Spotlight on Danelle Harmon and…

‘Lord Of The Sea’

LOTS DH

BOOK BLURB: A Sea Devil Who’s Reckless At Heart. . .

Captain Connor Merrick’s thirst for danger has brought him fame and fortune as one of the most brazenly successful privateers of the War of 1812. But deep beneath his swagger, derring-do and charm, the handsome American captain is hiding a devastating secret, and he’ll go to any lengths to protect it . . .

A Beauty Who Gets More Than She Bargained For. . . .

Rhiannon Evans has longed for an adventure—and a mysterious, dangerous man to sweep her off her feet. While enroute to the tropical paradise of Barbados, she never dreams that her heart will be captured by the dashing American privateer who rescues her from bloodthirsty pirates. Only Rhiannon can see beneath Connor’s reckless façade to the man beneath. But when tragedy strikes, can Rhiannon’s love save Connor from himself? Or will the secret he guards so carefully, end up being the undoing of them both?

Buy Links: Amazon /

EXCERPT: 

And then they heard it.

Footsteps, coming toward them.

“Dear God,” Alannah breathed.

Rhiannon rose, her ankle shrieking in agony. There was nothing in the cabin with which to defend themselves, but on the captain’s desk lay a pair of brass nautical dividers, V-shaped and needle-pointed, which were used to chart a course. She grabbed them and turned to face the door as a fist pounded against it once, twice, three times.

She glanced at Alannah, and the other woman ran toward her, trying in vain to find a weapon.

Suddenly, the door crashed open beneath the force of a powerful male shoulder, shoving the heavy sea chest out of the way with it, and both women screamed.

A man stood there. In the gloom, he was lean and lanky and so tall that he filled the doorway. He wore a short blue pea coat with brass buttons, canvas trousers, and a straw hat. In his hand was a pistol, which, upon seeing the two women, he lowered.

“Well, well,” he said, and with an elegant bow, removed the hat, revealing carelessly tousled chestnut hair that was thick and curling and fashionably cut. His was a face of hard planes, translucent green eyes, and a recklessly smiling mouth. Entering the cabin, he calmly plucked the dividers from Rhiannon’s nerveless hand. “I am Captain Merrick of the American privateer schooner Kestrel, and it would appear that we’ve found a most lucrative prize, indeed.”

Chapter 2

Well, well, indeed, Connor thought, tossing the dividers to a nearby table.

Rum. Sugar. Molasses. Spices. Exotic fruits. Even, God forbid, slaves. Those were the sort of things one normally found when they took a ship in these latitudes, but this was an altogether different sort of cargo, indeed.

Women. Two of them. One dark-haired with flashing blue eyes and a vaguely familiar look about her. She was fair enough, though he suspected she’d like to retrieve the dividers and stab them straight into his heart. The other one . . . .

Keep to the business at hand.

Oh, the other one. . . .

That one was, Connor thought as her huge, long-lashed green eyes lifted to his, was surely the most beautiful creature he’d ever seen in his life. She was young and tall and willowy, with fiery red-gold hair set off by clear, flawless skin, a mischievous tilt to her chin, and smiling lips that drew and held his gaze and made him want to trace their bow, their perfect shape, with his finger. His tongue.

Something stirred in his groin.

This could be a problem.

Ignore her.

He turned away just as the dark-haired one found her voice.

“Privateer? You’re nothing but a pirate! This is an English ship, and I demand that you release us immediately!”

The beauty grabbed the dark-haired one’s elbow. “Alannah, he just saved our lives!”

“Only to rob us! Oh, just wait until my brother hears of this!”

“Better to be robbed than dead!”

“He may well kill us yet! Or God forbid, ravish us!”

Connor shot a glance at the sunset-haired beauty. Don’t give me any ideas, he wanted to say, because she had spunk as well as beauty and she was looking at him the way any damsel in distress might just gaze upon her rescuer, looking at him in a way that made him want to pull himself up a little more and puff out his chest and slay a dragon for her. Though, come to think of it, maybe he just had. At any other time, the besotted look in her eyes and that impish smile  would have been all he needed to follow his baser instincts. At any other time, he might take great delight in pursuing that coy, unspoken invitation farther—preferably in a place that involved a mattress, sheets, and an hour or two of free time. But he had business to conduct here, there was a storm bearing down on them, and he couldn’t let himself be distracted.

Papers. He had to get the ship’s papers.

The other one was still harping on him. “Furthermore, I’ll have you know right now Captain Merrick, that I object most highly to the way you forced yourself into this cabin like some barbarian! Just what do you think you’re doing?”

Ignoring her, Connor sent a conspiring grin the way of the young beauty, went to the captain’s desk and yanking open a drawer, began searching for the merchant ship’s papers.

“Did you hear me? What do you think you’re doing?

Ignore her.

Easy enough.

Ignore the other one, too.

Not so easy. . . .

Rhiannon, feeling her heartbeat skipping, somersaulting and tripping over itself as she watched the Yankee privateer rifling through the desk, had seen that covert, amused glance he’d thrown her and couldn’t take her eyes off him. Footsteps echoed outside and now another man entered the cabin, a sword in his hand. Though not as tall or lean as the captain, he too was handsomely made, with thick, tawny hair that was bleached by the sun, steady brown eyes, a quiet demeanor and a look of solidness and strength about him. He glanced, briefly, at her and Alannah, then turned toward the mahogany-haired god who was cheerfully pulling out a sealed oilskin packet from the desk. “Captain, there are five from this tub who reckon they want to sign aboard with us; the rest, including the master, have resisted, and we’ve got three remaining pirates a’begging for mercy.”

