Spotlight on Caroline Linden and ‘Love in the Time of Scandal’!

Have you ever read Caroline Linden stories? If you have, than you know how much fun and romantic they are, not to mention sensual!

This is a third book in her Scandals series in which 50 Ways to Sin pamphlet gives more than one lady a mind for scandal [you can find my review of the first one here and the second one here] and while I found the first to be lighthearted and fun, and the second one a bit subdued and emotional, this third one was intense and heartbreaking, yet just as romantic as the first two.

<Love and Other Scandals><It Takes a Scandal><Love in the Time of Scandal><All's Fair in Love and Scandal>

If you’ve never read any of her books, then I have only one question for you: What are you waiting for?!! Get to it ;)

We’re lucky to have Caroline stop by and do a mini interview with us, so sit back and enjoy it. Don’t forget to read the excerpt too ;)

Caroline, before I start with the questions, how about you tell us a bit about your writing career so far?

It’s been a lot of fun! I started writing about 13 years ago, when my children were really small. To be honest, I never thought of myself as a writer, and my first trial book was really just fooling around (and it showed—I never finished that first effort, with good reason). I was astonished when it turned out to be fun. I sold my first book in 2004, and today my 16th book comes out.

Who inspired this story’s hero and heroine?

There isn’t one, or even two, sources. Bits of them came from all over. Penelope is the youngest daughter of a very wealthy, though not noble, family. She’s clever, funny, and fiercely loyal, but she sometimes doesn’t know when to quit. Penelope’s quite confident that her view is the right one, and it takes her a while to realize her error there. Benedict is the son and heir of an earl. He’s handsome, decent, protective of his mother and sisters, and absolutely desperate to marry a rich woman. His father is abusive and controlling, and the only way out Benedict sees is to make himself financially independent. Penelope would be perfect…except that she hates him. And drives him crazy. And he can’t stop thinking about her. And then they’re caught together in a scandalous moment, and Fate takes over.

What was your favorite book as a child?

There were too many to remember! But one I remember very fondly, and read multiple times, was CALICO CAPTIVE by Elizabeth George Speare. It’s about a family on the New Hampshire frontier in the 1750s or so, taken captive by an Abenaki raiding party. The main character is 16 year old Miriam, whose budding romance with a local young man is interrupted by the capture…but not ended. It’s based on a true story and I was mesmerized by it.

Is there a book you’re never tired of reading over and over?

No, not really. I have a collection of go-to favorites, but not just one. The most recent book I re-read from that collection was BRIDGET JONES. I still love the laugh-out-loud writing.

If you were given only one genre to read for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Oh man! Only one?! I think it’s best to switch around between genres. I love my romances, but also mysteries, and thrillers, and seriously good non-fiction like the books David McCullough writes—I’m really looking forward to reading his new one about the Wright brothers, because as a child I wanted to be a pilot.

What was the last book that made you laugh out loud, and what was the last one that made you cry?

Hmm. One that made me laugh was Laura Drewry’s PRIMA DONNA. The heroine is so tough and funny, even in trying and heartbreaking moments, and the hero is just adorable: a doctor who lets his most seriously ill patients cut his hair! The fact that the heroine is a hair stylist, and is personally offended by his terrible hair until she learns the truth, just makes it funnier. The one that made me cry, for both happy and sad reasons, is Maya Rodale’s WHAT A WALLFLOWER WANTS. The heroine has been sexually assaulted, and it’s heartbreaking at times—but then it becomes poignantly joyful as she learns to take back herself and her own body.

litos clBOOK BLURB: Penelope Weston does not like Benedict Lennox, Lord Atherton. He may be the suave and charming heir to an earl, as well as the most handsome man on earth, but she can’t forget how he abandoned a friend in need—nor how he once courted her sister, Abigail. He’s the last man she would ever marry. If only she didn’t feel so attracted to the arrogant scoundrel…

Once upon a time, Benedict thought he and Penelope got along rather well. Though he needs a wealthy bride to escape his cruel father’s control, spirited Penelope just doesn’t suit his plans for a model marriage—until a good deed goes awry, and scandalous rumors link his name to Penelope’s. She might not be the quiet, sensible wife he thought he wanted, but she is beautiful . . . beguiling . . . and far more passionate than he ever imagined. Can a marriage begun in scandal become a love match, too?

BUY LINKS: iBooks / Kindle / Google Play / Kobo / nook

EXCERPT:

Prologue

1805

Stratford Court, Richmond

Perseus lay in pieces on the floor. His arm, divorced from his body, held out the severed head of Medusa as if to ward his attacker off, and indeed, Benedict Lennox thought it might well have turned him to stone.

Before he fell, Perseus had held the head aloft, poised in mid-stride. The Gorgon’s face was twisted with rage and her eyes seemed to follow a person. It was hideous, even frightening, but Benedict’s father said it was a masterpiece, and Father knew art. As such it was displayed in a prominent position on the landing of the main staircase of Stratford Court, with a large mirror behind it to display the rear. Benedict always tried not to look right at it when he passed, but there was no avoiding it now. The base rested against the remains of the mirror, while Perseus and his trophy were scattered in pieces across the landing, amid the glittering shards of broken glass.

“Do you know anything about this?” The Earl of Stratford’s voice was idle, almost disinterested.

His son swallowed hard. “No, sir.”

“No?” The earl rocked back on his heels. “Nothing at all? Do you not even recognize it?”

Oh no. That had been the wrong answer. He searched frantically for the right one. “No, sir. I didn’t mean that. It’s a statue of Perseus.”

Lord Stratford made a soft, disappointed noise. “Not merely a statue of Perseus. This is one of the finest works of art by a great sculptor. See how exquisitely he renders the god’s form, how he encapsulates the evil of the Gorgon!” He paused. “But you don’t care about that, do you?”

Benedict said nothing. He knew there was no correct answer to that question.

Stratford sighed. “Such a pity. I had hoped my only son would pay more attention to his classical studies, but alas. Perhaps I should be grateful you recognized it at all. Our entire conversation would be for naught otherwise.”

Benedict Lennox gripped his hands together until his knuckles hurt. He stood rigidly at attention, mesmerized by the shattered glass and stone before him.

His father clasped his hands behind him, rather like Benedict’s tutor did when explaining a difficult point of mathematics. “Now, what else can you tell me about this statue?”

“Something terrible happened to it, sir.”

“Was it struck by lightning, do you think?” asked the earl in exaggerated concern.

The sky outside the mullioned windows was crystal clear, as blue as a robin’s egg. “Unlikely, sir.”

“No, perhaps not,” his father murmured, watching him with a piercing stare. Benedict longed to look away from that stare but knew it would be a mistake. “Perhaps it was a stray shot from a poacher?”

Stratford Court was set in a manicured park, surrounded only by gardens, graveled paths, and open rolling lawns. The woods where any poachers might roam were across the river. Benedict wished those woods were much closer. He wished he were exploring them right this moment. “Possible, but also unlikely, sir.”

