Spotlight on ‘A Gentleman For All Seasons’ with Theresa Romain!

Hello, and thanks for the chance to visit bookworm2bookworm today! I’m here to chat about A Gentleman for All Seasons, a historical romance anthology that Kate Noble, Shana Galen, Vanessa Kelly, and I have just published together.

From the beginning, we had in mind a project with tightly interlaced story threads. But there were so many questions to answer. London or a small town? The social season or a different time of year? Characters that knew each other, or strangers in the same space?

Over time—and many, many emails!—we figured out a plan. Our anthology would be set in village, to which a new family comes to stay. (Think of the Bingleys in Pride and Prejudice—but with no snooty Caroline.) Part of that family? A young woman recovering from an illness…who decides to amuse herself by matchmaking. There’s something so appealing about matchmakers in historical romance, isn’t there? At a time when social rules were far more rigid than they are today, it’s fun to think of someone giving a little push to a hero and heroine who were too shy, too supervised, or too socially distant to connect on their own.

Kate’s novella, “A Madness in Spring,” is inspired by Much Ado About Nothing. Belinda and Adam spar every time they meet—but beneath their arguments, they’re fascinated by each other. They just need a few hints to begin thinking of each other in a new and romantic way.

Shana’s novella, “The Summer of Wine and Scandal,” features a blue-blooded rake and a farmer’s daughter who’s been through trauma. They seem different, but they’re both looking for a sense of purpose. Building friendships with matchmaker Georgette and her brother Bertram makes this happen.

In my novella, “Those Autumn Nights,” Georgette uses her talents closer to home. Unknown to her rough ex-soldier brother, she invites his first and only love—who jilted him on the eve of their elopement—to stay as a houseguest. Because of this matchmaking/meddling, soldier and society lass reconnect and discover they’ve both become more than they expected.

Finally, Vanessa Kelly wrote a romance for the matchmaker herself in “The Season for Loving.” During a long convalescence, Georgie fights against physical and social strictures on behalf of other couple—but the one thing she never expected was to find a match of her own. When a shy, troubled Scotsman comes to visit, the matchmaker has to convince him—and herself—that love makes the best Christmas gift.

‘A Gentleman For All Seasons’

by:

Kate Noble, Shana Galen, Theresa Romain, and Vanessa Kelly

A Gentleman for All Seasons

The tiny village of Hemshawe is the sort of place where nothing ever happens…until a handsome ex-soldier and his matchmaking sister let the imposing manor house at the edge of town. The friendly Londoners shake up the staid people of Hemshawe, and villagers see each other in a new and oh-so-appealing light.

Suddenly long-sparring enemies become lovers, a town festival heralds a new start for a fallen woman and a dandy, and a man who has given up on love gets a second chance with the woman he never forgot. And the matchmaker herself? She won’t rest until she finds her own happily-ever-after…

A Madness in Spring by Kate Noble
Adam Sturridge has made Belinda Leonard’s blood boil since childhood, and the feeling is mutual. But when a would-be matchmaker arrives in the village of Hemshawe, she’d determined to erase the thin line between love and hate. Now, Belinda and Adam are faced with falling for someone they’ve always considered an enemy — can they overcome old prejudices and discover how to rub each other the right way?

The Summer of Wine and Scandal by Shana Galen
When viscount’s son and dandy Peregrine Lochley is temporarily exiled from London to the country for his misdeeds, the last thing he expects is to encounter an intriguing woman. But Caroline Martin has a secret to hide, and it just might be too scandalous for even this debauched rogue.

Those Autumn Nights by Theresa Romain
Ten years ago, wealthy Eliza Greenleaf broke lowly soldier Bertram Gage’s heart—but the last decade brought changes in fortune to them both. Now that he’s made his mark on the world, a twist of fate brings the Greenleaf family under his power. Will this war-hardened officer triumph over his former lover…or will Bertie and Eliza give love a second chance?

The Season for Loving by Vanessa Kelly
Miss Georgie Gage, matchmaker extraordinaire, is resigned to life as a spinster—almost. When notoriously aloof bachelor Fergus Haddon arrives from Scotland to spend Christmas with the Gage family, Georgie thinks she’s finally found her own perfect match—if, that is, she can get the handsome Highlander to agree!

