archie settled in close beside her. “We recently lost our two Highland Terriers. Father brought them home as pups for my eleventh birthday. Princess Margaret went first and Nelson died shortly after. That was nearly sixth months ago. Mrs. Gallagher cried for week when Nelson passed.” Fiona removed a glove to scratch behind a floppy ear. “I do believe Alfred will be fused over.”

“Take care––” Archie swept her skirts over. “Pardon the forwardness, but your dress. I’m afraid he’s a drooler.” The brush of his shoulder against hers, as he leaned over to pull her skirts back felt wonderfully intimate, and their close proximity, especially now, with the dog stuffed between them…well, there was no way to describe it but, it just felt right.

“Sorry the laboratory was in such chaos today. Things should settle down by tomorrow. Did you otherwise enjoy yourself? Exploring lab––meeting the staff?”

“Very impressive, and I must say your lab workers all seem…” She could not help but recall Miss Mowbray’s remarks. “Unusually devoted.”

Archie nodded, though the look on his face seemed distant and if she was reading him correctly, worried. “They’re wonderfully energetic and enthusiastic,” he mused aloud. “But the firing off of that shrapnel shell has me concerned. And then there’s the problem of Miss Mowbray––I do hope she didn’t––she wasn’t…”

Fiona felt a twitch at the ends of her mouth. “As I said, your staff does seem unusually…admiring of you.”

Archie met her gaze directly, then exhaled an exasperated, decidedly masculine sigh. The kind she occasionally heard from her father when mother was being particularly trying. “I would just like you to know––even though this will seem awkward and––premature, 4whatever transpired between Miss Mowbray and myself is long in the past.”

Fiona’s heart was pounding so loud, she could barely hear his words. She was quite sure Archie was implying an interest in her, beyond that of teacher and pupil. A gray dusk had settled over the city and the lamplighters were out and about. Her gaze swept from the street scene to Archie. “It may well be in your past, but I’m not so sure about Miss Mowbray’s.”

“I will insist she curb her remarks, but I’m afraid I must ask you to pay little mind to what she says in the days ahead.” He rubbed his hand over the stubble of chin beard. “Ouch.” He shook his hand, and turned it palm side up. Fiona peered over his shoulder.

“Quite a nasty burn,” she said. “I have something wonderful––near miraculous for that when we get home.”

Archie grinned. “A secret Rose & Company salve?” Fiona leaned close, to get a better look at the injury. Gently, she traced a finger over the circular outline of red. “From the scorching hot door knob?”

He nodded. “Must be, though I don’t remember it hurting much at the time.”

“And when might you have thought about the pain? When you were sent flying down the stairs?” She looked up into his lovely dark eyes. “You could have been badly injured, or worse––and I would have…” Fiona caught herself before she said something…premature.

Liquid brown eyes, glowed in the evening lamplight. “And you would have?” His gaze dropped to her mouth.

“I…would have…” Her voice faltered, barely a whisper. A piece of netting had fallen in her face, which he returned to her hat brim. His body, hard and warm against hers, and so close she could easily detect the subtle mystery of his man scent. They were so very close, now, a sudden lurch of the carriage might be all it would take…

“Kiss me again, Fiona.”

She taunted him with a narrowed gaze. “If I kiss you now, we won’t be able to keep our minds on schoolwork.”

“If you don’t kiss me now,” his breath buffeted softly against her lips, “concentration will be impossible.” Then, as if the streets of London had conspired with Cupid himself, the carriage hit a bump in the road.

Velvet lips pressed gently to his own. And Archie responded to her, deepening the kiss as it gained in strength and passion. “Good God, I have missed this mouth,” he murmured. He probed with his tongue, teasing her lips open, and she returned his ardor with a surprising amount of intensity. Her lips brushed back over his as her tongue played a tangled, thrilling chase, heightening his desire.

The carriage stopped––quite suddenly.

