Tag Archive | Ellora’s Cave

Cynthia Moore: It’s Never Enough

Cotillion Christmas Feasts

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

Message From Cynthia

It all started with the theme-Christmas Feasts. I wanted to set up an opening scene showing the heroine unable to sleep because she is hungry. She convinces her maid to accompany her to the kitchen for a late night meal. I needed the heroine to encounter the hero in the kitchen unexpectedly. They should each show embarrassment as well as longing and concern for one another (an obvious hint at continued affection on both sides). Then I had to come up with a reason why they were each holding their emotions in check. That’s when I decided that there would be a misunderstanding between them the night before the hero goes to war. This mistake has festered and bothered each of them in the months the hero has been away. She is confused and heartbroken, he is full of longing for her but he believes he did the right thing to set her free so that she could be with the man she loved.

About It’s Never Enough

Lady Selina Durwood has been in love with Lord Robert Crestor since she was a young girl. As the years passed by and their relationship matured, it was assumed by all who knew them they would eventually marry.

Robert makes a decision to join the British cavalry to assist in the fight against Napoleon. While attending a ball the night before he leaves, Robert observes his best friend Justin Wexley, Marquess of Rockton, speaking to Selina. They both appear to gaze longingly into each other’s eyes while they talk. Robert assumes they are in love with each other. Later that night, he informs Selina that she is released from any expectations of marriage with him.

Invited to spend the Christmas holidays with her parents at his family’s estate, Selina agrees to attend believing Robert is still stationed with his cavalry in Brussels. Upon entering the kitchen with her maid for a late night meal, she unexpectedly encounters Robert.

Will Robert come to realize he made a very unfortunate conjecture about his friend and Selina? Can Selina forgive Robert for the heartache and pain she has lived with since he set her free and went away to battle? The true strength of their love for one another is put to the test in this holiday story.

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Excerpt

Chapter One

December 23, 1815

“Ellie! Miss Worth! Please wake up!”

“What…what? Whatever is the matter, my lady?”

“I’m famished. I can’t sleep. My stomach is growling like an angry bear with a bee in its ear! You need to accompany me to the kitchen.”

9781419993367_p0_v1_s260x420Miss Worth yawned loudly and then looked embarrassed. “I’m sorry, my lady. We were traveling all day to get here and I ate a huge meal in the servants’ quarters this evening. I’m plumb exhausted as well as stuffed. Are you sure you’re hungry, my lady?”

Selina walked back into her own room and reached for her wrapper. She tied it securely at her waist and thrust her feet into the slippers that were on the floor near the bed. “You know what has happened lately whenever I go to balls or parties and I have to sit at a table and eat food surrounded by people I don’t know. I get nervous. I worry someone will ask me a question just as I take a mouthful of meat. Or a piece of cabbage will get stuck in my teeth and it will shine like a green beacon for everyone to see when I smile. I end up taking a few small bite before the hostess rises from her seat and announces it is time for the women to leave the gentlemen to their brandy and cigars. Such a thing occurred tonight.”

Miss Worth sat up in her cot and frowned at Selina from the connecting room. “But, my lady, Lord and Lady Dunstable have been friends of your parents since before you were born. And you’ve known Lord Rockton for many years. Surely you have no trouble eating a meal around them?”

Selina began pacing across the carpet that lay in front of the hearth. She needed some sort of activity to keep her mind off her hunger pains while she waited for Ellie to get ready. “Of course I don’t. But several new acquaintances are joining us here for the holidays. A Lord John Bartley, his sisters, Miss Bartley and Miss Francis Bartley and Lord Bartley’s friend, Sir William Elsmere. They were all at the table this evening.”

Miss Worth struggled to her feet and trust her arms into her wrapper. “Oh yes. I believe I heard the butler mentioning the arrival of more guests. He seemed very upset that Lord Crestor hadn’t made an appearance, my lady.”

“Robert…um, Lord Crestor? He is busy with the Cavalry Brigade in Brussels. He can’t make time to be with us now.” Selina stopped pacing and frowned down at the glowing bits of coal in the hearth.

“But, my lady, Napoleon is safely imprisoned on Saint Helena. Surely Lord Crestor could take some time away from his duties to be here for the holidays?”

“You seem unduly concerned by his absence, Ellie.” Selina raised her eyebrows as she looked at her maid.

“I’m the one who dried your tears after he left, my lady. I know how much you love him.”

“Yes, well, Lord Crestor made it perfectly clear that any thoughts of affection I might have had were misplaced when he released me from any prior claim to him just before he left to join his regiment in April.”

“My lady, you know that he hadn’t formally asked for your hand. He wanted you to be free in case he should be killed in battle.”

