Christina McKnight: Forgotten No More

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About Forgotten No More

A lady forgotten by all…

Ruby St. Augustin must find the truth of her past to determine what her future holds. She only has a short time in London to uncover the identity of her real father and the secrets behind her birth. If anyone learns of her mission, she will disgrace everyone she holds dear. What she doesn’t expect is to draw the attention of a man who doesn’t care about his reputation or her past.

A man mesmerized by one…

Harold Jakeston is a man without wealth or title. Resigned to a life he loathes, Harold has the chance at a few weeks of freedom before being trapped in a future he wants no part of. When he’s drawn into the mysterious quest of a woman from his past, he embraces the opportunity to forget the life that awaits him. What he never anticipated is falling in love with a woman who ignites his desire to create a new future for himself and for her.

A love neither can abandon…

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Excerpt

London, England

January 1816

Ruby took a deep breath before trying the final drawer that could hold all the answers to her past, her true heritage. Her lungs expanded; she held the air inside. She didn’t exhale until it burned. With trembling fingers, she reached for the last drawer and pulled.

MEDIA KIT Book Cover copyHer nicely trimmed nails nearly snapped when her grasp on the handle slipped from the force of her tug. The drawer hadn’t budged.

Locked!

“Oh, poppy cocks!” she hissed. Moving her hands to the folds of her evening gown, Ruby procured a small pouch tucked neatly into a hidden pocket. Setting it on the desk, she pulled out her array of lock-picking devices, really only hairpins and small wires she’d collected since her first night—and her first failed attempt at breaking into a desk—to help her disengage the drawer.

She had to know what secrets this lord held. Would she find an envelope inside labelled ‘Abandoned Daughter,’ or a report from the Bow Street Runners with details about herself—her hair color, the particular green shade of her eyes, places she’d been, perhaps the details of her activities over the course of her life?

Nothing worth finding was that simply ascertained.

No man, married or not, would leave record of their nefarious past. It was more likely her father had not spared her, or her mother, a second thought after throwing his pregnant mistress from his townhouse in the middle of the night with no coat and no means to get home.

Ruby was anything but a fool, but she found herself continuing to search regardless. She didn’t need a signed confession—she just needed that letter opener.

Picks in hand, she knelt before the locked drawer and eyed the keyhole, blowing a wayward strand of hair that had fallen across her face. She’d been unsuccessful more often than not when attempting to open locked drawers. But luck may have been on her side this evening. She’d entered the ball with little fuss, shortly after the host and hostess had quit the receiving line. It was surprising how similar the layout of most London townhouses were. Ruby had navigated the halls of the second floor and found the room she sought fairly quickly, encountering not a soul.

The pins slipped into the lock and her tongue darted out of her mouth to lick her lips as she concentrated on moving them exactly right to click the lock over. She fought to keep her hands steady when sweat broke out across her forehead. She was running out of time.

Ruby applied a bit too much pressure and the pin snapped, falling uselessly into the locked drawer. “Damn you to hell, mother!” she cursed and sat back, wiping her slick brow.

She’d always viewed herself as a sensible girl, a dutiful daughter, and an honest friend. She could only imagine the horror on Vi’s face if she saw her now. A common thief. A midnight prowler. A defiler of privacy.

Although, it could not be helped.

She sought answers and at the moment all she had was an endless list of questions.

Gaining her feet once more, she bundled her kit and slipped it back into her pocket. She turned her attention to the long table against the wall behind the desk. Leaning over, she ran her hand along the underside of the ornately carved piece, feeling for hidden compartments or—if her luck returned—a forgotten folder of papers.

“Sherry, Miss Ruby?” an oddly familiar voice asked behind her.

About the Author

MEDIA KIT Author Pic copyChristina McKnight is a book lover turned writer. From a young age, her mother encouraged her to tell her own stories. She’s been writing ever since. Currently, she focuses on Historical Romance, Urban Fantasy, and Paranormal Romance.

Christina enjoys a quiet life in Northern California with her family, her wine, and lots of coffee. Oh, and her books…don’t forget her books! Most days she can be found writing, reading, or traveling the great state of California.

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Christa Paige & Vivien Jackson: A Christmas Scheme

Cotillion Christmas Feasts

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2014 is the final year of Ellora’s Cave’s Cotillion Christmas anthologies. Enjoy these sweet Regency Christmas tales this year while you still can!