Breaking the kiss, his mouth traveled to the tip of her chin, and down to the hollow of her throat. He swept an arm around her waist and pressed her against his chest––felt the rise and fall of her breasts, heard her soft, sweet moan. Mysteriously, his tongue found a sensitive spot behind her ear and she trembled. Good God, his entire body thrummed with his physical need of her. He’d wanted her for years, and now he held her in his arms again. “It appears we have arrived at Rose & Company, chemists to the tony Knightsbridge set.”

Fiona eased away, and he released her just enough to capture her gaze. He was about to ask if the kiss they’d shared was as good as the one of memory, but she reached behind her and pressed the door latch. “Come Alfred,” she coaxed, and climbed down from the cab.

Bewildered by her sudden exit, he handed over the leash. paid the driver, and followed her inside the empty shop. She stood by a cabinet full of exotic soaps, waiting for him. He approached her slowly. “Fiona, I hope I didn’t offend––”

She grabbed his coat lapels and kissed him so unexpectedly she sent a shock of arousal coursing through him. She remained very close and spoke softly. “We have neighbors, the Greens, who own the millinery next door. Ida Green, their daughter, is better known as the Brompton Square Tattler. I wouldn’t want her to go round gossiping about us.” Fiona moistened her lips, a nervous habit he enjoyed immensely. “Sorry to be so abrupt,” she added.

Archie kept his grin soft, playful. “You may kiss me abruptly, any time you wish.”

 

FEATURED AUTHOR: Jillian Stone

Facebook & Tweeter

Coming later this month: A PRIVATE DUEL WITH AGENT GUNN releases November 27. Yes! The dashing operative finally gets his own full length romantic adventure, just in time for the holidays!

Commenters: Do your remember your first kiss? Or perhaps a kiss that happened once a long, long time ago that you still remember? Please share! Jillian is giving away an e-copy of A LESSON IN CHEMISTRY WITH INSPECTOR BRUCE to one lucky commenter today.

*Giveaway open  INTERNATIONALLY!

Won’t you join our celebration by:

1) Telling us which ‘Book’ would you like to ‘Push’ and why…

2) Subscribing to our Blog…

3) ‘LIKE’ -ing us on our Facebook!

All three are required for a TRIPLE chance to win in the Grand Giveaway!

However, if you’re already a follower and our FB buddy, all you need do is…COMMENT on the upcoming posts and you’re all set to go.

*Clicking on the author’s name/pic will give you their contact info, website or bio. 

*Clicking on the cover of the book/s will take you to Amazon.

The Making of “An Affair with Mr. Kennedy” by Jillian Stone

He’s a still-waters-run-deep kind of man, and he is one of my favorite heroes.

When I set out to write the Gentlemen of Scotland Yard, I knew my very first Yard man had to be a brave and intrepid detective as well as an intriguing, potentially explosive lover. I thought long and hard about which detective’s story I wanted to tell first, but in the end, I went straight for the stoic, aloof romantic hero.

Thinking back to the beginning, I’m sure Mr. Kennedy started out as a kind of Mr. Darcy meets Sherlock Holmes character. I wanted him to be somewhat awkward and disinterested in social situations, as well as mildly disdainful of the upper classes. At the same time he needed to be intuitive, curious, with a razor-sharp mind and a surpassing talent for lovemaking. I have an affinity for the reserved alpha male with a much less tamed side he reveals only to intimates! I think this combination, the man who is firmly in control––until he’s not, makes him YUM!

I wrote An Affair with Mr. Kennedy in such a way that the reader is gradually treated to more hidden aspects of the hero’s personality as they turn the pages. In the first chapters, Zak Kennedy is confident in a quiet, reserved way, while his taciturn demeanor can make him appear cool and detached. But give him a second glance (which he always gets because he is a handsome, imposing man) and one becomes more intrigued. As the story deepens, a somewhat more personable detective begins to emerge. There is also a magnetism to his enigmatic side, which makes a girl wonder what other charms lie beneath that stiff, high-pointed collar and those tight fitting breeches! And by the end of this romantic escapade? I hope I have created a male hero that readers will always remember.

