Cheryl Holt’s Reluctant Brides Blog Tour

RELUCTANT BRIDES…When love is the key and dowry the bait, who can predict what a woman might do?

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DAY FOUR

At Miss Peabody’s, there had been few chances for privacy, and with modesty expected at all times, Rose rarely had the opportunity to be totally alone and do whatever she liked. She couldn’t recall when she’d previously shed every stitch, and there was a heady freedom in the act that surprised her.

She slipped into her robe, relishing how the slinky material slithered over her bare skin. She didn’t tie the belt and let the lapels flop open so her front was visible.

In the mirror, she studied herself, and it wasn’t vanity to acknowledge that she was pretty.

Her eyes were green, merry and arresting, her face heart shaped and inviting, with two pert dimples curving her cheeks. She was five feet five in her shoes, her body shapely and rounded in all the right spots, and she prayed Mr. Oswald would be pleased with the bride he’d found.

Her hair was an unusual shade of auburn, and when she was younger, she’d fussed and fumed and hid it under scarves and bonnets. Every other girl in her world had seemed to be blond, but she wasn’t, and the odd difference had vexed her.

But as she’d grown older, she’d realized the color was striking and remarkable, and she told herself she’d inherited it from her deceased mother whose features she didn’t recollect.

There was a brush on the dresser—another of her mother’s belongings. She pulled the pins from her chignon, the lengthy tresses swinging down her back, then she grabbed the brush and began tugging the bristles through her hair. As she wandered toward the bedchamber, she quietly mused, “Oh, I hope he likes me.”

“I’m sure he will,” a male voice replied. “He’s never met a female he didn’t try to seduce.”

She halted, frowned, her mind struggling to register the fact that someone had spoken. Had she imagined it? It was an ancient mansion. Were there ghosts?

She tiptoed to the door that separated the two rooms and peeked out. Her brush fell to the floor with a muted thump. Frantically, she yanked at the lapels of her robe, tied the belt with a tight knot.

She wasn’t hallucinating. A man—a very handsome, very roguish man—had made himself at home in her bedchamber. He lounged on the chair by the bed, slouched down, his legs stretched out.

He was about her same age of twenty-five, but there was a hard edge to him, as if he’d seen trouble in his life, as if he’d persevered through adversity. But there was mischief lurking too, as if he would engage in any tomfoolery and enjoy it very much.

His hair was dark, worn too long and in need of a trim, and his eyes were incredibly blue, his gaze curious and bored. He hadn’t shaved so his cheeks were shadowed, giving him a reckless, negligent air.

Attired in a flowing white shirt, tan breeches, knee-high black boots, his color was high, as if he’d been out riding.

He appeared lazy and windswept and dangerous, and she probably should be terrified, but she sensed no menace. He was watching her as intently as she was watching him.

“I believe you’ve wandered into the wrong room,” she sputtered.

“I don’t think so,” he responded. “This has been my room since I was a boy. I’m positive I’m not mistaken.”

“No, you’re wrong,” she firmly said. “The maid brought me here directly from the coach. I’m certain she wasn’t mistaken. She was very clear. This is my room.” She made a shooing motion with her fingers. “You have to leave.”

“I could say the same to you.”

“Listen, Mr.—”

“Talbot. James Talbot.”

“I’m only newly arrived at Summerfield, and I’m not dressed. If you were any sort of gentleman, you’d do as I’ve requested.”

“There’s the rub for you, darling. I’m not a gentleman, and I’ve never aspired to gallant tendencies.”

“You sound proud of it.”

“I guess I am.”

“What type of person would boast of low character?”

“My type, I suppose.”

“I say it again. Go away!”

“No.”

There was a decanter of liquor on the table next to him, and he poured himself a glass and sipped at the amber liquid. He looked vain and imperious and completely in the right, and she had no idea how to proceed.

As an orphan, then a spinster schoolteacher at an all-girls academy, she’d had very restricted interactions with men. It was a rare occasion when a male crossed her path. She’d never been kissed, had never walked down the lane with a sweetheart. She’d never ordered a man to do something and had him do it.

How did a woman make a man behave? Rose had never been told how it was accomplished. In her humble and somewhat limited opinion, men were obstinate, arrogant, and overbearing. They shouted and blustered and acted however they wished. Women had few weapons to fight against their worst conduct.