To stick with the theme of all this matchmaking, I’d love to know: have you ever been set up by a modern-day matchmaker, or have you helped another couple get together? To one commenter, my fellow authors and I will send [US addresses only, please]:

Revealed—Kate Noble

Kate NobleKate Noble is the national bestselling, RITA-nominated author of historical romances, including the acclaimed Blue Raven series and the Winner Takes All series. Her books have earned her numerous accolades, including comparisons to Jane Austen, which just makes her giddy.

In her other life as Kate Rorick, she is an Emmy-award winning writer of television and web series, having written for NBC, FOX, and TNT, as well as the international hit YouTube series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. Kate lives in Los Angeles with her husband and son, and is hard at work on her next book.

The Pirate Takes a Bride—Shana Galen

Shana GalenShana Galen is the bestselling author of passionate Regency romps, including the RT Reviewers’ Choice The Making of a Gentleman. Kirkus says of her books, “The road to happily-ever-after is intense, conflicted, suspenseful and fun,” and RT Bookreviews calls her books ” lighthearted yet poignant, humorous yet touching.” She taught English at the middle and high school level off and on for eleven years. Most of those years were spent working in Houston’s inner city. Now she writes full time. She’s happily married and has a daughter who is most definitely a romance heroine in the making. Shana loves to hear from readers, so send her an email or see what she’s up to daily on Facebook and Twitter. Visit her website at http://www.shanagalen.com

Season for Surrender—Theresa Romain

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

My Favorite Countess—Vanessa Kelly

Vanessa KellyVanessa Kelly is an award-winning author who was named by Booklist, the review journal of the American Library Association, as one of the “New Stars of Historical Romance.” Her Regency-set historical romances have been nominated for awards in a number of contests, and her second book, Sex and The Single Earl, won the prestigious Maggie Medallion for Best Historical Romance. Her current series, The Renegade Royals is a national bestseller. Vanessa also writes USA Today bestselling contemporary romance with her husband, under the pen name of VK Sykes.

‘A Gentleman For All Seasons’ by Kate Noble, Shana Galen, Theresa Romain, and Vanessa Kelly

A Gentleman for All SeasonsSTORIES: A Madness in Spring by Kate Noble
Adam Sturridge has made Belinda Leonard’s blood boil since childhood, and the feeling is mutual. But when a would-be matchmaker arrives in the village of Hemshawe, she’d determined to erase the thin line between love and hate. Now, Belinda and Adam are faced with falling for someone they’ve always considered an enemy — can they overcome old prejudices and discover how to rub each other the right way?

The Summer of Wine and Scandal by Shana Galen
When viscount’s son and dandy Peregrine Lochley is temporarily exiled from London to the country for his misdeeds, the last thing he expects is to encounter an intriguing woman. But Caroline Martin has a secret to hide, and it just might be too scandalous for even this debauched rogue.

Those Autumn Nights by Theresa Romain
Ten years ago, wealthy Eliza Greenleaf broke lowly soldier Bertram Gage’s heart—but the last decade brought changes in fortune to them both. Now that he’s made his mark on the world, a twist of fate brings the Greenleaf family under his power. Will this war-hardened officer triumph over his former lover…or will Bertie and Eliza give love a second chance?

The Season for Loving by Vanessa Kelly
Miss Georgie Gage, matchmaker extraordinaire, is resigned to life as a spinster—almost. When notoriously aloof bachelor Fergus Haddon arrives from Scotland to spend Christmas with the Gage family, Georgie thinks she’s finally found her own perfect match—if, that is, she can get the handsome Highlander to agree!

REVIEW: When four of my favorite authors come together in one book, there’s no way I’m going to pass on reading it, especially when the stories within have their own Jane Austen’s Emma!

‘A Gentleman for All Seasons’ is a marvelous and well written anthology. Every story is well thought out and unique in its own way. These authors know their craft well and the characters in their stories, even though short as they are, are all complex and entertaining, but what amazes is the seamless continuity and I dare you to tell which author wrote which story!

There’s a little bit for everyone. If you love second chance romance, you’ll love Theresa Romain’s story, while Shana Galen offers a story of redemption and forgiveness. Kate Noble’s hero and heroine have carried a lot of baggage from their childhood to their adulthood and their story is sweet and funny, while Vanessa Kelly gifts us and our heroine with a Highlander.