“Begging for mercy, are they? Hmph. Given that they showed this crew none, I’m not inclined to oblige them.” The privateer slammed the drawer shut. “Secure the prisoners in the fo’c’sle, with the pirates separate from the crew so they don’t add to the slaughter. How’s that squall tracking?”

It was then that she remembered his introduction.

Merrick  . . . Kestrel . . . Merrick . . . .

“Veering off, sir, heading north by west. I think it’ll miss us.”

“The devil’s own luck, that,” the American said, slitting open the leather pouch with a small knife and beginning to scan its contents.

“What are you going to do with us?”

The American ignored her.

“I demand to know what will become of us!”

“Do be quiet, madam, I’m trying to think,” the captain snapped, handing the papers to the newcomer with a sound of annoyance. “Read this, would you, Nathan? I don’t have time to sit here and make sense of it.”

“Aye.” The one named Nathan said, looking at the papers. “She’s out of Southampton, bound for Barbados, carrying fine English linens, china, beer, various foodstuffs, and muskets.”

“Muskets! How provident.” The captain reclaimed the papers and stuffed them back into the leather pouch. “Muster a prize crew for this tub. We’ll send her into Mobile, as it’s the closest port from which to auction her off. Jenkins, I think, can command her. Ladies, collect your belongings.”

He tossed the pouch to a nearby table, and it suddenly hit Rhiannon just who this handsome god was.

“You’re Captain Merrick!” she exclaimed excitedly. “Of the schooner Kestrel!”

He just looked at her as though she were daft. “Aye, that’s what I just said.”

“From Portsmouth, England?”

“No, ma’m, from Newburyport, Massachusetts.” He began to stalk toward the door.

“But you were in Portsmouth this past spring! I know you were!”

The American turned, and something glinted in his clear, pale green eyes, something that wasn’t quite amusement, something that belied a memory, perhaps, that he had no wish to recall, before one corner of his mouth—his very firm, very sensual mouth, Rhiannon thought—turned up in the faintest of grins.

“And how might you know that, Miss . . . ?”

“Evans. Rhiannon Evans. You don’t know me, but I’m Gwyneth’s sister!”

He lifted a brow. “Gwyneth’s sister.”

“Yes! We rented a house in Portsmouth together, and it was you who was rescuing French and American prisoners from the hulk Surrey, you who risked your life for them time and time again as the elusive Black Wolf, you who saved my brother-in-law, the marquess of Morninghall, from certain death by snatching him right out from under the guns of a firing squad with this very ship! It was you, wasn’t it? Connor Merrick! You’re the Black Wolf!”

Even the other man had paused to stare at Rhiannon. “Well, this certainly complicates matters, Connor,” he said, his brown eyes amused.

“Only if we let it.” And then, frowning: “What the blazes are you doing all the way out here? You’re a long way from England.”

“My friend Alannah here invited me to accompany her to Barbados, and I wanted an adventure, and so I came along. Oh, I can’t wait to write to Gwyneth and tell her all about what you just did for us; you saved our lives, Captain Merrick! Thank you!” It was all Rhiannon could do not to fling her arms around his neck in relief and gratitude. “Oh, thank you!”

The American’s green eyes crinkled with humor.

And Alannah, seeing the unspoken connection between Rhiannon and this man who had so audaciously taken their ship, and was now looking just a little too long, and with a little too much interest—the wrong kind of interest—at the girl she was charged to protect, wasn’t so forgiving. Especially since there was something disturbingly familiar about him.

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What characteristic/s are you looking for in your ‘book boyfriends’?

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GIVEAWAY INTERNATIONAL!

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Danelle HarmonAUTHOR BIO: Bestselling, multi-award winning and critically acclaimed author Danelle Harmon has written ten books, previously published in print and distributed in many languages throughout the world. Though born and raised in Massachusetts, she and her husband, a native of southwest London, were married and lived in England for several years.

These days, Ms. Harmon and her husband make their home in New England with their daughter Emma and numerous animals including four dogs, an Egyptian Arabian horse, and numerous pet chickens. Danelle welcomes email from her readers and can be reached at her Email or Facebook.

Social Media: Facebook / Tweeter / Website / Blog

Spotlight on Danelle Harmon and…

Taken by Storm

TBS DHBOOK BLURB: Ex-naval captain Colin Lord has had his fill of hot-headed adventure. Now, he wants nothing more than to put his tragic past behind him and pursue his career as a London veterinarian.

Heiress Lady Ariadne St. Aubyn is on the run. She wants nothing more than to get the last of a rare breed of racehorse safely away from her wastrel brother before he and every reward hunter in England can catch her.

But when the fiery noblewoman convinces the reluctant veterinarian to oversee the health of her equally temperamental stallion, both Colin and Ariadne find themselves caught up in a wild chase across Regency England in which love, passion — and the Fastest Horse in the World — are all part of the stakes. A treat for animal lovers everywhere!

EXCERPT:

For some odd reason that he couldn’t explain, Colin wasn’t surprised to find the same young woman who had piqued his curiosity and plagued his thoughts from the moment he’d seen her sitting astride that same stallion, waiting for him outside in the street.

No, not surprised at all.