She should have hurried into the dressing room and put on her clothes, but she was already sufficiently unclad and didn’t want to exacerbate the situation. Her other option was to stomp out, to summon help, but she didn’t dare inform the servants that there was a stranger in her room.

She hadn’t met Mr. Oswald yet. If he learned of the scandalous exchange, what would he think? Her betrothal would end before it began.

She pulled herself up to her full height and mustered her most condemning expression.

“Mr. Talbot, we’re at an impasse.”

“Yes, we are.”

“I’m not in any condition to receive you.”

“I see that.”

His hot gaze took a slow meander down her body, lingering at several spots where he had no business lingering, and her cheeks flushed bright red. She’d never been ogled, and she scowled and stood even straighter.

“You must depart,” she fumed. “I’ll repair myself, and then we’ll call on the housekeeper to resolve our quarrel. I’m sure she knows to which rooms we’ve been assigned.”

“I wouldn’t agree to that.”

“Why not?”

“I don’t need that old biddy scolding me because I’m sitting in my own room. Nor do I need her to tell me where my bed is located.”

“Mr. Talbot! Please!”

“I love it when a woman begs.”

reluctant

wantonwickedwonderful

About Cheryl Holt

Cheryl Holt is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of thirty-nine novels. She’s also an Amazon “Top 100″ author.

She’s also a lawyer and mom, and at age 40, with two babies at home, she started a new career as a commercial fiction writer. She’d hoped to be a suspense novelist, but couldn’t sell any of her manuscripts, so she ended up taking a detour into romance, where she was stunned to discover that she has an incredible knack for writing some of the world’s greatest love stories.

cheryl-portraitHer books have been released to wide acclaim, and she has won or been nominated for many national awards. She is particularly proud to have been named “Best Storyteller of the Year,” by the trade magazine, Romantic Times BOOK Reviews.

Her hot, sexy, dramatic stories of passion and illicit love have captivated fans around the world, and she’s celebrated as the Queen of Erotic Romance, which is currently the fastest selling subgenre of women’s fiction. Due to the ferociousness of some of her characters, she’s also known as the International Queen of Villains.

She received degrees in music, languages, and education, from South Dakota State University, and her juris doctorate was obtained at the University of Wyoming. Her colorful and chaotic employment history includes such variety as public school teacher, cook, bartender, lobbyist, and political activist. She also did brief stints in metro-Denver as a deputy district attorney and administrative law judge.

Cheryl lives and writes in Hollywood, California.

Other Stops on the Blog Tour:

Be My Bard - April 21st
Manic Readers - April 22nd
Night Owl Reviews - April 23rd
Susana’s Parlour - April 24th
Stuck in Books - April 25th
Romancing the Book - April 28th
My Life, One Story at a Time - April 29th
Reader’s Entertainment - April 30th
Novels Alive TV - May 1st

The Rise and Fall of Beau Brummell

The epitome of a Regency dandy was a young man by the name of George Brummell. George did not grow up in the lap of luxury—his grandfather was rumored to be a personal servant—but his father was secretary to Lord North, and he was sent to Eton at the age of twelve in 1790, where he became very popular. Because of his attention to fashion and grooming, it wasn’t long before he became a great friend of the Prince Regent, who, in 1794, gave him a commission in his own regiment, the 10th Hussars. Brummell, nicknamed “Buck” by his intimates, spent most of his time on military leave, until he inherited 30,000 pounds and resigned, setting up his own household in 1798 at No. 4 Chesterfield Street.

BEAUBRUMMELL copy

Brummell decreed that cut and fit in a gentleman’s clothing were more important than elaborate fabrics. His insistence on cleanliness had the effect of pulling English gentlemen out of the stables and into the baths, and then poured into closely-fitting, well-cut clothing, including snow-white neckcloths tied into elaborate knots, smoothly shaved faces, and hair that required three hairdressers—one for the front, one for the sides and one for the back.

“The Beau” was known for his audacious wit and his condescending comments centering on the bad taste of others, men and women alike. A set-down from him could ruin a young person’s reputation and send them running from London in shame. Brummell and his dandies made it unfashionable to show emotion or any concern for the consequences of their actions. Although he had no social standing of his own, he had even the highest-ranked gentlemen admiring and copying his dress and behavior. Along with Lord Alvanley, Henry Pierpont and Henry Mildmay, he was part of the “Dandy Club” of Watier’s.