“We’ve been over this before, Ellie. He obviously didn’t care for me as much as I did for him.” Selina forced a smile upon her face and picked up the lighted taper on the bedside table. “Come, my mouth is watering when I think of the roasted quail and apple tarts that are taking up space in the larder this very moment.”

They made their way down the stairs, through the darkened entryway and tiptoed past the housekeeper’s quarters at the back of the house until they reached the door leading to the kitchen. Selina put a shaky hand against the frame as a loud rumble of hunger omitted from her stomach once again. Without further ado, she turned the knob and entered the room.

“Selina…um, Lady Selina? Is that you?”

Her hand trembled and the candle wavered as she heard the sound of the deep, soothing voice of the man she had known and loved since childhood. She raised the candle and focused her gaze on the figure that had risen from the nearby table. She stifled a gasp when she saw him clearly. He had lost a considerable amount of weight in the months since he had gone away to battle. His black hair was still thick and wavy, brushed back off his forehead. But his cheek bones seemed more pronounced and prominent on his face. He had taken off his coat and draped it over the back of a chair. His cravat was untied and his white linen shirt hung loosely across his chest. As she looked into his hazel eyes, she had the impression that he was holding himself in check-hiding something from her. “Robert? Uh, Lord Crestor? I thought you were still in Brussels.”

Susana Says

SusanaSays3…sweet and light holiday romance: 4/5 stars

Can a gentleman be too honorable?

Robert believes his betrothed is in love with his best friend, so he releases her from the relationship before he takes off for the war on the Continent.

Selena is left heartbroken when her betrothed gives her the freedom he believes she wants and then takes off for war.

Now he is back for Christmas with his family and a party of friends that includes Selena and the man he thinks she loves. He doesn’t understand why they have not married after so much time has passed, and besides, show no partiality for each other even now.

Cute love story set among English holiday traditions and culinary delights. Short enough to finish at one setting. Enjoy!

About the Author

author_photoCynthia Moore is a native Southern California girl. At a very early age, she discovered her local library and the exciting potential of escaping the real world inside the pages of a good book. In her early teens, she became a fan of British literature. After reading most of the Victorian classics, Cynthia found English Regency romance novels in 1987. It was love at first read. Since her chance introduction to this wonderful era, Cynthia has read over three thousand fiction novels and she maintains a large collection of research books on the period. She is extremely proud to be able to say she has several published novels taking place during the English Regency.

Other Stories in the Cotillion Christmas Feasts Series

Christmas Fete by Barbara Miller

The Size of the Scandal by Jillian Chantal

Her Very Major Christmas by Saralee Etter

A Christmas Scheme by Christa Paige and Vivien Jackson

It’s Never Enough by Cynthia Moore

Christa Paige & Vivien Jackson: A Christmas Scheme

Cotillion Christmas Feasts

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

Message From Christa

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

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

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

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

And, a place to grow oranges.

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

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

About A Christmas Scheme

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

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

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

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

A Blush® Regency historical romance from Ellora’s Cave

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Excerpt

Copyright © CHRISTA PAIGE & VIVIEN JACKSON, 2014

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

Chapter One

22 December 1809, Shropshire

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

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

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

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

Probably.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She stifled a sneeze against her sleeve.

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

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

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

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

Goodness. Of a certainty not her brother.

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

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

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

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

SusanaSays3Susana Says

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

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

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

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

About the Authors

Vivien Jackson • Christa Paige

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

Other Stories in the Cotillion Christmas Feasts Series

Christmas Fete by Barbara Miller

The Size of the Scandal by Jillian Chantal

Her Very Major Christmas by Saralee Etter

A Christmas Scheme by Christa Paige and Vivien Jackson

It’s Never Enough by Cynthia Moore

Sabrina York: Defiant (Noble Passions Book Five)

About Defiant

When rakish Ned falls in with the wrong crowd, his brother decides to send him to the Continent for “seasoning”. For Sophia, this just won’t do. She’s loved Ned for ages—and also longed for adventure. She runs away from her boring suitors and disguises herself as a cabin boy on the Defiant, the ship sailing Ned to Italy.

Ned knows he’s not good enough for Sophia, but once they’re on the Defiant, he can’t stop himself from touching her, tasting her, loving her. Not when a wild tempest and a band of ruthless pirates threaten them. Not when every look from her gives him such pleasure. And certainly not when she comes, warm and wild and willing, to his bed.

If they survive their voyage, Sophia’s brother might kill him, but it will have been worth every moment and every hot, sweet kiss.

A Romantica® Regency historical erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave

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Excerpt

Sophia stood on the bow of the boat in the dark as the wind and rain lashed her face. She loved it. Loved it. Not only was the storm elemental and fierce, it hid her tears.

Surely she hadn’t expected Ned to greet her with open arms. Not when she had barged in on his adventure as she had. But she certainly hadn’t expected him to be so horrid. His expression had devastated her.

defiant copyFoolish girl, it said.