“Colin Lord,” he said, taking off his hat and bowing. “And whom do I have the pleasure of addressing?”

“How gallant you were today, saving that little boy’s dog as you did!” she said hurriedly, ignoring his question. “I commend your persistence, your skill, and your knowledge. I have never seen anything quite like it in my life. You were magnificent. Simply brilliant!”

Magnificent?

“Where did you learn such a thing, sir? You must be appropriately educated.”

“VeterinaryCollege, London.  I graduated from there, and did an apprenticeship with Delabere Blaine— ”

“Ah yes, the VeterinaryCollege. My father, God rest his soul, had great faith in the future of the veterinary art and gave much money to support that institution. Always said it was a pity that France had a veterinary college before England did . . .  After today, I can certainly see why he harbored such belief in your profession. Your knowledge far surpasses that of the common farrier and I think you’ll do quite nicely.” She smiled nervously, and glanced over her shoulder down the darkened street. “Are you ready to leave, Mr. Lord?”

“Leave?”

“Why, yes, leave. I trust Simon and Daniel told you that I have need of your services, and that there is no time to be lost. We must be on her way, and immediately.”

“To be fair, Madam, your two lackeys here were not entirely forthcoming or persuasive in their attempts to convince me to accompany you. I understand that you want something from me—”

“Yes, but I am willing to pay handsomely for it.”

“And I also assume that you are the ‘employer’ whose whereabouts were unknown to your two friends here.”

“Well, yes, but—”

“They said something about Norfolk, sick horses, and payment. Pray, madam, do not keep me in suspense.”

She was obviously not accustomed to such direct and relentless questioning, and he saw her pause for a moment before she finally tightened her mouth, stood up, and pulled off her cap. In the lantern’s soft glow her hair tumbled down, gleaming rich and red and lustrous, like a warship’s new copper. She drove a hand through it, obliterating the flat imprint left by the cap and making the glossy tresses spring and bounce to life around her shoulders. For the first time, he saw her features in all their glory—the impudent little nose, the high cheekbones, the saucy tilt to her perfect mouth. Her skin was the color of his mother’s finest china, her eyes alight with piquancy. She was more lovely than he’d imagined, and he suddenly found it too hard to breathe.

“What?” Her eyes sparkled, and he caught the challenging, almost teasing, note to her tone. “Have you never seen a lady before?”

“Not . . . garbed so charmingly.”

It was a bold reply, and he saw her brows shoot up, the quick burst of color in her cheeks before she quickly turned her back on him and moved to stand beside the stallion, her hand stroking the horse’s muzzle with rapid, nervous movements.

REVIEW: This story is a revision of the paperback version and the author herself had said that she had “extensively revised” it from the original. As I never read the earlier version, I can only comment on this one, and in my opinion, this is such a heartwarming, sweet and utterly cute romance story.

It truly melted my heart. Our hero Colin is such a mix of Alpha & Beta hero that comes of so human and likable that I just wanted to hug the guy!

Ariadne was a perfect little minx for him and someone with an enthusiastic, flirty and charming nature like hers was the only one that could draw him out of his suppressed state.

Their little adventure is a mix of expected to the unexpected [and no, I’m not going to tell you what that is!].

The author’s knowledge of horses is clear and she makes even someone like me that knows nothing of horses, wishing to learn more of those scary beasts!

This is a lighthearted, fun and entertaining book, yet sensual as well. I loved the adventure, suspense and despite its predictability, it had some surprises and I loved the suspense built with it [not going to tell you that either!].

This should be a fun, fast-paced and steamy summer read and I highly recommend it to all, but animal lovers especially! To buy it, click on the cover!

Danelle HarmonAUTHOR BIO: Bestselling, multi-award winning and critically acclaimed author Danelle Harmon has written ten books, previously published in print and distributed in many languages throughout the world. Though born and raised in Massachusetts, she and her husband, a native of southwest London, were married and lived in England for several years.

These days, Ms. Harmon and her husband make their home in New England with their daughter Emma and numerous animals including four dogs, an Egyptian Arabian horse, and numerous pet chickens. Danelle welcomes email from her readers and can be reached at her Email or Facebook.

‘The Admiral’s Heart’ by Danelle Harmon

TAH DHSTORY: England, 1774. Ten years have elapsed since Lady Philippa Ponsonby Hatfield made a painful sacrifice in giving up the dashing Royal Navy captain with whom she was desperately in love.

In the years since, Sir Elliott Lord has gone on to become a famous admiral and hero of England, and now, fate throws them together once more at a glittering ball hosted by none other than Lucien de Montforte, the mighty duke of Blackheath …

REVIEW: I’m always willing to take a trip with one of Danelle Harmon’s books, and in this story. The Admiral’s Heart, she takes me on a short journey of what once Pippa and Elliot had but lost; young, sweet and innocent love. By pure coincidence [or is it? You can never be sure when Lucien is around], they are presented with a second chance…

Will Pippa find the courage to face Elliot and finally give him an explanation behind her withdrawal of her affections all those years ago?

Is Elliot willing to listen, forgive and embrace the second chance with the woman he always loved and could never forget?

This is a short story a bit shy of 13,000 words and as such I knew that the author was limited in her telling, but if you’re Danelle Harmon, you don’t let that stop you. And while the story is way too short for my taste, the author made sure I was entertained and vested in Pippa and Elliot’s happily ever after.

I enjoyed their interaction as they reunite and awkwardly try to reacquaint themselves with each other, while each is itching to give in temptation.