Unfortunately, Brummell’s extravagance, gambling and sharp tongue also led to his downfall. In 1813 at a party, the Prince Regent snubbed Brummell and Mildmay, staring them in the face while refusing to speak to them. Brummell quipped to Alvanley, “Who is your fat friend?” and that was the beginning of the end for Brummell.

In 1816 he fled to Calais where he lived in poverty until his death of syphilis in 1840.

londonrem

#4 chesterfield st.

No. 4 Chesterfield Street

Laudermilk, Sharon H. and Hamlin, Theresa L., The Regency Companion, Garland Publishing, 1989.

The Fashionable Gentleman

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Regency gentlemen had a serious obsession with fashion, especially after Beau Brummell arrived on the London scene. More about him next week.

During the Regency, knee breeches gave rise to trousers, although it was a good long time before trousers were accepted at Almack’s Assembly Rooms. By 1816, after Brummell’s flight to the continent, trousers became all the rage, with breeches reserved for very formal occasions (except for older gentlemen who did not adapt well to change).

Pantaloons and trousers were made of light colors, such as buff or yellow, and clung tightly to the body. Pantaloons had side slits with buttons to keep them tight, and straps under the instep to keep them in place.

shirts

A gentleman’s shirt tended to be long, shapeless, and white. Over the shirt would go the waistcoat (white for evening wear, colorful and eye-catching for day wear). An elaborately-tied cravat would spill over the shirt and waistcoat. Over that would be a dress coat with tails—cut in a straight line from the waist down), or a morning coat or riding coat, which also sported tails, but was cut away in front. Following Waterloo, a frock coat with a military design became popular for informal occasions. Over all of this would be a great coat, worn all year round, often with capes of various lengths along the top.

cravat

greatcoat

greatcoat

morning coat or riding coat

morning coat or riding coat

Black boots were the daytime shoes of choice for a Regency gentleman, particularly Hessians, which were knee boots that sported a tassle in front. Hessians were worn over the trousers, but at the end of the Regency, Wellington boots, which were worn under breeches, which were tied at the foot, became popular. For evening wear, black pumps—perhaps made of the new patent leather—and silk stockings were worn. Hoby was the bootmaker of choice.

Regency gentlemen wore top hats of various shapes and sizes, and hats made of beaver were quite popular. Lock’s was the hatter of choice for the exclusive Regency gentleman. Gloves, jewelry (cravat pins, rings, and fobs), snuff boxes, quizzing glasses, and scents were also important to a gentleman’s toilette. Thanks to Beau Brummell’s fastidious cleanliness, bathing also become de rigueur in the Regency.

Beau Brummell

Beau Brummell

Just as Regency ladies required a personal maid or abigail to assist them with dressing and care for their wardrobe, gentlemen required the services of a valet.

For further information:

Kristen Koster

Next Installment: The Rise and Fall of Beau Brummell

Laudermilk, Sharon H. and Hamlin, Theresa L., The Regency Companion, Garland Publishing, 1989.

A Regency Gentleman: His Upbringing

Privileged children were born at home, typically with the aid of a midwife, and immediately handed over to a wet nurse, since upper class ladies did not nurse their own children. Brought up by servants or dependent relatives, children saw their parents rarely, always accompanied by servants.

Later, a young gentleman might be tutored by a local clergyman or by a hired tutor or governess. When he could read and write, he would be sent off to public school, such as Eton, Rugby, Harrow, Westminster, Winchester and Charterhouse. The course of study centered on the classics, the French language (used often in polite society when servants were present), drawing and fencing. However, life at public schools could be traumatic.

Eton

Eton

In spite of the outlandish fees charged by these exclusive schools, the accommodations were abominable. Sleeping chambers were cold and damp, food barely edible and scant, and the older boys bullied the younger ones unmercifully. The older—and bigger—boys forced the younger ones as servants—a system known as fagging—and often such treatment resulted in revenge against a headmaster who allowed such brutal bullying to occur. Headmasters, too, were known to cane a boy’s bare buttocks until it bled.

The idea was that a boy who could survive public school and learned the meaning of obedience could be trusted to command—servants or regiments— or succeed in whatever place in Regency society he was fated to take.

Following public school, our young man could go on to Oxford or Cambridge, although he could devote himself to other pleasures—eating, drinking and wenching—as well. Most university students did a fair amount of both.

