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FREE on Kindle: The Ultimate Escape

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The Ultimate Escape is Book 1 in The Lady P Chronicles, a Regency time travel series.

If you haven’t obtained your copy yet, now is the time! The novella is free on Kindle THIS WEEK ONLY!

On the eve of her wedding, Julia realizes she cannot marry her fiancé after all, no matter that it’s been her dream for eight long years. Too distraught to face him, she follows in her mother’s footsteps and flees to the future for a brief reprieve. Oliver knows he has bungled things badly, but he is determined to win the woman he loves, even if he must travel through time to do it.

FREE ON KINDLE: http://ow.ly/4mZYIP

A Home for Helena: Release Day is Here!

Home for Helena Cover 5-inches-2-20-16 copy

The Story Behind the Story

I wrote A Home for Helena and sent it out to my critique partners and beta readers around two years ago, but as with other projects, I put it aside in favor of working on new projects. Frankly, the initial first draft writing is much more exciting for me than making revisions. If I don’t have a deadline looming, I tend to leave past projects in limbo indefinitely. Fortunately, last year I got involved in three group projects with deadlines which forced me to actually finish things. Those were Lost and Found Lady (from Beaux, Ballrooms, and Battles), The Third MacPherson Sister (Sweet Summer Kisses), and  The Ultimate Escape (Mistletoe, Marriage, and Mayhem).

The Ultimate Escape, the story of Lady Pendleton’s eldest daughter escaping to the future, revived my determination to get A Home for Helena out to readers. Because The Ultimate Escape takes place five years before A Home for Helena—even though the latter was written first—it became Book 1 in The Lady P Chronicles, with Helena becoming Book 2. As for Book 3, I’ve got a few ideas mulling about, but I’d like to get some of my other unfinished projects out there too.

Want to know how Lady Pendleton evolved? Check out my post on Caroline Warfield’s blog:  http://ow.ly/ZTiNP

I really, really hate deadlines

I know I have to get started right away, but I don’t feel like it. I’ll just have another cup of coffee first. Let me finish this one episode of Dateline first, and then I’ll work on my project. OMG, I forgot to get my blog post up today! I really should take care of the credit card bill first,  then I’ll get started on the project. Is it time for lunch already? I’ll just take a little break for Facebook games and then I know for sure I’ll be ready to write. The phone rings and I realize I haven’t talked to this friend for several weeks. People are more important than things, right? Suze Orman always says so. OMG, is it 5:00 already? I’m too tired to write. I’ll just get up early tomorrow and write twice as much…

But I can’t get things finished without them!

As you can see, deadlines are a necessary evil. Can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em. Well, I probably could live without ’em, but I’d be a certified couch potato and a has-been writer. And no, that’s not the way I want to live.

So I am learning to set deadlines for myself. And even though I don’t always meet them exactly on the nose, I do get things done, which wouldn’t be the case otherwise. I’ve also learned that having the cover done is a great motivator. Mari Christie, who created the cover for Helena has also done several others for me, including my two stories with Ellora’s Cave that revert back to me in a couple of weeks. Treasuring Theresa will be Book 1 of the  Hertfordshire Hoydens series and Book 2 will be Cherishing Charlotte, which is another unfinished project I hope to have completed by the end of the summer. And I still have several others after that, which will keep both Mari and me busy for the foreseeable future.

About A Home for Helena

After a wise woman suggests that she has been misplaced in time, Helena Lloyd travels back two hundred years in an attempt to find out where she belongs.

Widowed father James Walker has no intention of remarrying until he makes the acquaintance of his daughter’s lovely new governess.

Lady Pendleton, a time-traveling Regency lady herself, suspects that these two belong together. First, however, she must help Helena discover her true origins—and hopefully, a home where she belongs.

A Home for Helena is Book 2 of The Lady P Chronicles.

Book 1, The Ultimate Escape, originally published in the Bluestocking Belles’ anthology, Mistletoe, Marriage, and Mayhem, will soon be available individually.

Amazon

$0.99 until April 5, then $2.99

Free on Kindle Unlimited

Excerpt

Newsome Grange

Kingswood, Kent

Later that morning

“Miss Dray is dead?”

James stared incredulously at Sir Henry, who, for once, was not wearing his normal easy-going expression. Instead, he leaned against the mantel of the fireplace of his study, studying the grate as though there were a fire blazing in it.

“Good God, what happened? Is Annabelle all right?”

“She’s fine, James.

Lady Sarah strolled through the doorway and into her husband’s arms. In spite of her words, she looked worn out. Strands of her blonde hair were falling out of her chignon, and he thought he saw the remains of tears on her cheeks.

“The girls are quite distressed, of course. They were fond of Miss Dray. As were we all,” she said with a glance at her husband, whose arm remained tightly clasped around her shoulders. “She was a dear thing, but very strict. The perfect governess. I don’t know how we shall go on without her.” Her voice broke and she buried her face on her husband’s chest.

“They found her in Abbey Wood,” Sir Henry explained. “Wednesday was her half-day, and when she didn’t return, we sent out a search party. No signs of foul play. The doctor says it was natural causes—her heart just gave out.”

His wife erupted in sobs again, and James decided he should find his daughter and leave the Newsomes to their grief, giving voice to that decision.

Lady Sarah turned to face him, accepting her husband’s handkerchief to dab her eyes with.

“Oh no, James, you needn’t do that. The nanny will manage until Mother can send us a replacement. Emily and Theodosia simply love having Annabelle around, and it will only distress them further if she leaves as well. And as for Colin, I’ve no doubt he thinks Annabelle’s his mother by now. She has a way with babies, it seems.”

James was not convinced. “Still, it takes time to find a governess.” He should know—the agency he’d consulted in London had yet to send him information on any potential candidates.

Sir Henry chuckled. “Have you met my mother-in-law?”

Lady Sarah smiled in spite of herself. “We sent an express requesting her aid. If I know her, she’ll come herself if she can’t find someone suitable to fill in until we find a permanent replacement.”

Sir Henry winked at him. “Perhaps she’ll bring along that pretty Miss Lloyd she has residing with her. I think she liked you well enough.” He chuckled. “Not looking for a husband, though. Or so she says.”

James frowned. He’d nearly succeeded in forcing the image of the forthright Miss Lloyd out of his mind, and now she had installed herself right back in again. If he were truthful with himself, he’d admit he wouldn’t be sorry to see her again. She was quite an eyeful.

It was really too bad he hadn’t been able to visit Violet while in London. It seemed her new protector demanded exclusivity, and he’d not been able to get past her burly butler. He hadn’t been near an attractive woman in ages, and this Miss Lloyd was proving strangely difficult to dismiss from his thoughts.

Lady Sarah looked thoughtful. “What do you know about this Miss Lloyd, Henry? Where did she come from? I don’t believe Mother has ever mentioned her before.”

Sir Henry grinned as he looked down at her. “She’s your mother, my dear. Surely you know by now how unpredictable she can be.”