“Not a poacher,” said Stratford thoughtfully. “I confess, I’ve quite run out of ideas! How on earth could a statue of inestimable value break without any outside influence? Not only that, but the mirror as well. It’s bad luck to break a mirror.”

He stayed silent. He didn’t know, either, though he suspected he was about to be punished for it. Bad luck, indeed.

“What do you say, Benedict? What is the logical conclusion?”

His tongue felt wooden. “It must have been someone inside the house, sir.”

“Surely not! Who would do such a thing?”

A flicker of movement caught his eye before he could think of an answer. He tried to check the impulse, but his father noticed his involuntary start and turned to follow his gaze. Two little girls peeped around the newel post at the bottom of the stairs. “Come here, my lovely daughters, come here,” said the earl.

Benedict’s heart sank into his shoes. Suddenly he guessed what had happened to the mirror. Samantha, who was only four, looked a little uncertain; but Elizabeth, who was seven, was pale-faced with fear. Slowly the sisters came up the stairs, bobbing careful curtsies when they reached the landing.

“Here are my pretty little ones.” The earl surveyed them critically. “Lady Elizabeth, your sash is dropping. And Lady Samantha, you’ve got dirt on your dress.”

“I’m sorry, Father.” Elizabeth tugged at her sash, setting it further askew. Samantha just put her hands behind her back and looked at the floor. She’d only recently been allowed out of the nursery and barely knew the earl.

“Your brother and I are attempting to solve a mystery.” The earl waved one hand at the wreckage. “Do you know what happened to this statue?”

Elizabeth went white as she stared at the Gorgon’s head. “It broke, Father,” piped up Samantha.

“Very good,” the earl told her. “Do you know how?”

Elizabeth’s terrified gaze veered to him. Benedict managed to give her an infinitesimal shake of his head before their father turned on him. “Benedict says he does not know,” Stratford said sharply. “Do not look at him for answers, Elizabeth.”

In the moment the earl’s back was turned to them, Elizabeth nudged her sister and touched one finger to her lips. Samantha’s brown eyes grew round and she moved closer to Elizabeth, reaching for her hand.

Stratford turned back to his daughters. “Do either of you know?” Elizabeth blinked several times, but she shook her head. “Samantha?” prodded their father. “It would be a sin not to answer me.”

Samantha’s expression grew worried. Benedict’s throat clogged and his eyes stung. He took a breath to calm his roiling nerves and spoke before his sister could. “It was my fault, Father.”

“Your fault?” Fury flashed in the earl’s face though his voice remained coldly calm. “How so, Benedict?”

What should he say? If the earl didn’t believe his story, he’d be whipped for lying, and then his sister would be punished for the actual crime, the nursemaid would be sacked for not keeping better watch over her charges, and his mother would be excoriated for hiring the nursemaid at all. And all over an ugly statue that everyone tried to avoid seeing.

A fine sweat broke out on his brow. Boys at school told of lying to deny their misdeeds, but how did one lie to claim a crime? He would have to ask, next term. Not that it would help him now.

To finish the excerpt and for the first chapter, go here.

Caroline LindenAUTHOR BIO: This is Caroline Linden’s short version of her biography: Caroline Linden earned a math degree from Harvard University before turning to writing fiction. Ten years, nine books, two Red Sox championships, and one dog later, she has never been happier with her decision.

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who wanted nothing more than to be an astronaut. Or a fashion designer. Possibly both; pink spacesuits would look so much better than white ones. But it turned out those were difficult careers to combine, and eventually the fashion designing fell by the wayside.

To continue reading this longer and very interesting version of Caroline Linden’s biography, please visit her website here.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:  Website / Facebook / Tweeter

Spotlight on Jade Lee and ’50 Ways to Ruin a Rake’!

50wtrar jlBOOK BLURB: Mellie has a plan

Mellie Smithson is trapped in the country with no suitors and no prospects on the horizon except, perhaps, the exasperating—although admittedly handsome—guest of her father. She’s looking for any excuse to go to London to meet more eligible men.

Trevor has a problem
Trevor Anaedsley’s grandfather has cut off his funds until such time as he gets engaged. Trevor escapes to the country—ostensibly to visit his old tutor Mr. Smithson but actually to duck his creditors—where he meets Smithson’s lovely daughter Mellie. The obvious solution is suddenly before him—but the lady has ideas of her own, and Trevor’s going to have to measure up…

BUY LINKS: Kindle | iTunes | Kobo | Amazon | BN |Books-A-Million | IndieBound

MY REVIEW here.

TEASER:

“Hit him!” screamed the crowd. “Show ‘im what for!”

The sentiment was echoed all around until Mellie actively hated them all. Not just the crowd, but the two combatants. Trevor and Ronnie, fighting like boys in the school yard. Bloody and violent, to be sure, especially since they were grown men. But no one was likely to die. Which is when Trevor stepped in a hole.

He cried out in surprise and pain. Thank God he was wearing boots, otherwise his leg might have snapped in two. As it was, he tumbled down into the mud and Ronnie clearly meant to finish the fight. But he hadn’t reckoned on Melinda. She’d been an unwilling participant in this whole disgusting display. Well, if her cousin wanted a Cheltenham tragedy, she would bloody well give him one.

She surged forward. “Stop it! Ronnie, stop it now!” And when he didn’t hear her, she said the words she’d never thought she’d utter in her entire life. “My love!”

That got his attention. “Mellie!”

She flung herself forward, sliding in the mud to stop right beside Trevor’s head. Ronnie reached for her, but she pushed him away as she wrapped herself around the fallen lord. “My love, are you alive? Oh God, someone fetch a doctor!”

Trevor’s face was a battered mess, but not so unrecognizable that she didn’t see the gleam of appreciation in his eyes or the mischievous smile that pulled at his swollen lip.

“Are you an angel?” he asked. “Have I died?”

The man was lying in the mud, his ankle nearly snapped in half. His face oozed from a myriad of cuts, and yet he still had the wherewithall to give the crowd a good show. It was enough to make her contemplate dropping him in the mud.

Meanwhile, Ronnie just stood there poised, his fist still raised as he gaped. “I won. This was an affaire d’honor.”

“Congratulations,” she mocked. “You beat a man half your weight.”

“I’m not that small,” muttered Trevor.

“Shut up. I’m making a point.” Then she turned her attention to her cousin. “You were right, Ronnie. You have made everything clear. I could never love a brute like you. I love Trevor.”

“Since when?”

Since never. She had a thorough disgust of them both. Especially as Trevor began to speak in a quavering voice.

“Oh, to finally hear those words, now in the moments before I expire. Kiss me, my love. Mayhap your love will keep me tethered to this mortal coil.”

“I will not,” she said between clenched teeth.

He pitched his voice to a plaintive wail. “Then I shall die for sure!”