On the Town

Prior to the Napoleonic Wars, a young man would go on a tour of Europe with a tutor (“bear-leader”) to sample the pleasures of Europe. During the Regency, a young man was more likely to take up a commission in the army (particularly if he was a younger son) or simply learn his way around London, therefore earning his “town bronze.”

A young gentleman was expected to be skilled in fighting with fists, swords, and firearms, as well as gaming. Coolness, courage, and a “stiff, upper lip” were essential for a young man about town. He was also expected to be stylish enough to be accepted into gentlemen’s clubs and ballrooms, including Almack’s Assembly Rooms. Gentlemen, too, were scrutinized by the patronesses before being issued the coveted vouchers.

Other frequent amusements by young bucks might be parading up and down Bond Street and “accidentally” tripping people with their canes, catching the edge of a lace gown with their spurs, or quizzing people with their quizzing glasses. These young men “raising Cain” were the scourge of the night watchmen with their tricks on unwary passers-by.

And then there were their “bits of muslin” or wenches. A young man was expected to marry for money or connections, make sure his heir was his, and then proceed to find passion with a series of mistresses. While discretion was expected, most of society turned a blind eye to these foibles, at least on the part of gentlemen. Ladies’ behavior was much more closely scrutinized.

Next Installment: The Fashionable Gentleman

Laudermilk, Sharon H. and Hamlin, Theresa L., The Regency Companion, Garland Publishing, 1989.

Cassandra Dean and “Silk & Scorn”

VBT_SilkAndScorn_Banner

Cassandra will be awarding at each stop a signed Silk & Scorn postcard and a Silk & Scorn magnet to a randomly drawn commenter, and a Grand Prize of a $15 Amazon Gift Card, a hard copy* and ebook copy of Silk & Scandal, the Silk Series Book 1, a Silk & Scorn mug, a signed Silk & Scorn postcard and a Silk & Scorn magnet will be awarded to one randomly drawn commenter during the tour. (international giveaway). Click here for the Rafflecopter. Click on the banner to follow the tour and increase your chances of winning.
*hard copy will be printed and bound, not an official bound paperback

 

Hi peeps!

First off, thank you to Susana  for having me. For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Cassandra Dean and I write historical romance ranging from sweet to steamy. I also play about in the eras, roaming from Ancient Rome to Victorian to the Old West and beyond. My books take readers on an emotional rollercoaster, from the lowest of lows to the joyous of highs. And, of course, my characters fall into the forever kind of love.

Today I’m chatting about an interesting historical tidbit I encountered while researching Silk and Scorn, my latest release and second in The Silk Series. I’d actually like to talk about the title a bit and why the series is called The Silk Series. I decided to centre the series around people who work in various employment within the Law during the Early Victorian period. As such, the first book features a barrister, the second (Silk and Scorn) a solicitor, the third will feature a scribe, the fourth a law professor and the fifth a police detective. The ‘silk’ portion of the title refers to this person employed by the law – Silk is a nickname given to those barristers (a type of lawyer) who obtain the position of Queen’s Counsel (or King’s Counsel when a man sits on the English throne).

I looked a bit into the history of Queens Counsels while researching the series and found the following interesting bits and pieces:

  • The first official Queens Counsel (or Kings Counsel as it was then) was Sir Francis Bacon, a bit of a notable figure himself. He was appointed 1597 and formally styled a Kings Counsel in 1603.
  • Up until the 1830s, Queens Counsels were thin on the ground but around that time it became the standard means of recognising barristers as a senior member of the profession and numbers multiplied accordingly.
  • The first woman appointed to the rank was in Canada in 1943. The first women appointed in England was in 1949.
  • Queens Counsels wear formal robes of silk while in court, as opposed to junior barristers who wear robes made of cotton or a similar fabric. This is where the nickname ‘Silk’ comes into play.

As you can see, there is a lot of interesting information regarding this. I had such fun discovering it all and I hope you have too!

Cassandra

About Silk and Scorn

No matter how much their mothers wanted Sarah and Arthur to wed, Sarah had loathed him. However, circumstance and her late husband’s father conspire against her, and she is forced to turn to Arthur for help. Perhaps she needs his legal expertise, but she refuses to acknowledge how handsome her oldest foe has become…or her reaction to him.