But then, her heart agreed.

She was foolish.

Foolish to ever think that he—

“You’re soaked.”

She whirled around, though she knew what she’d see. More glowering.

She was right.

“What the hell do you think you’re doing?”

“I’m reveling.” She thrust out her chin, in case he didn’t believe her.

He gaped at her. “Reveling?”

“Yes.” She didn’t mean to shout, but his wintry demeanor annoyed her tremendously. She threw out her arms. “Look at this!”

“It’s a storm.”

“It’s beautiful. The waves are wild, untamed—”

“You could be swept overboard.”

“The wind is howling and the rain is savage. It’s glorious.”

“It’s freezing. Come inside.”

“It’s not freezing. It’s summer.”

I’m cold.”

“Then you go inside.”

“Sophia Fiona—”

“Don’t call me that.”

“It’s your name.”

“You sound like Ewan.”

“I’m starting to think Ewan is a saint.”

She glared at him. “What a beastly thing to say.” She hated that her chin wobbled a little. Hated that he winced.

“I’m sorry, Sophia. This has been trying for me.” He sluiced the water from his face. “Won’t you please come inside?”

“All right. Fine.”

“You will?”

“You did say please.”

He blew out a breath and offered her his arm. She frowned at it. “I’m a cabin boy, remember? You don’t offer a cabin boy your arm.” When he didn’t lower it, she smacked it. “Someone will see.”

That caught his attention and he slowly lowered his arm. “Right then. Come inside.” He followed her back to the cabin, his stride decidedly unsteady. If anyone was tipping overboard, it was most likely him.

When she once again stood in his chambers, she realized the folly of her actions. She hadn’t brought a change of clothes and she was drenched. So was he. Without a word, he relit the lamp and then opened his trunk and pulled out several shirts, two of which he tossed to her. “Change.”

That was it. One word. Just “change” and then he presented her with his back. She huffed a breath, but did as he asked because she was really rather cold. The feel of the cloth falling over her chilled flesh warmed her. Because it was his shirt. It had touched his skin. She wasn’t sure why the thought sent heat scudding through her belly.

“Use the other shirt to dry your hair,” he suggested, as he began toweling off as well.

She huffed a laugh. “All of your clothes will be wet.”

“They’ll dry. Are you clothed?”

“Yes.”

He turned. And froze. His gaze locked onto her bare legs. “I-I thought you said you were clothed.” A squawk.

“I am.” But the intensity of his stare made her self-conscious, so she slipped into the bed.

“Close your eyes,” he said as he unbuttoned the damp linen clinging to his chest.

“Why?”

“I need to change as well. I’m f-freezing.”

“Okay.” She did. But she peeked.

He ripped off his wet shirt and her breath caught at the sight of his broad back. Muscles rippled as he moved and she swallowed. He was beautiful. He tugged the fresh shirt over his head and she nearly whimpered as that magnificent vision disappeared. But then, he unfastened his trousers.

All pretense of not peeking evaporated.

He sat and took a moment to work off his boots. And then he stood. His trousers were tight, as was the fashion, and he had to peel them off. As he bent, she caught a flash of his bare behind.

She must have made a noise because he whirled around. His cheek bunched when he saw her watching. “You’re supposed to have your eyes closed.”

She hunkered in the covers, as though that would disguise the fact that her eyes were open wide.

“Sophia…”

It was probably wrong to grin at him, but she couldn’t help it.

“Sophia Fiona!”

“Stop calling me that. It always makes me think I’m in trouble.”

“You are in trouble. You have no idea how much trouble you’re in.”

She tipped her head to the side. “We both know Ewan will be so relieved to see me, he’ll forget how angry he is—”

Ned stilled and fixed her with a dark glare. “What makes you think I’m talking about Ewan?”

“I… ah…”

“I’ve a mind to bend you over my knee.”

Why a shiver rippled through her, she had no idea. She’d been spanked once or twice as a child and she hadn’t cared for it in the slightest. But something dark and domineering in Ned’s tone made her womb warm.

“You-you wouldn’t.”

“Wouldn’t I? Now, look away. Your brother would skewer me if I gave you the education you’re about to have.”

She attempted not to snort. Ned—and everyone—thought her a prim and innocent miss on account of the polish she’d acquired at Lady Satterlee’s. Nothing could be further from the truth. As a child, before Ewan had made his fortune, they’d lived a hand-to-mouth existence in the slums of Perth. She’d seen more than one couple rutting against a wall in a dingy alleyway. And at one point, she and her brother had taken refuge in a bordello. She’d been only seven, but if she’d had an education, she got it there. She could probably teach Ned a few things.

Still, because he seemed to expect it, she squeezed her eyes tight and didn’t hardly peek at all as he finished changing. Besides which, the spot she was interested in was mostly shadows.