Lady Sarah drew a deep breath. “I do know that. That’s precisely why I’m—concerned.”

James cleared his throat. “I appreciate your kindness in offering to keep my daughter, but you obviously have more than enough to deal with at present. If you would be so kind as to call her down… I can send for her things later.”

But the Newsomes wouldn’t hear of it. Lady Sarah was so vehement that he could see she was almost ready to burst into tears again, and after Sir Henry shook his head in warning, James visited his daughter briefly and left without her.

As he rode home, no matter how he fought it, his mind’s eye kept reverting to a pair of bright green eyes and the lovely face that went with them. Would he be seeing them again?

Susana’s March Events & Giveaways

A Home for Helena Rafflecopter: through March 31st

 http://www.susanaellis.com

Susana’s March Quiz: through March 31st

http://susanaellis.com/Susana_s_Quiz.html

Susana’s Newsletter Subscriber Drive: through March 31st

http://www.susanaellis.com

A Home for Helena Release Party: March 29, 2016, 4:00-11:00 p.m. EDT

Guest authors • Prizes • Fabulous gowns • Swoonworthy heroes • Fun for everyone

https://www.facebook.com/events/534215620086552/

About Lady Pendleton

REAL LADY PLady Pendleton is a frequent guest of Susana’s in the 21st century, both in Toledo and Florida, where Susana splits her time. She began appearing in Susana’s blog, Susana’s Parlour, in 2013.

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Deneane Clark, Alanna Lucas, Charlotte Russell: 3 Yuletide Wishes (A Regency Anthology)

What is your favorite holiday tradition?

Deneane: My son, daughter and my daughter’s best friend (who might as well be my daughter) roll a Scattergories dice early in December. We buy inexpensive and quirky little items that begin with that letter and get together for a Stuffing Stockings with Stupid Stuff party. We play board games, have some drinks, eat some food and just enjoy an evening of laughter and fun.

Alanna: Decorating the Christmas tree with my family, then watching Christmas Vacation.

Charlotte: Hunting for that perfect tree, preferably a fresh-cut one, and decorating it.

What is your favorite holiday food?

Deneane: My mother’s cornbread dressing.

Alanna: I love Panettone- especially with a cup of espresso.

Charlotte: Old family recipe for sugar cookies that uses sour whipping cream and almond extract. They are the best!

Tell us about a Regency Christmas tradition that appears in your story.

Deneane: Mistletoe gathering! In my book, the children in Cornwall gather bunches of it to sell and make a little Christmas pocket change.

Alanna: On Christmas Eve, Antonia and Dracon decorate the house with holly, ivy, and of course, mistletoe.

Charlotte: Hmm, from the title you can probably guess there is a kissing bough, but I’ll also reveal that the hero, Jack, brings in a Yule log.

Tell us something about your story that is NOT in the blurb.

Deneane: HOPE has an underlying theme of female empowerment that comes through without feeling strident or overbearing.

Alanna: Antonia loves to play the violin.

Charlotte: The heroine, Isabella, is deaf.

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About 3 Yuletide Wishes

Three men, three vows.

Three Holiday Novellas—with and without peers.

Hope by Deneane Clark

His gambler brother the viscount took everything from Milton Anthony Windham, including his chance at love, but Tony is nonetheless determined to save his family estate from ruin. Success will require the help of his cousins the Ackerly sisters and a hasty marriage to a well-situated woman, all before the end of the holiday season. Hope awaits.

A Marchioness for Christmas by Alanna Lucas

Dracon, the 7th Marquess of Trawden, detests Christmastide, which is a reminder of all he has lost. This year, however, during his flight from London merriment to his ancestral home in the country, he will encounter a carriage accident that brings him face to face with Miss Antonia Madeley…and a chance to reverse the mistakes of the past.

The Kissing Bough by Charlotte Russell

Years ago, Jack Telford did what he must in order to “succeed.” It cost him his one true love. Now, haunted by memories of what could have been and dreams of what still might be, despite her “unsuitability”, despite what the act may cost him, he will travel through snow and across country to reunite with Isabella wherever she may be and make her understand the words she was always meant to hear.

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About the Authors

Deneane Clark

deneaneelise_1354040029_86 copyDeneane Elise Clark is an historical romance novelist. Her published work includes the The Virtue Series, a lighthearted romp through the ballrooms and bedrooms of Regency London. The books tell the love stories of the motherless Ackerly sisters, beginning with Grace, continuing with the stories of Faith and Charity, and concludes with the newly released Mercy. Her upcoming work includes stand-alone continuations featuring the Ackerly sisters in Hope, a novella featured in a Christmas Regency anthology, and will continue in 2016 with Prudence and Temperance. Deneane’s books have been published in the United States, Canada, the UK, and Australia, and have been translated into several languages, including Dutch, Norwegian, and Turkish.

Deneane grew up in New Orleans and misses it dreadfully. Currently, she resides near Charlotte, NC, but has also lived in the Northeast, the Midwest, and on the West Coast. She prefers mountains to beaches, cities to suburbs, and suburbs to rural areas, and would be perfectly content if she could just manage to convince the world to flip flop the working day so people slept during the day and worked at night.

A single mom, Deneane raised her now grown up children while working full time and writing at night. Her daughter enjoys traveling, so moves in and out as the mood strikes, and her son is serving our great country in the United States Marine Corps. She enjoys sparkling beverages, music, plays trivia with an amazing bunch of friends, and travels any time she gets the chance.

Deneane loves interaction with her readers. You can friend and/or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram. If you’re not a fan of social media, she also writes a blog. And, although it sometimes takes a while, she makes every attempt to respond to all emails, messages and comments.

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Alanna Lucas

AlannaMulti-published historical romance author Alanna Lucas grew up in Southern California, but always dreamed of distant lands and bygone eras. From an early age, she took an interest in history and travel, and is thrilled to incorporate those diversions into her writing. Alanna writes Regency and Western historical romance.

When she is not daydreaming of her next travel destination Alanna can be found researching, spending time with family, or going for long walks. She makes her home in California with her husband, children, one sweet dog, and hundreds of books.

Just for the record, you can never have too many shoes, handbags, or books. And travel is a must.

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Charlotte Russell

CharlotteRussell - Copy copyCharlotte Russell didn’t always know she wanted to be a writer. At one point she had grand plans to be an architect, until she realized she couldn’t draw anything more complicated than a stick figure. So, she enrolled at the University of Notre Dame and studied her first love—history. Now she puts all that historical knowledge to good use by writing romances set in Regency England. When not pounding on the keyboard, she watches sports with her husband (yes, he’s lucky!), chauffeurs her three kids around, volunteers for too many things, and entertains two cats.