His childhood nemesis is the last person Arthur Davenport expected to require his services. When a spurious claim against her late husband’s estate brings Sarah Wetherall to his door, he can’t refuse the pretty widow.

Thrown together by fate, will they discover there is a fine line between scorn and passion?

 AmazonBarnes & Noble

Excerpt

Cover_SilkAndScornArthur turned his regard to the woman. Currently she studied his qualifications, hung on the wall along with the framed pictures his mother had given him for his birthday every year since he’d become a solicitor. “Mrs. Wetherall, good afternoon. Please, seat yourself.”

Her shoulders straightened infinitesimally but she didn’t respond, instead continuing to regard the wall.

Irritation tugged, but he suppressed it. Emotion would get him nowhere. “Mrs. Wetherall?”

With a sweep of her skirts, the lady and her hat settled into the chair before his desk.

Frowning, he sank to his own seat. That enormous hat was absurd, still disguising her face. Why did women think such things were attractive? In addition to being ludicrous, it no doubt put undue pressure upon her neck.

Lacing her hands in her lap, the lady finally spoke. “I find I require the services of a solicitor in regards to my late husband’s will.”

The hair at the back of his neck stood up. No. Oh, Christ, no.

The hat tilted, exposing her face. Every muscle in Arthur’s body seized.

Mrs. Wetherall, formerly Miss Sarah Stanhope and the bane of his childhood, glared at him from beneath her ridiculous hat.

About the Author

Cassandra grew up daydreaming, inventing fantastical worlds and marvelous adventures. Once she learned to read (First phrase – To the Beach. True story), she was never without a book, reading of other people’s fantastical worlds and marvelous adventures.

Fairy tales, Famous Fives, fantasies and fancies; horror stories, gumshoe detectives, science fiction; Cassandra read it all. Then she discovered Romance and a true passion was born.

So, once upon a time, after making a slight detour into the world of finance, Cassandra tried her hand at writing. After a brief foray into horror, she couldn’t discount her true passion. She started to write Romance and fell head over heels.

The love affair exists to this very day.

Cassandra lives in Adelaide, South Australia.

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Authors in Bloom Blog Hop

Books - it is our memory concept

 

Baked Meatball Parmigiana

meatball-parm1Meatballs (if you choose to make your own)

  • 1-1/2 pounds meatloaf mix (beef, pork, veal combo)
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped, not minced
  • chopped fresh parsley (handful)
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan or Asiago cheese (not grated)
  • 2 eggs
  • salt to taste

Mix the above ingredients and form your meatballs (not too large). Pour 1-2 tablespoons oil on a baking pan with sides and bake at 400 for 20 minutes. Lower oven to 375.

Topper ingredients

  • spaghetti sauce of your choice (two 24-ounce jars)
  • mozzarella cheese (lots)

In a 9 x 13 pan (or ceramic dish), pour some sauce to cover the bottom. Add your meatballs. Cover with remainder of sauce and top with lots and lots of mozzarella cheese.

Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 20 minutes or until cheese has begun to brown.You might raise the temperature to 400 for the last four minutes to assist with browning.

Susana’s Giveaway*

A Lovely Treasure Box of Goodies, including

A Twelfth Knight Tale silver-plated Christmas bracelet

A Twelfth Night Tale silver-plated Christmas bracelet

  • A Twelfth Night Tale silver-plated Christmas bracelet
  • a Celtic pen from Scotland
  • a deck of Ellora’s Cave playing cards
  • a sterling silver circle necklace
  • a keychain from London
  • jeweled soap
  • two Susana Ellis pens

and whatever else she decides to put in it, such as collector cards, bookmarks, and chocolates!

*A winner from outside the U.S. will receive a $25 Amazon gift card instead of the Treasure Box.

Click here for the Rafflecopter

Before you go—

Leave a blog post comment about your favorite spring activities, and don’t forget to include your email address so that you can be contacted if you are chosen as the winner.

Authors in Bloom Prizes

Grand Prize: A Kindle or Nook e-reader ($200 value) +$25 gift card (US only)

Second Prize: $25 e-reader gift card (international)

Author Prizes will vary. Note that only visitors who leave comments at each and every stop on the tour will be eligible for the Grand Prizes and Second Prize. Winners will be posted on the first (Dianne Venetta) and last (A Cozy Reader’s Corner) stops on the tour.