For those of you who haven’t been introduced, a brief excerpt from An Affair with Mr. Kennedy.

Set-up: As it is raining heavily, Mr. Kennedy offers his new neighbor, the lovely young widow, Cassandra St. Cloud, a ride home in his carriage.

The heavy rain and underground rail construction conspired to make their simple commute home a miserable slog across town. London streets were in a constant state of flux, what with the Underground expansion and electrical cables laid out in street gutters. On days like today, it could easily take the better part of an hour to transect the city.

The rat-a-tat of rain, though calmative, did not dispel a chill in the air. From their brief encounter at the orphanage, he gleaned enough to surmise Cassie knew The Bloody Four as social acquaintances. He wondered if now would be a good time to broach the subject of Gerald St. Cloud with her. During their ride in the park, all that charm school business had knocked him off his game. Zeno settled into his seat, unable to stop staring at his new neighbor. Not unhappily, she appeared to return his interest.

“Do you dance, Mr. Kennedy?”

“I try to avoid it whenever possible, Mrs. St Cloud.”

She studied him with a beguiling half smile, just the barest ends of a superbly sensuous mouth turned up in quizzical amusement. “I take that to mean you do dance, but perhaps only in the course of duty. When it is forced upon you?”

She made him feel as silly as that exhaustive, tedious brother-in-law of hers. Zeno no longer tried to feign indifference toward the attractive widow, particularly since he could not seem to tear his gaze away.

He exhaled a loud sigh. “Women take pleasure dressing in evening gowns, being waltzed about a ballroom and whispering tittle-tattle.” He loosened his cravat. “Men, on the other hand, must endure high-pointed collars, feet crushed by dainty toes—and tittle-tattle.”

She pressed her lips together and formed a dimple. “The only reason I ask is I am quite sure my brother will wire back and beg off at the eleventh hour. And frankly, I’ve not much time. The ball is tomorrow evening, you see…”

Her conversation faded, accompanied by a wistful, resigned shrug. “I suppose I could always tag along with Gerald and Miss Templeton.”

He contemplated the idea of escorting her to the ball. On the yea side she provided perfect cover. He could observe the Bloody Four unawares in their milieu, take note of their friends and associates. As for the nay?

Zeno listened absently to the pattering of rain on the carriage roof. The woman frazzled him at times. Especially when she bit her lower lip and let it slip out from under pearl white teeth. Like now.

“Mrs. St. Cloud. Do you wish for me to escort you to the crush of the season?”

Her gaze slipped away, then back again. She added a nod.

“Please accept my offer of escort, as long as my company brings you greater happiness than the attentions of Lord Rosslyn.”

“It brings me a great deal more happiness, Mr. Kennedy.” The sparkle in her eyes so beguiled him, he allowed his smile to widen.

“I believe we have an engagement, madam.”

A MR. KENNEDY BACKGROUND BONUS EXTRA

For those of you who have read An Affair with Mr. Kennedy, here are a few little known facts about the first hero of the Gentlemen of Scotland Yard series, taken from my original character notes on the story!

Detective Inspector Zak Kennedy

Born: Zeno Augustus Kennedy “Zak” to his friends. (Named after Zeno of Citium, a Greek Stoic philosopher)

DOB: February 10, 1852

Birthplace: Isle of Skye, Scotland

Mother deceased, father retired school teacher. 1 brother, Ariston, works as a stillman at Talisker distillery.

Education: Fettes College, Edinburgh and St. John’s, Cambridge University. Played Rugby and sustained knee injury. Joined choir at St. John’s (has lovely tenor voice).

Military: 2nd Dragoons, Royal Scots Greys. Reassigned to intelligence work in France, then Burma.

Employment History: Resigned military commission and applied to Home Office, London. Accepted and assigned to Special Branch, Scotland Yard.

Commenters: Romantic heroes like Mr. Darcy, the archetype of the aloof romantic hero, have long been the stars of romance fiction. Who’s your favorite reserved alpha male? Fitzwilliam Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, John Bates from Downton Abbey, Jack from Lost, or someone else?