Seriously, you have to check these out. They don’t disappoint.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

‘The Rogue You Know’ by Shana Galen

RogueYouKnowSTORY: She’s beyond his reach…
Gideon Harrow has spent his life in London’s dark underworld-and he wants out. A thief and a con, he plans one last heist to finally win his freedom. But when everything goes wrong, he finds himself at the tender mercies of one of Society’s most untouchable women-Lady Susanna Derring.

…and out of her depth.
Susanna has spent her life in London’s glittering ton, under the thumb of a domineering mother-and she wants out. When a wickedly charming rogue lands at her feet, she jumps at the chance to experience life before it’s too late. But as she descends into London’s underworld, she finds that nothing- not even Gideon-is as it seems. As excitement turns to danger, Susanna must decide what price she’s willing to pay…for the love of a reformed thief.

REVIEW: This is the second book in Covent Garden Cubs series and it’s filled with much adventure, romance and danger as our heroine Susannah lands into underworld of London courtesy of our hero Gideon.

I loved these two to pieces! They were so incompatible at the beginning that I thought these two would never work together, but fool I!

Once more Shana Galen gifts us with wonderful characters and a vastly entertaining story. Watching our heroine grow from a naïve society miss into a strong woman was a pleasure.

As for the hero, Gideon is now among the one of my all time favorites heroes.

If you’re looking for a fun fast-paced adventure filled with plenty of humor, yet delightfully romantic, look no more! You have to pick this one up!

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Top 5 Movies/Books/Series That Made Me Cry Ugly Tears by Shana Galen

RogueYouKnowReleaseGraphic

For me, writing is very much an escape. I tend to enjoy writing stories that make me smile or laugh or get my heart pumping with excitement. But there can’t be a silver lining or a rainbow without a few clouds, and sometimes those dark moments can be emotional to write. In ‘The Rogue You Know’, Gideon is a thief from London’s worst slums. Susanna is the daughter of an earl who lives in luxury. Even though they fall in love, they know they have no future together. Writing the scene where Gideon has to say goodbye to Susanna had me crying and blubbering and shedding big, fat tears. I don’t always cry at my own books, but I have been known to cry at others’. If you’re looking for a tear-jerker, give these recommendations a try.

tdatlir lh1)       ‘The Duke and The Lady in Red’ by Lorraine Heath

Pretty much every Lorraine Heath book has me crying ugly tears, but this last one I read was the best (or should I say the worst?). I still get emotional thinking about it. Heath is wonderful at creating characters that are so real and vivid their tragedies become ours.

2)       ‘Just One of the Guys’ by Kristan Higginsjootg kh

I’ve read a lot of books by Kristan Higgins, but this one sticks with me. Higgins is such an amusing writer that you never even see the emotional punch coming. This is one of those books I was happily reading while my husband was watching TV next to me. The next thing he knew, I was sobbing. Of course, he wanted to know what was wrong. I had to explain these were the good kind of tears!

3)       P.S. I Love You

I read both the book by Cecelia Ahearn and saw the movie with Gerard Butler and Hilary Swank. The one that made me cry the ugly tears was the movie. The book was poignant too, but I cried for all two hours of the movie. It was probably the saddest non-Holocaust movie I’ve ever seen. So fire up Netflix, grab your tissue and cookie dough ice cream, and enjoy the cathartic release!

cnv ew4)       ‘Code Name Verity’ by Elizabeth Wein

This is a YA novel, but if your fifteen-year-old is the sensitive type, I wouldn’t give this one to her. The story of two women, one British and one Scottish, during World War Two, this book was rife with teary moments. It’s definitely worth the read, but you might not want to read it in public unless you have your dark glasses.

5)       Les Miserables

I’ve seen the musical, which is wonderfully emotional and always leaves me dabbing my eyes, but the movie ripped my heart out. It’s one of those where I needed my sunglasses for the long walk out of the theater so everyone wouldn’t see my bleary eyes and red nose. It’s a fabulous movie that everyone should see, but don’t forget the movie star shades.

Are you like me? Do you enjoy a book or movie that gives you all the feels? What’s your favorite (or least favorite) tear-jerker?