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Julie Johnstone, Katherine Bone, Collette Cameron, Jillian Chantal, Samantha Grace, Alanna Lucas, Lauren Smith, Victoria Vane: Once Upon a True Love’s Kiss

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USA Today Best-selling author, Julie Johnstone, joins best-selling, award-winning authors, Katherine Bone, Collette Cameron, Jillian Chantal, Samantha Grace, Alanna Lucas, Lauren Smith, and Victoria Vane in this delightful limited edition, containing eight tantalizing kiss-and-tell stories. Meet dashing, wildly charming rogues, spies, pirates, rakes and their extraordinary, intrepid heroines as they whisk you along on sweet to sizzling romantic romps in these wickedly entertaining historical romances.

After Forever by Julie Johnstone

Lady Julia is hired to turn a rogue into a gentleman and receives lessons in love and desire.

Widowed Lady Julianna Barrows never wants to fall in love again. But when the notorious former boxer Nash Overton hires her to transform him into a gentleman, Julianna quickly becomes the student, learning more about passion than she’s ever known, and more importantly, learning how to love again. 2 1/2 Kisses

The Pirate’s Duchess by Katherine Bone

A duke masquerading as a pirate to “rob from the rich and give to the poor” sheds his darkest-kept secrets to keep from losing the duchess his wife has become.

Duty forces him to take on the pirate code, but honor brings him back.

Prudence, Duchess of Blackmoor, has one desire—to be happy again. After struggling to overcome the horrifying death of her husband, she accepts an earl’s offer of marriage, confident she’s taking a step in the right direction. But demons, refuse to die, and Prudence finds herself caught in an intricate web of deceit that threatens the very foundations of all she holds dear.

Tobias, the Duke of Blackmoor, crosses the line when an assassination attempt on him fails. To restore the reputations of friends under attack by the same villain, and ensure his wife’s safety, he stages his own death, becoming The Black Regent, a notorious pirate bent on brandishing justice, never thinking he’d survive. But to his amazement, he has, and now the darkest-kept secrets are not worth losing the duchess his wife has become. 2 1/2 Kisses

Her Scandalous Wish by Collette Cameron

A marriage offer obligated by duty . . . an acceptance compelled by desperation.

Philomena Pomfrett is resigned to spinsterhood, but to ease her dying brother’s fretting, she reluctantly agrees to attend a London Season with one purpose—to acquire a husband. Stumbling upon her hiding in a secluded garden arbor during a ball, Bradford, Viscount Kingsley doesn’t recognize his first love, yet something about the mysterious woman enthralls him, and he steals a passionate, moonlit kiss.

Caught in the act by Philomena’s brother, Bradford is issued an ultimatum—a duel or marry Philomena. He offers marriage, but even impoverished and with no other decent prospects, she rejects his half-hearted proposal until her brother collapses. Now, Philomena’s faced with marrying a man who deserted her once already. 2 Kisses

Milady and Her Spy by Jillian Chantal

A lady, a spy, a traitor… a battle of wills.

Raised in the country after her mother’s death with only the company of three unruly brothers, Lady Augusta Covington is more proficient at fencing, riding and playing cards than being prim and proper. Myles Cuthbert, a spy in His Majesty’s service on a mission to find and expose a traitor, crosses paths with Lady Augusta when she rides to the aid of her brother, believing him to be injured. With the assignment at risk, Cuthbert agrees to accept the assistance of the troublesome lady eager for intrigue. As they move forward, his sense of obligation to her and the danger involved stir his soul. 1 Kiss

Kissed By a Scottish Rogue by Samantha Grace

Scottish land steward Fergus McTaggert calls a temporary truce with his employer’s companion only to discover their passionate battles have been masking their hidden desires.

His Mother Insists He Needs a Wife.

Fergus McTaggart, Aldmist Fell’s land steward, has no time for wife hunting. Any day his employer’s sisters will be arriving at the Scottish castle for a long overdue reunion. Fergus is determined to make their stay memorable, but all anyone is likely to recall are the loud rows between him and his employer’s cheeky paid companion.

She Insists He Needs a Good Knock to the Head.

Edith Gallagher has been charged with watching over her employer’s youngest sister while the family winters in Scotland, but the stubborn land steward interferes at every turn. Eventually, she and the Scot call a truce for the sisters’ sakes only to discover their passionate battles are masking hidden desires. 2 Kisses

Stolen Kisses From the Viscount by Alanna Lucas

A rake, an heiress, and stolen kisses…this seduction could be his last.

Desperate times call for drastic measures as Miss Aveline Redgrave enters her third season. Fearful of fortune hunters, she attempts to stay clear of Lord Leybourne, a rogue who is not to be trusted. But his seductive smile and enticing kisses awaken a passion that threatens her common sense. No stranger to scandal, Leybourne is determined to save his family from ruin whatever the cost, even marrying an heiress he doesn’t love. But an unexpected desire and need to protect threatens his plans. Will past heartaches and a devastating wager destroy their future or will true love’s kiss triumph? 3 Kisses

Tempted By a Rogue by Lauren Smith

Gemma never planned on falling in love with her childhood sweetheart’s best friend, Jasper, when he returns home, but she can’t resist the naval officer’s brooding charm.

Gemma plans to marry James, her childhood sweetheart. With every letter written between them while he’s been off at sea, their love has grown. Now they will be reunited with his return to England. But the man whose words she’d fallen in love with isn’t James…

Jasper, a gentleman rogue of the first order, is trapped. Talked into a scheme by his friend, he pretended to be James for eleven years while writing to Gemma. He’s promised James he’d break it off. But when he returns home, his secret will come out – and he’ll lose the one woman he can’t live without. 4 Kisses

The Redemption of Julian Price by Victoria Vane

She gave him a chance to bury his past… but the price would be his heart…

Burdened by the past…Orphaned at a young age and left to run wild, at eighteen Julian Price joins the fight against Napoleon in the hope of attaining honor. Devastated when his best friend, Thomas, is killed in battle, Julian returns home burdened with guilt, only to find his wastrel uncle has squandered his inheritance.

Desperate to live her own life… Facing a future of drudgery caring for her aging mother and raising her brother’s children, Henrietta Houghton believes her chance at a real life died with Thomas, the only man who ever wanted her. But Henrietta is still full of dreams. When her wealthy aunt, offers her a gift of ten thousand pounds, Henrietta finally has the chance to choose her own destiny.

Everything has a price…With a fortune at her command, Henrietta offers Julian a marriage of convenience, unaware that she really offers Julian a means of salvation—not just his fortune, but his very soul. 3 Kisses

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A lovely mélange of charming romantic tales by highly acclaimed authors: 4/5 stars

A former boxer determined to raise his and his daughter’s status in life falls in love with his widowed etiquette tutor. A widowed lady’s second marriage ceremony is interrupted by… her dead husband! A young lady promises her ailing brother she will find a husband encounters the beau who deserted her when she was scarred in a fire. Another young lady finds herself embroiled in a dangerous espionage plot with a handsome young spy. A lady’s companion with a tarnished background finds herself drawn to the annoyingly handsome Scottish land steward. A rakish young viscount in need of a wealthy wife to compensate for his late father’s profligacy pursues a young lady determined to avoid fortune hunters. A not-so-young lady who has been exchanging love letters with her childhood sweetheart at sea eagerly awaits his homecoming, but what happens when the man who returns is someone else entirely? With her first love a casualty of war and the prospect of a life of nothing but drudgery, a young lady is offered the opportunity to forge her own destiny… with a man in need of much more than her money.