Message From Christa

The fun thing about co-writing is that you can come up with an idea, lob it through the ether at your writing partner and watch as she takes off with it. This is the case with the orangery in A Christmas Scheme. If I could show you my message feed with my lovely co-author, Vivien Jackson, it might make you wonder how we managed to craft an entire story with the crazy amount of idea lobbing going on. It was kind of like a fun snow ball fight. One of those ideas stuck. And, it was after we agreed on incorporating an orangery into the story that I had to actually figure out what it was beyond what I had read a long time ago in a Stephanie Laurens’ Bar Cynster novel.

There are a few interesting facts about orangeries that I found out in my research. They started in the 1600’s but became popular throughout Britain and France during the 17thcentury. Originally, they were buildings made from rudimentary supports like wooden beams and heated stoves but by the height of their incorporation in the English manor, they became architectural masterpieces with heating vents and glass-paned windows. Some famous orangeries are still around today like at Versailles in France and Kew House in England.

One of the benefits of an orangery was that it continuously offered a plethora of fruits, especially those citrus fruits that would not normally grow in the frigid temperatures of an English winter. And, that fact worked nicely for our Christmas story. At first, the orangery only had one purpose in A Christmas Scheme: the oranges. However, as the story unfolded, it turned out that this orangery was used for far more than just growing trees through the winter cold.

Vivien incorporated the orangery in Doctor Avery’s medical practice. And, I went with that and added a use for his lovely bride, Caroline. As the story continued on, we found that the orangery became a bigger aspect throughout the plot. There is a pivotal scene between Kiran and Kate in the orangery. And, though it is snowing outside and Christmas is nigh, there is a warm fire burning within the orangery, keeping things summery and tepid. It is a place of escape, a place of solitude, a place of secrets.

And, a place to grow oranges.

I’m so glad that I lobbed that idea to Vivien and that she ran with it.

So, join Miss Kate Avery and Kiran in the orangery at White Withering. There might even be a few schemes in there, too.

About A Christmas Scheme

Sequel to A Christmas Caroline, but you don’t have to read the prequel first!

With her brother’s recent marriage to the daughter of an earl, Kate Avery is no longer needed to keep his house or look after their younger sister. She’s free. But for what? Secretly she wishes for purpose and adventure, but finding it seems unlikely. Then her brother arrives home from London just in time for Christmas…with an exotic and mysterious visitor.

A displaced Bengali lord, Kiran now serves the British Crown in a covert capacity. He’s been charged to deliver a secret message to the Earl of Withering at his country estate. He feels out of place in this very English home and is eager to leave until he meets Kate, who shares his desire for adventure.

Kate and Kiran must choose between the loyalties they have long held and the unexpected affection that blooms between them.

A Blush® Regency historical romance from Ellora’s Cave

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Excerpt

Copyright © CHRISTA PAIGE & VIVIEN JACKSON, 2014

All Rights Reserved, Ellora’s Cave Publishing, Inc.

Chapter One

22 December 1809, Shropshire

Kate Avery crested a high point on the lane at White Withering, the grand country estate belonging to her brother’s new father-in-law, and turned in a slow circle to observe the white-cloaked park and grounds. Drat winter. Drat the country. Drat Christmas. If there was an exact opposite of joy, she was feeling it today.

A Christmas Scheme_HiRes copyA crusty scab of snow lingered from this morning, and if the leaden clouds were any indication, more bad weather was soon to come. It never snowed so unseasonably early in London. The hem of her sturdy woolen pelisse was soaked and her head felt blown up tighter than a hot-air balloon. Hydrocephalus, her brother Samuel would worry, and give her a tincture and put her to bed. Sometimes it was a burden having a physician for a brother, especially one who was so fond of her.

Thank heaven he was away in town and wasn’t expected home for another two days. He had promised Lady Caroline he would return home for the whole of Christmastide. This season was special for them; last year during the holiday had seen them wed.

For Kate, her brother’s professional obligations in town presented her with something of a reprieve. By the time he returned, her nose ought to be quite sorted. And she would have her sister Virginia in hand.

Probably.

For the last several months, since they’d moved to the country with Samuel and his Lady Caroline, nine-year-old Virginia had been playing truant of her studies. Ladies do not learn mathematics, the child would say. Ladies learn forte-piano. And Kate would hide her handed-down cyphering tables and bite her tongue. Adjusting from making do in their modest house on Dean Street, appropriate for a young physician and his family, to the opulence of Lady Caroline’s world had been difficult for Kate. Not so for her sister, apparently. Virginia had taken to grandness like the Queen to tea. Worse, the Earl of Withering, Lady Caroline’s curmudgeon of a father, encouraged such behavior.

