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Never Too Late: A Bluestocking Belles Collection

Eight authors and eight different takes on four dramatic elements selected by our readers—an older heroine, a wise man, a Bible, and a compromising situation that isn’t.

Set in a variety of locations around the world over eight centuries, welcome to the romance of the Bluestocking Belles’ 2017 Holiday and More Anthology.

Special Pre-order Sale just $0.99 

After November 15th: $2.99

We’re still working on the rest of the retailer links but just in case you want to take advantage of our special pre-order price, jump on over to Amazon and order your copy now. The release date for NEVER TOO LATE is November 4th. Remember, 25% of the sales from the Belles’ box sets benefit our mutual charity, The Malala Fund. You, too, can make a difference in the life of a young woman or child by contributing to this worthy cause!

Amazon:

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Print – $18.99

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The Piper’s Lady by Sherry Ewing

True love binds them. Deceit divides them. Will they choose love?
Coira does not regret traveling with her grandfather until she is too old to wed. But perhaps it is not too late? At Berwyck Castle, a dashing knight runs to her rescue. How can she resist?

Garrick can hold his own with the trained Knights of Berwyck, but they think of him as a piper, not a fighter. When his heart sings for the new resident of the castle, he dares to wish he is something he is not. Will failure to clear her misunderstanding doom their love before it begins?

Excerpt

“You saved me,” she whispered in a shaky tone. “You are truly a gallant knight to rescue me. Your liege lord must value you as one of his warriors.”

Warrior? Him? He opened his mouth to correct her assumption but could not find the words. He knew she would think less of him if she but knew he was only the clan’s piper.

“Are ye harmed?” he murmured, still holding the pleasing womanly curves of the lady who had not yet moved from atop him. Her brow rose, and Garrick inwardly cursed knowing there was no way to hide his Scottish accent.

“Nay, but only because of your ability to move so quickly. Thank you, Sir…” She left her sentence linger in the air between them.

“Garrick,” he answered, giving her his name, “of Clan MacLaren.”

“My thanks, Sir Garrick,” she replied with a kind smile.

They seemed to come to the realization the lists had become eerily silent with the exception of one person running in their direction.

“Get your hands off her!” a voice bellowed.

Before either of them could move, the woman was ripped from his arms, and Garrick saw her enveloped in the fierce embrace of Morgan. Her arms wrapped around his neck, and Garrick could not help the feeling of jealousy assaulting his emotions and tugging at his heartstrings.

“Coira! By St. Michael’s Wings you gave me such a fright, woman,” Morgan scolded in concern. Setting her down upon her feet, he proceeded to clasp both her cheeks afore placing kisses on each.

Her Wounded Heart by Nicole Zoltack

An injured knight trespassing on Mary Bennett’s land is a threat to the widow’s
already frail refuge. Even so, she cannot turn away a man in need and tells him he has her husband’s leave to stay until Christmas.

Doran Ward wishes only to survive for one more day. However, as he begins to
heal and to pay for his lodgings by fixing the rundown manor, the wounds to Mistress Bennett’s heart intrigue him.

Can two desperate souls find hope in time for Christmas?

Excerpt 

To her surprise, her guest had laid out a few vegetables, and she set about cutting them without saying a word to him.

At one point, he reached across her for another knife.

She stiffened and jerked back.

“My apologies,” he said. “I did not mean to startle you.”

“Do not touch me,” she said, fear melting into anger in her voice. “My husband is a very strong and angry man. He shall take exception to anyone who dares to touch me.”

“Will he be joining us for dinner?” he asked as if unfazed.

She did not like to lie to him. Lying, after all, was a sin. But she also must protect herself.

“No,” she said shortly. “He already ate and has retired for the evening.”

“So it shall be only the two of us?” He glanced over his shoulder at the chunks of meat he had cooking over the fierce fire.

“Aye. You can brine-cure the meat we do not eat.”

“Very well.” He never did grab the knife but returned to tending to the meat.

Soon enough, she added the vegetables to a pot, along with some of his meat. A short time later, the stew was finished.

The man brought over two bowls. She stared at the wooden spoons in her hands. Her husband had lost their silver in yet another game.

Another sign to alert him that all is not well here.

Head back, she took a deep breath. Matters such as they were, she had no other recourse. As cold as the house was despite fires, she could not imagine anyone surviving the night out of doors. Would her good intentions spell even more doom for herself?

A Year Without Christmas by Jessica Cale 

London, 1645

Edward Rothschild returns home from war defeated in more ways than one. His friends killed and his property seized, he is an earl in name only. His family and his servants have all deserted him– all except his housekeeper, Lillian Virtue.

Lillian feels like home in a way that nothing else does, but as his servant and a recent widow, it would be impossible for them to be together. Then again, Christmas has been banned and the social order fractured; can one more impossible thing happen this year?

Excerpt

Somerton’s smile was like a bolt of lightning, a sudden flash of terrifying intensity that surprised them both. One shot of light across the darkness of his face and it was gone.
Her knees failed her suddenly and Lillian caught herself on the edge of the table just as Somerton reached out to catch her arm. His hand closed around her elbow and sent a shock up her spine.

“Are you well?”