If you are looking for well-written romantic tales for a pleasant evening’s diversion, you won’t be disappointed by this delightful anthology.

About the Authors

Julie Johnstone is an USA TODAY best-selling author of edgy Regency Romance. She feels she’s living the dream by working with her passion of creating worlds from her imagination. When not writing, she’s chasing her precocious children around, cooking, reading or exercising. Julie loves to hear from her readers.

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Katherine Bone is an Amazon #1 best-selling Historical Romance Author passionate about history since she had the opportunity to travel to various Army bases, castles, battlegrounds, and cathedrals as an Army brat-turned-Officer’s-Wife. Now she lives in the south where she writes about Rogues, Rebels and Rakes, aka Pirates, Lords, Captains, Duty, Honor, and Country and the happily-ever-afters every alpha male and damsel deserve.

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Jillian Chantal is a 2015 RONE Finalist and lives on the beautiful coast of Florida, and even though she loves her little slice of paradise, she’s an Anglophile at heart. Writing in a variety of romance genres makes her happy, but she has a particular fondness for the Georgian/Regency era as it was the age she adored as a teen and as her introduction to the world of happily-ever-afters. Living on the gulf coast also reminds Jillian, daily, that even though she loves the past, she needs the present. Air conditioning is vital for her survival.

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Collette Cameron is an Amazon #1 best-selling and award-winning Historical Romance Author of more than ten Scottish and Regency Romances featuring rogues, rapscallions, rakes, and the intrepid damsels who reform them. Mother to three and self-proclaimed Cadbury chocoholic, she makes her home in Oregon with her husband and five mini-dachshunds. You’ll always find animals, quirky—sometimes naughty—humor, and a dash of inspiration in her novels.

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Samantha Grace is an Amazon best-Selling, RITA-nominated Historical Romance Author who discovered the appeal of a great love story at the age of four, thanks to Disney’s “Robin Hood”. She didn’t care that Robin Hood and Maid Marian were cartoon animals. It was her first happily-ever-after experience, and she wanted the warm fuzzies to go on forever. Now that Samantha is grown, she enjoys creating happy-endings for characters that spring from her imagination. Publisher’s Weekly describes her stories as “fresh and romantic” with subtle humor and charm. Samantha describes romance writing as the best job ever.

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Alanna Lucas is an Amazon best-selling author and grew up in Southern California, but always dreamed of distant lands and bygone eras. From an early age she took interest in art, history, and travel, and enjoys incorporating those diversions into her writing. However, she believes that true love is the greatest source of inspiration and is always an adventure. Alanna makes her home in California where she spends her time writing historical romances, dreaming of her next travel destination, spending time with family, and staying up too late indulging in her favorite past time, reading.

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Lauren Smith is an attorney by day, is an Amazon best-selling, award winning author by night, who pens adventurous and edgy romance stories by the light of her smart phone flashlight app. She’s a native Oklahoman who lives with her three pets: a feisty chinchilla, sophisticated cat, and dapper little schnauzer. She’s won multiple awards in several romance subgenres including being a New England Reader’s Choice Winner, Greater Detroit Bookseller’s Best Award Finalist and a Semi-Finalist for the Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley Award.

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Victoria Vane is an Amazon #1 bestselling author of smart and sexy romance. Her works range from comedic romps to emotionally compelling erotic romance and have received over twenty awards and nominations to include: a 2015 Red Carpet Finalist for Best Contemporary romance (SLOW HAND), 2014 RONE Winner for Best Historical Post Medieval Romance (Treacherous Temptations), and Library Journal Best E-Book romance of 2012 (The Devil DeVere series). Victoria also writes romantic historical fiction as Emery Lee. She currently resides in Palm Coast, Florida with her husband, two sons, a little black dog, and an Arabian horse.

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For the purpose of this anthology, the following ratings apply:

One KissStories will either not have consummated love scenes, or subtly sexy undetailed scenes behind a closed bedroom door. You’re not invited inside. Sorry.

Two KissesStories are more sensual than sweet with some love scenes that are more sensual than graphic. You might blush, but you won’t need a fan.

Three KissesStories are sexier and bolder with more explicit love scenes and the language used to describe them may be more graphic. A fan and a cool beverage might be in order, but you won’t experience everything. *Wink*

Four KissesStories have frequent, graphic love scenes with explicit language. Be prepared to blush and stand in front of the air conditioner, a tall, iced drink in hand. Clothing is optional.

Five KissesStories have frequent graphic, descriptive love scenes and/or contain subject matter some readers may find objectionable. Blushing guaranteed, and you might learn a thing or two or three. But never fear, we won’t tattle if you don’t.

Cheryl Bolen: An Egyptian Affair

Tomorrow is release day for my fourth lighthearted Regent Mystery, An Egyptian Affair, so I’m especially grateful that Susana invited me here today. Just as an aside, I actually have two releases tomorrow. The second, One Golden Ring, Brazen Brides #2, is a re-release of a Christmas novel which was selected Best Historical of 2005 (Holt Medallion) and has been in and out of print (mostly out) ever since.

Many of you have been following my Regent Mysteries featuring Captain Jack Dryden and his wife, Lady Daphne. As their romance has already been told, each of the new Regent Mysteries, whilst featuring them as sleuths for the Prince Regent, features a fresh new romance.

In this book, Jack and Daphne must travel to Egypt to investigate the disappearance of an Indian Prince who was obtaining nearly priceless antiquities for the British Prince Regent. Since Daphne’s youngest sister, Lady Rosemary, is enamored of all things Egypt, they must take her along. Also accompanying them is Britain’s most imminent Egyptology scholar, Stanton Maxwell. Of course, Rosemary couldn’t possibly be romantically interested in such a nerd when one dashing captain of his majesty’s dragoons has captured her heart. Or could she?

Cheryl: Thanks, Lady Daphne, for visiting Susana’s Parlour today. So glad you’ve brought along your sister. I understand you’re just back from an exciting trip to Egypt.

Lady Daphne: Indeed. Rosemary and I have decided that since few British women have ever traveled to the Orient, we shall be have a little salon for the purpose of sharing our experiences in Egypt.

Cheryl: Are you going to tell the other ladies about the perils you faced?

Lady Rosemary: My brother-in-law Captain Jack Dryden does much clandestine work for the Crown and has sworn me to secrecy. However, I don’t mind sharing our experiences with things like crocodiles on the Nile or cobras.

Lady Daphne: (Scrunching up her nose and narrowing her eyes as she peers through her spectacles at her sister) Oh, but we won’t discuss the cobra that was intentionally placed in our bedchamber whilst we slept. I shouldn’t want to discourage faint-hearted ladies from traveling to Egypt. We loved it very much.