Oh, and that love scene at the end….just thought to warn you…it’s a scorcher!

EXCERPT: 

“He saw a flash of blue ahead as she rounded a corner, and broke into a run. He would not lose her. Even if he had to chase her from here to London.

And he’d be damned to hell and back if he’d allow Sir Geoffrey, or any of his subordinates to know that he felt dismasted, in irons, as stricken as a brig that had just been smashed beneath a salvo of chain shot, and he damn well didn’t need the young Captain Merrick, whose arm had been so conveniently placed beneath Pippa’s hand when he’d come upon the little group, trying to make himself useful. Elliott was on the distant side of thirty. The far distant side. He had enough aches and pains when he got up in the morning these days, and though his sandy blond hair was still thick and rich and showed no sign of either thinning or gray, the lines that bracketed the corners of his eyes, carved there by sun and salt and the passing of years, were an all too blatant reminder that he was no dashing young buck like the handsome Captain Merrick or even that pink-cheeked pup, Oliver Heathmore.

Pippa. Of all people to encounter here. Of all people to run up against when it had taken him ten years to forget her.

Of all people.

There, ahead, a door, ajar. He pushed it open.

Nothing.

He kept going, moving faster now.

Another door. Closed.

He shoved it open and there she was, standing by a window with one hand anchoring herself on its sill. A candle in a glass globe stood on a small table nearby, striking gold into her beautiful face.

‘Elliott,’ she said weakly.

He stopped in his tracks, one hand still on the door, just looking at her.

She was beautiful. Heartbreakingly so. Certainly, the years had treated her kinder than they had him. But then, the one doing the jilting wasn’t usually the one who did the suffering. And by the looks of her, she hadn’t suffered one bit. Skin that was still clear and smooth. Full, pink lips, now parted in surprise or shock, making him ache to kiss them, and a mouth that used to be able to quirk up just a fraction on one side, as though she found life perpetually amusing and expected others to, as well. Kind, gentle, blue eyes, heavily lashed and slightly down-turned at the corners like those of her de Montforte cousins, and a tiny, nipped waist that just begged him to span it with his hands. She wore a beautiful gown of shimmering cobalt silk, the skirts overlaid with white lace and the fitted bodice embroidered with gold thread that caught the light of the candle.

Blue and white and gold.

Naval colors.

Surely it was a coincidence.

Somewhere off over his shoulder, and coming down the hall toward them, he heard voices. Without a second thought, Elliott kicked the door shut behind him with one foot. The abrupt sound it made as it slammed was immensely satisfying.”

*Book provided by the author.

‘My Lady Pirate’ by Danelle Harmon

BOOK BLURB: Proud Pirate Queen…With her feisty band of warrior women, Maeve Merrick, the notorious Pirate Queen of the Caribbean, commands the seas in her beautiful schooner Kestrel. Burned by the treachery of men and nursing a painful betrayal from her past, Maeve wants for nothing … until the sea delivers a handsome castaway to her remote island.

High Stakes and Betrayal…Nothing is as it appears. Maeve’s prisoner has a dangerous secret – a secret that could very well change the fate of nations … but from the moment the fiery she-pirate lays eyes upon her gift from the sea, she finds her most precious possession – her heart – in danger of becoming a pirate’s plunder in this fast-paced, passionate tale of love set in the summer of 1805.

EXCERPT: In this short excerpt from My Lady Pirate, Maeve Merrick, the beautiful and dangerous Pirate Queen of the Caribbean, has just returned to her hidden tropical island to find her handsome and mysterious castaway escaped from the “jail” in which she’d left him—and sound asleep in her bed. . .

###

Maeve pushed open the door to her room, tossed her scabbard into a chair, and saw the pirate sprawled on her bed, fast asleep and naked as a newborn babe.

She froze.

Then, holding her breath, she slunk backward, flattened herself against the wall outside, and, shutting her eyes, leaned her head back against it, the image of that virile man stamped indelibly on her brain.

Fury at his insolence . . . shock at discovering him in her bed—her bed! . . . joy that he hadn’t fled like the coward she’d thought him to be . . . excitement at the sight of that handsome body. . .

And terror of the broken heart she knew he would give her.

Maeve’s first instinct was to kill him. Her second was to slip into bed with him and have her way with that splendid male body. She decided instead to creep back into the room and gaze at him until she decided between the first and the second.

She found him awake and sitting up, reposing against the pillows heaped at the headboard with his hands linked behind his head and his black hair in disarray across his brow, his arms, her pillows. His shoulders were dark against the lavender satin, his chest a formidable expanse of darkly tanned muscle. His manhood was bared to the world, his amused gaze challenged hers, and there wasn’t the least shred of modesty in those wicked indigo depths—only ripe humor and bold, blatant invitation.

“Care to drop anchor beside me, lass?” He grinned, wolfishly. “Morning is the fairest time for a tryst, you know.”

For the first time in her life Maeve Merrick was at a loss over what to say, do, think. She stared at him, unable to tear her eyes from that magnificent male body that lay so dark against the creamy sheets and violet pillows, her creamy sheets and her violet pillows—

She grabbed up her cutlass and pointed it at him, accusingly. “You—” Her hand was trembling, and she saw humor dancing in his eyes as he looked at the jiggling sword tip. “You escaped. . .”

“Aye.” He gave a lewd, suggestive wink. “Proud of me?”

“Proud?”