Lillian had always held her master in the highest regard, but some part of her had feared him, as well. It was not only that her position depended upon his good graces, but he had seemed more than human to her. His presence was overwhelming and perhaps otherworldly; he had a spark of the infinite that suggested a link to the Divine. She could have easily taken him for a priest or a saint.

She had known he was objectively handsome; what she had not realized was that she thought he was handsome.

She felt her blush deepen and took a steadying breath. “Quite well, my lord. Forgive me.”
He frowned as he examined her face. “You look peaked. Join me for coffee.”

Somerton wanted her—Lillian Page, no, Virtue—to sip coffee with him in his private bedchamber? It was inappropriate, to say the least, but when she opened her mouth to object, all that came out was, “I only brought one cup.”

The Night of the Feast by Elizabeth Ellen Carter

As a spy deep in the heart of Revolutionary France, Michael St. John hopes to make amends for a wasted life his by helping the citizens of the Vendée stage a counter-revolution.

Jacqueline Archambeau, tavern owner and cook, accepts that life and love have passed her by. She never dreamed she would fight her own countrymen for the right to keep her customs and traditions.

When they plot together to steal plans at a regimental dinner will they risk their lives—and their hearts?

Excerpt 

Bonjour.” The smile on Jacqueline’s face was unexpected, as was the greeting and he found himself returning it.

Until he felt the unmistakable press of a gun barrel at his lower back. It seemed that Madame Jacqueline was not alone.

“Your knife, monsieur.” Jacqueline held out her hand.

Michael obliged, handing the weapon over hilt first.

“So, Jacques is really Jacqueline?” he asked, feeling like the world’s greatest fool.

“And I’ll take any other weapons you might have on your person,” she continued.

He hesitated, and the barrel pressed at his back became silently insistent.

“Please?” she asked as pleasantly as if she had simply asked him to pass the butter.

Michael raised his arms, threaded his fingers, and placed them at the back of his head.

“You’ve completely disarmed me, madam, but you are welcome to check for yourself.”

Hazel eyes clouded with mistrust. Jacqueline glanced to the person behind him as though looking for instruction.

“Who sent you?”

The voice behind him was that of another woman.

Michael gritted his teeth. He would kill Colonel Jeffers when they next met. The man knew his contacts were women and thought it amusing not to tell him. To further his bona fides, Jeffers had even made him memorize the first stanza of a poem, Ode To Him Who Complains, no less, by scandalous poetess Mary Darby Robinson.

The Umbrella Chronicles: George & Dorothea’s Story

by Amy Quinton 

Lord George St. Vincent doesn’t realize it, but his days as a bachelor in good standing are numbered.

He has a fortnight, to be precise—the duration of the Marquess of Dansbury’s house party.

For I, Lady Harriett Ross, have committed to parting with several items of sentimental worth should I fail to orchestrate his downfall—er, betrothal—to Miss Dorothea Wythe, who is delightful, brilliant, and interested (or will be).

If I have anything to say about matters, and I always have something to say about matters, they’re both doomed.

Did I say doomed? I mean, destined—for a life filled with love.

Excerpt 

Without a doubt, he made her breath catch every single time he looked her way, even if only looking past her, which was pretty much all the time and kind of pitiful. But who cared? It was another secret that was all hers.

Besides, she was undoubtedly not the only woman who struggled to breathe in his presence.

Dory clenched her hands into fists and reminded herself for the millionth time that she was more of the glasses and books type (of which there were far too few in the world) than the roguish smile and flirty type (of which far too many abounded). Hence, her easy slide into spinsterhood at the ripe age of thirty-one.

Yes. St. George was blond and slender and solidly built. And he was beautiful, somehow elegantly masculine, and gloriously tall. She wasn’t the only person that understood this. Everyone acknowledged these traits as if they were all a set of facts that could be found in any book on science. Or a math fact, a proven geometrical theorem.

Like the bluestocking she was, Dory imagined writing proofs over the theory of his gentlemanly beauty. Given George St. Vincent is taller than most men. Given St. Vincent has blue eyes the color of the sky and blonde hair the color of wheat. Given George St. Vincent has a blinding smile and broad shoulders. Prove George St. Vincent is the most swoonworthy man in all of England.

Dory chuckled to herself, though she felt on the verge of hysterics.

But all of that didn’t mean he was a worthy man for her affections.

A Malicious Rumor by Susana Ellis

Vauxhall gardener Alice Crocker has had to defend herself from encroaching males all her life, but the new violinist is a different sort. So when she discovers that he is the victim of a malicious rumor, she naturally wants to help.

Peter de Luca greatly admires the lady gardener, but this is his problem to resolve.

What will it take to prove to this pair that they would be stronger together as a harmonious duo than two lonely solos?

Excerpt

Alice found her feet tapping in time to the music of the orchestra rehearsal while she inspected the site for the new illumination, which would honor the new Duke of Wellington after his victory over Bonaparte at the Battle of Paris. If only the designer had included the measurements! It was difficult to decide how to arrange the plantings without some inkling of the space requirements. With luck, the fellow himself would arrive soon, since the spectacle was planned to open the next day.

Miss Stephens must be singing tonight, she thought as she found herself humming the tune of the popular Northumberland ballad about a brave lass who rowed out in a storm to save her shipwrecked sailor beau.