Good luck to all of you! I hope you discover some fantastic new authors along the way!

1. Dianne Venetta ~ Cozy Mystery/Romance (US) 41. Stacey Joy Netzel
2. Rose Anderson 42. Deb Sanders
3. Alexa Grace 43. Janette Harjo
4. Katharina Gerlach, YA Fantasy author 44. Donna Marie Rogers
5. Jennifer Lowery 45. J.L. Campbell
6. Catheirne Chant (US) 46. Lorraine Paton (INTL)
7. S.D. Bancroft 47. Amy Saunders, Chick-Lit Mysteries (US)
8. J.D. Faver ~ Bad Girls Need Love Too…(Intl) 48. Jencey Gortney
9. Tara Manderino (Intl) 49. Sandra Cox
10. Judy Baker, Cowboys and Indian Romances 50. Alisia Compton
11. Sharon Kleve 51. Cate Dean
12. Sara Walter Ellwood (US) 52. Lisa Lickel
13. Anna Patterson 53. Iyana Jenna
14. Karl Fields (Intl) 54. Jesse Kimmel-Freeman (INT)
15. LENA HART 55. Sheila Seabrook
16. Janice Seagraves, author 56. Rose Cooper
17. Lakisha Spletzer 57. Halimah bint David
18. Gemma Juliana 58. Grace Peterson
19. Victoria Adams 59. Nancy Pi-Sunyer
20. Daryl Devore 60. Elena Williams
21. Jeana E. Mann, New Adult Romance 61. Scandalous Stories
22. Not Neccesarily In That Order 62. Lisa Orgler
23. Brenda Maxfield\’s Smart and Sassy Teen Reads (INT) 63. L.A. Sartor
24. Elizabeth McKenna 64. BloominThyme
25. H. A. Somerled 65. Margarita Matos (UF & Romance)
26. Susana Ellis 66. Lisa Chalmers
27. Aileen Fish 67. Diane Burton
28. Cheryl Bolen 68. Rebecca J. Clark
29. Elizabeth Rose 69. Victoria Pinder
30. L. Alison Heller 70. Zelda Benjamin
31. Eleanor Moran 71. Liz Allen (US)
32. K C Maguire 72. Stacy Juba\’s Characters at a Crossroads
33. Patricia W. Fischer 73. Jennifer Conner Romance Author
34. Mindy Hardwick, Author 74. I Am A Reader
35. Melanie Macek 75. Darcy Flynn (US)
36. Karen McCullough 76. Joanne Jaytanie
37. Michelle Abbott 77. Cassandra L Shaw
38. Mary Laudien 78. Janette Harjo
39. Aubrey Wynne 79. Louisa Mack
40. Kimberly K. Comeau 80. Tiffany Schlarman

treasuringtheresa_1.75

Treasuring Theresa

a sweet Regency short story

She’s a country lady. He’s a London swell. They have nothing in common. Or have they?

Lady Theresa despises London society. What’s worse is that she has to attend the betrothal ball of the young man she expected to marry. To deflect all the pitiful glances from the other guests, she makes a play for the most striking gentleman there—who happens to be her Cousin Damian, who is everything she despises.

Damian, Lord Clinton sees a desperate young lady with no social graces, and it solidifies his opinion that country folk are beneath him. But it so happens that he is the heir to that young lady’s father’s title and estate, and the time comes when he finds himself obliged to spend some time there.

Thrown together, both Damian and Theresa discover each other’s hidden depths. But are their differences too much to overcome to make a successful match?

Ellora’s Cave • Amazon • Barnes & Noble

AllRomance eBooks • Kobo

Release Day for A Kiss of Promise by Elaine Violette—Giveaway!

Release Day for A Kiss of Promise

Thank you, Susana, for hosting me. My newest novel, A Kiss of Promise, a Blush Historical Romance, is being released by Ellora’s Cave Publishers as an ebook today, April 3rd!

Researching  A Kiss of Promise

It is a pleasure to tell your readers about the research behind my newest release and a bit more about the story.   First, I’d like to mention that A Kiss of Promise has set me on a new road or, perhaps, I should call it a voyage. My first two books are traditional Regencies.  A Kiss of Promise is released as a Historical Romance. The change occurred because I wanted my heroine to travel to America. This was a real departure from writing strictly about the rules, customs and traditions of the English Regency.