I have three copies to giveaway of An Affair with Mr. Kennedy. A signed copy to a US and a Canadian commenter and a copy (unsigned) to an International commenter (via Book Depository).

To connect with Jillian Stone-Facebook and Tweeter.

‘An Affair with Mr. Kennedy’ by Jillian Stone

STORY: London, 1887. Part stoic gentleman, part fearless     Yard man, Zeno “Zak” Kennedy is an enigma of the first order. For years, the memory of a deadly bombing at King’s Cross has haunted the brilliant Scotland Yard detective. His investigation has zeroed in on a ring of aristocratic rebels whose bloody campaign for Irish revolution is terrorizing the city. When he discovers one of the treacherous lords is acquainted with his free-spirited new tenant, Cassandra St. Cloud, his inquiry pulls him unexpectedly close to the heart of the conspiracy and into the arms of a most intriguing lady.

And Cassie is no Victorian prude. An Impressionist painter with very modern ideas about life and love, she is eager for a romantic escapade that is daring and discreet. She sets her sights on her dour but handsome landlord, but after she learns their meeting was not purely accidental, she hardly has a chance to forgive her lover before their passionate affair catapults them both into a perilous adventure.

REVIEW: The above blurb perfectly summarizes the gist of the story, and gives you just the right amount of ‘bate’ to lure you in, and once you start reading, you’re sucked into the story that is perfectly balanced between the pace and plot, but always and without a doubt character driven to a point that a reader is living the emotions of the characters and feeling the danger around them.

I was thoroughly engrossed and fascinated with this unique romance. And let me tell you, this was a romance in every sense of that word. Even though our heroine comes from a self-admitted ‘bohemian’ family, she is a woman who knows exactly who she is and what she wants. No excuses, no apologies. I think that’s what attracts our hero to her, her ‘individuality’ was unique, and she was a stunner, too! For a man who has always taken himself and his job seriously, he desperately needed someone of Cassie’s caliber to take that ‘bit of starch’ out of his collar and expose him for the charmer and romantic that he really was. A scene in which they walk through the door after a weekend with her family, she’s going through a pile of messages, (mostly his, handing it to him), was so sweet and romantic, it will melt your heart…

“’…I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you to receive messages for me. I hope you don’t mind.’ He leaned close and stole a fleeting kiss to her neck, just under the earlobe.

Aroused from a stimulating carriage ride home, her body tingled from his brief caress. ‘It would seem the neighborly thing to do.’

A grand new flower arrangement had been placed on the round pedestal table in the middle of the reception hall. As Zeno opened one communiqué after another, she gravitated toward the stunning new bouquet. Opening the hand written envelope, she removed a gilt-edged card.

For a glorious weekend. And might I further express my appreciation with a kiss placed just beneath your ear?

All my affection,

          Zac”

While this suspenseful romance set in Victorian era is chock full of historical detail so well written that you will see the London streets, women riding bicycles in their bloomers, railway and even a roadster in your mind’s eye, make no mistake, its sensuality will take your breath away.

Everything in this story played out like a movie, from the sophisticated, fun and witty dialogue to the supporting characters that were vivid and three-dimensional and intriguing and entertaining as much as our main protagonists. I would love to know more about Scarlet aka Kitty Matthews, his brothel informant and Scotland Yard blokes, Rafe Lewis and Flynn Rhys. What cool dudes they were! And what about his ‘sleuth in training’ housekeeper, Alma Woolsley? She was great! This story will not only appeal to us hardcore romance lovers, but to all of you ‘Sherlock Holmes’ and even ‘Dr. Who’ fans.

Ms. Jillian Stone wrote a novel that is different from anything I’ve read and its uniqueness makes it memorable. Way to go, Ms. Stone! Listen well, my little Bookworms, if you’re looking for a novel that will get your heart rate up with its sensuality, action and sweet romance, all at the same time, this is the book for you as well! I will be eagerly awaiting the next one, and the next…