“Aye. Your pirate here is smarter than you give him credit for.” He tapped his temple and grinned. “I merely plucked the key from you when you lay senseless in my arms. You really didn’t expect me to berth on that filthy pallet outside, now, did you?”

Her mouth fell open and she could only stare. The rogue! Her skin flushed hot and feverish, flushed hotter still as she noticed that he was beginning to swell and rise and stiffen. Her palms grew sweaty, and she tightened her grip on the sword hilt and forced herself to meet his eyes, admiring his courage and yes, even his insolence. No coward, this man!

“So,” he drawled, taking advantage of her stunned silence. “Did you have a nice meeting with the admiral?”

His words jolted Maeve out of her shock. “My meeting with Lord Nelson is none of your blasted business! And if you think to change my mind about handing you over to him”—she stormed to the window to escape the temptation his virile body offered—“you’re wasting your breath.”

“Ah . . . so you did meet him,” he murmured from behind her. “Quite a remarkable little fellow, isn’t he?”

“In spirit,” she allowed, “but not stature. I make two of him.”

She was staring out at the turquoise sea, gripping the cutlass so fiercely the wire-bound hilt drove itself into her palm. Then she swung back, not liking the feel of that amused gaze nailing her between the shoulder blades, of having her back to an enemy, of knowing his eyes were sliding heatedly over every inch of her spine, her bottom, her legs, her bare calves. . .

“So, you failed to convince him of your mystical powers, eh? Is his lordship’s course a southerly one, after all? Hmmm?”

“I will not answer that. You’re a spy and therefore I shall disclose no information about the British Navy to you.”

“Why this apparent loyalty to the British Navy, eh? By your speech, I’d have thought you an American.”

“I am an American. But I detest the bloody French as much as the British do. And as for Nelson, he’s not only a hero, but the finest sea officer in the world and I happen to admire him, all right? Now shut your damned mouth before I lose my temper and flay that tongue of yours into ribbons!”

His lips twitched, and she bristled at the thought that he was inwardly laughing at her. “Well, you can’t blame a body for trying,” he said mildly, his gaze sliding down the front of her shirt with enough heat to burn the fabric right off her skin. Maeve slapped the flat of the cutlass across her chest, but the action only called further attention to that part of her anatomy. “And Villeneuve? Surely you can tell me about him. . .”

“Villeneuve is north, and that’s all you need to know.”

“Aah, but does Nelson know that?”

“Aye, I told him.”

He smirked. “And did his Lordship believe you?”

“No,” she admitted, her mouth tightening in an angry line. Unbidden, her gaze flickered to his masculinity before she glared up into his smug, amused face. “Damn you, do you have to lie there, all exposed?”

“It’s . . . hot.”

“There’s a fine breeze blowing!”

“I wasn’t referring to the weather.”

In one quick motion, Maeve drew her dagger and flung it at his head, satisfied to see him jerk away so that the vicious blade impaled the wall just above and behind him. “You are disgusting, despicable, and totally without pride!”

“On the contrary, madam.” Without blinking an eye, he reached up, pulled the dagger from the wall, and plucking an orange from the nightstand, began to use it to peel the fruit. “I am quite proud of it, thank you.” Still holding her gaze, he popped a section of the orange into his mouth, eating it with slow, suggestive motions that shortened the breath in Maeve’s lungs and made her realize that he was not the only one who was hot. Her temper and her temperature were rising as well. Had she had her pistol, she probably would’ve shot him. Probably. Maybe. Maybe . . . not.

Her gaze darted from him to the window. From the window to him. From him to the window . . . and each time she looked at him, she saw that he was watching her, fully enjoying her discomfort.

He grinned, and suggestively licked at the juices trailing from the sweet fruit, letting his tongue wrap around each section and making sure she saw him doing it. His eyes were dark, laughing, and half-veiled by heavy, thick lashes that did nothing to conceal the wicked expression that lit them.

The suckling noises increased.

“Stop it!” she hissed.

He dropped the orange section into his mouth, licked his lips with a slow, languorous, circular motion, and slowly peeled off another.

The heat rose in Maeve’s blood.

“Would you like . . . a taste, madam?”

She raised her cutlass. “I’ll give you a taste—”

“No decisive battle was ever fought from afar,” he interrupted on a low murmur, still grinning. “Nay, two vessels must lie alongside of each other in order to best bring their guns to bear.” He bit into the orange, making lewd, evocative noises as the juice trailed from the succulent flesh and dribbled down his chin. There was a dimple in that chin, and Maeve felt her heart skipping, staggering, faltering. “We have a signal for such an engagement in the navy. ’Tis called close action.”

 “You are no longer in the navy, and I am not a ship!”

“Nay, you are not . . .” His voice grew low, dangerously seductive. “But I like the cut of your jib, the taut trim of your sails”—the dark gaze slid over her breasts, the gentle flare of her hips—“the shape of your hull.”

“Get out of my bed.”

“Why? I really am most comfortable. Not as comfortable, of course, as I would be if you were to drop anchor beside me. . .”

Her skin tingled and flushed crimson. “I said, Get out of my bed!

He suckled the juice from his fingers. “What, would you prefer to do it on the floor?”

“I’d prefer that you shut your mouth before I shut it for you!”

“Now that, “ he said, wickedly, “could be interesting.”

“Damn you, I’ve had it with your sly innuendos!”