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

***

RogueYouKnowBOOK BLURB: She’s beyond his reach…

Gideon Harrow has spent his life in London’s dark underworld-and he wants out. A thief and a con, he plans one last heist to finally win his freedom. But when everything goes wrong, he finds himself at the tender mercies of one of Society’s most untouchable women-Lady Susanna Derring.

…and out of her depth.
Susanna has spent her life in London’s glittering ton, under the thumb of a domineering mother-and she wants out. When a wickedly charming rogue lands at her feet, she jumps at the chance to experience life before it’s too late. But as she descends into London’s underworld, she finds that nothing- not even Gideon-is as it seems. As excitement turns to danger, Susanna must decide what price she’s willing to pay…for the love of a reformed thief.

BUY LINKS: Amazon / B&N / iBooks / IndieBound

TEASER:

Susanna jerked back, hidden on the far side of the desk again. Everyone knew London was rife with housebreakers, but would the thieves be so bold as to try and enter a house when the family was home? She heard a thump and trembled.

Apparently, the rogues were so bold. What would they do to her if they found her? Kill her? Rape her? Kidnap her for ransom?

She must escape, but how?

She peered around the desk again and saw two legs standing in front of the window. It was too late to run. The thief was already inside. She did a quick inventory of herself. She had nothing, absolutely nothing that would protect her from a ruffian.

She could hear the thief breathing now. He was breathing hard, as though he’d been running. She pressed her back against the oak of the desk and craned her neck. She spotted the shadow of a candlestick on the edge of the desk. She hadn’t lit the candle in it. If she could pull it off the edge without the thief noticing, she could use it to protect herself.

She felt the edge of the desk with her fingertips. Closing her eyes, she stretched her fingers until she touched the cool silver of the candlestick. She eased her fingers around it and tugged it soundlessly over the edge of the desk.

***

shana-galenAUTHOR BIO: Shana Galen is the author of fast-paced adventurous Regency historicals, including the Lord and Lady Spy Series, the Jewels of the Ton Series, as well as the Sons of the Revolution Trilogy.

A former English teacher in Houston’s inner city, Shana now writes full time, and is working on more regency romance novels! She’s happily married to the Ultimate Sportsfan and has a daughter who is most definitely a romance heroine in the making. Shana loves to hear from readers so feel free to talk to her on any of her social media sites.

SOCIAL MEDIA: Website  / Facebook  / Twitter  / Tsu  / Google +  / Pinterest 

‘Dancing in The Duke’s Arms’ Anthology by Grace Burrowes, Shana Galen, Miranda Neville, Carolyn Jewel

ditda gb sg mn cjSTORIES: Why Do Dukes Fall in Love?
Every summer the cream of society gathers at the Dukeries, named for the ducal estates concentrated in one small corner of Nottinghamshire. While the entertainments include parties, balls, and a famous boat race, the ducal hosts and their guests find heartbreak, love and happy endings.
Four heartwarming stories from four bestselling historical romance authors.

MAY I HAVE THIS DUKE? by Grace Burrowes
The trouble with Houseparties. . .
Gerard Hammersley, Duke of Hardcastle, is dragooned by an old friend into attending a house party, though Hardcastle refuses to fall prey to the matchmakers who relish such gatherings. He recruits his nephew’s prim, prickly governess, Miss Ellen MacHugh, to preserve him from being compromised by the conniving debutantes, and offers in exchange to deflect the drunken viscounts who plague Ellen.

. . . Is that they must end.
Ellen agrees to Hardcastle’s scheme for two reasons. First, she’s been attracted to His Grace since the day she laid eyes on him, and knows that behind Hardcastle’s lack of charm lies a ferociously loyal and faithful heart. Second, she’s departing from Hardcastle’s household at the conclusion of the house party, and two weeks safeguarding His Grace’s bachelorhood is as much pleasure—and as much torment—as she can endure before she leaves him.

DUCHESS OF SCANDAL by Miranda Neville
Too Many Scandals
After months of marriage, the Duke of Linton agreed to live apart from his wife. Thrown together due to a scheduling error, Linton finds Althea still has the power to make his heart race. Linton seems different from the critical, indifferent man Althea married. But though she burns for him as a lover, can she trust him to be the husband she needs?