Cheryl: I suppose to you, Lady Rosemary, Egypt will always hold terribly romantic memories. Did you not marry your husband there before you had to return to England?

Lady Rosemary: Indeed I did. But I can say no more. We must save all the breath-taking details for the readers of your book.

An Egyptian Affair copy

Excerpt

You can read an excerpt of the book here http://www.cherylbolen.com/egyptian~ex.htm.

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About the Author 

Cheryl Bolen copyAn Egyptian Affair is the 30th book by Cheryl Bolen, a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author. Many of her books have placed in contests, including the Daphne du Maurier (romantic suspense) and have been translated into ten languages. She was Notable New Author in 1999. In 2006 she won the Holt Medallion, Best Historical, and in 2012 she won Best Historical in the International Digital Awards and she’s had four other titles place in that competition. Her 2011 Christmas novella was named Best Novella in the Romance Through the Ages.

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Beppie Harrison: Two Rings for Christmas

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I don’t know exactly why I fell in love with County Donegal.

Well, I don’t know why I fell in love with Ireland! I’m married to an Englishman, and during a considerable part of the recent Troubles we were living in Ireland, and both sides, using religion to cudgel each other, exasperated and irritated me. It all seemed so medieval to be battling—actually killing each other—over what brand of Christianity you preferred.

It wasn’t until much later that I came to Ireland and found that I loved the place. For one thing, it is so green. That’s what everyone says, but the amazing part is that it’s true. Look around you and a seemingly endless variety of greens are there. Bright, fresh new greens and weathered, comfortable greens that have been there for generations. And the people! Probably what you notice first is that they love to talk about anything—mainly in that most Irish of institutions, the pub. The pub is sort of the family room of Ireland. That’s where you go to meet your friends and family, from silent old geezers with bulbous noses testifying of years of cheerful drinking to families with young children who bounce around the pub meeting friends and chattering, the young mothers with babes in arms, young men and girls eyeing each other. All are welcome. The food is usually plain and good, served on thick pottery plates. Most memorable of all are the stories. If you look as if you have time, you’ll hear the stories. So sit down, pull up a chair or a stool, be at your ease, and wait for the stories to start.

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My stories are set in various parts of Ireland, but my Christmas novella, Two Rings for Christmas, is set in Donegal, which I think now is my favorite bit of Ireland. It is the far northwest piece of the Republic. Donegal, which had always been part of Ulster, was not included with the six counties who chose to remain part of Great Britain, but its narrow connection to the Republic of Ireland is at one point only five miles wide, the Atlantic Ocean to the west and Northern Ireland to the east. Donegal is a beautiful stretch of Ireland, with a spectacular Atlantic coastline and stark mountains. The people make their lives in valleys with more peat bogs and hills than fertile ground. The people of Donegal are a tough and stubborn population who have lived in the country they’ve loved for generations, even if the land was never really suitable for growing much besides potatoes and oats and no great quantities of them. They don’t give up easily, and like many people who have lived on the edge of subsistence for generations, they have astounding generosity in sharing what they do have.

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Excerpt

Jenny was soft and fragrant, so close to him. Fergus had known that fragrance before, but only distantly. Even that day when he had held her in his arms for the first time they stood on the quay it had not been like this. The smells of the sea and of the wet wood of the ship and the dock and the jumbled cargo being carried aboard had nearly masked the scent of Jenny, but he had known it was there. Now it was overpowering.

“What are we to do?” he asked.

She pulled away from him, slowly and reluctantly. “Things are as they are.”

“But this cannot be!”

“It is. We can share the blame alike. You did not write to me and I lost faith. So here we are. I am to be the wife of Daniel Beatty. It is as it is.”

“You cannot.”

They were standing separate now, facing each other. “What else can I do? I agreed. I took his ring.”

About the Author

BeppieHarrisonPHOTO copyBeppie’s books are on the warm and friendly side, although they deal with all the pain and anger that existed over the long centuries—almost a thousand years—when Ireland was ruled by England. But the people there, both the Irish and the English, had their moments of reaching across the gulf and being confronted with its reality. Beppie writes about those moments.

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Other books by Beppie Harrison:

The Heart Trilogy

The Defiant Heart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Piper G. Huguley: A Treasure of Gold (Book 3, Migrations of the Heart)

A word from Susana

Piper Huguley and I first met in November 2012 when we were placed in a historical NANO group together by Savvy Authors. Although the four of us all wrote from different historical contexts—I was the only Regency author—we decided to continue our association and formed a Facebook group to help keep in touch. An offshoot of that is our History Lovers page.

We agreed to beta-read for one another, and Piper sent me her draft of A Champion’s Heart in December just prior to the entry deadline for the 2013 Golden Heart competition (which this story finaled in, by the way).

I was blown away.

Frankly, it’s not likely I would have picked up this book on my own. I prefer the Regency era, while I might read earlier Georgian or later Victorian, but I wouldn’t have expected to enjoy an African-American, depression-era, inspirational romance set in the South. I mean, if reading is a sort of escape from the negativity of the world, why would I choose to read a story that’s bound to be depressing?

But that’s not how Piper’s characters see things. Yes, there are some serious topics raised. But these characters learn to rise above them, depending on their faith, resilience, and determination to survive in a world that is biased against them.

And yes, there is a happy-ever-after. Piper does write romances, after all.

And you might just discover that multicultural romance can be just as satisfying and enjoyable as the ones you normally read… and that you really can identify with a heroine of another race or culture after all.

Susana’s Challenge

Multicultural romance comes in a wide variety of colors. Have you ever read one of Jeannie Lin’s Asian romances? Other highly-rated multicultural authors are: Zena Wynn, Sienna Mynx, Latrivia Nelson, Delilah Hunt, Ruthie Robinson, Mallory Monroe, Lena Matthews, and Theodora Taylor.

If you’re like me, you probably have dozens or hundreds of unread books on your Kindle and may not be in the market for another book at this point. But I’d like to challenge every reader here to set a goal to read at least one multicultural romance per month, and then come back here next December to report back.

Which books/authors did you enjoy the most?

What did you learn (about yourself, about other races/cultures, anything)?

Do you think you will continue to seek out multicultural romances in the future? Why or why not?

I’ve created a Susana’s Challenge Facebook page so that we can all interact in the next year.

Are you game? Like my Susana’s Challenge page and let’s get started!

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When you follow your heart, never count the cost.

Migrations of the Heart, Book 3

Trusting in the One who orders her steps, Nettie Bledsoe is determined not to deviate from her route to the charity kitchen. Don’t stop for anything, her sisters say. Pittsburgh isn’t like Georgia, they warn.

Yet when low moans of unholy suffering drift from an alley, she can’t help but investigate. It’s a man. The most beautiful man she’s ever seen. Despite his scandalous reputation, something within her responds to his sinfully rich voice.

Jay Evans is trying hard to stay on the straight and narrow, and doesn’t want help from any church do-gooder. But until his wound heals, he needs help caring for his young daughter, Goldie. Especially since Nettie saw fit to fire Goldie’s barely competent nanny.