“Now, Majesty, “ he murmured, affecting a look of mock hurt. Putting the dagger down, he sat up, swung his handsomely muscled legs off the bed, and sat looking at her, charmingly boyish, alarmingly dangerous, and shamelessly naked. “Don’t go getting your guns all primed. I am just a sailor . . . and what sailor doesn’t lust and pant after a beautiful woman? I find you beautiful, and”—he let his gaze rake over her breasts, her hips, her bare ankles—“I want you.”

Maeve swallowed hard.

“Come, now, dear lady.” His hand, a broad, and callused hand—a man’s hand—slid over her silky sheets in a way that was calculated to suggest that same masterful hand roving over her equally silky flesh. He gave a slow, heated grin that sent the temperature of her blood soaring to new heights. “Don’t make me come over there and get you . . .”

His body seemed relaxed, but she sensed the raw power underneath, the ability to spring, wolflike, and bring her down like a helpless hare.

The Pirate Queen took a step backward.

“You fear me,” he murmured, his eyes glinting. He spread his hands, as though in truce, and again she was struck by the power, the strength, in those broad palms, those beautiful, tapered fingers. Shivers coursed through her. She had no trouble imagining them around her throat. No trouble imagining them crushing the life out of her.

And no trouble imagining them caressing her heated flesh.

“I fear nothing!” she snapped, defiantly. “D’you hear me? Nothing!

“No? Your lie is thoroughly unconvincing, I’m afraid. I think you fear me very much.” Rising to his feet, he took a step forward. Another. “You see, Majesty, I have waited all night and half the morning for you. I have waited . . . all my life. Now, be a good lass, and let me pleasure you. . . Love you. . . Stroke your sweet flesh into flame and fire. . . After all”—again, he flashed that disarming grin—“we have so little time left together. . .”

He took another step forward but Maeve stood her ground, gripping the raised cutlass, her gaze locked with his and every muscle in her body strung shroud-tight—

“I’m warning you, pirate!”

Sweat ran down her spine as he moved closer.

“Stay away from me!”

“So little time,” he said again—and reached for her.”

FEATURED AUTHOR: Danelle Harmon

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‘Captain of My Heart’ by Danelle Harmon

I am seriously so excited to write this review of Captain of My Heart by Danelle Harmon.  Let me preface this by saying that I have gone through a little reading slump this year and find it very hard to “fall madly in love” with many books.  I promise you, that I did not have that problem with this book. Actually it was quite the opposite.  I fell hard and fast and probably now all of the other books I read this year will not compare at all!

With Captain of my Heart I found so many old feelings rushing back while I was reading!  Those feelings of angst and being unable to put a book down in the middle of the chapter, or thinking about ALL day at work about getting back to the last place you left off.  That warm, achy feeling you get during a really tender kiss or love scene that just makes you find the romantic in you and give them a big old hug.  Does any of this sound familiar?  Do I sound crazy?! I certainly hope so.  That’s the only way to be about a book that brings so many emotions to the forefront and at the same time introduces you to a heart stopping h/h like Mira and Brendan.  not to mention their quirky secondary cast of characters.  I can’t remember how long it has been since I have been so in love with a group of characters!

Everything about Captain of My Heart just works!  It’s a guiltless pleasure of a read with an absolutely fantastic plot full of action, romance, intrigue, the open seas, treachery- it all worked together to simply keep me entranced!  The writing is great, the characters both believable and completely over the top and the romance….. the romance is one that grows from page to page until all of a sudden it’s this wonderful living, breathing entity taking my breath away.

I loved this entire cast of characters.  I mean really, there isn’t just one that I love they are all up there on the list.  But really no single character in any of the books that I have EVER read has made me have the kind of reactions that I had to Mira.  She’s absolutely hysterical.  She is crass, vulgar, brazen, she has no tact whatsoever, not a drop of refinement to her and yet I completely LOVED her.  More than once I simply threw my head back and laughed at something that she said or did.  She is not afraid of a single person and her lack of boundaries makes basically every decision she makes questionable and yet I was rooting for her the entire time.  She’s magnificent and completely deserving of a man like Brendan Merrick.  Never have I liked a female character more.

Brendan is for all intents and purposes a refined gentleman, loved by many, revered by his shipmates.  He’s a golden boy with a heart that beats for the sea and his beautiful ships.  There isn’t a woman alive who can take the place of his first love….not any normal woman anyways. Brendan finds himself entranced by Mira from the very first time he sees her and his entrancement grows right along with ours.

Honestly, I cannot say enough good things about this book.  This is one of those warm and ooey-gooey stories that stays with a person for a long time.  I could go on and on and on about all of the things I love about Captain of My Heart or you can just read it for yourselves and see what all this fuss is about!  Go forth and buy it and read it immediately and be happy!  You will definitely not be sorry!

Krissie for b2b

Fan2Author Interview with…Danelle Harmon!

I am a brand new fan of this author and I am on the hunt! For the past week I’ve been tracking Danelle Harmon’s back llist because I fell in love with her story telling.

Recently I read five of her brand new back list releases as my review assignment for RCJR eZine and my blog. To Christine Morehouse I say, THANK YOU for introducing me to such a great author and her awesome series. Please help me welcome an author that I hope will become, if she already isn’t, your favorite as well.

b2bMelanie: Hello Danelle! Are you enjoying your summer so far?

Danelle Harmon:  I’m having a great summer, Melanie!  I hope you and your loved ones are, as well!

b2b: Actually, it has been a mixed bag, but the weather is getting to a point of tolerance now that we’re out of the 100 degree’s!