Virginia always had been special, the youngest of the Avery siblings, an unexpected baby, the one Papa called a bonus. Kate had promised her dying mother that she would care for her wee sister, and by God she planned to do just that. Only…what if she had indeed been teaching Virginia the absolute wrong things all these years? After all, Kate herself had no formal instruction and no notion really what ladies ought to know. What if the earl and Lady Caroline had the right of it, and Virginia required more ladylike accomplishments, not Latin verbs?

Kate swiped the handkerchief once more over her face, then tucked it in her pocket, turning her head toward a copse nearby, a barrier between the lane and the formal gardens. On the thin winter wind she thought she caught voices coming from that direction, one tinny and childish. She squinted past the lace of bare branches. It took her not five moments to locate the wispish figure of her sister, flitting amongst the trees, bundled up like an overstuffed doll and singing some melody at the top of her voice. Kate gathered breath to call after the child.

But in the next instant she swallowed her shout. Choked on it. Following a short distance behind the child was Miss Blackthorne, Virginia’s new governess. New as of last week. Kate dropped her hand.

Lady Caroline had hired this governess, and her references were impeccable. She even taught deportment and watercolor. They had been in the orangery this morning, coddling saplings, and in the music room in the afternoon, chiming scales. And now here they were, the child and her teacher, heedless of the cold or gathering twilight, moving apace, and casually. Virginia’s voice came clear again, and Kate realized she was singing a song…in French.

Her sister was speaking French . Was skipping through the country woods of White Withering, in the company of her hired servant, confidently intoning—with some occasional comment on the pronunciation from Miss Blackthorne—the sounds Kate had only ever dared to read and never to speak.

“Oh, Mama,” Kate murmured, “I would you could see this.” Truth was, Virginia was growing into a fine young lady. And quite, quite without her sister’s help. The governess and her charge passed the slight hill Kate stood upon, bound for the house, without a pause in their song or a glance to the side.

A sneeze bristled the inside of Kate’s nose, but she swallowed savagely and the urge went away.

Blinking the odd brightness of the snow-clad twilight from her eyes, she began back the way she had come. Back toward the great looming house and her unnervingly aristocratic, if generous, sister-in-law and…what else? How would she now fill this evening, or tomorrow?

Virginia might be learning how a lady ought to occupy her time, but Kate flailed. Lady Caroline spent whole days in letter writing, riding her horse, visiting around the neighborhood, and tending her hothouse flowers. Did she expect Kate to amuse herself in similar pursuits? The thought was soul-blanching. Kate was more used to sorting household accounts, reading bits of broadsides her brother picked up at the coffee shops, and making certain Virginia adhered to a schedule and lessons. If those were no longer appropriate tasks for her, she needed…something. Adventure. Excitement. A place in the world. A purpose.

She stifled a sneeze against her sleeve.

She had heretofore found that purpose in helping others—quizzing her brother in his studies before he went off to school, helping her mother when Virginia was born, and then taking over care of the child after Mama succumbed. If Kate was not required to supervise Virginia now, what else was she good for?

A sound swept over the park. Such noise, which layered every moment in London, was alien out here in the country, unusual enough that she turned toward it.

The carriage was not beyond the park, as she had supposed. It turned onto the lane even as she watched, flashing the crest of the Earl of Withering. It lumbered a bit, the coachman taking his horses gingerly over fresh ice, but clearly it was coming here to White Withering. Her brother had returned early from London!

Eager to hurry back to the house before Samuel arrived, Kate picked up the hem of her pelisse and started down the hill, but a movement in the carriage arrested her momentarily. A shape leaned out the narrow window. A head. Even from this distance she could discern that it was dark. Unusually so and quite exotic. He looked straight at her.

Goodness. Of a certainty not her brother.

Kate’s breath caught up with the prickle in her throat, and for a heartbeat she could not breathe. She paused, strangling the mass of wool in her fist.

Who was this stranger? And why had Samuel brought him to White Withering, just in time for Christmas and with no warning whatsoever? Even were this guest quite common to look at—and Lord help her, he was not—the Earl of Withering, master still of this estate, would very well want to know about him.

Kate decided to bypass the imposing stone portico and divided stairs at the front and enter the house via the garden instead. She needed to locate the earl before meeting Sam and his guest on the steps.

As purposes went, relaying information to the earl was a simple one, but at least she had a reason to go back into that house.