Despite their mismatched backgrounds, Nettie and Jay fight a losing battle against their growing attraction. But it’s only when Nettie is kidnapped that Jay realizes that if he doesn’t get her back safe and sound, his heart will shatter into uncountable pieces.

Warning: Contains a single father with a photographic memory for numbers, and a country girl out of her element in the city. It all adds up to a heart-winning tale.

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About the Author

piper-huguley-rigginsPiper G Huguley is the author of the “Home to Milford College” series. The series traces the love stories at a small “Teachers and Preachers” college in Georgia over time, beginning with the love story of the founders. Book one in the series, The Preacher’s Promise, was a semi-finalist in Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write contest,and a quarter-finalist in the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. The Representative’s Revolt will be published in the Spring of 2016.

Huguley is also the author of “Migrations of the Heart,” a five-book series of inspirational historical romances set in the early 20th century featuring African American characters. Book one in the series, A Virtuous Ruby won the Golden Rose contest in Historical Romance in 2013 and is a Golden Heart finalist in 2014. Book four in the series, A Champion’s Heart, was a Golden Heart finalist in 2013. A Virtuous Ruby was published by Samhain in July 2015.

Piper Huguley blogs about the history behind her novels at http://piperhuguley.com. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and son.

Other books by Piper Huguley

A Virtuous Ruby (Book 1 of Migrations of the Heart)

A Most Precious Pearl (Book 2 of Migrations of the Heart)

The Lawyer’s Luck (prequel to A Home to Milford College)

The Preacher’s Promise (Book 1 of A Home to Milford College)

The Mayor’s Mission (Book 2 of A Home to Milford College)

The Brightest Day (A Juneteenth Historical Romance Anthology)

Sheri Cobb South: Dinner Most Deadly (Giveaway)

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Dinner Most Deadly is the fourth book in my series of Regency-set mysteries featuring Bow Street Runner John Pickett, and in some ways it’s the riskiest. I call it my Empire Strikes Back book, because I still remember how appalled we all were when that movie came out in 1980, and the ending left us hanging: Han Solo frozen in carbonite? Luke’s dead (or so we thought) father, the Jedi hero, is Darth Vader??? And we were going to have to wait three years to find out what happened next?

In the case of Dinner Most Deadly, the cliffhanger involves the Scottish marriage by declaration which was accidentally contracted by John Pickett and Julia, Lady Fieldhurst, in Family Plot. When Julia returns from Scotland restless and out of sorts, her friend Lady Dunnington decides what Julia needs is a lover—and arranges a dinner party with half a dozen male guests from whom Julia may take her pick. But one of the men is murdered, and when John Pickett is summoned from Bow Street, he must not only find the killer, but break the news of their “marriage” to Julia. As with the other books, the mystery is solved, but the romance is more unresolved than ever as the couple must go about seeking an annulment—a process far messier than most romance novels lead readers to believe.

I’ll admit, I was more than a bit nervous about how readers would react. I had braced myself for a big outcry against “sequel-bait,” but to my relief, it hasn’t happened. I hope that’s because readers understand that, because of the enormous social gulf between them, Julia’s mind is not going to leap immediately to marriage. She is, however, appalled at what the annulment process is going to demand of poor John: the only grounds available to them are inability to consummate, and since she was married for six years—during which any such problem would certainly have been addressed—that leaves him to take the fall. She’s never known a man who loved her enough to sacrifice for her, and although she’s deeply moved by his willingness to do so, she doesn’t quite know how to respond. It’s going to take something drastic to force her to confront her own feelings—and that something comes up in the next book, Too Hot to Handel.

Thankfully, readers won’t have to wait three years to find out what happens next, but only about six months: my publisher has scheduled Too Hot to Handel for March 2016.

If you’re new to the series but want to give it a try, I would strongly suggest beginning with In Milady’s Chamber, the first in the series, to follow the progression of the romance as it develops. In order, the books are: (1) In Milady’s Chamber; (2) A Dead Bore; (3) Family Plot; (4) Dinner Most Deadly; and (5) Too Hot to Handel. There’s also a prequel novella, Pickpocket’s Apprentice, which traces John Pickett’s rise from 14-year-old pickpocket to nineteen-year-old Bow Street Runner.

Giveaway: Sheri will award a hardcover, dust jacketed copy of Dinner Most Deadly ($25.95 retail) to one lucky commenter.

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About Dinner Most Deadly

When Julia, Lady Fieldhurst, returns from her sojourn in Scotland restless and out of sorts, her friend Emily, Lady Dunnington, decides what Julia needs is a lover. Lady Dunnington plans a select dinner party with half a dozen male guests from whom Julia may choose a paramour. Emily also invites a potential lover for herself: Sir Reginald Montague, a man whose urbane manner and dangerous good looks hide a host of unsavory secrets.

Alas, Emily’s little dinner is a disaster from the outset. Every gentleman at the table bears some unspoken grudge against Sir Reginald, and then dinner is interrupted by Emily’s estranged husband. He and his lady have a heated discussion which ends with Lord Dunnington’s vowing to put a stop to his wife’s pursuit of Sir Reginald “no matter what it takes.” But the coup de grâce comes at the end of the evening, when Sir Reginald is shot dead.

Bow Street Runner John Pickett is summoned to Emily’s house, where he is taken aback to find Julia. For in addition to investigating the case, he is faced with the awkward task of informing her that their masquerade as a married couple in Scotland (Family Plot) has resulted in their being legally wed. Beset by distractions—not the least of which are the humiliating annulment process and the flattering attentions of Lady Dunnington’s pretty young housemaid—Pickett must find the killer of a man whom everyone has reason to want dead.

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Excerpt

For the first time in the interview, the solicitor’s professional demeanor faltered. “The only possibility that remains is, er, that is, it involves consummation of the union.”

“But you just said a lack of consummation did not constitute grounds,” protested Lady Fieldhurst.

“No, but if either party should be unable to—that is, to be incapable of—” He took a deep breath and started over. “Your ladyship, I must remind you that you and the late Lord Fieldhurst were married for six years. If, during that time, it had come to light that you were—were incapable of participating in the act that might have given your husband the heir he desired so desperately, he would surely have sought such an annulment for himself years ago.” He turned to Pickett. “Such being the case, that only leaves . . .”

As the solicitor’s implication dawned, Pickett flushed a deep red.

Lady Fieldhurst was equally embarrassed, but considerably more vocal. “You cannot ask Mr. Pickett to—to—” Words failed her. She broke off and tried again. “Mr. Pickett may not be married, but I daresay there is a female somewhere who could destroy such a claim simply by coming forward and—and—”

“As a matter of fact,” Pickett said miserably, “there isn’t.”

“There isn’t?” echoed Lady Fieldhurst.

Pickett shook his head and prayed for the floor to open up and swallow him.

“There isn’t,” she murmured, regarding him with new eyes.