How exited are you with ‘Wicked at Heart’ coming out?

DH: I’m thrilled, especially as it has a beautiful new cover and one that I actually love!  I really fell in love with the hero of this story, and I hope readers will enjoy his journey as much as I did.

b2b: I definitely did! Loved the story!

It’s no news to my readers how much I enjoy reading the ‘behind the story’ notes of any book, so tell me more about your research and ‘behind the story’ of ‘WaH’.

DH:  I wrote Wicked At Heart while I was still living in England, so I took a lot of inspiration from my setting.  Oxford was only six miles away, and of course, the English countryside, which figured in a good part of Wicked At Heart (I set part of the book in the Cotswolds, one of my favorite areas of England).  It was wonderful to be surrounded by so many resources, and such beauty and history!

b2b: Cotswolds is now officially added to my Bucket List.

Just if someone out there hasn’t read any of your books, would you tell us a bit about them and what’s coming up for you in the future? Will you be releasing more of your backlist or will you concentrate on the future books?

DH: My career as an “Avon Lady” included ten books published by them; to date, five of them have been released as e-books, and I’m currently working on the sixth, Captain Of My Heart, which will, I hope, be available sometime in late August or early September.  I plan to revise and update all of my backlist, and when they are all available, with their beautiful new covers, I’ll finish the story that so many people have asked me for: that of Perry, Lord Brookhampton and the youngest de Montforte sibling, Lady Nerissa.

b2b: Let me tell you! I am really looking forward to all of them, especially Nerissa’s story. I truly thought that she needed her own book.

Which one of your books was the hardest and which the easiest to write and which couple did you like the best?

DH:  Without question, the hardest was The Beloved One.  Actors have to “inhabit” a role when they play it, and I believe that is true for authors, too. I get very wrapped up in my characters when I’m writing about them, and Lord Charles’s (the hero of The Beloved One) heartbreaking plight took a lot out of me, emotionally. Because of that, it got to the point that I was having trouble making myself sit down and spend time with him, so one winter weekend, I packed up my laptop and checked in to a local beach hotel and there, wrote a good part of the book.  I’ve never had to do that with any of my other books, and maybe that’s one reason that Lord Charles is my favorite of all the dashing, aristocratic de Montforte men… we really wrestled that story, the two of us, and I felt his pain right along with him.  As for couples, I don’t think I could pick any one set of characters … there are things I like and admire about all of them, I think.

b2b: You know, after five books that I’ve read, I think that ‘The Beloved One’ is my favorite!

Do you have a hard time writing the intimate scenes?

DH:  Yes; but to be honest, I can’t think of a romance writer who doesn’t!

b2b: LOL! Do you let someone read your work during your writing process? Who and why? Or do you wait ‘till it’s finished, then you let someone read it…and who?

DH: Nobody reads my work during the writing process, and I don’t belong to a critique group… in fact, I’ve never belonged to one.  Occasionally I’ll bounce ideas off my husband or a friend, but for the most part, I fly solo.

b2b: Now that’s interesting! Tell me about the cover art of your books. I can see that you have new Kindle covers for your backlist and I just love them. Who came up with it? What about the older ones?

DH:  Awww, thank you!  I just love my new covers!  Unlike with the older (paperback) versions, where I had zero control over the covers (and cried many a tear when I’d get my first look at them … the old covers for Wicked At Heart and The Beloved One were ghastly and looked NOTHING like my characters!) I had very specific ideas about what I wanted on the cover of each e-book.  Much to my delight and excitement, designer Kim Killion of Hot Damn Designs was able to bring those ideas to fruition… I love her work, and can’t thank her enough for these beautiful new covers!

b2b: She did an outstanding job in creating these covers. They are amazing!

Let’s talk titles…How hard is it to ‘name’ your ‘baby’?

DH:  My very first book was originally called “Forever A Free Prince” (my working title), but Avon, with an eye toward marketing, changed it to Pirate In My Arms.  The titles of the nine books that followed were all mine; I don’t seem to have any trouble naming books.

b2b: You are lucky, then. Some authors agonize over it.

We all have favorite books, authors… How about you? Are you willing to fess-up?

DH:  I read very, very little when it comes to romance, so I really don’t have any favorites within the genre.  I do like historical fiction, though, and occasionally will pick up something by Dean Koontz or Tess Gerritsen.  I loved the Joshua books by Joseph Girzone.

b2b: You know, I hear that a lot and it makes a lot of sense.

Some authors write at certain times of day or week. What’s your typical writing schedule and what gets your creative juices flowing? If you have any tips to help other aspiring new authors out there, feel free to share!

DH:  I wish I had a “schedule,” but, I’m also a mom, and as anyone with children knows, when it comes to kids, the old adage “the best laid plans…” certainly holds true.  Our daughter is home from summer camp now, so my writing time is very late at night.  I cannot work with interruptions, and in a house with my family and four dogs up and about, my best … perhaps my only … work gets done after they all go to bed.

b2b: LOL! So I see that it doesn’t differ from most mom’s out there. They all do the bulk of their chores after the household ‘settles down’.

I honestly enjoyed every aspect of this book. What inspired it and who did you envision as Damon?