Damnation on all bloody, arrogant, ridiculous men! One glance about her showed that the crowd was hanging on his every word. She didn’t really care until she looked at Ronnie’s face. He wasn’t stupid. He could see that Trevor wasn’t really hurt. It wouldn’t take him long to remember that she’d never spoken of Trevor with anything but disdain. And from there it was a small step to realizing that this entire display was a sham. So she had to do something quickly. Something that he’d never forget, even if he did suspect the lie.

She kissed Trevor.

She more than kissed him. She lifted him in her arms and gave him the kind of scorching kiss that every woman dreamed she’d receive from the grandson of a duke. And he-horrible roué that he was-wrapped his arm around her shoulders and kissed her right back.

And he kept kissing her, with tongue and teeth and a growl of hunger so wonderful that she hated him even more. Even as she lost all thought to propriety in this very public place.

>>>>>>>>>> RAFFLECOPTER <<<<<<<<<<

Jade-LeeAUTHOR BIO: A USA Today Bestseller, JADE LEE has been scripting love stories since she first picked up a set of paper dolls. Ball gowns and rakish lords caught her attention early (thank you Georgette Heyer), and her fascination with the Regency began. And as a Taurus, she lives to pit a headstrong woman against a tortured hero just to watch them butt heads on the way to true love. Flesh wounds are rare, but the healing and laughter are real.

Now an author of more than 30 romance novels, she finally gets to set these couples in the best girl-heaven of all: a Bridal Salon! This way she gets to live out all her wedding fantasies, one by one. (Let’s be honest, what girl has only one idea for her dream wedding?) For more on the Bridal Favors series, visit Jade’s social media links. And don’t forget Jade’s other name, KATHY LYONS. That’s Jade’s lighter, contemporary side. She writes for Harlequin Blaze merging hawt sex and funny relationships into really great reads.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Website / Facebook / Twitter

Spotlight on Cara Elliott and ‘Sinfully Yours’!

Sinfully-Yours-Release-Week-Blitz

Today we’re hosting one of my favorite authors, Cara Elliott and her new book, second in her Hellions of High Street, which is about three unconventional sisters that are poorer than a church mouse, but they all have one thing in common, their equally unconventional secret nom de plume identities.

I really enjoyed this series and highly recommend them all. We asked the author a question about her heroine and here is what she had to say:

Your heroine is at the lending library and can only pick 5 titles. Which ones does she chooses?

Well, she writes romance novels (in secret, of course) and so is always looking for inspiration—for love, for drama, for adventure, and well, for those slightly naughty scenes! So these would be the ones she chooses:

  1. Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
  2. The Mysteries of Udolpho by Anne Radcliffe
  3. Don Juan by Lord Byron
  4. The Taming of the Shrew by Shakespeare
  5. Fanny Hill by John Cleland

Elliott_Sinfully Yours_MMBOOK BLURB: After an eventful Season, Anna Sloane longs for some peace and quiet to pursue her writing. Though her plots might be full of harrowing adventure and heated passion, she’d much prefer to leave such exploits on the page rather than experience them in real life. Or so she thinks until she encounters the darkly dissolute-and gorgeously charming-Marquess of Davenport.

Davenport has a reputation as a notorious rake whose only forte is wanton seduction. However the real reason he’s a guest at the same remote Scottish castle has nothing to do with Anna . . . until a series of mysterious threats leave him no choice but to turn to her for help in stopping a dangerous conspiracy. As desire erupts between them, Davenport soon learns he’s not the only one using a carefully crafted image to hide his true talents. And he’s more than ready to show Anna that sometimes reality can be even better than her wildest imaginings . . .

BUY LINKS: Amazon / B&N / iBooks / GooglePlay / Kobo / BAM

I invite you to check out my review of this story here.

>>>>>>>>>> RAFFLECOPTER GIVEAWAY<<<<<<<<<<

EXCERPT:

“It was getting devilishly dull out here with only my own thoughts for company.”
Speak of the Devil!
Anna whirled around. “That’s not surprising, sir, when one’s mind is filled with nothing but thoughts of drinking, wenching, and gaming. Titillating as those pursuits might be, I would assume they grow tiresome with constant repetition.”
“A dangerous assumption, Miss Sloane.” Devlin Greville, the Marquess of Davenport—better known as the Devil Davenport—tossed down his cheroot and ground out the glowing tip beneath his heel. Sparks flared for an instant, red-gold against the slate tiles, before fading away to darkness. “I thought you a more sensible creature than to venture an opinion on things about which you know nothing.”
Anna watched warily as he took one . . . two . . . three sauntering steps closer. Quelling the urge to retreat, she stood her ground. The Devil might be a dissolute rake, a rapacious rogue, but she would not give him the satisfaction of seeing her flinch.
“Sense has nothing to do with it,” she countered coolly. “Given the rather detailed—and lurid—gossip that fills the drawing rooms of Mayfair each morning, I know a great deal about your exploits.”
“Another dangerous assumption.” His voice was low and a little rough, like the purr of a stalking panther.
Anna felt the tiny hairs on the nape of her neck stand on end.
He laughed, and the sound turned even softer. “I also thought you a more sensible creature than to listen to wild speculation.”
“Indeed?” Feigning nonchalance, she slid sideways and leaned back against the stone railing. Which was, she realized a tactical mistake. The marquess mirrored her movements, leaving her no way to escape.
“I—I don’t know why you would think that,” she went on. “You know absolutely nothing about me.”
“On the contrary. I, too, listen to the whispers that circulate through the ton.”
“Don’t be absurd.” She steadied her voice. “I am quite positive that there’s not an ill word spoken about me. I am exceedingly careful that not a whiff of impropriety sullies my reputation.”
“Which in itself says a great deal,” he drawled.
“You’re an idiot.”
“Am I?” He came closer, close enough that her nostrils were suddenly filled with a swirl of masculine scents. Bay rum cologne. Spiced smoke. French brandy. A hint of male musk.
Her pulse began to pound, her breath began to quicken.
Good Lord, it’s me who is an idiot. I’m acting like Emmalina!
Shaking off the horrid novel histrionics, Anna scowled. “You’re not only an idiot, Lord Davenport, you are an annoying idiot. I’m well aware that you take perverse pleasure in trying to . . .”
Cocking his head, he waited.
“To annoy me,” she finished lamely.
Another laugh. “Clearly I am having some success, so I can’t be all that bumbling.”
To give the Devil his due, he had a quick wit. Biting back an involuntary smile, Anna turned her head to look out over the shadowed gardens. Flames from the torchieres on the main terrace danced in the breeze, their glow gilding the silvery moonlight as it dappled over the thick ivy vines that covered the perimeter walls.
She shouldn’t find him amusing. And yet like a moth drawn to an open fire . . .
“What? No clever retort?” said Devlin.
Anna willed herself not to respond.
“I see.” Somehow he found a way to inch even closer. His trousers were now touching her skirts. “You mean to ignore me.”
“If you were a gentleman, you would go away and spare me the effort.”
“Allow me to point out two things, Miss Sloane. Number one—I was here first.”
The marquess had a point.
“And number two. . .” His hand touched her cheek. He wasn’t wearing gloves and the heat of his bare fingers seemed to scorch her skin. “We both know I’m no gentleman.”