O! merry row, O! merry row the bonnie, bonnie bark,

Bring back my love to calm my woe,

Before the night grows dark.

She liked the idea of a woman rescuing her man instead of the other way around. It might seem romantic to be rescued by a handsome prince, but one could not always be a damsel in distress, could one? Alice knew from her mother’s marriage that there was no happiness or romance in a marriage where one partner held all the power. She herself had no intention of placing herself in the power of any man. She would be responsible to no one but herself—and perhaps her employer, as long as she was permitted to work for a living. She narrowed her eyes. She could work as well as any man, better than some, in fact. Why did so many men feel threatened by that?

Forged in Fire by Jude Knight

Burned in their youth, neither Tad nor Lottie expected to feel the fires of love. The years have soothed the pain, and each has built a comfortable, if not fully satisfying, life, on paths that intersect and then diverge again.

But then the inferno of a volcanic eruption sears away the lies of the past and frees them to forge a future together.

Excerpt

She was nothing to him. He was sorry for her, that was all. As he’d be sorry for anyone stuck in her predicament. She’d be better off staying in New Zealand, where Mrs. Bletherow’s malice couldn’t reach her. There was work in Auckland, in shops and factories. Not that a proper English lady would consider such a thing.

She could do it, though. She wasn’t as meek as she pretended. He’d seen the steel in her, the fire in those pretty hazel eyes.

The word ‘pretty’ put a check in his stride, but it was true. She had lovely eyes. Not a pretty face, precisely. Her cheeks were too thin, her jaw too square, her nose too straight for merely ‘pretty’. But in her own way, she was magnificent. She was not as comfortably curved or as young as the females he used to chase when he was a wild youth, the sort he always thought he preferred. Not as gaudy as them, with their bright dresses and their brighter face paint. But considerably less drab than he had thought at first sight. She was a little brown hen that showed to disadvantage beside the showier feathers of the parrot, but whose feathers were a subtle symphony of shades and patterns. Besides, parrots, in his experience, were selfish, demanding creatures.

 

Roses in Picardy by Caroline Warfield

 After two years at war, Harry is out of metaphors for death, synonyms for brown, and images for darkness. Color among the floating islands of Amiens and life in the form of a widow and her little son surprise him with hope.

Rosemarie Legrand’s husband died, leaving her a tiny son, no money, and a savaged reputation. She struggles to simply feed the boy and has little to offer a lonely soldier.

Excerpt

Are men in Hell happier for a glimpse of Heaven?”

The piercing eyes gentled. “Perhaps not,” the old man said, “but a store of memories might be medicinal in coming months. Will you come back?”

Will I? He turned around to face forward, and the priest poled the boat out of the shallows, seemingly content to allow him his silence.

“How did you arrange my leave?” Harry asked at last, giving voice to a sudden insight.

“Prayer,” the priest said. Several moments later he, added, “And Col. Sutherland in the logistics office has become a friend. I suggested he had a pressing need for someone who could translate requests from villagers.”

“Don’t meddle, old man. Even if they use me, I’ll end up back in the trenches. Visits to Rosemarie Legrand would be futile in any case. The war is no closer to an end than it was two years ago.”

“Despair can be deadly in a soldier, corporal. You must hold on to hope. We all need hope, but to you, it can be life or death,” the priest said.

Life or death. He thought of the feel of the toddler on his shoulder and the colors of les hortillonnages. Life indeed.

The sound of the pole propelling them forward filled several minutes.

“So will you come back?” the old man asked softly. He didn’t appear discomforted by the long silence that followed.

“If I have a chance to come, I won’t be able to stay away,” Harry murmured, keeping his back to the priest.

“Then I will pray you have a chance,” the old man said softly.

Susana’s Adventures in England: Brockhampton Estate

Much thanks to Heather King for providing transportation and companionship, as well as the infamous super dog Roxy, and not least, to Cora Lee, who formed the fourth part of our party.

map

housepond

Lower Brockhampton is a timber-framed manor house dating back to the 14th century. The manor house is surrounded by a moat and entered by a newly-restored gatehouse. The estate includes 1000 acres of farmland and 700 acres of woodland. The ruins of a Norman church are also located on the property.

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The manor house was probably built from timber sourced from the estate itself, and the history of the house is intimately connected to the rich wooded landscape that it sits within.

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Making good use of the estate’s productivity was the secret to the continued wealth of the family that lived here. We know from ancient seeds and pollen found during archaeological excavations that in medieval times cereal crops were grown near the manor house, to the north of the moat.

chinacabinet-copyOver the years the house was adapted by each successive generation that lived here, the original medieval great hall had an upper floor inserted into it by the Barneby family, in order to accommodate their many children.

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As society changed it became more important for the owning family to live separately from their servants and estate workers. Eventually in the Georgian period, and under the care of Bartholomew Barneby, the owning family moved out from the ancient timber framed building and into a grander mansion house at the top of the estate.

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From the eighteenth century onwards the timber framed manor house was home to estate workers such as Joseph Cureton and his family. Joseph was the estate wagoner in the nineteenth century. He cared for the horses that carried out much of the heavy work on the farms and woodland that makes up Brockhampton estate.