“But,” he added hastily, “that isn’t to say I couldn’t—that is, I—I have no reason to suppose that—that all my parts are not—not in good working order.”

“Oh, my.” She snatched up one of the solicitor’s legal papers and began fanning herself with it. “Oh, my.”

About the Author

At the age of sixteen, Sheri Cobb South discovered Georgette Heyer, and came to the startling realization that she had been born into the wrong century. Although she doubtless would have been a chambermaid had she actually lived in Regency England, that didn’t stop her from fantasizing about waltzing the night away in the arms of a handsome, wealthy, and titled gentleman.

Since Georgette Heyer was dead and could not write any more Regencies, Ms. South came to the conclusion she would simply have to do it herself. In addition to her popular series of Regency mysteries featuring idealistic young Bow Street Runner John Pickett (described by All About Romance as “a little young, but wholly delectable”), she is the award-winning author of several Regency romances, including the critically acclaimed The Weaver Takes a Wife.

A native and long-time resident of Alabama, Ms. South recently moved to Loveland, Colorado, where she has a stunning view of Long’s Peak from her office window.

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Leigh Michaels: Magical Weddings

“Taking the Waters” in Regency England

by Leigh Michaels

When I turned my novella, Her Wedding Wager, over to the beta readers, one of them commented, “I don’t understand this sentence: ‘My uncle was taking the waters in Tunbridge Wells last summer.’

Taking the waters meant drinking or bathing in the water from a natural mineral spring, which was thought to cure pretty much everything from heart disease to infertility.

Leigh MichaelsMost readers of historical romances are familiar with Bath, where many an aristocratic family visited the natural hot springs and where Romans had established the famous baths during their occupation of England. But among the other spa towns and mineral springs prominent in England was Tunbridge Wells, located southeast of London, with relatively easy access during the Regency era via a turnpike road. Not as famous as Bath, Tunbridge Wells first gained notoriety in the 17th century when the springs were discovered.

Ailing individuals who drank the water found that it smelled foul and tasted vile. “Treatments” often included drinking several glasses throughout each day.

I’m tempted to wonder if people actually felt better after their course of treatment, or if they only talked themselves into feeling better so they could stop!

What odd treatments used in the past have you heard or read about?

Leigh will gift an ebook —Gentlemen in Waiting—to one commenter.

About Her Wedding Wager

Celia’s best hope of finding a husband – and avoiding the marriage her uncle has in mind for her – is Lady Stone’s high-society wedding party. With two earls, a viscount, and a baron to choose from, Celia should be content. So why is she paying more attention to her distant cousin Simon Montrose? He’s not only the man her Uncle Rupert thinks she should marry, but Simon’s the one who bet her she can’t capture a titled gentleman before the party’s over.

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Excerpt

Noting the way her mother’s lower lip trembled at the reminder, Celia changed the subject. “As I was about to say, Uncle Rupert, if a London Season is out of the question, then Lady Stone’s house party is by far your best opportunity to get me off your hands and married. You keep telling me that the young men I meet at the assemblies here are far beneath my touch.”

“And so they are. Haven’t seen any yet with ambition or good sense. And not a one with so much as a pair of coppers to rub together, either, which is why they cast their gaze toward my fortune. But the only man you need is right here.” Rupert waved his fork toward Simon.

Her cousin? Of course he wasn’t serious, to imply that she and Simon…

Celia couldn’t help it. She giggled.

About Magical Weddings

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Her Wedding Wager is the lead-off title in the boxed set, Magical Weddings. Leigh Michaels is the award-winning author of more than 100 books, including historical romance, contemporary romance, and non-fiction. More than 35 million copies of her books are in print in 25 languages and 120 countries. She is the author of On Writing Romance and teaches romance writing online at Gotham Writers Workshop.

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Whether real or only in the hearts of the bride and groom, the magic of weddings is undeniable. And irresistible! As these 15 enchanting happily-ever-afters by bestselling and award-winning authors prove.

From sweet to spicy, the romances bundled into this set cross time and unite hearts, cast spells of laughter, battle wedding jitters and fight back tears, while weaving love’s hopeful magic throughout 1400 pages.

The boxed set includes a variety of sub-genres, lengths, and heat levels – something for everyone.

Her Wedding Wager by Leigh Michaels, National bestselling and Award-winning author. Celia’s doomed to an arranged marriage–unless she can win the most important bet of her life!

The Last Wedding at Drayhome (Breens Mist Witches) by Aileen Harkwood. Never underestimate the power of a witch and warlock in love who have nothing left to lose.

The Dress by Eve Devon. Two couples, 400 years apart. From a masquerade ball in Venice 1615 to a wedding in England 2015, can a dress laced with magic weave its spell through the fabric of time?

Second Chance Bride by Raine English, USA Today bestselling and Award-winning author. She thinks she’s marrying the man of her dreams, until a telepathic rescue dog leads her to someone else… Will this bride-to-be say “I do” to the wrong man?

Two Hearts Surrendered by Tamara Ferguson, Bestselling and Award-winning author. Will two warring hearts be strong enough to survive the ultimate battle?

Something Borrowed, Something Blue by Lynda Haviland. She has a wedding to crash–until love gets in the way!

Heart of the Secret (Witches of Lane County) by Jody A. Kessler, Bestselling and Award-winning author. A 500 year-old curse, a witch who will do anything to marry her one true love, and the heart of a secret that will either divide them or bring them together…forever.

The Jealous Love of a Scoundrel by Jane Lark, National bestselling author. How do you fight a calling that comes from your soul?

A Wedding Across the Winds of Time by Bess McBride, National bestselling author. Darius and Molly found each other Across the Winds of Time. Now, it’s time for their wedding!

Kiss This by L.L. Muir, National bestselling and Award-winning author. You never expect the florist to catch the bouquet…

Caution is a Virtue by Jennifer Gilby Roberts. How much is too much to risk for love?

Loving Lindy by Jan Romes. In order to become the bank’s new Vice President, Gunther Justin has to be “settled.” With Lindy McPherson posing as his fiancé everything is set to go off without a hitch–until real feelings get in the way.

With this Kiss by Heather Thurmeier. Does a simple kiss have enough magic to reunite lovers?

Real Magic by Elsa Winckler. She’s the bridesmaid, he’s a best man. Will the magical evening stay just that or will it turn out to be real after all?

The Wedding Guests (A Tassamara Short Story) by Sarah Wynde. When unexpected guests attend Akira and Zane’s wedding, lives will change forever. But for better or for worse?