Devlin saw her eyes widen as the light pressure on her jaw turned her face to his. It wasn’t shock, he decided, but something infinitely more interesting. Miss Anna Sloane was no spun-sugar miss, a cloying confection of sweetness and air that would make a man’s molars stick together at first bite. He sensed an intriguing hint of steel beneath the demure gowns and dutiful smiles.
If I had to guess, I would say that she’s not averse to the little game we have been playing.
She inhaled with a sharp hiss.
Or maybe I am simply in a state of drunken delusion.
It was entirely possible. Of late he had been imbibing far more brandy than was good for him. Only one way to find out.
He would give her a heartbeat to protest, to pull away. Yes, he was dissolute, but not depraved. A man had to draw the line somewhere.
She made a small sound in her throat.
Too late.
The tiny throb of her pulse beneath his fingertips had signaled her time was up. Devlin leaned in and felt their bodies graze, their lips touch.
A mere touch, and yet it sent a jolt of fire through him.
He froze. The distant laughter, the faint trilling of the violins, the rustling leaves all gave way to a strange thrumming sound in his ears.
Anna shifted, and Devlin shook off the sensation. It must be the brandy, he decided. He had just come from his club, where he had been sampling a potent vintage brought up from the wine cellar. Women had no such effect on him.
A kiss was a distraction, nothing more. A way to keep boredom at bay.
“Go to Hell.” Anna’s whisper teased against his mouth as she jerked back.
“Eventually,” growled Devlin. “But first . . .” He kissed her again. A harder, deeper, possessive embrace. Her lips tremored uncertainly.
Seizing the moment, he slipped his tongue through the tiny gap and tasted a beguiling mix of warmth and spice. Impossible to describe.
He needed to taste more.
More.

Cara ElliottAUTHOR BIO: Cara Elliott started creating books at the age of five, or so her mother tells her. And Mom has the proof preserved in a family scrapbook—a neatly penciled story, the pages lavishly illustrated with full color crayon drawings of horses. Cara has since moved on from Westerns to writing about Regency England, a time and place that has captured her imagination ever since she opened the covers of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.”

A graduate of Yale University, Cara has garnered numerous accolades for her writing, including two Daphne Du Maurier Awards for Historical Mystery /Suspense and two RITAs nominations for Regency Romance. (She also writes a historical mystery series under the nom de plume Andrea Penrose.)

Cara loves to travel to interesting destinations around the world—however, her favorite spot is London, where the funky antique markets, used book stores and specialty museums offer a wealth of inspiration for her stories.

Cara also writes under the pen names Andrea Pickens (Traditional Regencies and swashbuckling Spy Regencies) and Andrea Penrose (A Regency-set mystery series)

SOCIAL MEDIA: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads

Spotlight on Grace Burrowes and ‘The Duke’s Disaster’!

The Duke's DisasterBOOK BLURB: Noah Winters, Duke of Anselm, exercises the pragmatism for which he’s infamous when his preferred choice of bride cries off, and her companion, Lady Thea Collins, becomes his next choice for his duchess. Lady Thea’s mature, sensible and even rather attractive-what could possibly go wrong?

As a lady fallen on hard times, Thea doesn’t expect tender sentiments from His Grace, but she does wish Noah had courted her trust, lest her past turn their hastily arranged marriage into a life of shared regrets. Is His Grace courting a convenient wife, or a beautiful disaster?

BUY LINKS: Amazon / B&N / iTunes

EXCERPT:

The Duke and Duchess are having a rocky start to their marriage, also to their day…

“Your tea, Duchess.”

Noah had woken up beside his wife—again, despite all plans to the contrary—creating another first for him. Thea had risen several times during the night to tend to herself. He hadn’t realized that monthly courses caused a woman’s rest to be interrupted.

Crashingly bad planning, for a lady’s sleep to be disturbed when she most needed rest.

“You’re not about to steal my tea?” Thea held out the cup, her gaze shy as she sat propped against the headboard.

“Where’s the fun in stealing what’s freely offered?” Noah settled in beside her and filched a bite of her cinnamon toast. “Would you rather have chocolate this morning?”

“Because?”

“You’re”— Noah waved a hand in the direction of her middle—“indisposed.”

“I am not indisposed.” Thea set her teacup down with a little clink. “The discomfort has passed, as it always does. You needn’t be concerned.”

“I am not concerned, Thea.” Not greatly concerned, now that she’d stopped ordering him to go away and was ready for a proper spat. “I am attempting in my bumbling way to dote. You will allow it.”

Drat. He’d given another order.

“You couldn’t bumble if one gave you written instructions, Anselm,” Thea said, looking a little less peaked for having run up her flags. “That was my toast you appropriated.”

“Appropriation is what happens when one’s wife can’t appreciate a little doting. You’re being stingy with the tea, just as you were stingy with the covers. How long does this indisposition last?”

Her chin came up. “I am the Duchess of Anselm. I am not stingy with anything, but you are a very presuming husband.”

“Doting.” Noah took Thea’s free hand to kiss her knuckles— lest she mistake his point. “Also in need of my duchess’s guidance on this one marital matter.”

TheDukesDisasterGraphic

Click on the pic to read chapter One!

“This is so personal.” Thea’s gaze was on their joined hands— for Noah would not have her haring off in a fit of mortification. “I didn’t think you’d be a personal sort of husband. You were supposed to appear in my dressing-room doorway a few nights a month, silently take a few marital liberties, and then leave me in peace. We’d trade sections of the Times over breakfast the next morning.”

“Prosaic.” Boring and exactly what Noah himself had envisioned. “Hard to see any doting going on, though.”

“Husband?” Thea’s tone was hesitant. “Thank you, for keeping me company last night. I would not have known how to ask.”

“I suppose that’s the definition of doting.” Noah lingered at the cart to assemble a plate. “It’s the little things you can’t bring yourself to ask for, that an attentive spouse will enjoy providing to you. Bacon or ham?”

“A little of both, please.”

“Feeling carnivorous?”

“I’m a trifle indisposed. I need the sustenance.”

Noah piled both ham and bacon on Thea’s plate, and stole better than half of it, because he needed the sustenance too.

GraceBurrowesAUTHOR BIO: New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Grace Burrowes’ bestsellers include The Heir, The Soldier, Lady Maggie’s Secret Scandal, Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish and Lady Eve’s Indiscretion.

The Heir was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 2010, The Soldier was a PW Best Spring Romance of 2011, Lady Sophie’s Christmas Wish won Best Historical Romance of the Year in 2011 from RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards, Lady Louisa’s Christmas Knight was a Library Journal Best Book of 2012, and The Bridegroom Wore Plaid was a PW Best Book of 2012.

Her Regency romances have received extensive praise, including starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Grace is branching out into short stories and Scotland-set Victorian romance with Sourcebooks. She is a practicing family law attorney and lives in rural Maryland.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

Spotlight on Sally Orr and ‘When a Rake Falls’!