SusanaSays3Susana Says

An engaging tale of two lovers finding unexpected love and purpose in life at Christmastide: 4/5 stars

Exciting things always seem to happen at Christmas at the White Withering estate. Last year, when Lady Caroline decided to make her father’s last Christmas a memorable one, she found her match. And this year, the earl is still around, and an unusual guest turns up to make her sister-in-law Kate Avery’s Christmas a special one.

A native of India and clearly a foreigner, Kiran’s ethnicity adds to his charm as he wins over the Kate and her family. His life has come to a crossroads and he feels alone and uncertain about his future. He sees that Kate, whose role in life has been usurped by Lady Caroline in the past year, is likewise feeling at loose ends, and ideas begin to form in his mind…

Add to that an insightful old earl, an impish little sister, and an unexpected episode in an orangery and you have a lovely tale of two lovers finding each other through the magic power of Christmas.

About the Authors

Vivien Jackson • Christa Paige

On our own, we write paranormal and sci-fi and fantasy and hot cops. Together, it’s all about the cravats and Hessians. Polished, of course.

Other Stories in the Cotillion Christmas Feasts Series

Christmas Fete by Barbara Miller

The Size of the Scandal by Jillian Chantal

Her Very Major Christmas by Saralee Etter

A Christmas Scheme by Christa Paige and Vivien Jackson

It’s Never Enough by Cynthia Moore

Cornelia Amiri: Moon Goddess Wife

Cornelia Amiri’s new release Moon Goddess Wife is about the Welsh goddess Rhiannon, the horse and moon goddess. It’s a fantasy, a mystery, and a romance.

Moon Goddess Wife is my version of the story of Rhiannon and Pwyll taken from the first branch of the Mabinogi, the ancient Welsh book of myths and legends. Rhiannon is a moon goddess but she’s also the ancient Welsh horse goddess. The story of Rhiannon and Pwyll can be categorized so many ways: a fantasy, a historical, a mystery, a myth and legend tale, but first and foremost it’s a romance. When a tale like this is told from generation to generation in front of tribal peat fires than later past on the same way by the fireside of castle hearths and once it is finally written down is read and reread from one generation to the next — all I can say is it’s a damn good story.  I’m honored to bring it to modern romance readers because it’s the story of a love that endures all.

About Moon Goddess Wife

From Welsh mythology springs the tale of Rhiannon and Pwyll. Chief Pwyll’s life is changed forever the day Goddess Rhiannon rides pass him on her magic horse. Forbidden romance smolders between the goddess and the chieftain. With the use of an enchanted bag, Rhiannon breaks free of an unwanted betrothal. Happily, she weds Pwyll, but a harrowing mystery tears them apart. Will Pwyll’s suspicion and duty as chieftain prevail or will love win out?

Excerpt

amoongoddess6 copyMoonlight slit through gaps in the leafy tree tops above Pwyll, the gold-torqued chief of the Demetaes, who sat in his saddle on this Samhain night. The eve of the new year, the day when the veil between worlds was at its weakest, was upon them. He scanned the wild woods for spirits wandering the earth, seeking loved ones or live bodies to inhabit. He, like the rest of his tribe, had protected himself from wayward phantoms by covering his face with ash, so they’d think he was a spirit and leave him alone.

Pwyll noticed he’d wandered onto an ancient grass-covered burial mound, a portal to the otherworld. As he grabbed his horse’s reins to gallop off the tor and safely join his spearmen below, a sudden gust of wind swirled around him. It tousled his thick, dark brown hair, spiked with lime wash, which highlighted some of the strands to a golden shade. He drew his plaid cloak tighter to his broad chest. Out of the darkness, a white light shone like a full moon gliding across the forest, toward him.

Unable to tear his gaze away, he stared at it. It drew closer and he saw it was a white horse whose mane glistened like spun silver. Wayward strands fluttered above its fathomless, almond-shaped eyes in its long, slender face. Its sleek, powerful legs moved at a slow but steady canter. The lady riding the steed captured his gaze. The golden cloak she wore and her long, cascading hair fluttered in the night sky like wings in flight. Pwyll’s mouth went dry and his jaw dropped. His heart raced. With his first glance at the woman he felt like he‘d fallen into a dream he couldn’t awake from. The dream was of her and only her.

“My woman,” he said under his breath.

As her lush lips parted, a sound like a chirping lark, her laughter, danced through the air and sang in his veins. His mind fell empty of all but an intense, urgent longing for this beauty. She rode off before Pwyll could leap onto her horse behind her and take her into his arms. Though Pwyll was a gold-torqued chief, she didn’t bless him with a smile, nor spare him a glance.