In 2010, the National Trust undertook a major restoration project to the house using traditional wattle and daub building methods.

example of wattle and daub

example of wattle and daub

The site of the medieval village of Studmarsh is thought to be located in the estate. In 2012, an archaeological dig unearthed the foundations of two buildings that may have been part of the village.

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Rolling green parklands and ancient woods surround the charming Brockhampton Estate. Situated on 687 hectars (1,700 acres), Brockhampton has been a farming estate for nearly 1,000 years. At the heart of the estate lies the romantic timber-framed manor house dating back to the late 14th century, and the ruined Norman chapel. To arrive here one must first cross the picturesque moat and enterer via the gatehouse, built in 1530-40. Today, Brockhampton Estate is not only a time capsule for visitors, but the grounds also provide an idyllic setting for 40 residential houses and cottages.

Gate

Gate

The grounds of Brockhampton Estate feature ancient trees, the picturesque Lawn Pool, and numerous sculptures depicting of the history of Brockhampton and the local area. Native wildlife is bountiful on the Estate, and every effort has been made to preserve and enhance habitats. This is particularly apparent in the ancient woods, where less common species can be found by the patient observer, including the scarce lesser spotted woodpecker and noctule bat.

brockhampton-3The Estate runs traditional livestock breeds, such as Hereford cattle and Ryeland sheep. However the main point of sustainability lies in the conservation and preservation of the traditional orchards. The Estate boasts some magnificent orchards, some of the most extensive in the National Trust’s care. Over 50 hectares (124 acres) is dedicated to trees bearing cherries, apples, pears, damsons and quince. The orchards are rich in bird, mammal and insect life, and provide habitats and forage for many important species. Two rare species have made the orchards their home, the mistletoe weevil and the noble chafer beetle. The orchards are part of an ongoing restoration project, and over the winter of 2011 a further 75 fruit trees were planted.

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Keeping true to the history and spirit of Brockhampton Estate, a monthly farmers’ market is held on the grounds. All produce sold is produced in the local district. The Estate also hosts an annual “pick your own” event in early September where visitors can bring a bag to fill with treats from the orchard.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brockhampton_Estate

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/brockhampton-estate/features/600-years-of-history-revealed-in-brockhampton-moated-manor-house

https://intofarms.org/brockhampton-estate/

Author Cora Lee coming up the stairs of the gatehouse

Author Cora Lee coming up the stairs of the gatehouse

More photos on my Pinterest board.

Susana’s Adventures in England: Arundel Castle

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Arundel Castle was established by Roger de Montgomery, a cousin of William the Conqueror, on Christmas Day in 1067 after he was given one-fifth of Sussex and the title of Earl of Arundel in return for his agreement to defend it. The castle was damaged in the English Civil War and restored in the 18th and 19th centuries. It has been the principal seat of the Dukes of Norfolk for almost 400 years.

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Stone apartments constructed for the Empress Matilda’s visit in 1139 still exist today.

The 11th Duke of Norfolk held a large party at Arundel in 1815 to celebrate the 600th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta. Architect Frances Hiorne built a folly on the hill above Swanbourne Lake.

Hiorne's Tower (Folly)

Hiorne’s Tower (Folly)

Queen Victoria, when she and Prince Albert visited on 1 December 1846, did not appreciate the 11th Duke’s attempts at renovations, calling it “bad architecture.” Consequently, the 15th Duke, upon his inheritance of the Castle, carried on a “massive and scholarly renovation” of the entire house between 1875 and 1900, except for the library. This included carefully restoring the remains of the Norman castle.

The Keep

The Keep

During the second world war, the Castle was occupied by British, American, and Commonwealth troops right up to the 1944 D-Day landings.

The present 18th Duke lives in a private wing with his family. He had his wife, along with the Castle Trustees, have restored and redecorated the whole interior to its Victorian magnificence, as well as improved the visitor facilities. The gardens have been upgraded to match the historic authenticity of the Castle.

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On exhibit at the Castle are nearly all of the family’s collection of art and historic archives, including many brought from Worksop and Norfolk House.

For more photos of Arundel Castle, check out my Pinterest Page.

Sherry Ewing: To Follow My Heart (The Knights of Berwyck, A Quest Through Time) + Giveaway

To_Follow_My_Heart 400x copyI’d like to thank Susana for allowing me the opportunity to showcase my latest medieval/time travel release: To Follow My Heart: The Knights of Berwyck, A Quest Through Time Novel (Book Three). If you’ve never read one of my novels, I’m Sherry Ewing and write historical and time travel romances to awaken the soul one heart at a time.

I don’t know about you, but I’m a huge fan of any book that throws a knight and a modern day woman together. I never had any intention of writing time travels. Somehow they just came about and I now have a whole series going on with secondary characters from my free medieval romance If My Heart Could See You. Who knew?

To Follow My Heart follows the story of Jenna Sinclair, a modern day woman living in San Francisco who is heartbroken over the breakup with her fiancé. Fletcher Monroe, a 12th century knight and captain of the guard of Berwyck’s garrison knights, has his own issues of attempting to get over a woman who would never be his. Image how surprised both my characters are when Jenna mysteriously slips through time and falls at his feet on an ocean beach.

The second Cliff House, circa 1900

This book, in particular, is near and dear to my heart because I have showcased some of my favorite places around the city by the bay. The Cliff House, along Ocean Beach, has a long history in San Francisco and is managed by the National Park Service; specifically, Golden Gate National Recreation Area, one of the largest urban parks in the NPS system.