WAITING FOR A DUKE LIKE YOU by Shana Galen
There’s no such thing as the perfect hero…
Nathan Cauley, tenth Duke of Wyndover, is so handsome ladies swoon—literally swoon. His blond hair and blue eyes certainly draw attention at the Duke of Sedgemere’s house party, but Nathan doesn’t want a fawning young miss for his duchess. He stumbles upon a bedraggled woman sleeping under Sedgemere’s bridge, and his protective instincts stir. When he recognizes her as the princess he fell in love with eight years before, he’s determined to win not only her affections but her heart.

Or is there?
After revolutionaries massacre Princess Vivienne’s family, she and the head of her guard flee to England. Before they can reach London to beg asylum, assassins kill the last of her defenders. Vivienne is alone and on the run when the Duke of Wyndover comes to her rescue. She barely remembers meeting him years before, and isn’t comfortable with gentlemen who are more attractive than she is. Nathan is more than a pretty face, though, and when the assassins return, he might just prove to be the duke Vivienne has been waiting for.

AN UNSUITABLE DUCHESS by Carolyn Jewel
The Duke of Stoke Teversault has well earned his reputation for bloodless calculation. Indeed, recently widowed Georgina Lark has no idea he’s loved her since before her late husband swept her off her feet. Stoke Teversault means to keep it that way. The cold and forbidding duke and the blithe and open Georgina could not be less suited in any capacity. And yet, when Georgina and her sister arrive at his home, his ice-bound heart may melt away.

Georgina Lark has never thought of thought of the Duke of Stoke Teversault as a man capable of inducing passion in anyone. He’s long disapproved of her, but she will be forever grateful to him for his assistance after her husband died.

REVIEW: ‘May I Have This Duke?’ by Grace Burrowes

After being pressured by his grandmother, Gerard Juvenal Rene Beaumarchand Hammersley, Eighth Duke of Hardcastle, is looking for someone to be his Duchess. Gerard lives at Hardwood Hall with his nephew, Christopher, who lost his parents and is being raised by his uncle.  Miss Ellen MacHugh, has been Christopher’s governess for the last 3 of his 6 years.

Although Gerard loves his nephew, he has always been aloof with Ellen.  Ellen has never cared for him because he appears to be cold-blooded and curt.  One day, Gerard summons her to his office to inform her that she and Christopher will be accompanying him to a two-week house party at Sedgemere House in Nottinghamshire.  She agrees but tells him that she will be leaving immediately after the house party as she is putting in her two-week notice.  Shocked at her notice, Gerard tells her that she simply cannot leave him while he is searching for someone to be his Duchess.

At the house party, the hostess approaches Ellen to say that the numbers of men and women are off and she needs Ellen to step in and be a guest.  In addition, she offers the use of her own gowns for Ellen to wear.  As Ellen is the granddaughter of an Earl, her background allows her to blend right in.

When Gerard sees how lovely she is, he realizes that he has had a beautiful and intelligent woman right under his nose for the last 3 years and begins to woo her.  Ellen is flattered but is adamant that she will be leaving in 2 weeks.

Will Gerard be able to change her mind?  Can he convince her to marry him and be his Duchess?

I loved this totally delightful novella.  The storyline is good and there are some humorous bits as well.

‘Waiting for a Duke Like You’ by Shana Galen

Nathan Cauley, tenth Duke of Wyndover, needs an heir.  Currently, he is a guest at the Sedgemere House Party.  Although he does not care for games at these events, he agrees to go on a scavenger hunt. One item he needs is a smooth stone and thus he heads down to the bridge.  

Her Royal Highness Princess Vivienne Aubine Calathe de Glynaven is the only surviving member of the royal family of the Kingdom of Glynaven.  They had all been slaughtered during yet another revolution that has tried to oust the royal family.  Vivienne has been running trying to escape the assassins. Filthy, exhausted, hungry and thirsty, she stops at the bridge for a drink of water and passes out.

When Nathan comes upon Vivienne at the bridge, he immediately carries her to safety.  It is feared that if she hides in the Sedgemere home, the assassins would certainly look for her there and possibly massacre the people in the home.  Therefore, Nathan secrets her to his nearby home, Wyndover Park. Now that she is clean and fed, she still has problems sleeping with dreams of the massacre and seeing the bodies of her family members.  She is hoping to appeal to Prinny to provide her with asylum, however, Nathan helps her realize that to do so would result in political problems for the regent.