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Bath: a guide for readers of The Third MacPherson Sister

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Bath Abbey

Five things to know about Bath Abbey*

  • Three different churches have occupied the site of today’s Abbey since 757 AD. First, an Anglo-Saxon monastery which was pulled down by the Norman conquerors of England; then a massive Norman cathedral which was begun about 1090 but lay in ruins by late 15th century; and finally, the present Abbey Church as we now know it.
  • The first King of all England, King Edgar was crowned on this site in 973 (as shown above). The service set the precedent for the coronation of all future Kings and Queens of England including Elizabeth II.
  • The first sight most visitors have of Bath Abbey is the West front, with its unique ladders of Angels. The story behind this is that the Bishop of Bath, Oliver King, is said to have had a dream of angels ascending and descending into heaven which inspired the design and which also inspired him to build a new Abbey church – the last great medieval cathedral to have been built in England.
  • After the dissolution of the monasteries in 1539 by order of King Henry VIII, the Abbey lay in ruins for more than 70 years. It wasn’t until 1616, that much of the building we see today was repaired and in use as a parish church and over two hundred years later, in the 1830s, that local architect George Manners added new pinnacles and flying buttresses to the exterior and inside, built a new organ on a screen over the crossing, more galleries over the choir and installed extra seating.
  • The Abbey as we know it is the work of Sir George Gilbert Scott, who from 1864 to 1874, completely transformed the inside of the Abbey to conform with his vision of Victorian Gothic architecture. His most significant contribution must surely be the replacement of the ancient wooden ceiling over the nave with the spectacular stone fan vaulting we see today.

*http://www.bathabbey.org/history

Photo by Barbara S. Andrews

Photo by Barbara S. Andrews

The Pump Room

Situated next to main street entrance to the Roman Baths, visitors can sample the waters from the warm spring which fills the Roman Baths. The building also houses a restaurant, where it is popular to sample the afternoon tea.

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Photo by Barbara S. Andrews

The Roman Baths

The house is a well-preserved Roman site for public bathing. The Roman Baths themselves are below the modern street level. There are four main features: the Sacred Spring, the Roman Temple, the Roman Bath House and the Museum holding finds from Roman Bath. The buildings above street level date from the 19th century.

Photo by Barbara S. Andrews

Photo by Barbara S. Andrews

The Pulteney Bridge

The bridge features two ranges of shops designed in the Palladian style c. 1770, between them forming a narrow street over the bridge. The street and buildings sit above three segmental arches of equal span.

The shops on the north side have cantilevered rear extensions. Consequently the northern external façade of the bridge is asymmetrical, much altered and of no architectural merit, whereas the southern external side clearly shows the hand of Robert Adam.

Shops on the Pulteney Bridge  By Erebus555 at English Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

Shops on the Pulteney Bridge
By Erebus555 at English Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Sydney Gardens (formerly Bath Vauxhall Gardens)

The Sydney Gardens are the only remaining 18th century pleasure gardens in England.

The gardens were constructed in the 1790s opening in 1795 as a commercial pleasure grounds, following the development of Bathwick by Sir William Pulteney, 5th Baronet across the River Avon from the city centre. The original plans were by Thomas Baldwin and completed by Charles Harcourt Masters who included a maze or labyrinth, grotto, sham castle and an artificial rural scene with moving figures powered by a clockwork mechanism. The gardens were illuminated by over 15,000 “variegated lamps”. Around 1810 the Kennet and Avon Canal was built through the gardens.

Sydney Gardens  By Plumbum64 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Sydney Gardens
By Plumbum64 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

The Sydney Hotel

The Sydney Hotel was built within the gardens. The original design for the hotel, prepared by Thomas Baldwin in 1794, was a two-storey building which would serve the pleasure gardens. After Baldwin was bankrupted his design for the hotel was not implemented. Instead a three-storey building was designed by Charles Harcourt Masters. The foundation stone was laid in 1796 and the building was ready by 1799. Visitors entered the gardens through the Hotel. Projecting from the rear of the building at first floor level was a conservatory and a semi-circular Orchestra with a wide covered loggia below. Two semi-circular rows of supper boxes projected from the sides of the building. The gardens were used daily for promenades and public breakfasts which were attended by Jane Austen among others. At public breakfasts tea, coffee, rolls and Sally Lunn buns were served at about midday, followed by dancing. There were generally three evening galas each summer, usually on the birthdays of George III and the Prince of Wales, and in July to coincide with the Bath races. During these galas the gardens were lit with thousands of lamps and the guests took supper accompanied by music and fireworks. Breakfasts, coffee-drinking, newspaper-reading and card-playing took place in the ground floor of the Hotel and dancing in a ballroom on the first floor. All the rooms could be hired for private parties and meetings.

The Assembly Rooms

The Assembly Rooms formed the hub of fashionable Georgian society in the city, the venue being described as “the most noble and elegant of any in the kingdom” They were originally known as the Upper Rooms as there was also a lower assembly room in the city, which closed soon after the Upper Rooms opened. They served the newly built fashionable area which included The Circus, Queen Square and the Royal Crescent.

People would gather in the rooms in the evening for balls and other public functions, or simply to play cards. Mothers and chaperones bringing their daughters to Bath for the social season, hoping to marry them off to a suitable husband, would take their charge to such events where, very quickly, one might meet all the eligible men currently in the City.

Photo by Barbara S. Andrews

Photo by Barbara S. Andrews

The Theatre Royal

The present main entrance to the Theatre Royal, in Sawclose, was built in 1720 by Thomas Greenway, and was Beau Nash’s first house. The exterior of the building, with arches, pilasters, garlands and ornaments, which is visible from Beauford Square, was designed by George Dance the Younger and erected by John Palmer.

The theatre itself was erected in 1805, replacing the Old Orchard Street Theatre which was also called the Theatre Royal, which is now a Freemason’s Hall.

The theatre is said to be haunted by The Grey Lady, who was an actress centuries ago. She has been seen watching productions in the Grey Lady Box, and she leaves the distinctive scent of Jasmine. She has been seen and scented in recent years.

Theatre Royal, Bath   By MichaelMaggs (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons

Theatre Royal, Bath
By MichaelMaggs (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Text from Wikipedia.

About The Third MacPherson Sister (part of the Sweet Summer Kisses anthology)

TheThirdMacPhersonSister2inchAfter a disastrous fourth Season in London, Rebecca and her mother take refuge in Bath to determine their next course of action. Rebecca has always known she’ll never be able to measure up to her older sisters, the “Golden Twins,” who were the reigning queens of the ton in their day, but surely there is a gentleman somewhere capable of appreciating her finer qualities.

Miles Framingham, Duke of Aylesbury, finds himself in need a wife… although he doesn’t really want one. Burdened with the responsibilities of a dukedom from a young age, what he really yearns for is freedom. Marriage to the right woman, though, might not be such an onerous task.

When the hapless Rebecca finds herself pushed into the lap of this eminently eligible duke in the nave of Bath Abbey, a match between them seems ordained by the heavens… except for the little matter of his past history with her sisters.

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Bluestockings and wallflowers seek happily-ever-afters. Only handsome, respectable and deeply romantic persons need apply. Dukes and marquesses will be given special consideration. Apply within.  

This anthology contains nine fun, heart-tugging, and wholesomely romantic Regency novellas that are as sigh-worthy as they are sweet, brought to you by USA Today and national bestselling, award-winning authors.

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