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I’ve spent a lot of years walking this beach contemplating my own life, much like Jenna, and felt the need to have her falling through time beneath the rock face under the Cliff House. I was wonderfully surprised when one day, right before the release of To Follow My Heart, my daughter and I took advantage of a beautiful summer day and I was actually able to walk all the way around the cliff from Ocean Beach to the Sutro Baths side. In all the years I’ve walked there, the tides were never right since the water is usually right up against the cliff. It gave me a whole new perspective of how my characters felt doing the very same thing. If you’d like to learn more about the Cliff House, check out this NPS website at https://www.nps.gov/goga/learn/historyculture/cliff-house.htm. The NPS is celebrating their 100-year centennial so it’s a great time to Find Your Park and enjoy what these special places can offer you and your family!

In case you’re wondering, all my books can be read as stand-alones but if you read them in order, you’ll see characters as they’re introduced. I just love when I read a series and see returning characters that I’ve come to love, don’t you?

My Books

Haven’t read my books? Then start with a free download of the start of my series with If My Heart Could See You. It’s up on all major online retailers. Here’s the Amazon link: http://amzn.to/1LV1qnk. Need the next two books in the series? I’ve got a special deal on a box set called Hearts Across Time for $0.99. It includes For All of Ever and Only For You. Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/1BV0DM4

box set pic from FB copy

Giveaway!

I’ll give one random comment an e-copy of my medieval romance A Knight To Call My Own so just answer me this:

Do you visit a national park where you live? If not, then tell me one of your favorite places you like to visit.

Thanks again to Susana for allowing me to spend some time with her readers. Keep reading to learn more about To Follow My Heart, along with finding the buy links!

About To Follow My Heart: The Knights of Berwyck, A Quest Through Time Novel (Book Three)

Love is a leap. Sometimes you need to jump…

After a gut wrenching break up with her fiancé, Jenna Sinclair heads to the coast to do a little soul searching. To say everything is subject to change is putting it mildly. Her world is not only turned upside down, but pretty much torn asunder when she is pulled through a time gate on the beach beneath the Cliff House and transported more than eight hundred years into the past.

Fletcher Monroe, captain of the garrison knights at Berwyck Castle, has wasted too much time pining for a woman who will never be his. When he finally decides to move on with his life and focus on his duties, he is suddenly confronted with a woman who magically appears at his feet. This could either be the best thing that has ever happened to him or another cursed event in a string of many. He soon finds he is wildly attracted to her, but she’s scared to death of him – not a very encouraging beginning.

From the shores of California to twelfth century England and back again, Jenna and Fletcher must find a way to reconcile their two different worlds before Time forever tears them apart.

Excerpt

Jenna came back from her musing, only to blink in shock at the distortion directly in front of her. The disturbance in the air was almost akin to the ripples one found in a lake or pond after a stone had been cast into its smooth waters. She reached out to touch it, but before she knew what was happening, some unseen force pushed her forward, even while at the same time she became surrounded by an icy fog. The wind in her face screeched at a high pitch in her ears in the same tone as a ghoulish banshee on Halloween. Her body seemed as if it were being pulled, stretched, and sucked through a tight tube, much like a dust mote stuck within a vacuum cleaner. She was tossed and turned around and around as her own screams echoed all about her.

Unsure what was happening, she cried out, hoping for someone to come and help her. No one answered her call, yet she continued to yell, all the same. Had she somehow fallen into the ocean, and was she being pulled out with the tide? No…that couldn’t be right, since she didn’t have the feeling of water filling her lungs. Time seemed to have no meaning, and she had no idea how long she had been in this state of…falling into nothingness and unbeing.

And then, everything stopped its frantic pace, abruptly, as though she were in a car that had come to a sudden halt at a red light causing her to lurch forward in her seat. Jenna was thrust headfirst to face-plant into the beach while her purse flew through the air when she hit the ground. She coughed, spitting out copious granules of sand. Wiping her mouth, she tasted a bit of blood from her cut lip and raised her hand to shield her face from the glaring brightness around her. Sunlight? She closed her eyes and reopened them, not believing what she was seeing, for the sun was as bright as in the height of a new day. But how could that be, she wondered? It was almost evening, with darkness about to settle down to caress the earth.

As if she hadn’t been mistreated enough, nature decided to continue its torment of her when a rogue wave came up from behind, knocking her into the frigid water. She came up sputtering, completely drenched, and began crawling her way up the beach to catch her breath.

When she was at last able to manage it, Jenna stood, but she did so on wavering legs. She attempted to get her bearings. Her hands shook uncontrollably. Some things hadn’t changed. Her heels were still held by the straps in her fingers. She was still on the beach…the ocean was on her left. Her purse was lying on the ground, and she bent to pick it up to place it on her shoulder. She began to wonder if she had somehow passed out when she lifted her head in the direction of the Cliff House.

What the hell? Where is it, and why is a friggin’ castle sitting in its place? Dammit! This isn’t even San Francisco. She felt herself begin to panic, because the terrain was nowhere close to what she was used to. Her pulse quickened, and she swore her heart was about to burst from her chest.

“My lady, keep calm.”