And so the voyage begins.

I became thoroughly absorbed in my research into ocean travel in the early eighteen hundreds. I learned about the first ship lines, length of travel, crew’s responsibilities and inherent dangers involved in sea travel. I learned about the animals that were kept on ships for food and drink, sea shanties sung by the sailors, and other fascinating details that I was able to include in A Kiss of Promise.

akissofpromise_msrSince Martin and Alaina, my hero and heroine both travel to America, one freely, the other under duress, I needed to research life in New England in the early nineteenth century. I studied the time period as if I were traveling down a road in New York or Boston at that time, I learned about landmarks, shops, banks, social events, business dealings, and gambling halls.

I imagined what it must be like for travelers who were reaching the American shores for the first time, their fears and their hopes for the future.

Where my voyage is taking me…

I became so interested in my research that my newest manuscript takes place in New England. I’ve already spent much time researching church life, farming communities, household chores, politics and racial undertones of the time period. It’s especially interesting to read local newspapers when freed slaves and servants were often treated like chattel.

More than sweet and sensual

While romance is the ultimate hope for my heroes and heroines, all my novels present the darker side of human nature.In each of my published novels, readers meet villains without conscience. This changes in my newest manuscript but I’ll save that for a future post.

A Kiss of Promise continues the story of the Blackstone brothers, introduced in my debut novel, Regal Reward. While Regal Reward tells of York Blackstone’s struggle to regain the title lost to him when their father is falsely accused of treason, A Kiss of Promise tells of Martin Blackstone’s desire to free himself from his family scandal, escape the stuffy rituals of England and seek adventure in America. He leaves the beautiful and desirous Alaina Craymore broken hearted in order to realize his dream, rather than seek deeper reasons for his need to escape. It’s only when he discovers that she is in danger that he is forced to face his personal truth and fight to save her.

To summarize

In A Kiss of Promise, characters experience not only the aristocratic life in British society with all its rules and expectations, but also the hazards of sea travel and the unruly world of gamblers and prostitutes.

I hope readers will voyage along with Martin and Alaina in A Kiss of Promise and enjoy it enough that they’ll want to read Martin’s brother, York’s story in Regal Reward.

giveaway

Giveaway for two readers who order Regal Reward and read York Blackstone’s journey to love.

I am offering two free ebook copies of A Kiss of Promise. All readers of Regal Reward need to do is message me on Facebook and  answer the following two questions correctly:

1) Where and under what circumstance does York meet Marielle?

2) Where does Richard Craymore go and what does he attempt to do when he learns of his father’s crimes?

About A Kiss of Promise

Adventurer Martin Blackstone escapes the stuffy rituals of England to seek his destiny in America. He leaves Alaina Craymore behind, believing she is better off without him. Suffering under the scandalous circumstances surrounding her father’s death, only Alaina’s love for Martin and the memory of their one stolen kiss have kept Alaina steady. But she hasn’t heard from Martin in far too long and cannot wait forever in the hopes that he will return from America. Just as Alaina begins to recover, one of her father’s associates emerges from the shadows with a choice—she must pose as his fiancée in America or he’ll send her brother to prison on charges of forgery. Willing to endure ruin and an uncertain future, Alaina agrees—she can do no less for the brother who’s spent his entire life protecting her. Only the man who spurned her can save her from the black mailing scoundrel and a ruined reputation.

Martin hasn’t forgotten Alaina or the kiss they shared. When word of her sacrifice reaches him, he’ll move heaven and earth to find her and make her his, no matter the cost.

A Blush® historical romance from Ellora’s Cave

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About the Author

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAElaine holds a BS in English Education from the University of CT and an MS in Educational Leadership from Central CT State University. When she’s not writing, she teaches public speaking part time at a local community college. She enjoys drawing, kayaking, traveling, and most of all, being with her husband Drew, her children and grandchildren. While her newest release, A Kiss of Promise, leads her characters from England to American shores, her present work, still in the manuscript stage, takes place in New England and deals with prejudice and its power over love. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, CT Romance Writers (CTRWA) and Charter Oak Romance writers (CORW). Elaine is available as a speech coach and presenter to help authors hone their public speaking skills.

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Elaine’s other books mentioned above:

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Regal Reward (print and ebook)

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A Convenient Pretense (ebook)