With a great huff, he threw himself back into the chair. “Now, go to sleep.”

“Don’t you want me to put out the light?”

“No. I want to be able to see where you are.”

“I’m not leaving again tonight.” Probably. Unless her despair overcame her once more.

“Leave it on.” A grunt, and not a very nice one at that. Why he had call to be annoyed, she couldn’t fathom.

Blast and damn, he was an annoying man. Sophia grunted as well and rolled over, facing the wall of the cabin. She studied the patterns the swinging lamp made for a long while, listening as he shifted one way and then the other.

It was really unfair for him to have to sleep in the chair. This was his room. But he would never share her bed. She grimaced at the way the words came out, but it was true. He wouldn’t. Unless…

She rolled over again and watched him twist in the chair. He caught her eye and frowned.

“Ned?”

An impatient groan. “Yes, Sophia?”

“Ned, I’m cold.”

He stilled. Then barked, “Put on another blanket.”

“There aren’t any more.” She faked a shiver. She wasn’t cold in the slightest. She never was. Ewan said she ran hot. “Brr. My teeth are chattering.”

His glower became a frown.

“I hope I don’t get ill.”

He paled. “You shouldn’t have gone out in the rain. Why did you go out in the rain?”

She sneezed. Or something like it. “I don’t know.”

“Sophia?”

“Am I running a fever?” She put her palm to her forehead. “I think I’m running a fever.”

His brow wrinkled. He stood and made his way across the tiny chamber as though on his death march. He set the backs of his fingers to her cheeks. His frown darkened. “You are warm.”

“No. I’m cold.” She shivered and peered up at him, her eyes as wide as she could make them. “Won’t you warm me?”

He wrenched his hand away as though she’d burned him. “What?”

“Lie here beside me and warm me up?”

“There’s not enough room for both of us.”

“I’m small.”

“Sophia.” She’d never heard her name in such a strangled voice, not even when Ewan was at his wit’s end.

“Just for a bit? You can be on top of the covers. Surely that is decent.”

The muscle in his cheek bunched again, as though he were grinding his teeth.

“Please?”

He gusted a sigh. “All right, Sophia. Scoot over and make room.”

She did. With alacrity.

“And roll over, facing the wall.”

She frowned at him “Why?”

“Just do it. Please.”

“Oh, all right.” But only because he said please. And because, when she was facing the other way, he couldn’t see her grin.

He settled in behind her and a shiver rocked her. He was warm. And he smelled delicious. Not fishy in the slightest. It was delightful, lying here with him. She closed her eyes and imagined he wanted this as much as she.

If only. If only.

Check out the other books in the Noble Passions Series from Sabrina York

 

Follow the decadent exploits of friends and enemies as they find love and passion in the glittering world of the Regency—and its dark underbelly.

folly_msr (final) copyBook 1: Folly

2014 EPIC eBook Award Finalist

2013 Passionate Plume Finalist

Widowed and threatened with penury by her heartless in-laws, Eleanor–Lady Ulster–hatches a plot to save herself. Determined to produce the Ulster “heir”, she seduces a stranger at a tawdry masquerade. Little does she know, this magnificent masked lover is none other than her husband’s greatest nemesis. And God knows Ulster had plenty.

Ethan Pennington is mortified to arrive at a house party and discover Lady Ulster in attendance. He has wanted her and hated wanting her–his enemy’s bride–for years. When he overhears Eleanor’s predicament and her plans to place a cuckoo in the Ulster nest, he is more than willing to oblige. The opportunity to finally claim her–while taking the revenge he craves–is more than he can resist. Ethan strikes a bargain with Eleanor, promising to provide her with the heir she so desperately needs…if she will meet his needs in return. Every decadent one of them.

darkduke_msrBook 2: Dark Fancy

The sizzling prequel to Folly

2014 Winner of the Carolyn Readers’ Choice Award

When Lady Helena Simpson flees an unwanted marriage to a revolting lord, she finds refuge with James, a charming, handsome man unlike any she’s ever known. Helena concocts the perfect solution to her problem. She asks—begs—James to ruin her. Surely her betrothed will repudiate her if she is no longer pure. And if all her efforts fail and she still ends up married to a horrid man until the end of her days, she will at least once have known true passion.

But James is not all he seems. He is, in fact, a wicked lord with a dark fancy. When Helena awakens his desire, he becomes determined to take everything she has to offer and more. No matter the cost.

darkfancy_msrBook 3: Dark Duke

Edward Wyeth, the Dark Duke of Moncrieff’s life has been turned on its end. His well-ordered home has been invaded. By destitute relatives. From Scotland. How on earth can he write Lord Hedon’s salacious novels with hellions battling in the garden and starting fires in the library? But with the onslaught has come a delicious diversion. His cousin’s companion, the surprisingly intriguing Kaitlin MacAllister. He is determined to seduce her. Using her desperate need for funds and her talents as an artist, he convinces her to draw naughty pictures for his naughtier books…and he draws her into his decadent web.