The sudden vibration of sound caused her to let out a shriek. Her lips quivered in fright. She brought her hand to her mouth to stifle yet another scream that automatically burst from her mouth. She was so disoriented it took several moments of trying to adjust her vision before the deep baritone of a man’s voice actually began to register in her head.

Then, she saw him, leaning casually up against a bolder of considerable size with his arms folded against his chest. A horse stood behind him with no tether of any kind to keep him from returning to a barn. The steed just waited for the stranger to come and fetch it, that is, if that was what you did with a horse besides go for a ride. The beast shook its black mane, nostrils flaring as though it were angry.

Jenna’s hand moved down to her throat, her eyes wide, as she gaped at the man. Everything about his appearance screamed dark, mysterious, and even a little dangerous. She should be wary of him. Thick black hair hung in soft waves down to broad shoulders. A muscular chest narrowed down to lean hips, and his dark shirt only accented the ruggedness of his body as it clung to him in the blowing wind. She swore she saw a sword hanging from the belt at his waist and could only imagine what kind of a man would keep a weapon of that kind on his person. He was clothed completely in black with the exception of the dark red cloak billowing out behind him, whipped by the ocean breeze. Was it her imagination, or did its color remind her of the same shade as blood?

Good God Almighty! How far could she run before he would catch her? Surely, from the look of him, he had something sinister in mind. Panic set in, and she dug inside her purse to pull out a container of mace. Trying her best to appear in control of the situation, she extended her arm. “Stay away from me,” she yelled. “I’m not afraid to use this and call the cops.”

He pushed off the rock with a smirk upon his face, as if he knew some inside joke of which she wouldn’t be allowed to know the punch line. The closer he came, the farther she backed up until the waves of the ocean splashed up to her thighs. The coldness of the water gave her another shock, as if she hadn’t already had enough in the last few minutes to last her a life time.

“Come out of the water, mademoiselle, for surely one dunking is enough for one day.” He held out his hand. “You shall catch a chill, and we are not in need of another ghostly apparition giving us advice, no matter how he may feel ’tis needed to guide us.”

“Sweet Jesus, I’m dead,” Jenna whispered in fright. Trying to determine which direction she should run so she could get away from this lunatic, her gaze darted back and forth.

“You are most certainly not dead, my lady. And, I assure you, I mean you no harm.”

Again, he extended his hand for her to take, but she had no plans to go anywhere with this handsome stranger towering over her. Handsome? Where did that thought come from?

About the Author

sherrySherry Ewing picked up her first historical romance when she was a teenager and has been hooked ever since. A bestselling author, she writes historical & time travel romances to awaken the soul one heart at a time. Always wanting to write a novel but busy raising her children, she finally took the plunge in 2008 and wrote her first Regency. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, The Beau Monde & The Bluestocking Belles. Sherry is currently working on her next novel and when not writing, she can be found in the San Francisco area at her day job as an Information Technology Specialist.

Sherry enjoys interacting with her readers. You can email her on her website or find her on these social media outlets:

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Regan Walker: Rebel Warrior

Edgar was the Rightful King

When Edward the Confessor, a gentle, pious king, who left no direct heirs, died on January 5, 1066, there were several candidates to become King of England in his place. One thing to keep in mind: under English law, no one, not even the king, could promise the crown to anyone. That was for the Witan, a council of nobles and spiritual leaders, to decide. What was the Witan to do?

Bayeux Tapestry: King Edward the Confessor Talks to Earl Harold

Bayeux Tapestry: King Edward the Confessor Talks to Earl Harold

In England, Harold Godwinson, Earl of Wessex, wanted the job. But he was only Edward’s brother-in-law. Harold claimed Edward had given the throne to him on his deathbed. And so he might have done, even though he was thought to have murdered Edward’s brother.

Harald Hardrada King of Norway

Harald Hardrada King of Norway

In Norway, King Harald Hardrada had inherited land in England from King Canute who had once been King of England. Hardrada believed this meant he had a claim to be the King of England. Well, why not? After all, he was supported by Tostig, Harold of Wessex’s brother and Hardrada was already the powerful King of Norway. And he was planning to take England by force if he must.

King Sweyn of Denmark

King Sweyn of Denmark

There was another Scandinavian king who had a claim to the throne, too. King Sweyn of Denmark’s uncle had been Canute the Great, King of England, Denmark and Norway. Canute was ruling England when Edward took over. But Sweyn waited until Hardrada was defeated in his claim, then took his time to rally his hundreds of longships and fighting men. The Danes did not arrive in England until 1069, but more about that in my novel, Rogue Knight.

William the Conqueror Arriving in England

William the Conqueror Arriving in England

Meanwhile, across the English Channel lay Normandy and William, the bastard son of Robert, Duke of Normandy. William, now the duke, was Edward’s first cousin’s son. Seems a stretch to me, but this guy had ambition. And he had already demonstrated he was ruthless in battle. Besides all that, he told some tale about Edward having promised him the crown of England. But it seems Edward promised the crown to many, so what was that? William also claimed that Harold of Wessex had vowed to help him become king one day. Not sure about that and neither are the historians but then William’s folks wrote most of the history so there you have it.

As his father’s heir and now Duke of Normandy, William was used to ruling a large land. Why not more? So, William the Bastard planned to invade England just like Harald Hardrada. The plot thickens.