The harmony that Nathan and Vivienne experience during their close time together ends up in an attraction that neither of them can deny.  But for how long can she escape the assassins?  How can she ever live freely again?  What about the growing love that she and Nathan feel for one another?  Can they ever hope to live a normal life together?

Once again, Shana Galen has written a terrific novel full of intrigue, action and romance.  I enjoyed the story immensely and know others will as well.

‘Duchess of Scandal’ by Miranda Neville

The Duke of Linton is a very wealthy man owning a total of 12 mansions.  He has been estranged from his younger wife for several years now.  The Duchess Althea is 12 years younger than him.  As she was so immature and unused to society, she fell right in fun but without using the proper restraints.  Althea has a twin brother, Nicholas, a wastrel, who seems to always be spending his time being idle with Althea.  In addition, Althea knew that Linton has a mistress which only angered her more.  Her lack of self-control and silliness with her brother resulted in her embarrassing and angering Linton which led to many arguments and finally to their estrangement.  

Linton has just arrived at The Chimneys, one of his properties which is near Sedgemere where there is soon to be the Dukeries Cup, an annual rowing race.  Upon arrival, he finds Althea is there as well.  He realizes that he has made a mistake in the dates she would be at The Chimneys but decides to stay for a time anyway.

Nick is also there and brought along Nigel Speck, an odious man who is always trying to make improper and unwelcome passes at Althea.  Both Nick and Nigel have plans to stay for the summer.  It turns out that Nick owes Nigel a large debt and, thus Nick decides to enter the rowing race in hopes of winning the purse so he can repay the debt.  So, with the help of Linton, Nick practices his rowing every day in preparation for the race.

Now that Althea and Linton are together every day and the fact that she has matured quite a lot, opens them both up to a better understanding of their individual personalities.  Will this time together help them to heal and resolve their differences?

A well written story with some engaging characters.

‘An Unsuitable Duchess’ by Carolyn Jewel

Miss Georgia Lark, 23, has been recently widowed after just one year of marriage.  A striking woman with orange hair and freckles, George, as she is called by her friends, has decided to attend the Sedgemere house party.  She is accompanied by her sister, Miss Kitty Hunter, a lovely young woman with blonde hair and blue eyes.

The Duke of Stoke is a tall and feared man.  He has always cared for Georgia but does not approve of people calling her George.  He thinks it is simply too familiar.

As part of the entertainment, George has put together a treasure hunt.  She has drawn maps for people to follow and at the end, there will be treasure for them to find.  But when the treasure goes missing before the hunt has even started, George is quite perturbed and intent on discovering who took it.

As George and Stoke find themselves together more and more, secrets come to light and their attraction grows.

I admit that I had a difficult time following this particular anthology because the number of characters and their past was somewhat confusing.

Connie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the publisher

Spotlight on Shana Galen and ‘While You Were Spying’!

This is a special Birthday treat for me! Having Shana Galen stop by is always fun and today we have five questions I’m dying to hear the answers to, so…here we go…

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

The easiest (if any scenes are easy) were those with Francesca and her mother. Her mother was fun to write. The hardest scenes were those where Francesca has to talk about the abuse she suffered in the past.

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

I rarely read magazines, but I’d probably get Writer’s Digest, Publisher’s Weekly, and Romantic Times Bookreviews. Then I’d know how to write better and what new books are out!

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

Outlander, Downton Abbey and Sprout (for my daughter)

What are three things you have to have in your fridge or pantry?

11

Skinny Cow Chocolate filled with Caramel, Skinny Pop Popcorn and Emerald Cocoa Roasted Almonds

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

Sliding Doors

How about you? Can you answer some of these?

Galen, Shana- While You Were Spying (final) 300 px @ 72   dpi low resBOOK BLURB: Francesca Dashing would like to forget that Ethan Caxton, the Marquess of Winterbourne, exists. He humiliated her in front of all of London Society—and he doesn’t even remember it! But when Ethan shows up in her sleepy Hampshire town, he’s hard to overlook, and his presence stirs up long-buried feelings. Francesca tries to keep her distance…until her life is threatened and the mysterious and handsome marquess comes to her rescue, in more ways than she ever thought possible.