But Kaitlin has a secret. She’s fled Scotland—and a very determined betrothed. When Edward’s cousin is kidnapped and held in her stead, Kaitlin is honor-bound to return to her homeland and rescue her—much to Edward’s chagrin.

Because suddenly he can’t bear the thought of Kaitlin marrying another man. He can’t bear the thought of losing her at all.

brigand_msrBook 4: Brigand

Kidnapped and held prisoner by menacing Scottish brigand, the notorious McCloud, Violet Wyeth does her best to persevere…and resist his rakish charms. But when she realizes The McCloud is really Ewan St. Andrews, the boy who once saved her life, the boy who once kissed her and made her heart flutter, she is lost.

Ewan has every intention of marrying Lady Kaitlin MacAllister. He desperately needs the entrée into the ton this bride can provide. But when his bride is delivered—bound and gagged—it’s not Kaitlin. It’s Violet Wyeth—the girl who betrayed him and ruined his life when he was a boy. He keeps her, determined to punish her for her sins. But when he discovers the truth about what really happened so long ago, and seething passion rises between them, he can no longer hold on to his rusty grudge. By the time he realizes how much he loves Violet—that he always has—he’s lost her.

All he can do is follow her. Follow her into the bowels of hell—and partake in the torment of the glittering London Season, where the harpies are far more dangerous than a Scottish brigand.

About Sabrina York

Sabrina_head_smHer Royal Hotness, Sabrina York is the award winning author of over 20 hot, humorous stories for smart and sexy readers. Her titles range from sweet & sexy erotic romance to scorching BDSM. Connect with her on twitter @sabrina_york, on Facebook or on Pintrest. Check out Sabrina’s books and read an excerpt on Amazon or wherever e-books are sold. Visit her webpage at www.sabrinayork.com to check out her books, excerpts and contests.

Free Teaser Book: http://sabrinayork.com/home-2/sabrina-yorks-teaser-book/ And don’t forget to enter to win the royal tiara!

Sabrina York and “Brigand” (Book Four in the Scorching “Noble Passions” Series)

The Fourth Book in the Scorching

Noble Passions Series by Sabrina York Releases!

Fans of Sabrina York’s steamy Regency series have been eagerly awaiting the release of, the fourth book (following award winning Folly, Dark Fancy and the scorching Dark Duke) which follows the adventures of Violet Wyeth who is captured by a vengeful Scottish Brigand…only to discover he is none other than Ewan St. Andrews, the boy she once loved.

Noble Passions: Follow the decadent exploits of friends and enemies as they find love and passion in the glittering world of the Regency—and its dark underbelly. Each book is a stand-alone read.

If you’re new to the series, download Sabrina’s free teaser book at http://sabrinayork.com/home-2/sabrina-yorks-teaser-book/ to read blurbs and excerpts for this popular series. Each book in the series is a stand-alone story.

About Brigand

brigand_msrKidnapped and held prisoner by menacing Scottish brigand, the notorious McCloud, Violet Wyeth does her best to persevere…and resist his rakish charms. But when she realizes The McCloud is really Ewan St. Andrews, the boy who once saved her life, the boy who once kissed her and made her heart flutter, she is lost.

Ewan has every intention of marrying Lady Kaitlin MacAllister. He desperately needs the entrée into the ton this bride can provide. But when his bride is delivered—bound and gagged—it’s not Kaitlin. It’s Violet Wyeth—the girl who betrayed him and ruined his life when he was a boy. He keeps her, determined to punish her for her sins. But when he discovers the truth about what really happened so long ago, and seething passion rises between them, he can no longer hold on to his rusty grudge. By the time he realizes how much he loves Violet—that he always has—he’s lost her.

All he can do is follow her. Follow her into the bowels of hell—and partake in the torment of the glittering London Season, where the harpies are far more dangerous than a Scottish brigand.

Amazon

Excerpt

By reading any further, you are stating that you are at least 18 years of age.If you are under the age of 18, please exit this site.

An Excerpt From: BRIGAND

Copyright © SABRINA YORK, 2014

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

Holy Heaven. She would never take a bath for granted again.

Violet stumbled on the stairs and the contents of the heavy bucket sloshed, dousing her with hot water. She sucked in a breath as pain seared. She set the bucket on the landing and pulled her skirts up. Her skin was red. She ruffled the tatters of her petticoats, waiting for the sting to subside.