Pwyll sat there, gazing at her back as she rode away. He realized his spearmen had joined him and were yelling.

Cyngen slapped him on the back. “My chief, can you hear me?” The tall, muscular champion’s eyes gleaned with battle fury as if ready to fight, though no enemy was there. “Did she curse you with deafness?”

Arthfael, the oldest spearman, crowded in to show his concern. “Did she enchant you?”

Pwyll pushed them away as he would a zealous dog licking his face. “Did you see her?”

“It’s not like you to disobey any rule much less one as important as not standing on the tor on Samhain.” Cyngen flung his arms out and shook them. “I fear that woman may be a goddess.”

“Yes, the most beautiful goddess in the world,” Pwyll rasped.

Arthfael grabbed Pwyll’s horse and walked him down from the tor. “Come, lest she returns to carry you to the otherworld.”

About the Author

authorCornelia Amiri, who also writes under the name of Maeve Alpin, is the author of 22 Celtic and Steampunk romance books. She lives in Houston Texas as does her son and granddaughter and her cat, Severus. Severus is a writer’s cat, he loves books. He likes to knock them off the bookshelf, sit on them, and sniff the open pages. He also uses the computer, he sits on it, lays on top of it, and walks across the key board almost constantly.

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Saralee Etter: Her Very Major Christmas

 Cotillion Christmas Feasts

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2014 is the final year of Ellora’s Cave’s Cotillion Christmas anthologies. Enjoy these sweet Regency Christmas tales this year while you still can!

Message From Saralee

Thanks, Susana, for inviting me to talk to your readers about my Christmas story, Her Very Major Christmas.

I love food – what can I say? I was the kind of kid who really loved reading cookbooks, imagining the glorious smells of cinnamon and citrus, and looking at photographs of perfectly prepared dishes. Canning vegetables and making marmalade is a fun challenge that always leaves me with a sense of accomplishment. Baking cakes and making marvelous stews is one of my favorite ways to show love.

So you can imagine how excited I was when I found out that this year’s Cotillion Christmas theme was the traditional holiday feast during the English Regency! Old cookbooks offer us a fascinating glimpse into the foods of the past, and I couldn’t wait to explore the dishes that might have appeared on a nobleman’s dining table in 1815.

Of course, since making delicious food is important to me, my heroine had to enjoy cooking too. Even though an upper-class lady wouldn’t be expected to slave in the kitchen, she certainly might be interested in making certain special food items like jellies, candies, and other preparations including home remedies. Back in an era when medicines, lotions, and other concoctions had to be made by hand, the lady of the house might well have learned how.

As it happens, Rosalind Joslin’s remedies help to heal the wounds suffered by her cousin-by-marriage, Major Harry Joslin. He’s a gruff and somewhat imposing veteran of Waterloo who finds her gentle, practical nature a soothing balm to his spirit.

About Her Very Major Christmas

HVMC copyWidowed Rosalind Joslin is an extra female in her in-laws’ household. Longing to prove she still has value, she uses her skills to make remedies and medicinal preparations for the poor. She misses the warmth and sun of India where she was raised but looks forward to her first real English Christmas with holly and the traditional feast.

Major Harry Joslin never expected his cousin’s death to thrust him into the unwanted role of nobleman. Still recovering from the emotional and physical injuries inflicted at Waterloo, he’s not ready for the demands of a new position and his family’s pressure for him to marry a debutante. His cousin’s widow is just another complication.

But it’s the season of miracles and two wounded hearts may find love blooming in the depths of a snowy Christmas day.

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Excerpt

It was a devilish way to be welcomed into the family.

The dark-haired woman had crept into the library, taken one look at him then screamed and fainted dead away. He’d lunged toward her, hoping to catch her before she crumpled to the floor. He didn’t quite reach her in time.

Women had screamed at the sight of his scarred face before but usually not until they’d gotten a better look at him. Guiltily aware that her unconscious condition was his fault, he gathered her up into his arms, meaning to place her on the sofa at the far end of the room. If he moved fast enough he could put her down before his marked visage caused her to faint again. She was a soft, sturdy little thing with a pale face and dark hair that spilled over his arm.

He only had time to carry her halfway to the sofa before he heard a furious pounding of feet on the floorboards outside the library. The door to the library burst open. Through the door came an elderly lady, followed by an old man with a pair of dueling pistols, one in each hand.

“Unhand that female! Get back, you fiend!” the old man shouted, waving the pistols.

Burdened by the woman in his arms, the major froze as one of the weapons dipped dangerously in his direction.