Winterbourne has traveled to Hampshire on orders from the Foreign Office—he’s investigating an arms smuggling ring and is determined to find its leader. Miss Dashing stumbles into his way—literally—and derails both Ethan’s assignment and his ordered country life. Ethan knows he needs to ignore the distraction, but when Francesca is the victim of a vicious attack, he’s compelled to put aside his mission to protect her. Guarding the viscount’s daughter is work, nothing more, and Ethan has no plans to let down his guard…until Francesca’s chocolate-brown eyes and endless compassion melt the ice in his heart and lay siege to his defenses.

BUY LINKS: Kindle  / iTunes  / Kobo  / Nook  / Google Play 

EXCEPT:

Ethan never saw the web, didn’t even realize he’d been caught, held fast in its silky, glittering strands.

“Cara! My darling, darling Francesca! Mia figlia preziosa!” A tall, slim woman with a cap of short platinum curls seized upon the girl as soon as the majordomo shut the door behind them. It clanked like the door to a prison cell.

“Mamma,” the girl choked out. The force of the woman’s embrace was such that the girl stumbled backward, and Ethan barely had time to step aside in order to avoid a collision.

“Mia figlia!” Her mother, who from her horrendous accent was obviously not Italian, pulled back, grasping her daughter’s shoulders. The woman’s voice echoed through the gray-and-white marble entrance hall, bouncing off the busts and marble statues lining the walls.

“Impossible!” She bodily turned her small daughter by the shoulders. “Look at you. Dov’è stato? I have been so worried.”

“You have?” The girl blinked. “Why?”

But Ethan doubted the woman heard her daughter’s breathy reply. The lady’s dark blue eyes, sharp as fangs, sunk into him.

“And—mamma mia—can this be—? Is this gallant gentiluomo Lord Winterbourne?” She released her daughter and gave a deep curtsy. “An honor, your lordship.” She spread her dun-colored skirts, fluttering her eyelashes at him.

Over her mother’s bowed form, the girl struggled to refrain from rolling her eyes.

“Lord Winterbourne,” she continued, when her mother had risen. “Lady Brigham. My mother.” The last was said with a sigh. The woman offered her hand to Ethan.

He shook off his daze, took her hand, and kissed the woman’s gloved knuckles. “A pleasure to renew your acquaintance, Lady Brigham.”

“Non, Signore. The pleasure is all mine.”

Ethan stepped back, and Lady Brigham appeared to study him. The hair on the back of his neck prickled. She pressed one finger to her lip with slow, exaggerated taps then held it there and narrowed her eyes. “And what, pray tell, is your business in Hampshire, my lord?”

Ethan was only too familiar with the woman’s tone of voice. It oozed matrimonial insinuation. Lady Brigham raised her eyebrows and looked sidelong at her daughter. Miss Dashing appeared to have shrunk six inches.

“I’m visiting my brother at Grayson Park.”

“Ah, the earl.” Lady Brigham drew in a breath, her white gauzy fichu swelling like a sail.

“I see.” The finger tapped at her lips again as she exhaled. “But surely Francesca did not wander as far as the Park?” The unasked question hovered in the air, and he was thankful the girl snatched at it.

“No, Mamma. Lord Winterbourne was riding, and we met purely by chance. He offered to escort me home.” She spoke quickly, obviously hoping to move the conversation along.

Lady Brigham’s eyes widened. Ethan swore he saw them glitter.

“I see.”

Damn. This was why he avoided Society. Spend ten minutes with an unmarried miss, and you were suddenly betrothed. “Is Lord Brigham at home? I’d like to speak with him.”

The woman inhaled sharply, her eyes almost popping from their sockets. “Oh! I see!”

Ethan frowned. Beside him, the girl closed her eyes, looking mortified. The devil take him if he hadn’t inadvertently confirmed her mother’s matrimonial hopes. He had no patience for this. “If the viscount is not at home,” Ethan plowed on, “I’ll wait in the library—”

“You will do no such thing!” Lady Brigham clapped her hands three times in rapid suggestion. “You must join us in the drawing room.” She gestured to the dark, formidable doors at the end of the entrance hall.

“Thank you, Lady Brigham, but—”

“Call me Signora, per favore.”