So what happened? The Witan named Harold of Wessex king. But we all know what happened to him…

Harald Hardrada invaded the north of England. King Harold fought him off. Weakened by the battle they’d just fought, Harold’s men trudged south to meet William the Bastard at Hastings where his men were storming ashore from Normandy. In a daylong battle, Harold was killed.

But one claimant to the throne of England remained… an heir of Edward’s. Indeed, Edgar Ætheling was the rightful heir to the throne. “Ætheling” is an Old English term used in Anglo-Saxon England to designate the princes of the royal dynasty eligible for the kingship. And so Edgar was. His father, Edmund Ironside, was King Edward’s half brother until he was killed, some say by poisoning. Unfortunately, when King Edward died, Edgar was only 14 or 15, a bit young to be leading soldiers and fighting off contenders for the crown.

Nevertheless, upon King Harold’s death, Edgar was named king, but he was never crowned because William the Bastard, earning his name as “the Conqueror”, moved in and took over.

Although Edgar had many supporters and, in 1069, joined with the Danes and the rebels in Yorkshire in a bid to reclaim England, through a series of fiascos, their fight was unsuccessful.

Edgar, his mother and two sisters fled to Scotland where King Malcolm welcomed them. And that is where Edgar enters my newest medieval romance, Rebel Warrior, set in Scotland in 1072.

Malcolm welcoming Edgar

Malcolm welcoming Edgar to Scotland

By then, Edgar was 21 and though the rightful king, he would be denied his legacy. But one day his family would regain the throne in a manner of speaking. Edgar’s niece, Edith, daughter of Edgar’s sister Margaret who married the King of Scots, would become Queen of England, marrying Henry I.

If you want to see Edgar and his beautiful sister Margaret in Scotland, you will have to read Rebel Warrior!

ReganWalker_RebelWarrior_800 copy

 

“Master storytelling transports you to medieval Scotland!”

Paula Quinn, NY Times Bestselling Author

About Rebel Warrior

When your destiny lies far from where you began…

Scotland 1072

The Norman Conqueror robbed Steinar of Talisand of his noble father and his lands, forcing him to flee to Scotland while still recovering from a devastating wound. At the royal court, Steinar becomes scribe to the unlettered King of Scots while secretly regaining his skill with a sword.

The first time Steinar glimpses the flame-haired maiden, Catrìona of the Vale of Leven, he is drawn to her spirited beauty. She does not fit among the ladies who serve the devout queen. Not pious, not obedient and not given to stitchery, the firebrand flies a falcon! Though Catrìona captures Steinar’s attention, he is only a scribe and she is promised to another.

Catrìona has come to Malcolm’s court wounded in spirit from the vicious attack on her home by Northmen who slayed her parents and her people. But that is not all she will suffer. The man she thought to wed will soon betray her.

When all is lost, what hope is there for love? Can a broken heart be mended? Can a damaged soul be healed?

Rebel Warrior on Amazon:

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About the Author

Regan Walker profile pic 2014 copyRegan Walker is an award-winning, #1 bestselling, multi-published author of Regency, Georgian and Medieval romance. She has five times been featured on USA TODAY’s HEA blog and twice nominated for the prestigious RONE award (her novel, The Red Wolf’s Prize won Best Historical Novel for 2015 in the medieval category). Regan writes historically authentic novels with real history and real historic figures where her readers experience history, adventure and love.

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Sherry Ewing: Hearts Across Time Box Set (Giveaway)

I’d like to thank Susana for allowing me the opportunity to showcase my first box set. I’m Sherry Ewing and I write historical and time travel romances to awaken the soul one heart at a time.

Today I’d like to tell you about this special edition box set entitled Hearts Across Time: The Knights of Berwyck, A Quest Through Time Novel (Books One & Two) that released April 17, 2016. It contains my full-length novels For All of Ever and Only For You. Katherine and Riorden just happen to be my favorite characters I’ve created so far.

Attachment-1Originally, I had no plans to write a time travel. In fact, after I had finished my debut medieval romance, If My Heart Could See You (which is a free eBook by the way), I had every intention of writing about the youngest sister Lynet (A Knight To Call My Own). If you’re a writer, then you know how our characters have a mind of their own and will tell you the direction their lives will go. If you’re a reader, well…let me tell you its true…authors really do have voices inside their heads!

So Katherine and Riorden were “born,” so to speak, along with Katherine’s thee other friends who slipped through time in a turret at Bamburgh castle. I had so much fun writing these books that it spun a whole series and the next book, To Follow My Heart, will release this summer. I continue to be amazed at the amount of research that is available to authors these days and if you haven’t visited Bamburgh’s site, and love castles, don’t miss out! It’s very interactive with a video fly by, rooms to see, and lots of historical information on its origins dating back to its first recorded history in 547AD. And if that’s not enough, be sure to open some of the books in the “library”.

I’d like to show of a painting that a friend of my daughter, Kimberly King, did for me. Originally it was going to be my cover but timing being what it was for the both of us, it just didn’t work out. But I still wanted to have this beautiful piece a part of my book so I put it on the back cover of the print version. Kim took everything I wanted to depict a scene where Katherine see’s Riorden in a painting for the very first time when she at last learns his name. It’s still one of my favorite scenes in the book.