The gun went off with a roar.

A pistol ball whistled past his head and lodged in the wall near the window. The lady shrieked.

The old man looked astonished, turning the pistol around so he could squint down the smoking barrel. “By Jove, I didn’t even touch the blasted trigger.”

SusanaSays3Susana Says

…delightful tale of unexpected love at Christmas: 4/5 stars

After being widowed and orphaned and finally taken in by her late husband’s crotchety old grandfather, Rosalind finds her purpose in life by studying herbs and treating the aches and pains of the neighborhood.

Major Harry Joslin never expected to inherit his grandfather’s baronetcy, but the unexpected deaths of his cousin and uncle make him the last male heir. Still recovering from his experiences at Waterloo, Harry just wants to live a normal life, and his cousin’s pretty widow seems like the perfect lady to share it with.

But the powers that be seem to have other plans. Little do they know that Major Harry is no man’s—or woman’s, for that matter—fool.

Her Very Major Christmas is a well-written, sweet Christmas love story about two wounded souls who find love and hope in each other. The characters are well-drawn; the inclusion of the Spanish servant is a special surprise.

If you like short, sweet Christmas reads, this one will not fail to please.

About the Author

saralee-2-webfileSaralee loves to read, and always knew that writing was the only career for her. Next to reading stories, what could be better than thinking up stories all day long? But instead of writing the stories that were teeming in her head, she wrote other things: Newspaper articles, public relations releases, legal briefs.

Now she’s turned to writing fiction full-time. Her traditional Regency romance, A Limited Engagement, is available from the Cotillion line of stories, as is her 2013 Christmas Cotillion novella, Lydia’s Christmas Charade.

She is a long-time member of the Central Ohio Fiction Writers and the Romance Writers of America.

Other Stories in the Cotillion Christmas Feasts Series

Christmas Fete by Barbara Miller

The Size of the Scandal by Jillian Chantal

Her Very Major Christmas by Saralee Etter

A Christmas Scheme by Christa Paige and Vivien Jackson

It’s Never Enough by Cynthia Moore

Heather Hiestand: Christmas Delights

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Heather will be awarding a $25 AMAZON or BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Click here for the Rafflecopter. Click the banner above to follow the tour and increase your chances of winning.

About Christmas Delights

The sweetest gift is the hardest to unwrap. . .

Lady Victoria Allen-Hill never dreamed she’d be a widow at twenty-one–let alone a virgin. Her father insists that she attend a matchmaking house party in the snow-covered seaside town of Pevensey in hopes she’ll find a suitable husband. But for Victoria, it’s an opportunity to indulge in a passionate affair—and the handsome inventor she meets at the Christmas Eve masquerade ball may be just the man for the job. . .

Lewis Noble is the cousin of London’s famed Redcake sisters, so it almost stands to reason that he’s just as irresistible as one of their sugar-iced pastries. Lewis catches the eye of every woman at the party–but Victoria is the only one who catches his. He won’t be tied down in her father’s business, but watching other men court her amid a flurry of engagements ignites a jealousy he’s never felt before. A dose of honesty may be just the thing to mend their broken hearts–for many holidays to come. . .

“Before I realized it, the unusually strong and well-developed characters of The Kidnapped Bride had sneaked up on me and captured my full attention. This is one of the best shorter books I have ever read.”

Delle Jacobs, author of Lady Wicked

“A delightful, sexy glimpse into Victorian life and loving with two wonderfully non-traditional lovers.

Jessa Slade, author of Dark Prince’s Desire and His Wicked Smile

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Excerpt

“Why would you want to dine with him?” Lewis growled. “He’s a known rake, on the prowl for a rich heiress.”

Cover_The Kidnapped Bride copy“I am a rich heiress,” Victoria said softly.

“I thought you were interested in me. Was that all a mistake?” His expression stayed closed, remote.

“Will you be dreaming of some other woman when I’m in your bed?” Her retort shocked her. She was acting like a jealous lover, not a flirt.

He stared at her for a long moment. “If I allow a woman into my bed, she is going to be the only thing I think about. The only thought I will have will be her pleasure; my only concern will be her satisfaction.”

She felt her intimate flesh contract in a hard burst of pleasurable shock. “Are you ready to allow it, sir?”

“Are you?” His gaze narrowed. “You seem to be having second thoughts.”

“I never have second thoughts at midnight. Only at other times of the day,” she said lightly, wishing she could run her hands over his elaborate jacket and feel the outline of the hard muscles underneath.

“Then we will make an assignation for some midnight,” he said.