Ethan took a deep breath. “Signora. When do you expect—”

She turned and walked away, shoes clicking loudly on the floor as she passed the numerous Roman statues adorning the niches in the echoing hall.

Ethan didn’t move for a long moment. Had the woman actually cut him off and walked away from him? Him? A marquess. Who the devil did she think—?

“I must warn you I am determined to at least offer you some refreshment.” Lady Brigham held up a hand, stopping in front of a bust of some Caesar or other. “There is no use arguing, I’m afraid.” She gave him a sly smile. “It’s the very least I can do for a gentiluomo who’s asked to see Francesca’s father.” She opened the door to the drawing room and glided inside.

Ethan ground his teeth, then watched as the girl plodded after her mother.

His every instinct told him entering that room would be a mistake. He’d be trapped, alone with the crazed, Italian-squawking woman. He looked back along the entryway toward the door.

The majordomo stepped behind him, cutting off his exit. “My lord.” The man indicated the drawing room with a graceful gesture.

Damn. Outmaneuvered, Ethan took a step forward. He could almost feel the invisible silk strands tighten around him.

shana-galenAUTHOR BIO: Shana Galen is the author of fast-paced adventurous Regency historicals, including the Lord and Lady Spy Series, the Jewels of the Ton Series, as well as the Sons of the Revolution Trilogy. A former English teacher in Houston’s inner city, Shana now writes full time, and is working on more regency romance novels! She’s happily married to the Ultimate Sportsfan and has a daughter who is most definitely a romance heroine in the making. Shana loves to hear from readers so feel free to talk to her on any of her social media sites.

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‘While You Were Spying’ by Shana Galen

Galen, Shana- While You Were Spying (final) 300 px @ 72   dpi low resSTORY: Francesca Dashing would like to forget that Ethan Caxton, the Marquess of Winterbourne, exists. He humiliated her in front of all of London Society—and he doesn’t even remember it! But when Ethan shows up in her sleepy Hampshire town, he’s hard to overlook, and his presence stirs up long-buried feelings. Francesca tries to keep her distance…until her life is threatened and the mysterious and handsome marquess comes to her rescue, in more ways than she ever thought possible.

Winterbourne has traveled to Hampshire on orders from the Foreign Office—he’s investigating an arms smuggling ring and is determined to find its leader. Miss Dashing stumbles into his way—literally—and derails both Ethan’s assignment and his ordered country life. Ethan knows he needs to ignore the distraction, but when Francesca is the victim of a vicious attack, he’s compelled to put aside his mission to protect her. Guarding the viscount’s daughter is work, nothing more, and Ethan has no plans to let down his guard…until Francesca’s chocolate-brown eyes and endless compassion melt the ice in his heart and lay siege to his defenses.

REVIEW: This story is a prequel to the Regency Spies series and it hits the shelves [although you can pre-order anytime before] on April 7th.

As a long time fan of this author [until recently I was only five books short away from having ALL of her books!] I am always happy to find out she’s got a new book for me to devour.

She never fails to capture my imagination with her well written/plotted, fast-paced and always intriguing and complex characters. If an author manages to make you care for her hero and heroine, she has done her job well, and Shana does this to me with each story she tells.

Our heroine, Francesca, was such a breath of fresh air! Every time she pops in, I picture a “Pied Piper” [think stray animals] and just can’t help but smile. Her kindness and loyalty surprised me only because she was put through so much pain and I thought a lesser woman would have been bitter, but not this woman. Despite her vulnerability, she displayed strength that was second to none.

And then there is Ethan… sigh… This man was one of the dreamiest heroes I’ve come across lately. No joke! He’s not just handsome and dashing, seductive and appealing, but he’s a spy too! But what I loved about him too, was his vulnerability as well. His past prevented him to trust Francesca at the beginning, but once that obstacle was gone, watch out!

It comes as no surprise to me that I loved this tale. Shana Galen has a knack for telling spy stories that are intriguing, interesting and vastly entertaining. They are action and humor filled with a sensual romance at its core. But none of that would have mattered to me if I wasn’t connecting to the hero and heroine. It’s Shana’s characters that keep me yearning for more of her stories.

If your tastes run close to mine, and if you like to laugh and cry while rooting for the villains to get their just deserts, than you must read this story.

Melanie for b2b

Complimentary copy provided by the author