When-A-Rake-Falls-Blog-Tour

Please help me welcome an author that is quickly becoming my favorite. Her début book had me grinning and laughing from page one. If you’re like me and need from time to time to switch from heavy, heart wrenching tropes, to light-hearted, highly entertaining and fast paced romance, this is an author you should check out.

Sally Orr is here today with a special excerpt for us. I hope you’ll enjoy it!

EXCERPT:

Traits of a gentleman: Intelligence

The traits of a true gentleman include: courage, intelligence, sportsmanship, service to the king or service to a lady. Some even believe the traits of a gentleman also include wit and compassion for the young, elderly, and animals.

My name is Lord Boyce Parker, and I was present when the Earl of Stainthorpe challenged London’s finest bachelors to a race to Paris.

On a beautiful morning, the earl addressed the crowd of eligible gentlemen.

“The fourth cup will be given to the man whose journey provides the best example of our English intelligence. We are the land of Newton and Davy, so the greatest brains of civilization are English. Except for that da Vinci fellow and one or two Greeks, but we can afford to be generous and let the rest of the world have a little luck now and then.”

Spurred on by the opportunity to prove myself one of England’s greatest gentlemen, I plan to hire a balloon to journey to Paris. But not any old balloon flying about only for ascensions. No, I hired a spot as a guest on a balloon already planned for flight. The balloon is piloted by the famous man of science, Mr. Thomas Mountfloy. This aeronaut has assured me that I will be able to assist him with his scientific investigations during our flight. I’m sure that as we fly to Paris, we will discover some great new scientific fact. So it’s obvious that I am the favorite to win two of the earl’s challenges, both the courage and intelligence challenges. If you’re a betting type, place your bets on me.

*** *** ***

London, 1825

Lord Boyce Parker felt a sudden urge to sing. The brisk morning air, the glorious sunshine, and the presence of a hundred or so excited gentlemen milling around him could only mean a remarkable day ahead. Boyce knew he’d be mocked if he broke out in song, but sometimes happiness just bubbled up from somewhere down in your toes and overwhelmed a fellow. “My candle burns bright—-”

“Goes without saying you learned to sing by reading a book,” said George Drexel, one of Boyce’s oldest friends. “Right now I could be in bed with the lovely Widow Donhurst. Instead, I’m standing here amongst the rabble of London, far too early for any sane man, following another one of your bacon–brained schemes.”

Boyce ignored him and kept his gaze fixed on the balcony of Stainthorpe House. Yesterday, the Earl of Stainthorpe had placed an advertisement in all of the newspapers inviting London’s finest bachelors to gather in Royston Square. Although the details in the advertisement were few, it hinted fame and five thousand pounds might be gained by winning one of several “challenges.” As the son of a wealthy marquess, Boyce had no need for the money, but he longed for a chance to impress his father. “It’s not my bacon–brained scheme; it’s the earl’s. Cheer up. You will be the friend of the victorious Lord Boyce Parker.”

Drexel turned to glare at the pressing horde of eager young gentlemen behind them. “You don’t even know what the old man’s challenges are. They could all be a hum, like a scavenger hunt to find his great–uncle’s tricorne hat or his aunt’s lost poodle.” Drexel dressed in somber colors without fancy cravats or fobs, so his words had the gravity of a humorless man no one would willfully cross. This morning, his rumpled clothes, dark whiskers, and obvious lack of sleep—-no doubt due to a long night of amorous adventure—-made him appear grumpier than normal. “I hardly think the earl’s tomfool challenges will make you famous.”

“You don’t sound cheerful.” Boyce grinned at his old school friend. “I’m confident the earl’s challenges will be significant and my assured victory will pave the way to restoring my father’s esteem.”

Drexel spat on the ground. “Chasing your brother’s fame? Richard is a glorious war hero. I’m sure winning some silly challenge won’t compete with his elevated consequence.”

“You’re wrong. When my name is printed in the newspapers, my father will have to speak of me with the same admiration he gives Richard.”

“I don’t think winning a challenge will change the marquess’s opinion of you—-”

“Look.” Boyce pointed upward.

The Earl of Stainthorpe stepped to the edge of his balcony overlooking Royston Square. “My friends, I understand there are no great men left in England.” Silver wisps of hair escaped the earl’s old–fashioned queue and blew over his forehead, but he ignored them as he squarely confronted the men below.

The audience surged forward and yelled retorts to the earl’s audacious remark.

Boyce had arrived an hour early so he would be close enough to hear his lordship’s every word. But if this hubbub continued, he might not catch what the earl had to say. He turned to the man yelling behind him. “I’ll give you a pound, my good fellow, if you can shout louder.”

The man smiled and shouted.

“Definitely not louder, unfortunate loss indeed,” Boyce said. “Now I suggest you hush and let his lordship speak.”

Standing two steps behind his master, the earl’s butler vigorously rang a handbell to gain the attention of the boisterous crowd.

“The earldom of Stainthorpe owns numerous and diverse holdings,” the earl bellowed. “Therefore, upon my death, my daughter will be the richest woman in England.”

The crowd cheered.

The earl waited for them to settle down. “What I’m trying to say is, Lady Sarah Stainthorpe needs a husband. But so far, none of the Eligibles paraded before her will do. She refuses to marry and claims all the gentlemen in London are rogues, dandies, or worse. The point is, she’s a bluestocking and might fall in love with some bloody…a poet. I tell you, my friends, that Byron fellow has a lot to answer for.”

As the youngest son of a marquess, Boyce was considered an Eligible. Only, Lady Sarah had rejected him, and all the other Eligibles, seconds after they had presented themselves at Royston House—-an unfortunate circumstance, since he believed Lady Sarah would make an excellent wife and a very pretty one too. After a moment of reflection, he realized every lady of his acquaintance would make a pretty wife. One or two may have a feature some might call “unfortunate.” Nevertheless, he always found something pretty in every female countenance.

“Are all the gentlemen I see before me rogues or dandies?” the earl shouted. “Of course not. One or two maybe, and several of you are shockingly loose in the haft.” His lordship pointed to a young man wearing a violet greatcoat, hanging by one arm on a streetlight. “Especially you, sir.”

With his free hand, the man doffed his top hat.

“Yes, I mean you,” the earl said. “My condolences to your poor father.”

All of the Parker men possessed a fine figure, so he knew even a poorly tailored coat hung well upon his shoulders. The many compliments he received had gained him a reputation as an expert in masculine fashion. Therefore, Boyce felt his lordship should show more sympathy to a man wearing a lamentable violet greatcoat, since the earl wore an old square coat and baggy breeches.

“Where was I?” The earl paused to scan the crowd. “Besides an obvious bone–breaker or two, you gentlemen are the embodiment of the character traits that make Englishmen the greatest people on earth. So I am challenging you—-the finest Englishmen alive—-to a race. A race to Paris!”

The crowd cheered.

“This is not a race where the winner arrives first,” the earl said. “No, it is a test to discover the gentlemen who possess England’s greatest traits.”