DH:  Damon is a very wounded hero, and in adulthood, he’s paying the price for having an abusive mother who never showed him any love.  As a result, he’s prone to panic attacks, anxiety, and has an impossible time seeing the beauty in the world about him.  He’s angry, without knowing why, but he yearns for so much more.  I know people like Damon, loved ones who suffer panic attacks and anxiety disorders, and I must confess that my empathy toward them inspired me to write Damon’s character.  I wrote the paperback version of Wicked At Heart in the mid-1990s, and the young, intense, gorgeous and still relatively unknown Ralph Fiennes was the person I envisioned as Damon.

b2b: I am not surprised. He would definitely do justice to the role of Damon with his intensity and voice.

What do you like to read and what’s on your TBR right now?

DH:  I’m currently reading With Fire And Sword:  The Battle of Bunker Hill and the Beginning of the American Revolution by James Nelson, who’s actually quite well-known for his great fiction.  It’s a great read, and I’m enjoying his portrayal of Dr. Joseph Warren, the young, handsome, and sadly forgotten patriot without whom, I think, we probably wouldn’t have had a revolution.  Dr. Warren is one of my very favorite historical personages, right up there with British Admiral Lord Nelson.

b2b: Cool. I’ll make sure to look it up.

Now, that ends up our ‘professional’ portion of this interview.

…Let’s get Personal:

So, tell us a bit about yourself, something personal that you’d like us to know…anything that makes you comfortable…or not…like how many times did you fall in love? Flannel or Silk? Cats or Dogs? Champagne or Beer?  Rock or Classical? Movies or TV?

DH:  I can’t remember how many times I’ve fallen in love, but I’ve been happily married to my husband Chris since we tied the knot back in Abingdon, England, in 1995!  As for your other questions:  Flannel (it gets cold here during a Massachusetts winter!) … Dogs (I have four German Shorthaired Pointers ranging in age from one to fifteen years), though I do love kitties, too (my allergies don’t!), and Sam Adams Cherry Wheat beer, please!  My iTunes library is pretty eclectic, but I’m a big fan of the British band Oasis (which was HUGE when we were living in England); I also love Madonna, Lady Gaga, the Bee Gees’ older stuff (before the disco era), and anything with great energy to it.  I don’t watch TV (every time I get hooked on a show it gets canceled, so I don’t bother anymore!).  I’m a huge and devoted fan of Jesus Christ Superstar — the movie, the soundtrack, the live production — and have seen it on stage more times than I can count.  I even have a photo of myself with Ted Neeley, who’s holding a copy of The Wild One!

b2b: Danelle, you’re one fun lady! You’ve been very gracious to stop by and play, and I thank you so much. I am sure that our readers will be thrilled to learn that you’ve offered FIVE lucky winners   (one book per winner/title of their choice) ALL FIVE of your books as a giveaway, and all they have to tell us is this: how much of sensuality do you like to read about? No sexual contact whatsoever, sexual contact all over, or are you somewhere in between?

You can reach Danelle on Facebook, Tweeter and her website. To buy her novels right now, just click on the cover.

‘Wicked at Heart’ by Danelle Harmon

STORY: The Beauty is Lady Gwyneth Evans Simms, a fiery and independent young widow who has won wide renown for her campaigns to aid the unfortunate and the oppressed. Fearlessly determined, she turns her passionate energy upon the prison hulks anchored in England’s harbors… unwittingly throwing herself against a ruthless adversary and into the most perilous fight of her life.

The Beast is Damon Andrew Phillip deWolfe, the rude and arrogant Marquess of Morninghall, a lone wolf of a man with devil’s eyes and a temper blacker than hell. Tall, dark, and very, very dangerous, the last thing he needs or wants is this intrepid virago interfering in his life. But only Gwyneth can exorcise the personal demons that haunt Damon’s black soul… and teach him to love, once again.

REVIEW: As this story opens, our young hero is only fifteen years old and we witness his first sexual encounter with an ‘older’ woman. This, combined with his childhood abuse, will turn him into a man who is in constant state of rage, anger and physical pain.

Damon de Wolfe, the sixth Marquess of Morninghall did everything he could to disengage himself from humanity. He embraced and fed his rage keeping it close for so long, that IT was the only thing that kept him going. He treated everyone around him with disdain and contempt and our heroine needed to be one strong female in order to see through all that pain and stand up to IT and him, to save this man’s broken heart.

Lady Gwyneth Evans Simms is a very likable heroine, but not to our hero. He sees her as an interfering and troublesome woman who he would like nothing more than to physically posses and humiliate. He is in for a rude awakening as this particular woman is not easily manipulated. She is on a mission to help mistreated prisoners who are on his ship. To say that the sparks fly when these two strong-minded people clash, is an understatement!

The above blurb adequately summarizes the story and it’s not necessary for me to elaborate more on it, however I will tell you of my reasons why I liked the story, and disliked the hero (well, through almost half the story).

Ms. Harmon, through her previous four books I’ve read from her, has proven to me that she’s a great story-teller. Through her writing she can engage a range of my emotions and that’s a sign of a good author. This story made me angry, smile and cry. And then, at the very end, it left me confused and I felt let down. Our hero and heroine have their well deserved happy ever after and in the end, that’s what counts, yet the ending might have been just a tad clearer.

Despite it, I really enjoyed this highly emotional story. Its pace was fast and characters interesting, so it kept me engaged all the way through the end. This is not your cookie cutter story and its hero is someone you’ll need to have patience with. His journey from deep darkness was worth taking and I was glad to have watched him come out better for it.

ARC provided by the Author.