Since Susana and I are part of the Bluestocking Belles, I’d like to do a giveaway of my upcoming release Under the Mistletoe, that was originally part of the Belles’ box set Mistletoe, Marriage, & Mayhem. It will be available for just $0.99 on May 8th.

For a chance to win an eCopy of Under the Mistletoe, tell me the first historical romance you ever read and why it’s stuck with you all these years. I’ll choose a random comment as the winner.

About Hearts Across Time: The Knights of Berwick, A Quest Through Time Novel (Books One & Two)

Sometimes all you need is to just believe…

For All of Ever: Katherine Wakefield has dreamed and written of her knight in shining armor all her life. Yet, how could she have known that when she and her three closest friends take a dream vacation to England that they’d find themselves thrown back more than eight hundred years into the past? Riorden de Deveraux travels to Bamburgh answering the summons of King Henry II. But nothing prepares him for the beautiful vision of a strangely clad ghost who first appears in his chamber. Centuries are keeping them apart until Time gives them a chance at finding love. Will the past of one consume what their future may hold, or will Time take the decision from them and hurdle Katherine forward to where she truly belongs?

Only For You: Katherine de Deveraux has it all but settling into her duties at Warkworth Castle is not easy and downright dangerous to her well-being. Consumed with memories of his father, Riorden must deal with his sire’s widow. Yet how could he know how far Marguerite will go to have the life she feels they were meant to live? Torn apart, Time becomes their true enemy while Marguerite continues her ploy to keep Riorden at her side. With all hope lost, will Katherine & Riorden find a way to save their marriage?

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She needed fresh air…that’s what she needed. Turning into the Great Hall to catch up with her friends, she found herself riveted to the floor. Even if she’d wanted to move, she couldn’t have. Hardly believing what she was seeing, she became mesmerized when the tourists milling around the chamber slowly vanished before her eyes.

box set pic from FBOnly one man was left standing at the far end of the room, or rather, one knight. He had been reaching for something on a table when Katherine saw his shoulders flinch. His red cape swirled around his legs when he turned to face her. Their eyes locked and Katherine’s breath left her at the intensity reflected in his face. Shock, intermingled with excitement, rushed through her. Her whole body began to tingle. Good God, it’s him! Her mind screamed. He stood there with such a commanding presence about him that she had no recourse but to move in his direction.

Inch by inch, the distance between them lessened as he, too, moved swiftly across the floor. Her arm extended, she reached for him, and yet their meeting was not to be. He quickly vanished, passing right through her. Her body lurched from the contact when the wispy vapor that had been him disintegrated upon their meeting. A soft cry of distress escaped her lips. How could fate be so cruel as to take him from her before they could speak even one word together?

Modern surroundings returned, and Katherine became disorientated when she was rudely bumped by some jerk, who didn’t even mutter an apology. She swiveled around, trying to see if her knight was maybe still lurking in the hall, but there was no trace of him.

She had taken no more than a few short steps, when a voice whispered inside her head. Katherine…come back to me, my love.

sherryAbout the Author

Sherry Ewing picked up her first historical romance when she was a teenager and has been hooked ever since. A bestselling author, she writes historical & time travel romances to awaken the soul one heart at a time. Always wanting to write a novel but busy raising her children, she finally took the plunge in 2008 and wrote her first Regency. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, The Beau Monde & The Bluestocking Belles. Sherry is currently working on her next novel and when not writing, she can be found in the San Francisco area at her day job as an Information Technology Specialist.

Sherry enjoys interacting with her readers.

WebsiteBluestocking BellesFacebookTwitter

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Sherry Ewing: A Knight To Call My Own

A Knight to Call my own cover

About A Knight To Call My Own

When your heart is broken, is love still worth the risk?

Lynet of Clan MacLaren knows how it feels to love someone and not have that love returned. After waiting for six long years, she has given up hope of Ian’s return. Her brother-in-law, the Devil’s Dragon of Berwyck, is tired of waiting for her to choose a husband and has decided a competition for the right to wed Lynet is just the thing his willful charge needs to force her hand.

Ian MacGillivray has returned to Berwyck Castle in search of a bride and who better than the young girl who cared for him all those years ago. But Lynet is anything but an easy conquest and he will need more than charm to win her hand in marriage.

From the English borders to the Highlands of Scotland, the chase is on for who will claim the fair Lynet. The price paid will indeed be high to ensure her safety and even higher to win her love.

Don’t miss out on Sherry’s other novels: If My Heart Could See You, a medieval romance and the beginning of her series; For All of Ever: The Knights of Berwyck, A Quest Through Time Novel (a medieval time travel romance) and Only For You, its sequel.

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Excerpt

About the Author

sherrySherry Ewing picked up her first historical romance when she was a teenager and has been hooked ever since. A bestselling author, she writes historical & time travel romances to awaken the soul one heart at a time. Always wanting to write a novel but busy raising her children, she finally took the plunge in 2008 and wrote her first Regency. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, The Beau Monde & The Bluestocking Belles. Sherry is currently working on her next novel and when not writing, she can be found in the San Francisco area at her day job as an Information Technology Specialist. You can learn more about Sherry and her published work at www.SherryEwing.com.

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