“Gin drinking, gov?” someone shouted.

The crowd laughed and called out a few additional “traits.”

The earl ignored their comments. “And I mean English character traits—-not British. That country was some tomfoolery created by meddlesome politicians. This is a race for Englishmen only. Now, my race will have five challenges and five winners. Each winner will win a prize of a gold cup and five thousand pounds.”

The mob erupted in huzzahs; top hats flew into the air.

Under his sky–blue waistcoat, Boyce’s heartbeat escalated. This race presented him with his best opportunity to distinguish himself. He would win at least two of the earl’s challenges and earn a reputation as a prime example of English manhood. “Huzzah!” He too threw his beaver hat in the air.

The butler rang the handbell for a full minute before the crowd settled down.

The earl held up his hands. “Here are the details of the five—-count them—-five challenges. You have one month to reach Stainthorpe House in Paris. Each gentleman will write about his journey and provide the name of a witness. The man whose travels provide the best example of an English trait wins a challenge. Once the winners promise to spend the remainder of the summer in our company, they will be rewarded with a gold cup and five thousand pounds. With such excellent examples of true English manhood escorting Lady Sarah around Paris, she must certainly fall in love with one of you unlicked cubs.”

The assembled men danced in circles. Each one of them was probably dreaming about how he would spend his winnings.

Eager to hear the details, Boyce frowned at the clamorous riffraff behind him. The earl was right; they all appeared to be a lot of rag–mannered coves, so he gained complete confidence that he could best any of their English traits—-whatever those traits may be. Once he reached Paris, Lady Sarah would discover he was the finest of fellows and they would fall in love. Women seemed naturally to favor him over other gentlemen—-wonderful creatures, women.

The earl’s voice boomed across the square. “What are the character traits that make Englishmen so great, you ask?”

The young men below the balcony tendered several improper suggestions.

“No.” The earl waved his hand. “Not physical features. Traits like courage and intelligence. So the challenges are thus: The first gold cup will be given to the gentleman who represents English courage. We are the country of Nelson, so bravery and courage course through every one of our veins.”

Someone shouted the nature of what was coursing through his veins.

The earl continued without hesitation. “The second gold cup will be given to the gentleman whose journey represents classic English sportsmanship. Any Englishman alive can out hunt, out fish, and out ride all other races of men. So to win the second cup, some outstanding feat of sportsmanship will rule the day. Extra consideration will be given to the best example of a journey completed under difficult circumstances.”

Boyce huffed. “Well, his lordship is wrong. The true nature of English sportsmanship is not victory over adversity, but our support for the dark horse and sense of fair play. We are, by nature, a generous people.”

Drexel slapped him on the back. “For once I agree with you. But considering your history in the field, I suggest you don’t try for the sportsmanship cup.”

“Sportsmanship can be demonstrated by means other than fishing or shooting every magnificent creature—-for example, by boxing or gaming. I practice my pugilistic skills at Jackson’s twice a week now. You cannot tell me his place is not full of sportsmen. Or how about when a fellow loses a fortune gaming at White’s and faces his loss with the grace and good humor of a gentleman? That’s sportsmanship under pressure, if you ask me.”

“Yes, but the earl believes boxing is for professionals and only women play cards.”

Boyce widened his eyes. “In my opinion, his lordship’s definition of sportsmanship is rather limited.”

The handbell sounded again before the earl continued his speech. “The third gold cup will be given to the gentleman whose journey best exhibits loyalty to the king or service to a lady.”

One man yelled, “I’d be delighted to service all the ladies on my way to Paris.”

Others in the crowd shouted similar generous offers.

“If you do so, sir,” the earl replied, “you will be shown the door. Loyalty means old–fashioned manners, being polite, and keeping your distance from your betters. Of all the challenges, I believe service to the Crown is the greatest honor any man could desire. And considering the manners I’ve witnessed here today, I’d say the challenge of this cup will remain unmet.”

Jeers filled the air.

Boyce wondered how a fellow could show loyalty to the king in a race. He supposed a gentleman might salute the king’s profile on a sovereign with every step of his journey, but dismissed it as an absurd notion. No, he’d be better off trying to provide a service to some lady.

His lordship nodded, and the handbell rang again. “Now quiet down. The fourth cup will be given to the man whose journey provides the best example of our English intelligence. We are the land of Newton and Davy, so the greatest brains of civilization are English. Except for that da Vinci fellow and one or two Greeks, but we can afford to be generous and let the rest of the world have a little luck now and then.”

Boyce elbowed his friend. “Yes, yes, that’s the cup for me. Bet I’ll win too. What do you say, fifty?”

“Agreed,” Drexel said. “I will also wager by the end of this whole flummery, Lady Sarah will reject all the winners out of spite. I would, if I were her.”

Boyce refused to believe Lady Sarah would object to any of the winners, once she knew them well. The lady wanted to be married, didn’t she? “No, no, young women are full of tender affection. I have never met one who did not want to fall in love and make her family happy.”

Drexel rolled his eyes. “I suspect that is because there are so many unmarried ladies dangling after you, you cannot imagine one refusing. And from the stories I heard yesterday, I’ll wager that if I throw a pebble into the crowd at the next assembly, it will hit a widow who has, or wants to be, in your bed. And believe me, those ladies are not expecting marriage.”

“You’re being vulgar in public,” Boyce said. “All of the widows I have ever…met were delightful. Deep in their hearts, they want to be married again, I’m sure.”

“So why haven’t you married one of these delightful ladies?”

“Never understood how fellows choose one to fall in love with.”

“If I know the marquess, the best way to impress him is to give him grandchildren. My father becomes unhinged with even the thought of grandchildren.”

“Grandchildren? Grandchildren are far in the future. A great public achievement is my best and only chance to regain my father’s respect. You’ll see. When I am crowned the victor of more than one challenge, my achievements will be the toast of London. Then all of England will think of me differently. I will no longer be just one of the seven anonymous brothers of the war hero Richard. Worse yet, if people do recognize me, they remember I’m the Parker son who published a scandalous book and then received the cut direct from his father—-his own father. After my victory in the challenges, everyone will have to refer to me as the intelligent, courageous Lord Boyce. Don’t you understand?”

Drexel winked at his friend. “Tell me, which of the great English traits do you represent best? Sounds like only Service to a Lady, and believe me, your service is the wrong type as far as the earl is concerned.”

“Ah, that’s my secret. But you will be a witness to my victory, won’t you?”

After pulling off his hat, Drexel took a full minute to smooth the beaver nap on the brim. “I’ll consider it.” A wide smirk broke across his dark, handsome face. “You’ve persuaded me to join the race too.”

“No!”

The handbell clanged, and everyone faced the balcony again. “Gentlemen, there is one last challenge, the fifth cup. Since this was my daughter’s idea, perhaps in jest, you never know with females, let us call it the Lady’s Favorite.”

Shouts and laughter rose from the rabble.