The door to the Laird’s solar swung open. She stepped back so it wouldn’t hit her and it slammed into the wall. The McCloud glowered down at her. His gaze stalled on her bare legs. It was riveted—until she dropped her skirts—then he snapped, “What the hell is taking so long?” His glanced back at her damp skirts and his frown darkened. He picked up the last bucket and carried it to the tub, dumping it in himself. “For god’s sake. How long does it take to bring a few measly buckets up from the kitchen?”

A few measly buckets? It had taken twelve trips, each with a bucket that weighed near as much as she. Violet glared at him. “Is that enough?” She probably didn’t need to clip the words quite so much but she had already worked for hours. She was tired and sweaty and her skin ached and Morna was waiting for her to come help prepare dinner.

He swished his hand in the water. “Yes. I suppose that will do.”

Not a thank you. Not a smile. Nothing.

She whirled and started for the door.

“Where do you think you’re going?” His voice rumbled, a deep tenor. Her steps slowed.

“Back to the kitchen.” She frowned at him over her shoulder. “I have work to do.”

“You have work to do here.”

“I beg your pardon?” What did he want her to do now, wash his bottom?

“You’re going to bathe me.”

Her heart stilled at his words, his intent, and especially his expression. “Wh-what?”

“Come now, Violet. The laird of the manor can’t be expected to scrub his own back, can he now? Be a good girl, close the door and come over here.”

She gaped at him. Gaped. He expected her to remain in a room with a naked man? He expected her to touch him?

“Close your mouth. You look like a trout.”

“But…I c-can’t. I can’t b-bathe you.”

“You can. And you will.” His eyes glimmered with something other than humor. The unspoken threat hummed in the stony chamber. “You may want to turn around while I undress, unless you want an early education.” He began to unbutton his shirt.

With an undignified eep, Violet whirled and showed him her back until she heard the splash and his gusty sigh.

“All right, girl. Get to work. Scrub my back.” He gestured to a chunk of soap and a sponge on a small table. She picked them up, approached the tub and knelt behind him, trying not to stare at the bunching muscles, the broad expanse of tanned skin. She couldn’t help but notice it was covered with scars. Long and short, crisscrossing over one another. As though he’d been brutally beaten and lashed time after time after—“Did you close the door?”

Her bubbling sympathy evaporated in a rush. She stuck her tongue out at him, but only because he couldn’t see. Then, with a heavy sigh, she levered herself off the floor and closed the door. Well, slammed it.

His chuckle annoyed her more.

He leaned forward and peeped at her over his shoulder. “Come along now. My back isn’t going to scrub itself.”

She took her place behind him again, being very careful not to look at his broad, be-furred chest as she approached. She wet the soap and sponge and created a lather. Being very careful not to touch him, she began to scour his back. He winced. “Not so hard.”

His plaintive tone probably shouldn’t have sent a shard of evil satisfaction through her, but it did. This man had been a boor to her from the moment he’d found her on the floor in Callum MacAllister’s cottage. She dug deeper.

He lurched forward. “Ouch!”

“Hold still,” she muttered, making a wide swath across the ridged skin. “You’re filthy. I need to scrub.”

“I am not filthy.”

“You are. Stop wriggling.”

Amazingly, he did, though her efforts bordered on abuse. But my, it felt good.

When she started on his neck and ears, he caught her wrist. “All right. I think that’s enough.”

“I’m not done.”

“Oh, you’re not done.” He tugged her around to the side of the tub so she faced him. She focused on his crooked nose, schooled her attention not to drift lower. “Now it’s time for you to scrub my front.”

She really disliked his tone. There was mischief—and something much darker—coiling in there. “Fine.” She dropped to her knees and wet the sponge again, but rather than dunking it, merely skimmed the surface of the water.

Fortunately the bath was murky, so she couldn’t see anything. But she knew what was down there and she didn’t want to find it by accident. She trained her attention on his chest, and her heart lurched.

A long, nasty scar scored him. Like a puckered lightning bolt, it made its jagged way from his left nipple down to his belly. Her pulse skittered. Her breath snagged in her throat. She’d only ever seen a scar like that once before.

A scar exactly like that.

Her gaze snapped back to his face. She looked at him. Really looked at him, perhaps for the first time. Her mouth went dry. The gray eyes laced by thick black lashes. The broad, smiling mouth. The curve of his jaw.

It couldn’t be. Could it?

“W-where did you get that scar?”

He glanced down and stilled. Annoyance flickered across his features. “Every man has scars.”

“Not-not like that.” She sat back on her haunches. She didn’t realize she was squeezing the sponge until water seeped through her skirts.

“All right. A knife fight.”

“Knives don’t cut like that.” It was uneven and rippled, as though the flesh and been shorn off in places and sliced in others.

“Well, it was a goddamn knife fight. I was in a vicious battle with a man in an alley. I gutted him.” His lip curled into a sneer. “Does it frighten you, my lady?”