About the Author

Heather Hiestand photo copyHeather Hiestand was born in Illinois, but her family migrated west before she started school. Since then she has claimed Washington State as home, except for a few years in California. She wrote her first story at age seven and went on to major in creative writing at the University of Washington. Her first published fiction was a mystery short story, but since then it has been all about the many flavors of romance. Heather’s first published romance short story was set in the Victorian period, and she continues to return, fascinated by the rapid changes of the nineteenth century. The author of many novels, novellas, and short stories, she has achieved best-seller status at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. With her husband and son, she makes her home in a small town and supposedly works out of her tiny office, though she mostly writes in her easy chair in the living room.

For more information, visit Heather’s website. Heather loves to hear from readers! Her email is heather@heatherhiestand.com.

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Valerie Bowman: The Accidental Countess

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Valerie will be awarding a print copy of The Accidental Countess and fun swag (US ONLY), or a digital copy of the book (INTERNATIONAL) to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Click here for the Rafflecopter. Click the banner above to follow the tour and increase your chances of winning.

About The Accidental Countess

CAN A SCANDALOUS CHARADE

For seven long years, Lady Cassandra Monroe has waited for the man of her dreams to return from the war. Unfortunately, he happens to be engaged to her flighty cousin. What Cass wouldn’t give to take her cousin’s place! When he mistakes Cass for Patience Bunbury, a fictitious friend her cousin has invented to escape social obligations…even with her future husband, Cass thinks this is her chance.

LEAD TO TRUE AND LASTING LOVE?

After defeating Napoleon at Waterloo, Captain Julian Swift is not quite ready to settle down and enter into his unwanted arranged marriage—especially when the real object of his affection turns out to be a beguiling beauty he meets at a party. Patience Bunbury is witty, independent, passionate…and, unbeknownst to him, the cousin of his current fiancée. When the truth about Cass comes out—and Julian discovers that their courtship is anything but accidental—will he surrender his heart to a woman who really is too good to be true?

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Excerpt

Julian pulled on his gloves. “I know I’m going to regret asking this, but why did Mother give you five pounds?”

“Because I won the bet, silly,” his sister, Daphne, said.

Cover_AccidentalCountess copyHe arched a brow. “Bet?”

“I bet Mama that when you came home you would end things with Penelope immediately. Mama said you’d be planning a spring wedding.”

His brow remained arched. “Mother had that much faith in me, did she?”

“It’s not that she wanted you to marry Penelope. I don’t think she did, really. Though she hasn’t said. It’s just that she was convinced you would do it.”

“I see. And you didn’t believe I’d remain so steadfast?”

Daphne shook her head. Her blond curls bobbed against her cheeks. “Absolutely not.”

“What made you so certain?”

“Because I’ve been around to see her cousin Cassandra grow up, dear brother.” She gave him a sidewise catlike smile. “You’ve seen Cassandra since you’ve been back, have you not?”

“Yes. I’ve seen her,” he growled.

“Perhaps at the house party?”

Julian’s gaze snapped to his sister’s face. “How did you—?”

“You mentioned Lady Worthing’s eyes, which led me to believe that Lady Worthing is in fact the Duchess of Claringdon, which then led me to believe that Miss Bunbury might well have been Lady Cassandra. Am I right?”

Julian clenched his jaw. “It seems the entire house party was an elaborate ruse to fool me.”

“I knew it! I begged Penelope to take me with her when she stopped by to visit before she left for Surrey.”

“You knew about this mad ploy and you didn’t think it absurd?”

“Oh, it’s absurd to be sure. Though I think you’d have to know the Duchess of Claringdon to truly understand. She’s a bit . . . unpredictable.”

“And you didn’t see fit to mention to Penelope that her cousin and friend were playacting in the country?”

Daphne plunked her hands on her hips. “And spoil the fun? I wouldn’t think of it.”

“You’re mad, too,” Julian declared, shaking his head.

“My point is that you have, in fact, seen Lady Cassandra.”

“Yes.”

“So I needn’t explain my reasoning for why I bet Mother that you’d break things off with Penelope.” Daphne smiled at him sweetly. “And I thank Lady Cassandra kindly for my five pounds.”

Julian shook his head. Yes, Daphne was no longer a cute little girl with a penchant for asking too many questions. She’d grown up to be an astute young woman who was much more thoughtful than she first appeared. Thankfully, Julian was spared more inquiry from his talkative sister when their coach pulled to a stop in front of the Hillboroughs’ town house. Julian alighted first and then turned to help Daphne from the coach.