The earl leaned forward over the mob. “Perhaps there are no gentlemen in England, and my daughter is right?” His lordship waited until the crowd quieted. “Lady Sarah has a funny notion that the greatest achievements of the English race are their sense of humor, wit, and eccentricities. I mean, now really, she is fond of Sheridan’s plays.” The earl held up his right hand to quiet the laughing crowd. “For this cup, Lady Sarah will be the final judge.”

The mob tendered several humorous jests of questionable wit.

The earl coughed several times but remained unmoving. “So there you have it. The five greatest English traits are courage, sportsmanship, intelligence, wit, and service to a lady. Now to business. I expect all who plan to take up the challenges to gather in our vestibule below. There, we will compile a list of the participants. You do not have to choose which cup you aspire to, and you may switch to another challenge at the end of your journey. Finally, you may win more than one challenge. Oh, and you must provide an acceptable witness. Anyone who observes your achievement and can testify on your behalf may be an official witness. The only exclusions are people who cannot be trusted, like paid companions or dear old mums.”

Several groans were heard, and one person clapped.

The earl nodded in the direction of the man who clapped. “Good man. The race will officially start after I stop speaking and will end a month from now on the second of July. On that day, you will present your written story describing your journey to Stainthorpe House at Rue de la Chaussée-d’Antin. There, I will choose the five best stories for each challenge, and those finalists will be asked to recite their adventures aloud. Indeed, everyone here today will be invited to attend this party and hear my pick of the winners. Lastly, the five thousand pounds and gold cups will be presented at the end of the evening. It goes without saying that the victors will be appropriately recognized in all of the newspapers.”

Boyce elbowed Drexel. “Yes, yes, my father reads every paper.”

The crowd’s cheers erupted again after the mention of the winnings.

The earl held his arms out. “I tell you, my friends, I’m excited about this race. To help defray the cost of your journey, any man who takes up our challenges will receive a hundred pounds after reaching Paris.”

Shouts and applause echoed around the square.

“Gentlemen, gentlemen, Lady Sarah and I look forward to hearing the adventures of England’s finest men. I am positive that once my daughter is acquainted with you fine fellows, she will fall in love. With such excellent examples of the greatness inherent in the English, how could she not? We also anticipate the pleasure of your company during our summer in Paris. The only other thing I can say is…” The earl lifted his quizzing glass to his eye and scanned the crowd. “Ready, steady, go!”

warf soBOOK BLURB: He’s racing to win back his reputation

Having hired a balloon to get him to Paris in a daring race, Lord Boyce Parker is simultaneously exhilarated and unnerved by the wonders and dangers of flight, and most of all by the beautiful, stubborn, intelligent lady operating the balloon.

She’s curious about the science of love

Eve Mountfloy is in the process of conducting weather experiments when she finds herself spirited away to France by a notorious rake. She’s only slightly dismayed—the rake seems to respect her work—but she is frequently distracted by his windblown physical magnificence and buoyant spirits.

What happens when they descend from the clouds?

As risky as aeronautics may be, once their feet touch the ground, Eve and Boyce learn the real danger of a very different type of falling…

BUY LINKS: Amazon | Apple | B&N | BAM | !ndigo | IndieBound | Kobo

AUTHOR BIO: Sally Orr worked for thirty years in medical research, specializing in the discovery of gene function. After joining an English history message board, she posted many, many examples of absolute tomfoolery.

As a result, a cyber-friend challenged her to write a novel. Since she is a hopeless Anglophile, it’s not surprising that her first book is a Regency romance. Sally lives with her husband in San Diego, surrounded by too many nerdy books and not enough old English cars.

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Spotlight on Cheryl Bolen and ‘Duchess by Mistake’!

Title short

Help us welcome an author both Connie and I love to read! If you love marriage of convenience tropes, then she is your author. She’s already penned a second book in her brand new series which will be out in just couple of days, so we thought to shine a spotlight on her and her new book. Are you ready to welcome Cheryl and find out the answers to our five questions? Here she is!

Which scenes were easy/hard to write in this story?

My favorite scenes are those in which the heroine and/or hero realize they have fallen in love. My heroines usually know early on they’ve fallen in love, but it often takes the hero much longer to realize how completely besotted he is! I also love, love, love writing the first chapter of every book. The hardest scenes for me are those describing the passion of a kiss.

You’re at a magazine rack and can only pick three titles. Which ones do you choose?

EZ, PZ. I love English Home, British Heritage, and Traditional Home. I love houses, especially British manor houses and stately homes.

If your TV carried just three shows or networks, what would they be?

PBS first; Turner Classic Movies next; and one of the major networks to get local news and weather.

What are three things you have to have in your fridge or pantry? Fresh berries every day. I alternate between raspberries, blackberries and strawberries—whatever is on sale. I usually have celery and grapefruit in my fridge, too.

What’s a movie that you can watch over and over again?

I can always watch Charade. It’s got love, humor, great suspense, Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn — and Paris!!

dbm cbBOOK BLURB: An innocent visit to the Duke of Aldridge’s to request a donation for her war widows puts Lady Elizabeth Upton in the midst of a most shocking scandal. . .

The Duke of Aldridge offers for his best friend’s sister, Lady Elizabeth Upton, after a mix-up sends her to his bedchamber—just as he’s emerging from his bath. She most certainly does not want to force the duke’s hand, but how can she bear the shame her scandalous behavior has cast upon her dear brother, the Marquess of Haverstock?

Once she agrees to marry her childhood heartthrob, Elizabeth realizes she wants nothing more than to win her husband’s love. But capturing his heart is no easy task when former loves threaten to destroy the fragile bonds of their marriage.

BUY LINKS:  / Amazon.com / B&N / iTunes / Kobo / Smashwords

EXCERPT:

Some time after donning a dress which matched the periwinkle colour of her eyes and topping it with matching pelisse suitable for calling at Aldridge House, Lady Elizabeth Upton found herself knocking upon the door of the Duke of Aldridge’s fine house on Berkeley Square. She wondered how many times Charles had passed through this door during his two and thirty years. Since she had only come out three years previously, she had never had the opportunity to pay a call upon the duke, owing to his long absence from England.

The white-haired butler who answered her knock looked as if he’d been in the employ of the Aldridges for at least two generations. He quickly offered her a tight smile and spoke before she had the chance to offer her card. “Please come in. His grace awaits. If you will just follow me up the stairs.”

She supposed with this being the duke’s first day back, he was entertaining callers in the drawing room. She had not considered that she would not have him all to herself. It would be difficult to beg him for the significant donation in a room full of people. Her brother had once said the duke did not like to have his charities acknowledged, preferring anonymity.

Her gaze lifted to the massive chandelier that glistened above, then she began to follow the stooped-over butler as he mounted the stairs, his movements slowed by age. All the way up the impressive, iron banistered staircase portraits of long-dead Aldridges stood almost one on top of the other and seemed to be staring at her.

To her surprise, when they reached the first floor he did not stop but continued mounting stairs to the next level. Though her experience with ducal residences was limited, she was unaccustomed to finding a drawing room so far removed from the home’s entrance. In most of the houses with which she was familiar, the third level was reserved for bedchambers.