“No.” But that was a lie. It did frighten her. Because Ewan, her friend, the boy who had saved her, had gotten an eerily similar wound rescuing her from a watery grave. And surely this wasn’t Ewan. It couldn’t be.

Ewan was gentle and sweet. He had liked her, maybe loved her. He had kissed her. And this man… This man had taken her prisoner and mauled her and put her to work.

And she hated him.

He couldn’t be Ewan. He couldn’t. It would break her heart.

“Goddamn it, girl, finish washing me. The water’s getting cold,” he barked

But she couldn’t. She needed to know. She had to know.

“It wasn’t a knife. It was ice.” A whisper, but he heard it. He froze, his gaze locked to hers. “You jumped in and found me in the water. Lifted me out. But you couldn’t get out yourself.”

“I don’t know what you’re babbling about.”

But he did. She could see it in his eyes. There, for a flash of an instant, she saw that boy in his eyes.

She licked suddenly dry lips. “Ewan? Is it you?”

He rose from the tub in an unholy rush. She didn’t have time to glanced away. The vision of his naked body, hard and lean, scarred and perfect, burned on her brain. He grabbed a cloth and covered his loins.

“This bath is over. Get out.”

She stood. Tried desperately not to tremble. “It is you. It is.”

“Get out. Go!”

“What happened to you, Ewan?”

A dark cloud lowered on his already stormy brow. “What happened to me? You mean how did I become the beast that I am?” The vitriol in his voice made her shake, but she didn’t back down.

“No, Ewan. Where did you go? No one would tell me and I always wondered…”

Every muscle in his body tensed, vibrated. Violet knew, because she could see them all, a magnificent panoply.

She should have been afraid. She should have been horrified. She should have skittered away like a frightened little rabbit. But she wasn’t afraid. She didn’t run.

She knew—knew—her Ewan would never hurt her.

Indeed, as he stared at her, his fury passed. He scrubbed a palm over his broad face. “Go,” he croaked. His tone was laced with an emotion she couldn’t decipher. Desolation? Grief? “Just go.”

This time, she did.

About Sabrina York

Sabrina_head_smHer Royal Hotness, Sabrina York is the award winning author of over 20 hot, humorous stories for smart and sexy readers. Her titles range from sweet & sexy erotic romance to scorching BDSM. Connect with her on twitter @sabrina_york, on Facebook or on Pinterest. Check out Sabrina’s books and read an excerpt on Amazon or wherever e-books are sold. Visit her webpage at www.sabrinayork.com to check out her books, excerpts and contests. Free Teaser Book: http://sabrinayork.com/home-2/sabrina-yorks-teaser-book/ And don’t forget to enter to win the royal tiara!

Current Promotions

Free Teaser Book: http://sabrinayork.com/home-2/sabrina-yorks-teaser-book/

Newsletter & contest: http://sabrinayork.com/sabrinas-contest-and-newsletter/

Previous posts by Sabrina York on Susana’s Parlour

Dark Duke • Dark Fancy

Authors in Bloom Blog Hop

Books - it is our memory concept

 

Baked Meatball Parmigiana

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

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

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

Topper ingredients

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

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

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

Susana’s Giveaway*

A Lovely Treasure Box of Goodies, including

A Twelfth Knight Tale silver-plated Christmas bracelet

A Twelfth Night Tale silver-plated Christmas bracelet

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

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

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

Click here for the Rafflecopter

Before you go—

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

Authors in Bloom Prizes

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

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

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

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

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

treasuringtheresa_1.75

Treasuring Theresa

a sweet Regency short story

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

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

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

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

Ellora’s Cave • Amazon • Barnes & Noble

AllRomance eBooks • Kobo

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

Release Day for A Kiss of Promise

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

Researching  A Kiss of Promise

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

And so the voyage begins.

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

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

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

Where my voyage is taking me…

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

More than sweet and sensual

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

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

To summarize

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

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

giveaway

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

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

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

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

About A Kiss of Promise

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

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

A Blush® historical romance from Ellora’s Cave

Ellora’s Cave • Amazon • Barnes & Noble

About the Author

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

 WebsiteFacebookTwitter

Elaine’s other books mentioned above:

RegalReward2_msr[1] (2)

Regal Reward (print and ebook)

aconvenientpretenseSM

A Convenient Pretense (ebook)

Janice Bennett and “Catherine’s Star”

Long before becoming an author herself, Susana used to read just about every Signet and Zebra Regency that came out, not to mention older Fawcetts and Dells she found scouring eBay. How excited she was to discover Janice Bennett—an author whose books she’d read for years—in the group of Ellora’s Cave Blush Cotillion authors she herself joined a year ago! She finally screwed up the courage to ask Janice to write about what it was like to be an author in the days when print was supreme and New York ruled the publishing world. And how thrilled she was when Janice said yes!