As soon as Daphne’s slippered feet touched the ground, the siblings turned toward the front door.

Directly into the path of . . . Lady Moreland, Garrett Upton, and Cassandra Monroe.

Julian gritted his teeth. He glanced away but not before he caught a glimpse of her. Cassandra looked like a dream in a violet-colored gown, diamonds sparkling at her throat.

“Now this is going to be an interesting evening,” Daphne said, with a wide grin on her impish little face. “An interesting evening, indeed.”

About the Author

VALERIE BOWMAN is an award-winning author who writes Regency-set historical romance novels (a.k.a. Racy Regency Romps) with a focus on sharp dialogue, engaging story lines, and heroines who take matters into their own hands!

Valerie’s first Regency series from St. Martin’s Press has garnered acclaim including a nomination for Best First Historical from RT Book Reviews, a BookList starred review, and a Publishers Weekly starred review. She is also a 2014 Kirkus Prize nominee for fiction. Her work has been called “Too delightful to miss” by New York Times bestselling author Lisa Kleypas and “Everything a romance should be” by New York Times bestselling author Sarah MacLean.

Valerie grew up in Illinois with six sisters (she’s number seven) and a huge supply of historical romance novels. After a cold and snowy stint earning a degree in English with a minor in history at Smith College, she moved to Florida the first chance she got. Valerie now lives in Jacksonville with her family including her rascally rescue dog, Roo. When she’s not writing, she keeps busy reading, traveling, or vacillating between watching crazy reality TV and PBS.

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Nhys Glover: The Gladiator’s Bride

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Nhys will be awarding a $10 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour. Click here for the Rafflecopter. Click on the banner above to follow the tour and increase your chances of winning. Comment to enter Susana’s November Giveaway (see photo at right).

About The Gladiator’s Bride

Crippled by shyness, shunned for being not-right-in-the-head, gifted artist and Roman noblewoman, Marcia Mica, has only two people in the world who truly love her – her teacher, Daedalus, and her childhood friend, Asterion, both slaves in her father’s household. But when forbidden love blooms between the unlikely friends, only disaster can come of it. That disaster leaves Marcia horribly scarred and Asterion sold into the arena as a gladiator.

Cover_TheGladiatorsBride copyYears later, Daedalus brings a broken Marcia to Britannia, and Sabrina, the healer who saved his life when he was a boy, works miracles on the scarred girl. However, not all scars are physical and those Sabrina has no ability to heal.

When Sabrina and Marcia are kidnapped by a Celtic leader bent on revenge, Asterion must depend on the dreams of a Celtic Seer to find the love of his life and help foil a revolt that threatens the fragile peace in Roman Britannia. But even if he and his friends succeed, can scars that are more than just physical ever really be healed and can those whose lives are owned by others ever truly be free to follow their hearts?

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Excerpt

Dath edged across the room towards Marcie. He hadn’t noticed the wall behind her until the bastard pointed it out. Now he saw that it was a monochrome painting: a reddish-brown scene that would have suited the Christians and their belief in Hell and Damnation. It was, he realised instantly, a picture of the night of the fire. There was Asterion, tied to the large cartwheel, his back scourged with cruel welts. There was the Master, his face a mask of such ugliness he could have made Medusa a perfect mate. And around them both were flames; a fire raging out of control, eating everything in its path.

With a shudder, it suddenly dawned on him what she’d used as paint. The brownish-red colouring could only be one thing: Blood.

Had this animal not allowed her paints? Had she been forced to work using her own blood as the medium? Or had she intentionally chosen to work in blood because it captured her agony as nothing else could?

‘Blood?’ He hadn’t realised he’d spoken the word out loud until the merchant replied.

‘She did it in burned pieces of wood in my suite. So when I moved her in here I made sure she didn’t have access to anything she could disfigure my walls with. But she outsmarted me. Made brushes out of her own hair and cut her arm to get blood.’

About the Author

After a lifetime of teaching others to appreciate the written word, Aussie author Nhys Glover finally AuthorPic copydecided to make the most of the Indie Book Revolution to get her own written word out to the world. Now, with almost 100,000 of her ebooks downloaded internationally and a winner of 2013 SFR Galaxy Award for The Titan Drowns, Nhys finds her words, too, are being appreciated.

At home in the beautiful Yorkshire Dales of England, Nhys these days spends most of her time “living the dream” by looking out over the moors as she writes the kind of novels she loves to read: The ones that are a little bit steamy, a little bit different and wholly romantic.

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