They reached the third level. It was slightly less formal than the second level, actually looking remarkably like the third–bedchamber–level at Haverstock House. The butler turned to the right and shuffled along another corridor until he reached the first paneled and gilded door. It was closed. He teetered to a stop and turned to face her with a somber countenance. “You will find his grace in here.” Then he began to retrace his steps.

She drew in a breath, reached for the door handle, and opened it.

She heard a splashing sound before the door was fully open. How peculiar. When she had clear view of the room, she gasped. There in its center, framed by the fireplace behind him, the Duke of Aldridge was emerging from his bath. His long, glistening, gloriously formed body was completely naked.

To finish this excerpt, go here.

Cheryl-Bolen-1AUTHOR BIO: Cheryl Bolen is the acclaimed author of more than a dozen Regency-set historical romance novels. Her books have placed in several writing contests, including the Daphne du Maurier, and have been translated into 11 languages. She was named Notable New Author in 1999, and in 2006 she won the Holt Medallion (Honoring Outstanding Literary Talent) for Best Short Historical Novel. Her books have become Barnes & Noble and Amazon bestsellers.

Cheryl holds a dual degree in English and journalism from the University of Texas, and she earned a master’s degree from the University of Houston. She and her professor husband are the parents of two sons, one who is an attorney, and the other a journalist. Her favorite things to do are watching the Longhorns, reading letters and diaries of Georgian Englishmen, and traveling to England.

As former journalist who admits to a fascination with dead Englishwomen, Cheryl is a regular contributor to The Regency Plume, The Regency Reader, and The Quizzing Glass. Many of her articles can found on her website, and more recent ones on her blog. Readers are welcomed at both places.

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Spotlight on Paula Quinn and ‘The Scandalous Secret of Abigail MacGregor’!

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I’d like to welcome Paula Quinn and her brand new, book three book in her latest Highland Heirs series! She comes to us today to share her favorite book to film/series selection and here it is!

Top 5 book to film/series adaptations

1. The Count of Monte Cristo

2. The Help

3. Game of Thrones

4. Outlander

5. Downtown Abby

tssoamg pqBOOK BLURB: A Lady’s Mission . . . 

Known for her beauty and boldness, Abigail MacGregor must preserve her clan’s dangerous secret: that her mother is the true heir to the English Crown. If the wrong people find out, it will mean war for her beloved Scotland. To keep peace, she embarks for London, unprepared for the treachery that awaits-especially from her wickedly handsome escort. He is the enemy, but his slow, sensuous kisses entice her beyond reason . . .

A Warrior’s Temptation

General Daniel Marlow, loyal knight and the kingdom’s most desirable hero, would rather be on the battlefield than transporting a spoiled Highland lass. But Abby MacGregor is unlike any woman he’s ever met, in a ballroom or in his bedroom. Captivated by her daring spirit and seduced by her lovely innocence, Daniel must choose between betraying his queen or giving up the woman who would steal his country-and his traitorous heart.

 BUY LINKS: / Amazon / BAM / B&N / IndieBound / GooglePlay / iTunes / Kobo

TEASER: 

She braced her legs, setting her boots firmly on the ground, and lifted her chin. She knew her defiance was born mainly from the sheer strength and power coming toward her. These men were escorts, nothing more. She didn’t want their first impression of her to be that she was a sniveling woman afraid of them just because they were English. She was born of a long line of warriors. Her first instinct was to defend. She understood only too well that her country was being conquered slowly but surely by the English, perhaps even by the very men who trampled the delicate heather beneath the hooves of their stallions as they approached.

“The queen sends only four men to guard my daughter when she crosses the country,” her father muttered angrily moments before the riders reached them.

Each wore a common man’s dress of long coat and breeches, and a sheath dangling from his hip. Three of the riders held back, creating a line of brawn and steel as they drew their swords behind one whom Abby guessed was the leader. The four men were outnumbered at least five to one. If her kin attacked, the escorts’ meager swords would offer them little aid.

For a moment, no one spoke a word while Abby tilted her head up to have a view of the mounted men. She could sense the thick tension emanating from her kin and she prayed none of them, especially her brothers, did anything foolish. When she turned to the lead rider, she was amazed to find only cool arrogance in eyes the vivid green of a glade on a summer day staring back down at her. A shiver, neither hot nor cold, trickled down her spine and quickened her breath. He was terribly beautiful, arrayed in strength and deep confidence. In fact, he looked positively fearless on his snorting black destrier with sunlight radiating off his broad shoulders and setting fire to his clipped auburn locks. She squinted up at him and scowled at herself for being moved by his appearance. He was no boy, but five to ten years older than her cousins. Experience and mistrust hardened his features. Taller in the saddle than his comrades, he radiated an air of authority of one who demanded instant obedience. She looked away before he did, sensing a power in this man that challenged her. Perhaps another day, she thought, biting her tongue. She was used to intimidating warriors and she wasn’t afraid of him, but she wouldn’t foolishly provoke him in front of her kin and get him killed.

“I am General Daniel Marlow of Her Majesty the Queen’s Royal Army.” His voice fell in deep, rich tones around her ears.

“And knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter.”

Her cousin Malcolm stepped forward. Malcolm had traveled to England on a number of occasions and must have heard of him.

“And also the Earl of Darlington, aye?” Adam added. Everyone there from her clan, including Abby, turned to offer Adam a surprised look that he would know such things.

So, her escort was a general, an earl, and a knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter? Abby gave him another looking over, deciding as her eyes lingered on his booted legs and muscular thighs, his rigid posture in the saddle, the sun gleaming off his head, and the long broadsword dangling from his hip that he indeed resembled a knight.

“That’s correct,” he answered, sounding bored before he set his eyes on her again. “Miss Abigail MacGregor?”

Her blood heated her veins and rushed to her heart. Her knees went weak beneath her and, not for the first time since Queen Anne’s letter had reached them, she wished her kinsmen were escorting her.

Her father stepped forward. “I am clan chief Robert MacGregor of the MacGregors of Skye. Her father.”

General Marlow turned his head and simply nodded at her father. Abby narrowed her eyes on him. She wasn’t used to seeing anyone show her father so little respect.

“Is this the girl?” he asked, turning back to her, his expression darkening on her Highland attire. His distaste was obvious. He didn’t like Highlanders, or mayhap it was Jacobites he had an aversion to. Either way, she didn’t like him either. Knight or not.

This trip wasn’t going to be pleasant.

To continue with full excerpt, go here.

AUTHOR’S BIO: Paula Quinn is a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author of paula quinnmedieval and Scottish historical romance. To date, four of her nine books have garnered a starred review from Publishers Weekly.

She lives in New York with her three beautiful children, three over-protective chihuahuas, and a loud umbrella cockatoo. She loves to read romance and science fiction and has been writing since she was eleven.  She loves all things medieval, but it is her love for Scotland that pulls at her heartstrings.

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