Another surprise: Janice’s recently re-released book, Catherine’s Star, is a time travel, which is what I’m working on at present. I picked it up immediately and devoured it, hoping to pick up some tips. Excellent story—a very different approach from my A Home For Helena—but wonderfully engrossing and with a mystery to be solved as well!

If you’re a Janice Bennett fan, please stop and say hi. What did you think when publishers suddenly dropped traditional Regencies and went to the longer format? We’d love to hear from you!

So, what was it like to write during the heyday of Regencies? Very, very different from now. And in other ways, very much the same.

When I started writing, all romances were still considered “trashy little books” by everyone except those who wrote them—and the vast number of people who read and loved them. Regencies were a very minor sub-genre—we had the smallest print run of any type of romance—but we had incredibly loyal readers.

Very few of the houses even published Regencies, and each only released two or three of them each month. And since there were always more authors with well-written books than there were available slots, it was much harder to get published. But that also meant the reader had fewer choices, so each book that came out sold far more copies.

Many of the houses wouldn’t even look at a book unless it was presented by an agent. It made sense, as the agents weeded out the poorly written ones and only handled the ones they were sure were good enough. Agents were also good for the writer. Mine would call me up about once a month, just to pass on the latest gossip in the publishing world—which house was introducing which new lines, which editors were looking for what kind of book, that sort of thing.

As for promoting, a writer might hold a book signing at her local store, and some took out ads in the review magazines. Mostly, we relied on potential readers to walk into a store, browse the shelves, glance through the pages and find a book they thought they’d like. And if they did like it, they’d usually buy other books by that author. There was no such thing as the internet. No chats, no blogs, no contests, no websites—in short, none of the means writers must employ today just to be noticed.

The lack of the internet also made research much harder. We didn’t have access to hundreds of historical research sites. We couldn’t hop onto a chat group and ask other writers and history buffs a question—which might receive dozens of answers in a matter of hours, some of them even correct. We had to do the research ourselves. I have a shelf of books and novels written about—and during—the Regency era. Some are vague, some are less than accurate, very few actually answer the questions that came up while I was writing. And sometimes I’d have to wait months to receive a book I’d requested from a university library, which would arrive after my deadline.

Ah, yes. Deadlines. My agent told me never, ever, to write the whole book until after it was sold. But once it was, the publishing house expected it to be written. And by a particular date. I admit, I’m strange. I love deadlines. I can’t write without them. I need the terror of that rapidly approaching date to make me sit down and focus.

And to focus, I have to be deeply involved in my current WIP. I’ve tried to keep my ideas fresh, different, a delight to write. I’ve pushed the boundaries of traditional Regencies about as far as they can go—with adventure stories, murder mysteries, ghost stories, vampires, time travels, even a fairy godmother. I can hardly wait to see what new idea grabs me and demands to be written next.

About Catherine’s Star

Every Regency reader’s dream—going back in time for a London Season. But hidden dangers lurk as she searches for a lost fortune—and love.

Blush sensuality level: This is a suggestive romance (love scenes are not graphic).

catherine's starWhile searching London to find all the places mentioned in the Regency novels she adores, Andrea Wells spots an intriguing gentleman in historic costume who mysteriously appears and disappears. She becomes obsessed with him after finding his portrait in a scandal rag, accompanied by the story of his death in 1810 and the tale of a cursed Russian icon known as Catherine’s Star, and visits his home, Greythorne Court, to learn more about him.

The current occupant of Greythorne is convinced Andrea can travel back through time, and she says Andrea must go back and find the missing Catherine’s Star to save the Court.

However, when Andrea dreamed of living in Regency England, she didn’t count on murderous spies or falling in love with a man whose imminent death is tied to the fate of a priceless icon.

A Blush® paranormal romance from Ellora’s Cave

Publisher’s Note: This book was published elsewhere in 1990 under the title A Timely Affair. It has been edited for EC publication.

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About the Author

Janice Bennett never intended to be a writer, but with B.A degrees in anthropology and classical civilizations and an M.A. in folklore and mythology, all from various campuses of the University of California, what choice did she have? Her first jobs included the usual abc’s—archaeology, bookkeeping and college craft instructor. Then in desperation she submitted her first novel, a Regency, and life took on a new and rather fascinating twist. Shortly thereafter, she began presenting workshops on a variety of writing topics, teaching novel writing at a community college, serving as a writing panel member at WorldCons…and then became an editor, as well. So far, she has written twenty-six novels and more than twenty novellas and received a number of awards, including two Lifetime Achievement awards from Romantic Times. She lives in a tiny, rural town with her husband, far too many cats, a huge dog, a large organic garden—and a computer she swears runs on chocolate chips, not silicon ones, which explains a lot about her.

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